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The sun's brutal rays shone through the window beating down mercilessly on Ginny Weasley's back. Her red hair, which she had spent an inordinate amount of time charming into straight stands, frizzed and stuck to her white cotton shirt. Beads of sweat dripped down her forehead. She curled her hand around her goblet of water coating her fingers with the condensation. She pressed her fingers on her forehead hoping the droplets of water would help her cool down.
Ginny sighed deeply as she surveyed the small group of people seated around her. The sweltering heat forced the picnic indoors. A red and white-checkered blanket lay atop the ebony hardwood floor. Platters of tea sandwiches, cold salads, breads, cheeses and fruit covered the blanket.
Truth be told, the heat hardly bothered Ginny. In fact, she embraced the summertime, as it was a nice change of pace from the constant cold that came with living in England. However, the Malfoy matriarch had other ideas, claiming that the sun would mar her sensitive skin. Slathering on some sunscreen was not a suitable option. Ginny did not doubt that she was the primary instigator for dragging the picnic indoors. However, Ginny knew better than to complain lest it upset her husband-to-be.
The seating arrangements upset Ginny more than the heat. Little Teddy had insisted on sitting between Harry and Draco. Of course, no one could say no to him. Draco's fiancé, Astoria, was beside him. Ginny sat between Astoria and Andromeda. Harry had insisted that she would get along really well with Astoria.
Unfortunately, the two women had nothing in common, making conversation difficult. Astoria was overly excited about her upcoming marriage, talking Ginny's ear off about wedding gowns and floral arrangements. Ginny resisted the urge to roll her eyes as they glazed over at Astoria's words. Instead, she focused on the latest flying formations for her upcoming Quidditch match.
Ginny tried to converse with Andromeda, but they were not very close. Andromeda conversed with her sister with whom she was recently reunited. Her eyes focused on Teddy in case he misbehaved. Fortunately, Draco and Harry's story about a magical creature they encountered on their travels kept him occupied.
Ginny scowled as she eyed Narcissa Malfoy. Never in a million years did Ginny see herself socializing with the Malfoy family. She fully believed that justice had not been served. The Malfoys deserved harsh punishment for their involvement in the Second Wizarding War. Did the Malfoy matriarch really believe that all her wrongdoings could be erased by two words?
Harry, bless his bleeding heart, was adamant about bestowing second chances upon those who needed it the most. It seemed as if the Malfoys were his latest charity case. He befriended Draco through their work at the Ministry, and they developed a close friendship, much to Ginny's chagrin. Harry was a regular visitor at the Manor. Ginny's luck at escaping the invitations had finally run out.
Her scowl deepened as she watched the blonde interact with Harry. They faced each other, deep in conversation and completely oblivious to the rest of the party. Narcissa pressed her bare knee against Harry's knee. Harry made no move to discourage her. His hands lightly touched her sides pulling her toward him. He leaned forward, bent his head down and placed his mouth over her ear. Her slender, perfectly manicured hands gripped Harry's inner thighs for support. Ginny bit her lip hard suppressing the scream building up in her throat.
Narcissa's girlish giggle sent shivers down Ginny's spine. She fisted the blanket and imagined her hands wrapped around Narcissa's slender throat. Narcissa nibbled on her bottom lip stifling her laughter as Harry continued to whisper into her ear. Harry eventually pulled away, his green eyes sparkling and a jovial grin plastered on his face.
The tightness in Ginny's chest improved slightly when Andromeda touched her sister's other knee. Narcissa turned to face her. Ginny tried to get Harry's attention, but he missed her glances, turning to talk to Teddy instead. Astoria attempted to engage in another conversation with Ginny, employing the help of Draco. Ginny attempted to answer their questions about her upcoming wedding. All the while, her bright brown eyes focused on Harry and Narcissa. Ginny's confidence grew as her conversation with Draco and Astoria continued. She only hoped that Teddy and Andromeda would keep Harry and Narcissa engaged long enough.
Harry spread some pâté on a piece of a baguette. Narcissa's hands were full so he placed the baguette into her mouth. She bit off half. Harry continued to hold it as she chewed and swallowed her first bite. She leaned forward, taking the other piece out of his hands. Her pale pink lips brushed against his fingertips as she pulled away. Harry blushed. Ginny's mouth dropped. Her knuckles turned white, and her grasp on the blanket tightened.
