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The Deteriorating Psyche, for Pan: Part 2

For pan
The Deteriorating Psyche, Part II

Rating: NC-17
Possible Spoilers/Warnings: Sexual situations, mild language, spoilers for Deathly Hallows
Author’s Notes:
Summary: The Malfoy family attempts to recover after the Battle of Hogwarts, and restore the Malfoy name.

CHAPTER TWO


Draco woke when the first light of dawn spilled through a crack in the curtains. He sighed, content and warm, and tightened his hold on Druella. As consciousness began infiltrating his mind, he realized that he needed to leave before she the sun got any higher or she’d be able to see him. Despite her statements on the subject, he was grateful for their anonymity.

Still, he was desperate to know her identity. And the longer he stayed the less he’d be able to keep his promise not to pry.

He detached himself from her as carefully as he could, hoping to not disturb her sleep. The bed creaked awfully when he stood up, but she didn’t stir. He dressed quickly and quietly, praying that everything was on the right way and not too rumpled. God forbid his mother see him coming back to the Manor looking like he’d just had a one-night stand.

But wasn’t it a one-night stand? Panic gripped his heart and he strode to the desk purposefully, looking for some parchment. Despite the rather shabby nature of the rooms at the Leaky Cauldron, at least they kept them stocked. Draco breathed a small sigh of relief upon finding parchment, quill, and ink in the desk. Quickly, before he could regret it, he scribbled out a small note to her, put it on top of her clothes, and left.

He shut the door behind himself as quietly as possible. He drew up his hood to prevent any sideways glances at his identity and walked as quickly as he could down the stairs and out of the Cauldron. Apparating to and from the Cauldron was a breach of social etiquette, implying that you hadn’t paid your tab. Tom would be alerted if he Disapparated on the premises, so Draco left the bar as quickly as possible, hoping no one had spotted him. Once in Muggle London, Draco casually walked two blocks over, dipped into an alleyway, and Disapparated.

He reappeared moments later on the front steps of Malfoy Manor, facing the wide double doors. Desperately hoping his mother—or, worse, his father—wasn’t down to breakfast yet, he slowly pushed open one of the doors.

Silence greeted him. Draco’s footsteps echoed around the wide marble of the Manor’s entrance hall as he manoeuvred inside of the doorway. He tried to shut the door softly, but the click of the latch falling into place reverberated along the walls. He winced. His mother had sharp ears, and no doubt noticed his absence last night. Although Draco was past the age of being punished for spending a night away from home, he wouldn’t put it past Narcissa to interrogate him concerning his actions last night.

And although he hadn’t yet visited a mirror, he was pretty sure it was obvious where he’d been last night. As quickly and as quietly as he could, Draco made for the stairs, footsteps clattering on the marble floor. That was the main problem with this place, wasn’t it? Hardly any carpeting or rugs on the main floor. Just marble and hardwood and tile. The entire place was cold. The stairs, though, had grey carpeting running down the middle, but left the marble on the edges exposed. Narcissa had insisted, stating it was too hard to walk down the bare steps in heels. The moment Draco reached the stairs, his footsteps faded away and he blessed her name. He was more or less in the clear, now. With paranoia behind him, he made it to his bedroom, bathed and dressed, and made it downstairs to breakfast soon after his mother did.

“Draco,” she greeted him as he walked in. She was already seated, with a full plate in front of her and a cup of tea.

“Mother,” he acknowledged. “Breakfast looks wonderful.”

“Yes, I had the House Elves make pastries. I had a craving.” She sipped her tea delicately and looked her son over head to toe as he sat down.

Her staring was making Draco nervous, as if she knew where he’d been and what he’d done. “How are the plans for the gala coming along?” he asked her as he piled his plate high, mostly in hopes of distracting her.

“Fine,” she said, returning her attention to her tea. “I’ve already received a few RSVP’s, mostly from those I know personally in the Ministry. More will come once Potter, Granger, and the Weasley family announce their attendance, I expect.” A clever play. Narcissa would most likely be in touch with the three personally to encourage their invitation, then leak it to the papers. “Speaking of,” Narcissa continued, “how much do you know about the Granger girl’s family?”

