Title: The Myth of Innocence
Author: Catalina Royce
Disclaimer: These stories are based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Blaise consoled Draco as well as he could, and finally let Pansy and Millicent take Draco to his bed. They drugged him with a hefty dose of Dreamless Sleep Potion in the hope that a good nights (or day's, rather) sleep would cure Draco's depression.
A restless energy filled Blaise. He skipped his classes in favour of prowling the halls, using the Invisibility potion that Virginia made when she was still theirs. The energy inside him grew. It was vicious, unrelenting. He knew if he stopped he wouldn't be able to control himself or his magic. Blaise knew that this restlessness was caused by worry for Draco. Somewhere in there, though, there was also anger. A deep, almost hidden anger directed toward one person alone; Ginny Weasley.
Despite it, he didn't want to hurt her. He knew how much Virginia had loved her. He understood why Virginia had been the one to leave instead of Ginny. But he hated the way Ginny seemed to have gone back to her life, completely unchanged by the events that had occurred. Everyone who had merely spoken to Virginia had been changed in some way. To Blaise, his changes felt irrevocable. And yet, the person who knew Virginia better than anyone else, who had lived in the same body, went about life as usual.
Blaise had had a long time to adjust to the death of Virginia. Unlike Draco, he had never believed that she would wake up. He'd watched his little sister die; had seen her fall out of a tree at their estate and snap her neck. He had been the one to rush over to her. He'd seen the blank eyes, the lack of possession in the body. When Gypsy had died, Blaise had argued and bartered. He'd screamed with his mother, prayed to any god he could remember, promising them everything if only they'd bring his baby sister back.
No, Blaise had never entertained the hope the Virginia was still alive. He'd seen the absence of her from the first moment he'd walked in the door. Potter holding what had looked like a chicken, Granger holding what was obviously a spell book. He'd heard Draco's fears of Tom Riddle, knew that the Trio and Draco had been tense in the days leading up the spell. And yet, he hadn't thought that Draco would honestly put Virginia in jeopardy. He'd known, and he'd had time to get over his grief.
But there was still that lingering anger, and that ever-mounting energy. So involved was he in his thoughts, Blaise didn't realise there was someone coming toward him until she ran into him. The force snapped him out of his invisibility. He lifted her quickly as she stumbled. She'd been moving at a brisk pace and had been stopped dead in her tracks. Her hair was mussed from the collision, but otherwise the red locks gleamed with health and vitality. She looked at him, completely helpless in his grasp. He noticed how calm her brown eyes were, even then. Her slight form was shaking from cold, but he could feel the heat of her skin burning through her clothes. Another wave of anger swamped him before he tamped it down.
"Are you hurt?"
She shook her head slowly. For a second Blaise stared at her. As he set her back on the floor, he noticed how immaculate her robes were, even if they were old. She seemed perfectly groomed. A great contrast between that of Draco's rumpled clothes.
She thanked him quietly, stepped around him and started down the hall. Her head was bent, and she seemed almost to want to lean on the walls as she walked; she was so close to them. Another burst of anger surged through him, and he raced after her, grabbing her arm and spinning her around. Nearby was an unused classroom, and he pulled open the door and pushed her inside.
Startled but not hurt, she watched him with some apprehension.
"Who the hell do you think you are?" Definitely not what she had expected, Blaise deduced with a nasty amusement. She took a step back and he could have killed her.
With a slightly shaky voice, she replied, "I didn't do anything, I swear."
"That's the whole point! You haven't done a thing since Virginia died! Oh, yes, I know about Virginia," he said darkly. "You just carry on like nothing's happened!"
Her silence seemed to scream.
Blaise – knowing that Virginia was the feisty one, not Ginny – took no heed of what (on Virginia) would have been a warning. "Nothing Virginia's ever done has rubbed off on you! She died so you could live, and here you are going back to the little doormat that you used to be!" Odd how as his anger seemed to be decreasing, the tension in the room seemed to be increasing. For a second Blaise dwelled on that, but there was more he needed to say. "I've seen you during lunch times, bowing and scraping to that family of yours. To the trio. God," he sneered, "While Draco's sitting there almost suicidal because of Virginia's death, you're busy falling in love with Potter again. You've probably thrown yourself at him again and-" Somehow Blaise seemed to realise that he'd gone too far, stopping himself.
