Unofficial Portkey Archive

Highrollers by InTheStars



A/N: Some of you might be pleasantly surprised. This scene was originally supposed to take place straight after the game, but with certain factors ~changing, it didn't. I actually wrote the majority of it the night I posted the last chapter and then spent the last week stressing over it and rewriting lmao. Ginny's voice always gives me trouble. BUT I'M FINALLY HAPPY WITH IT. It's long, but whatever. ENJOY :D

Gryffindor won two-hundred and seventy to one-thirty. Slytherin suffered no penalty, not that Ron could help it. Apparently batting a Bludger at a student wasn't necessarily against the rules; quite contrary to them actually. Not that Ginny had been around to witness it, being cooped up in the Hospital Wing. She had tried in vain to convince McGonagall she was fine, but even Harry and Ron pushed her off from continuing to play, just like the overbearing brothers they were.

Maybe she hadn't necessarily been fine. She spent the better part of the night being woken by Madame Pomphrey every few hours; she was forced to answer simple questions like what month it was and what was the name of her owl. She supposed she should have acted a bit more grateful towards the nurse. Not that she had been cruel or disrespectful, just grouchy. The poor woman had been forced to get no rest just as Ginny had, but she was justifiably in a foul mood.

She hated the infirmary. She dreaded it even under normal circumstances. It was just an old, ingrained fear she had of the glaringly clean spaces and all the sick people. It brought back memories of her first year and waking up on a cot. It reminded her of the deep shame she carried all that year and in many ways still did. This was the place she confessed. Where she bared her soul and shared with everyone how dear she held Tom to her heart and what he had done with it.

At the very least the team and Luna had visited her after the game, exhausted and content with their victory, although worried and angry over her state. Pomphrey had shooed them out much too soon.

It was morning now - the sky was grey with the coming dawn. She heard the twittering of birds outside the window, calling for the sun. Ginny sighed and turned gingerly on her side. The cot wasn't necessarily comfortable, but she felt snug and warm on it after so many hours. Her head still pounded fiercely; the cut on it throbbed. And yet the pain hadn't stopped her mind from churning all night. It hadn't stopped her from having half-lucid dreams of a man with blond hair and grey eyes. Dreams of slender fingers on her cheek and a familiar voice whispering her name.

She thought of him now, cocooned in the secrecy of morning, her bleary eyes unseeingly gazing at the curtains surrounding her cot. Ginny thought of the coiled tension in his frame, of how he had stormed across the pitch with such power and determination. Ginny recalled with resignation the unparalleled fury in which he had confronted his team and the way he had looked after her moments later.

Draco Malfoy was never soft. He was jagged at every edge. Biting and cruel and mean. Even his smiles were cold and mocking. But the way he had looked at her then - silent and barely controlled - was the closest to soft and human she had ever seen him look.

He had been furious. Over her. He had been worried. Exhausted, barely awake, and injured, Ginny didn't know what to make of it. How to feel about it.

He cared.

Ginny pressed her lashes to her cheeks, curling her knees up to her chest. She felt hot tears behind her eyes, from either the pain and the confusion of her thoughts, she didn't know. She was tired. So bloody tired and that was her only excuse. What an idiot she had been - was she weak? Was something wrong with her? He was just a cruel, awful boy. He made her friends' lives hell. He had attacked her, forced his lips on hers, mocked and insulted her and still she - still she lay here thinking about how he had looked at her. Still she started having doubts - doubts about his awfulness. She thought of Draco Malfoy now and didn't think of a bully, of a rotten Slytherin who would become a rotten Death Eater just like his father.

She saw a person instead. Someone human, who felt pain and must feel love. Someone who cared about her.

Her lungs constricted painfully and she turned her nose into her pillow. Her shoulders shook once on a sob, and then again as tears leaked from her eyes. Her hand clutched at her nightgown over her heart. What was happening to her? How could she think this way? How could she relate to him? How could she want him like she did and be so drawn to him, despite everything? How? She wasn't like him. She wasn't at all.

