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The Sickness and the Cure by DoubleCharms
Chapter 13 : Close Enough to Feel Your Heart Beat: Part 1
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 30


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A/N: So I can write 16 pages for you guys and can’t even write 5 for a school paper.  Hahahaa well I hope you guys give me a better grade than the one I got! :D

DISCLAIMER: I think you got it by now…


I know you want it all and you got me
Sorry I was never everything you ever dreamed
Baby Blue, the Early November


Chapter 13: Close Enough to Feel Your Heart Beat


    The weight on her bed shifted, rousing her from her sleep.   And even though her drowsy thoughts were slow to take, Ginny knew who was crawling towards her without opening her eyes.   Hot pleasure spread from her fingers to her toes as Draco’s hands pressed close to her sides, pinning her down beneath the sheet as he worked his way up her body.  His fingers played over the sheet, touching her thighs then stomach then up to her chest then higher to her shoulders and arms. 

He grasped her wrists lightly as he pushed them upwards over her head; his lips barely touching her skin.  Their hands tangled in her hair, spreading it farther across her pillows.  He pushed their hands farther up, drawing his face closer to hers.  She felt his lips drag across her jaw and automatically arched her head back.   She could feel him smile against her neck as he twined her fingers around the thick posts in the extravagant headboard.

    “Hang on,” he promised solemnly after a few more pulse pounding kisses against her neck and shoulders.  His hands left hers and dragged back down her arms and Ginny was suddenly grateful she had something to hold to tightly as Draco continued to kiss her body before trailing lower, pulling the thin sheet along with him. 

    The cool summer night breeze caressed the heated skin Draco had just left, making her body shiver involuntarily.  With her eyes still closed she shifted her legs beneath him, her knee coming up to rub against Draco’s thigh.  In response he did something that made her body arch into his hands and her fingers grip tighter around the posts.  She could almost feel his satisfied smirk against her skin.

    His hands pushed under her nightshirt, skimming over her tightened stomach.  She could feel the weight he had on her legs as she tried to shift restlessly towards him.  Her body felt so alive and impatient under his touch.  She ached to be close to him. 

    “I did this for you,” Draco whispered to her, “Will you remember that?” 

    Ginny stilled, what was he talking about?  Her eyes fluttered open for the first time searching for his face in the darkness.  The moonlight streaming in from her windows cast shadows over his beautiful and strangely emotionless face.  The shadows darkened the curve below his cheekbone and sharply contrasted the muscles in his neck and upper body.  His eyes were half covered in darkness and his long eyelashes cast shadows down his flushed cheeks.  His pale skin and hair were white in the moonlight, almost tempting her to believe he wasn't actually the dark person she knew him to be. 

    He looked exactly as she had dreamt of him, exactly how she had always thought of him.  Mysterious and powerful.  And beautiful.  She felt his hands that were resting on her hips drag to the sides of her knickers.  He hooked his thumbs underneath them and leaned forward slowly, a small smirk playing about his lips.

    “Say yes,” he commanded quietly, as he leaned down further to kiss the skin around her belly button. 

    “Yes to what?” she breathed, her stomach arching towards him again.  Yes to remembering or yes to…

    His hands dropped lower onto her thighs, taking her panties with them. 

    “Say yes always…” he said against her stomach as he started downward again.  “You must say yes for me.”

    Shivers raced through her, the ‘yes’ he wanted to hear stuck on her lips. 

    CRACK.

    Ginny’s eyes snapped open, her breathing stalling and her muscles tightening.  It sounded like someone had just Apparated into her room.  But Draco must not have heard the noise; he was kneeling before her and his hand was now hooked under her knee, pushing it upwards as he pulled her knickers around her tensed foot. 

    Silence, except for their breathing, was the only thing Ginny could hear.  She relaxed again, telling herself she had imagined it.  Draco noticed her shift in attention and leaned over her to place a hand just above her grip on the post.  Looking down at her, his eyes looked colorless and distant in the dim light.  The gray of his eyes struck her, just as they always did.  But tonight they weren’t cold or mean.  He didn’t smile, he didn’t even smirk, but she could feel his contentment and desire. 

    It was all she needed.  A smile crossed her lips just before she leaned up and kissed him on the mouth.  He was still only a second before he pushed her back down into the pillows, his mouth staying against hers.  His fingers skimmed across her cheeks and pushed into her hair.  Their breaths mingled as she kissed his lower lip. 

    CRACK.  CRACK.  CRACK.  CRACK.  CRACK.

    This time there was no imagining the noise and Ginny sat straight up, pushing Draco up with her so that he straddled her legs.  Her eyes were wide as she searched through the darkness that lay over Draco’s shoulder and beyond the end of the bed.  The walls seemed to have vanished into shadowed and darkness and the slight summer breeze that had floated through the room now seemed stronger and colder.  Her hand searched for Draco’s without noticing how unconcerned he was.

    “What…” was all she got out before she saw the first pointed hat of a Death Eater.  Then as if on cue, a single step brought them all into her view.  Their white masks seemed to glow against their black robes as they stood in a semi-circle around the bed.  They were close enough that she could see their feral smiles.

