Unofficial Portkey Archive

Highrollers by InTheStars



Note: I didn't foresee this chapter happening so soon, but HP has its claws in me again, I guess. Just another thing: the Slytherins in this? Not canon at all. Like I told a reviewer, I've had pretty detailed ideas of them before we got to know them better. I figured since this is very AU, I'd have some fun with said ideas. Hope you like this chapter!

There really wasn't much to be said of the week that followed; Draco had woken up with a nasty cut over his eye and a renewed sense of hatred for all redheaded and freckled freaks. He stalked the halls, livid beyond the telling of it, plotting and scheming with all his might to prove to Ginny Weasley that their little battle of wills wasn't over. She was none the wiser because if there was anything a self-respecting Slytherin was, it was a snake in the grass.

Still, she pinned him with guarded looks sometimes, in hallways and across the Great Hall, like she knew there was some dark madness festering within him. And that was fine; she could sense the snake, but she still couldn't anticipate when it would strike, if it would strike, and how venomous it could be. It was these thoughts that afforded him the peace of mind to sleep at night. Otherwise he'd just look up into the shadows of his hangings and think about her fingers at his collar or how lovely the anger in her eyes was or something equally infuriating like that.

He was a man possessed; even Potter and his merry band of idiots suffered less because of it. If Draco were in any right mind he would have to admit that he'd never been so consumed by his hatred before, not even over the scarred git. That's why when Draco didn't have his Head Boy duties or studies to keep him sufficiently busy, he used his extra time either glaring at the object of his obsession or thinking of ways to humiliate her.

The possibility of the latter fell into his lap the next Sunday near the lake. She was alone, which he was noticing wasn't much of a trend for Ginny Weasley, although curiously neither was having many friends. Looney Lovegood seemed to always be with the girl, and if she wasn't a gaggle of obnoxious Gryffindors chatted little Ginny's ears off. Maybe that's why for once she looked in her element or whatnot, sprawled across a patch of grass and reading a book. What was worse was that she was dressed in muggle clothing, like the poor excuse for a pureblooded witch she was. He took a moment to sneer over the disgrace, running a hand through his immaculate hair as he walked over, wand out. She was wearing jeans and some loose-fitting plaid shirt that looked decades faded, and her brilliantly red hair was pulled back in a messy plait that hung over her shoulder.

Somehow her brazen lack of class drove him even madder with annoyance that he couldn't wrap her around his finger.

Her back was to him as he approached; he was alone as well. (He'd dispensed of those great oafs Crabbe and Goyle a few days ago, when it became clear Ginny Weasley wasn't shadowing his step anymore. That bothered him, of course. It meant she'd been serious about staying away from him and that would just not do.) He realized he could curse her like this. No one was around and she wouldn't even know it was coming. Yet he dispensed that idea before it even fully coalesced. He wanted to look her in the eyes, really enjoy the moment. Now that thought filled him with excitement, and he strutted ever closer.

"What do you want, Malfoy?"

Her even, unworried tone startled him to a stop and for a moment he wondered if the girl had eyes hidden under that mess of ugly, soft hair. He growled out his frustration at being identified, picked up his pace, and reached down to snatch the book from her hands. She barely flinched, but her sweet brown eyes looked up at him with more than a little annoyance.

Good. She should be annoyed. "Is that any way to greet to your superior in every way, Ginevra?" he drawled, glancing at book's title. 101 Useful Charms and How to Cast Them.

"Well, Draco," she said testily, "when said superior person has assaulted the other on two occasions, a bit of a cold shoulder is expected, don't you agree?"

"It's not assault if both parties enjoyed it," he spat back, and then tossed the book unceremoniously towards her face. She caught it, her Chaser reflexes sharp, and glared up at him, her cheeks flushing at the snide and very true remark. He didn't particularly like that snotty, red look of hers at the moment, but he'd take what he could get for now, his grey eyes roaming over the little bow of her mouth. Of course she had to open it.

