The blood pounded in Ginny’s ears. Her hand was still in Draco’s even though they had landed in the forest surrounding the Burrow five minutes ago. She could feel her palms beginning to sweat. Why was she so nervous?
“Should we go?” Draco asked, she could hear a hint of uncertainty in his voice. The presence of his hand in hers became unbearable and she moved to let go, but his grip was too tight. “Oh, sorry” He looked away and let her hand fall from his. She immediately missed the warmth of his hand as the icy wind nipped at her fingers.
“Let’s go,” Ginny tried to sound confident, if they had still been holding hands Draco would have known she was shaking like a leaf. Ginny looked Draco’s disguise one last time and they made their way to the Burrow.
As they approached they could hear voices arguing. The order must have returned, which meant Mrs. Weasley would be wondering where Ginny was. As they reached the garden in the back of the house a cry was heard from inside. “Ginny’s home! The clock says Ginny is home!”
Before Ginny could take another step the backdoor swung open. Ginny went to push Draco behind her, as if to protect him, but he stood his ground. Her hand fell into his again and they stood still. To Ginny’s delight Bill was the first one to see them. He quickly drew her into a hug, awkwardly pulling on the hand that was still entwined with Draco’s, she quickly let go of it.
Mrs. Weasley came out next; she was grasping a dish towel and trying hard not to cry. She smothered Ginny in a hug and begged her to never “frighten her like that again”. Ginny tried reassuring her mother as best as she could but she eventually had to pass her off to her father, who simply told her how glad he was to see that she was okay.
Before anyone else could bombard her Arthur ushered them back inside. No one had noticed Draco’s presence but she was sure as soon as the disguise wore off they would. She grabbed Bill before he could enter the house; she decided it might be good to have one person know what was actually going on.
“Who are you?” Bill asked as Draco slowly approached them, he moved to cover Ginny but she stopped him.
“I brought him here,” Ginny began to explain.
“That’s Malfoy?” Bill questioned automatically, Draco and Ginny exchanged confused glances; how could he know? “I saw you apparate out of the party with her. Why?”
“My aunt would have killed her if we had stayed,” Draco explained. “I know you think I’m bad but I’m not. That’s why I’m here, with Ginny, to get help”
“I believe you, but you’re going to have to convince my parents and Ron.” Bill handled the news calmly and Ginny silently thanked him. Draco was going to need all the help he could get to convince the rest of the Weasleys. The group made their way inside, before anyone could start worrying again.
As they entered the house they were hit by the aroma of fresh cookies. Mrs. Weasley always baked when she was nervous. The living room was packed with the Weasleys, the order and much to Ginnys surprise Blaise, Teresa and Teresa’s parents. Teresa was nearly sitting on Blaise’s lap due to the lack of room, but neither of them seemed to mind it.
Arthur stood near a cleared seat obviously meant for Ginny however she stayed standing. She would have to stay with Draco, to ensure he was able to get his complete story out before anyone attacked him. Bill stayed close as well, keeping an eye on Ron, who sat talking to Harry across the room.
“Ginny, who’s that?” Molly asked suspiciously.
“This is-“Ginny paused and turned towards Draco, she could see his disguise was slowly diminishing, “He’s a friend of mine, he was also at the party. He actually helped me escape.” Technically he kidnapped her but they didn’t need to know that.
“He looks oddly familiar, do we know you?” Molly now addressed Draco directly.
“Yes, you do know me.” Draco stepped forward; his confident manner had the whole room looking at him. “I don’t usually look like this; Ginny placed a spell on me so as to make this situation a little easier.” The room was silent; everyone was staring at Draco, completely lost. He looked at Ginny, as if asking for permission to continue. She turned to Bill and sent a concerning glance towards Ron, he got the message and moved closer to his brother.
“I’d like to tell you my story before I tell you my name,” No one objected so Draco continued “My father is a death eater and he wants me to become one as well. For a while my father had me brainwashed, I used to want to be exactly like him but not anymore. I’ve realized he-wh-“ Draco paused and took a breath, Ginny searched the faces of those around her, could anyone tell who he truly was? Everyone seemed clueless until she met Hermione’s gaze. Her hand was covering her mouth; she looked as if someone hit her with a stunning spell. Of course she would be able to put it together.
