*~* Hearts *~*
Willow looked at Draco out of the corner of her eye. She had to wonder what the boy was thinking. She'd watched him grow into this real person over the summer, watched as he tried to resist getting close to Dawn and Lily... and failed. The poor boy had been passed about all summer... staying with Tara and Remus with Spike and Sirius... staying with Giles.... staying with herself and Severus... staying at the school a bit with Dawn and Lily while they learned. McGonagall had remarked that she was a bit worried about him, which had gotten a smirk from Snape. But Draco Malfoy was being very quiet, and none of them were liking it.
But if there was REALLY a problem, Dawn and Lily would likely be aware of it. Willow knew about the blood pact. It had been on a whim. A dare almost. They'd done it at the small cottage she shared with Severus. He'd found them.
Hands bleeding, blood and wine on their lips, a magic circle around them. Willow had been very angry. Dawn should have known better than to toy with forces like that. Well, angry until Dawn explained. They needed each other. Draco more than anyone. Dawn had recognized how he needed something to cling to, so she had decided to give it to him. Willow had been amazed. Here was this horribly rude boy, a younger Spike with the mood swings to prove it, and Dawn wanted him to have something to sleep to at night. It made sense though. Dawn had always been the one to be first for Spike. Draco was getting more and more like his 'uncle' these days. It was only right that he and Dawn get along so well. Because Spike adored Dawn. He always had.
And she had a sinking suspicion that Draco had snuck in and rode out some of Lily's nightmares with her. He, of course, would never admit to such a weakness.
The three of them were first-rate hellions who in no way should be allowed to consort. Just last night, the night before they were to be on the train to Hogwarts, the three of them had snuck out of the Leaky Cauldron, taken the Knight Bus to a tattoo parlor and gotten inked.
Tattoos! All three of them! And quite similar in nature. The two girls had gotten hearts flanked by tribal art. Unique because the hearts were not red or pink like one might expect, no, they were green. A bright vivid green bookended on each side by black swirls of ink. Draco had chosen something other than a a heart. Hearts not being very manly, his centerpiece was a star. Green of course. Lily's was painfully at the base of her neck on her back. Dawn's across the base of her spine, and Draco's on the inside of his forearm just below the bend of his elbow.
And Willow knew why his was there. That's where the dark mark would have gone on him had he received it. In a way Willow was proud. He was really saying he wasn't about the darkness.
She just wished he didn't want to say it in permanent ink.
Draco was scowling. His arm itched. The tattoo itched and stung. Badly. And from the way Dawn kept shifting in her seat, he knew hers did as well. He was sitting across from Dawn and next to Spike. Dawn was sitting next to Willow who had Lily sleeping soundly on her other shoulder. But Draco could feel the tension from the man next to him, the one who was mightily put out with him. Not that Draco blamed him really. He HAD just taken off again with Lily and Dawn last night. There had been a lot of that this summer.
The two of them had taken to him almost instantly. And seeing as how everyone seemed to have forgotten he existed, everyone being Ginny, Draco had sort of started relishing their picking on him and messing with him and forcing him to do all these silly, ridiculous, annoying muggle things.... like watch television and sing along with the radio. And shop. Dawn loved to shop. For anything. The worst had been the two of them in the Magical Menagerie. Draco had stepped in there with the intent of buying an owl, but it was Dawn and Lily who'd left with purchases.
Lily with a tiny little bird known as a finch. It was black. The thing almost looked like a miniature raven. When Draco asked her what she was naming it, she had smiled a cryptic little smile and said Harry. He'd just about gagged when she'd added to it... Harry. Harry Pecker. She had laughed maniacally at the shocked expression on his face. The twit was perverse. Obscene.
Dawn had been the one who'd shocked him the most though. That damn girl had gotten herself, of all things, a ferret. A ruddy ferret! His best friend could not own a ferret. Not after what had happened to him his fourth year. No ferrets. But there she was with the thing. At least it wasn't white. It was tawny in color with a black face and black paws. She'd named the ruddy little beast Gutterflower, and to Draco's everlasting horror, Gutterflower rather liked him.
