All Life is Prologue
Disclaimer: Harry Potter is the brainchild of J.K. Rowling and thus belongs to her and whomever she sells the rights to, which is not me in this case. This piece of fanfiction is written with the admiration and respect of Harry Potter's creator. I claim no ownership of her creations. No profit is or will be made from this material.
Summary: She is now Ginevra Potter. He is still Draco Malfoy. But they will become so much more to each other.
Rating: T, suitable for teens 13 and older.
Author's Note: I saw this story as a gentle challenge. I wanted to write a Draco/Ginny that was epilogue compliant. I didn't want either of their spouses portrayed as either bad people, which would feel like an easy way out. I also wanted to try the idea of one scene per year, showing the progression of their relationship in both a concise and far-reaching manner.
Eighteen Years Later
She never liked being a Weasley, but being a Potter didn't hold to its promise either.
The label, 'Weasley,' was like gum on the bottom of her shoe, filling her with embarrassment when people heard the sound of it and noticed. Potter was glue. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn't pull it off. She had mistaken it for stability. It was easy to appear steady when all anyone ever did was stand in one place. She was sick of the view from Harry Potter's shadow; secure as the entire arrangement might seem.
She felt her jaw clench at the sound of it.
All she heard was what went unsaid: expectation and patronization folded together, one on top of the other, made into something thick and hard to swallow. But it was the only option she had. The editor at the Daily Prophet cared more about that name than her eleven years with the Harpies. It was either her husband's name and an assignment to Quiddith or her name and a column on life with him. She chose the one that brought her a little bit of happiness, but didn't make her any less of a sell-out.
She huffed at the thought that Malfoy knew exactly what to say to wrench her attention from the game in front of her. They were getting far too personal.
"Mr. Malfoy," she replied and was satisfied to hear his uncomfortable shifting. Ginny wasn't the only one who shared a name. She laughed as Ron's favorite chaser took a Quaffle to the ear, but frowned when Malfoy took the seat next to her. She refused to look at him and focused on all the empty seats he could have chosen instead.
"Ginevra, your article on my Falcon beater."
She wished he wouldn't lean on her armrest like that. It would've been the better to hear him in the excitement of a good Quiddith match, but this wasn't one. Instead, it reminded her too much of whispering and all the intimacy that insinuated. It was unnecessary and she couldn't afford them such easy familiarity.
"How is Astoria this morning, Draco?"
She didn't know whether that was meant to remind him or her. Either way, he pulled his arm off the shared armrest and she could breathe again.
"Blithe and beautiful as always. Potter?"
"Fantastic." He was aggravated from the un-pleasantries and that kept her comfortable. "Now that's been established, your article on Cleaver, if you please."
Ginny put on her best I'm-Far-Too-Busy face. Both of them knew it was a farce and Malfoy usually had far less polite terms for it. He wouldn't use them in public, even if they only shared the room with three or four others. She was disappointed, despite herself. Name-calling was the best way to work up a good fight. With a glance at his face, she thought they might not need it. She hated the flutter in her stomach at the thought that this row was likely to be the highlight of her day.
"The expose on his illegal use of Dragon Egg Draught?"
"Supposed, Ginevra. Supposed. Your solicitors might not have drilled the language of law into your head but mine certainly have. Speaking of which, you're likely to be contacted by one this afternoon, or twelve."
"I only report the facts. People make their own conclusions."
The Cannons were falling so far behind now that she felt it safe to throw him a glare and found him waiting for her with one of his own. It would've been far more impressive if she hadn't seen it a million times before.
"His own mother openly discusses his Dragon Draught and Felix Felicis abuse."
Malfoy shrugged. "You know mothers."
"Telling everyone who listens that her son is a walking Knockturn Alley Apothecary? Right. That's certainly all my mother can talk about when someone asks about me."
"Do I dare quote the reporter?"
"Not if you value your bits," she growled.
"Then lay off my beater. The Falcons are fit for World Cup. And if I have to, I will defend my team's chances. I know what you're thinking, Genevra. Your Harpies are also World Cup material. Without my prime beater-."
"Nothing so Slytherin, Draco. The Harpies can take care of themselves and wallop your Falcons with or without Cleaver. I reported on him because that's what I do now; I report. If you're so worried about your team's chances, perhaps you should tell him to drop the draughts or hang him up before it's too late to work his replacement."
"Suggestion noted and disregarded," he said, pulling away from her to sit stern in his seat. He was a cold draft at her shoulder for the next ten minutes. It took an effort but she was able to ignore him to her satisfaction and enjoyed the Cannon's demise in relative silence.
She was far too pleased when he was first to break it.
"I'm half-tempted to buy that team just to dismantle them. Another field need not be contaminated by such carnage."
Ginny laughed. "They're Ron's favorite team."
"Another fine reason."
