Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter. I don't own the song `Paper Planes'. This chapter contains a drug reference and slight language. Review if you wish! They are most appreciated.
Chapter 1: Paper Planes
The sound of trunks rattling woke Draco Malfoy with a jolt. He raised his hands and rubbed at his face. The rocking of the Hogwarts Express must have lulled him to sleep. Looking out the window he leaned his head back and sighed. He didn't want to be here, he thought watching the rolling landscape pass by. He shouldn't be here. The moment he had stepped on the train only several hours earlier he had regretted his decision. Well, it wasn't ALL his decision….
"He is GOING!" Lucius Malfoy told his wife sternly, banging his cane on the marble floor of one of the manor's many parlors.
`I am not going to have my son be a…. a Wizarding School DROP-OUT!" Lucius spat the last word. Narcissa sniffed on the couch and dabbed at her eyes.
"I don't want him to leave, Lucius!" Narcissa pleaded from the loveseat she sat on. Draco hung his head in the corner of the room, trying to ignore his parents.
"We…. We could spend some time together!" Narcissa almost wailed, dabbing at her eyes with a very wet lacy handkerchief. "There's nothing holding us back! We…. We could…." She paused and took a breath before uttering her suggestion. "We could go on a picnic!"
Draco looked up at his father and swear he saw him age 20 years in front of his eyes at the mere word of such a Muggle activity.
"A WHAT?" Lucius practically roared.
"Its almost the end of summer…."
"We are doing no such thing! The only family outing we are going to have is a trip to the robe and bookstores! HE IS GOING!!!" Lucius burst out. He banged his cane once more on the floor before turning on his heel and striding quickly from the room. Narcissa burst into sobs and collapsed onto the couch. Draco waited until he knew his father was out of earshot and went over to console his mother."
"It's for only half a term, Mother." Draco whispered, laying a hand on her shoulder. Narcissa sat up and patted at her hair before attending to her tear stained face.
"I want you home with me…. But you've heard your father. You are to go back to school." Narcissa blubbered.
"I understand Mother. I….. I will go." Draco said. Narcissa sniffed some more and she nodded.
"I will make an appointment with the robe shop tomorrow." She said, standing up and smoothing her dress. She patted at her hair once more before leaving the room.
"What are you looking at?" He hear her sneer at a passing house elf. He sighed and slumped onto the loveseat his mother had just occupied. He was going back to school. To Hogwarts. Durmstrang had been an option but after missing out on practically his entire 7th year, they refused to accept him as a transfer.
"Back to Hogwarts…." He muttered to himself. Hogwarts. Bloody fucking hooray.
The sound of a quickly opening and slamming door jolted Draco once more, this time from his thoughts and not sleep. The girl who had entered his train cabin had her back pressed against the back of the door, head tilted back, eyes closed, breathing heavily. After a minute, she opened her eyes and realized, the empty cabin she had bolted into wasn't empty at all.
"…And then I told Neville that we'd have to have lunch sometime while we were at school. Oh I can't wait to be back!" Hermione squealed into Ron's ear, making him cringe. Hermione gasped.
"Did you just cringe away from me Ronald?" She snapped.
"Not at all my love." Ron spluttered quickly. "I'm um… just sore from sitting so long." He lied.
"Well that's quite all right. We can lay out in the common room once we're there. Doesn't that sound lovely Harry?" She said turning to her friend sitting across from her.
"Hmm? What?" Harry asked, turning away from the window he had been staring out for the last few hours.
"Oh never mind." Hermione said, waving her hand at him.
"Ginny what do you think?" Hermione asked her friend.
"Fine enough for you three, but I'm here for an actual term." Ginny replied.
"Did we REALLY have to come back Mione?" Ron moaned.
"Yeah." Harry chimed in. "I mean you'd think that with all we've gone through they just could have given us diplomas and let us go on our merry ways."
Ron grinned and held up his free hand for a high five which Harry obliged to slap. Hermione gave Ron's other hand a hard squeeze.
