Fifteen minutes later, Ginny was hurrying to the hospital wing. It was, like everything else she did these days, an impulse. She had to do it, had to know what was going on with Malfoy. When she asked Madam Pomfrey about him, the woman looked rather surprised.
"Yes, he's here," she said, "and he's fine. Weak, and needs a bit of time to heal completely, but fine. Why, do you want to go visit him, dear?"
"Yes," said Ginny, a bit embarrassed. "I mean, I - can I? Does he have any other visitors?"
"No," said Madam Pomfrey, making a clucking noise. "The poor boy hasn't had one visitor since Professor Snape brought him here. I don't think many people know he's here. Right, on you go, dear."
As she spoke, she shooed Ginny towards the bed at the end of the room, and went into her office. Ginny approached the side of the bed and sat down, her eyes fixed on Malfoy.
He flat on his back, asleep, his face in a deadly pallor. Ginny thought, with a shudder, that if he were dead and laid in a coffin, he would look almost exactly like this. Except that his hair wouldn't be so ruffled...She reached out and smoothed it against his forehead, which felt cold under her hand.
Draco's eyes opened at once, and Ginny snatched her hand away, suddenly feeling self-conscious. She had no business visiting him, and what was he going to think of her, stroking his face like he was her only child or something...He stared at her silently for a long time, and she could do nothing but stare back, as she didn't want to be the one to break the silence.
After a while it finally drove her crazy. She hated silence.
"How do you feel?" she asked.
"Not that great,” he answered.
"You don't know what happened," he said, his voice angry and bitter.
"Harry told me what happened," said Ginny, realizing a bit too late that it was not the wisest thing to say. A hardened sneer, the type she was used to seeing from him, crossed Draco's face, and he turned his head away.
"Oh? And did Saint Potter tell you exactly how he tried to kill me?"
Ginny started to say that it had been an accident, that Harry hadn’t tried to kill Draco. But she realized that that wouldn't help matters any, and she had no chance of convincing Draco that Harry hadn’t cast the spell with the intent to kill, given that the spell had almost been fatal. "Yes," she said quietly.
"Come to gloat, have you then, Weasley?" he said, his tone harsh.
"No!" snapped Ginny, piqued. "I came because I really wanted to see how you were! You don't have to be such a jerk all the time."
"You really wanted..." He stared at her incredulously. "Really? No, I'm dreaming again, aren't I?"
"Again?" repeated Ginny. "So you dream about me, do you?"
"What?" he said, but his face flushed slightly as he spoke.
For some reason that she didn’t care to think too much about, this elated Ginny, but she decided not to press the point.
"Do you like chess?" she asked instead.
"Well," said Ginny tactlessly, "Madam Pomfrey said you didn't have any visitors, so I thought you must be pretty bored."
Draco scowled blackly. "I don't want your company."
"Don't be so touchy," she said, slightly affronted. "Besides, I'm brilliant at chess."
"I don't care how good you think you are, I'm better."
"Let's play then," said Ginny in her most persuasive tone. She got up and found a chess board and, bringing to the small table by Draco's bedside, set it up hastily. When she sat down, he spun the board so that the white side faced her.
"You're being nice to me!" she said, surprised.
"No, you're not. I mean, you are!” she added, as he raised his eyebrows. “It's just that you never - I mean, not never, but you don't really - oh, nevermind," she finished, feeling the heat rise in her face.
Draco laughed suddenly. Thinking he was making fun of her, Ginny looked up, ready to defend herself, and saw that it was a real genuine laugh, without his usual scorn, his grey eyes sparkling with fun. She felt rather confused; she didn't know at all what to do with a happy Draco.
And she had never really taken the time to look at his eyes like that. They were light, she knew that, but up close she saw that they were a sort of stone blue that sometimes looked grey.
Draco had stopped laughing and was looking at her curiously, and she realized with a bit of a start that she was staring. So she started the game, quickly, before he could say anything.