Malfoy cringed as the crowd of unwashed masses below them erupted in cheer. One of the Catapults wrestled the quaffle from two of the Cannon chasers. In direct opposition, both Malfoy and Ginny lapsed into silence as the referee launched into the middle of it. He knew she'd have to report on this. It might be the only thing worthy of reporting in the entire game.
He traced Arithmancy symbols on the velvet of their armrest. It was the hand without the ring. She leaned forward in her seat as if to get a better view of the squabble below. It also happened to make it harder for her to watch him. But she could still feel him moving in his seat. She could still smell his aftershave, juniper and aloe. She'd have to cast a refreshing charm on her clothes when he left. Harry would smell it on her and in a moment, he'd jump to the conclusion that Draco was intimidating her in some way. He was over-protective. When she was fifteen, she found it endearing. At thirty-five, she found it puerile. It had cost her too many would-be friends.
Soon the captains joined the fray and the crowd shifted from amusement to annoyance at the interruption. She knew the Catapult's captain had been on the edge of an emotional breakdown for the better part of the season. Cleaver wasn't the only one who resorted to Dragon Egg Draught to improve his drive at the cost of his focus. She scoffed as the referee broke them all apart with a whistle and a few harsh words, allowing for everyone to return to a tedious game.
"Why the hell are you here?" Malfoy suddenly asked. The few VIPs who had schedules so dull as to fill their season seats were either half-drunk on complimentary spirits or napping, or both. An action-packed match it was not, yet she still resented his question.
"I'm not just a name, Draco. I really do report on these games."
"Even a Cannons game with the worst team they've seen in thirty years?"
"Of course, some poor sod like my brother is going to wake up tomorrow morning wondering how badly they lost and there my name will be reporting it to him."
"You could use a ghost-writer. I know plenty of reporters that do."
"So do I. And the day I use a ghost-writer is the day I hex myself in the face."
They listened to the drunks and the tired has-beens in the room, until the Cannons captain began throwing a conniption in front of the rings.
"Surely you wish you'd used a ghost-writer now," Draco idly remarked, stretching his long legs out in front of them. His pants were charcoal cross-hatched with the odd silver thread, perfectly tailored to meet the heel of his hippogriff leather boots but never graze the ground. Harry would never wear Hippogriff leather. He'd probably kick Draco in the shin if he had the ability to recognize it. No doubt that partly the reason Draco wore them. She tried not to think about his past with her husband, complicated and noxious as it was. Very much like their own past. Really, their present was very similar, even more twisted and dangerous.
He took her silence as an answer.
"What would you be doing today if you weren't at a Cannons game?" His tone was entirely too benign.
"Probably would be hanged by my editor for siccing the Malfoy Corp.'s solicitors on him."
"No day's rest for Madame Potter."
Ginny scoffed. "Not with England's libel laws." A moment's pause and consideration. "What the hell are you doing here, Draco? No doubt your solicitors have contacted mine and the Daily Prophet's both. No reason to scuff your heels."
"I thought to give you fair warning." He squinted his eyes as if to concentrate on the mess described as a Quiddith game.
"Ha. I knew it was coming the minute I set quill to paper. No need to deliver the message personally. It's not like we're friends."
He laughed at that. The sound was tenor and fake. She knew enough about him to know when he was forcing it. This was an insecure sound, even more so since he no doubt suspected she might realize it. On too many occasions, she had been reason for the real variety.
Draco set his arm back on the velvet rest between them. His eyes stayed with the game and she watched him until his eyes glanced to her from the corners. He sighed with weariness that she might expect an answer.
"It's not like we're enemies, Ginevra," was his reply. It was also a question. She reached out her hand, the one heavy with a single gold band, and touched his. Ginny squeezed Draco's fingers and held for a moment, then two, before losing her nerve. She pulled away and he understood it for the answer it was.
He gestured with his hand at the field in front of them. "They are paid to play like this? I'd pay Hansel to find better players if this is how he manages his team on his own. Really, this is just insulting."
"And risk your Falcon's fine chance for the World Cup?"
"Well, obviously, I wouldn't help him pick that good of players."
"No, your team is already going to be so embarrassed when they play the Harpies. I trained their star chaser myself. He's almost as good as I was."
"But does he look nearly as good in the uniform?" Draco asked and to her own surprise, Ginny blushed. It felt like she hadn't blushed in years and was quite overcome by the panic of it. Luckily, neither of them took their eyes off the field, holding onto its distraction, and her condition went overlooked.
She cleared her throat and readjusted herself in the seat. "This really is a terrible game."
"Worst I've ever seen." Despite that, he relaxed into his seat beside her in the nearly empty VIP box, ignoring the snores of drunks and murmurs of those catching a quick lie-down. Alone, she would've been in a little hell. Sitting beside him, exchanging scathing evaluations of the players and their owners, she was happy. Later, that would make her infinitely sad.
If you enjoyed the piece, or if you didn't, please take the time to leave me a review. No matter how short, I really appreciate the feedback. Thanks.