    Ginny automatically pressed her chest into Draco’s, who was still kneeling closely in front of her and searched for her sheet to cover herself with her hand.  It was gone.  It wasn’t even on the bed.  She brought her arm against her side to hide her breasts and tried to shake her other hand free of Draco’s grasp but he wouldn’t let her go.

    “You have to say ‘yes,’” Draco commanded quietly.  “Do this for me.  Please…”  It was the tone of his voice that stilled her, not his words.  She looked at him and barely stopped herself from screaming in shock.  His Devil’s Servant mask was covering his face.

She pushed back from him, her free arm attempting to cover her chest, and scooted up against the headboard.  She didn’t know why she had such a strong reaction to his mask, she knew he wore it, she knew who he was when he wore it.  She also knew he wasn’t going to hurt her, but it didn’t stop her from feeling trapped and panicked. 

Almost as if he had heard her thoughts, he roughly pulled on her hand that he had grasped in his fist so that her arm was out straight. 

“What’s happening?” she asked him, her voice shaking. 

A Death Eater laughed.  Draco’s eyes remained set on her forearm as he slowly wrapped his fingers around her wrist.  Her skin felt hot under his palm until it progressed so intensely she could feel her arm begin to sear.  The Death Eaters around her began to whisper among themselves a chant that sounded like ‘initiation’ as they watched.  She felt her chest constrict in sudden dread and her other hand automatically reached for Draco but stopped herself when she saw the snake on his arm writhe, twining and untwining itself, on his arm.

“WHAT IS THIS?!” she screamed at Draco, trying to tug her arm away from him.

“STOP QUESTIONING ME!” Draco yelled.  She saw his mouth move under his mask and his neck tense as he shouted, but the words came out as it he was far, far away.  She stopped struggling but the burning of her forearm only intensified.

The Death Eaters started to laugh, slowly at first, then louder and louder.

“Just do what I say and watch her,” Draco’s voice sounded muffled and distant even though she was watching him closely, struggling to hear him.  He was looking over her head as if he was talking to someone.  She wanted to turn around and look to see who it was, but she felt the Death Eaters eyes watching her every move. 

Draco’s grip tightened and the pain in her arm grew more intense.  But just as she felt tears start to slide unwillingly down her face, Draco let her go.  She wrenched her arm back to her chest, wrapping her own fingers around her aching wrist and waiting for the burning to subside. 

She glared at him, confused and panicked.  Draco looked back at her, his thumb sweeping across her cheek to erase a tear.  She had to tell herself not to forgive him so easily, though with one touch she started to forget the pain.

“Do what I say,” his distant voice sounded again, angry and impatient.  “Don’t let her out of your sight or out of this house until I get back.” 

Ginny looked at him, trying desperately to hear the words coming out of his mouth.  Another tear slipped down her cheek before she realized the stinging was gone from her wrist. 

    Her eyes shifted to her arm as she pulled it away from her body and into the moonlight in front of Draco.  The Dark Mark stared back at her, black and furious.

    With a terrified gasp, Ginny sat up straight, yanking at the covers that were twisted around her.  With another frightened tug, she flipped sideways and fell off the bed with a loud thump.

    The shock of the fall jolted her awake and her body lay motionless on the cold hardwood floor as she waited for her pounding heart to return to normal.  But even after a few gulping breaths she could still feel her body pulse all over with adrenaline as she looked around her room searching for any sign of Death Eaters. 

    It’d been a dream. 

    The berry blue curtains let in the early morning sunshine and she watched a few particles of dust cheerfully travel through the shafts of light.  She pushed herself up on her arms and wiggled her legs from the blankets and sheets wrapped around them.  Righting herself slowly and absentmindedly rubbing her forearm, she adjusted the t-shirt and cotton shorts she normally slept in. 

It wasn’t the first time she had had a dream about getting the Dark Mark.  It defiantly wasn’t the first time she had had a dream about Draco either.  With a determined sigh, she lifted the blankets back onto her bed and tried to erase the tingling sensation her body seemed intent to hold on to just as a hard knocking sounded on the door.

Xavi burst in her room, his wand drawn and his face intense and slightly fearful.  His eyes swept the room quickly looking for something and when he didn’t find it, he lowered his wand with a grateful exhale. 

“What’s wrong?!” Ginny demanded, looking around the room herself out of curiosity and confusion. 

“I was outside when I heard a bump; I thought something might be wrong,” Xavi explained, lowering himself into his favorite chair by her small fireplace. 

“I fell out of bed,” her eyes narrowed with confusion, “So why did you have your wand drawn?”

“You never know…” Xavi waved his hand in dismissal, pressing his other hand to the sweatband on his forehead.  He looked tired and very worried. 

CRACK.

The loud sound of an Apparation resonated through the room, the exact same sound that had been in her dream.  Ginny looked around worriedly, almost expecting a Death Eater to appear.  When one didn’t, she hurried to the window stepping over stacks of texts and manuscripts that cluttered her floor.  Outside, strangely contrasted against the perfectly manicured lawns, two Death Eaters strolled beneath a line of trees, stopped, then Disapparated from sight.  The sounds echoed sharply against the house. 

Turning from the window, she noticed Xavi didn’t seem all that surprised at the noise.  “What’s going on?” she demanded, her eyes wide.  She had never seen Death Eaters at Malfoy Manor; she knew Draco wouldn’t allow it... her breath stopped short.  “Did something happen to Draco?”

