Disclaimer: Not mine, never will be...unfortunately But I am holding out for the phonecall that will give me all control over the HP universe (Do I hear more twins, more F&A, more D&G, more Remus...)but until then, we're just going to have to put up with non profit making fanfic
Author: Sunnycouger (firstname.lastname@example.org)
AN: Well, this is really the first in a series of stand alone prequels that accompany my fic Somewhere In Between so if you haven't read it and want to know how the whole thing ends up then you can just check that out or if you prefer the happier ending take this as a stand alone and imagine how it goes :)
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Ginny Weasley ran through the corridor, hoping equally that she wouldn't drop the pile of books that she had balanced precariously in her arms and that she wouldn't run into Filch who would no doubt give her a months worth of detention for messing up his corridor just by walking on it. Why she had agreed to do this was totally lost on her at this point in time.
"Sure, great idea...top up your transfiguration marks with a group of students on a Saturday at 8am...really bright Ginny."
She groaned as she arrived outside the classroom and looked at her watch. 7.57am. She allowed herself to give a slightly self satisfied grin. Not a problem. She used her hip to open the door and walked in and sat on a seat and looked at the board that had instructions scrawled on it in McGonagall's familiar hand writing. After 6 years at Hogwarts she had soon got the hang of working out the professors less than perfect writing technique. "Students, thank you for your assistance and I will be sure that you will be awarded the extra credit promised, I'm aware that there has been some cancellations due to the rescheduled Hogsmeade weekend but for those few of you that turn up please follow the instructions on the parchments below and record your results and leave the items on the desk as you leave. I will see you all on Monday to go over the results."
Ginny groaned as she shook her head and picked up the parchment and a basket full of objects. "You have got to be kidding me? How on earth do you turn a bottle of butter-beer into a stuffed toy?"
"You have to transfigure the bottle into a liquid and then build the liquid up into the new solid...seriously, do you children not take anything in?"
Ginny stopped in her tracks at the sound of the male voice behind her. It couldn't be..."Malfoy."
"Weasley." She turned and saw him looking at her with a contemptuous smile. Smug git. "Why am I not surprised that you need the extra credit?"
"I don't think that you are in any position to be commenting on that since you're here as well." She turned away from him and looked back at the contents of the box. Caged mouse, stuffed rabbit, coal, container of sand...
"So, Weasley, where is everyone else? Did you not invite any of your little friends to come down with you? Potter too busy?"
Ginny blushed furiously as she stormed over to her desk beside the window. "I was the only one that was asked...you can't say anything. Your ape friends aren't here either..."
Draco smirked at her as he picked up his box and walked over to the desk at the other side of the room. "Crabbe and Goyle aren't fans of transfiguration...taxes their brains far too much."
She looked down at her box and shook her head as he began to levitate the mouse out of the other box towards him. He opened the cage and lifted the mouse out and looked at it before scoffing, turning it purple and putting it back in the cage. "So, we have 8 hours here? Together? Isn't that going to be fun..."
Ginny looked at him disapprovingly as he levitated the mouse back to the box. "Why did you just do that?"
Draco turned and looked at her and shook his head. "Because the instructions say it must be changed into a brown jewellery box...and if they have to change a brown mouse into a brown box there's no challenge...wouldn't want to make it too easy on them..."
Ginny frowned. "Your mouse is brown..."
Draco sighed as he looked at her unimpressed. "Well, obviously...if I can change it to purple I could change it back to brown...seriously Weasley, didn't you think of that?"
Ginny turned back to her box and sighed. She could have been in Hogsmeade just now...sipping butterbeer, talking to Harry, Ron and Hermione, letting Nicky and Hannah pick out dress robes that none of the three of them would ever be able to afford...
"Is this the transfiguration thing?" She looked up at the sound of the sleepy voice and nodded her head as she saw three third years walk in and over to the boxes. Great. Three kids and Malfoy...could this get any worse?
"Oh man, she left a purple mouse...how the hell am I supposed to transfigure a purple mouse..." Ginny turned and glared at Draco who was looking at the 3 students with a superior and amused expression.
"Haven't any of you children learned how to alter the colour of anything yet?" He sighed and shook his head disgusted. "Seriously, you should all be hufflepuffs. Ravenclaw must be lowering its already mediocre standards..."
