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I Never Thought I'd Be A Hero by Original Dark Angel

Format: Novel
Chapters: 35
Word Count: 49,244

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Mild Language, Strong Violence, Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature, Substance Use or Abuse, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: Humor, Romance, Action/Adventure
Characters: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Snape, Voldemort, Luna, Draco, Ginny, OC
Pairings: Ron/Hermione, Draco/Ginny, Harry/Luna, OC/OC

First Published: 06/22/2005
Last Chapter: 08/03/2006
Last Updated: 08/03/2006

broken banner link removed by staff. A_w

The Sixth and Seventh Years according to Ginny's POV as she becomes a spy for the order, forced to act as Draco Malfoy's girlfriend for an unknown period of time. Will also contain some of Draco's POV. You've been warned.

Chapter 1: Prologue
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“Mummy?” Ginny paused and turned back to her beautiful six-year-old daughter, Sara. “James was telling the kindergarten today how his daddy and mummy and their friend were the ones to stop Voldemort. Did you or Daddy ever do anything important in the Great War?”

Do any thing important in the Great War? Ginny thought to herself. We were the youngest aurorers in almost three decades. We stuck together despite opposition from friends and family. We survived. It was so long ago, but I will never forget that fateful evening when Albus Dumbledore brought Draco Malfoy to #12 Grimmauld Place, would never forget my friends’ reactions, would never forget how it changed my life. You see, I never thought that I would be a hero.

She and Ron were playing Wizard’s Chess. Hermione had been draped over a chair, reading Hogworts, A History for the millionth time. Neville and Luna sat in the corner reading the Quibbler, and Harry sulked by the fire with the magic mirrors Sirius had given them. He was always sulking these days, even sulked straight through Bill and Fleur’s wedding ceremony.

Then Dumbledore appeared with Malfoy. Harry had leapt up ready to jinx, but Dumbledore calmly disarmed him. “Draco is here on my invitation, Harry. Jinxing him would be poor form.”

“He’s a Malfoy,” Harry spat. “His aunt killed Sirius and his parents are deatheaters, and . . . and . . . and he’s a Malfoy.”

“You’re repeating yourself, Potter,” drawled Malfoy. “My surname has nothing to do with who I am.”

“It’s everything!” Harry exploded.

“Harry, please sit down, or I’ll be forced to stun you,” Dumbledore said sharply. “I understand your feelings about this, but I’m afraid that I can’t respect them. Draco has been my spy since he came here at eleven. The information he has gleaned from his home and the children of the other death eaters has proven valuable time and time again. In order to win the confidence of his family and friends, he pretended to violently dislike you all.”

“I don’t like Potter, period. Weasley, Longbottom, and Granger the same, although I apologize for calling her a mudblood. I personally don’t care as long as you’re on our side. “I’ve nothing against Lovegood or the little Weasley.”

“Thank you, Draco,” Dumbledore cut in while Ginny fumed inwardly. Little Weasley, indeed. I’ll show him. She forced herself to listen to Dumbledore. “The point is Draco Malfoy is on our side. He is a highly skilled wizard and an important member of the Order of the Phoenix.”

“No fair,” Ron exclaimed. “You said underage wizards couldn’t join!”

“I have changed my mind. You will all be inducted tonight, should you decide that this is what you really want.” Dumbledore paused and studied Ginny. “Ginevra, I need to know your answer now, because Draco’s next assignment requires you.”

Picturing herself in some daring fight, winning praise and respect from both the order and Malfoy, she nodded. “I’ll do it.”

Draco’s girlfriend. Ginny would pretend to be Draco Malfoy’s girlfriend, to infiltrate the circle of deatheaters. She was having a very odd day. With a sigh, she laid out her oldest hand-me-downs for the next day. The first day of a very long charade.

Chapter 2: Charades
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Ginny trailed along after her friends and family, growing more sullen by the moment. Anyone following them would have seen her argue for new things four out of five shops. They would have seen her slighted by the dream team and condescendingly patted on the head by her father.

Next stop, the ice cream shop was where she would succumb to a fit of temper. She waited for just the right moment, just after her father ordered a small one scoop vanilla ice cream cone for her. Then she exploded.

“Can’t I even choose my own ice cream?! You’ve ordered the same thing for me since I was five years old. I’m not five anymore! I’m fifteen and perfectly able to choose my own ice cream flavor, however big I want!”

“Here, Gin. Just order another cone.” Harry shoved a galleon into her hand, face a little shocked. She threw it at the floor.

“My name is GINNY, not Gin, and I don’t want you to give me money just to shut me up. I want respect. I thought you of all people would give me some respect. Last year I was hurt and you were too busy with precious Hermione to give me a second glance. Well, I don’t need you. I don’t need my family and these stupid second hand school supplies, and hand-me-downs. Just watch!” She stormed out. She caught a glimpse of a dramatic sweep of Draco’s cloak, as he threw change on the table and followed her. Outside he caught her.

“I think I may have misjudged you, Weasley. You have real potential.”

“What do you want, Malfoy?”

“To give you some respect. Those fools didn’t realize how special you are. Smart, talented, brave, beautiful,” he offered. Laying it on a little thick, aren’t you, Malfoy? thought Ginny, as he continued. “You deserve better than their heap of junk. Come with me, a shopping trip, and I’ll pay the bill, Princess.” All through this, Ginny had preened and nodded, but now she paused. “Come on,” he coaxed. “Try something a little dark and dangerous.”

Spying her family watching from the ice cream parlor window, open mouthed, prompted her to move a little closer to Malfoy, putting a hand on first one shoulder than the other, she nodded. “Something dark . . . and dangerous . . . and mine.” She whispered that last phrase into his ear. “Sounds perfect,” she added, leaning back. “I accept. As long as you promise to show me a great time.”

“That I can promise you.”

Six hours later, Ginny hung on Draco’s arm at the Leaky Cauldron, now dressed in a slinky black halter top, black jeans, and high heels, bags around her feet filled with similar clothes, including new robes that actually fit. She sneered at her own family as they passed by on their way to the fireplace. The twins and Ron stalked by clearly not speaking to her. Her father’s face tightened at her companion, and he hurried a fluttering, anxious Mum ahead of him in the same way that Ron had Hermione. Harry looked back and called her.

“Oh, I’ll catch up. You go on ahead.”

“I’m not leaving you alone in Diagon Alley with the likes of him wandering about!” Harry jerked his head in Malfoy’s direction.

“Well, I’m not alone, am I, Harry? I have Draco to protect me.”

Harry grabbed her arm. “I’m not leaving you with a Malfoy as an escort!” He was suddenly blasted backward away from Ginny. Malfoy calmly pocketed his wand.

“I believe the lady said that she wished for you to leave. Manhandling her is something I will not permit.” He turned to Ginny and offered his arm. “Mother is waiting for me in the back room. Shall we go?” Ginny took his arm and left, ignoring Harry.

“Draco, what is this?” Narcissa asked in surprise.

“Meet Ginny, Mother. Found her in the ice cream parlor and I couldn’t take my eyes off her.”

“A Weasley? Your Father . . .”

“She’s much more sensible than the rest of her family.”

“She’s friends with a mudblood, Draco.”

“Hermione Granger was never my ‘friend.’ She was merely using me to get closer to my brother, Ron.” Ginny said, coolly. “Besides, it isn’t a matter of blood. It’s a matter of power. Power and desire.”

Impressed, Narcissa leaned forward and studied Ginny openly. Ginny met her gaze, with a cool stare. Narcissa nodded. “Pride, confidence, and beauty. An excellent combination, my dear. Draco is a fair judge of character. I do hope to see you again.” Turning to her son, she ordered, “Say good bye, Draco. I need to get back to the manor.”

“Yes, Mother.” He turned to Ginny, brushing a kiss across her cheek. “I’ll see you on the train next week. I’ll save you a seat.” Then he handed her the bags and joined his mother. “Good bye, Ginny.” Ginny turned and stepped into the private flame and muttered her destination.

She was greeted by victorious cheers and loud war whoops.

Lupin nodded, “Excellent performance, Ginny. Any spies would have been convinced. Remind me to compliment Draco on his equal acting talents when I next see him.”

“Mrs. Malfoy never suspected then?” Dumbledore asked quizzically.

“Thinks I’m perfect for Draco and my cold attitude probably helped.”

“You had us fooled and we knew the truth,” giggled Hermione. “And you even got a shopping trip out of it!”

“An all-expenses-paid-for-by-the-Malfoys shopping trip, whatever I wanted. Draco just threw money across the counter like it was peanuts.”

“I overheard two old witches gossiping about ‘the mess the Weasley girl got herself into’ and ‘how she treated that poor Potter boy,’” added Neville.

“Well done, Ginevra. I must go check in with Draco now. Good-bye all.” With this final comment, Dumbledore stepped into the flames and disappeared.

Hermione turned to Ginny. “Let’s go see what you got and pick out your clothes for Tuesday!”

Ginny stalked after her family, pushing her trunk. She only let her face brighten when she saw Draco. She pulled away from her mother’s hug and ran to him. He caught her and kissed her cheek, before wrapping one arm loosely around her waist in a possessive gesture. He gestured to two of his house elves, which lifted Ginny’s trunk into place. Ginny felt bad for them, her trunk was considerably heavy this year with all her new things, but held fast to her new position in life as Draco Malfoy’s girlfriend. He led her to the prefect’s car. It was filled to capacity, because two new kids had been told to sit there as well. The girl chatted openly, but the boy had his hood pulled up and stared out the window. Since there was nowhere for her to sit, she sat on Draco’s lap, one hand resting comfortably on his shoulder, drawing stares from all. Colin Creevy was furious and refused to even look at her. Luna, Hermione, and Ron were all making a point of ignoring her as well. Pansy, on the other hand, was staring at her with a glare that if looks could kill, Ginny had no hope. Ginny stared back, until Pansy shifted uncomfortably and broke the silence.

“Finally got decent clothes, Weasel?” she sneered. “What’d you do? Sell your house?”

“Keep a civil tongue in your head when you’re talking to my girlfriend, Pansy,” Draco drawled. “If you don’t, the consequences will be most painful.”

“But . . . but . . .” Pansy burst into tears and ran from the compartment.

“Come on, Ron,” Hermione sniffed. “We’re supposed to patrol the corridor.” They swept out, followed by Colin.

“Finally,” Ginny muttered under her breath turning to look at Draco. “He’s been such a pain, since Diagon Alley. I hate it when he-” The train slammed to a stop, and she was thrown against Draco, hands against the walls over his shoulder, body against his, and faces an inch apart. “Any excuse,” she whispered.

“Damn straight,” he muttered and claimed her mouth with his. Up to this point, she had been thinking Act! Act Ginny, like your life depends on it, because it probably does. But when Draco Malfoy kisses you, you don’t have to act. The only thing you can do is react.

“Malfoy, get your filthy hands off my sister!” Ron yelled, grabbing Ginny’s shoulder and pulling her away. She stomped on Ron’s foot, and jerked her head back, hitting him hard. “OW!” He let go of her and clutched his nose.

Ginny turned on him with a fury. “I am fifteen years old, Ronald Weasley! And I’m certainly old enough to decide who I want to kiss!”

“Yeah, that’s why you dated Michael Corner last year?! Cause you’re old enough to decide?!” Ron shouted, still holding his nose. “Hey, dementor! The Malfoy boy is in here!” he called out into the corridor. “The ministry sent dementors to escort the children of the Deatheaters to Hogwarts. He plans to meet them there, for a little chat,” he smirked evilly.

“Ron!” Ginny had noticed Malfoy go white at the mention of dementors. “How could you?!” By this time a dementor had appeared in the doorway. Memory of the quick kiss still running through her, she lifted her wand, “Expecto Patronum!” The silver cobra that flew from her wand was no mist or vapor, but a full solid shimmering patronus that made the dementor turn away. Moments later a harassed ministry official appeared in the doorway.

“Miss Weasley, what is the meaning of this?!” he demanded. “We’re under orders to ensure that these students arrive at Hogwarts.”

“There is no need for dementors, Mr. Krane,” she said severely. “I give you my word that Draco Malfoy will arrive at Hogwarts. Should you want to speak to any student at that time, I suggest you clear it with Dumbledore.”

“So its true. The rumors. I never would have thought it of a Weasley.” Grumbling about teenage witches and lousy pay, he left with the dementors.

Ginny sat down next to Draco. She saw the marks his fingernails had left in his palm and made a mental note to find out what Draco didn’t want to remember.

Chapter 3: Hogwarts
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Upon entering the Great Hall, everyone was stunned to see the long house tables were no longer in existence. Instead small round tables bearing all four colors were scattered through out the hall. Ginny sat next to Malfoy at the one closest to the Slytherin Flag. Hermione, Ron, Harry, Neville, and Luna took seats at a table across the Hall under the Gryffindor Banner. Ginny looked around nervously, as Crabbe and Goyle sat down with them, hoping against hope that Pansy wouldn’t sit with them in the last chair. But as Pansy came forward, Draco called out “Blaise, hurry up!” and a dark haired boy sat on her other side. As dark as Draco was fair, Blaise studied her openly. Ginny didn’t glare at him. She had the feeling he wouldn’t fall for it and this guy’s good opinion was something that she’d need long before Crabbe or Goyle’s.

Finally he nodded. “Good choice, Draco. Prettier, smarter, and sweeter than Pansy at any rate.” He offered his hand. “Blaise Zambini.”

“Ginny Weasley.”

“Pleased to meet you.” Blaise immediately turned to Draco and started interrogating him in Latin.

Draco shook his head. “May as well speak English, Blaise. Ginny speaks Latin as well as we do.”

Blaise said something that roughly translated to mean: “But the two ogres don’t.”

“True.” He and Blaise began chatting back and forth in Latin, while Ginny added a comment here and there. They were so caught up in conversation that they almost missed the First Years entrance. “Did they row across the lake or swim it?” Draco inserted into the conversation, reverting back to English, standing up to get a better look at the soaked First Years. “There are only seven of them, and the two new students.”

“The girl looks about our age.” Blaise put in, “but the boy looks older, probably a Seventh Year.” The new boy turned to look at them, making Ginny and Blaise shiver as his cold look slid over them. “Remind me not to cross him.”

Draco’s hand tightened around Ginny’s bruising her fingers. She slid closer to him. He wrapped his arm around her waist, and whispered into her ear. “Don’t go near that boy unless I’m with you,” he hissed. Ginny nodded, and forced herself to smile, lean over to kiss his cheek as if he had said something sweet.

Dumbledore stood and waved for silence. “I’d like to introduce our two new exchange students, Dominique Delacour from Beauxbatens, and Lucas Lestrange from Durmstrang. We shall sort them first and then our first years.” Dominique Delacour was added to Ravenclaw and Lucas Lestrange was placed in Slytherin.

The first years sorting took second place to the boy walking towards them. Dark hair, black eyes, and cruel stare in place, he advanced on Draco, with a cheery “Cousin Draco!”

“Lucas.” Draco’s tone was cold.

“What kind of welcome is that for your dear cousin? Pretty girl you’ve got there.”

“Keep you hands and spells off her. Plenty of girls at Hogwarts; no need to mess with mine. Try your talents out on Parkinson if you must,” Draco said in disgust. “Crabbe! Goyle! Move aside for my cousin.” Lucas moved a chair and sat between the two thugs. “Get to the point, Lucas, and tell us what the bloody hell you’re doing here.”

“No introductions, Draco?”

“Crabbe, Goyle, Blaise Zambini, meet my cousin, Lucas Lestrange.”

“You forgot your pretty girlfriend.”

“That was my intention,” Draco said shortly. “Blast it. Dumbledore’s finished. Parkinson can take the first years. I’ll walk you to your common room,” he directed towards Ginny, taking her hand in his, and leaving the others behind. Dropping behind the group of excited students, he whispered softly, “Stay away from Lucas. He’s raped and killed more girls than you could imagine.”

“Dumbledore wouldn’t let a felon-”

“He’s not a felon. But just because you can’t prove it, doesn’t mean he didn’t do it. And Dumbledore has his reasons.” He switched topics abruptly. “How do you think we did with fooling everyone?”

“Crabbe and Goyle are too thick to comprehend much of anything. Pansy is jealous. My friends won’t speak to me. Your cousin is drooling over me, so I doubt he realized anything odd. I’m not sure about Blaise.”

“He’s smart, and he’ll be the hardest one to fool.”

“I’m surprised you hang out with the two trolls over him.”

“Crabbe and Goyle are my bodyguards. Blaise is my friend.” She could tell that he was struggling to keep his voice calm. “Look, he has always claimed to be against Voldemort and encourages me to stand up to my father. But he might be a very well placed spy, so be careful what you say to him.”

“I will.” She stopped in front of the fat lady’s portrait. “Thanks, Draco.”

He pulled her back and kissed her good night just as a group of her roommates came up the stairs. The kiss continued despite her friends giggles, and when it finally ended he stepped back and brought her fingertips to his lips. “Good night Ginny.” He turned and walked away. Ginny flushed and turning to the portrait, mumbled the password to enter.

Chapter 4: Distraction or Bait
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Being Draco Malfoy’s girlfriend was changing Ginny’s life. She enjoyed the privileges it brought, was miserable about not being able to talk to her friends, and was terrified of Lucas. Everywhere she went, she felt his eyes on her. She simply moved closer to Draco and started a PDA. It was their code for Watch out for Lucas. As much as she disliked Malfoy, he was the only safe link she had to her old world. And, horror of horrors, she was actually starting to get along with Draco Malfoy. When they were studying with Blaise, he actually acted like a human being. True the study sessions usually turned into perfectly timed PDA (to Blaise’s amusement as he sat back and watched), until Madame Pince chased them from the library, but the banter up until then was no different then when she had studied with her friends last year. She was growing fond of Blaise. He made it easy for both her and Draco to relax. For Draco’s sake, she hoped he wasn’t the spy they feared he was.

“Hogsmeade Trip on Halloween and then the Great Feast is a masque ball.” Blaise plopped down across from Ginny and Draco at breakfast. “Got any costume ideas?”

“Not yet. We’ll check out the new costume shop in Hogsmeade. Madame Fright’s, I do believe. Rather lame pun. You?”

“Something dashing and heroic to make the girls swoon. Come on, Ginny. Share what the girls are attracted to. Help a poor dateless boy out, will you? Please?”

Ginny thought for a moment. “Over the summer, I saw an American movie called The Mask of Zorro. The hero was a masked swordsman, who fought to save the people from an evil governor. The role would be perfect for you. A dashing rogue dressed in black should ensure at least two girls fighting for your attention by the end of the night,” she offered.

“Sounds perfect. Thanks, Ginny” Blaise kissed her cheek and ran off.

“So the lady is attracted to dashing rogues?” Draco raised an eyebrow at her. “I had better find a suitable costume before I lose you to Blaise.”

“Don’t be stupid, Draco,” she said sharply. “Not like I ha-“ The tingling on the back of her neck alerted her to Lucas’s presence, and she switched tactics abruptly. “Not like I could ever love anyone other than you.”

Draco’s eyes flashed up and seeing Lucas, he leaned forward to kiss her. “I’ll never let you leave me.”

Ginny wrapped Draco’s green and silver scarf around her neck ignoring the pointed glares of her fellow Gryffindors. She left the common room without speaking to anyone. Draco was waiting for her outside the portrait hole. She looked around. “Where’s Blaise?”

“He’s not going. His mum sent his costume along with a private tutor in swordplay. He’ll meet us at the feast. Rumor has it that Dumbledore booked The Weird Sisters to play tonight.”

“Can you dance?”

“Of course I can dance.” He paused. “Why do you ask?”

“Neville couldn’t.”

“Longbottom is a clumsy oaf. I can dance, and I found the perfect costumes.” They joined the group of kids standing in front of the school. He opened the magazine flier and pointed to a picture. “These.”

Ginny stood in Pansy’s room, waiting for the other girl to finish getting ready. Ginny had been ready for fifteen minutes, but Pansy was still trying to arrange her black curly hair like Ginny’s. Ginny’s hair hung straight to her waist under a spectacular gold diadam. Her eyes were lined with kohl, and she wore a fabulously bejeweled Egyptian costume. Pansy wore a cheap gold imitation in the ever present attempt to win back Draco. Ginny straightened her chiffon skirt. Pansy looked at her in the mirror. “Who are you supposed to be again?”

“Akasha, Queen of the Damned.” At Pansy’s confused look, she elaborated. “One of the vampires from Draco’s Anne Rice novels. He’s going to be the Vampire, Lestat. And you are?” From Pansy’s look, she could tell the girl didn’t have any idea, and she doubted that Pansy even knew where the costume had originated. Taking pity on her, Ginny added, “One of the great Egyptian Queens of course, but which one?”

She watched as Pansy thought for a moment. “Cleopatra.”

How original, Ginny thought, but didn’t voice her sarcasm. “Of course. Do you mind if I go on ahead?”

“Not at all. See you at the Feast.”

Ginny slipped from the room and hurried to the Great Hall, hoping to arrive before the ball started, but Pansy had made her late. So every eye was on her as she entered. Draco appeared at her side and pulled her into the dance. Other than a few edgewise glances, everyone returned their attention to their partners. Ginny leaned against Draco, whispering quietly, “You couldn’t have chosen a less attention-getting costume for me?”

“On the contrary, I wanted us to stand out and be the center of attention.”

“Oh, I stand out, alright. I expect my brother will write to Mum tonight, explaining how well I stood out-wait a moment-why do you want us to stand out?”

“I have my reasons. Think of it this way. Our lives depend on how well we stand out.” He pulled her closer. “What do you think of my costume?”

“Very appealing. Surprisingly enough.” The song ended and Pansy chose this moment to make her grand entrance, shocking everyone. Ginny looked up at Draco. “I swear that outfit wasn’t like that when I left her!” Ginny had thought her own costume was revealing. Pansy had reduced hers to an ill-fitting gold lamae bikini with a see through skirt and enough jewelry to sink a boat.

As Pansy swayed towards them, Draco backed away. “I doubt she was this drunk either.” Professor Snape caught their eyes and jerked his head towards Pansy. With a sigh, Draco pulled out a chair for Ginny. “Stay right here. I’ll be right back.” He summoned Crabbe and Goyle. Between the three of them, they managed to move Pansy out of the Great Hall.

Ginny didn’t notice the man in black behind her until he held out a rose to her. “For the Senorita!” he said in a heavily fake Spanish accent.

“Blaise! Your costume is wonderful.”

“Por favor. Would the senorita care to dance?”

“Of course ‘Zorro’ I would love to.” He pulled her to her feet and skillfully led her through the dance, guiding her into a room off the Great Hall. “Blaise?” she asked nervously. Then she saw that Zorro’s eyes beneath the mask were not Blaise’s honest blue, but an acid green.

“No, Ginevra.” He spun her around and grabbed one of the chains around her neck, pulling it tight around her throat.

Chapter 5: Only Business Right?
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Ginny struggled, but her assailant was much stronger than her. Her vision started to blur, and she ceased struggling. He was going to win.


Draco’s spell missed his target, but he didn’t. He tackled the other boy, knocking him to the floor. Ginny started to fall, but a second Zorro scooped her up and unfastened the chain, throwing it to the floor. She gasped in breath. Blaise jerked off his mask. “You’re all right, Ginny.”

Draco had been thrown back and the assailant fled through a secret passage, pausing only a moment to look back at them. Draco called after him. “Touch my girlfriend again, Lucas and I WILL kill you!” He stood up and Ginny reached for him. He took her from Blaise, and held her close. “You’re alright, Ginny.” The tears she had been biting back, determined not to cry in front of Slytherin boys, began to fall anyway. She threw her arms around his neck and buried her face in his shirt. His hands shifted to cradle her closer. “Shh. I won’t let him near you again.” Her tears subsided, but she couldn’t keep her body from shaking. He rocked her, murmuring quietly. Gradually, she ceased trembling. “Blaise, go tell Dumbledore what happened. We’ll meet him in the Hospital Wing.” Blaise held the door open for them, and Draco carried her out past everyone in the Great Hall. She saw Ron fighting his way towards them, hollering for Malfoy to put his sister down. Ginny turned her face away and tightened his hold around Draco’s neck. She heard Dumbledore direct Ron to follow them up to the Hospital Wing, and Ron’s nervous muttering. Draco didn’t stop until he placed her on the first be. Madame Pomfry made the bruises disappear in a matter of seconds, handed Ginny a pillow and told her to lay down before bustling back to her office. Ginny tried, but every time she lay down, the shaking returned. Draco stood at the foot of her bed, studying her. He finally turned and spoke. “Ginny’s out. This is too dangerous and she shouldn’t be exposed to it.”

Dumbledore looked at the pair, holding up a hand to silence Ron’s attempt to speak. “Go on.”

“We havn’t even got to the point of trying to double cross the deatheaters, and someone has already tried to attack her. It wasn’t Voldemort, wasn’t a deatheater, just a cousin of mine, who can’t wait to be a deatheater and hates me.”

Dumbledore nodded. “Vultures above, daggers below, and someone is sawing the rope. I understand Draco, but in any case, it is a little late. Ginny is in it a little far. From what you tell me of your cousin, he’ll hardly stop his pursuit of Ginny just because she is no longer your ‘girlfriend.’ She’ll be even more vulnerable.”

“Like Potter, and the rest of the Dream Team would let anything happen to her. Five protectors instead of one.”

“True, but I think the final decision rests on Ginny. What is your opinion?”

“I’m not giving in. You all warned me that this was dangerous. I knew it. I’m not giving in, and before this is over, I want to hit Lucas Lestrange with the bat-booghey hex right proper.” She turned to Draco. “I can do this and I will.”

“Now that this is settled, I want both Mr. Malfoy and Mr. Weasley to stay in the Hospital Wing with you tonight. Just in case Mr. Lestrange decides to push his luck. As far as anyone else knows, Draco was also attacked, and as it was your sister who was hurt, Mr. Weasley, your presence shouldn’t be questioned either. I must go and dismiss the ball. Good night.”

Ginny lay awake long into the night. Ron was asleep, leaning against the foot board of her bed. Draco sat in the chair next to her bed, alert to every sound. When she shifted for the millionth time, he spoke up. “Alright, Ginny?”

“No. I can’t see anything and I feel all alone.”

“Your brother and I are right here.”

“But you might leave if I fall asleep.”

“A hand found hers in the dark, his fingers tightening around hers. “Now you know I’m here. Go to sleep.” After that Ginny did.

Ginny woke up with a ring clenched in her hand. The room was empty. Carefully she unclenched her fingers and studied the ring. Smooth silver molded in the shape of a coiled snake, with emerald eyes. Inscripted into the band, was Au Portus De Malfoy. A portkey of some sort. She slipped it on her finger and hurriedly changed into her school uniform. In the Great Hall, she slid into the seat between Draco and Blaise, across from Lucas. She could see his acid green eyes fixated on her, so she leaned comfortably against Draco and smirked. Draco put an arm around her waist and she tilted her head back for a quick kiss. She moved to sit in his lap for a deeper kiss, than remained there while the boys talked about Quidditch.

“Weasley! Malfoy! Is there a chair shortage?” Snape snapped.

“No, sir.”

“Then kindly desist from this and all other forms of affection in public during the future. We have no desire to witness more spontaneous snogging.”

“Jealous of the action, Proff?” Lucus cut in. “When was your last date? When pigs flew?”

“Twenty-five points from Slytherin. And a week’s worth of detention to teach you how to respect your elders, particularly the teachers. I’ll see you in the dungeons at eight, for some muggle cleaning.” Snape strode away bright red.

“That was a stupid thing to do,” Draco commented. “I’ve never heard of Snape taking points away from Slytherin before.”

“At least I got him off your backs, Draco. You owe me.”

“I suppose I do,” Draco said thoughtfully. “What would the payment be?”

“I’ll let you know.”

Blaise, who had watched this exchange with growing shock, finally broke down. “Draco, Ginny, I need to talk to you outside. Now.”

Draco nodded. Ginny stood and followed Blaise, catching Draco’s hand. As soon as they were out of the Great Hall, he turned to Blaise. “What’s up?” he asked harshly, wrapping one arm around Ginny’s shoulders.

“How can you be so calm?! How can you talk to the idiot when he attacked Ginny?!”

“I can’t prove it. He’s better kept where I can keep an eye on him, than out of sight and plotting trouble. I’ll take care of it, Blaise.”

Ginny put a hand on Blaise’s arm to calm him. “We know what he wants now. He won’t get another chance. I’m safe with you and Draco. I know you two will protect me.”

“Fine, but I want apiece of Lucas Lestrange too. Any one who messes with my friends, messes with me.”

“We know. Thanks. It means a lot to me,” Ginny smiled sweetly.

“I’ll meet you two by the lake, if you ever get down there,” Blaise smirked. “Bye, love birds,” he called with a roll of his eyes.

“Bye, Blaise,” Ginny called after him, before turning to Draco. “He just wants to help.”

“I know.” He abruptly changed the subject. “How do you like the ring?”


“It’s a portable port-key. If you’re in trouble, twist it and it will automatically take you to my side.”


“Innit? We’d better go join Blaise, before he come looking for us. Too late.” He leaned forward and kissed her, as her arms automatically going around his neck.

“Come on, you two!” Blaise shouted.

Draco pulled away reluctantly. “We’re coming,” he called. “M’lady?” Ginny took his hand and they headed down to the lake.

A/N: Vulture/Daggers/Saw thing was a comment a friend made and the chair shortage idea came from Second Season of BtVS.

Chapter 6: To Malfoy Manor We Go
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“Ginny?” Draco’s voice made her turn around. He was right behind her, and she leaned against the bookshelf as he kissed her. “Got a proposition for you,” he whispered before kissing her again.

“Draco! Stop snogging and ask her already,” Blaise laughed. “You won’t sway her opinion with a couple of kisses.”

“Some persuasive ones might,” Draco argued.

“Not even you are that good a kisser, Draco. Close, but not quite,” Ginny laughed. “What is it?”

“Mother wants you to come home with me over Christmas break. Blaise and his family will be over on Christmas day and for the New Years Eve Ball, that mother is throwing.”

“I don’t own formal clothes for a ball,” she protested.

“I’ll buy you some. Please?”

“Ron’ll have a fit,” she warned, “and my parents won’t be pleased.”

“But you’ll come?”

“I’ll come,” she conceded. “But because I want to. Not because of your kisses, although they were certainly pleasant.”

“Only pleasant,” he growled, leaning in closer. Laughing, she ducked under his arm. “Hey!”

“Hay is for horses,” Ginny smirked, and then leaned in for a quick kiss. “You’re all mine.”

“And proud of it,” he murmured, capturing her lips again.

“Out! Out! Out!” Madame Pince shrieked. “Oh, you two! Out of my library!” Ducking flying books, the pair ran out. A minute later, Blaise joined them, still laughing.

