NOTE: Don't know if it's been done before, but I thought it up during breakfast this uh, morning...(okay, in reality it was this afternoon. I got up LATE). By the way, I hate the song at the beginning, but the lyrics are cool, and appropriate, so don't hold it against me.
Inspired by the moment in which Michael Corleone says "prego" to Apollonia, in The Godfather I, although the story in itself has nothing to do with the movie.
The rating has been upped to M for Weasley swearing, just to be safe, and for some lemony freshness in future chapters.
Enjoy, and PLEASE REVIEW.
Chapter One: "Benvenuti"
Have you ever been alone in a crowded room
while I'm here with you
I said the world could be burning 'til there's nothing but dark blue
Just dark blue
And this flood, this flood is slowly rising up, swallowing the ground
Beneath, my feet.
Tell me how anybody thinks under this condition so
'll swim, I'll swim as the water rises up sun is sinking down and now
All I can see are the planets in a row suggesting it's best that I
Slow down this nights a perfect shade of
We were boxing, we were boxing the stars
We were boxing (we were boxing) you were swinging from Mars
And then the water reached the west coast
And took the power lines, the power lines.
And it was me and you and the whole town underwater
There was nothing we could do
It was dark blue
If you've ever been alone you'll know dark blue
If you've ever been alone you'll know, you'll know
--"Dark Blue", by Jack's Mannequin
Dumbledore is standing in front of the teachers' table at the head of the Great Hall.
Clad in white robes and a Merlin-style hat, he makes me think of Gandalf, after he transfigured and ceased to be gray.
The old wizard's hands are folded into the sleeves of his robes and he is smiling complacently. I know that his blue eyes must be twinkling behind his spectacles, although I'm too far away to actually see them.
In short, Dumbledore looks like he's up to something.
"Uh-oh. Brace yourselves," Ron mutters from my left, having obviously arrived to the same conclusion as I, "looks like Dumbledore is up to something."
Hermione chastises him gently for his omission of the word 'professor', but it's halfhearted. There's obvious apprehension and curiosity in her face; we're all eager to know what's up.
"In the spirit of fomenting inter-House relations, necessary to maintain unity in these most trying times of uncertainty…" Dumbledore booms…
I tune out and think of my Potions parchment, the one due tomorrow, and simultaneously wonder if a haircut like Chastity Smith's new shoulder-length bob would be a favorable look for me.
I've had my hair long since I can remember, and it now reaches down past my waist. I've thought of doing "something" to it for ages but, wavy and vibrantly red, I'm aware my hair's my biggest charm. Let's just say I'm not anxious to do something that might end up being irreparable. Also, although my mum and I haven't been getting along at all lately, I really don't want to send her to grave prematurely- which is exactly what would happen if I were to cut or dye my flowing, coppery locks.
I'm ripped out of my reverie when Shawn, my best friend during the past two years or so, gasps dramatically at my side.
"What?" I demand, turning to look at her.
I'm suddenly aware that hundreds of conversations have broken out all over the Great Hall, the collective voices fusing into a steady, excited, buzzing sort of sound.
"Ginny!" Shawn says reprovingly, flipping her blond hair behind her back. "Weren't you paying attention? Dumbledore says we're to start up clubs!"
"Clubs?" I say, as if the word were alien to me.
"Yeah, yeah, we can start one or join one," my friend says quickly, then turns to ask Seamus if he thinks that a cooking club would be cool.
I sigh. I've watched her crash and burn on a number of occasions, but still it's hard to tear my eyes away from the train-wreck.
I manage to look away just as Seamus says "NO."
Shawn leaves quickly, presumably to our room to enjoy a good cry in relative peace.
I eat a piece of key lime pie, although I don't even like lime, just because dessert is my favorite meal, and it's either the pie or rice pudding. The House Elves haven't put much thought into tonight's menu, it would seem.
Once I'm done I head out of the Great Hall, thinking of stopping by the library to work on my Potions assignment before assuming my best friend duties. Namely, trashing Seamus Finnigan with a still tearful Shawn.
"Hey, Weasley," someone calls out from behind me.
It is a girl's voice, but I don't know her well enough to identify it yet.
I turn to discover Cho Chang standing there, arms full of rolled up parchments and full lips quirked into what could pass for a smile. I nod at her.
We're not friends; we know each other mostly from Quidditch. She was disdainful of me, at first, just because she's a seventh year, and I'm a fifth year who used to drool all over Harry, but I won her grudging respect the first time she saw me fly. I earn everyone's respect when they see me fly, I think to myself.
In that moment the exquisitely beautiful Draco Malfoy walks by like he's royalty, flanked on either side by his minions, Crabbe and Goyle. I am forced to reconsider; almost everyone's respect.
But I digress.
I turn to Cho again and she wastes no time. "I'm starting a newspaper," she says, to which I raise my eyebrows politely.