Xavi looked up at her, a small smile on his otherwise troubled face, “No, duck, Draco’s fine.”

“Then why are there Death Eaters here?”

“Draco’s doing what he does best,” Xavi said grimly.  When Ginny was quiet, Xavi looked up.  “He’s cleaning up messes that aren’t his,” he clarified, before rubbing his hand over his face again. 

 “But if this isn’t his fault, why are Death Eaters on the Manor property?” Ginny questioned again.  The nervousness she suddenly felt for Draco collided with the tension she still felt from her dream and she worked hard to calm herself.  She didn’t like hiding her feelings from her only friend in the Manor, but pretending she didn’t care about Draco and wasn’t hurt by his actions was easier than having to deal with Xavi’s mournful stares and long tirades about how Draco was the perfect human being.  He usually figured her out quickly though anyways.  

“Draco had to make like he was searching for his father even though he didn’t let on that there are more secret passageways and hidden magical rooms in this house than there are warts on a hag,” Xavi scoffed.  “And I don’t envy Lucius when they find him.”

Ginny’s brows snapped together.  “What did he do?”

“He’s being accused of leaking information,” Xavi explained, and curiously looked reluctant to continue. 

“What kind of information?” Ginny could tell that he was trying to find a way to be evasive about his answers so she stayed quiet until he continued. 

“Lucius, among other nefarious activities, is in charge of keeping the location of very important prisoner secure.  Last night, the Order of the Phoenix found the hidden prison site but was driven away before they could reach the prisoner they were looking for.”

“Who was the prisoner?”  For one breath stealing moment, Ginny thought Xavi was talking about her.  Did Draco stop her from being rescued?  Was it because he couldn’t lose her as a prisoner?  …Or maybe because he didn’t want her to leave him?

 “No one important,” Xavi answered lightly, his gaze already settling on one of the books near his chair.

“It was obviously someone important, Xavi,” Ginny pressed.  Did she know this person?  Was it an Order member?  Was it…?

“They weren’t coming for you, duck,” he said, and Ginny could see the touch of regret he felt at disappointing her.  “It was someone unimportant to us,” he clarified and Ginny nodded with reluctant acceptance.

    “Lucius is in trouble then, even though the Order didn’t get the prisoner back?” she questioned, sliding off the bed so that she could remake it.  Her hands suddenly needed a distraction, something familiar and domestic.

“Voldemort wouldn’t have called on Draco’s services unless he was questioning Lucius’ loyalty,” Xavi pushed up the glasses on his nose and Ginny could tell it was to hide a grimace of anger.  “Not to mention there have been Death Eaters prowling the house for the past few hours looking for him.”

“So this is really serious?”  She smoothed the layers of sheet and blankets meticulously.

“I'm under the impression this isn’t merely an overreaction,” Xavi confirmed, “Lucius has some heavy questions to answer and Draco will probably be the one who has to ask them.”  He had picked up a book and was now scanning through the pages.

Ginny stayed quiet as she folded a coverlet and put it at the foot of the bed, then started tossing on the decorative pillows.  Worry bloomed in her chest again, just like each time she knew Draco was wearing his Devil’s Servant robes and doing something for the Dark Lord.  Draco was smart, she told herself, and from what she’d gathered from Xavi, he was as independent as he could be from the Dark Lord.  But Draco still had given his allegiance, and apart from protecting Voldemort whenever he appeared, he acted as punishment.  

She had yet to understand Draco’s relationship with the Death Eaters, his father and Voldemort.  She saw him take and execute orders, he leapt to protect the Dark Lord’s name whenever she mentioned him, and he hero worshiped his father.  Yet Xavi was convinced Draco was something completely different.  To him, Draco was intelligent, manipulative and autonomous which when combined with his magical powers made him potentially too powerful for Voldemort to control.  Who was Draco really? 

It was a few minutes before she realized Xavi had been watching her instead of reading.

“We might as well get started up in the laboratory,” he said, interrupting her third rearrangement of the throw pillows.  “The potion we fixed yesterday is probably about finished stewing.  So get dressed, I will wait here for you.  Draco told me I wasn’t allowed to let you out of my sight until he got back, though I dare say that you heard him yell it at me this morning outside your door,” Xavi nodded his head apologetically.

Ginny nodded, adding a smile that she didn’t feel.  Her mind was still sprinting along with feelings and thoughts that were too jumbled and intense to sort out comprehensibly.  Grabbing the jeans she wore the day before and clean shirt from one of the bureau drawers, she walked into the bathroom, shut the door and sat stiffly on the edge of the large glossy tub. 

    “So why did you fall out of bed, duck?” Xavi called to her through the door.

“I had a… dream,” Ginny called back.  She started rubbing her forearm before she realized what she was doing. 

“Must have been a scary one,” Xavi commiserated.  She could hear him flipping through pages of a book.  Ginny was silent, thoughts of the Death Eaters surrounding her bed as Draco gave her the Dark Mark floating through her head.  Quickly slipping out of her pajamas and into the jeans and shirt, she stopped and stared down at her forearm. 

“When do you think my initiation will be?”  The words were out of her mouth before she had even thought them.  On the other side of the door, she heard Xavi stop flipping through pages of the book he was reading.  She could almost picture his hesitant expression. 

