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October 14th, 2006


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stephanometra
09:39 pm - Gift for Lovepickle!
Title: Paradigm Perfection
Author: littledust
Recipient: lovepickle
Pairing: Draco/Ginny
Rating: R
Summary: Sometimes characters do not accept the boundaries of their own canon--but then what?
Warnings: Chan that really isn't. Gratuitous literature references.
Author's Notes: This fic is based on the premise that 1) meta is cool, and 2) reality operates differently in the Room of Requirement. Plays a bit fast and loose with HBP canon, more correctly classified as an AU. Hope you enjoy, lovepickle! :)

--


The scratching haunts her dreams.

She who has never seen or held a ballpoint pen does not recognize the sound.

The weight of words presses against her all the same.

--


Now Libraries make Ginny uneasy when they should only make her indifferent. She marks the change in her mind with capitalization; before, libraries were only libraries, but now they are Libraries, stuffed with dark orgies of text. The spine of every book is so terribly unbent, a pillar stretching to the heavens, immutable. The permanence of it all whitens her cheeks as she strides past the Library as quickly as possible.

"You ought to study, Ginny! Think of O.W.L.s!"

"I know. I am," Ginny lies. It comes unnaturally, like an oil spill.

"You'd think you were afraid of the building."

"I'm not."

"Don't think about Quidditch so much!"

"At least I can think, period!"

"Too busy with your boyfriend."

"At least I can get one."

Ginny cannot remember when her laughter became so cruel.

("Just follow the canon," Luna says, "like the Bible.")

The Library mocks her as she goes past, and even passing Madam Pince in the hallway has grown unbearable. Words, words, words. Something about words. Ginny wonders if they have spells of their own, if like magic, they can just change things.

--


She goes a-walking in the night, a ghost taken out of context. Somehow she senses that her body still slumbers in her little Gryffindor bed, all pretty and red like her hair. (Pretty? When did she become that?) Hogwarts forms and reforms around her as she walks, hands held out in front of her. They seem smaller, but the sight is comforting. Nothing is tangible, not even the architecture around her.

Except for the Library.

Running away, running up stairs and through them, getting tangled in curtain and carpet, and finally Ginny finds a single point of stability in it all.

The door of the Room of Requirement clicks shut behind her.

--


She awakens to light in her comfortable dark space and sits upright to see who has violated the sanctity of her tomb. Sunlight pierces her from behind, from the east--it is only the sun. Only its slow looming over the horizon, an ordinary morning phenomenon.

Draco ceases brandishing his wand at some cabinet and looks over at her, shading his eyes. "But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?" he says, then immediately looks surprised at himself.

In her head, Ginny hears the Library laughing.

In her throat, she chokes on iambic pentameter, the urge to respond in kind.

Everyone is always putting words in her mouth. (His, too.)

Nevertheless, the stage has been set and the roles cast, and Weasley and Malfoy fall into one another's arms with hectic grace. Imprints of Italy dance under Ginny's eyelids. The embrace they share is for the most part chaste, and oddly she feels comforted by it. Here is another heartbeat.

He looks down at her. "You're looking smaller." Then, "Blood traitor."

The temporary relief evaporates. He is just the same as everyone else at Hogwarts.

(They are not on the same page.)

"I am a house divided against myself," she explains, and then begins to laugh and cry at the same time.

Draco reaches out and touches the tears on her cheeks, pushes the hair away from her face. "You look like you did two years ago. Three years ago. I don't keep close track of you lot." His hands fall to his sides. "Funny things happen in this space," he says, and his tone is oddly gentle. He is suffering from something. She can see old and future tears dripping down his face. The Room is going to work on him again, pulling a possible narrative thread.

"I'm going back to sleep."

He goes back to work as she curls up on the floor.

--


Dreaming, she walks the world where books are burning.

Listens to the Library scream.

Triumph turns to terror as she feels her skin beginning to crisp in sudden heat.

--


She sings to herself quietly in a corner, wishing for violets, while Draco works some more. He looks at her, she looks back with a question.

"I am but mad north-northwest," he answers, then shakes his head, irritation making his face seem less wan for once. That storyline oozes away under the door. "That's about enough of that. Bloody Room." He begins putting away his tools. "I don't know how you can stay shut up in here without going mad. You're always here. It's like you never leave."

"I don't like being me anymore," she says truthfully, hugging her knees close to her chest. Flat chest, good chest, stays the same chest. "It's scary."

He hands her a sprig of rosemary that wasn't there a moment ago. (The narrative impetus still carries some weight even after disruption.)

"Sometimes you have no choice."

His shoulders straighten. His face is still ravaged from suffering and want of sleep.

"Yes, sometimes there is no choice at all."

Ginny crushes the rosemary between both of her hands. He leaves the Room again.

She doesn't want to remember.

--


Dreaming, she goes back to the Chamber of Secrets.

Breaks down and weeps.

Remembers how it feels to be possessed by a book.

--


She can tell from snow outside that it is winter, though she never feels any colder or warmer. Nothing changes. She likes it. It's safe this way.

