Something to Talk About
Authoress' Note: The 'Mood Music' for this chapter is by one of those groups I really like but always seem to forget about, lol-Blue October. Really, really sweet song. You should check it out, and try to listen to it when you're reading the last scene... Anyway, back to the chapter-- This chapter is a little off-track of our usual pattern- Ginny/Draco scenes, then stalker scene… It's actually the opposite in this chapter, with the stalker scene first, but, hey… the chapter's got some interesting parts in it nonetheless. *wink*
Mood Music: Calling You- Blue October
They weren't just trying to frighten her anymore; they were trying to shake her to the core.
Well, let them, she thought challengingly, fluffing a pillow and spreading a blanket on the floor of the Common Room by way of a makeshift bed. If I let them get personal, they'll eventually get cocky. Hopefully they'll come out of the shadows and leave a calling card.
And when they do, the redhead thought viciously, pummelling her pillow to vent her frustrations, I'll hex them into oblivion.
Chapter 3: Of Poison and Interrogations
Two nights later, Ginny Weasley woke up to the enthusiastic screeching of the Sneakoscope. Heart beating madly, she got up from her spot on the floor of the common room to race up to the girls' staircase. Gryffindor girls in various states of undress, hair at odd angles, were popping their heads out their doors blearily, wondering about the source of the terrible racket. Muttering a few apologies to the girls, Ginny continued her sprint to the sixth year girls' dorm.
To her immense surprise, when she got to her dorm, the door was closed…and locked.
What in the name of Merlin? The redhead wondered, quickly undoing the locks, all the while trying to block out the noise of the blaring Dark Detector. How could someone have set off the Sneakoscope without entering the door? The scope wouldn't have gone off at any of my roommates; they were there when we set it up last night! Not to mention if someone had gone up or down the stairs, I would have heard them from where I'm sleeping in the common room. Maybe the bloody Sneakoscope's broken like that one that Ron gave to Harry. Figures that bleeding Malfoy would pick out the one Sneakoscope that goes off in the middle of the night for no reason…
Ginny's thoughts stopped midway as the door swung open, revealing the answer to most of the questions she'd been wondering. The Sneakoscope had gone off for a reason, just not the reason that Ginny had been expecting.
A beautiful eagle owl perched on Ginny's bed blinked its bright yellow eyes at her, and, deciding that its mission was complete, promptly swooped back out the window from which it had come. Ginny, meanwhile, began to cautiously approach her bed, fervently hoping that whatever the owl had left wouldn't be something dead or bloody.
Instead, it was a note.
You're lucky all the owl was carrying was a note this time, little Weasley. Next time it will be carrying some poison-colourless poison, the kind with no antidote known to man.
"She can't keep doing this," Blythe muttered quietly at breakfast the next morning, keeping a protective eye on Ginny while leaning over to whisper to Olivia. "She didn't sleep a wink last night, did she?"
"Can you blame her?" Olivia countered evenly, shaking her head. Olivia's gaze lingered on the prominent dark, baggy circles underneath the redhead's eyes, regarding them with pity and concern. Ginny sat stiffly on the bench, plate completely empty as it was when she got there, looking dazedly off into space. Olivia looked back to Blythe. "Merlin, she's not even eating."
Blythe shrugged with helplessness. "She thinks everything is poisoned, Liv! That stalker has made her paranoid to eat or drink anything… at this rate, that lunatic will starve her to death before they get a chance to do anything with the bleeding poison!"
Olivia and Blythe stopped whispering and looked over at Ginny worriedly. The redhead had been very out of it all morning, barely exchanging any words with them at all. Olivia and Blythe had already read the stalker's note for themselves as both had been awakened by the ringing Sneakoscope of the night before. However, other than agreeing on the level of sanity of the stalker (completely bleeding bonkers), Liv and Blythe hadn't been able to do much about the situation at all, much to their dismay. What could they do about an insane stalker who was using untraceable owls to deliver threatening notes? Even more disconcerting, if the owl hadn't been there for a dark purpose, the girls doubted the Sneakoscope would have been set off at all.
