A/N: Disclaimer: Yeah, you know it all. All the charactors are J.K. Rowlings, except Aurora Malfoy and I am just using them for my own twisted purposes. Also, the line "You don't need a doctor dear, you need a plastic surgeon" is not mine, much as I wish it was! I nicked it from the episode "The Germans" of Fawlty Towers, a very funny show! Enjoy! Summary: A strange collapse.... A bad start to the day.... The game is set, the players ready. But who will set the die rolling? Ginny awoke with a sinking heart. Lying comfortably in bed, she wondered where this sadness had come from then remembered the events of last night. Crawling out of bed, she grabbed jeans and a black crisp shirt with her school robes folded on top and panties and a bra tucked neatly underneath. Entering the girls’ bathroom she placed the outfit on a shelf and rubbed her eyes sleepily. Mumbling about how boyfriends should be more considerate she stumbled into the shower only to find that some hilarious youth had jinxed it with a Cold Water spell and Ginny was forced to take a freezing shower. Getting out finally with chattering teeth, she pulled out her clothes and garbed herself as quickly as possible. Frowning at her face in the mirror, she pulled her long wet hair into a loose ponytail, and brushed her teeth. Throwing her school books, quill, parchment and ink into a worn out satchel, Ginny heard the castle clock strike half nine. The words half nine wandered through her head, searching for something to connect to. Half nine… and lessons were at ten! Running downstairs, Ginny figured that she only had time for some toast. As she crossed the last stretch of passageway before the Great Hall, Ginny’s hair tie snapped and hit her in the face, causing her to rub it, wincing. Reaching the Great Hall at last to see that the last of the slow eaters was finally meandering out, Ginny grabbed and buttered a piece of (by now cold) toast and was about to add strawberry jam when she stopped. There was no strawberry jam left. Nor any other topping except for… Marmalade. She groaned. She hated marmalade. But she was starving so she ate it slowly and unwillingly. When she was halfway through her breakfast, Draco Malfoy swept into the Great Hall looking somewhat less immaculate then usual. The buttons of his robes were undone, showing black jeans and a black t-shirt, and his hair reminded Ginny of Harry’s; it fell all over the place and looked as if it hadn’t yet been combed. It also looked wet… though that was strange as he had some sort of charcoal mark under a lock of hair that she had seen last night, so he couldn’t have had a shower. He was about to sit at the Slytherin table when Dumbledore- who was the last remaining teacher- stood up, eyes twinkling merrily. “Mr Malfoy, as you can probably tell, the house elves have just finished clearing the Slytherin table- indeed all of the places save the one next to Ms Weasley, so if you could please sit there.” “But sir-” “With all due respect, Mr Malfoy, it was a command not a request.” Draco reluctantly stood up and hoping to God that none of the other Slytherins’ saw him here, went and sat next to Ginny. They ate in a tension filled silence until Ginny finished eating. Pulling out her timetable to check the lessons ahead, before she read it she couldn’t help a small, despairing mutter; inaudible to all but her. “Can this day get any worse?” She studied her timetable and swore. Double potions. *** He woke with a start, ice cold water being poured with great relish over him. Pansy Parkinson giggled as she shook the last few drips out of the jug and tried not to laugh outright as Draco sat up, swearing. “What the hell d’you think you’re doing, Parkinson?” he snapped, running a hand through his already messy hair. “Sorry Draco,” she laughed. “But it’s half nine and you have to get up. I’ve already had my breakfast.” “Half nine! Are you crazy woman? Why didn’t you wake me earlier?” Pansy shrugged and left the room, smothering sniggers under a hand. Draco got dressed in world record time, not bothering with a shower. After all he’d had one yesterday- or was it the day before? He shrugged, not caring. After all, he was a teenage boy- and as long as he kept himself cleaner then the golden trio that was all that mattered. Throwing his school robe loosely over his outfit, he tied his sneakers, brushed his teeth and ran out