She cried. She cried until her chest ached and her cheeks were rough with the salt of her tears. She cried even though she felt utterly stupid doing so, cried through her frustration and fatigue. She cried until she spent the last of her energy and could cry no longer.

Then she lay silently, sniffling and staring at the high ceiling, feeling the warmth of the sun's first morning rays, breathing through her chapped lips. She blinked slowly, tiredly. There was a sound then - a door opened and Ginny closed her eyes with a painful sigh. She wasn't ready to face anyone, not even Madame Pomphrey. She didn't even have the strength to try not to look miserable.

Her lips trembled and she forced her tears back. She hated this - hated feeling like this. She felt so fragile, so ready to break at any moment. It was Malfoy's fault. It was her fault. It was her stupid bruised head and not getting enough sleep. She just wanted to sleep. Then maybe she would feel less like a foolish little girl.

She swallowed, her throat unbearably dry, and let her eyes open. "I'm awake." She spoke in a raspy voice to the nearing footsteps. "The Minister of Magic is Cornelius Fudge and it's November and everything. Can I please go back to the tower?"

"You're just a fountain of facts, aren't you, Ginny?"

The same fingers from her dreams pushed her curtain slowly to the side, revealing Draco's somber face. His voice had been low and worried despite its usual condescending drawl. His silver eyes looked over her pitiful form with a greedy hunger that belied his casual posture: he was leaning against the curtain's pole, already dressed in his usual black slacks and a soft-looking green sweater, his hair still wet from a shower.

She felt all the breath in her lungs leave her, her clumsy fingers immediately reaching to wipe her thankfully dry cheeks. He couldn't see evidence of her crying, but she realized with a burst of horror she might have just tipped him off. "Malfoy?" she asked in hoarse shock, struggling to sit.

It was a dumb idea, sitting. Her head spun and she felt faint and nauseous. All that crying and all of her weariness seemed to compound her concussion. She clutched an arm around her middle, barely noticing how Malfoy tensed and straightened and walked to her side.

"I'm flattered you want to get up on my account, but please don't," he murmured, somehow managing to sound sarcastic and sincere all at once. "The last thing I want is for you to be sick all over my shoes."

She choked on a laugh; of course he would say that and worry about his perfect, shiny shoes. "Do shut up," she said, and looked up at his tired, haggard face, frowning through her passing dizziness. He looked like he hadn't slept as well and the realization made her nervous. Her hands trembled against the sheets. "Water?" she croaked and he nodded, reaching for the nearby table to pick up a cup. It filled with liquid at his touch, being enchanted to do so.

He handed it over to her and she took it, trying not to notice how their hands brushed or how her fingers twitched. She avoided his eyes and brought it to her lips to drink from in long, heavy gulps. She was parched, that was no lie. Ginny emptied the glass and watched it fill up again in her lap, licking her lips of the water. She hated that she was hesitating to speak, hesitating to ask. Draco hovered by her side and with each passing second his presence seemed to loom larger. She couldn't take it.

"What are you doing here?" she whispered, not unkindly.

She was answered, at first, with silence. From the corner of her eyes, she could see his torso, his waist. See the clenching and unclenching of his fingers and the familiar Malfoy crest adorning one of them. She deflated a bit at the sight, closed her eyes against it.

"Crabbe's an idiot," he replied. There was some venom in the weary declaration.

She laughed a little but stopped herself, worried it might turn into sobs. Her eyes opened and she tilted her head up, meeting his confused brow with an unsteady smile. "That's not really news," she said dryly.

It took a moment, but his lips quirked up into a simper. He let out an amused breath and held her eyes; his were a bit sad and a bit of that something else she had seen on the pitch. Both human and full of feeling. All of those things she had been so afraid of, what she had been crying over not long before. Sadness washed over her; her exhale was shaky as she looked away, as she used taking another drink of water as an excuse to do so.

"No, I suppose it's not," he said slowly, and continued on with growing confidence and bite. "He'll pay for it, trust me. The misery he's about to suffer will pale in comparison to the nastiest nightmare he can imagine."

