Victimized

Freedom

She's a magnetic girl

That I hardly even know.

So this is not another love song.

Just a list of things that I should know,

And everyone should know that:

1. You got to take it kind of slowly

2. You got to hurry up and make your move

3. You got to tell her how you're feeling

And

4. You got to be the perfect gentleman.

When you shake the walls, you got to make 'em bend, yeah.

You got to show her that

She's the balance beam

And I keep falling all around her fairy tale.

-Fairy Tale by Blue October


Ginny stepped onto the Quidditch pitch, glancing around her. Draco stood in the center, leaning back on his broom and staring up at the murky, cloudy sky above. She came up behind him and he turned at the sound of her feet rustling in the grass, despite the fact that she had tried to be quiet. She wondered at his acute senses and awareness as he spoke. “Hey, what took so long? I’ve been out here for half an hour now.”

“Sorry. I was stopped by Hermione.”

He lifted a blonde eyebrow. “And?”

“And…she knows.”

“Knows?” He leaned back on his heels. “She knows a lot of things. What, specifically, does she know?”

“She knows that I was sick last night and that I spent the night in your room. She knows that we’re friends. She doesn’t understand it, but now she knows.”

He glanced over her shoulder behind her, then around the pitch. “And why do I not have spells flying at me from every direction? Or red heads, in the least?”

Ginny giggled. “She didn’t tell Ron. She promised she wouldn’t.”

He seemed surprised. “Why not?”

“Because I asked her not to, so she promised.”

“That easy?” he replied.

“No. I had to explain some things to her.” Ginny said.

“Such as?” Draco asked.

“Such as why I spend so much time with you. Why I trust you and consider you a friend.”

“And why is that?” He asked, leaning close, his lips quirked up. The way his eyes sparkled made her heart jump in her chest, though she wasn’t quite sure she understood it.

“Because…well, because…because you make me happy. Isn’t that reason enough?”

“I suppose. You’re going to be really happy after today.” He smile, and the only way to describe the look on his face was mischievous.

“What are we doing, Draco?” Ginny asked, her eyes narrowing as she glanced at his broom.

“Well, we’re on the Quidditch pitch. There’s a broom here. I thought it was pretty obvious.”

Ginny sighed. “I don’t know, Draco. I haven’t flown in months. I’m tired. I was sick and dizzy yesterday. It’s probably not a good idea.”

“One, I know you haven’t flown in months, all the more reason for you to now. Two, I know for a fact that you are not tired because you had at least twelve hours of sleep last night. And three, you shouldn’t still be sick and dizzy because Snape gave you a potion for that. Are you?”

“Well, no. I do feel better since yesterday…” It was true. Last night she had felt giddy and queasy and feverish. At first she had thought it was because Draco was so near to her, and he wasn’t wearing a shirt, and he was touching her. But that had gotten her worried that…well, that she might have some sort of strange attraction to him, which just wasn’t possible. She had actually been happy to learn she had a cold. It explained away everything strange she’d been feeling the night before.

“Then why can’t you fly today?”

She sighed. “I just…I just can’t, Draco. I haven’t since…”

“Since what happened this summer.” He didn’t need to guess. It was her explanation for everything. But it didn’t seem to be enough today. “But why not? What’s stopping you? You’re a wonderful Seeker and a Chaser. I saw you playing last year. You were magnificent. And you always seemed to enjoy it. Am I wrong?”

She shook her head. “No. I do enjoy it. It’s…well, it’s freedom.” She sighed, staring at the sky. “I just haven’t had the willpower to fly in so long.”

“Do you want to know what I think, Ginny?”

“What?” She asked, not sure she did want to know.

“I think you’re afraid. I think you’re afraid that you might actually enjoy yourself. That you might feel free again. I think it scares you.”

She stared at him in shock, her eyes wide, her mouth opened in surprise. He had leaned in so close now, the broom he leaned on the only thing in between their bodies, that she was forced to bend back away from him. She was, quite literally, taken aback by the statement, by just how true it was. How did he do that? How did he always manage to see into her soul so easily? And it was true, wasn’t it? There was really no point in denying it.

Of course, she tried to anyway. “No…I…I’ve just been really busy…and exhausted…and-”

He nodded, smiling indulgently. “Of course. Well, you’re not busy or exhausted today. So there’s no reason why you can’t fly with me.”

“But-”

“Unless you’re too scared.” He grinned at her.

“Scared? What would I be afraid of?”

He shrugged arrogantly. “Just that I would blow you out of the water. I mean, it’s not that you’re not good, but I am the best flyer in the whole school, not just the best seeker.”

“And what makes you think so?”

He shrugged. “No one can keep up with me. I’ll bet even if you flew on my Nimbus 2001 and I flew on Snape’s rickety old Comet 290 I would beat you in a race.”