of the dormitory, vowing to kill Parkinson the moment he got his chance. She was sitting down with her legs swinging over an arm of a chair, reading a book about some sort of long dead wizard. “Ready for breakfast are we Draco?” she giggled, unable to resist a final jibe. He didn’t have time to kill her, so he simply gave her the finger and left. As he left the common room he heard her voice echo through. “What a ridiculously mudblood gesture, Draco dear! You want to improve your comebacks.” He muttered something under his breath and began to ascend the staircases that would lead him to the great hall. As he was about to enter, he bumped into a Hufflepuff third year whom he recognized as always being the last one to finish any meals. “Get out of my way, Hugglepork,” he hissed, feeling a moment of grim satisfaction descend upon him as the child squeaked and ran away. Entering the Great Hall, Draco involuntarily caught his breath. Ginny Weasley was the only student and she looked… stunning. Her red hair fanned out across her back and as she had her back to the main table he could see that she had left the top two buttons of her robe loose, along with the first button of a black shirt that clung beautifully to her curves- was it done purposely? he wondered. It revealed a patch of skin, whiter then he had ever imagined and it seemed to taunt him. He kept his face smooth, and was about to sit at the Slytherin table when Dumbledore announced that he should sit at the Gryffindor table- next to Ginny. “But sir-” you can’t expect me to sit next to her. She’s a mudblood lover, and what’s worse is that I can’t breathe properly whenever I’m near her. I can’t sit next to her sir; because my heart thumps so loudly that it hurts and I’m surprised no-one can hear it. He didn’t say this of course, but he thought it and when he walked to the table his lip curled from sheer habit. God don’t let the Slytherin’s see me here… She ate as fast as she could, and he knew that she was avoiding his eyes, as he was hers. She muttered something that he couldn’t quite catch and then seemed increasingly angry about something that her timetable said. When she left, he sighed with relief and longing. He wanted her to leave… and to stay. Checking his own timetable, and checking that he had his Charms books, he stood and prepared to leave, leaving his half eaten toast on the plate. Not like it was a great loss- he hated marmalade. As he made his way out of the hall, he thought he saw Ginny’s face again in his mind, as it had been when he had walked to sit next to her. The expressions on it where a mix; horror, disgust and… something else? No, of course not. He must have imagined it. “Bloody teenage hormones,” he muttered, leaving for his lesson. *** Ginny’s face was ashen and pale as she entered double potions. Luna had a spare chair next to her so Ginny slid into that, but she felt increasingly weak. Reaching into her bag, she pulled out her quill and parchment with a shaking hand, and placed her wand on the table. The heavy potions textbook slipped out of her hand however, and landed with a thump on the floor. Luckily Snape had not yet arrived, but she cursed herself for her own clumsiness. Finally pulling out her bottle of ink, she cried aloud when her hand gave a particularly violent shake and dropped the bottle, causing the ink to fly everywhere as the bottle shattered into a thousand pieces. “Clumsiness, Ms Weasley, will not be tolerated in my classroom,” came the cold voice of Professor Snape as he swept into the dungeon. “Five points from Gryffindor. Reparo.” He placed the fixed bottle on Ginny’s desk with a sneer. “Watch yourself,” he hissed. Ginny blinked large brown eyes at him, and her chest heaved up and down quickly. With a slight moan, Ginny fell to the floor, eyes closed. *** “It’s all very strange, Albus. She has no fever, cold, sickness or disease, no broken bones or torn muscles, no evidence of a build up of pain nor lack of sleep or nutrition. There are no symptoms at all for her collapse.” “Has she been checked for magical symptoms?” “Yes, nothing there either. It’s as if… as if she died of natural causes.” “But she is not dead,” the male voice came sharply. “No, no, of course not, Headmaster. But it is just as unexplained as that…” There was a long sigh. “Maybe there’s dark magic at work!” came a worried different voice. “Mr Potter, I