July 5, 2011
Author's Note: Here's the final chapter. Thank you for reading and reviewing, everyone. It seems like people have enjoyed the story and I'm really glad they have!
Beginning or End?
The first thing he noticed was that his head didn't hurt. At all. Not a bit.
The second thing he noticed was a warm body pressed closely against him, a freckled arm draped over his stomach.
Turning his head, he caught sight of a mass of orange hair, and a smile erupted onto his face, uncontrollable in its excitement.
She startled awake, nearly falling out of the bed in her surprise.
He stared at her with a genuine smile until she registered where she was and who she was with, and once she had, her eyes lit up and she tackled Draco with a happy squeal.
"We did it! We did it!" she cried, planting kiss after kiss on his face.
They walked down to breakfast together, eager to make sure their ordeal was over, that they were free and their time wasn't. Of course, they couldn't tell if anything had changed by just standing in the doorway to the Great Hall. Draco took his place at the Slytherin table while she took hers with the Gryffindors. There were no rogue eggs flying through the air this morning. The sky as reflected on the enchanted ceiling was sunny, bright, and cloudless. And the date at the top of the Daily Prophet Draco had snatched out of someone's hands read Wednesday, February 18th.
They had done it.
His excitement was so great—albeit controlled—that Draco could hardly finish his breakfast. Weasley kept glancing up at him from her table, smiling so widely, so happily, that his chest ached to see it. But it was such a good day already, Draco didn't even mind the ache.
He left breakfast to get to Arithmancy early, but was stopped on the landing to the third floor corridor by the sound of his name being called. When he turned around, Ron Weasley was racing up the stairs to catch up to Draco, his ears and cheeks already tinged pink.
"I know you and my sister are together!" he cried accusingly as soon as he was on the same level as Draco. "I don't really know how I know, but you'd better know... I know it!"
Draco rolled his eyes and pretended to inspect his fingernails. "And?"
Weasley's face turned a darker shade of red. "And? And? And cut it out! Stay away from her, you git!"
"Oh, that will be difficult," Draco replied. "I promised her last night that things would be official starting Wednesday."
"Today is Wednesday."
The Slytherin feigned surprise. "Oh! So it is. Well, I suppose it's official, then."
"Like hell it is!"
Draco saw Weasley reach for his wand, but he was one step ahead of him. Before the wand could leave the Gryffindor's robe pocket, Draco's fist was connecting with his jaw, sending Weasley reeling backwards against the wall. Unconscious. Draco had knocked him unconscious. With his own fist!
He scanned the Grand Staircase for other students or teachers and then continued up the stairs. It wouldn't do to be caught at the scene of the crime, even though Weasley would certainly rat him out as soon as he gained consciousness.
After Arithmancy, Draco got called into McGonagall's office. Weasley was already sitting across from the professor's desk, glaring up at Draco as he walked in. He took a seat in the last available chair and crossed his arms over his chest in disinterest.
"Professor von Rheticus tells me that you were fighting on the staircase earlier today," she said. In a portrait behind her, a goatee-ed man looked down his nose at Draco, who remembered the portrait from one of the earliest Tuesdays.
"I'll take a detention, Professor, but I was acting in self-defense. Weasley already had his wand drawn. If I hadn't punched him, who knows what he would have done to me?" Draco said, surprising McGonagall with the acceptance of his punishment, as well as his admission.
"Oh. Well. Yes, then. Detention for both of you with Mr. Filch tonight at eight o'clock. You may leave." She shuffled some papers on her desk in agitation, obviously unsure what to do with herself now that she didn't have to argue with Draco about his punishment.
Draco smiled falsely at her on his way out, but he didn't get far before Weasley rounded on him again.
"It's just like you to make up a story to bring me down with you," he said in a furious growl.
"Yes, it is," Draco agreed with a smirk.
That caught Weasley—who had been expecting a denial or a lie, no doubt—off guard, giving Draco just enough time to escape.
He then went to Herbology (even though he was late, Sprout didn't seem to mind) and Ancient Runes, and for the first time in his entire Hogwarts career, he looked forward to his classes and enjoyed being in them. What would they learn that day? Who would receive a detention? He had no earthly idea! And he was glad he didn't.
He bumped into Ginny as he was leaving dinner.
"Oh! Dr—Malfoy. Um, are you busy at this current moment in time?" she asked awkwardly, her ears turning pink. Draco had decided, maybe the previous night, that he liked it when her ears changed colors like that. He enjoyed the feisty side of her, the one that argued and competed with Draco, but there was also something appealing about her embarrassment. Maybe because it was so easy to embarrass her. He predicted that one day it would take more than setting eyes on him to make her cheeks glow with an awkward blush. He looked forward to not only breaking her blushing habit, but of finding out what kinds of things would bring it back.
"I'm on my way to detention," he said.
"Oh. Oh, sorry. You get a lot of those, don't you?"
Draco shrugged. "I can meet you afterward, if you'd like."
"Oh. Yes. Sure. At, um, the usual place?"
The corner of his lips twitched. "Yes, at the usual place."
"Okay. All right then. See you later!" She rushed into the Great Hall, though Draco thought she had been on her way out of it to speak to him.
All throughout his detention, Draco's thoughts wandered. He knew what he would much rather be doing as opposed to mopping, sweeping, and scraping gum off the undersides of desks—and better yet, who he would much rather be spending time with. If Weasley had only known how Draco's thoughts revolved around his sister, he probably would have dumped a mop bucket on the Slytherin's head. The thoughts made his work go quickly, and sooner than he had expected, he and Weasley were released from detention.
He raced up to the seventh floor corridor, to the room across from the tapestry depicting ballerina trolls. When he opened the door, the room was just as it had been the very first time they had entered it, with the chairs by the fire and the table of food by the door. Weasley was sitting in one of the chairs, but she stood as he closed the door behind him, smiling at him for a moment before rushing into his arms and pulling his lips down to hers.
"Here to finish what we started last night?" he asked against her neck. Her body trembled against his, but then she stepped away, her grin widening on her face.
"Yes! You said we could finish talking about us today, right?"
Draco suppressed a groan. Talking was not what he had imagined doing with her while he had been in detention.
"Can't we do it later? We've got all the time in the world," he whined.
"Exactly," she replied, her smile turning into a bit of a smirk. She kissed him on the corner of his lips and then pulled him over to the chairs, pushing him down into one before plopping into his lap. "And we'd better make good use of it."