Draco choked on his croissant. “Ahem. Very little, other than that they are Muggles. Why, were you thinking of inviting them?” The thought horrified him. Having Granger in the Manor was one thing—despite her blood status, she was still a remarkably talented witch. Her parents, on the other hand…

“Why not?” Narcissa said blandly. “I’m sure it would encourage her attendance and they would certainly keep Arthur Weasley occupied. Everyone knows that his wife is the brains behind his recent success in the Ministry, after all.”

Draco took a long sip of his tea and frowned. It had steeped too long. Adding some cream and sugar, he responded, “Do as you want. You’ll do whatever you see fit, with or without my blessing.” He smiled charmingly at his mother, hoping his mouth hadn’t gotten him in trouble. They both knew that she was the smarter of the two when it came to situations like this.

Narcissa turned up her nose, unamused. “I think I will,” she sniffed. She frowned, turning her attention to his nearly empty plate. “My, you’re hungry this morning,” she commented.

Draco looked at his plate, empty except for the poached eggs he was currently spooning onto it. His second helping. He had just enough time to look ashamed while thinking of a viable excuse when Lucius walked in.

“Hello, Father,” he said. Lucius inclined his head in response. The formal gesture no longer matched the man, who was unshaven and still in a dressing gown.

“Lucius,” Narcissa greeted, inclining her head in the same way. She waited until Lucius was seated before speaking again. “I was thinking about personally approaching Potter about attending the gala. Draco, would you mind popping over to the Weasley residence to do the same?”

“Mother…” Draco started, but Lucius cut over him.

“Narcissa, don’t insult the poor boy by sending him into enemy territory. I’ll go.” He sipped his tea and made a face. “This is bitter.” He pushed his cup away from himself, yelling for the House Elf to fix the tea.

“Not to be insulting,” Narcissa started in a slow voice, “but I don’t think the Weasleys will let you in. I’m sure that trouble with the Weasley girl years ago is still fresh in their minds.” Draco remembered the incident to which she was referring. It had been his second year, and there was talk of the Chamber of Secrets being opened. Of the Heir of Slytherin returning to the school. Draco had been twelve, and naïve, and had dreamed of wreaking havoc upon the school in Slytherin’s name, dreamt that he was the Heir of Slytherin. Now, he looked back on how much havoc he’d managed to wreak upon Hogwarts, and grimaced. To think, when he was twelve, that had been what he’d wanted.

“They have a temper about them,” Draco said. “I doubt they’d let me in either. Potter might.”

Narcissa smiled. “Potter knows me as the woman who saved his life. The Weasleys know you as Ronald’s schoolmate and—”

“—And the person that tried to kill them several times over,” Draco interjected.

Draco!” Narcissa snapped. “Do as I say!” Colour had risen high in her cheeks and her eyes glittered menacingly. Draco was reminded of the fierce woman who had run into Hogwarts a month ago with her husband on her heels, screaming for her son. She’d completely ignored the raging battle around them. Bellatrix had yelled some profane language at her sister’s back, bless the dead bitch’s heart.

Shame coloured Draco’s cheeks and he looked down at his plate. “The Weasleys will follow Potter’s example. I’m afraid that if I send either of you—” this she said with a pointed look at her husband—“that he will reject our invitation.” Turning her attention back to Draco, she said, “All you have to do is hand them another invitation and tell Molly Weasley that I hope to see her there, and that it would mean a lot to me if she were able to come.” She turned to her husband. “As for you, I’d like you to pay a visit Granger, and tell her that she may bring her parents.”

Lucius almost dropped his fork. “The Muggles?” he asked in a surprisingly even tone.

“Yes,” Narcissa said. “Whether or not they come is not of importance. What is important is that Granger feels as though we are making every effort to make her comfortable at the gala and ensure her attendance, which we are. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Mother,” Draco said at the same time that Lucius nodded.

