Draco Malfoy stared at the bowl of soup on the table in front of him. It was a vivid emerald green. Probably watercress. With a sigh, he picked up his spoon, and began to eat. Neither of his parents spoke a word, and for several minutes there was no sound other than the scrape of spoons against fine bone china. Dinner at Malfoy Manor was usually a somber affair, and it seemed that today would be no exception.
Opposite him, his mother cleared her throat, breaking the monotony. “Some bread, Draco?” she asked, pushing the basket towards him.
“Thank you, Mother.”
They fell silent again. To Draco’s right, his father showed no signs he had heard either of them. Draco didn’t look at him. He couldn’t bear to; Lucius Malfoy was a shadow if his former self. His hair was now more grey than blond, almost exactly the same colour as his skin. His cheeks were sunken and his eyes sat deep in their sockets, leaving the contours of his skull only too plain to see. Anyone who didn’t know him would assume he was ill, but as Draco was only too aware, there was nothing physically wrong with him. The changes in his father were simply the result of stress, loss and humiliation. The war had broken him.
Clinging to routine, the facade of gentility, was what gave his father purpose, and so every evening they gathered in the formal dining room at Malfoy Manor to eat dinner as a family, as they always had before. A house-elf served them carefully, from the left, in the proper manner. Always soup to begin. Always meat and vegetables to follow. Always an elaborate dessert to finish. Huddled together at one end of the long dining table, using the best porcelain and the silver cutlery, they kept up appearances as best as possible. Draco hated the hushed atmosphere. It was so much harder to forget the horrors that he had seen, seated at this very table in the presence of the Dark Lord.
Mealtimes weren’t always this quiet, though; sometimes, Lucius Malfoy liked to reminisce. On those days, he would talk endlessly about the old days, or the importance of the Malfoy family in wizarding society, or how much better things used to be. Draco was never entirely sure whether he really was reminiscing or living in some sort of bizarre personal dreamworld.
On the whole, Draco preferred the quiet days. He found the brooding far less unsettling. He smothered a bitter laugh, wondering how different from his father he really was. He had tried so hard to reinvent himself and he had thought for a time he might even have succeeded. Now he brooded on his own failings, searching for the strength and the will to try again and really make something of himself.
As they ate, the quiet was broken by the sound of the bell at the front gate. All three Malfoys ignored it, certain that their meal would not be interrupted. No-one of any breeding would call during dinner, so whoever it was would doubtless to turned away by whichever house-elf answered. Therefore, Draco was very surprised to hear the sound of a commotion outside in the drawing room. He looked up at his parents in consternation, but before any of them could move, the doors to the dining room were thrown open. Draco caught a glimpse of a group of unfamiliar people apparently searching the drawing room as two men stalked across the flagstones towards the family.
Draco looked at his father, and was unsurprised to see that far from being angry, Lucius Malfoy merely looked resigned. Well, if his father wasn’t going to protest, then Draco most certainly would. He turned his furious gaze onto the two men striding across the room. The one in front was almost entirely beige. His hair, his skin, his shabby robes. He would have melted totally into the background, were it not for the air of total authority that rippled from him. Such was his presence that it was a few seconds before Draco looked properly at the second man, following close behind him. Oh for Merlin’s sake! he thought to himself. It was Potter. Harry Fucking Potter. Draco got to his feet and treated the sainted chosen one to his best disdainful sneer. Potter responded with a malevolent glower of his own.
The beige man’s heels clicked on the flagstone floor as he stamped to a halt in front of them, looking from one face to another with without bothering to conceal his contempt. “Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy, I am authorised to conduct a search of these premises,” he announced pompously. Potter just stood there, looking like the useless waste of space he was.
Lucius Malfoy turned his head slowly towards the beige man standing next to him. “Gawain. What an unexpected... pleasure. On what grounds are you ripping my house to pieces this time?” The words held an echo of the Lucius Malfoy of old, but rang hollow, without any of the imperious dignity they would once have carried. Draco winced.
“We have reason to believe that you are harbouring known fugitives...”
