Ginny serves detention with our favourite prefect, Draco Malfoy. An exchange between Ginny and Draco and things begin to fall in place.
Ginny walked down the stairs, shivering. In her rush to be on time to detention, she forgot her robe. Although Snape was sure to say something about her improper attire, technically she needn't wear her robe outside of class, so it's not as if he could punish her for it. Far worse to be late and given another week of detention. The snide lecture she wouldn't mind much but the next two hours promised to be long, cold ones. She sighed. She was such a mess lately.
She reached for the door and stumbled as it moved away from her grasp.
"So kind of you to join us, Weasley," Snape said, pulling the door open.
Ginny peered into the dungeon. Us? Draco leaned against one of the desks, waving one hand nonchalantly and then returned to examining his fingernails.
"Prefect Malfoy will be supervising your detention. I have other things to attend to," Snape said sharply as he gathered several books and a bag filled with flasks. Ginny did not know what to say. To be free from Snape's eyes was a windfall she hadn't counted upon.
"However, my absence will not be an opportunity for you to dilly-dally, Weasley. Leave your antidote assignment with Prefect Malfoy at the end of your detention. You can continue to work on it throughout the week. And remember, he will report any improper conduct to me," Snape continued as he measured out powders into neat paper envelopes.
The corners of Malfoy's mouth quirked ever so slightly. Ginny groaned. No, this was definitely worse than Snape. At least Snape was a known quantity. Was Malfoy ever going to leave her alone?
"If that was a complaint, Weasley, one week can easily turn into one month. I've no time for this. Malfoy," Snape snapped his bag shut and walked out of the room, leaving them alone.
Ginny spun on her heel and dropped her pile of books on the desk furthest from Malfoy.
"Weasley, I can't supervise properly if you're miles away from me. Be a dear and do come closer. Or better yet, I can move. We prefects are an accommodating sort. We live but to serve."
Malfoy had the nerve to dance his way to the desk in front of hers, settling on the bench and crossing his legs demurely, his hands folded over his knees.
Ginny ignored him, intent on her assignment. Snape, with his infernal cunning, had now prevented her from getting any help from Hermione. She was doomed.
"Oh, Weasley, is this any way to treat your partner in crime?" Malfoy said as he swung his crossed leg.
"Malfoy, we are not partners. Nor do I have time to entertain you. You heard Snape. I have to leave the scroll with you. If I don't spend every bloody minute of this detention on the assignment, I will never get it done!" Ginny hissed, staring intently at the page before her.
"She speaks! Your silences always unnerve me, Weasley. The longer they are, the more harrowing your eventual outbursts. So, what's Snape given you? The antidotes to all the fifth year potions? He is rather fond of the fifth year curriculum. I can't blame him, really. It contains the meat of potions," Draco said.
"Why are you here?" Ginny asked as she flipped frantically through her books.
"You heard what Snape said, Weasley. I am supervising," Draco said as he peered over his nose onto her scroll.
"I said I would think about it! I didn't give you license to stalk me," Ginny replied, hiding the page from his view with her arm while scribbling furiously.
"You wound me. This fortuitous coincidence arises out of my duties as a prefect. We are asked to assist the House masters from time to time. Snape has been particularly busy of late, so...." Draco said, shrugging his shoulders. "And that's clearly the wrong antidote, Weasley. I know that the mugwort in that potion makes you think lamb's ears are the appropriate counteragent. But the mugwort is balanced by the maiden's heart. If you add anything with lamb's ears, the result will explode or cause you to break out in warts. That's a trick a First Year should be able to spot. Well, we'll give you Second Year, you are working with a handicap."
"Give me one reason I should not use my Potions book to brain you and do the rest of Hogwarts a favour that will make me legend for years to come?" Ginny said as she scratched out the last lines she had written, still avoiding his gaze.
Draco pulled out a fresh parchment from his sleeve and shook his head.
"Tut tut, Weasley. The answer is clear as day. I have all the answers up here," he said, taping his left temple with his index finger
"I suppose it's too late to ask for three reasons?" Ginny said, holding her hand out for the new parchment.
