A/N: Reposting due to popular demand, with tweaks made here and there. Feel free to follow me on Twitter where my username is: HMcCubbin. Soon, I'll have a blog in which I share my experiences on writing my first two novels along with the ups and downs of querying an agent!
Back to Hogwarts
Ginny sighed as she waved to her mother through the train window until her mother was just a small dot in the distance. One would think after putting six children on the train, her mother would've stopped crying by now. Not true, even her father had tears in his eyes as he hugged her goodbye. Ginny felt quite the opposite, excited about returning to Hogwarts, although a bit depressed about her older friends and brother actually finishing this year. Her OWL's were complete, Quidditch should be fun along with being a Prefect. Harry had defeated Voldemort last May at Hogwarts and had contributed to the cheerful attitudes and deep contentment of the wizarding community.
Boys. There was a subject Ginny was slightly versed in- having previously had two boyfriends, Dean Thomas and Michael Corner, and now Neville was blushing every time she looked at him.
She liked him.
As a friend.
Not in "that way" and she was afraid if she even broached the subject with him he would keel over of a heart attack, so she just listened and asked questions about whatever topic was being covered at the moment. She knew that Luna had an interest in him, but for some reason Luna refused to even let him know it.
Sighing, Ginny threw her magazine to the side. It was very hard to concentrate when someone was staring at you, but trying hard to mask it as well. Smiling, Ginny asked Neville what being Head Boy was like. He launched into a description of the duties he and Hermione had to do and how he got the evil eye earlier from Draco Malfoy as they walked past the Slytherin compartment. Ginny saw the new couple, Harry and Hermione, slip out the compartment and heard her brother snore as she struggled to pay attention to Neville.
Feeling the need to use the loo, she excused herself from Neville, made her way out of the compartment and walked down the train bypassing the first restroom she came across, hearing someone being sick inside. She stopped at a window across from the second loo and looked out at the scenery passing by, one hand on the window steadying herself against the rocking of the train.
She smiled at the younger girl from Slytherin who exited the bathroom and Ginny ducked in after her.
She finished her business and walked back out, shutting the door behind her. Turning around she ran face first into Draco Malfoy.
"Weasley," Malfoy grabbed her shoulders and moved her away from him. Their eyes met for a second and she felt his grip tighten slightly on her shoulders before he removed his hands.
"Sorry," was all Ginny said, moving to the side to let him by. He looked down at her and she refused to meet his gaze not wanting to get into a pissing contest with Malfoy an hour into the train ride. His gaze wandered over her as if bored with what he saw then shoving his hands into his robe he continued walking down the aisle towards the front of the train, aware that Ginny Weasley was following him on her way back to the Gryffindor compartment. He glanced in seeing her brother and Luna Lovegood asleep against the window and Neville scribbling something on parchment. Not bothering to look behind him, Draco continued walking, hearing the compartment door open and close.
Ginny smiled at Neville and sat down, idly flipping through the same magazine as before until she remembered the sketchpad packed with care in her bag. Reaching up, she grabbed her worn, scuffed, leather bag and rifled through it looking for her pad and pencils. Using her brother's arm and shoulder as a backrest, and so no one could see what she was drawing, she began sketching in light strokes loving the sound of the pencil scratching the paper. Being so engrossed in her drawing she was not aware of Draco Malfoy walking past her compartment and glancing in pausing for a moment while taking in this older, more mature looking Ginny.
Neville looked up at him, received a smirk and both looked away going back to their business.
The train ride passed by uneventfully with Harry and Hermione looking oddly flushed after their "walk" around the train. Ginny joined them all in some card games and even got them laughing by imitating Percy talking to the Minister of Magic.
Hours later, Ginny unloaded her trunk and said "see you later" to her brother and friends and walked to the carriages with her classmates clamoring in after them. It was dusk, but not raining like the last few times she had come to school at the start of a new year. She chatted with her friends about how she had cut her hair that summer because it was so unusually hot. No one believed she would have taken her almost waist long red hair and cut it to her shoulders.
The ride proceeded up the road and into the school as Ginny heard stories about boys, family vacations and new pets; she shared her own news of her brother Bill and Fleur Delacour's engagement. Most of her friends remember her participating in the Tri-Wizard Tournament when they were third years.