“Ah,” said his father, quietly. “That old chestnut.”
The Auror continued speaking as though Mr Malfoy had said nothing. “...And that this house is being used to conceal stolen property. I must also ask all of you to accompany us to the Ministry. We have a number of questions to ask you.”
Draco had heard enough. “This is absurd! Completely ridiculous!” he spat, with as much vehemence as he could muster. Most of his anger was directed at Potter. The domineering boor giving the orders was bad enough, but the disdainful expression on Potter’s smug, self-satisfied face was just too much. To have him stand in Draco’s home, like he had any sort of right to be there, while the rest of his cretinous Auror cronies ripped the place to pieces, was an insult too far. The arrogance of the man was astounding. Every ounce of bitterness and loathing that Draco felt towards the smug git bubbled up to the surface, and it was a battle to keep his face impassive. He was just as nauseating as his vapid trollop of a girlfriend. He tried hard to ignore the lurch in his stomach as an image of Ginny Weasley’s face floated through his mind.
“Calm down, Draco,” said his mother, with the quiet dignity that he would always love most about her. She placed her hand on his arm. “Don’t give them the satisfaction. We always co-operate with the Ministry, you know that.” She turned to look at Potter and his boss and addressed them in a voice dripping with sarcasm. “I don’t expect there will be any need to lead us from the house in chains, Mr Robards. This time at least.”
“No, Mrs Malfoy. Not if you come quietly.”
“Very well. Come along, Lucius, Draco; the sooner we comply, the sooner this farcical charade will be over.”
Within minutes, all three Malfoys had arrived at the apparition point at the Ministry. The idiot Head Auror had insisted they travel sidealong, and Draco was forced to apparate with Potter, one more indignity that the little shit had doubtless enjoyed inflicting upon him. Wand drawn but by his side, Potter joined the other Ministry security goons that herded them to a small interview room, where his parents took seats behind a utilitarian grey table. Draco stood behind them and glowered at Potter, who leaned on the wall next to the door with his arms folded across his chest, malice glittering from those famous green eyes.
The Head Auror took a seat opposite his parents. “Where is Morticius Jugson?” he asked.
“Morticius?” Draco could hear both surprise and distaste in his father’s voice. “I have no idea.”
“When did you last see him?”
“At Hogwarts. During... during the fighting.”
“And what contact have you had with him since then?”
“Absolutely none,” answered his father, sounding very offhand. “I disliked the man intensely. I don’t deny that I knew him, or that we were both members of the same inner circle for a period of time, but he was simply not... one of us.” Then his father’s tone of voice changed to one of incredulity. “Have you really dragged us down here to discuss that reprobate? What on earth has he done now?”
Robard’s expression was glacial. “This morning, Morticius Jugson murdered one of my finest Aurors,” he said, slowly and carefully. “I should tell you, Mr and Mrs Malfoy, that we are searching your home for the slightest trace of Jugson. If we can prove that he so much as wiped his feet on the doormat in the past few months, and you are lying to me about it, I promise you, I will make certain you come to regret it.”
“Why on earth should you think that we still have anything to do with Morticius Jugson?”
“You’re a known associate, Mr Malfoy. You have certain...bonds.”
“Once maybe, but those bonds were broken a long time ago.”
“I have reason to doubt that, Mr Malfoy.”
His father sounded indignant now, his voice raised. “You’re accusing me of lying? What evidence do you have for that?”
The Head Auror regarded the Malfoy family with an expression that Draco thought was almost triumphant. After a long pause, he reached into the pocket of his robes and threw a small, shiny object onto the table.
“Can any of you identify this ring?”
For a moment, no-one said anything, wrong-footed by the change in direction. Then his father reached forward and picked it up. He regarded it with some surprise.
“Yes. It belongs to me; a family heirloom. But what on earth are you doing with it?”
“We took it from the body of a dark wizard this morning. A dark wizard implicated in several vicious robberies, and the murder of at least two Muggles.”
“That’s impossible. This ring was in my dressing room at Malfoy Manor up until today.”
“No, Mr Malfoy. It was not.”
