Summary: The boy who tried to seem worse than he was, the girl who laughed at him, and the rickety old piano that shifted equilibrium in all sorts of strange directions. GW/DM, AU
A/N (18/07/09) I know I said I was going to post the edited version MONTHS ago. I really did mean to, my beta had it all nice and edited that same week, but RL did its thing, and I'm sure everyone knows how that is. But here it is, anyway. A big thanks to my beta, Ali, both for her marvellous editing, and the many, many wand jokes and innuendo alerts (Tee Hee).
A/N: I was having a conversation about HP ships with a friend, when she announced that G/M would never work. We argued for ages, in fact we still haven't resolved it. So I wrote this story to prove her wrong, and because I could. This is AU, more or less ignoring the last two books. Voldemort is yet to strike and everyone is back at school. It was supposed to be ten pages at most, but this monstrosity grew in the telling.
This is a oneshot, and meant to be read as such. I divided it into chapters to make it easier read, because it would have been too much as a single chapter.
If I were to chose a song, or bits and pieces of one anyway, I'd say Emilie Autumn's "Faces Like mine" would go nicely with the coffee scene in part III.
Obviously I'm not a piano teacher. Just a bit of a music nerd. And creative licence comes into play.
Disclaimer: J.K. Rowling owns the Harry Potter universe, characters, settings and all. I'm just having a bit off fun with it. Nor do I own the mythology contained in the story, though I don't think anyone can rightly lay claim to that.
Sonata: A musical form in which the key is changeable, and the relationship of keys is important. A form allowing, and almost calling, for the bending or breaking of traditionally rigid aspects of music theory.
Like any other girl, Ginny Weasley liked dressing up. She daydreamed of balls and of twirling around in the arms of someone entirely wonderful. Even in the Wizarding world, there was something to be said about the promise of magic and romance (or maybe she'd stolen one too many of her mum's romance novels). So when she'd heard about the Yule ball, she immediately began brainstorming on how she could possibly go. She was only in third year, so she couldn't attend unless someone from the years above asked her.
At first she'd breathlessly hoped it would be Harry. Ginny was completely infatuated with The Boy Who Lived. There was just something about those green eyes, and the sparkle they seemed to hold. She liked his steely determination and how tall and good he was. He was exactly the sort of dashing hero meant to sweep her off her feet. So she couldn't help looking dreamily after him when he walked by with his friends or played wizard chess with Ron by the fire.
She'd heard he liked another, the Ravenclaw girl, Cho Chang, but, still, every time she saw him, she gave him the brightest of smiles. Just in case.
Another issue was what to wear. Oh, what Ginny wouldn't give for one of those beautiful floaty dress robes she'd seen at Madame Malkins'. The kind that came in boxes stuffed full of pretty delicate tissue paper. She'd even taken a closer look at one when her mum wasn't looking, busy chatting to the seamstress. It was blue-grey and made of some sort of thin delicate silk. Her hand had glided wistfully over the fabric, as her eyes took in the exquisite cut. Of course there were nicer robe shops and lovelier cuts, but this was the finest she'd ever gotten close to.
"Ginny? What are you doing over there love? Come along." Her mum's voice cut through her reverie. Sighing faintly, Ginny moved away.
She wouldn't be getting the dress, of course. But it didn't matter. She might not get a chance to go at all. And even though it was a pretty dress, at the end of the day it was just a dress, and there were more important things in life. Her family had never had much money, and while that meant a lack of expensive dress robes, that also meant that Ginny had been brought up knowing that it wasn't a pretty robe that was the key to being happy.
In the end, Molly had found Ginny one of her own dress robes from when she had been a young girl. It was bright lilac and carefully preserved. She had smiled at Ginny, seeing the hopeful light in her eyes over getting to go to the dance. Ginny had smiled at her mum and thanked her, and spent the rest of the holidays waiting for them to be over so she could join her brother and their friends back at school. And maybe, just maybe, go to the dance.