Narcissa visibly calmed herself. “I’m going to prepare to visit Potter. I suggest that you two do the same when you’ve finished with your breakfast.” She rose from her chair; Lucius and Draco did the same, chairs scraping unpleasantly on the marble floor. Lucius took his seat again when she was out of sight, but Draco did not.

“I believe I’m also finished with my breakfast,” he announced. Lucius nodded, looking resigned. Somehow, since the Dark Lord’s fall, Lucius had been understanding about nearly everyone’s reluctance to be alone with him. Where his father had been prone to fits of rage, now Draco witnessed a near-constant moping and subjectivity to his wife.

If they’d both just listened to Narcissa in the first place, the Weasley girl would have never ended up in the Chamber of Secrets. Lucius would never have been caught in the Department of Mysteries, and sent to Azkaban. Draco would have never been ordered to kill Dumbledore and betrayed his classmates’ safety inside Hogwarts.

No time to dwell on those things now. Both he and his father had learned their lesson. Best thing to do now was freshen up for a trip to the Weasley estate and stick his tongue firmly in his cheek.

***

The Weasley Estate turned out to have a name. A lopsided sign in the front yard announced Draco’s location to be “The Burrow.” The house behind the sign was odd—obviously held together by magic, it looked as if several houses (or parts of houses, even) had been stacked on top of one another. Draco had to crane his neck to see the top, squinting in the bright morning light. They’d probably just added upwards with the birth of each new child.

A charm must have alerted the family once he’d stepped on the grounds, because Arthur was waiting in the doorway when Draco got close enough to the house (if you could call it a house). The tall grass that surrounded it made it a little hard to walk purposefully, and Draco stumbled a few times while he attempted to look collected. The heat outside was unbearable, especially in the fine robes Draco was wearing. He felt rather like his carefully crafted appearance was melting in the sun.

“Mr Weasley,” he called. His stomach twisted at the amount of grovelling he was about to do. So long as Ron wasn’t home, it shouldn’t go too badly.

Arthur raised a hand in greeting, but didn’t move from his position, which was prime for blocking the doorway. He had a weary expression on his face as though he hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before, and his robes were wrinkled. His red hair was significantly thinner since Draco had seen him last. He waited until Draco got close enough to speak without raising his voice before he forced a smile and said, “Draco Malfoy. What can I do for you?”

Draco cut right to the chase. “We were wondering—well, mostly my mother; you know how party planning goes—if you would be attending the Summer Solstice gala we’re throwing at the Manor?” Draco forced a smile that he hoped looked convincing and held out a thick envelope to the other man.

A voice came from inside the house. “Darling, who’s at the door?” Moments later Molly Weasley’s head appeared over her husband’s shoulder. Her face was flushed and there was flour on her nose, but a cheery grin lit her face at the sight of Draco. “Draco Malfoy! How lovely to see you! Do come in. Would you like a spot of tea? Here, I’ll pour you a cuppa.” She bustled away as quickly as she’d appeared, leaving Arthur and Draco to stare at each other awkwardly.

Draco opened his mouth to decline her invitation for tea when Molly’s voice rang out loudly. “Arthur! Let the boy in for some tea!” There was a stern tone to her voice that neither wanted to argue with, so Arthur stood aside and Draco ducked his head and muttered thanks for their hospitality.

Once inside, Molly shoved a cup of tea into his hand and steered him to the couch in the sitting area. The first impression Draco had of the house was that, for lack of a better word, it was cozy. Thick rugs covered every inch of floor space, sometimes overlapping. A large clock dominated the sitting room, with each hand a representation of part of the Weasley family. Draco noticed that at the moment, only Arthur’s and Molly’s hands pointed to “Home.” Arthur took the armchair across from the couch as Molly rushed back to the kitchen to grab some tea for them both. She returned, handing a cup to Arthur and keeping one for herself. “Now, dear,” she said, sitting on the far end of the same couch Draco sat on, “what brings you by this morning?”

