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Let No One Put Asunder by DeeDeeVee
Chapter 21 : Reluctant Confession
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 5

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AN- It sure has been an interesting few days! We live in the North East and have not had power since the October snow storm last Saturday. Luckily my family and I have found access to hot showers and a place to plug in during the day (and the means to post this next chapter!)

When Harry arrived in the yard of Andromeda’s cottage, Malfoy and Ginny were already walking slowly towards the front door several yards ahead of him. Harry watched as Malfoy leaned down slightly to say something quietly in Ginny’s ear to which she returned a brief smile.

The creature within Harry’s chest snarled irritably.

At the very least he could be thankful for Malfoy’s reluctance to accompany Ginny to The Burrow. Assuming she would go to live with her parents, he wouldn’t have to worry about the slimy weasel’s constant proximity to her.

Draco knocked on the door but opened it and entered before any of the cottage’s occupants answered. After a count of several heartbeats, Harry heard surprised cries and then several women’s voices all at once.

Ginny!” Harry heard Hermione’s joyful shriek. “Oh, my God! Harry was right!”

“Ginny…?” Andromeda’s startled voice. “Is it really…?”

Narcissa’s shocked questions, “Draco, where did you find her? And look at your face! What happened?”

Harry stopped just outside the door, taking in the scene within the cottage; Ginny seemed to be feeling rather uncomfortable as she patted Hermione tolerantly on the back while Hermione squeezed her in a tearful bear hug. Andromeda looked on, her hand pressed to her mouth in shock, her dark eyes glistening with the start of happy tears, and Narcissa was glancing incredulously between Ginny and her son. It took a few moments before Hermione noticed Harry standing at the door.

“Harry!” Hermione practically screamed his name from sheer surprise and happiness and released her hold on Ginny to run straight towards him.

Before Harry could stop her, Hermione flung her arms around his neck. “I was so afraid we’d never see you again! And you found Ginny! I can hardly believe it!”

The pressure of her arms against his wounds ignited the pain across Harry’s shoulders and, still not having regained all of his strength, he quickly grabbed onto the door frame to keep them both from falling over. Hermione stepped back immediately when she heard Harry’s pained intake of breath and looked at him worriedly, noting how unsteady he seemed.

“What did they do to you?” Hermione asked, closely examining the multiple cuts and bruises covering his face. It also occurred to her that Harry did not seem as overjoyed as she would expect him to be after finding Ginny alive. “Are you okay?”

“I’ve been better,” Harry replied solemnly, stepping stiffly through the door before she could ask him more questions.

Andromeda and Narcissa were glancing between the three newcomers, too shocked to speak for the moment, while Hermione turned her attention back to Ginny only to frown when the younger girl moved a step toward Draco.

Ginny’s apparent preference to be closer to Malfoy was not lost on Harry and, again, he had to fight against his rapidly rising desire to tear Malfoy apart.

Harry cleared his throat, breaking the stilted silence that had descended throughout the room and made the introductions.

“Ginny, this is Andromeda Tonks, Draco’s aunt; his mother, Narcissa Malfoy and Hermione Weasley, your sister-in-law. Wait… Hermione, what are you doing here?”

“I came by to see how Teddy is doing, but honestly, Harry,” Hermione chastised with a nervous laugh, “She hasn’t been gone so long that she’s forgotten us. Ginny, tell us, where have you been all this time? And, Harry, what happened after the park and where did you find her?”

Ginny glanced nervously between Draco and Harry, wondering how or where she should begin an explanation, but Harry spoke first.

“Actually, Ginny’s lost her memory and she doesn’t remember anything about her past… or us.”

“She doesn’t remember…?” Hermione repeated slowly, and the implication of Harry’s words struck her as they both exchanged glances; if Ginny had lost her memory, it would mean that she did not remember Harry, their relationship and, therefore, the fact that they were to be married.

“Oh, my dear,” Andromeda said sympathetically, “that must be so difficult for you.”