The passion in his voice startled her. She wasn't sure what to make of it, Malfoy promising retribution on her behalf. It was confusing - utterly. Worse yet, her insides were doing strange things in reaction. Warming and curling up with pleasure. She licked her lips. "No food?" she wondered in a small voice.

He laughed this time, and the sound was low and short and entirely too appealing. "I could curse him - make everything taste like something foul," he ventured creatively.

"I would rather do those honors."

"I could arrange that for you."

"A Malfoy arranging something for a Weasley," she declared, finally finding the nerve to lift her gaze to his. "Is the world coming to an end?"

There must have been something in her tone - something heavy and serious. She hadn't intended it, but there it was, weighing down her words. Her exhaustion and uncertainty, all of her unspoken questions tied to this one silly line. Here they were, in the dead of the morning, away from prying eyes and hiding even from their own disapproval, talking and laughing as if the past few months hadn't torn them both to shreds, as if this were normal when it was the farthest thing from it.

She was just too tired right now. Too tired for those thoughts, for this careful dance they were playing. It was too surreal, being civil with him. Too confusing. And it pained her, because she didn't want it to end, because it was what she wondered about for weeks - if this could be so. If he could just be nice to her. Could she take those words back? Could they keep pretending?

Draco's brow furrowed, as if the question reminded him too about their realities. That by all the sense in this world, he shouldn't be here. He gazed down at her with the same sort of weariness, his posture annoyingly impeccable and his lips in a grim line. Even despite the hour, despite his lack of sleep, he was studying her. She could practically hear his mind turning. And yet he wasn't sneering as if he found what he saw despicable - instead he looked utterly serious and it made her anxious.

"Please don't look at me like that," she requested softly.

"Like what?"

She groaned and closed her eyes, not wanting to answer, and tugged her blankets up to her chest. She wanted to lay back but didn't dare, not with him here. She wouldn't act like some invalid who couldn't sit up for a conversation. "Like that. What are you doing here?" Her voice picked up then; she heard the childish whine in her words and winced, opening her eyes to peer up at him for a reaction.

Lines of irritation strained his features; he was frowning with displeasure. She almost welcomed it, that familiar look of his. But she didn't all the same - it filled her with dread. She didn't want his cruelty. His fingers curled around the rail framing her bedside; she watched his strong jaw clench and the flint in his eyes light as he leaned over to catch her gaze. "Is it so odd that after the last several weeks I would want to check up on you?" he asked in a low, menacing voice.

She tensed at the intimidating way he hunched his shoulders over her, how he met her eyes head on with challenge. Her cheeks flushed with her rising temper, with the heat of his sudden closeness. That was all it took really, it rile her up. "Maybe a bit," she answered stubbornly, tipping her chin up.

His lips curled up in a familiar sneer. "Cor, woman," he spat. "Do you enjoy acting like a brat?"

A flood of frustration filled her to the brim, his hands closing into small fists. "I am not a brat," she hissed, wanting to reach out and smack him for being so rude and so blind. "You're the one who told me to stay away from you and yet here you are!"

She might as well have slapped him for all the darkness and promise that entered his gaze. He looked positively frightening, his lips twisting and his knuckles whitening. She very well might have offended him by saying that and she wasn't entirely sure why. "I apologize if suffering your righteous Gryffindor pity didn't seem like a good time."

She huffed, her jaw dropping slightly at his words, her nails digging into her palms. Of course, she realized. Of course he ran away from her that night; he thought she felt sorry for him. He was infuriatingly wrong, because she hadn't pitied him and it filled her with irritation. And he had no right - not any right to call her names and get angry with her for thinking him horrid and selfish. He was horrid and selfish; it was all he had been to her until today.

One of his eyebrows rose and he smirked that awful smirk at her reaction. "Deep breaths, pet," he patronized her. "Use your words." It was too much. She lifted her arm and vindictively punched his shoulder, satisfied when he grunted and took a step back in shock, holding the offended spot. "Words, Weasley!" he repeated incredulously.