“Thank you for the tea, Mrs Weasely,” Draco started. “I apologize for calling on you both so early, but my mother insists. She’s ordering food for the Summer Solstice gala soon, and wants to be able to get an accurate headcount.” Draco held the invitation out to Molly this time, since she seemed the more receptive of the two. It was hard to believe that this dumpy, smiling woman was the same woman that killed his Aunt Bellatrix. And good riddance. “She insists upon sending me to personally convey her hopes that the Weasley family will be able to attend.”

Molly had ripped the envelope open and scanned the invitation while he talked. “Oh, yes,” she said. “We got one of these in the post the other day.”

Draco shifted nervously. “Well, as I said, my mother insists the gala won’t be right without the entirety of the Weasley family in attendance.”

The sound of the front door slamming made Arthur jump comically, spilling tea on his lap. In the background, the clock ticked loudly as one of the hands shifted position. Draco glanced over, hoping that it wasn’t Ron. He’d kick him out of the house for sure. Instead, the youngest Weasley made for the stairs with heavy footsteps.

“Ginny, dear,” Molly called. “I thought you were already at the shop? Aren’t you supposed to be there by now?”

“Sorry, Mum, got a late start,” the girl tossed over her shoulder. She’d nearly made it to the stairs, too, when Molly called after her again.

“If you haven’t been at the shop, then where have you been?” Worry edged into her voice, probably a remnant of having lost a son in the war.

It was then that the Weasley girl turned, mouth open to probably say something sarcastic. At the sight of Draco, she froze, eyebrows drawing together in confusion. Draco’s heart skipped a beat. Her robes… they were rumpled, as if she’d worn them yesterday… he couldn’t be sure but … but they looked awfully similar to Druella’s.

Her voice snapped him out of his thoughts. “What’s he doing here?” she bit out. Draco’s heart sunk. If he was right, if Ginny Weasley was Druella, and if she ever found out who she’d slept with last night she’d probably hex his bollocks off. Draco swallowed hard. For some reason, the moment he entered her was replaying through his head. The feel of her underneath him, her breath catching in her throat, his lips on her forehead…

Disappointment made his blood run cold, but he forced himself to stand and give a shy smile. “Miss Weasley, I’m here to invite your family to the Summer Solstice gala my mother is throwing at the Manor.” He gestured to the card and envelope in her mother’s hand as if to say “See here? I have a legitimate reason for stopping by!” To her credit, Molly turned the invitation around so her daughter could see the scrolling script on it. The girl turned, and Draco took the opportunity to memorize the pattern of freckles that ran across her nose and the soft curl of her fire-red hair. Her chocolate-brown eyes. Her pink lips. Her porcelain skin. Her tiny hands, one of which was curled around a very familiar-looking bottle of Ogden’s Old Firewhisky.

The Weasley girl turned to him, looking him up and down, and sneered. “Get out,” she said, turning on her heel and tromping up the stairs, the heels of her Mary Janes making a clacking noise on the wood. All doubt left Draco’s mind in that moment. Her voice, her shoes, her robes, her freckles… all familiar. He’d be damned if he didn’t recognize the girl he’d spent the night with.

And she hated him.

And she had every right to, he reminded himself. He should stop holding out for another night with her. If she’d recognized him, then he’d probably get a nasty owl from her later, about how he took advantage of her. If she didn’t…

It would be wrong to betray her trust and see her again, disguised or not. But how he wanted to.

It was then that he realized that Molly had been calling his name and he’d been standing awkwardly, staring after her daughter. “I’m sorry, Mrs Weasley?” He turned towards her.

“Yes, thank you, is the whole family invited?”

“I beg your pardon?” His brain wasn’t processing anything other than the way her hair had swung behind her as she’d stormed off. They way her arse swayed as she climbed the stairs. The arse he’d had in his hands just hours before.

“The gala. Is the whole family invited?” Molly tapped the invitation against the back of the hand that wasn’t holding it, focusing his attention.