"Leave them alone, Malfoy...they can't be any more than third years...they wouldn't have done that yet..." She picked up her wand and turned the mouse the embarrassed Ravenclaw girl was holding back into a shade of brown. "There you go."
"Thanks..." The girl took the box, shot an embarrassed look at Draco, who was unsuccessfully stifling a laugh, and walked over with the two boys to Ginny's side of the room.
Draco gave an unimpressed sneer as he looked at Ginny. "You now have your own little fan club Weasley, congratulations."
Ginny opened her mouth to reply when the door bundled open and a harassed looking McGonagall looked at the class and sighed.
"I thought I would have a check on the numbers...5? Out of 17 pupils I'm left with 5 and 3 of them are third years? I knew this would happen when they rescheduled Hogsmeade. I thought I could at least rely on Granger..." She sighed angrily as she looked thoroughly put out by the low turn out. "Well, none the less thank you for showing up. I assume the instructions are clear? This is just a little test on how you all can adapt the knowledge we have looked at to spells we haven't covered yet. Obviously, I have picked you all because of your wide range of abilities and..." She turned and looked at the Ravenclaw girl who had her mouse by the tail looking at it worriedly and whispering to the boys beside her. "Is there a problem Miss Hahn?"
"Um, my mouse is still purple...not as bright as it was but...it's definitely not brown..."
McGonagall shook her head as she walked over to the girl irritably. "I chose those mice myself, I know they were brown. Who charmed it?"
The three young Ravenclaws shrugged their shoulders but turned to look accusingly at Draco.
"Mr Malfoy? Would you know anything about this?"
She looked over at Draco who shrugged his shoulders as he answered confidently. "I can honestly say that I am not responsible for the colour that mouse is now..."
Ginny shifted in her seat uncomfortably. How could Malfoy lie through his teeth like that? "I only tried to turn it back brown..."
"Not very successfully though..." Draco muttered from the other side of the classroom. "Yet another contender for hufflepuff..."
"Malfoy!" McGonagall shook her head angrily as she walked to the front of the class. "Hahn, Jones and Donaghan, you may begin. Leave your parchments, objects and analysis at the front of the classroom when you are finished. Malfoy and Weasley, grab your objects and belongings and follow me. Immediately."
Draco stood up and began muttering as he walked out the classroom followed by a laden Ginny. She could kill him. No doubt she would be forced to kiss goodbye to her extra credit. "Nice Malfoy...thanks for landing me in it..."
Draco stopped and reached out for her box. "Your welcome...of course if you did a better job at fixing the colour we wouldn't have this problem. Your families intelligence really has diminished through the children hasn't it?" Ginny stopped and glared at him angrily. No wonder everyone hated him. He held out his free arm and indicated to her box of objects. "Give me the box, Weasley before you embarrass yourself...why you need 10 books on transfiguration today I'll never know...they will never make up for your lack of intelligence you know."
Ginny pushed past him. "Drop dead, Malfoy. I can manage..." Ideally what she wanted to do was strut away confidently to demonstrate the independence and confidence she had...what she had definitely not intended to do was drop the contents of her overloaded arms straight on the floor. She cringed as he began laughing loudly behind her.
"Can you still manage, Weasley? Did I not mention that this would happen?"
She closed her eyes and counted to 10 to try and calm down as she began shoving everything into the box. "Sod off! Go to Hogsmeade and give me peace and quiet, haven't you done enough damage today?"
He walked over to her and picked up the remaining books as she stood up. "Evidently not as I'm still enjoying myself seeing you turn as red as your hair...and Potters not even around, either."
"Weasley! Malfoy! What is keeping you?"
Ginny grabbed her books off Draco and walked away quickly. If only she could kill him...no one would really miss him and if she had to spend the whole day with him she couldn't guarantee she wouldn't hurt him...hmm, she knew a really good limb engorgement charm. She laughed inwardly as she imagined giving Draco a head as big as his ego...they would have to widen the doorways about 2 foot to accommodate him...
"Finally. Sit down you two." McGonagalls strict voice instructed them as they stood in the small classroom.
"Professor McGonagall, this isn't fair...I only tried to turn it back...i shouldn't have to tolerate him for it."
McGonagall looked surprised to hear Ginny so vocal as she was usually so quiet in class after all. She immediately frowned at her and Ginny looked down uneasily as Draco sat at the other end of the class.
"I have to agree with Weasley, she is after all only a 6th year and her knowledge of the subject is well...average at best. She might be able to help the, hmmm 'ravenclaws' but..."
