Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters belong to the fabulous JK Rowling. "Twelfth Night, or What You Will" belongs to the equally fabulous William Shakespeare. To see a great version of the play, rent "Twelfth Night" starring Helena Bonham Carter, Toby Stephens, and Imogen Stubbs. Great movie! I own nothing except Professor Mun Dane and Kit. (Oh, and the plot) Very serious apologies to anyone who is a Shakespeare purist. Girls (and moms) just wanna have fun!

A/N: When I first posted, I got the name of the woman who played Cesario/Viola wrong. Her name is 'Imogen' not Emma. But she is a wonderful actress and my apologies. Also, I know I said no more D/G, then posted another, but I still have a few half-finished stories poking around my computer, so I'll probably finish those, and then no more. (grumbles that she's still trying to get over the writer's block for her original fic) K



"I hate this! I really, really hate this!" Ginny Weasley paced back and forth in her small dorm room, shaking the piece of parchment she'd been reading.

"Calm down, Gin," her roommate, Kit, told her. "You know, it's not like we didn't know there was going to be an end of the year sixth-seventh year project. They do this every year! We're just unlucky enough to have to do it for Muggle studies, this year."

Ginny stopped and glared at her friend. "But, Kit. A PLAY? We have to do a play? And by Shakespeare? Couldn't it have at least been something more modern, like Neil Simon, or even something based on Agatha Christie? But, NO, we have to do some stupid play about people who lived hundreds of years ago, speaking a language we don't understand, and wearing silly costumes!"

Kit shook her head and rolled her eyes. "No one said you had to ACT in the stupid play, Ginny. Just be part of the stage crew, or do props, or costumes. There are lots of ways you can participate without ever setting foot on the stage!"

Ginny glanced at her impatiently. "I know that, Kit. I just like getting dramatic about it. You should know that by now."

She moved to her bed and threw herself onto it with a huff.

"I'll probably try for the stage crew," she said finally. "I'd rather be running things behind the scenes than on stage, anyway."

Kit grinned. Ginny would probably be great on the stage crew, especially if she was running it. She liked being in charge and she was frightfully well organized. Kit was thinking that she'd like to be one of the cast members, though. She'd read the play and really liked and could see herself in a couple of the parts. Well, sign ups were tomorrow, and all sixth and seventh year students had to participate in some way. And there were so many good-looking seventh year boys! She hoped she would be able to play across from one of them.

Ginny glanced over at Kit, noticing the rapt look on her face. Now Ginny rolled her eyes and clicked her tongue. She had no doubt what Kit was thinking about at that moment. Boys.

The following day Ginny and Kit arrived in the Great Hall along with most of the other sixth and seventh years. A few students were excused from participating, such as prefects, Head Boy and Head Girl, and any seventh year student who had excelled in his or her combined project the previous year. Ginny was surprised, therefore, to see Hermione Granger lined up with all the other Gryffindor seventh years. Ginny sighed. Some people weren't content to just be overachievers; they had to do everything.

"Hey, Ginny, Kit," Colin Creevey called, waving them over.

The girls hurried over and got in line where Colin had saved them a spot. The three of them discussed what they wanted to do in the play as they waited for their turn to speak with the three Muggle studies teachers. It was finally their turn and they luckily got their own teacher, Professor Munsun Dane.

"Well, you three, all together as usual, I see," the florid faced man chuckled. "Now please don't tell me you all want to be Orsino or Olivia."

Kit's face fell as he said this, but then she rallied. "All right, Professor, how about Maria?"

Ginny cut off his reply. "Not me, Professor. I'd like to be in stage production, if there are any openings?"

The professor looked happily at his list. "Well, Miss Weasley, I'm not sure if you've ever heard the phrase, 'too many chiefs and not enough Indians', but we've got the reverse problem. We have plenty of people who want to be on the crew, but no one to lead them. Want the job?"

Kit and Colin started laughing and Colin pulled out a sickle, flipping it to Kit. "You win," he said with a grin.

"And just what was that sickle thing about," Ginny asked her friends suspiciously as they left the Great Hall. Professor Dane had told them that if they weren't acting in a major part, they must take on at least two jobs or at least understudy for one of the main characters. Since Colin and Kit wanted to act, they were given small jobs in costume and props and told to be back for try outs later in the evening. Ginny was happy to be in charge of the stage crew, answerable only to the director or the assistant director. But she was given the part of Viola/Cesario to understudy. And Professor Dane had cautioned her not to stuff the script into a drawer and forget it.

"I will be testing all of you on any parts you have before the play!" he had warned.

Ginny glared at her friends and prompted, "Well?"

Kit grinned and flipped her sickle, deftly catching it in the same hand. "Colin and I had a bet on, see? I said you'd walk away with the stage manager's job, he thought you'd be director. I figured they'd give that to one of the seventh years. I won!"