The desk that Ginny was leaning on shattered. She took no heed, her tense muscles seeming to be all the support she needed. She was so nonchalant, it seemed almost like she were leaning on an invisible desk. She kept one arm braced behind her. Blaise looked at the sight with some wonderment, before turning his attention to Ginny.
Almost unable to believe that he'd said those things to her, she spoke in a clipped, controlled voice. "While it is my understanding that you were close to Virginia, you must understand that I am not her. Therefore, next time you feel the need to speak to me, you will do so in polite terms, or I will hex you into next century. My relationship – or lack thereof – with Harry James Potter is none of your business whatsoever, Mr. Zabini. And as for Mister Malfoy, I was not the one who was stupid enough to get involved with him in the first place." Ginny sneered slightly. "Virginia always was a stupid bitch." Shocked that she'd said that about the soul that she'd loved (and yes, sometimes hated) so much, Ginny stared with wide eyes at Blaise.
"I didn't mean that," she whispered. She honestly hadn't. Virginia had always been the more intelligent of the two of them. She'd always been able to come up with solutions to their problems, always known when to speak and when to be silent...obviously something that Ginny still hadn't.
He sneered at her. "You aren't fit to lick her boots. At least she wasn't afraid to be somebody. You will end up a housewife with twenty thousand kids reminiscing about your school years and deluding yourself of how far you could have gone." He shot her another scathing glance and swept out of the room.
She watched him leave, once again feeling the essence of her life slowly crumbling around her, like she had so often before she'd let Virginia take over. Shivering slightly in a sudden chill, Ginny wrapped her cloak closer around her.
An hour after his confrontation with Ginny, Blaise had spoken to the other members in Draco's 'group of renegades' and they'd set up a watch. Scared shitless about what Draco might do were he left alone, Blaise ordered them to keep an eye on him around the clock.
Draco finally protested. He'd slowly pulled himself together, although, even now, he was only a shadow of his former self. Much more subdued than he had been, he once again took control of his group.
He'd noticed that Ginny had left the potions class; even in his dazed state it was hard not to realize Blaise'd been without a partner in Potions. However, apart from that quick thought, Draco barely knew she existed anymore. If she had been an intrusive presence, then perhaps he may not have been able to accept Virginia's death. But as it was, he rarely thought of Ginny, and saw her even less. Slowly but surely, she drifted from his mind.
It came as a shock, a fortnight later, to realise that he hadn't thought of Virginia for three days. Appalled, Draco asked himself how he could forget her, when Ginny attended the same school as he did. For the next day, Draco looked everywhere he could to see a glimpse of Ginny. It was only on the second day that he saw her, and the sight was a great shock to him. She barely seemed to exist. She no longer seemed to have friends; was that different to before Virginia took over? He couldn't remember, he'd never taken much notice of her. She seemed to withdraw more and more with every day that passed. And even when Draco knew she was afraid of him, he couldn't help but worry. She had to be feeling the same sort of loss as he and Blaise. But she had no one to lean on, unless she'd confided in her family.
She was sitting alone at breakfast that day, her cheeks slightly pinched. Her lower lip jutted out into a little pout. Her skin was sallow where it had once been glowing, and there were dark rings underneath her eyes. As he watched, she wrapped her now-ever-present cloak tighter around her. Even from here he could see the sheen of sweat on her forehead. Her hand was shaking as she lifted up her spoon to sip from the hot soup that had been served.
Concerned, but not overly worried, he watched her eat her breakfast, and left the hall just before she finished.
He was back again for dinner, watching her closely. She'd chosen sausages and mashed potatoes for dinner. Just before she began to eat, she flicked her hair back off her face. He knew that Virginia would have pulled her hair back and secured it there so that it wouldn't be in her way. He kept watching her, and she glanced at him with a timid disbelief, and then continued ignoring him.