have told you to get out. Ginny Weasley does not require your presence for her recovery. And there is no dark magic at work, because there is no evidence of magic at all- if there was any magic used in her collapse young man, I can assure you that I would have found a trace of it. Now leave.” Heavy footfalls resounded across the room then faded to nothing. “You do know what the strangest thing about this is, Albus?” “No, Poppy, I do not. Enlighten me.” “Professor Flitwick has informed me that Draco Malfoy collapsed at exactly the same time. He’s in the bed next to Ms Weasley’s, and he too has no sign at all of what may have caused this sudden lapse into unconsciousness.” There was silence for a minute, then the male voice came again, slowly. “Could there be a connection between the two?” “Well naturally there must be. I mean, it is a bit of a coincidence isn’t it?” “Coincidences happen.” “You know as well as I do that the fool who says that is the one caught by surprise when something bad happens because of that coincidence- something that could have been stopped.” “I know. I was hoping that this would be one of those unexplained magical things that do not have any further impact on anybody’s life. Have you checked for a connection between the two students?” “I have. I could not see anything… but the strangest thing happened last night as I was watching over the pair.” “What?” “A woman appeared. She was obviously not human… she was almost transparent. Yet she was not a ghost. She looked…” There was a gulp. “Like a female Draco Malfoy.” There was a hiss as someone took in a sharp breath. “Continue, Poppy.” “She cried aloud- an awful cry, Albus, I’ll never forget it for as long as I live. And then the curtain between the two flew back and she pointed at Mr Malfoy and Ms Weasley and- and- I saw their auras…” “You’re absolutely sure?” “Yes Albus. I’ve never been surer of anything in my life. The boy- his was black with streaks of gold and green. Hers was gold, with streaks of black and red. And between them… there was a link. A silver chain that stemmed off hers and finished on his. It was… awe inspiring. But the woman… she seemed terrified of it. And she brought out this knife and tried to cut it in half, but it wouldn’t be broken… Not even frayed. And she disappeared, with tears running down her face… And I felt… this strange maternal pain… one that I have not felt for so many years… twenty years, Albus, when William died.” There was a broken sob, and a soothing male voice. “He was only three months, Albus. So young and I loved him so much.” A sniff. “It was a long time ago. But when the woman tried to break the link… all the pain came back to me, as fresh as it was the day I realised he was gone forever. And yet with it-” the woman’s voice was full of wonder. “There came a strange hope. And I had this strange sense that everything was going to be okay.” There was a light chuckle. “I’m rambling. But it was the strangest experience I’ve ever had. Ever.” “Thank you Poppy. I must take time to consider this turn of events. But for now…” Two sets of footsteps began to walk away, the voices becoming indistinguishable. A slight breeze blew through the hospital wing, and once more the curtain blew back between the beds of Draco Malfoy and Ginny Weasley. Suddenly, resounding through the castle came the sound of a heavy gong. It was inexplicable, but at the same moment both Ginny and Draco’s eyes flicked open, both becoming wide awake in a moment. Ginny’s tongue flicked over her dry lips, searching for some droplet of moisture. Sitting up and rubbing sleep out of her eyes, she blinked in surprise to find herself sitting in the hospital wing. “What the hell…” she murmured. Her eyes flicked over to the table set beside her bed and alighted upon a glass of water. Taking it and drinking it all in one long swig, she suddenly saw who was in the next bed. Draco Malfoy too had woken with a terrible thirst, and he too found a glass of water on a bedside table which he too finished in one drink. Then he noticed Ginny who had been staring at him as he seemed to follow what she had done exactly without realizing it. “You,” she hissed. “Weasel? What are you doing in the Slytherin-” it suddenly dawned on him that he wasn’t in the Slytherin Common Room, and his expression grew confused. “What am I doing here?” “How would I know?” she snapped, angry