Summary: Draco Malfoy is London's most irresistible bachelor. And the time has come for him to marry. There is only one problem: he's in love with his best friend's wife.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
In Flagrante Delicto
Several important things occurred during the war. Lucius Malfoy was killed. His son betrayed the Dark Lord and formed a powerful alliance with Harry Potter's army. The war exploded into gigantic proportions. Lives were lost. Voldemort was defeated. Lives were saved. The entire wizarding community rejoiced. Harry Potter was a hero once again. And so was Draco Malfoy.
Four Years Later
It was June 5th. It was a date that Draco Malfoy would rather not remember. It was simply pure misfortune that his mother would never fail to forget this very day. Narcissa Malfoy was the reason why he was currently standing in front of the full-length mirror in his bedroom, staring at his aghast reflection. His mother had wanted him to wear red for the occasion. He looked atrocious. There was a reason why he never ended up in Gryffindor.
He muttered a color-changing charm with a flick of his wand. His clothes shimmered and transformed. He appraised himself on the mirror. Finally feeling satisfied with his appearance, he walked out of his bedroom in a leisurely pace. He was in no hurry to join the growing crowd downstairs. He paused by the staircase, surveying the throng of people. He cursed. His mother had outdone herself this time. The Manor's ballroom was filled to the brim. He probably didn't know half of the people there. And it was supposed to be his party.
June 5th happened to be his birthday. He was officially 21 years of age. Still quite young, in his opinion. He was careful to keep himself in the shadows, lest anyone decided to glance upstairs and see him, the celebrant, hiding behind the pillar. His eyes searched the grand ballroom, looking for familiar faces. He grinned when he saw Neville Longbottom standing by the buffet table with Ron Weasley, his shock of red hair standing out in the crowd. He had his arm around Hermione Granger. They had wed recently. Draco had been a guest.
He spotted more familiar faces, people that he had fought alongside with during the war, people that he could now actually call his friends. He felt himself relax. Maybe this wouldn't be such a complete nightmare. He thought hopefully. He squared his shoulders and descended the marble staircase. He remained unnoticed. Relief began to creep into him until he reached the middle of the staircase. Narcissa caught sight of him and snapped her fingers briskly at the invisible house elves. Draco felt himself freeze. Oh no.
The crowd fell silent and all heads whirled around to look at him. A gigantic cake floated towards the bottom of the staircase. Flaming candles adorned the top. He counted exactly 21 candles.
And then they started to sing. "Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you!" Draco wanted to Apparate somewhere very, very far. This is why he loathed his birthday. Narcissa always found a way to embarrass him. He felt himself pale as his mother beckoned him to approach the cake. She expected him to blow the candles? Was she out of her mind?
"Happy Birthday dear Draco. Happy Birthday to you!" The song ended with a flourish and he knew there was no way out. Swallowing the bile that was rising in his throat, he hurriedly blew out all the candles, grateful for the smoke that enveloped him even for just the briefest of moments. Applause burst out from the guests. Narcissa planted a big fat kiss on his cheek.
"Thank you, mother." He said through gritted teeth.
She appraised him with a tut. "I presume your owl ripped the red suit?" The sarcasm in her voice was unmistakable.
Draco feigned an innocent look. "How ever did you know that, mother?"
"I had a feeling." Narcissa shook her head with an amused smile. "Now go, mingle. Everyone is waiting for you."
Draco didn't need to be told twice. He was eager to escape his mother's grasp. Who knew what else she had hiding up her sleeve. It was no secret that she already wanted him to marry, young as he was. With Lucius gone, Draco was now heir to the Malfoy fortune. Narcissa was itching for him to find a wife that could bear her grandchild. Unfortunately for her, Draco did not have it in his mind to settle down. Yet.
Blaise Zabini had been the first to greet him. He was one of Draco's oldest friends. They had not seen each other for a full year. They spent the next few minutes catching up. Draco learned he was courting someone new. He refused to mention the name, said it was a surprise. Draco had merely rolled his eyes. Blaise had always been quite the dramatic.
Draco excused himself and moved through the throng of people, making polite conversation here and there, giving thanks to the well-wishers, flashing a charming smile to passing beautiful ladies. But in truth, all he wanted was to find his friends and get bloody wasted. It was his birthday after all. He'll cry if he wished.