He ran a hand through his hair. “Yes—yes, of course. You, your husband, and all of your children are invited.”

Molly’s face split into a wide smile. “Fantastic. We’ll all be there. Me, Arthur, Ron, Ginny, George…” she paused a second, the smile fading from her face, “Charlie, Percy, Bill, and Fleur. That’s nine in total.”

Arthur sputtered a small objection from the armchair, but Draco ignored him. “Brilliant. Great. I’ll tell my mother. She’ll be so pleased.” Draco extended his hand to Arthur, who stood to shake it. “Mr Weasley, Mrs Weasley,” he addressed, “thank you for your hospitality and the tea. We look forward to seeing you and the rest of your family at the gala.”

Arthur smiled thinly as Molly showed him the door. “Wonderful to see you, Draco,” she said, false sincerity coating her voice. No sooner was the door shut behind him than Molly and Arthur started arguing on the other side of the barrier. With a sigh, Draco started off down their path, deciding it rude to Apparate on their doorstep. And maybe he could catch a sight of Weasley through her bedroom window?

Draco shook his head. He had to stop thoughts like that now, before they got worse. He reached the lopsided sign and debated straightening it. Before he could do anything rash, he Disapparated.

***

Back at the Manor, Draco was greeted by a House Elf. They’d had to replace the ones lost during the Dark Lord’s residence, and Draco had yet to learn the new ones’ names. Not that he really wanted to. When he was a child he’d relied on the Manor’s staff to pretend to be his friends, but not anymore. The good thing about the new Elves were that they didn’t appear unless specifically ordered to do so. Draco liked it that way, even though he knew that the Elves preferred to be unseen out of fear of the Malfoys, not respect.

“Mistress wishes to see Master Draco in the parlour,” the House Elf said, bowing low. Draco nodded, dismissing it, and it disappeared with a crack. So his mother had returned before him. He hoped that meant that Potter had accepted quickly. Despite his misgivings about the gala, Draco recognized that his mother was making a bold move to re-establish the Malfoy name.

It was like he’d swallowed a stone when he realized that Ginny Weasley would be at the gala. A nervous sweat broke out on the palms of his hands. To see her in his home… the place where so many had died, where such awful things had occurred… He never wanted her to have to set foot in the building.

He imagined the Weasley girl in a nice dress, glaring at him from across the ballroom. She would look so beautiful, and he would ask her to dance, and she’d say something vulgar and negative, and he’d slink away with his tail between his legs.

Draco shook his head. Assuming she came at all, he’d greet her parents and leave her alone. Best not to antagonize her.

He realized he was standing outside the door to the parlour, staring at it like a vacant-headed idiot. He had no recollection of leaving the entrance hall. He took a deep breath, pasted a bland expression on his face, and pushed open the door.

His mother was seated in one of the wingback chairs by the fire. Draco frowned. A fire in the summer? She turned when he entered and motioned to the tea service on the cocktail table.

Draco nodded and poured himself a cup. “How was your visit with Potter?” he asked as he seated himself in the matching chair opposite hers. The fire was too warm, making him sweat uncomfortably.

“Fine,” she said. “He accepted, though declined to invite his surviving relatives.”

Draco choked on his tea. “You attempted to invite the Muggles?”

Narcissa waved her hand. “Of course not. I feigned ignorance about his upbringing and asked about his surviving relatives. It made him feel as though we value all who have association with him without actually risking the Muggles’ attendance. It’s quite a known fact that he loathes his aunt and uncle.”

Draco nodded. “You’re doing the same thing with Granger. The only difference is that she may actually bring hers.”

Narcissa sipped her tea delicately. “As we discussed earlier, their attendance may actually be beneficial.”

Draco rolled his eyes. “Yes, you’ve said. I’m just unhappy about it, is all.”