“It was, I tell you!” insisted his father. “One of your nasty little subordinates must have removed it when you so rudely invaded my home this evening.”
“I can assure you, Mr Malfoy, that is not the case. Now, explain to me how your ring came to be in the possession of a wanted criminal.”
“No! This is some sort of conspiracy! I refuse to co-operate any further!”
Robards thumped his fist hard on the table, making everyone jump. “An Auror is dead, Mr Malfoy!” he shouted. “We have evidence tying his murder directly to you! That same evidence also connects you to the cold-blooded murder at least two Muggles, as well as several vicious robberies! So start talking! Now!”
His father’s breathing seemed ragged when he spoke again, more quietly but just as insistently. “Whatever it is that you want me to confess to, I assure you, there is nothing...”
And then, to Draco’s surprise and alarm, his mother put out a hand to silence his father.
“I can explain it,” she said, with a simple authority that at once turned all attention in the room to her.
“Narcissa? What on earth are you talking about?” Draco saw his father turn to look at her in surprise.
“I’m sorry, Lucius. I hoped you’d never find out, but I simply didn’t see another way...”
Draco tried not to let his horror show. Was his mother about to confess to some dreadful crime?
“That ring has not belonged to us for almost two years, Mr Robards.” she said calmly. “It was was one of a number of valuable family items that I sold to the jeweller’s in Diagon Alley. It fetched an excellent price.”
“Don’t be foolish, Narcissa. I would have noticed it missing.”
His mother’s voice was dismissive. “Clearly not.”
“You sold it? Why? Why would you do that? That ring is part of Draco’s birthright!”
His mother snorted in exasperation. “You know why, Lucius! We spent months under suspicion! They froze our bank account! All that time, with our Gringott’s vault closed to us! Did you really think we survived on nothing while they investigated us? How else were we to feed ourselves? Put clothes on our backs? Pay for Draco’s schoolbooks? That damned war nearly cost us everything!”
“And you stooped to selling our heritage? How could you? You’ve humiliated us!”
Narcissa Malfoy laughed bitterly. “Don’t you dare talk to me about bringing shame on this family! You were the one that started a battle in the Ministry of Magic and got locked up in Azkaban, and it’s a miracle that you’re not still there now! You can mourn all you like for the noble house of Malfoy, but it was your own poor decisions and utter lack of backbone that destroyed it! You, with your delusions of grandeur, dabbling in dark magic and hanging on the coattails of the Dark Lord! Your actions almost destroyed this family, and I won’t make excuses for doing whatever was necessary to make sure we survived!”
“Narcissa, please! Not in front on these... people!”
“Yes, in front of these people!” his mother shot back. “Why shouldn’t they know how you’ve made us suffer? You poisoned our son’s mind! You offered him up as a sacrifice! Your idiotic obsession nearly got him killed! Who rescued him, when he was alone in the ruins of Hogwarts, Lucius? Who? It certainly wasn’t you, was it? No, it was me that had to stand up and lie to the Dark Lord while you cowered in his shadow. So when our home and our future was threatened again and we nearly lost everything, how could I possibly rely on you try and salvage it?”
Shaking her head in disgust, she turned back to the Auror. “So yes, Mr Robards. The ring you have in your possession was once a Malfoy family heirloom, but it no longer has any connection to me, to my husband or to my son. I sold it to the jeweller’s in Diagon Alley in December 1998. Your dead wizard must have purchased it from there. I can produce a receipt for the sale, and for a number of other items that I am sure could also be traced back to this family. Will that proof be satisfactory to clear our names?”
Robards leaned back in his chair, folded his arms, and gave Draco’s mother an appraising look. “If you can produce those receipts, Mrs Malfoy, then yes, you will be free to go. I will accompany you to your home to collect them. Your husband and your son will remain here until I send word that the paperwork is in order.”