She left just a couple of minutes later, having eaten little.
Turning to Blaise, he said in a quiet voice: "You don't need to follow me around anymore. I'm okay."
"Are you sure?"
"That I'm okay? Yes. But I'm not too sure about her." He inclined his head toward Ginny.
Blaise scoffed. Draco scowled. "What?"
When Blaise spoke, his voice was bitter. "I've had a few encounters with Miss Weasley. Believe me, she's fine."
Fine, eh? Draco thought as she closed her eyes slowly. She looked tired. Stressed, perhaps. Nervous? Why should she be nervous, though? It wasn't as if he and Blaise were going to say anything to anyone about Ginny and Virginia. Unless Blaise had said something to her...he honestly seemed to hate Ginny.
Frowning, Draco subsided once more, leaving Blaise to think he agreed with him.
He next saw her two days later; a Friday. Not surprising, as he'd deliberately sought her out. She seemed even more nervous than she had at breakfast on the Wednesday. She was sitting propped up on a wall, her legs splayed awkwardly over the floor. It took him a minute to realise that she'd not sat there out of choice. Her legs had simply given out on her.
Draco dropped down beside her. It seemed to take so much effort for her to even drag her gaze to him, and when she realised who he was she didn't even react. His hand cupped her cheek and alarm flared in his gaze; she was boiling hot. "Are you ill?" He asked with concern.
"No, Malfoy," she croaked. "I just happen to like sitting in corridors during the middle of the day."
He smiled. Actually smiled; something he hadn't done since he lost Virginia. But she was so ridiculous, sitting in the middle of the corridor, barely able to lift her head, and yet still snapping out sarcastic comments. Perhaps there was more to her than Ginny-Good-Girl. He hefted her into his arms and stood up. Awkward to be sure, but there wasn't much else to do.
He realised that if most men really did this, then they'd all have very sore backs. Ginny was an almost-dead weight in his arms, and he strained to keep holding her. If she'd been strong enough to use her muscles it wouldn't have been so bad – would probably have been enjoyable, in fact. Even now, with his arms aching, he loved feeling like he was protecting someone, loved feeling that he was needed. He hefted her higher and she wrapped her arms around his neck.
"Where are we going?" She sighed.
"To the infirmary." He didn't look down at her, busy watching for any signs of help...or hindrance. He wasn't entirely sure that he wanted help. To be perfectly honest.
She explained in a surprisingly forceful voice. "No, I am not going to the infirmary. I have had enough of hospitals to last me a lifetime. In six years, I have been landed twice for serious illnesses, and I'm not going back there again. All I need is some Pepper Up Potion. If I can have some of that, I'll be fine."
"Are you sure?" He didn't believe her. He wasn't stupid. If it got any worse, he'd take her to Madame Pomfrey. If she insisted that he didn't, he'd take her to the Gryffindors instead and let them deal with her. But a Pepper Up Potion wasn't a bad idea. He decided to accommodate her, just for once.
He'd go to Crabbe; Crabbe always had most medicines. A bloody hypochondriac, was Crabbe. It was such a silly weakness for someone so hulking, but there it was.
"Okay." He set her in a conclave behind a tapestry, with a sort of window seat attached. Not that there was a window, but it was a place to sit. "Wait here. I'll be back soon."
It took him no time at all to return to the conclave with the Pepper Up Potion in his hands. He smiled when he saw Ginny sitting there; somewhere between the second floor and the dungeons he'd realised that it probably wasn't wise to leave her by herself. She seemed slightly better, oddly enough. More coherent, at least. He was so relieved at her sudden perk up that he frowned. Why should he care, anyway?
It wasn't something he wanted to dwell on.
He measured out the potion and gave it to Ginny. Within seconds of sipping at it, her ears started smoking. She relaxed slightly. "Thanks, Malfoy." Her hectic flush seemed to calm a bit, and she actually smiled at him.
He frowned. He didn't want to hear that, not from her.
She seemed to realise it too because her face suddenly closed up. "I'm not her." She said shortly.
