Ginny and Draco continue with their plan, but there seems to be friction amongst our strange bedfellows. Draco may have underestimated Ginny, but that seems par for course around Hogwarts.
Ginny read the note and folded it before slipping it back into her pocket. His Greatness had deigned to speak with her after a silence of several weeks. Ginny gave a chunk of rare meat to the owl. It was simply infuriating how Malfoy would show off. It seemed at every opportunity, he was owling her things. Was his head so far up his arse that he didn't think people would notice? Perhaps this was common in the Slytherin set of cosseted students, but Ginny receiving an owl attracted notice. Malfoy's owl was particularly spectacular and sweet too. Ginny smoothed the owl's feather with one finger.
All the occupants of the Great Hall watched this transaction with great interest. She had no bloody idea why. Neville was sitting right next to her. If he wanted to say something, he could simply lean over and say it to her. For some reason, the thought of Neville's mouth so close to her ear made her shiver. Ron jerked his head at her sudden movement, shooting Neville a dark look. The ever present murmur grew a little louder. Ginny refrained from throwing her lunch at the nosy, but otherwise, innocent audience. It would serve her better in her stomach.
She sighed. These last few days had been torture. Everyone would stare at her when she was even in the same room as Neville. And Neville knew no peace. All of his former haunts were swarming with invaders now. It was getting to the point where Professor Sprout was demanding that students show assignments before allowing them into the greenhouse. Ron had challenged Neville to a duel twice, talked down both times by Hermione. Ginny also had yet another conversation with Harry.
He had pulled her aside into a quiet hallway, the stairway turning behind them so they were alone.
"How are you doing, Gin?" he asked.
"Fine," Ginny mumbled, trying to not to sound too mulish. Harry meant well.
"You haven't been yourself lately and I just wanted you to know that you could talk to me. I know Ron's being a bit of an ass," Harry said without stumbling too much. Ginny smiled in spite of herself.
"I've just been tired. People should know how to mind their own business. You know what I mean," she said
Harry nodded. It was nice to have someone who understood.
"It's not like Neville want to kiss them. There was mistletoe, you know, holiday cheer," he said while patting her arm.
Ginny gave Harry her mother's best death stare.
"You boys are all thick, aren't you?"
The stairway had returned. She stalked off. Meaning was good and all, but Harry had the sensitivity of a dead stump.
Ginny wondered if Malfoy had noticed any of this. It was so hard to tell with Malfoy. He was somewhat narrow in his scope--he rarely noticed anything that didn't pertain to the Malfoys. He didn't like Neville, but he didn't like anyone, so that didn't mean much. She rolled her eyes. She had no idea why Malfoy wanted to meet with her now. It had been some time since they had discussed their "plan".
"Gbye," Neville mumbled as he shuffled off before Ginny could respond.
Ginny had hoped Malfoy had forgotten of his stupid plan. But it might serve as a much needed distraction.
Ginny went to the cupboard after dinner. Malfoy was sitting in the chair and appeared to be reading something. He snapped the book shut. It was thin, but it had a hard cover.
"So why have you decided to grace me with your presence, Malfoy?" she asked.
He turned around. Ginny blinked. She'd never seen Malfoy look so terrible. He had dark circles under his eyes. His tie was crooked and his sleeves were rolled up.
He shoved his hair out of his face, massaging the top of his head furiously. His eyes were dark and they seemed to bore into her.
"You really don't like Potter, do you?" he asked in a low voice.
"That's why you brought me here? I've told you that from the beginning," Ginny said, rolling her eyes.
He grabbed her wrist and pulled her towards him. She opened her mouth to protest, but before she could utter a word, Malfoy began kissing her. Ginny thought of struggling but her mind went back to Neville's kiss, no, PECK, and she relaxed. Several minutes passed and Ginny squirmed. Malfoy's concentration was unnerving.
"A girl has to breathe, Malfoy," Ginny said, taking a long, full breath as she took a half step back.
"So is there someone?" Malfoy asked, still staring at her.
"No," she said. Of course there wasn't anyone. That was how she managed to say no without a tremor.
"Are you sure?" he asked again.
"Of course I'm sure, there's no need to ask again," she responded. Then again, the more she said it, the more she believed it.
"Good. It's important to ignore the peons," Malfoy muttered as if she weren't there. "Now, where were we...?"