"Well why isn't it a bit odd that you want to check up on me, you incredible prat?" she blurted out. "You've been nothing but selfish! And that wasn't pity, you stupid idiot! How do you think I've felt? I told you to leave me alone all the time because I couldn't stand it! I couldn't stand wanting someone who was such a bastard to me! Did you even bother to think about that?"

His eyes widened and he blinked. "Gin-"

"Don't 'Ginny' me! Don't you dare, Draco Malfoy!" Violently, she pushed the tangle of sheets off her legs, emboldened by her outburst and running on adrenaline. Clumsily she pushed herself off the bed on weak, unsteady legs. The floor was cold against her feet and she swayed, clutching at the bed and trying to look dignified as she walked away. "Now shut up because I've got to go to the lav!"

She pushed her mess of dirty hair from her face and kept her head up, marching past the curtain to the infirmary's private restrooms. The door shut behind her with a satisfying slam.

She headed straight for the toilets to do her business, purposely avoiding the mirror. She huffed and seethed and still was doing both when she stomped over to the sink and yanked the handle up. Water spurted from the tap and she furiously cleaned her hands, finally glancing up to her reflection.

She was a mess. This wasn't a surprise. Like all things when she was in this sort of state, it merely made her angrier. Her hair was knotted and frizzy, messy from all the tossing and turning she had done. She was pale and there were circles under her eyes, her freckles dark and defined against her ghostly visage. She looked exhausted. Like a sick hag-in-training. And that wasn't even mentioning the sizable bruise and nasty cut at her temple. At least it wasn't swelling, thanks to Madame Pomphrey.

But those things weren't what she really saw - what she saw was her wide brown eyes and the upset furrow of her brow. She saw the vulnerability past her anger; she saw the reason she had been crying.

With a moan she leaned over to splash water on her face and hopelessly run wet fingers through her hair, trying to tidy it.

Instantly she knew - she felt it. Felt the softness buried deep in her heart. He cared and even if she was justified to think so little of him, she really didn't. He just made her so angry - she sighed. By all accounts he just admitted to his own weakness and his own pain, not wanting to be pitied. He admitted to caring, coming to check on her. She threw it back in his face.

"Merlin," she murmured, wincing as she brushed her digits over her tender forehead. She didn't need this. She didn't need this at all.

A wave of fatigue and faintness swept over her. It hit her hard and quickly - she shouldn't have gotten so riled up but she couldn't help it. It was his bloody fault!

She combed her hair down one last time, exiting without a second look at herself.

He was still there. She hadn't realized until now how she half-expected him to be gone. His face was painted with a grimace, his tall form leaning against the side of her bed. He was twisting his ring around his finger, looking impatient and displeased.

What a surprise, really. She scoffed softly from where she stood and he looked to find her, his eyes sliding too slowly up and down her still form. She felt them against her skin, somehow even through the thin fabric of her nightgown. How did he do that, make her feel so exposed? She fidgeted and resisted pulling her arms about herself, blushing. He merely blinked.

"I didn't mean to upset you," he declared simply.

"Yes, you did," she argued tiredly and padded over. She climbed on her bed silently, tucking her legs under the sheets again.

"Not like that I didn't," he replied.

Ginny frowned at the response and stole a suspicious glance at his back, at his sculpted shoulder blades and the nape of his neck. His white hair licked just there, curled just barely with the first sign of an overdue haircut. Not like what? she wondered. Not like reminding her of the past few months? Not like upsetting her so seriously? She wondered how soft his hair would be if she touched it. She wondered if she could memorize the dips and valleys of his back with her fingers.

"Look, Weasley," he continued lightly, his head still bowed, his hands still occupied with his ring. "It's entertaining riling you up."

She felt a rush of irritation cut through her forbidden thoughts. "It's really not. Stop it."

"As you wish," he murmured in a drawl, in such a tone that Ginny couldn't be sure if he were mocking her or not.

Still, she pressed her lips together, forever feeling obligated to do the right thing. To say what needed to be said. "Thank you for checking on me," she announced awkwardly. "Even if you've been a prat you didn't - well you didn't have to visit me."

