Note: For those of you who require a soundtrack to every chapter- looks pointedly at Ashley ;P -the song for this is "Snow (Hey oh)" by The Red Hot Chili Peppers. It's what I was listening to when I wrote this, and oddly it fits perfectly.


Cruel

Chapter Three: The Bonds of Love

'Touch not the nettle, for the bonds of love are ill to loose…'

She had not realized till lately how ill they were to loose, these bonds of love. But thank heaven she had loosened them…

--DH Lawrence (Lady Chatterley's Lover)

XXX

She went through her activities mechanically, barely noting the passage of time. Classes, Quidditch, cramming for tests. When spring arrived she was actually surprised; her sixth year had passed so quickly.

In the course of the preceding months, Ginny had made some important changes in her life.

She had resigned from her prefect duties with the excuse of wanting to dedicate more time to certain academic projects.

"I just can't handle the weekly prefect meetings," she'd told the headmaster quite truthfully; the meetings were, of course, preceded by Draco Malfoy. Dumbledore had nodded thoughtfully, his eyes twinkling from behind his spectacles, but had not commented, not even when she asked to be excused from informing the Head Boy herself, as was customary in these cases.

She no longer sat at what had been her spot at the Gryffindor table, in between Hermione and Colin and directly in the line of vision of a certain platinum blond, several tables away.

No, Ginny sat at the far end of the table now, next to her boyfriend, Seamus Finnigan.

Seamus, with his easy smile, rugged good looks and imperturbable cheer, was a far cry from the exquisitely beautiful Slytherin and his mercurial moods.

Ginny and Seamus looked good together, or so everyone said. Seamus was kind to her, he made her ''happy''. They'd become intimate a few weeks ago after nearly half a year of dating, and Seamus had been surprised to discover she wasn't a virgin. He hadn't asked any embarrassing questions however -something Ginny was grateful for- and seemed to take it all in stride.

Sex with Seamus was completely different than what she had experienced with Draco. As in everything else, the Irishman was sweet and kind to her, but he didn't make the blood burn within her veins, he didn't make her shamelessly wet with a single glance in her direction, and he certainly didn't make her sob her release with his name on her lips. All these things Ginny pondered in secret when they made love, ashamed of herself for doing so.

And yet it seemed inevitable. Despite her best efforts, her only experience in bed with Draco Malfoy had been engraved as if by fire in her memory. And despite her best efforts to move on and be happy, Ginny knew that somewhere inside of her she was still crying. Over him.

But she hid this carefully from Seamus and Draco, and most of all from herself. She pretended not to notice when she felt his piercing eyes regarding her persistently from across the room at meals. She pretended not to notice when the Prince of Slytherin walked by, holding hands with Pansy Parkinson, admittedly one of the prettiest witches in school. Ginny herself numbered among this group, for all the good it had done her.

Time continued to pass. One summer afternoon near the end of term found her alone in the aviary, feeding Pigwidgeon some carrots she had slipped into her pocket during lunch.

As often happened when she was alone, Ginny thought of Draco and quite suddenly she heard his lovely, deep voice from behind her.

"That's mine, you know," he said softly. Ginny turned around to find him leaning casually against a wooden column, his arms folded across his chest. Her heart caught at how beautiful Draco was, how achingly beautiful.

"Sorry?" Ginny asked, surprised at her own boldness in addressing him.

"That hair band you're wearing," Draco said, his pewter colored eyes regarding her steadily.

It took Ginny a moment to realize he was talking about the black band, the one she had taken out of his hair and now wore everyday, tied around her wrist or holding back her own mass of long hair.

"Oh," she said, blushing. Pausing to set down the piece of carrot she held in between her fingers -at which Pig hooted reprovingly- Ginny reached up and undid her ponytail in one swift motion. Her glorious fiery red hair went tumbling down her back, shimmering in unbroken waves to her waist.

"Here," she said, extending the black band towards him with a surprisingly steady hand. Her heart was beating wildly, but she was perfectly still.

Draco observed her calmly, amusement lighting his perfectly symmetrical face. His eyes lingered on her hair for a moment, then went to her face, which was set with defiance.

"Keep it. I just wanted to see your hair down," he said, enjoying the look of shock displayed briefly over her lovely features.

"I hate you," Ginny said softly. "I really do."

Draco laughed, the bastard, and took a few steps towards her. "No," he said, when he was closer to her than what was considered socially proper. "You don't."

She caught his scent, the one she dreamed enveloped her when she made love with her boyfriend, and flushed with self loathing and shame. "Why?" she asked angrily. "Why do you do this to me?"

"I don't know," Draco answered softly, looking down into her face and meeting her eyes. "Why do you let me?"

Ginny's brown eyes had filled with tears, but she didn't bother to wipe away at them, still clutching the black band between her now trembling fingers.

"I don't know," she whispered, through her tears. Because I hate myself, and I feel I deserve your loathing?

"For what it's worth, Ginevra," Draco said quietly, using her given name for the second time. "You were the sweetest fuck I've ever had. Nobody else comes close."

Ginny stared at him in silence. She hated herself more than ever in that instant, hated herself because she wanted nothing more than to close the small distance between them and wrap her arms around him. She wanted to kiss him. She wanted to beg him to love her as she did him.

"I hope you die," she said bitterly.

Draco laughed again, a mocking, bitter sort of laugh. "You'll get your wish, eventually. Just like the first one," he said, smiling. She had never seen him smile before. He was beautiful.

The black band had fallen to the floor. Draco observed it for a moment before turning away. He walked out of the aviary, and paused at the entrance, the flapping of birds' wings in his ears and the scent of Ginny Weasley still lingering, it seemed to him.

"Goodbye, Ginevra," Draco said, using her given name for the third and final time. She watched the sun shining white in his long fair hair as he walked away.

A week later, classes ended and Ginny went home for the summer before her seventh year. She saw Draco on the train back to London but pretended not to notice, though she felt his intense eyes on her as she walked by holding hands with Seamus.

Some weeks later the war broke out. Draco Malfoy, secret member of the Order of the Phoenix, was among the first to be killed by the Dark Lord.

Ginny read the news of his death and wept bitterly into her pillow, her body jerking with the violence of her desperate sobs.

She saw the image of him. Draco…so beautiful, so young, so alive. He was standing in the sunlight, his fair hair shining white, his stunning pewter colored eyes squinting against the sun, looking at her calmly.

"I hate you," she gasped, her chest swelling to the point of breaking with grief. The black hair band was clutched between her fingers, but his scent had faded from it, a long time ago.

fin.


PLEASE REVIEW.

Angry rants are welcome, as are questions and comments!

If you're seriously depressed go read my D/G one-shot Draco and Ginny, Sittin' in a Tree and I guarantee you will be smiling by the end of it! ;)


Ok, I've gotten enough questions to justify this explanation: that was, in fact, the END.

1.That song at the beginning of chapter 1 is a summary for the entire fic: he never let her near.

2. Draco died. He knew he was probably going to, because of his work for the good guys.

For this reason he never let Ginny in, emotionally. He was subconsciously being cruel to her to keep her away, because he really, really liked her. If he had let her in, he knew he would fall in love with her, and then he wouldn't have been able to do what he had to do.

3. The "cruel" part of the fic is that he had to sacrifice himself, and so they couldn't be together. He really wasn't a bastard after all. I hope this clears things up.