She'd laughed at him at the Yule ball. Laughed. Pancy was been hanging on his arm, muttering something about Bulstrode's dress robes out of the corner of her mouth. Which was a pity, because Parkinson could be perfectly bearable when she wasn't gossiping. He was trying not to look pained as his eyes scanned the decorated hall, looking for…well, anything even remotely entertaining, really, when his eyes met a pair of amused brown ones. Weasley appeared to be laughing at him. She certainly seemed much more amused than anyone dancing with Longbottom and wearing dress-robes twenty years out of date in a colour to burn the corneas, had a right to be.
He was about to send a snarl her way, but before he knew what was happening, another couple spun in front of the redhead and Longbottom, and she was gone from sight. Malfoy scowled.
The sheer audacity both astounded and infuriated him. How could she laugh at him? His robes alone cost more than her entire house. Not to mention he wasn't the one hobbling ridiculously across the floor. He couldn't help but scan the crowd for her every now and then, just to see if she'd dare laugh again.
For her part Ginny couldn't help it. Malfoy had come to the dance with Parkinson (who wore a pretty pale floaty concoction that flattered her hair, though Ginny thought green was a bit predictable), and when Ginny caught the tortured look on Malfoy's pale face, looking more pinched than usual with sheer despair as Parkinson chattered on, blissfully unaware, she couldn't help but be amused. She almost felt sorry for him. Almost.
She could only imagine that it wasn't much fun to be Draco Malfoy, it couldn't be easy to have to be a prat all the time. Neville was all over her feet, but he was starting to relax and get the hang of the dancing, and he really could be funny when he wasn't having a panic attack.
Harry hadn't asked her. But Neville had, and though Ron had pulled faces over the fact Ginny didn't care. She got to go to the ball, and even though she looked nothing like the exquisite Veela girl with her hair like spun moonlight, and even though her date didn't make her heart hammer furiously in her chest, she intended to have fun.
And so have fun she did, laughing with Neville over some herbology story he was telling her. Apparently some sort of imported fern had tried to eat his shoelaces. He was a much better dancer when he stopped thinking about it, and she really did love to dance. It was something about the way the music swirled around her.
Every now and then she glanced around to see if she could spot Malfoy, staring petulantly out into the crowd. She had no idea why his misery had caught her attention as it did.
"You laughed at me." He accused, lifting his chin, challenging her to deny it. His voice was cold and distant, the arrogance that she had come to expect whenever she heard him speak did not fail to show. His arms were folded across his chest, and she knew his right hand gripped his wand. Of course, he knew that she knew. That had been the whole point, after all.
They were alone in the corridor, no-one to take sides should things turn nasty as they so often did, where Gryffindor/Slytherin interactions were concerned. Her eyes, an unremarkable brown, Malfoy observed absently, were amused.
His eyes were narrowed in annoyance, which Ginny was surprised to find she rather preferred to his usual grey icyness.
Snorting softly, she completely disregarded the threat, "I did. Hardly surprising, I did, too. You should have seen the look on your face, Malfoy. I don't think I've ever witnessed quite that degree of ennui, and that's including three years' worth of Binns' classes." Having said that, she flashed him an amused smirk and carried on her way.
Ginny almost-skipped airily past him, while he remained standing, speechless.
Actually that hadn't been the only reason she had laughed. She had also felt rather sorry for how pained he looked when everyone else was obviously having fun. From what she could make out, a lot of Malfoy's sulkiness and misery was caused by his own attitude. Or what he felt his attitude ought to be. But she didn't tell him that.
He watched her step lightly around the corner and disappear, and though for the rest of the week he went on glaring at her, narrow eyed, for her perceived insult, she did not seem to give his glares a shred of notice.
For her part, Ginny found it amusing, the boy who was trying too hard to act worse than he was. What could he possibly do to her, make her teeth grow bigger? (Hermione hadn't looked impressed when she'd said this), she'd said as much to Ron when he asked her what she had done to Malfoy to make him glare so venomously. Her brother told her to watch her back. Ginny was sure she would survive just fine.
As it happened, Ginny Weasley survived just fine till the end of the year, and through the next and all the way to sixth year. By that time her crush on Harry had more or less faded, as unrequited crushes often do. He was nice enough, and a good friend, when he wasn't being a typically brooding, sulky teenaged boy. ut he no longer made her blush whenever he asked her to pass the pumpkin juice.
