The War was over.
Lord Voldemort was dead.
Thousands crowded around Harry Potter, eager to hold some part of their hero, anxious to speak one word of their immense gratitude to the one who had saved all. But I was not among them.
I needed some time, time to embrace the truth– the truth that Tom Riddle would never haunt my thoughts and dreams again, that those vicious cerise eyes would never pierce anyone again. I needed some time alone.
I stood in the midst of the ecstatic crowd, staring blankly at nothing in particular. I finally glanced upwards, somehow frantic to see something other than the clambering, overwhelming horde.
The corridors were all destroyed, demolished mostly. As I looked upon them, the image of Fred, his dead eyes, still widened with their last laugh, swam into my head. I saw pictures of Remus and Tonks lying side by side, and their lifeless faces.
Fred, my favorite brother, dead. Tonks, Remus, Colin...so many...All non-existant now, just after this one day.
I had heard a saying that went something like:No one is ever dead, until you forget them. But it didn't help me now. I would never forget these people, but they were still dead. They would never speak to me again, never touch me again. They would never be who they were again.
I shuddered in agony, and for one second I felt fiercely glad that Lord Voldemort was dead. But that was extinguished all too soon. I could not be happy now. I wanted to be, but it was not right. I felt that it would take more time for me to completely accept that I could be joyful. For now, I was alone with my sorrow.
Two figures caught my eye. They stood alone, in one solitary balcony. The man had long, white blond hair. His face was gaunt, his sunken eyes had a dead look in them. He had his arms around a woman, whose silver head was buried in his chest.
Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy.
Did they know that they were now probably the most hated people in the world? That they would never, ever be accepted again? That people would consider something disgusting, alien– not fit to be associated with?
Looking at the defeated, wretched look on Lucius' face, I gathered my answer.
Yes. Yes, they knew.
But where was their son?
No, I berated myself immediately. I had no right to wonder that.
"Hate me," he had said, hate him, I had tried to.
Hate him, I did.
A week after he had spoken those words, he had disappeared. The next time he was seen, he was Voldemort's tool–to cause pain and eliminate the subjects Voldemort thought it was beneath him to do himself. Nothing but a helpless puppet, unable to resist against the strings that pulled him constantly, forcing him to perform the inhumanity he repulsed doing.
I saw unwelcome glimpses of Draco Malfoy's handsome face, of the tortured look in his gray eyes, the look of a caged creature begging to be set free. The look that was present even as his lips twisted to form that cruel smirk that he had been forced to adorn his words with.
Glimpses of another look in his eyes, a look that had been there when he had said those words, hate me, an emotion smoldering in them that I couldn't explain. I wouldn't explain.
Because that sub-conscious part of me that would instinctively keep me away from pain had not allowed me to comprehend that emotion. Knowing that it would be more torment if I knew that Draco hadfeelings for me, but was forced so cruelly to suppress them. The thousand "if only's...", the ghosts of what might have been, if it were not for the Dark Lord. There were so many of those, for so many people, but that didn't lessen the pain for anyone.
I still saw flashes of My Evil Angel.
I hated him. I had succeeded in that feat. He was no one to me. What did I care, if he lived or died?
An image of him, spread-eagled on a cold marble floor, his eyes wide, lifeless, formed itself in my imagination.
I did care. I cared so much, too much.
But I shouldn't. Everything was wrong about it, it was almost an atrocity that I should feel this way about Draco Malfoy.
I turned and made my way to the nearly demolished castle tower, blindly moving away from the crowd that was offensive to me in its happiness.
This was driving me nuts. I thought I had it all in control, but now, when I should have been in that torrent of people, happy for the end and sad for their dead–I was recalling him.
But now I realized, or perhaps I had always known, that I never would...never could change the way I felt about him. I could only change its form–either passionate love or passionate hate. The emotions were just channeled into a different path. They were still there.
I noticed that the halls around me were deserted. I let out a sigh of exhausted relief. I rounded another corner, concentrating on breathing deeply, and controlling the possible hysterics.
I was still blindly walking, not really caring where I went. I turned to another corridor, somehow desperately. It felt like I wanted to cover as much distance as possible, simply to give myself the satisfaction that I was doing something. Anything but being stationary with my unbearable thoughts. Walking didn't really stop me from thinking them, but it gave me the illusion of doing something to make it better.
I could see someone on the far end of this hall, but I knew it was too late now–I could not turn back. Whoever it was would have already seen me. I should have paid more attention...
I took a deep, slow breath, and walked quickly forward, hoping I would be able to pass the person without any look or word exchanged.
I looked carefully only at the floor as I continued taking feverish steps forward. I could not see the person's face, only his body, since I did not want to look up. I was sure that if I had to speak now -pretend to act normal- I would go mad.
I was less than a few feet from the unknown person now, but I thought I would be able to walk past without any contact. Once I was safely past, I could breathe again. It was stupid that I despised company so much, but it seemed mandatory for my sanity.
I could see the legs of the stranger, and for a moment they seemed to shift uncertainly.
To my utmost annoyance, the person walked haltingly towards me, until he was right in front of me.
The graceful, fluid walk was painfully familiar, but I did not wish to recognize anyone now.
I took an unwilling, indignant glance at the person's face, fighting to keep it from crumpling into the emotion I had been trying hard to suppress. If he planned to speak to me, I had my "Leave me alone!" phrased and planned.
