Chapter 1 : This Was No Accident
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WARNING: This story revolves around themes of abuse. Because Draco is eighteen, it is no longer child abuse, however, child abuse is talked about. I do not advocate abuse of any kind for any reason. Please, if you feel you can no longer read this story, feel free to press the back space button and have a nice day. Thank you.
He wasn’t supposed to find out. It was a secret. Just between us. A secret between two people who loved one another, but knew they couldn’t tell a soul.
It hadn’t been safe to tell, we knew that. We both knew that something like this could happen, but we were naïve enough to think that love could keep us safe. I don’t care who tells you that, it isn’t true. It never is.
He found out, of course. Part of me always knew he would. This was the one time in life I’d wanted to be wrong.
Frankly, it’s a wonder I’m still breathing. He has beaten me before, and it made me stronger. It taught me not to show my emotions, to lock them up so deeply within a cold and hollow soul that no one would ever reach them. He taught me how to be cold, indifferent, evil. He taught me these things; he showed me how to lock myself up surrounded by walls of ice and stone. Naturally, since he helped to build them, he knew how to tear them down. Father has always known how to make my walls crack, and my ribs.
It’s hardly child abuse anymore. I’m eighteen and just as tall as he is. Stronger too. Could I have stopped him? Of course I could have. There’s no doubt in my mind. But If I had fought back, I would have suffered more. He would’ve found another way to hurt me. I learned that lesson a long time ago.
It’s better I’m laying here in this garish white room, listening to the ticks and beeps of the magic that’s keeping my heart beating and my breath flowing through my lungs. It’s better because it’s me, not her. I would have died if he’d done this to her.
We had meant to keep it a secret. Or at least I had. But then she’d gotten to me. She wanted to tell her family. I knew it wasn’t a good idea. Merlin knows how many times I tried to tell her that, but she wouldn’t listen. She thinks the world of her family, and knows that they love her unconditionally. She thought that just because she loved me, they would open the door and their arms, seeing me the way that she seems to. It’s almost heartbreaking how idealistic she can be. I wish I could make the thoughts in her head reality. Life would be a lot more pleasant that way.
Eventually, I gave in. She asks so little from me as it is. She asks so little when I could buy her the world, so I agreed.
They hadn’t been pleased. Actually, that’s an understatement. I found myself on the floor the second I walked into that kitchen. One of her brothers-and she has six of them-had been a little wand happy. He saw me and immediately decided that I was a threat. I must say that I walked away with the least of the injuries. It took a full twenty minutes to convince her to stop hexing him. I would have laughed, but I’m arrogant, not stupid. If I had so much as smiled, I’d have found myself bleeding from a few painful places.
I try moving my arms a little. They’re useless to me right now. None of me is working, actually. I hate to admit it, but I can’t even open my eyes. I’m too weak. I know I should sleep, but I can’t. I have a sickening feeling that he’ll be back, this time to end his embarrassment, and his shame. To end my life. If I could laugh right now, I would. I’ll admit it, I’m afraid to go to sleep. If I sleep now, I’ll be open. I’ll be even less capable of defending myself. After all, sleeping was how I ended up here in the first place.
He came to my flat at night. A Camisado, if you will. I wasn’t ready for the first attack or the second, third, or fourth for that matter. You’d be surprised what a few Cruciatus Curses can do. I was ripped apart from the inside out. I could feel a few bones break; I could hear his laughter.
I learned long ago that screaming only excites him, makes him stronger, and makes him want to hear more of it. Give him just a taste and he’s addicted, doing everything he can to make it louder, harsher, and last longer.
Hell, he loves it if he can get you to beg. I’ve only stooped to that level once. I was young then and hadn’t learned. That was back when I was fool enough to think that my father loved me. I was eager to please him, even if that meant being a punching bag. I had thought it would stop.
It never did.