Draco finally continued, speaking in a disgusted tone “I realized Voldemort is wrong. I never want to be a part of what he does, if yo-” Draco was cut off by a gasp from the crowd. Ginny turned to see Harry’s eyes growing in recognition.
“Ginny get away from him!” Harry shouted, drawing his wand. The crowd around Draco took a step back but Ginny stood her ground. “He’s lying, Ginny, you can’t trust him”
“I can trust whomever I want, Harry.” Ginny took a step in front of Draco protectively. Bill moved forward to stop Harry if necessary.
“What are you talking about mate?” Ron asked, completely in the dark. Before Harry could reply Draco spoke up.
“The disguise should be wearing off soon, I just wish I had gotten my whole story out first. “ Draco took his wand out, causing Harry to step forward, and pointed it at his face. He removed all leftover spells. Ron jumped from his seat and pointed his wand at Draco, screaming for him to leave. Before he could act on his anger his wand flew out of his hand. Ginny looked for Bill but he was busy controlling Harry, instead Hermione was the one holding Ron’s wand. Ron stared at her with a look of betrayal.
“Sit down, Ron” Hermione said sternly. “You have no right to freak out. You too Harry, sit and let Draco finish.” Hermione’s voice was ice cold and had Ron and Harry sitting immediately. Hermione looked around the room, daring anyone else to interrupt. When she was sure no one else would she sat back down and motioned for Draco to continue.
“Thank you, mud-Gra-Hermione,” It took Draco a moment to speak her name then he forced a smile. Ginny believed he didn’t want to be a deatheater but she didn’t believe he had no prejudice against muggle borns. It took a lot to put what he’s been taught all his life aside and act like a completely different person. She was truly impressed by him. “I’m already risking my life just being here, I hope that helps prove my sincerity at least a little. I don’t expect to be trusted completely; I just want to be given a chance.”
“Why should we give you a chance, after everything you’ve done to us?” Ron shouted, ignoring Hermione’s glare. Ginny moved to interrupt but Draco silenced her.
“What have I ever done to you, personally?” Draco asked, his voice was calm but Ginny could feel the anger radiating off of him. “My father has done some stupid stuff that I know hurt your family, especially Ginny but I didn’t have a hand in that. The only thing I’ve ever done is bully you, which I apologize for. But did you not give it right back to me?”
Draco’s insufferable smirk grew as Ron sat silent. Bill stood to speak. “Draco has presented his case to us and I think the order as a whole should come to a decision over it.” The members of the order agreed and asked any non-members to leave the room. Hermione pulled Harry and Ron upstairs and Ginny lead Draco to the back. She motioned for Blaise and Teresa to follow.
The cold air of the night felt refreshing. Ginny and Draco stood by the back door, waiting for Blaise and Teresa. Ginny threw her arms around Teresa as she exited the house. Ginny was surprised to see Blaise and Draco exchange a hug as well; however it didn’t last as long as Teresa and hers.
Once they pulled away from each other Teresa moved towards Draco and gave him a hug. He seemed taken aback. He reluctantly wrapped his arms around her as he realized she wasn’t going to let go until he hugged her back. Blaise chuckled in amusement then turned towards Ginny and held his arms out for a hug. Ginny smiled and obliged, it felt nice to be close to her friends, she hadn’t had that in awhile.
Ginny almost felt as if she should hug Draco but she wasn’t sure if that was taking it too far. Having risked enough tonight she decided to leave the hug for another day. The group sat on benches in the garden and Teresa began to explain what happened after Ginny and Draco apparated.