She guffawed. “You? Beat me? On that?” She pointed to the dingy old broom she just now noticed lying in the grass. It looked like it hadn’t been used in years. It was a wonder Snape owned a broomstick at all; though, Harry had once commented that every wizard should own a broom just like every Muggle should own a car, whether they could fly well or not. She knew enough about Muggles to know how important their cars were for them, so the statement was understandable. Of course, she’d always been too poor to own a nice broom. Her parents had five in the broom shed at home, four Comets and one Shooting Star, all of which flew horribly. She knew how slow they were from experience.

“You’re on, Draco.”

“Oh? I wasn’t sure I’d actually be able to get you to agree to ride my broom.” He smirked as he mounted the Comet 290.

She stared after him in surprise, her mouth agape as she tried to wrap her mind around what he’d just said. “Wait! Did you just…?!” She wasn’t sure whether or not to be offended at the innuendo, if it was even meant as one.

Ginny growled and mounted the broom, kicking off into the air. She reached him quickly where he levitated by the goalposts. Before she could open her mouth to yell at him, he was setting the parameters. “From here to the goalposts on the other side. You have to touch the center goalpost first to win. Anything goes.”

“Anything?” Ginny asked. “I’ll have you know, Ferret, us Weasels don’t fight fair.”

Draco grinned at her. “I’m counting on it. Ready? Weaselette?” He pulled out his wand, saying an incantation she didn’t know and drawing a number 10 in the air. It began ticking down with every second.

“You’re going down, Draco.”

He lifted an eyebrow, smirking. “Is that a request?”

She blinked in surprise as the 1 changed to a 0 and the sound of a buzzer went off. Ginny stared after him, still shocked, for a few seconds before she realized he was quickly getting further and further away. Glaring in anger, Ginny leaned forward, and was surprised when the broom suddenly jolted at the slightest movement, speeding up so rapidly she had caught up with him in seconds. They were shoulder to shoulder, neck to neck, and she had to admit, he was one damn good flyer to keep up with her on that horrible Comet 290. She had never ridden anything better, and definitely nothing as expensive, sleek, and beautiful as a Nimbus 2001, which was only rivaled by the Firebolt, so she was surprised by how smoothly his broom ran, almost as if it had become a part of her and shifted with every slight movement of her body.

Still, Ginny hadn’t flown in months, she had gotten rusty, and Draco was such a great flyer and seeker he could keep up with her despite the quality of his borrowed broom. It made for a tight match. As one began to get just ahead, the other would speed up. Sometimes they cheated, pushing each other or grabbing the other’s broom, but they were both more preoccupied with just getting to the goalpost faster. However, the closer they drew the dirtier their flying and their fighting got.

She was almost there. It was just within reach. Ginny pushed with all her might, sweat droplets forming on her head and trickling down her back, her arm reaching out. She glared at Draco, gave him an elbow to the gut, and just brushed the goalpost with her hand first. She bulleted past it, twirling in the air to look back at him with a triumphant smirk on her face. He pulled to a stop, panting, and lifted a hand, trying to catch his breath. “Alright, you win.”

Ginny grinned as she continued to fly backwards, her momentum slowing gradually. His eyes widened in surprise as he watched her. “Ginny! Ginny, there’s a wall there!”

Her head whipped to the side in time to see the wall of the pitch quickly rising up to meet her. Ginny squealed and lifted the nose of the broom, trying to skid it to a stop in mid air, but she wasn’t fast enough. She collided with the wall, the crash jostling her and throwing her from the broom, and though she tried to reach out and grab the handle her hand missed. She fell rapidly, a scream leaving her lips, the ground growing larger, the grass more detailed, her eyes slipped shut as she braced herself for the impact.

There was an impact, but not to the extent she had expected. She stopped suddenly, her body reverberating with the sudden change in speed and direction, but her head was padded by something softer than ground. She blinked an eye open in surprise, staring up at Draco’s face, then at his arms, which were wrapped around her. “You alright?”

Ginny nodded mutely, not yet able to find her voice as Draco lowered to the ground, landing them gently on the grass. He set her on her feet. “You sure you’re okay? That was a loud scream. You’ve got quite a set of lungs on you.”

“Well, I mean, other than being scared out of my wits, yeah, I’m fine. Nothing like a near death experience to get your blood pumping.” Ginny tried to laugh it off, but it sounded a bit strained, even to her ears.

He sighed, running his hands through his ears and he picked up his Nimbus 2001 off the ground. “Maybe we should call it a day.”

“No!” He blinked in surprise at her protest. “I was just getting warmed up.”

“Well, if you’re sure…”

Ginny nodded, a smile on her lips. “I don’t think I’ve had this much fun in months, crash or not.”