Ginny shook her head and rolled her eyes. "You two are impossible," she said with a snort of disgust.

"Yeah," Colin agreed, wrapping an arm around each of the girls' waists and giving them a big hug. "But you love us."

That night as the girls were getting ready for bed, the dorm room was buzzing with talk about the tryouts and who had gotten which part. Most of the girls had ended up on crew, props, make up or lighting, but a few, like Kit, had actually gotten acting parts. And Kit got the part of Maria, Olivia's head lady in waiting.

"The only bad part is I have to get 'friendly' at the end of the play with Sir Toby. And he's being played by Neville!"

The girls hooted with laughter, but Kit was secretly pleased. She actually had a crush on Neville, for all he was shy, clumsy and a bit on the plump side.

"Did you see who gets to play Olivia?" one of the girls asked.

"Who?"

"Pansy Parkinson!"

There was a general round of jeering. Pansy, with her lovely hair, smoldering eyes and perfect looks, was one of the most popular girls in school. At least, she was popular with the boys. But the girls hated her. She was better looking, wealthier, and more graceful than many of them, and she never let them forget it.

"God," Ginny said dramatically. "I feel sorry for whoever got the part of Sebastian. They end up together at the end."

"Oh, my god, Ginny, you mean you haven't heard?" Kit looked like she was going to burst with her news.

"No," Ginny said with a touch of impatience. "If I'd heard, I wouldn't have said that!"

The other girls gathered around and listened eagerly. Kit grinned. "It's RON!"

Ginny hurried to the Great Hall after classes the next day. She still couldn't believe her brother had gotten such a good part in the play, but she did feel sorry for him, having to play across from Pansy. Pansy hated the Weasleys almost as much as Draco Malfoy did. Well, she thought with a satisfied smirk, at least she didn't have to deal with any of them. Hannah Abbott was playing Viola, and Malfoy was playing (oh, big surprise here) the Duke Orsino. They would be comfortably on stage while she was taking care of the sets, sound, lighting, and props. She would only have to deal with Hermione (another big stretch here) as the director. Since she dealt with Hermione every day, it wouldn't be too bad.

The Great Hall seemed packed, even though it only held the sixth and seventh years. And then only the ones who hadn't been excused from participating. Ginny hurried over to Hermione to see if she had any instructions before Ginny sorted her crews and got them going.

"Ginny! Great. I'm going to be taking care of the cast, and choreography, and the like. I'd like you to work with the assistant director for the sets and props and such. All right?"

"Sure," Ginny shrugged. "Who is it?"

Hermione bit her lip and looked a bit uncertain. Uh, oh, Ginny thought. This didn't look good. Before she could repeat her question, though, a strong hand landed on her shoulder and gave her a rough shake.

"Right, then, Weasley, let's get started."

Ginny spun around and looked with disbelief into the mocking gray eyes of Draco Malfoy.

"I don't get it!" Ginny railed later in their dorm room. "He's got a major part! What's he doing being the assistant director?"

Kit smiled, enjoying her friend's discomfiture. She secretly thought Ginny and Malfoy could make a great couple. Like Romeo and Juliet, but without the double suicide. She knew Malfoy was stuck up and rich and acted like a real prat most of the time. He also used to be a bully, and sometimes downright mean. But he wasn't the evil git everyone thought he was. He was arrogant, but he had grown up a good deal in the last few years. He didn't really bother Ginny and her friends, didn't even really notice them. And hell, Kit thought, if she'd had money and looks, she'd probably be a bit stuck up, too. As far as Kit was concerned, the worst thing about Malfoy was the way he acted to Ginny's brother Ron and his friends. But that was between the four of them and it really didn't have anything to do with Ginny. Kit figured if Malfoy would actually notice Ginny, he would see how special she was. And with her strong personality, he wouldn't be able to walk all over her the way he did to some of the girls at school.

"What!?" Ginny demanded, seeing the look on Kit's face. "Oh, come on, Kit. You're not on about that, again, are you?"

Kit's grin grew broader.

"Look, I told you, Malfoy's the biggest waste of flesh in the world. And if you tell me once more that there's more there than meets the eye, I'll probably smother you while you're sleeping. He's a MALFOY! That's bad enough. And now I have to work with him. Damn Hermione, anyway."

Kit giggled, but wisely didn't say anything. But she was still a sucker for long shots.

"God, can't you get anything right, Weasley? I said a set that looked like a withdrawing room, not a funeral parlor!"

Malfoy was indicating the newly painted and constructed set where Olivia would hold her first interview with Viola/Cesario. There had been several other things Malfoy had objected to that Ginny had tried to change, just to keep the peace. But she had been trying to hold her temper all afternoon, and this was the straw that broke the camel's back.

