Chapter 9 : Forgiveness
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(Authors note: I didn't mean for this chapter to be so long, but it sort of just happened and that was with cutting off some at the end so if it seems like it ends abruptley it's because it does.)
Summer was in full swing now, and the war had only gotten worse. The ministry was compromised, the deatheaters had taken control. Purebloods were elevated and everyone else simply continued on in fear of their lives should they take a wrong side or cause attention to themselves. Harry was on nearly every wanted poster, along with Hermione, Ron, his family, even Draco had seemed to make the list.
The poster that stared back at him from the wooden table was a picture his mother had taken a year or so ago. Draco watched himself smirk slightly and then look away over and over again.
People were getting used to his just simply being around now. Most of the Weasley clan had stopped trying to kill him at every turn, even Fred and George had reconsidered using him as an unwilling guinea pig. Most people just tolerated him and that’s all he could really ask for. He avoided Ginny at almost all costs and part of him regretted letting her keep his wand, when he had need of it, it meant he had to see her. He dreaded and longed for those moments. Her wanted poster was directly under his. She didn’t look menacing and demented as the poster described her. She looked away from the camera and her smile broke into laughter. He wished he could ask her what it was that she found funny, but that required talking and that lead to nowhere good.
He would have to see her today anyway he needed his wand. There was a mission and Draco was going to be one of the key players. They were breaking into his family’s vault at Gringotts with hopes of finding a horcrux.
He left his room and walked down the hall, he resisted the urge to shift his gaze to the floorboards again, he knew the way to Ginny’s room by them. He was a Malfoy still, he had to remember that. If he was nothing else, he was a Malfoy. Whatever taint his father had brought to the name didn’t ruin traditions of pride, of strong wizards and witches. He brought up his hand to knock on the wooden door and then hesitated. Taking a deep breath he hit his knuckles against the wood.
The door opened to a groggy looking Ginny, then again who wasn’t? You got sleep when you could at this point.
“Oh”, she looked a bit struck for a moment. “Hi”, she said quietly. She gave him a small smile.
“I umm…” Draco Malfoy was at a loss for words, “My wand”, he said stupidly.
“Another mission?” she questioned. He swore this was half his punishment to watch the worry crease her face and to know it was because of him. He didn’t deserve it.
He simply nodded.
“Fine”, Ginny relented, she had tried screaming she had tried reasoning, but getting through Draco’s mask that he put over his emotions or whatever he was feeling was impossible. She grabbed the wand from her nightstand, next to where she kept hers and handed it to him.
“Thank you”, he replied and turned heel to leave.
“Draco!” Ginny said after him, he stopped, but didn’t turn. “Please stop this…” she breathed, “Stop putting yourself in danger because you think you have something to prove.” He flinched.
“You don’t understand” he said simply turning on her.
“Yes… I do”, her temper flared again. She was always adorable when she was angry. “When does it end Draco?” She moved towards him. “When you’re dead?”
“No”, he said simply. How could he explain?
“Then when? Do you have to be some hero, how many of them must you kill before it’s enough?” she hissed. Draco was still one of the few Order members willing to use the killing curse, willing to kill in general. It was war, not a duel.
“Ginny don’t do this…” he breathed, not aware that he had moved closer to her.
She placed her hands on his chest and pushed. Ginny Weasley just pushed him, he stumbled back. “No”, she pushed him again. “You don’t get to tell me what to do.” Another push, “you lost that right, when you refused to talk to me, to be around me, to even notice my existence half the time. So tell me when does the mighty Draco Malfoy finish his punishment for his crimes?”
She moved to push him again, but found Draco unmovable. He grabbed her hands and pinned them behind her pressing his body up against hers. His breathing was heightened and his face flushed, Ginny wasn’t sure whether it was from the proximity or his mask had finally fallen and let his anger out. “When I no longer see that look in your eyes, every time you look at me”, he spoke in a low tone, but Ginny was certain if there weren’t prying ears around he’d be screaming. “I can’t fucking stand that look.”
“When will you realize I’ve forgiven you”, she breathed, “When will you realize I forgave you the moment you dropped your wand to the floor and turned yourself in.”
“I don’t need your pity”, he turned away and let her go, he wouldn’t lock gaze with her. “I don’t need forgiveness.”
“Liar”, Ginny shot back, “but it’s not my forgiveness you need, deep down you knew that, it’s your own”. She pulled him to her and before he could protest she kissed him for the first time in what felt like ages. Before she had a chance to deepen it he pulled away.