Ginny took a deep breath hoping to ease the tightness that redeveloped in her chest. She toyed with her gold engagement ring twisting it around her finger. It was her constant reminder that Harry wanted her and only her. Though, part of her doubted it since he looked so comfortable at Narcissa's side. Her fears grew as she watched Harry's hand wrap around Narcissa's helping her apply more pressure to the knife as she attempted to cut through the ice cream cake. A piece of vanilla frosting coated Narcissa's fingertip. She placed it into her mouth sucking off the sugar. Harry's blush deepened as he smiled back at her.
Eventually, the meal concluded. Ginny's hopes at being able to go home faded when little Teddy begged Harry to stay a bit longer. He wanted to read Harry the latest book that Aunt Cissy bought for him. Ginny watched as Teddy searched the many bookshelves that lined the wall of the sitting room. Ginny could have sworn that the Malfoy's collection of books rivaled that of the Hogwarts library.
Teddy climbed on the white leather loveseat dropping the blue throw pillows on the floor. He beckoned Harry and Narcissa to sit with him. Ginny refilled her glass of white wine resisting the urge to chug the entire bottle. She took a seat in an uncomfortable black leather wingback chair across from the trio. Draco, Astoria and Andromeda played a rowdy card game across the room. They invited Ginny to join them, but she declined.
Ginny's heart sunk as she watched the trio interact. They got along well. Harry and Narcissa were extremely patient with Teddy, helping him sound out the more difficult words of his story. They shared knowing and playful glances as they listened to him. Teddy was so thrilled to receive their undivided attention. He transformed half his hair blonde and the other half black.
Narcissa was the picture-perfect mother. A pit formed in Ginny's stomach as she recalled the countless conversations she had with Harry over children. Harry wanted to have them immediately after they married. Ginny was not so sure. She enjoyed her Quidditch career and was not planning on stopping to have children any time soon.
Ginny glanced at Mrs. Malfoy and wondered what was so great about her. Granted, at 47, she did not look a day over 30. Ginny was certain that there were women her age that looked older than Narcissa. Her eyes traveled over her flawless porcelain skin, bright blue eyes and pillowy pale pink lips. Her luxurious lavender silk sundress clung to her lithe body hugging her curves. The dress stopped just above her knee, accentuating her long, slender legs. The sunlight shone off her long blonde hair. Ginny reluctantly admitted that she could see why men would be attracted to Narcissa. She was stunning.
Ginny tried to find fault with Narcissa's personality. After all, she was known as the infamous "Ice Queen". However, the four years after the war had brought about a drastic change in Narcissa. The ice melted and revealed her true self. She was incredibly warm and welcoming. She had even graciously offered to help Ginny with her wedding. She suggested various dressmakers, decorators and caterers. She even went as far to offer the use of the Manor, but Ginny politely declined stating that her mother insisted that the wedding be held at the Burrow.
To make matters worse, Narcissa also possessed a wit and intelligence that only added to her beauty. She was the complete package. Ginny swallowed hard hoping to take her growing insecurity with her. She glanced back at the trio. Harry stretched his arms and lazily draped them over the back of the couch. His fingertips rested lightly on Narcissa's bare shoulder. Ginny downed the rest of her wine in one gulp, desperately trying to control her growing anger.
The door to the sitting room opened slowly, and Lucius Malfoy strode in. He had returned from a business trip to Romania, tanned and clad in khaki linen trousers and a crisp white button down shirt. The sleeves, rolled to his elbows, exposed his muscular forearms. He greeted everyone politely, paying special attention to Teddy. He bent down to Teddy, presenting him with a stuffed dragon. Teddy smiled widely, not being able to control his growing excitement. He wrapped his tiny arms around Lucius' neck enveloping him in a big hug. Narcissa's eyes sparkled as she watched the two interact.
Lucius stood up and tucked a strand of blonde hair behind Narcissa's ear. Her arms wrapped around his waist. He planted a quick yet affectionate kiss on her lips, pulling away before she could deepen it. He whispered something into her ear before he left the room. She blushed deeply as a small smile graced her face.
Ginny shook her head in disbelief as she tried to hide her growing embarrassment. She hoped that Harry had not noticed her reactions. It was at that moment that Ginny realized that her jealousy over Harry's relationship with Narcissa was completely unfounded.
A/N: Written for the “Harry and WHO” Challenge on FF.Net. Limitations: no dialogue, 1000 word minimum, cannot take place during the school year, POV cannot be from Harry or Cissa. Prompts to be included were summertime, pillows, blue (color) and the Hogwarts library.
Green-Eyed Monster by jennybenny2845
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The Patronus skin was created especially for The Petulant Poetess by TarahFae.