His mother stood and walked to the door, holding her head high, her bearing as regal as ever. She waited for Robards to open the door and then followed the two Aurors from the room. Draco waited there with his father for almost an hour. His father kept muttering under his breath about the ring, and the betrayal of the Malfoy legacy, but Draco didn’t speak; he was too busy brooding. His thoughts kept returning to Potter and his unrestrained arrogance. How appalling to have him drag the entire family down to this godforsaken hell hole, under the most ridiculous of false pretenses? How humiliating that Potter witnessed his mother being forced to lay the cracks in their family out for all to see? Saint Potter, with his perfect life and sanctimonious attitude. He really was the scum of the earth.
At last, after what seemed like an eternity, the door opened. Potter was standing in the doorway, and Draco could see Terry Boot loitering just behind him, apparently still hanging on Potter’s coat-tails.
“We’ve confirmed Mrs Malfoy’s story,” said Potter, flatly. “You’re free to go.” He stood back to let them leave the room.
His father immediately stalked towards the apparition point, but Draco found himself hanging back. He couldn’t leave without bringing Potter down a peg or two. He turned and looked at his former classmates.
Ignoring Boot, Draco took a step closer to Potter. “I expect you enjoyed that, didn’t you, Potter? Treating honest families like common criminals? Is that how you get your kicks these days?”
Potter looked at him coldly. “Get lost, Malfoy. I really don’t give a shit about you or your pathetic family.”
“Oh no, of course! How could I possibly forget? That’s not how you get your kicks at all, is it? You get them where half the other boys at Hogwarts did. Do say hello to Ginny for me, by the way. We got very close last year. I saw her playing for the Harpies recently, although it took me a while to recognise her, since it was only a broom between her legs for once.”
Potter moved so quickly, Draco didn’t have any time to react. His wand remained firmly in its holster, just out of reach, as Potter grabbed him by the collar of his robes, and pushed him hard up against the wall.
“Don’t you dare talk about her, Malfoy, you little prick!”
Draco could feel Potter’s breath on his nose, his face only inches away. Although he was genuinely concerned that Potter might be about to headbutt him, he couldn’t resist another dig. “Touchy subject, eh Potter? Still, it can’t be fun knowing what a slapper your girlfriend is.”
Potter shoved him hard against the wall again, before Boot pulled him away, hands firmly on Potter’s shoulders.
“Leave him, Harry. He’s not worth it.”
Potter shrugged Terry away angrily, but took a couple of paces back. His face was a mask of fury and loathing.
Draco turned and walked away, still seething. In spite of the indignities Potter had inflicted on his family, he felt a perverse sense of gratitude. Ever since the night that Ginny Weasley had humiliated him in the Shrieking Shack, he had been carefully plotting his revenge. But until this moment, he had never been able to summon the courage to follow through. Now, he felt as though Potter had lit a fire underneath him. In his anger, he found the strength to do what was necessary to see them both suffer. His lips settled into a cold sneer as he prepared to bring their happy little world crashing down.
On Tuesday morning, the shrill ringing of the alarm clock gradually pulled Ginny away from her dreams. She groaned, rolled over, and fumbled for the button to turn it off, then reluctantly tumbled out of bed and shuffled towards the bathroom. As usual, the warm water cascading over her head and shoulders revived her.
Her thoughts turned to Harry, and she wondered how best to help him. She knew, because Ron had told Hermione, the bones of what had happened the night of Percy’s engagement party. That she had been sleeping peacefully while Harry was facing that ordeal pained her enormously. Still, she mused, it isn’t as though it’s the first time that’s happened. And, if she was honest, that was the reality of going out with an Auror. It bothered her to realise that it would always be like this; Harry would continue to put his life on the line on a regular basis, whether she liked it or not.
Regardless of her unease, she was very concerned about her boyfriend. She hadn’t spoken to him since Ben’s death, and although they had arranged to talk via the mirrors that evening, she had no idea what to say to him. She knew Harry so well; how heavily he felt the weight of responsibility on his shoulders, his seemingly endless capacity to feel guilt for events well beyond his control, his habit of retreating into his shell and brooding when things didn’t go his way. When he got into that sort of mood, it was so difficult to reach him. She just hoped that when they were face to face again, she would be able to find a way to get through to him.
