With the roof finally patched up to perfection and with no incidents from Lucius over the night, Ginny couldn't help but wake up with a smile on her face. She sat up and then stretched luxuriously and felt her feet hit a puddle of water as she set them down. Her eyes jerked down to the floor, which was spattered with rain. She glanced up at her desk – pools of rainwater gathered all over it as well.
" Oh man!" The window was wide open and the scarf-curtain was billowing into the room and brushing over the water on the desk, the cheery yellow growing darker and darker as it saturated with water.
Ginny whisked her scarf off the window and then slammed it shut. She changed rapidly into a fresh, new outfit and then spun her hair into two braids as she rushed down the hall, opening doors and checking to see if other rooms had their windows opened as well.
She was reaching the end of the hallway, and so far there were no windows that matched hers. Finally, she reached Draco's room, a few doors away from Narcissa's. Ginny hesitated and then slowly opened it. The room was dark and the window was also open, but since Draco's window faced the other side of the house, there was no rain on his desk. Instead, his papers had scattered all over the floor over the night.
Ginny debated whether to keep a respect to Draco's privacy, or to clean up his papers and never let him know. Curiosity won her over, though, and she knelt down and began to arrange the papers into a pile. She couldn't believe her eyes – Draco hadn't been writing after all, he had been sketching! It was a fine drawing of her, in fact. She was lying in bed, her hair curling around her body, and she had the warm and comfortable glow of a dozing kitten around her. He had only colored one thing, and that was her hair – a fiery mess, spilling in a wild mane of flames down her arms, giving it a hotter and more passionate appearance than Ginny had ever thought existed in it. The reds blended with shadowy dark browns, and then rippled in grain gold swirls.
Her eyes trailed to the bottom of the paper, where in the corner it was signed Female Study 042. A sudden disappointment filled her stomach, because she had hoped to be the only girl he had ever drawn, but instead she was the forty-second one. He had done it before, and on other girls. Yet, it felt flattering to know that he had paid that much attention to her.
She moved on to the next picture. There were a series of rough sketches of Crabbe and Goyle, all signed with very early dates, back when they were all students in Hogwarts. He had written comments to himself on them, such as "Goyle looks like he's projectile vomiting here, fix facial expression" and "Too much acne on Crabbe to fill in now. Fill in later".
A smile was moving across her lips, tugging her cheeks up. Soon she was grinning widely. His drawings were all made in an observant fashion. Ginny would have never guessed that Draco could have such an intuition to detail, and to express emotions through the visual arts. Her hands traced the hard dark lines that formed the drawings, imagining Draco's determined face as he had drawn them.
After the series of portraits of his two closest friends, there was one of Blaise Zabini, engrossed in a book, a half-finished outline for a drawing of the Slytherin serpent. Afterwards there were a few very well done drawings of the Slytherin insignia, all drawn with such tenderness that they conveyed his love and respect for the house. There was another series of drawings of Pansy. The last few were of her in color, but Draco didn't seem to draw her in an attractive light. Her eyes were vacuous, empty of any thought other than what color of lipstick she should wear next. He had dulled the lines around her eyes, giving her a weary expression, like that of a snake ready to strike back. Her chin and lower lip were protruding, just short of a Neanderthal-like scowl.
Ginny read the comments on these, too: " Pansy will get wrinkles soon if she doesn't stop scowling" and "if she won't stop winking at me I'll draw her with a facial tick".
Afterwards, the drawings took a bit of a nasty turn. There was a mean caricature of Harry, with the glasses drawn so that his eyes were owl-like and huge, and also drawn so they looked as if they were just watery goo, waiting to bawl so others would feel bad. The scar was jagged, with longer and sharper edges, as if it was trying to elbow its way through Harry's hair as his most prominent feature. The nose was thinner and elongated, with small, snide nostrils. It was signed, "Potter" and beside it, in smaller handwriting, as if it was a secret only the heart of the artist knew: "the boy who shouldn't have lived".
Ginny didn't like the drawing at all. She placed it on the very bottom of the pile. The next drawing wasn't very flattering either. It was Hermione, but Hermione's hair was nothing but a wild tornado, or ragtag tumbleweed. Her eyes were large and fierce beneath two bushy eyebrows. Her lips were very boyish, lacking the two upturned points that most females had. Draco had signed this one "Mudblood 1". There were a few other "Mudbloods" afterwards, of various students that fell under the category.
Ginny went back to the drawing of her – it was still one of the best of them all. She turned the drawing over to read the comments he wrote, expecting to see something cruel, but saw there was very little writing, other than "curve of shoulders expressive" and "is it normal to smile in one's sleep? Must look up". Another affectionate smile fell upon Ginny's face.