“We aren’t sure why,” Harry continued, “but I’m hoping once we get Ginny to Saint Mungo’s, they’ll be able to sort it out and help her regain her memory. As for what happened at the park, the next thing I remember after the Death Eaters found us, I woke up, tied up in the carriage house at Malfoy Manor and—”

“At our home?” Narcissa interrupted completely shocked, and turned toward her son. “Draco, please explain how this can be, since when I last spoke to you, you told me that you were not involved with the people who attacked Harry.”

“Yes, Draco,” Harry smirked, quirking an eyebrow at Malfoy. “Do explain. From the beginning.”

Draco shot Harry an angry look and he shoved his hands into his pockets. “It will take a while and Ginny and I have been awake most of the night. I’d rather discuss it after—”

“I think we’d all like to hear it now,” Harry insisted. While he wanted to contact the Auror office, he was not about to miss hearing Draco’s recount of what had happened over the past several months; and more importantly, he wanted to be present when Ginny learned the truth.

“I’d rather hear everything now, too,” Ginny added. It was about time she had her questions answered.

“Then please, everyone,” Andromeda said, “there’s no need to stand. Make yourselves comfortable and I’ll bring us some tea; it was just about ready before you arrived.”

Andromeda hurried into the kitchen, and much to Harry’s annoyance, Draco moved toward the couch to sit near his mother, offering Ginny the seat beside him. Harry’s scowl deepened, but before he could object, Hermione took his hand into hers to lead him out to the porch and out of ear shot of the others.

“I want to hear about what happened, but I think it’s more important that I contact Ron,” she said quietly. “He should be here and it might be easier on Ginny to meet at least one person from her family before seeing everyone else all at once.”

“Good idea,” Harry replied, “I assume he’s at the office?”

At her affirmative nod, Harry added wearily, “Ask him to get here as soon as possible, but don’t let on why. I don’t want anyone in the office doing anything before I get the chance to talk to them. I do want to send some people over to check out Malfoy Manor, although there’s probably no rush at his point since I’m sure the Death Eaters have all gone by now.”

“I can’t believe you’ve found Ginny!” Hermione said, taking both of his hands into hers and giving them a reassuring squeeze. “But how are you, really, I mean?”

“She doesn’t remember me, Hermione,” Harry said quietly, bowing his head sadly. “Ginny has no idea who I am.”

“I’m so sorry,” Hermione said sympathetically. “I’m sure you’re right and the healers at Saint Mungo’s will find a way to bring her memory back.”

“But it’s not just her memory…” Harry said. Every time he thought about Ginny’s reaction to him, his insides twisted into tight, painful knots that he doubted he could ever find a way to untangle. “She acts like she’s afraid of me.”

“I doubt that it’s you Ginny’s afraid of,” Hermione replied confidently. “This whole situation has to be frightening for her.”

“You didn’t see the way she was looking at me earlier,” Harry said dejectedly. “Granted, the first time she saw me, I tried to beat the life out of Malfoy, but still—”

“That’s why the two of you are all bruised up?” Hermione queried. “You got into a fight?”

“Well, mine are from the Death Eaters, not Malfoy,” Harry corrected. “When I saw him with Ginny, I kind of lost it and I went after him. I couldn’t stop myself. Since Ginny doesn’t remember me, she probably thought that I might go after her, too. Who knows what Malfoy’s told her, especially if he—”

“If he what?” Hermione prompted, looking worried when he halted abruptly in mid sentence. “What did he do to her?”

“I don’t know for certain,” Harry replied. “I don’t feel like getting into it right now.”

“Harry…” Hermione started, sounding quite annoyed with him, but then she suddenly cried out, “Your shoulder is bleeding!”

Harry glanced sideways at his left shoulder where he saw a deep red stain of blood seeping through his shirt. “Yeah, well, Golden Mask’s hospitality leaves something to be desired.”

Hermione quickly stepped behind him and gently pulled up the hem of his shirt.

“Hermione! Don’t—” Harry tried to stop her but it was too late.