"Geez woman!" Ron said, ripping his hand away and nursing it.
"While a free pass may be enough for you two, I for one, want to achieve my diploma properly. And besides, us `8th years' only have to attend half a term. Which means we need to start studying for our NEWTS right away!"
"But I thought we could relax tonight…" Ron whined. Hermione rolled her eyes.
"Fine. Starting tomorrow." Hermione said glumly, folding her arms across her chest.
"Will you be joining us for dinner Ginny?" Harry asked, turning to the girl next to him. Ginny looked over at him and immediately regretted doing so. He was sitting too close to her, his right hand inches away from her left.
She quickly drew her hands into her lap.
"Most likely. I don't know which ones of my friends from my year are returning."
`I will save you a seat." He said softly. "Next to me of course." He said even softer.
Ginny didn't reply.
Ever since Voldemorts death and the long, hard summer Ginny and her family, and practically everyone else in the Wizarding world, were slowly piecing their lives back together. With the loss of Fred things were very hard, especially for George. His spirits were slowly lifting. Near the end of summer he had begun tiring the whole family with jokes along the lines of: Speak up! I can't hear you! He would then cup the empty scarred spot on the side of his head where his ear was missing and speak in the voice of an elderly wizard. It was funny, but still, without his partner in crime, it was apparent he was hurting.
Her mother continued to fuss over Harry, trying to push them back together again. Ginny knew Harry wanted it. She wasn't sure if she did too. She was forced on awkward double dates with him over the summer, making her feelings that much more mixed.
Harry had confessed to her how he felt about her. About how he had feared for her while she had battled Bellatrix Lestrange. How he had wanted to help her attend to those who had been wounded in the great battle of Hogwarts. It was all flattering at first, but she had a feeling in the pit of her stomach that it was all too much. Too much fame. Too much expectation.
"Are you all right Gin?" Harry asked, shaking her from her thoughts. Ron and Hermione stared from their seat across from her in their train cabin.
"Yeah… Yeah I'm fine. I just….. Need some air." she said. She stood up and reached for the door of the cabin.
"Do you want me to go with you?" Harry asked hopefully.
"No no I'm fine." She replied quickly.
She exited into the hallway, shutting the door behind her. She moved quickly to the end of the car, in a hurry to reach the doors leading to the other cars, which would allow her to be outside, with the rush of the wind. She was halfway down the corridor when she heard a door open behind her. She could feel eyes on the back of her head. She turned her head quickly and saw Harry watching her. He gave a quick wave which she returned before speed walking the rest of the way down the hall. When she heard the click of the cabin door and footsteps begin behind her she began searching for the closest empty cabin. Shadows of students inside, voices and laughter coming through the doors alerted her where not to go. At the far end of the car, right before the exit to the next car was an empty cabin. She flung the door open and shut it quickly behind her.
She closed her eyes and leaned back against the door. She breathed heavily. Why did he have to follow her? Couldn't he tell she just wanted to be alone? She opened her eyes and realized with a start, that her attempt to be alone had failed. Miserably.
She stood there staring at him. He stared back too for a while before leaning back against his seat. She opened her mouth so say something when-
"Ginny?" Came a voice from out in the hallway.
"Shit." She whispered. She slid away from the door and sat on the unoccupied seat and held her breath. A tall shadow paused outside the door of the cabin before moving along to the next car.
They sat there in silence. Nothing being said. Was there anything to be said anyways? She should probably just get up and walk out of the cabin without a word. After all, being in the same train cabin as Draco Malfoy wasn't exactly where she was expecting to find herself.
There was a rustle from the opposite corner of the cabin where Draco sat. He was reaching into his robe pocket, a grim look on his face. She took in a sharp intake of breath. Was he reaching for his wand? A poisoned potion? Was he going to kill her stone cold as she sat feet from him? It was then he looked up at her.
