Draco's attempts to manage his love life through his head and his purse. Love, unlike world domination, does not come with a manual.
Something that you said
The look upon your face
Something in the way you hold me
I know what they say
I know what this means
I know that you never told me
-Burnt out car, St. Etienne
The blind leading the blind
Hogwarts didn't know quite what to make of them. Neither did they, but love, unlike world domination, did not come with a manual.
So Ginny walked into the Great Hall, her arm oh so casually linked in his, her nose high in the air. Draco was rather impressed--he didn't think she had the elan to pull it off, but it worked somehow, the run in the tights, the rumpled robes and that red, red hair. She stumbled and he stretched his arms out in spite of himself, her warm softness, unexpected. He tried not to hold on longer than necessary, but her sly wink said otherwise. He huffed. As if she knew any better than he.
New every morning
Breakfast was always an interesting endeavour for interhouse couples. Sitting with one's House was a hardfast rule. However, there were ways around those rules.
"May I borrow your salt?" she would ask cheekily, from his elbow.
He would roll his eyes and Pansy would shoot daggers. However, he would always get her the shaker before Blaise, brusquely pushing his hand away from hers.
He would stroll over and promptly finish whatever she was drinking.
"Pity, seems your cup is empty. Mine is too. Good help is so hard to find these days," he would drawl.
She would bristle with indignation, but never grab her cup fast enough to avoid him. Harry and Ron would vie for title of most righteous Gryffindor while Hermione would cluck about fraternity or sorority or siblinghood or whatever multiletter word caught her fancy at the moment.
And so the mornings would roll along.
Recalling things that other people have desired
Potter was the white elephant in the room. Ginny said nothing, but Draco knew obsessions like that didn't just disappear. Even now, he had to repress the urge to sock Potter in the face. It was hard to avoid Potter. He was everywhere. If Draco didn't know any better, he would think that Potter was following him. He turned around and nearly stepped on Potter's foot.
"Hello, Malfoy," she said, casually wrapping her arms around him, her herbal soap and honey smell tickling his nose.
She smiled too brightly. Draco grunted, beating the snarl from his throat.
"Oh, hallo, Harry," she continued, her tone too taut.
He wished Potter would go away and become a bad memory.
A dark heart, beating
Ginny hopped on one foot and then another as she waited by the Transfiguration classroom. Blaise came out first and yanked her robe, nearly causing her to fall.
"I don't know what game you're playing, Weasley, but whatever he's offered, it can't be worth it," Blaise said, yanking her robe yet again.
She stood still now and merely looked annoyed, her arms crossed against her chest, her tie hanging loosely from her neck.
"And you have something better, Zabini?" she asked.
He smiled; a flash of brilliance. She lowered her eyes in spite of herself, peering up between her lashes. Draco ambled through the door, bumping into Blaise. Blaise grunted and shoved him away, causing him to fall against Ginny.
"My grace and my heart," Blaise said before walking off.
The laughter of women
Her laughter was thin and high. An answering deep rumble made him shudder. Draco knew better than to walk in there, alone. Crabbe and Goyle were in the infirmary, healing from a nasty prank. He wasn't sure anymore who had masterminded the thing. The list of enraged protestors was neverending and he never intended such a thing to his loyal lieutenants. He frowned. There was a time when they were his too. But he had lost them. He turned back towards his room and sat. He waited for the laughter to fade, watching the shadows lengthen against his wall.
Hard, but much truer
Ginny was curled up in an armchair, her Potions textbook propped against her legs. She wasn't watching Harry, no. That would be something other girls did, girls with breath-wrenching, heat-thumping crushes. She twirled her hair idly, raising her knee slightly higher, the better to obscure her face.
"Er, Gin?" Harry asked.
"Yes, Harry?" she responded, not looking up from her book.
"Someone asked me to give this to you," he said.
She looked up. He was not quite meeting her eyes, his gaze set low. She followed the line of his eyes, and noted that her skirt had ridden up her legs, no tights, just knee socks. She smiled and stretched her legs, pointing her toes. Harry stared, the parchment slipping between his fingers. She let her book fall off her lap as she leaned forward and caught the parchment. Harry bent to catch her book. Their foreheads met. She winced. He paused before handing her the book.
"Cheers, Harry," she said as she slipped the note into her book.