The order fought off the death eaters as best they could then took Blaise, Teresa and her parents to the Burrow. The other guests were able to escape by themselves, mostly unharmed. They weren’t sure of the condition of Teresa’s house; her parents didn’t think it was worth risking any more lives to return. Teresa’s parents had been threatened several times by the deatheaters to pick a side but it was normal, they usually just left them alone. Ginny realized this was what Teresa had wanted to tell her at the party, before the guys came back from getting their drinks. She wished she would have known. Ginny put a comforting arm around Teresa but other than that she had no clue what to do or say. She just hoped they would eventually be able to go back home.
Teresa excused herself from the group to speak to her parents, Blaise of course followed. Ginny and Draco were left alone, yet again. Ginny wanted to say something but she wasn’t really sure what.
“I’m glad you’ve changed,” Ginny said lamely, trying to start a civil conversation.
“I don’t think you really understand what I’m doing, Weasley” Draco replied, Ginny wasn’t sure how to respond. “I know what you must think, what everyone probably thinks. I realized all the bad my father was doing and now I want to be good. But it’s not that easy. All those times my father would dress up in his cloak and mask when I was a younger and when mother told me not to look, I knew he wasn’t going out caroling. I knew what he was up to and I knew it wasn’t right. But he’s my father, he’s my role model, my hero He’s the one person I should be able to look to when I need help and now I can’t.”
During his outburst of emotions Draco had turned from Ginny and stood facing the forest. She walked around him to see his face; “Now you can be your own hero” Draco rolled his eyes and smirked in bemusement.
“Well aren’t you insightful “Draco said sarcastically, Ginny shoved him with her shoulder playfully. They stood next to each other in silence, their shoulders touching slightly. Ginny turned and looked up at him; the soft light of the moon was playing off his hair, making it appear almost brown. He turned towards her, his grey eyes boring into hers.
Brown hair, grey eyes? Why is that so familiar? Ginny thought to herself. Images from the masquerade ball and Darcy flashed through her head. The feel of dancing with the mysterious Darcy, the same feeling while dancing with Draco. Luna’s cryptic comments on her seeing him over the break. It all made sense now.
Darcy is Draco
Ginny couldn’t help but gasp slightly. Draco turned to her in confusion, or was that concern? Ginny searched his face trying to decipher his true feelings. She could feel the heat of his body; she had a sudden urge to move closer to him. She felt her body move on its own accord. Their eyes stayed locked, his expression changed from concern to something else. Something Ginny had never seen before. Was it tenderness?
Ginny realized with surprise that they were slowly moving closer. Flashbacks from their dinner in the kitchen popped into her head. Was he going to kiss her? Was she going to let him? Why wasn’t she stopping him? He was a Malfoy. He was evil. But he was also Darcy. He was sweet, charming. He was mere centimeters from her; she had to make a decision.
“Ginny, come inside, you’re going to freeze!” Draco took a step back but Ginny wasn’t going to let it end like that. She took another step forward and without a second thought closed the distance between them. Ginny’s lips tenderly touched Draco’s and without hesitation he responded. Her arms slowly wrapped around his neck as his snaked around her waist.
This was the third time she was kissing Draco Malfoy yet it was like nothing she had ever felt before. It felt so comfortable, so right. They fit together so perfectly like their bodies were formed from the same mold. Draco lifted his head slightly, breaking the kiss.
“Never thought a Weasley would kiss a Malfoy,” Draco said, his usually smirk was replaced by a small smile.
“That’s not what just happened though,” Ginny replied, matter-of-factly. Draco eyed her in confusion; she smiled and continued “A Ginny just kissed a Darcy”
It wasn’t sarcastic, it wasn’t fake. Draco genuinely laughed and Ginny loved the sound of it. “When did you find out?” he asked, his body still shaking with silent laughter.
“Just now, actually. The moon made your hair look brown and it seemed so familiar then I just put the pieced together.” Ginny shrugged with a smile. Now having left each other’s arms Ginny felt a bit chilly, she hugged herself for warmth. She wanted to listen to who ever called out to her and go inside but that could break whatever was happening between her and Draco.
Seeing her shiver Draco placed his arm around her and moved them towards a nearby bench. He cast a heating charm on it and they sat down. Ginny couldn’t help but smile at how gentle and polite he was. “How long were you planning it?” Ginny asked, breaking the silence.