They have taken to talking to one another from across the room, avoiding any comment or gesture that will set things off into another ill-fated romance scene from somewhere else. (They float about the empty space, archetype parasites in need of a host.) Mostly Ginny tries not to notice that he is putting off whatever it is that he means to do with the cabinet. She tries not to notice him trying not to notice that she notices, and more importantly, he notices. It's all very confusing.

"How did you manage to have your meetings with the space always... warping like this?" he asks, waving a hand.

Ginny says, "Harry changes things, not the other way round."

Adds, "Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

(They try not to fall into patterns, but in breaking out of theirs, they still fall to others.)

--


Dreaming--

--DREAMING

...dreaming.

--


She has shucked her clothes off before she pauses to question her own actions, admiring her underdeveloped form in an invisible mirror. If she looked into the Mirror of Erised, it would be blank smoothness. She traces her naked ribs and thinks that she has never felt more disguised, wrapped in layers and layers of identity like gauze, or onion peel.

Draco touches her from behind, hands curving so lovingly as if there are breasts where there are none, as if he finds nothing lacking. He murmurs low in her ear, something about Ginevra on the dotted line and My sin, my soul. Maddeningly, it's the fingers light and flickering over the undersides of her arms that gets her really wet between the legs, not any of the more lascivious caresses. Something is wrong, something is off, but she is losing herself to something like pleasure. It's all the something that matters.

Eve after the apple but before the Fall, she smiles barbed sugar innocence up at him as he considers. She knows he is thinking of where to touch that will please him most, not her, and is nevertheless curious to see where it will take them. There is something incongruous about his expression, older and cultured and not at all Malfoy--

(As if something wore name and skin and nothing more.)

Some things. A lot of things.

Ginny lets Draco taste the skin of her stomach and her thighs before she digs her nails into his forearms. Enough is enough. His expression of glazed wonder is tainted with confusion. He fumbles with the front of his trousers and she rolls her eyes; it is a few minutes before her virginity is lost and not to be found, her legs wrapped round his waist and both of them gasping in irregular time to punctuate the steady rhythm of their hips on the floor.

He comes before she does, and again she feels vaguely that things are not quite right.

Still.

"God," she breathes, and it comes out in an American accent, such a straightforward exhalation of air that the veil lifts and she finds a corpse where she expected a bride.

Draco stares down at her in something like horror.

He leaves and does not come back for many weeks.

Ginny huddles and for the first time sees how she has barred the door.

--


Dreaming, she does not believe a kiss will wake her up.

It's not like that.

Now what?

--


He returns with the spring, and desperation runs down him like rivulets of sweat. She can hardly see him, he works so hard, and besides, she's drifting between things. It's not really much of a surprise that she can't see anything anymore. The miracle is when she catches glimpses.

Ghost kisses dance over her skin, the Hero and the Heroine together at last.

"That was my dream, not yours," she whispers, and weeps.

The Library glowers somewhere in approval.

"You're almost finished with that," she says sadly.

He says, "I know."

Looks like he wants to cry.

Instead says, "Sometimes, you just have to see where the story goes."

In his words is the echo of a lock breaking.

--


Dreaming, she wakes.

In her own bed.

She is seventeen.

--


The Death Eaters stream into Hogwarts and do not notice the strand of red hair caught by a crack in the floor. Draco Malfoy thinks of the difference between murder and justice. Away from the Room, he remembers nothing of the influence of Outside, even if the sight of the Weasley girl unnerves him for reasons he cannot say.

Ginny dodges hexes with late teenage grace, hair streaming like a banner, using that scared part of herself to sharpen her senses, thinking nothing of literature. The library is still just a library, as it always was.

The battle rages on, to the sound of turning, turning pages.

--


Feedback! It's just a jump to the left...or maybe that's the Time Warp. Either way, it's pretty freaking awesome.

(5 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:kethlenda
Date:October 15th, 2006 04:18 pm (UTC)
(Link)
This is beautiful. I don't think I completely understand it, but it's entrancing and disturbing and all kinds of lovely things. Good job.
[User Picture]
From:apricot_bath
Date:October 16th, 2006 12:06 am (UTC)
(Link)
That was absolutely amazing - the descriptions were beautifully done, and by the end I was tearing up. (I especially enjoyed the Through the Looking Glass reference.)
[User Picture]
From:softlyforgotten
Date:October 16th, 2006 09:33 am (UTC)
(Link)
This is one of the most brilliant D/G fics I've read in a long time: surreal, mystical and the characterization was done brilliantly. I know I'll read it again and again.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:October 17th, 2006 11:33 pm (UTC)
(Link)
No LJ account = anonymous :( But I have to tell you anyway, that I loved this fic very, very much!

It was angsty and funny on the same time; whenever it was almost too angsty, suddenly some weird absurd words or sentences emergenced, disrupted the reading and made me laugh--and the story was instantly angsty again. It was impossible, to identify with Ginny, because strangely I had not to go into the story, but the story sort of came to me. Very surreal. Loved it!

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