Bathing in artificial light
Pansy and Millicent walked past, not noticing her. The dim glow of the torches illuminated only their faces and she lurked in the shadows. However, Ginny could see her pretty plain face, groomed to death, oozing galleons. The glimmer of a gold chain peeked from Pansy's robe upon the dungeon walls. Millicent hovered protectively over her friend, casting dark glances about them.
The door to Slytherin's common room swung open. Draco walked out with a grand sweep of his robe. The two girls jumped back and Pansy made a queer noise. Millicent placed her hand on Pansy's shoulder and growled at Draco. Draco paled and held out a tentative hand to Pansy, almost, but not quite, touching her cheek. His pale, nearly white hair and her dark blonde hair enveloped them in a halo of gold. Millicent made a rumbling noise of what Ginny could only think was approval.
She turned to walk away, but that dratted hair.
"Weasley, are you leaving us so soon?" the brat drawled.
Pansy fled, in tears. Millicent promptly swatted Draco, causing him to fall heavily against the wall. She walked away, leaving Draco even paler. Ginny leaned in and kissed him hard, as if to steal away all the breath from his body.
One true thing
"Do you love him?" Luna asked Ginny as she carefully pulled the comb through Ginny's hair.
"Why does it matter?" Ginny asked after several minutes of sputtering.
"It doesn't really," she said, still combing.
"So why ask?" Ginny responded more calmly, but her cheeks still flaming red.
"Because, I can't think of any other reason you'd be dating Malfoy," Luna said, arranging the curls with her fingers. "It's an awful lot of bother."
"No, I don't love him," Ginny said.
She closed her eyes and tried not to remember the way his lips tasted of rue as Pansy's cries echoed in her ears.
Every act of love is separateness
Draco didn't want Weasley's pity. He didn't want Pansy's anger, but he had that in spades. It had seemed a good plan at the time. Draco sank deeper into the bath, letting the foam cover everything but his eyes. It wouldn't matter as long as Pansy was safe.
The heart of your gesture
Ginny made her way to the Slytherin bleachers and walked over to Blaise. He half-rose from his seat and she pulled his scarf until it came tumbling off. She ripped her own off before wrapping it around her neck. She sat next to him and looked at him, daring him to speak.
Blaise shrugged and handed her a silver and green pompom.
"Glad to see you've finally joined the right side, Weasley," Blaise said.
Ginny made a face and fixed her eyes upon the Quidditch field.
"Don't think I'll start talking to you at the Slughorn dinners," she said as she scanned the field.
Blaise reached over to adjust her scarf.
"He's not going to be able to see you," Blaise continued.
Ginny waved her pompom and flashed her dimple. Blaise rolled his eyes and turned his attention to the Quidditch field.
Ownership of fragile devices
Draco felt joy, the wings of the golden Snitch fluttering furiously in his hand. Potter hovered next to him, glaring, as if the Snitch would fly freely through looks alone.
"Malfoy captures the Snitch for the win!"
Draco lifted his hands up. He would relish this moment, beating Potter. It was glorious. He scanned the crowds, looking for Pansy. His head turned, he missed Potter's swinging fist.
When he awoke in the infirmary, he still had the Snitch clasped in his hand; its wings were still beating. Someone coughed.
"Pansy?" he asked in a voice too weak to be his.
"Well, there goes your first chance, Malfoy," Ginny said.
He sunk into his pillows.
"I'm sorry about Harry. I don't think he's taken...us very well," Ginny said. "Pansy did stop by, but she didn't stay very long. Crabbe and Goyle left you some sugar quills. Blaise left a card."
Draco blinked. She was very authentic-sounding. Perhaps she did deserve a raise. She leaned forward and gave him a chaste peck on his lips. She smoothed his sheets and rose from her chair.
"You should let the Snitch go, Malfoy. You'll catch others," she said dryly. "Now that you're awake, I should go."
He clenched his fist and rested it against his chest. The fluttering of the wings felt like a second heartbeat.
The possibility of zero
Draco stared at the pile of cards and gifts lying on the stand next to his bed. There was no mistaking Blaise's elegant script. He lifted the seal with his finger, flicking the wax to the floor. The card was silent, thank goodness. Blaise was too tasteful to indulge in those speaking and singing debacles.
I hope that this card finds you in good health. You know better than to taunt Potter on the Quidditch field. He will best you, be it by the book or hook. However, on to more pleasant matters. If you plan on breaking Weasley's heart, I advise you do it sooner rather than later. I am looking forward to scads of rebound shagging with her, and your dawdling is putting quite a wrench into my plans.