McGonagall looked at them both and shook her head. "I do not believe we are operating under a democracy here. I have put you together because your bickering and your attitudes will no doubt distract the younger students. Besides, you are both much older than they are so they have less...complex work to do."
Ginny sat back on her seat and shook her head. This was unfair...
"You are both excellent transfiguration students: Mr Malfoy, I'm aware that you have already announced your interest in staying on after graduation, Ms Weasley, you should also be considering heading down the same path...but both of your basic knowledge is far from up to scratch."
Draco looked up angrily. "I am as far ahead as anyone in my class."
McGonagall looked at him irritably. "Mr Malfoy, you need to start putting as much effort into this as you do with potions and Ms Weasley," she turned and looked at Ginny, "you have to be a lot more confident in your abilities and try and progress at the level a student of your abilities should be progressing at. Those are the reasons why you are both here. And no, before either of you ask, you may not get separate classrooms. Any other questions?"
Ginny sighed and looked up at McGonagall. "Can we leave as soon as we're done?"
McGonagall appraised her and nodded her head. "Yes, but believe me, there should be more than enough there to keep you all busy for the day. Anything else?"
"If I stay will you definitely support my stay next year?" Ginny popped her head up and looked at Draco who was looking at McGonagall intently.
"As I promised Mr Malfoy, if you continually put the effort in for the remainder of the year I will be happy to have you back when you are training. Now, I have to go and supervise the Hogsmeade visit...I'll see you both later."
Draco nodded his head and glanced at Ginny who couldn't keep the confused expression of her face as McGonagall walked out the door. Draco looked at her expectantly, his pale blue eyes shining confidently. "Problem Weasley? Did you not understand the instructions? Should I draw you a diagram?"
Ginny shook her head and turned back to her parchment. Why did she even bother?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
They had been in the classroom in silence for over two hours and Ginny had been the only one who had bothered charming anything. Of course, with Draco sleeping it wasn't hard to see why that was. Lazy prat! She shook her head in frustration as her newly made paperweight kept flapping its wings and flying away from the paper. She pulled her wand and after several failed attempts to stun it she threw her wand down on the desk and picked up her large copy of Animated to inanimate: 101 proven charms to make the annoying useful! And began to stalk the paper weight. She stood still as it fluttered down to the desk as she picked up her book and brought it down heavily: WHAP! She jumped as she lifted the book to see her delicate glass paperweight smashed into what looked like a million pieces that would take an hour to fix.
"What the bloody hell are you doing Weasley?" She span around to see a now wide awake Draco staring at her accusingly. "Can't you do anything quietly?"
"Disturbing your beauty sleep, Malfoy? Don't let me stop you, you should get some more..."
He sighed as he walked over to her, her wand in his hand as he lifted the book up to see the glass pieces. "You truly are incompetent like the rest of your family aren't you?" He pointed his wand and the glass reformed as he shook his head, before he charmed it again back into a butterfly. "Now be a smart girl and hold it down when you're transfiguring it next time."
Ginny looked at him angrily. She had just transfigured that! "Hey! Malfoy, I just transfigured that!"
"Yes, you did, into a floating paperweight that would really do the job it was designed for, then of course if that wasn't enough you smashed it into pieces in a fit of the Weasley hot headedness. Smart."
She shook her head as she took the butterfly over to him. "I had it glass...I was just going to weigh it down. Change it back."
Draco looked at her and shook his head. "No. You want to study how to be an animagus in the future and you can't do simple switching spells efficiently yet. As mush as it would no doubt be amusing, I don't think you will thank anyone if you end up damaging yourself in the process. So no, Weasley. I will not change it back. You will just have to charm it better next time."
She opened her mouth to reply but stopped herself as she felt herself get angry. She wouldn't say anything that he wouldn't reply to so she grabbed her butterfly and walked over to her desk. How dare he assume that he knew more than her at this. He hadn't charmed a thing yet.
"You haven't charmed one object Malfoy, what gives you the right to judge my transfiguration?"
He looked at her and raised an eyebrow as he drawled, "In the space of 2 hours, I have successfully levitated an object, changed a live animal a different colour, reassembled a collection of glass and successfully reanimated it. I think that puts me ahead of you."
She ignored him as she pointed her wand at the butterfly again. "Paprano!"