“I can’t”, was all he said and he turned to go leaving her alone in the hall.
“Be careful”, Ginny whispered under her breath, “Merlin, Please be careful.”
She realized there would be no sleeping now so with a sigh she pulled her door closed and headed down to the kitchen barefoot. She smiled at the big clock that sat there, it held every Order Members name now, not just her family’s and had been duplicated several times for the other safes houses the Order now had control of. Ginny looked at all the names that hovered over In House, she hadn’t realized how many were here. Whatever the mission was it must be something important, or just something suicidal, or both she reasoned.
First thing was first however, a cup of tea to calm her nerves. Or at leasts that’s what her mother told her it was supposed to do. She took a seat on one of the benches on the long wooden table. Her mother’s name hovered over “errands”, which usually meant buying groceries. With the amount of food people could eat here, along with having to buy groceries by muggle means Molly had to go almost weekly just to cover it, and even so by the end of the week most of the cabinets were bare.
“Hey Gin”, George flew down the stairs, startling the young witch from her thoughts.
“Oi wait up”, Fred ran down behind him, “If you steal the last bit of bread again, oh hey little sister”, he forgot his threat and planted a very dramatic kiss on the young witch’s cheek. She pretended to be disgusted and wiped the area with the back of her hand. Fred merely gave her a wink.
“Tweedle dum, Tweedle dee”, Ginny shot them a fake glare.
“Honestly George if we weren’t so confident on how absolutely brilliant we were we may even have found that the slightest bit offensive”, Fred reasoned with his brother. Ginny giggled.
Ron came down the stairs next they could all hear his heavy footsteps from the other room. Fred and George sometimes compared him to an elephant the way he bumbled about. “Oi did you two save some for me?”
“Enough for one maybe”, Fred held up the loaf of bread. “Not nearly as much as you eat though.”
“Aw”, Ron surveyed the bread, “You only left the end bits, I hate the end bits”.
“End bits or starve mate, Mum hasn’t come back from the muggle market yet”, they had made a habit of buying their food and such through muggle means since going anywhere in the wizarding world was unsafe for almost all of them. “She had to take the Patil sisters just to help her carry your share for the week”, George joked.
“Growing boy”, Ron managed to get out through chewing on one of the end bits aware that he had an audience of Ginny. “Hey Sis”, he greeted her. Multitudes of years of living with her brothers had prepared her for the amount of a food a growing boy could eat, but never for the amount of food a growing Ron could apparently eat. It still baffled her till this day.
More footsteps were coming down the stairs into the kitchen, “Harry we’re not discussing this anymore, I told you I’m not going to simply stay behind because you want me to”, Hermione’s matter of fact tone told everyone in the room that this was an argument Harry would not win.
“But, Mione, if he knew…” he was cut off by Hermione.
“Because he doesn’t already want to kill me anyway”, she raised a brow. Harry sighed defeated by her logic and brightened up considerably at the assembly in the kitchen.
“Gin, Ron, Fred, George”, he greeted them all in turn.
“Hope you’re not down here looking for the bread”, Fred smiled as he casually wiped the crumbs from his sweater.
“Coming to see if Molly had returned actually”, Hermione replied.
“No not yet”, Ron looked a bit nervous.
“She’s due any moment”, Ginny spoke up for the first time in awhile, “I’m sure she just got held up comparing prices or something”. True the muggle markets were safer, but snatchers were everywhere now a days. It seemed strange how in just a few months the world as they knew it could change so dramatically.
As if on cue the door popped open. Parvarti Patil had two brown paper bags in her arms followed by her twin Padma who was struggling with bags of her own. Molly came in last.
“Here make yourself useful”, Padma handed her load off to George who made a grunting sound as the full weight of it hit him.
“Dear gods woman what do you lift three hundred or so?” he set the bag on the counter behind him and Pavarti lined hers up next to his.
“Hi love”, Fred gave her a peck on the cheek and she smiled at him. It took about three weeks for Fred to notice Pavarti and another three for him to do anything about it, but since then they had been together.
Ron took the bags his mom had been carrying, and added them to the group on the counter .
“Ginny be a dear help me put these away”, Molly said cheerfully. Ginny however knew it was not a request more like a demand. “And the lot of you don’t you have some sort of meeting or something”, She raised a brow, “You’re crowding up my kitchen”, It was Fred and George who moved first fleeing their mother’s wrath, Ron on their heels. It was about a half hour after that the names from the clock moved to “mission”.
