They don't trust
You, me, we, us
So we'll fall
If we must
Cause it's you, me
And it's all about
It's all about
They don't know
They can't see
Who we are
Fear is the enemy
Hold on tight
Hold on to me
It's all about us
-All About Us by TATU
Ginny had managed to avoid her brother all day, so it was only inevitable that he would be waiting in the commons room for her during dinner. She had thought he would be at the Great Hall eating, but he must have suspected she was trying to evade him. He sat on the couch by himself, his back to her as he stared into the fireplace, so she could not see his face. The few students that had skipped dinner were idling around studying or passing through the commons room on their way to detentions or the library. She was glad the room was fairly empty as she steeled herself for their confrontation.
“Ron?” Ginny asked, coming up behind him and placing a hand on his shoulder. He didn’t answer, just continued staring. “I…I’m not going to apologize for going behind your back. He’s my friend. I know it may be hard for you to accept, but—”
“Hard to accept?” Ron whispered harshly. All at once, his voice rose. “Hard to accept?!” He stood, spinning, and she backed away in surprise. His eyes reflected the light of the fire, burning and smoldering with anger, and it frightened her. She had seen her brother mad before, at her even, but never this furious. “Try impossible, Ginny. How can I…how could you…” His fists clenched as he tried to find the words. “All this time, you’ve been coercing with the enemy?! I can’t believe you! You…you disgust me!” Ron yelled, face turning red in rage.
“He is not the enemy, Ron!” Ginny whispered loudly, her voice harsh, and she tried to ignore how hurt she was by his comment. “He is my friend.”
“Well, you don’t really have the best choice in friends, do you?”
“What is that supposed to mean?!”
“I just mean you don’t exactly make the best decisions, Ginevra! What happened in the Chamber, and then this summer.”
Ginny gasped, staring at him in shock, tears springing to her eyes. “How dare you, Ronald?! You have no right to bring that up!”
“I’m your brother! I’m just trying to protect you!”
She could no longer ignore the people in the common room watching them. Ginny stormed out into the hallway, but her brother followed her. “Protect me from what, Ron?!” She yelled over her shoulder as she continued down the hall.
“From him! He’s a Slytherin! A Death Eater!” He lowered his voice, so anyone passing by wouldn’t hear. “A Malfoy! For all you know…he could have been one of your rapists!” Ron hissed.
Ginny heard the resounding slapping sound of flesh on flesh before she even saw her hand reach up to hit her brother. A red hand print began to form on his cheek, bright and angry, as irate as she felt. Thankfully, they were alone now, the hall deserted. “Don’t you dare…” she quivered with the rage burning in her heart, “don’t you ever accuse him of that. He has been there for me through everything. Draco, not you, has been there to help me for months. And where have you been? What have you done?!”
“Was he there every day when you cried yourself to sleep? Did he listen to you wake up screaming in the middle of the night? Did he watch you fall apart, watch you starve yourself, watch you become just a shell of a person? Where was he then, Ginny? Tell me that!”
Ginny glared at him. “All you ever did was watch! He helped me. He…he saved me.”
“Where was he the night you were raped, Ginny? Did he save you then?!”
Ginny shook her head, lowering her eyes and staring at her feet. She felt all of her anger drain out of her with a sigh and exhaustion take its place. She suddenly just wanted to lie down, to sleep, to forget any of this had ever happened. Yes, to fall asleep, and never wake up. “Where were you?” She whispered, pushing past him and running from the hall.
“Malfoy!” Draco heard behind him. He continued walking, opting to ignore the voice calling him. “Malfoy!” A hand grabbed his shoulder, yanking him back and throwing him off balance. He managed to catch himself and right his footing at the last minute, before he collided with the person behind him. Draco spun, glowering as he yanked the arm off his shoulder.
“Potter. What the hell do you want?” Draco asked, glaring at the black-haired boy before him.
“This is my only warning, Malfoy. Stay the hell away from Ginny.” The boy threatened.
Draco snorted, rolling his eyes. “Or you’ll do what, Pothead?”
“I’ll curse you into oblivion.” His wand stuck into Draco’s throat.
“Why don’t you do it now, Potter? Nobody’s around to stop you. I dare you.” Draco taunted, drawing out each word.