Draco stirred in his sleep and she watched him for a second, like a deer caught in the headlights of a car. He looked like a choirboy after a fight, his hair unruly and gently curled without the mousse that inhibited it daily. Draco's face had a smile on it in his sleep. It was perfectly normal after all.
Sitting at the kitchen table just a few minutes later, Ginny attempted to write back to Lavender. She began a letter, but realized she had no idea how to reply to all the questions about Draco. Though they had shared the house for a while now, there was little to no common ground between them, and they rarely crossed paths. There wasn't much to write. Finally, Ginny crumpled the letter and tossed it out, deciding to write later.
" Good morning." Draco announced himself from the doorway. Out of habit, he began to make a breakfast for himself, then stopped and tried to think whether to ask Ginny to make it for him, or to ask Ginny if he should make her a portion. Finally, he went with the first: " Here, you can make it."
Ginny nodded and commenced making breakfast. They were silent. Soon she was done and she placed her bowl and his at the table, both filled with warm oatmeal. They ate in silence, until Ginny asked: " What's your job like?"
" What do you mean?"
" If I went missing, nobody would notice. Except Potter of course, he keeps his nose in everyone's business. Acts like he's so caring." Draco murmured in reply, spooning some food into his mouth.
" Maybe he does care?" Ginny prompted.
" Nobody cares about the Malfoys these days." Draco said, stirring his oatmeal. " Nobody visits, nobody writes…"
" Well… I care." Ginny said, carefully. She didn't know if she meant it, though, but she wanted to be nice.
" No you don't. You think you care because you have your job's stake in it. You didn't even worry about me before you came here, though, right?" Draco asked. He wasn't asking her in a hostile way. He remained calm, but she could see he was thinking very seriously.
" No, I didn't." She admitted.
Draco began peeling an orange of its skin, hesitantly, his nails scraping at the orange shell and then pausing from time to time. He suddenly seemed to stop entirely, placing the orange down, as if going down to another layer would be too difficult, too soon for him. The orange remained on the table, his hands suspended over it.
" I feel sorry for you." Ginny said, softly. She didn't mean it in a hurtful way – in fact, she was hoping for it to sound sincere and friendly, but when she looked up at Draco, his face darkened.
" Sorry for me?" He exclaimed.
" I didn't mean…"
Draco exploded: " You don't even KNOW me!"
He shook his head, grabbed his briefcase, and stormed out of the room, like a small child that can't handle an argument, afraid to be on one of the conflicting sides. He wanted to walk away feeling as if he'd won.
Ginny stared at the orange on the table, feeling awful. Then, the anger set in – he had no right to yell at her like that. He was horribly childish. 'Who does he think he is?' She thought bitterly. 'Seems like he's too proud for his own good'.
The doorbell rang two hours later. Ginny prayed it wouldn't be Draco, laid off from work, or worse, plumb drunk and spitting profanity like a sailor. When she peeked into the hole in the door though, she saw that a middle-aged man was standing out on the sidewalk, looking a bit peeved. She opened the door and the man burst in.
" Excuse me?" Ginny managed.
The man turned and looked at her. " Am I at the right household?"
" This is the Malfoy residence." Ginny said, feeling important just saying it.
" Ah! Okay, okay. Are you a cousin?"
" No, I work for them." The superior feeling deflated.
" I'm sorry to involve you like this, but – did they leave you an envelope with money? Or did they designate some furniture for it instead?" The man asked, rubbing his bald spot tentatively with his round fingers.
" I don't think I'm following you."
" I'm from the Ministry, to repossess some items of this household. Its very far back in its dues." The man added, after a pause: "My name is Mr. Caraway." Mr. Caraway was wiping his handkerchief across his face nervously, which was already sheen with sweat. " I'm sorry, to ah, bother the Malfoys again."
" They've never told me they've been in debt like this!" Ginny told him.
" Well, I'm afraid they are – in fact, they are so far behind, we have already confiscated much of their furniture." Mr. Caraway informed her. " I suppose you haven't been working too long here?"
Ginny shook her head, still feeling awful for not realizing how bad off the Malfoys were.
" I don't know what to say, then! I'm sorry for intruding. Have Mrs. Malfoy know that I've been here. I don't suppose she's home?"
" No, she isn't." Ginny lied. Narcissa had been sleeping all day, and she worried it must have been from the opened windows – she must have caught cold. If Narcissa could catch cold so easily, then so would Lucius, therefore!
" Goodbye then." Mr. Caraway stumbled out the door and then Apparated back to the Ministry with no loot from the Malfoys.
Ginny couldn't believe her ears. The Malfoys had overdrawn their house account in Gringotts! They were worse off than the Weasleys! The idea was at the same time satisfying and then on the other hand horrifying. She felt sorrier then ever for Draco, and she wished he could come home so she could try and attempt friendship.