"I said I'm not her, Malfoy. I saw that wistful look, as if you wanted something really badly." She laughed shortly. "And Merlin knows that look wouldn't be for me." He wasn't sure how to respond, but was saved the task when she continued. "I am not Virginia. I am Ginny Weasley. Ginevra Weasley, if you want to get down to it." Ginevra? He'd always just assumed that Ginny was short for Virginia. Where the hell did Virginia come from, then? She shook her head. "And I am sick of paying for things I did not do. It was not me who got involved with you, it was not me who stuffed up everyone's life, it was not me who tried to become a death eater or who shamed my family by living with the Slytherins." She buried her head in her hands. She looked like she was crying.
Draco panicked. "Oh, God, Weasley, are you crying?"
She slowly raised her head to look at him. Her eyes were completely dry. "No, Malfoy, I am not crying. I am simply contemplating my circumstances."
He nodded. An awkward silence fell over them, and then Draco sat next to her, moving her legs so he could sit down. He returned her legs to their former position, although they were now across his lap. Now why had he done that? "My circumstances aren't much better, you know."
Seemed to cheer her up a bit, really. A good sign.
"Oh, yeah," he sighed. "First of all, I've lost all respect from my housemates. And my reputation is caput. The big, bad Draco Malfoy being dumped by little Ginny Weasley, and then completely falling apart is the biggest news for months. Of course, you and I and Blaise know that I wasn't dumped, that she died," -- it was amazingly easy to talk about Virginia's death in such light terms -- "but the rest of the world doesn't. I'm living with a hypochondriac, a vicious lout who snores, and someone who worries over me day and night like a mother hen. If that isn't enough, I think my hair is thinning!" He pointed to his head "Do you think it is? It isn't as lush as it used to be." He looked at her. She was smiling. Weakly smiling, but that was probably more her having the flu than not being amused. He was glad she was amused. He didn't like it when she was upset.
Now why did he think that?
Ginny wasn't anything to him. He didn't know anything about her. He hadn't spoken to her before now. And within seconds of speaking to her, he had realised that she was nothing like Virginia. Virginia was loud lightening storms; exhilarating, entrancing. Ginny was...she was like soft English rain. Quiet, understated, but with enough punch when she wanted it.
The silence had stretched out unbearably. Draco patted her shin and stood up. "Come on," he said. "We'll go back to your Common Room. You won't even have to worry about passwords; I'm sure you can get them changed." After a pause, she nodded.
He lifted her into his arms and followed her directions to the Gryffindor quarters. When they reached the Fat Lady, Ginny muttered the password in an undertone; so quietly Draco didn't even catch it. It was the correct one though, as the Fat Lady swung open, and Draco climbed through. He was surprise by the common room; it was much more spacious than theirs. Red and gold were streaked liberally throughout the room, and there was a nice-looking feinting couch in front of the fire. He placed her there and stoked the fire, grabbing a nearby cover and draping it over her. He gave a little smile. "Goodnight, Weasley."
Draco didn't see her for a few days after that. He assumed she was recovering, but he didn't bother to check up on her; it was best for both of them if they cut connections as much as possible. They weren't alike, really. They had nothing in common except Virginia, and she was gone forever.
If she needed help though, then he'd be there. A knight in armour, perhaps. He liked the thought.
He caught a glimpse of her turning a corridor that afternoon. It was so tempting to chase after her to make sure that she was okay, but he restrained himself. If she'd wanted to talk to him, to thank him, then she'd have done so, surely. But she hadn't. So he turned around and took a different path to Potions.
He avoided talking to Blaise, though. Blaise was too intuitive; he'd know immediately that something was up. And Draco didn't want to talk about that 'something'. Not yet, not when the image of a redhead was imprinted on his brain. An image of a redhead completely helpless, yet still trusting him implicitly. And he still didn't know what that 'something' meant.
But at the very least, he wanted to get to know the person who had been there before Virginia; who knew Virginia just as well as she knew herself.
He wanted to find the girl behind the myth. The soul behind Virginia. The substance in Virginia's illusion.
"Have you seen Malfoy lately?"