The red headed Weasley girl had just invaded his train cabin. His little hell hole of sanctuary interrupted. He looked at her and she looked back. He turned his head away after a minute and stared out the window, leaning his head back against his seat.
The girl seemed to relax a bit before becoming stiff again. Draco's ears perked up at the noise outside in the corridor.
"Ginny?" called the unmistakable voice of Harry Potter. The girl's eyes widened.
"Shit." she whispered, sliding into the seat next to the door in the corner opposite him. The shadow of Potter outside the cabin made Draco's heart drop into his stomach. He wasn't ready to face him after all that had gone on. The Room of Requirement fiasco where his good friend Crabbe had lost his life. The panic at his home. Not now. He knew he couldn't avoid it forever, but Merlin not now.
The sound of the whistling wind from outside was let in as Potter moved on to the text train car. The halls were quiet again. The girl sat there. How annoying. Wouldn't she just go away? He didn't need a cabin mate, let alone her. He reached into his robe pocket. Among the rustling from his pocket he heard her take in a sharp breath. He looked up.
She looked like she was awaiting something terrible, her eyes wide as she watched his pocket. Draco softly snorted as he withdrew a cardboard box from him pocket and flipped open the lid. The girl's shoulders relaxed as she felt she wasn't in any immediate danger.
Draco plucked out a white paper stick from the box and held it between his lips. He placed the box back in his pocket and withdrew a red plastic tube. He flipped back the lid, cupped his hands around his mouth, and proceeded to light his cigarette.
He took a long drag and blew it out slowly and carefree. It was still his cabin car, he would do as he pleased.
The girl let out a wimpy cough and wrinkled her nose. He stared at her, a look of "you've got to be kidding me" written on his face. Her cheeks tinted pink. He turned his head away from her and stared out the window, smoke trailing from the cigarette ever so slowly.
"Didn't expect to see you here." she spoke lightly, breaking the silence. He turned back to her, her head hung low, feet shuffling on the floor. She looked up and peeked through her long red curls, her eyes awaiting an answer. Fine. He was bored. He'd play her game.
"I could say the same to you." He drawled. He took a drag on his cigarette and forcefully blew the smoke out, in her direction.
"I meant… I mean…. You…. Here… On the train…. Not um… Me…. Being here…. In your cabin." She stuttered.
"Yeah well…. Wasn't like I had a choice." He replied.
"I know what you mean." She said, sighing and getting comfortable in her seat.
"Puh-lease." Draco said. "Spare me your sob story. I know very well you could have just accepted a free pass and a fancy job wherever you wanted with no questions asked or eyebrows raised."
The girl frowned.
"That's my brother, Harry, and Hermione you're talking about." She said defensively. "Not me. I'm an official 7th year. They're 8th years."
"So that's what they're calling us?"
She went pink.
"Well its what you are. All of last years remaining 7th years were given invitations to complete the schooling they missed out on in half a term. They could take it or leave it. Some did, some didn't. I didn't have a choice."
Draco was silent. She was right. Some did have the choice, some didn't. Goyle decided not to go back to school and his family didn`t press the subject. Blaise decided to get into Wizarding real estate and make some money instead of heading back to school. His mother had connections so he needed not re-think going back to school.
"And besides, its not fair to group in last years 7th year students with this years….. Given the circumstances."
She was right again. Draco couldn't argue. He had sat thinking about the same subject after he first boarded the train. The school had parts of it destroyed. It was being fixed as they made their way there, but it was repaired enough to accommodate students. Despite all the events of the previous school year, those who had stayed had still received the education they needed to move up in the school. Those who had left had missed out and had to be calculated into a new category of students, 8th years.
"I mean I left at one point…." The girl spoke again. "But I did go back. And my book list was for 7th year classes, so I guess they allowed me to continue on instead of holding me back to finish what I missed."
She was just rambling now.
"What about Potter?" He asked. Her eyes narrowed.
"What about him?"