Narcissa set her tea on the table. “Draco,” she said in a soft, slow voice. The one she used when she was explaining something important. “You must either put those prejudices behind you or pretend that you have. The world is changing.” It was then that Draco noticed that her Concealment Charm was wearing off, revealing dark circles under her eyes and some new grey hairs. For the first time in his life, Draco realized that his mother was aging. The thought was a strange one. Both parents were relatively young, and his mother had always been considered quite beautiful. But all things come to an end and the past two years—with her husband in Azkaban and her son in the Dark Lord’s sights—must have taken quite a toll on her.

She sighed and suddenly her face looked like an old woman’s. Draco remembered when he was very small—five or six, maybe?—and her mother had died. He remembered the colourlessness of the dead woman’s skin, her wrinkles sagging into the sides of her face. The smell of lillies and tulips attempting to mask the scent of death.

Narcissa picked her tea up again, holding it delicately so that they cup did not clatter against the saucer. “The Weasleys?” she prodded.

“Molly Weasley has accepted the invitation. She says that nine Weasleys in total will be coming, including the Delacour girl who married the scarred one. Although—” he cleared his throat—“the Weasley girl attempted to kick me out of the house.”

“Yes, I expected that. She’s a wildcard. There’s no telling the amount of animosity she holds for our family. But her outburst lessens the chance of her making a scene at the gala. Let her get it out of her system. I’d hoped you’d see Ronald. I’ve been told he possesses the worst tempter out of all of them.” She took a sip of her tea so soundlessly that Draco wondered if she actually drank any at all. “Of course, I sent Bill and Fleur Weasley their own invitation. I hope Molly can vouch truly for their acceptance. The Delacour family is a powerful one. I’m still waiting on their reply, but they’ll be forced to attend if Fleur Weasley does.”

Draco nodded. “Father should be home soon,” he remarked, hoping to be dismissed. He didn’t want to talk about the gala. He wanted go to his room and relive every event from last night, this time envisioning her real face. But her scent, her taste, her voice… that he could attribute fully to Ginny Weasley.

Lucius entered at that moment, prompting Draco to mutter, “Speak of the devil” into his tea. His father looked weary and ragged. He was wearing an expensive pair of professional-looking robes, but the wrinkles and stubble on his face made him look like some of the wizards Draco had seen sitting on the cobblestones in Diagon Alley, asking for spare Knuts.

Draco stood, setting his tea on the cocktail table and smoothing his robes. “Welcome home, Father.” He turned to his mother. “If you’ll excuse me…” And then he got his arse out of the parlour before he was forced to have the same conversation a second time. It was like all the air in the room had converted into a solid mass to keep him from exiting the room easily, but determination pushed him to the door. He closed the door behind him softly, rubbing his temples. He felt a headache coming on.

“Elf!” he called into the emptiness of the hallway. “I want a tray of Earl Grey, cream, and sugar in my room by the time I get there.” Tea. Tea would help. As he set off down the hall, his mind flipped back to Ginny Weasley, with her strawberry-coloured lips and her chocolate-brown eyes. The way she’d glared at him. The way she’d told him to get out of her house. The hard look in her eyes, the poisonous tone of her voice… all so different from the way she’d looked at him the night before. Her soft laughter. Her gentle moaning. The way she’d kissed him.

God knows what she would do if she knew she’d slept with Draco Malfoy the night before. Draco Malfoy, the one responsible for her brother Bill’s scarred face. Indirectly responsible for her brother Fred’s death. The one who’d almost killed her brother Ron on at least three separate occasions. The one whose father had almost killed her, and left her psychologically traumatized.

“And the Prophet!” he called to the thin air as he mounted the carpeted stairs. The Burrow had been so warm and inviting, despite the insincerity of the Weasleys’ hospitality. Sure enough, when he reached his room, a tray of tea and the Daily Prophet waited for him on his bed. He picked up the Prophet and leafed through it quickly, hoping Ginny Weasley had made the paper again so he could watch her picture glare at him. So he could see her pretty hair, her shabby robes, her pale hands. Unfortunately, he was met with no such luck.