"Ron," Hermione sighed impatiently, "I try to make it a habit not to look at Malfoy as much as possible." She was frustrated with Ron, disappointed in the relationship that had almost been. And at the same time she kept longing for him to make a move, she kept pushing things firmly back to where they had always been; friendship.
"He's been staring at Ginny. All the time. Like he can't stop. He looks for her everywhere, I swear."
"Well, what do you expect? They broke up, Ron. Everyone has trouble not looking at the person they broke up with. You get so used to staring at them and then you can't because you've broken up." She sounded completely exasperated.
"You don't seem to have trouble."
That made her pause. "What?"
Ron's ears turned red, but her persevered. "I said, you don't seem to have any trouble."
"Ron, I never broke up with anyone…except perhaps Viktor, but he lives a couple of countries away, so it wasn't a problem." His hair was all mussed up, she noticed. It looked quite adorable on him, really.
He blushed. "I meant...with us. And the non us. You never seem to have any problems not looking at me."
Did this mean what she hoped it meant? "How would you know? You've never been looking at me, either, Ron."
If it were possible he went even redder. "Look, Hermione. I don't really know how to do this, and I can't do that mushy stuff yet...I think you'll have to teach me that, but." He took a deep breath and looked petrified. "I like you Hermione. And I want to go out with you...Will you go out with me?"
A huge smile lit up her face, and she leaned forward and kissed him. When she pulled away he looked shocked. "What," she asked with a very un-Hermione-like giggle. "You thought I'd say no?"
"Do you mind if I sit here?"
The futhark is an ancient Norse Rune script, used in mind...
The voice intruded on Ginny's concentration. With frustration she crossed out the 'mind' she'd accidentally written and muttered her reply. "Do you see my name on the table?" A rhetorical question, of course. "Then you're obviously free to sit here."
The person sat down. She ignored him and concentrated on writing her Ancient Runes essay. It was a tricky one. A roll of parchment to be written on the origin of the futhark and its uses in magic.
She nibbled on her lip as she considered what to write. The futhark is an ancient Norse Script; used is both magic and life. The name futhark is derived from the first letters in its system; f u th a r and k. However, where our alphabet system is begun by abcd – sounds that have no meaning separately – the futhark is begun by fehu, uruz and þurisaz, which mean 'cattle' 'aurochs' and 'giants' respectively. Yes, that sounded good. She wrote it down quickly so she wouldn't forget it, then looked up at her companion.
Not by a glance or inflection did she betray her surprise at Draco Malfoy's appearance. "Yes?" It was then she realized that he wasn't looking at her, or even paying her any attention. He was sitting in his chair writing what seemed to be an essay for transfiguration. He didn't answer her. Slightly confused, she returned to her essay. Where was she? ...and 'giants' respectively. The futhark is the base of all runes, and therefore its uses in magic are extensive. The runes can be inscribed on talismans, or any other surface. The intriguing thing about the futhark and its magic properties is that just writing something is a spell on its own..
No, that didn't sound right at all. She checked her textbook, The Rune Journey, and tried to figure out how to explain that concept.
It was impossible, she decided. The concept confused her, so how was she supposed to explain that simply writing a word gave power to that word? She grinned as she realised that she'd just answered her own question. She jotted that down and looked up again at Malfoy.
What was he doing here? She hadn't even seen him since he'd helped her when she had her flu...which Madame Pomfrey had been able to cure in a second. Showed how much stubbornness would do, she thought wryly.
She needed to break the silence.
"Thank you for helping me. The other day, I mean." He didn't answer for a long time. She was about to say something else when he replied.
Silence. She looked down at her parchment for a long while staring blindly at the essay. She didn't understand why he was sitting there. Why he didn't say anything.
"Do you need some help?"
She looked up at him with surprise. "What?"
"You seem to be having trouble. Do you want some help?" He asked.
Unwilling to admit that she hadn't even been thinking of the essay, she nodded. She hadn't thought he'd been paying any attention to her at all. He shuffled his chair closer to her. His head was bent, and his silvery blonde hair shined in the light. She wondered briefly how he managed to have every hair in place, but then sighed at her foolishness and looked at her paper.