Before he could think or even react a fist was coming his way, slamming into his nose. Why, why was it always his beautiful nose? He stumbled back, again thrown off balance, and this time when he tried to catch himself his foot was met with air. Draco fell, throwing out his arms to grab onto something, but all he managed to do was brush the banister with his hand and slow his fall as he tumbled down the stairs. The hard edges of the staircase cut into his skin and when he landed at the bottom, his head slammed against the hard marble floors. Draco groaned, trying to lift himself up, his vision spinning.
Potter descended the stairs with murder in his eyes. His wand was lifted at Draco’s head, and for the first time in his life, Draco was actually afraid of the boy he had always been jealous of. “Ron told me about you and her. If you touch her, talk to her, look at her, so much as think about her again—”
“In case you forgot, Potty, she’s not your girlfriend anymore.” Draco managed to spit out. He rose up on all fours, blood dripping out of his nose onto the ground.
The boy grabbed him by the collar of his shirt, pulling him off of the ground and digging his wand into Draco’s forehead, right between his eyes. He opened his mouth to say something but was cut off by a professor’s voice. “What is going on here? Mr. Potter? Mr. Malfoy?”
They both turned to see Snape standing beside them, his arms folded over his chest and a stern look on his face. “Fighting in the halls? Do I have to give you both detentions? Reduce a hundred points from your House, Potter?”
The boy released Draco, stepping away. “No, Professor.”
“No? My student looks to have a bloody nose, Potter. If he tells me you gave it to him—”
“It was nothing, Professor.” Draco interrupted, still glaring at Harry Potter. “I fell down the stairs. Potter was just…helping me up.”
Snape obviously didn’t buy it, but he didn’t push them. “Potter, go back to your commons. It’s almost curfew. Draco, come with me. Let’s fix that broken nose.”
“Yes professor,” Draco agreed, giving the Golden Boy one last look before he turned and followed Severus.
When Ginny awoke again it was night. The sun had been down for hours, the moon was out, and there were tears dried to her cheeks. She sat up, blinking in surprise, and glanced over at the clock. It was almost one—Ginny was usually at Draco’s by now. The girl pulled the drapes aside and stepped onto the cold floor, grabbing her wand and heading for the door. She was surprised when a voice stopped her.
“Are you leaving again?”
Ginny turned, staring in surprise at a group of girls in the bunk next to her. In their small room there were five other sixth year Gryffindors. She wasn’t really friends with them, she couldn’t even remember their names at the moment, nor did she ever speak to them. Mostly, they all just ignored her, especially on nights like tonight, when they all sat on one of the girl’s bed together, chatting and giggling and sharing gossip. Now, they were all staring at her.
“Uhh…yeah…” she answered, wondering why they suddenly cared.
“You’re always coming and going,” the girl spoke again. She sat in the middle of the group, the alpha female, and it was no wonder. She was beautiful, with her long, perfectly straight blonde hair, pretty face, skinny body, and large breasts. The other girls all seemed to pale in comparison to her. “In the middle of the night. You wake us all up.”
“I…I do? I’m sorry…” Ginny answered, not looking straight at any of them, but rather at the game that sat on the middle of the bed between them.
“And she wakes up screaming…” whispered the girl beside her, as if Ginny weren’t there. Her pretty lips pouted and she flipped her brunette hair over her shoulder.
“We’re all sick of it, Ginny.” Spoke up the blonde again. “We’ve come to a decision. You can’t just keep coming and going like this. Either stay here for the night or stay wherever it is you go, but don’t keep sneaking around in the dark. It’s creepy.”
“You…you all feel this way?” The redhead asked, glancing up at them again. Three of the girls nodded resolutely, the leader and the whisperer included, but two of them averted their eyes, as if they didn’t agree, but knew that if they disagreed they would be thrown out of the group. “I see.”
“You have to choose, Ginny. Us or whoever else you’re seeing,” said the blonde.
“Probably some boy sexing her up,” commented the whisperer, smiling cruelly. “She’s such a little whore.” One of the other girls tittered in embarrassment at her crude joke.
Ginny felt tears spring to her eyes, but she ignored them. “Then…I guess I’ll just leave…” She could feel their eyes following her as she went to her bed and pulled her trunk out from under it. She opened her drawers, throwing her clothes, books, potions into it, not bothering to organize them. Ginny had barely unpacked since she’d come in August and she didn’t have any posters or decorations like the other girls, so it only took her ten minutes to gather all of her things in her trunk, trying to ignore their stares burning holes into her back and making her cheeks and ears flush red. She wiped the tears away angrily, not wanting them to see her cry, and was thankful when she was finally done and practically running from the room. Their cruel laughter followed behind her as they made fun of her and her tears.