"Did you actually read the script, Malfoy? Or were you only interested in the parts where you could flaunt your pretty face!? What you said, and here are the 'quick quill' notes if you want to read them, was that you wanted a luxurious looking room that was a bit subdued. If you read the script, you'll see that Olivia is still in mourning for her brother, and so keeps her house in mourning, too. This," she gestured grandly at the set, "is what you need, even if you're too stupid to know it."

She turned her back on him, seething, but stopped when the applause began. Her entire crew was cheering for her. She turned to look at them and saw that even Malfoy seemed to be smiling. Not gloating, not smirking, but smiling.

He wiped the smile from his face, though, and stalked toward her. And right past her. But not before he hissed, "About damn time, Weasley."

Ginny shook her head. About time? For what? She decided at that moment, though, that she wasn't changing another thing at Malfoy's bidding, unless she felt he was right.

The show was only a week away, and things were coming together, finally. The entire crew and cast waited with 'bated breath' for the next Weasley- Malfoy row. And there had been many of them. But instead of getting all knotted up inside, as she had at first, Ginny was beginning to enjoy them. She had found that Malfoy usually had a point when he brought up a complaint, but that didn't mean she always changed what ever he'd asked to be changed. And she found it exciting to be challenged and to have to do her best, constantly, or be called on it. Malfoy seemed just as determined to make the production a success technically, as Hermione did artistically. And Ginny was the way to get it done. They were going over the lighting again for one of the later scenes with Malvolio, Olivia's steward, and Feste, the fool. They had just agreed on some slight changes and Ginny was turning to her lighting crew when Professor Dane hurried up.

"Miss Weasley, good, I found you!"

Ginny felt a sudden sinking in her gut. Where did the professor expect her to be, besides at rehearsal?

"Yes, sir?"

Malfoy had been moving away, but he turned back to listen.

"I need to test you on Viola's part," the professor said quickly. "I hope you've been studying it."

"But Professor! I'm right in the middle of the lighting! Can it wait?"

The look on his face didn't make Ginny feel very hopeful. He shook his head.

"No, something has come up. I need to see how well you've studied."

Ginny swallowed and glanced at Malfoy. He was smirking delightedly. She glared at him, wanting to scratch his eyes out. Instead she turned back to the Professor.

"I've been looking at it and practicing, but I'm not an actor."

She glared at Malfoy again when she heard his bark of laughter. But Professor Dane waved him aside. A look of anger and impatience crossed the professor's face as he quoted, "'Make no compare between that love a woman can bear me and that I owe Olivia!'"

Ginny recognized the reference immediately. It was where Viola/Cesario tried to convince the duke to take Olivia's 'no' for an answer.

"'Aye, but I know—,'" she replied quickly, then paused, assuming a look of tragedy and longing. Remembering the part of the play she was quoting, she even felt tears sting her eyes.

Professor Dane's face lit up. "'What dost thou know?'" he asked, continuing the scene.

Ginny lowered her voice, making it gruff and harsh. She slouched slightly and began to pace, getting into the part. "'Too well what love women to men may owe. In faith, they are as true of heart as we. My father had a daughter loved a man, as it might be, perhaps, were I a woman, I should your lordship.'"

The few crewmembers still in the area began to applaud. Professor Dane looked as though Christmas had come early that year. Even Malfoy looked speechless. Then Ginny realized she was trapped. "I, er, well that is—," she stammered, but Malfoy stepped in at that moment.

"If she needs any help, I'll drill her on her lines, Professor," he said smoothly, giving Ginny a predatory grin. "It's the least I can do, considering how 'helpful' Weasley's been. But why? What's wrong with Abbott?"

Professor Dane cleared his throat. "It seems Miss Abbott is a bit unhappy with her part. She didn't realize it was such a big part, and had so much contact, er, with you, Mr. Malfoy."

Now it was Ginny's turn to laugh. She ignored Malfoy's scowl. "Scared off another one, then, Malfoy?" she asked. "Doesn't surprise me, though."

"Either way," the professor said quickly, stepping between the two teens, "she is willing to fail the project rather than play the part. Therefore, Miss Abbott will assist you as stage manager, Miss Weasley, and you, as her understudy, will take over the part of Viola."

Arguing, cajoling, and reasoning didn't work. Most of the sets, props and lighting were already taken care of, so Ginny was told to devote the rest of the time before the performance to practicing. Hannah would come to Ginny only if there was an emergency that she couldn't handle. And that was that.

After the professor left, Ginny sighed and turned to Malfoy, who had stayed throughout. "Well, Weasley, what say we start practicing? You know Orsino and Cesario become very close at the end. Why not get in character right now?" He moved right next to her. "'But died thy sister of her love, my boy?'" he whispered, continuing the passage she and the professor had been doing. He reached out to pull her close, but she placed a hand in the middle of his chest.