Then there were her own feelings to consider, which added a further layer of complexity. She felt frustrated and rejected. Why hadn’t he come to her straight away? Didn’t he need her? On top of that was her own guilt. Instinctively, she had felt it was best to wait for Harry to come to her, but what if she was wrong? What if she should have raced to his side? She sighed, and reached out to turn off the water.
Preoccupied, Ginny lingered for a lot longer than she should have in the bathroom. By the time she was dried and dressed, she was in serious danger of being late for training. Standing in her bedroom, she briefly considered tidying away the clothes she had discarded on the floor the previous evening, and pulling the sheets across to the make the bed, but decided that, on reflection, she would rather come home to an untidy bedroom than risk the wrath of Gwenog Jones. She headed downstairs, grabbed her training bag and broom, and dashed out of the front door.
Just moments after Ginny left, there was a quiet ‘pop’ in the living room as Draco Malfoy apparated directly into the house, once again thanking his lucky stars that she had so little in the way of protective enchantments set. He took a moment to adjust to his surroundings, then headed up the stairs to find Ginny’s bedroom. He smiled grimly as he set about putting his plan into action.
Once in Ginny’s room, he quickly located the charmed mirror that showed not his own reflection but an empty room that he recognised as Harry’s bedroom at the house in London. At the time, he had regretted accepting the invitation to that stupid Christmas party. Now, he couldn’t have been more pleased. There was a certain satisfaction in knowing that his time hadn’t been wasted after all.
Taking out his wand, Draco examined the mirror carefully. He located the charm that Potter must have worked, connecting this mirror to his own in London. Slowly and carefully, he began to work a charm of his own, designed to change what the mirror would reflect to its distant partner. Weaving it into the existing spellwork, especially when the original was not his own, was a painstaking and delicate task, and he forced himself not to rush. He couldn’t afford any mistakes if this was going to work.
Once he was happy the new charm had it had taken, he prepared himself for the next stage. Taking a deep breath, he called to mind a powerful vision, the particular scene that once gave him so much pleasure. This was what he wanted the mirror to reflect the next time anyone happened to look into its partner in London. Pulling it from deep within his own imagination into his conscious mind was every bit as strange as Draco thought it would be.
It had been months since he allowed himself to replay this once-treasured scene, and he felt the familiar thrill as he did so now. There was a rush of sensation and emotion, followed by a pang that came with the knowledge that using it in this way would weaken it forever. He knew it was absolutely vital to his plan, but even after all these months, after he had been so utterly humiliated by Ginny Weasley, he found he was reluctant to give it up. To be honest, knowing that he would have to do so was one of the reasons why he had delayed for so long.
Holding his wand to his temple, he pulled the fantasy from his head. Immediately, he felt the intensity fade, and he looked at it dispassionately as it hung from his wand like a fat bruise-coloured worm. Now that it was gone, he was glad to be released from it. It represented weakness, and it had no place in his life.
Carefully, he moved it close to the mirror, and wove it into his charm, then stepped back and nodded. He couldn’t tell whether it had really taken without looking into the mirror in London, and that was a risk that he couldn’t possibly take. Potter wouldn’t have been so lax about his own security arrangements. He knew that he had worked his spell as best as he could, and he was satisfied with that. Only time would tell whether it was good enough, and if it was then revenge was so very close now.
He had one final task to do before leaving, and it took him just a few minutes to set monitoring spells around the room. After all, he wanted to be able to observe the impact of his efforts. Once it was done, he nodded to himself, then turned on the spot and headed home to wait.
Harry perched on the roof of Grimmauld Place looking out over the rooftops of London, glistening damp and orange in the light of the streetlamps. It was horrible weather for early September, but despite the persistent drizzle, he had chosen to fly home from the Ministry as a peregrine rather than apparating. It had been a tough day at work; Ben’s death cast an enormous shadow over the office and he needed the fresh air and some space to think.
