A New Suit
Ginny sat in her room, huddled in the warm orange throw that was on her bed. She felt cold, numbness all over her. She didn't know how true it was – the whole affair with her never seeing Draco again. She knew that Arthur and Molly still had a lot of adjusting to do. The Malfoys were surely the most unusual of characters.
She looked down at her trembling hands. She was holding a hot cocoa cup, but it was tilting back and forth dangerously in her fingers, letting burning hot drops fall onto her frozen fingers. She didn't feel like drinking it, but holding on to a piece of ember-hot warmth was something she liked to do.
Draco had come home, he hadn't even said anything to her. He stopped in her doorway, saw her in a sad state, and sort of backed into his room without a word. She wondered if he sensed she wasn't in a good mood.
Ginny couldn't understand her family. They were the "good side" in the war, they had won. The winners at the end of a Quidditch match would shake hands with their opponents. The winners at the ends of wars would sign contracts with the losers, and even attempt friendly relations. Why couldn't two families keep their bitterness inside and just shake hands? She didn't want them to do anything extra-ordinary, she just wanted to be able to be friends with Draco. He didn't have very much left in this world.
She looked out the window at the snow, spiraling down in the December chill. Less than a week and a half, and she had to go to the wedding of Harry and Hermione's. Ginny realized suddenly how much she'd have liked if Draco were her date. It would have been a perfect occasion to show everyone that he was civilized, that he was a pleasant man that could behave when he wanted to.
Ginny closed her eyes, rocking gently to some distant drum beat.
She glanced up, realizing that the distant drum beat was actually Draco, knocking on her door. " Can I come in?" He asked.
Ginny glanced over the other two beds in the room – Ron's, and her parent's. Ron was out with Harry, shopping for a nice wedding suit. Her parents were downstairs somewhere, eating a late supper. Feeling reassured, she replied: " Yes."
" What's wrong?" He asked, from the doorway.
" Weren't you going to come in?" She smiled blandly.
" If you prefer." He rolled his eyes and slipped inside. " What's gotten into you? You've never been this sad before."
" I can't explain." Ginny replied, her eyes meeting his. " It's complicated."
" I don't know what could be more unusual than seeing you moping around."
She took an unsteady sip from her cocoa cup. It didn't taste too good, the chocolate was too bitter. She hadn't added any sugar, trusting that the cocoa would have been naturally sweet. Now she wondered if it wasn't too chilled to be able to stir some sugar in.
" Well?" Draco was impatient. He wanted an answer laid out before him, to take the guesswork out of everything.
" My parents have some pretty strict rules around here." Ginny told him. " They're always invisible little rules, things that you just know, but it hasn't been said."
" Just like every household." Draco replied. " Is that all?"
" No!" She exclaimed. " Of course not!" She stirred the spoon through the cocoa, watching the darkness swirling around the delicate neck of the silverware. She felt like she, too, was descending into some sort of darkness. " It's more like rules about who we can befriend and who we aren't allowed to befriend."
" They want me gone." Draco said colorlessly.
" Yes." Ginny squeezed her eyes shut tight. " They're so – so unforgiving! If you could be my friend, YOU, a Malfoy, why can't they ever allow me to be friends with who I want?"
" Are we just friends?" He asked.
She blinked. " I…"
Draco sat down on the bed beside her, looking up at the childish chandelier swirling around over them. " I don't even know if we're just friends sometimes. I don't know if I like that either." He turned to look at her. " It's not really you, or me, it's just the facts are that we're not supposed to be friends. A friendship like that would probably lead to other things – extraordinary things, even."
" We didn't… but we're not…"
" I know." He said, finally. " I wouldn't let that happen, you wouldn't let something stupid like that happen. When you act, you act with your whole family in mind. When you play chess, you don't think about that one pawn, you think about the whole team, the effects it'll have."
" So it's all just a chess game now?" She mumbled. " We can just stop playing and move apart, as if we don't know one another?"
" I'm not saying that we shouldn't be friends…"
" … It'll be safer that way." Ginny said. " I think we've gotten too far, I'm too involved in your life to just back off. You don't really have any obligations to me, but… but I feel it's my duty to be caretaker for your family."
" Don't do it." He said.