He'd finished reading the title; The Origin of the Futhark and It's Uses In Magic, and hard though it obviously was, he'd gleaned the topic. "Right. So, you've defined what the futhark is. All you need to do next is to talk about why people use it in magic. You'll need to talk about rune scripts, and Bindrunes – when you combine two runes to make a new one, sort of like a contraction. If that doesn't bring you up to length, mention something about singing or speaking runes as spells and the futhark's uses in divination."
She nodded and scribbled onto her parchment. It didn't take her long to finish her essay after that. After a few minutes she threw down her quill, sanded and rolled up her parchment, and left.
They both came to the library the next day. They both sat next to each other. Ginny worked on her Charms homework and Draco worked on his Potions essay. At first she felt she should say something to break the silence, then she simply shrugged and ignored him. The hours marched on in silence and when Ginny next looked up from her essay, it was nine o'clock and the rest of the library was deserted. She took a deep breath and stretched. The noise disturbed him, and he looked up at the clock, then packed up his books and left. They hadn't said a word.
"She's not Virginia, Blaise."
Blaise flicked him a scathing glance. "I know that, Draco. I was the one who knew that in the first place. You were the one who had the breakdown over it."
That hurt. "She's different."
"Also something I know, Draco." Blaise sounded so blasé about it all, so bored.
Draco tried again. "She's as strong as her, but in a different way. She's subtler."
He ran a hand through his white-blonde hair and looked at Blaise in disgust. "I'm worried about her. I think she's unhappy. I think she's lonely. And you could be her best friend, Blaise, you should be. She's even more like Gypsy than Virginia was, but you insist that Ginny is a bad person. You say that she's the only one who hasn't been changed by Virginia. Well, how do you know? We didn't know her before Virginia came into her life." He sighed.
A startling revelation had been made to him in his encounters with Ginny. Ginny was not Virginia. While there were similarities, sometimes far too close for even him to tell the difference, there were also definite differences. He could tell the two apart, now, and he could accept that Virginia was gone. He'd always feel something for her – would always remember her as his first love. But at the same time, some tiny piece of hope inside him had died when Ginny had awoken from her slumber. And now that was all Virginia was to him; a memory. A lovely, vivid, gorgeous memory. But nonetheless, she was gone. He had to face the truth.
Virginia, as he knew her, was gone. And Draco's life was going to change as a result of that.
"Just talk to her. One on one. Without prejudice. That's all I ask."
For the first time during the conversation, Blaise looked up from his magazine. He narrowed his eyes. "You really want me to do this? You're that worried about her?"
Blaise nodded. "Fine."
Blaise watched for Ginny. He didn't approach her until the weekend. It was an unusually warm, and the sunlight had sent many students outside; Ginny being one of them. She was sitting underneath the beech tree, eyes closed and a little smile playing over her face. She looked so relaxed that Blaise was almost loath to interrupt her, but he had told Draco that he would, and there was no better time.
She looked up at him. "What, come to call me an evil hag again?"
Blaise was shocked to realize how much that must have hurt her, for her to bring it up again. He was immediately contrite. "No, I came to apologise."
"Accepted," she clipped out. "Now leave."
"Come now," he grinned. "Surely your mother taught you better manners than that." He sat down next to her.
The breeze that wafted up from the lake rippled through his hair, and he understood why Ginny would love to sit here. It was so peaceful and quiet. They sat there in comfortable silence for a long time.
"What sort of things do you want to do after Hogwarts?"
She told him. He was drawn into the conversation by the mention of counter-curses and the study and development of defensive spells. They talked to each other, losing track of time. They gave and took and relaxed. When Blaise left (after promising they'd talk again), he shot her an indescribable look and told her quietly; "I can understand why Virginia loved you."
She waited until he was out of sight before she started to cry. And even then, she wasn't sure if it was because she was happy or sad.
