Title: Quidditch Books and Sideways Looks
Summary: Draco Malfoy and Ginny Potter run into each other.
Flourish and Blotts was quiet on this cold winter day; Ginny had simply dropped by on her lunch break to pick up a book that Lily had ordered by owl-post for Harry. She was in her second year at Hogwarts, receiving special permission from his mother to pick out something for her dad's birthday, a great responsibility for the little girl. Ginny was detained in the Quidditch section, spotting a new release of the Best of the Decade collection and taking her time browsing through the book. She was contemplating spending the gold on it when she was nudged by a sharp elbow in the back.
"My apologies, miss…" The courteous words trailed off as Ginny turned to catch his eye, silver meeting brown with electricity.
The heir in question coughed quietly, a gloved hand concealing his obvious surprise at running into the wife of his former nemesis. He removed his hand, running it restlessly through the now cut-short blonde hair in concealed agitation. Draco was looking about the same, a slight wrinkling of the skin around his eyes and laugh lines around his mouth showing a bit of the good humour he had apparently developed.
"The little Weasley, is it…er, Potter now—can't recognize you by your hair anymore, changed color a bit." His lips quirked upwards at the comment, deflecting malice and changing it to good intent. Ginny felt no anger of her own, those feelings had long been replaced by something akin to pity and forgiveness.
"Oh yes, well, we're all getting older, aren't we?" Ginny chirped, patting her curly head with a dainty hand. Malfoy's eyes were drawn to the large diamond on her left ring finger sitting above the golden wedding band, raising his eyebrows with a smirk.
"Potter's doing well for himself, I suppose. Haven't seen him at the Ministry lately, usually he's around when I come by to drop off my account ledgers,"
Ginny had forgotten that Malfoy was a true businessman, no longer just the smarmy son of a powerful, dangerous man. "Draco Malfoy? Working for a living? Who would have thought?" she had snorted when Harry told her that he had helped Malfoy reestablish the legitimate portions of the Malfoy family business—an opportunity that would not have been possible without the subtle hand of Harry Potter.
Malfoy was holding a book on female Quidditch players, and Ginny wrinkled her brows in confusion. He lifted it slightly in response to her unasked question, relaxing his shoulders from their previously tense position now that he'd established she wasn't about to hex him. "Oh, for Astoria. She had been going on and on about some feminist movement within sports and how no one focused on the women of Quidditch as much as the men,"
"Ah, I see," Ginny chortled at Malfoy's distress over his wife, his own smile reassuring. "Yes, Harry's been quite busy lately, hasn't been around to speak to the Minister for a while. How's that business of yours faring?"
"Better than ever, not surprisingly. Malfoys aren't seen as target practice anymore since Lucius passed away," Thin lips tightened at the words, sparking a sympathetic look from the younger witch.
"Yes, I had heard about that. I am sorry, Draco,"
"Pish posh," Malfoy retorted scornfully, turning back to the shelves and picking up a Holyhead Harpies book. "No one is, really. How's your Quidditch writing career coming along? I heard your former team is still invited over for holiday dinners,"
"Oh yes, I do enjoy working at the Prophet. Where did you hear that from?" Ginny was genuinely surprised to hear his interest in her life—this once-scornful blonde arse of a pureblood, speaking calmly and kindly to a blood-traitor? Miracles do exist, she thought to herself, leaning back against the bookshelf behind her.
"Weasley was at my desk the other day complaining about something or another that Granger was doing for Christmas, and we got on the subject of wives and company for the hols," he was still turned to the shelf away from her, poring over the rows, and he missed her brows shooting up into her hairline.
"Ron? My brother?" Ginny was fully stunned; the last time the Malfoys had been brought up around Ron he had reacted quite violently, marching off muttering something about bloody bouncing ferrets and disgusting blonde hair.
"Oh right I forgot how many of you Weasleys there are—yes, Ronald. He is surprisingly not as dull and imbecilic as I once believed, perhaps Granger has rubbed off on him," Draco paused, enchanted by his own unintended innuendo, and chuckled. "Well, obviously, she has rubbed off on him. I meant in the other way,"
He seemed surprised that she laughed as well, shooting her a sideways glance to catch a glimmer of amusement in her chocolate eyes. Draco was, in fact, rather shocked that she stood around talking to him this long in public where others were bound to gossip about the wife of the Boy Who Lived and the pureblood himself conversing without shouting, hexing, or otherwise distasteful mannerisms.
"What?" Ginny was a bit put-off by his staring, and he caught himself in time.
"Err…I was simply—drawn into memories of the past,"
"I see," Ginny looked down, her once-bright hair falling around her face. "You're quite different, Malfoy. I don't believe we've spoken in more than ten years, have we."
"I'd seen you and Potter at Ministry functions of course, run into the Weasel and Granger quite often at the Ministry, but I believe you're the only one I have yet to have a conversation with."