That jerk. Why did he have to bring up Harry? Was he just trying to get to him through her? She shook her head. Voldemort was gone. Death Eaters were no more, with no master to follow. It was just her imagination. She had to try to not to be paranoid. She had seen what being paranoid all the time had done to Harry, and she didn't want to subject herself to that depression.
"Why is he here? Going back to school." Draco answered, flicking ash onto the carpet of the train cabin.
"Hermione made him." Ginny said, smiling at the memory. When the letters inviting the three to return to Hogwarts had arrived at the Burrow, Ron had ceremoniously thrown his away. Hermione then made a huge fuss, brought Ginny's mother into the matter, and nagged at Ron profusely before breaking him down into returning. At that point, Ron declared Harry had to go too. Ginny could tell that Harry wasn't pleased about returning to Hogwarts, given his memories of the place. Ginny had a funny feeling part of the reason he returned, besides Ron and Hermione, was her.
"I see…" Draco said. Of course the mudblood bookworm had rounded Potter and Weasley into returning to school.
"I wish he hadn't…." the Weasley girl admitted. Draco sat straight up.
"Really?" He asked, his interest piqued.
"Yes, really. Why do you think I'm still in this cabin?" she said, very animated at the topic. "I swear you'd think I had something growing out of the side of my head the way he just STARES at me! And he FOLLOWED me! That's why I ducked in here. No way I'm going back to that cabin with those three." She said, crossing her arms across her chest and falling back into her seat.
Draco saw her cheeks tint pink once again. He smirked. It was kind of funny.
"So you'd rather stay in a cabin with Murderer Malfoy than with Saint Potter?" He drawled, smirk still playing at his lips.
The color in her cheeks darkened as she looked down at her faded brown loafers.
"Anywhere is better than there." She mumbled.
Draco smiled. He found it fascinating that this girl found Potter annoying. She'd rather sit in a smoky train cabin with him than be subject to another minute of Potters brooding.
"Sorry." she mumbled again.
"It's all right." Draco drawled. "You're all right." He said, pointing his cigarette in her direction.
The girl blushed again for a moment before her face froze and she stared up at him. She sniffed the air. Her face twisted in disapproval.
"Those aren't cigarettes are they?" She accused.
"Sticks and stones and weed and bones." He replied carefree.
She made a face at him.
"A little poison for the system. That's all." Draco said, taking out the cardboard box and offering it to her.
"No thanks." She said, shaking her head. He shrugged and slid the box back into his pocket. They ignored each other the rest of the ride.
As the Hogwarts Express pulled into the school station, Ginny hurried out to the platform to await her luggage. The sun was setting and it was beginning to get dark. Students of every size bustled here and there, wondering where they were to go. Ginny's battered trunk was brought to her and she hurried to the castle only to be stopped.
"Ginny there you are! We've been looking all over for you!" Came Harry's voice. Harry, Ron and Hermione rushed over to her, their luggage trailing behind them on carts.
"Are you all right? I was so worried." Harry said as they got closer.
"I'm fine." Ginny said.
"Phew Ginny! What HAVE you been doing! You smell like wizard hash!" Ron said loudly. Ginny heard snickering and she turned her head to see Draco Malfoy stride pass with his luggage, a smile on his face. She glowered at his back as he walked away.
"Ronald! What a thing to say!" Hermione said, slapping at Ron's arm.
Ginny went red with embarrassment and anger.
"You're so mean to your sister! I don't tell YOU how much YOUR second-hand robes smell like sweat and burnt garbage!" Hermione was saying to her boyfriend as they made their way to the castle.
"My robes do NOT smell like that!" He said defensively. He sniffed at his sleeve.
Ginny sighed, avoided Harry's gaze, grabbed her trunk and proceeded to follow them up to the castle.
Author's Note: Okay so a new story, a new direction. I'm naming chapters after songs that are inspiring me to write this story and adding in lyrics from the songs into their respective chapters. Hope this is interesting for all you readers. Let me know what you think please! With this being a new story, opinions are greatly appreciated. :)