Blankets

AU. Slightly HBP compliant, but let's pretend H/G never happened. 

When Ginny Weasley was three, she carried around a green-and-white striped blanket. When she was sick with dragon pox and couldn't leave her room because Ron still hadn't gotten them, she'd grab her trusty blanket and make it a tent. She pretended she was caught in a rainstorm and her blanket was her only form of shelter, and she couldn't leave her bed because she was surrounded by water. When Bill was 'babysitting' her and invited his girlfriend over so they could have a snog in front of the fireplace, she used her blanket as a shield to cover her eyes and pretend she was anywhere else.

That blanket was her best friend. As the only female in a house full of boys, who could a girl talk to when she thought the boy on the corner was cute? Who could she tell when she found out that Harry Potter was beautiful – and her brother was best friends with him? Who could she turn to when she had to spill her deepest, darkest secret but couldn't bring herself to speak the words? She could whisper it to her blanket – or think about whispering it to her blanket; it didn't matter – and she didn't have to worry about anyone finding out her secrets.

When she was getting ready to pack to go to Hogwarts, she kept her blanket out of her trunk. She wondered what she could do with it; she was sure there weren't many eleven-year-olds who still carried around a security blanket. Ginny took a deep breath and shoved her trunk closed.

When her mum entered the room, she noticed the blanket outside of the trunk.

"Are you not bringing it?" she asked curiously.

Without a second thought, Ginny burst into tears. She felt like she was leaving behind her childhood while leaving behind her blanket. Her mother shushed her and hugged her and rubbed her back. She then grabbed a pair of scissors from her medicine cabinet and gently held the blanket. Cutting off a small square from the corner, she handed the piece to Ginny and then charmed the blanket to re-sew the square back.

"Sometimes it's okay to want to bring a memento of better times with you. Sometimes it's okay not to want to move on."

Ginny lightly smiled and held the small square in her hands.

--

Throughout her years at Hogwarts, Ginny kept referring to her small blanket. She waited until she was alone at her corner in the library, far away from the windows and busy people, and then held the blanket up to her face, thinking of all the things that had happened that she needed to confess, tell, spill. It was almost like writing in a diary, but with less worries – she didn't have to worry about her blanket talking to her, or being found by someone else and spread around the school in five seconds flat.

--

When Ginny was in her fifth year, she met Draco Malfoy. Sure, shed had seen him around before then, and she had heard things about him too – bad things, all of them. He was a flirt and a player; he shagged girls and then left them; he was a complete and total arse; he hated Harry Potter; he kicked puppies.

But when she first really saw him, their eyes met for a moment across the library and all the rumors seemed to fade from her head. He looked so concerned, so worried, so obviously caught up in inner-turmoil. She wondered what was wrong with him – she ruefully wondered how he had any time to be at odds with himself when he spent so much time bothering Harry, Ron, and Hermione.

Without thinking about it, the corners of her mouth turned upwards in what could be considered a nervous-but-polite smile. And Draco, who usually looked angered or cold and distant, returned the smile. Then he looked away and continued to stare out the window.

His smile remained in her thoughts for the next few days.

--

She found him one night in the library, sitting in his usual spot by the window. Draco was looking out at the stars, but he didn't seem to be grasping what he was seeing – he seemed consumed with his thoughts. She bit on her lower lip and gently tapped him on the shoulder.

Draco looked annoyed at first. "What?"

She took a deep breath. "How are you?"

He was silent and raised an eyebrow at her. He seemed to be asking her, 'what the hell is your secret agenda?' She smiled and shrugged slightly; 'I have no agenda.' She looked down at her feet, then back up at him. 'I promise.'

"Fine." He still seemed skeptical.

She was hoping the conversation would get less awkward as it went on, but it didn't seem to be happening. "I, um – you've, well, you've seemed kind of in a bad place these past few days." He didn't respond, so she added: "Not even being an arse to Ron seems to be doing it for you anymore."

He smirked. "Well, as much joy as I get out of making your brother's life a living hell, I've had bigger things to worry about lately."

Ginny frowned. "Wow, it must be a really big issue, then."

He nodded then crossed his arms and looked at her carefully. "Why are you talking to me?"

"I don't know," she replied, because really? She had no idea. Something about his mood worried her. "Why are you answering?"

He could have replied sarcastically – in fact, that's what she was expecting. Instead, he responded with: "I don't know."

She smiled as he turned back to looking out the window, and she joined him. As they sat together, across from one another, feet touching, neither of them felt uncomfortable for a second.

--

Their friendship grew with each meeting. Every night, once everyone had gone to bed and left the library empty, they sat in silence and looked at the stars. Once in a while, their silence was broken by one of them pointing out one of the constellations, but other than that, they sat peacefully.

Except for one night in the spring when he seemed extremely antsy. His feet constantly hit against hers, and his hands were constantly moving. She reached across the table and put her hand on his, and immediately, he began to cry. Later, she remembered the feeling of his hand in hers reminded her of holding the small square of her blanket (which she kept in her cloak pocket at all times) in her palms.

Ginny was shocked by this outwards show of emotions, and he seemed to be shocked by it as well. He made to move from the table and leave, but she tightened her grip on his hand and he stopped. Pulling his hand away, he buried his head in his hands and gently cried.

She got up from her chair and sat next to him, rubbing his shoulder. She didn't question him, or ask him what was wrong. She just sat with him; the only sound breaking the silence was his quiet sobs.

--

The next night, she wondered whether or not she should visit him again. Would things be weird between them? She wanted to know if he was okay – she wanted to be a good friend (that's what they were, wasn't it?) but she also wanted to respect his privacy. Against her better judgment she decided to visit him, and as she entered the library, she could see him staring at the door, waiting for her to come in. He seemed extremely aggravated.

