A/N: This took a looong time to get out. Sorry. I'm not going to make excuses, because I think the less I say about my procrastination and busy schedule the better. And Draco's back. That should make everyone happy.

Who doesn't know what I'm talking about?

Who's never left home, never struck out

To find a dream and a life of their own

A place in the clouds, a foundation of stone

Many precede and many will follow

A young girl's dream no longer hollow

It takes the shape of a place out west

But what it holds for her, she hasn't yet guessed

She needs wide open spaces

Room to make her big mistakes

She needs new faces

She knows the high stakes

She traveled this road as a child

Wide-eyed and grinning she never tired

But now she won't be coming back with the rest

If these are life's lessons, she'll take this test

She needs wide open spaces

Room to make her big mistakes

She needs new faces

She knows the high stakes

As her folks drive away her dad yells, "Check the oil!"

Mom stares out the window and says, "I'm leaving my girl."

She says it didn't seem like that long ago

When she stood there and let her own folks know

She needs wide open spaces

Room to make her big mistakes

She needs new faces

She knows the high stakes

She knows the high stakes

She knows the high stakes...

Dixie Chicks- Wide Open Spaces

She'd disappeared again, but this time it didn't matter.

Or, not as much, as Draco was completely confident that he knew where she'd gone.

The day after Christmas, which he'd spent alone at Malfoy Manor, Draco finally admitted to himself that maybe, just maybe Ginny had a right to be angry with him.

Admitting that he was wrong was a painful process, and one that Draco Malfoy avoided at all costs. Being wrong, naturally, meant that the other person was right. Meaning a Weasley held something over a Malfoy.

Admitting that he wanted something he couldn't have was far worse- worse, even, than realizing that he wanted something that he shouldn't dream of wanting.

The day after Christmas, Draco finally decided that maybe, just maybe, talking to Ginny could actually help work things out.

It wasn't until he was at the door of the apartment building that he realized he had no idea which one was hers- he wasn't completely sure this was the right building, really. Ginny had once said something about living in this general area and he was just making an inference based on a few offhand comments.

There! A flash of red hair, going down the sidewalk, out the side exit. Who was that with her? What right had she to be walking with some other guy?

Every right in the world, he told himself sternly. He relaxed when he realized that it was her brother. The one who worked for Gringotts.

The one who lived in Egypt.

Not stopping to evaluate how it would look if he ran into someone he knew, Draco followed them down several blocks until they arrived at a train station. He lost sight of them again until he caught a glimpse of them moving through a solid wall- a hurried movement that no one would have noticed unless they were actively looking for it.

So. She was going to Egypt.

There was a rather insultingly simple solution to this problem.

Go to Egypt.


It seemed deeply wrong to Ginny, who was in love with Christmas and everything connected, to slide straight out of the holiday-induced euphoria and straight past the one or two required days of depression after it was over.

However, for the next day or so she was so incredibly busy she had no choice. The job interview with the Egyptian school's Headmistress went smoothly, but then there was about a week or so until she'd find anything out.

Bill and his group of fellow Gringot's employees were camped out on a patch of desert, made unplottable and therefor invisible to Muggles. There were probably about twenty people in the party, and they were all sick of one another to the extent where they could appreciate a newcomer and overlook the fact that technically she wasn't supposed to be there.

Ginny literally rolled out of the cot in the bedroom of her tent. Unintentionally, of course- she wouldn't have chosen to fall out of bed have her arm jabbed by a rock through the tent floor as a wake-up call. According to her watch, it was five-thirty a.m.

Knowing that if she planned to eat that morning she'd need to be quick, Ginny quickly untangled herself from the sleeping bag and changed into the same jeans and t- shirt she'd worn the previous two days. She hadn't been able to clean anything, but for the camp's standards, her apparel was exceptionally clean. She didn't even bother looking for clean socks, which in this place were nonexistent.

Bill was already sitting at a campfire accompanied by a friend of his; a tall, pale man named Adam. Ginny sat down near from them, and said, "Good morning."

"Morning," Bill said absently- he seemed distracted, as though he were very deep in thought.

"What's with him?" she asked Adam.

"Oh, nothing. Unless of course it's because Anna's coming back today," he said emphatically.

Ginny perked up. "Anna? Who's Anna?"

"Anna White is our residential beggar," Bill said. "In other words, she tries to sweet-talk the Ministry into financing our projects."

"She's good at sweet-talking, eh Bill?" Adam muttered.

Ginny brightened. "Ooh, Bill, you're finally listening to Mum?"

"Shut up, Ginny."

Ginny smirked. "Bill dear," she said in perfect imitation of their mother, "I'm aware that you're happy working out there in the desert, but aren't you ever going to think about settling down and starting a family?"

Adam was biting his tongue in a very poor attempt to conceal laughter.

"Shall I go further?" Ginny asked. "There's always the 'your father and want grandchildren'" speech...

"There's nothing between me and Anna," Bill said.

Ginny nodded, feigning realization. "Oh, I get it. You're gay, aren't you Billy? Scared to tell Mum and Dad?"

