Behind a Green Curtain

Chapter 10

Ginny and Draco spent nearly two hours playing chess. They were both very good, though Draco was a better strategist; by the end of the last game he had two on her. Ginny still found that she was enjoying herself far more than she did when she played with Ron, who grumbled endlessly every time he lost, Hermione, who wasn't very good at all, or even Harry, who remained completely silent while he was playing. Draco was quiet, but he had a habit of making some dry comment every now and then that made her laugh. And it felt good to laugh, to really laugh and not pretend. She hadn't truly enjoyed herself like this since she left the Burrow last autumn for school.

"Defeated again, Weasley," said Draco smugly as the game came to a close. "So much for you being brilliant at chess."

"Just you wait!" cried Ginny. "You won that last game because you were lucky."

"Ah, you have a lot to learn. There's no such thing as luck in chess, Weasley, it's all strategy."

"Say what you like, you won by a wing and a prayer. You know you did!"

"Why - Miss Weasley!" Madam Pomfrey called, hurrying towards the two of them with a small cup in her hand. "It's high time for you to be gone, young lady."

"Why, what time is it?" asked Ginny, looking around for a clock.

"Very nearly six, my dear. And you need rest, and this," she added to Draco, handing him the cup.

Draco groaned. "Not that again."

"Good night, Draco," said Ginny cheerfully, standing up. "I had fun," she added honestly.

He fiddled with the cup and didn't look at her. "Did you, now?"

"And - and I'll come back tomorrow, if you like," Ginny added in a rush, regretting her words instantly. What would he say? There was a long, rather dreadful pause, in which only the impatient tapping of Madam Pomfrey's foot could be heard.

"All right, Ginny," he said softly, turning away so she couldn't see his face. "Tomorrow, then."

She was so surprised by his gentle tone of voice that it was only later, when she was nearly asleep, that Ginny realized he'd called by her own first name.

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