"There you are!" Ron said as Ginny appeared in front of him, slightly red-faced. "I've been looking everywhere for you!"

"What do you want?" Ginny asked gruffly, having lost all patience with her brother. He probably just wants to rant some more about how I should stay away from Malfoy.

"I just wanted to apologize for earlier." Ron looked down at her seriously. "I was a prat and you're right, you're not a little girl anymore and what you do is none of my business."

"Did Hermione tell you to say that?" Ginny asked, the corners of her mouth twitching into a smile.

"No!" Ron said quickly, looking around shiftily. "Okay, yes, she did. But it's true and she made me realize that I was being a bastard. Forgive me?"

"I suppose," Ginny replied. "Boy, you must really love Hermione if she can get you to stop bugging me about my personal life."

"Yeah, well, she's really amazing…" Ron trailed off, gazing dreamily off into space. Oh brother! Ginny moved past her brother and checked her watch. Good Lord! When did it get to be so close to dinner? She sighed, hoisting her bag more firmly onto her shoulder. This Draco business had started messing with her head. Had he really said that he wasn't supposed to like her either? Did that mean what she thought it meant?

I really need a distraction…Ginny thought, searching her mind for a possibility. She spotted Colin down the corridor.

"Colin!" she called. "Wait up!" He looked up and, upon seeing who it was, smiled.

"Ginny," he said as she reached him. "Where've you been all day? You look kind of…distracted."

Ginny flapped her hand, motioning to Colin to forget about it.

"Never mind that. What have you been up to?"

Colin shrugged and the two of them began walking up the stairs to go to the Gryffindor Common Room so Ginny could drop off her books before dinner.

Ginny occupied herself with their conversation, trying to keep all thoughts of Draco away. It worked for the most part, but whenever there was a lull in the conversation the thoughts came rushing back. She felt like roaring in frustration, but resisted the urge because it would raise odd looks and questions from Colin and the people in the surrounding area. Draco was constantly there in her mind, the look he had given her in the library so clear. For once, his eyes weren't cold and icy, but they had been soft and full of something Ginny had never seen in them. Maybe he really did like her. Maybe…

As they entered the Great Hall, which was abuzz with conversation, Ginny glanced around and spotted Draco's white-blonde head. After a few seconds she realized that she had been drifting in that direction. She hastily caught up with Colin and sat down beside him, making sure her back was to Draco. She continued trying to talk normally to Colin while keeping her thoughts in check. She couldn't let her mind linger for too long on that look Draco had given her. She felt the desire to be with him whenever she thought about it.

After dinner, Ginny tried to keep up normal behavior and walked with Colin back up to Gryffindor Tower, maybe a little more slowly than she would have liked. She really just wanted to get to bed and hopefully wake up and find out that all this was a weird, twisted dream. At least sleep would give her a slight reprieve from the confusion of the day, at least until she hit the REM phase, where she would most likely be haunted by Draco in her dreams.

Ginny's hunch, in fact, was correct. However, instead of hitting dreams in early morning, as one would normally do, she woke up at midnight after a particularly vivid dream where she had relived the day's events, with a few extra twists. She threw her covers off herself, sat up, and swung her feet over the edge of the bed so that they dangled down. She concentrated her breathing, trying to calm herself down. After a moment, she decided she needed air. She ran out of her dormitory as quietly as possible. She crept along the corridors, using the hidden passages Fred and George had taught her in her first year, and didn't realize that she had forgotten her cloak until she got out into the cold night air. She tried to ignore it and strolled down to the lakeside, gazing at her reflection in the steely water as the wind whipped her hair around, breathing deeply and enjoying the temporary escape from craziness.


Draco tossed restlessly in his bed. For how long had he been trying to fall asleep? He glanced at his watch, which was lying on his bedside table. It read 12:04, which meant roughly three hours. Draco had gone to be early in hopes of driving Ginny out of his mind, but no such luck. Try as he might, he couldn't fall asleep. He swung himself up out of bed, grabbed his cloak, and left the dormitory, deciding that maybe some air would do him good. And, considering it was the dead of night, there was virtually no chance that he would run into Ginny.

Draco moved quickly through the dungeon passages up to the Entrance Hall, then out the door. He closed his eyes as the cold wind hit him hard, letting it wash over him. He opened his eyes and began to follow the path that led down to the lake. When he was about halfway there, it started to rain, lightly at first, but then harder and harder until it was difficult to see very far in any direction.

Draco shook his wet hair out of his eyes and started turning around to go back to the castle when he caught a glimpse of something red-orange. He turned back and realized that it was Ginny, who was running from the lakeside to seek refuge underneath a tree. Before he realized what he was doing, he started running towards her.

"Ginny!"

She whipped around, her soaking hair flying, her pajamas clinging to her.

"D-D-Draco?" she stammered, her teeth chattering. Clearly, she was freezing, as her arms were bare and her pajamas completely soaked through. She was looking up at him, eyes shining in the dim light from the far-off lanterns that framed the school's entrance. Draco put his arms around her and held her tightly, feeling her trembling. Since when did Draco Malfoy become so soft? he asked himself as he found himself absently stroking Ginny's hair. Draco was finally figuring out that you can't fight true feelings, even if they weren't supposed to be there in the first place. He had found the one person in the entire world that he actually cared about, no matter how much he tried to deny it.

He glanced down at her and found that she was looking up at him, the trace of a smile playing across her lips. He leaned down and kissed her, feeling that odd sensation again. She wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him closer. As the kiss deepened, they became so wrapped up in their little snog-fest that they didn't even notice that the rain was lessening.

Soon, Draco moved on and started gently sucking Ginny's neck, getting a sigh from her in response. His hands traveled further down her back. She had undone the clasps on his cloak and unbuttoned his pajama shirt, her hands now on his chest. They resumed snogging and probably would have continued on this path until daybreak had an owl not hooted at that exact moment and broken them apart. They both looked up, startled.

"Stupid owl!" Draco muttered. Ginny giggled, then looked up at him, smiling. He put his arm around her waist and together, they braved the rain back up to the castle.