He poured himself a cup of tea, but found it not as pleasant as the one Mrs Weasley had offered him. He stared into its creamy depths, looking at the smooth, unmarked edge. The Weasley girl hated him. She’d never agree to see him if she knew who he was. He thought back on their conversation the night before. They’d mentioned nothing about themselves. They’d flirted, but he could have been anyone. She could have been anyone.

And slowly, he realized, that was the point. He was a casual lay to her, someone she never had to see again. Someone she chose simply because he was there. Not because she liked how he looked, or who he was, or what he had to say. He was an interchangeable part in her rotating love life. She had used him.

Anger flared in his chest suddenly, and the next thing he knew there was a loud shattering sound. The teacup and saucer in his hand were gone, smashed against the opposite wall. He felt like screaming, because god damn it but it really had felt like last night had meant something. At least to him. Apparently not to her.

He thought about sending her nice robes to wear to the gala. He thought about buying her flowers, or sweets, or jewellery. He rubbed a hand over his face, frustrated. She wouldn’t take them. Not if she knew they were from Draco Malfoy. Probably not if she thought they were from Erasmos. He was suddenly embarrassed for leaving her a note, asking to see her again. Who the hell does that on a one night stand? He was acting like a schoolgirl.

And on the Summer Solstice, he was going to have to see her in his house, probably on Potter’s arm. And he was going to greet her mother, and he was not going to ask her to dance. He was not going to offer to grab her a drink. She was not going to put her arm through his and let him escort her to the balcony. He was not going to kiss her under the starlight in the courtyard, and she was not going to spend the night. Not with him. Not again. Last night was all he had.

Draco squeezed his eyes shut hard, breathing deeply. He imagined last night, when he had tasted her. She had moaned and pushed her hands through his hair, pulling him closer. No, no. Best to put it out of your mind. Forget about it.

He crossed to the bathroom, wandlessly opening the hidden compartment behind the mirror over his sink. Inside were rows of tiny, glass vials. About half of them were filled. Taking an empty one, he set it on the counter and uncorked it. Putting his wand to his head, he carefully extracted the memory how Snape had taught him, placing it carefully in the vial and resealing it.

Snape had taught him to store his important memories so they wouldn’t deteriorate inside his head. It helped him hide them, too, if he could forget the important things he knew the Dark Lord would look for inside his head.

And so he would forget Ginny Weasley. And maybe this pain in his chest would go with her.

And maybe one day, a long time in the future, he’d come back to that memory, that feeling, that night.

He raised his wand to his head again, concentrating very hard. He stared at himself in the mirror, eyes hard and grey, with dark circles underneath them. He thought of Ginny Weasley’s kiss, and her hair, and her taste, and her laughter. He thought of her hands in his hair and his hands in her hair. The softness of her skin. He thought of the way she’d told him to get out. He thought of his own stupidity. And he whispered, “Obliviate.”

***

As far as Draco was aware, the Malfoy Manor was at least partially sentient. In the weeks that followed Narcissa’s announcement about the Summer Solstice gala, Draco found that almost every door in the Manor opened into his bathroom. He found himself staring into the mirror that hid the compartment for hours on end, feeling as though there was something significant missing from his life. And he would turn to leave, only to find that the doorway that used to lead from his bathroom back into his bedroom now led back into his bathroom.

And that’s how Draco found himself with a shaking hand reaching for the mirror, and a voice in his head saying, “You’re playing with fire, silly boy.”

Briefly describe what you’d like to receive in your fic:
The tone/mood of the fic: Generally upbeat, snark is great, but I don’t mind an “unhappy” ending either.
An element/line of dialogue/object you would specifically like in your fic.: The first time Draco and Ginny interact romantically, they don’t recognize/know each other (up to you what that looks like).
Preferred rating of the fic you want: Whatever feels right.
More canon, or more AU? Either is ok, but characters should be canon—if you want to make someone up, pick a random name from the sorting ceremony :)
Deal Breakers (anything you don’t want?): Non-consensual sex (or anything), violence beyond your average punch in the face and whatnot, no offspring of D/G or other characters, lack of magic
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