Draco began to laugh as the butterfly flew away and she squeaked in frustration. "Shut up, Malfoy!"
"Where....where...did you learn that one...Weasley?" He took a deep breath to stop him from laughing as he looked at her unamused face and stood up. "Did no one ever tell you that you can't charm creatures that fly the same way you charm walkers? They just end up flying away..."
Ginny sat down, embarrassed. How could she not know that? "You mean..."
Draco looked at her and sighed. "Well, where's your paperweight just now?"
She pointed up and saw it floating around the ceiling and fought back the need to laugh. The poor thing was going crazy. "I think it's making a bid for freedom..."
Draco looked up at it and sighed as he looked back towards her. "Okay, Weasley. Never let it be said that I have done nothing for your family. Pick up your wand and bring it down."
"What?" She looked at him as he pointed up to the ceiling.
"Bring. The. Paperweight. Down. Here. Come on, if you have this much trouble with all the objects you will be here all night."
She picked up her wand and summoned the floating object to her and looked at him expectantly. "There."
He looked at her unimpressed. "Nice tone there, Weasley. Okay, now turn it back into a butterfly. Have you done that yet in 6th year?"
She shook her head and he sighed as he indicated that she should pick up the wand. He sat down next to her and looked at her. "Okay, you will learn this next year and it...well, it's probably too much for you just now but, well you may as well try it...point your wand at the thing and say "renamatio!" Okay?"
She nodded her head as she looked at him. "Renamatio? Is that even a word?"
"Did I ask for any of your comments? No, I think not..."
She sighed as she looked at the butterfly and pointed her wand at it and concentrated. She could do this. "Renamatio!"
She looked and sighed as the paperweight still floated around.
"Hmm, guess I was right. Too much for you. Weasley's really aren't up to this..."
She picked up her wand and concentrated hard. Malfoy would not think she was unable to do this. "Renamatio!"
She looked down and saw the paperweight had now disappeared and the butterfly was back. She turned back to Malfoy who had a slight smile tugging at his lips as he looked at her mildly impressed. "Well, well Weasley, you do have some transfiguration talent after all...now the spell for turning it into a weighted object is 'Volveri Paprano'...I'm sure you can manage that."
She pointed her wand at the object and grinned as it immediately turned into the paperweight. She turned to look at him to thank him but he had already walked over to his own desk to transfigure his own paperweight. As he finished he brought it over to hers and sat it down to compare. "Nice work, Weasley. Not as nice as mine, but well...as it is in life the Malfoy will always be better..."
"Don't you wish that was the case, Malfoy?" She said as she grabbed her own paper weight and examined it.
He appraised her and shook his head as he walked back over to his desk. "Wishing has nothing to do with it. Now, if you think you can manage a few simple spells without destroying the place I would like some peace and quiet."
Ginny shook her head as she looked at him. Was it her who asked for help? Did she care about disturbing him? "No problem your lordship...wouldn't want to disturb your beauty sleep, maybe it'll shrink your tremendous ego problem..."
"That's not peace and quiet Weasley, that's you showing your brothers annoying streak."
"Excuse me for breathing." You self assured prat.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
They had remained in silence for a few more hours. Ginny looked at her watch. 2.13pm and she still had more than half her objects to transfigure. She turned and looked at Malfoy, who had now actually began working on his own box quietly. Something was still bothering about him, not bothering so much...more irritating her.
"Malfoy? Why is it that you want to stay next year? Surely your father has plans for you already?"
He looked up at her, surprised at the sound of her voice. "She speaks. Why is it any of your business?"
Ginny sat her wand down and turned to look at him. "Because I was hoping we would be rid of you after you graduated."
Draco shook his head as he gave her his best sneer. "Well, as they say...hard luck. I wish to become an animagus and as you know, that requires a stay with the tutor so that if any unfortunate side effects occur they can be combated. So I selected to stay here, and as soon as I get the agreement of McGonagall I can apply for my permit to study..."
Ginny nodded her head as she looked at him. "I want to become an animagus at one point..."
Draco laughed slightly as he looked at her. "You will have to improve on your transfiguration then..."
Ginny shook her head as she looked at him angrily. "You have had a year more than me to get it right, and McGonagall said you aren't as committed to this..."
"I won't argue with that. I prefer potions...it's much more taxing...besides, I barely have to engage half my brain to pass this class..."
