The office rang with calls of congratulations on yet another capture of a Death Eater, but Ginny was deaf to their praise. Crabbe meant nothing to her, he was just another part of her job that had been successful, Malfoy though, if she’d managed to catch him, well, it would’ve been something more.
“Cheer up,” Dean said as he brought her a stack of reports. “You got another Death Eater, what is there to be miserable about?”
“Malfoy got away,” Ginny snapped.
Dean rolled his eyes.
“You need to stop obsessing over him, Gin, it’s not healthy.”
It was a mark of just how deeply annoyed she was that she did not remind him to call her by her proper name. Instead she took the reports form him, dumped them on her desk and got up to grab her coat.
“Where are you going?” he asked her uneasily.
“The Parkinson residence, I’ll be back later,” Ginny told him shortly and before he could say anything further, she was walking out the office.
Pulling the bell chain outside the Parkinson mansion, Ginny waited impatiently for an answer. The family had never been proven to have any association with Voldemort and so had walked free in the round-up. They had even provided valuable information to the Ministry at times and were considered an upstanding family of high society, which irked Ginny no end.
A House Elf came to the door, squeaked when she saw who it was and made a deep curtsey, ushering Ginny inside and promising to fetch her mistress immediately. Even though Ginny didn’t like the Parkinsons, it didn’t mean she was above using their information and had called in on a few occasions.
Pansy, grown now into an elegant woman who was a wealthy heiress, entered the room that Ginny had been left in and smiled at her.
“Miss Parkinson,” Ginny said politely, standing up as she came in the room.
“Ginevra, really, how long have we known each other now? Pansy, please,” Pansy replied immediately. “And to what do I owe this pleasure?”
“I wanted to find out what you know about Draco Malfoy,” Ginny said, getting straight to the point.
“Draco?” Pansy repeated, face calm and unreadable as she motioned Ginny to sit down again and took a seat opposite her.
“Yes, he was a known Death Eater and supporter of Voldemort and anything you have about him would be very helpful to my investigation,” Ginny elaborated.
Pansy cast a furtive look around, as if she were nervously checking for any potential eavesdroppers.
“Well, I do know something,” she said, dropping her voice dramatically. Ginny reined in her impatience with the theatrics, that was just Pansy for you and if she had information on Draco that would help Ginny, she was willing to do just about anything for her. “I felt I could not share this before because Lucius was still at large and I feared for my safety, you do understand, don’t you?”
“Of course,” Ginny agreed quickly.
“Well, you see, Draco spoke out against his father, against taking the Dark Mark,” Pansy began while Ginny gaped at her. “He was put under the Imperious curse and forced to drink potions that weakened his willpower, turning him into a puppet for the Dark Lord.”
“What?” Ginny finally spluttered, unable to believe what she was hearing.
“Yes, it’s true, I saw the curse administered once with my on eyes,” Pansy said, nodding with conviction. “In fact, I submitted a statement to the Minister not two hours ago telling him of this evidence, I believe he is going to drop the charges currently laid against Draco and call off the search for him.”
Ginny leaped to her feet immediately, anger burning through her hotly as her brain processed what Pansy had last said. With a snarl, she turned on the spot without another word and Disapparated from the house to find out if this were true.
“My, my, quite the performance there, Pansy,” Draco said smoothly as he stepped into the room that had previously contained Ginny.
Pansy shot him a look that was half annoyed and half admiring.
“Yes and you’d better appreciate it, I’m putting myself on the line for you. Do you know how hard I worked to be where I am today?” she demanded.
”Sure, Pansy,” Draco said lazily. “You’re worrying too much though, the plan is sound, no one will catch us out, and even if they do, I’m the only one who will go down for it.”
Pansy appeared a little mollified, though there was still irritation in the way she looked at Draco.
“In any case, you’d better stay out of sight this evening as I’m having a formal dinner and dance; important people from the Ministry are invited and that includes Weasley,” she told him, turning to leave the room.
Draco looked up, interest gleaming in his eyes.
“Oh, really? Well now, I don’t know about staying out of the way, that does sound like an awful lot of fun.”
Ginny strode back into the Aurors’ office positively radiating fury, and anyone with any sense got out of her way quickly.