They flew for hours. Sometimes they raced, sometimes they chased each other, sometimes they just made slow, lazy laps, talking and laughing. Hours of bliss. It was, indeed, the most fun Draco had ever had in his life.

And it was perhaps the happiest he’d ever seen Ginny. Her whole face lit up when she was in the air. Freedom. And it certainly was freedom for her. The cool fall wind whipped her red hair out of its ponytail and around her face. It made her cheeks pink with color, which was a nice change from how deathly pale and gaunt she usually looked. Her eyes almost glowed with light, and they were a bright hazel rather than the murky, almost black color he was so used to seeing. When her lips pulled up into a smile, he felt his own mirroring them.

It was infectious, her happiness. Every emotion she had was infectious. She never did any emotion halfway. If she was sad, she was depressed. If she was excited, she was ecstatic. If she was bored she was apathetic. And if she was happy…she was…she was…there didn’t seem a word strong enough to explain it.

He kept replaying the events of the day over and over in his head, recalling a specific one vividly. They’d been racing, playing a childish game of tag. He was “it” this time, which he didn’t mind; any excuse to chase Ginny Weasley, to stare at her fiery mane flying behind her, her robes whipping in the wind, her butt when she shifted on the broom…well, it wasn’t a bad view, to say the least. He’d almost caught up with her, she was just out of reach, and he observed that they were only flying a meter or so off the ground, and they weren’t going very fast, so if they fell the impact wouldn’t be especially painful. He grinned, putting one foot up on his broom, and in a swift, silent movement he sprung from it, soaring through the air and grabbing Ginny in his arms, pulling her off of her own broom and to the ground with him.

They had rolled for a few seconds before coming to a stop, panting, Ginny with a surprised expression on her face. He found himself gaping at her beauty as it suddenly overwhelmed him. She’d thrown off her cloak a long time ago and now only wore a bright red knit sweater with a G on it that was too tight, hugging around her curves. Her arms were thrown haphazardly above her head, causing her shirt to lift every so slightly, revealing a strip of skin across her stomach. Her hair was messy and windswept, her cheeks flushed, her chest rising and falling as she panted. They had landed perfectly, with her sprawled out on the ground on her back and Draco, in his avoidance to crush her, on his side beside her, propped up on one leg and arm, the other leg between her two. His free arm lay across her flat stomach and he was reluctant to move it away. Was it wrong, the first thought that popped into his head, followed by many consecutive thoughts all with the same basic theme? Perhaps, but Draco had never been taught to inhibit his inappropriate thoughts, so once they got started, they were hard to get rid of.

Of course, as soon as Ginny realized the proximity of their bodies she pushed him away, jumping to her feet and brushing the grass and dirt off of herself. Draco was glad she couldn’t read his thoughts then, or now, for that matter, because she probably would have been quite offended and indignant.

Well, at least he had good motives. Draco had now accomplished another one of the tasks on his mental list, a sort of to-do checklist for Ginny Weasley. He wasn’t sure when it had started, but he seemed to be adding more to it every day. So far it looked like this in his head:

Get Ginny Weasley To:

Smile

Laugh until she cried

Trust him (whatever it took)

Be his friend

Learn self-defense (magical and physical)

Pass her classes

Fly again

He didn’t even dare think of the final item on the list, which was invisible only because of the impossibility of it. He knew what it was he wished for her in his mind, knew it was greedy and self-centered, knew he was fooling himself to even consider it, and so he never officially wrote it on the list. It was, of course, to get Ginny Weasley to fall in love with him.

As if that could ever happen.

Draco yawned tiredly as he pushed the door to the prefects’ bathroom open, stepping inside. His senses were immediately met with the sound of running water and the smell and heavy feel of steam. Draco glanced at the huge pool-sized bathtub in the center of the room, but it was empty, then at the open door just beyond, where he heard the sound of humming. He stepped towards it, opening the door to the shower room. Inside, the third stall was occupied, and, judging from the dirty, grass-stained clothes on the bench beside a large nightshirt and some baggy sweatpants, it was Ginny inside. He smiled to himself, again glad that she couldn’t hear his wicked thoughts as he began to whistle.

The sound got her attention. Ginny gasped, startled, and stopped humming immediately. “Who’s there?” she hissed, and he could hear the panic in her voice.

“Ginny? It’s just me, Draco.”

“Draco?” She sounded stunned and skeptical. “What are you doing here?”

“Well, what does one usually do in the bathroom, Ginny? I’m here to take a shower. You’re not the only one who got all muddy and sweaty flying today.”

“But…but you’re going to shower in here?”

He nodded, then remembered she couldn’t see him. “Yep. It is a coed bathroom, Ginny.”

“I know, but…but there are other shower rooms. Can’t you go use them?”

“But I’m in here now.” He pulled his shirt off over his head, dropping it on the bench beside her clothes.