He was giving her a stage leer and Ginny's temper snapped. "Fine, Malfoy, how's this for in character. Get thee away from me. Thou thinks I'm a youth and a boy, yet thou persueth me. Dost that not make thee a pedophile and a sodomite?"

She spun on her heal and stalked out of the Great Hall, trying to ignore the hoots of laughter following her.

The next several days went by in a blur of final exams, O. W. L.'s, and rehearsal. Malfoy had been as good as his word, constantly drilling Ginny on her lines (the git seemed to have memorized the entire play!). He would get her the second she entered the Great Hall, and would throw lines at her any time she wasn't actually on stage. Her crew was still coming to her for advice occasionally, but they were pretty much done with everything, and mostly sat back to enjoy the farce unfolding right in front of them.

Ginny was very surprised to find that Malfoy was a pretty good actor. She was also surprised to find that she was enjoying acting, too. But her biggest shock came when she discovered that Ron was a natural! He played Viola's brother Sebastian as though the part had been invented for him. Even down to the love scenes with Pansy! The first time she stood in the wings as Cesario, she watched Pansy continuously try to upstage Ron, or throw him off his lines. They were doing the scene where Olivia, thinking Sebastian was Cesario, was talking him into going to the priest to get married. Ginny couldn't help grinning when Pansy threw in a sudden open mouthed kiss, apparently trying to fluster Ron. Ron had other ideas, though. When Pansy tried to push away, he grabbed her waist and bent her over his arm, kissing her until she seemed weak in the knees. When he let her loose, she stumbled back and put her hand to her mouth. Her cheeks were flushed and for once she was speechless.

Ginny had smothered a chuckle, noticing that Ron seemed a bit flushed, too, but she was probably the only one who noticed. All other eyes seemed to be on Pansy. And since then, Pansy had not only behaved, she seemed to be mooning over Ron. The entire Gryffindor Common Room was buzzing about it. At the time, though, Pansy wasn't the only Slytherin who was misbehaving.

"My, how friendly you Gryffindors can be," a silky, drawling voice had whispered in her ear while she had watched Ron and Pansy.

Ginny had jumped slightly and turned to Malfoy. He was smirking as his eyes watched Ron and Pansy, who were suddenly trying to ignore one another. "Like brother, like sister?"

The cool gray eyes moved to her face. He was still smirking, but Ginny saw a hint of mischief lurking there.

"Not bloody likely YOU'LL ever find out, Malfoy," she answered levelly. "And I believe that's my cue for a sword fight."

She had turned and casually walked away, delighted to have gotten the last word for once. Malfoy had begun making those sorts of mildly suggestive comments since she'd gotten the part for Viola. Ginny saw them for what they were; attempts to fluster or embarrass her. She just didn't take the bait. But she seldom came off the winner of their verbal encounters. In fact, it was so rare, she really did savor each victory. As she went through the scene where she as Cesario was supposed to duel with Sir Andrew Aguecheek, played by Justin Fitch-Fletchley, her mind was not on Draco Malfoy, but on making sure she got her parts right. And going over all the scenes, props, stage changes, lighting, and anything else she thought might go wrong.

As the rehearsals continued, though, everything seemed to be going smoothly. The dress rehearsal was tomorrow night. The costumes were really great, even if she had to wear trousers through almost the entire play. They were more like hose and pantaloons. And she was to wear a doublet, gloves and a toque hat. With her pageboy haircut, the outfit really looked authentic, and she laughed at Ron's indignation that he would have to wear a wig. Since Malfoy wore his hair longish anyway, it wasn't much of a stretch for him to wear a wig with the requisite bangs and curls. And he'd actually grown a small moustache and goatee to complete the picture.

Ron was angry at that, too. Ginny had tried to explain that he was supposed to be Viola's twin, her age and coloring, so he had to remain fairly smooth faced. He still groused that if he had to look like a flipping female, he should at least be allowed a moustache. But, dress rehearsal was tomorrow, and Ginny had come up with the idea of a fake, adhesive moustache for both of them. It would blur the soft lines of her mouth, and make Ron happy, as well.

The night of the performance had finally come. Ginny looked in the mirror, wondering at the difference hair length and a dress made. The play was about to begin. Dress rehearsal yesterday had been pretty good, with only a few missed cues, and lighting mistakes. Those had been addressed and everyone was feeling comfortable with tonight's performance. The 'dress' part of the rehearsal was something of a misnomer for them. None of them actually wore their costumes, but they did go through the entire play with almost no breaks for Hermione to correct the staging or choreography. And now, here they were, with the remainder of the school, as well as several proud, anxious parents waiting in the Great Hall. The raised platform where the teachers usually sat had been extended, curtains magically hung, and the lights magically suspended. The audience sat on long benches facing the new 'stage', looking idly or impatiently at the programs the publicity committee had put together.