“They whipped you!” Hermione exclaimed, aghast, and she raised his shirt higher. Harry heard her gasp again. “It’s no wonder you were in pain when I hugged you. You should get to Saint Mungo’s yourself!”

“Not until I get all the information I can out of Malfoy. I won’t take the chance that he’ll go into hiding.”

“But these wounds—”

“Can wait,” Harry finished for her. The last thing he needed at the moment was Hermione mollycoddling him and he said impatiently, “Weren’t you going to go find Ron?”

Hermione eyed him doubtfully, but reading the stubborn set of his jaw, she wisely decided not to push him for now. “Promise me that you won’t do anything to Malfoy before we get back.”

“I’ll try to restrain myself,” Harry replied dryly.

After Hermione was gone, Harry remained on the porch for a while, gazing out at the yard at nothing in particular. He was feeling extremely tired and the pain across his back was getting increasingly worse; although he found the physical pain easier to deal with than the sharp, cold ache that had taken up residence within his heart. His desire, his need, to take Ginny into his arms to feel the warmth of her body against his once again was nearly overwhelming. Throughout the war and its aftermath, during the funerals and the tears and the feelings of guilt that followed, Ginny had been there for him. She had been his rock, his sanity check and his greatest source of comfort, even as she herself dealt with the loss of her brother and their many friends. Now, when she was the one thing that he desperately needed, she was the one thing he could not have.

Harry took a deep breath and let it out slowly. He could not let himself dwell on this cruel twist of fate; instead, he had to concentrate on finding Golden Mask and his followers, because until they were safely locked away, Ginny’s life remained in constant danger. Therefore, he needed to learn all that he could from Malfoy.

Knowing that he would have to give in to his need for sleep soon, Harry went back inside the cottage. He glanced over to where Ginny was seated next to Malfoy, sipping her tea, and his eyes narrowed dangerously. The promise he had made to Hermione to do nothing to Malfoy might not be that easy to keep.

Harry reluctantly took a seat opposite Ginny and Draco, and accepted a cup from Andromeda.

“Where’s Teddy?” He asked, realizing for the first time that he had not seen his godson present.

“Still asleep. He had another nightmare last night and I couldn’t get him back to bed until nearly six thirty this morning,” Andromeda explained sadly. “What happened at the park has triggered them again.”

Ginny glanced furtively at Harry, recalling what he said about how the first Death Eater attack had affected the child and her heart went out to the boy. The angry tick she saw in his jaw made it evident how furious he was by the news.

“Just like before, he was crying that the bad men were after him and that they wanted hurt him,” Andromeda continued worriedly. “But he should be up in an hour or so. Hopefully seeing both you and Ginny will be of some help and comfort to him.”

“I won’t leave until after I’ve seen him, then,” Harry promised.

“Thank you,” Andromeda replied gratefully. “I was hoping that you wouldn’t.”

“So, Draco,” Harry said, looking pointedly at the blond man, “Might as well begin with the explanations, shouldn’t you?”

Just as all eyes turned expectantly to Draco, they heard someone at the door and Hermione let herself in.

“You’re back soon. Where’s Ron?” Harry asked. He thought he heard Malfoy let out a nervous gulp and he smiled to himself. Surely Malfoy realized that the beating Harry had given him was nothing compared to what each of Ginny’s brothers would do if they got their hands on him.

“He wasn’t around,” Hermione replied, somewhat out of breath. “Neither was anyone else from your team and all they would tell me is that everyone was out on an assignment. I left a message for Ron to come here when he gets back.”

“Perhaps you’d better start talking before Ron gets here,” Harry said, looking coolly at Draco and unable to resist the taunt. “I bet he won’t be in a friendly mood to greet you, either.”

Draco shot Harry an irritated look and leaned forward with his head bowed, resting his elbows on his knees.

“We’re waiting, Draco,” Narcissa said sternly.

Draco sighed heavily, cleared his throat uncomfortably and began.

