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Chapter 10: Incentive
A/N: yes, yes I know, I'm a terrible updater.
Disclaimer: You know the drill, the answer is no.
Incentive: Encouraging or motivating: serving to encourage or motivate somebody
The following morning I find that Hogwarts has once again lived up to its reputation, the whole school knows that I am going to the ball with Morgan. I have girls coming up to me all morning either telling me how lucky I am or trying to curse me and it seems very similar to the situation I was in when the school thought I was shagging Draco. A sudden blush comes over me at the thought and I scowl. I never blushed at that before, just because I’m willing to accept my feelings, doesn’t mean I’ll turn into a blushing idiot.
We’ll just see about that.
I won’t. Really.
As I sit down in my usual spot at Gryffindor table, I wait silently for the sudden outburst of anger that is bound to happen. It never arrives.
“Harry, where’s Ron?” I ask, looking around for my brother.
“Probably finding a Slytherin to throw hexes at” Harry replies casually. I groan and look up towards the ceiling.
“He’s not that mad, is he? He already knew I was friends with Morgan, so he can’t be that mad, can he?” I whine pitifully. Harry looks up from his breakfast in surprise,
“Oh, he’s not mad about that. Not yet, at least, he might not even know yet” Harry tells me. I furrow my brow before my eyes widen.
“Hermione told him then” I ask. Harry nods and a small smile graces his features.
“I really wish they would stop with all these games and just tell each other” he says quietly. I nod and continue eating my breakfast.
I don’t have time to see Hermione before classes so I rush off to Herbology, thinking that I’ll see her at lunch. I am writing notes in Herbology when I hear someone hissing my name.
“Is it Gryffindor boys that just aren’t good enough for you, Weasley? Or is it boys your own age? Maybe you’re just a filthy gold digger, Merlin knows you need the money.” A boy hisses to me from across the aisle. The accusations hurt me more than I care to admit but I’m not sure what hurts more, the words themselves or the fact that they came from a Gryffindor.
Unable to retort a response I look down at my paper and try to mask my hurt. Dani, my Herbology partner, takes my hand and whispers to me,
“Don’t listen to Michael, Ginny, he’s just jealous. He’s fancied you for ages and was planning to ask you to the ball” I was surprised, I don’t think I’d ever spoken to the boy, even though he was in my grade. I didn’t associate with my own year very often.
After the drama in Herbology, classes pass slowly and I am thankful when lunchtime finally comes around. Ron and Harry are sitting at the table when I arrive, but there is no sight of Hermione. I grab a plate of food and make my way up to the Head Girl and Boy dorms.
“Hi, Draco” I say nervously when he opens the door. Draco just looks at me before turning away and walking up to his room. I bow my head in shame and make my way up to Hermione’s room.
“You have made our Head Boy very upset, Ms Weasley” Hermione says to me when she opens the door.
“Yeah, well you’ve made my brother very upset, Ms Head Girl”
“I know, Gin, I feel so guilty” Hermione says, hanging her head in shame as I had done only moments before.
I speak to Hermione all lunch about everything but two certain people until we have to go back to classes.
I spend three weeks ignoring Morgan and being ignored by Draco. The three of us distract ourselves by putting all our effort into SO. Draco organizes meetings between Durmstrang and Hogwarts which never seem to end well and Beauxbatons keep surprisingly quiet. All the members of the SO are constantly on the lookout for other schools in their territory to hex away some of the tension and stress that has built up within the ranks.
However, things start to change at the end of the third week.
I am sitting in the common room starting an essay when Daniel walks over and tells me that I am needed in our meeting room. I follow him out of Gryffindor tower and up into our own tower where the rest of the team is huddled around the map.
“What’s going on?” I ask as we enter.
“There’s something you should see” Leanne says, beckoning me over.
“I noticed it about two weeks ago and I’ve been monitoring the situation” Thomas explains to me. “Watch this spot here, they should be arriving any moment” he continues, pointing at an unused charms classroom on the second floor. I watch the room with everyone else and sure enough, three labeled dots enter the room just as Thomas said they would.
“Does anybody know what they are doing?” I ask my team.