Dean Thomas had taken to smiling winningly at her across the common room, but Ginny chose to act like she didn't notice the extra meaning behind the smile. She wasn't entirely sure why.
Her interactions with Malfoy were more or less limited to a round of insults or hexes in the hallways, courtyards and any other convenient locations on Hogwarts grounds. Sometimes featuring her friends, or his, or both. Their insults were nothing out of the usual, featuring 'blood traitor' and 'ferret' and 'scum'. His friends on the other hand were a strange lot. Or at least some of them were. Crabbe and Goyle weren't all that interesting, but Zabini and Parkinson were another matter entirely. The boy was tall and reserved. He had dark flashing eyes, and spoke little. Though he could put in a biting comment here and there, with the best of them. His mother was some sort of great beauty, and he had all sorts of fabulous rumours going around about him. Hogwarts being Hogwarts she only half-believed what she heard. Although lately she'd been hearing all about how he had been occasionally spotted skulking around with a blonde girl not of his own house. Definitely unSlytherin behaviour. All that latent mystery made him interesting, probably more so than his real personality warranted.
Parkinson was also a puzzle. She saved her worst insults and hexes for Harry. Whenever there was a skirmish, or a window in which to say something nasty within his hearing but out of the teacher's, she aimed her barbs straight at him, with a sharp little sneer that made Ginny think of arrow heads. Her dark hair and glittering eyes somehow made the sneers sharper still. She would stare at Harry down her nose, exuding breeding and superiority.
Harry seemed to have noticed too. Or maybe he held some sort of unspoken grudge in return, because these days, his spells were aimed less at Malfoy and his eyes flashed loathing to match the sharp little smiles. He never spoke about Parkinson, but plenty was said all the same.
Of course, it was no use talking to Ron about this. Especially as he was to busy either making out with Lavender or Hannah or whomever he was currently dating, zooming around the pitch on his broomstick, or eating and/or talking about food. Much too busy to listen to his little sister. This exasperated Ginny as only an older brother ever could. There seemed a momentary lull where Voldemort was concerned, and seeing as he allowed himself a respite to be a teenaged boy, she didn't want to interrupt it for him anyway.
So she turned to the only one of her friends who was really sensible. Hermione had better things to do than sit around looking all moon-struck. Though Ginny suspected that was bound to change sooner than her friend realised. She just needed the right sort of motivation. While everyone had expected her to start dating either of the boys, Ginny knew that simply wouldn't do. Not for Hermione. And while the right sort of motivation took his time getting there, Hermione was content to do her NEWTS preparations.
When she mentioned her observations to Hermione, the girl set down her potions book (so old, that it seemed to be made of vellum) and regarded her with a faintly thoughtful frown. Apparently Hermione hadn't noticed, which showed just how preoccupied she was. Though once Ginny explained, she endeavoured to keep an eye on Harry and Parkinson to see if she could solve the puzzle of their newly-grown antagonism.
Hogwarts had a piano. Not many people knew that. At least not any of her friends. And she didn't intend to enlighten them. Partly because they wouldn't really care and partly because she liked having a secret. In a family of seven siblings there wasn't much opportunity for secrets. Conversations were overheard, diaries were read. So, even though it was probably silly, and such a little thing, she didn't want to tell anyone. It was a secret, and it was just hers. Ginny wasn't very good at the piano. She'd never had her own, because her parents couldn't afford to get one, but a friend of her mum's once taught her for a bit, when she was little, and she never missed an opportunity to play a bit whenever it presented itself. The instrument was old, but kept in tune, magically, she supposed though generally pianos didn't call for much magic. The room was dusty, with flagstone floors and a few spare desks piled to one side. Used as a store-room, perhaps. She'd stumbled across it by accident once, when she'd been lost on the way to class. It was odd that she'd never seen it before, but then at Hogwarts, you never knew what you could come across. Either way, it made her happy, so she wasn't about to question her luck.
Draco Malfoy hated playing piano. Which was unfortunate, because his technique was rather good, though it lacked in spirit and enthusiasm. But, like any kid whose parents had all sorts of silly, lofty ideas, he'd been sent to music lessons when he'd much rather had taken flying lessons instead. His mother insisted, and Lucius never could deny her anything. Draco had had some of the best teachers money could buy, though he'd complained the whole way. But Narcissa had been happy, and even though he'd quit a while back, she still forced him to play now and then. He knew it made her smile softly to hear the music flow around her. And because Malfoy hated making a fool of himself, so much more than he hated practicing his scales, every now and then he deigned to practice.