“Not long after Father’s conviction, I was approached by a couple of people—”

“Who?” Harry interrupted. Unaffected by Draco’s glare, Harry added, “You might as well start providing names now as you go; it will save us time later.”

Draco continued to eye Harry coldly but he complied, “I was approached by Malcolm Baddock and Marcus Flint, who believed, as I did, that you,” Draco indicated Harry with undisguised resentment, “were using your influence with the Minister to ensure certain Death Eaters were given the harshest sentences possible.”

All eyes turned to Harry, but he made no comment to confirm or deny Draco’s claim.

“Both Baddock and Flint’s fathers had been sent to Azkaban the week before and they asked me to accompany them to a meeting to discuss ways to get back at you as well as the new Ministry. I figured it couldn’t hurt to hear more, so I went. When each person arrived, we were given masks to wear before we were allowed into the meeting room. I thought it was rather ridiculous, but they insisted that it was supposed to keep each of us from recognizing the others. Once we were gathered, another masked man came in and explained that he was looking for people who either had an ax to grind with Potter or the new Ministry. That was my first contact with the man in the golden mask. I later learned that he had specifically asked Baddock and Flint to recruit me.”

“I understand that you were angry, Draco,” Narcissa interjected, her disappointment clear in her voice; “but after everything that happened during the war and after all the blood that has been shed, how could you agree to take part in plans that might lead to more death?”

“Mother,” Draco’s anger drained away in the wake of Narcissa’s condemning tone and words, “I truly had no idea at that point his plans included killing anyone; I don’t think any of us did. He held several meetings after that where he’d go on about giving us all a chance to avenge our fathers as well as the Dark Lord by punishing Potter and the new Ministry. But up until the night of the attack, I assumed all we were going to do is mess Potter up a bit and embarrass the new Ministry enough so that Shacklebolt would have to resign.”

“You are one of them, then,” Ginny clarified in a low voice, staring into her tea rather than looking at Draco or anyone else in the room. “You weren’t just out riding your broom that night as you claimed, but you came as one of them to attack us, just like Harry said earlier.”

Draco fidgeted uncomfortably and let out a slow breath, “Uh, yeah.”

“Why did Golden Mask ask Baddock and Flint recruit you?” Harry continued his line of questioning while the creature in his chest relaxed slightly, feeling somewhat placated. Ginny had made no other comment, but she was tapping her index finger lightly against her teacup. He recognized it as a sure sign that she was becoming angry but she was trying to keep her temper in check. At last she was beginning to see through to the true Draco and the lies he was capable of.

“He wanted me to provide what funds I could to help pay the contacts he had made within the Ministry.”

“We’ve assumed that he has someone in the Ministry working for him,” Harry said. “Who are they?”

“I don’t know,” Draco answered.

“Draco, please,” Narcissa pleaded. “You must cooperate with Harry and tell him everything.”

“I honestly don’t know who they are!” Draco insisted. “All I know is that he has several contacts. Although based on the information they’ve supplied, I assume there’s someone in the Security Department.”

This bit of information further confirmed Harry’s and his team’s suspicions about where at least one Ministry leak was located; but if Draco could not provide him with names, how were they to discover exactly who Golden Mask’s contacts were?

“Eventually,” Draco continued, “we were told that our first mission, if you want to call it that, was to find a way to get to Potter either right before or during his wedding.”

Draco paused to run a hand nervously through his hair and he looked at his mother, “Somehow, he found out that Silas Adelcomb was a friend of ours and he asked me to enlist his help.”

“Oh, Draco, no!” Narcissa gasped.

“He knew about Silas’s reputation for creating new spells as well as breaking through curses and security wards. Once his Ministry contact described the wards that Bill Weasley had around his cottage, Silas was able to develop counter-spells we could use to disrupt or weaken the defenses when Weasley put them back up again. He also came up with a charm that would turn our brooms into Portkeys if we were rendered unconscious.”

“Did he have Silas killed?” Andromeda asked.

“I’m not sure,” Draco replied, “but probably.”