Draco jumped when Dawn gave a loud gasping sob and suddenly bolted out of the compartment. He sighed. No one moved to follow her. They knew better. She needed to have her cry out about stupid Harry bloody Potter. Draco had never wanted to hex old Scarhead more.
Harry was being very quiet. He knew he was. Ron and Hermione just kept shooting him these worried glances. He had lots of things on his mind. Mainly Dawn. He'd REALLY overreacted. He probably wouldn't have if it were anyone but Malfoy. It just tore him up that she could share with Draco bloody Malfoy and not him.
He was feeling white hot jealousy over it.
Ginny was sitting next to him staring despondently out the window at the passing scenery.
Harry suddenly jumped to his feet and stormed out of the compartment.
"Harry?" Hermione called after him.
Dawn shut herself in the bathroom and leaned against the wall. She was so confused. She understood that Harry had every right to be put out with her. It was an awfully big thing she'd kept from him. Lying about being here. Not telling him she'd be around all year at Hogwarts. Likely in some of his classes. He really did have a right to be ticked, but she had wanted him to be better than that. She'd needed him then, and Harry had walked away.
She heard the door slide open and cursed herself for not locking it. She was faced away from it, not that she really gave a damn who it was that was seeing her like this.
"Can't you see this one's taken?" She snapped in a crackle-y and heartbroken voice.
The door slid closed slowly. Dawn drew in a shuddering breath and cursed herself again. This time for being such a weak little girlie girl. She straightened her shoulders and wiped her eyes. She turned to go back and froze.
Harry was leaned against the inside of the closed door. His face bore absolutely no expression.
"Harry." She gasped.
He didn't say anything. He just reached out and pulled her into his arms. Dawn sighed and rested her head against his shoulder.
"Very childish of me, I know." He murmured into her hair. "But I was jealous of Draco Malfoy. I'm sorry. He brings out the worst in me at times."
"I'm sorry too." Dawn mumbled against his chest, trying not to cry again. "I should have told you, but I was so nervous about it."
Harry pushed her back so he could see her face. "Why?"
"What if you didn't want me around all the time. You know? What if you were just owling me back to be polite?"
"You're so ridiculous sometimes. I'm sorry if I made you feel insecure. I do want you around. As a matter of fact, I'm properly ecstatic that you'll be about."
Dawn smiled brightly. "I'm sorry I made you feel like you were playing second fiddle to Draco. He and I are just friends, you know. Nothing more. It'd be too much like trying to be with Spike, which yeah, crush on him once along time ago, but ewww. Can you say brother-like much?"
"You had a crush on Spike?"
"What? Yeah, I know it's highly inappropriate, but he saw me, you know? I couldn't help being a bit smitten."
"I see you."
"Really." Dawn said smirking and folding her arms across her chest.
"Definitely." Harry leaned down and pecked her on the lips.
As he tried to pull back, she threw her arms about his neck and pressed her mouth to his firmly. Harry had no choice but to grab onto her waist and lean back against the door. He didn't have a great deal of experience with the kissing thing, but he and Dawn just seemed to naturally fit together at the mouth. It was as if both of them knew instinctively what to do to the other.
Harry's hands started moving up her sides under the sweater on her. One of hers was gripping the back of his neck while her fingertips teased the hair at the base of his skull. The other was doing havoc on his senses by kneading his pectoral muscle through his own sweater. Harry moaned into her mouth as his fingertips grazed across the base of her spine.
Harry was about to ask her what was wrong when the door he'd forgotten to lock was pulled open, and he and Dawn went tumbling out into the corridor in front of many, many students. Harry landed hard on his back with Dawn on top of him. She let out a little whimper with her face buried in his chest. Now whether it was from pain or embarrassment, Harry wasn't sure.
He knew for damn certain that HE was embarrassed.
"Oh Geez, Harry. Sorry. But the door wasn't locked." Neville Longbottom offered.
Dean Thomas and Seamus Finnigan where cackling like a pair of hyenas behind Neville. Several people had stepped out to see what all the commotion was about. One of them being Colin Creevey, who snapped his camera before Harry could tell him not to, forever capturing to moment.