“Not funny, Zabini,” Draco winced, rubbing the back of his head. “That hurt.”

“You should have learned your lesson the first 80 billion times that she’s kicked you out for snogging. Here’s the book you need for you essay, Ginny.”

“Thanks. If I can finish it tonight, then I’ll have time to go shopping at Hogsmeade tomorrow.”

“Forget Hogsmeade. We’ll go to Diagon Alley when we go home. Race you to the Great Hall.”

“Ginevra darling, welcome to Malfoy Manor.” Narcissa stood on the grand staircase in a fabulous black dress, with a fur stole draped over her shoulders and glittering diamond jewelry. Ginny felt like a fish out of water as the woman swept down the stairs. “I do apologize, but I must step out. There is an important lunch date that I simply can not miss, but I’m sure that the house-elves and Draco will make you feel right at home. I’ll be home in time for dinner.” She swept out, blowing a kiss at the pair.

“I feel like a field mouse,” Ginny whispered.

Draco shook his head. “Don’t let her get to you. She planned that.” He took her hand and pulled her after him. “Come on. I’ll show you to your room.”

He led her up the stairs and down the hall. He pushed open the door. Ginny stepped into the room. “This is bigger than my entire house, Malfoy.”

“What did you expect, Weasley? This is your room. The private bath is through that door. Pull the rope next to the bed if you need a house-elf. Oh, one more thing. Step in front of this mirror.” Ginny did as he directed. “Now open the wardrobe.’ She obeyed. It was filled to the brim with elegant evening gowns. “Mother likes to dress up for dinner. These will all fit, but I’ll take you shopping tomorrow for your own clothes. Enjoy the room. I’ll send Lela in with lunch at twelve. After that have her direct you to the library. I’ll meet you there.” He walked out without so much as a nod.

“Back to business, now that we’re alone,” Ginny grumbled, hands on her hips. “Every time I think that he just might be human, he turns cold as stone.” She turned and surveyed her surroundings, unable to help the tiny smile they brought to her face. She ran and leapt on the bed with a helpless giggle. She glanced at the clock. She had an hour before twelve. Snatching up her travel bag, she ran into the bathroom intent on trying out the black marble tub.

Draco’s scowl disapated when he heard her jump on the bed and laugh. It was such a Ginny-like thing to do. So impulsive. He shook his head. “Watch it, man. You’re going soft. And for Weasel King’s little sister too. You’ve got a job to do. Don’t let a pair of big brown eyes distract you again or it’ll be the Dream Team wringing your neck instead of the deatheaters.” He shrugged and headed towards the kitchen.

Ginny slipped into the library. Draco stood with his back to her, reading a book. She slipped up behing him and tapped his shoulder. He spun around and caught her wrist before she could move. “Great reflexes. Poor hearing. You might want to work on that, Mal-“

“Don’t ever do that again, Weasley. It might be the last thing you ever do.” He dropped her hand. “Welcome to the Malfoy library. My father used it for all his secret meetings. This conversation would appear to anyone else as if we were discussing a book. They would hear and see nothing of importance. Of course it only works for someone of the Malfoy bloodline and the person they are speaking to. However it keeps my mum and Lucas from spying on us since they’re not related by blood.”

“He’s not staying here, is he?” Ginny asked in panic.

“No, but he’ll be here on Christmas and for the ball.”

“Well at least both you and Blaise will be here when he is,” she sighed.

Draco looked at her funny. “You’re not falling for him, are you?”

“Don’t be ridiculous. It’s called friendship. I’ve got six older brothers. It’s very easy for me to make friends with guys.”

“As long as it doesn’t go past that. We’re on a mission, remember? And he could be a spy. Don’t forget that.”

“Jealous, Malfoy?”

“You wish, Weasley. Let’s get down to business. I sent a report to Dumbledore, and he thinks my Aunt Bellatrix is planning on coming out of hidind. Maybe doing something at the New Year’s Eve Ball, and you can bet that whatever she’s planning, Lucas will be in on his mother’s scheme. We have to keep him under close surveillance.”

“You got it. What’s the plan?”

“You’ll see.”

“Tell me again. Why are we going to Pansy Parkinson’s Christmas eve Party again?”

“Appearances. And we’ll only be there for half an hour. After that everyone will be too trashed to remember anything. I’m hoping to get a piece of information out of Pansy, then we’re going somewhere else. Somewhere we shouldn’t be, so keep you mouth shut about it. Here we are.” Draco helped her out of the carriageand up the steps.

Pansy had to simper over Draco for a full two minutes before turneing to Ginny. “Weasley.”

“Oh, Pansy, thank you so much for the invitation. My poor Draco and I needed an excuse to get out of the manor,” Ginny simpered back, linking arms with Draco. “Do tell us, where is the most romantic spot?” Thankful yet again that Pansy’s glares couldn’t kill, she pulled Draco off towards the balcony that Pansy had grudgingly pointed out.

“You really dislike her, don’t you?”

“She used Pigwidgeon as a bludger last year.”


“My brother Ron’s owl.” Then she cringed. “Sorry, I forgot you wanted to talk to her.”

“She’ll be over here irritating us in, let’s see . . . three . . . two . . . one . . .”


Draco grimaced inwardly at the horrible nickname, but his face was impassive when he turned around to greet Pansy. “Pansy, I do hope you’re coming to our ball.”

“Wouldn’t miss it. Papa was so against me going. I finally talked him around, but he insists that I come home by midnight. Rather like Cinderella,” she giggled already tipsy. “I’ll leave my shoe for you, Draco. But I can’t stay. Papa’s business you know?” she said, trying to wink.

“I know. See you in a minute.” Draco pulled Ginny away. “Ridiculously easy. Always has been. Bet Lucas used her as a distraction so that he could get to you. Wonder if he was still laughing when he realized what he left behind and what Potter stole.”

Ginny stopped short. “You never told me what was going on that night. We were conspicuously there, but why and what did Lucas leave behind, and what does Harry have to do with this?”

“Lucas dropped an advanced remembrall, that records what he’d forgotten. Had some interesting things recorded that kept the aurorers busy for the last month. I turned int in to Dumbledore the last time he ordered us to turn out our pockets. First thing the Minister did right. Makes it a heck of a lot easier to get things to Dumbledore with the new decree forcing Dumbledore to practically have us frisked once a month.”

“You’re talking awfully candidly for someone on enemy turf.”

“Everyone here is drunk. And this hallway has a secrecy charm on it. We’re going in there.” He pointed towards a room that looked like a study. “None of Pansy’s crew will be in there. Perfect Port-key locale. We were at the ball, so Potter could steal something from Lucas, but I’ll let him brag about it when you see him. They’re sufficiently trashed. Lets get out of here. You’re probably dying to see scarhead.”

“Like that will happen anytime soon. We’re partners. You’re supposed to tell me everything, like what Harry stole and where we’re going.”

“You’ll see.” He picked up a book. Reluctantly, Ginny placed her hand on it. “Merry Christmas, Ginny.” Before she could say anything she felt the familiar sensation of traveling by port-key. When the fog cleared up, she couldn’t believe where she was.

Chapter 7: Bloody Good Spy
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She was standing in the living room of #12 Grimmauld Place. “Ginny!” was the collective roar as everyone rushed to hug her. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Dumbledore and Malfoy talking urgently in the corner, but she wasn’t given the chance to join them.
“Gin, have we missed you,” Ron said with a bear hug, before passing her off to Hermione and Harry. “Guess what we got you for Christmas! No, don’t guess, just open it.” An hour later, she was sitting by the fire in the middle of her friends, with a Weasley sweater on, and laughing at one of the twins’ gags. She felt so relaxed.

“Sorry to break up the family reunion, but we have to get back. Pansy’s parents will be back to break up the party soon and we want to get caught.”

“Caught?” Hermione said skeptically. “Won’t that get you in trouble?”

“I thought you were supposed to be the intelligent one.” Malfoy’s tone was icy and hostile. “Son of a deatheater here with his supposed girlfriend. We’re supposed to be in trouble. It attracts more attention if we aren’t. Hurry up and say good-bye.”

Ginny stood up and peeled off the sweater. “Sorry, Mum, but I can’t wear it at Hogworts or Malfoy Manor. Love you all.” She hugged Ron and Hermione before turning to Harry. “Bye.” Impulsively she hugged him, before running to join Draco. The portkey whisked them back to the study in Pansy’s manor.

“If you can’t keep your hands off scarhead at Hogwarts, we’re going to have a problem convincing people,” he grumbled.

Ginny smiled sweetly, stood up on her toes and kissed his cheek. “Thank you. That was the best Christmas present I ever had.”

“It was nothing.” He paused as if listening. “Here they come.” He spun around and pulled Ginny to him. Her arms went around his neck, and he kissed her deeply. Then the door crashed open.

“Told you, Parkinson. Off somewhere snogging. All Mr. Malfoy is good for now, I’m afraid. Malfoy, Weasley! Separate!”

As if reluctant, Draco turned to face Snape and Mr. Parkinson. “Yes, sir?”

“We need this room for a meeting. The rest have gone home, so get lost.”

“Yes, sir.” Draco hurried Ginny out. “Perfect timing,” he whispered. “Let’s get out of here. Mother wakes up at a ridiculous hour on Christmas.”

“WAKE UP! IT IS CHRISTMAS MORNING! GET UP AND READY! THE ZAMBINIS WILL BE HERE IN ONLY 2 HOURS!” Narcissa’s five a.m. wake up call (at a volume worthy of a howler) startled Ginny so much that she fell off the bed.

Sleepily, she headed to the wardrobe, before realizing that she had no idea what she was supposed to wear. She opened the door cautiously, checked the hall for any sign of life, and then hurried to Draco’s door and opened it. She slipped in and dashed for the rug next to the bed as the cold stone floors were harsh on her bare feet. The sound of the shower turned off and Draco opened the bathroom door a crack. “Just me,” Ginny replied sweetly. Draco swore, and ducked back in the other room and slammed the door. Hearing the shower turn back on, Ginny decided to sit while she waited. She picked up Draco’s cat and set it in her lap so that she could stroke the silky black fur. Ten minutes later, Draco appeared, dressed and irritated, his damp hair tousled from the quick shower. “Morning, Draco.”

He tossed the towel on his desk, and leaned coolly against the bed post, declining to sit next to her on the bed. “What’s up? Problem?” Before she could respond, he moved to the wardrobe and tossed her his robe. “Put that on before you freeze! Honestly.” He returned to his previous position. “Now what was so pressing that you felt the need to wander this drafty manor in only your nightgown?”

“Across the hall isn’t wandering the manor. I wanted to know, what I was expected to wear. Your mother seems to enjoy confusing me.”

“Casual Dressy. Mother probably intends to show you off. I see you’ve made friends with Dragon Bait.” At her confused expression, he elaborated, “the cat.”

“Draco Malfoy! You named a rare black Persian, ‘Dragon Bait’?”

“No, that’s just my personal nickname for it. His proper name is Esenovya, after the keeper of the scales of wisdom, according to Atlantean mythology. But he’s mine, he’s small, and he’s annoying, so he’s also Dragon Bait.”

“Poor Esenovya,” Ginny crooned, scratching under its neck. “Such a cruel nickname for such a gorgeous cat.”

“I’m sure he’ll survive, Ginny.” Nevertheless he reached over and stroked the cat before placing his hand over Ginny’s.

“Sorry to interrupt. Happy Christmas all.” Both turned to see Blaise walk towards them, with one eyebrow raised. Ginny blushed as she remembered that she was wearing Draco’s robe, but Blaise seemed unperturbed. He reached over and petted the cat. “Hello, Dragon Bait.”

“Not you too,” Ginny exclaimed.

“Actually it was his idea.” Draco smirked. “Ginny thinks it’s offensive to call ‘poor Esenovya’ that.”

“Oh, er, well, Esenovya is a talented cat. Very beautiful and, er, blast it!” He shok his head. “Ginny, you might want to clear out before Narcissa finds you in here. Draco, your mum has flipped. I told her my parents wouldn’t be here for at least another hour, but she’s ordering the house-elves around like she only has seconds and threatened two with clothes.”

“I’ll go straighten it out.” He walked Ginny to the door and kissed her lightly. “See you in a bit, luv.”

She kissed him again, than turned away, but looked back. “Oh, by the way, I love your hair.” With an impish grin, she was gone.

“Your girl is one-of-a-kind, Draco,” Blaise laughed.

Draco shook his head ruefully. “Don’t I know it.”

“Oh, Draco, its beautiful!” Ginny flung her arms around his neck. “I love it!”

Draco smirked. Her impulsive action had almost knocked him over, but it was worth it to see the look of sheer shock on her face, when she had opened the girt. She slipped the golden bangle bracelet on and admired the flecks of color in the opal that was the size of a snitch. She had already opened a bottle of perfume from his mother, and a book from Blaise. Now Lucas handed her something. Nervously she looked up at Draco. He put an arm around her shoulders to reassure her. She pulled a dark purple amulet out of the box.

“Put it on, Ginevra,” Lucas laughed.

Draco took it in his hand. “Nice.” He couldn’t fell any magic running through it and it didn’t fit the description of any dangerous jewelry he knew of. “Here, I’ll fasten it for you.” Wordlessly, she turned and lifted her hair so he could fasten it and let his hands slide over her bare shoulders, revealed by the tan gypsy cut dress that she wore. The necklace made them both nervous, but it wouldn’t do to let Lucas see that. He leaned forward and kissed her. When he leaned back, Lucas was scowling, but everyone else was smiling.

“Ginny, dear, how’s your family doing?” Mrs. Zabini asked politely.

“Great.” Draco’s heart plunged. Had she forgotten? But Ginny continued, “I expect that they’re happy as clowns. I’m not there to irritate them, so this is probably the best Christmas they ever had.”

“Poor girl,” his mother sympathized. “Their loss is our gain. As long as you want, you may consider this your home, Ginny. I never had a daughter and I’d love to have one in you.”

“We must take her shopping, Narcissa. She’d look lovely in green,” Mrs. Zabini gushed.

Draco smirked. What do you know? Weasley was turning into a bloody good spy.

Chapter 8: Cut
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Ginny wandered down the hall, nose buried in a first edition of Grimms Fairy Tales that she had found in the library. Voices made her stop. Carefully, she looked around the corner. Lucas was sitting in front of the fireplace, fingering a long silver dagger. “Right, Pansy. Dumbledore’s got it coming to him. Lets see him get out of this one.”

“I wish I could stay and see the fireworks. No pun intended,” Pansy’s head giggled from the fire. ‘But Daddy insists on me coming home before midnight.”

“I could find a way to hide you. You wouldn’t want to miss the midnight kisses for luck. See if I can catch Draco’s redhead. Do you hear something?”

Ginny twisted her ring and disappeared before Lucus had a chance to investigate. She reappeared in Draco’s bedroom. He was sitting on the bed, drawing something, but he hid it upon her sudden entrance. “What’s wrong?”

“Lucus is here. Caught the end of his conversation with Pansy. Dumbledore is in danger if he comes tonight.”

Draco leapt off of his bed. “I’ll owl him at once.”

Unconsciously, Ginny’s eyes were drawn to him. Draco didn’t have a shirt on and he was reaching for one off his desk chair, when Ginny saw the marks. She reached out and grabbed his wrist, turning to expose the red half healed cuts across the inside of his wrists. “Draco?” she whispered. He tried to wrench away, but she held on tightly. “How could I have missed this?” she asked herself out loud, tears spilling down her face.

“I wear long sleeves for a reason, Weasley,” he laughed mirthlessly. “Not what you expected from cruel arrogant Malfoy is it, little girl? Who would’ve known this stone had a crack?”

“No, this isn’t what I expected. Bruises from one of your father’s beatings maybe, but not this.”

“The cruciatious curse doesn’t leave bruises and a house-elf always took care of vanishing bruises from his stick. These-“ he gestured wildly, “-let me feel the pain, make sure I remember it and remind me why I have to do this.” He sighed, “You wouldn’t understand?”

Her eyes flashed angrily. “I wouldn’t understand!” She jerked the sleeve of her robes up. “Take a good look, Draco. First Year. I was being possessed by Tom Riddle, the boy I liked barely noticed me, and I was afraid that I would only be seen as the little Weasley girl. So I did this to myself.” In a tangled web across her forearm were spidery thin white lines, healed scars from a year of cutting. “So tell me how I wouldn’t understand.”

Draco had turned pale, and shaking fingers ran over the scars. “Ginny, none of that was your fault. Why would you do something like this?”

“Why do you? It isn’t your fault that your Dad is a-“

“But I haven’t stopped him yet. Until I do, I need the reminder of the pain he’s caused.”

“Promise me you won’t do it again. We’re partners in this. You can trust me with anything. If we don’t work together, this won’t work.” She was crying again, making Draco feel guilty.

“I won’t, okay? I’ll stop; just don’t cry. We’ve got a job to do.”

He tried to move but she continued to cling. “Promise.”

“I promise. I’ve got to send that owl. Go get ready. I’ll meet you at the ball.” He hurried out, leaving her alone.

Chapter 9: New Year's Eve Ball
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Ginny was waiting nervously at the foot of the first set of stairs. She hadn’t seen him yet, so he allowed himself the privilege of studying her. A simple emerald green halter-style silk dress clung to her frame. Her red hair had been swept up, allowing the creamy skin of her shoulders and back to be seen. Barely dragging on the floor, the dress was flawlessly simple other than the cluster of diamonds at her waist that matched her earrings and bracelets. But the most mesmerizing feature was her eyes, rich chocolate framed with dark lashes. Brown eyes met silver, and Ginny blushed under his gaze. “Do I pass inspection?”

“Perfect.” He hurried down the steps and offered her his arm. “Shall we enter then, m’lady?” She nodded, and they headed for the main staircase. Narcissa had made a big deal over Ginny, so every single person’s eye was on them as they made their way down the stairs. She was hiding her fear well, and Draco grinned at her. “Ready, Ginny? Three . . . two . . . one.”

“Why here they are! Isn’t she the darlingest thing?”

“Draco never told us how pretty you were.”

“I must know, my dear, where you found your lovely gown.”

“Draco must spoil you terribly. I can’t imagine him choosing someone less than worthy though.”

“She’s absolutely adorable. I hope you don’t let her get away, Draco.”

“Wouldn’t dream of it, Mrs. Nott,” Draco assured her, winking at Ginny. She looked totally lost, but kept nodding politely. Maybe he should have explained that he was a favorite among his mother’s friends.

“I can’t believe how old you are, Draco. Seems like yesterday you were six years old and climbing my whomping willow,” Mrs. Nott laughed.

Ginny looked up. “I haven’t heard this story yet. Please continue.”

“Oh, somehow he managed to climb the whomping willow. Wouldn’t come down until his father ordered him down. Lucius had to threaten him too.”

“That’s enough. We have to go find my mother. Thank you for coming,” Draco said with forced cheer. Mrs. Nott smiled and patted his hand, but one look at Ginny’s face and he knew he hadn’t fooled her. The memory of the beating, not the first or the last but definitely the worst, made him shake.

Ginny’s hand caught his, and she whispered in his ear. “He can’t hurt you anymore. He’s locked up.” He turned and kissed her forehead, whispering his thanks, in the first natural gesture he had made in six years.

“Party favor, Draco?” Lucas offered the basket. Draco and Ginny touched the same one at the same time, and were whirled back into a memory.

“Stupid boy!” The hand that threw Draco to the floor belonged to the cruel voice. “I’ll teach you to make a fool out of me with your dangerous stunts. When I call, you come!” A stick was raised and a child was crying.

Reality came rushing back and both dropped the party favor like it was burning them.

“They’re just memory recallers,” Lucas admonished.

“Some memories are better forgotten.” Draco tossed the favor in the fire. “There’s the music. May I have this dance, Ginny?”

“Of course.”

Draco whirled her away, pulling her close to him. “I’m sorry.”

“Were you really only six?” she asked sadly. He nodded grimly. “I’m so sorry.”

“He’ll pay. Someday.” The clock started chiming midnight. A ware of the expecting stares, he leaned forward and kissed her for all twelve chimes.

“Alright, share some of the luck you two.” At Blaise’s remark, Draco pulled away reluctantly. Blaise kissed Ginny’s cheek and left with a hurried “Happy New Year.”

As soon as Blaise left, Draco kissed her again. The cheers slowly died away and the couple broke off the kiss to find themselves under the scrutiny of a cruel eyed man with long blonde hair. Draco stepped back. “Father.”

Ginny’s heart sank. This was the horrible man who had given her Tom Riddle’s diary, who beat Draco when the boy was small, and he was studying them with intense hatred. Draco had pulled away, reverting to the cold insensitive boy he had been before.

“Draco. Who. Is. This.” More a statement than a question, Lucius Malfoy’s voice shook with anger.

“Father, meet my girlfriend, Ginny Weasley.”

“A Weasley!”

“In case you haven’t noticed, father, she’s better than the rest of the low family. More beautiful and intelligent than the rest combined.”

“She’s a Weasley!” Bellatrix Lestrange burst out. “One of those children I chased last summer. A friend of Harry Potter.”

“I was never a friend and I grew tired of being a flunky,” Ginny answered coolly. “They have no respect or love for me, and I have none for them. Draco’s shown me what life is really about.”

“Has he?” Lucius sneered.

Lucas interrupted. “I’m sorry to announce that there has been a tragic accident upstairs. The minister of magic is dead. Lighting a ceremonial fireworks display that was faulty. Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, you know.”

“I wouldn’t doubt it. My brothers are not known for their care.”

“I won’t have this in my house!”

“I understand, Lucius, but the Dark Lord has known of her, and has plans for this. You can’t kill her,” Mr. Zabini whispered hurriedly.

Lucius nodded abruptly, then turned. “The ball is over considering our minister’s death. You must all go home.” He turned back to Draco, hissing, “You, boy, will escort her to her chambers and report to my study.”

Draco nodded, and pulled her away and up the stairs. “I’m sorry about your brothers,” he murmured quietly.

“Don’t worry. Fred and George can take care of themselves. Did they really kill Fudge?”

“I wouldn’t doubt it.”

“I should have known. Pansy and Lucas said something about seeing the fireworks.”

“You couldn’t have stopped it. You saved Dumbledore at least.” Looking down both ends of the hall, he ushered her into his room instead. “Stay here.”

“He’s going to punish you, isn’t he?”

“It doesn’t matter. I don’t cry out; he gets tired of the game and lets me go. Stay here. Do not leave my room. No matter what you hear, understand?” His eyes were cold and determined. Ginny nodded. “Thank you.” He strode out, leaving Ginny alone with the cat. It was all she could do not to follow him. A startled cry of pain, a sound that she had never heard before from Draco, almost weakened her resolve, but she stayed there, hands clenched, through the eerie silence that followed. Then there was a steady series of cracks, but no more cries. Almost half an hour later, Draco appeared, almost collapsing at the door. He crashed face down on the bed. “You can go back to your room now,” he muttered.

“What happened?”


“You cried out. I heard you.”

“I wasn’t expecting the whip. He’s always used his cane before. Go to bed. We have to leave first thing tomorrow.” He turned away intent on ignoring her. She turned and went into the bathroom. She filled the basin with warm water and pulled two wash clothes out of the cupboard. Then she returned to the side of his bed.

“Move over.”

“Go away, Weasley.”

“No, I’m not going anywhere. I can’t heal your back, but I can clean it and lighten the pain. Take off you cloak.” Muttering, he forced himself to sit up and released the cloak pin. His shirt was a mess, blood-soaked across the back. Ginny helped ease it over his shoulders and away from his back. “Lay back down.” She tossed the shirt in the fireplace and wet the first cloth. She placed it on the first cut. Draco couldn’t help the gasp of pain, and Ginny squeezed his hand. “How many lashes?” she asked quietly.

“Sixteen. He made me count. One for each year of my life. Then Lucus knocked me down, and I hit my head on the stone floor. Hell of a headache,” he mumbled.

Gently, Ginny probed the back of his skull with her fingertips. “Might be a concussion. Don’t fall asleep on me yet.” Keeping her touch gentle, she managed to clean the rest of the blood from his back. “Draco, sit up.”

“What?” he asked groggily.

“Sit up for a moment.” She assisted him and then yanked the sheets back. “You can lay down again.” He settled sleepily into the pillows. She dumped the basin and rinsed the washcloths, before washing her hands. He was asleep when she returned. She smoothed an errant lock of blond hair back away from his face. So much for his father being locked up and unable to hurt him. She couldn’t leave him alone. “Draco? Draco, do you have something I can sleep in?”

He struggled to open his eyes. ‘T-shirts are in the bottom drawer.”

Ginny took one and hurried into the bathroom to change, careful to hang up her dress. Then she crawled into bed next to her patient. It would be a long night.

Draco woke up with a dull headache and a numb pain in his back. Memories from the night before, flooded his mind. His father’s return, the whipping, Lucas’s blow, and the pain of having his wounds cleaned. He turned, wincing at the pain. Ginny lay fast asleep next to him. Carefully, he got up and headed for the shower.

He returned cleaner and more awake, although he couldn’t raise his arms to finish buttoning his shirt or comb his hair. Ginny was awake now too. With a sigh, she reached over and finished buttoning his shirt. He let her. “You didn’t have to do that.”

“Yes, I did. We’re a team, Draco. It’s about time we learned to act like one. You needed me last night. I helped you. Let it go. From this moment on, we’re best friends.”

He nodded. Is that offer good?” He took a deep breath and took a chance. “Cause I can’t fix my hair, and let’s face it. I couldn’t tie my tie even before this happened.” He waited nervously.

Ginny stared at him for a second, and then burst out laughing. “Come on, genius. I’ll help.” Both laughing, they set about making him presentable.

Chapter 10: Quidditch
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“This is a very bad idea, Draco. You can barely fly, let alone dodge bludgers and chase the snitch,” Ginny protested. “Let Blaise play.”

“Father expects me to play. And I don’t wantPotter and the rest to know.”

“They’ll find out if you fall off your broom and get sent to the Hospital Wing.”

“I won’t. I’ll be fine. Careful even. Pass the marmalade.”

“Cousin, I do hope you’re going to bring a Slytherin victory.” Lucas slapped Draco on the back in a ‘friendly’ gesture. Draco cringed, but nodded.

“Drakey, do you need one of my famous good luck back rubs?” Pansy asked with a vindictive smile, reaching for him, but Ginny was faster.

“He’s my boyfriend, Pansy. Come on, Draco.” She pulled him away and down a neglected corridor. “Off with the shirt and let me see the damage.”

“I’m fine.”


“All right. All right.” He peeled off the black t-shirt, wincing as he did so.

Ginny ran her fingers over the cuts. “You’re lucky.”

“I know. I have to go. I’ll see you at the match.” He pulled his shirt back on and kissed her quickly on the cheek. “Bye!” Ginny watched him go.

Ginny watched nervously. Draco wasn’t playing well and the last swerve had almost thrown him off his broomstick. It had been close to two hours and no sign of the snitch. Gryffindor was 140 points vs. Slytherin’s zero. The ice and snow were terrible.

“100 galleons says Draco doesn’t get the snitch.” Ginny was careful to pretend that she hadn’t heard. Lucas continued. “It’s a sure hundred for me, Zabini. What do you say?”

“You’re on!” Blaise exclaimed. “I have faith in Draco. He’ll get ahold of the snitch.”

Ginny had heard enough. She turned to Blaise. “They’ll be calling a time out soon. I want to go see Draco. Save my seat?”

“Sure, Ginny.”

Ginny practically leapt down the stairs. She only had a few minutes to change.

Draco wearily dropped his broom, and collapsed on the bench. He felt something dig into his back and turned. The bracelet he’d given Ginny for Christmas, hung on a protruding nail. “Flint! I need to get my other boots. The clasps on these ones are broken.”

“Be right back and ready to fly.”

“Sure.” He headed into the locker room, carrying his broomstick, so it looked like he’d been telling the truth. He stopped short. Ginny was waiting dressed in his spare quidditch robes. “What on earth?”

“Give me your hat and goggles. I’m you for the rest of the match.”

“I’m a head taller than you.”

They won’t be able to tell if I’m flying.”

“I can do this, Ginny.”

“Not with your back. Lucas is making bets against you. If I beat Harry, he’ll lose a ton of cash. If not, at least you won’t kill yourself trying.” She tugged his cap over her flame red hair. “Wish me luck.”

He stared down at her, dressed in the robes of a house she hated in order to spare him. For a second he fought the impulse to hug her, before giving in. “Good luck.” She was startled by the embrace but returned it before running off.

Ginny zoomed out and up to her place above the gave, watching desperately for the snitch. Katie scored two more goals. Then Ginny saw the glint of gold, against the snow. She dove. Harry was streaking across the pitch. The snitch darted upward and Ginny backflipped to avoid collision with Harry. Using a burst of speed, she grabbed the snitch and held it up. The Slytherin crowd went wild as she tossed it to Madame Hooch and zoomed towards the Slytherin locker room. Knowing she had a scant minute before the rest of the team followed, she tossed Draco’s things in his locker, explaining as she went. “Gryffindor won 160 to 150, but you caught the snitch after a nearly vertical dive, averting collision with Harry by using a quick backflip, before snatching the snitch. Harry had to race across the pitch, so it wasn’t a race between you two. Got it?” He nodded and she ran out the back way, already hearing the team coming in.

Draco looked up as the rest of the team came in. “Sorry.”

“Don’t be. You caught the Snitch. Potter won’t forget that for a long time. We’re going up to the castle and using the prefect bathroom to clean up.”

“I’ll stay here, thanks.”

“Suit yourself.” Flint started out. “Hi, Ginny.”

“Hey, Flint. Draco, that was a great catch.” Ginny hugged him. She had ditched his spare robes somewhere, and her hair was sprinkled with snow. He hugged her close and kissed her forehead. “Love you,” she whispered.

“Love you too, Ginny. I’ll meet you in the Great Hall.”

“Alright.” She kissed his cheek and ran out. The rest of his teammates followed her. With a sigh, he turned back to his locker and carefully pulled off his shirt.

“Who took a whip to you, Malfoy?”

Draco spun around. Potter was standing in the doorway staring at him in shock. “Slytherin locker room, Potter. Get out.”

“Just wanted to congratulate you on your catch.”

“You did. Get lost and not a word to anyone.”

“Sure.” Potter shrugged and walked out.

“Ginny!” Harry caught her wrist on her way out of the common room. “It wasn’t Malfoy playing after the time out was it?”

“What are you talking about, Potter?”

“He couldn’t have pulled off that backflip with that fresh a set of whip marks.”

Ginny felt herself go pale. “What do you know about the whipping?”

“I saw the marks. You’re helping him cover it up. I knew you were a good seeker, but I didn’t imagine you’d play for another team.”

“It was a one time thing. I’m sorry, but I can’t explain.”

“Who whipped him? There had to be close to twenty slashes across his back. Why doesn’t he go to Madame Pomfrey?”

