Malfoy was calmly eating his food, listening to the conversations around him. To his left, Charlie and Percy Weasley were discussing a recent dragon attack, while to the right, the twins told jokes.

"Do we have any of those peppermint humbugs left, mum?" Ginny asked from her spot directly across from Malfoy. Draco raised an eyebrow at the youngest Weasley, who flushed.

"Still like humbugs in your potatoes, Eh Gin?" Bill called from the end of the table. Ron snickered loudly. Ginny flushed even darker, her eyes flicking up to meet Malfoy's curious gaze and then back away.

"Here, dearest." Mrs. Weasley said, setting down a plate of humbugs in front of her daughter.

Ginny took one, beginning to open the wrapper with some difficulty. She pulled on one corner rather hard, and the humbug shot right onto Draco's plate.

Everyone at the table froze, staring at the candy that was slowly sinking into Draco Malfoy's mashed potatoes.

Malfoy's fork hovered over his plate. Had he been any other place, he would have exploded into a fit of rage by now and demanded new potatoes...

Deciding he could do no worse, Malfoy shoved his fork into the potato-covered humbug and ate it whole.

The table fell dead silent.

Malfoy swallowed the last bit of starchy peppermint, then looked up at a mortified Ginny Weasley.

"Thank you Ginny, how did you know that I liked peppermints in my potatoes?" He said calmly, reaching for another and unwrapping it. The humbug had actually tasted better than he thought it would.

"No... Way..." Fred and George said in unison as Malfoy dropped the other humbug in his potatoes and began to go back to his meal.

"That looks good." Harry said mildly. "Pass the humbugs, Ginny." Ginny complied, looking like she would rather the ground swallow her up.

Malfoy caught her eye again as he dug into his second humbug and winked. Ginny's eyes went wide and she put her elbow in the butter dish once again. Malfoy smirked at her over the rim of his glass as he took a drink, and she scowled, face as red as her hair.


After dinner, the Weasley boys and Harry charged out to play Quidditch. Ginny tried to escape as well, but her mother hauled her back.

"Dishes, Ginny dear." She said. Ginny fumed, plunging her hands up to the elbows in soapy water and beginning to scrub plates as her mother cleaned up the rest of the kitchen.

The redhead resisted the idea of slamming the first clean plate onto the counter, gasping in surprise as it was plucked out of her hand by Draco Malfoy, who proceeded to silently dry.

Ginny, too stunned to say anything, continued to hand Malfoy the dishes when she was done scrubbing them. After a while, Ginny relaxed into the rhythm of her work and began to hum, nearly forgetting that Malfoy was there.

Malfoy fell into a sort of stupor, drying the plates and stacking them neatly on the counter. He listened to the sounds of Ginny humming, the quidditch game outside, and Mrs. Weasley tidying the house, finding that he was slowly relaxing into the atmosphere.

As he dried a bowl, a question popped into his mind.

"Ginny?" He asked tentatively.

Ginny jumped, the knife she was cleaning biting deep into her hand. There was a gush of scarlet, and the blade clattered to the floor, closely followed by Draco's bowl, which shattered. Ginny screamed.

"Help!" Draco yelled, Ginny's cry of pain echoing in his ears.

"Goodness heavens!" Mrs. Weasley cried, running in from the living room. Mr. Weasley and Percy, who had been standing on the porch watching the game, ran in as well.

Ginny slowly slumped backwards with a moan, face white with pain and shock. Draco caught her helplessly, expression twisting in worry as he gently let her down to kneel on the floor.

"Move back." Mrs. Weasley said calmly, kneeling down and pulling out her wand. Draco took a hold of Ginny's injured hand, holding it steady while Mrs. Weasley worked. The cut was healed in second, but the blood was still everywhere.

Everything was silent for a second, then the rest of the Weasley herd burst through the door in a whirl of noise. Draco felt several hands pulling him backwards by his collar. He panicked momentarily when he saw Ginny's head about to hit the floor, but she began to sit up, eyes open. Draco relaxed, allowing himself to be pulled backwards.

Before he knew it, he had been slammed against the nearest wall and socked twice in the face.

Dazed, he pitched sideways, not defending himself. He could vaguely hear Ron yelling obscenities at him and Mr. Weasley trying to calm the others down. The noise in the kitchen was deafening, everyone talking at once.

Something wet began to drip down his chin, and Draco realized that it was his nose bleeding. Hands belonging to Bill and Charlie pulled him upright again, and Draco's dazed eyes found Ginny's in the crowd. She was looking at his face in horror.

"Stop it! All of you." Ginny said. The kitchen immediately fell silent. Ginny grabbed a dishtowel off the kitchen counter and walked quickly to him, mopping up his face as gently as she could. He accepted the towel from her, using it to stem the flow of blood from his nose.

"Ginny!" Ron bellowed disgustedly. Ginny rolled her eyes and whirled on Ron, slapping him across the face.

"You bloody git! I cut my hand on the knife I was cleaning, it had nothing to do with him!" Ginny said. She turned to the twins.

"You two! How dare you hit him! He is our GUEST!" She continued, her voice rising in volume.

"All of you, back to your game." Arthur Weasley said, interrupting Ginny's tirade. The boys filed out.

Mrs. Weasley instantly bustled over to tend his nose, but Draco waved her off, walking swiftly upstairs to his without so much as a word or glance at Ginny.