Ginny's parents were in the audience, along with George and Fred. She looked at herself again and sighed. The dress was in the Elizabethan style, cinching her waist, pushing up her small bosom, and flaring into a full, voluminous skirt. The material wasn't rich brocade or velvet, but it still looked good. Ginny was wearing a wig over her shorter haircut and she looked altogether very elegant, even though, technically, Viola was supposed to have just survived a shipwreck. And this was the only scene where she could wear this wonderful costume. Otherwise she would be in the trunk hose, doublet and hat. Nervously running her hands down her skirt, Ginny turned away from the mirror and looked around the girl's dressing room, actually the loo down the hall from the Great Hall. The actors were to change, then use the teachers' entrance to get onstage.

Since none of the other girls had parts coming up for a while, they were standing around chatting. All but one of the washbasins had been converted into small vanity tables with make up, powder, wigs, and other props strewn about. Ginny was the only female in the first scene, so the other girls were only about half dressed. The others in the scene were a Hufflepuff boy playing the part of the sea captain, and some extras as sailors. Even though the play was originally written to have Orsino introduced first, with his waiting-gentlemen, Hermione thought it would flow better if Viola was first. Ginny didn't care, as long as everyone remembered their lines tonight. She reached into the pocket of her robe, hanging on the back of the door and looked at her watch. Only ten minutes until curtain. She decided she might as well go wait in the wings.

As she left, Kit gave her two encouraging thumbs up. Ginny grinned and waved, then slipped out the door. And almost ran into Hannah Abbott.

"Oh, Ginny, good, I was just looking for you!" the pretty Hufflepuff said a little breathlessly. "I wanted to tell you something!"

"Uh, sure, Hannah, but can it wait? I'm on in about five minutes!"

Hannah looked quickly around, almost seeming frightened. Then she grabbed Ginny's arm and practically dragged her a bit farther along the passageway.

"It'll only take a second, but I wanted to warn you. It just wouldn't be fair not to."

Ginny shook her head. The girl seemed to be in a lather over something, but she was taking her time getting to the point. "Hannah," Ginny said, trying to stay calm, but feeling she really needed to get to the stage. "I don't know what you're talking about. What wouldn't be fair?"

Hannah looked around again, then took a deep breath. She let it out slowly, nearly causing Ginny to shake her and scream for her to get on with it. Finally she spoke.

"Ginny, do you know why I dropped from the play? I mean, the acting part?" It was through Hannah's efforts that the costumes were so nicely done.

"I thought it was because Malfoy's a git and you didn't want to put up with him," Ginny said diplomatically. Actually, she thought it was because Hannah was too frightened of him to be able to handle him.

"No, that's not it. He wasn't that bad. But he—," she stopped abruptly, looking over Ginny's shoulder. "Er, that is, good luck, Ginny. You better go! Oh, and the costume looks great!"

Hannah hurried off and Ginny turned to see Draco Malfoy glaring at them both from near the boys' bathroom. He was now in costume and Ginny had to admit that he looked pretty good. Even with the nasty expression on his face. She walked slowly toward him, having to pass him on her way to the stage. Hannah was just disappearing into the girls' bathroom and he turned his full attention to Ginny.

"So what was that about, Weasley?" he drawled, still scowling.

"To be honest, Malfoy," Ginny said lightly, "I haven't the faintest idea. Something about not being fair, but she never did get to the point."

After dealing with Malfoy for the last several weeks, first as the crew manager, then as Viola, she'd become immune to his nasty looks and occasional fits of bad temper. She usually brushed them off, ignored them, or ignored him. So, without giving him a second look, she strode past him and on to the teachers' entrance.

The others in this scene were crowded just inside the door, in a small space that would remain hidden from the audience even after the curtains opened. They gave her quiet greetings and turned back to listen to the introduction, which gave a general outline of what had happened, and how Viola came to find herself alone, unprotected and penniless on a foreign shore. Then the curtain was raised.

Almost two hours later Ginny was standing on stage with Malfoy, Ron and Pansy, along with several others. They were in the last scene and it was almost over. Sebastian and Viola discovered that the other was not, in fact, drowned, Malvolio was released and threatened to get even with everyone, and Olivia ordered a servant to look after him. All that was left was Orsino's final speech. Malfoy was just beginning it, and Ginny gave him a look of sweet tenderness since the last part of the speech was directed to her. But as he spoke, he caught her eye and held it. He moved closer to her than the stage directions had instructed, until he was actually holding her hand. As the speech moved to a close, Ginny realized that he was putting an arm around her shoulder and tightening it. Her look of adoration changed to one of disbelief.

"'…When in other habits you are seen,'" he intoned, coming to the last line and putting the other arm around her. "'Orsino's mistress, and his fancy's queen!'"