"Plus Snape gives you an easy ride in potions on the back of Harry and Ron..."
Draco looked at her and shook his head. "I am better than them. I put the work in. I listen to what is being said and I follow instructions...Gryffindors are made to be brave, apparently, but none too smart..."
Ginny turned away from him, her anger rising. How dare this...this...snake insult her house? Her friends? "And what would a Slytherin know about being brave or smart? You have neither of those qualities combined with a belief in stabbing people in the back...you don't have a Gryffindor quality in your body."
Draco nodded his head as she picked her wand up and began drumming it against the table angrily. "And don't I thank the stars every day that that's the case."
She turned to him and shook her head. "Why on earth do you want to be an animagus? I mean, if you are so great then shouldn't you be happy as you are?"
Draco smirked at her as he sat down a few seats closer to her, "I am, but being an animagus is a skill. And it's a skill only the best in the world have and I want to be the best. Besides," he looked away from her towards the front of the class, "haven't you ever wanted to be something different than you are? Even for a few minutes?"
She nodded her head without answering as she looked at his contemplative face and sighed. She knew how that felt. How much it would be good to be something other than what she was. Ginny, Ron's sister. Or Ginny, the girl who keeps looking at Harry Potter in the great Hall, or Ginny Weasley, the girl who freed Tom Riddle...
She looked at Draco and wondered what he didn't want to be: Malfoy, the deatheater in training? Malfoy, the Slytherin? Malfoy, Lucius' son? "I know that feeling...i guess that's one of the main reasons I want to be one. Be something that none of my brothers have done first and better...of course, Percy probably already has his permit and just hasn't told anyone..."
"Yes, well...I don't have any shadows to get out of. Apart from my fathers, and I am already a better wizard than he ever will be..." He looked towards her for a second and shook his head. "You should never settle for average Weasley, you should try and make the best of what you have and use it to your advantage. Even if what you have and what I have is vastly different."
As he finished speaking he stood up and walked back over to his desk in an attempt to tell her the conversation was over. She looked at him quizzically. She had actually just spoken to Draco Malfoy and found more to him than the evil contemptuous git that was usually there. That was...surprising.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
She looked at the dwindling items in the box and allowed herself to smile. Only 3 more to do and she could leave. She glanced over to Draco who appeared to be engulfed in the same contemplative silence he had been in for the past 3 hours, only on occasion muttering a spell. She turned away and stifled a yawn. If only she had to do this with an actual person as opposed to him, it might have been semi-fun then. If Hermione hadn't blown her off...
"Weasley? Since you were permitted to ask one question, I think it's only fair that I am permitted to return the compliment."
She looked up to see him looking at her expectantly. How could he suddenly fix his attentions so suddenly? He wanted to ask her a question? What would the catch be? No doubt this would be about how her father could afford 7 children or something. "Excuse me?"
"You asked why I wanted to be an animagus. I feel it's only appropriate I get to ask you one." He looked at her intently before turning back to the box he had. "Why, when you are so far ahead of your year in transfiguration do you feel the need to waste your Hogsmeade weekend here?"
She looked at him and shrugged her shoulders. Why had she? It would have looked good on her record? No, that wasn't why she did it. Because she didn't want to traipse down to Hogsmeade again? Nope, definitely not...she would give anything for a warm butterbeer right about now. Harry? Things had been good between them recently...they were even talking, having real conversations for once. Why was she here?
"It's not a trick question, Weasley you know. An answer anytime today would be good."
She turned to him and shook her head. "I was asked. I didn't want to let anyone down...especially since Hermione and Harry called off..." She looked as he nodded his head with a smug smile on his face. "Why's it any of your business anyway?"
Malfoy looked at her and shook his head as he picked up his wand. "It's not. But I wanted to know."
She turned away angrily. Why was she letting him agitate her? "And what Lord Malfoy wants he gets?"
He looked at her and smirked. "Why Weasley, I think we touched on a raw nerve. Are you frustrated because you stayed here while your little friends all went elsewhere without you?"
She sat down and lifted her wand angrily. She was not upset. "Drop dead, Malfoy."
He walked over to her and sat at the desk opposite her and leaned down to look at her face. "You want to know what I think, Weasley? I think that you resent being the quiet one...I think you resent being the reliable one, the one people expect the average from and nothing spectacular. Am I right? You resent being Ron, Fred and George Weasley's little sister...you wish people saw more to you than that."