Malfoy raised his eyebrow. "Yes? Would you like me to brew a Pepper-Up Potion?"
"Ah, I overheard some gossip in the library. It's not anything important," Malfoy said. "Now, lessons, Weasley. We have to get rid of this squirming habit. Maidens in love do not squirm."
"First, what did the peons say?" Ginny continued, ignoring his hand as it traced lazy circles on her back. Neville used to do that. It was wrong that Malfoy was doing it now. No, her eyes weren't tearing up. It was just the dust in the library. It made her eyes water.
"Something about you and Longbottom and mistletoe," Malfoy said nonchalantly. "You know, I never know where to look for the clasp. The front seems rather audacious for you, Weasley."
A red film flooded Ginny's vision. She shoved Malfoy away. The nerve of this bloody school. So they thought they knew what Ginerva Weasley was up to? Ginerva Weasley would show them.
She seized Malfoy's tie, pulling his face close to hers and gave him a cool look of appraisal.
"I bet we're not even in the betting books," Ginny murmured.
"Of course we are. The odds are so ridiculous, they laughed when Goyle and Crabbe put down their sickles," he said, tossing his nose up. "The bookies assumed they didn't know how to spell Pansy. It's not really such a stretch for Goyle and Crabbe."
Ginny laughed in spite of herself. Malfoy winked.
"Practice makes perfect, Weasley. Besides, I've got to get you back before curfew. I take my duties as a prefect seriously,"
Malfoy dragged Ginny into his lap. She rolled her eyes and grimaced slightly. She did have to put up some fight or else he'd actually think she wanted to be there. But Ginny was going to have the last laugh. Besides, there was something to be said for a boy that wasn't repulsed by her. Oh, she would show them indeed. Thoughts of revenge fled as she practiced in earnest, her fingers easing Malfoy's book out of his grasp.
Ginny wondered at Malfoy's renewed interest. Now that Dean was out of the picture and Neville acted as if she no longer existed, it was nice to have someone, even if that someone was Malfoy. Granted, he was irritating and rather pointy-looking, but neither mattered when her eyes were closed. She giggled. But she was still suspicious. Who really knew what went on in that pale head of his? Cramped quarters created proximity which was not to be confused with intimacy. Malfoy was exerting a lot of effort for mere revenge. But Ginny wasn't in any rush to sort out matters. So a week or two passed before Ginny pushed Malfoy away during one of their rehersals.
"Weasley, I thought I weaned you off the pushing," Malfoy said while he readjusted his tie.
She rolled her eyes. "No one can see us when we're here, you do realise," she said, snorting.
"There are eyes everywhere," he said in lofty tones. "I can't help being thorough."
"Just because you're a snoop and a rat doesn't mean everyone else is," she snapped back.
Malfoy tensed for a second before shrugging his shoulders in an elegant rolling motion.
"This school is a den of gossip and you know it. Stay sharp, Weasley," Malfoy drawled, lifting his nose in the air.
"Sharp for what? A timeline would be nice," she said, jabbing him in his chest.
Draco raised an eyebrow.
"You know very well what I mean," she continued, startled a bit by her short temper.
He simply shook his head, opening his eyes wide.
"Your meaning is lost on me, Weasley. Enlighten me," he said as he leaned back in the chair, his feet resting on the desk.
"What happened to your grand public show? Sneaking around in study cupboards isn't the point, Malfoy. You've missed a perfect opportunity in the Yule Ball. One would almost think you enjoy my company," Ginny said as she ticked points off on her fingers.
Draco raised both his eyebrows and flashed her a smug smile.
Ginny blushed in spite of her self.
"Not that I care what you think of me. My point is, don't waste my time," she continued hotly. She was supposed to be the one making him uncomfortable. This was not going as she had planned.
"The time isn't right yet, Weasley. All the pieces of the plan haven't fallen into place yet," he said smoothly, playing idly with her hair.
"You mean your plan," she pointed out.
"Well, of course," Malfoy said, not even pretending to consider the matter.
"It's OUR plan, Malfoy. You can't pull it off without me and you know it. You could try, but your your love of yourself is no secret in Hogwarts," she said, still blushing furiously. He had seemed so pathetic when he sent that note. She wrinkled her nose. She couldn't figure out what had changed in the last week or two. Whatever it was, it was giving him the upper hand. Ginny wasn't having any of that.
