Chapter 32 : Regroup
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Just as a reminder, bold text is the Virginia, and italics is the sword of truth.
Ginny griped the chairs armrest tightly. Her mother hadn’t been ready for apparating. So it was the bus they used to travel. Ginny was really just glad her mom was traveling. Explaining Ron…had not gone well, to say the least. Even as the bus swiveled and turned, her mother’s face was set in its expression: Determination. It didn’t hold anger, or regret, or even pain. She’d spent enough time with those. Now she was ready for action and all of the Weasley’s knew it.
“Ginny… How much longer do you have?” Her brother’s voice was soft and a little scared, almost. Ginny glanced at him, then to her parents, and then at her hands.
“I’m resisting it for the most part,” She swallowed hard and glanced out the window. “My initial wound was bad. I was lucky the drink even worked. Harry…. He was so upset.” Ginny felt herself rambling and glanced again at her family. It was her father who nodded encouragingly for her to continue. Her family was ready to support her. She was not alone, Harry wouldn’t be alone. Hermione wouldn’t be alone anymore. It was almost time. Almost over. Almost.
“It was fine at first. It’s worse than anything else I’ve ever felt. It’s like I’m on the edge of dying all over again. My stomach had been cut open…so when the craving kicks in I feel the scar burning, and sometimes it makes me cry. I try to resist until I’m screaming from pain.” Her mum’s breath came sharply and Ginny looked worriedly at her. “Harry never really lets it get that far. He knows I’m strong but pain…pain is worse than death.”
They could all agree with that. The bus came to sudden stop and they all struggled to keep their seats. Then slowly they exited the bus. It wasn’t hard to find Malfoy Manor. It was only the biggest estate on the road. It was hard to step over the threshold. A death eater stood guard. Ginny drew a gold scar with her wand and then death eater returned the gesture and removed the hood. He was familiar to Ginny and he bowed softly.
“Harry and Draco have banished the lord and lady for the night. The Manor is safe for all who side with the chosen one.” Ginny whispered a thanks.
“What of Hermione?” A solemn face crossed the guards face.
“Mrs. Black left on orders just an hour ago.” Ginny nodded again and stepped forward. Her family did not move as quickly. She understood. They were crossing the line now. Before everything was black or white. Today, they would understand the meaning of gray. Today, they would see the world with new eyes. They would understand the curse, but they would not live it. They would fight to end the curse, before it captured them as well. One footstep was so much more than a movement. It was a leap of faith, a walk of no return, a blurring of the sides. It was the step that would decide the fate of all of them. Ginny held her breath.
Her mum was the first to jump. She practically ran. After she had passed Ginny, the others followed.
“Is Harry alright?” Ginny had never been happier to hear her mother’s voice. Ginny sighed and lead the way up the stairs.
“He’s had better days.”
Where is it? I know you know!
“I haven’t got a clue sis.”
Lies come on now.
Tell me now! Or I swear.
Hermione sighed as she started at her old room. Her mother had been surprised to see her, but Virginia had been rude. She was now trapped in her room, as Virginia paced and ripped up her belongings. The control was split. Almost as if they were both in control. Clothes littered the floor, bags laid on the bed. Yet the item remained hidden in Hermione’s memory under strict lock and key. Virginia was trying. She was pushing hard at the edges of Hermione’s control.
“What will you do? Like you can harm me. I am winning, sister. You’ll just have to deal with it.”
Her whole body cringed as Virginia laughed from within. The laugh was evil. Hermione felt her hand grip her wand off the table.
Your mom was such a nice lady. It’s a pitty.
Virginia. That’s a little low.
Hermione didn’t even hesitate, she fought and fought hard. Her body shook as the two of them wrestled for motor functions. Her wand was gripped so tight she thought she might split the wood. Every effort went into focusing on preventing her body from taking the steps out of her room and into the study where her mom sat reading. Every second brought pain as she fought for control. Each step made her mind scream in protest. Virginia’s intent was clear. For minutes they fought like that, barely inching out of Hermione’s room.
As quickly as it had started, Hermione felt herself fall onto the ground as Virginia returned all control to her.
“What the hell bit- No!”
You’re so easy, little sis. Now I know where it is. Potter is as good as dead. Dead Dead Dead. I win. The Dark Lord wins.
Well, this was new. Werid but new. Harry tried not to laugh as the Weasley's calmly conversed with Draco over their next action. Everyone agreed that the horcrux needed to be found before the end of the week. Everyone knew that the fate of the horcrux lied with Hermione. Because research had pointed that it was a black heirloom that Hermione had. Her strength against her internal battle was needed, and Harry could only hope she had it.
Ginny remained quiet staring at the wall, and twitching every so often. Harry knew what that meant. She had the cravings again, and so soon. They were coming too often for her. He was only glad that they weren’t as often as they were for Draco. He swallowed, quiet as the others talked. Ginny glanced at him. She looked pleading but he shook his head. He knew the others saw, but he was glad they said nothing.
“So…” Molly’s voice was strained. “He’s poisoned you all?” Harry sighed. He had dreaded the day he would have to explain all of this to Ron’s family. He thought Ron would be the one to explain. It was Ron who’d gotten sucked up in it all. He should have been the one explaining the shit they were all in. He had, unfortunately, paid for his mistakes.
“The Polyphemus potion.” Harry said softly. Finally, injecting himself into the conversation. “Worse than unicorn blood. A black liquid given to heal the worst of injuries, calm the mind, and increase strength; named after its creator, a blind Cyclops. It was helpful but when used more than once it becomes addictive and deadly. A poison that can not be stopped.” He paused then looked at Ron’s mother. “Ron was the first to fall for the trick. I don’t know when it happened but The Polyphemus potion is addictive. Once Ron had started, his fate was sealed. The Dark Lord uses the addiction to hold us all capitive.”
“Even Hermione?” George breathed out, fearful almost. Draco pushed himself off the wall on which he leant.
“No, she is safe from that. If Ron and Harry did anything right in their stupid decisions, it was protecting her from that curse.” He swallowed, anger flashed in his eyes. “But the Dark Lord has a different trap for her.” Fred sneered.
“You maybe.” There was an uproar, wands were raised. Shouting started. There probably would have been violence. Violence was bubbling out, but Harry stopped it.
Ginny and Draco crumpled to the floor before any spells could be cast. When the others of the red head family looked at Harry, they saw his wand pressing against his clean forearm. The other two gripped their own forearms, gasping.
“All of you need to grow up.” Harry’s voice was angry. All the aggression had gone out of the air and into him. “We aren’t at Hogwarts anymore. If you have noticed we have six days before the Dark Lord kills us in our sleep.” Silence echoed off the walls of Malfoy Manor. “We don’t have time to fight allies just yet. Save that for after.”
Harry made a point not to say after what… even he was worried it wasn’t victory.
“Sorry…” Fred whispered looking a Draco. He nodded in response. Before more could even be thought of, let alone said, someone came rolling out of the fireplace.
Everyone was instantly on edge.
“Stop it! No I w- I win. I win. I wahhhhh…. Oh hell no.” The body on the ground was still rolling, and screaming, almost as if fighting with itself.
“Hermione!” Draco was sprinting to the girl as she struggled on the ground. The others began to put away their wands.
“I think we should keep those out, Fred, George, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. We don’t know if it is Virginia or Hermione yet.” The red-headed family looked confused but wands stayed at the ready.
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