So much for Hogwarts being the safest place in the wizarding world, Blythe thought grimly, twirling a strand of her hair and looking back over at Ginny. Ginny had been tuning out, eyes glazed over and looking in the general direction of the Slytherin table. Wondering what the redhead was looking at, Blythe followed Ginny's gaze. Ginny was looking in the direction of Draco Malfoy's usual crowd-Blaise, Crabbe, and Goyle.
Yet, Blythe noticed, Malfoy was conspicuously absent. That's weird, the brunette thought to herself. The ferret normally makes it a point to eat breakfast…
Just as she finished her thought, the doors to the Great Hall opened with a loud clang. Draco Malfoy himself was striding through toward the Slytherins, obviously in a very bad mood. As he did this, Ginny seemed to wake from her trance and quickly shouldered her bag and got up from her seat.
Hurrying to head him off before he sat down, the redhead approached Draco quickly, tugging on his robes with urgency. "I need to talk to you outside."
Draco looked at her irritably. "Now? I have class in fifteen, and I'd really like to eat some breakfast first."
Narrowing her eyes in annoyance, she whispered icily, "You can eat later."
Sighing, Draco grabbed a muffin and banana from the Ravenclaw table and grudgingly followed Ginny out the double doors.
Ginny only spoke once they were good and out of earshot of the Great Hall. Satisfied that they were far from the prying ears of their classmates, Ginny whirled on Draco, eyes blazing with fury. Thrusting the note into Draco's hands, she asked accusatorily, "What do you know about this?"
He read it through once, but once was all he needed. Feeling a buzz grow in his ears and bubbling anger begin to churn inside his body, he replied in a deadly whisper, "You think I have something to do with this?"
Pleased that she was irritating him, Ginny replied evenly, "Well, I'm not discounting the possibility."
Draco's grey eyes narrowed furiously. "I'm your bodyguard, Weasel. Therefore, by definition, I need a body to guard…or did that fact escape you when you were accusing everyone in a fifty-mile radius?"
Ginny recoiled, chastised somewhat by Draco's rant. She knew he was right, that she was accusing anyone that caught her fancy, but it seemed much safer than sitting back and waiting to be poisoned to death. "Sorry, but you certainly didn't seem to be so against what this stalker was doing to me when I asked you to be my bodyguard. You could know who it was and just not want to fink on them…hell, it could be one of your buddies!"
Then, her eyes taking on an even darker tone of chocolate, her jaw dropped slightly as she whispered, "It could be you."
Shaking his head at the redhead's stupidity, Draco let her note flutter to the ground, swivelled on his heel, and was gone.
Ginny shook her head, leaning down to pick up the note. Stupid me…he deserves to be angry. I just accused him of harassing me when he's had to go out of his way to protect me. Then, feeling a little light-headed from the situation and a lack of nourishment, Ginny sank down the wall, sitting with her legs sticking far out into the corridor. Leaning her head against the cool stone of the Hogwarts wall, she muttered, "Well, this is just dandy."
Then, her mind happening on another consequence, she snorted with amusement, whispering, "I guess this means we're broken up."
Draco was irritated, very irritated. When times like that happened, he knew he needed to be alone. The last time he'd been around someone when he was really irritated, that person found all their hair permanently hexed off. Oh well, Goyle didn't need it, anyway.
Growling, he kicked absently at the rubbish littering his dorm. "Stupid bint, accusing me. I mean, really, how dim can you get? Apparently pretty dim, I suppose. Merlin knows God had an off day when He made the bloody Weasleys, especially the girl. He probably was on His way to a lunch break and thought, 'Hell, the littlest Weasley doesn't need a bloody brain, she's got long swingy hair and nice eyes, she'll marry well. That's good. Now, who wants enchiladas?'"
Draco let out a tiny chuckle. He wasn't sure exactly what was making him laugh-the whole hypothetical God scenario, the Ginny situation, or the fact that he had just, much to his extreme irritation, complimented the Weaselette's hair and eyes.
That's it, the blond thought, slightly panicked; I'm going absolutely mad…
"Where's Draco at?" Blythe asked Ginny quietly as they dissected a Tentacula in Herbology. "I thought he usually walked you to this class to put on a bloody show for everyone, Gin."
