Ginny’s hair was bothering her. Had it always been that black? She stroked the long, silky braid, frowning. Muddy images were struggling to surface, but were being held back. She shook her head quickly, releasing the two feet long braid and instead thought of other things. Things like her outfit.
Lilith had wanted to put her in witch’s robes before she boarded the Hogwarts Express but Ginny had refused. Something told her that getting on the train dressed as a witch right off the bat was a bad idea – she needed to appear as a muggle first. So, here she stood in her own room at the manor, scrutinizing her human clothing. She wore a tight black tank top with black jeans that were skin-tight and five-inch long high heeled boots; this is what had appealed to her at the store, much to Lilith’s distaste.
Ginny no longer called her “mother.” It had become apparent to Ginny over the last few weeks that, no matter how she acted, Lilith wasn’t her actual mother. Indeed, she took care of her, but there was a memory of a voice, one that could scare the living Hell out of you in one moment and make you feel completely and utterly safe and loved in the next. Lilith’s could only truly do the first. So, Ginny rebelled in the most silent way she could – she didn’t call Lilith mother. Struggling to remember the sound of the woman’s voice who was really her mum, Ginny groaned as the images became heavier and foggier the more she tried to grasp them. That’s how it was trying to remember her past.
What started all of this wondering about before was how the inhabitants of the manor treated her. Most looked at her in disgust when they thought she and Lilith didn’t see. Others, like Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy, looked at her in shock the first time they saw her before entirely ignoring her existence, save for a few confused gazes. Voldemort himself treated her with sickly sweet respect. It had taken one “my dear” from him in a syrupy yet lethal voice that made Ginny decide he could not be trusted. And when she decided that, she realized that Lilith, the woman claiming to be her mother, could not be trusted either. But Ginny couldn’t go anywhere. So, she bided her time, doing as Lilith told her to do, but at the same time looking forward to going to Hogwarts.
She needed to know who she was.
She needed to put this present behind her, resume the past, and create her future.
She needed to get away from Lilith.
“Lilith needs you in the dining room my dear,” the hiss of the older Malfoy said from the other side of her bedroom door. Ginny paused, waiting for elaboration, and then snapped, “I’ll be there in a moment.”
When she heard no response, she finished getting dressed. After Voldemort had called her “dear,” everyone else had picked up the habit and it had begun to get on her nerves. She roughly shoved the various blades in their holders on her arms, thighs, mid-section, and in her boots. Death had at least taught her one lesson: Trust no one.
Once dressed, she swung open the door and began walking down the halls at a brisk pace, braid swinging back and forth. Secretly, she felt like a complete badass, dressed all in black with weapons concealed all over her body and a really long braid. It helped even more that she had drank a potion that permanently gave her body muscle memories of various styles of fighting. Of course, that was something she kept secret just in case she needed to use it. But still, she felt like a badass walking down the halls of the manor looking as she did.
She paused before entering the dining room, hearing voices on the inside.
“-too dangerous to send her to Hogwarts,” a high cold voice was hissing angrily. “What if she remembers who she is?”
Ginny became instantly alert, realizing that it was Voldemort and that he was talking about her. She inched closer, careful not to let her heels make any noise.
“She won’t, Tom. Ginny has had a very strong memory curse put on her mind, one that will keep her old memories at bay,” Lilith said in a bored voice as if she had repeated it time and time again. Ginny smothered her gasp. She’d been right! Lilith was not to be trusted. She quelled her stricken thoughts and focused more on what was being said.
“-not her memories I’m concerned about, Lilith. It’s the setting and people who might tell her things,” Voldemort snarled. Something crashed, presumably a chair that Voldemort abused in his moment of anger. Ginny considered his words – they were exactly what she had been thinking, that she could ask about herself.
“Ginny is loyal to me. She believes me to be her mother,” Lilith explained impatiently,as if that explained everything. Voldemort snorted and jeered, “And when she meets her siblings? Then how will Mommy handle that?”
Ginny’s heart leaped. She had siblings? Actual brothers and sisters? She needed to know who they were! Right then and there, Ginny prayed to any higher power to have Voldmort or Lilith just mention a name, one that would lead her to her real family.
“I’ll take care of it,” Lilith snapped. Ginny’s heart sank, but jumped again when Lilith continued, “The Weasleys are all in Gryffindor, correct? We’ll just need to make sure Ginny is in Slytherin with the Draco boy.”