“The night you met with Silas Adelcomb in the Dark Specter,” Harry queried, “I heard that he was with someone named Joddy. What can you tell me about him?”

Draco seemed taken aback that Harry knew about that particular meeting, but then he replied, “His real name is Jodfree; first name is Tom. He’s kind of like Golden Mask’s lieutenant; often when he wants something done, Joddy’s the one who relays his orders. ”

“Jodfree?” Harry repeated, frowning.

“Do you know him?” Hermione asked hopefully.

“No, but I know someone with the same last name,” Harry said. Then he asked Draco, “Do you know if he is any relation to Svenson Jodfree, or have you ever heard that name before?”

“I have no idea, and it doesn’t sound familiar,” Draco answered.

“Now that you mention it, I have heard that name somewhere before,” Hermione mused.

“I’ve told you about him,” Harry answered. “He’s one of the Aurors from Internal Investigations who questioned me after Dingo was murdered. He all but accused me of being the one who killed him.”

Ginny glanced at Harry, but when their eyes met, she quickly looked away from him uncomfortably; here was yet another mention of Harry’s connection to a murder.

“Do you think he could be the contact in the Ministry?” Andromeda asked.

“I’m certainly going to look into it,” Harry answered but the expression he had seen in Ginny’s eyes before she looked away troubled him. Had it been fear or accusation?

Mentally shaking himself, he turned back to Draco. “So the Death Eaters found a way past Bill’s wards. Who were you told to target in the attack?”

“Before we got there, we were told it was mainly you,” Draco said. “Then Ginny ran out of the cottage alone.”

“I did?” Ginny asked, wondering what would possess her to do something so completely stupid.

“Everything was happening so fast,” Hermione explained. “We didn’t realize that Teddy was still outside and you were the first one to see him. You ran out to help him and then Harry ran out after you.”

“That’s when his orders changed,” Draco explained and paused, obviously quite reluctant to go on.

“And his new orders were to drive Ginny toward the cliff?” Harry prompted, his anger rising anew.

“Yeah,” Draco affirmed.

“But why?” Ginny asked frowning.

“He wanted to send you over the cliff to your death right in front of Harry,” Hermione replied in disgust. “Whoever he is, he wants to hurt Harry as much as possible.”

“That’s why you said that Harry is responsible for what happened to me?” Ginny asked as her mind began to work through this new information.

Draco nodded affirmatively and continued, “Once Ginny was near the edge, we were told to Apparate away. All of the others were already gone, but before I left, I saw Golden Mask shoot at both of you; and then Ginny fell… I was barely able to catch her before she hit the water, although once I got her to the manor, I realized that she was pretty banged up. She must have hit something when she fell.”

Draco went on to explain about the nurse he had hired to look after Ginny and his surprise when she awoke with no memory.

When he admitted, albeit extremely reluctantly, that he had informed Golden Mask about Harry and Teddy’s trips to the park, Narcissa was just barely able to stop Andromeda from hexing Draco in anger for the danger his actions had put Teddy in. Harry remained seated as everyone else in the room worked desperately to calm Andromeda down. He saw no reason to interfere; in his opinion, it would serve Draco right if she were to blast him off the face of the Earth.

When at last it finally seemed that Draco was out of immediate danger from his aunt’s wrath, he continued his story. Andromeda was mollified slightly when he emphasized that he had not been the one who informed the Death Eaters of Harry and Teddy’s plan to visit the park on the day the Death Eaters found them.

As Draco went on to explain about their escape from Malfoy Manor the previous night, Ginny could not stop thinking about the attack at her brother’s house. Draco’s description of the events from that night on the cliff was eerily similar to her nightmare, and Ginny felt a sense of panic start to build deep within her chest.

In her dreams, someone who terrified her was beside her on a cliff and there was also a dark haired man in the distance; she could never see his features clearly, but she remembered feeling such wonderful joy when she saw him; until the curse hit him square in the chest and he fell to the ground, where he remain motionless…

Ginny tried, but she was unable to quell her fear and push the image of her tormentor or the stricken man out of her mind. Her entire body started to tremble uncontrollably until panic finally crashed over her completely, eradicating all rational thought. The cup of tea she was holding slipped from her numb fingers and shattered on the floor, sending shards of glass and drops of tea splattering across the floor. Then the room went dark.