"He usually does," the redhead conceded, nodding. As she nodded, she noticed that her head felt much heavier than usual. No food, she realized. I need to eat something soon, otherwise I'll end up in the bloody Hospital Wing again, and then I'll be force-fed. That'd be even worse.
Olivia rushed in on their conversation, late to Herbology (as usual). Shrugging apologetically at Professor Sprout, Olivia began to dissect the Tentacula with Ginny and Blythe. "What did I miss?" she whispered.
"Apparently, Draco is no longer enamoured with our favourite redhead," Blythe muttered wryly.
Ginny rolled her eyes. "Guys, you both know he never liked me to begin with. He just liked how irritated I made that stupid cow, Pansy Parkinson."
"Be that as it may," Blythe answered, nodding, "it still doesn't change the fact that he certainly protected you above and beyond the call of duty."
Olivia nodded. "What exactly was he doing seven floors above the Slytherins that night he took you to the Hospital Wing, Ginny?"
"He said he was on patrol," Ginny muttered, her gaze never leaving the spindly, venomous plant.
"Funny," Blythe replied, cocking her head to the side with amusement at Ginny's predicament, "I'm prefect, and I didn't see him scheduled that night."
"You all know why you're here," Draco whispered, his voice dangerously low. He was pacing the Slytherin common room, staring at a few of his classmates, classmates Draco found that he did not trust anymore. Nott, Pansy, Crabbe, Goyle, Blaise all sat sullenly on the couches.
Draco stopped his incessant pacing, instead choosing to stare at them menacingly, cracking his knuckles intensely. "I've had enough. I need to know who is doing this. I will interrogate every single one of you individually until someone bloody comes forward, does everyone understand that?"
Pansy rolled her eyes. "All this for a bloody girl, Draco? Aren't you being a tad melodramatic?"
He took a few steps toward her, until their faces were dangerously close. He could feel her fear, the short, wheezing breaths she was exhaling onto his cheek. He sneered at her, amused by the fact that she seemed to think he might kiss her.
Recoiling with the same sneer still fixed to his face, he whispered, "Some girls are better than others."
After Herbology, Ginny, Blythe, and Olivia trudged slowly back to the castle, Ginny by far the slowest. She wasn't used to the rumbling in her stomach-it was very rare that she would go more than five hours without eating, let alone skip a whole day. She felt light-headed, and her steps felt unsure on the wet grass.
"Jeez, Gin," Blythe whispered. "You really need to eat something. You look like you're about to fall over."
"I don't think that the lunatic would poison the food in the Great Hall," Olivia joined in, whispering too lest their classmates overhear. "That food is prepared straight from the house-elves to the castle tables. The stalker wouldn't have a chance to poison it. Besides, if that food had been poisoned, Blythe and I would have been dead four hours ago!"
Ginny nodded weakly. "I know you're right, but I can't help it. I'm terrified. What if I go up to our dorm for a glass of water in the night, when I'm still really tired and not thinking about it? Then I'll never think… ever again…"
Blythe rolled her eyes. "Snap out of it! Stop being so bloody fatalistic! That's Harry's job, remember? It's the least you could bleeding do to stay positive!"
"Even when there's a psychotic stalker on the loose?" a voice asked, striding up to join their party as the girls entered the Great Hall. Their girls looked over, worried that their secret was out, but it was Luna. Olivia groaned, obviously unhappy to see the airy blonde. "Could you give a little bloody warning?"
The blonde looked at her airily. "No, you should only give warning to merpeople and hippogriffs."
Olivia stared at Luna, blinking rapidly. "Yeah…"
Blythe sighed. "So, what's up, Luna?"
"Not much," the blonde murmured, shrugging. "I just came from Potions, and I overheard something pretty odd from one of the first years."
"What, that there's a bloody Snorkack under Draco's bed?" Olivia quipped crossly.
"No," Luna said simply, and, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world, added, "The only Snorkack on campus lives in McGonagall's office, obviously."
Olivia shook her head, whispering to herself, "Why do I even ask?"
Ginny sighed irritably, rolling her eyes at Luna's tendency to tell useless, rambling stories. "Point, Luna. What was the point?"
"Oh yeah," Luna said, finally getting back to her story. "Apparently, Draco's interrogating the Slytherin seventh years."