Ginny’s trunk clanked heavily down the stairs, to her embarrassment, as she made her way to the commons room. A few people were still up and they turned to stare at her in surprise, but Ginny kept her head down and her hair over her eyes. She only paused when she heard Hermione ask her where she was going, but seeing the girl with Harry and Ron, she sped up in her hasty retreat. She was out of the portrait hole and running down the corridor at top speed before they could catch up with her.
It didn’t take long for word to reach Hermione about Ron and Ginny’s fight. She rushed to the commons room as soon she heard people gossiping at dinner, but Ginny was nowhere to be seen. Ron was pacing angrily, biting off anyone’s head that dare approach him, even Hermione. Harry was with him, his fist bloody, and Hermione worried what the two had done in their anger.
Ron and Harry both refused to speak to her, grouping her in with Ginny as “coercing with the enemy,” as they now saw it. Hermione was forced to hear about the fight secondhand from someone who had watched it unfold, and she was astonished by how rude Ron has been to his little sister. When she confronted Ron and finally got him to talk to her, all he did was yell.
“Ron, how could you have said those things to your sister? That’s so horrible!” Hermione said.
“How could you have let this go on for so long, Hermione?! Knowing that she was hanging around with him, doing Merlin only knows what?!” Ron accused. “If she hadn’t lost her virginity before she certainly has now!”
Hermione gaped at him in shock. “Ronald! They are friends! He’s been helping her through all of her problems for months now. He makes her happy. Why can’t you just accept that?”
They all looked up at the sound of something heavy clanking down the stairs. Hermione watched as Ginny’s legs, then her torso, then her face, emerged as she stepped down the stairs, dragging her trunk behind her as if it held the weight of the world. Everyone stopped talking and turned to stare at her as she made her way to the door, as if walking the plank. Hermione glanced at Ron and Harry for help.
“Look what you’ve driven her to! Say something, Ron! Apologize!” She hissed at him.
Ron turned his face away, but Harry just shook his head, watching Ginny as if she were the scum of the earth. “She’s going to him.”
“Because you two forced her to choose between him and you.” Hermione stared between the boys and Ginny, who was trying to pull her trunk out of the portrait hole. Nobody offered to help her, but she finally managed to yank it through, practically falling to the ground with the effort. “Do something! Harry? Ron? She’s your sister!”
“She’s no sister of mine,” Ron whispered.
Hermione shook her head in shock, backing away from them. “How could you be so cruel to her? Just for being friends with him? Just for seeing past all of your stupid hatred and your family’s prejudice? Just for seeing past his name?”
“I never thought you could side with a Malfoy, Hermione.” Ron bit out, glaring at her.
“And I never thought you could be so cruel, Ron.” Hermione turned and followed Ginny out of the portrait hole, but by then the girl was gone.
Draco was lying in bed staring at the moonlight, reflected off of the lake, dance across his ceiling when he heard the door open. He sat up, brow furrowed, and blinked at the sudden intrusion of bright blue light glowing on the tip of a wand. The wand lowered, casting Ginny’s face in its light, and he found himself smiling for the first time all day.
“Hey. Where’ve you been? I thought you weren’t coming.” Draco got up, stirring the red coals and putting another log in the fireplace. The fire kicked up, bathing the room in a warm light, and Ginny put out her wand.
“I’m sorry. I fell asleep.”
“That’s alright. You didn’t have to come this late, though. It’s almost two in the morning.”
She didn’t speak, and Draco stepped over towards her, staring curiously at the large, bulky shadow beside her. “What’s with the trunk?”
“I was hoping…I could stay here. If it’s okay with you.”
“Stay? What, for the night? Yeah, sure.” Draco took her trunk from her and set it by his bed, then pulled her over to the fire to warm up. With her face bathed in the light he noticed the tears he hadn’t seen when she stood in the dark. “Hey, what’s the matter, Ginny?” Draco lifted her chin, wiping the tears away from the corners of her eyes.
“I meant…for the rest of the year. If that’s alright?” she whispered.
He was confused at first, but then he realized she was talking about sleeping there. “For the rest of the year? Did they kick you out of your dorm?”
She nodded, biting on her bottom lip. Draco felt anger stir in his chest and his hand clenched around her hair tightly. When he realized what he was doing, he dropped it. “I mean, if you don’t want me to that’s alright. I can find somewhere else…you’re the only person I knew to come to…”
Draco’s heart filled with pity and he smiled at her gently. “Yeah, you can stay here. If you don’t mind the close quarters and all.”
