Just an ordinary day.
Just trying to get by.
Just a boy,
Just an ordinary boy.
But he was looking to the sky.
And as he asked if I would come along
I started to realize
That everyday he finds
Just what he's looking for,
Like a shooting star he shines...
And as he spoke, he spoke ordinary words
Although they did not feel
For I felt what I had not felt before
You'd swear those words could heal...
And he said take my hand,
Live while you can
Don't you see your dreams lie right in the palm of your hand?
-Ordinary Day by Vanessa Carlton
Two cloaked figures treaded silently down the dark corridor. When they passed the occasional burning green lantern, fingers of light reached under their hoods, revealing their skeletal masks forever pulled up in a cruel grin. They did not speak, though the one followed the other with a sense of confusion and expectancy. Finally, they stopped before a large stone door. It towered above both the men and was lined with bars that appeared in the flickering light like sharp teeth set in a gaping mouth ready to consume them. The men stepped inside, and the door slammed shut behind them.
The man in front went to the center of the room and folded his hands behind his back, staring at the far wall. On either side of him stood four others, all in black cloaks, their heads bent towards the ground. The follower glanced at them in trepidation and whispered in a shaky voice, “Sir, is this where I can pick it up?”
“Pick what up?” The leader asked, not turning towards him.
“The parcel. For my assignment. You brought me here to pick it up, correct?”
“Ahh, yes. The parcel…No, it is not here.” The man replied. The others stood silently.
“Then…then why’d you bring me here? What’s your name?” His voice became more demanding as he grew annoyed with these games.
“You should know a Death Eater never gives away his name.”
There was a long silence from the other man. Finally, he began to chuckle. “I know what this is. This is an initiation ceremony, isn’t it? Father said soon it would be my turn to join the Dark Lord. What is my task, then?”
“Is that what you think?” The first one replied, a smile on his face. “Is that why you followed me, a complete stranger, into Gringott’s bank in the middle of the night? Because you expected you would perform a task for your Dark Lord that would result in your initiation into his Death Eaters?”
“Well…well, yeah. That’s what you brought me here for, isn’t it?” The doubt was obvious in his voice.
Draco smiled, pulling his hood down and removing his mask. He turned, mask in one hand, wand in the other, and revealed his face. “No, Goyle, you stupid, stupid fool. I brought you here to kill you.”
The boy collapsed to the floor, scooting back until he hit the wall. “What…what…do you want?!” He ripped his mask off to see them better, his puffy face contorted in fear.
“I thought I already told you. I’m going to kill you.” Draco answered. “You see, Goyle, you broke into Gringott’s bank to steal from one of the vaults and prove your worth to Voldemort. However, in the process you tripped one of the traps and died a sick, horrendous, unforeseeable death. Gringotts apologizes to your parents and the Wizarding World that such a misguided boy should die so young, but it has no sympathy for thieves.”
“You…you’re making that up!” Goyle yelled. “That’s not true…you killed Crabbe, too, didn’t you! He didn’t run away! You killed him!”
“Yes, though I am surprised that you could figure that out all by yourself.” Draco began to applaud him slowly, as if he were congratulating a child. “But it makes no difference now. You’re not leaving this room. You’re going to die here.”
As Draco spoke, Ginny’s brothers pushed themselves away from the walls and began to close in, lifting their heads and removing their hoods so that their faces were also revealed. Ron, Fred, and George had been joined by their brother Bill, who worked in Gringotts, setting all of this up quite nicely for them.
“You…you’re brothers of that bitch! Why are you here?”
“That bitch,” Bill hissed, “has a name. It’s Ginny. And we’re here because you raped her.”
“No.” He shook his head in denial, glaring at them. “No. She wanted it! She wanted us to!”
“Did she now?” Draco turned to Ginny’s brothers. “Wouldn’t you say that Goyle wants us to kill him?”
“I would say he’s practically begging for it,” Ron whispered.
Fred began, “Yes, wouldn’t want—”
“—to disappoint.” George finished.
“Let’s give the man what he wants then.” Draco lifted his wand with a smile, a manic gleam glinting in his eye. “It would be inhumane of us to deny him.”