The Hogwarts upright was a sad replacement for his instrument at home, but it did the job, so every now and then Malfoy left his friends to their own devices and went down to what passed for a music room (if at a very great stretch). His whereabouts were never really a problem, since, unlike Gryffindors, Slytherins weren't in the habit of asking persistent and annoying questions.
This time, as he made his way down a narrow staircase and along the corridor, he heard someone playing the piano. Badly. Grimacing in annoyance at what had to be the poorest attempt he ever heard, he got closer to the door. Curious despite himself, at exactly who it was that had invaded what he'd come to consider as his room, and of course, who it was that was playing that badly. What he saw rather startled him.
"Well, well, Weasley." Unexpectedly, there flashed before him an image of her face as she laughed at him two years ago at the Yule ball. Cold eyes regarded the startled girl.
His voice was cool and crisp. Recognising it immediately, she tried to simultaneously turn to face him and reach for the wand she had put down near the music she hadn't been reading. The first thing anyone learned at Hogwarts was to always take your wand with you everywhere. Unless you wanted to end up sporting boils or bunny ears or a twitchy tail or what have you.
"What do you want, Malferret?" She demanded using one of her brother's favourite names for the Slytherin, more annoyed at having her solitude intruded than anything else.
"Original. Did you only just think of that one?" The blond boy snorted, and Ginny observed how the pale candlelight shadowed his sharp features. "But as it happens I was just passing by when I couldn't help overhearing, and believe me I wish I could, the musical murder you were conducting in here."
Ginny scowled and lifted her wand slightly. Just a warning in case he tried anything. His own wand was nowhere to be seen. She was under no illusion that he was unarmed. Ignoring the warning he approached closer, Ginny's eyes never straying from him. The candlelight from the single candle holder atop the instrument reflected off her bright hair fetchingly.
"And I suppose you could do better." She said dismissively, rolling her eyes and trying not to flush in embarrassment. She had been doing her best considering the lack of formal teaching.
Pale eyes looked over the instrument, "Actually, yes, I could." There was the obligatory tinge of arrogance to his voice and stance.
Before Ginny could reply, trying to decide between a challenge to prove himself and hurling some insult his way, he spoke again. "Shift over, Red."
"Original, Malfoy. Did you only just think of that one?" She drawled mockingly, mimicking his earlier words. Though she did shift up, suddenly uncomfortable at the proximity. Obviously, she told herself it was because one of her biggest adversaries, awful git that he was, was suddenly in her personal space and who knew what he would do next. Obviously.
What he did was rather unexpected. Pale fingers hovered over the ivory keys. Watching his hands glide across the keys, Ginny was impressed. She also observed the way his eyes closed as he swayed with the music. It figured that Malfoy would be good at this too, she thought sourly as she watched him. He didn't play anything too intricate but his level of skill was obvious. It spoke of years of lessons and Ginny was willing to bet expensive ones at that.
Coming to a halt, he glanced down at her smaller hands critically, where they rested on her lap, still holding her wand. Her fingers were too short for virtuoso excellence and reach, but long enough that she could make something of her playing. Certainly something better than what she was doing at the moment. His smile was annoyingly smug.
"Your chords were off." He commented when she didn't say anything, perhaps at a loss for words, "partly because you are placing your hands wrong. And partly because you're trying to reach chords you can't possibly do yet. Who on earth taught you to play?" There was a tinge of disdain in his voice as she was sure he was thinking about who hadn't.
Ginny puzzled at what appeared to be a sudden and unspoken truce between them. She wondered what Malfoy was about. And she wondered whether she should answer the question or just tell him to sod off. She wasn't entirely sure why, but she figured with what he was already thinking, she might as well answer.
"A friend of my mum's showed me a bit." She considered getting embarrassed, than dismissed the notion. Far be it for her to let Malfoy make her feel bad about yet another thing that came down to wealth in the end.