She stood up and walked to the door. "You know nothing about me Malfoy."
He looked at her with a sneer. "No, Weasley? I know that you bite your lip when you can't do something. I know that you don't know how to change the colour of an object at distance, I know that you are frustrated as hell that you are sitting here when your so called friends didn't bother and I know how to push the right buttons."
She turned to him as he shook his head and walked over to his desk confidently. "The magical aspects have to be expected of course considering the stock you are from...but personality wise, you are a nothing. In comparison to your brothers you don't even register enough to warrant the attention...and that's what is frustrating you. You can be a good student but you will always be their sister first and foremost, they will never be referred to as your brother. And the truly pathetic thing is that I can tell all that from a few hours with you and they wouldn't be able to tell you it after years..."
She bit her lip and felt her lip start to tremble. She would not let him make her cry. "You...you know nothing about me! None of that is true. I...I don't feel inferior to anyone. And...and I'm not a nothing!"
Draco looked at her and narrowed his eyes in concentration as he studied her face. "If that's the case, don't you think you should stop acting like one?"
She took a deep breath and turned away from him and took a few steps outside the classroom. She couldn't stay with him any longer...but, she couldn't give him the satisfaction of letting him get to her. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes. She only had to ignore him. She turned and walked back into the class and didn't look towards him. "I don't act like a nothing Malfoy. Just because I don't throw my weight around like you and your bully friends, it doesn't make me nothing."
He didn't look at her as he responded. "If you like to believe that, but I ask you. If you weren't a Weasley offspring, and your brother wasn't best friends with Potter...how much attention would you really get? Granger gets it because she's considered a smart little know it all, Potter gets it because he is the famous Harry Potter...you are the famous Harry Potters best friends little sister to the eyes of most people. Wouldn't you rather be known as something more?"
She through her object she was working on angrily to the front of the classroom as she turned to him angrily. "What? Draco Malfoy, Death Eater? Draco Malfoy, muggle hater? Draco Malfoy, son of Lucius? How many families have your family destroyed because they were considered 'nothings'? If I had a choice between being me and being you, with your family I would rather die than be anything like you."
Draco looked at her and shook his head with a bitter laugh. "That's easy for you to say, Weasley. But, you have no idea what it's really like to be me. Your opinion may be vastly different if you had to experience it."
She felt her anger subside slightly as she looked at him as he poked around in the box with his wand, almost contemplatively. "I doubt it. I don't see how a person can be happy if they hate everyone who is different from them..."
He looked up at her and shook his head. "Did anyone mention being happy? You have to be the best, if not at everything you have to be the best at something, and if that means you have to forfeit certain things so be it."
"Certain things like humanity? Because I don't find that expendable."
Draco looked at her and shook his head. "That's why you are a Weasley and I am a Malfoy. I find everything expendable."
She looked at him intently as he looked bitterly for a split second before turning away from her. "You might want to pick up that goblet, Weasley...I don't think you get points for a dented fountain."
She shook her head as she got her goblet and tried to concentrate but found it impossible. "Don't you want to be happy, Malfoy?"
He sat up abruptly and looked at her. "I am happy, Weasley."
"You don't seem it. You never smile unless it's at someone else's expense. You never laugh unless it's at someone's expense. Do you even have fun playing quidditch or is that just another thing for you to try and be the best at?"
He picked up his wand, walked over to her and sat down and spoke softly close to her ear. "Do not try and get inside my head, Ginny Weasley. You would be surprised at what you would find. I am not this poor little boy underneath this exterior who needs saved. I know what I want in life and how to get it and if that means giving up certain...luxuries that you value then so be it."
She didn't flinch at his intense gaze as she took a deep breath. It was hard to be scared of him now... "I never believed you needed saved. You seem to like being the boy that everyone hates..."
She regretted the words as soon as they came out her mouth but he merely smiled slightly as he turned away from her. "Then that makes me the perfect foil to the boy that everyone loves...not that I would want to be in his shoes. Dumb luck can only carry you so far in life."
"And believing you are superior to every one will only get you so far. Especially after the war...unless you already have your side chosen and will be spending your years after the war languishing in Azkaban?"
He turned and narrowed his eyes. "I will be on the side I've always been on. The winning side. You already have such a high opinion of me don't you?"