Ginny grew angry. Did he think it was that simple? As easy as a visit to the school nurse? “Be glad you’re the hero, Harry Potter. You wouldn’t last long playing Draco’s part. I have to go. Draco’s waiting for me.” She stalked past him and left through the portrait hole.

“Nice backflip Ginny pulled off today, huh, Draco?” Blaise asked from his position reading by the fire. Draco stopped short on his way to the dormitory. “You know, right before she caught the snitch.”

“What did you say?” he asked guardedly.

“Potter wasn’t the only one who went to congratulate you. You couldn’t have played like that. It wasn’t hard to figure out. Ginny leaves. Tiem out. And all of a sudden our seeker can move and play. I’m not an idiot, Draco.”


“He whipped you for dating her, didn’t he? Did he hurt her too?”

Draco shook his head vehemently. “I’d die before I let him touch her.”

“Good. Tomorrow play sick, so you can rest. After that match, you need it.”

“Fine, ‘Mother.’”

“Someone has to help Ginny keep you alive,” Blaise maintained stubbornly. “Go to bed and stay there. I’ll keep an eye on Ginny for you so Lucas doesn’t start something.”




“Ginny!” Ginny’s eyes fluttered open to see Hermione hovering above her. She had fallen asleep studying in the common room after everyone had gone to bed. “Ginny, wake up.”

“I’m awake. What’s up?”

“Harry told me about Malfoy. This is essence of murtlap. It stinks to high heaven but it’ll help heal the cuts.”

“Thank you.”

“No problem. Get to bed. It’s after midnight!”

“Yes, ‘Mother.’”

Chapter 11: Getting Even Closer
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“Boring. Professor Binns hasn’t deviated in subject matter since the Goblin Wars he likes to talk about. History of Magic is stupid. At least I get to drop it after this year.”

“Lucky you,” Draco said, dryly. “Sadly, I have to continue the class in order to take on being a teacher.”

“You want to teach potions or DADA. Why would you need extra History classes?”

“General knowledge, I guess. You can have my notes to study if you can read them.”

“Maybe given a magnifying glass and a team of translators,” Ginny teased, good naturedly. Since the Quidditch match, laughing with Draco became easier, and it was real.

He looked up startled. “It’s not that bad.”

“Mate, Ginny’s right. Your handwriting is indistinguishable from a trolls. So by the way is your hair. The constant snogging sessions leave you as disheavled as Longbottom, Potter, and Weasley-no offense, Ginny.”

Before Ginny could answer, Draco scowled. “Ha-ha. Very funny.”

“You should let me spike it like the muggle boys do sometime,” Gionny offered sweetly. “It’ll be good for you bad boy image.”

“What image? What you see is what you get,” Draco growled.

“I’m kidding, but it would look good on you.”

“Never.” Draco caught her and kissed her until the bell rang. “We’re late again.”

“Like we care.”

“Good point. Go ahead, Blaise. I’ll catch up.”

“Whatever . Want me to make up an excuse for McGonagall?”

“The migraine one.”

“Got it. See you two later.” Blaise started off,a nd Draco hurried her into an empty classroom. “Code. Dumbledore will be here in a minute.”

“What if you actually get a migraine?”

“I don’t get migraines unless I’m having seizures,” he said over his shoulder as he closed the blinds.

Ginny froze. “You have seizures?”

He looked up from the book he was now examining, surprised at her reaction. “Yeah, rarely anymore, but as a kid, what with all the beatings, it was two or three times a week.”

“Why didn’t you tell me that?! That whipping could have sparked one. Damn it, Malfoy-“

He grabbed her arms. “Relax. Relax. I haven’t had one since my father was put in Azkaban. If I have one at school, Blaise knows what to do. If I have one at the manor, ring a house-elf. Don’t stress over it.”

“With everything trying to kill you, I’m surprised you lived this long.”

He smirked. “I’m stubborn, hard to get rid of, and I always get my way.”

“You wish.”

“Draco, Ginny.”

Draco moved away from Ginny. “Headmaster.” Dumbledore gestured for them to have a seat. “Sir, we have a problem.”

“I know. Fudge is dead, leaving a tangled web at the ministry. Umbridge is trying to keep an iron hand on things, but security is lax. I’m spending more time at the ministry than at the school, and the laws have stepped up. I’ve been ordered to have the deatheaters children frisked daily, Their dormitories searched and restric them from Hogsmeade. I managed to overturn the last one but it wasn’t easy. I need an account of what happened at that ball.”

“Not much. It was only half an hour long. Guests arrived. We entered. Lucius pulled a dirty prank with a fixed memory recaller. Father and Aunt Bellatrix walked in seconds after midnight during the expected traditional good luck kiss. Father blew up at me, just as Lucas announced the minister’s death. Blamed it on a faulty rocket from Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. Father ended the ball and sent everyone away. I got a whipping and Ginny took care of me. How did they get out of Azkaban, sir?”

Dumbledore was grave. “The dementors have joined Voldemort. The prison break killed three aurorers, including Kingsley Shacklebolt.”

Ginny fought back tears. She had liked the aurorer. “I’m sorry.” Draco slipped an arm around her, and she leaned into him. “I hate war.”

“I know, Ginny. We need to find an advantage soon.”

“I don’t think I’m cut out for a spy. I haven’t done anything, but pretend to date Draco.”

“Originally, that was all we intended you to do. It would keep Miss Parkinson from following him around and you could deliver his messages, but you have risen far above our expectations. You distracted Mr. Lestrange, so that Harry was able to steal Mr. Lestrange’s diary. You overheard a conversation and got word to me quickly, saving my life. You cared for Draco’s injuries, and helped him cover them up, winning a quidditch game in his stead.” Dumbledore’s eyes twinkled in amusement. “Yes, I know about your little switch. You’re a very talented spy. Quick-witted, intelligent, an excellent actress, takes orders and ready for anything. You earned the trust and affection of Narcissa Malfoy and the Zabini family.”

Draco nodded. “I didn’t like the idea of working with someone else after five years working solo. Now you’re the only one that I would even consider trusting.”

“I didn’t actually intend to distract Lucas. I had no real say in the matter.”

“But you didn’t chicken out. No one would have blamed you if you had, but you didn’t give it up.” Draco’s tone didn’t give room for arguing, but Ginny tried anyway.

“The pretend dating was why you were whipped.”

“Lucas would have come up with an excues to have me whipped or beaten anyway.”

“We haven’t had a real confrontation with Mr. Lestrange yet. His diary proves him to be dangerous to both of you. He hates Draco and the majority of the diary obsessed over Ginny.”

“He’s sick, twisted, and violent,” Draco said flatly. “We’ll watch out for him. We always do.”

Valentines Day found Ginny surrounded by flowers. Draco had made a point of presenting her with a dozen red roses. She’d gotten a tiny bouquet of yellow tulips from Blaise, and some pansies from Ron, not including the dead bouquet of black roses from Lucas. But she didn’t get the bouquet that she really wanted. One that represented her new friendship with Draco. The roses didn’t count. They were just part of the act. It shouldn’t have bothered her, but it did. One pleasant surprise was the white rose that someone had placed in her bookbag. She thought it might have been an apology from Harry, but she doubted he would admit to being wrong. So the identity of her white rose giver remained secret, and she sort of hoped it was from Draco, but he said nothing about it.

Ginny was studying in the library alone, waiting for Draco to get out of his detention for skipping History of Magic. Someone sat across from her, and idly she glanced up. Then realization sank in, and she leapt out of her seat. “Percy!” Her brother laughed and let her hug him. Ginny knelt and started to pick up the papers and books that she had knocked down. “I haven’t seen you in ages. What are you doing here?”

Percy knelt and began helping her. “Actually, I wanted to . . .” He paused. “What’s this?”

Ginny looked up. Percy held three photos. One Colin Creevy had taken of her draped across Draco’s lap, listening to what he was whispering in her ear, both smirking, suitable for the cover of one of Draco’s Anne Rice novels. Another was a snap shot Blaise had taken of her and Draco wrestling over the last piece of a chocolate bar, that Draco was easily holding out of her reach, laughing. The third had been taken the same day. She had both arms wrapped around Draco’s neck as he gave her a piggy back ride. All second nature to her, but she realized that Percy didn’t know a thing about this. He looked horrified. “Are . . .are you dating MALFOY?” Percy didn’t wait for a response. “He’s our family’s enemy! He’s the son of a deatheater!”

“I like him!”

Percy spun around and slapped her. Then his mouth dropped open, but before he could apologize, a whir of black robes knocked him to the floor. Draco drove his fist into Percy’s nose. “Don’t touch her! She’s your sister, damn it! Never hit a girl, let alone MY girlfriend!” Percy seemed to have regained his senses and began fighting back, but Draco was better. He would have won if Ron and Harry hadn’t walked in. Seeing Percy in trouble, they hurried to drag Draco off of him. He pulled away and joined Ginny, snatching up her books. “We’re out of here.” He led her out, stopping just outside the door to run long pale fingers over the red handprint on her cheek. “Are you all right?”

“I’m fine.”

He studied her for a moment, then he nodded and kissed her forehead. One arm still wrapped around her shoulders, he hurried her towards the Great Hall.

Chapter 12: Knew it was Love
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“Cousin Draco! Stop! I have a letter for you!” Draco paused and snatched the letter out of Lucas’s hands. “Uncle Lucius sends his regards,” Lucas smirked. Draco stiffened and went directly to his dormitory to read it in private.

Draco- You’re initiation takes place over the Easter Holiday. Come home and take the mark. Bring the Weasley. –Lucius

Draco crumpled the parchment and shoved it inside the pocket of his robes. Then he picked up his remembrall and hurled it at the mirror. Glass shattered everywhere. He snatched up a piece of the glass and studied the edge. Not sharp enough. He pulled his pocket knife out and carved deep slashes into his wrist. Then he shoved the knife back in his pocket and stalked towards the Great Hall. Pansy rushed towards him. “Off!” he barked. He kicked his chair and dropped into it.

Ginny leaned over and kissed his cheek. “Rough morning, Draco?”

Draco leapt to his feet. “Bloody hell! You’re as bad as Parkinson!” He tossed his chair aside, almost hitting a second year. “I’m going to Hogsmeade,” he said brusquely, avoiding the hurt and frightened expression on her face. He kick the overturned chair on his way out.

Ginny sat there stunned for a second. Tears started running down her face, she stared after him. He hadn’t said something that hurtful to her in a year. Blaise leaned over and put a hand on her shoulder. “I’ll go after him, Ginny. Don’t listen to him. He loves you more than anything. Something must be wrong. He loves you.”

She smiled sadly at him. “I know.”

“Good girl. And it might be a good idea to hang with your brother today. Just until Draco and I get back.”

“You got it.” Ginny watched him leave and promptly ignored his advice. She blew off her tutoring session and ran outside. She didn’t know where she was going until she stood in front of the whomping willow. Draco’s words came back to her. “Power is all you need. But a reason makes it ten times easier.” Without another thought, she grabbed one of the flailing branches, and pulled herself onto it. Two minutes later she sat in the upper branches and let the tears fall freely. She sat up there for the better part of an hour, refusing to think, and ignoring Professor Lupin when he came out looking for her. Then she saw something odd shaped coming back from Hogsmeade. She slipped down and hit the magic knot so she could walk away unscathed. The odd shape came closer and she realized that it was two boys, one supporting the other’s weight. She gasped; the unconscious one was Draco.

“Draco!” Ginny started running towards the pair. “Blaise, what happened?”

Blaise smiled grimly, as he shouldered more of Draco’s weight. “He got drunk. That’s what happened. Never could handle his whiskey, poor kid. Crabbe and Goyle talked him into a drinking contest at the Hogs Head.”

“How much did he drink?”

“There were six empty bottles in front of him alone. He passed out about five minutes ago.”

“Room of Requirement. This way.” Ginny led Blaise to the door and opened it. “In here.”

“Sit down, so I can lay his head in your lap.” Carefully, Blaise maneuvered Draco onto the couch. ‘Well at least he has seven hours to sleep it off before curfew. There’s a restoring potion over there, that you can give him when he wakes up.” Ginny nodded absently, smoothing Draco’s hair back from his face. He looked so young and vulnerable, that the idea of him shouldering this much responsibility was ludicrous. There was no resemblance to the arrogant jerk who always had a comeback, whom she had hated for so many years. Asleep like this the years fell away, reducing him to the eleven year old innocence he had been before. She looked up at Blaise; he was worried. “Ginny , when I came in, he was announcing that he didn’t want to be a deatheater and his father could suck eggs for all he cared. Is that true?” Looking up at Blaise’s worried expression, Ginny made a decision she would never regret. She nodded. He swallowed. “I’ll go do damage control. You take care of Draco.” He started towards the door, then turned back. “I’ll take care of it. You can trust me.” Then he left.

Ginny stared down at Draco. “I hate you, Draco Malfoy. I hate how much this hurts you I hate you for doing it anyway. And that shouldn’t bother me, but it does. It bothers me because I’ve seen the real you and stupid me, I went and fell in love with someone I shouldn’t, yet again. I love you Draco Malfoy, and I know better than anyone how this is killing you inside. I can see it.” Tears fell from her face bathing his.

Blaise walked in to find Ginny asleep too, one hand tangled in Draco’s hair. He walked over and shook her shoulder. “Brought you something to eat.” She took the pasty. “We should probably try to wake him up now.” He saw the tearstained cheeks. “Ginny . . .”

“I’m fine.” She combed her fingers through Draco’s hair. “You want to try or should I?”

“Shaking him won’t help, but if you kiss him, he’ll be awake in a second.” Ginny leaned over, her red hair spilling foreward in a soft curtain, as she kissed him persuasively. As Blaise predicted, Draco was awake almost instantly. “Mate, you’re an idiot and a pathetic drunk.”

“Figured that out about ten seconds before everything went black.” He slowly sat up, wincing sharply.

“You all right?” Ginny asked, seeking reassurance that this incident had not permanently scarred him.

“Just a killer headache, Ginny. I’ll be good if you’ll get me that restoring potion.” Ginny turned to obey. “Blaise, what did I say?”

“Stuff you’ll regret, but don’t worry. A couple of memory charms took care of the two trolls. I’m your friend, Draco. You can trust me. You need to learn how to do that, Draco. Trust me and Ginny, because we don’t want you to get hurt. You’ve got a girlfriend who loves you. Don’t push her away the way you do me.” Blaise stalked out of the room, leaving them together.

“We do have him fooled,” Draco remarked dryly, reaching to take the potion, not noticing the sleeve of his robe fall back revealing the fresh cuts. Ginny dropped the potion. “Watch it,” he snapped, catching the bottle, before realizing his mistake.

“You promised.”

“Malfoys are famous for breaking promises. Don’t get all teary.”

“Show me the knife.”

“You can take it away. I’ll just buy another,” he said, pulling the silver knife with his name on it from his robe pocket.
“I’m not taking it away.” Ginny pulled her own sleeve back. “Cut my wrist.”

Draco pulled back like he’d been bitten. “Like hell!”

“I mean it.”

“I won’t do it!” Draco roared. Ginny darted forward and snatched it from his grasp. “Ginny, don’t. Please, Ginny.” She flipped the blade open and made a quick slash movement across her wrist, before setting it down. “Ginny?” he begged, tears starting to fall. ‘Why?” She moved forward and wrapped her arms around his waist. He wrapped his arms around her. “I’m sorry.”

“I know. I know.” She held onto him tightly. “I love you, Draco Malfoy.”

He stiffened. “Say that again.”

“I love you.”

Ginny was suddenly crushed in an even tighter embrace. “I love you too,” he whispered huskily.

“I know.”

“Good, because it took me the longest time to figure it out,” he chuckled.

“When did you know?”

“When I saw your brother hit you. I saw red. Didn’t even think, I just tackled him. You?”

“When your father whipped you. You tried so hard to pretend it was nothing and you walked straight in there with no fear even though you knew there would be a painful punishment. Watching you sleep that night, I never felt so worried and protective. If Lucas had dared try anything, I would have jinxed him into the next century.”

“Sounds good to me.” He let go of her for a moment and smirked. “Do you remember how I always get what I want? I did it again.”

“This is the only time you’re right,” Ginny warned, then hugged him again, resting her head against his chest. “But I’m so glad you are.”

“Me too. I love you.”

“I love you.”

Blaise poked his head in having returned in search of them and catching the last bit. “I love you both. Can we please go to dinner now?”

Ginny giggled at Draco’s murderous look. “We’re coming, Blaise.” She intertwined her fingers with Draco’s. “WE are coming.”


Chapter 13: Carrie
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The boy in the corner was 6’2”, thin, and pale. His blond hair was spiked and he wore Muggle clothes. He was Draco Malfoy, and he was NOT happy.

“I can’t believe I let you talk me into this,” he complained to his companion, a much shorter girl dressed in black, wearing too much eyeliner and streaks of black in her copper hair. “Spying on Lucas, fine. Muggle club and clothes, sure. Lousy tasting food and loud music, why not? But letting you do this to my hair was a moment of sheer insanity.”

“Every girl in this room thinks that you are unbelievably hot.”

“Too bad for them; I’ve already got a girlfriend who wons me, lock, stock, and spiked blonde hair.”

“Damn straight.”

“I’m starting to rub off on you,” he teased. “I’ll just have to-“ He broke off as a boy in a full 18th century tux approached them.

“Welcome. I am Armont. I hope you enjoy tonight’s performance. It is good that you are open to the night. Our fanged brethren thank you. May I ask your names?”

“I’m . . . er . . . Spike.” It was the only media vampire name he could think of that wasn’t from an Anne Rice novel, as he was fairly certain they would all be taken (probably more than once). He distinctly heard Ginny stifle a giggle. Annoyed, he finished with “and this is my girlfriend, Kitten.” Ginny smiled sweetly, but he knew that he would pay for it later.

“Welcome, Spike. Welcome, Kitten.” ‘Armont’ bowed deeply, and walked away, almost tripping on a Dracula-wannabe’s cape.

“Kitten?” Ginny growled.

“I thought you liked cats.”

“Not enough to go by ‘Kitten’ for a whole night.”

“It’s better than ‘Spike.’ I just couldn’t think of anything else.”

“Angelous? Kakistos?”

“You watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer? But that’s an American show!”

“I’ve seen it. So why not those names? You can be angelic if you want to be.”

“Both of them are ugly and stupid. Not to mention trite.”

“You know, if you had the leather duster, you’d look an awful lot like Spike,” she giggled.

“Ha-ha. VERY funny.”

“I’m serious!”

“You’re-Lucas, funny to see you here.”

“Not at all, but here I go by The Immortal. And you?”



“None of your business.”

“I’ll find out sooner or later. Do you really want me to bring her to the attention of some of these nutjobs?”

“She goes by Kitten.”


Unnerved, Draco pulled Ginny a little closer to him. “What are you doing here anyway, Lucas?”

“Meeting my girlfriends. Ah, there they are.” Three girls approached them, seemingly identical, and probably triplets. “Girls, meet my friends, Spike and Kitten.”

“Charmed,” they responded at exactly the same time. “We are The Three.” Their voices sounded like a chant as they rose and fell at exactly the same time.

“O-kay. Have fun.” He hurried Ginny away. “Dracula’s Brides?” he asked her, trying valiantly to hold back his laughter.


“Fitting for ‘The Immortal.’ Three girls, one brain.”

Ginny swatted him. “Be nice.” Before he could protest, she pulled him out onto the dance floor and wrapped her arms around his neck. “Dance with me.” It was a command that Draco was pleased to obey, and the song playing (Transylvanian Concubine) gave him permission to hold her close while they danced. She rested her head on his shoulder and tightened her grip around his neck. He whispered something that made her blush, but before she could respond, screams ripped through the air. Three perfectly pitched screams.

“Bloody hell! Stay here!” Of course Ginny followed him anyway as he started questioning the crowd. “Where’d the dark haired boy with three pretty blonde girls go? Um, The Immortal and The Three.”


Draco immediately shoved people aside and took off. It took Ginny a couple of minutes to catch up, as she had to fight her way through the crowd of panicking teenagers. She got up there just in time to hear a crash and a heavy blow. The door was blocked, but she could hear Draco. “I killed it. It can’t hurt you I promise.” A girl was crying, harsh broken sobs. “Let’s get you out of here.” Whatever was blocking the door, Ginny could hear the scrape as Draco shoved it away. He appeared with one of the girls. Seeing her, he shook his head. “Don’t look. Just take her.” Ginny nodded. She had already seen blonde hair on the floor and had no desire to see the rest of the scene. “I need to get Snape. I’ll use the next room’s fireplace.”

Ginny nodded and knelt next to the girl. “Are you hurt?”

“I don’t wanna play anymore.” Ginny studied the girl and realized that she couldn’t be more than twelve. The make-up and high heels had fooled her. “I want Bethy and Annie.”

“Bloody he-“ Ginny cut it off in front of the girl. “What’s your real name?”

“Carrie.” I don’t wanna play anymore. I want my sisters.” Ginny tried to comfort her. How could three years make such a difference? Eventually Draco returned with Snape, and while they inspected the room, Ginny got more of the story out of Carrie. “It was Annie’s idea. She liked the horror pictures and shows. When we’re dressed like that and grouped all together, people think we’re a lot older. Bethy faked some i.d.s for us to get in here. Then that older boy noticed us and took us places. It was fun to fool him. But tonight he . . . he . . had that thing waiting for us.” She looked up as Draco emerged. “Are Annie and Bethy okay now?”

Seeing what Ginny had seen, Draco crouched next to her and put a hand on the little girl’s shoulder. “They didn’t make it. You know that,” he said gently.

“NO!” The girl clapped her hands over her ears and screamed. Every window and mirror shattered, not due to the pitch of the scream (although considerably high), but to a force unseen.

“She’s a witch,” Draco breathed.

“Why isn’t she in school then?”

“Snape joined them. “All three were magical muggle borns. Dumbledore couldn’t convince their parents to send them to school. No choice now but to take her with us. Draco, use the fire and take her straight to Dumbledore. Miss Weasley, go with them. I have somewhere else to be.”

An hour later, they sat in the Hospital Wing, guarding Carrie. Ginny fixed the covers, and hovered. “He traded them for a vampiric amulet. He had to have noticed that they weren’t really sixteen. Why them? There were dozens of girls there, who probably would have considered it an honor. Why three little girls?”

“What made them stand out last night? Think, why were they different?”

It was a test of her observation skills and Ginny knew it. She concentrated. Flashing lights, mirrors, smoke, dark haired people in dark clothes. That’s it!

“Besides you they were the only blondes.”

“Right. Forget Muggle stories. All vampires are blonde. They can only sire blondes, because blonde hair means that there was a vampire in the person’s lineage already. That vampire probably fancied himself a modern day Dracula and thought three identical brides would be a good start to a new coven.”

“She’s the first muggleborn to ever be put in Slytherin. It’s kind of weird. At least we can protect her now. But Lucas will find her.”

“He won’t be back. He’s probably trading the amulet in for the Dark Mark as we speak.” Involuntarily, Ginny’s eyes were drawn to his forearm and of course he noticed. “I won’t take the mark. I promise, Ginny.”

“But you’re going back.”

“Only to declare my decision, then I’ll disapparate.”

“I’m going with you,” she said, firmly. “No arguing. I’m going. I love you.”

“I love you too.”

Chapter 14: Convince Me
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Malfoy Manor was, if possible, even colder and unfriendly than her last visit. Ginny clung to Draco’s hand, and dashed through the rain. In the entryway a house-elf took their cloaks, and left them there to wati. Draco sat on the floor and leaned his head back against the wall. “It’ll be a while. Etta can’t interrupt and no one ever notices the house-elves right away.” Ginny sat next to him, laying her head on his chest, letting his fingers stroke her hair. “How’s Carrie?”

“She replaced my shadow. But it’s okay. I know that she’s scared.”

“Has good reason to be. Where is she going over the break?”

“Grimmauld Place. Mum’s going to talk her parents into letting her stay over the summer. She’ll be safe there.”

“Good. I love you.”

“I love you too.”

They sat there for close to an hour, and Ginny was almost asleep when the door slid open, and Lucas entered. “ About time you two got here. Hurry up.”

“Only us then?” Draco inquired.

“I’ve already got mine.” With a grin he pulled up his sleeve and shoved his arm in their faces. “Check it out!” The black ink stood out in sharp relief on his pale skin, and even though the Dark Mark was a frightening image, Lucas wore it proudly.

“Yeah. Where’s my father?”

“Waiting for you in the Black Room. The rest are in the dungeon.”

“Thanks.” Draco stood and offered his hand to Ginny. “Let’s go, luv.” He pulled her to her feet, but didn’t release her hand, almost as if he was afraid of losing her.

Lucius was waiting eagerly. “Hurry up, boy. Put on your robes. The Dark Lord is waiting!”


Lucius paused and looked back at Draco, his eyes going cold. “No?”

“No, father. I do not now or ever wish to be a deatheater and serve that slimy creep that you’re too afraid of to even use his name. I’m not. Voldemort, Tom Marvolo Riddle, whoever he is, he doesn’t scare me and I won’t serve him.”

“Is this some sort of joke?” Lucius asked dangerously.

“No joke, father,” Draco answered calmly, but Ginny noticed how carefully he calculated his movements. He had kept her behind him the whole time, but now he tightened his grip on her hand, and with a pop, they both vanished from the Black Room and now stood in Ginny’s bedroom at Grimmauld Place. “You’re safe now,” Draco whispered, releasing her.

“We’re home?” she asked. He nodded. “We’re home! Mum! Dad! I’m home.” She took off down the hall and down the stairs. Draco followed at a more sedate pace, enjoying her excitement. She knocked over an umbrella stand in her haste, woke Mrs. Black’s portrait, and kept up the cheerful laughing cries. People spilled out of the kitchen, hurrying to hug and exclaim over her. He soon found himself in a corner alone, but for Carrie, the only person to come and hug him, happy that he was still alive.

She looked up at him. “They treat me funny here. Cause I’m a Slytherin. They don’t want me here.”

“They don’t want me either. We just have to stick together. That’s all.” He ruffled the little girl’s hair. “Let’s go get something to eat, shall we?”


“Draco, wait!” Ginny pulled away from her fan club and walked up to him. Deliberately, she wrapped both arms around his neck and kissed him. The room immediately went quiet. “I’d like you to meet my boyfriend, Draco.”

Ron and the twins were incapable of sppech, and Hermione was just staring. Harry was the one who broke the silence. “Malfoy and you? Is this a joke?”

“Nope, and you will all stop calling him that. His name is Draco.” Abruptly she changed the subject. “Is there anything left to eat? We’re starved!” Mrs. Weasley nodded and bustled back into the kitchen to serve up plates.

Draco was eating the best food that he had ever tasted, when Dumbledore appeared. He stood and faced the elderly man. Dumbledore looked old and worn. “You rejected it then?”

“I told you that I would in first year. I swore that I would never take the mark.”

“Even if it would have helped us further?” Dumbledore’s voice was raised now and anger filled his features. “You were our best spy, well placed and unsuspected. The mark wouldn’t change that.”

“But it would change me. I couldn’t take looking like him anymore than I already do. I am not my father. I will not run his company. I will not follow his rules, and I will not take the mark of his dictator.”

“But you’re useless to us now. You have no money, no information, and no home, not to mention you’ve brainwashed Ginny. What were you planning on doing?” shouted Harry. “Convince me why we should keep any of you Slytherins around!”

“Because you’re the bloody hero! I’m not penniless, I can take care of myself, but Carrie needs protection!”

“She’s a Slytherin.”

“She’s a twelve year old kid,” Draco said quietly, “who’s been through a hell of a lot. So much for the heroes. Come on, Carrie. If we’re unwelcome here, I’ll rent us some rooms at the Leaky Cauldron. You see, Potter, I’ve been planning this for six years, saving pocket money, birthday money, selling things. I’ve got a Gringots account that rivals even yours, and no one can touch it,” Draco spat.

“Stop!” Ginny cried out, and every eye turned to her. “If Draco goes, I go.”

“This sparked a wave of protest, but she held firm. “Draco and I are a set. We stay together. And as for Carrie, I won’t have you being rude to her either. So she’s a Slytherin. So is Draco, and Professor Snape, and I may as well be after having Tom Riddle in my head, so I bloody well hope that you would show the same consideration to her as you did to me. If not, we’ll be on our way.”

“Harry, please,” Mrs. Weasley pleaded.

“Fine. Find and empty bedroom, Malfoy, and stay out of our way.” Harry stalked out followed by Fred, George, Ron, Hermione, Neville, and Luna. Dumbledore disapparated and the rest of the table found other things to do, except for Bill.

“Ginny, Carrie’s staying in your room. It’s late, so why don’t you two go up to bed? I’ll show Draco where there’s an empty room.”

Ginny obeyed. She kissed Draco good night and then dashed off with Carrie.

Draco turned to Bill, suspiciously. “What do you want?”
“Convince me that you love my baby sister. I’m the oldest you see and it will be me who hunts you down if you break her heart. So convince me.”

“I. Love. Her.” Draco looked down. “Look, I can tell you a million things about her, me, us, but they’re all cliché, like I love her more than life itself, she’s the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen, or that she understands me, and while that’s all true, it’s not what you want to hear. I love her for a million reasons. She is simply the most amazing, frustrating, loving, intelligent, courageous, funniest, sweetest, and determined girl I ever met. “And I love her.”

“Okay then. Let’s go claim you a room.”

“There you go, Carrie.” Ginny set the brush on her nightstand and held up a mirror so the younger girl could admire her blonde braid.

“Thanks, Ginny.” The younger girl bounced off the bed and into her own. “Night.”

“Night.” Ginny flicked off the light and fiddled with the wireless. The other girl’s breathing grew even, but Ginny couldn’t find the right station. Finally she chose a replacement and slid down into bed.

“Ginny!” Loud knocking ensued.

Ginny groaned and tossed the covers aside. She pulled the door open. “What do you want? Carrie is asleep.”

Harry shrugged. “You’re sleeping in Hermione and Luna’s room.”


“Move your stuff into their room.”

“Their room is tiny. Why-you think Draco will come in here.”

“I know Malfoy will, so you won’t be here when he does.”

“No, four-or even three, so don’t bother suggesting it-do not fit in one room. You don’t know Draco at all, and even if you did, you have no right to order me around. You are not my father. You are not my brother. You have been nothing but rude to my boyfriend. I’m staying in my room. Good night.” She slammed the door and locked it. Then she collapsed back on her bed, but was unable to sleep. It would be a long vacation, and Ginny couldn’t wait to get back to Hogwarts.

