Chapter 22 Kisses and Apologies
When Draco woke up, there were several things he noticed at once. One, his chest hurt like hell. Two, he was in the hospital wing. Three, there was a bunch of red hair in his face and even some of it in his mouth.
Blinking a few times in the dim lighting, he stared in surprise at none other than Ginny Weasley, who was using his arm as a pillow.
Oh, yeah. His arm was numb too.
He didn't know what in the world to do, so he just sat there. He wasn't tired, and his arm was tingling in a really unpleasant way, and after about ten minutes or so, he wondered where in the world anyone else was.
Just when he was about to just yank his arm back, he heard a soft rustle on the other side of the room, which he couldn't see, because he had a curtain dividing his bed from the rest of the room. But he decided he could quietly call out.
Waiting for a second, he was wondering if maybe he had been imagining things, when he heard footsteps shuffling his way.
Draco wasn't sure what to expect, but when Ron Weasley peeked his head around the curtain, he was shocked, nervous, confused, and annoyed all at once.
For a moment, they just stared at each other, and Draco realized that Ron had apparently just woken up. And then Ron seemed to realize who it was lying on Draco's arm.
Ron's tired, I'm-still-half-asleep look immediately vanished and a look of rage appeared, but before he could explode, Draco quickly said, "I have no idea why she's laying on me, but my arm is asleep, and I was wondering if you could help at all?"
Ron's open mouth snapped shut with an audible click, and shaking his head, muttering what sounded like obscenities under his breath, he walked forward, and gently moved Ginny's head enough so that Draco could pull his arm free. In doing so, though, he strained something in his chest, and he gave a hiss of pain.
He hadn't really thought about what happened, but it was somewhat hard not to when it was the reason he was in the hospital wing in the first place.
"Do you need Madam Pomfrey?" It was the first time Ron had spoken, and for some reason it surprised Draco.
"Um, no, I think I'm fine..." Draco trailed off, not sure what else to say.
Ron stood there for a moment, looking even more awkward than he usually did, shuffling his feet a few times. Finally, he said, "Well, um, that is, I guess I um. Well. I owe you an apology I suppose."
That was not what Draco had been expecting.
"Ginny told us about, well, what happened, and I just wanted to say I'm sorry for your loss, and I suppose I was really harsh in judging you."
Draco gaped at him. He also briefly wondered how in the world he could feel both a deep grief and yet such huge disbelief all at the same time.
"Oh, well, thanks I suppose."
Ron, who hadn't looked at him the entire time, was pointedly staring at his shoes, until he suddenly snapped hi gaze up to meet Draco's. "That doesn't mean that we're friends, mind you. I still think you're a slimy git. And honestly, I have no idea what Ginny sees in you, but don't you dare hurt her."
It took Draco a moment for his brain to catch up with what the ginger had said. "Wait, what? Ginny?"
Ron looked at him as though he were an idiot. "Have you not realized that she fell asleep on your arm? Bloody women...She just won't shut up about you."
Draco blinked a few times, and then, feeling his face heat up, he quickly turned to what he hoped was a safer topic.
"What time is it?"
Ron adopted a curious expression, and said, "I dunno. I fell asleep on Fred's bed, along with George and Ginny at about eight or so, and I reckon I've been sleeping a few hours. Close to midnight?"
Draco hummed. Then blanched. "You all fell asleep in the same bed?!"
This time, Ron was the one who turned red. "Yeah, um, well, after Fred collapsed and all, Ginny was crying, and it just happened."
Draco rolled his eyes, and tried to visualize the four of them all on one of the small twin sized hospital beds. And then the rest of what Ron had said caught up with his slow processing brain. "Wait, Fred collapsed? Why? What happened?"
Ron sighed. "Well, he was already tired when he decided to follow you, 'cause you, well, were upset and all, and then everything that happened afterward, he went into a bit of shock, and passed out. He's been out of it ever since. But Madam Pomfrey says he'll be fine."
Draco heaved a sigh of relief. Then suddenly feeling tired, he yawned. Ron smirked, and said,"Well, I think I'll run down to the kitchens to see if I can get a midnight snack. I'll leave you to get your beauty sleep."
Draco was about to retort that according to Fred, his beauty was marred with the claw marks-where did that thought come from?-but he was overtaken by another yawn.
His last conscious thought before he drifted off, was surprisingly not of his mother, but of the fact that he'd just had a friendly conversation with Ronald Weasley.
Would wonders never cease?
The next day went by in a blur. Draco wasn't sure if it was just because he was finally processing everything that had happened and it was his grief, or if it had been the fact that Ginny had kissed him, or just because he was tired. But about the only things he recalled clearly, was when he'd awoken, Ginny had been awake, and they had stared at each other for a moment, and then she had bent forward and given him a quick peck on the lips. Then, turning almost as red as her hair, she had mumbled condolences, get well wishes, and left quickly.
Then Draco remembered that Fred had woken up at some point, and had been prattling on about a new invention he wanted to make when he finally got released from Madam Pomfrey's care. Draco had zoned out for most of it, but it was a comfort in itself just knowing the other boy was there.
He also remembered Potter coming in. He'd sat nervously in his chair beside the bed, and gone through a big explanation about how he'd found some book with weird spells in it, and he hadn't been thinking straight, and he was so sorry for what he'd done. He was sorry for Draco's loss, and apologized profusely for saying what he had, and was there anything he could do to make it up to him?
It had been one of Draco's more lucid moments of the day, and he remembered smirking at all the ways he could humiliate Potter, but he'd seen Ginny out of the corned of his eye, and as though she could tell what he was thinking, she shook her head rather sternly. Although he didn't recall ever meeting the Weasley matriarch, he imagined the look on Ginny's face was a copy of what would have been on her mother's.
So Draco had politely thanked Potter, and said he'd think about it.
It was the next evening when Fred had come to sit by him, when he was actually alert and thinking straight, that everything seemed to go downhill.
It started with just one sentence from Fred. He had looked at Draco very solemnly, and said, "I just met Snape in the hall, and he said I'd be hearing from him."
Draco felt dread build up in his stomach. Swallowing, feeling saddened, worried, and yet feeling anticipation building up, he said, "When?"
Reading the unspoken question, Fred said, "Any moment."
And so it was, not five minutes later, after Draco had managed to stand long enough to dress himself, that the Dark Mark was cast over the Astronomy Tower, and the sounds of fighting drew near.