"Look Malfoy, if you're just going to stare at me like some pervert, will you at least get out of my sun? I'm trying to read, you arse."

"I'm not here to stare at your dirty face, Weasley," he hissed, incensed suddenly. He was not staring. "I'm here to hex you."

"No you're not," she argued heatedly. "Because if you were, you'd've done it already. So what do you want?" She said the words so plainly, with such assurance of her deduction, of her assessment of him. Yet it wasn't her confidence that enraged him; it was the realization that she was spot-on. His fingers tightened around his wand, his knuckles white.

Ginny Weasley was very tired of certain things in her life. She was quite tired of the monotony, she was a bit bored with her studies with the exception of Charms, and most troubling of all she'd been developing an impatience for her tittering friends this past week. It was such a lashing dislike that Ginny suspected it had probably been there all along, buried beneath the surface.

She wasn't quite sure how her run-ins with Malfoy had grated on her usually calm, arguably happy exterior in so many ways, but she wasn't feeling particularly pensive to figure out the connection, if there was any. All she knew was Luna had been right the other day; she was becoming a bit withdrawn over the whole situation. Of course, Luna had said it in her own unique way ("Ginny, I couldn't help but notice how often you're not with me when you are. I just thought you should know.") but Ginny understood.

Perhaps, yes, she would admit it: she hadn't been necessarily content with her life. She was Ginny Weasley, Ron's little sister and the victim of Tom Riddle, and apparently just another token female once infatuated with Harry Potter. She supposed there wasn't anything wrong with such monikers; they were true. It wasn't as if everyone saw her like that much anymore. She'd made her own way this past year, trying out for Quidditch, making friends and all. But there was a strange off sort of feeling in her nonetheless, something she just couldn't pinpoint.

If she did try to figure out this whole frustrating and saddening situation, Ginny might come to conclusion that she was lonely because of all those things, because that little git Malfoy had brought a mirror to her face, forced her to see some shameful desire that ruined the girl she was trying to be. That strong girl with no silly infatuations on boys who didn't want her, who wasn't drawn in by cruel Slytherins with honeyed words. And yet he'd forced her to come out of that shell a bit. She liked her shell; it kept her safe and snug.

But back to things that made her tired: Malfoy, the smarmy prat in front of her. He had made her tired this past week, always following her with leering, livid glares. It wasn't the glaring that made her sigh however, just the frequency, because it happened so often she couldn't help but keep her guard up and she couldn't put their misguided kisses from her mind. She really would like to forget about them and him, if she could manage both.

But he seemed determined not to let sleeping dogs lie, so here they were. No matter, however. She might find the gigantic arse attractive, but she still had her dignity and she'd meet his eyes now, when he was struggling to answer her simple question for the umpteenth time. It occurred to Ginny that he'd never even answered it last week. What was his game? What did he want from her? She wasn't even sure he knew at this point and she found the idea quite odd--that someone so self-assured like Malfoy would hesitate so genuinely over her.

He seemed to grow more and more infuriated by the second, his lips twisting into his trademark sneer, his grey eyes burning down at her. She was well aware of the wand in his hand, how his fingers clenched and unclenched around it, as if he were still deciding what curse would be most appropriate. Truth be told, she really wasn't sure if Draco would hex her or not, but she knew that he could have quite neatly without all this pomp and frill, so she'd stick by what she said. To be safe, she pulled back her arm to rest on a special pocket of her jeans, where her own wand was nestled.

"Well?" she prompted him impatiently, blinking up at him.

"Don't flatter yourself, pauper," he spat finally. "There's nothing you have that I could possibly want." His jaw clenched; he seemed to come to himself, cooling his anger as his haughty sneer twitched into a smirk. "Nothing I haven't already gotten a feel of, you filthy whore."

She was on her feet in an instant, wand out, but didn't even bother with a spell. Her hands found purchase on his broad chest and she shoved him with all her weight and might, feeling a dark kind of satisfaction when he stumbled back and nearly tripped over the slight incline of the hill. That careful indifference she'd been practicing fissured right down the middle at his awful words; her temper burst with hot indignation as she raised her wand to him. How dare he? How dare he? "Expelliarmus!"