Weasley. Ginny committed the name to memory, determined not to forget it, and paused to listen to more.
“Yes, the whole lot of the bloodtraitors are in Gryffindor. But what of the Sorting Hat?” Voldemort inquired irritably. “It’s bound to recognize her mind.”
“Which is why,” Lilith answered slowly, “I had Malfoy brew the potion that would fool the hat and cause it to put see her as a new student and put her in Slytherin.”
“Ahh,” Voldemort said in understanding. It became quiet for a few seconds, so Ginny decided to make her grand entrance. Quietly walking to the end of the hall, she took a deep breath to compose herself and started walking down to the French doors to the dining room, making her steps as loud as she could to announce her arrival. She winced inwardly at the echoing each step made from her heels. How she had gone from feeling so high and mighty to small and alone escaped her, but it was how she felt now after hearing Voldmort and Lilith’s conversation.
She quickly mustered all of her strength and arrogance and pushed the doors open as she normally would have done. This feeling of keeping what she’d heard secret was so strong and important that she became determined to make the impression that she was looking forward to doing as Lilith told her when in fact she was looking forward to finding her family and, more importantly, becoming herself.
“You called, Mother,” Ginny said quickly, flashing her a charming smile. The use of the word worked; Lilith smiled with pride and, throwing Voldemort a quick I-told-you-so-look, she embraced Ginny tightly. Ginny struggled to return the hug, even though she knew that she had to. For the first time, Ginny felt the coldness of, not just Lilith’s personality, but her body too. Had she always been this cold?
“Yes, Ginny,” Lilith said sweetly, finally releasing her. Ginny stood, waiting for what was about to come, and had to force her look of surprise when Lilith pulled a tiny glass vial of a thin, green liquid. Lilith’s hair whipped back and forth around her, making Ginny nervous. She’d never liked her hair.
“You need to drink this,” Lilith instructed, unstopping the vial and handing it carefully to her. Ginny took it and studied the substance. It was thin like oil. And green. Nothing strange about it, really.
“What is it?” Ginny couldn’t contain her question. She knew some of what it would do from her eavesdropping, and normally she wouldn’t have inquired, but she wanted to know the extent of what this potion would do to her.
“It’s just to make you impervious to any truth-telling potions, dear,” Lilith lied smoothly, only adding to Ginny’s list of reasons not to trust the woman. “Now drink up!”
Ginny did as she was told, completely calm on the outside, but panicking on the inside. What if did more than what Lilith had told Voldemort?? What if it messed with Ginny’s thoughts?
Just as she had suspected, it was felt like drinking oil. It slid down her throat quickly and smoothly, ice cold as it did so. She shivered as she felt it hit the pit of her stomach like she had swallowed a ball of ice before feeling a pulse of coldness go throughout her body. Her mouth opened in surprise as she felt her skin changing. Her fingers elongated and became tapered at the end. She could see the end of her nose shifting, very slightly, and becoming just barely different.
When the cold transformation was complete, Ginny grimaced and looked over to the fireplace and caught her reflection in one of the windows. Her face was more angled, as were her eyes, and her cheeks weren’t as round. She looked elegantly dangerous, like a wolf.
“I suppose this must be a side effect,” she said, her voice icy. Lilith frowned, opened her mouth to speak, but Voldemort beat her to it.
“Do not be angry, my dear,” he growled, gripping his wand tightly. “We felt the need to change your appearance for in case someone who has seen you lately would recognize you at Hogwarts.”
Ginny reined in her anger and said as calmly as she could, “How intelligent of the two of you to think of such. However, the train will be leaving soon, so I need to pack my things.”
“Why do you not just get one of the house elves to do so?” Lilith asked, regaining her bored voice. Ginny thought for a moment before answering honestly, “I like the solitude of doing things myself. It helps me think.”
“About what?” Lilith asked in a stunned voice. Ginny decided to answer this honestly too as she walked to the doors to go to her room.
“About my life.”
Ten minutes later, Ginny was once again in her room, staring at her reflection. She was quietly relieved that her hair hadn’t changed; she liked it. But, deep down with the muddy memories, she knew that her hair didn’t look like this before. She idly thought about her hair, imagining herself braiding it, brushing it, styling it, when an image a fiery, blood splattered braid flashed across her mind.