“Honestly?” Xavi asked, and she could hear the reluctance in his voice. 

“Yes.”

“Very soon,” he answered almost immediately.  He was quiet for another moment. “Draco has already stalled it much longer than is wise.”

Ginny ignored the drop in her stomach.  “What will happen?  Do you know?”

This time, Xavi was silent for a long while.  Ginny stared at her refection in the elaborately framed mirror, absentmindedly using her fingers to comb through her long hair.  “Draco has explained the three parts, yes?” he said finally. 

“Mhm,” Ginny confirmed, trying to swallow her nervousness.  “He also said I’ve already gotten one of them filled because of the guard…” she trailed off. 

“Well, you’ll have to do the other two: accept the Dark Lord to get the Dark Mark, and go on a raid,” he counted.  “I don’t know when those will take place, most likely after it’s decided if you have still have to participate in Fight Night.”

“Why would I have to do that?” she asked, trying to forget the dread that flowed through her. 

“That’s where most new Death Eaters get the opportunity to show their skills at dueling someone, sometimes killing them.  Just because you’ve already checked off that qualification doesn’t mean Voldemort can’t request that you fight someone else.  I believe Draco is under the impression that Voldemort is going to do something of that nature, which is why he has been training you with sabers and such.”

“Oh,” Ginny said simply.  Silence replaced the conversation.  Looking at herself in the mirror again, she shoved out her uncertainties and put on a brave face.  It was for Xavi, she convinced herself.  She wasn’t about to admit to him how incredibly scared she was to do these things, it would only worry him more than he already did.

He looked up from the book in his lap as she opened the bathroom door.  She smiled brightly at him. 

“Well let’s get started upstairs, shall we?”  Xavi snapped the book shut and put it back on one of the piles that were stacked next to his chair.

The rest of the day progressed slowly.  They didn’t hear any more Appration or Disappartion cracks, and from their attic laboratory, Ginny watched the lawns for dark figures of Death Eaters.  She helped Xavi with some of his side research projects as they waited for potions to stew and ingredients to ripen.  She made new notes and read old ones.   She examined his curious wall of mismatched paintings while he took a nap in a cushy arm chair that he had in the laboratory.  He didn’t mention anything more about her initiation, and Ginny was grateful. 

After all, what did Voldemort expect from her?  She wasn’t actually going to be a real Death Eater, so why should she have to fight like one?  From everything that Draco had snarled at her in the past few weeks, she gathered that she was still wasn’t going to be set free after she got the Dark Mark. 

Being ‘set free’ wasn’t the right phrase anyways, she felt.  She didn’t feel like a prisoner here, though she knew that was what she was considered.  Draco made sure he reminded her of it every chance he got, but the effect of the word didn’t make her feel trapped and caged.  On the contrary, being in this house made her feel safe and protected no matter how much she told herself that she wasn’t allowed to leave.

After a few times of looking out the grimy windows of the attic, Ginny realized she was hoping for some sight that the Order was coming for her.  Would she go with them if they came to get her?  Yes, she missed her family, but Draco…

It wasn’t until she returned to the safety of her bedroom, however, did she let herself think about him.  She hadn’t seen him all day and she couldn’t help but wonder where he was, and if he was back yet.  It felt strange to let herself worry about him, but only because she knew that she shouldn’t.  Draco wouldn’t care one way or the other if he knew that she worried when he left. 

Curling onto her side so that she faced the window, she stared out into the dark night trying to convince her body it was ready for sleep.  But she wasn’t tired and she knew why: Draco wasn’t around today to work her to exhaustion during practice. 

Sometimes he would have her practice with her Power and he would watch silently how she managed it.  She knew he was suspicious.  He absorbed everything she did but never let on what he thought or felt while she was manipulating something.  Mostly he just left that part of her alone and Ginny figured it was because he didn’t want it to be discovered.  He drilled her with swords almost every day, commenting in his detached way whenever she did something right or wrong.  This was where he watched her movements with vicious precision, almost as if her ability to get a small movement right was a matter of life and death. 

But after every practice, he never failed to ask her if she was ready to accept the Dark Lord.  She never failed to answer negatively and every time she said ‘no’ she could almost see the way his face hardened.  It seemed some days that he almost took it personally. 

She felt a little twinge of shock that she felt so disappointed that she didn’t get to see him today.  It had been a long time since she had let herself admit that being at practice with him was a highlight of her day, even if they had returned to treating each other indifferently.

Glancing at the beautiful ornate clock that hovered a few inches above the nightstand, Ginny realized she had been awake for hours.  Almost immediately she wondered if Draco had returned yet and unable to resist she touched the Power for a brief moment then held her breath waiting for something to happen.  Namely, she waited to see if Draco would burst through the bedroom door and yell at her for breaking his rules.  Actually, it was only one rule: don’t use the Power at any time, anywhere, unless he was there with her.  She had broken it once already while Pansy was in the room, just to tick him off.  Pansy had no idea what had happened, but Draco was furious, mostly because Xavi couldn’t stop laughing.  This time, he was nowhere to be seen. 