He slashed at the air wordlessly, and her disarming charm rebounded. She stepped out of its way with a slight shriek. It hit the grass in a flash of light, exploded against the green blades. She'd barely turned back to Draco before he was on her, grabbing at her wand hand and twisting her wrist painfully--her foot came down on his, and hard. He gave a yelp when she barreled into him again, tucking her shoulder, just as she'd do with any of her dumb brothers. Draco fell this time, gracelessly and to the grass in a sprawl. Her momentum was what cursed her.

She landed on him heavily, her wrist throbbing against his chest where he still had ahold of it. He was lean beneath her, all long limbs and a broad torso that exuded warmth, as if he was an actual human being with a soul and the like. But the problem was he was a bastard who'd just called her a whore, and he still had a hold of her wrist in some painful death-grip. She only had to make a play to wrench it away once; he took that as some acceptable cue to roll them over, his weight pinning her to the ground.

"Listen to me, witch," he hissed, his breath against her lips, his hands fighting hers. She swiped at him, writhed with a small degree of panic, her heart thudding in her chest. He was stronger than her and heavier. There was no arguing that, but she was angry and frustrated and fought him with all her strength, letting out grunts and one last soft cry when he'd finally secured both of her wrists. Her lashes wet with annoyed tears, her teeth gritted as her body went hopelessly limp. She could see the marks of her nails on his neck and wondered why the vain arse had kept them; she could see the victorious tilting of his stupid mouth, the way his lips fit around the sticking charm he whispered, wand pointed at her wrists above them. He plucked her own from her fingers, threw it carelessly to the side, and looked down at her contorted face.

"Good, now you have to listen to me," he said calmly, and let his palms run down her arms. She gave them a harsh tug, but it did no good. She was completely stuck.

"I don't have to do anything," she bit out stubbornly, tried to kick at his legs. It was to little avail however; his knees had separated hers in the struggle, and she pulled in a sharp, audible breath when the frenzied movement brought a particular part of his anatomy to her attention. His hips had slid further up to pin her, and there it was--heavy and half-hard against her stomach. Her face burned and she stopped completely, owing his arousal to her mindless wriggling. Her eyes flicked up to his with accusations and disgust filling them.

It was disgusting, holding her down and somehow getting off on it, but she still felt an awful thrill at it, some gross power that she could do that to him. He wanted her. That's what he wanted; she could see it in his icy gaze, only warmed by his lust and his amusement. Unchecked locks of his hair fell forward, ruining the perfection of his cruel appearance, but she rather liked it imperfect anyway. She could feel her angry expression slackening as her chest rose and fell against his, too shallow and short. What will he do with me now? she wondered, and ached at the thought, was scared by it; in all truth more scared of herself than him.

"You're disgusting," she murmured, feeling strangely excited now, searching the depths of his widened pupils.

"Am I? I think you rather like it. Why don't you kiss me, Ginny?"

Yes, there were those honeyed words, the ones that pulled her in, tempted her. Her gaze dropped, as if heavy, to his lips. They were pale like the rest of him, but pink, and curved almost sweetly. They parted and he tipped his head closer, nose brushing hers, his breath slight and warm and expectant. Gently coaxing her even, but still so very sure. He waited, as if suddenly finding a store of patience, and she shuddered when his hands ran down her sides to her hips.

He can be nice when he wants to be, she thought absently. When he wants something.

"I'll never kiss you, Malfoy," she whispered to him. He froze above her. She didn't know what she expected, why she watched him raptly through half-closed eyes. She couldn't figure his expression, not when he was so close. He was tense, she could tell, coiled even. For a moment she was afraid he might strike in some way, but he was already pulling back, his face a mask of blank control, his eyes avoiding hers as he pulled himself to his feet and brushed his robes off.

"This isn't over, pet," he said without bite. "I'll leave you here like this, Ginny. Hopefully one of your sorry friends will find you before lunch."