"Dumbledore approved it with the condition that the staff have a member of each House in it."
I say nothing, failing to see what this has to do with me. I'm dense like that, sometimes…
"I need a second in command, as well as a senior correspondent, Weasley," she confides.
With her china doll face and porcelain skin it is easy to see why Harry fell so hard for her. With her ruthless black as coal hawk's eyes, it is easy to see why things didn't work out.
"The first issues will be mostly about the clubs, sort of as an introduction. There will be other sections to develop, to be sure, but the clubs will be the main feature," Cho continues. "I want you to join the staff as junior editor and man the club section."
"What?" I ask, surprise evident in my childish voice. "You want me?"
"Of course, Weasley," Cho says plainly. "Everyone knows you have a penchant for writing."
In evil diaries, I wait for her to add.
She doesn't. Instead she says, "I've seen your work and it's quite good."
I scowl. Those short stories weren't supposed to find their way around the school, but Zacharias Smith was a boy with a grudge. He thought he would embarrass me, thus avenging the insult of my Bat Bogey Hex at the start of the year. He succeeded, to a point. Those stories had a slice of lemon in them, if you know what I mean. Still, the fact remained they were, as Cho said, quite good, and I was recognized as both a sexual pervert and a good writer, to Ron's shame and the interest of most boys at school.
"So, what do you say?" Cho inquires, tapping her foot as a sign of impatience, but I can see her almond shaped eyes are on me intently.
"I say..." I take a deep breath, wondering what I'm getting myself into. "I say I'm in."
I meet with Cho at the library the following night and we are soon joined by four other Ravenclaws, a short Hufflepuff boy named Marvin Grey, a Hufflepuff girl who's name I don't catch, and Colin Creevey, who is appointed Senior Editor of Photography.
He beams, but we all know this just means he's the only real photographer at school. Still, I'm happy for him.
Looking around I realize we are at least one Slytherin short, but don't comment. I know that Cho will convince one to join the staff, sooner or later. I also know that she gets along well with Malfoy. In other words, the two had a short-lived –and widely discussed- post-Harry fling. I wonder if he will be the one to join the staff, and sincerely hope not. The last thing I need is for that asshole to be undermining my authority; Cho has made plain that I am second in command, despite the fact that I am a fifth year and almost everyone else on staff is a sixth or seventh year.
If you find it odd, think of Quidditch, where age doesn't factor in and all that matters is skill. Cho seems to figure the same goes for writing and managing a newspaper; I am even more flattered when this dawns on me.
The meeting goes well, and I am relieved to realize that I have made a good choice in joining "Cho's Club". The Golden Trio had been less than amused, although none save Ron, (of course), voiced their displeasure; Hermione had started a film club, of all things, and it seemed they'd counted on my joining.
"I'm sorry, Mione," I'd said, trying to sound apologetic. "I've already joined the newspaper staff, you see."
The brunette said nothing, but it was clear to me that she was displeased. Whether it was because I'd turned her down or because she wasn't asked to be a part of Hogwart's first-ever student newspaper, I do not know. I tell myself it's the former: Hermione wouldn't be caught dead joining anything started by Cho Chang; the two share a mutual aversion which I suspect has something to do with Harry.
Several days later I meet with Cho and Marvin, whom I've hand-picked from among the staff to be my assistant with the club pieces. I tend to get along better with males, and he's actually a good writer.
Our boss, as Marvin has already started to refer to Cho, produces a list of the clubs that have been approved and tells us to split them up equally amongst ourselves.
Marvin and I are to become 'members' of all six clubs; we're to meet with the founders to get a clear idea of the purpose, the ambiance and the overall gist of the clubs. Our articles are to give readers as much information as possible so that they can decide which club suits them best.
Cho reads out the name and founder of the first club, and I am both surprised and relieved when Marvin jumps in his seat, calling dibs on it as if it were the key to a Gringotts vault.
"If that's okay with you," he says quickly, glancing at me with hopeful puppy eyes. "I love gardens…"
Cho and I exchange brief looks. I try not to laugh as I nod at Marvin, who seems ecstatic that he's claimed Neville Longbottom's Gardening Club for his own.
Next up is Hermione's Film Club. Unlike the newspaper staff, student clubs don't require members of all Houses to exist, so long as two or more Houses are involved. This is a good thing, I think, for surely the Dream Team would be hard pressed to find a Slytherin who'd willingly join that club. Luna, who's been dating Harry for the past few months, will surely be the inter-House liaison.
I accept the club and am fine with it, though I'm not really looking forward to this film business. I'm not really sure what it is, to begin with.
Next I choose Yvrose Girard's Book Club, the only club I'd actually see myself joining so far. Yvrose, (pronounced eve-ROSE; that took me a while to figure out, too, and it was embarrassing), is a third year Ravenclaw with dark brown skin and warm honey colored eyes whom I sometimes exchange books with.
