The first chapter had a pretty good traffic record, but I didn't get much feedback. Veronica21--this chapter is for you! Thanks for reviewing. Also, thanks to everyone who alerted/faved this fic. It's really exciting that you like it so far :)
I'm working on some background info for this fic that I will post to my profile when it's done.
Let me know how you are feeling about the plot. You never know--I may read something that my muse takes hold of. I'm already working on chapter 3!
The first two weeks of school passed quickly and without much incident. Ginny didn't have much free time to hang out with her friends until now. Between classes and homework, all of them stayed fairly busy. Quidditch was about to start up as well. Ginny always hated the first few weeks of school. It was hard to once again get used to it all after a relaxing summer.
It was Friday, and Ginny was getting a jump start on her homework while Hermione was still in class. Hermione gave Ginny the password to the Heads' Common Room earlier that week so she could come visit or have a quiet place to study whenever she wanted. The girls decided to have a sleepover this weekend, and Ginny just decided to come early and wait.
Ginny loved the Head Common Room; it wasn't as distracting as the house ones. Gryffindor's common room had a definite theme with maroon and gold decorations everywhere. If that wasn't distraction enough, it was usually full of students talking and playing games. The only way Ginny could study there was if it was the middle of the night with the lights dimmed a bit.
The Head Common Room was calmer, more neutral. Ginny had pictured an invisible line down the center with one side in maroon and gold, the other in emerald and silver. She was pleasantly surprised the first time she had visited. The common room was done in creams and browns, and there was a warm neutral on the wall. The floor was a dark wood; plush carpets covered the large seating area. There was a large brick fireplace near the couches. The only hints of the Heads' houses were two house pennants on either side of the fireplace and two house colored blankets over the back of one of the couches. Ginny loved how cozy everything felt.
Ginny was looking over her Potions homework when she heard the portrait open and looked up from her work. Draco Malfoy stormed over to the seating area and threw himself onto one of them. Ginny looked wide-eyed at him, unsure of what to do. After a few moments of silence, she decided to go back to her homework without saying anything.
Draco was aware of Ginny Weasley's presence in the common room when he entered. He wanted to throw something against the wall but was stopping himself from doing so in front of her. He sat on one of the large couches and leaned back, putting his head against his propped up arm. He expected the Weasley girl to say something to him and was surprised to hear her return to scratching away at her parchment. He looked over to her and watched for a bit.
Her red hair had darkened since last year; it was not a reddish-brown. She was still in her school uniform, but without the robes, he noticed she had filled out nicely. She was concentrating on her work, biting her lip occasionally. She acted as though he wasn't even in the room much less sitting across from her. Eventually, Draco couldn't take it anymore and said something to her. "Mind telling me what you're doing in my common room when no one is here? How did you even get in here?"
Ginny paused her writing and looked up at Malfoy. She stared at him for a few seconds before replying. "I'm working on my Potions homework. If I finish before Hermione gets back, I'll probably work on my Herbology. Hermione gave me the password to the common room so I could have a quiet place to study and to come visit her." Draco closed his eyes without saying anything. It was then that Ginny took notice of his appearance.
He looked almost lifeless. His skin was paler than usual; his eyes had dark circles around them. She guessed he hadn't slept much, if at all, the past few nights. His clothes didn't have their usual crispness to them. Ginny could see the wrinkles on his shirt. His Slytherin tie was loose around his neck. His long hair fell in his eyes as he tried to hold himself up against the couch.
"Just don't mess the place up." Ginny's eyes widened at his non-threatening comment. "That's it? Just don't mess the place up?" Draco opened his eyes and looked at her curious face. "Arguing with you is not my top priority at the moment. I suggest you take this rare moment and enjoy it." He turned on the couch so his legs were out in front of him, and he was leaning against the arm of the couch.
"The rumors are true then. Your father is sick?" Draco jumped from the couch, fists balled at his sides. His voice was tight and angry as he yelled at the youngest Weasley. "Yes they're true! I'm sure that makes you very happy! Lucious Malfoy is dying. Go ahead—run and tell the Golden Trio. I'm sure they'll throw a party. You can be the special guess—the girl the Malfoys chose to torture!" He was breathing short, quick breathes, and his face was red. Ginny stood up slowly from her spot on the floor. "I didn't mean anything by it. I'm not going to tell them." She carefully moved towards the couch and sat down on the edge, her eyes locked with his the whole time.
Draco was unsure of what was happening. He knew she was telling the truth but couldn't figure out why. "If you think you can somehow use this to blackmail me, you're wrong." Ginny stood up again in her spot. "I'm not after anything, Malfoy! Some people are capable of being nice without ulterior motives." They stood in front of each other, just staring, for several minutes.
The sound of the portrait opening and closing pulled the two teens from their staring contest. Hermione stopped at the scene before her. "Is something wrong?" Draco never broke eye contact as he replied. "No." Hermione nodded disbelievingly. "Come on, Ginny. I'll show you my room. I finally finished it." She headed for the stairs, not wanting to give them a chance to pull their wands.
Ginny gathered her books and stopped again in front of Draco before following her best friend. Quietly, so only Malfoy could hear her, she spoke. "I may not like your father, and he did try to break me my first year. That doesn't change the fact that he is your father. I would never wish that on anyone. I'm sorry he's sick." She walked away without saying anything else and without waiting for a response. Draco gaped at Ginny's retreating form, his body finally relaxing in shock.