“Once you questioned my dancing abilities I had to prove you wrong” Draco answered honestly. “You know this doesn’t change much. Us being…like this” Draco seemed uncertain of how to describe what they were.
“Us being a couple?” Ginny asked, she knew assuming they were a thing could be a huge mistake but she couldn’t deal with confusing relationship statuses.
“Yeah,” Draco said, more certainly. “I mean I’m not this gushy, emotional man. I don’t love you. Honestly I hate you sometimes but since the beginning of school; since you were placed in Slytherin something has been bugging me. Every time I saw you laughing or having fun with Blaise I would get so annoyed and then when you took that potion and went all crazy I nearly lost it. I carried you all the way to the infirmary. I stayed with you as much as I could and I had no clue why. It was just so bloody confusing!” Ginny laughed, causing Draco to scowl.
“Trust me I don’t want you to change. I want you to be the same annoying, grumpy, sarcastic little man that you’ve always been. Just maybe you could be a little bit nicer?”
“I’ll try but I’m not making any promises” Draco replied with a smile.
“Ginny, are you still out there?” The same voice called out again. Ginny now realized it was Blaise. She jumped up and told her they’d be right in. Draco stood and offered his hand to Ginny. They walked with their hands together until they reached the door. Before entering they made sure there was a decent amount of space between them.
As they entered the house they were greeted by a surprising sight. Dumbledore stood in the middle of the living room talking to Teresa and her parents. Ginny and Draco exchanged confused glances. Blaise noticed their confusion and walked over to explain however Dumbledore turned and got to it first.
“Ah, there you two are. You must have been talking about something pretty serious to stay outside that long.” Dumbledore said, Ginny knew he somehow knew exactly what they had been up to. She hoped everyone would dismiss her blushing as a reaction from her being outside. She scowled at how collected Draco appeared. “Now we must bring you two up to date. Come sit by the fire and I’ll explain everything” Dumbledore smiled at the couple warmly and ushered them towards the couch.
Ginny took the armchair while Draco sat on the love chair. Their separation but have seemed too deliberate because Blaise eyed them suspiciously. Dumbledore gave them both a look that seemed to say he knew exactly what they were doing.
“While you two were off lollygagging around I unearthed some new facts.” Again Ginny blushed at Dumbledore’s comments. “The reason the deatheaters attacked the Kildee Manor is that they’re getting anxious. A new prophecy was made a few months ago by a seer I trust very well. Voldemort has found out about its existence however he doesn’t know what it is exactly.”
“What is it?” Ginny and Draco asked at the same time, they exchanged a bemused glance which Dumbledore did not miss.
“I am unable to divulge such information at this time however I hope to soon be able to.” Dumbledore looked over the two Slytherins curiously, as if studying their every move.
“What am I supposed to do now?” Draco asked, he seemed anxious himself.
“The order has decided to put you under their protection. You will stay with one of the members until we can figure out what to do about your parents” Dumbledore responded.
“I can’t be taken from my parents. Voldemort will think they’re hiding me. He’ll kill them!” Draco’s voice grew in volume and his anger rose.
“That’s their fault for making stupid choices,” A snide voice sounded from the doorway. Ginny turned to see Ron, he looked pissed. Bill stood behind him, his hand guiding him towards the kitchen. Ginny could see Draco’s anger rising but he didn’t respond.
“I have to go back home,” Draco sounded calm but his hands were shaking.
“You can’t, you’ll be killed!” Ginny couldn’t help but react. They finally reach some kind of breakthrough in their messed up relationship and he decides to get a death wish?
“I won’t have my parents killed because of me,” Draco spoke directly to Ginny now.
“There has to be a way to keep us all alive.”
“There is but it’s not exactly safe,” Dumbledore’s tone was hard and serious.
“I’ll do it.” Draco seemed to understand what he meant but Ginny was lost.
“Have you studied Occlumency?” Dumbledore asked, Ginny suddenly realized what was going on.