Fleur Delacour had managed to engage him in a rather tedious conversation. Draco was beginning to feel exasperated. But he was a gentleman, and Fleur happened to be a relative of his. He wondered where her husband, Bill Weasley might be. Draco wished he would appear soon so that Fleur would have someone else to bother.
Fleur was in the middle of telling him about her marvelous vacation in Rome when Draco's eyes began to wander. He knew it was impolite but he could not help himself. He was boring her to death. It was at that moment that his eyes met a warm pair of brown eyes. They were set on porcelain skin with just the right amount of freckles that made her instantly enticing. Vibrant red hair framed her face and ruby red lips curved into an amused smile. His heart seemed to stop.
I'm in love.
"Draco, are you listening?" Fleur asked impatiently.
"I'm sorry, Fleur. I have to go." He said with barely a glance in her direction. He made his way through the crowd in a mesmerized state. He felt like he was floating on air, completely boneless, all source of gravity gone. Never had he felt such a strong attraction for a woman before. It was almost magnetic. Like she was pulling him towards her, calling his name.
He finally came to her side. She turned to him, the amused smile still on her face. There was a knowing look in her eyes. "Happy Birthday Draco." She said, kissing him on the cheek. Heat resonated from her lips. It enveloped him in warmth. Her voice sounded oddly familiar. And that gaze…
"Have we met?" Draco asked, the bewilderment apparent in his voice.
She laughed. Her laugh sounded like bells tinkling. "You don't recognize me, do you?"
He shook his head slowly.
"Ginny! There you are. I've been looking everywhere for you." Ron appeared out of nowhere. He grinned when he saw Draco. "Happy Birthday mate. How have you been? It's been what? Three years?"
"Four." Draco responded absently. "And thank you for the greeting."
"Someone is waiting for you at the foyer." Ron told Ginny. He turned to him. "Fancy a drink Malfoy? The boys are out by the balcony, if you care to join us. They'll be pleased to see you."
Draco managed a smile. "I'll be there in a while."
"Alright then." Ron nodded with a hearty grin. "Ginny." There was a warning note in his voice. "Be home early. You hear me?"
A flash of irritation marred her lovely features. "Yes, dad."
Ron rolled his eyes and walked off, leaving the two of them alone, and Draco more than a bit stunned. The last time he had seen Ginny was during the war. She had seemed so young then, unsure of where she stood, somewhere between a child and a woman. The ugly duckling has turned into a swan. He thought appreciatively.
"You've changed." He said instead, gesturing to her womanly curves. The white dress she was wearing clung in all the right places. She was the epitome of beauty. A blush tinged her cheeks.
"Yes I have." She acceded. "And so have you."
"Not so much." He said with a shrug.
"Draco Malfoy, England's most infamous rake." She said merrily. Amusement twinkled in her eyes. "Who knew the bad boy of Hogwarts could turn into such a catch?"
"Is that what you've been hearing?" He said, feigning shock. "I am not a rake, Ginny Weasley."
"Tell that to all the broken hearts you've left behind." She teased with a smile. He could live seeing that smile everyday and not get sick of it. It lit her entire face and the surrounding environs. Or perhaps his imagination was simply running wild.
"Ah, I see you've met the woman I've been courting." Blaise Zabini joined them, a brazen grin on his face. He wrapped an arm around Ginny's shoulders. Draco's chest tightened. Dismay filtered through him. As well as utter disbelief.
"Is that what you've been telling everyone?" Ginny asked him with an arched eyebrow. "That I'm merely some woman you've been courting?"
"Ginny, darling. I wanted it to be a surprise." Blaise said soothingly. "I can't tell everyone on Draco's 21st birthday party. This is his night."
"I suppose." Ginny said thoughtfully.
"Tell everyone what?" Draco asked, his voice coming out clipped.
"A surprise, Draco. A surprise." Blaise said with a wink.
"Oh come off it Blaise. I'm practically your best friend. Surely I'm privy to any secrets you're keeping." He said flatly. "Think of it as your gift to me."
"Very well then." Blaise said, exchanging a glance with Ginny. She smiled at him. "We're getting married."
A/N: Reviews are very much appreciated.