“Tom and I followed them once last week but they have a super strong locking and silencing charm on the door. If it’s that important I’d bet that they would do a revealing charm on the room before talking as well, so we couldn’t sneak in before them either. On top of that, they are all disillusioned before they enter the room so you can’t even tell who it is” Leanne shrugs. I look back to the map and the three labeled dots, a Slytherin and two Beauxbatons. Unlike Harry’s map, ours doesn’t show names, just their house or school. There is usually no need for us to know exactly who it is.
“We need to find out who they are” I tell the group. “That’s the first thing we need to do, work that out first and then we’ll work out what step to take next”
“How are we going to do that?” Cameron asks me. I smirk and look at all the members of my team.
“There are some perks about being the sister of the biggest pranksters this school has seen”
That night, while I am writing to one of my brothers I get accosted by another one.
“I am officially scheduling an overdue chat with my sister” Charlie says as he drags me out of the common room. I knew that it would come to this eventually and was expecting it so I was content to just be dragged along, dreading the conversation to follow. What I wasn’t expecting, however, was for Charlie to drag me to the Gryffindor SO meeting room. I look at Charlie curiously and he rolls his eyes.
“Yes, I know that this is the meeting place for the Gryffindor Select O members” he tells me.
“Were you in it?” I ask him. Charlie nods and motions for me to sit on the couch with him.
“I was, although, by the looks of it, things have gotten a little more serious since then” Charlie says, looking around the room where all our plans and theories are drawn up. I try to distract him from the biggest blueprint on the wall, our latest endeavour, trying to find out who the secret meetings are between. Even as a former SO member, I just don’t think Charlie would approve of this particular method of attack.
“What’s going on, Gin? I know you didn’t fall off your broom that time, you’re too good a flier for that to happen” Charlie questions me, concern in his eyes. I break our gaze and look at my hands.
“I can’t tell you much, Charlie. It’s not my story to tell” I say stubbournly.
“Who jinxed your broom, Ginny? Surely you can tell me that much?”
“Is it SO related?”
“Yes and no”
“Ginny, please, I want to help but I can’t do that if you keep shutting me out”
“Yes, it involves members of the SO, but no, it’s not entirely based around SO. That’s all I can tell you Charlie. I’m sorry, but it isn’t my place to tell” I tell my brother, hoping that will be enough to satisfy.
“Fine, but tell me one more thing. You sent me a letter warning me to leave Romania before you were told I was coming by Dumbledore. How did you know to warn me? How did you find out?”
“I was told by someone else, but I don’t know how they knew” I explain, thinking about Morgan.
“Ginny, are you still talking to this person? Did they jinx your broom? If they knew that was coming then surely they can’t be the kind of person it is safe for you to be hanging around with.”
“You can’t control me, Charlie! I’m fine, I’m safe and you can’t tell me who I can and can’t hang out with!” I finally snap. A look of dawning comprehension breaks over my interfering brothers’ face.
“It’s that Malfoy kid isn’t it?” He says loudly.
“No, but even if it was, you still can’t tell me who I can be friends with” I say sourly. I had enough of this from Ron, I didn’t need it from Charlie as well. I stand and face my brother.
“You need to leave, Charlie, we have a meeting planned for tonight” I say coldly. Charlie just nods and leaves. We didn’t just have a meeting planned for tonight, we had a mission planned.
Fred and George had recently developed a substance which was being sold to the auror division in the Ministry. All you had to do was spray it on an area where a person would touch it and then they would spread the substance to whatever they touched so you could trace their movement. What was ingenious about it was that it was invisible to anybody except the person (or people in our case) who knew the right tracing spell. The best bit was that the substance was not some boring colour or white powder, but bright orange glitter, Fred’s recent obsession.
I walk over to the map and see that my group of Gryffindors are making their way up to our tower together. They troop into the room silently and sit on the chairs in front of me.
“Ok, you know the plan, tonight we are aiming to find out who these people are. We’ll work out what to do with them after that. I’m only taking two people with me tonight and I think it should be Thomas, if he wants to come that is, since he was the one who noticed them meeting first and one other person. Thomas?” I look at the fair haired, fourth year who nods at me, obviously trying to restrain an excited grin.
“Can I come? I’ve never been on a mission before, nothing really interesting happened last year.” Cameron asks me. I grin at the second year and give him the thumbs up. Unlike Thomas he doesn’t bother restraining his grin. It’s ok for them to be excited to come tonight, it’s not like it’s a dangerous mission that everyone has to act somber for. That’s how the Ravenclaws treat everything, as though it is the be all, end all of everything.