"Well, the other two are quite obvious-my dashing good looks and our partnership, Weasley. And of course, I am a prefect and I could see your sass as impertinence to your superior. Or I could be convinced that you are just playing hard to get. Help me make up my mind, Weasley," Draco said, smiling at Ginny, his hands spread open.
Ginny grunted. Draco took that as a yes. Who knew that Weasley and Millicent had so much in common?
"Now, move over, Weasley. I would just dictate, but I'm afraid you will muck it up. It's all those big words, like the and stir," Draco said as he walked over to her bench, making a shooing motion with his hands.
Ginny scooted over an inch. Draco perched himself precariously against the edge, leaning heavily against her. He reached over and collected the books in his arms, throwing them in a messy heap onto the floor.
"Ah, the fifth year curriculum. I remember it like it was last year. I suppose it was last year," Draco said.
Ginny rolled her eyes.
"You know, Malfoy, there are a few glitches to your glorious plan."
"You say this because you lack vision and romance, Weasley. I should expect someone with ginger hair to be common." Draco pulled one of her tails to emphasise his point.
Ginny ignored his comment and continued speaking.
"First, I am not in love with Harry Potter. Everyone but you knows this."
"Of course you love him, Weasley! Have you watched at yourself lately?" Draco fluttered his eyelashes, feinting a swoon.
"This brings me to my second point. I have had several boyfriends in the past year or two." Two spots of red bloomed on Ginny's face, her jaw jutting out ever so slightly.
"Oh?" Draco raised an eyebrow, clearly unimpressed.
"The one who's dating Chang? I never did get the fuss about her. She's a knut a dozen on the streets of Hong Kong. But Hogwarts is a bit of a backwater, so there's no accounting for taste."
"He likes birds? Who knew?"
Ginny forged on, the spots of colour growing larger, her chin clearly turned up. "My third point is given my past dating history, which is more extensive than yours, I might add, no one will believe I'm so desperate that I would date Draco Malfoy."
"Well, if I were so in love with Potter that I was driven to date Michael Corner and Dean Thomas, I'd want to date me, quite frankly. Thomas has an artist's flare, if you like Bohemians, but Corner is just boring-no style."
Ginny peered at Draco, her eyes narrow slits.
"Weasley, you really should stop with the logical thinking. You're in Gryffindor for a reason. Delusion and an inability to reason are pre-requisites for membership in your House. Remember, vision and romance! Those should come naturally to you. And I will have you know I have dated more people than you."
"Fourth, I am technically still dating Dean Thomas."
Draco paused for a moment. Then he began to laugh, clutching his sides as he fell to the floor, the peals threatening to choke the breath out of his throat. Ginny stared at him.
"You're joking, right?" Draco asked, gasping for breath.
"Well, I think we're overdue for a break up, but yes, we are technically still dating," Ginny said, frowning.
"If that's what's holidng you back, break up with Thomas. Release him, let him find the man of his dreams," he said, wiping the tears from his eyes.
Ginny snorted and smoothed out the parchment.
"Not that there's anything wrong with having a preference for blokes, but really, Weasley, it's unfair of you to keep up a sham relationship like that," Draco said, still gasping weakly.
"Oh, is it?" she asked, looking down her nose at him.
"Yes and you needn't give me such a dirty look, Weasley. We are playing for power, nothing less, and that occasionally calls for sacrifices, distasteful they may be. Besides, how else are you going to complete your assignment for Snape?"
"Hermione would find a way to help me if I begged her. And you needn't be so concerned for Dean, he's told me that he doesn't like blonds, male or female." Ginny stuck her tongue out at Draco.
"I am not at all concerned with Thomas' welfare, but mine. Owl me when you've broken up with him. Now, stop dithering and let's start working on this assignment, Weasley. Begin with the mugwort," Draco said, picking up the fifth year syllabus.
Ginny shook her head, dipping her quill in the ink as she began writing down Draco's words. She wasn't sure if she had the fortitude to pull off this trick. Malfoy was utterly mortifying. She deserved a plaque if she could pull this off.