He didn't say anything spiteful, and nodding thoughtfully proceeded to show her how to correctly place her hands over the ivory keys. Ginny mimicked the placement and Draco figured he might as well explain the basics. So in a low clear voice, strangely devoid of its customary note of petulance he proceeded to explain notes on the keyboard, sharps and flats, tones and semitones. He didn't go in depth knowing that most of it would just fly right out of her head anyway, but it would be good to refer back to when she was ready to put the information to use. That was where memory would come in. Ginny tried to remember what he told her as best she could, still bewildered by this show of good-nature. Or something like it, anyway. Then he showed her a beginner's scale she ought to practise with and watched her do so, correcting her when she went wrong. They stayed in the little room well until supper, their voices soft and surprisingly lacking in any brutality.
Malfoy wasn't entirely sure why he was helping her with the piano, and this annoyed him. Malfoy was the sort of person to know exactly what he was doing and why. And he certainly didn't second-guess himself. Still, he wasn't sure why he was helping her. Partly because he wanted to prevent her from destroying the old instrument- it offended him aesthetically. But mostly it had to be because of the old saying about keeping your enemies close, he comforted himself. Yes, that was it! Just a matter of time before he thought of a way to get her for laughing at him that day at the dance, and all the times since. Certainly he didn't care for the way her hair looked in candle light and the warm, faintly mocking sparkle in her dark eyes as she watched him.
They met, sometimes by accident, sometimes not, and no-one seemed much the wiser for it. The room held an unspoken ceasefire, and though they rarely spoke of anything but music, it was somehow pleasant. Draco's eyes seemed less chilly there somehow. Ginny found herself, quite unconsciously, humming scales to herself and took a music theory book out of some forgotten niche of the library. Her friends eyed the book strangely but she just shrugged at them. Sometimes Luna, whose smile was stranger lately that it had been before, not to mention different, hummed along with her. The Ravenclaw's cheeks flushed for no reason at all these days, Ginny noticed indulgently, though she didn't press her on it.
Colin Creevey had taken up magical photography. Which is to say he'd commandeered one of the unused rooms in the castle to use as a darkroom. Ginny knew little about photography except the basics, but sometimes she hung out with Colin in the darkroom when he was developing his latest shots so she knew a bit more than most. Colin had been another slightly unusual kid who had joined her mismatched band of friends. He really was lots of fun when he wasn't star-struck, and he had thankfully gotten more or less used to Harry's presence since their first year.
Magical photography required the use of potions in the development of film to make the subjects able to move, hence the remoteness of the room. It was another former classroom, providing enough space for the curtained-off area and a small fireplace just big enough to surreptitiously brew the needed potions without severely affecting the temperature in the room and spoiling the photographs.
This particular night, the day before Hallowe'en, Colin had a stack of homework tall enough to make one queasy just looking at it. He'd had been moaning about it for the past hour. He had so much to do that even the raucous game of exploding snap happening across the room nearer the fire couldn't draw his attention. Ron sat next to him, in pretty much the same boat, while Harry scribbled much less furiously at some parchment for Charms. Hermione, who was sitting next to Ginny in the common room, with her own (voluntary) stack of books shot him a disapproving look and said something about leaving things to the last minute. Unfortunately Colin's homework meant that he could not sneak down to his makeshift darkroom. Staring at Ginny with wide pleading eyes, he begged her to go for him, to check on the latest negatives. She agreed reluctantly, wondering if that had been wise. It was past curfew, but then she reminded herself that Colin had snuck out dozens of times, and nothing had ever happened to him. And so with a sigh, having tried to memories his quick instructions, she slipped out the portrait hole, unnoticed, her friends too engrossed in what they were doing to notice.
When she was finished in the darkroom, Ginny slipped back out and just about made it to the staircase that would take her up to Gryffindor Tower when an annoyed voice spoke behind her, making her grimace and turn around, "Miss Weasley! It's well past curfew! What do you think you're doing…" Professor Sinistra stood a few feet away, looking severely irritated. She had had a particularly trying day and had certainly not felt like making the rounds that night. Ginny was let go fifteen minutes later with a sharp talking-to and a detention for the following night after the feast. Sighing to herself, she trudged back to the Tower. Colin hadn't gotten caught once, she thought glumly. He definitely owed her. Detention was the last place she wanted to be after the feast and her reason for being sent there was a pretty shoddy one. It wasn't at all the glamorous sort of detention that earned student respect and awe. Like if she were to hex Snape in front of the whole school. Although that would likely end up being a funeral, rather than a detention. At least it would be worth it.