"So who have you told? Mudblood and Potty, no doubt. Possibly your boneheaded brother if he got his head out of his arse long enough to listen to anyone –"

"What?" she asked. "Told what?"

He leaned into her dangerously. "Don't play coy, Weasley. Haven't you already owled your Mudblood-lover father to let him know about my little – episode last night? Alerted the daily prophet, then?"

She crossed her arms and backed away. "For your information, I haven't bloody told anyone, you big pillock! And you have no right to be bullying me right now – You cried into my shoulder last night, or have you forgotten? Don't you remember -?"

He put his hand over her mouth to silence her and pulled her into a quiet, darkened corner space between a large stack of textbooks and a bookcase.

"Shooting your bloody mouth off again, hm?" He glanced around and then leaned to whisper into her ear. "Don't you ever tell anyone what happened last night, or I'll make your life a living hell."

He removed his hand and she glared at him. "I know you don't really mean this. I know this is 'thank you for not leaving me high and dry in the library last night, Ginny,' in twisted, I'm-a-big-bad-Malfoy language." He's quiet and she continues. "Anyway, I don't think anyone would believe me if I did tell them. I don't quite believe it myself, and I was there to witness it."

He backed up and got ready to walk away, obviously done with the conversation, but she stopped him.

"What was wrong last night?" Ginny asked compassionately. Even though he was being completely horrid to her, and part of her – the sane part, she realized later – wanted nothing more than to kick him in the balls and walk away, she was still worried about him.

He didn't turn around as he replied: "Just thought about my future a bit, that's all."

"That bleak?" she asked jokingly, hoping to brighten the mood. He turned around and smiled slightly while nodding.

She frowned. "And you can't tell me?"

He shook his head, and as Ginny got a good look at his face, she saw that he looked worn down, hurt, pained, and about thirty years older than he should look. He looked like a man who had gone through the war, not a boy who was in the prime of his life. Without a second thought, she reached into her pocket and pulled out the small square of fabric. He raised an eyebrow at her and she blushed slightly.

"It's, um – part of my old security blanket. I used to whisper to it when I had to get something off my chest but couldn't tell one of my brothers…for obvious reasons." She held it out for him to take. "You need it more than I do right now."

He reluctantly took it and, without taking his eyes off of her, put the fabric to his mouth and quietly, inaudibly, in an almost nonexistent whisper, told her blanket his deepest, darkest secrets. Ginny was paralyzed by his gaze, unable to look anywhere but in those grayish orbs that were piercing through her. After a few moments and he began to remove it from his mouth, she noticed the tears that once again filled his eyes and threatened to fall. He composed himself at the last moment, however, and handed her the blanket.

She put it up to her ear and pretended to hear it talk. "He says he promises not to tell."

Draco smiled and, unable to control himself, reached out and held her hand. It was a simple gesture, but in the future as Ginny would look back on this moment, she would realize this was the moment it all began.

--

A few weeks later, Ginny couldn't think about anything but Draco's hands, Draco's smile, and Draco's complexities. She adored spending time with him, no matter how short or long they were together.

It was May when they first kissed. They were looking out the window, as usual, except for one difference: Draco was sitting next to Ginny instead of across from her. She was hyperaware of every movement he made; anytime he shifted, she felt it. Anytime he breathed, she breathed. After what seemed like a long while, Draco turned to face her, saying nothing. She could feel his breath on her face and for a while she forgot how to think.

He rubbed his knuckles against her cheek and she slowly closed her eyes as he leaned in, his lips gently brushing against hers. Her heart was racing and her mind was completely turned off – her body was moving on its own accord and she found herself pushing him into the wall, leaning into him, running her fingers through his hair and under his shirt and suddenly they weren't in the library anymore, they were in his room, and she wasn't sure how they got there but they were there and suddenly they were whispering sweet nothings that were really sweet everythings.

Their story was indescribable – not even the term 'whirlwind romance' could properly define their love. They went from being absolutely nothing to one another to being the only thing either of them had. And Ginny began referring to her blanket less and less, because she had a new blanket to wrap herself in – Draco's.

In Draco's green silk blankets, she felt more comforted than she ever had in her entire life. She didn't have to whisper to her blanket and promise it not to tell; Draco's knew what she was thinking before she even thought it. And with Draco's sheets came a pair of strong arms, arms to hold her and protect her. Her blanket never offered that to her.

--

It was at the last day of the school term when she told Draco she loved him. He replied with a kiss. They stood in the library, the only empty place in the entire school. Throughout the school, shouts of "I'll miss you so much!" and "write me, won't you?" and "oh, you're coming to the party on the seventh, right?" echoed and bounced off the walls. Everyone seemed to be generally happy to leave the school. Ginny was dreading it.

She couldn't imagine a moment without his blankets, a moment without his arms, a moment without the stars, and yet she would have a whole summer apart from them. Her nights would be starless and she would be plunged into darkness.

The warning bell was heard, alerting people that they should begin leaving the school grounds. She had told Ron, Hermione, and Harry that she would meet them by the front of the building so as to give her a little extra time alone with Draco, but she couldn't procrastinate any longer. She eventually would have to leave.

"Before you go," he said, lightly grabbing her wrist. She stopped and looked at him. "I have something for you."

He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small square of fabric, and before she got a good look at it she knew what it was. He explained that it was a gift so she could whisper to it whenever she needed to get something off her chest but "couldn't turn to your stupid git of a brother." She smiled and kissed him passionately, holding on to the frayed fabric.

She never let go of the blanket once.

--

Author's Note: Where am I getting this stuff? Haha. Completely dedicated to Missy, who gave me the prompt 'blankets' and who also owns half my soul. Okay, all of it.