Ginny opened her eyes slowly, blinking in the bright light of the morning. She yawned and stretched her entire body before curling up next to the warmth beside her. “It’s morning already. You didn’t wake me up last night.”
“I didn’t want to disturb you. You were sleeping so peacefully.”
Ginny frowned against his chest. “How did it go?”
“Goyle is dead. He will never hurt you again,” Draco answered.
“And? What did he say when you…”
“The same thing as Crabbe. He claimed he didn’t know who the other rapist was. That he’d never met the man before. Had never even learned his name. Only that he was a friend of Zabini’s.”
“How are my brothers? Is everyone safe?”
“Everyone is fine Ginny.”
He smiled down at her, kissing her on the forehead. “We weren’t hurt. If anything, your brothers have all grown closer through this morbid bonding experience. And we staged everything perfectly. There is no way any of us can be connected to the murder. One of the workers will stumble upon the body this morning, before Bill even comes in to work. By the time he gets there, there will be a whole swarm of aurors and reporters around Gringotts. It won’t be the first time a robber has been killed trying to break in. The media will die down quickly enough and they will forget about it.”
“What if they connect him to Bill?”
“It will take them days to even identify the body. And your brother wasn’t on shift at the time or sighted anywhere near the building. They’ll never know.”
She sighed, burying her head in his chest. “I know I should trust you. I shouldn’t worry so much, I just—”
Draco put a finger to her lips, quieting her. “Shh. It’s good to be cautious. It’s the only way to do this without getting caught.” He smiled, replacing his finger with his lips. Draco pulled Ginny on top of him, wrapping his arms around her small body and kissing her passionately until she was breathless. “Can I ask you a question, Gin?”
“Would you like to go to Hogsmeade with me this weekend?”
Ginny’s brow furrowed in confusion. “You mean, as in a date?” He nodded, smiling at her. “Wow…” The girl giggled. “Now that I think about it…we’ve never been on a date, have we?”
“No, we haven’t.”
“Then yes. I would love to.”
He smiled at her and buried his head in her hair, breathing in the scent of her. “Do we have to get up yet?” Draco murmured.
Ginny chuckled and pulled herself out of her embrace. She yanked his covers off of him, letting the cold air wake him up. “Come on, we have class today,” she said as she grabbed some clothes from her trunk and kicked him out of the room so she could change before breakfast.
Ginny and Draco parted ways after he walked her to her first class, and she didn’t get to see him again for the rest of the day. In each class Ginny was too distracted to focus, absorbed in staring out the window and imagining what their date would be like. She felt a mixture of nervousness, excitement, and happiness.
She felt like she were a normal teenager again. It was as if the proceedings of the last year had never happened. The trial was for once not on her mind. The events of the night she was raped did not play in the back of her mind over and over again as they once had. She felt no guilt over the deaths of her rapists, only a calming sense of peace and relief. Soon Zabini would be gone too, and then she would be safe. She did not think of her fourth rapist, of the mysterious blue eyes without a face or name. Knowing who her other three rapists were made him seem all the less real, like a phantom she had dreamed up in a nightmare. And now she finally was beginning to feel strong enough to push those nightmares away, into the darkest, furthest corners of her mind, and not let them haunt her during the waking hours.
Ginny got to see Draco only briefly after class. During dinner Hermione sat with them, and when Ginny told her friend about their date, she showed nothing but enthusiasm for them, as Ginny had expected. But when Hermione asked her what she’d gotten for Draco, the girl was confused. “Valentine ’s Day is Saturday, Ginny. That’s why they scheduled the Hogsmeade visit for this weekend.”
The girl’s mouth fell open in surprise. “Oh…Oh no! I didn’t get you a gift, Draco!” She bit her lip, a blush rising to her cheeks.
Draco rolled his eyes, sending a fake glare in Hermione’s direction. “Thanks. I knew she’d forget. I was planning on surprising her.”
“Sorry,” the brunette laughed sheepishly, making it obvious she was not at all. “Well, what are you going to wear, Ginny?”
“What do you mean?” The redhead looked down at her uniform: black pants, a white button up shirt, a red and gold tie, and her heaviest, warmest wool robe. “This?”
“You can’t wear your uniform to Hogsmeade. It’s a date. You’re supposed to dress nice.” It seemed obvious to Hermione, and if even Hermione thought something about fashion was obvious, then it was really obvious.