Chapter 15: The Amulet
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"Be right there, Carrie." Ginny called sprinting for the dormitory. She wanted to wear the bracelet that Draco had given her for Christmas. They were going to meet Draco at the Three Broomsticks in ten minutes and she wanted to wear that bracelet. She looked up from her jewelry box, as the blonde girl entered. "Sorry, I can't seem to-Oh! Here it is." She slipped the bracelet on and started to close the lid, when the other girl pointed to a dark amulet dropped in the corner.

"What's that?"

Ginny bit her lip. Carrie had been doing so well. She really didn't want to bring Lucas's name up. "Just an old necklace. I don't like it much."

"Why? It's gorgeous and it matches the purple in your skirt. It'll make the whole outfit look great. Put it on."

Reluctantly, Ginny unfastened the clasp. Draco hadn't been able to find anything wrong with it. She fastened it around her neck and checked in the mirror, before turning to the younger girl. "How's it look?" The smile on Carrie's face scared her. "Carrie?"

"Looks good, Ginevra. BIND THY WILL!" The blonde girl held up an identical amulet now filled with black smoke, and when she smiled, Ginny could see white fangs. "Sleep."

Everything went black.

"Drop her. Lucas can take care of this from here." The girl's voice penetrated the fog of Ginny's mind. She tried to speak, but she had been gagged. She geard the vampiress go into the bathroom and assumed from the noises that she was changing clothes. Moments later, she returned no longer in a school uniform fitting for a twelve year old girl, but dressed as she had been the night Ginny had first met her. "Awake I see," she sniffed. "About time. I was growing bored."

"Couldn't have that, could we, darling?" Lucas laughed as he entered. "So, it worked?"

"Like a charm." The blonde offered him the amulet and kissed him deeply. "Voldemort will be pleased. Are you?"

"Very, my temptress."

"Don't forget it," she warned him.

"Never. After tonight we'll go off to Paris or Italy. But first the dark lord's ritual." Lucas turned to Ginny. "This amulet allows me to control you. You can only do what I wish you to do. Of course the spell had to be performed by a Vampire but-I believe YOU call her 'Carrie'- offered her services in place of the one cousin Draco killed. Now get dressed for tonight's ceremony. My girlfriend will assist you. Be ready in half an hour." He strode out leaving Ginny alone in the dubious though preferred company of the vampire.

Bored, the girl reached forward and removed the gag. "Disappointed in little Carrie, Ginevra?"

"You're not Carrie."

Draco had waited an extra fifteen minutes at the Three Broomsticks, figuring that they had been distracted by friends or shopping, but now he was worried. Ginny wouldn't keep him waiting like this. He tossed change on the table and followed the rest of the Hogwarts crew outside looking for the distinctive flash of red hair. Nothing.

A flash of white blonde hair caught his eye, and he fought his way to Zonkos. Inside Carrie was flirting with Dennis Creevy. He interrupted. "Carrie, where have you been? I've been waiting for half an hour!" His relief was short lived as he realized that Ginny wasn't with her. "Where's Ginny?"

She looked at him puzzled. "I don't know. I haven't seen her since breakfast."

"You were with her at lunch. We made plans to meet at the Three Broomsticks after she finished tutoring Longbottom."

"What are you talking about? Draco, I haven't seen either of you since breakfast." Carrie looked frightened. "I've been in Hogsmeade all day with Dennis."

"But you were there at lunch."

"It wasn't me!"

Draco stared at her. Her hair was wavy blonde and shoulder length the way he had seen her at breakfast, but at lunch . . . it had been waist length and straight. "Damn it! He turned one of them!"

Carrie's blue eyes widened. "Annie and Bethy?"

The vampire threw her head back and laughed. "You are smart. Not enough to have saved your skin, but still. You're right. I'm not Carrie."


"Elizabeth!" the girl snapped before forcing herself to relax. "Lucky guess though. Most would have said Annie. After all this was her thing. She wanted so badly to be a vampire, thought it was so cool. Found out about the club in a chatroom. Begged me to make ID's so we could get in. Carrie followed us blindly. Just liked dressing up."

"She's only twelve."

"Yeah, but she's still a baby. Adorable little Carrie, everyone's pet. And Annie was the leader, strong and in charge."

"And everyone overlooked you. I know the feeling."

"Yeah right. You're Ginny Weasley, youngest of seven. You could identify with Carrie maybe, but not me."

"I've always been overlooked. Bill and Percy were Head Boy. Charlie was Captain of Gryffindor's Quidditch team. The twins were always in trouble and Ron's best friends with Harry Potter, the-bloody-boy-who-lived. How can I compete with that?"

"By dating your families worst enemy. Bet no one had done that yet."

"No, but I'm glad I did. It's nice to have a boyfriend who wouldn't sacrifice my life for a piece of jewelry intended for the girl he obsesses over."

Elizabeth's eyes narrowed. "I don't want you to talk any more. Get dressed in the dress in the bathroom, and wait for me to return."

Draco was pacing. I wish Blaise was here. But Blaise had not returned to school after the break. In fact, Carrie and Draco were the only Slytherins remaining at the school. The rest must have made the decision to be deatheaters. Finally he turned back to the two younger kids. "Creevy, go find the Dream Team."

"They went home because of something secret."

"Damn. Take Carrie back up to the school. Don't leave Gryffindor Tower. Either of you." He apparated into the kitchen of #12 Grimmauld Place. The Dream Team wasn't there, but Percy sat at the table. He would have groaned at his rotten luck, if he wasn't in such a hurry. "I need to see Potter. Now."

"No. I won't betray him to a Malfoy."

"I need help. Where is Potter?" Percy sneered at him. "If I wanted to hurt Potter, I bloody well would have done it six years ago when he offended me in front of the entire year. Your sister is missing! Now where is Potter or Dumbledore?"

Percy had gone white. "You're lying!"

Bill entered. "Thought I recognized the voice. Do you need something, Draco?"

"Ginny is missing."

"Harry! Ron! Get everyone in here now!" Bill shouted down the hall. "Sit down, Malfoy. Percy, go upstairs and get Mum."

"But he's a Mal-"


"On it."

Ginny stared in horror at her reflection. Not because of the way she looked, but because she was the only one in the mirror, despite the fact that Elizabeth stood just to her right, adjusting the sash to the sleeveless white dress, Ginny wore. It was very low necked, allowing everyone to see the amulet that controlled her. Elizabeth had swept her hair up so that it wouldn't get in the way of the knife. She had taken great delight in describing the ceremony to her in horrific detail after ordering her silence. Finally Elizabeth deemed her ready. She led her to a chair and left her there. She was sitting there when Lucas entered.

He cleared his throat. "Beautiful." She was unable to speak, but her eyes clearly said what she thought of him and his compliment. He laughed. "You express yourself so clearly without a single word. An art in itself. Stand." Reluctantly, she obeyed. "Don't fight me." He closed the distance between them and slammed his mouth down on hers, shoving her against the wall. Tears coursed down her face, as he pulled her to him and tried untying the sash.

"REDUCTOR!" The curse slammed Ginny into the wall, before dropping her to the floor, but thankfully it took Lucas off her as he got the same treatment. "Leaver her alone, boy. Her blood must be pure for the potion to work." Voldemort was displeased. "Crucio!" He only punished Lucas for a minute before dragging him from the room. "Narcissa, care for Ginevra."

"Of course, Master." Ginny heard this and allowed herself to fall into the blackness.

Chapter 16: Rescuing Damsels in Distress
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Draco stepped out of the fireplace in his old bedroom. It was dark and the rainstorm did nothing to lighten the mood. He made his way towards the door, but tripped over the lump of fur that wound around his ankles. "Blasted cat!" he muttered, moving to his knees.


Draco was on his feet, wand drawn, before the other boy emerged from the shadows. "Raise the alarm and I'll curse you into the next century, Zambini."

"I won't. I'm on your side. I've been waiting for you."

"How'd you know I'd come?"

Blaise rolled his eyes. "They kidnapped Ginny. Of course you'd come. We have to rescue her."

"How do I know I can trust you?"

"I'm your friend, Draco. Just trust me."

Draco shoved his wand back into his pocket. "Where is she?"

"In her room from last time, but you don't stand a chance of getting her out now."

"You got a better idea?"

"Depends. What are our assets?"

"Me and you inside the house. About 30 people outside ready to attack once I've got Ginny to provide a distraction for our excape. Our wands, Ginny's wand and our brains."

"The two brightest students Slytherin's ever seen and a single brain between us," Blaise joked. All right. He-who-must-not-be-named is brewing a rare invulnerability potino. He and the top fourteen of his inner circle are brewing it in the ball room. He has to add the blood of a pure red headed witch at the stroke of midnight. It has to be spilled by a new ally. That's supposed to be Lucas, but You-Know-Who is very upset with him, for attacking Ginny."


"She's safe. I saw where he was going and snitched to You-Know-Who. He punished Lucas for his attempt, and won't allow harm to come to her before midnight. I think if I ask to do it to prove my desire for the Dark Mark, he may give me permission."

"And that'll help us how?"

"I'll be able to get that charming necklace off her so she has free will to use her wand which I'll smuggle to her. But you'll have to call in your army a little early. That way You-Know-Who will send the deatheaters away. Less people for us two to fight off."

"But we still have Voldemort to deal with."

"He doesn't know you're here. Hit him from behind with a spell."

"That might work. We have ten minutes. Lets get going."

"Wait a minute. I have a confession to make. I fell in love with Ginny. When she first started hanging out with us. I'm sorry."

Draco stared in confusion at his best friend. Blaise loved Ginny. Blaise was a loyal friend who never doubted their friendship and helped him protect Ginny. Blaise kept his secret from getting to the deatheaters too soon. "You should have said something. It was all a lie. She was just my partner."

"I know. I overheard you two talking after that, uh, drinking contest."

Draco was now even more confused. "Then why didn't you say something? You could have had her."

"I'm your friend. I see the way you two are together. I knew you loved her before you did. I've never seen two people try to deny it for as long as you did, but I've never seen two people who were so right for each other. You two are happy. I don't want that to change. And if You-Know-Who kills all of us tonight, then I'll come back and haunt him for it. So with that promising thought in mind, let's go wreak some havoc, okay?"

"Sounds like fun. Let's go."

Ginny was led from her room by Narcissa. They had errected some form of a dias in the middle of the ballroom. She was shoved up the steps roughly by Lucas and ordered to kneel.

"Master! Dumbledore leads an army on the manor!"

"Take the senior deatheaters and hold them off. As soon as Snape finishes the potion, I will join you." As the deatheaters hurried to obey, he turned back to her. "Go ahead, Blaise. Kill her and I shall give you the mark."

Ginny's heart sank and three words ripped from her mouth despite the magic force that bound her. "I trusted you!"

"I know." Whe felt something shoved into her hands. Her wand. He brought the knife around as if to slit her throat as Voldemort ordered. Instead it yanked the chain, snapping it and dropping the amulet into the cauldron.

"Stupid boy! Do you realize-" Voldemort never finished his rant as he began to morph. Seconds later, a round coffee table sat in his place and Draco stood just behind it.

"Stupefy." Snape fell backward off the dias. 'Blaise, Ginny, move!" Ginny swung her head back. The potion had turned green and begun to boil over, melting away the cauldron. Ginny leapt off the dias crashing into Lucas. As he struggled to his feet, she hexed him, leaving him on the stone floor fighting the flapping wings that kept attacking. "Don't relish being in his shoes. I remember what that's like."

"Draco!" Ginny flung her arms around his neck. "I love you!"

"How touching," Elizabeth sneered. "I-AHH!"

"Good bye, big sister." Carrie wrenched the stake from her sister's chest.

"Carrie, I told you to stay at Hogwarts."

"Didn't think I'd let you have all the fun, did you?"

"Save the touching reunion, kids. We've gotta go. They're coming!" Blaise grabbed Carrie and pulled her up the stairs. Draco and Ginny followed. "Draco's room. Out the window. I rigged a rope earlier."

Draco grabbed the rope and swung himself over the ledge. "Come on, Carrie!" Ginny helped Carrie over the ledge passing her down to Draco.

Blaise shoved the cat into her arms. "Take Dragon Bait and go!" He lifted her out the window as Lucius burst into the room. "Go!"


Ginny gasped as Blaise froze but obediently slid down the rope. Seconds later Lucius swore and Bellatrix fell screaming and thrashing from the window. There was a loud thump, but Ginny never got a chance to look at her or back up at Blaise, because Draco caught her and shoved her towards the retreating order. "We'll come back for him, Ginny!" Once off the property, he disapparated pulling her with him, as Bill took Carrie.

Chapter 17: #12 Grimmauld Place Again
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"Let me get this straight! You turned the most powerful dark wizard of all time into a coffee table?" Harry scoffed.

"Yeah! It was the only nonverbal transfiguration spell I could think of off the top of my head. It'll wear off sooner or later though and I'd hate to be the first one he sees when it does."

"Wow, that's more incredible than when Harry was almost caught stealing Lestrange's diary," Ron gasped.

"Almost caught? You stepped on my foot!" Draco laughed.

"By the forty-second telling, Goyle was breathing down his neck, as he escaped," Hermione confided.

"The crew laughed at Harry's expense and Draco wrapped his arm around Ginny's shoulders. Her head rested on his shoulder and she was almost asleep. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Carrie standing off to the side, clutching her suitcase. "Luv, I'm going to go say good-bye to Carrie."

"I'm coming with." He helped her up, and they walked over to Carrie. "Bye, Carro."

"Bye, Ginny. Dumbledore said I could write. My parents are taking me to America until this is all over."

"Salem's a good school. You'll be okay. Show them what Hogwarts is made of." Draco ruffled her hair.

"Of course I will," Carrie smirked. "I'm a Slytherin."

"Right. Bye, Draco." She joined her parents at the fire. "Good-bye."

Draco and Ginny waved as she left. Ginny leaned against him. "I'd say if all that we won through this lousy year was the right for her to go to school and stand apart from her sisters it was well worth it."

"Thats not all we won."

Ginny raised an eyebrow. "Oh? Illuminate me."

"We prevented Voldemort from becoming invincible, hexed Lucas, and I don't know about you, but I rescued something priceless tonight."

"And what would that be, Draco Malfoy?"

"Dragon Bait." She socked him. "Oww. I was kidding. You know I meant you."

"But its nice to hear it."

"I know. I love you." He leaned forward and brushed his lips against hers.

"MALFOY! Just because you're the hero of the hour doesn't mean I'm gonna let you snog my sister!"

Draco pulled back reluctantly. "Some privacy would be nice."

"Now that Kreacher's gone the boiler room is free."

"Race you."

"You're on."

A/N: Enjoy this. This is the end of Year Six and Year Seven will begin next chapter. @->--

Chapter 18: Another Morning
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A/N: Sixth Year was written in only Draco and Ginny's POV. Seventh Year will follow everyone. Enjoy.

Ginny sat up, stifling her scream. Shaking, she surveyed the dark room and her sleeping companions. The cat leapt up onto her bed, and she cradled him close. "It was just a nightmare. I'm fine. I don't need-" A crash of thunder interrupted her, making her cringe. "Scratch that; I do need him!" She leapt out of bed and bounced out the door and down the hall. She opened the door and dropped the cat before leaning over the bed. "Draco?"

The only verbal response she got was a muffled "Hmm?" but his arms reached out for her and he scooted over on the narrow twin bed, still half asleep, but sensing her need. She lay down next to him, letting him pull her close. She rested her head against his chest, letting his steady heartbeat calm her down, feeling safe in the circle of his strong arms. Safe from everything, nightmares, war, Voldemort. Almost a nightly occurance, the horrible dreams sent her running to Draco. He never complained, just held her close, until her fear disappeared.

She had a lot to be afraid of. At the end of the school year, she had been used as bait in a trap for Draco. Lucas Lestrange had attacked her and her friend Blaise had sacrificed himself for them.

In her dreams, she saw green light hitting him. Consciously, she knew it wasn't true. Lucius had used a petrifying curse, not the killing one. Snape had assured them that Blaise was alive and safe. True, the Malfoys were using him as a statue, but he was alive and would be revived when they rescued him. And they would rescue him. They had to.

Finally relaxed, she whispered, "Thank you."

"Feel better, luv?"

She nodded.

"Good. Then get off my bed and take the mini monster who is using my face for a trampoline with you."

She giggled and obeyed. "Come here, Dragon Bait. I love you, Draco."

"Love you too," he mumbled. "Now go away."

Ginny pulled the sheet he'd kicked to the foot of the bed over him again, knowing full well that it would be kicked away as soon as she left. Her boyfriend found the hot humid London summer unbearable, compared the the cold manor that was his childhood home.

With a quick kiss, she left, taking the cat with her. Not tired, she wandered down to the kitchen, where Hermione sat with a cup of coffee. "Hey, 'Mione. What are you doing up?"

"Between you and the storm, sleep wasn't really an option. You had better make sure that Ron doesn't catch you coming out of Malfoy's room."
"It's not like we're doing anything wrong," Ginny answered defensively. "And if you're so worried about it, why'd you let me go?"

"Because I can't handle memories of that magnitude. The glossed over account Dumbledore gave everyone was too much for me and the details . . . I would have tried applying logic and gotten you so worked up that it would have taken him hours to calm you down. Time he doesn't have since he keeps the late watch and he needs his sleep."

"I . . . I . . ."

"Sorry, I'm not repriminding you, Ginny. It's not your fault and Malfoy knows that. I don't get how he calms you down so fast, but he does, and I'm glad. As long as you're sure that your happy, I'll force Harry and Ron to live with it. They may hate it with a firey passion, but they'll have to live with it."

"Thanks, and I am sure." Ginny poured herself a cup of coffee and sat down next to her friend. "Well, we have an hour before the rest of the house begins to wake up. If you're not planning on going back to bed, do you want to help me start breakfast?"

"What's the plan?"

"Bacon and grits, with everyone's favorite side dish, porridge. Fresh orange juice and toast if you help."

"Make it biscuits instead of toast and you've got yourself a deal."

"That could work."

The strong smell of fresh coffee woke Draco. Dressing quickly, he followed his nose to the kitchen. Ginny and Hermione were sitting at the table pouring over a magazine.

"Morning." He brushed a kiss against his girlfriend's cheek. "Do I smell coffee?"

"On the stove," Ginny gestured vaguely. "Fresh black. Just the way you like it."

"Bless you." He poured himself a cup, inhaled deeply, and drank it in one gulp. "You are the perfect woman."

"I know," she answered distractedly, studying the magazine intently. "Thanks." The oven time went off and she tore herself away from the article to get the biscuits out. "Breakfast will be on the table in five minutes."
"Hot coffee and food as soon as I get up? Now that's impressive. Are you spoiling me?"

"Hate to break it to you, Draco, but you were spoiled long before I met you." She set the pan down and turned to kiss him. "My only intent is to keep you this way forever." She tasted like chocolate, coffe, and mint, a heavenly mix in Draco's opinion.

"Crap, Malfoy. It's five in the morning and you two are already at it?" Ron grumbled miserably before sittin next to Hermione and helping himself to her coffee.

Ginny looked at Ron. "His name is Draco. Learn it. Use it. Or else."

Ron turned red, and Harry snapped, "We'll be on first name terms with our enemy when Voldemort dances the hula. That'll be the same time I get used to seeing you come out of his room in the morning."

That comment sparked several responses. "Harry, how could you?" from Hermione and Draco's snap of "None of your business, Potter!" but neither could beat the sheer volume or rage of Ron's "WHAT?! GINNY, HOW COULD YOU?"

Ginny burst into tears. "Stop it! Please just stop it."

She turned to Ron. "It isn't like that! I had a nightmare about the night that Voldemort . . . and Lucas . . . I was frightened and the storm was scary and I needed-"

"A quick shag?" Harry interrupted.

"No! I needed someone to hold me. All he did was hold me." Tears still falling, she ran out of the room.

Draco scowled. "Nice move, Potter. Weasley, pretend to think for a moment. If your girlfriend went through something traumatic and had repeated nightmares about it, and woke up frightened by a storm, wouldn't you want to hold and comfort her? If it was Hermione, would you want her to be scared and alone? Then why do you insist on denying your little sister her choice in a comforter?" Ron looked down, and Draco sighed. "I'm sick of this. Ginny doesn't deserve it." He stalked out and headed upstairs, where he found Ginny weeping next to the statue of Merlin. "I'm sorry."

With a little cry, she threw herself into his arms. "It's not your fault," she sobbed. He pulled her close, resting his chin on her red hair.

"Ginny?" Bill looked out and spotted the pair. "Mal-er-Draco, is she okay?"

"I've got her, Bill. Go back to your wife."

Bill looked him in the eye for a moment than nodded. "Alright. See you at breakfast."

Draco returned his attention to Ginny. She was shaking, but the tears were gone. "Luv, how long did you sleep last night before you woke me up from that dream?"
"Four or five hours."

"And the night before?"


He readjusted his hold and scooped her up. "You're going back to bed. And staying there." Thankfully Ginny didn't argue; just nestled closer to him. He kicked the door to her room open and laid her down on the bed. "Sleep."

"Stay? Until I fall asleep?"

"Alright." He dropped down beside her, intending only to stay for a moment, but not long after Ginny's breathing grew even, he was asleep too.

Bill saw the two forms asleep on Ginny's bed. "Wait here, Fleur." He walked to the doorway. For once Ginny was asleep. She was asleep in Draco Malfoy's arms, but she was asleep and it looked right and peaceful. He carefully closed the door so that no one would disturb them, and re joined Fleur at the top of the stairs. "Breakfast?"
"You 'Re not going to tell on 'Zee Malfoy boy?"

"No. I've been watching him all summer. I trust him not to hurt her. And if he ever did-well Ron tells me that he made a great ferret." Fleur's laugh echoed as they made their way downstairs.

Harry was brooding in the study, breaking whatever he could get his hands on. Luna sat in the corner, reading the Quibbler. Eventually he ran out of figurines and Luna looked up. "Feel better?"

He shook his head. "I hate him."

"I know," she comforted. "You're jealous."

"I'm not jealous. I love you, Luna."

"I know, but you still think of Giny as yours, just like Hermione. You just weren't ready to lose her, especially to Draco. I don't mind."

"He's a Malfoy. I'll never be able to forgive him."

"He didn't kill Sirius. Bellatrix Lestrange did and she's dead now. Let it go."

"I can't."

"Has anyone seen Malfoy?" Ron hollared. "Snape wants to talk to him!" He changed directions abruptly, heading into the kitchen. "Does anyone know where Malfoy is?"

Bill buttered his toast calmly. "He's asleep."

"I just checked his room, " Ron said in a puzzled tone. Then realization sunk in. "HE'S IN GINNY'S ROOM?! HOW COULD YOU LET THAT HAPPEN, BILL?!"

Bill swallowed his food and replied calmly. "Ginny has circles under her eyes the size of saucers. At this point, I don't care if she wants to sleep in the arms of the Loch Ness Monster as long as she sleeps. And Draco hasn't been sleeping much between his night shift and taking care of Ginny."

"He's our sister's boyfriend. Respect that, and let them sleep. I'll go talk to Snape."

"It's nothing. Just tell Draco or your sister that Blaise is still alive and unharmed. I'm hoping to have him out of there by October." Both Weasley boys looked up to see Snape smirking, apparently he had overheard the entire conversation. "For your information, Draco wasn't sorted into Slytherin for nothing. He'll sink fangs into anyone who messes with your sister. Pleasant Morning." He disappeared abruptly, leaving the Weasley brothers to face off.

Draco woke up before Ginny. Her bed was much wider than his, but she still slept as close to him as physically possible. He lightly kissed the top of her head, then distangled himself and headed downstairs. He grabbed an apple out of the fruit bowl on the table as breakfast had already been cleared away.

"Hermione saved both Ginny and you plates in the kitchen."

"Weasley?" He turned and sure enough Ron was sitting in the corner, studying a chess board.

"On the counter," Ron commented, moving a piece on the board.

"Thanks." Draco turned to go into the kitchen, but Ron spoke again.

"Do you know how to play chess?"


"Hurry up and eat. Then come back and play a game."

"Sure." Draco left a little confused. He figured Ron would want to hex him after this morning, not play chess. He gulped down his food and drained the goblet of Pumpkin Juice, before returning to the dining room.

Ron had set up the board so that he was white and Draco was black. Probably meant to be symbolic. "Knight to C3. Your move."

A/N: It's up. Please R&R. Oh, and you've probably noticed the wonky state of my reviews. No one else's look like that and I'm not sure what happened. I'd love to answer them, but when they're like this I can't. If you could help me sort it out, I'd appreciate it.

Chapter 19: Knockturn Alley
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A/N: For those who are confused: 1) This story followed Draco and Ginny around for their sixth and fifth year. The Golden Trio's year is lost except where it intercepted with our heroes. But during that year, Harry and Luna got together, Ron and Hermione got together, and Bill and Fleur got married, and Fleur is now pregnant. 2) Bellatrix is dead. She fell from a window in the manor and didn't survive. She's gone, and Harry didn't have anything to do with it.

"We're all going to Diagon Alley, Draco." Luna's voice was small and Draco could barely hear her through the door. He wondered if she was trying not to be heard, but doubted Luna was the type to do that. "Do you want to come with?"

"Sure," Draco stood up and went to fetch his cloak. He had lost the chess game, but he'd almost taken all of Ron's pieces including the white queen. He thought he'd seen some respect in Ron's eyes after he'd captured that piece, just as Ron had earned his by moving the knight out first in a defiant move of control. Draco opened the door and blocked Dragon Bait's attempt to enter. The cat turned it's nose up in the air and stalked off to the room that Ginny now shared with Hermione and Luna. Draco followed and knocked on the door. "Announcing His Highness, Dragon Bait."

Ginny opened the door and smiled sweetly. "Thanks, Draco. I was looking for him."

"Are you ready to go?"

"Uh-huh." She snatched up her cloak and wrapped his school scarf around her neck. "Let's go."

As Draco stepped out of the fire, he realized something was very wrong. He was in Borgin & Burkes, which meant he was in Knockturn Alley. He spun around to catch Ginny as she stumbled out of the fireplace. "Put out the fire, quick." Without hesitation, Ginny doused the flame with her wand, needing nothing more than his order to know it needed to be done. "We're in Knockturn Alley, Borgin & Burkes to be precise."

"Where's Bill and Harry?"

"They probably went outside. THis isn't a very pleasant shop. Don't touch anything, no matter how beautiful it looks. It wouldn't be in this shop if it wasn't dangerous."

"WHAT DID YOU DO, MALFOY?" Harry had found them. "WHAT DID YOU DO?"

"Shut up, Potter," Draco hissed.

"Relax, Harry," Ginny soothed. "The floo network is on the brink again."

Bill nodded. "Let's get out of here. THe others will apparate or use a portkey to get to Diagon Alley. Come on. Gin, stay with Draco. Harry, stick with me."

"I just got reduced to helpless Ginny," Harry complained just as Ginny protested: "I'm hardly as helpless as Harry." And then simultaneously, "HEY!"

"Relax, Ginny. We're a team and we work that way. That's all Bill meant," Draco soothed.

"Right. Come on, Draco, let's check the street for deatheaters." She tugged her black hood up over her bright red hair, and tucked the Hogwarts scarf into her pocket. The Children of the Deatheaters didn't attend Hogwarts any longer.

Draco pulled his hood into place so his fair hair was hidden too. "Wait for Ginny before you leave the shop."


Draco slipped his arm around Ginny's waist. "Ready, Luv?" They walked out keeping a careful eye on their surroundings. There was a elderly witch sleeping on a bench, but the streets were uncommonly bare. "Something's wrong."

"I know."

"Can Bill apparate a second person?"

"Don't know. Never had cause to, I expect. How are we going to work this?"

"I'm gonna have to apparate with Potter. Wait thirty seconds then use the portkey ring I gave you. Bill can disapparate after you're safe."

"We have to split up," she whispered softly.

"Yeah, but only for a minute, okay?" He kissed her lightly.

"You two! What are you doing in the street? The Dark Lord had demanded it to be cleared!" Lucas had apparated out of nowhere, and was stalking toward them.

Ginny pulled away and turned, keeping her face in the shadow and in a falsetto gasped. "Oh, LUKIE! Was that today? It totally slipped my mind."

"Um, yes, Pansy. So you need to get inside. Who's your escort?"

Ginny waved her hand dismissivly. "One of Papa's foreign guests. Gustauve or Phillipe or Lars. Some thing like that. I've no idea what he's saying, but he's so handsome. Not that he compares to you, Lukie. Are you going to the masque? I should love an escort."

"Pansy," Lucas quickly sidestepped the subject, "you need to get inside. Go on to the old B&B with Mr.-eh-whoever."

"Oh all right, Lukie. Come on, big and handsome."

"Jah, Frauline Pansee."

Just as they reached the doorway, hundreds of deatheaters appeared in the road, and a voice filled the air. "He's here. Find him! Find Potter!"

"Damn it." Draco shoved the door open and grabbed Potter's arm. "Apparate!"

"Bill go to Grimmauld place now!"

"But you-"

"It's under control. Go!" Bill obeyed, and as soon as he disappeared, Ginny twisted her ring and appeared in the kitchen of Grimmauld place. As soon as her feet touched the ground, she found herself in Draco's arms. "Draco. I need to breathe."

He loosened his grip but didn't release her entirely. "Sorry, but leaving you there was had. Not something I'd care to repeat."

"Me neither. I have to learn how to apparate. When I heard Lucas's voice, I almost screamed," she confided. "He's scarier than the rest of the deatheaters put together."

"No one would have guessed. Pretending to be Pansy was bloody brilliant!"

"Thanks. You caught on fast. I didn't know that you could speak German."

"German, Latin, French, and Spanish. German was the only one, I knew Lucas can't speak. I figured he'd be less likely to try and interrogate me then."

"I'm impressed."


"Private team information. Dumbledore will brif you lot if he thinks you need to know," Draco explained patiently, as if to a two year old. "Come on, Ginny. Dumbledore will be here any second."

No sooner had these words left his mouth, than Dumbledore appeared with a loud crack. "What happened?"

"Living room, sir." Once they were safely in the living room and Draco had soundproofed it, Ginny explained everything.

"Good. Commendable work. I'm impressed. Tomorrow I want you two to escort the exchange students from their embassy to the Hogwarts express, full uniform, and special permission for Ginny to use magic if need be."

"Full uniform, sir?"

"As aurorers in training. Your uniforms are in your rooms and please report at eight o'clock to the embassy."

"Yes, sir."

"I won't keep you any longer. I have a meeting, but I'll send someone to pick up your school supplies. You're dismissed."

A/N: Another chapter. If you love me, then leave a review. If you don't . . . *shrugs* well, leave me a review anyway. Could someone explain what happened to my reviews format and how I can answer them again? Thanks. Bye. @->--

Chapter 20: A Romantic Evening
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“Wow.” Ginny fingered the deep blue silk robes. With the robes were a pair of ink black suade boots and a cloak that reversed to become an invisibility cloak if necessary. She had also been given a silver time-turner on a slim chain for emergencies only. Luna and Hermione had already gasped and admired over it, but Ginny couldn’t tear herself away.