Marvin gladly accepts Selma Claire's Musical Appreciation Club. She's a pretty Hufflepuff, and I can see that he's looking forward to joining her club.
We've reached the last two clubs and Cho lays down the list on the table, pushing it towards us with a wide grin.
I look from her down to the parchment in front of me, and my jaw drops. The two clubs that are left are:
Lavender Brown's Divination Club –gag- and Draco Malfoy's Italian Club.
Marvin and I look at each other calculatingly for a moment, and then both of our fingers dive to Lavender's name.
"I want the Divination Club," I state petulantly, hoping to pull rank on this particular matter.
"I don't want the Malfoy club," Marvin states firmly, and, might I add, a bit more sincerely than I. He folds his arms across his chest and looks mutinous. "I will not cover Malfoy's club," he adds. "I would rather quit."
Cho says nothing and looks at me with amusement, obviously wondering how I will handle this. Will I give up? Will I give in?
We've had several staff meetings, distributed tasks and responsibilities. If Marvin quits now, we'll be a good team member short, thus pressed for time. Still, I do not appreciate being threatened by an underling, especially not in front of my, well, boss.
I square my jaw and turn to my notes, ripping off two pieces of parchment.
"Tell you what, Marvin," I say, and he looks up to meet my eyes fearfully. "We'll draw for it. Whoever gets the M has to cover the Italian club and that's that."
He looks at me for a moment, then nods curtly.
"And let this be the first and last time you give me an ultimatum," I tell the seventh year Hufflepuff sternly, under the watchful almond shaped eyes of Cho. "Try that stunt again and I'll walk you out of the staff myself. Got it?"
Marvin has the grace to blush and nods, and I can still feel Cho's intense eyes on me. Approving or what, I don't know, nor do I care at the moment, for you see, my fate is sealed. This whole raffle business is nothing but a ruse of mine to maintain at least a semblance of dignity. In truth, I might as well have agreed to take on Malfoy's club from the get-go.
Allow me to explain: whenever I participate in a raffle, draw, or contest that yields dubious or down-right ill fated results, I am the immediate winner.
For example, last year I participated in the Daily Prophet's "Win a Firebolt" raffle, in which ninety-nine brooms were distributed to lucky winners all over England. I, of course, received nothing. But, have a "Who Gets to De-gnome the Garden?" raffle, a "Who Gets to Break the News of Trevor's Untimely Demise To Neville?" raffle, a "Who Gets to Join Draco Malfoy's Stinking Club?" raffle. Forget it, I ALWAYS win. I don't even know why I was surprised when I unfolded the piece of parchment to find a shaky M in the center, in my own handwriting.
The Italian club opens on Friday, two days from now.
I sit at my usual spot at the Gryffindor table, between my brother and my best friend, picking at my lasagna and casting a certain platinum blond Slytherin what I hope are covert glances.
I've had a busy day, seeing as I've been to the Book Club, which was all I thought it would be, and to the Film Club, which was all I thought it would be (if you could hear my voice, you'd know what I mean). Later I'd met with the respective heads of the clubs and had "interviews" with them. All in all, a pleasant affair, and though I still have three weeks –and three more club meetings to attend to- before the newspaper's inauguration, the articles have more or less taken shape in my head already. Good thing, too, because I also have my junior editing duties and Quidditch to see to.
All in all, my work at the newspaper is turning out to be quite enjoyable, save for one tiny little detail: in two day's time I'll have to attend Draco Malfoy's club gathering, and will presumably have to interview him afterwards –alone- as well. My eyes flick over to him again and I feel a flare of apprehension, and to my surprise -and, yes, shame- a flicker of excitement.
Draco Malfoy, with his perfectly symmetrical face, razor sharp cheekbones, and exquisite bone structure, fair hair and smoldering, pewter colored eyes is…how can I say this? Well, gorgeous.
There. It's that simple, really. It's not up for discussion, like whether or not Snape has become less of a bastard since the end of the war, or it's just that we all expected him to, and are too used to him anyway. It's just a fact: two plus two makes four, my hair is red, and Malfoy is beautiful.
He's also an insufferable git. Many things have changed after the demise of the Dark Lord. Harry has loosened up considerably and smiles a lot more often. Lucius Malfoy and associates are rotting away in Azkaban. Becoming a Death Eater is no longer expected –or demanded- of the Slytherin elite, who have also loosened up.
Some things, however, will always remain the same. Slytherins are still underhanded, mean-spirited, sneaky, miserable gits, and Draco Malfoy is still an insufferably arrogant asshole.
