I decided to do this since I haven't posted for a while. It's only a one-shot, since I'm planning to finish the last two (maybe three) chapters of "Look Back in Anger", add another chap. To my Not-Quite-Celebrity Bloopers, and write a few for an HP fic (one's finished so far, but I won't post until I have at least three or four chapters typed). So here's something to wet your appetite for the next few days.
Draco's hands were shoved in his pockets, trying to look like he was used to Pansy Parkinson dragging him around, her bony hands in a death-grip lock on his arm. It was nearing St. Valentine's Day, and although the castle never celebrated the holiday, there were always the hugs and private exchanges between classes. Pansy had dropped not-very-subtle hints for the past two weeks on what she would want most for that day, and who she wanted it from—she was constantly pointing out little things, like a girl's lipstick color, and how it made her lips look thin instead of luscious and full, and how those lips were always the best to kiss…
Draco would purse his lips whenever she did that, and would come up with some witty remark in his low, melodious (and to the girls, infinitely sexy) voice that no right shade of lipstick could help Eloise Midgen. Pansy would giggle at once and laugh, laugh in her high, irritating nasal laugh—that horribly clashed with Draco's velvety one—but be slightly disappointed that he hadn't appeared to have gotten the point.
Right now, however, several members of their clique were around, and all the girls were wearing agreeable lipstick colors. Pansy would have to wait to make another meaningful comment but satisfied herself right now with clamping her ice-cold hands in a vise around his wrist. The group was walking along the corridor to have lunch in the Great Hall. It was a pretty spring Sunday, and the blossoms were blooming on the bushes and flowers peeked out from the thawing ground, eager to drink in the warmth that the winter had left in its path.
Draco was thinking of a way to get rid of Pansy for the afternoon to take a stroll on the grounds when Blaise Zabini wrinkled her nose and pointed.
"What's that?" she said curiously. "We've walked this hallway a thousand times and I've never seen that door before." Her finger was pointing at a handsome wooden door with a brazen brass knob.
Another Slytherin boy shrugged. "The doors here are always wandering around. It'll be gone soon."
The clique turned to go but Blaise remained behind, still looking at the door like it was a puzzle she couldn't quite figure out.
"I wonder what's inside," Blaise mused. She reached for the knob and twisted it. The door needed a bit of a budge to open, but it finally did, and with a protesting squeak from the old hinges, it swung hesitantly. Everyone peered inside, and even Draco looked in with interest, Pansy still clutching his arm.
The room was not very large and pretty much bare, save for one piece of furniture.
A dark cherry brown piano sat proudly in the middle of the room. It was magnificent, and Draco's mouth hung slightly open as he gazed at its beauty. Lean, elegant, and painstakingly carved legs supported the body frame. Light smoothed its edges. Reams and reams of music sheets lay on the floor, beckoning in a strange, luring voice to anyone who saw to come and make the notes come alive.
A strange urge came over Draco, and he suddenly wanted everyone to go away, so he could be alone with the majestic wooden siren, and he was about to tell them to leave; it was on the tip of his tongue, when Pansy shattered his thoughts into a million pieces with a pig-like squeal.
"Oh, it's so pretty!" she exclaimed, dancing on her tiptoes.
Damn right it is, thought Draco, for once approving of an intelligent comment made by the pug-nosed girl. Normally, Pansy's view of something 'pretty' rarely extended beyond something that was either shocking pink or a favorable lipstick hue candidate.
His momentary acceptance of her as a sentient creature was dashed when Pansy rushed right over to the piano, sat herself down heavily on the plush, sound music bench and immediately started banging the keys in what she hoped to be the tune "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star."
She obviously had never learned the keys and was playing from a standard version—key this one twice, the one to the right two times…
Draco set his jaw in annoyance at her and winced when she struck a particularly clashing note. To his ears, it was worse than nails scraping on a rough chalkboard. The others in his group didn't seem as affected, and one even commented that she knew the notes better than he did. If that were true, he would have to have little more music talent in his smallest toe than Peeves did when he sang French love songs while trying to drop pee balloons on hysterical first-year girls.
The piano was perfectly all right, in fact, it was in much better of a tune than any other piano he had played, but Pansy's discordant bashing sounded like a choir of banshees on one of their bad singing days. Draco bit his lip. Such a delicate instrument did not deserve such harsh treatment from a musical heathen's tortures like Pansy's. Without thinking, he came over to her side.
