Turning the Tables
It was an especially cold and snowy March evening as Ginny, Percy, and George came in from outside, trudging the fluffy white substance into the Burrow with them. They took off their coats and gloves and settled themselves down at the dinner table with their mother and father. Ron was almost never home anymore, having moved into Grimmauld Place with Harry and Hermione; however, coming down the stairs at that moment was the infamous Trio.
All three smiled at Ginny, greeting her and her brothers as they took their seats at the table. Bill and Fleur were at Shell Cottage as the pretty French woman was very visibly pregnant with their first child and was, predictably, too sick to sample Molly's food. Charlie, equally predictable, was still in Romania but was scheduled to return home once the baby was born, giving the Weasley family three wonderful events to celebrate: the birth of their first grandchild, the return of their second eldest son, and the first year anniversary of Voldemort's defeat.
Family and friends chatted animatedly, laughing and smiling as Molly passed around the roast beef. Harry smiled nervously in his seat beside Ginny. He had been trying admirably for the last week to ingratiate himself with her. For her part, Ginny had endeavoured to get back into the routine with Harry but found it rather difficult. She still couldn't stop thinking about Draco; how he smiled, how he smelled, how his eyes changed from dark to light depending on his mood, how his lips tasted...
But Ginny had to move on from her past, from this particular path. The road to Draco wasn't even a cross-junction; it was a dead end. He didn't care for her. All that mattered to Draco was being free—free of her. Ginny was with Harry now and she had to accept these facts.
She had not forgot what Harry had done but she had forgiven him and decided to stay with him, to make things work between them. She supposed she was a bit like Catherine. She couldn't have Draco so now she was settling for Harry because everyone would approve of such a union. A union with Draco would only cause stress and heartache. But that was a moot point. He didn't want her in the first place. He had only ever seen her as his guard, his captor.
Loud thudding on the door shook Ginny from her thoughts. Everyone turned, wondering who could be knocking at this hour. Bill and Fleur would have merely Apparated in, as would have Charlie or even Kingsley. So who could it be?
"Excuse me," Arthur said with a tight smile on his face, and he rose from his seat and exited the kitchen to go answer the door.
"Good evening, Mr Weasley," a charmingly silky voice greeted, and Ginny whipped her head around to put a face to the familiar voice.
"Malfoy?" Ron's mouth ajar and his fork was hanging so precariously close to his eye that Hermione had to lower his fork with one hand and shut his jaw with the other.
Harry turned around too and then glanced over at Ginny, whose eyes were shining brightly—a shadow of a smile playing on her lips. Everyone watched the exchange with a mixture of mild shock and horror, especially when Draco extended his hand to Arthur. The older man took it somewhat reluctantly but shook it firmly. Quickly recomposing himself, Arthur put a hand on Draco's shoulder and ushered the blond into the dining room.
"Everyone, Draco here has come to join us for dinner."
The entire family, guests included, opened their mouths much like how Ron had earlier.
"I'm afraid I arrived late," Draco said, holding his gloves in his left hand. "I'll have to take you up on that offer next time, Mr Weasley, when I've followed proper decorum and owled the lady of the house for permission." He formally bowed to Molly, who almost squeaked at being called a lady. "It was rude of me to impose."
"Well, that's quite alright, Draco," Arthur said, straining his mouth to smile. "It's my fault, really. I let your owl to me earlier slip my mind entirely." He cleared his throat and then sat down. "Please, take a seat."
Draco remained standing, hovering for a moment. Everyone else remained seated, still staring up at the blond in shock. Ginny eyes were wide like saucer plates. What was he doing here?
"I'm afraid I can't stay long," Draco politely refused. "Pardon me, if I could—" he looked at Arthur, interrupting the awkward silence "—but I would like to speak with Ginny alone."
Arthur Weasley looked over at his daughter and swallowed nervously.
"Yes," Ginny answered immediately for her father and stood up, nodding emphatically.
The slightest trace of a smile crossed Draco's features and he extended his hand to her. Ginny, in turn, grinned openly and somewhat foolishly at him before stepping forward and taking his hand. Just then, Harry's fingers encircled her free wrist.
"Ginny! What are you doing?"
Draco reached forward, lightning quick, and not so gently removed Harry's hand from Ginny's.
"She's going for a walk with me, Potter. You have my word no harm will come to her." He looked directly at Arthur when he said this, and the older man inclined his head somewhat reluctantly.
A great murmur of protest erupted at the table but Arthur immediately silenced everyone with a raised hand. Ginny didn't hear any of it. She quickly went to the door and stuffed her feet into her boots, not bothering to put on a jacket, and followed Draco outside into the cold.