She gasped, recognizing the hair as her own, and gripped her braid tightly. She’d gotten a memory! She excitedly undid her braid and brushed her hair with her fingers, trying to glean more from the memory. Disappointment stained her thoughts when no other memories resurfaced with it? In her desperation, she delved deep into the mud of memories and shifted through them, trying to make sense of them. However, like before, the harder she tried to remember things, the murkier they became.
“Ugh!” she said, throwing her hands up before crossing them and glaring at her reflection in the mirror. This wasn’t her, and neither was the face she had before. But they were all she had.
Ginny shivered, feeling more alone than ever, and decided to distract herself by packing. It didn’t take long, since all she did was take things that had been bought for her out of the bags and put them neatly in her new trunk. When she finished, she stood there for a minute before walking over to a window that overlooked the back garden. She was certain it had been beautiful at one point, but the neglect from Voldemort’s small reign over the manor had caused the flowers and shrubbery to wither and die as well as the empty fountains to crack.
Her eyes surveyed the massive garden, feeling nostalgic for something she couldn’t place, when she noticed a flicker of movement behind a tree. She watched as a young man, probably a few years older than her, walked around the leafless thing as if observing it. He wore only pants, leaving his darkly tanned torso bare. As he walked around and his back became visible to Ginny, she saw why; Two scarlet, black tipped wings were folded loosely behind his back.
Her mouth was open in awe as he stretched them out. His wingspan was probably sixteen feet across, maybe eighteen. And if that wasn’t enough to shock her, what he did next nearly had her face against the glass of the window.
He stopped where he was, back to her, and put both his hands on the tree. Ginny watched, shocked, as a throb went from his palms throughout the wood, all the way to the tips of the branches. Two seconds later, leaves began to bloom from the tree, fast enough that, within minutes, the entire thing looked as it would have in spring, covered in leaves and small purple blooming flowers. He took a step back, studying his work, before moving on to another tree and doing the same.
Quickly and without thinking, Ginny grabbed the broom out of her trunk and, before she could change her mind, opened the window and jumped. She couldn’t stop the scream of joy and terror that escaped her mouth as she fell and struggled to right herself on the broom. Once seated, she angled the broomstick downward and dived toward the boy. Instinctively, she pulled the broom handle up to slow down to a stop before crashing into the ground. Even then, she still crashed, dropping the broom and tumbling right past him in the dirt.
I did not just make a fool of myself,” she whispered under her breath, keeping her eyes closed tightly. She stayed where she was and wanted to just sink into the ground, pressing her lips together when she heard a deep voice say, “You did just make a fool of yourself.”
Her eyes opened to see the boy standing over her, looking at her so seriously that she didn’t know whether to laugh at how serious he was or cry from the embarrassment. She swallowed painfully, still lying in the mud.
“May I help you up?” he asked politely, holding his hand out to her expectantly. Her first instinct was to refuse but, on second thought, she took his unnaturally warm hand and pulled herself up. She cried out in agony as pain shot up her leg and let go of his hand. She would’ve fallen back to the ground had he not quickly caught her and pulled her into his arms. The pain was burning, sharp and stinging.
The guy quickly stomped one foot, causing a large boulder to be pushed out of the ground and stomped the other, causing another to be pushed out beside the first; a makeshift table.
He set her on it and looked down at her leg critically. Ginny looked too and cried out in dismay as she saw a thick, black worm-looking thing wrapped around her leg with hooked-like appendages through her pants and inside her leg. The pain was horrible, though not as bad as actually seeing what was causing it.
“It’s a Night Hook,” he said quietly, getting down to eye level with the slimy thing. “Quite rare in these parts.”
“What parts? My leg? Because you can bet your arse it’s rare there.” Ginny said through gritted teeth, trying not to cry. He looked up her quizzically and said calmly, “I do not see why you’re so upset. It’s easy to remove.”
“Then remove it!” Ginny exclaimed, feeling tears in her eyes from the stinging and burning. The guy took a long finger and, starting from the top of the worm, slowly stroked down the length of where its spine would be, all the way to the end. When he finished, the Night Hook trembled and, with an almighty wrench that made Ginny choke, pulled its hooks out and fell to the ground. Gasping, Ginny watched in disgust as it wriggled its way into the ground.