"Here," he said, placing his hands on the keys, "these ones are the basic notes. Spread your fingers apart, like this…" He demonstrated for her how to do it, playing a simple little bar for her. "Don't bang, just lightly push, with the ends of your fingers…"
He trailed off as he realized Pansy was no longer interested in the piano, but in the platinum blonde right next to her. She was plainly more caught up in doting on him than getting it right. Draco held back a snort of disgust and wondered why he even bothered. He turned back to the door leading out. He didn't want to leave the piano, but he didn't want Pansy to torment the exquisitely beautiful keys, either.
So he left, and the others followed, including a very excited Pansy thinking that this meant she was going to get her kiss for Valentine's Day.
Draco ate at top speed at lunch that day, agitated at not having been able to play the piano like he wanted so badly. He escaped from the table once he felt like he had shoveled in enough food to last him until dinner. He mumbled something about needed to do some work and left.
After lunch was finished, Draco managed to shake off Pansy with an excuse for needing to go to the library, even though he had already finished all his homework. She had insisted that she come with him, but he had argued back, saying that it would only take an hour or so.
He headed in the direction of the library, being careful to duck in side passages and blend in with a crowd of chattering students. Once he was sure that Pansy was no longer following, he headed in the direction of the hallways he had traveled earlier. His steps were quicker, longer than usual, as he was anxious to get back to the mysterious room and try out his own fingers on the keys that called him to the room with the promise of sweet music, exercising an irresistible pull on every fiber of his being.
Finally after an eternity he came back to the corridor he had walked before, searching eagerly for the same handsome wooden door with the same brazen brass knob. He was determined to not let his spirits go down when all the door knobs he saw were silver.
His heart leaped when he spied a brass knob, but it was grubby and covered with fingerprints, and the wood of the door was crumbling and old. Nevertheless, Draco opened it up anyways and was disappointed when it only turned out to be one of Filch's broom closets. He sighed and slammed the door shut, causing several startled spiders to slip from their corner-dwelling silk webs onto the dirty floor below.
He had already used up twenty minutes of his precious hour, but didn't care about that as much as just finding the room.
He was about to give up when he at long last saw the intact wooden door with the pretty brass knob. He entered hastily and breathed a sigh of relief as he realized he had been barely breathing while searching for the room. The piano still sat there, waiting patiently for someone to come along and play it the way it deserved to be. Draco did not want to disappoint it and quickly sat down.
He glanced briefly at the music sheets strewn across the floor then decided to ignore them for the moment. He lightly rested his fingertips on the keys, feeling a little thrill work its way down his spine. His hands stayed arched, poised to deliver the pushes that would send the ethereal notes gently drifting through the air and breathe life into the room.
Draco started with a simple bar that was one of the first he had learned starting the piano. He, being the only child of an exceedingly rich family, had had a traditional classic upbringing before he started Hogwarts. His father had wanted him to focus on manly things like fencing, dueling, mathematics and the like, but his mother had encouraged him to also pursue the more artistic aspects of his education. From the early age of five, he had swiftly discovered the melodic piano to be his favorite.
After discovering that his son had a feel for the keys, Draco's father bought him a pleasant piano and had Draco play for guests whenever the Malfoys invited some over—the Minister, Barty Crouch, and several other important wizards had heard him play and were very impressed. It was a good social point.
The modest piece soon became flowing and refined. Draco added more and more to the inelegant tune until it became a fragile rhapsody, the notes spiraling rapturously through the air before settling back down and allowing themselves to be caught up in the lovely sequence of sounds.
For the first time in a long time, Draco felt himself relax. All of the worries and tensions that had worked up inside for the past few years now melted away. His muscles loosened, letting the music thoroughly massage them more effectively than a professional masseuse. His mind was so completely, blissfully blank that his normally fierce guard was let down and he didn't notice the small, compact redhead that was listening attentively to every note.
Ginny Weasley stood behind the door, just around the corner. She listened in half amazement and half complete shock at the music spilling out of the piano like rippling water. A little annoyance was wedged solidly in there too. Why did such a great talent have to be given to so awful a person? She would have preferred one of her brothers playing there, or Harry, or Hermione.
She also marveled at the way Draco seemed to be with the music. It was a symbiosis: the movements of his hand were the notes on the music sheet, and both were flawless. She imagined that Draco was pouring out his soul through his fingers, and that soul was full of music.