“What…what are you doing?” She was quiet, she wasn’t even breathing, as if she were straining her ears to hear. “Are you taking your clothes off?”

“Well, most people don’t shower with them on, Ginny.”

“But…but…” He almost laughed at how scandalized she sounded.

“But?” He finished undressing, almost considered leaving his boxers in plain sight, but decided it would be better not to give the poor girl a heart attack. Draco hid them at the bottom of the pile and stepped into the stall next to her, turning on the water.

“Wait…are you right next to me?” she asked.

“Sure am. Why?” Draco replied.

“Well couldn’t you just…move over a few?” Ginny said.

“Why? There’s a wall between us, Ginny. It’s not like you can see me.”

“But…but you’re just…you’re just two meters from me at the most.”

Two meters? He looked at the small size of the stall. What was she pressed up against the far wall or something? The image was almost comical, that was, until the thought of her naked in the shower suddenly took over. He sighed, trying to ignore it, though he had to admit, it was pretty hilarious how much she was freaking out over them showering in the same room together.

It was quiet for a few minutes as he heard the water splashing next to him. His mind immediately filled in the missing images with the sounds, wondering what she was doing. Was she washing that fiery red hair? Her pale skin? How did the water look, running over her body, from the top of her head, down her cheek, over the curves of her breasts, her flat stomach, her long legs…Draco gulped, realizing he was, perhaps, going a bit too far with that thought.

“So um…” He cleared his throat. “What did you eat for dinner?”

“What?” Ginny sounded confused.

“For dinner. What did you eat? You did eat, right?” Draco asked.

“Yes. I had…” Ginny paused, then switched questions. “Wait, what are you doing?”

“Um…talking?” He thought it was obvious.

“We’re in the shower. That’s just…that’s just weird. Don’t talk to me while I’m in the shower.”

“Why not?” he asked.

“Because…because you’re naked!” Ginny hissed.

He chuckled. “Does that inhibit my speech, Ginny?”

“No. It’s just…strange.”

He heard the water turn off and cursed to himself. Damn, he’d driven her away. Perhaps it was a bit too much, showering in the same room as her, but he couldn’t stop his naughty side from having its fun, even at the expense of her comfort. Draco listened to the rustle of cloth as she dried herself off and dressed, and when he deemed she was just about to leave he turned the water off to his own shower. “Let me walk you back to your commons room.”

“Why?” Ginny demanded.

“Because I always walk you back.” He replied easily. “You know I don’t trust anyone in this school enough to let you wander alone by yourself at night.”

“But usually I’m at your rooms, which are twice as far. I walk to the Prefects’ bathroom and back by myself all the time,” she reasoned.

“Well, let me walk you back this time. It’s late,” Draco argued.

She sighed. “Fine. I’ll be waiting outside, though.”

He heard the door to the shower room shut and grinned to himself, quickly drying off and dressing in the clean clothes he’d brought, throwing his dirty ones into his laundry bag. He began buttoning up the shirt he’d brought, then thought twice. Why not? Leaving it unbuttoned, Draco stepped out of the steam and into the main room, eyes searching for Ginny. She sat on a bench off to the side, and she glanced up when he came in, her eyes immediately going to his chest. Just as quickly as they landed on the bare skin they looked away, opting to stare instead at the large stained glass window portraying a nude mermaid on a rock.

“What is with his aversion to covering his chest?” he heard her mutter under her breath.

“What was that?”

She smiled at him and stood. “Nothing. Ready to go?” He watched as she pulled a brush through her hair, wincing as it got caught in tangled mass of red that couldn’t seem to decide whether it wanted to be curly or straight.

“They have mirrors for that, you know,” Draco pointed out.

“I’m fine,” she answered sharply.

“Here.” Draco pulled a small mirror out of his bag, holding it out in front of her.

He was surprised by her reaction. She gasped, averting her eyes, her head lowering as if trying to duck out of the reflection. Ginny’s voice was an angry growl as she repeated slowly, “I said I was fine.”

Draco held out the mirror for a few seconds more before putting it away, still staring at her in shock. Was she avoiding her reflection? Why? She had acted almost as if the sight of it was painful to her. He tried to think of any other times he’d seen her in front of a mirror or reflective piece of glass, but none came to mind. How long had this been going on?

“Right. Sorry. Here, let me help you.” Draco knelt down by Ginny, taking the brush out of her hands and turning her on the bench so he could reach the back of her hair. He began to run the brush gently through her hair, working out the tangles carefully so as not to make her wince. It was perhaps the longest amount of time that she had ever allowed him to touch her.

As he brushed her red mane, the smell of her strawberry shampoo invading his nostrils, he added another task to his list.

Get Ginny Weasley To:

Look at her reflection in the mirror

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