"If I murder her, would you be willing to forget you witnessed it?" Bill asked Adam.

"I don't know... she's rather entertaining."

"You know you love me," Ginny said.

"Sure, Gin, just keep telling yourself that."

"I'm your baby sister!"

"And I must have done something really horrible in a past life to deserve it."

"You sound like an old married couple," said Adam. "By the way, Bill, I got an owl from your love interest this morning."

"Must be a rather one-sided love interest if she's not owling Bill," Ginny muttered.

"She'll be back around noon, and some guy's coming with her. Looks like she finally talked someone into supplying the cash we need."

"You need money to find gold?" Ginny asked blankly.

"Finding gold's not the whole business, Gin," replied Bill. "I'm a curse-breaker, remember. I make sure nothing we dig up is going to make people grow extra toes. We need to hire people to put wards up around places, or make them unplottable- do you understand how much paperwork and time goes into that sort of thing? It costs a lot just to-"

"You sound like Percy," Ginny interrupted.

"In that case, I'd better stop." Bill looked poked at the fire with his wand. "What're you planning on doing today, Gin?"

"Trying to find clothes I haven't sweated in," She replied immediately.

"Good luck with that. But since no one's gonna be here this afternoon, would you mind looking out for Anna and whoever it is coming with her?"

"Sure. If I greatly offended her and made her decide to leave, what would you do?"

"Don't do it," Adam advised. "I don't think I'd want to watch."


A deserted patch of sand with smoke struggling out of abandoned firepits, and a collection of sagging pop-up tents. That was all that this camp was, really, yet Ginny didn't find it nearly as depressing as her apartment at home- probably because there was always something to do here, or someone to talk to. In fact, this was the first time in a week she'd been alone for more than half an hour at a time.

She heard voices outside her tent, first a female, not quite intelligible but doing most of the talking, and another one that was distinctly male.

She climbed awkwardly through the flap.

And received one of the biggest surprises of her life.

She composed herself just as the woman said, "I'm sorry, but I don't think I know you?"

"I'm Ginny Weasley," she said. "Bill's sister. I'm just temporarily staying here. You must be Anna?"

"Yes. Nice to meet you. This is..." she gestured to her companion.

"Draco Malfoy," he said calmly. "We've met."

Anna shifted her gaze back and fourth between them before saying, "Well I think I'm going to excuse myself..." and hurrying away.

Ginny glared at Draco. "What are you doing here?" she demanded.

"At the moment," he replied, "I'm being unreasonably insulted by someone I don't know why I even bother with. Can't you even say hello?"

She shook with anger for a moment "I don't know what you think you're doing," she breathed, "but leave me out of it. I don't even want to look at you."


"Stay away from me."

She retreated to her tent, leaving Draco staring after her.


One of the things about Ginny that Draco found the most irritating was her tendency to react in anger to everything he did. The kiss in the back room of the bookstore proved that. That, however, had been spontaneous, and while he'd planned coming here, known what he was going to say, she had to blow up at him and make it impossible.

It was evening, now, and Ginny was still punishing him by not coming out. That was what it felt like- she was so close and he couldn't go near her. Punishment.

"So you're the one who's willing to finance our project? Draco Malfoy?"

Draco looked up. Bill Weasley was standing behind him.

"Yes," he replied shortly.

"Mind if I sit down, or is this your patch of desert?"

Draco didn't respond, and Bill sat. "It might not be any of my business, but why'd you agree to it?"

"Seemed like a good idea at the time."

Bill nodded. "Lots of things do, don't they?"

Draco didn't think that Bill was being hostile, but he was definitely trying to probe him for information. "Just the ones that are the opposite."

"It seems to work out that way," Bill agreed.

Draco looked at him, still trying to analyze his behavior. "Oh, just get out with it."

"Out with what?" Bill asked, raising his eyebrows.

"What's going on with me and your sister, Weasley. Don't play dumb with me."

"It did cross my mind," Bill said, with infuriating calmness.

"Well there's nothing. She won't let me within ten feet of her."

"Why not?"

"Because I'm me. Draco Malfoy. And she hates that." He thought about something, then said, "And why aren't you forbidding me to associate with her? I figured since the rest of your family hates me you'd naturally feel the same."

"Ginny's smart enough to make her own decisions," Bill said. "As for forbidding you to associate with her- I don't think there's any need. She won't let you within ten feet of her, remember?" Bill paused and watched Draco. "If you want, I could go talk to her. Try to get her to come out."

"You think she'll listen to you?"

Bill laughed ruefully. "I've been Ginny's brother long enough to know that getting her to listen can be as pointless as ramming your head against a wall. But I'll try."

For several minutes, Draco stared at the shadows on the inside of the tent wall. When Bill emerged, he shrugged and said, "She said she'll talk to you. But don't say I didn't warn you."

Ginny was standing rigidly in the front room, arms folded across her chest, staring stonily at the door.


"What do you want?" She asked, consulting her watch. "You have five minutes. Make it quick."

"I wanted to tell you I'm sorry," he began.

Her expression softened, but only a tiny bit.

"But," he continued, "I don't think there's any point."