“Gabriella, Daniel and Leanne, I need you to watch the map up here. Cameron will be keeping watch outside the door, if you see anything on the map that could be an issue, use my badge to change the date so the other badges will heat up. That should give us enough warning to get out of there on time. You know how to change them don’t you, Leanne?” Leanne nods and takes my badge from my offering hand, I take hers and pin it to my robes.
“Alright, let’s go” I say, picking up a bag from the side of the room. Thomas and Cameron follow me out of the tower and towards the second floor.
“How long have we got?” I ask Cameron as we walk up the hall towards the classroom. He checks the time and tells us that we have about ten minutes until the mystery people arrive. Fred and George instructed me that the substance had to be sprayed on soon before it was touched or it wouldn’t transfer onto the skin well and made it harder to track the culprits.
Thomas and I enter the classroom while Cameron stays in the hall on lookout. I place the bag I am carrying on a nearby table and take out four cans of Stealth Spray, handing two to Thomas. I take off the cap of one of the cans and spray the door handle and the door while Thomas starts to spray the tables and chairs.
The original plan was to spray just the door but it was decided that we should spray everything just in case one or all of them doesn’t come into contact with the door. A faint orange mist floats over the sprayed objects before disappearing. Carefully we pack the cans back into the bag, taking care that we don’t leave any traces of us being in the room.
Our badges start to burn just as Cameron bursts through the door.
“Filch, I can hear him coming with Mrs Norris” he says quickly. We rush out into the hallway and sprint down the corridor as fast as we can.
“I can hear them running, my pretty, but don’t you fret, we’ll catch the little blighters” We hear Filch croon to his mangy cat.
“Where to now? He’s blocking the only way we can get back up to the higher floors” Cameron pants.
“We have to get him away from that area! The people won’t meet there if Filch is hanging around then the spray will be pointless” I moan, sliding down the wall I am leaning against.
“Well come on then!” Thomas says before running down the corridor again, opening and slamming doors along the way.
“They’re this way, my lovely”
“Run” I say breathlessly, and we run.
I feel like my lungs are about to collapse when I feel someone suddenly grab my elbow and tugs me into what looks like a broom closet. I fall to floor, panting next to my fellow Gryffindors and wait to get my breath back before looking up. A smirking Dean Brentley is standing above me offering me his hand.
“You really need to start exercising more, Ginevra if you are panting that hard” he says mockingly and he hauls me to my feet. I scowl at him and look to Thomas and Cameron being helped up by two other Slytherins to my right. I look around and notice that we are in a rather cosy room with armchairs and a fire, not a broom cupboard.
“Where the bloody hell are we?” I demand, putting my hands on my hips.
“Welcome to the Slytherin SO meeting room” says a voice from the other side of the room. Oh great, just what I need right now.
“You should feel privileged to be here, Ginevra, nobody but the Slytherin SO members have ever been in here” Draco drawls
“What she should feel is lucky, lucky we were watching the map” Dean laughs, “Filch was about to cut you off at the end of this corridor”
“If you were watching the map, then you’ve noticed them meeting as well” Cameron says, stepping forwards. Draco nods curtly at him.
“Did they go inside the room?” Cameron continues boldly.
“Yes, you led them away, just in time” Draco tells him. The three of us sigh in relief, it hadn’t all been a waste, and tomorrow we could track them.
“If we both noticed it, do you think Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff noticed it as well?” Thomas asks the room.
“No, Hufflepuff have sensed the trouble brewing and want nothing to do with it and Ravenclaw have concluded that it is in their best interests to not involve themselves in these affairs. Both houses have temporarily withdrawn from the Select Organisation.” Draco answers stiffly.
“Since when?” I cry loudly.
“Since last week” Draco snaps.
“Don’t you think you should have told the house leaders about it then? Or rather, told me since Brentley probably already knows and I’m the only other House leader left” I sneer back at him. Draco scowls at me,
“It is a matter that is controlled by the SO Leader and does not concern you or your house”
“Yes it does, this is just because you’ve been avoiding me for weeks!” I cry, throwing my arms in the air. I can feel my cheeks burning and my chest heaving. Temper tantrums are a Weasley specialty.