Once Father had his fill of entertainment, in the form of me convulsing on the hardwood floors, he decided he wanted to talk. He wanted to explain to me why I was being punished. I didn’t need to hear it, and I told him so. In hindsight, I regret that. It earned me a swift kick to the ribs, at least two of which were doubtlessly already broken by this point. But I only regret it in theory. I’ve been waiting all of my life to stand up to him like that, even if I was still crumpled on the floor.
Of course when I Apparated as close to St. Mungo’s as I could, I lied. Well, technically speaking, I didn’t. You’re not lying if you can’t speak. It was a miracle I didn’t Splinch myself, the Healer at the reception desk thought so too. Apparently, if you show up bleeding and scarcely conscious, they save the questioning and paperwork until you’re well enough to answer. Or until someone comes looking for you. Lucky for me the latter hasn’t happened yet. I can hear footsteps coming towards me, but I know they aren’t his. It’s a woman: she’s wearing shoes with a heel.
My father wears nothing but tailor fitted black boots, and he doesn’t make a sound. You don’t hear him coming until its too late.
I’m still too tired to open my eyes, but she knows I’m awake.
“How you holdin’ up, hon’?” she asks. Merlin, I hate being called pet names by strangers. Truthfully, I hate to be called pet names at all. I go to open my mouth, it’s dry and cracked from coughing. The Healer catches on soon enough though. Holding a glass of cool liquid to my lips, she urges me to drink.
“Drink this, sugar; it’ll help with the pain some.” Again with the pet names, but I allow the liquid to slide down my throat. After a bit of a choking fit, I know I’ll be able to talk soon. It felt like swallowing cold fluid silk. I manage to mutter a thank you. I’ve actually come to terms with showing my gratitude. Just because I’m a Malfoy, and my father’s son, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t show the rest of the world a little respect.
“There now,” she says, smoothing back my fringe. I know she means well, but I really wish she wouldn’t touch me. “What’s your name, sweetheart?” How many pet names can she use in one conversation? Honestly!
“Draco,” I whisper hoarsely. I don’t offer up my last name, and I don’t intend to. She doesn’t ask. For that alone I think I’ll be able to forgive her for calling me ‘sugar’.
“Mhhmm,” she hums, checking some of the equipment I’m hooked to. “Anyone who would want to know you’re here, Draco?” Sure there are, I could name several, but I’m only going to tell her one, and it sure as hell won’t be Daddy Dearest.
“Gin—” I start to say before a coughing fit takes me again. Splendid. Broken ribs and coughing do not mix. I feel the Healer put her hand on my head and a strange tingling warmth spreads through my chest, loosening the muscles.
“Try again, dear,” she tells me, brushing back my hair once more.
“Ginny Weasley.” Merlin, I hate how pathetic I sound. The Healer looks at me. She probably knows the Weasleys and it’s obvious I look nothing like them.
“Is she a relation?” she asks. I flick my eyes open, looking at her blankly. Should it really matter if we’re related or not? As if she’s read my thoughts, she shakes her head with a sigh.
“I guess not then. Well, I’ll get her on the Floo, see what’s what.” I watch her go, my eyes suddenly feeling tired again. Whatever it was she gave me for pain is starting to wear off already. I need to close my eyes to block out the light. I realize there’s a horrid smell in the air, as though something has been burnt.
I swear as I realize that the smell is coming from me. Now that all of the adrenaline is gone and pain killers are lessening, I can feel everything. There’re definitely some broken ribs. My wrist, I think, too. That smell of burned flesh comes from my chest, as for the first time I notice the only thing I appear to be wearing is my boxers. Marvelous.
I know I’m covered in bruises, I always am after this, and there was some blood so I must have been bleeding. I have no idea where the cuts are. I’m still too tired to move much.
The next thing I know the Healer’s back, and her hand is on my forehead.
“Draco?” Jumping painfully, I open my eyes to see red.
“Hey, beautiful,” I rasp out.
Ginny is not amused. She’s giving me her death glare right now. Or it would have been her death glare if it hadn’t been for the fear in her eyes. It’s actually sort of funny how she thinks that she, with all of her eight-stone-odd, can intimidate me.