“So now I have to get a present and wear clothes!” The girl threw up her hands in exasperation.
“Well…you don’t have to wear clothes,” Draco commented, glancing at her chest. “It just might be a little cold out there with the snow and all.”
“Oh Ginny, you’re so silly. Come back to my room after dinner and I can lend you something of mine. You can borrow one of my dress robes.”
It was Ginny’s chance to glance at her chest. “Hermione, I don’t think your dress robes would fit me.”
“Oh bullocks, Gin. What do you take me for? I can shrink it down to fit you. I’m not the head of my class for nothing, you know.”
So Ginny ended up heading to the Gryffindor commons room after dinner instead of back to Draco’s room as she usually did. It was odd to be in the colorful, warm, cheerfully lit room she had once thought of as home for eight months of the year. Now it felt just as foreign to her as the Slytherin commons might, though perhaps not as hostile. Her appearance in her own house elicited quite a few stares and whispers, but a couple of well-placed glares from Hermione and they were quickly hushed. The girls made their way to Hermione’s room, where she slept with only two other girls, both of whom were gone. The older girl went to her trunk, pulling it out from under her bed and opening it up. “Here. Pick something out.”
Ginny knelt down by the trunk, rummaging through it. It wasn’t much different from her own. Mostly school uniforms, though in better quality, along with some Muggle clothes and dress robes thrown into the mix. “Mione, I really don’t know what I’m looking for.”
Hermione sat on the bed, biting her lip. “Something, y’know, cute? How about this?” She held up a pair jeans and a shirt.
“I thought you said I was supposed to dress up?”
“Yeah…I guess you’re right. Well, maybe this then?” She grabbed a grey pantsuit out.
“He’s taking me on a date. I’m not running for Minister of Magic.” Ginny sighed. “You’re just as clueless about this as I am, aren’t you?”
“No.” The girl said defensively, pulling out a sunflower dress. “Oh, this would be so cute on you!”
“Hermione, it’s snowing outside.”
“Right. Well…Oh! I know. She kneeled down beside the trunk, rummaging around in it until she was up to her arm. It couldn’t possibly fit that much clothing in it from the apparent outside size, but that was magic for you. Allowing girls to carry their whole wardrobes in one small trunk that slid under the bed. But in this case, Ginny was thankful for bottomless trunks, because Hermione seemed to be just as fashion forwardly minded as she was. Finally, after being waist deep in clothing, books, and scrolls for more than ten minutes, Hermione resurfaced, pulling up an outfit. It was a blue velvet, long-sleeved dress with a v-neck and flowy skirt that reached to Ginny’s knees. It was warm enough that she was wouldn’t freeze to death in the carriage but fancy enough to catch Draco’s eye. “Now, do you have any shoes?” Hermione sat back, blowing her messy hair out of her face.
Ginny held out a foot garbed in an old, worn, faded pair of grey dress shoes. “Does this count?”
“I’ll be right back.” The girl dived back into the trunk.
Ginny sat back against the bed as she searched for whatever painful, foot-killing nightmare she had hidden in the depths of her trunk. She ran her fingers along the smooth surface of the dress as she spoke. “What am I going to do about Draco’s gift? I completely forgot it was Valentine ’s Day. I suck at this whole girlfriend business.”
“Just get him something while you’re in Hogsmeade.” Hermione replied.
“But I don’t have any money. If I had remembered earlier I would have written Mum to send me a few galleons.”
“Then, get him something else.”
“Like what?” Ginny asked.
The girl’s muffled voice came from inside the trunk. “I know I had a pair of shoes in here somewhere from the Yuleball. Where are they?”
“Like what, Mione?” Ginny repeated, thinking the girl hadn’t heard her.
“Aha!” She came up, a shoe held triumphantly in her hand. “Found it. It’s a good think I listened to my mother and didn’t leave them at home.” She remembered Ginny’s question. “You know. A personal gift.”
“A favor, Ginny.” Ginny stared at her in confusion, wondering why she put such an emphasis on the word favor.
“I still don’t understand.”
Hermione rolled her eyes. “A sexual favor. People do it all the time as gifts.”
Ginny blinked at her in shock. “They do?”