“Well maybe if you weren’t going to the dance with Galloway-”
“So you admit it, you’re jealous” I interrupt, stepping closer to him and poking him in the chest.
“I’m not jealous!” Draco roars, “You’re going on a date with the enemy! Do you know what I could do to you, to your house for that? Do you remember what happened last time someone tried to date the enemy?”
“Morgan is not the enemy, at the moment he is an ally, and more than that, he’s my friend!”
“If he’s such a good friend, then why have you been avoiding him for weeks?”
“Why have you been avoiding me?”
“Uh, guys” Dean tries to interrupt.
“Stay out of this, Dean!” Draco and I both yell at the same time, not bothering to turn to face him.
“Yeah, mummy and daddy are just having a little disagreement” one of the Slytherin boys chuckles quietly. Draco whirls around and glares at the boy menacingly.
“Cuttingham, take the map and guide the Gryffindors back to their tower. The rest of you, go to your rooms. Now!” Draco barks and a flurry of movement begins around the room. I turn and walk to the door, still seething.
“Not you, Ginevra. You and I still have a conversation to finish” Draco says quietly and sternly. I glare at his back as he watches the fire and gesture to Thomas and Cameron that it is okay for them to leave.
“I already know why they are meeting” Draco says calmly, taking me off guard.
“What?” I ask, confused.
“The Slytherin and the Beauxbatons in the room. I know why they are meeting” Draco repeats, standing facing the fire with his hands clasped behind his back. I sink into one of the nearby couches and sigh resignedly.
“They are trading information on me”
“What? How? Why?” I question. Draco chuckles quietly and shakes his head
“So many questions, always so many questions” he says. I glare at his back, annoyed at his ridiculous answer.
“Tell me what’s going on, Draco” I demand firmly.
“I know who it is. Well not exactly who, but I have a fair guess.” He says as he finally turns to face me. I see concern and anger in his eyes, a deep fury that makes my breath catch.
“My mother died yesterday. My father killed her. That’s how I know who it is. Someone in my dorm is reading my letters. My mother has been in hiding since the announcement of the three pointed star and she always sends owls straight to my room, instead of at breakfast with the rest of the mail. Stupid bird is yet to figure out that I don’t stay in the dorms anymore. Someone has been reading my mail and resealing it, they found out where Mother was and passed the information onto the Beauxbatons girls, who passed it on to my father if that letter we found tells us anything.” I don’t say anything. What can I say?
I’m sorry, might be a good place to start
For once I actually agree with the cricket but as I open my mouth to speak, Draco begins to speak again.
“Ginny, I don’t like that you are going to the ball with Galloway because I don’t trust him right now. Yes, he hasn’t done anything wrong, yet. But I don’t trust him, not anybody at the moment. Well, nobody except you” Draco looked slightly troubled by this, his eyebrows bunched together, almost as if he didn’t know it until he had said it.
“You’ll be next if my father has any say in it, he already tried and he’ll try again. I don’t want that to happen” he finishes quietly before turning back to the fire in his original stance.
Hesitantly I stand and move closer to him. I unclasp his hands and take them in my own before wrapping my arms around his waist and leaning my head against his back. Draco sighs heavily before turning around and wrapping his arms around me, resting his chin on my head.
“Nothing’s going to happen to me. I have too many people looking out for me. I have Ron and Charlie, Hermione and Harry, I have my Gryffindor team, Morgan, and I have you.” I murmur, quite content in his arms. I had missed him dearly over the past few weeks and I was glad to be finally speaking to him again.
“Why are you going with him, Ginny?” Draco asks quietly. I ignore the question and let it fade away. We stand there a while longer until I have to return to Gryffindor tower before I am missed. Gently I pull away and head for the door. Draco returns to the fire and I am unable to see his face.
“I’m going with him because he asked me first, and I wasn’t sure if I’d get another invitation” I say quietly as I slip out the door, but not before I see a tiny smile grace his lips.
“Save me a dance”
A/N: In a review Dracolover called me the most frustrating author ever. I'm so sorry that I don't update sooner, I don't even have any excuses anymore, I'm just a terrible updater and writer.
So, I hope you enjoy what I have (finally) written, review if you do and review if you don't, review even if you want to tell me how annoying my slow updates are. Please do review, it makes us authors smile, no matter how frustrating we are. =]