Summary: Ginny Weasley likes to shop. A lot. Draco Malfoy has a habit of... liberating things. A lot.
It was innocent enough to start. A celebratory purchase of a new outfit to wear to her new job with her precious savings. This job meant she was finally she was able to buy herself something pretty, something new, something HERS whenever she wanted. At last there would be no more second hand clothes, wands, books or anything else.
Her first paycheck saw the purchase of a gorgeous pair of expensive designer shoes. The next saw the matching hand bag. Before she knew it she was buying something new every week. She’d trawl the shops to find a good deal (what can she say, some habits do die hard), always spotting something she wanted and the problem was she never held herself back.
Of course she wasn’t entirely stupid, she always made sure she had just enough money to pay her rent and eat, even if it was cheap reheatable meals.
He on the hand, had no worry about money. His habit was nothing to do with a lack of money, nor not wanting to spend the money. It was all about the attention. He had started at the tender age of 8 on a trip to Diagon Alley with his mother, she was busy as usual, intimidating the sales assistants on a crusade to find the perfect gown for the social engagement of the week. It was a small dragon made of crystal, just smaller than the size of his hand, he pocketed it and waited for the reaction. There was none. By his ninth birthday there was a collection of matching dragons hidden in a chest under his bed and he then realised he wasn’t being obvious enough.
Next he took a wooden carving of a phoenix, it was bigger than the dragon statues and this time he purposely moved slower, almost willinging someone to say something. But again, there was no reaction. Did they even see him? Or did they just ignore it as he was the Malfoy aire?
Then there was the time before he left for his first year at Hogwarts. His father spent more time focusing on Weasley then himself. The book slipped easily into his robe pocket and as usual, no one was any the wiser.
The habit stopped whilst he was at Hogwarts; the care packages his mother sent was more than enough attention for him and really, what was there to take? A feather? And old textbook?
He managed to ignore the urge for a few months after the fall of Lord Voldemort but then the pressure became to much and he succummed to temptation. It became his release. The adrenalin rush, the thrill, the excitement of wondering whether he will finally get caught.
He never did get caught and she never stopped shopping, until that day their worlds came crashing together.
It was a frosty winters evening and very few witches and wizards were brave enough to venture away from the warmth of their homes to visit the new Belladonna and Fenrir Shopping Centre, except a few. But for Ginny Weasley, blistering cold or not, today was Wednesday, payday which meant only one thing; shopping.
Her card was declined at the register and she looked around embarrassed, checking to see of anyone noticed. She was handing over cash to pay when she saw him. He was almost obvious about it as he slipped the dark leather gloves into his pocket, almost like he wanted to be caught. She knew they weren’t his because she'd watched him pick them up from the display, and even if she hadn't, he was already wearing gloves.
She followed him out of the store with her shopping, not even noticing that she left without her change.
"Aren't you going to pay for those?"
“Pay for what, Weasley?”
“The gloves you put in your pocket before you left?”
“What, exactly, are you accusing me of?” He hisses.
“Shoplifting a pair of gloves for no apparent reason, maybe?”
“What are you going to do about it?”
“I should go and tell them you stole something! They have security measures--they could ban you!”
“Go back inside after you followed me out without saying anything? Really?”
The argument didn’t last long and Ginny was the first to flee. It wasn’t that she believed he was in the right, because he wasn’t. He stole from that shop, and regardless of the embarrassment she’d endured, it wasn’t right.
But in the end, going back inside and telling the clerk that she witnessed someone shoplifting and then left without saying anything wasn’t something she felt like she could do.
So, she angrily parted ways from Draco Malfoy on the street corner and did not look back.
The first envelope arrived as she was sitting on her mattress trying to figure out how much money she needed to save aside for groceries and still get the scarf she wanted. The envelope was heavy, weighted down by coins.
It read "Ginerva Weasley", which wasn't her name but she supposed was close enough. There was an unsigned note inside that said, "don't tell anyone" but she knew exactly who it was from.
There was enough money in the envelope for the scarf and the matching gloves.
The second envelope came a week later. The same amount of money, no note. Her name was still misspelled.
Three envelopes later, she saw him in the witches-wear section of Le Pierre's Boutique while she was browsing. He was slipping something into his pocket slowly, but there was an attendant walking nearby that she knew he hadn't seen.
It happened instinctively.
"Hi! I'm looking for something like this in green?" She intercepted the attendant just before he turned towards Malfoy, with a gesture towards her dress.
The ploy worked. The attendant lead her away from Malfoy, never noticing him shoplifting two feet away.