"It's almost as if you've been avoiding me," Ginny said carefully, cautiously, still unsure about the limits of this new Draco. He gave her the typical Malfoy sneer.
"I wouldn't avoid you, Weaselette," The insult was foreign to him, and made her giggle a bit—it was rather juvenile, he had to admit. "Truth is, I simply don't see you. I rarely drop by the Prophet, usually just to dispel the latest Death Eater rumor about my twelve year old son or frighten the editor into advertising a few of my products,"
The bell jingled above the door of the store, and both turned to see Seamus Finnigan march in, slightly rounder and more jovial than in his younger years. He tossed a wave to them both, turning to the counter to chat with the owner.
"I'm still surprised," Draco murmured, still looking in the direction of Seamus. "When I run into old Gryffindors, they are quite polite to me. It's the old members of my house who avoid me like the plague,"
Ginny wasn't sure if the comment was even meant to be overheard, and busied herself with the buttons on her coat. She looked up to see Malfoy concealing a smile, shaking his head almost imperceptibly. "Your evasion techniques are impeccable, Ginevra,"
Ginny grinned in response to the comment. "So, Albus tells me that little Scorpius is quite adept at Potions,"
Draco lit up in fatherly pride, his face beaming with compliments. Ginny noticed with detachment that his blonde hair was still as platinum as ever, almost glittering in the sunlight trickling through the dusty windows. Unconsciously, her hand went to a lock of hair over her shoulder, noting the contrast in color. "What can I say, he gets his brains from his mother. The boy is toe to toe with Granger's girl for top of the class,"
Ginny chuckled. "I've heard they've had some lovely battles, reminds me of our Hogwarts days,"
A shadow darted across Malfoy's face. "Hopefully their arguments are a bit different than ours,"
"Of course," Ginny said hurriedly, feeling uncomfortable. Pausing, she frowned in thought. "Malfoy—can I ask you something?"
He eyed her with trepidation—this Weaselette, the girl who had grown into the wife of the man he had picked on mercilessly throughout school—he supposed that a personal question wasn't too out of order to atone for the past. "Why not."
"Scorpius is very…different, from how you were as a child. I've met the boy, he is extremely polite and well mannered, and none of the children have mentioned anything about pureblood this pureblood that,"
Draco was guarded, studying her expression. "Where is the question in that?"
"Did you—did you raise him differently?" She held her breath a bit at her boldness, not wanting to offend him.
He cracked a humourless smile. "Do you see my son ranting about the Dark Lord or spouting off filth about getting the Dark Mark? Of course I raised the boy differently, we are in different times and I hold different values,"
It was Ginny's turn to study the blonde man, noticing the lightheartedness in his face that had been distinctly lacking during Hogwarts. "You really are different, Draco,"
"As are you," the man retorted, pursing his lips. "I suppose I can't call the mother of three and the wife of Harry Potter a little redheaded brat anymore,"
"And I reckon I can't call a devoted family man a vile filthy ferret," They were both stifling smiles, the spite of the words long gone in the wash of time.
Slowly, Ginny realized they were still in the bookstore. Barely ten minutes had passed, Seamus Finnigan was still at the counter, but something had changed in the air. Perhaps it was a new understanding of the man she had once told Harry that she would never forgive.
"Without forgiveness, all we have is spite and hatred. Then we're no better than them," Harry had said to her softly, without judgment. She had failed to understand why he was willing to give Malfoy a second chance, but now she saw that the opportunity Harry had given Draco to right the wrongs of the past was the mark of a truly good person.
"Well I'd better be going," Ginny held up the slip of parchment with the order number on it. "Must pick this up from the front then head back to the Prophet,"
Draco inclined his head in a polite nod. "It was…interesting…taking this trip down memory lane with you, Mrs. Potter,"
"Yes, Draco, it was nice to see you too," Ginny rolled her eyes, interpreting his words. "Perhaps I'll bump into you sometime,"
"Yes, perhaps," Both were well aware they would probably go another few years without speaking. "Give my best to your children, and to Potter,"
"Alright then," Ginny was surprised when Malfoy stuck out a hesitant hand, shaking hers as gently as one would with a fragile piece of glass. "Goodbye, Draco,"
When she left the shop, Draco was still in there, browsing through the Quidditch books with an intent look in his eyes. He didn't look back at Ginny, and she walked back to the Prophet offices, contemplating a new dinner recipe for her and Harry.
I know it's a little anti-climatic but I can see something like this happening after they're older, for real. Also didn't proof read this, didn't have time, so sorry! It's going to be a while in between updates, I'm so busy these days, please hang in there! Thanks for sticking with the story, I love my faithful readers and reviewers and I appreciate all the PMs and story alerts and story faves! It means a lot to me. Much love.