"You are Lucius Malfoy's son, you have said at every opportunity that you will be a deatheater as soon as possible, you have said that muggles and those of muggle parents should be killed. That is what forms this high opinion."
He laughed as he stood up and walked to the front of the class. "Guilty as charged. Of course, if I was already as bad as you think, do you not think to make my name in the Dark Lord's circle I would have killed Potter already, or at least tried to?" He looked at her and smirked. "There is definitely something wrong somewhere with your theory Weasley: you either assume I am a coward, which I'm not, that I'm stupid, which I'm not, or that I am already a deatheater who is biding their time."
He looked at her and began to laugh as he pulled the sleeve of his robes up to reveal his forearm which was bare. No tattoo. "Not yet."
He shook his head as he walked back to his seat as she watched him. "Sorry. I didn't mean to...assume, I just...I figured you...would be one..."
He looked up at her surprised and shook his head. "Why are you apologising? There are worse things to say...personally I thought the boy everyone hates comment was worse...besides, you are probably right...I will be one eventually."
She looked at him sadly. "You could say no, you know. Prove you're not a coward."
"I don't need to prove myself to anyone. And I could say no...but I might not want to. You keep your happy half life, Ginny. But at one point in the future you are going to have to realise that things aren't always as simple as black and white, good and bad, Weasley and Malfoy. There is a whole world around us and the only people who are entitled to live in it are people who are willing to stake a claim on it. I will do that, by whatever means necessary."
"And You Know Who is the person to help you? That is sickening." She shook her head as she picked up her wand and charmed the goblet in front of her.
"What's sickening is the people who pretend to be happy when they are miserable." He picked up his wand and charmed his own goblet and smirked at her with an 'anything you can do, I can do better expression'. She saw this and glared at him as she picked another item out of her box and looked at it aggressively.
"The future Deatheater decides he has the right to talk about being happy? I think not!" She charmed the book into a bookend and looked at him angrily. "I think that you are miserable, I think that you have never been genuinely happy in your life. I think you despise Lucius as much as the world does but you want to prove to him that you are as good a wizard and as successful as he is. I think you are jealous of Harry because he has everything you want and I think that you like to think that you are this evil mastermind that is one step ahead of everyone else and I think that you will make a bloody pathetic deatheater!!!"
She exhaled sharply as she looked at him expectantly. She had no idea where that had come from. Why should she care if he ruined his life? He was a stupid xenophobe after all.
"You think a lot don't you, Weasley? But thank you for the vote of confidence...of course the day I take career advice from a Weasley is the day I will drive my broomstick into whomping willow."
She shook her head in disgust. He was impossible. He was irritating, loud, snobbish, egotistical, stubborn, evil...she looked at him again as he charmed another object. He was so infuriating! He was... To hell with him she decided. He could go to the whomping willow if he wanted to and get smashed into a million pieces. She wouldn't give a damn.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
She had charmed her final object and had began writing up her parchment in silence. The quicker she got out of here the better. Neither of them had opened their mouth since their argument and the tension was palatable. She glanced over at him as he sat examining one of his transfigured objects. God she hated him.
"You know something, Weasley? When I think about our earlier discussion...I think you spend too much time worrying about what other people are going to do with their futures. What are you going to do with yours?"
She put her quill down and looked at him. Did he not realise that she wasn't talking to him?
"Weasley? Why are you attempting to ignore me? Have you not made any plans? Do you not know what you want to do with your life?"
"I don't know...maybe try and get into medi-wizarding. Either that or muggle relations...that might be interesting. Not for you of course, but you know...for people who don't plan on indulging in massacres..."
"I choose to ignore your tone Weasley, as you clearly haven't been taught well on how to respect your betters." He shook his head as he continued to concentrate on the object he was holding. "I believe that they are always looking for good medi-wizards and it is extremely well paid..."
Ginny shook her head and sighed. "You don't do a job like that for the pay. Besides, if there is a war then I doubt they will be getting paid that much. And one thing Malfoy, don't dare think you are my 'better', you aren't better than anyone here."
"My, aren't we aggressive, Weasley? But you're right. I shouldn't flaunt my superiority over you. It's not very dignified."
She bit her lip and drummed her wand angrily as she looked at him. Was he actually smiling? And not even the contemptuous smile that usually adorned his face. This one was definitely different...almost teasing, his pale blue eyes were focused on her and he looked...different. Better. Less Malfoy like. "You are trying to get a reaction from me now aren't you?"