Donning her hat and filing in to the Gryffindor sixth year line she walked into the Great Hall wondering what little girl or boy would be sorted into her house. She filed past the Head Girl (Hermione) and Boy (Neville) and received a smile from each of them. The seventh year Prefects of each house stood at the head of their tables, directing the first years up the center aisle.
Ginny passed by Draco on her way to her table and swore he said her name under his breath. She looked up at him and he just set his neutral stare upon her; for a moment Ginny realized she was looking up; he had grown a few inches over the summer. She moved along with her class and sat down across from Lavender Brown, a seventh year. Her eyes followed the students and she realized Mother Nature had decided to wave her magic wand at the 4th to 5th years and the 6th to 7th year boys; most were taller and older than she remembered and many were better looking, having outgrown any clumsiness or having filled out in the right places. She let a small smile play at her lips as she realized it was going to be a very interesting year indeed.
The first week of school was hot; hot enough for the students to go out every evening and enjoy a swim in the lake or just bask in the shade, talking, doing homework or napping.
One weekday afternoon, Ginny was caught up on her homework and was walking across the grounds, to a tree near the lake her artists eye caught as a potential sketch. She had to shade her eyes from looking into the sun, trying to make out the best angel. A flutter of movement caught her attention--someone sitting with their back against the tree dressed in a t-shirt and shorts, knees drawn up, writing on parchment. Sitting near him was someone stretched out with an arm over their face and Ginny moved closer she realized it was Draco sitting against the tree, his blond head bent over his homework while his girlfriend, Pansy, lounged next to him. She studied him for a minute, realizing whether it was him or any other guy, from any other house, the picture would look great, sans Pansy, in her sketchbook. The image burned into her mind and she was sure she could recall it vividly when she was alone with her sketchbook. Hitching her book strap up higher on her shoulder, she turned down the path towards the lake and set her everything down beside her. Her intent was relaxing away from the gossip of her Common Room, the boys that would come up and try an engage her in conversation she wasn't really interested in having.
Ginny lay there, her arm over her face letting her thoughts wander from Harry and Hermione finally getting together to what she wanted to do when she was done school. She realized that her friend's birthday was the following week and racked her brain on what to get her friend that knew just about everything…she was pondering this last thought when a shadow fell across her.
"Who's there?" Ginny asked in a bored tone, not bothering to open her eyes or remove her hand.
Ginny opened her eyes and shaded them against the sun coming through the branches.
"Malfoy. If you're here to degrade me or my family, don't bother. I've heard it all from you."
His ice like stare stayed on her face and he was quiet for a moment.
"All I said was your name and you think I would come over here, disturb your rest and waste my energy on insulting you?"
"Actually, yes. Hasn't stopped you before," Ginny kept her gaze level with his as she sat up on her elbows. Draco crouched down and his face was level with hers.
"I was coming over to tell you that there is a prefects meeting tonight in the Transfiguration Classroom; somehow I was nominated to be the person to tell everyone."
Ginny nodded and saw a short, dark hair figure walking briskly towards him. 'This is going to be good,' Ginny thought to herself, sitting up properly.
"Draco!" Pansy came over and stared at Ginny as if she was a green piece of meat on her dinner plate. "Don't waste your time here; let's go to the lake." Draco stood up and Ginny followed him with her gaze, watching him turn towards Pansy who placed a hand on his chest. He reached up and gently removed her hand.
"We're talking school business. Go down to the lake yourself, you can find it," he said evenly, shoving his hands in his pockets as she reached for them. Pansy looked at him with a stunned expression then seemed to gather her thoughts. With a final glare at Ginny, she spun around and stomped down towards the lake.
Ginny couldn't help a smile to cross her face. "Got your work cut out for you don't you, Malfoy?"
Draco turned to find her smiling, her slender body stretched out under the shade and for a moment he forgot what she said. Realizing he didn't have to answer, he shoved his hands deeper into his pockets, turned and walked the opposite way that Pansy had gone. Ginny fell back on the grass with a thump, the image of Draco in his crisp tan shorts and white t-shirt floating around her head. She let herself play with the image, trying to figure out what was so fascinating about it and when the answer failed to appear, she pushed it away concentrating on the warm air and the sounds of students enjoying the afternoon.
Hours later, Ginny sat at the back table in the Transfiguration Classroom, chatting to Tom McEwan, the other prefect in Gryffindor; she looked up as the door slammed shut behind her and saw Draco and Pansy walking, heads bent in deep in discussion. The chatting stopped as Hermione and Neville walked to the front of the room and began reading out the activities that would be taking place for the first semester.