"Who've you got there, Potter?" Someone called.
Dawn whimpered again before she looked up. "Hi."
"Dawn?" Seamus asked in shock.
"Move aside here. What's all the fuss?"
Harry closed his eyes for a bit before opening them to see Oliver Wood peering down at him and Dawn. Oliver quirked a brow at him.
"What ARE the two of you doing?"
"Well, Harry and Dawn were making out in the loo and Longbottom opened the door. I reckon they just forgot to lock it." This came from third year Dennis Creevey.
His brother Colin gave a gasp. Harry went bright red, as did Dawn.
"Bad luck too, cos from that wail she gave out it certainly sounded like Potter was doing something right."
"Dennis." Harry said through his teeth.
"I hope when I start groping girls they shriek for me like that."
Dawn whimpered again. She was completely red. Several people had died laughing. Colin made an exasperated sound and dragged his brother off.
"All right, everyone." Oliver called. "Back to your compartments. Show's over."
There was a general moan of disappointment as the onlookers trudged back to their points of origin. Everyone except Neville Longbottom.
"Neville-" Oliver began.
"I just needed to use the loo! I didn't know it was going to turn into a bloody production! Sorry, Harry." He hollered before slamming into the bathroom.
Oliver nearly snickered. Poor boy. He was always in the wrong place at the wrong time. He looked back at Harry and Dawn who were slowly getting to their feet.
"Making out in the loo on the train." He shook his head.
"We were NOT." Dawn said in a scandalized voice.
Harry looked at her out of the corner of his eye.
"Ok, maybe a little."
Oliver rolled his eyes. "Go find seats. Try to keep your tongues out of each other's mouths."
"Jealous?" Dawn said with a twinkle in her eyes.
"Always." Oliver quipped back. "Now go."
They arrived at Hogsmeade Station without further incident.
Of course by the time they got there, the gossip mill was reporting that Harry and Dawn had been having sex in the loo while Colin Creevey took pictures.
Harry was mightily put out about it. Hermione was acting all scandalized about it. Ron was sniggering behind his hand, as was Lily who was calling him Horny Potter as opposed to Harry. Harry was getting about ready to throttle her. Malfoy was shooting Harry these death glares. And Ginny... Ginny wasn't doing much of anything but staring at Draco with the oddest look on her face. It was so wistful and sad.
The air seemed to freeze when he turned and his eyes caught hers. Harry was nearly bowled over by the smoldering in Draco Malfoy's eyes.
"Draco." She said tonelessly before looking away.
Lily scowled at the Weasley girl.
"There y'are!" Came Hagrid's booming voice. "Lily an' Dawn, yer ta ride up in the boats with the firs years, So ya ken be sorted."
"Oh ok." Dawn said reluctantly extracting herself from Harry's side.
But Harry grabbed her and put his lips to her ear. "If Marcus Flint ever touches you again... ever, I'll break every bone in his bloody hand. Thought you ought to know."
Dawn smiled as she stepped away. "Lily?"
"Right." Lily said in a snarl as she still glared at Ginny.
"Don't." Draco said softly.
Lily looked at him and nodded as Dawn pulled her off.
"So, um, Malfoy, do you want to ride in a coach with us?" Hermione asked.
Everyone looked at her in shock. Including Draco.
As they entered the school, Draco grabbed Ginny's arm desperately. He'd swore he wasn't going to. He wasn't going to beg answers from her. He wasn't going to plead, but something looked so wrong with her.
She spun around with tears bright in her brown eyes. "You can't... " She said brokenly.
"Can't pretend like you didn't do it."
"Be so wrapped up in me then ignore me all summer. I won't be convenient, Draco. It's all or nothing."
"What the fuck are you talking about?!"
"Leave off, Malfoy!" Ron snarled as he went to remove Draco's hand from his sister's arm.
Draco jerked back before Ron could touch him with his hands in the air. "What are you talking about, Ginny?"
"You ignoring me all summer!"
"Ignoring you?! You're the one who doesn't know what a ruddy owl is for!"