for no reason. “I woke up with no idea where I was as well. And why isn’t the curtain drawn back?” “I was in charms class,” Draco mumbled to himself. “And I got all shaky… I dropped the books… Parkinson was laughing…” Ginny had been listening. “Oh, that must have been a frightening experience, seeing old pug-face laughing down at you…” At that moment the object of their discussion walked over and spotted Draco, a relieved expression coming over her face. “Oh, thank God you’re awake Draco…” She spotted Ginny suddenly. “Hey, it’s the Weasel King’s sister. What the hell are you doing here?” Ginny sneered at her. “Look what the cat brought in,” she spat. “A stinking, ugly rat.” Pansy glared at her, then turned back to Draco, ignoring Ginny. “I’ll go get the nurse.” “You don’t need a nurse, dear, you need a plastic surgeon,” Ginny laughed, delighted with herself. Pansy stalked off, and Draco leapt out of bed the moment she was out of sight. Ginny too stood up, sensing a fight and as she did so cursed Madam Pomfrey. The nurse didn’t like the patients wearing school robes when she put them under an examination- as Madam Malkin’s robes often had a bit of magic in them that blocked intrusions. Therefore she used a charm that transformed the clothes into more hospital appropriate gear. However, the more clothing you wanted on them, the more complicated the spell and Madam Pomfrey insisted that she needed to use simple charms whenever possible so that she would be fresh when she needed to perform harder spells. Ginny had woken up in a thin white nightdress, which was drifting just above her knees and was a little too tight for her liking. It seemed that the nurse had cut down even more on Draco, who was wearing a pair of white pants- and nothing else. His bare chest was in full view, and his taught yet not over-muscley (but not fat or thin either) body in contrast with his blazing eyes was kind of breathtaking. “Don’t speak to her like that!” he spat. “Ooh, I seem to have hit a nerve,” Ginny sniggered, never letting her fascination with him show. “Don’t you ever talk to her like that, you dirty-” “Somebody’s overprotective about their girlfriend-” “She is not my-” “Well you certainly act like it, swaggering around the place like some overgrown-” “At least I don’t follow the Dream Team around like some stray looking for a life who-” “I do not follow them-” “Mr Malfoy! Ms Weasley! What do you think you are doing?” The cold, furious voice of Madam Pomfrey froze both of them to the spot. “Yelling in a hospital wing. I am disgusted! Twenty points from Gryffindor and Slytherin!” “But-” both voices clamored at once. “No buts! You’ve both been unconscious for three days, and the first thing you do once waking up is have a screaming fight?” Both were completely silent. Then, Ginny gasped “Three days?” “Yes. Both Mr Potter and Ms Parkinson have been very worried.” Ginny and Draco both turned red. “I would like to conduct a brief medical examination on the both of you before releasing you- if I deem you well enough. Once you leave you may have the rest of the day free from lessons.” *** Albus Dumbledore walked with his eyes on the ground. He was allowing himself to do the one thing he rarely did in company; despair. Tears glistened in his twinkle-free blue eyes, and a heavy sadness weighed upon his heart. His thoughts returned often to what Poppy Pomfrey had said. She looked like a female Draco Malfoy… Could it be that Aurora Malfoy had returned when she sensed that times of death were drifting ominously towards the castle, like a black cloud? Albus did not know. He sank down upon a step in front of an empty, unused classroom opposite from the Divination Tower, head in his hands. “I need you Lissy,” he whispered. “Now more than ever.” His mind drifted back to a stormy night, and he shivered as the chill of the memory settled upon him. *Flashback* A younger Albus Dumbledore opened the door and ushered the woman inside. She wore a black, shapeless cloak that was obviously worn to conceal the persons identity, but she did not fool Dumbledore although Albus doubted that it was he she wished to deceive. She pulled off her cloak and hung it dripping on a coat rack, revealing the form of Narcissa Malfoy. Black eyeshade and mascara gave her the impression of darkness, and her deep red lipstick made a startling contrast to her pale face. “Albus,” she