But my breath caught in a ragged gasp in my throat. My head swam uncontrollably, and the edges of my vision shimmered into blinding whiteness as I recognized those silver eyes.
My knees gave out from under me, and all turned black.
"Ginny," a voice said, as frantic hands shook my shoulders gently.
I opened my eyes blearily, only to find myself staring into those blazing eyes again, now filled with worry.
I cringed automatically from his touch– the sub-conscious leading me away from further pain again. I swiftly got to my feet.
There was still a faint ringing in my ears, but I ignored it.
"Are you alright?" he said, taking a step towards me, his expression concerned.
I gave a curt nod, and looked pointedly away through the windows at my side, my eyes narrowing. My entire being ached to look into his face, but I wouldn't.
I had managed to put together my life, and I knew if I allowed that gaze to pierce me again, all I'd joint together would shatter. But I couldn't walk past him, either.
"I've hated you, Malfoy. Now what do you want?" I was still looking away from him, my nostrils flared slightly as I could feel my glare surfacing. As long as I didn't look at him, I'd be able to piece together the various reasons I had gathered zealously to loathe this boy in front of me.
There was a long moment of pause, and then a cool, hesitant finger touched my chin, coaxing my face upwards.
My glare faltered, my anger dissolved–I could not fight the strength of that touch.
I looked hopelessly into his face. The silver eyes retained their brilliance, but they were sunken, with deep purple shadows under them. His face was deathly pale, with his skin stretched tightly over his cheekbones. His fair hair hung lankly down his back.
The emotion I had been fighting bravely these last two years, and believed that I had won over, effortlessly flooded me as his eyes looked into mine hungrily as if he had just been waiting for the right moment to. He seemed to lift the truth straight from me.
"But you haven't, Ginny," he said, his voice velvet soft. "Not really."
"How do you know?" I demanded, the intended hostility in my tone hindered by the tremble I couldn't suppress from my voice.
I was clinging on to my sanity, if I gave in to the power of what I felt for him I would simply break into pieces. Unless...But I stopped my thoughts there. I couldn't allow myself to hope.
"Your eyes," he said simply.
He lifted his finger from my chin, and lightly caressed my cheek. His eyes glowed with a sad sort of awe.
My breathing was harsh, each breath ripping up my throat unwillingly.
"I tried my best. You asked me to hate you, and I tried my very best to," I said tremulously, my voice nearly incoherent.
What I had not said seemed to hang in the air, just as if I had said it: That if he asked me to love him, I would.
His eyes suddenly seemed to come alive, like melting pewter. They were burning with the emotion I had been fighting not to recall.
"But you know I never wanted you to," he whispered.
"I know," I did know.
There was no point trying not to know. It was no use now. He had come and shattered all the pretenses, all the things I had been trying not to believe.
His hands sudden lifted to cup my face, with a sort of desperation. His expression twisted with pain.
"I'm wrong for you, Ginny." His voice was choked.
He was reminding me of who he was, what he had done. He was giving me the choice to turn my back on him, leave him. His face, twisted in agony, was demonstrating the pain it gave him to give me that choice.
"I know, Malfoy. I know everything! I've been wishing so hard that it wasn't this way, that what you've done–that the fact that you're Draco Malfoy would change how I felt about you, b-but..."
I stared into his face, unable to drop my gaze. I realized that this very wrongness was what I had loved; it was the only thing I would love. Everything in my life seemed proof to that. In that second, I made my decision.
"I don't care." Three words, three simple words that could mean so many things, that could imply so much. I said them now.
I lifted my face, and fiercely kissed his startled, cold lips.
I drew him, under a tall tree, standing under its protective shadow. His arms were unfurled with an air of expectancy, as though he was waiting for someone to run into them.
His face seemed to glow with the meaning of the small smile that adorned it. His beautiful eyes displayed love.
I had finished, and I appraised my drawing appreciatively. "Draco!" I called. "Come look at this!"
He came ambling into my room, smirking. His eyes went to the small, leather bound book in my hands, and his expression turned curious.
"What is the artist up to now?" he queried. I held out the sketchbook to him shyly.
"The last page," I informed him.
He flipped the pages casually, but I could see the eagerness in his face. He finally reached the last leaf of my sketchbook.
He looked at the drawing for what seemed like a long time, and his lips twitched into a playful smirk.
"You almost grasped how gorgeous I am," he murmured, still looking at the page.
I tilted my head to look from under the book to his face, and was satisfied. Though it wore the teasing, slightly arrogant expression it often did, his eyes glowed with the emotion I had wanted to see.
I grabbed the book from his hand, and playfully smacked it on his head.
"Ow," he mock protested, wincing theatrically.
He suddenly took my wrists in his hands, and pulled them gently around his neck. With a gaze that seemed to pierce right through my eyes, he slowly bent his head, leaning his smooth, cool forehead on mine. His sweet breath caressed my face, and my thoughts were momentarily scattered.
"My Ketchup Head..." he murmured. Remembrance was sweet, even if the memory I remembered was not. I remembered the silly nickname he used to have for me, and I couldn't suppress a little shiver.
"You're evil, Draco..." I whispered helplessly, as soon as I was able to speak again, and then his lips found mine.
And he was. He was My Evil Angel.
My fluff-monster is VERY active. ^_^
Please review. You'd get the good luck of Ginny and Draco if you did!