" What do you mean, don't do it?" She blurted out. " I can't just stop caring about something like this!"
" No! Just stop pretending you're my wife!" Draco stood up. " That's what you're beginning to do! You're telling me how to dress, what to wear, how to act and talk. You want your family to like me, as if they were my in-laws. If all goes right, I'll never see your family again. So why bother?"
Ginny bit her lower lip, feeling tears rising to her eyes. " That's not true." She whispered. "And it's worth a bother. I thought we'd be friends."
" Friends are dispensable. You don't think they hold you back? I'll be holding you back the entire time, just like my father's holding me back. It's not worth it." Draco told her. " Didn't you notice how I split away from Crabbe and Goyle? It's not fate, it was my choice! They had an opportunity to have a good job, so I made them leave me. I'm tired of people feeling that they need to devote themselves to me. You're not Mother Teresa. You have better things to do with your life."
She shook her head. " Maybe to you it's so easy to let go, but that's because you let everything die away in you. Don't you notice how cold you got? How useless and depressing life is? I think friends aren't there to hold you back, I think they're there to pull you up."
" I don't know." He turned away from her, his face flushed. " I just don't want you to make a mistake, that's all."
" If I were making a mistake, my heart would tell me so." Ginny said, softly. " I trust my instinct, and I go with it. I think we can still be friends. I think it's those around us that need to change."
" You're not God, you know. You can't just make everyone feel one way or another about something. If someone feels strongly about something, you'd have to force them to believe in your beliefs. Do you think anyone would be happy then?"
" This is getting political." Ginny told him.
" We're not talking about nations, are we, though? We're talking about real people." Draco said.
" Like you ever cared about others before?"
" This is different." He told her. " This is honor, family values, things like that. Things that Malfoys would never damage in anyone."
" Can't you just try?" She said. " If it doesn't work out, then I'll be proven wrong. I'll back down. Can't we just try though?"
" I can't step on my own honor and be friends with some people." Draco told her. " Your family? Well, maybe. But people like Potter and Granger? Never."
Ginny nodded. " You will promise me though that we'll try to get my family to like you?"
" I can't promise you that!"
" Promise me you'll try, and if it doesn't work out, then we'll go with your ideas." Ginny said.
" Alright." Draco said, finally. " I'll try. But that doesn't mean I will succeed."
Ginny grinned and threw her arms around him in a warm hug. " Thank you." She whispered softly. " You don't know how much this means to me."
He pulled her hands off of him, looking embarrassed. " Don't be too disappointed when your plan fails."
She shook her head. " It'll only fail if you want it to."
Draco shrugged. " You and your philosophies. Well, I'm going to sleep, you've worked up a headache for me out of all this."
" Good night." Ginny told him, hugging her pillow tightly with one hand and squeezing her cocoa cup with the other.
He shrugged and left the room.
Ginny woke up feeling much better. It was as if an invisible hand had reached out and tickled her in her sleep, because she woke up with a giant little-girl grin on her face. She reached under the pillow again and saw that there was yet another letter there.
I hope you're feeling better. I went to work early today. Potter keeps finding new jobs for me these days. I don't know why he's suddenly so interested to keep me occupied, but I can't complain about the extra money. Anyway, I wanted to ask you if you'd like to go get those new suits today.
She sighed, grinning stupidly, and reread it, reading between the lines, trying to see if there were any subliminal messages. Suddenly she caught herself, feeling like a complete idiot. She was developing a silly crush on Draco, and she knew that he'd never love her back. Just the same, she foolishly allowed herself to be carried away, just like she once had a schoolgirl crush on Harry.
Ginny wondered if, with a new suit on him, Draco would realize he'd be a great date to the wedding reception. He didn't have to go to the chapel if he didn't want to, but she wanted him to go with her to the party. Perhaps she'd find a way to convince him to – some sort of method to get him accepted into the Weasley and Potter crowd.
" What're you smiling about?" She heard a voice exclaim.
" It's nothing." She turned and saw Ron on the bed next to hers. " Shouldn't you be working?"
" I took a day off." Ron replied. " Lavender wanted to go buy a dress for the wedding."
" Oh. Cool." Ginny said, feeling strange inside. Even when Lavender was dating, she'd usually go with Ginny to buy dresses for receptions. Why hadn't Lavender even asked her about it?
