They were a year ahead of her, always dancing around each other at school. She probably wouldn't have noticed, if her brother hadn't been friends with a Slytherin - more than friends, really. But it was enough for her to watch the Slytherins, to try to see what he saw in them.
Or perhaps it was simply that his friend was Harry Potter, not that he was Slytherin, because the rest of them could be annoying prats.
Not that it really mattered until after Hogwarts. Until there was a war, and her brother was in the thick of it, fighting both the Ministry and the Dark Lord, and it was all she could do to keep up and keep alive. Following her brother into the heart of the war brought her in contact with those Slytherins who were there for Harry.
She hasn't regretted a moment .txte.
"You are the most stubborn, idiotic, hopelessly optimistic sod I have ever known."
Ginny tenses as she listens to the voice that's approaching. She's supposed to be waiting for a contact who has information from a spy in Voldemort's ranks. Information that Potter needs to end this, to finish the war that's costing them in lives and sanity. Except this sounds like there's more than one, and if their spy has been discovered, they'll have to start again, and who knows how many more lives will be lost?
"But successful." The second voice is more of a drawl, and the words are somewhat slurred, as if the speaker is drunk or losing blood. Either way, that's not a good sign.
She also thinks that it's a good thing she's the one here, and not Potter, when her contact and the man leaning on him stumble into the deep alcove she's standing in. Draco Malfoy's hair looks matted to his head, and gleams wet in the Muggle street lamps, and Blaise Zabini isn't terribly much better, though he at least looks more capable of staying upright.
"You're late, and you're supposed to be alone." Ginny moves to get herself under Malfoy's arm opposite Zabini, taking some of his weight herself. "And you're both idiots, wearing robes and no concealing spells, walking down a Muggle street, even this late at night."
"Didn't have time." Zabini glances at her a moment. "Is there someplace safe nearby?"
"Not near enough." Ginny uses her free hand to dig a port-key out of her pocket. It's for emergencies only, and she thinks this qualifies. "I hope you're not so badly injured a port-key's going to cause trouble."
"Not as much trouble as being killed would cause." Malfoy's voice sounds a little more slurred, and he leans against her more than she likes. "Gimmie."
"You sound like a child." Ginny presses the port-key to Malfoy's chest, while Zabini reaches across to grasp the large ring with the hand not wrapped around Malfoy's waist. "Cracker boxes and gin." The activating words sound silly, but at least they work, and she can feel herself spinning in what Granger had called free fall, until they land with a jarring thud in a disturbingly Muggle back garden.
"Potter, I'm going to strangle you," Ginny mutters as she starts dragging Malfoy toward the back door. It opens too quickly after she knocks for the broad young man who answers to have been sleeping. He glances over the three of them before grimacing.
"Here, I'll take him." He gestures for Ginny to move, and takes her place under Draco's arm. "Won't be able to fit three through the door."
Ginny and Zabini follow him inside, and to a room that looks like it came right out of some Muggle magazine. The young man sets Draco down on the couch, before pushing past Ginny to the kitchen they'd passed through.
"There's a spare bedroom upstairs, used to be Potter's. I'll deal with the bloke with the head wound - probably a concussion, too, if he was hit hard enough." The young man returns with bandages and a bowl of water that's steaming slightly. "And if you have to go back tonight, tell Potter he owes me the tuition for the nursing courses I took. I look after enough of his bloody allies for it."
Blinking, Ginny nods. "I'll tell him. Before I smack him for sending me here when I have two prats in tow." She pauses, waiting for the young man to set his supplies down before she holds out her hand. "Ginny."
"Dudley," the young man replies, taking her hand in a firm grip. "You'll have to get out to the street before you can Apparate. Granger put up the wards on this place."
Ginny nods again. "Thank you. Don't let Malfoy push you around too much." She grabs Zabini by the arm, hauling him toward the front of the house. They have a report to make, and the sooner they do so, the sooner Zabini can return to keep Malfoy from turning Dudley into something unfortunate out of sheer boredom.
They were gone for three weeks, and spent the last couple days of that in bed. Sleeping the sleep of the battle-weary victors, even if they woke wound around each other. She almost kissed him then, but held back. It's rude to disrupt someone else's relationship, and while she knows it works with three for Potter and her brother and Granger, she doesn't know if Malfoy will even tolerate the idea.
"Mother might stop trying to find a proper wife for me." The first words out of Malfoy's mouth when they go to fetch him make Ginny wonder if he hasn't hit his head again .txte they've been gone. "Don't stare, Weasley, it's rude. Potter came by to let that lump of a cousin of his know it's safe, and told me you've been flirting with my boyfriend."
"Is that what they're calling it these days?" Blaise snorts, placing a hand at the small of Ginny's back to usher her into the room, and toward one of the comfortable chairs. "I thought we were just trying to keep each other from being killed by your ex-friends."
"They were never my friends." Malfoy rolls his eyes, leaning his head back on the couch, watching them from under his lashes. "Necessary compatriots, but never my friends."
"I'm sure .txtent and Gregory would disagree with you, but then, they never were the brightest of our class." Blaise settles onto the other chair once Ginny's sitting, leaning forward to rest his elbows on his knees. "But that's past, now. I'm more interested in the future."
"Yes, yes, that." Malfoy shrugs. "I really don't care, so long as I can keep you in my bed, and there's an heir to the Malfoy name. The estate, after all, is entailed, and I'd have to go back more generations than I care to think to possibly find a male-line cousin. And I'm not actually certain there is such."
Ginny raises an eyebrow. "And what makes you think I want to be Mrs. Malfoy?" She's not actually sure she wants to be married, much less a mother, but the latter makes her want to scream less than the former.
"What makes you think I was suggesting we be married?" Malfoy echoes her gesture, smirking as well. "The entail is for a male-line heir, not a male-line legitimate heir. True, there's been a legitimate heir .txte we came to England, but the one who came here first was the son of a mistress, for all that he was older than the son of the wife."
"Huh." It's all she can say to that, but it makes her think about the idea. She's still not sure she likes Malfoy, but he's pretty enough, and Blaise certainly interests her on more than one level. He's a good person to have at her back if she's fighting, he's gorgeous, and he's charming and snarky. Really, really appealing. "You do have a bed big enough for all three of us, don't you?"
"I have a bed large enough to fit a quidditch team." Malfoy smirks as he shrugs, sitting up a bit as he watches her. "And house elves, so we wouldn't even have to get out of bed if we decided not to."
There are days they don't get out of bed, and Malfoy grows on her. He is, if nothing else, a considerate and thorough lover, and when a daughter is born, a doting father. Sometimes she hears him mutter something about not being the sort of father his own was, but it doesn't really matter to her why he takes on the greater share of chores watching after a baby entails. It only matters that he does, and Blaise pampers her while spoiling their daughter, and she has a life she could only have dreamed of.
This is her paradise, and she has two of the most entertaining men she could desire. She has no regrets, and never looks back.