Harry knew Ginny was trying to avoid looking directly at him as Draco spoke, and while that made him feel even worse, it did allow him to safely watch her without her noticing. He became worried when the color drained from her face and he then he noticed that her hands were shaking. At first he only saw a slight tremor, but then her entire body began to tremble.

When the cup fell from Ginny’s hands, Harry was the first to see her pitch forward and he moved as quickly as he could, ignoring the searing pain across his back caused by his sudden movement.

“Ginny!” he called out worriedly, and reached her just in time to keep her from falling to the floor.

Her eyes were closed tightly, and she cried “No! Please no!” over and over in a frightened voice.

“Shh, Gin,” Harry comforted in her ear, holding her trembling body close. “It’s okay. You’re safe here.”

Ginny’s eyes flew open and she looked around wildly at the people standing around her. Harry pulled back from her slightly to see her face, but when her eyes focused on him, Ginny became even more terrified and she began to fight against his embrace.

“No!” she cried, pummeling Harry’s chest with her fists. “Don’t—”

“I’m not going to hurt you,” Harry replied, as coldness took hold of the pit of his stomach. “Ginny, please…”

Nothing Harry said eased Ginny’s fear. Instead, his words only seemed to increase her panic.

Hermione kneeled down beside them, to take Ginny’s hands into hers. “Ginny, you’re with friends. You’re safe here.”

Hermione’s voice slowly penetrated Ginny’s fear and, reluctantly, Harry moved away, allowing Hermione to take his place beside her when he realized that she was having a more soothing effect on Ginny than he was.

As Ginny calmed, she slowly became aware of the group of concerned people watching her. Her face flamed with embarrassment when she realized that she had just experienced a full-fledged panic attack in front of everyone present, and it had happened while she was completely awake, not as a result of a nightmare.

“I’m sorry,” she said feebly. “I don’t know what just happened…”

“Oh, my dear, there is no need to apologize,” Andromeda insisted as Hermione gently helped Ginny to her feet. “You have been through a frightening ordeal. Hermione, why don’t you take Ginny upstairs so she can rest?”

“Of course,” Hermione replied, keeping her arm around her friend.

Ginny allowed Hermione to lead her toward the stairs, grateful for the excuse to get away from all of the worried faces; all, that was, with the exception of Harry’s.

Ginny quickly looked around for him and found that he had retreated to the far side of the room where he was staring out the window with is back toward all of them. She felt that she should speak to him, but she had no idea of what to say, so she silently went upstairs with Hermione.

“This was Tonks’s room,” Hermione said showing Ginny into a small bedroom with a canopy bed.

As Ginny sat down wearily on the bed, Hermione added for the younger girl’s benefit, “Her name was actually Nymphadora, which she hated, so everyone called her Tonks. She was Andromeda’s daughter; Teddy’s mum.”

“Where is she now?” Ginny asked, wondering why the woman wasn’t living with her young son.

“Both she and her husband, Remus Lupin, died in the Battle of Hogwarts,” Hermione replied solemnly.

“Oh.” That was the second time today she’d heard reference to the Battle of Hogwarts and, while she was curious, she was too tired to feel up to asking more about a war at the moment. “I’m sorry. She was a friend of yours, then?”

Hermione turned to her, sadness showing in her eyes, “Yes. She was your friend, too; so was Remus.”

“Hopefully it won’t be long before I can remember them,” Ginny sighed. “And everyone else again.”

“I hope so, too, but for now, what you need the most is some sleep,” Hermione admonished. “I’m expecting Ron, er, that’s your brother, and my husband, to be here soon. You’ll need as much rest as you can get before you see him and the rest of your family. Besides your parents, you have quite a few brothers.”