What, did you expect he would become pleasant and kind overnight? Please…
Meanwhile, the fact remains that Malfoy isn't really as horrid as he used to be, in fact, almost anyone outside of Gryffindor will tell you he's surprisingly polite, if dispassionately so. He still wears his so-called superiority like a shield, but he's not really mean to anyone non-Gryff who comes into contact with him. That, of course, affects me in no way at all, so it's safe to say Malfoy is still a git. And yes, we've covered that a couple of times, but there it is. He's a git git git!
Just three weeks ago he lifted my skirt, without my knowing it, and I walked down the hallway with my left butt-cheek showing until someone finally said something. Yeah, it felt drafty, but I had been distracted at the time…
Anyway, I'm still watching him out of the corner of my eye, and he looks to be lost in thought. I haven't seen him bring the fork to his mouth in the last ten minutes or so. His eyes are focused in some point in the distance and his elbows are on the table, a piece of bread on his left hand, which is bent down at the wrist.
Blaise Zabini is sitting next to him, at Malfoy's right, as per usual, dark and handsome and just…appealing. Hey, it's true. It's a Slytherin thing; most of them are hot. It's sad, but true. But then Crabbe and Goyle make up for it.
Anyway, Zabini seems to understand that the platinum blond next to him needs his brooding space, and he's leaving him entirely to himself. Therein, perhaps, lies the secret to the success of their six year long friendship, and the cause of the demise of the fleeting romantic link between Hermione and my brother. And I'm not talking about Ron, in case you were wondering.
It's Friday and I'm standing in the middle of a third floor corridor, outside the door to the room where the Italian Club is meeting.
To encourage inter-house relations the club gatherings are to be held in what are perceived as "neutral" places. Still, when I finally gather the courage to open the door and walk into the room, I'm not surprised to find that all the faces that turn to stare at me with varying degrees of shock and annoyance are Slytherin.
I recognized most of them from class or Quidditch, or just plain bumping into them in the hallways. I notice immediately that only three males are present: Blaise Zabini, Jonas Flint and Draco Malfoy. All fifteen remaining club members are female. Why am I not surprised?
"Well, well, well," Zabini says at last, sounding amused. "What do we have here?" His eyes rake up and down my body appreciatively, and I notice Aiken Dunn, fifth year chaser for Slytherin, and if the rumors are to be believed, Zabini's flavor of the month, is giving me a downright dirty look.
"A lion in the snake-pit!" Zabini declares, with a predatory grin.
Now, I know I'm no Gisel Bundchen, but I'm pretty, and puberty has been kind to me; I don't usually get pimples and I've "filled out" quite nicely. In the words of Seamus Finningan, I have a "nice rack", and for this reason I'm more or less used to this kind of male attention; I ignore Zabini and Aiken Dunn, my eyes seeking out Malfoy.
He's sitting at the far end of the table around which they're all sitting. His fair hair is done in a disheveled chignon at the back of his neck and he's reclining in his chair lazily.
Quite suddenly I am reminded of my Aunt Agnes' angora cat, Diana. She lounges around in much the same way, knowing herself to be beautiful and entitled to the admiration of others.
I clear my mind of these foolish thoughts just before the image of myself rubbing a purring Malfoy's flat, Quidditch toned belly, like I do to Diana, becomes any more defined.
Malfoy is looking at me expressionlessly, his exquisite face slightly tilted and curiosity evident in those stunning eyes of his which are, like I said before, the color of pewter, save when it rains, and they become stormy gray…
I'm trembling like the school-girl that I am under the intensity of his gaze; "entertain me", his eyes seem to be saying. I'm lost in them, and have to actually force myself to speak. What's happening to me?
"Um, hi," I say at last, trying not to wince at how childish my voice sounds. Everyone just stares.
"I'm the newspaper correspondent…"
Malfoy raises a delicate eyebrow and stands slowly, lazily. Is he really moving in slow motion or is it just me?
"Weasley," he says tersely, as he approaches me. Despite the delicacy of his features, Draco Malfoy's voice is a deliciously deep baritone.
He walks up to me with all the grace of a puma, and for one fleeting moment I fancy myself about to get welcomed into his club by the man himself.
Benvenuti, as I recall, is the Italian word used in such cases.
Malfoy leans into me, and I catch a whiff of his personal scent.
Vanilla and boy. Yum…
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes.
He leans into me. "We don't have all day," he says, instead of 'benvenuti'.
Big fucking surprise.
His voice is deceptively soft and patient, as if he were talking to a twit, or a small child, when he adds, "Have a seat or leave, but don't just stand there all day looking like an idiot."
Lifting my chin, I fix him with a glare as I try desperately to come up with a clever comeback.
Malfoy's looking at me with what can only be disdain and halfhearted expectancy.
After a moment I saunter over to the nearest empty chair and take a seat.
PLEASE REVIEW! What do you think? Do you like it, or what? I'd never done first person for D/G before! How'd I do?