He looked at her and tried to unsuccessfully force the smile from his face as he shook his head. "Why would I want a reaction from a Weasley?"
She couldn't stop a small laugh escaping as she shook her head and walked over towards him. "Because you are a frustrating git who wants to be the centre of attention..."
He sighed as he looked at her as she sat next to him. "I don't recall inviting you over here, Weasley..."
"Free classroom." She looked at him seriously. "Tell me something, Malfoy. Could you really hold your wand up and kill innocent people in Voldermort's name?"
He looked at her for a second and picked his wand up and pointed it at her. He looked at her coldly, his blue eyes showing no emotion and suddenly she felt shivers down her spine. He looked so cold...like he could do anything. She took a deep breath and refused to flinch from his penetrating stare. "You want to know how far my conscience runs? Would I be able to look a person in the eyes and kill them, or torture them? People I knew? People I went to school with? People who have done nothing but stand up for what they believe in? You think I couldn't kill them?"
She looked at him and shrugged her shoulders. She wanted to believe that he couldn't, that no one could. "I...I don't know. Could you?"
He took a deep breath and turned his wand away from her as his expression softened slightly. "I have no idea. Possibly, in the future it would be easier..."
She closed her eyes for a second as she looked at him. That should have been enough, so far she had learned that he would be a deatheater and he could kill them all if he had to. She should have hated him more than she did already, but somehow...somehow she couldn't. "Why would you want to? You aren't that evil..."
He shrugged his shoulders at her and shook his head. "We already had a conversation like this. Wants don't always come into it..."
"That should be all that comes into it."
He looked at her and smiled slightly as he picked up his parchment. "Only if you're not a Malfoy."
She shook her head as she stood up and watched him walk to the front of the class. "You could do a lot better than that you know...so much more than the deatheater."
He stopped and looked at her and smiled again, another real smile only this one was much more fleeting. "I'm glad you think so. But that's the best a wizard can be..."
She walked over to him and stood as he leaned against the desk. "No, it's not. At least consider it."
He looked at her and shook his head as he gave a slight laugh. "I thought I told you what I would have to do if I took career advise from a Weasley? But, if it will shut you up, then yes...yes I'll consider it. Happy?"
She looked at him and smiled as she nodded her head. "Not happy, but it's something."
She walked back to her desk and looked at her parchment as he kept his gaze on her. "You know, you do have something your brothers don't have after all. You, I can tolerate...whereas I would happily wipe them off the face of the earth. Hmm..." He looked at her with a contemplative expression. "I have no idea why..."
"I have no idea how to take that. As an insult on my family or a compliment to me." She looked at him unimpressed as he walked to the door.
"Take it as it was intended, an insult to your family and a compliment to you. It just proves that I don't consider you a nothing anymore Weasley...now you just have to get to work on convincing the rest of the school. Enjoy the rest of your weekend Weasley..."
She opened her mouth to respond but he had already disappeared out the door and back to wherever it was Slytherins went. She looked around and shook her head. She had never had a weirder day in her life. And Malfoy had complimented her? She picked up her parchment and felt herself smile as she looked around the empty room and shook her head as she walked to the front of the class and out her parchment down on top of Draco's, his words still echoing in her ears. He certainly didn't have to say that to her at the end...maybe she had made an impression on him.
"Ginny! Finally, you finished?" She turned around to see Colin Creevy standing outside the door, his arms laden with bags from Hogsmeade. She allowed herself to smile as she walked over to him.
"Yup, just finished..."
He looked at her and whispered slightly. "Was Draco Malfoy here? I saw him walking down the corridor...he looked like he had been up to know good."
She smiled as she walked over to her desk and collected her things. "Yeah, he was here...and yes, he was up to no good...but don't worry. I can handle Malfoy..."
Colin walked in and grabbed some of her books and looked at her disbelivingly. "If you say so. I'm not sure your brother will agree."
She sighed as she walked out the room and looked at him. Draco was right, even Colin couldn't think of her without thinking of Ron as well. "You know what Colin? I don't care what he thinks...I can look out for myself and I intend to do that."
She looked expectantly at Colin, who merely looked at her and shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly and walked ahead of her. "Whatever you want...come on, Hannah said she wanted to show you the new something or other she got..."
She watched him and ran after him happily. It had been that easy and it had worked, it just proved that Draco Malfoy was actually good for something after all...