Before the house lights could come up and the curtain drop, as they were supposed to on that line, Malfoy tightened his hold and covered her mouth with his! There was a small gasp from the audience, but then the curtain dropped. After a moment of silence, the crowd exploded in applause and shouts of 'encore'. Meanwhile, Ginny was struggling to break free of Malfoy's hold. Where the hell was Ron, anyway? Didn't he see what was going on? Actually, since the curtain was down, the stage was dimly lit, and their eyes were dazzled from the onstage lights, he probably didn't see what was going on!

Ginny finally managed to wedge her arms between herself and Malfoy, but she didn't have the strength it needed to push him away. His mouth was still locked on hers, his lips surprisingly soft and gentle, but demanding. This was the last thing Ginny had expected. He was MALFOY, for the gods' sake! And she was Ron Weasley's sister! What was he doing kissing her!? She kept her lips firmly closed, even though he was teasing with his tongue, trying to get her to open her mouth. And every time Ginny tried to twist or push away, Malfoy simply tightened his arms more firmly and growled deep in his throat.

Ginny was only vaguely aware of the sound of the audience. They were calling for the actors and in a few seconds the curtain was raised again. Ginny squeezed her eyes shut, wanting to shut out everything and somehow make Malfoy go away. The audience cheered again, especially when they realized that Malfoy was still kissing Ginny. Then it was dark again. Ginny was still struggling, but not quite so violently. It actually was quite pleasant to be in Malfoy's arms, with him still trying to coax her into letting him kiss her, wrapped around her as though she were the most desirable girl in the world. Slowly, or quickly, she couldn't tell which, Ginny let her hands wander up the soft material of his costume and lock around his neck. As soon as she relaxed, his hold loosened. Hesitantly, she opened her lips just a bit, wondering what the hell was wrong with her. She nearly gasped as he pushed her lips open wider with his own and slid his tongue softly into her mouth. She'd half expected him to thrust his tongue in, and then pull away, laughing at her, but he didn't do anything like that. It was probably the sweetest, gentlest, most exciting kiss she'd ever had and she was melting under the gentleness. She moved closer to him and wrapped her arms more tightly around his neck. She circled his tongue with hers before she pushed his back so she could explore his mouth.

Ginny could feel his sudden intake of breath as she kissed him back, then she noticed that the curtain had gone up again. Her eyes were still tightly closed, and she didn't care if the whole school saw (which they probably had, unless they were blind). She was very much enjoying kissing Draco Malfoy, and wasn't ready to stop quite yet. The curtain went down one last time and Malfoy finally broke away.

Ginny couldn't see him very clearly, since the backstage area wasn't lit except for the illumination from the tips of the crew's wands. But she could feel her face begin to burn. What had she been thinking, to not only let him kiss her, but to kiss him back? She expected Ron to descend on them any moment, and looked around quickly, almost guiltily. But Ron was having his own problems. Pansy was wrapped as firmly around him as Malfoy had been around her a moment ago. Good grief! Her brother was just as insane as she was! Had Malfoy and Pansy plotted this? She looked at his face, her eyes finally becoming used to the dark. He was watching her warily, as though uncertain of her reaction.

Before she had a chance to say anything at all, the rest of the cast (minus Ron, who wasn't struggling very hard to free himself, and Pansy) surrounded them and began cheering. There was much backslapping and hand shaking and the cast finally began to drift back to the bathrooms to change.

"I want everyone to meet back here in thirty minutes for a cast and crew party," Professor Dane shouted above the din.

Ginny had been separated from Malfoy, and was glad. She still didn't like the git, but how was she supposed to act toward him after that wonderful kiss? And why had he done it? He didn't like her any more than she did him, she was sure. She shrugged and went to change. She'd deal with it when she saw him. She entered the loo, found her own clothes and began changing.

"Ginny! That was GREAT!" Kit screeched as she hurried into the loo a few minutes after Ginny. She threw her arms around Ginny's neck and gave her a big hug. Then she held Ginny at arm's length and studied her. "Did you two plan that, or was it spur of the moment?"

Oh, great, Ginny thought. Kit in ecstasy over her and Malfoy was the last thing Ginny needed.

"Forget it, Kit," she said, holding up her hand. "It was a fluke. Didn't mean anything. You know, just those after the show jitters."

"Well, Malfoy didn't look jittery to me," she said stubbornly. "And neither did you." Then she gave Ginny a concerned look. "Oh, your folks are waiting for you outside."

Ginny groaned. Her parents! She'd forgotten they and the twins were in the audience. That meant they'd witnessed that little fiasco with Malfoy! Heaving a heavy sigh, Ginny went out to face the music.



Ginny sat at a small table in her favorite coffee shop, nursing a mocha latte and a half burned cigarette. She came here often because it was one of the favored hangouts of the entertainment crowd. The "Has Beans" had been a very successful coffee shop since just after the defeat of Voldemort five years ago. And the acting crowd loved the atmosphere. Just now, Ginny was waiting for her friend Kit. They were to meet here and have lunch somewhere in Diagon Alley. As she waited, Ginny perused the magical world's entertainment trade paper, the "Magical Arts". She picked up her cup and took a sip, closely reading one of the stories on the front page.