‘Gin, isn’t it kind of weird that they chose you over Harry for this honor?” Hermione’s question startled Ginny. “I mean you’re not even of legal age and he’s the Boy-Who-Lived after all, with all of those talent and powers. It’s just odd.”

“Gee, it might have something to do with my brilliant potions and charms grades, being able to speak three languages, and my ability to imitate other’s voices and mannerisms. It could even be because I won’t hex Draco for the fun of it, or maybe it has something to do with the fact that I lived as a spy for all of last year.” The words were out of her mouth before Ginny could stop them, but on reflection she didn’t want to. Hermione’s comment had hurt her.
“Ginny, I’m sorry.”

“I’m sure you are.” Ginny flounced out of the room with as much attitude as she could manage. She didn’t look at either girl on her way out, because she didn’t want to cry in front of them.

Draco heard her coming, the fast steps that signified that something was wrong. He was off his bed and opening the door before she even got the chance to knock. She launched herself into his open arms, and he kicked the door shut. As soon as the reassuring sound of wood hitting wood was heard, Ginny began to cry, clinging tightly to his robes. He just pulled her closer, lifting her up off of her feet, so that he could carry her over to the chair. With some careful maneuvering, he cleared it off and sat down with her in his lap. “Shh. What did they do?”

“No matter what I do, it’ll never be enough. I’ll always be Gin, the littlest Weasley. I’ll never compare to Harry’s great deeds, and Hermione’s cleverness, or Ron’s loyalty.”

“Hey, don’t cry over them. Their opinion doesn’t matter. You’re better than all of them combined and you’ll never be little Gin Weasley to me.” Ginny Malfoy, if I ever figure out how to ask you, but never Gin Weasley.

“I don’t know what to do anymore.”

“I can help with that. Eventually you need to go face the Dream Team, but right now, you need to kiss me. For an extended period of time, preferably forever.” She giggled and complied. When they finally paused for breath, he gave her his best pout, and protested, “Forever.”

“Forever isn’t long enough,” she whispered before kissing him again.

“Look, Granger. Ginny’s had a rough day. Between Lucas Lestrange, her brother’s inquisition, Potter being Potter, and whatever you said to her, my girlfriend needs a break. I want to surprise her with a romantic evening. All I want you to do is direct her to the rooftop and keep Potter and Ron out of the way for a few hours. Now, can you do that?”

“There you go, Gin. Perfectly fitting robes just for you.” Hermione knotted the last thread and stood back to admire her work. “I think it looks perfect, but go ask Malfoy what he thinks. He headed up to the roof about an hour ago for some peace and quiet.”

With a quick thanks to Hermione, Ginny dashed off to show her Aurorer uniform to Draco. She loved how comfortable the loose trousers and long tunic were. She could do anything in these without long hems tripping her up.

On the roof, she couldn’t see anything in the pitch blackness. “Draco?”

“Lumos.” Suddenly a hundred candles lit, casting a soft glow on the area and soft music began to play. Draco stepped into the light, wearing his own Aurorer robes. “May I have this dance?” Blinking back tears, she nodded, and he pulled her close, offering her the single white rose he held. “I remember that you liked the one I gave you last year.”

“That WAS you.”

He chuckled. “Guilty as charged. Shall we dance?”

“Of course.” Ginny wrapped her arms around his neck. “I love you.”

His arms went around her waist as he replied, “Trust me. The feeling is entirely mutual.”

The music was soothing, and Ginny rested her head against him. “You are like the absolute king of boyfriends. I don’t know what I’d do without you.” She relaxed in his arms and allowed him to rotate them in small circles. “This is perfect.”

“Just wait. There’s more.” He released her and walked over to the middle of the roof top. “And for your dining pleasure . . .” He whipped his new invisibility cloak off of a table set with beautiful dishes, a rose flower arrangement, and chocolate cake.

“Have I told you how much I love you or what an amazing boyfriend you are?”

“Yes, but I can always hear it again.”

“I love you and you’re an amazing boyfriend.” She sat in the chair he offered her and waited for him to have a seat before sampling the delicious food before her. “Amazing. So what else do you have planned for tonight, my Romeo?”

Draco’s fingers closed around the velvet box in his pocket, but he couldn’t force his mouth to say the words he had been practicing. Finally opening his mouth, he managed, “Looking at the stars.” Disappointed at his lack of courage, he let go of the jewelry box. He’d do it next time.

A/N: Sorry it took so long. I hope it was worth it. I needed a chapter for them to relax and enjoy each other with only two weighty hints in it, before I post the next BIG chapter, that is absolutely LOADED with HINTS about where my story is GOING. Subtle, thy name is Bethny. Well, please leave me a review. I'll answer them just as quickly as I can. I take back my rule about no guessing. Guess all you want, because you'll never guess how this one turns out.

A/N #2: I know this is a shocker, but I'm actually updating "Can't Betray My Heart" with a new chapter as we speak, so check for it. As I said it will have the first traces of D/H in it. This will be followed by my first version of how the Seventh Book should go (titled "Harry Potter and the Ice Princess") and the beginning of "The Greatest Deed" (Sequel to "The Greatest Accomplishment"). With any luck, I'll finish it quickly and start posting my second version of the Seventh Book, as of yet untitled. Love you all, and Bye. @->--

Chapter 21: Exchange Students
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“Junior Agents Weasley and Malfoy, ma’am. Headmaster Dumbledore sent us to escort the exchange students.”

“I see. Let me just go fetch them.” The portly witch barely turned away before shouting “ADDIE, ANDY, AND JAVON! The Aurorers are here to take you little devils to the train!” The middle-aged woman turned back to them with an emphatic nod. “The American twelve-year-old, Andy, that’s the one to watch out for. Found that horrible joke shop first day here. Real temper that one. Ah, here they are.”

As the three kids lined up with their trunks, Ginny scanned them for the trouble maker. To her surprise there was only one boy and he looked to be about Draco’s age, as did the oldest girl. A short red-headed girl appeared to be the Andy the woman spoke of. The older girl was very slender and pale as if sickly, but there was a strength in her voice as she reminded the woman, “My name is Adele, Mrs. Travers.”

Draco stepped forward and referring to Dumbledore’s letter, nodded to each in turn. “Javon Demi, Adele Courtier, and Andrea Davis?”

“Andy! Don’t you ever call us Andrea!” the girl spat.

Draco ignored the outburst. “Draco Malfoy, and this is my partner, Ginny Weasley,” he continued calmly. “The car is outside, so if you’ll follow us.” They managed to load the trunks and get to the station with no incident. But the train ride to Hogwarts was sheer torture. All Ginny wanted to do was lay down with her head in Draco’s lap and catch up on her sleep, but Javon jumped at every little noise (usually caused by Andy), Adele had gone several shades paler, and Andy fired off impertinent questions, sarcasm, and rude comments in quick succession without waiting for an answer.

“You two are dating. We can tell! We bet you’re a Slytherin, Malfoy. She isn’t because she’s a Weasley, but you’ve gotta be. How could a Slytherin and a Gryffindor be together? Isn’t that like against the laws of nature? The new girl at Salem was a Slytherin.” Here Ginny looked up, anxious for news of Carrie. “She’s in our year, but she’s really stuck up and we don’t like her.”

“We’re Carrie’s friends,” Draco said coldly. “And we do like her so if you want to complain, don’t do it in front of us. And what’s with referring to yourself in plural?”

“They can split us apart, but they can’t change us. They’re idiots to think that they can. Ma and Andy are Oracle Twins. At least that’s what we call ourselves after we watched ‘Jake Long: The American Dragon.’”


“The cartoon. Were you raised in Antartica? Oh, wait, I forgot. You’re from jolly old England,” she said I a poor British accent.

While Draco attempted to regain control of the situation, Ginny allowed her mind to wander to the first letter that Carrie had sent them from America.

Dear Draco and Ginny,

I passed all my finals. I got an O in Potions and Charms. Salem isn’t too bad, but they don’t separate by houses. They separate by years, and I don’t get along with my year very well. The Davis Twins practically rule the school. I hate them. Just because they’re the youngest to ever qualify as full seers, everyone wants to be just like them. Bloody pathetic. I mean they have the same first name and one’s a girl for crying out loud. Mum and Dad kind of ignore me during break, but I can live with that. Dennis Creevy writes all the time so I hear the news.

I hope you do well on your O.W.L.S. Ginny. Miss you both!

“Ginny can you handle this for a moment? I need to step outside before I strangle that Brat.”

“Sure. Bring back some chocolate frogs.”

“Will do.”

A/N: Does that make up for the long wait? My original Chapter 21 was too long, so now it's two chapters, but this is still loaded with hints, so enjoy and leave me a review.

Chapter 22: Chaos As Per Usual
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After finally turning their charges to MacGonagal, it was a relief to finally collapse into the chairs at their favorite table. It was empty now. The younger generation of deatheaters had left, and sadly Blaise remained a petrified war prisioner.

“Welcome to Hogwarts!” Dumbledore’s voice boomed over the crowd. “Good to see you all back again. As I can see you’re hungry, the sorting will commence immediately. First we have three exchange students to be sorted followed by our new first years. Good luck to you all.”

MacGonagal cleared her throat. “Courtier, Adele.”


“Davis, Andy.”


“Demi, Javon.”


Ginny blinked in surprise. She hadn’t expected those houses for this lot. The exchange students stumbled down the steps to join them, the only familiar faces in the crowd. As she put a hand comfortingly on Javon’s shoulder, she saw Draco lean forward to study the first years out of the corner of her eye. There were twelve altogether. The two on the end looked to be likely Slytherins.

“Brient, Timothy.”


“Browning, Jackal.”


“Davies, Alexis.”


“Dijonne, Rain.”


“Elliot, Adrian.”


“Jedlen, Tigris.”


“Kent, Joshua.”


“Rockstorm, Nebulae.”


“Samuels, Rowan.”


“I knew it,” Draco muttered to himself. “She looked like a Samuels.”

“Sand, Jordan.”


“Shiva, Ryan.”


“Sparks, Ian.”


Draco blinked in surprise. Sparks had looked like a Slytherin, but the slim Indian girl looked more the part of Ravenclaw. Well, the Sorting Hat had never made a mistake before, perhaps there was more to the girl than met the eye.

“Excellent, all! Well done, first years! Your prefects will direct you to your dormitories after the feast. Start of Term Announcements before you begin, I will be brief, succinct, and to the point. The Forbidden Forest is off limits to anyone who does not consider him or herself to be animal food. Mr. Filch has posted a new list of items that are not allowed at Hogwarts outside his office. Most of Weasley Wizard Wheezes stock is on the list, so please check it, before releasing those fine fireworks our former students invented. Our new Head Boy and Girl are Mr. Ron Weasley and Miss Hermione Granger of Gryffindor. Congratulations. Also, for the first time in twenty-seven years, the Aurorers Academy has recognized two Hogwarts students to be worthy of Aurorer Training while still attending Hogwarts. Congratulations to Mr. Draco Malfoy of Slytherin, and to Miss Ginevra Weasley of Gryffindor. Now I’m finally finished, so please feel free to eat.”

“I love you, Draco.”

“Love you too, Ginny.” He kissed her lightly and tugged the long red braid. “Wish me luck with the first years and the brat.”

“You’re gonna need it. Good luck. Meet you in the Great Hall for breakfast.”

He allowed her to pull away and run to catch up with her housemates. He turned to join the little kids who were grinning like crazy and making kissing noises. “Oh, all right already. Hush up!” The first years obeyed instantly, but Andy didn’t stop until Draco glared at her and threatened detention. “Now, if you are quite finished, I’d like to show you where the Slytherin dorms are. If you aren’t, I’ll leave you to the mercies of Filch and Peeves, neither of whom is enjoyable company.” There was no objections so Draco continued, “The dorms are huge so there is no need for any of you four to bother me. Dumbledore is preaching school unity, but watch out for hexes because we’re not well liked. I don’t care if you trade insults with the other houses, but my girlfriends is off limits. Any of you bother her, and you’ll be scrubbing the toilets for a month. There is a quidditch team and my girlfriend got special permission from Dumbledore to play for Slytherin, and since first years are now allowed to play this year, we’ll only be playing one player down. First practice is on Friday. This is Syn Trunt, our portrait and the password is ‘Dragon Blood.’ I’ll let you know when I change it. First Year Dormitories are up the first flight of stairs. Boys to the left, and girls to the right. Next flight up is Carrie’s room on the right. That’s where you stay, Davis. My room is on the left if you need something, but if you disturb me for anything less than World War III, I will hex you.”

He started to dismiss them, but changed his mind. “Sit.” He claimed the chair by the fire, and gestured to the other pieces of furniture. The three first years seemed to decide that they were more likely to survive if they stuck together and traveled in numbers, so they elected to take the sofa across from him. In an obstinate and defiant action, Andy dropped to the rug and immediately started messing with a magical pocket puzzle bearing the infamous triple W logo. He made a mental note to keep an eye on anything she gave out or touched from now on. Ginny’s twin brothers were insane as far as he was concerned. He shook the thoughts from his head and faced the younger students with a look that could stop a fully grown dragon in its tracks. “Slytherin only accepts purebloods with great ambition and cunning. The deatheaters withdrew their children from Hogwarts last year, and I wasn’t expecting any new Slytherins, so I’d like some background information on all of you, because if I’m going to stick my head out for you, I want to know exactly who I’m doing it for. Now, I’m familiar with the Samuels Family Line, but I didn’t know that they had a daughter, so we’ll start with you. Rowan, isn’t it?”

The short brunette nodded vigorously, bouncing a little on the sofa as she did so, her soft curls spilling out of the French braids that someone had tried to confine them in. “I’m Rowan Elise Samuels, but I’m a nobody in my family because I’m the only girl. It didn’t matter to my parents whether I went to Hogwarts or not. My brothers are being trained at Durmstrang, but I was dumped here until next summer. I’m in Slytherin because I want to be great. I want to be someone that they can’t ignore anymore.”

Draco nodded. “My girlfriend could relate. You, boy.”

“Ian Sparks, sir. My folks aren’t deatheaters, at least I don’t think so. I’m from an orphanage. My mum left a letter saying that I was magic and would go to Hogwarts. I’m pretty much in awe because the muggles I stayed with never had anything like this.” The boy looked familiar, but Draco couldn’t place him. There was something about those blue eyes.

“I’m Ryan Shiva,” the last girl added dreamily, flipping her long black hair out of her face. “I moved here from India last year and my last name is the name of our god of dance. I love to dance,” she drifted off, and smiled sweetly at them.

“We’re Andy Davis, America’s Oracle Twins. We don’t’ like anything but chocolate frogs, American Dragon; Jake Long, and quidditch.”

“If you’re a twin, then shouldn’t there be two of you?” Rowan asked.

The red head scowled. “They split us up. Old man Carmichael got sick of us and Dumbledore said we were too dangerous to have together. We’re never apart. Never, ever, and we hate it.”

“What’s your twin’s name?” Ian asked.

“Andy Davis.”

“Isn’t that confusing?”


Draco decided to cut in there, in hopes that it would prevent another outburst from the obnoxious thirteen year old. “I’m Draco Malfoy and I was disowned by my parents for not taking the Dark Mark. If any of you object to that, then transfer to Durmstrang.”

“What’s the Dark Mark?” Ian asked.

“Do you know anything about the Wizarding World?” The younger boy shook his head and Draco sighed. “Somebody teach Ian the basics by Friday. No one looks down on a Slytherin. If someone messes with one Slytherin, then they mess with them all. Understand? Good. It’s getting late. Go up to bed.”

Andy was sitting stock still for the first time he’d seen all day, her eyes glazed over. Then she shook herself and looked at Draco with wide eyes. “Malfoy, there’s a spider on my bed. I hate spiders.”

“How do you know that?” Ian asked in amazement.

“Seer,” Draco supplied, before turning back to Andy. “What do you want me to do about it?”

“Kill it,” the girl rolled her eyes.

“Boy’s can’t get into girl’s dorms.”

“But it’s a spider!”

Draco sighed, and removing his wand from the cloak pocket, headed up the stairs. She was right, a tarantula sat on her pillow. “Wingardium Leviosa.” He waited until the spider was in front of him to vanish it. “You’re safe now, brat.”

“Good.” Andy rushed past him and slammed the door in his face.

“Good night to you too,” he muttered before dismissing his first year audience.

“My mum was nuts. That’s why she named me Jackal. I like it, but hey, I’m used to it. Most every one calls me Jack. I don’t care. Did you know that Jackals don’t actually laugh; it’s really this weird sort of bark . . .”

Ginny put a hand to her head. This kid could talk forever and she had the distingct impression that he was trying to distract her. That must mean that his best friend, Tigris, was up to something. Two hours at Hogwarts and they’d already pulled half a dozen pranks. The Weasley Twins may be upstaged.

“. . . and I figure that if you have to live with a name like Jackal, than you may as well-gotta go! Bye!”

Ginny sighted and counted aloud, “Three . . . Two . . . One.”


“Bingo. Jackal and Tigris! What did you do?”

Draco was attempting to explain the Hogwarts ceiling to Ian for the eighth time at breakfast and looked visibly relieved to see her. “Thank goodness, Ginny.”

“Morning,” she yawned sleepily.

“Didn’t sleep well?”

“Two of our first years are pranksters. Think Fred and George with a malicious streak and complete disregard for other’s safety.”

“I’ve got Miss Oracle Twin. I can’t decide whether to stage a protest, or send Dumbledore a thank-you note for not saddling me with the other one. The brat had me killing about every spider in the place last night. Any chance she’s related to Ron?”

“She is a red head,” Ginny shrugged. “But I can top that. We were searching for the six rattlesnakes that the pranksters set loose in the common room.”

“You know that there are like ten extra rooms in the Slytherin House, if you want to sleep there. It’s rattlesnake-free. I promise.”

“If it gets bad enough, I may take you up on that offer.”

“Password is ‘Dragon’s Blood.’ Shoul be easy enough to remember, right?”

“Yeah.” She leaned forward and kissed him. “Thank you.”

“I’ve taken the liberty of adding five extra chairs to each table. Let’s not have a repeat of last year,” Snape said coldly as he walked by.

“When we come back for our twentieth reunion, he’ll still be holding that over our heads,” Ginny giggled.

“Wouldn’t be at all surprised,” Draco replied dryly.

A/N: Hint after Hint after Hint. Can you find them all? More importantly, can you string them together in order to find out what happens next? Tell you what, there are at least ten MAJOR hints in this chapter. If you find them all, let me know. R&R. @->--

Chapter 23: Potter's Folly
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“What do you think you’re doing here, Slytherin?” Harry snapped. Ryan looked at him blankly and mumbled something about being lost. “Do I look like I care? Get out of here. This is the Gryffindor corridor.”

“Eat slugs, Potter.” Draco appeared out of the shadows and slung an arm around the younger girl’s shoulders. “Hey little sister, we’ve been looking for you everywhere. This is a little far for you to walk alone. Especially with rubbish like him about.”

“I saw a portrait of a dancer and she told me that there was a room here at Hogwarst that I could dance in. A room that would provide everything that I need to practice.”

“Ah, the room of requirement. I’ll show it to you later. But you’r going to be late for dinner in the Great Hall, and then Ginny would have my head, so unless you want me to join the headless hunt-“ Ryan giggled with pleasure. “It will simply have to wait until after dinner.”

“Are you going to leave anytime soon?” Potter demanded.

“Go take a long walk off a short plank, Potter.”

“Get lost, Malfoy, and take your new pet with you, you sodding id-“ Potter’s mouth kept moving, but he wasn’t making any sound.

“Language in the presence of a lady is unforgiveable, Potter.” Draco calmly pocketed the wand. “When you’re ready to apologize to Miss Shiva, I’ll remove the hex.” He turned and walked away, leaving a sputtering Potter in his wake.

“Why does Hermione look ready to spit nails, Draco?”

“Seen Potter recently?”

“No, I-what did you do?”

“He swore in front of Ryan, so I turned the volume of his voice off. I’ll remove it when he decides to apologize.”

“Honestly, one of these days, you’re going to kill each other with your bare hands.”

“Most likely. Can you keep an eye on the cannon fodder for me? I have to go to the library to look something up for that killer Transfiguration paper.”

“Yes, but you promised to stop calling them that.”

“I will.”

“When?” she put her hands on her hips and raised one eyebrow.

“Sometime before I graduate. I’ll be back in half an hour.” He leaned forward and kissed her lightly. “Bye.”

Ginny watched him walk away, before returning to her meal. A moment later, she felt someone tap her shoulder and she turned, expecting to see Hermione demand an explanation for Harry’s predicament. But instead she came face to face with a good-looking tall boy with black hair and honest blue eyes.

Draco never reached the library. He heard screaming in his head, and recoiled sharply from the noise. His head started spinning as the familiar sensation of pain exploded behind his temples. “Not now.” He dropped to the ground, rocking back and forth until blackness faded in.

“Blaise!” Ginny threw her arms around his neck. “You’re back! You’ll have to tell me and Draco absolutely everything.”

“Later. Where’s Draco anyway?”

Before she could reply, a voice came from behind her. “He’s scared and he’s hurt.”

Ginny spun around and stared at Andy. “What did you say?”

“He’s all alone and he’s shaking like somebody cursed him. I can feel his fear and it’s making me cold.”

“Where is he?” Blaise inserted quickly. “this is important, kid. If you’re telling the truth, Draco’s having a seizure and we need to find him now.”

“I don’t know! Make it stop!”

“I can’t make it stop. Please, where is he?”

“A corridor, right outside a door. There’s a statue of a little girl a few feet away.” All of a sudden, Andy clapped her hands over her ears. “Don’t.”

“Krystyna’s Memorial.” Ginny and Blaise whispered at the same time. “Ryan, Ian and Rowan take Andy to Professor Dumbledore immediately,” Ginny ordered over her shoulder before following Blaise.”

“Go tell Madam Pomfrey, so she’s ready.”

“You’ll need help,” she called out.

“No, I won’t!”

Ginny changed directions and headed down to the Hospital Wing. She had just explained the situation to Madame Pomfrey when Blaise appeared supporting Draco’s weight. “It was over by the time, I got there, but he’s still out.”

“This shouldn’t have happened.”

“None of this should have happened, Ginny. Now, trust me and get out of here. You won’t like seeing what this does to him.”

“He needs me.”

“He needs you to go outside and wait. When he’s awake and in his right head, I’ll come get you.”


“I promise.” Blaise kissed her cheek and pushed her towards the door. “Go find that freaky little seer girl and thank her.”

“Oh, I will. Believe me, I will.”

At eleven-seventeen, Blaise finally emerged from the room. “You can go in. Just be quiet.”

Ginny hugged him and dashed for Draco’s bedside. He smirked weakly at her. “So much for impenetrable.”

“I’m so sorry that I wasn’t with you.”

“It’s not your fault, Ginny. I thought that they were over or I would have stayed near someone who knew how to handle it. Stop thinking about it, okay? Now, tell me something funny, because I need a good laugh.”

“Well, Harry is still walking around as a mute. Dumbledore won’t reverse it for him, because he thinks that Harry was in the wrong, so it won’t do any harm to let him be taken down a peg.”

“I forgot about him.”

“He hasn’t.” She grinned. “Hermione’s fit to be tied. She can’t counter the spell and who knows how long you’ll be up here, although I think that it will be a much shorter time than it will take Harry to apologize to a Slytherin.”

“You may be right.”

“Blaise is back.”

“I know.”

“Did he get a chance to tell you?”

“He’ll tell us tomorrow.”

A/N: King of all cliffhangers. Bye-bye for now. @->--

Chapter 24: Blaise's Royally Bad Day
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The First Years watched nervously as a tall dark boy that they didn’t know half supported their self-appointed guardian across the Great Hall and helped Draco sit down, Ginny fluttering about the pair. It was a great blow to them to find their prefect so weak. Dark circles under his eyes and an unusual pallor spoke of the last fifteen hours in the hospital wing, for some mysterious ailment that only Ian had any knowledge whatsoever of. This made him, for the first time since he had entered Hogwarts, the one that the others turned to for an explanation. Being such an authority didn’t sit too well with the young boy though and the anxiousness on his face was what caught Ginny’s eye.

She grinned wryly at the boy and tousled his hair. “Lighten up, kid. Nothing takes down my boyfriend for more than a day without my express permission for fear of invoking the famous Weasley temper. If he survives Blaise and me fussing over him all day then he’ll be good.”

“I’m fine,” Draco said shortly, waving her hand away as she started cutting up his meat. “I still have full use of my hands, Ginny, and am perfectly capable of feeding myself.”

The other older boy chuckled and poured pumpkin juice into his friend’s glass. “Mate, you’re so weak that my two year old niece could force feed you if she was so inclined, and much more neatly than you’re currently capable of. What makes you think that you can intimidate Ginny out of doing so?”

Ginny nodded. “If you just give in and let me take care of you, today will go by much faster and you may retain your sanity,” she added cheerfully.

“Who kept an eye on the cannon fodder last night?” Draco snapped at her.

Ginny blissfully ignored his temper and smiled. “Blaise crashed in the Sixth Year Dormitory and made sure that they didn’t blow the place up in your absence. And, Darling, they are called First Years, not cannon fodder. Do you want some toast?”

“No, I don’t think that I could eat all of the meat you just filled my plate with, let alone more food,” Draco sulked. “You three, where’s Miss Oracle Twin?”

Rowan shrugged. “Dumbledore sent that crazy Ravenclaw girl down to fetch her before breakfast. I think that Professor Snape is testing her psychic skill today, because Potions was canceled and he was complaining about ‘That American Brat.”

“Why don’t you three head off to Transfiguration? You don’t want to be late.”

“We’ve got half an hour,” Rowan protested. “And you haven’t told us who this guy is yet, and I want to know where he came from.”

“Keep your nose out of it, kid, and you’ll be a whole lot happier. All you need to know is that Blaise is my best friend and he’s back from an extended vacation. So get to class and for pity’s sake, please stick together!”

“Yes, DAD!”

After the first years disappeared out of the Great Hall, Draco turned to Ginny and scowled. “When did Rowan get a mouth?”

“Look at it this way, you’re a better role model than her real father. He was a deatheater, remember?”

“I refuse to answer to anything that promotes the idea of any relation to these kids and especially that.”

“Why are you being such a prat today, Draco?”

Blaise stood up and bodily moved Draco’s chair closer to Ginny’s. “Because he’s a bloody martyr, who’s too chivalrous for his own good. I’m going over to talk with Snape. Draco, apologize to YOUR girlfriend. Kiss and make-up, or I’ll just wait for Dumbledore to fill you in on what happened.” Blaise turned back to Ginny. “When he’s come to his senses and you decide to go to class, let me know.”

“Will do. Meet you in the common room after classes if he’s stubborn.” Ginny leaned forward and kissed his cheek. “I’m glad you’re home.”

“Glad to be here.”

Ginny watched Draco out of the corner of her eye after Blaise left. He didn’t touch his food. After awhile, her patience ran out and she turned to him. “Are you going to tell me what’s wrong?”



“It’s between me and Blaise.”

“You’re not fighting?”



“I’m sorry.”


“I’m sorry. I can’t really explain what for or why, but I am. Is that an acceptable apology?”

“For my secretive boyfriend, it’s golden.” Ginny leaned over and kissed him for about two minutes, which seemed to improve his mood.

Draco watched the fire burn steadily from his seat on the plush green sofa. His girlfriend slept curled up against his chest. He heard the portrait swing open and rested his head against Ginny’s flame colored hair, shutting his eyes hastily. He didn’t want to deal with anyone at the moment.

Blaise helped Ryan into the portrait hole and followed to find that the first years and Andy hadn’t gotten past the common room. They were standing in a half circle closest to the fire. “What’s up?”

“Draco and Ginny,” Ian laughed. “Again.”

“Alright you lot. Get out of here and let them sleep.” Warding off their protests, he continued, “Trust me. Someday you’ll want a moment of privacy with your date, and you’ll hope that your best mate will get rid of the obnoxious first years so that you can have it.”

They were still young enough to look at each other and make faces, muttering “No way!” under their breath. It was almost cute, and for a second Blaise wished that he could be that naïve. Unrequited love was just too much. But the first years had finally disappeared and he paused in front of the couple on the couch, studying them closely.

Ginny was beautiful, slim, lightly tanned, with long red hair escaping the confines of her loose braid. He envied Draco’s position, but realized that the pair had changed significantly. She had lost weight over the summer and the fine bones of her collarbone and wrists were more prominent than he remembered. The way she curled up into Draco seemed more instinct than affectionate, Draco’s hold more protective than romantic. Draco had lost weight too, his skin now exceeding normal paleness. It must have been one hell of a summer.

“Get some rest, Draco. Looks like you definitely need it.”

Silver eyes cracked open and regarded him suspiciously. “How did you know?”

“I know you, mate. Go to sleep. I’ll watch the canon fodder for you and we’ll have our meeting in the Room of Requirement after dinner.”


A/N: Okay, I know I promised Blaise's account of the summer, but I couldn't make it work. This chapter is important even without it, and I could have waited another week or two to try and figure out what to do with it, but then my beta might kill me; So I'll tell you what happened, and you just pretend that Blaise told Ginny and Draco about it when he met them in the Room of Requirement. That way I can speed up to where the action is.

Blaise was kept as a statue outside of the Study where Lucius held all of his meetings. Snape got him out right under Voldemort's nose, and sent him to Hogwarts, but before the port-key was activated, he heard the Dark Lord discussing the research being thrown into a dangerous forgotten spell, called Pandora's Curse. Draco and Ginny have never heard of it either, so it is now research time, and that is where I'll open the next chapter. Thank you for being so understanding during this very difficult time. @->--

Chapter 25: Oracle Twins, Restricted Section, and Pandora's Curse
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Life settled into a normal routine. Draco and Blaise returned to their tag team style of protecting Ginny and extended it to a lesser extent over the rest of the new Slytherins. After a few more creature features in Gryffindor Tower, Ginny began sleeping in the Sixth Year Girls Dorm off of the Slytherin Common Room. Most of their time was now spent researching the mysterious curse that Blaise had overheard. But Pandora’s Curse was proving as elusive as Draco’s search for Nicholas Flamel in his first year.

They had attempted to include the Golden Trio in the search, because Head Boy and Girl could go into the Restricted Situation, but Harry was stubbornly refusing to spend any time at all with Slytherins. Therefore, Ginny put her acting skills to good use, distracting Madame Pince so that either Draco or Blaise could slip into the Restricted Section.

It was after the latest of these expeditions, when Draco smacked a particularly thick book against the back of Blaise’s head. “Blasted book bites. Your turn next, if this isn’t useful.