She gnashed her teeth together sharply, and said, "Get out."

"What happened to my five minutes?"

"You don't deserve them. Get out before I force you to."

"That's hardly reasonable."

"Look Malfoy. I am in NO MOOD TO BE REASONABLE. Get OUT of my tent. NOW."

He smiled, trying to appear amused. "And what if I don't?"


Draco took a few dizzy steps backward, then looked at Ginny. Her fist was still clenched and she looked extremely satisfied. "Was that really necessary?"

"You deserved it."

"Well now that we're even can I have my five minutes?"

She sighed. Suddenly she looked extremely tired. "Well you're not going to go away until I let you." She sank down on the canvas floor and buried her face in her hands.

Wanting to be on the same level, Draco moved as close to her as he dared and sat.

"I really am sorry, Ginny," he said quietly.

"You should be," came her muffled reply.

"For everything," he continued.

"Good." Slowly, she raised her head and looked at him. "For once, I think you mean it."

Slowly, he nodded. "I do."

"What I don't understand," she said, "is why you tracked me out here- giving up a good ammount of money to my brother's team, I'm guessing- just to apologize."

"I had nothing better to do."

She shook her head. "Can't you give me a serious answer?"

"But I didn't," he said. "You happen to be one of the few people I can stand to be around for an extended period of time. Maybe I've just gotten used to you. Good enough?"

"The money? What about that?"

He smiled bitterly. "I hardly made a dent in the Malfoy family fortune, if that's what you're asking." Without thinking he edged closer. "How are my five minutes coming?"

"They're gone."

"Well." He began to stand. "I guess this is goodnight."

"No!" she said abruptly, then blushed. "I mean, there's still a few things I want to ask you."

"You're willing to let me talk?"

"Don't make me change my mind."

Draco sat again. "What did you want to ask me?"

Ginny stared at him. Draco thought she was trying to figure out how to phrase something important. "I've been wondering about this for a long time."

He nodded, encouraging her.

"I asked Harry Potter and he said that you were the only one with any right to explain," she went on.

"explain what?"

"What exactly did you do to help him kill Voldemort?"

A sense of shock crept through Draco's body. How did she find out about that? He thought furiously. "Potter told you about- I'm going to kill-"

"No! Harry didn't tell me. Hermione did."

"Oh, so he told her. After he promised-"

"She doesn't know anything. She has the idea that you did something to help him, but only based on a few offhand comments after she asked."

Well at least Potter hadn't told her. He suddenly realized that he wouldn't mind Ginny knowing, but not from Potter. He was the only one with any right to tell her anything about-

Ginny interrupted his thoughts, saying, "I don't know a thing. Really. Other than that you did help Harry, and that you weren't a Death Eater like everyone thought you'd turn out to be."

A brief silence followed. Then; "What makes you think I wasn't a Death Eater?" Draco asked harshly.

Ginny blinked, startled. "Well I assumed-"

"Assuming things doesn't get you anywhere."

"So were you a Death Eater?"

"I never said I was," Draco said. "I'm not saying I wasn't. Do you want to know?"

"Yes," Ginny said honestly.

"Maybe I'll tell you someday," he said absently. "Not now. I trust you, but... not now."

"All right." She inched closer to him. "If you want to."

Draco offered her the first genuine smile he'd given anyone in a very long time. It suddenly dawned upon him that here was a person whom he not only could stand to be around, but also felt completely comfortable with. There was no need to impress her, or insult her until she grew tired of him, because she'd see right through it. And he didn't really want her to grow tired of him.

"Gin," he said, more to get her to face him than because he wanted to say something.

They both knew what was coming. They studied each other's faces for a moment before closing the miniscule ammount of space between them and allowing themselves to move into the kiss. This time, Draco knew that she wouldn't grow furious, she wouldn't push him away, and she wouldn't abruptly leave the continent. And the feeling of absolute comfort increased, and for a brief moment, all was right with the world.

Then the tent flap opened, and Pansy Parkinson's voice screeched, "What the hell is going on?"

Disclaimer: Any Harry Potter people belong to J.K. Rowling. Anyone else is mine. (Actually my sister owns Adam's name. I was sitting there in my writer's block, and she walked by and I said "I need a guy's name!" and she said 'Adam,' without hesitation. I think he may be named after Adam Eddington from The Arm of a Starfish by Madeleine L'Engle, but I'm not completely sure.)

Thanks to: Kun (wow, first review on MY fic!), Pyrobunnie, Amethyst (don't feed me to the killer yeast! NOOOO! Sounds cool, though. We got to extract DNA from wheat germ), Lunadaisy, Rocket_Queen_12 (he's back for good! I promise!), Shy Scorpion, Artemis Tiegr (frosting is good too. And Wint-O-Green lifesavers. And candy sticks.), Static, Baal_extremely_evil, Amanda Macini, and Tairamika (Insane giggling is fun! So is scaring people with mad scientist laughs like this: MUAHAHAHA!)

I have forty-two reviews on fanfiction.net! My favorite number! Feel free to mess it up, though. Merry Christmas everyone!