"'Twelfth Night' Gets Cast"

Ginny thought back to the only time she'd been in that particular play. The performance had gone well, but the end, with Malfoy and his kiss, had brought her under fire from her parents. She remembered that they had been livid at her behavior, not pushing Malfoy away, and not slapping his face when he'd finally released her. The twins had been torn between outrage that ANY bloke had kissed their sister without permission, and amusement that both Ron and Ginny had transgressed with Slytherins, of all things. Their parents had fumed and fretted, and George and Fred had laughed at them. Ginny had tried to tell her parents they were making, to quote Mr. Shakespeare, 'Much Ado About Nothing'. They hadn't appreciated her humor. And they were very vocal about forbidding her to have anything else to do with 'that Malfoy boy'. Ron had come in for his own share of abuse, but their parents kept coming back to Ginny and Malfoy. Ginny had seen Malfoy hovering near the boys' loo, watching the proceedings with avid interest. She had to roll her eyes at her parents' concern. It was obvious that Malfoy had only been interested in causing a sensation. Well, the git had done that.

She couldn't really regret that the kiss had happened; it had been a very exciting kiss, and had it been anyone else, she would have probably been very interested in pursuing what had been started. But after the performance, Malfoy had returned to ignoring her and being his normal, annoying self toward Ron and company. He barely noticed her again. 'Much ado about nothing', she'd thought to herself, secretly relieved not to have to face him after that scene. Especially since the entire school seemed to expect something to happen between them, Kit most of all.

Ginny sighed and stubbed out her unsmoked cigarette. Kit still brought Malfoy up occasionally; mostly, Ginny thought, just to irritate her. Kit hadn't become an actress, preferring to write her own plays. Turning the paper to page three to get the entire story, Ginny lit another cigarette and promptly forgot it was burning on the ashtray.

'Up and coming actor/director Draco Malfoy has finally selected the cast for his upcoming comedy, Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night'. The final selections were made yesterday afternoon, and with the all star cast, this promises to be one of the 'must see' performances of the season.'

Ginny sighed again and skimmed the names. She hadn't really wanted to work with Draco Malfoy, but she'd hoped to at least be offered an audition for the part of Viola. Since the war ended, she'd been working as an actress. It had been pretty rocky at first, but slowly she'd built a good reputation. She was getting progressively better parts, and the movers and shakers in the entertainment world were finally starting to notice her. She had to agree with the writer of the article, though. With this cast, it would be good. But one thing bothered her. Malfoy was playing Sebastian, not Orsino. She wondered at that, since he was first an actor, and a director second. Why would he take such a small part? So he could be free to direct? She shrugged and lifted the paper to browse the other stories. Where the heck was Kit, anyway?

She had half lifted the paper when a large manila envelope landed on top of it with a thump. Ginny jumped and looked up, glaring. Her glare changed to a gape of surprise.

"Got nothing better to do than sit here polluting your lungs, Weasley?" Draco Malfoy asked with a curious half smile. "Your friend Kit told me where you'd be. She said she'd be rather late."

Ginny didn't bother to glare at him. Instead, she looked at the envelope. 'Twelfth Night' was boldly scrawled across the front. Lifting an eyebrow, she glanced back at him.

"Well, open it," he prompted as he pulled out a chair and flopped into it.

She opened the flap and extracted the thick sheaf of pages. It was a script. She quickly scanned the first few pages, then looked back at him. Malfoy was watching her with the same curious smile.

"I don't understand, Malfoy. The play's cast. Did you need a stage manager?"

Ginny had unconsciously tapped at the article she'd just read. Malfoy lifted it from under the envelope and scanned it. His smile grew larger.

"Well, a bit of misinformation, you know? Get the bleeding press off my back while I finished casting."

"Oh?" Ginny asked, feeling a lurch in her stomach. "This is the part for Olivia. You've already got someone for the part."

"The actress who's name is in the article let me use her name, but she knew I was offering the part to you. What do you say?"

Ginny swallowed. "That means, if I get the part, I would have to play across you again. Unless that was 'misinformation' too."

"Oh, no," he assured her. "I would play Sebastian to your Olivia."

Ginny tried to read his expression, but couldn't. She picked up the script again. Olivia was certainly a good part, though not as good as Viola. But it was an important part for her career, and she'd always secretly wondered what it would be like to act with Malfoy again.

"You seem hesitant, Weasley. Not up to the part?" Malfoy's voice held just a hint of a challenge. Ginny knew it was a challenge but she couldn't resist. She really wanted the part.

"Fine, Malfoy, when do I read for the part?"