Draco took off his warm fur-collared robes and secured it around Ginny's shivering shoulders. She took in a deep breath of the cold, crisp air and smiled. He was finally here with her. What took so long?
The snow fell lightly on their heads and Ginny reached up to dust the snowflakes off Draco's shoulders while he mussed the wet flakes out of his now-short hair. He had apparently received a haircut since he had left Godric's Hollow. While she loved his hair long, she had to admit she liked it short and messy too. Hell, any hairstyle looked good on him.
"Ginny." He stopped and turned around, holding her hands under the moon.
The two made an indelible scene; she, pale and beautiful with vibrant red hair, and he, equally pale with matching snow-white hair. Both faced each other against the backdrop of a star-lit and moonlit sky that continued to deposit snow on their heads.
"Draco." She breathed his name like a prayer, blushing slightly at her own exuberance. She should've still been mad at him. He had ignored her, after all.
Draco hesitantly touched her cheek. When Ginny leaned into his touch, he brought both hands up and cupped her face, rubbing his thumbs just behind her ears.
"I didn't ignore your owl, I just—I didn't receive it until recently." She pressed her hands against his chest in shock but he only stepped in closer. "I would've come over immediately when I first received it but I had a few loose ends to tie up."
He glanced down at his boots. "Well, I had to end my relationship with Astoria."
Ginny's face fell. She really had no right to be upset. In fact, it would have made her a hypocrite since she was dating Harry. But still, she couldn't help but feel disappointed and jealous.
"My mother never told me you had asked about me over the hols." He scowled darkly, as though his visual expression alone could offer her a reasonable explanation for why he'd even considered dating the Greengrass girl in the first place.
He sighed. "It doesn't matter why she did it. It's in the past, and I promise that nothing like that will ever happen again."
His expression was serious, solemn, and she smiled hesitantly. She didn't know if this boded well or ill for her.
"I didn't contact you when I returned home because I thought you had read my entries in the journal and dismissed them." He shook his head. "My last entry asked if you wanted to stay in contact because—because I wanted to."
He dropped his hands and lowered them to his sides. She could still feel his hands on her cheeks and she looked up at him, shaking her head in disbelief.
"I never thought to read the journal. I just sent it back to you. I... Merlin, I'm so stupid!" She brought a hand to her forehead in frustration and he gently reached out to take her hand in his. "I thought that after everything I'd done to you in the past you wanted me out of your life forever. I thought—I thoughts you wanted to forget me."
"You, Ginny?" He laughed softly. "How could I ever forget you?"
She smiled and let out a little laugh of her own before directing her gaze at her snow-covered boots. Her heart felt as though it had swelled to twice its size with joy and relief. He hadn't rejected her like she thought he had.
Draco put a finger underneath Ginny's chin. "This isn't a romance novel, you know."
"I don't expect a happy ending."
Ginny swallowed hard. It felt as if they'd had this conversation before—perhaps in her mind or in another lifetime. She reached up to graze her fingers along the ridge of his scar, noting how beautiful it made him look. He brought his hand on top of hers, letting the ghost of a smile haunt his lips as he pressed her fingertips against his cool cheek.
"What I mean is... I don't want a tragic ending like Heathcliff and Catherine. I don't want to make the same mistakes they made, that others have made—fictional or otherwise." He smirked. "The same mistakes Potter made with you."
She bit her lip. What was he trying to say?
"I would have never sent you to guard a man you despised." He grabbed her hands. "I would have never let you out of my sight."
Ginny let out an audible gasp as Draco possessively pulled her in close. He touched his forehead to hers, letting it linger there for a while before her drew back.
"I can't promise that a life with me will be easy. I have a lot of soul-searching to do, and I'm still an incorrigible git." He smirked and she felt tears brim in her eyes. "The road will be long and difficult and teemed with many shouting matches and crying—mainly on your part." She laughed and slapped his arm as the tears freely trickled down her cheeks. "But I'd have no one else but you to take that journey with me."
Ginny smiled and sniffed at the cold and the raw emotion she felt. She took a step forward and leaned her face into his broad chest as he securely wrapped his strong arms around her.
"I knew you were the one to fill my life with intrigue and adventure. I can't see myself with anyone but you—for good or for bad."
She turned her head up at him and smiled shyly, and he lifted her chin.
"That's all I wanted to hear." He bent down and put his mouth her ear and whispered, "And now you shall be my prisoner."
Her eyes widened in shock as Draco took a step back, delivering Ginny his patented Malfoy smirk. He then grabbed her hand and led her towards a luxurious black carriage just outside the grounds. She had surmised that he had Apparated outside her house. How foolish of her to assume Draco Malfoy would be anything other than ostentatious.