Sighing, she rolled onto her back and stared at the painted ceiling.  Everything here was so beautiful and luxurious; it made her wish for her bed at home where she knew she belonged and where she was loved.  She suddenly felt the dismal longings of homesickness wash over her.  She wanted to be in place where she could laugh and be part of a family.  She missed the hospital, she missed her wand, and she missed her friends.  Here, she was falling apart slowly.  Draco watched her every move.  Xavi watched her, Beck watched her. 

And yet she had never felt so alone. 

It had been a trying three weeks.  Ever since Draco had told her that he was still going to marry Pansy, the tension between them had escalated to epic and unmanageable proportions.  The hardest part was knowing that she loved him and that he was able to leave her… again.  Draco ignored her convincingly and it made it easier on her to forget how she felt.  But every time she got close to finding refuge against him, she would catch him watching her certain ways or she would feel his hand linger on her while they practiced.  He never failed to ruin her defenses just at the moment when she needed them.

She wanted out.  She wanted out of the Manor and if Harry came to get her she would leave without a second thought, she told herself.  Rolling back towards the open window, she tried to forget that there was a secret part of her that knew that wasn’t true.  It was the part of her that kissed Draco in the ballroom during practice, the part of her that slowly died every time she saw the wedding decorations spread around the house, the part of her would soak in every single thing Xavi said about Draco… the part of her that wanted to believe that Draco might still love her.  Someday.

Never.

It was only five days until Draco’s wedding to Pansy and nothing had changed, except perhaps the Manor decorations and the temperament of the house elves.  She would have counted down the days until the wedding even if Pansy hadn’t been stalking her around the Manor hanging it over her every five minutes. 

How did she get here?  She grabbed a pillow and hugged it to her chest, her eyes searching the line of stars visible from her window.  Nothing was as she thought it was supposed to be.  Right now she could have been planning her own wedding to Michael or Seamus or some other bloke who fancied her and would love her and never ever hurt her.  They would have little red-headed children that her mum would watch while she worked at the hospital during the day.  And when she would come home she would cook them dinner then watch as her husband read their children a bed time story.  Perfect. 

Closing her eyes she tried to picture her life… any life without Draco.  But all she could see was white blonde hair.  She wanted to be his… even if he was someone who would never smile at her but could make her knees weak with one glance.  He was someone could love her with all his strength then hurt her just as badly without a second thought.  He would never fit into a perfect life, but somehow completed something entirely different…

It only felt like she had been asleep for a few moments when she heard the lock click on her door.  Glancing at the clock on her bedside table, it showed she had been asleep for more than an hour.  Thinking it was only Xavi or Beck checking in on her, Ginny rolled over, unconcerned.  The dim light from the window only illuminated the person’s white blonde hair.  With a slow inhale, Ginny waited and watched as he approached the bed.  It was only after she spotted the glinting steel he held in his hand that she knew something was wrong.

-

It was silent and dark when Draco Apparated quietly into his office.  He collapsed into his desk chair without turning on any lights or checking to make sure if the room was secure and stared at his clasped hands. 

How could his father have been so stupid?   It was a complete understatement that the Dark Lord was absolutely furious.   Draco could almost feel the stink of death rolling off him when he met with the Dark Lord early in the morning.  It was true that the Dark Lord’s plan for the Aspect Ancient was ruined; it had all depended on Potter’s knowledge that she had died.  But Draco has sensed that Voldemort was fed up with his father’s irresponsibility far before this.  The Dark Lord had even voiced his great displeasure during Draco’s audience with him.  It struck Draco as curious that what seemed a small matter to him was a huge deal to Voldemort.  The plans for the Aspect Ancient were pretty much the only plans for the war that he hadn’t been involved in, but he knew vaguely what they had intended.  This development did not bode well for his father or for the Aspect Ancient.  Potter should have never left her at the hideout. 

A small smile crept up his face.  Potter’s failure was never unsuccessful at entertaining him.  He held the same Power as Harry, yet Potter previously had the help of two other Aspects and still couldn’t bring him down.  It made him feel invincible.  But he immediately shoved the feeling out of his mind.  He could never grow too confident, especially because he had Ginny to worry about now too.

His eyes closed slowly as he thought of what that meant.  She was making him weak, and he realized it.  The feeling was so strong he had worried that Voldemort might sense it, but he had gotten through the meeting successfully.  How had his life suddenly come to this?  His decisions, the manipulations he played, the moves he made, every word he spoke to the Dark Lord or to his father or to anyone else he worked had always been carefully crafted and executed.  But now it was all revolving around Ginny.  He was protecting her with every fiber of his being and had been for weeks before he even realized it. 

He wondered if Ginny knew.  Could she see how much he regretted not being able to change things between them?   Did she know about Potter’s attempt to get Emlyn?  Was she upset that Potter went after the Aspect instead of her?  Did she hope she’d get rescued?  Did she want to leave?

Draco shook his head, trying to empty his thoughts of her.   Instead, his thoughts became filled with visions of her beautiful flushed face, her bright eyes and her graceful movements.  He memorized every smile she gave Xavi when he was around because he realized he would never have one directed at him.  He was irrationally jealous when Ginny laughed at something Xavi said because she never laughed around him.  He felt so much regret that she was so guarded when it came to him.

Looking over at the clock, he rubbed his eyes.  Everyone would be asleep by now so there was no use trying to see if she was still working up in the attic with Xavi.  Maybe he could get some work done without thinking about if she would come distract him.  He had just pulled out a stack of MI business files when he felt her power surface.  It took him a moment to realize what was going on, but he wouldn’t have mistaken her touch for anything.  It was strong and filled with urgency.  Was she trying to escape? 