"I owled you almost EVERY day, Malfoy, you stuck up ferret bastard-"
"Ginny." Ron hissed.
"Stuff it, Ron!" She screeched before turned on Draco and poking him repeatedly in the center of his much wider that she remembered chest. "I know when I'm being USED, Malfoy. I may be some stupid little Weasley, but I refuse to be your plaything. Never get tired of it, my ASS! I refuse to be your way of getting at Harry and Ron!"
Draco Malfoy had gone pale. Well, even more pale than usual. There was a muscle twitching in his jaw.
"I do not know who filled your head with such nonsense, Virginia, but I have done nothing but think of you in every spare moment I had this summer." He said in a very low and even tone as if trying not to break. "Believe it or not, and I'm guessing from your attitude you'll chose not, but I happen to adore you."
Ginny just blinked.
Draco leaned dangerously close to her and hissed through his teeth. "But I guess while I was seeing the Ginny and not the Weasley, you were still seeing the Malfoy." He looked away as his jaw ticked again. He spoke low so only Ginny and the few close around them could hear. "Funny how you can still see it. There's hardly any Malfoy left here at all. I have nothing of myself as you first knew me. The only thing that remains is my pride, and it's about as tattered as my clothing these days, so you'll forgive me if I don't beg you to see what's staring you in the face so blatantly. If you wanted to destroy the last of what remains of something that was once quite proud and forceful, you're doing an excellent job." He kissed her cheek lightly then.
"Hey." Ron snarled stepping forward, but Hermione stopped him.
"I would have burned for you." He whispered in Ginny's ear before walking to the Slytherin table.
Ginny just stared. She didn't know what to say. She was all of fifteen. And, oh dear Merlin, he was SO intense. Just like she remembered. She looked at Harry, Hermione, and Ron out of the corner of her eye. They were giving her these expressions of pity. Well, not Ron. Ron looked relieved. And a bit... guilty?
It went off in Ginny's brain like a flash of lightening and clap of thunder. She was horrified and sickened at the same time. The words that Draco had used flooded her brain. She thought he hadn't been owling her. HE thought SHE hadn't been owling him. Someone had been intercepting their posts. And Ginny had a sinking suspicion she knew exactly who it was. How DARE her brother play with HER life like that? Ginny schooled her features before anyone noticed how angry she was.
Ron Weasley was a dead man.
Ginny made her way to the Gryffindor table with everyone else, a plan already forming viciously in her mind. She cast a look at Draco as she sat down. He was by himself at the edge of the Slytherin table, his housemates all looking at him as if he were the muggle plague. She willed him to look up at her. When he did, she smiled softly and rubbed her cheek where he'd kissed her. Draco blinked. He looked... well... shocked. Ginny nodded at him. They need to talk. Seriously, but not now. McGonagall was ushering in the first years plus Lily and Dawn.
Everyone was whispering as the group made their way in. Mostly looking and pointing at Dawn and Lily who had a good foot on most of the people surrounding them, if not more in Dawn's case.
In no time McGonagall got to the part of the alphabet everyone was most interested in. "Lily Rosenberg."
Lily bounded up to the stool and sat down. McGonagall dropped the hat on her head and in almost no time it called out her house.
There was plenty of grumbling from the Slytherin table as she bounded to where Draco was. The two of them embraced tightly, and Ginny felt a very real pang of jealousy. She noticed Snape was clapping very hard.
Everyone quieted and straightened as Dawn made her way to the stool.
She was most nervous.
"Hmmmm. " The hat said as it landed on her head. "Weren't always human, I see. Different and difficult. There's passion. Swells of emotion in you. Ruled by it at times I see. There's courage and a keen mind for knowledge and fierce loyalty to those you care for and power, lots of power, but where to place you? Hmmmm. Best put you where you're most needed... SLYTHERIN!"
There was a collective gasp from the hall. Apparently they'd been as sure as Dawn had been that she would go to Gryffindor with Harry. Dawn jerked so hard she fell off the stool and landed and her back, stunned.
"Miss Summers? Are you all right?" McGonagall was asking with wide eyes.
"That would be an emphatic NO."