“I don’t see why you’re even bothering to help steal the books. You pick out all the dangerous ones,” Blaise complained, rubbing the back of his head. “Why don’t you and Ginny start snogging, and I’ll grab a pile while Madame Pince runs you out of the library.”

Draco stared at his friend. “You couldn’t have come up with this an hour ago, before the books decided to kill me?”

“The blow must have jogged his memory,” Ginny teased returning from the librarian’s desk. “I do like that idea though. Gather the First Years and we’ll meet you out in the corridor.”

“Will do. I need two minutes.”

“We’ll give you three.” Ginny walked over to a shelf on love spells and Draco followed her. Within seconds, Ginny was enjoying a particularly passionate kiss that she was in no hurry to end. But as all good things must, it did.

“YOU TWO! OUT OF MY LIBRARY! OUT! OUT, I SAY!” They ducked the flying books, quills, and parchments, attempting to apologize and plead for forgiveness, but the irate woman would hear none of it. “I SAID OUT!”

Moments later, Blaise and the first years left looking quite pleased with themselves. “Shall we adjourn to the common room, ladies and gentlemen?” he offered dramatically, as he offered his arm to Ryan and Rowen. Both girls were considerably shorter than him, so it looked absolutely adorable, and Ginny almost gave in to the desire to snap a picture with the camera in her bag, but was interrupted by a blur of short red hair running by.

Taking one look at the girl’s face, Ginny started after her with Draco not far behind, pausing only to order Blaise to return the first years to the Slytherin Common Room. They were both too late. Andy had run full tilt into Potter, sending both of them to the floor.

“Watch where you’re going, Davis!” the Golden Boy snapped, pushing her off of him.

Andy’s eyes filled with tears, but before she could move, her eyes clouded over and light began to radiate off of her and she began to chant as she rose to her feet. “You past is always shadowed, your future sadly clear. Your fate twisted by the loss of what you hold most dear. Though it may spur you on to greater deeds, tragedy is where your path will lead.” The light left her and she started to crumple, but Draco wrapped an arm around her and slipped his other behind her knees.

“Out of the way, Potter,” he ordered harshly as the little girl’s head came to a rest on his shoulder as she slipped out of conciousness. “Ron, report this to Dumbledore. I’m taking Andy to the Hospital Wing. You can find us there.”

“On it.”

Draco sat with the Third Year after the Headmaster left. Andy had refused to speak to the old man and feigned sleep, but Draco had a considerable amount of patience with the Oracle Twin’s antics by now.

“That was some freaky moment back there, brat.” She ignored him, and he shrugged. “I don’t care about Potter’s future any more than you do, so I’m not going to ask anything beyond how you’re doing.”

“We’re fine.”

“Good. Ginny had to go help Blaise with the First Years, but I wanted to talk to you. What were you running from?”

“We weren’t running from anything. We were just running.” Andy pulled a balled up piece of parchment out of her robe’s pocket. “We can’t do anything about this anyhow.” She offered it to him. “You can read it. There’s nothing personal and it even mentions that Veritas girl that you like so much.”

Draco accepted the letter and scanned it quickly.


It’s me. Miss you. Guess what? I just pulled the coolest, most awesome, “bloody brilliant” prank ever! (The last description came from Carrie. She helped me pull it.) We charmed the teacher’s chairs in every classroom with a youth charm, so that whenever one of them sat down they looked like they were sixteen or so. None of them realized it until fourth period. It was great. Carmichael looked ready to explode. “I’m going to test every wand in this school, until I find the one who did this!” Yeah right. There are like five hundred students. So Carrie and I are going to get away with this. The only problem now is how on earth to top it. Got any suggestions?

Carrie’s really cool now. She has these awesome sweets that do crazy things. She orders them from some terrific joke shop in Britain. She calls me Drew. I think you might like her too. When you come back of course. Hope England is as fun as here is. Bye.


“Doesn’t seem that bad. What’s the matter?”

“He’s not using our name, and he isn’t talking about us together like we always do. And now he likes Veritas, and I hate her. He’s not supposed to like anybody. We’re twins. It’s supposed to be us together and now it’s like we’re barely related. I don’t like it.”

“Who said that you two had to be the same in the first place?”

“Mom. But I liked being together. He’s my best friend. But then Dumbledore and Carmichael split us up and nothing will ever be the same.”

“Life’s like that. Blaise and I used to spend every waking minute together. But this summer, my father turned him into a statue for my old house. That’s were he was and Ginny and I had to wait for the adults to rescue him. Oh, and for future reference, Carrie is a great kid who has been through a lot.”

“Yeah, like what?”

“She was part of a set of triplets, who tried to act alike, but were so different that it hurt them to do so. Her sisters were killed before her eyes by a vampire and one of them was turned and abducted Ginny. Carrie had to slay her own sister, and then to keep her safe and out of any more trouble with my cousin, Dumbledore moved her entire family to the USA. And she’s just learning about magic. She didn’t know that she was a witch until last April. Her parents hid it from her.”

“Oh.” Andy looked away, then back up at him. “I still don’t like her.”

“That’s fair. Can I ask you a question?” Andy nodded at him seriously. “Why did Carmichael and Dumbledore split you two up?”

“We’re more powerful together. We can see at will as long as we’re touching. It’s harder to do that when we’re apart, and it really tires us out.”

“That makes sense. I’ll let you get some sleep then, okay?”

“Hang on a sec.” Andy sat up and grabbed his hand, getting that far away look in her eyes, before shaking it off. “She’s gonna say yes, Draco.”

Draco stared at her, as she returned to her pillow yawning, and half asleep. “Thanks, Andy. That’s more encouraging than you know.”

“You’re welcome. Call me Rea.”


A/N: Read and Review if you love me. @->--

Chapter 26: Snowball Fight
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A/N: We just got the cutest cat! His name is Emerson and he's a pretty buff color, and he's the sweetest thing ever. So I'm getting a chapter up today in celebration. Love it, hate it, let me know!

“It’s cold!” Ginny rushed into the Great Hall, and stood there shivering while she waited for Draco to catch up. He laughingly did so. “How can you stand that? It’s so cold! I don’t remember it being that cold last year, at least not by the first day of December.”

“It wasn’t, but the cold wouldn’t be so bad if you dressed properly for it,” he teased lightly. “I still say that we should have a snowball fight.”

“Too cold. I got all the exercise I needed today by walking around Hogsmeade with you for no apparent reason,” she complained. “You could have sent those owls from Hogwarts just as easily.”

“True, but I was in the mood for a nice refreshing walk in the snow.”

“And ice, and wind, and bitter, bitter cold!”

“It was lovely.”

“It was miserable, and you will make it up to me.”

Draco raised an eyebrow. “And how your highness, do you wish for me to do so?”

“I’m thinking a kiss would do the trick. Not a snog. A kiss.”

“Like this?” His lips grazed hers and she lost track of all thought.

When Ginny could think straight again, she realized that they were no longer alone. The first years were sitting on the steps, waiting fairly patiently with only the occasional gagging noise. Andy stared off into the distance, but whether it was a vision, or one of her self-imposed silences, Ginny wasn’t sure. Blaise was watching them with an almost sad expression. Ginny felt guilty enjoying her time with Draco when Blaise had no one. She wondered if Eryn Thurn would make a suitable match for her friend. Eryn was pretty, smart, and had a wicked sense of humor. She would speak to her old roommate tonight and see if Eryn was interested. Playing cupid sounded like fun.

“Um, hi everyone,” she stuttered a blush spreading across her cheeks. “Um, been there long?”

“Forever!” Ian complained, before ducking behind Rowan as Draco glared.

“Not long at all, Ginny,” Blaise soothed. “Did you have a good time in Hogsmeade?”

“Pointless errands in the middle of winter, Blaise?”

“Well, we’ll have to do this snowy day right then. Massive snowball fight. Us against the cannon fodder. What do you say?”

“No more snow,” Ginny pleaded, helplessly. She tried to dart around her boyfriend but he was quicker. In an instant she was over his shoulder and there wasn’t a thing she could do about it. “Oh no! Bad Draco! Put me down!” She was giggling too hard to succeed in freeing herself. “Draco!” Her boyfriend hurtled out the doorway and down the path before toppling them both into a giant snowdrift. Ginny sat up and smacked him lightly. “You’re evil.”

“Never said otherwise, luv.” His smirk was so . . . so . . . damn infuriating. She gave in to her impulse and grabbed a handful of snow throwing it into his face. Then she was on her feet and running as fast as she could. Only a few yards from the door, she was tackled into yet another snow bank, but this time she rolled with it, until she was on top, pinning his wrists above his head, and kissing him quickly. “Now that’s fighting dirty, kitten.”

“YOU . . .YOU . . . FERRET!” Another condescending smirk. She glared at him, her temper aroused. “I told you not to call me that!”

“It’s so cute-“

“I’ll give you cute,” Ginny muttered under his breath, using her free hand to deposit snow down the front of his shirt, before leaping off of him. She used the few seconds he needed to empty his shirt of the icy burden to gain the last few yards to the castle doors, where the rest of the Slytherins were laughing themselves hoarse. “Move. I’ve got to go take a hot shower and move into the common room fire.”

“Oh, come on, Ginny,” Ian begged. “You can’t possibly get any wetter. Please stay and have a snowball fight with us. Blaise promised to show us some cool spells to use. Pretty please?”

Ginny was on the verge of giving in when she noticed him step on Rowan’s foot and the girl jumped before picking up the case. “I’ve never had a snowball fight, Ginny.”

The heartbreaking tone ensured that Ginny would remain outside for the snowball fight, but now she was wondering what the whole lot of them were up too. She hadn’t missed the significant look that Blaise had thrown Draco when he brought up the idea of a snowball fight.

It was fun and frantic. Ginny was positive that Ian would never recover from the sheer number of times he was hit, while he tried to master Blaise’s spell for control of multiple snowballs. He dove in the old-fashioned way for awhile, but never stopped trying the spell every couple of seconds.

Ginny had just caught Draco in the back of the head by ‘accident’ when she heard Ian yell excitedly. “Blaise, I’ve got it!” The boy then threw the barrage of snowballs at the seventh year with all his might. Blaise prudently ducked. The person behind him didn’t. (100 points to your house if you can guess who!)

Professor Severus Snape froze for a second when they made contact. Then he calmly swept off his robes. “Ten points to Slytherin for mastering Bruma Leviosa, Mr. Sparks. Five points from Slytherin for your miserable aim and bad luck to have hit a teacher.” Ginny would never forget what the potions master did next. He bent down, molded a snowball and flung it at Ian, who avoided it, but didn’t manage to duck the next missile.

“Good one, sir,” Ian called with a wide grin. “Care to join us?”

“I think I shall decline. You had best give up. Draco and his teammates have certainly overwhelmed you, and Miss Samuels is shivering and quite damp. There should be hot cocoa in the common room.”

“Yes, sir.” Ian noticed his housemates’ surprise, as the professor left. “What’s the matter with you lot?”

“I’ve been Snape’s favorite pupil since I was eleven and he has never ever played a game with me. The last person to hit him with a snowball still won’t talk about the detention Snape gave him. How on earth did you manage to come out of that alive?” Draco asked in awe.

“He used to check on me at the orphanage,” Ian shrugged. “He’s the one who gave me my Hogwarts letter and brought me here. I don’t get why everyone is so terrified of him. He’s got a wicked sense of humor, when he’s not terrorizing everybody.”

“Snape with a sense of humor? I think I need to sit down,” Ginny joked. “He snaps at everybody.”

“Not really,” Ian shrugged. “Shall we go in? Blaise?”

“Yeah, we can go in now.”

Blaise and Draco hung to the back as Ginny joined the kids, and shed their brightly colored cloaks at the entrance, where a waiting house-elf took care of drying them. Ginny looked back at them once, but immediately stopped short at the sight of Blaise revealing a large burn on the back of his wrist to Draco. “What happened?!”

Blaise looked up startled. “Uh, potions accident. That’s all.”

“You should go to Madame Pomfrey and get that healed so it doesn’t scar.”

“No, I’m fine. Come on, I’m hungry and wet. Let’s go remedy that.” He caught her arm and pulled her towards the common room. She noticed him glance up warily at the ceiling before sighing in relief, but wasn’t given time to ponder it. In the middle of the green room was a flash of bright red hair that didn’t belong to any Slytherin, honorary or otherwise.

“CHARLIE!” Ginny flung herself at her older brother in excitement. “I haven’t seen you in forever!”

He laughed and mussed her hair. “It’s good to see you too, Ginny. Bill had to leave for Egypt on short notice so I came home to keep an eye on my younger sibs in his place.”

“I hardly need a babysitter. And if I did, Ron would more than suffice.”

“True, but I brought you a present.” He offered her an elaborate golden birdcage, and she gasped at the sight of what was inside of it. A tiny dragon, that seemed to be made from molten glass. Clear with just a hint of metallic gold, and pink under the surface.

“What is it?”

“We’re not sure exactly. Some deatheaters were performing spells on a nest of Romanian Raynes. All the others died from various curses, but this one survived and seems fairly normal. Miniaturized obviously, and somehow turned to glass. It makes an odd chiming noise, but as of yet seems perfectly healthy. I was hoping you would take care of it for me, until we figure out what to do with it. Or what You-Know-Who was hoping to do with it.”

“Of course. I’ll have to think up a name for it.”

“How about Houdini?” Ian suggested. “The thing got out of it’s cage and had us all chasing it through the house. Nightmare.”

“Too muggle. I’ll think of something.”

While the first years were suitably distracted, Draco looked at Charlie. “What were the deatheaters doing in Romania?”

“Something to do with these dragons, and killing sprees. Took out a full village and two aurorers along with it. Remus Lupin got caught down there in the middle of a transformation. He’s alive, but not doing so well.”

“How’s Harry taking it?” Ginny asked in concern.

“Hasn’t left Remus’s side. Luna takes him food, but it hasn’t been touched as of yet.”

“More people are going to die. This isn’t going to just end. Voldemort’s going to take as many as possible down with him,” Ginny whispered.

“It’s war.”

“I hate it.”

“We all do.”

A/N: HINTS GALORE! Light hints, but hints none the less. I managed to combine two chappies into one, so you would get the story quicker so enjoy. The Christmas fluff one will come next. Accepting suggestions for the name of the glass dragon.

Chapter 27: Christmas Morning
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Ginny pulled her pillow over her head to block out Ian’s happy cries. “Too early. Way, way, way to early.” A moment later there were at least two people hammering at her door. “Go away! I’m not getting up ‘til noon!”

Everything was silent for a few minutes, and she heard footsteps (Blaise or Draco’s. She couldn’t tell which.) fade away, but then someone else approached the door. “Ginny, puhlease get up. Draco says we can’t open presents until everyone comes down.”

Ginny groaned, and reached for the robe that she had stolen from Draco after the snowball fight. Fastening the belt, she opened the door and ruffled Ian’s hair. “Don’t worry. I’m coming, sweetheart. Go tell Draco to behave himself.”

“No way! He could crush me.” Ian bounced back into the common room where Draco, Blaise, and Rowan waited for them. Ryan and Andy had gone back home for the holiday. Rowan’s parents seemed to have forgotten their daughter completely.

Ginny dropped into the chair next to Draco and smacked him lightly up the backside of his head. “Don’t you dare traumatize the poor child, and blackmail is entirely inappropriate to use on your girlfriend.”

He leaned over and kissed her. “Entirely appropriate. If I have to deal with them, then so do you. Besides, there is a very pretty silver box somewhere under that tree with your name on it.”

Ginny dropped to the floor, and began to handout presents, keeping an eye out for the silver one Draco had mentioned. She had forgotten about the presents. She had a pile of ones from her family, the traditional Weasley jumper, sweets and the like, but there was no sign of the silver box.

“This is so awesome!” Ian exclaimed throwing his arms around her neck, before returning his focus to the comic book. “Marvin the Mad Muggle: Encounter of the Enchanted Eggbeater. Thanks, Ginny! Thanks, Draco!”

“Thank you for the pin, Ginny and Draco,” Rowan said a little softer, admiring the pewter and garnet clasp. “It’s beautiful.”

Ginny unwrapped a vial of her favorite perfume from Blaise and gave him a peck on the cheek for his trouble before she spied it. The box sat innocently on top of a large green one addressed to Ian. She pushed the long narrow box over to the excited eleven year old and carefully opened her present from Draco. Then she gasped. She had withdrawn a long silver chain with a dragon pendent on the end of it.

“To remind you that you are and always will be mine,” Draco whispered into her ear. She kissed him for an exceedingly long period of time.

The mood was broken when Ian leapt up holding his gift high above his head. “A Nimbus 2006! This rocks! Blaise, look what Sev got me!”

“Sev?” Ginny wrinkled her nose. “You’re a very brave little boy to call the potionsmaster by his given name.”

“He told me I could, but, uh, not in front of other students. Don’t tell, please,” he pleaded, looking slightly panicked.

“Our lips are sealed,” Ginny reassured him. “That’s a very nice broom.”

“Yeah! I gotta go say thanks. I’ll meet up with you guys at the feast. Thanks for the presents. They were the best I’ve ever gotten, ‘cept my Hogwarts letter.”

“Crazy kid,” Draco muttered under his breath. “So now that Rowan is going to meet up with her friends in Ravenclaw, and Blaise plans on studying in the library for some inexplicable reason, what are our plans for today?”

“I’m thinking a nice day in front of the fire, AFTER we pick up the common room. Prefect, remember?”

“Royal pain.”

“But then I’ll give you my Christmas present.”

“Alright, let’s get to work. I’m only playing house-elf for so long.”

A/N: Short, but sweet. My Glass Dragon is still nameless people! Next Chapter will contain more info on Blaise, the Oracle Twins, Ginny's best friend in Gryffindor, and Ian (His entire story.)

Chapter 28: Two of a Kind
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A/N: This does not place Blaise in the best light. But he isn't evil. Sadly the pressure of NEWTS, war, and liking his bestfriend's girl is too much. I have named the dragon Cosmar. Thanks to thelovinspoonful. Anyway, I finally updated so enjoy. @->--

Ginny and Blaise were continuing the hunt for Pandora’s curse in the library, while Draco entertained Ian and Rowan down in the common room. Ian was under the illusion that the miniature magic show was his birthday surprise a day early, but Professor Snape had enlisted their help in keeping Ian busy for the next two days, while he worked on a special project. Rowan was entrusted with the secret early on and being in his year was able to quickly sidetrack him, when someone needed to sneak off.

It had been hard to convince Ian to stay in the common room, when his hero was going to the library, but Professor Snape was meeting them there in half an hour, so the boy had been left behind reluctantly. Of course the instant Blaise left to slip into the Restricted Section, Harry Potter would show up.

“Where the heck were you at the last prefect meeting, Ginny?”

“I had responsibilities to fill.”

“For the stinkin’ Slytherins! You’re just as good as a Slytherin now, Ginny. I don’t see why you even come to any of the Gryffindor meetings anymore. You cover the Slytherin prefects duties more than Gryffindor.”

“Slytherin takes care of me. Draco and Blaise protect me. The kids help me fulfill all of the prefect duties and train for the Auror’s Program at the same time. You brag about Gryffindor being a family, but how can it be when my own family and friends have all but abandoned me?”

“You took up with a Slytherin. We can’t just accept that!”

“Well, you damn well better, if any of you actually care about me. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go find Blaise.”

Draco tried to ignore the pounding in his head. It could be the start of a migraine but it was probably just nothing. If it got worse, he would go up to the Hospital Wing, but he could wait until Ginny and Blaise got back. Hopefully.

He reached into the elaborate top hat and grasped the dove as a bright light flashed in front of his eyes and everything went black.

Ginny raced into the Hospital Wing and found her boyfriend lying on his favorite bed unconscious. Two frightened first years sat at the foot of the bed staring down at him. She knelt next to the bed and twined her fingers with his, pressing the cool flesh against her cheek.


She looked up at Blaise. Ian was clinging to his hero, while Rowan tried not to cry into Blaise’s shoulder. “Sorry, what did you say?”

Blaise shook his head and motioned to Ian. Ginny pulled the little boy next to her and asked him if he was okay, but she only got a shaky nod in response. Rowan looked up and whimpered, “It was so scary!”

“I know, Rowan. I know. He’ll be all right. Okay?” She received two sniffling nods. “Good. Blaise is going to take you back to the common room. I’ll be back before curfew alright?”


“Come on, Blaise,” Ginny pleaded. “You promised to take Eryn out to Hogsmeade tonight. I’m staying right here with Draco. Ian and Rowan are staying up here to finish up the last of their homework so everything is all set. You’ve got to go.” With a lot of griping, groaning, and complaints, Blaise finally left and Ginny leaned back contentedly against her boyfriend. Draco looked up from his book with an amused expression, and shrugged. Ginny laughed at him, and took the book away to start reading it aloud. Ian and Rowan were lying sprawled out on the floor with their textbooks surrounding them and pretending not to listen, but Ginny knew better. She was close to the ending and the happily ever after that would follow Beauty and the Beast, when Draco stiffened next to her. “Draco?”

Draco’s hands clenched over his skull and he started to rock back and forth. Ginny reached out to touch his shoulder but he jerked away. “GET AWAY FROM ME!” His voice shook with fear, desperation, and a rage that he certainly hadn’t been experiencing a few moments before. Rowan had already run for Madame Pomfrey, so Ginny obeyed Draco as he started to twist and scream, before going into full convulsions.

“This whole evening has been a complete fiasco!” Blaise raged. “We still don’t know why Draco’s seizures have returned and I had to sit through a whole evening with a blind date instead of up here helping and being useful. Stop trying to make me be happy with one of you friends, Ginny. They’re not you! I’m not interested in anyone else, so stop playing matchmaker!”

“Blaise,” Ian started in a trembling voice, but was cut off as Blaise turned on him with a fury.

“And what are you? My bloody cheering section? Personal fan club? Merlin, your constant prattle would annoy the deaf. Goodness knows we’re all sick of answering stupid questions. Read a book already! I don’t have time to bother with baby-sitting. I hate-“

Draco cut in. “That’s enough! Look at him, Blaise!”

Ian had recoiled from Blaise’s initial fury but now looked like the core of his world had been ripped away due to a failure on his part. Ginny had seen that look before. Blaise had worn the same expression when she had told him about Draco’s cutting. And now she realized why Ian looked so familiar. They were as alike as two peas in a pod.

Blaise had seen the same thing. “Oh, shit,” he breathed. “You can’t be. None of them survived . . .”

It was too late. Ian shook harder and harder. Rowan reached out to touch his shoulder but Ian jerked away with a hoarse shout and ran.

It took a second for that to register and then Ginny tore after him, but he was gone. She raced down to the common room and then up to the library and even checked the room of requirement. No sign of Ian. Ginny ran down to Snape’s office. “Please, let Ian have gone there. Please. Snape will know how to help him.” After a minute of frantic pounding, Snape opened the door. “Did Ian come down here? Please tell me you’ve seen him,” she pleaded as her heart sank. Snape obviously had no idea what she was talking about, but picked up on it fast.

“What happened?” he growled. “What happened to my-to Ian?”

“We didn’t realize. I should have. I mean Ian adored Blaise, hung on his every word. It was so obvious,” she ranted in frustration. “Draco had a seizure yesterday. You know all about that. He had another tonight, but much worse. Blaise wasn’t with him, because I sent him on a date with Eryn.”

“As interesting as all of this is, Miss Weasley, will you please get to the point,” he ground out through his teeth.

“Blaise was yelling in the Hospital Wing and Ian tried to-I don’t know what he was trying to do, he only got one word in-and Blaise started yelling at him. Said some awful things, but he didn’t mean it. He was just frustrated and he didn’t know, none of us did.”

“Know what, Miss Weasley?” Snape asked, his voice down right dangerous.

“That they’re related somehow, brothers or cousins or something,” she said through her tears. “Ian looked so crushed.”

“Can you blame him?” Snape said bluntly, snatching his cloak.

“What are you doing, sir?”

“What does it look like I’m doing, Miss Weasley? I’m going to go find my boy.”


“It’s where Ian likes to go to be alone. Where did you think he went at night?”

“To bed!”

Snape stopped short. “Ian is a chronic insomniac and got special permission from Dumbledore to ignore curfew entirely. He found a spot down by the lake the first time he slipped away.”

“Slipped away? We watch those kids like hawks, Professor.”

“Sadly, Ian is very easy to overlook and extraordinarily talented at hiding the first opportunity he gets.”

As they reached the lake, Ginny searched for the small figure, but saw nothing. “Ian!”

“Go ‘way, Ginny,” came a strangled plea from the ground a few feet ahead. In the light of Professor Snape’s wand, she saw a figure sprawled on the ground in the snow. It looked as if Ian had tripped and been unable or unwilling to get up.

Before she could react, Snape was at the boy’s side and propping him up gently. “Are you hurt at all?” Ian shook his head as he shivered and his teeth chattered. Snape wrapped his cloak around the thin boy, before scooping him up. “Let’s get you back up to the castle. You need a hot drink and a warm bed.”

Ian clung to the Professor and cried into his neck. “I don’t want to be a wizard anymore. I’d rather be an orphan again. It doesn’t hurt as much.”

Ginny stifled tears and tentatively reached out to brush his hair back. Ian didn’t react at all. Snape shifted his weight and called his name softly. “Ian, stay awake, mouse. You can’t go to sleep yet.”

Ginny touched the little boy’s cheek again and moved her palm to his forehead. “He’s burning up, Professor.”
“How long has he been missing?” Snape gritted through his teeth.

“Twenty minutes maybe.”

“Run and get some furs from Hagrid, and meet me in front of the staff room. If Hagrid asks, tell him that Ian is sick, but assure him that I have everything in hand.”

Ginny hurried to obey and sprinted to Hagrid’s, giving an edited version of the night’s events. Hagrid promptly loaded her arms with furs, sobbing loudly. “The poor mouse! He’s just a little thin’ after all! Ought to send him Fang for comp’ny. Ian loves Fang,” he mumbled. “But reckon Snape wouldn’t approve.”

Ginny filed all of this away for future puzzlement and thanked Hagrid for the furs before racing up to the staff room. Snape let her in, and immediately returned to the small room off the left side of the sitting room. Ginny followed and found herself in a bright blue room painted with silver, bronze, and black runes along the walls. The room had obviously been designed for a young boy’s enjoyment and she knew exactly which little boy the room was meant for. Ian lay barely conscious on the large bed covered with several blankets. Snape checked Ian’s temperature again and adjusted a few furs around his frame. “Yes, Miss Weasley. This room is for Ian, but I did not expect him to see it like this.”

“I’m sorry this happened, sir. If I had any idea-“

“Don’t consider the past any longer, Miss Weasley. Madame Pomfrey has her hands full in the hospital wing and I don’t want the Zabini boy anywhere near Ian now. So I need you to help me with Ian. There are several potions in the cabinet on the right side of the sofa. I need two fever reducers, and a basic immune system boost. There is cough tonic in the medicine cabinet in the bathroom. That’s through this door,” he gestured toward a closed door between two bookshelves. “Hurry up.”

Ginny headed straight into the bathroom since it was closest and opened the swinging mirror, ignoring the oddity of not only being in Snape’s quarters, but in the bathroom. She found the tonic and delivered it to Snape before running to fetch the other potions.

A few hours later, Ginny collapsed on the sofa tiredly. Snape was bathing Ian in an attempt to bring his fever down so that he could sleep naturally, so she had been sent out but told not to go far. There was a knock at the portrait hole, and she moved to answer it. Blaise stood there somewhat calmer than the last time she had seen him, but still resentful. “I want to speak with Ian.”

“Miss Weasley, if you would please go sit with Ian, I need a word with Mr. Zabini. I did not have a chance to dry his hair so perhaps if you would be so kind?”

She hadn’t heard Snape enter. “Yes, Professor.” She hurried to obey, but left the door open a crack so she could hear what went on in the other room.

“If I had known-“

“There were specific reasons why you were not informed. I’m surprised that you would treat an orphaned and homeless member of your house, particularly a first year with such rancor, regardless of relation. I feel that Detention with Filch for a week would be more than fair to you, Mr. Zabini, and if it were in my power to make it longer, I would. Ian is fighting a fever and what will probably be a nasty bout with pneumonia as we speak. When his health recovers, then he will have to recover from the shock of what you said to him. Miss Weasley didn’t elaborate and I can only imagine what you said to hurt him like this. Ian has known that you are his brother since he was eight. I impressed on him the exact consequences of allowing you to discover the bond, and he has remained within the perimeters I have set unconditionally. But he has been following you and hanging on your every word since you two met. There was no one more important to him, and you have sacrificed it in a fit more suitable to a seven year old, then a wizard of age. You will not see Ian tonight. You will not see him, until he has fully recovered and returns to the Slytherin Quarters. The prefects will make sure that you do not upset him again. I will not have you bring further harm to my charge. Now get out of here.”

Ginny looked away from the door and concentrated on Ian’s sleeping features. He looked exhausted. He was going to be very sick and probably for a long time.

Ian didn’t return to the Slytherin Quarters until January 23 and it was a very different boy who entered the portrait than the one who had entered in September. Ian’s hair had grown out of control while he was sick and was kept tied back with a strip of leather at the nape of his neck. His eyes were haunted and dark circled lined them. He had lost a lot of weight and was still prone to coughing fits. More importantly, Ian was for the first time Ginny could remember completely silent. He never said anything to anyone. Rowan would sometimes lay her head on his shoulder when he got too distant and tell him about all the things he had missed, like when Cosmar had gotten loose and terrorized the Great Hall toasting a few of the owls in the process, or when Andy had charmed Professor Flitwick’s hair blue, but he never laughed or answered.

He spent a lot of time sitting with Cosmar on his shoulder in front of the fire and rocking back and forth self-consciously and even started taking the miniature dragon back with him to Snape’s quarters when he visited. Ginny longed to do something for him but had no idea what to do. The situation was taken completely out of her hands when Blaise blew up at Cosmar for burning his History of Magic Essay and threatening to shatter the creature if the first years didn’t keep a better eye on her.

Ian had frozen staring at the taller boy in horror. Blaise swore as he realized what he had done, and reached out for Ian’s shoulder. Fear crossed the little boy’s face and clutching his prized pet to him he disappeared up the staircase towards the dorms. Draco grabbed Blaise’s shoulder to keep him from following and started after the boy instead with Ginny on his heels. There was no one in Ian’s room. It was completely empty. Draco went across to the closet and opened it. Ginny stared in horror at the little black haired boy in front of her who looked right now the exact opposite of Blaise, but very much like another young boy hiding in a closet.

Ian looked up at her through shiny eyes, but scooted farther back into the closet. “Please don’t. Don’t.” His voice was scratchy with disuse. Tears started falling.

