“Why the hell is Debanchy out?” Ginny stormed into her office early Monday morning. “Someone had better have a damn good explanation.”
“He cut a deal with the Minister,” Dean offered, handing her a cup of coffee. He was used to Ginny’s dramatics, even this early in a morning. He’d worked as an Auror alongside her ever since they’d completed their Auror training in the same year. They’d stayed good friends since Hogwarts, and he couldn’t imagine how dull life would be without her. Technically she was in charge of him – her ambition and aptitude for the job had propelled her far – but she always treated him as though they were still the rookie Aurors looking out for each other.
“That is not a damn good explanation,” Ginny glared at him, but threw herself into her chair with a sigh. “Give me Scrimgeour any day; at least when he got some Death Eaters caught, he kept them locked up.”
Since a few bungled jobs during the war, Scrimgeour had fallen from grace and another Minister, Talloy, had stepped up. Too eager to release criminals in Ginny’s opinion, but popular with the public. He got results when they were called for, and he knew how to keep up a good image far too well for people to pick at his faults. In time perhaps they would come to light but, for now, he was still flavour of the month.
“All right, Debanchy doesn’t matter, and I highly doubt he’s going to cause us anymore trouble. Have we got any locations for Death Eaters?” Ginny moved swiftly on, accepting that she had no power to change the Minister’s decision.
“Since your triple capture of Lucius, Narcissa and Bellatrix, they’ve all been lying low,” Dean replied, unable to keep the note of admiration out of his voice. To catch those three was a feat in itself, but Ginny had done more and kept them with unquestionable evidence of their past dealings.
“Well I suppose that’s good in a way; at least they’re not causing havoc on the streets or anything,” Ginny said grudgingly.
After Voldemort had fallen, the Death Eaters had scattered across the country, hiding from the Ministry, but last year they’d rallied, and the attempt to bring back the chaos that had reigned while Voldemort had led them had a brief insurgence. The Aurors had brought that to a swift end though, and Ginny had led their defence. A few Death Eaters were still out there, but it was Ginny’s ambition to bring that to a final close too.
“How’s Harry?” Ginny asked Dean tightly.
“Better,” Dean replied. “But you can’t go through something like he did and come out unscathed, Gin. I think he’ll make it given some time, though.”
Holding onto life by a thread after a gruelling night of war, Harry had dealt that final blow to Voldemort, but it had cost him. His body had recovered quickly, his healing abilities amazing the Healers, but his magic had dwindled to barely a trickle. It was like he had no wish to remain in the Wizarding world any longer, and after all it had put him through, no one seemed to blame him. Many called it a tragedy that he lost his magic, but Harry was relieved if anything. Of course, it meant he needed other wizards to protect him still, but Hermione and Ron did a great job, and hardly left his side. Harry was looking into Muggle careers and, despite what Dean said, Ginny didn’t expect him to come back.
“Don’t patronise me, Dean. It doesn’t matter anyway, he’s done his part, now we have to clear up the rest of the mess and that’s just how it goes. And it’s Ginevra, don’t make me remind you again,” Ginny reprimanded before immersing herself in one of a never-ending pile of reports.
“Yes Ma’am,” Dean said teasingly, heading off to his own cubicle in the office. His smile faded as he sat down, though. He hated seeing Ginny changed into who she was today by the war. He’d always thought the change was reversible, but as each day went by and she sank further into her Auror role, he was beginning to doubt anyone could reach her. Another tragedy from the war.
“I am so sick of this place!” Draco raged, hurling an old wooden chair at the wall in a very un-Malfoy way. He had been hiding, moving from one grungy flat to another for months now. Crabbe was the only other person in the room; Goyle had been caught a month ago.
“How can she have reduced me, Draco Malfoy, to this?” Draco continued to storm, eyes revealing how close he was to the edge. “The Weaselette has a lot to answer for.”
Crabbe grunted his agreement before asking when they were going to eat. Draco threw him a look of disgust, but stopped his rampage of the room.
“I’m going out,” he said abruptly, grabbing his cloak from the back of the only chair remaining in the room now that he’d smashed the other one. He couldn’t even use his magic to repair it because Ginny had got a trace on it when she’d captured Goyle, immediately setting up surveillance of any use of magic with his signature in it. A relatively new method of tracking developed in the war; Draco found it his biggest irritancy.
He headed out of the building, not caring what Crabbe did while he was gone, but needing to see something other than the four walls he’d come to hate. They’d stayed in the latest flat for three weeks now, and it was getting about time to move again anyway.
He walked down the back alleys of London, searching for the nearest pub where he could remain suitably inconspicuous, but still get drunk. Finding one quite quickly, he proceeded with this excellent plan of his. Living in London was another of his excellent plans; no one would suspect he was so close to the Ministry, and would hopefully not think to look on their home turf.
Five hours later, Draco’s first plan still seemed excellent as he eventually began to forget why it was he’d felt the need to get drunk in the first place. If he’d been sober, it would not have seemed such a great idea when the bartender attempted to have him manhandled out of the pub, and Draco consequentially jinxed him without thinking. It all seemed rather funny as he wasn’t sober, though, and Draco stumbled back through the alleys laughing to himself.