She’s looking me all over, lifting the thin cotton sheet from my chest to see what I already know to be a mess. As a Healer in training I’m sure she’s itching to make some of it go away; she knows I’m hurting. She wants to save people, take their pain away.
That’s probably why she was so attracted to me in the first place. She wants to save me from a fate I’m not sure anyone can control. Mumbling to herself, she sounds thoroughly displeased, but I know she’s just trying to mask her fear.
“Speak,” she commands, finished with her inspection, for now at least. My throat is hurting again, but the trick is to never let her know things like that. It stresses her out.
“Father,” I whisper, she leans her head in closer to better understand me. “He knows.” Ginny’s brown eyes flash with anger.
“He did this to you?” She seems more concerned with how I look right now, than with what could happen to her if he ever decided punishing me physically wasn’t enough. He could kill me with out ever raising a wand against me. If he hurt her, I would die.
“Ginny,” I whisper, groping for her hand. I don’t like needing things from other people, not even her, but right now, I need to touch her. She understands and entwines her fingers with mine. “I have to keep you safe.”
And then she starts laughing at me. I know I look and sound wretched, but I really wish she wouldn’t laugh at me while I’m being serious. Kissing my forehead, she calms her giggles.
“Stop sulking,” she chides. “I think you’re the one we have to worry about right now.” I roll my eyes at her, but she presses on. “Draco, he’s trying to take you out. I’m not the reason he did this to you.” There’s a light in her eyes as she talks. I know she’s concocting something inside that pretty little head of hers.
“Oh? And what exactly does that mean?” I prod skeptically. As nice as it is to look at her, I need to close my eyes again. As soon as I do, her cool hand is back on my brow.
“He’s trying to take you out. He knows that you that won’t fight for the Dark now.”
“Ginny, I haven’t fought with any side for the past six months,” I remind her. I’ve been trying to stay neutral. Just trying to stay alive.
“Just listen to me,” she insists. “If you can’t take the kid from the fight take the fight from the kid.” I open one eye to look at her questioningly. She gets poetic like this every so often, and she’s hard to understand. She knows what I’m thinking, and sighs dramatically. “Think!” she demands. “If it comes down to it, you and I know both know you’d fight along side me, rather than risk the chance of fighting against me.” I nod slowly, even though we’ve always just done our best to ignore it—it’s the truth.
“Well, he wants to take you out before you prove your loyalty!,” she says with a huge grin. I have absolutely no idea why she thinks now is the time for a smile like that.
“Ginny, look,” I begin. She interrupts me with a shake of her head, sending her bright red locks flying.
“No, you look,” she insists. “I get to keep you now. Understand that. I can bring you home and everything.” Her eyes are bright and shining again, and I finally understand why they were the first time around.
Reality says that I won’t live through this war. I’m a traitor, and traitors are the scum of the earth as far as Death Eaters are concerned. I smile for her because I know that’s what she wants. She’s so happy she kisses me hard, a little too hard, but I’d take any kind of pain for her. I love her.
“So, what now?” I ask. I’m exhausted. I love her, but I think that with her here, I might be able to get some sleep. She’s doing that infuriating mind reading thing again. I swear, she’s been practicing Legilimency behind my back.
“Now, you sleep. I’ll stay here until one of the Healers kicks me out,” she assured. Her voice was suddenly quiet and purposefully soothing. “And even then,” she continues, bending down to kiss me again, this time much lighter. “Even then, I promise to be here when you wake up.” I open my eyes one last time to see her smiling down at me.
This was no accident. Any of this. Father may be here to kill me in the morning, but for now, I’m here, and so is she. What ever tomorrow brings, it can wait.
A/N: Well, that would be all of it! Thank you to my beta reader Aurenna for all the work she put into this. Trust me, she put up with a lot grammar issues and some facets of my characterization that I was unwilling to let go of :-).
In explanation, that reference to Ginny’s weight as eight-stones-odd is British, something else I learned from my wonderful beta. (8 Stones = 112 lbs for those of you who were as clueless as me) Thank you for taking the time to read this. Reviews are always welcome and appreciated.