Draco moved before she could and hauled Ian out of the closet, half-guiding/half-carrying him to the bed. He sat down and pulled Ian to his side, patting his back gently as he reassured him. Once the tears ceased, Ian pulled away embarrassed, Draco shook his head and wrapped his arm around the boy’s shaking shoulders. “Ginny, can you give us some privacy? Ian and I need to have a long talk.”

“Yeah. Have a good talk.” Ginny left the Slytherin Commons and headed up to Gryffindor Tower. She found Harry by the fireplace. “Hey, Harry.”


“I wanted to apologize for the way I’ve been acting. I never realized how much pressure was on you, or how alone and lost you must feel with Voldemort hunting you down. If you ever need to talk, I want you to know that I’m always here for you.”

“I’ve got Ron, Hermione, and Luna,” he said stiffly.

“I know, but I’d like to get to know you, Harry. All I’ve ever known was the hero.”

Harry looked at her, appraising her sincerity. “Okay. I like Chocolate Frogs.”

Chapter 29: A Fight in the Great Hall-Of the Food Variety
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The next few days passed slowly for Ginny. Ian now hung onto Draco instead of Blaise and cowered behind the person closest to him as soon as Blaise entered the room. Sadly she had even less time to spend with her boyfriend now that Draco made certain that he had enough time in his schedule to perform big brother duties for Ian as well as for Andy who for some reason allowed him alone to call her Rea. Although the result of some of these outings was hilarious (Draco’s decision to take Ian fishing proved quite disastrous as both of them returned sopping wet without a single fish between them. Ginny heard later from Hagrid that the Great Squid didn’t reappear for a full twelve hours after the pair left the lake), but Ginny missed Draco. And now that she knew how Blaise felt about her she felt awkward around him. She desperately missed Carrie and Hermione’s company. But Hermione was busy helping Harry, and Carrie was clear across the ocean, so for the time being, she was stuck sitting at their breakfast table listening to Draco explain Ian’s problems to her instead. She looked up and stared unbelievingly at what was behind her boyfriend.

Draco felt the strangest feeling of foreboding tickle the back of his neck as Ginny stared behind him. “CARRIE!”

Draco spun around and was out of his seat in a second. Carrie met him half way and after a quick spin and hug, he passed her off to Ginny and advanced on the redheaded boy behind her. “Andrew Davis, I presume?”

“Yeah, you must be Draco Malfoy. Carrie’s told me all about you and your girlfriend. And you’re in Andy’s letters too.” Drew shook his hand and then Ginny’s. Carrie returned to his side and slipped her hand into his.

“Drew and I are here for the rest of the year,” Carrie laughed. “Principal Carmichaels couldn’t handle one of the Davis kids let alone a Slytherin. Once we joined forces, he begged Dumbledore to take us off his hands.”

Andrea snatched her brother’s hand and pulled him away from Carrie. “Come on, ANDY. We want to show off the Slytherin Common room and the Room of Requirement and all sorts of places.”

“Rea?” Draco started to intervene.

“Our name is ANDY!” she said coldly. “Watch out, Hogwarts. The Oracle Twins are reunited once more.” She dragged her brother after her as she left.

“Man, I hope they don’t join forces with Tigris and Jackal. They’d blow up the school in a week,” Ginny murmured.

“No way,” Carrie tried to smirk. “Drew is too level-headed for that.”

“So is Rea,” Draco scowled. “So long as they’re apart. When they’re together, they’re a whole other person.”

“Tonight, we have the privilege of sorting another exchange student. Please help me welcome Andrew Davis to Hogwarts.” The applause was reluctant, as they welcomed what would surely be a Slytherin, and there were too few Slytherins to truly make up for it. Drew hesitantly sat on the stool and waited for the hat to fall over his eyes. There was utter silence for a full moment, but then the hat made its decision.


There was dead silence in the Great Hall for almost a minute, before the Gryffindors started cheering wildly, and the Ravenclaws, Hufflepuffs, and Slytherins clapped politely. Ginny chanced a look at Andy and was surprised to find her seat empty. The doors to the Great Hall slammed a second later, and Draco quickly excused himself to track down the missing Slytherin.

Ginny sat in the Common Room with her Transfiguration notes spread around her while she worked on the truly awful essay on animal transfigurations. Draco hadn’t returned with Andy yet. Blaise wavered in the doorway to the common room, looking as if he didn’t know whether he wanted to enter or not since Ian sat quietly in front of the fire with his head in Rowan’s lap. Ryan sat across from them staring off into space rather dreamily, reminding Ginny not for the first time of Luna Luvgood, Ginny’s replacement as President of the Harry Potter Fan Club. Carrie lay on her stomach in front of the fire with a book that she was pretending to read. In reality she was staring into the flame.

The portrait banged open and Andy stalked past them on her way to the dormitories. Draco entered the common room a few minutes later at a slower pace, with the frustration he felt clearly evident on his face. He sank to the ground next to the sofa that Ginny occupied and allowed her to run her fingers through his hair. He sat there with his eyes closed for so long that Ginny thought he must have fallen asleep, but without opening his eyes, he suddenly spoke. “House Rivalries are going to be the death of us all.” Blaise and Ginny laughed, but he opened one eye and shook his head irritably. “I’m not joking. Look at all of us. The entire light side is divided into four neat little houses, Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. The dark side doesn’t need to do anything. If they just leave us long enough, we’ll all kill each other.”

“Draco, we’re not-“

“Yes, we are. Do you think that Potter would lift a finger to help me or Blaise in battle? Would Granger look past the house if it were a choice in saving a dying housemate or a potentially alive Slytherin? Would Luvgood care if Ryan, Rowan, and Ian were in danger? Would any of them stop to help Carrie?”

“I’m a Gryffindor. I won’t betray you. I won’t betray Blaise, or Andy, or Carrie, or Ian and the others.”

“I wouldn’t turn my back on Drew even if he is a reckless Gryffindor,” Carrie insisted. “And Ginny’s practically my older sister, much more so than Annie or Bethy.”

“This war has cost more lives than anyone could have ever predicted,” Draco stated coldly. “Half of them could have been avoided if there were no houses to divide us. I think Hogwarts has outlasted its purpose.”

“What do you mean?”

“I think that dividing students and selecting favorites is a load of leftover crock and bull from the Middle Ages, and Hogwarts should have burned that Sorting Hat long ago.”

Surprising everyone, Carrie nodded. “I think you’re right, Draco.”

Andy avoided Carrie at all costs, moving everything she owned into the Second Year dormitory instead of the Third Year one. Not that that truly bothered Carrie. What bothered the petite blonde was that every time she got close to Drew, his twin sister would appear and drag him off somewhere or keep him from talking to her.

Therefore, Carrie didn’t consider it a dirty trick at all to fill the keyhole of the door to the Second Year dorm with some rather nasty chewing gum, developed by the Weasley Twins, one morning while the other girl slept in. She then slipped out of the Common Room and went down for breakfast early, so that she could eat with Drew.

Draco and Ginny were surprised to see Carrie and Drew sitting together at one of the tables during breakfast, especially since there was no sign of Andrea Davis anywhere. They seemed to be getting along quite well, which did rather surprise Draco despite Carrie’s claim earlier in the week. He finally turned back to his meal and had made good progress on his scrambled eggs, when the doors to the Great Hall were flung open in what was obviously very strong accidental magic. He heard Ginny mutter, “Here comes trouble,” and looked up.

Rea stalked into the room, still in her nightgown, and obviously blazing with anger. She proceeded to walk down the main aisle towards her brother and Carrie. Drew had the good sense to look panicked by the situation, but Carrie just looked up at her nemesis quite coolly. “Lovely morning, Andrea. Drew and I were just on our way to Potions.”

Without a word, Rea picked up a lemon custard treat from the next table and threw it at Carrie, catching the other girl in the shoulder. Draco closed his eyes. Now it was war. Carrie was the youngest of three and wouldn’t hesitate to return fire, as Rea discovered when she received a plate of scrambled eggs to the face. Rea tossed a bowl of cold cereal at Carrie next, but missed, hitting Harry Potter instead. Drew did the wise thing and dove under the nearest table, before Harry could retaliate.

Within ten minutes, everyone was throwing food in what had to be the best stress reliever under the sun. Only three teachers were present for early breakfast, and they seemed to give up on controlling the situation in favor of summoning reinforcements. Dumbledore soon appeared and froze everything still flying through the air, just as the Great Hall Doors were thrown open a second time that morning. First one person stared, then another, then more. Slowly, Draco turned and gaped in horror.

A/N: Ha! How's that for a chapter? And what a cliffhanger. You're lucky, cause I don't leave you hanging like usual. Here's what you have to look forward to:

Chapter 30: Choose Your Battles Wisely
Teaser: “My seizures have always been tied to his rage, and right now, Lucius is furious.”

Chapter 30: Choose Your Battles Wisely
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Lucius stood in the doorway flanked by at least forty deatheaters. They surveyed the food-covered occupants of the Great Hall with distaste and raised their wands as one. In a heartbeat, Draco shoved Rowan and Ryan to the floor and under the table. In that same instant, Ginny had shoved Ian into Blaise’s arms and ordered them to run. The unspoken message of Snape’s chambers as a destination was received. Then Ginny and Draco both crossed over the aisle to face Lucius. The man smirked cruelly and whispered one word: “Crucio.” Ginny performed a strong mirror block that sent the spell flying backwards at its castor who merely stepped aside and allowed it to strike one of his compatriots. Without even lifting the spell, Lucius continued towards them. “Fetch the Twins!” The deatheaters surged towards them intent on that one purpose.

Out of the corner of his eye, Draco saw Granger perform a disillusionment charm on Drew and shove him towards Neville Longbottom and Colin Creevey who were trying to get all of the younger years out of the hall. Other poor duelers and some intelligent Third Years helped them. Draco was beginning to regret his choice to sit this far apart from the other houses, now that their exit was blocked by waves of Dark Wizards. He had no way to get his last two First Years out. The idea of the disillusionment charm was a good one, and Ginny was already applying it to the younger children, trying to keep her shields up at the same time. Carrie and Rea were too far out of Draco’s reach, but the girls who were previously cat fighting in the midst of the food war, now stood back to back wands drawn and casting a wide variety of interesting hexes at the approaching deatheaters from their hiding place behind a pillar. They didn’t know any truly damaging spells, so the deatheaters were only slowed by the attack. Draco fought the urge to race over there and strangle them himself before throwing himself heart and soul into the battle. Somewhere along the way, he ended up beside Harry Potter and traded jibes with the famous boy-who-lived as they stunned or otherwise incapacitated the masses. Most of the students had run by now, a couple of teachers as well, a few more lay dead or wounded on the floor. The Golden Trio still fought, Luvgood, Bones, Finch-Fletchley, Finnegan, and Thomas among the bare dozen of students flinging spells back at the masses beside six of their teachers. He saw Longbottom dashing through the hall, and sliding over a couple of the tables, slipping under the last one to grab one of Draco’s First Years, Ryan by the look of it. Draco made a mental note to thank Longbottom when this was over.

The tide was very slowly turning, when suddenly a white shield-like barrier went up and separated the two sides. The hall instantly quieted as the remaining fighters faced off. Then Rowan screamed from her place under the table. Draco looked up to see Neville Longbottom go flying.

Then quite calmly, the pretty little Indian girl that Draco and Ginny had grown rather fond of, brushed off her decorated robes, stood, and walked past them all, straight through the barrier, which dissolved to admit her. Yet no spells were cast. Both sides waited in silence to find out what would happen when Ryan Shiva completed her goal. She stopped next to Lucius Malfoy who knelt on one knee so as to become closer to her height. “Yes, my princess?”

“The traitor is Severus Snape,” she hissed in an almost serpantine fashion. “He saved the life of the youngest Zabini boy and serves as guardian to both. It was he who rescued the elder from your mansion, Mr. Malfoy.”

Draco stared in horror at the First Year, knowing that Snape likely suffered a similar shock as he had led a perfect persona among the deatheaters and had drawn no suspicion. He had been a perfect spy and now he was on the Dark Lord’s most wanted list. But Ryan Shiva had not finished destroying their careful plans.

“The prophecy holds that either Potter or my father must be the one to kill the other,” she continued, as the man stroked her hair affectionately. “It must be Potter because he was the one to be marked.”

Draco couldn’t believe what he was hearing. How had Ryan overheard the prophecy? She wasn’t that well placed to hear such secret matters. Draco kept those things to himself or possibly Ginny when in secret. Then the full ramifications of what she had said sank in. Father. The little monster was the daughter of the Dark Lord. He didn’t even want to puzzle out who the mother was or how such a thing was possible.

“The star-crossed lovers know of our search for Pandora’s Curse. Keeping the statue outside of your study was not a wise thing to do, Lucius,” the girl said in annoyed anger and she slapped the man across the face. “We expect better.”

“Forgive me, Princess,” Lucius muttered with his head bowed. Draco was stunned that his father had allowed a mere child to strike him, and even begged forgiveness. He had been waiting for the man to hit her, but Lucius seemed to be genuinely afraid of the girl as if she held power he couldn’t even dream of.

“I shall consider it. Your son suffers from the seizures as he did in his childhood. The male twin is safe, and spirited away from here by now. The girl is behind that pillar.” Ryan pointed a damning finger at Andrea, although Carrie tried to block the girl from sight.

“Your orders?”

“Fetch the girl. She will do for now. Your punishment, Lucius.” She turned and cast the strongest reductor curse that Draco had ever seen, sending his father crashing through the nearest window and falling to his death one hundred feet below.

Another deatheater stepped up beside her. “As for the others, Princess Ryan?”

Draco waited for her verdict to fall. It would probably be the fate of most tonight. She waved her hand dismissively.

“Kill them all.”

The words were repeated, shouted by the deatheaters. “KILL THEM ALL!”

The fighters of light, now numbering fifteen faced the same number of deatheaters. The only spells being shouted now were blasts of red and green light. Stunners, Crucios, and the Killing Curse. Draco fought as hard as he could, but missed a step, when he saw the shy little girl turn and coldly cast the Killing Curse on Professor Sinistra without batting an eyelash. He saw the red light flying towards him, and was shocked when Potter blocked it, panting with the effort. “Pull it together, Malfoy. We’ve got a battle to win.” Those words spurred Draco on to even greater lengths, and when he turned from placing the full body bind on MacNair, he stood face to face with Ryan Shiva Riddle.

“Draco, I just want to dance,” she said looking up at him oh-so innocently. Now he could hear the mocking in the tone, the laughter as she rubbed salt into the wound. “Don’t you like to dance with death, Draco? Isn’t that where all of your scars come from?” she laughed cruelly, dodging his vindictive slashing hexes.
“I protected you.”

“My father thanks you. You did a far better job of it then he thought you would.” She got in a lucky Cruciatus Curse and Draco sank to his knees in pain. She grabbed his hair and yanked him back, holding her wand to his throat. “Final dance, Draco.”

Before she could incant the spell, she was struck from behind with a tarantella. “Dance to that,” Potter said coldly. Somehow she managed to undo the spell, while they were distracted by larger opponents, and a balding man lifted her to run outside, followed by Mr. Zabini. Over the second man’s shoulder was a limp childish figure of a redheaded girl. Rea was gone.

The next morning when all of the injured students and teachers had been removed to St. Mungos and the dead had been taken out, everything was silent. No one had left the Great Hall. No matter which house they came from they sat with whoever was nearest as they very slowly and solemnly ate their breakfast. There was no noise. What remained of the teachers guarded the doorways while their students ate; Snape, MacGonagall, Pomfrey, Vector, Hagrid, Lupin (who was finally recovered), and Dumbledore. Trelawny, Sinistra, Flitwick, Grubby-Plank, Sprout, and Firenze were the unfortunate casualties of the night before along with six students, although thankfully none were in the lower years. Sadly with no distractions, Draco was the center of attention when a blinding headache struck and a seizure gripped him. Harry Potter was the first to react, and the second Draco stopped moving, he lifted the other boy over his shoulder and bellowed for Pomfrey to follow him to the Infirmary, Ginny hot on his heels.

While Draco lay unconscious, the highest members of the Order of the Phoenix sat in a classroom immediately below. Ginny sat between Snape and Drew with Ian on her lap, not at all inclined to let the little boy out of her sight (Rowan and Carrie were with Blaise). Dumbledore sat across from them with 2/3 of the Golden Trio on his right, and Bill Weasley, Remus Lupin, and Neville Longbottom on his left. Potter stood in front of the fireplace outlined by the flame.

“In order for Draco to suffer seizures, Lucius must have survived the fall,” Ginny ventured. “But he is probably still out of favor with Lord Voldemort and Ryan.”

“Lucius is dead,” Harry protested.

“No, he isn’t.” Eyes flew across the room to follow Draco’s progress down the stairs. It was slow as he moved unsteadily, paler than usual with dark circles under his eyes, attesting to the significant lack of sleep that he had been getting lately. “Lucius Malfoy is alive. My seizures have always been tied to his rage, and as I’m sure you can all tell by the killer seizure I had this morning, right now, he’s furious.” With a soft sigh of relief, he sank into the closest chair, which Ginny immediately vacated for him, and twisted his fingers into her red hair as she knelt by him. “This is the third time that Voldemort or one of his minions has managed to abduct a student from school grounds. Potter in Fourth Year, Ginny at the end of last year, and Rea last night. It is time to close the school. The students are no safer here than anywhere else, and Potter serves as a bulls-eye to the schools target.”

“I believe that you are right, Draco,” the headmaster said regretfully. “Remus, my boy, will you and Bill take Drew and inform the students to begin packing? No owls are to be sent, no fire-calls made, we shall send them home a few at a time.”

“I’m not leaving! What are you going to do about my sister?” Drew screamed. “You all let those creeps take her! What about Andy? What about Andrea?” he repeated a little softer, looking down at his feet.

Draco put a hand on his shoulder. “She’s a Slytherin and I promise that I will get her back. Longbottom-Neville, I mean, if you could take Drew and Ian down to the Slytherin dormitories? They’re the safest. Carrie and Rowan won’t be leaving either.”

“Sure, Draco.”

Once all minors were out of the room, Draco got to his feet. “That kid was an unexpected blow, Headmaster, and one that will have to be dealt with. Do you have any ideas?”

“None, I’m afraid. Sadly, the only advantage we have right now is that they don’t know that we’ve discovered what Pandora’s Curse is. It’s a dark spell that combines the effects of the Cruciatus Curse and the Killing Curse. Death is unavoidable, but close to an hour of extreme pain will precede it. There is no known block and the only cure involves the use of unicorn blood.”

“Then we need to find another cure,” Draco muttered. “Finally something I can work on.”

A/N: Opinions? R&R. Next two chapters written and will be posted ASAP. @->--

Chapter 31: Changes
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“Why is this taking so long, Draco? The waiting is worse on my nerves than the actual fighting.”

“Their plan has a specific time frame, Ginny. Until we come up with a plan, we’re playing on their schedule. Try not to think about it anymore than you have to. Think about something else. Anything else.”

“Jenny is gorgeous.”

Draco blinked. That was fast. He scrambled for a second before coming up with a sentence. “Yeah, she looks like Fleur.”

“But she has the red Weasley hair.” Ginny looked up at him with a soft smile. “Bill loves that baby so much. She’s going to grow up so spoiled.”

“When a baby girl has five-no, seven-uncles, it is kind of unavoidable.”


“Your family adopted Potter long ago, and I’m not above spoiling my girlfriend’s niece.”

“So you’re an honorary uncle like Harry.”

“Maybe better than that.” Draco was just as surprised as she was when those words came out of his mouth. He didn’t know if this was the right moment, but suddenly it felt like it. They were sitting on the sandy patch by the part of the lake shallow enough for wading, and watching the giant squid give a fountain performance, Ginny’s head in his lap and the kids that they were responsible for were safe in the castle. It was perfect.

“Are you still competing with Harry? I thought you were starting to become friends.”

“We’re not openly hexing each other but I doubt that close friendship is in our future. But this isn’t competing. This is a moment I’ve been planning for what feels like forever.”

“I thought coming out to the lake was my idea.”

Draco shook his head, and placed a finger to her lips. “Shh, let me finish, luv.” He stood and drew her over to the water so that the waves from the squid’s antics crashed over their ankles. “You see all of this water? It’s been here for ages. Since before the Founders’ time even. And it will still be here hundreds of years from now, even if Hogwarts isn’t. My love for you is just as eternal. You drive me completely insane sometimes, but you are the only person that I ever felt safe letting into my heart.”


Draco knelt in front of her, fumbling in his pocket for the ever-present jewelry box. “Ginny, would you marry me?” He held out the silver ring with the dark sapphire stone, surrounded by tiny opals and waited for her response. Would Andrea’s vision come true?

“Yes, Draco. Today if possible.”

He slipped the ring onto her finger and stood to kiss her. She threw her arms around his neck, and caught up in the moment he started to spin her around until they were knee deep in the water and the squid sent a larger than usual wave at them. Drenched from head to toe, they stood there laughing for a few minutes before returning to shore and collapsing in the sand.

Tracing the curve of her face with his fingers, Draco grinned. “That idea actually has merit.”

“What idea?”

“Getting married today. There’s a ministry official in Hogsmeade who owes me a favor.”

Ginny’s eyes lit up, and then her face fell. “We can’t. My mum would kill me, and I don’t have anything for a wedding.”

“Wear your auror robes and let me handle the rings. I swear that after this is all over, we’ll have the biggest public wedding that the Wizarding World has ever seen, but I want to make you mine, now that I finally have the courage to ask you.”

Her eyes dancing in mirth, she teased, “Exactly how long have you had that ring, Draco?”

“July 31. My birthday. Remember, I disappeared for a few hours?”

“You crazy boy,” she laughed, kissing him. “I love you so much, and I would love to marry you today.”

“Then go get ready, and slip away. I’ll meet you at the Three Broomsticks.”

Draco finished getting ready long before Ginny and owled his jeweler to tell him to have the project ready for him to pick up. Dashing through the closest secret passage to Hogsmeade, he went straight to the shop. He was surprised to run into Potter without his usual fan club/bodyguards. “What are you doing here?”

“Buying a piece of jewelry,” the other boy answered flippantly. “You?”

“Same.” He continued to look expectantly at Potter until the other boy caved.

“I’m buying an engagement ring for Luna. If I die in this war, I want her to know how much she meant to me. And if you tell me that it’s a ridiculous notion because I’m definitely going to win, then I swear I’ll hex you.”

“I don’t think it’s ridiculous, Potter. I’d be a hypocrite if I did.”

“You’re buying an engagement ring for Ginny?”

“Did that months ago, Potter. I’m buying a wedding band, because I’m getting married today.” Draco secretly agreed that Potter should not only ask Luna to marry him, but to actually go through with it, before the final battle commenced. But openly helping the man to realize it went against the sworn enemies thing. “I know that Ginny would like for Luna to be there on her special day. Would you care to serve as our other witness?” That would get Potter in the right place, and make it easier for Draco to justify not telling Blaise. It wouldn’t be fair to ask him to witness the wedding of the girl he loved to his best friend. Maybe when they remarried publicly, Blaise would have found the right girl and be willing to serve as his Best Man.

“You’re eloping?”

“Do you think we want something private and special splashed across the front page of the Daily Prophet? We may as well send an invitation to Voldemort.”

“Good point. I’ll do it.”

“Buy both rings now, Potter,” Draco advised. “That way you’re always ready.” He picked up the black velvet case that the jeweler placed in front of him, checking inside of it to make sure that it was the correct rings, before leaving.

Draco and Ginny were married quietly and exchanged the wedding bands carved from a single dark sapphire with a chaste kiss. As surprised as Ginny was to see them there, she knew what was coming before Luna did, and witnessed her best friend’s wedding to Harry Potter, the private ceremony that Harry had always been afraid he could never have.

A/N: Four chapters to go. I'll be done by June.

Chapter 32: Battleground
Teaser: “You’ve seen it before. It’s what you see when you’re near a dementor. It’s why you started cutting.”
Update: 04-30-06

Chapter 32: Battleground
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A/N: This chapter has been rewritten as a narrative of a day's events in Ginny's point of view, because the first-hand account in Draco's POV was not accepted by the site. The other half of the chapter may or may not go up else where. Stick with me please, I'm almost done.

The worst thing that Ginny had ever seen, was her sister-in-law lying in a pool of blood. Fleur was so pale and her clothing so white that the red stains were even more vivid that usual. She was glad that she had not followed Harry and Bill into the nursery where Jenny had died. She had fainted when Ron said aloud what they were all dreading, and become dreadfully ill when the portrait confirmed that Fleur had killed Jenny while under the Imperious Curse before committing suicide. Ron and the rest of the Golden Trio stayed with Bill, while Draco rushed her back to Hogwarts and tried to force her to see Madame Pomfrey. She refused, not wanting anyone to discover her secret although Draco probably knew that she was lying. Her husband of two months was acutely aware of her emotions and behaviors.

She hadn’t just puked her guts up and needed Draco’s tender administrations. She had fallen apart in that bathroom and he had carefully put her back together again. There was no sneer in his voice as she confided the Thanksgiving mishap that caused her terror of blood not her own. When she explained her need to make cutting alluring, he accepted that all it had ever been was a punishment for herself. And then when she asked a question that she had been wondering about since their first kiss on the Hogwarts’ Express last year, he had opened up to her about a terrible piece of his past.

She was infinitely more thankful that Blaise and Draco had rescued her from Lucas last year now that she knew what he was capable of. To have performed such heinous crimes upon his own sister, to have murdered her and in front of an eleven-year-old boy was beyond anything Ginny had ever imagined a person to be capable of. The fact that Lucas had been twelve at the time of Third Year Leoni LeStrange’s death horrified her to no end. He was like a young Voldemort without a soul in his body to be troubled by what he had done.

It was obvious that Leoni had meant a lot to Draco, providing a childhood playmate and a responsible guardian despite an age difference of only two years. Seeing another girl, another blonde girl slaughtered in the same way as his beloved cousin was almost as bad as his all too frequent encounters with dementors. She had known that Draco could not cast a patronus and now knew why. There was simply no memory happy enough to get all the blood out of his mind. She understood his prior addiction to cutting even better than before. Lucius had not merely abused him, but covered up the murder of Leoni to protect the nephew who meant more to him than his own son. There was nothing to truly make-up for that.

Ginny bit her lip. She did hold one secret from Draco, one that would enable him to cast a patronus she was sure, but if he knew, he would send her away from the war and she simply could not bear being unable to protect him. He was smart though. He may have already discovered the truth.

One thing was for sure: By bringing the war to the innocents of the Weasley clan, Lucas LeStrange had declared war and Ginny grimly determined that he would perish upon his chosen battleground.

A/N: There are three chapters left! Keep reading!

Chapter 33: Prophecy's Foretold
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A/N: Sorry this is taking so very long. At the rate it takes to get a chapter up and validated, I may not be finished with this story until the end of the month. For those of you waiting on my other stories, please consider them to be on hiatus until this one is done. Then I will pick them up again one at a time until I've finished all of the ones currently up. I'm not sure if I will continue after that though. Please check my author page for more information. @->--

Hogwarts was not a comfortable place to live any longer. It was an army’s barracks, with only one house devoted to the remaining children and their self-appointed guardians. Snape, Draco, Ginny, and Blaise continued lessons and activities to keep the few remaining children occupied. Harry, Luna, Neville, Ron, and Hermione slept in the Gryffindor house along with Remus Lupin and the younger aurors and fighters, such as Tonks, Shacklebolt, and the rest of the Weasley clan. Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw had been devoted entirely to the rest of the order and various professors. Training was the only thing to draw Draco and Ginny out of their home and it was always finished as quickly as possible so they could return to protect what was left of their number. Harry and Neville devoted every second of their time to training for the coming altercation, while Ron, Hermione, and Luna rarely left the library in their desperate search for information.

It was a rare morning when Dumbledore joined the children for breakfast instead of the teachers, the order, or the ministry. Ian was sharing a chair with Ryan across the table from Blaise and with Snape on his right. Ginny sat between Snape and Draco, while Carrie was on Rowan’s left. Dumbledore sat at the head of the table with Drew on his right and Blaise on his left. Dumbledore had just passed the peach marmalade to Rowan, when Drew’s fork clattered to the floor.
All eyes were on him, but he stared into space unseeingly, his eyes glazed over. When he spoke, his voice was solemn and harsh.

Three and ten days shall see
A war fought by the bumblebee
Blood shall spill
Break our hero’s will
Two seats away resides the one
Fighting a battle barely begun
Should thou leave or stay
A heavy cost you must pay
Star-crossed lovers torn apart
Beware the cracked and bleeding heart
A potion remedy to a deadly curse is found
Free the unicorn whose magic is bound
A gift of blood he shall make
Do not be afraid to take.
But, headmaster, take care
Only one is meant to have a share
The victor and unsung hero of light
Is the only one allowed to wake from death’s cruel night.
Terror in twos and trouble in threes
Have a stony heart against their pleas
By the pricking of my thumbs
Something wicked this way comes.

Everyone stared for a second after Drew slumped to the ground. Then Carrie was on her knees with his head cradled in her lap. Draco accepted that this was a Ginny-situation and shepherded the two first years out of the room and using both Blaise and the glass dragon, Cosmar to distract them. Once they had relaxed a bit, he rejoined the others in the common room. Snape had moved both Third Years to the couch, and between him and Ginny, caring for them both simultaneously. Dumbledore was in a corner transferring his memory of the prophecy into a peniseive. Draco needed no such measures to remember the words burned into his brain. Three and ten days shall see/A heavy cost you must pay/Star-crossed lovers torn apart/Do not be afraid to take/Have a stony heart against their pleas. The last phrase had been a line from Macbeth and the significance could be deadly. Two seats away? Drew could have been talking about two people; either Blaise or Rowan. They would have to gamble with a life, and Draco didn’t like the options. His best mate, or a tiny first year girl?

Accepting Dumbledore’s whispered orders, Draco went to the fireplace and summoned Potter, informing him to gather only the top members of the Order of the Phoenix for a meeting in Dumbledore’s office. Then he returned and had a quick discussion with Blaise before leaving him in charge of the children.

Draco and Ginny had been packing up the kids trunks, and warding possessions with a dedicated fervor. They refused to overlook one small detail that could save a life someday. For this year, they had been Ian and Rowan’s only family. Carrie and Drew had been welcomed into their small circle, regardless of house or year. If the final battle went badly, then at least they would have provided one last line of defense for the honorary siblings that they had gained this last year.

The prophecy gave them such a tremulous lead, but only if Andrea had not given the prophecy to Voldemort from her captivity. The twins had never given a full prophecy apart before. Carrie had witnessed Drew’s simultaneous recitation of the prophecy that Rea had made concerning Potter earlier that year. If Voldemort knew, if he took actions to prevent them from performing the necessary preparations . . . there was a very good chance that this battle would be lost.