It became a sort of tradition for Draco and Ginny to sit with each other in the library. They didn't bother with small talk and they weren't ones to share their deepest thoughts with one who they didn't speak to. Occasionally they'd look up and find the other looking at them. They'd exchanges glances – sometimes it was glares – and continue with their work. If they did speak, they didn't discuss Ginny's blossoming friendship with Blaise, or the problems in their lives, or pressures to conform to their families' standards, it was to comment on the other's stupidity, or to ask for a book. And to insult.
At the same time, though, they started to count time on whether or not the other was there. They couldn't relax until the other was there, couldn't concentrate on their work. In his mind, Draco started calling her Virginia's old nickname, Frecks; the one that hadn't suited Virginia.
It was a Friday when Draco realised just how much he'd grown dependant on Ginny's company. She was late. He checked the clock every few seconds until a half hour had gone by. She wasn't there. Was she coming? She had to be coming. She couldn't just blow him off like that. They had an unspoken agreement, and she'd broken it!
It was ten minutes later when she walked in, looking tired and haggard beyond belief. Draco was so relieved that he decided he'd be nasty today, just to let her know that he didn't care if she didn't come.
"You look like shit, Weasley."
She sneered at him. "And yet I still manage to look better than you."
Her hands curled into what resembled claws and Draco drew in a gasp of mock fear. "Why, the innocent kitten has claws after all."
Ginny was having a horrid day, and she didn't need her sometimes-hero-usually-pain-in-the-ass-enemy to make it worse. "I do have claws, and if you aren't careful I'll claw you too."
"What's wrong, Ginny," he taunted, "Potter dumped you? He got drunk and professed his love again and you were stupid enough to fall for it a second time? You should know by now, Ginny. He doesn't want you. No one wants you." He was trying to hurt her, trying to punish her for making him worry. He succeeded, but not in the way he expected.
She flew at him. Her hands were clawed, nails growing longer by the second (Accidental magic? He wondered), and she flung herself at him with all the force her body could muster. They toppled over, Ginny on top, scratching at his face. Draco's caught her wrists in an effort to stop her from scratching out his eyes. His biceps strained against Ginny's absolute fury. She was screaming at him at the top of her voice, and Madame Pince was running over and shouting at them that this was a library and not a Quidditch pitch. Somewhere in there Draco heard Professor McGonagall's voice shouting 'detention' and Madame Pince talking about being banned from the library. He could feel someone trying to lift Ginny off him, but she was resisting and in the minute he'd been distracted his grip had slipped. Ginny gouged a long streak in his left cheek before McGonagall used her magic to lift Ginny off him.
"What's wrong, I hit to close to the truth?" He asked nastily. She lunged at him again, despite the fact that she was hanging five feet in the air.
"That's it!" McGonagall yelled. "Detention! Both of you!" Her face was thunderous. "I cannot believe I just witnessed such an appalling display from senior students!"
They'd been sitting together silently, waiting for McGonagall to come back and give them their punishments. Ginny's nails had been clipped from their claw like state, and they'd been warned that if they went for each other again, their punishments would be 'so much worse'.
"I hope you have to clean the dungeons with a toothbrush," Draco said, with not a little glee. It might not be wise, exactly, to push Ginny like that, but he thought he knew what he was doing. He just had to make sure that he didn't mention Potter's name, or do anything that would set her off further.
She snarled at him. "I hope you have to suck Snape's dick, you fart-headed faggot." She knew it was crass, but it was the best she could come up with in the circumstances.
He grinned. "Fart-headed, eh?" It seemed to relax her a bit. That was good. He didn't want her to lunge at him with what he had to say next. "Look..." he hesitated for a second and ploughed on. "I'm sorry about what I said in the Library. It was out of line."
Ginny felt like she was about to cry. It hadn't been out of line, that was the whole problem. Where he was concerned, nothing was out of line. He knew everything about her, all her deepest secrets. And what was more, she didn't mind him knowing. She even quite liked it. And while the Potter remark had been stupid and completely untrue, it was the comment he'd made afterward that had killed her.
No one wanted her.
Not even Draco. She, who was almost dependant on his being there, was not needed by him.
And though she didn't really want to humble herself like this, Draco knew all her secrets, understood all her expressions, and she couldn't keep it from him for long anyway. When she spoke, her voice was low and intense. "No, you weren't. It was the truth. Not the Potter bit. The bit after that."