said in that deep throaty voice. Dumbledore had once heard a student in his Transfiguration class say that she had the voice of a sex goddess. “Narcissa. What a pleasant surprise to see you… I must admit surprise that you are here; I would have thought that Lucius Malfoy had banned you from visiting me.” A faint pink blush crept over her cheeks. “Lucius is very… protective of me,” she murmured. “But first and foremost I am Narcissa Black, half-sister to Aurora Malfoy; and Lucius need never know I was here.” Albus nodded, his back to her, hands clasped in front of the fire. “I have not come for idle chitchat, Dumbledore. You know that Lucius’ son, Draconis, will start Hogwarts in the following year.” “If he is accepted,” the reply was soft and mild, in no way threatening. “Don’t be stupid,” hissed Narcissa. “The boy is a Malfoy for God’s sake. And recently he has been breaking windows accidentally when he gets angry without even being in the room. We both know he will be accepted.” There was a small, almost imperceptible nod. “Aurora appeared to me last night in a dream. She told me to come here and tell you to- to look after the boy. He must not love, she said. We all know the prophecy. By all means let him lust, let him kiss, let him do whatever hormonal teenage boys do, but on no account let him love.” “But love is the greatest magic of all.” “No,” Narcissa replied harshly. “Death is. Aurora… she is terrified for him. Her bonds of love for him tie her to the earth and she is in limbo, unable to go anywhere though not by conscious choice.” Fear passed over the woman’s face, a dark shadow. “She- she haunts me. Draco knows nothing of his true mother; he thinks I am his true mother. But Lucius cannot hide it for many more years… Soon…. soon he will know.” Her eyes filled with dread. “And what will happen then I do not know…” “I’m afraid of him, Albus. He is only ten, yet his stare is so powerful- his whole demeanor is powerful. I hate being left alone with him.” “I will look after him, Narcissa. I promise.” Narcissa closed her eyes, a strange look passing over her face before she stood up and shrugged on her cloak again. “I may not see you again soon, Godfather.” “I know. Narcissa…” He pulled up one of her sleeves, traced the dark bruise on her arm. She flinched. His eyes met hers, questioning. She stepped out of the doorway and prepared to leave but finally turned back to him. She spoke for the last time in many years to him, and the harrowing words sent coldness into his blood. “Lucius gets angry.” *End Flashback* He stood to leave when suddenly he heard a deep, throaty voice; one that he knew well but had not heard for a long time. He turned, and saw Sybil Trelawney with her eyes unfocused and staring beyond him. “The dark days draw near, Dumbledore,” she rasped. “The Dark Lord gathers his followers to him… Soon he will attack in a force never known before. With the black dog gone, it is down to his godson to save the wizarding world as we know it. But he will not be alone…” There was heavy breathing, and then the awful voice of Sybil continued. “One shall follow the boy and fight at his side, the best friend of the Boy Who Lived. Another, quick of mind and love shall follow him and fight and die in the name of her claim.” Another deep breath. “But all Wizarding World should fall if it is not for two young adults, witch and wizard one with hair as red as flame, one with heart as cold as ice. Only once united will the Dark Lord be defeated… yet at a terrible cost.” “Remember the words of Aurora Malfoy! Let not her prophecy be forgotten, nor should mine…” Trelawney blinked, her eyes refocused and she seemed for a moment unsure of her surroundings. “Oh hello, Dumbledore. Leaving already?” she asked in her misty voice. “Oh well, give my regards to Fawkes.” Dumbledore nodded and left, sweeping across the castle in so worried and hurried a fashion that many students stopped and stared. Reaching his office, he finally called Minerva McGonagall. “Minerva,” he said quietly. “Have the following students brought to my office. Harry Potter, Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger.” He stopped and stared into thin air, and Minerva prepared to leave. She was almost out of the door when… “Wait.” She turned. “Bring also Draco Malfoy… and Ginevra Weasley.”
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