And that’s how that started too. It became some strange sort of arrangement--never spoken about, never discussed. He sent her money and she watched out for him if she saw him in a shop.
Six months into their unspoken arrangement, things changed again. Despite the added money that Malfoy had been sending her, her card was once again declined at Belladonna and Fenrir.
Her face was hot and she was, admittedly, incredibly embarrassed. The woman behind her kept huffing impatiently, and Ginny really wanted to turn around and smack her.
"I've got it, Ginny." His voice is smooth as it cuts through her mortifying conversation with the clerk.
He paid for her shopping, and after that, he became Draco--not just Malfoy. They’d had a conversation outside the shopping centre that wasn’t full of anger and accusation, but of mutual benefit--she continues her compulsive shopping, he continues stealing.
But there wasn't a divide anymore, not really. They start to spend time together. They talked about random things. They ate Chinese in his expensive flat and drank until they were hysterically laughing at anything and everything they could think of.
And they went to shops together where she spent all of her money and too much of his and he pocketed whatever his hands lingered on without another thought.
It’s... nice. She liked spending time with him, buying whatever she wanted, and yes, she even enjoyed the thrill of helping him take something from the overpriced places she loves to shop in.
She likes him.
He likes her. But as a typical wizard he took a while to realise.
It was two months after she had her card declined, two months since their relationship changed it was about to change again.
This time he'd taken it a step too far and been a bit too bold. He had stolen a pair of earrings for her. Nothing flashy like diamonds but a pair of owl studs he knew she liked. Ginny had been busy perusing the newest line of handbags and had the clerk's full attention. As far as the clerk was concerned she had a rich boyfriend who was just there to foot the bill; the assumption worked fine for their ploy. She selected a luxurious leather shoulder bag and Draco paid without even blinking at the three figure price tag.
He was enjoying having her arm linked through his when suddenly she was wrenched away his grasp. He turned to see an stocky built wizard accosting her. Accusing her of his crime. Draco became filled with rage and pushes the wizard against the wall of the nearest shop. She didn't do anything he snarls. He replies he knows the earrings are missing, he knows she's a poor Weasley, of course it was her. A Malfoy could buy what he wanted, why would he steal?
And buy what he wanted he did. The stocky build wizard was an auror, an auror that could be bought. The accusations vanished, the problem was solved.
She was shaken, he could tell, but she tried not to show it.
He lay in bed that night the days events replaying in his head. She was almost arrested, it was HIS fault. He wasn't accustomed to the feeling of guilt and he didn't like it.
He doesn’t know what it means, but he knew that if he were to walk into a shop tomorrow and slip something else expensive in his pocket, she would help him again. He knew that he would buy her whatever she wanted in the world, and he doesn’t know what that means either.
The more he actually thought about it, the worse it felt. He knew they had more in common than expensive clothes and jewelry, even with that gaping divide between his wealth and her own, and yet he wasn't sure whatever their relationship was would survive if they stripped away the things that brought them together.
But when he thought about her being punished for things he did, being treated like they were still at war, being ridiculed and distrusted and hated? It was an easy decision.
"We need to talk." It wasn't how he intended to start the conversation, but that's what spilled out instead.
"About what?" She asked, throwing her traveling cloak over her chair as she walked further into his flat.
"We can't keep doing this."
"Doing what?" Her confusion is genuine as she meets his eyes.
"You almost got arrested."
"But I didn't! You stopped him, and everything is fine. I'm okay."
"It's not fine! It's not okay! This whole situation is wrong, Ginny!"
"Why? Because I'm a Weasley?!"
"Because it's not healthy! Because at any minute, you could get arrested, I could get arrested. I stole something for you, and you almost took the blame. No one would have believed that I stole it, but little Ginny Weasley, who grew up poor? I can't do that to you."
"Are you saying we can't be friends anymore?"
"I'm saying you have a choice. We stop with the shopping until we can go somewhere without spending a ton of money. Until I don't feel the urge to steal things. Or you don't talk to me anymore, because I like you too much to let you be hurt."
"I like you too much too." She kissed him softly, and that was that.
Author's End Note:
I stepped in to write this with a week due date, so I would like to apologise for the rushed manner it's written in, especially the ending. My beta stepped in as co-writer, and we had a lot more planned that we just didn't have time for. I hope you enjoyed it anyway! :)
Describe what you'd like to receive in your fic:
The tone/mood of the fic: Something unexpected. They struggle with different things, and become each other's safety net.
An element/line of dialogue/object you would specifically like in your fic: "The more I reach out, the more you back away. I need you to meet me halfway."
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Canon or AU?: Canon
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