This is quite a bit different from my normal stuff, but I fancied a bit of an experiment. Not least writing about two characters I don't like very much!
It was written in response to a prompt from PiperPaigePhoebe in the drabble request thread at the HP fanfiction Challenges forum.
Please leave a review and let me know what you think!
Somehow, in the midst of the chaos that Diagon Alley had become, Bettina Bewlock managed to re-open her bakery. The windows were still boarded up, and a battered kitchen table was doing duty as a counter, but she was open, and serving her hot cakes and rolls and bread and coffee with her usual good humour.
Ginny Weasley went in on a Saturday in June for coffee and croissants for six. Charlie was back in Romania, and Ron and Hermione were in Australia still, but Bill and Fleur, Percy, Harry and she herself were in Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, helping George restore it to some sort of order. It was not an easy job. Not least because it was hard to see the wreckage of Fred and George's shop, to work to make it whole again, without Fred himself. People were always making excuses to leave the room and returning a few minutes later biting their lip or with reddened eyes.
The coffee and croissants were supposed to be a mid-morning snack, but Ginny knew perfectly well that Bill's insistence on them was part of the family's continued efforts to make sure George was eating something. In truth, none of them felt much like eating these days, but they all would for George's sake.
There was one customer in front of Ginny when she entered the bakery, a blond-haired young man in slightly grubby-looking robes, scrabbling in a pocket for some change. Ginny was actually inside the shop before she realised it was Draco Malfoy, and felt she could not decently turn round and leave. Things had changed. They were not supposed to hate Malfoy any more.
He was blushing, and stuttering furiously, looking at the small handful of Sickles and Knuts in his hand. "I'm – I'm sorry, I haven't enough… I'll have to leave the coffee, and just take four of the rolls."
Bettina regarded him with sympathy, but began to take something out of the paper bag she had just packed for him. Kind-hearted she might be, but she could not afford to give out food for nothing these days.
Almost against her will, Ginny felt herself moving forward to the counter, pulling a couple of coins from her pocket. Bill had given her more than enough for what they wanted, and she knew he would not mind.
"It's okay, Mal – Draco. I'll cover it." She handed a couple of Sickles to Bettina, trying to smile at her one-time adversary.
Malfoy was blushing more than ever. To take charity from a Weasley of all people! But Ginny brushed aside his protests.
"It's okay, Draco. Not a big deal. Things have changed after all, haven't they?"
"Yeah, yeah they have. Th-thanks… Ginny." Malfoy's voice was little more than a croak. He took the bag and the pot of coffee, and turned to leave with the air of one who would be very glad to get out of there. But at the door, he recollected himself and turned back to Ginny. "I'm – I'm sorry about your brother."
He was gone before she had a chance to respond.
It would be three years before she spoke to him again, but she had been right. Things had changed. They were no longer enemies.