“Ginevra!” Daniel, the Ministry’s most recently recruited Auror, yelled as he sped into the main office from the one he used for surveillance.
“What is it Daniel, I’m a bit busy,” Ginny answered distractedly.
“We got a trace on the last Malfoy; he’s here, in London,” Daniel panted.
Ginny’s head snapped up, and she was moving into action before Daniel had finished his sentence. Taking the paper he held clutched in his hand, Ginny matched the numbers to an exact location in London.
“A pub, he must be staying somewhere nearby. Daniel, contact all the Aurors, I want everyone on this. Tell them to meet me here,” Ginny jabbed at a spot on the map with her finger, “as soon as they can.”
“But you can’t go alone,” Daniel protested as she began striding to the door.
“Malfoy isn’t getting away this time Daniel, and if I wait for everyone else, that’s exactly what he’ll do.”
Daniel watched her leave with a sinking heart; he had a feeling Dean was not going to be pleased with him.
Ginny Apparated across the city, not caring if anyone saw her, but entirely focused on the job at hand. As she started towards the nearest building that Draco could feasibly be living in, she missed the stumbling man in the shadows who froze as soon as he saw her.
Ginny quickly cast an anti-disapparation net over the nearest buildings, and began her search of them. Within fifteen minutes she was joined by all the Aurors the Ministry had on hand, and soon after they were dragging Crabbe out of his flat, but there was no sign of Draco.
“I can’t believe he’s not here,” Ginny snarled, seething.
“I can’t believe you came here on your own,” Dean snapped, equally as angry. Ginny appeared not to have heard him, and only started pacing. Sighing, Dean realised she wasn’t in the mood to listen to sensible reprimands on her own safety. “You’re bound to catch him soon.”
“Soon isn’t good enough,” she snapped back, in no mood to be optimistic. “Crabbe definitely knows nothing about where he is?”
Dean shook his head.
“The answer is the same as the last three times you asked.”
“Right,” Ginny said, ignoring the dig. “I want four Aurors staked out here tonight, and full reports by the end of tomorrow.”
“But-” Dean began.
Ginny whirled away from Dean and the other Aurors. She needed to walk off her anger at having let Draco escape again; she knew she wouldn’t be able to concentrate on her job if she stayed and would only be a hindrance to her team.
She walked in the darkness of the alleys, trying to clear her head of the thoughts and memories that plagued her. She didn’t really care where she was headed, but consequently wasn’t as alert to what was going on around her as she normally was. Still, when someone grabbed her from behind and she felt a hand on her neck she wasn’t unduly worried. She was in Muggle London and she had her wand. It would be tedious to clean up the mess of having a Muggle see magic but it wasn’t life-threatening. Well, she wasn’t unduly worried until that voice spoke to her.
“Hello, Ginny,” he said softly in her ear.
Ginny stiffened, her mind freezing for a moment before a storm of memories surfaced. She fought to keep her composure, knowing she was actually in great danger, though all she could think of was his audacity to say her name like that.
“You wouldn’t dare to use magic again; you’ll be caught for sure,” Ginny snarled, disgusted to be pressed so close to the person she hated most in the world.
“Oh I don’t know; ridding the world of the female Weasley may be worth it,” he said menacingly, reaching down and plucking her wand from her hand just as she was bringing it up in preparation for use.
Ginny could smell the alcohol on his breath, and knew she would be stupid to anger him. Even so, it was hard not to lash out at him, even if it was only with words.
“You’ve made my life hell,” he told her, his breath tickling her face as his hand tightened on her neck.
Ginny couldn’t help the smirk on her face, and thanked Merlin that she was facing away from Draco. Hearing that also made it easier for her to choke out the standard lines she had been trained to.
“Malfoy, killing me is not going to get you anywhere. If you just come with me to the Ministry, we can…”
“Cut the crap,” Draco snapped, interrupting her. “We both know you’d love to throw me into Azkaban for life. Luckily, for today at least, you won’t be dying and I won’t be going to Azkaban. Consider this a friendly warning in fact. You stay away from me and I’ll stay away from you.”
Ginny decided there was no way she could follow Auror guidelines any longer.
“And why the hell would I do that, Malfoy?” she spat. “There’s nowhere on earth you can hide from me, and I will never stop looking.”
“Because, little Ginny,” Malfoy began calmly, ignoring Ginny’s mutinous tone, “if you don’t, there’s plenty of other Weasleys for me to get my hands on. Something for you to think about.”
Before Ginny could do so much as register what he’d said, he had Apparated away, leaving her to seethe and unable to do anything about it.
Author's Note: Yay, a new story :D . Okay, so I know I have my Marauder fic to finish, but this story has been brewing for a long time now and I want to get it out too. I have never written these characters before so, you know, be gentle. Because I will not have two WIPs and a lot of other things to do besides, I don't know how regularly I am going to update, but this is only planned to be a short story of five or six chapters so you shouldn't have to wait too long. It's not like any other story I've written and is going to have lots of dark angst, heavy choices and, of course, romance.
Credit must be given to Violet for the wonderful banner, and I should mention the title is form a quote by Aristotle, which I completely love but am not clever enough to have thought up myself ;) .
If you have read this far, please leave a review! :)
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