The next day he got all sorts of notes, scoldings, and even a detention for not attending class. The detention was from Professor Mcgonagall, the strict, unforgiving witch that she was.
He saw Ginny as he was walking into the Great Hall at suppertime, for the first time since that dreadful moment the day before. He turned immediately and left for the library. He sat there with his homework, doing it only to occupy his mind. He had been leaving much of it undone since he had come back to Hogwarts. His damned cleverness had landed him in quite a few N.E.W.T. classes that he had no intention of finishing, much less with the top grades he used to aim for. They wouldn't matter if he succeeded in killing Dumbledore, and they certainly wouldn't matter if he failed.
But tonight he had nothing better to do, so he blazed through his Potions and Transfiguration Homework. He was good at Potions, better than Potter, though that particular person had been showing some sort of unwonted skill in the subject recently. Perhaps he simply hadn't tried hard enough when Snape was teaching.
No matter. He'd stopped being jealous of Potter now.
Ginny was standing at the door, her head tilted, watching him to see what he would do.
"First you stalk me, then you avoid me. If this is some kind of game you're playing, it's not very impressive, even for you."
Even for you? What was that supposed to mean? He lowered his head over his work again, muttering, "Sod off, Weasley."
"I won't," she said obstinately, stepping further into the room. "I want to know why you've been following me around. Honestly, it's pretty freaky."
Of course, if she'd noticed it, she thought it was freaky. Draco's chest was tightening, and his mind had gone blank.
"It's your imagination," he snapped at her. "Why would I follow you around?"
"You tell me," she said. "Because it isn't my imagination."
Damn it. What now? He felt a strong urge to hex her, and an equally strong urge to start snogging her, but both were impossible.
"Well, it's been a long time since I've seen you speechless," said Ginny smugly. "What's got your tongue, Malfoy?"
He was starting to feel like a laughingstock at her expense, a feeling that incensed him. He reached for his wand, but he realized that he had no idea what he'd do with it once he pulled it out.
"Leave me alone," he said, his voice coming out in a snarl. "I don't know what you're talking about. You're mental."
"Say what you like, Malfoy, but -"
One of her Gryffindor friends had called her. She stood at the door with a puzzled look on her face.
"Coming," said Ginny. She looked back at Draco. "This isn't over, Malfoy," she snapped, and she hurried after her friend.
Draco looked after her, breathing hard. He had avoided speaking to Ginny all his life. And he had never planned for it to turn out like this, if he ever did. She had the upper hand, and she knew it, and there was nothing he could do about it. This isn't over, Malfoy. He shuddered and turned back to his homework.