Draco Malfoy had detention too. His was for having been caught playing a 'prank' on a first year and it made Ginny roll her eyes when she heard an embellished version of the story making rounds across the school. Apparently the first year had gossipy friends. Trust Malfoy to try and poison some poor first year for laughs. Hufflepuff, naturally. That much was obvious, of course, who else would try and actually drink something Malfoy handed them? If Finch-Fletchley was to be believed, the Slytherins had all thought it was pretty funny. McGonagall had not.
Malfoy hadn't been too pleased with his detention, which meant that it would do well for the first year to watch out for any imminent revenge coming is way. This did not stop Malfoy, and some of his more vindictive friends in particular, from smirking insolently and looking amused. Pansy made no secret of the fact that she thought picking on Hufflepuff first years was downright juvenile and certainly was no where near so funny as to provoke smirks for the rest of the day. She thought that being a prefect, Malfoy could at least try and act his age. Rolling her eyes in a condescending way that would have made Hermione proud, she turned to Millicent to discuss hair anti-frizz charms.
Malfoy's mirth faded significantly when he found out what the detention was going to be. It was bad enough that it was to be taken by that great oaf, he told Zabini.
Draco didn't like the thought of going into the Forbidden Forest. He felt entitled not to, given past experience. He liked the thought of going into the Forbidden Forest on Hallowe'en even less. You never knew what could be found in the Forest on Hallowe'en. But knowing he had no other choice, he put on his cloak, scarf, gloves, and his warmest boots and headed down to the grounds. His friends looked amused. He was sure they had a betting pool going on how long he'd last in there. If not on whether he returned at all.
Upon finding out the intended location of her detention, Ginny was rather intrigued. She'd heard Harry, Ron and Hermione talk about the forest a few times, and people told horror stories about exactly what was in there, but she didn't actually know of anyone who'd ever gotten killed in there, no matter what was sometimes whispered around the fire at night. These might have been dangerous times, but they wouldn't be sent out there if it was all that dangerous, and having never been in deeper than the very fringes of the forest, she was curious to take a look. Besides, it was All Hallows, she knew the sort of stuff that sometimes happened on that night. As she was about to leave the common room, Ron told her to cut Malfoy no slack, promising to hex the hell out of him if he tried anything. Harry told her not to forget her wand, inserting a few choice words about Malfoy and Hermione told her to stick by Hagrid. They all looked a bit more worried that the situation warranted. Luna had walked with her from dinner, listing every wonderful creature she should look out for, chattering enthusiastically, and generally treating it as more of an excursion than a punishment.
"Ooh! And the Squoks!" She added, as they loitered on the way from the great hall. She pulled a brightly bound book out of her bag and showed Ginny a page she'd bookmarked, with a picture of a rather odd little creature. Briefly glancing down Ginny found it to be an ugly little thing which looked like it was wearing someone else's skin, an entirely wrong shape for its body. "Lacrimacorpus dissolvens. They're not from Britain, you know. And they're always crying, and when you try to catch one it dissolves in a puddle of tears, so I don't suppose you'd actually see one but maybe…"
Ginny was the last to arrive, in spite of Draco's attempt to be spitefully late. The blond was eyeing Hagrid disdainfully, eyes only briefly flickering over to Ginny.
"Weasley." His greeting was chilly.
"Malfoy." Hers was wary.
Hagrid, who had been eyeing Malfoy with dislike, motioned them to move on and chatted to Ginny as they trudged over to the dark and silent woods, fondly asking her about her friends. Fang trotted on ahead, and somehow Ginny almost had the impression that he had grown even bigger since she last saw him. Of course, this was impossible, she knew. Malfoy was brooding and when she looked closer she realised that he was looking paler than usual, that his jaw was clenched and his right hand was gripping his wand fervently. His eyes didn't stray from the dark line of trees.