On Monday, Mr Ollivander had identified the wand taken from the crime scene as belonging to a wizard called Dipper Barghest, but despite the best efforts of the entire team, they had been unable to turn up any useful information about him. Harry, Marcus and Susan had searched his flat, but found nothing more incriminating than a pile of unwashed plates in the sink.
The place gave the distinct impression of someone who had recently come into money. The carpets were worn and the decor was very shabby, but there was a lot of new, high-end furniture, and the wardrobe was full of expensive clothing, much of which was unworn. The new items were all from wizarding stores, which just confused the team even more. It was clear that Barghest had taken his cut of the robbery proceeds in Galleons, but no-one was any the wiser how Jugson was exchanging the money.
Elsewhere, Ron’s research showed that Barghest had no family and all his known associates were either dead or in Azkaban. His background gave them no more clues than his flat. With both the dead wizard and the Malfoy ring leading to absolutely nowhere, and no new leads at all, the case was at a standstill. It caused a lot of friction in the office. Everyone wanted to do their best for Ben, and the knowledge that his murderer was still at large was difficult to cope with. Tuesday morning had been especially hard, because Ben’s brother had visited the Ministry to collect his personal effects. The sorrow on his face as he carried that single cardboard box out of the office hit Harry like a fist in the solar plexus.
Things hadn’t improved after lunch. He had started looking at some of his other files, but he couldn’t get into the Nexus when he needed it. Jeremy had snapped at him for making excuses, and although Harry knew he was just frustrated at the lack of progress on the Jugson case, it still stung. Then to cap it all, Gawain had walked in in the middle of their spat, so now the Head Auror thought he was useless too. All in all, he was glad the day was over.
He was a bit early for his chat with Ginny via the mirror, but that didn’t matter. He would sit and wait for her. Just looking at her room would help to calm him down. He glided off the roof and alighted in the back yard, where he quickly took his human form. He let himself in through the back door then headed straight up the stairs into his room and sat down in front of the mirror in the corner. And that’s when the bottom fell out of his world.
Because there, in front of him, was Ginny. In her bed. And she wasn’t alone. He watched, unable to tear his eyes away from what was happening in front of him, as Ginny, naked and beaded with sweat, writhed on top of a slender figure whose face was obscured, until she bucked away from him. Draco Malfoy.
The ice in his blood melted away as a hot red fury descended over him. Ginny Weasley, the woman he loved with every fibre of his being, was cheating on him. Malfoy’s words from just a few days ago rang through his mind, taunting and threatening, and he cursed himself for dismissing them so easily. The betrayal, the humiliation and the wrenching pain in his gut overwhelmed him. Looking up into the mirror, he saw them still intertwined, and he couldn’t take it anymore. Nothing less than tearing Malfoy limb from limb would do.
Snatching up his wand, he barrelled out of his room and down the stairs, almost knocking over Ron as he pushed past him in the corridor. Ron’s shout of surprise was met only with a growl, as Harry ran out of the house, leaving the door standing wide open as he disapparated on the top step.
Ginny was exhausted when she finally returned home after the day’s training; Gwenog had worked them hard. Her shoulders were stiff, her legs ached, and she had the beginnings of a wicked bruise on her hip where she hadn’t been quite quick enough to elude one of the Bludgers towards the end of the session.
Checking her watch, she decided she had time for a bath before her chat with Harry. She stripped off her clothing and ran the water, hotter than usual with a good handful of the soothing herbs that the Harpies healer had recommended for loosening the muscles. With a sigh of contentment, she settled into the water for a good long soak.
Her eyes were closed and she was drifting away, until she was disturbed by a loud bang from downstairs, as someone apparated directly into her lounge without putting any care into it. A split second later, she heard a voice shouting her name. No, not shouting as much as screaming. The voice was so distorted that at first she didn’t recognise it. She leapt out of the bath in alarm, struggled into her robe, and hurried to the top of the stairs to find Harry charging up to meet her, wand drawn, face contorted with anger.
“Where is he?” screamed Harry, slamming into her and pushing her into the bedroom. His eyes searched the room, wild with fury. “I swear I’m going to kill him! And you! You bitch! How could you do this to me?”