“Well, Ron and I do. And Muggles have whole stores devoted to it.”
“How…how would you know?”
“Gin, what do you take me for? Just because I’m a model student, you don’t honestly expect I never have sex with my boyfriend. Or that I don’t enjoy it. I just don’t do it in the middle of the corridors like other girls at this school.”
“Eww…that’s my brother you’re talking about…so, what kind of sexual favors should I give someone on Valentine ’s Day?” Ginny asked.
“You know. Something romantic. Like, lighting up the whole
room with candles. Or doing it in the shower.” She glanced up at Ginny, who
still had a confused look on her face. Hermione’s eyebrows scrunched up as she
thought. “Wait a minute…you and Draco have had sex, right?”
Ginny’s face felt suddenly very hot. “N-no…”
“Oh…oh, well, I expected you had.” Why did Hermione seem so surprised?
“Why would you expect that?”
“Well, because you guys are so intimate. You have such a mature relationship. Whenever you’re together you just seem to be…on the same wavelength, I guess. And I figured, since you lived together, that you’d have done it by now.” Ginny shook her head, staring down at her feet. “So, how far have you gotten?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well…what have you done so far?”
Hermione gave her one of those looks that she only gave to people she thought were stupid. “Ginny, I’ve watched you kiss. I know that. I mean…have you seen him naked?”
“No!” Ginny thought about how Draco would look naked. She had seen him without a shirt on before. Countless times. He was damn sexy. How would he look without a shirt or pants on? Her whole body began to feel hot, not just her face.
“Okay, okay. Has he seen you naked?” Hermione asked.
She almost said no, but stopped. She remembered the time, at the beginning of the year, that Draco saved Ginny from drowning herself in the prefect’s bathroom. He’d told her later he’d been watching her bathe. So he’d seen her naked, just not the other way around. Ginny nodded.
“And he’s touched you, right?”
“Yeah. He touches me all the time.”
Hermione lifted an eyebrow skeptically. “Where?”
The girl shrugged. “Everywhere. We’re always touching each other.”
There was a long silence. “Well, not there!” She glanced down at her hips.
“Has he touched your breasts?”
“Not deliberately. Maybe accidentally.”
“So…in other words…no.”
The brunette began to giggle, then to laugh. “You guys have been sleeping in the same bed for months now and you’re boyfriend hasn’t even touched your breasts? Not even in his sleep? Haven’t you waken up and felt him?”
“Felt him what?”
“Felt…his penis.” Ginny ducked her head, embarrassed by even hearing the word. “Guys. In the morning. They…you know.”
“No! None of that!” She found herself laughing as uncontrollably as her friend was. “I’m not event seventeen! My mother would call me a scarlet woman if I was sleeping around with guys before I was even a grown adult.”
“Ginny, it’s not sleeping around if it’s one person. Though, I guess for you, it literally is just sleeping. Besides, most girls have already lost their virginity by our age.”
Ginny froze in her laughing, her smiling slipping off her face. Hermione realized her mistake immediately. “Ginny…I’m sorry. I didn’t mean…You know what I meant. By choice.”
The girl closed her eyes, biting her lip and turning her face away from her friend. When she turned back around, her smile was back. “If she heard you talking, my mum would call you a scarlet woman.”
“Ugh!” Hermione threw the shoe at her in mock offense, and the girls began to wrestle. When they were finished, Ginny lay on the floor on her back beside her friend, staring at the ceiling. “So what should I do for him?” she asked.
“Well, I’m not going to suggest you jump right in there and have sex if you haven’t even seen him naked yet.” Hermione replied. “So…how about a nice strip tease? Ron loves that.”
“Right, right. I forgot.”
They lay there in silence for a few minutes. “Hey, where’s the other shoe?”
“Oh, drats! It’s still in the trunk. Give me a second.” She dove back in head first, searching for the matching heel.
Ginny folded her arms under her head, a smile on her face. It was dusk already. She’d spent the past few hours talking and laughing with her friend while they picked out clothes for her date. It was so very normal, and so very easy, that it surprised her. This was the sort of thing other girls did, not Ginny. But it had felt natural and fun, even. Ginny felt as if her life was finally starting to get back on track. She felt normal again. And it was a good feeling.