She meant the words and that was even more unsettling than saying them. They poured from her lips with a kind of careful softness that she didn't want to acknowledge. Even though they were stilted and felt strange in her mouth, she meant them. He didn't have to care. Ginny wasn't sure what would be worse at this point: if he didn't at all or if he did.

She dragged in a breath and lifted her eyes. He had turned his head and his eyes were half-closed looking at her, his lips slightly parted. She felt heat in her cheeks; she felt a rush of heat everywhere. He was studying her again, touching her without lifting a finger. Ginny tried not to look away and only succeeded with the strength of her considerable will, her spine straightened resolutely.

"Bet it took a lot out of you to say that," he murmured.

She bristled. "Don't ruin it," she admonished fiercely. "I meant it. That Bludger - and you, on the field..." She trailed off when his expression darkened. There was intensity clinging to features, swirling in his eyes. Ghosts of that fury she had seen. She swallowed, pressed her lips together a moment. "I could tell you were - I mean, you were... upset."

His jaw set at that; the turbulent ire faded and he looked away. He didn't seem to want to respond, but he did. He nodded, just slightly. Her heart rose slowly into her throat. There it was: confirmation of what truly kept her awake all night. He cared about her.

A shaking breath left her and she tore her eyes away from his grave profile to look into her lap, down to her wringing hands. "Oh," she whispered.

"I meant it," he said, his voice softly menacing. "Crabbe will pay for what he did."

That made her look up, that dark tone of his voice. He did, she realized. He did mean it. One of his hands clenched and unclenched in and out of a fit, his lips in a sneer. Her fingers twitched; she wanted to reach for him, tell him something comforting, anything at all.

So she did, her hand lifting just barely, hesitating before going on. She brushed a touch over his shoulder, lingering too long and pulling away much too soon. "Draco?" she whispered, stuttering through his name. She had never called him by it, not seriously, and the syllables felt intimate and forbidden rolling off her tongue. She liked the way they tasted: all jarring consonants and soothing vowels. A lot like him.

He looked at her then curiously, his brow furrowed. He was studying her again and it made her blush, but she didn't look away, determined not to lose her nerve. It felt like a challenge every time with him, not backing down. She held her chin up and pressed her lips together, standing by the gesture she had extended to him.

The only sound when he moved was that of fabric and shallow breathing; he turned to face her better, his arm lifting from his side. A breath filled her lungs as he reached for her slowly, a question in his eyes. He looked at her cut, back to her eyes.

She hardly thought; she merely nodded with anticipation. He touched her temple, just below her bruise, and she closed her eyes and tilted her head down. The bed shifted when he rose slightly, his digits sliding into her knotted hair, his cool palm at her cheek.

She didn't know what she expected - what she thought he was doing. Or perhaps she did, because she wasn't surprised when his lips pressed tenderly against her forehead.

Her fingers reached for his chest, the tips of them just barely brushing the soft fabric, which was warmed by his body. Her hands shook and recoiled as if burned - she couldn't. It was wrong. But some rush of desire washed over her, tempting and seducing her to give in. It would be easy, just once. She deserved this much, didn't she? To just touch him, to let him touch her - just this once. Just to know what it would be like.

She reached for him again, let her palms press over the apex of his chest. Her breath caught at how solid he felt; she felt dizzy as his lips slowly left her temple, travelled down to press against her cheek. "Ginny," he whispered breathlessly, his voice full of awe. One of his crooked fingers reached to cradle her chin, tip her bowed head up.

She waited, her digits curling into his sweater, her heart thudding in her chest. His breath touched her parted lips and she held back a whimper, swaying slightly forward. When he kissed her, it was softly, searchingly, and not firmly enough. But it tended to some simmering fire in her, brought to it a burst of flame. His lips were slightly wet and fit between hers; he pulled back slightly and then kissed her fully with a kind of ardent tenderness that crippled her. This was not at all like she remembered it - it was too warm and gentle.

A soft sound left her; she slid her hands up towards his shoulders and felt a rewarding shudder run through his frame. It made her gasp just slightly; Draco took it as invitation to brush his tongue into her mouth, press it between the seam of of her lips. She parried back with her own, nearly smiling at his sly move, nearly letting out another sound when he pressed forward with confidence to break their tentativeness and kiss her deeply.