Dean took one look at her when she reached his desk and gulped.
“Ah, you’ve heard,” he said, looking around as if for an avenue of escape. When none seemed to be forthcoming, he turned back to her, resigned to his fate.
“It’s true?” she hissed angrily.
“Um, yes. The Minister is dropping the charges against Malfoy pending subjecting Parkinson to Veritaserum, but the charge are suspended for now in light of her standing and past information,” Dean supplied to Ginny warily.
“He can’t just do that!” Ginny raged, even though she knew perfectly well that he could. “You know he did all those things, right Dean? You don’t think this information is correct?”
“Well, I can’t really say, Gin,” he replied uncomfortably.
“It’s Malfoy, of course he was a Death Eater,” Ginny snapped back.
“Gin, I really think you need to let this go,” he suggested gently.
“Let it go? Oh no, I’m going to prove he was one of them, and I’ll do it alone if I have to.”
Ginny stepped up to the door of the Parkinson mansion for the second time that day, dressed now in flowing, deep blue dress robes in a material that clung to her. She had not intended to actually attend this dinner of Pansy’s, but in light of her new information, Ginny though she should start her attempts to prove Pansy’s lie as soon as possible. She was not prepared, however, for the seating arrangements that made her freeze in her tracks upon entering the formal dining room of the mansion. There, for all the world as if he had every right to step in public, was Draco Malfoy, and he was sitting in the place next to the one with her own place card placed in front of the china plate. It was at that moment that she very nearly turned around and left. Well, that, or murdered him on the spot. Taking a deep breath, however, Ginny forced herself to take her seat, knowing she might not get a better chance to question him for holes in his story if she only managed to keep her cool.
“Miss Weasley,” he said politely, breaking off the conversation he had been having with the petite, dark-haired witch to his right, who shot Ginny a look of loathing for taking his attention from her. Ginny rolled her eyes and ignored her.
“Malfoy,” she replied coldly, unable to bring herself to be anymore civil than that. “What a surprise seeing you here.”
“Ah, well I was surprised at how quickly the whole thing was sorted out, but I am of course gratified to once again be a free wizard,” he said easily, turning and selecting the courses he would eat by tapping the menu on offer with his wand in various places.
Ginny’s lip curled as these words left his lips, but she restrained herself from commenting.
“Yes, I heard about it, what was it that had happened again?” she asked casually as she read the menu, though cursing herself for asking too open a question to really trip him up.
“Imperius curse,” he said, off-handed, eyeing her with a knowing glint to his gaze, “forced on me by my father.”
“Of course,” Ginny replied.
She did not continue the conversation after that and Draco seemed perfectly content to turn back to charming the young witch on his other side. It was not until after they had finished eating that Draco turned to her once more.
“Would you like to dance, Miss Weasley,” he enquired politely, and Ginny was too shocked to do anything but consent.
He took her hand and led her from the long dining table, across to the other side of the elegant room, the polished wooden floor tastefully reflecting the candlelight that lit the room along with the large fireplace to one end of the room. The high ceiling bent in arcs above their heads, and Draco was swiftly placing Ginny’s hands where they should be and leading her in a dance among other couples that had already the table. He seemed amused that Ginny was making no protest, but she didn’t care; she needed to be able to be with him if she were to find the proof she was after. Something inside her struggled against the knowledge of her current situation though, and she felt she could stay silent no longer.
“I know you’re lying,” she said eventually, eyes narrowed as she looked up at him. If anything, he seemed more entertained than he had been.
“And how far are you willing to go, Ginny, just what are you willing to do in order to find out if I am or not?” he murmured, leaning down until his lips were near her ear and she felt his breath ghost across her cheek. She did not draw back though, instead stepping closer, moulding her body to his as he turned her to the music.
“Anything, I will do whatever it takes to see you brought to justice.”
Author's Note: Well this chapter is pretty short, but the next one is much longer. I'm not sure when I'll next update though, maybe two weeks, I wanted another up before the queue reopened though. Must also say that the next chapter is very much a good reason for the Mature rating.
And you should all note the loveliness of my new banner by Violet :D . And you all should read her new fic Eleanor Digby too, it's very good!
Reviews very welcome! :)
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