Rage flowed through him; she was obviously trying to get a rise out of him again by breaking the rules.  The last time she had done it, it was in front of Pansy and Xavi at the dinner table.  She had made Pansy’s teeth appear so humongous that Xavi had snorted peas.  Pansy had no idea but he had been furious.  Not because she had made fun of Pansy.  According to Xavi, Pansy had thrown a vase at her earlier for refusing to help unpack an order of poisonous snakes for the wedding without a wand.   Draco was furious she was putting herself in danger.  Who knew if Potter was crouched outside the house, waiting to feel Ginny’s presence so he could rescue her?  Well, rationally, Draco could feel there was no danger, but it didn’t help calm his anger any.
 
Was that what was happening now?

He cursed himself for trusting that there was no need of a constant guard outside her room as he ran towards her room.  Draco mentally tallied all the ways she could get out of her room and off the floor without being detected, and checked her location again to see where she was.  To his surprise she was still in her room.  He sprinted towards her room, panic filing his chest.  Was there still another Death Eater in the house?  How did they get past the wards put back up?

It didn’t occur to him to check the rest of the room, but as he reached her door he heard a loud crashing sound through the closed door.  Trying the handle, then pushing through with Power when he realized it was locked, he was not prepared for the sight that greeted him. 

Through the moonlight coming streaming through the windows, Draco saw Lucius standing in the middle of Ginny’s spacious bedroom clutching a shining saber with both of his hands.  Without hesitation, Draco’s hands filled with savage bright white balls of shimmering magic.  It was only his father’s pleased face that forced him to relax himself.  With another touch of his fingers, Draco illuminated the room and resisted the wave of nausea and guilt at what he saw. 

Goose down floated merrily through the room like snowflakes.  The little feathers seemed to cover everything in a white blanket.  But it couldn’t hide the destruction.  Tables were overthrown, book stacks were scattered across the floor.  The dresser was tipped over so that it rested against the back of a chair.

Ginny’s bed was empty, the covers thrown off and strewn over the side.  Her feather pillows were slashed and the mattress had multiple deep fraying gashes running from the top to the bottom of the fabric.  He had to resist the surge of retribution when he saw one of the gashes lined with a tiny streak of blood. 

He knew exactly where Ginny was, but he refused to look at her for fear of letting his father know where she was hiding.  She was using her Power and Draco knew Lucius wouldn’t be able to see her, but he wasn’t going to chance it no matter how worried he was about her.
 
A bedside table flew across the room and smashed into a mirror just above Ginny’s head, spraying the room with shards of glass.  Draco didn’t flinch, but felt his fury rise as he looked at his father.

“Ah, Son,” Lucius said, his voice sickeningly pleasant, “I'm sorry if I woke you, I dare say you’ve heard what happened yesterday?” He looked down at the saber he held then started to twirl it slowly in his hand.

“I spent all day dealing with it,” Draco said with a calm he didn’t feel.

“A job that is highly underrated.  After all, I spent years doing the dirty work only to be pushed aside.”

“Is that what this is about?” Draco said tightly.  His mind was numb with hatred and disbelief. 

“You tell me, Draco,” Lucius snarled.  “How can you call yourself worthy to wear the Devil’s Servant robes?  You are weak and worthless.”

“The Dark Lord considers me worthy,” Draco retorted with a calm he knew he didn’t possess.  “That is the only opinion that should matter to you.” 

“You’re so full of shite!  You haven’t listened to him for years!  Don’t think I haven’t noticed what you’ve become… ruining everything that I’ve worked for,” Lucius pointed the saber directly at Draco, who didn’t flinch. 

“You’re the one that is going to have to answer to the Dark Lord, Lucius, not me,” Draco said, noting the look his father gave him. 

“I know you think you’re invaluable and I can’t wait to see what happens when both you and the Dark Lord learn the truth about each other,” Lucius smiled almost brightly.  Punching the saber out towards the side, it connected with the wall.  Taking a few steps forward towards Draco, he dragged the saber along with him slicing through the charmed wallpaper.

“The Dark Lord hides nothing from me, and I from him,” Draco told him, coolly placing himself between his father and Ginny’s invisible form.

Lucius took one large shaky breath, then bellowed, “THAT IS NOT THE TRUTH!”  He swung the saber sideways, slashing the wall again so that the wallpaper now hung off the wall in jagged strips.  Kicking over more stacks of books, Lucius let out a terrible scream and started slashing at the curtains.  He stabbed through them with the blade then when they were sufficiently torn, turned to piercing more pillows strewn across the ground. 

With a sick lurch in his stomach, Draco realized he was still looking for Ginny.  “You don’t know anything about the truth, Lucius,” he said savagely. 

“I know more than you think, you fucking liar,” Lucius snarled, waving his sword towards Draco again.  “I know that you saved that Muggle-lover because you’re in love with her.  You have been since even before you left school.  I tried to convince the Dark Lord you were unworthy then, but he wouldn’t listen.  I knew you could pull it off, but I didn’t know it would go this far.  You have crossed the line and I intend to shove you back across it As. Hard. As. I. Can.”