"Draco, wait!" She glanced back at the Burrow, expecting one of her brothers to come storming out of the house to chase them down.
"You have visited your family long enough, Ginny. Don't worry; you'll see them again." He squeezed her hand reassuringly. "For now you'll be staying with me at the manor until I decide when your term of incarceration is over."
He waggled his pale eyebrows in jest and Ginny suddenly stopped dead in her tracks. Draco turned around, still holding onto her hand, and frowned.
"You can't be serious—can you?"
Draco shook his head and laughed. Ginny, you know I'm only joking about you being my prisoner."
"Oh yes, I know that," she said, relieving him of his worries. He thought maybe he had gone too far and had unsettled her. "I just mean I can't—I can't go with you."
"And why not?"
"There's no way my family would let me go with you."
"Do you object to going with me?"
"Well, no." She blushed. "It's just that my family—"
"Then if you don't object, I can't see a problem."
"But my father—"
"Do not worry about your father or your family," Draco reassured her. "Mr Weasley has no objections to you staying with me for a little while, as long as you agree to it."
Ginny looked up at Draco in wide-eyed disbelief. "He couldn't possibly trust you."
"Thank you for that vote of confidence, Weasley."
She punched him in the arm. "It's Ginny, Draco!"
"Yes, well, Ginny, your father knows I'm taking you to Malfoy Manor." He smiled as she looked up at him with open incredulity. "I met with him last week at the Ministry of Magic and we had a little talk."
"A talk?" She looked somewhat horrified at the thought of Draco and her father having a heart-to-heart conversation about her.
"I convinced him of my honourable intentions and allowed him to perform Legilimency on me." He waved his hand dismissively as though this was nothing out of the ordinary. "He trusts you won't be harmed in my presence."
"How?" She still had no idea how her father would have consented, even if he knew that Draco had honourable intentions.
"An Unbreakable Vow tends to placate one's fears and doubts," he remarked nonchalantly, and Ginny opened her mouth in shock.
"An Unbreakable Vow? Why did—why would you do that?"
"I vowed I would never intentionally harm you, physically. I wanted to add emotionally but your father insisted the physical element was adequate enough. He remarked that as a Gryffindor and a Weasley your pride was easily hurt." He put his finger to his lips. "How did he put it? 'No point in dying because you failed to notice one day she'd changed her hairstyle'." Draco looked down at her and grinned. "I must say I rather don't mind your father. He's a very tolerable sort."
"You git!" Ginny punched the blond in the arm—again.
"See!" Draco dramatically pointed at the ground. "I'd be face-planted in the snow right now if your father hadn't stopped me!"
His facial expression was far too serious and Ginny ended up being seized by a fit of giggles, which quickly escalated into sweet-sounding, belly-rumbling laughter.
Draco pulled her in close and laughed with her, holding onto her tightly while she struggled to free herself from his grasp. She desperately needed to punch him again to get back at him for being so cheeky, and to feel that he was real and here with her right now. She needed that tangible veracity to let her know that what she'd been dreaming about for all these months was finally coming true.
"I can't believe you did that with my father and without my consent at all! You are an infuriating man, Draco."
She finally wrested herself free from his grasp to punch his shoulder yet again. Luckily Draco had developed more muscle there over the past ten months or he would have had a series of black and blue bruises up and down his arms.
"What about Harry?" Ginny asked suddenly, and Draco scowled.
"What about him?"
Ginny couldn't help but giggle at his sour expression. "Shouldn't I go back and break up with him properly?"
Draco's countenance brightened considerably. "Why don't you do it in an owl?"
She laughed again and brought her arm back to throw another playful punch at him. He caught her hand this time and drew her in close, crushing her tiny frame against his chest as he looked down into her almond-shaped eyes.
"So..." He bent down so that their noses were touching.
"Do you hate me?"
He bent down to capture her lips with his, finally capitulating to their long, unfulfilled desires with a deep, passionate kiss. She melted into his touch, her eyes still closed, and when he finally drew back he was smirking.
Author's notes: It's done! Yay! I realise that Draco was a tad OOC (or 'soft around the edges'), but how can any of us know what eight months of solitude can do to a person, what being with only one other human being for seven months can make one feel for the other? I think such solitude can change a man and a woman's perception of that man and bring them together. No longer can they see each other or the world around them in black and white; now it is all in shades of grey.
Thank you to all who read and reviewed this story. I appreciate your kind words of encouragement and appreciation. This story is dedicated to you, the loyal reader.