Ginny shook her head quickly. “No, not at all. I can sleep on the couch, and I’m very quiet. I won’t trouble you at all, I pro—”
Draco put a finger on her lips, chuckling. “Ginny, you’re asking me if I want to spend the whole year living with a beautiful woman that I adore. What do you think? And you don’t have to sleep on the couch. Take the bed.”
“Are you sure?” She asked, her eyebrows furrowing. Her lips brushed his finger teasingly as she spoke, and he found himself tracing them lightly.
“Yeah, of course. I can sleep on the couch. The bed’s all yours. You know where the nearest bathroom is. If you just toss your laundry in the corner the House Elves will clean it everyday. Hell, I can even sleep in the classroom if you don’t want to sleep in the same room with me.”
Ginny shook her head. “No, that’s alright. I don’t mind. But…where can I change?”
Draco blinked in surprise, noticing she was still in her school uniform. “Oh, right. I’ll just leave. Just let me know when you’re done.” He closed the door, waiting out in the classroom and suddenly wishing he had a cloak to keep him warm. Away from the fireplace and his cozy blankets it was freezing. Thankfully, Ginny only took a few minutes to finish changing her clothes and let him back in the room. They sat on the couch together by the fire, Draco fetching a blanket and wrapping it around their shoulders. There was something intimated about sitting there under a blanket together, their bodies touching and warming one another’s.
“What happened to your nose?” Ginny asked, touching it lightly. “It’s bruised.”
Draco shrugged. “I just got in a fight.”
“With who?” she asked.
She gasped. “He did that to you?”
Draco grinned. “He broke it. That makes, what, the fourth time now? I’ve lost count. But that’s alright, Snape fixed it up fine. The man claims he isn’t a healer, but I could argue otherwise.”
“I’m sorry, Draco,” Ginny apologized. “This is all my fault.”
“Not really. You could say it’s mine for finding you last night and revealing who I was to your brother. I expect he gave you the cold shoulder.”
Ginny bit her lip, her eyes once more filling with tears. Draco suddenly regretted what he’d said. “I wish. He yelled at me. He told me he was disgusted by me.”
Draco wrapped an arm around Ginny’s shoulder, pulling her against his body. He stroked her hair gently as she tried to fight her tears. “He just…” she whispered, her voice muffled by his shirt. “He just doesn’t understand how much I…I care about you.” It sounded as if she wanted to say something else, but Draco let it go.
“I’m sorry, Ginny. I wish I hadn’t come between you two like this. I wish he didn’t make you choose between us.”
Ginny shook her head, glancing up at him. “I’m glad I chose you, Draco. You’re my best friend. You’re the only person who understands me.”
Draco couldn’t keep the smile off of his face when she said that. He sighed, stroking her cheek with the back of his hand, and was, not for the first time, overwhelmed by how beautiful she was. Her brown eyes were half-lidded with sleep, her face glowed with the warmth of the fire, tinting her cheeks pink. Her soft lips teased him, making him lick his own in desire, but he managed to resist. Her red hair glowed brighter than the flames in the fireplace, reminding him of the fire bird that was continually reborn from its ashes. She looked like an angel, a red-headed angel, and he found himself falling more in love with her the longer he stared at her.
Ginny began to snore lightly, making Draco chuckle. She was, of course, completely oblivious to his adoration of her. Draco picked up the girl gently in his arms, carrying her over to the bed and laying her in it lovingly. Tenderly, he wrapped the blankets around her body, making sure she was warm and comfortable, and turned to leave, but was stopped by her small hand wrapping around his wrist. “Don’t leave, Draco.” She murmured sleepily, not opening her eyes. “Stay with me.”
How could he resist her? He would do whatever she asked him. He would go to the end of the earth and fling himself off if she told him that would make her happy. He was so hopelessly in love with her that he would be her slave for all eternity. Draco crawled into the bed beside Ginny, wrapping his arms around her small body and holding her close.
Draco barely slept a wink that night. He was too distracted staring at her lovely face, even after the fire died down and all he had to see by was moonlight. Draco had grown up rich, fed by a silver spoon. He had slept night after night for seventeen years of his life on a feather bed fit for a king. He had had the softest satin sheets and the thickest blankets and so many pillows there wasn’t enough room for him. But laying there on that tiny lumpy mattress under layers of old, scratchy blankets, straining his eyes to stare at the girl in his arms and fighting all night to keep them open, was the best sleep he’d ever gotten.