"Why?" Blythe asked, jaw dropping in shock as she voiced the question all of them were thinking.
"The first year wasn't very specific," the blonde replied uncertainly, "but they said it had something to do with…a stalker?"
On unsteady feet, Ginny, Blythe, and Olivia made it to the Gryffindor table and sank down gratefully onto the benches. Olivia looked at Ginny with shock, obviously still processing what they had just heard. "Can you guys believe that?"
"Maybe you guys aren't broken up just yet," Blythe whispered to Ginny, giggling.
"Lucky me," Ginny replied wryly in between mouthfuls of everything-she had begun eagerly piling her plate at a downright feverish pace as soon as she sat down. She hadn't realized quite how hungry she actually was.
"God, Weasel, leave some for everyone else," a voice from close to Ginny muttered coldly.
The redhead looked up into the steely grey eyes of Draco Malfoy.
Cheeks reddening slightly, she swallowed a mouthful of sandwich, and chirped in a chipper voice that she knew would irritate Draco, "I thought you were interrogating the Slytherins. How's that working out for you? Catch the stalker yet?"
His eyes widened; of all the things the Weasley could say, he wasn't expecting that. "How did you know about that? Everyone's been holed up in the common room with me all day; there shouldn't be anyone that could have told you. Tell me who told you!"
"I just heard it from a little birdie, that's all," Ginny replied, and quickly finishing her plate and giving a quick wave to Blythe and Olivia, the redhead got up to walk out the double doors with Draco.
"I need to get some books from my dorm for History of Magic," Ginny said uncertainly as the doors closed behind them. Nodding slightly, Draco turned to walk with her up to Gryffindor Tower. An uncomfortable silence descended around them as they began the long walk up to the tower. Draco looked at the ground, Ginny at her shoes. Cheeks blushing slightly, Ginny asked again, "So…how did the interrogations go?"
"Not well," Draco admitted grudgingly. "They weren't sharing anything, if they did know. I was pretty tenacious, too, Weasel…I can't see Crabbe or Goyle actually withholding with the torture I was applying."
"You enjoy that 'torturing' too much," Ginny replied teasingly, giggling nervously.
"No," he replied, grinning, glad the awkward silence was broken. "I'm a Slytherin; I enjoy torture just the right amount."
Entering the Transfiguration corridor, roughly half the journey up to the Tower, Draco's eyes widened as they alighted on someone he'd been interrogating earlier-Pansy Parkinson. She was knocking on the door of McGonagall's office, apparently late for a detention of some sort. As Draco noticed her, much to Ginny's dismay, Pansy noticed Ginny and Draco.
Grinning snidely, the brunette walked up to where Ginny and Draco were standing. "Not hand holding or kissing today, I see. Hmm. You know, Draco," Pansy whispered dangerously, her face closing in on his as he had done to her earlier, "I don't think you two are actually dating." Looking over at Ginny dangerously, she murmured, "Sure, I guess she's pretty, but at the end of the day, Draco, she's a Weasel. She's a blood traitor. People of our calibre," she murmured to Draco, allowing her finger to trace his cheek, "don't play with people like her."
Stiffening and forcing Pansy's finger off his cheek, Draco pushed the brunette away. "I'd rather play between the classes than play," he whispered with a tone of finality, eyeing Pansy with utmost loathing, "between the species."
Grabbing Ginny's hand, he started to walk away. However, for reasons Draco didn't understand, Ginny stopped. The redhead looked from Draco to Pansy and back again. Ginny found herself fixed on Pansy's sneering expression. Stupid cow, she thought to herself. I'll give her something to bloody grin about.
Utilizing Draco's hold on her hand, Ginny pulled him close, enjoying seeing Pansy's jaw drop with shock. Ginny's face mere centimetres from Draco's, she reached up, tangling her fingers in his sleek blonde hair, gently guiding his face just a little closer to hers.
Tilting her face upwards, Ginny eagerly captured Draco Malfoy's lips with her own.
Authoress' Note: Hope everyone's having a happy holiday season so far…sorry for the delay between updates, things are a little crazy with finals and two jobs and a deployed boyfriend and whatnot…but things will hopefully be getting a little less psycho soon. Please review; that would cheer me up immensely!