“You can’t be a spy, you could die!” Ginny jumped up from the couch, earning her a curious gaze from the room’s occupants. Realizing she sounded a little too concerned she quickly tried to fix her mistake. “I mean they’ll kill you and your family if they find out. Then all of this would be pointless.” Most of the room seemed to believe it however Dumbledore and Blaise didn’t seem convinced.
“I’m a very accomplished Occlumens” Draco said to Dumbledore, ignoring Ginny.
“Test me” Dumbledore turned towards Draco. The pair seemed to have a staring contest but Ginny knew Dumbledore was attempting to break through the deepest recesses of Draco’s mind.
After what felt like an eternity Dumbledore turned from Draco with a content smile: he passed the test. Draco had his usual smirk plastered on his face. It was obvious that he was proud of his ability.
“Am I right to assume Severus taught you?” Dumbledore asked, Draco seemed surprised that he knew but replied in the affirmative. “As long as you don’t talk directly to Voldemort too often I think you will be able to pull this off. However I would like to take some extra precautions.” Ginny couldn’t believe Dumbledore was going to let him do this.
“Has anyone explained how the order knew to go to the Kildee’s house” The young Slytherins shook their heads no. Ginny had been wondering how they knew but certain things had caused her to forget about it. Before Dumbledore could explain further Bill walked forward, holding a small box in his hand. It looked like something jewelry would be kept in.
“I would like to explain, if you don’t mind professor?” Bill eyed Ginny nervously, she had a bad feeling about what was about to happen. Dumbledore motioned towards him to go and Bill stepped up. “There’s an old spell in Romania that is used to locate loved ones in need of help. Artisans there have mastered the craft of placing that spell into objects that people can carry with them. That way the spell is always able to be utilized. While Charlie was working there he heard of these and told me about it. I thought it’d be a great gift, for Ginny. He customized a necklace for her and we gave it to her for Christmas. The spell that the necklace is enhanced with picks up on the emotions of Ginny and detects whether or not she is afraid and needs help. The bracelet Charlie and I have will start to heat up to notify us.”
Ginny wasn’t sure what to say. She felt betrayed but at the same time grateful. Bill watched Ginny tentatively. As if waiting for her to strike out at him. Draco was merely looking at the box Bill was holding. It was now obvious that it contained another necklace. Ginny was having trouble picturing Draco wearing any type of jewelry.
“We don’t have time to get you your own set so Charlie has agreed to give you his. We’ve altered the spell slightly so it works both ways. If Ginny needs help you and I will know and if you need help her and I will know.” Ginny had yet to make a comment so Bill continued. “If the bracelet or necklace begins to heat up both of you have to immediately send for Dumbledore, as will I. Are you both okay with that?”
“Am I okay with Weaslette being the one in control of me getting help?” Draco asked, sarcastically. “Wouldn’t be my first choice but I guess I can live with it.”
“The feeling’s mutual.” Ginny spit back, Dumbledore seemed amused by the quarreling. Ginny was glad they could still hate each other without there being any hard feelings.
Draco was given his bracelet, it was a simple chain made from flames linked together. It went with Ginny’s but it was a lot more masculine. Draco seemed hesitant to wear it but spying on Voldemort was a hard task to complete with not help.
Dumbledore pulled Draco aside to talk about what being a spy would entail. Ginny stayed with Teresa and Blaise. None of them said a word, their silence said it all. They were all worried for Draco.
The grim matters that accompanied Voldemort were pushed to the side as Molly began to organize the sleeping arrangements. Ginny tried to get a word in with Draco but her mother insisted she go to bed. It took nearly an hour but soon the house was nearly silent. Only the squeaks of the wood and the low whispering of pillow talk could be heard. Ginny stared at her ceiling contemplating everything that had happened.
How was she supposed to return to Hogwarts and act like everything was normal? Like her life hadn’t been changed drastically. She had just formed some complicated relationship with a spy for Voldemort.
What if Voldemort found out? What if he tried to hurt her? What if he tried to hurt Draco? What was the prophecy that had Dumbledore so worried? And why did Dumbledore seem so fascinated with Draco and her?