On the morning before the prophesied battle, Rowan was found in front of the fireplace crying. She could not stop long enough to speak, and Ginny finally tugged a worn piece of parchment from her grip. It was a letter from the oldest of her brothers and it ordered her to return home or no allowances would be made for her in the final battle. If she stayed, then she was the enemy and they would kill her without a second thought. She would no longer be a member of their family.

With trembling fingers, Ian had picked up the note from the table where Ginny left it and read it through once more, his face going blank, but he must have tensed under Cosmar’s perch on his shoulder, because the miniature glass dragon belched a mighty flame and burned the paper straight through. It had only taken Ian a second after that to crush the ashes to dust under his expensive boot.
Ian did manage to calm her down later and after she returned to her dormitory, sat in the common room alone save for his pet.

Blaise sat down in the chair across from Ian and gave a weak grin. ‘Hey, Ian. How are you and Cosmar doing?”

The little boy gave him a guarded nod, and reached up to stroke the glass scales as in in reassurance that his beloved pet was safe.

‘Things are getting pretty bad,” Blaise explained softly. ‘Pretty soon, we’re going to be seeing the final stand. You’re too young to be around when that happens.” Blaise swallowed. “Professor Snape is practically your dad isn’t he? He’s always taken care of you?” There was no response, but Blaise already knew the answer. “Dumbledore is sending Snape away for the final battle. He’s going to take Rowan, Drew, Carrie, and you with him.”

“I know.”

“But I’m not going.”

Ian looked up in surprise. ‘But Sev said . . . “

“I know, but I’m not going with you. I’m going to stay here and fight Voldemort with Draco and Ginny.”

“Why?” Ian asked, ignoring the two fat tears slipping down his cheeks.

“When I was growing up, I always wanted to be a big brother. But my mum could never give me a little brother or sister. She was told that all of her other babies were stillborn. When I turned fourteen, I discovered that my father had them killed to avoid sibling rivalry over his money, as had been done in the Zabini line for centuries. I don’t know how Professor Snape rescued you. I don’t care. All that matters is that you are my little brother. My duty as an older brother is to protect you, even from myself. Which is why I have been following Professor Snape’s orders and staying away from you.”

“I thought that you liked me, and then you got mad at me.”

“I wasn’t mad at you. I was mad at a lot of things, but not you. You have to understand, Ian, that the night in the hospital wing was an exception. I was extremely worried, angry, and heartbroken. I lashed out at you because you were convenient. It was wrong. All my life, I wanted a little brother. Then I get one and screw it up by hurting you. So I guess this is my apology to you, Ian. My atonement.”

“I was mad at you and I was hurt, but I don’t want you to die in the battle, Blaise. I want you to come with me and Sev.”

“You’re still too young and innocent to understand this, thank Merlin. I’m not sure how to explain this to you in a way that you can comprehend. I have to try, but whether you’re convinced or not, I want you to accept it.” Blaise moved to kneel in front of his brother and took the younger boy’s shoulders, making eye contact so that two pairs of honest blue irises met. “This war is about to end. If Voldemort wins, than you will be in danger. He will hunt you and everyone else down. I can’t let that happen. I’m fighting to make sure that the light wins, to make sure that you can come back to Hogwarts some day, and play quidditch, and a whole other slew of things. My job as your big brother is solely to protect you and if that means dying in the final battle, I claim it as an honor. You’re going to grow up, Ian, and nothing will keep that from happening. So this afternoon, when Professor Snape takes you through the Headmaster’s floo, I don’t want you to look back. Can you do that for me?” There was no verbal response, but the eleven year old threw his arms around his big brother in a silent obedience. They spent the rest of the evening talking about stupid mundane things like quidditch teams, the giant squid, and whether or not Rowan counted as a girlfriend of a girl friend, unsurprisingly taking opposite views on the subject.

The night before was the last night they would be together. Voldemort would attack in the morning, and the innocents under Professor Snape’s care would floo out within seconds of his arrival. Dumbledore wanted to make sure that the deatheaters were given no time to find them prior the battle, and once the fighting had begun, the order would keep them occupied so that they could have a head start. It was unsurprising that all of them were still up and sitting in silence when the clock tolled midnight. Then Ginny had had enough.

“Accio mattresses!” she shouted and ducked as three mattresses zoomed at her head. That would be plenty as the Slytherin beds were all queen sized and the common room floor was not very large. “Go get into your night things and grab your pillows,” she ordered the younger students, crossing to a spare cabinet and pulling out heaps of blankets. Catching on, Draco moved to assist her, while Blaise supervised the children. She had half expected Snape to protest, but he merely accepted one of the blankets and claimed the couch for his own.

Sleeping en masse was an experience to remember. Ginny lay in the protective circle of Draco’s arms, with Carrie only six inches away, Drew lying across the foot of the two mattresses pushed together. Rowan and Ian slept in a curled heap like puppies where the mattress met with the third one, which was mostly Blaise’s. Ginny had been delighted to find that Ian and Blaise had made a huge step to dissolving the wall that had been there for the last five and a half months since the incident in January. By the time morning came around, they were all tangled together in a mess that Professor Snape felt obligated to capture on film, before waking them.

Draco didn’t care if it was a sentimental thing to do. He hugged Carrie, Rowan, and Ian as they each stepped one by one through the floo. Voldemort’s assault had been spotted less than a mile away. Giving Drew one last comforting look and a promise to do anything within his power to reunite him with his twin, Draco turned to Blaise. “Take good care of Ian, and send me an owl in a week, okay?”

Blaise clapped him on the back. “Sure, you better get going. Good luck.” The second Draco left the office, Blaise dropped the trunk that he had been carrying and shoved Snape’s in instead. “There you go, sir. Keep protecting Ian for me. Maybe I’ll see you both when this is over.” He darted out of Snape’s grasp and headed for the portal, as he heard the fastest of Voldemort’s forces reach the outer wards.

“What will Ian say when he finds out of this foolhardy action?”

“I told him last night. If I don’t make it, reiterate the fact that I love him and I chose to do this to protect him.” Without another word, Blaise darted down the staircase and running out of time, Severus Snape disappeared through the floo.

Dumbledore continued through the Forbidden Forest in a desperate race for time, on the word of a thirteen-year-old boy, praying that his twin had not given the same information to Voldemort. Hagrid’s efforts had proven futile, and now only Dumbledore would search for the magically bound unicorn in hopes of finding a necessary cure.

A/N: Two more chapters! The Final Battle in Two Parts. Enjoy!

Chapter 34: Heroes Fall . . .
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A/N: Correction to last Author's Note. This is the Final Battle in one part, which means a super long chapter. The aftermath of the final battle and the epilogue will be in the next chapter which is the end for my dedicated reviewers. I'm going to miss you and my characters. The next story I plan on finishing is Can't Betray My Heart. Thank you. And to our story (brief reminder: if you kill me through flames over the dead, I can't post the last chapter).

The wards had been breached. Hogwarts was in chaos despite the nearly two week warning they had received and hours of careful planning. No one had been prepared for the dragons. Deatheaters, giants, trolls, and dementors, yes. Dragons, no. Charlie Weasley led the defense against the dragons, forced to bring down the magnificent creatures that he had devoted his life to studying. There were too many lives at stake on the battlefield to spare the beasts.
Hagrid and Madame Maxime stood alongside Grawp, armed with wands, while Grawp brandished a cudgel, the likes of which could crush a giant’s skull with a single blow.

Remus Lupin stood boldly at Harry Potter’s side, Ron and Hermione to his left. Luna Luvgood was firmly placed on the hero’s right with Draco and Ginny Malfoy beside her. Wands raised, it was Lupin who sent out the silver patronus of a large Grim to announce the light’s intention to fight rather than surrender. As it romped over the field, Harry sent his stag to join it. They were two of the strongest patronuses that Draco had ever seen. He wondered briefly if patronuses could be indwelt with souls of the departed, because the pair wasn’t fading. Padfoot and Prongs would be part of the battle today. Then the first killing curse was cast and both sides plunged into battle.

The first volley of spells was a violent flury of red and green light: unforgiveables on the part of the deatheaters and stunners from the Light. Then the duels became more personal. Foes squared off against each other. Lupin took on Pettigrew. The Golden Trio faced off against a troll (which was rather fitting since the Golden Trio’s first adventure had started with a troll as well). Draco and Ginny were quickly separated, Lucas chasing Ginny through the ranks while Draco fought his old housemates.

Hermione raced towards a fallen auror being threatened by a deatheater. She tripped and fell over Mundungus Fletcher’s body. She blinked in horro and it paused her long enough for the deatheater to take notice of her. Before the purple light could strike her; she felt a hand grabbing a fistfall of her robes and haul her out of the curse’s path. She looked up startled and realized that her rescuer was Malfoy’s friend. He was supposed to leave with Professor Snape this morning! Blaise gave her a roguish grin and took off towards Malfoy. Gathering her wits about her, Hermione turned and cast an impediment jinx at the deatheater so she could rush to Tonks’ aid.

Ginny finally reached her destination-just out of the Whomping Willow’s reach. She spun to face Lucas, casting her first hex. The bat-booghey hex didn’t slow him down as much as Ginny would have liked, but he did fall neatly into her trap. By rushing her while still under the hex, he missed the significance of her position and crashed headlong into the angry tree when she sidestepped. She heard three or four sickening cracks, before the tree pitched him at her feet. She hissed two healing charms before the Petrificus Totalis, but left his wand arm broken. She crouched next to him when his poison green eyes opened. “Learn this, Lucas. I’m Draco’s girl and he is so much stronger than you. I’m Fleur’s sister-in-law and Jenny’s aunt. I won’t ever forgive you for what you’ve done. You will never harm another soul again.” She pulled out a mirror from her pocket and placed it beside him on the grass before walking away.

Lucas couldn’t look away from the mirror and the mirror had been enchanted to show every one of his victims’ blood-stained faces. It would eventually drive him mad.

With great satisfaction, Ginny returned th the fight in time to be the only witness to Blaise’s sacrifice.

Blaise had spotted Lucius Malfoy sneaking up behind Draco, wand raised and managed to get between Draco and the spell. The purple light struck him in the chest and he collapsed to the ground, pain wracking his body. He was finding out the effects of Pandora’s Curse first hand. He barely heard the muttered cutting curse, but he felt the pain multiply. Forcing his eyes open, his hazy vision saw that Draco had finally petrified Pansy and was turning around to face the new foe. Lucius tackled his son and prevented Draco from seeing Blaise. It was the only merciful thing Lucius had done for either boy. Blaise didn’t want Draco to see him die. His best friend carried enough wrongful guilt on his shoulders. He was also sure that a reprimand would be the first thing out of Draco’s mouth and to be quite frank he didn’t want to hear it.

He was surprised when Ginny’s face appeared in his field of vision. He didn’t know why she was crying, but then he remembered that he was dying. There was no counter, no antidote. At least the cutting curse ensured that he would die quickly.
“You stupid, horrible, wonderful boy!” Ginny pressed a kiss against his sweaty forehead. "Why?”

“Cause I love you ad Draco,” Blaise slurred. ‘And because you two can do more for Ian than I could ever hope to do myself. What kind of big brother would I be if I didn’t make sure that the world was safe for my baby brother?” He struggled for the next few breaths and looked down. Under his collarbone there was a two inch heart cracked down the center. “Huh. OS that’s what inevitable death looks like.” Ginny was crying again. Blaise frowned. “Don’t cry, Ginny.” He pushed himself up on one arm and kissed her cheek before he ran out of strength. As he returned to his prior position on the ground, he cracked a quick smirk. He had become numb. “Tell Draco that if he’s trying to hide the fact that he’s married, he should take off the ring before breakfast, not halfway through when he realizes that he forgot.”

Ginny laughed despite herself. “I don’t know if Draco could have spied as long as he did without you there to cover for him. How on earth did you manage?”

“Don’t know,” Blaise mumbled. He was so tired and it was so hard to keep his eyes open. A moment later, Blaise gave up the battle.

Ginny stood and backed away from Blasé’s body, casting a quick preservation charm. She stepped through the shield that a solemn Fred Weasley had cast while he took care of a troll. Mouthing a quick thank you, she made her way towards Draco.

Draco was participating in a familiar form of dueling with his father. Growing up, Lucius had demanded him to have hours of training in the noble art of swordplay. Now locked in battle with the man who sired him, he was thankful for every second. He continued to elude the sharp blade, edging closer to the deatheater shooting off stunners like they were going out of style. When the opportune moment came, he struck out with his blade and deflected a spell, aiming it at his father. Lucius Malfoy toppled to the ground and Draco swore. Just his luck; the deatheater had just switched to the leg-locker curse. But before he could make a move to further incapacitate the man, his father whipped out his wand and used the Killing Curse on himself.

Draco stared at the corpse in shock. His father would rather kill himself than be taken alive by his son? He started when a small hand rested on his arm. Then his mind registered and he tried to give Ginny a carefree smirk. It failed. He had seen her next to a fallen warrior when he was fighting and hoped it wasn’t one of her brothers. “Okay?”

Ginny stood on tiptoe and kissed him hard. “I love you.”

“I love you too.”


Then she was gone and Draco moved to counter another attack, caught in the endless dance. He swirled again only to find a dementor across from him.

Harry Potter grimly made his way through the ranks of deatheaters and dementors. Voldemort stood in the dead center of the deatheaters with that psychotic little girl at his side. He spotted an opening an d almost took it, but then he saw the dementor advancing on Malfoy. Ginny had told him that Malfoy could conjure a brilliant dragon patronus, but not in the presence of a dementor. There were too many bad memories from his childhood that could barely be suppressed in a normal setting. Decision made, he cast a fresh patronus and directed it towards the afflicted teen. It wasn’t as strong as his first patronus which was still fighting about ten feet away, but it was enough to send the dementor away. He offered a hand to Malfoy, fragile truce once more in place.

“If you can’t cast a patronus, the cunning thing to do would be to get out of the way,” he sniped for old times sake.

Malfoy nodded curtly. “But why bother when some foolish Gryffindor will come running bravely to your rescue.”

“I’m telling, Ginny,” Harry muttered, sending a Jelly-legs curse at Avery.

“What are you, Potter? Four?” Malfoy blocked a stunner and smirked over his shoulder. “Go ahead and tell her. She’s heard it all before.”



Their banter died as they broke through the final defensive ranks. Before them was Voldemort, only ten feet away. Standing by his side was Ryan Shiva Riddle.

Ryan flung herself astride her favored mount, the last female opal-eyed dragon. No one dared attacking her now or they would be responsible for the extinction of the species. The strengthened imperious curse linked its mind directly to her commands. Ryan was invincible.

She dove at perfect Potter and the traitor, never realizing that the dragon-keeper Weasley had spelled a Finite Incantatem at her precious pet, which would be shortly followed by a Reductor Curse.

Draco had flung himself left and Potter had dodged right with the practiced skill of years of Seeker training. Draco averted his eyes as the girl he had once teasingly called ‘little sister’ went up in flame as her dragon turned on her. A second later the beast exploded and there was nothing left to identify. Draco felt a twinge of guilt at the relief that Ryan was gone. But he couldn’t deny that he had been worried about dealing with her afterwards. They couldn’t kill her, couldn’t throw an eleven-year-old in Azkaban, but it was too late to save her from becoming the monster that her father had trained her to become. And Voldemort could possess her and come back because of the blood link. This was probably the best outcome he could have hoped for.

Draco suddenly realized that they were now perfectly positioned to attack the Dark Lord except for one thing . . . an enraged Voldemort had somehow gotten a hold of Luna.

Dumbledore had been shocked to find the golden unicorn tied to an ornate ivory obelisk. He had never seen this part of the Forbidden Forest and the unnatural stillness made him hope that he would never see it again. The unicorn appeared to be fast asleep, and hesitatingly, Dumbledore placed one hand on its nose. Crystal blue eyes fluttered open and met his own. So startled by the telepathic link that he now held with such a pure creature, the only words that the ancient and wise Dumbledore registered were “What? How? Why?”

“It is time for the awakening then,” the unicorn responded patiently. “As my Lady Rowena foresaw. Unbind me and I shall give you the blood you require.”

“How did you come to be here?” Dumbledore queried as he began unfettering the creature.

“The Lady foresaw a day when willing unicorn blood would be needed to return life to one who unjustly lost his in his destruction of ultimate evil. She requested a volunteer and I came forward.”

Dumbledore almost dropped the harness. “Rowena Ravenclaw imprisoned you! Are you sure? Not someone like . . .”

“My Lord Salazar was very much against my unnatural binding. It was the first rift in his relationship with the other founders, I regret to say. He visited me everyday until he died. You must not judge him or the members of his house so harshly. By doing so, you foster the growth of evil, headmaster.” The unicorn drew its horn across its flank and mechanically, Dumbledore moved to capture the crimson liquid in the glass vial he had brought. When he looked up again, the unicorn had aged. “Do not try to cheat fate, headmaster,” it warned. “This blood is only meant for the one to destroy your dark lord. If any other drinks it, the curse of unicorn blood will be upon him ten-fold.” The unicorn broke off the tip of his horn on the obelisk. “Give this to the reluctant lycanthrope. There will be orphans on both sides of the war. His mission will be to care for them. As long as he swallows this before the next full moon, he will be cured.”

“I hear and obey,” Dumbledore muttered shakily before the link was broken and the silver creature faded away.

Draco had his wand out, but there was nothing he could do with Luna in his direct path. Potter had paled by several shades. “Don’t hurt her. She’s a pureblood. It’s me you want.” Draco bit back a growl when the idiot shoved his wand into his robes. “I’ll surrender. Just don’t hurt her.”

Luna stood straight and looked her husband in the eye. “I love you, Harry,” she said with a calm dignity that had always marked her despite the outlandish statements that the Sixth Year was prone to.

Voldemort laughed. “Pitiful, Potter. Do you-“ He was cut off when Longbottom of all people leapt onto his back and made a furious attempt to grab his wand. Of course the Dark Lord hexed him off and sent a cutting curse at him for good measure. The Gryffindor didn’t get up from where he had landed, but Draco didn’t think he was dead. Of course he had his own problems. He had tried to free Luna while the Dark Lord was distracted and now suffered under the Cruciatus Curse.

The torture was brief, but through. When he finally came to his senses, Luna was crumpled on the ground, the boy-who-lived sobbing over her form. His limbs were like jelly and his mind struggled to make sense of the images it was presented with.

The Dark Lord laughed again. “Just a little boy, after all, eh, Potter? If I’d known you were so easy to break, I wouldn’t have bothered with your parents or that mangy mutt of a godfather.”

Draco looked at Potter-no, Harry-again. The boy suddenly didn’t look any older than Ian and Draco felt unease about his part in convincing Potter to marry Luna before the final battle. It had only made the emotionally unstable boy become dependent upon yet another person who would eventually leave him. There was literally nothing left for Harry to live for anymore. The boy looked back up at Voldemort with empty green eyes and waited.

Draco had to try. He fought to raise his wand and cast the strongest shield he could. The Killing Curse ripped through it, and Potter crumpled to the ground. Within an instant, the silver patronuses were beside the fallen hero. The stag dragged its antlers across the dust in mourning as it flickered from view. The dog lasted one moment longer, voice raised in a keening howl.

Voldemort turned back to Draco and muttered two words that sent him into a heap next to Harry Potter and snapping his ebony wand under his weight. “Unleash Pandoran.”

The curse knocked Draco to the ground. Pain ravaged his lungs and chest. The Dark Lord moved forward to stand over them. Potter was dead, no doubt about it and he would follow. Draco knew the curse the Dark Lord had used. He’d be dead in an hour if Voldemort didn’t kill him first. He was going to die. Everything he had told Ginny last night was true. Where was she? He needed to see her. Would she remember what he had said?

The Dark Lord sneered. “You could have been my right hand, boy. You threw it all away for the ‘good side.’ The Potter brat is dead now. You gambled and lost. Was it worth it? What could possibly be worth your life?”

Draco saw her then. Red hair spilled over her shoulders in a furious fire, as she cursed everything in sight, trying to reach him.

“Ginny is. Ginny is everything. I’m doing this for her.” He fumbled in Harry’s robes. His wand was gone, but with any luck, Potter’s would still be in one piece. He yanked it out, screaming his curse as he went. The Dark Lord’s eyes widened in surprise as the flash of green light killed him and he fell to the ground. He fell back clutching Potter’s wand in his good hand. It hadn’t felt awkward when he’d used it. It felt like his own wand in his grasp. Another wizard’s wand shouldn’t have been so easy to use. He didn’t have the strength to puzzle it out. Breathing was struggle enough now.

“Draco!” Ginny flung herself at him. The shoulder of his shirt was torn and she could see the jagged cut in the shape of a cracked heart. “Pandora’s Curse,” she whispered in horror. “Draco?”

Neville joined her, wiping the blood away from the cut down the side of his face. “Here, Ginny. Help me get him up. The deatheaters are fleeing and Madame Pomfrey can take a look at him in the Great Hall.” He shouldered most of Draco’s weight, and between him and Ginny, managed to get him inside. His body convulsed as they lowered him to a conjured cot.

“Don’t bother the healers, Longbottom. I’m dead. There’s no way to reverse Pandora’s Curse. Others need them more.” Hesitantly, Neville left to give them privacy. He had more friends to dig out of the rubble. Ginny knelt beside him. “Ginny, I meant it. Don’t mourn me. Take the money and live your life. Marry Blaise or something. He owes me.”

She ignored the statement. He would know soon enough. She didn’t want to taint her last few moments with him. “You killed Voldemort. Not Harry. I saw you. You did what no one else could.”

“I never thought I would be a hero,” he tried to laugh.

Tears spilled from her eyes into his shirt. “You’ve always been my hero. I’ll wear your name proudly until my dying day, and someday I’ll tell our baby how you redeemed it, killing the Dark Lord.” His body was shaking now and silver eyes sought hers. She intertwined their fingers, holding it up for him to see. I love YOU, Draco Malfoy.”

“I love you, Ginny Malfoy. Never forget that.” He struggled for a last breath. “Never!” The chest didn’t rise again. Ginny flung herself down on his chest, fingers tangled in his shirt, sobbing. “I won’t.”

A/N: Don't kill me! It's NOT over yet. I swear I'll fix it. Originally I was only going to make you wait a day, but the now it will be determined by however long it takes to validate the chapter. Please continue. @->--

Chapter 35: . . . And Rise Again
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Dumbledore raced through the Great Hall, with the potion, searching the cots for the boy with a lightning bolt scar. He saw the familiar flash of vivid red hair. Ginny Weasley sat next to a cot, her fingers still intertwined with Draco’s still ones. He realized that Draco was dead, but he had to find Harry. “Ginny, where is Harry?”

She looked up. “He’s dead. His body is still lying out there next to Voldemort’s.”

“Harry killed Voldemort.”

“No, Draco did.”

“What?” He stared at her. “Ginny, I need you to tell me what happened.”

“Harry couldn’t do it, couldn’t kill anyone. He saw Luna die and just stood there waiting for Voldemort to kill him. Draco tried to block it but he was too late. Then Voldemort hit him with the Pandora Curse. Draco’s wand was broken, so he grabbed Harry’s and used Avada Kedavra. Voldemort’s dead. Harry and Luna are dead. Draco is dead. And I’m still here.” Ginny buried her head in her arms, shoulders shaking. “And I have to stay for the baby, but I can’t do this without him.”

“Ginny, pour this into his mouth.” Dumbledore handed her the vial. “I thought that it was for Harry, but it is evident that I was wrong.” Ginny obeyed, puzzled. “It will be alright.”

Draco breathed in deeply, and opened his eyes. “Hell, that hurt.”
“Draco!” Ginny cried, stroking his hair. She leaned over and kissed him for an exceedingly long period of time, murmuring between kisses. “I love you. I love you. I love you.”

Dumbledore coughed six times before they took notice and looked at him. “How many others know about Draco’s death?”

Ginny sniffed. “Neville helped me get him back here.”

“Go find him and bring him here Ginny. We need to talk. This can never go any farther.”

Draco was exhausted by the time he finished recanting his story for Dumbledore. All he wanted to do was sleep, but Dumbledore had a few more things to say. “You were aware of the prophecy; both of you. I had forgotten Draco, that your birthday did coincide with Harry’s. Being from a dark family, I discounted your parents defying the dark lord. But they must have.”

“Father married my mother. He produced an heir before Voldemort gave him permission. And he attempted to kill me when I was one because my first accidental magic destroyed his den. It was the most power any of the deatheaters’ children displayed. Voldemort was considerably angry. In triplicate.”

“Indeed. So when Harry could not fulfill the prophecy, it fell to you.”

“Or Neville. That cutting curse marked him just as much as Voldemort scarred Potter and me. If Voldemort had killed me as well, then he could have picked up that wand and incanted the curse just as well. That took guts by the way, Longbottom. Bodily tackling the Dark Lord.” Draco shook his head and shuddered. His audience laughed and the moment was lightened. “Now if you don’t mind, Headmaster, we can analyze the whole thing for the next forty years, but being dead takes a lot of energy and I need to sleep.”

Draco slept for three days. Ginny woke him in time for Harry’s memorial, but insisted that he take it easy.“You don’t have to go if you don’t want to.”

“I want to.”

“People will understand. Many of the wounded can’t attend.”

“I’m going.”


Draco paused, sighed, and turned to look at ginny. “I saw them. While I was dead, okay? They were just ahead of me. Potter’s parents were holding him and Black had one hand on Luna’s shoulder and another on Blaise’s. Thy’re safe and happy. I’ve never seen Potter like that. Somebody has to remember them for who they were.”

“Then we go.”

Draco saw several people glaring as he took the podium after Granger and Ron stepped down. He ignored them. “I didn’t like Potter. In school, we were rivals. He was arrogant, and too talented for his own good on a broomstick. But believe it or not we had a truce during the last few months of his life, and I’ve come to respect Harry.”

“There is a difference between Harry and Potter. Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley tried to explain it somewhat in their polite way, but I’m here to drill it into your thick skulls. Potter was trying constantly to be the hero that our world needed and to meet everyone’s expectations because that is what he had been conditioned to believe he had to do. Harry liked Wizard’s Chess, Chocolate Frogs, and just flying around with no purpose. He was shy and hated attention; another conditioning from his muggle relatives.”

“To be your hero cost Harry Potter , his parents, his godfather, Luna and his life. Your hero slept in a broom cupboard until Hogwarts, and served as a human house-elf t his muggle relatives. The world turned on him time and time again, playing upon his weak points, the need for acceptance, and drove him to the battlefield.”

Reporters were murmuring angrily, and a few ministry officials were heading towards the stage. The Weasley clan, a few professors, and Granger blocked them. It needed to be said.

“The final and ultimate cost of Voldemort’s death for Harry was te loss of Luna. Most of you know Luna Luvgood to be his girlfriend of two years. I knew Luna Luvgood Potter as Harry’s wife of three months. This secret was kept from the world and even from his friends for their own safety. The loss of Luna, one of the last constants in his life, gave him the hate that he needed. Congratulations, world, for the successful manipulation and destruction of a seventeen year old boy and the sacrifice of a hero.”

“You’re here today to pay your respects to the man who did your dirty work for you. I’m here to remember a boy who didn’t have a chance. Now that he’s with his parents and Luna, maybe he’ll get the chance he didn’t get on this plane of existence with us. Would you join me in a moment of silence for Harry, the boy behind the scar?”


“No darling. Nothing braver than any other person involved in the war, sweetheart.”

“I wish I knew Uncle Harry and Auntie Luna,” Sarah muttered sleepily.

“We do too, Angel.”

“Daddy!” Sara squealed, waking up enough to wrap her arms tightly around the blonde man’s neck. Draco pressed a kiss to his daughter’s pale hair and tucked her back into bed, before joining Ginny in the hall.

“She asked about the war,” Ginny said softly.

Draco s kissed her and cradled her closely. Like her, he was thinking of the dead and the survivors.

Draco had been devastated to find that Blaise had died to save his life and insisted on being the one to tell Ian, unaware that Ian had already known.
Ian was seventeen now and in his Seventh Year at Hogwarts. He had been formally adopted by Professor Snape when he was thirteen and held no reservations about calling the stern man ‘dad.’ He was dating a Sixth Year Ravenclaw and Rowan had become quite adept at shooing First Years out of the common room on Friday Nights. She herself had been adopted by Remus Lupin directly after the Final Battle to keep custody from going to her oldest brother after her parents died with the rest of the deatheaters.

Andrew and Andrea Davis had been reunited after a raid on Riddle House. They disappeared from the Wizarding World the moment they turned seventeen and lived in seclusion somewhere in muggle NYC. Their only contact was Carrie who dutifully exchanged information, but refused to serve as their Secret-Keeper or to even know their location. The Oracle Twins were in hiding for good reason. Their power was too great to fall in the wrong hands.

Ron and Hermione had two gorgeous sons. Evan was five and in Sara’s Primary Class. Nathan was two and hard at work mimicking his father’s every action., forcing Ron to actually think before he spoke and moved. Ginny and Hermione had several good laughs about his dilemma.

Harry and Luna had been buried side by side in the plot of land Draco had donated for the war’s victims. The graves had merely names, date of birth and death, and one line apiece. Luna’s read “Loved More Than Life Itself.” And Harry’s read “Seek Better Things Than We Offered.”

Draco and Ginny were celebrating their seventh wedding anniversary in a few months. Sara was an imp in angelic disguise, but well-loved for her antics. Draco and Ginny were discussing an addition to the family. There were still hard times, but life was good.

Ginny tilted her head back and captured Draco’s mouth with her own. When they finally had to break off the kiss in order to breathe his eyes were a darker gray than usual. “What was that for?” he whispered huskily.

“I think it’s about time to give Sara that brother she’s been talking about.”

“And if it’s another girl?”

“We add an Alexa to the group and try again. A house this big needs at least four children running around. Besides, trying is half the fun,” she teased, cinnamon eyes dancing.

“You’re going to be the death of me, woman,” Draco declared.

“Race you to the bedroom.”

Ginny didn’t get two steps away when strong arms wrapped around her waist and heaved her over Draco’s shoulder in a fireman’s carry.

“I learned my lesson the first time,” Draco remarked as he leisurely made his way towards the master bedroom. “You’re much faster than you look and you become mischievous when left unattended.”

Ginny pouted even though her husband couldn’t see t. “You act like the charm I put on the boiler room door didn’t wear off.”

“I’m not going around with pink hair for a week again. Consider it a precaution to ease my paranoid mind.”

“Why did I fall in love with you again?”

“Because I’m always right?”

That smart remark earned him a sharp smack on the posteriour, and an irritated “Try again.”

“Because I’m madly in love with you?”

“Don’t you forget it.”


A/N: There you go. I've finished another story and this one was several years in the making. Thanks for sticking with me. I hope that it met to your expectations, and you stick around to read the next piece of work I'm finishing. "Can't Betray My Heart." Bethny AKA Original Dark Angel @->--