“I'm impressed,” Draco tried a smirk, hoping it looked convincing.  “You’ve actually managed a threat.” 

“You think you’re so powerful, but that’s going to make your fall all the more colorful,” Lucius raged, pulling out the drawers of the bureau and flinging them across the room.  One by one, the drawers smashed into windows and picture frames, splintering and flinging what little amount of clothes Ginny had across the room. Draco cautiously made sure that none went towards where Ginny was crouched. 

“You need to get out of this room and out of my house, Lucius.  The Dark Lord has questions for you and I recommend you answer them before he gets too impatient to listen and decides to kill you on sight.”

“Don’t you want to bring me to him?  Don’t you want to be the one who captures me?” Lucius mocked.  His eyes were glinting with fury. 

“No, I could care less what you do,” Draco said dispassionately. 

“What if I started to slice up your pretty little prisoner?  What would you do then?” An unnaturally feral smile crossed Lucius’s face.

“From the looks of the bed, it seems like you’ve already started,” Draco commented.
 
Lucius stabbed at the mattress, creating another deep hole and sending more down feathers flying about.  “Don’t you want to know how badly I’ve hurt her?  Don’t you want to know where she is?  Don’t you want some revenge?”

“Revenge is for the weak minded, Lucius,” Draco tried to look bored.  Lucius remained silent for a long while, glaring directly into Draco’s eyes. 

“This is all the proof I need,” he finally said and with a crack, he Apparated from the room.
 
Immediately, Draco erected extra defenses against his father while simultaneously checking for any other invaders in the Manor.  After he was sure the house was safe, he turned to where Ginny had reappeared. 

She was sitting with her knees curled up against her chest and she was staring straight ahead.  Draco felt his stomach tighten in remorse as he leaned down and touched her shoulder.  She flinched away from him.

“It’s safe now,” Draco said abruptly, then stood back up and righted and end table.  With a flip of his hand the shattered mirror pieces rejoined into the frame and the rest of the furniture in the room returned to their positions.  The wallpaper reattached itself and mended the seams.  The pillows and mattress reknitted.  Only the books lay scattered across the floor and Draco left them where they were, figuring Ginny had had them stacked a special way.  It was the only thing he couldn’t fix for her.

Looking back, she was still sitting against the wall but now her slender eyebrows were drawn together.

“Did he hurt you?” Draco finally asked.  Ginny looked up at him after a moment and stuck out her leg.  A tiny gash grazed along her calf.  It had stopped bleeding on its own. 

“Just that,” she said softly.  “Isn’t it funny how I somehow always end up losing blood around you?”

He could tell she meant the comment to be a joke, but it sliced through him all the same.  “What happened?  How did he get in here?”

“He unlocked the door.  I was sleeping,” Ginny said.  Her face was expressionless as she stood up and looked towards the bed. Draco looked at it too, without better reason.  “He saw me roll off the bed and that’s when I used the Power.  I think he thought I went under it which is why he started stabbing at it…” Ginny trailed off. 

“Did he say anything to you?”

“No.  He kept shouting ‘I know’ at me over and over though,” she told him.  “What does he know?”

“Nothing,” Draco said simply.  “There is nothing to know.”  But he knew it wasn’t the truth and he couldn’t bring himself to look at her.

“Will He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named be angry if he finds out he was here and you didn’t…” Ginny didn’t finish her sentence, but Draco knew what she was asking.

“Lucius is with the Dark Lord right now,” he stated stonily, knowing it was the truth.  “He can’t bear it that he’s in trouble.”

“Are you… are you in danger because of what you’ve done for me?” Ginny asked him.  He could see her look at him from the corner of his eye, but he didn’t turn. 

“No,” he told her, though he couldn’t ignore how much Lucius’ threats worried him.  Not for his safety, but for hers.

They were silent for a while longer.

“Draco?”

“Yea?”

“I'm glad you’re back.”

Draco felt completely broken.  She looked up at him with such honesty in her unguarded eyes it took all of his strength to resist the urge to wrap his arms around her and tell her she was safe.  But she would never let him, she would never believe him.  Not now.  Not ever again.  His body felt wrenched as she looked away again.

He needed to leave, unable to stay a moment longer.  He felt suffocated and responsible and guilty.  With a quick turn he headed towards her door, but her voice stopped him.

“Stay with me?” Ginny said softly.  The pleading in her voice was almost too much to bear.   Draco turned to find her eyes on him, and he wished he had just kept walking. 

“No.” Draco looked away. “I’ll have Beck stay outside the door,” he said stonily, avoiding her eyes.  He glanced once at her bed with its messed sheets, then regretfully turned and shut the door quietly behind him.

Outside, Draco flung himself into a chair in the hallway almost directly across from her door.  He had no intention of letting Beck or anyone else stay outside her door all night.  He leaned forward and put his face in his hands.  The responsibility he felt was overwhelming and for the first time in his life he felt the repercussions of his actions.  He saw how his life and his decisions affected her first hand.  He saw the danger she was in, even from someone he thought he trusted.

The shock of what his father had said seemed to worn off slightly and Draco tried to understand what had just happened.  His father was upset he no longer had as much power as he did before.  Did he want his rank as Devil’s Servant back?  Was he the one who was setting him up for failure?  After all, his father had access to the Manor’s dungeons, the Devil’s Servant robes, and the cunning to pull it off.  But it seemed almost too logical and easy that Draco dismissed it. 