“I know,” Ginny said, the hint of a smile forming on her face. “Harry’s told me about them.”

“You’ve talked to Harry, then?” Hermione asked, her eyebrows rising.

“A little,” Ginny shrugged as she lay down on the bed. “He answered some of my questions about my family before we came here.”

“Oh, good.” Hermione covered the younger girl with a light quilt, but Ginny sensed that her sister-in-law wanted to say more.

Hermione moved toward the door but then halted and turned back to the younger girl.

“Ginny…” She frowned as if struggling to find the right words.

“Hmm?” Ginny responded through the sleep that was already trying to descend upon her.

“Well… there are some things you ought to know.” Hermione paused before adding, “About Harry, I mean.”

Ginny looked at her sister-in-law cautiously. “Oh?”

“For one, you and Harry were going to be married the day after the attack.”

“I know,” Ginny replied, rubbing her hand across her eyes. “He told me that, too.”

“I think you should also know that he didn’t have a very easy time of it growing up,” Hermione continued and Ginny found herself listening intently. “Those Muggles who raised him, if you can call it that, were absolutely horrible to him; they never loved him or cared about him. They treated him more like an unwanted pet than a child. He had no idea what it was like to be part of a loving and caring family until he met Ron. Molly and Arthur, they’re your parents, practically adopted him. And then there were other, um… things he discovered toward the end of the war, but I don’t think he would have truly come to understand what it was to love or to be loved without you.”

“I only learned who he is yesterday,” Ginny said and, although she felt sympathy for the boy that Hermione described, she wondered whether her sister-in-law was trying to make her feel guilty in some way. “Then this morning I come to find out I was supposed to marry him! Even though he’s still a stranger to me, don’t you think I can tell that my inability to remember him bothers him?”

“It more than bothers him,” Hermione countered, solemnly. “He loves you so much. Thinking you had died nearly destroyed him.”

Silence passed between the two women as Ginny debated whether to broach the subject that was truly bothering her. There was something about her sister-in-law that both annoyed her and that she liked, but her instincts were telling her Hermione was someone whom she could trust.

“You know Harry well, then?” Ginny finally asked tentatively.

“I’ve known him since we were both eleven,” Hermione replied with a smile. “I consider him to be the perfect combination of the brother I never had and my very best friend, other than Ron, that is. So yes, I know him very well.”

“I was wondering…” Ginny struggled to find the best way to phrase her question as the frightening image of the dark-haired man from her nightmare flashed through her mind. “Do you think he’s capable of… what I mean is, has he ever done anything… bad to anyone?”

“To other than Voldemort, you mean?” Hermione asked. The slight frown that creased the younger girl’s brow made it clear that she did not remember the Dark Wizard. “Never mind, we’ll get to him soon enough.” And then she said in wonder, “You really are afraid of Harry! Merlin, Ginny, why? You were absolutely and completely thrilled to be marrying him! You’ve been in love with him your entire life!”

Ginny wondered how that could be if Harry had only met her family, and therefore her, when he was eleven.

“There is no reason for you to fear Harry.” Hermione continued emphatically. Then she narrowed her eyes speculatively. “Did Draco try to tell you that there is?”

“Not exactly,” Ginny replied quietly.

“Hmph,” Hermione was clearly annoyed by the thought of what Malfoy may have told her. “Well, I know as sure as I’m talking to you at this very moment that Harry would never, ever harm you.”

When Ginny didn’t seem convinced, Hermione added, “I wish you could believe me, but I’m not being dramatic when I tell you that he would sacrifice himself before he’d let something happen to you or to anyone he loves. If you could only remember everything he’s done…”

Hermione stopped speaking abruptly and then she continued more calmly, “Look, Ginny, I’m sorry. It’s just that I hate to see the two of you torn apart like this when I know how happy you were together. I pray that we find a way to restore your memory soon, but until then, no matter what the reason is that you are afraid of him, try! Try to get beyond it and give Harry a chance because I know with all my heart you’ll be very glad that you did.”

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