Ever yr. obedient servant,
Draco zapped the card, leaving only a wisp of smoke. Arrogant git.
Above the thunder
Harry cornered Ginny in a quiet hallway. They were standing too close. No, Harry was standing too close.
"You're not making me jealous, Ginny," he said.
"That's good then. I wasn't trying to," Ginny said, fluttering her eyelashes at him. "May I pass now?"
"You're mad. Malfoy? Zabini? Do you see the way Zabini leers at you?" Harry asked through gritted teeth.
"What he says is much worse than any look he may give," Ginny said with a smile.
"Are you just going to make me suffer, Ginny?" he sighed.
"Perhaps, perhaps," she said. "May I go now? I have class."
Harry stepped aside and let her pass.
The only adventure
They sat in the library, ostensibly doing their homework.
"It must be lust then," Luna said suddenly.
Ginny stiffened but continue to write on her scroll, praying Luna could not see the giant blot.
"What?" she asked, oozing irritation in her best Hermione impersonation.
"You're with Malfoy because you're in lust with him," Luna said.
"That has got to be the silliest thing you've ever said," Ginny said, scratching her quill furiously over the parchment.
"You should go to Inveralmond. It can't hurt to find out if I'm right," Luna said mildly. "No harm, no foul, Ginny."
Her inkwell tipped over-her blots were hidden now.
Lost, in order to become precious
Hogsmeade weekend found them in the seedier part of town, a ways from high street. Neither had been paying particular attention. They looked up and saw the sign creaking in the wind. Inveralmond-no questions asked, charge by the hour.
"Well?" Ginny said, a quirk of her eyebrow.
Draco made a face.
"I don't know if I..." he began to say.
"Don't make me smack you, Malfoy. If you finish that sentence, you'll regret it," she said sharply, her heel grinding into his foot. "I've just got something in my system I need to...flush out."
"How quaint. You really know how to sweep a boy off his feet. I'm practically tripping over myself," Draco drawled.
"I could go find Zabini," Ginny said, bearing her teeth.
Draco grabbed her hand and walked in.
As long as you're mine
"'M afraid you were wrong, Luna," Ginny said as she slid into her seat.
"Boys can too be pregnant, Ginny, and it would explain Harry's sudden weight gain and mood swings," Luna said, her eyes protruding slightly.
"I wasn't talking about that," Ginny said, suddenly turning bright red.
"Then what?" Luna asked.
"You know," Ginny hissed.
"Ah. I was wrong?" Luna asked, fidgeting with her necklace of pumpkin seeds.
"It's worse now," Ginny wailed.
As near as now
The warmth of spring permeated their bones, their clothes half-undone, half-on, half-off. She leaned back, parting swollen lips to breathe. He traced her collarbone idly.
"So convincing, you're almost starting to fool me," Draco said, undoing yet another button.
"Shut up," she said, yanking his shirt so hard the buttons went flying.
The need to hold still
They rarely touched each other in public anymore, but it was unnecessary. It was obvious to anyone watching them, standing there.
"He'll get sick of her," Blaise muttered.
"Or she'll get sick of him," Luna said, causing Blaise to jump.
"I heard Filch found them practically rutting in the fields," Blaise said in a conversational tone.
"That was my idea," Luna said, beaming brightly.
Blaise raised an eyebrow.
"Lust isn't so far from love," she said dreamily before wandering off.
What a mad bird she was. Blaise quelled the sigh over the lost Weasley.
And I love you even through uncertainty
Draco fumbled for his purse and Ginny grabbed his hand, pulling the strings.
"Do we really need to go through the farce?" she asked, stuffing the purse into her sweater.
"Because I haven't gone there before?" he asked, smirking.
She cocked her head.
"Don't bother anymore. I don't need it," she said.
Draco pursed his lips as he looked at her. Ginny stared back, unblinking. The silence stretched between them and Ginny fought the quiver in her lip. He finally let out a long, dramatic sigh and she tensed in spite of herself.
"I suppose this means I'll have to be the one who pays for Inveralmond now?" he drawled oh so casually.
She grinned and winked at him.
"Why do you think I kept you around?"
Will you get your wish?
There was no manual for love, but they wrote an awfully good cheat sheet.