“You must have hit it when you crashed and hurt it,” he commented in a concerned way, looking at the spot where it had dug into the ground. “They don’t usually attach themselves to humans. Mostly demons.”
“I must be special then,” Ginny said dryly, glaring at him. He looked at her in surprise and said, “Or maybe you just hurt it?”
Ginny shook her head, then held her hand out to him and introduced herself. “I’m Ginny, Lilith’s…daughter."
“I have many names in different languages, but you can call me Gabriel. I am Lilith’s son.” He said emotionlessly, ignoring Ginny’s hand. Ginny’s mouth fell open in shock before she remembered that Lilith called all demons and warlocks her children.
“Are you a demon?” she asked uncertainly. He looked at her flatly and said, also emotionlessly, “I’m an oddity.”
“Yes. My father was a Faery, but my mother was a demon. Things like that do not happen,” he said it like a mantra he had heard over and over. “I have a demon’s immortality, a warlock’s mark,” –wing flex– “ and a Faery’s affinity for nature.”
“So that explains your little raindance you had going on over there,” Ginny said, waving her hands in the area of the now-bloomed trees. He looked at her in confusion and asked, “Raindance?”
“Nevermind,” Ginny said quickly and tried to stand up, but gagged from the pain in her leg. The Night Hook was gone but the wound was still there.
“May I help you get to where you need to go?” Gabriel asked hesitantly. Ginny stiffened, but then nodded. Without further preamble, he scooped her up in his arms and began carrying her in the direction of the manor. She was about to tell him how to get to her room when he broke into a run and, without warning, leaped into the air. His wings flapped strongly, supporting both of their weights, and Ginny gripped his neck tightly, burying her face in it. Even his neck was strangely hot.
It was one thing to ride on a broomstick and an absolute other to be flown to your room in the arms of an extremely attractive guy.
Ginny had to force herself to let go when he landed in her room with ease. She hopped to her bed and sat down, meaning to examine the wound. But, seeing as her jeans were too tight to be pulled up, she looked over at Gabriel, who was standing there, watching her.
“May I heal you?” he finally asked, completely serious. Ginny’s face became hot as she realized what she would have to do.
“I’ll need to take my jeans off,” she whispered, watching as his face became redder when she said that. When he said nothing, Ginny stood up and unbuttoned her pants. His face became as scarlet as his wings and he had the decency to look away as she roughly pulled them down. Grateful she wore underwear, Ginny sat on her bed and covered her lower body with her blanket, only exposing her wounded leg. There were puncture marks running up and down it, covered in blood.
He looked at her, still red, and let his hands hover over her leg. She felt it get cool as the holes in it close up. He looked at her apologetically and said, “It’ll scar, but it’s healed.”
“Gabriel, the guardian angel,” she murmured absentmindedly, wiping away the blood to reveal puckered, round scars where the wounds had been.
“Oh, I’m not-“ he began hastily, standing up quickly, but his words were cut off as he slipped on a corner of the blanket, making the blanket pull away and expose her bare legs, as he fell and caught himself on the bed, his body just barely between her legs.
At that exact moment, Lilith opened the door, saying grandly, “Ginny, darling, it’s time to lea – what is going on in here?”
Gabriel jumped up, apologizing profusely, as Ginny pulled the blanket back over herself in embarrassment. “Mother, I can-“
“Adolescents,” Voldemort cut her off, smiling coldly, “at their best. Ginny, my dear, did you enjoy packing?”
Anger and humiliation flashed through her, but she kept her face impassive as she said haughtily, “Obviously,” and stood up, allowing the blanket to fall from her legs as she stalked out, ignoring them all. Before she left the room, she turned to see Gabriel, an uncertain look in his face, and said as seriously as she could, “Thank you for everything, Gabriel. Please, do write to me while I’m in Hogwarts.”
It wasn’t until she was well on her way down the hall did Ginny actually pause and consider why Gabriel was at the manor with Lilith and Voldemort. But, after a few seconds of deliberation, she decided she didn’t care. They were both outsiders. He had healed her – that enough made him trustworthy.
A/N: Gahhh!! I'm so sorry for the long wait *sniffle* but hope you enjoyed it - and big thanks to princess_alice_cullen and my other wonderful reviewers ( and "favoriters") for giving me inspiration! Btw, idk what's wrong with the spacing... I'll fix it in the next chapter :/