None of her so-called sorry friends found her and for this she was actually quite grateful. Being found meant admitting someone had pinned her in a very questionable position, and she was sure without any doubt that such a thing would get around to Ron and then most definitely the rest of the trio, including Harry. This set Ginny's stomach flipping, the fear of it twisting her insides. It was particularly awful, this fear--the fear of Harry knowing--but Ginny set it aside as she twisted and tried to capture her wand between her feet. It was just far enough to evade her efforts.

See, the trouble with good, brave Harry knowing was if Harry knew then he'd probably do something just as dumb as her pigheaded brother. And if they knew who... This thought provoked an even stronger ambition to retrieve her wand and get herself out of this ridiculous mess.

The truth of the matter was maybe she still felt a pang or two for dear Harry Potter; she honestly couldn't help that bit of lingering affection. He was who he was, for Merlin's sake. Ginny let out a soft sound of frustration and stretched her body to its longest length, kicking the tips of her toes at her wand.

She just didn't want to be the center of attention, didn't want Harry to notice her after all her efforts to stop noticing him. And she certainly didn't want Harry and Ron of all people to somehow stumble upon the fact she might be attracted to that Slytherin troll.

Her thoughts were interrupted by a shadow, and Ginny turned her head up, slightly panicked for a moment. But the boy towering over her wasn't Harry or Ron, or even Draco back for another row. It wasn't even Theodore, who gave her slimy smirks in the halls but steered clear of her, probably because of his deal with Malfoy.

"My gods, Miss Weasley. You've really gotten him in a tizzy, haven't you?" Blaise Zabini was looking down at her with that patented kind of Slytherin amusement, his blue eyes sparkling under the crop of his dark hair. Despite all her upbringing, Ginny nearly relaxed. Zabini never raised her hackles like all the other Slytherins. There was just something genuinely kind in his eyes that made her believe he was good at the core.

"I don't know what you're talking about," she grumbled from the ground and he laughed with heart, throwing his head back. (It was quite an attractive laugh, Ginny was secretly thinking, and not one at her expense, thank the gods.) He then pulled out his wand and reversed Malfoy's sticking charm without even being asked.

She let out a relieved sigh and sat up, rubbing her abused wrists with a slight pout. From the corner of her eye, she saw Blaise squat next to her. She looked up curiously to be met with his wry smile. "I suppose you wouldn't," he answered belatedly. There was something about his tone that piqued Ginny's attention. Was he being intentionally vague and mysterious?

"What's that supposed to mean?" she demanded. He simply smirked.

"You Gryffindors never have any tact, you know that?" he asked rhetorically. "Always assuming you can use force and loud language to get what you want. You know that's the difference between us, really? Not all that good and evil rubbish. Slytherins know there's more than one way to go about things."

"What are you getting at?" she bit out, knowing she was playing right into his words and helpless to stop it. She was frustrated and the day hadn't exactly been going swimmingly.

"That though," he said, gesturing to her general form. "That anger is all Weasley, Ginevra." She glared at him levelly, not in the mood for beating around any bushes. He sensed it and gave her a kind, knowing smile. "Look, he's a prat. A right spoiled bastard who's just angry he can't have what he wants so easily. He's acting out. But he's not all bad."

His words astounded her, confused her more than she would have liked. Blaise straightened and passed her by, walking away now that she was too stunned to respond. She was suspicious that had been done on purpose. Malfoy, not all that bad? She let out a humorless, disbelieving heh and spun to catch sight Blaise's retreating back. "He's not paying you to say that, is he?" she called to him, pushing herself gracelessly to her feet.

Blaise stopped to give her a rueful smile. "I'm not so easily swindled, Miss Weasley," he responded, and turned away again, continuing back to the castle. "The answer is no, by the way. Don't let Slytherins give you half-answers."

Ginny simply watched him leave, her brow furrowed. She managed to call out a belated "thank you!" to his back for freeing her, but she wasn't sure if he heard it.