" Lavender says you've been distant."
" That's not true…"
" You haven't kept up on your correspondence with her, you never ask her over. She was your best friend, Ginny." Ron told her, his face filled with concern. " You're moving away from everyone, don't you see?"
" That's only because I took that job. Now that I'm back home, I swear I'll get my old life back."
" Ginny, I don't know…"
" Ron, stop being so suspicious of me. Do you really think I'd hide something from you? I told you the truth about everything my whole entire life." Ginny told him.
" I'm not saying all this because I'm your enemy, you know that."
" If you really wanted to be a good friend then you'd stop being on my back like this." Ginny stood up and began to make her bed.
" I'm just scared for my little sister. You're the only girl, out of all of us, and you're the youngest to boot. It's just scary to me that something might happen to you – that someone will hurt you – and I was there the whole time and didn't do anything about it."
" Oh, Ron…" She said, hugging him one-handedly while trying to tug her sheets back up under the pillows.
" I guess I'm a little scared, that's all." Ron admitted.
" You should be more concerned about Lavender. Her eye can wander, if you know what I mean." Ginny said. " She tends to cheat once in a while."
" Eh, she's just a fun past time for me anyway." Ron told her. " You should go ahead and eat breakfast downstairs. Narcissa's already eating." " I can't believe I out-slept Mrs. Malfoy!" Ginny exclaimed, rushing out of the room.
" Just make sure you don't oversleep becoming Mrs. Malfoy." Ron muttered to himself nervously. He began to tidy his own small segment of the bedroom, wondering how much thinner his wallet will be after shopping with Lavender.
Draco arrived home an hour later than usual. It was dark outside already when he and Ginny left to go shopping for a suit for him. Draco mentioned he didn't have a lot of money so they went to the Wizards and Witches Thrift Store. Draco wasn't too enthusiastic about going there, and he ended up pulling his collar up so that it covered his lips and cheeks, and the brim of his hat down so it covered his eyes. He looked like a gangster.
Ginny flipped through the suits on the rack and pulled out a tan one with a gold and white napkin tucked into the breast pocket. It had lovely gold-thread embroidery on the sleeves. If not for how pretty the embroidery was, it would have come off as tacky." What do you think?"
" It looks really formal." Draco said. " Like something a groom would wear."
" I see, we wouldn't want your suit to compete with Harry's." Ginny said, absent-mindedly, putting the suit back on the rack.
" What?" He asked.
" Oh, never mind, sorry." Ginny exclaimed quickly.
" You think I'm going with you to the wedding, right?" Draco asked her.
She looked up at him, trying to look bold, but she was quivering in fear. " Not really, I was just hoping that maybe we'd end up going together."
" There is no way I'm attending Potter's wedding!" Draco told her.
" You don't have to even shake hands with him. We can slip in a bit late and avoid the whole brouhaha." Ginny spoke frantically.
" I wasn't even invited!"
" But I was, and it said on the card, bring a date. That means that whoever I take with me is officially invited, too."
" There's no way…"
" Oh, please?" Ginny said. " For all the times I posed for your painting?"
" I thought you liked the attention." He teased.
" I'm not saying I didn't like it, but – you know, quid pro quo. I did something for you, you do something for me."
" Hey, I paid you, didn't I?" Draco asked.
" You promised me you'd try to fit in with my family, right? They'd probably be angry with you if I end up going alone. I bet they're all expecting you to be a gentleman and ask me." Ginny crossed her fingers behind her back, hoping he'd buy it.
" Why? We're barely even friends." Draco told her.
Her heart fluttered painfully. " We can go as friends."
" I just don't know." Draco pulled out a simple black suit. It was pretty drab. " I like this one."
" Oh, come on! That's something that a funeral house owner would wear!" Ginny laughed.
" Alright, if you're so smart, you pick."
" Here." She pulled out another suit, this one of a much simpler cut. It was navy blue with a white flower pinned to the breast pocket. It was simple but elegant, and it would bring out the color of Draco's eyes, give them a pulsating icy blue look instead of a smoggy gray.
" It's not bad." Draco admitted.
" Then we'll take it." She said. " Hopefully you'll make up your mind and put it to good use?"
" Hopefully not." He replied.