Draco awoke very early the next morning to a fresh wave of depression. The night had been spent in the Room of Requirement, and he had a little corpse to show for his pains. It bothered him, the little dead bird; he had felt shocked when he saw it lying on the bare shelf, had felt a little shiver. He hated dead things...And yet he was expected to kill a man in cold blood by the end of the year. He tried not to think about it.
He dressed warmly, taking his heaviest cloak, and left the castle, hurrying through the chilly air. He wanted to be completely alone, away from all the other students. Being up before everyone else, including the sun, brought a calming feeling of isolation. He liked feeling isolated when he wanted not to think.
He stood by the lake, staring into the black water. A chill came off the lake and blew towards him, and he welcomed it gladly.
He nearly jumped out of his skin. For the third time in three days, Ginny Weasley had called his name.
"Bloody hell," he snarled. "Is there no privacy in this place?"
She rubbed her shoulders. She hadn't brought a cloak and wasn't dressed for the cold. "I want to know what you're up to!" she snapped. "Don't get me wrong, I've no interest in whatever grisly plans you've got up your sleeve, except where it concerns me! Everywhere I go these days, there you are, and not by accident. I won't let it rest until you've s-s-s-stopped." The last word came out in a rush of chattering teeth.
"I told you, you're mental," said Draco in his most forbidding tone. "What would possess me to follow you around like all your goddamn boyfriends?" What, indeed? He would like to know the answer to that very question.
"I d-don't know, but I intend to f-f-f-find out!"
"Go find a fire. Throw yourself in while you're at it."
She folded her arms and stared up at him obstinately. Her pretty little face was turning blue with the cold, and by contrast Draco felt almost sweaty under his heavy cloak. He did not like being this close to Ginny, it made him elated and uncomfortable all at once.
"Jesus, Weasley. Get lost before you freeze to death."
He didn't know what made him do it. He tugged his cloak off his shoulders and draped it around the girl's shoulders. She drew back, tugging at the cloak as if it was going to burn her. He felt angry that she'd suspect him like that, and satisfaction at her confusion, and a whole lot of other emotions he couldn't explain. Most of all, he felt happy to see little Ginny his great cloak, its expensive edges trailing in the snow, her small face peering bemusedly out from underneath the black hood...warm.
"I don't want your stupid cloak."
"I don't see you giving it back."
She growled and tugged it closer round her. She was clearly too cold to give it back.
"I'm going back to school," Draco said, turning his back on her.
"You - Draco Malfoy, come back!"He felt a little thrill, but he ignored it and her and climbed back towards the castle, his spirits soaring as they had not in months.