She tilted back precariously, clutching at his sweater out of instinct. But his hand found the small of her back and steadied her. She relaxed slowly into it, unsure if she wanted to put more weight on it, if she wanted to lay back and give him permission-

And then his teeth grazed her bottom lip and pulled her back under the haziness of his warmth and kiss. His tongue filled her mouth swiftly, leaving behind his taste; his lips pressed and moved with increasing hunger against hers until there was nothing but that. Nothing but their soft, gasping breaths and the gentle tugging and nudging and caress of their hands. The warning bells sounding in her head were barely given credence, even when he pulled her body to him and it wasn't enough, not at all, and she fell back into the sheets and bed creaked against their combined weight. His mouth latched onto her pulse and her toes curled; her hands found fistfuls of his hair as she whimpered. The strands were like silk and too pretty like a girl's and she giggled breathlessly and jumped when he bit her neck, as if he knew what she was thinking.

One of his knees settled between hers; she tried not to arch her back too far, tried not to encourage too much even though she shook with desire. He groaned above her, pressing wet kisses below her ear, one arm holding his body aloft. His free hand clutched at her waist and buried itself in her hair, always moving and her body moved with it. Everything was turning languid and drugging; he whispered her name and returned to kiss her soundly on the lips.

His eyes were open just barely as he hovered above her, his pale face flushed. It made her blush to see him so affected; she wasn't very experienced. Or maybe it was how unabashed and raw he seemed, how unapologetic. He looked at her hotly, possessively, his gaze roaming her cheeks and lips and eyes with obvious appreciation and pleasure.

"Look at you," he murmured in a melodic drawl, his slender fingers reaching to trace her cheek, the line of her jaw. "I didn't think you could look anymore beautiful."

If she could have grown redder, she might have. It occurred to her then that she was hardly beautiful at the moment - just haggard and injured. "I look terrible," she said wryly, stating the fact with slight incredulity.

"Yes, you do," he agreed, an amused smirk tugging at his lips. "And you smell a bit too - you know the castle has running water, don't you? Not like the shack you live in half the year."

His tone was light and his eyes were warm, but that didn't stop her own from narrowing. She hit his shoulder with as much force as she could from beneath him; he merely grunted and chuckled at his own joke. "Shut it or I'll shut it for you," she threatened.

"I was kind of hoping you would," he replied suggestively.

"Well, I guess you'll be hoping a long time," she replied primly, trying not to smile.

"So far you've been worth it."

The response was quick and entirely too clever and pleasing. She grew quiet after it, trying not to look at him too softly. She wasn't doing a very good job of it; she knew that. Otherwise he would have no reason to be smiling down at her like he was, one of his brows raised. He looked handsome smiling like that; he looked gentle and good and completely transformed from the sneering, cruel boy she knew. Although for all her waxing poetic about his expression, he certainly looked as smug as ever.

She let her gaze drop to his neck, her fingers following. His hair was in disarray from her clutching at it and she quite liked it like that - not annoyingly perfect. "Draco," she murmured, not quite sure what she was going to say. It seemed important, terribly so. The touch of a smile on her lips faded and she played with the hem of his collar.

She wasn't expecting another kiss, but she welcomed it. He leaned down, his nose nudging against her cheek, his mouth soft and greedy and slow and robbing her of all thought. She thought maybe he meant to do it, meant to interrupt whatever nagging impulse had her say his name like that. She was more than willing to play along for now, her lashes fluttering closed and her fingers blindly roaming his chest and back. He was lean, she knew that, and slightly built, just like a Seeker should be. But he was also warm and sweet; for all his forcefulness the past few months he hardly let his hand reach past her mid-drift now. It sat there, heavy and distracting, his strong fingers caressing and clutching the fabric of her nightgown until she thought she might go mad, trembling for more.