Draco couldn't really remember what he'd said, only that he'd felt a huge surge of triumph when he'd ripped through that calm demeanour. He tried to concentrate, to figure out what exactly what he'd said.
He doesn't want you. No one wants you.
He shook his head, remorse and grief showing on his face. "That's not true."
"Yeah, it is."
"Look, Ginny. I just said that because..." Well, she'd bared her soul to him, he should at least do the same, right? "Because you were late. And I was upset, because I can't concentrate without you being there anymore, and you don't seem to care."
"We've both lost someone we've loved. And we can't tell anyone about it, because they'd put you in the hospital. I know what you're going to say. You aren't Virginia. But even now, when I know you aren't her, I still want you. So do you think, perhaps, we might..give it a go?"
She took a deep breath. And another. This was what she wanted, wasn't it? She'd been late because she'd been talking to Blaise, telling him that she liked Draco like that, and Blaise had said nothing either way. He'd only commented that he'd support her either way, but that Draco might not ever be able to get over Virginia.
Lately it had been almost impossible for her to sit in the same room as him, to watch him sitting in the library, all disheveled, with his shirt hanging out, and not think about what it would be like if she weren't with him. She'd longed to run her hands through his hair, to be able to touch that flawless skin. And wasn't this what he was asking her? Wasn't his question giving her permission to do so?But he was already turning away, his face closing in disappointment and rejection. Her hand shot out quickly and grabbed his sleeve. He looked down at her in surprise. She was on tiptoe, and he was drawing ever nearer. She could feel the heat of his skin through his school shirt.
Their lips met, his warm and confident, hers slightly unsure but game to follow his lead. His arms came around her and she could feel herself melt. Her knees turned to water and she made a soft noise in the back of her throat.
She drew away and looked at him. He was all arrogance and satisfaction. His hair was mussed – when had she done that? – and his eyes were a stormy grey.
"We might try." She whispered. "We might try."
Author's Note: So, it's over! Thank you all so much for continuing this fic with me, for putting up with delays and excuses and rewrites and Lord knows what else. You are all so wonderful and I appreciate your input, advice and reviews so much!
I re-wrote this about 5 times before I ended up with something I actually like. [Thus the reason for the delay.] Anyway, I absolutely have to thank the Dandy Warhols, because it was their song We Used To Be Friends [or, more specifically, the line "But I haven't thought of you lately at all"] which finally helped snap the writer's block.
Also, I know that it's recently been confirmed that Ginny's full name is actually "Ginevra", so I sort of slipped the scene in. Just as a little explanation: Virginia named herself that, because it meant 'pure', and she found it ironic that she would be named pure when she was the dark side of Ginny.
Just Some Specific Thank You's: Firstly, to Nicole, my beta reader. You have done an absolutely fantastic job and I don't know how I could have survived without you. To Qiana, for all your input and sarcastic remarks. To Mana (my old beta reader) who faithfully reviewed all of my stories, including the ones that were in Russian! To the people who added me to their favorites/author alerts lists; thank you so much! And to those who reviewed, of course. .
Just thought I'd mention that I do have a personal website for all my fanfiction related things. You can find it at http:quiescence.king-weasley.net , and everything I write will go there first. There's also a mailing list there, so you can join and find out when the site is up, as well as whatever fan art or manipulations I or my friends make. It'll be where my extra's go; for instance the plot of The Myth of Innocence and the alternate ending [which hasn't yet been written but which I am planning to do, because it was heading that way for a long time, but I changed it, heh.]
Also, there will be a bibliography of sources put up on Quiescence when I return. I've used so many sites during my research, they deserve so much credit. One such site is The Rune Journey, which is a fantastic site.
I'll be taking a month's break after this, not because I want to stop, simply because I'll be travelling abroad and therefore won't have computer access. However, I have more fics planned, and as soon as I get back I plan to write and post them.
Once again, thank you so much for all your work. I'm so glad I've finally finished this, after two years!
Hugs, kisses, and well-wishes.