Lucius was too interested in his relationship with Ginny, however, for Draco to completely ignore the motives behind that.  Was that why he had requested Draco to get married?  Did he think he was stupid enough to choose a prisoner and willfully condemn himself?  And what did Lucius mean that the Dark Lord had hidden truths as well?  Everything about his father’s actions put him on edge and if it weren’t for his insistent need to stay near Ginny he would also be in front of Voldemort listening to his father rage.  But he couldn’t leave her.  Guilt swept over him again and he pushed his hands through his hair in frustration. 

He didn’t know why he had reacted so negatively to staying the night with her.  He dreamed of touching her whenever he closed his eyes, and tonight she had given him the invitation to do so.  He tried to tell himself it was because he was getting married to another woman in less than a week, but he knew he hadn’t thought about Pansy or the wedding in almost two days.  Today, when he was out getting information, interrogating the Aspect Emlyn and other Death Eaters, listening to the Dark Lord rant, she was constantly there in the back of his mind.  He wondered if she knew what he was doing and if she was worried about him.  It was nonsensical, but he would think about her before he could stop himself. 

He closed his eyes and waited in the darkness outside her room, pushing himself further into the chair trying to make the pain subside.  But all he could see was her wide eyes alert with shock and confusion.  And then her face as she looked up at him and told him that she was glad he was back.  He felt his hands clench against his thighs barely restraining his Power from going in every direction at once. 

And suddenly, he found his hand on the door knob, turning it quietly so he wouldn’t scare her.  Closing it softly behind him, he turned to find her curled up on her side, facing away from him.  Her red hair spilled down her back and her pale skin seemed colorless in the pale moonlight and she didn’t turn to look at him when he came in.  Even so, he wished he could memorize what a beautiful sight she made. 

His hands easily worked through the buttons on his white shirt as he walked towards the bed.  Discarding it on a chair, he striped out of his trousers and tossed them aside.
 
Only a second of hesitation stopped him as he reached the bed.  She still hadn’t looked at him, but he was sure that she knew it was him.   She had curled tighter against herself, making the curve of her hip and the dip of her waist more defined. The bed shifted with his weight as he crawled beside her.  His fingers brushed against her shoulder and arms as he drew her against him.  He pressed himself against her, wrapping his body around hers.  Memories assaulted him as he remembered how perfectly she always had fit against him. 

His face was buried against her neck and he could feel her breathing evenly against him.  He knew she was awake, but she still hadn’t moved.  His hand grazed over her body, pulling her tighter against his length.  He wanted to feel her relax against him; he wanted her to be closer.
 
“Ginny,” he whispered, “I’ve made so many mistakes with you.”  The sound of his voice startled her and after a pause she turned herself in his arms so that they were face to face.  Tears brightened her eyes and slipped down her face, but she still didn’t look at him. 

Draco tilted her face up to his, his hand cupping her face gently.  His thumb swept away the tears on her flushed cheeks and she finally looked up at him.

“Tell me I am what you want,” Ginny whispered to him.  His arms gripped her tighter.

“Only you,” he murmured in return.  Wordlessly she reached up and kissed him, her hand threading through his short hair.

The elbow that propped up Draco’s head slipped off the arm of the chair, sending his face crashing against the hard wood.  For one disorienting moment, he couldn’t place where he was or why he had been sleeping in a chair in a hallway.  And then he realized he had been dreaming.  A quick check confirmed that Ginny’s door was shut and locked tight.

“Fuck,” he swore softly, rubbing his hands over his overheated face and now bruising cheek.  Soft light poured in a window further down the hall; it was morning.  Standing uncomfortably, he stalked down the hall towards his bedroom without bothering to check in on Ginny.

-

A/N Important! : There is a last part to this chapter, but because it was too long (!!) to keep in one single chapter, I had to split it off.  I guess that I can't add it in until this chapter is validated, and since they arent validating chapters after thursday it won't be up for awhile.  But I promise to keep on it and update as soon as i can!

Anyways, what did you think so far?!  Good, bad, random?  That part with Lucius I wrote a long time ago actually, though it ended a little different (Draco actually stayed, it wasn’t a dream…aaw!)  Anyways, I'm dying to know what you think!  And the next (next) chapter is going to be good!  I know I always say that though, but seriously …Draco decides what he's going to do about the wedding!  :D

So I know this is going to sound like a shameless plug, but I promise you it isn’t meant to be like that.  I'm only mentioning it here because I don’t really know how else to say thank you to them.  So this is to the persons that nominated me for the D/G awards: Thank you!!!  I don’t think I’ve ever been so honored and surprised and I don’t even care if I don’t win anything, I just can’t think of anything more special to me that you think this story is good enough to be nominated.  So thank you again, I jumped around my house with Bats for like an hour when I found out. :D

And I know I usually send you all messages saying thank you, but I just want to say it again.  You guys rock, thanks for talking back at me! 

And to all you guys out there that just read: whats up!  Hope everything’s well with you!

Alright I'm out, time to study for finals!  There’s a BIG test in four days.  Gulp.  I promise to keep on the update thing!  –xxx DC


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