She gasped just slightly with anticipation when that hand slid over her waist, anchored on her back. He tugged and she complied, her stomach pressing to his and the soft flesh of her inner thigh sliding against his slacks. She felt him then, felt his arousal pressing between them. His lips fell to her neck and she felt the curling smile on them before he tended to making her shiver and whimper with his tongue.

Maybe if she were in any state to care, she would be miffed he probably kept his hand still to coax her into being compliant, being this warm, entirely manipulable thing in his arms. She couldn't though, because his teeth were scraping at her pulse and his palm was finally abandoning her waist to move down her thigh. She was hardly aware she was rocking into him until he hissed and cursed against her skin; she flushed at the realization and willed her body to stop.

"Don't you bloody well quit that," he growled, more pleading than anything else. In fact, he was breathless, his mouth pressed against her cheek and his fingers digging into her thigh. His body was taunt, she realized, muscles coiled and strong as he hovered above her. And his raspy voice cut right through her; the hands clutching at his shoulders clutched harder.

A sound left her throat and she turned her head to bury her face into the column of his neck, lips pressed against his creamy white skin. She was curled about him now; Draco groaned and let his weight fall some, let his hips pin hers to the bed. Excitement and anxiousness burst into her tummy; she flushed hot and tried not to squirm. "I have to," she murmured, nuzzling against his pulse. "We have to stop."

He made a non-committal and displeased grunt against her shoulder; she giggled.

"Yes, this is all terribly hilarious," he drawled. "Why haven't I been laughing?"

"Don't be a grump because I'm not ready to give you a shag," she said, amused by his sarcasm. "Especially the morning after a concussion."

"Tomorrow morning, then?"

She hummed thoughtfully. "No, not then."

"Day after tomorrow?"

"Maybe then. But only if Ron confesses his undying love for Milicent Bulstrode and they run away together to join a Muggle carnival."

"What the bloody hell is a car- no, don't tell me. I don't want to know," he decided haughtily.

"No, you probably don't," she agreed, quizzically thinking of Harry and Hermione explaining carnivals to her. Something about sitting on a giant Muggle wheel and candy made out of cotton. And clowns. Ginny would never understand the purpose of clowns.

She sighed and closed her eyes, trying to relax after all that excitement. It wasn't very hard; her head was still sore and all of the morning was taking its toll. She tried not to concentrate on the pressure of Draco's weight, how his breath felt against her neck and the shudders it sent down her spine. But it was helpful thinking of the warm embrace of his body, how he was half-draped over her like a blanket.

This silence was easy, and strange because of it; Ginny let her palms settle over his shoulder blades and she breathed him in, wanting to remember every bit of this because it seemed so fragile and precious.

He shifted then. Ginny noticed he was too making an effort to calm himself, but still she had to bite her lip at the friction. "How's your head?" he wondered, and pulled back to survey the damage.

"Fine," she answered, distracted by his silver eyes. They brushed over hers, much like his touch did against her cheek. "I've got a headache but it's nothing compared to last night. Pomphrey - oh Merlin!" she exclaimed, giving him a shove. "You have to go! She could come back any second!"

Draco didn't seem as concerned as he ought to be about this. On the contrary, he merely looked annoyed, taking his sweet time to get up as Ginny nudged him frantically. "Ow - ow - what is with you and hitting me, woman?"

"Don't be a baby; I'm hardly touching you," she retorted incredulously. "Get off!"

"Ah, yes," he replied, with a familiar smirk as he did as she ordered - slowly. "There's the Ginny I fell for. I was wondering where she went off to."

Finally, he was on his feet. Ginny had sat up to shoo him along, but her waving hands didn't seem to be having much affect. "Go!" she prompted in a harsh whisper.

He didn't leave immediately. Instead he grabbed her flailing hands and leaned over to press his lips to her worried mouth. A muffled sound of surprise spilled into their kiss; Draco caught it hungrily along with her breath. "Fine," he said, pulling away suddenly with a frighteningly toothy grin.

He let her wrists ago, seemingly delighted when she huffed, torn between agitation and other softer feelings, and then he turned to leave. "Try not to miss me too much."

Ginny fell back into the sheets and tried not to do just that.