"First off is the Halloween Dance and Yule Ball. It's for 4th years and up and this year we are allowed to invite significant others from other schools," Neville began and people quickly fired off questions about what that meant until Hermione put up her hands. A few people quieted down but not enough for anyone to be heard, until Ginny stuck her fingers in her mouth and let out a shrill whistle. Many boys turned around and smiled at her, seemingly impressed.
"I believe Hermione and Neville were talking?" Ginny said lightly, hearing Tom next to her stifling a laugh.
"Anyway, this means Muggles mostly," Hermione jumped right in.
"So Weasley can invite his girlfriend? Is that why all of a sudden Dumbledore is allowing this?" Draco asked, leaning back with his arm around the back of Pansy's chair.
"No, Malfoy. Apparently quite a few people have boy or girlfriends that are Muggles, not just Ron," Hermione stared at him, daring him to say anything else, but he turned away, removing his arm from Pansy's chair. Ron had met Hermione's cousin, Samantha Granger, over the summer and they had taken a liking to each other. Draco happened upon them in Diagon Alley one day and knew immediately she was a Muggle.
"The Yule Ball will be 4th years and up; dress is formal. The other event is Hogwarts' first Parents Weekend, the first weekend of October. Parents, relatives and siblings are invited. As there will be a Quidditch Match that weekend between Gryffindor and Slytherin, we have permission for your relatives to stay the night in Hogsmeade if they so wish. We just need a count as to how many people will be here so arrangements can be made for seating on the Pitch," Neville folded the paper in his hands.
"That's pretty much it; any questions?" Hermione asked while people shook their heads. Ginny could hear Draco mumbling to Pansy about Muggles coming to the dance because Weasley wanted it. Ginny turned away quickly before saying something she knew she would regret and walked out of the room, wondering why Draco continued to pick on her family. His father was in hiding so he didn't need to prove a point.
'Maybe he is showing off for Pansy,' Ginny thought as she entered into the portrait and Common Room. She waved to Harry and her brother already into their Chess game and headed upstairs to the girls dorms.
The weeks trickled by, Hermione celebrated her 18th birthday with a chocolate cake after dinner and a certain present from Harry later that night. Ginny remembered the look on Hermione's face the next morning when Neville asked why Harry hadn't come back to their room that night. Ginny had given Hermione the thumbs up sign discreetly, causing her to blush even more. Ginny was becoming friendly with her fellow Prefect, Tom, but he just didn't make her heart do back flips like Harry used to do, before their heart to heart at the end of last year about where they stood with each other.
The night of Hermione's birthday, Ginny took a walk with Ron, talking about Hermione's cousin he had met over the summer.
"I think I am really falling for her Gin; crazy I know." Ron had his hands in his robe pockets as they walked around the lake.
"It's not crazy. She's a nice person, very outgoing and seems to like you a lot, too."
Ginny smiled at the happy look that came across his face.
"When you first met her while we were waiting for Harry on his birthday, she gave me the impression that she liked you. Casting those sidelong glances, totally enthralled in you doing magic at the table in the restaurant…which you SHOULD NOT HAVE DONE!" Ginny smacked his arm and Ron pretended to be hurt.
"She's a Muggle and hadn't seen magic, so I can see why she was impressed; she would have been impressed even if Neville had done it."
"Still, Ron…I think whenever you see her again, you'll know she feels the same," Ginny caught sight of the squid moving around in the middle of the lake.
"What about you? I see you hanging with Tom a lot."
Ginny shrugged. "He's nice, but I don't have any of those nervous, jumpy feelings around him."
Switching the subject Ginny brought up the dance. "Remember when I told you that Muggles could come to the dances? Are you going to ask her?"
"I guess…if I can get word to her. Maybe Hermione will do it for me."
"If she comes, I will pay to see the look on Draco's face; he wasn't happy that Muggles are allowed to come." Ginny explained, heading back up the hill to school.
"He better not say anything to me directly or to you," Ron said darkly, holding a tree branch aside for her.
"I just try to let it roll off my back. I don't have the energy or mind to fight with him anymore. I figure if I ignore him, he'll go away," Ginny said just as darkly.
"It's Malfoy. He won't just "go away"," Ron said with finality as he held the school doors open for his sister, and together they went in and headed up to their tower.