“Harry? What’s going on?” Ginny was bewildered. Why was he saying those things? It made no sense.
“I know what you’ve been cheating on me, Ginny! Don’t you dare deny it!”
“Me? Cheating on you? Why on earth would you think that?”
“I saw you, Ginny! You and Malfoy. In your bed. Wrapped around each other.”
“Malfoy? What on earth are you talking about, Harry? This is ridiculous!”
Harry grabbed her wrist, so hard that she yelped as his fingernails dug into the delicate skin there, spinning her around and gesturing at the wall opposite the bed. “In the mirror, Ginny. I saw you with him in the mirror.”
“Done a runner already, has he? I bet he heard me coming and ran off home to Mummy. I don’t know how you dare to stand there and lie to me. Look at you – that tarty little robe falling off you, next to a bed you’ve clearly just been rolling around in! I trusted you, Ginny. And all that time you were screwing Malfoy too! I can’t believe I never realised what a slut you are!”
The harshness of his words pushed Ginny past shock and she flew headlong into a rage of her own.
“How dare you? How dare you speak to me like that, Harry Potter! You have no right to barge into my home and start throwing such vile accusations at me! Calling me such dreadful things! None of it’s true, none of it!”
“I know what I saw, Ginny! It’s bad enough that you’ve been fucking Malfoy behind my back, but now you’re going to lie to me about it too? Just how stupid do you think I am? Did you enjoy laughing at me together? Or wasn’t there any time for that?”
“I haven’t been laughing at anyone about anything because it never happened! You’re being a total bastard, you know that? You’re delusional! Making up a bunch of utter bullshit to throw at me for no reason at all!”
“What? You thought you could get away with it? Just deny everything and pretend I’m making it all up? How thick do you think I am? You were screwing Malfoy where you knew I could see you!”
“I was doing no such thing! You’ve gone mad! Totally off your rocker!”
Harry’s face was so twisted by rage, his familiar features were almost unrecognisable. “I’m not staying here to listen to any more of this bollocks!”
“Go on, then!” she shouted. “Get out! If that’s what you really think of me, then I couldn’t bear to have you anywhere near me anyway!”
Harry swung around in his fury, wand pointed at the mirror. “Deprimo!” he yelled. The mirror shattered as the spell slammed into it, cracking into several shards and held together only by the silver frame. Then he stumbled towards the window and by the time he arrived, he had taken his peregrine form. Perched on her windowsill, he looked back at her, amber eyes piercing her with a look of such hatred that she almost recoiled. Then he spread his wings and was gone.
Ginny stood perfectly still for several minutes, shocked by what had just happened. It didn’t seem real. Gradually, the enormity of it hit her. She slumped down on the edge of her bed, staring after him. Ginny was tough; really tough. She so rarely cried, but this time, the tears came unbidden. And once they started, she found that they just wouldn’t stop.
A/N - Oh dear! Poor Harry and Ginny! Please don't hate me for doing this to them - it wasn't really me, it was Draco Malfoy:-)! I really hope you'll still stick with the story - as I said, the path to true love never did run smooth, and I promise this is by far the biggest bump in their particular road. I have lots more plans for them, on their road to happiness in Nineteen Years Later*!
I really hope you enjoyed the chapter, despite the unhappy conclusion, and if you did, then credit is due to my awesome beta reader, CambAngst, who continues to help me be a better writer. And if you really didn't like it, please don't blame him! Just go and read his fantastic story, Harry Potter and the Conspiracy of Blood instead, because it's amazing!
I know that there has been something of a delay between chapters recently. That's partly because I've been really busy, but also partly because I've been nervous about what sort of reception I could expect for this chapter. So, it's with some trepidation that I say - I would love you to leave me a review and let me know what you think! I haven't been brilliant at responding to reviews recently, but I do so love getting them, and I promise I'll be putting that right very soon. I also have several more chapters already written, and my plan is to get them posted pretty rapidly, so please do keep a look out for them.
Thanks for reading!
*Nineteen Years Later is the Epilogue to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by JK Rowling.