Ginny hazarded another peek around the corner and saw him again. He was completely engrossed with the keys and looked like he wasn't playing from a music sheet, or even from heart. She had the feeling that he was improvising as he went along, and that shocked her more. She had never known anyone who could just pull beautiful bars out of thin air so effortlessly.
She was so intent on watching Draco's reverie that her mind slipped along with her hand. She stumbled forward clumsily. Hastily she clamped her hand over her mouth, but it was no use. Immediately the music stopped and the air became stiff again.
Draco looked up with a startled glance and saw Ginny standing there. His mouth worked, clearly not knowing what to say to this unexpected surprise. Finally his guard was back up and he asked gruffly, "How long have you been there?" He was almost afraid to hear the answer.
"About five minutes," came the tentative answer.
Draco groaned inwardly. That was worth five minutes of blackmail. That was about homicide here at Hogwarts.
Ginny knew what he was thinking and said quickly, "I'm not going to tell anyone, if that's what you're thinking."
"Why?" Draco said. "You know as well as I do that five minutes' worth of blackmail is enough for grounds of suicide." There was the familiar smirk back in his voice, but the effects of the piano still lingered, and Ginny thought Draco's voice was almost harmonious.
"Well…because. I liked it." Ginny's faced reddened a bit and she hoped Draco didn't notice.
He didn't say anything. Perhaps he was still getting over the surprise that a Weasley, of all people, was passing up a perfectly good opportunity to blackmail him. Ginny supposed she would have been surprised too, if it had been her.
An uncomfortable silence fell over them. Draco relaxed a bit, and looked at the keys almost in embarrassment. Ginny, wanting to break the awkward stillness, asked, "Could…could you show me?" She looked uncertain at her own daring.
Draco looked up. That was clearly not the thing he had expected her to say. Part of his mind said 'no' instantly, and he opened his mouth to say it when instead the words came out, "I guess."
He blinked. Why had he just done that? She was a Weasley and a Gryffindor. Then he told himself that the smarter part of his brain made him say that, because it knew that if he refused her, she might go back on her promise of no blackmail. He desperately wanted to believe that, but it was too late in any case. The little redhead came closer. He steeled himself, and then scooted over on the bench to make room. Fortunately, it was fairly big, so he didn't worry about being in too close of proximity with her.
Ginny came and sat down. She then looked at him for instructions. Draco quickly started, hoping the sooner he did, the sooner this would end and they could go back to ignoring each other in the hallway like they had always done.
"Put your fingers here. These are the simple bar keys, the basic ones…" For the next ten minutes he showed her the keys, and told her which notes were where. He had her play a couple of bars from a simple song. To his astonishment, she listened like a good student, and caught on quickly, only making a few mistakes here and there.
Once she hit a wrong note and Draco flinched. "Sorry," said Ginny hastily. Draco berated himself for doing that.
"Er…you didn't really hit that note on purpose. Your wrist needs to be held up higher, and your fingers arched. That way your wrist won't accidentally jounce any wrong key." He demonstrated for her, and she tried to copy his hand's position with her own. The result was that her wrist arched at a peculiar angle and it looked uncomfortable. Draco took a deep breath, and prepared himself.
"Here," he muttered, and hesitatingly took her hand and gently bent the wrist up. She jumped a bit at his touch and flushed, and then allowed her hand to be guided into the right position. Ginny trembled a bit inside, though not from fear, and something fluttered in her stomach. Draco finished with her wrist and moved on to her fingers, spreading them apart slightly and bended the fingers where they could reach the keys more easily. After her hand was in the correct position, he withdrew his own. His face was pink, and he noticed that his hands shook.
Ginny smiled, though it looked a bit embarrassed. "Ah, I'll practice on that."
Draco, thinking that this meant she was leaving, nodded. He wondered why part of him wanted her to stay longer, and forced the thought out of his mind. He turned back to the piano, but Ginny didn't leave. He looked at her and saw that she was fidgeting a bit, and gave her a questioning glance.
She grinned sheepishly. "I was hoping you'd play some more."
In spite of himself, Draco smiled genuinely. He didn't say anything, just put his fingers on the keys and started a slow, pretty piece while Ginny closed her eyes.
He's really not so bad, Ginny thought.
She's really not so bad, Draco thought.
Well, how did you like? It was short, yes, forgive me, I wanted to make it longer, but if I did I would have to make it sappy, and as much as I love maple syrup, I don't want to make you sick. I don't do romance, I just felt like a little D/G. Tell me what you think.