"No time like the present, right, Weasley?" He leaned closer, until he was only inches from her. "But I've seen you act. The part's yours if you want it. I just think you need a little practice on the love scenes."

Ginny leaned away from him, wondering what was wrong with him. Was he actually coming on to her? Why? She'd never heard rumours that he required the female cast to sleep with him to get good parts, and that wasn't something that you could hush up. In fact, most rumours about Malfoy said that he was friendly but strictly hands off with the cast. The gossips complained that trying to find a scoop about Draco Malfoy was like trying to get blood from a turnip. Frowning, she pushed her chair back.

"All right, Malfoy, what's up? What's with the come-on? Do I have to sleep with you for the part? If so, no thanks."

A scowl crossed Malfoy's face briefly, then he shrugged. "I already told you the part's yours if you want it. With or without a kiss. But that would be a great way to seal the deal, wouldn't it?"

Ginny couldn't help grinning. He looked so completely sincere that it was funny. And besides, what was wrong with giving him a brief peck on the cheek in thanks for thinking of her?

"Okay, Malfoy, you win. You know I'm dying for the part."

He smiled and leaned forward. Ginny took his chin between her thumb and forefinger and turned his cheek toward her. Ignoring the disgusted sound he made, she leaned up and planted a quick kiss on his cheek.

"That wasn't quite what I had in mind, Weasley," he said with a mock growl that made Ginny laugh.

"I was just looking out for your best interests, Malfoy," she told him. "That gossip columnist, Hydra Hooper is sitting in the corner, looking for her next scoop. You wouldn't want to read in next week's 'Arts' that Ginny Weasley is now Draco Malfoy's latest flame, would you? Besides, you don't smoke, and I always heard non-smokers find kissing smokers unpleasant."

Malfoy's eyes locked with hers and he said very seriously, "I don't think I'd mind that headline at all. Except, I would replace 'flame' with 'love' or 'significant other' and take 'latest' out altogether. I don't have 'flames'. And as to the other…"

He reached out for the cigarette that had burned itself more than halfway down. He brought it to his lips and inhaled deeply. Holding the smoke in his lungs for a moment, he set the cigarette back on the ashtray, then expertly expelled a stream of smoke from his nostrils.

"Don't smoke anymore, but I used to puff like a dragon," he said blandly. "Now we both have tobacco breath. Any more objections?"

Ginny looked at him, not quite believing what he'd just done. He was still looking intently at her and she felt a strong attraction to him. He wasn't the annoying bully he'd been in their school days. He was a talented, successful, and surprisingly down-to-earth young man. Sighing, Ginny shook her head.

"Good!" he said with a smile.

He reached out and pulled her toward him. His lips touched hers and Ginny shivered slightly. His kiss was still gentle, but now there was more. He was a man, not an adolescent boy. This time she didn't fight him. Instead, she opened for him immediately. He tasted of smoke and coffee, and he smelled like some fresh, pine aftershave. Malfoy pulled her tighter and deepened the kiss until Ginny's head was spinning and she had to hang onto him for support. She finally broke away from him and put her hands to her hot cheeks.

"Wow," she said breathlessly.

"Too right," he agreed, his pale face flushed with colour. "Been waiting years to kiss you again."

Ginny snorted. "Oh, yeah, right, Malfoy. That's why you went back to acting like I wasn't alive after the first one, right?" She grinned. "Admit it. You didn't give me a second thought after that."

Malfoy crossed his arms and leaned back in his chair. He was smiling, too, but his eyes were serious. "Wish I could, Weasley, but that would be a lie. Fact is, after I heard your parents' opinion of me and you, I figured you'd be happier if I let you alone. Otherwise, I'd have been all over you. But then I graduated, and there was the war, and then I spent the last five years making a name for myself. You've been doing the same."

Ginny frowned. She remembered him listening to her parents scolding her, but she thought he'd been amused. Had he really stayed away out of concern for her? Had he actually cared that much? He brought her attention back to himself.

"I thought we were good together, even when we argued. Didn't you? Whether you take the part or not, don't you want to see if there really is something there?"

Ginny's mind was whirling. She had enjoyed working with him, and they were obviously physically attracted to each other. And he was so different from the obnoxious brat he'd been, she couldn't see her parents objecting any more, other than the fact that he was Lucius Malfoy's son. And she didn't care about that.

"Actually, Malfoy, I think I'd like that. But I still want the part, too!" she added quickly.

"Great," he said, pulling her close again. "There's just one thing, though."

Ginny gave him a suspicious glance but saw that he was teasing. "And that would be?" she asked, one eyebrow raised.

"Since we're going to be, er, 'working' so closely, don't you think you could call me Draco?"

Ginny grinned and tangled one hand in his long hair. "C'mere, Draco," she said huskily, pulling his face to hers. "I need practice with the love scenes."