"Well, if you want me to be so vulgar as to state the obvious, I am the brains of this operation," he said, paying more attention to the way her hair fell than their conversation. The nerve of the bloody git!
"If it's so obvious, I suppose there isn't anything more to say," Ginny said as she took his hand out of her hair and walked out of the cupboard.
"Boys," she muttered, kicking the wall for good measure. He wasn't getting away that easily.
The Gryffindor-Slytherin match had the school all a buzz with excitement. Harry had been struck by a stray Bludger and his balance was off. It wasn't anything serious, but Madame Pomfrey insisted that Harry stay off his broom for at least two weeks. Harry, bless, had tried to fly. The minute he got on his broom though, he promptly fell off. A Seeker who could not stay on his broom was no Seeker. So Harry sat out this match, sitting in the bleachers with the rest of the House. That meant Gryffindor had no Seeker. As Capitan, Harry had appointed Ginny as the replacement Seeker.
Ginny didn't really like flying Seeker-it was a little too flashy for her taste. However, she was the fastest flyer after Harry and no one came even close. As she flew over to the pitch, she saw Malfoy floating across from her. His face was looking thinner and paler than usual. When he saw her looking at him, he smirked. Was he mouthing "Brains" at her? She grimaced.
Luna and Professor McGonagall were standing together at the commentator's booth. Luna appeared to be absorbed in her necklace. Professor McGonagall nudged Luna.
"Harry won't be playing today cos he's feeling a bit dizzy. But Ginny's taking his place, cos she flies fast, well faster than everyone else. Anyways, Gryffindor is playing against Slytherin. It looks like a Christmas party out there, doesn't it?" Luna said. Professor McGonagall stood there with her eyes closed. Ginny giggled.
Ginny waited patiently, her eyes scanning the field anxiously. The game went on around her as she flew around the field. Luna, meanwhile, was wondering if Malfoy's patronus wouldn't be a whippet, given his remarkable resemblance to the animal, also noting that whippets were quite cuddly and might improve Malfoy's luck with the ladies. Ginny bit her lip at that, trying not to laugh. The crowd, however, had no such restraints. Malfoy looked as if he were going to fly over and strangle Luna. Ginny reminded herself to give Luna all of her butter beer caps from now until the end of term.
Malfoy zoomed by, a blur of grey and green, jerking her out of her reverie. Drat, he'd seen it first. Ginny went after him, weaving and bobbing, just barely missing a Bludger. She was closing in on his lead. Malfoy fell behind, the Quaffle thudding against his left arm. He winced but didn't stop. They were now flying neck in neck. She turned towards him and flew in closer, close enough to lean in and touch him. So Malfoy thought he had the upper hand? And everyone thought their whispers about Neville were so clever? Well, Ginny Weasley knew how to call the shots. The Snitch was so close, they were both holding out their hands. She turned and smacked Malfoy a big sloppy kiss. His grip on his broom loosened, his arms falling slack to his sides as he leaned in. She grinned and broke away, grabbing the golden blur that was a Snitch. Oh, this was too perfect.
There was complete silence.
"Ginny Weasley kissed Draco Malfoy for the Snitch! And I think he liked it. That was very sneaky of you, Ginny, I don't think he expected that. I wonder if whippets have cooties though," Luna announced.
Professor McGonagall shook her head and flipped the scoreboard.
"Gryffindor wins, 379 to 84!"
Malfoy had been staring at her, his hand covering his mouth. At McGonagall's words, he blinked several times before turning to Ginny, glaring.
"Why you little---that's cheating!" Malfoy shouted.
"There's nothing in the Quidditch handbook about kissing. So who's the brains?" Ginny replied, buffing her nails. Winning the Quidditch match was brilliant, naturally. Malfoy's shock was sweet victory. Ron's mottled purple face however? That was priceless. Hermione appeared to be fanning something over Harry's prone body. Ginny pointedly ignored the reactions of Neville and his adoring harem.
Ginny blew Malfoy a kiss before flying off the pitch.
The students of Hogwarts roared. The bookies would be busy tonight.
1. The idea for this little Quidditch match snogging is brought to you by potterpuffs on livejournal. She did a brilliant comic short that served as the inspiration. Much love!