“Come we’ll get dinner started” Molly placed a hand on her daughter’s shoulder. Ginny wished more than anything she could be there, with everyone, but her mother was usually fairly skilled at keeping her mind occupied with small tasks and for that Ginny was grateful.
-Some time later-
Ginny tapped her fingers on the table as her and her Molly ate dinner in silence. It had turned dark and the candles gave the house an eerie look when it was empty. All the rooms were empty, even Sirius had gone, they tended to keep him away from most missions because he raised such suspicion in public. A quiet knock on the door was the only thing that shook the women from their thoughts. Ginny’s hand immediately went to her wand.
“Relax dear I’m sure it’s only Luna”, Her mom patted her hand from across the table. She summoned an extra plate to it as she moved for the door.
The small blonde smiled at the eldest Weasley woman ass he lowered her blue cloak. “Hello Mrs. Weasley”, she said brightly. Always the optimistic one, Luna of course was too young to join the missions as well, being nearly the same age as Ginny. So on nights such as these she usually spent dinner and the rest of the night waiting for the other’s return with Ginny, but her optimism was always welcome instead of the silent worry.
“Gin”, they embraced as Luna sat next to her, “Oh this looks lovely”, she surveyed her plate.
“How’s your father?” Molly asked the blonde.
“Better”, Ginny’s face fell a bit sad. He had been involved in a death eater raid of their home a bit earlier in the year and was put under the cruciatous curse among other things, and was still recovering from the ordeal.
“I heard he was amusing all the nurses at St. Mungos”, Molly added.
“Oh yes… even while my Mum was alive he was a charmer”, Luna giggled. Ginny smiled with the two women, it was nice to have company. It was nice to not feel so damn alone in all of this.
“Have there been any updates yet?” Luna asked seriously. Ginny only nodded causing Luna to frown slightly.
“It’s not the kind of thing we’re they’d be able to keep us up to date, don’t worry so much girls”, Molly gave each of them a warm smile. Luna returned it. Ginny did not. “I’m sure they’ll be starving when they get home, why don’t you both help me put the food up so they can reheat it.” Molly was always good about keeping people busy when things like this happened. After they had all finished eating and cleaned their own dishes they made quick work of bagging the rest and getting it into the icebox, which was magically charmed to fit the mess of food Molly Weasley made.
“Ron said you and your father had a new flat?” Ginny asked over cleaning the cooking dishes.
“Well its mostly just me until they release dad from St. Mungos, but yes”, she nodded. After the attack on their home Luna had stayed with the order, and now that it looked as her dad was going to be released soon she had taken it upon herself to move their things into a muggle flat, far away from the wizarding world where they would be safe.
Small talk was easier than talking about whether or not the others were going to come back, or who wouldn’t be with them, who they had to leave behind who had been captured and who just didn’t make it.
They spent the next couple of hours sitting in the living room furnished to support almost twenty people, they used it often as a makeshift hospital after missions, treating minor wounds with any luck. Arthur had dragged in an old muggle TV and between the two of them Harry and Hermione got it working. The three watched mindless things called soap operas frequently.
“I don’t get it”, Ginny glared at the TV. “If Alfredo loves her then why does he keep going on with her sister?”
Luna giggled. “Because it’s forbidden love.”Ginny rolled her eyes.
“Very funny”, Ginny flopped back down in the worn velvet chair. Most of the things in the house were donated from somewhere or another or taken from Grimauld place. The burrow had practically been destroyed, and they saved what they could, but most of it was wrecked. Molly had managed to save most of the family pictures simply because she was accio-ing them to her as Arthur was pulling them from the burning house. Molly sat quietly at the moment smiling at the girls while she knitted, probably getting a head start on the traditional Christmas sweaters.
Before Ginny could confess her frustration with Alfredo one more time a ball of light shot into the living room, they could usually tell who it was from by the nature of the patronus, this one bounced around slightly, before turning into an eagle and hovering in the middle of the living room. It was Kingsley’s signature, then in his deep voice it spoke. “The mission is complete”, it said clearly filling the entire room with its echo. “Mad-eye was lost”, even through the patronus the pain could be heard in his voice. Mad-eye had been the man’s friend for many years. “Many injured, it continued, prepare…” it faded off and the apparition disappeared. Before the light had faded completely Molly was already up on her feet.
“Ginerva quickly”, she only called her by her full name when it was important. Ginny didn’t need to be told twice, her wand was already out and sheets of plastic were covering most of the couches and the chairs pushed back. Bed’s folded down from the walls and the TV pushed itself into the corner.
Luna’s wand danced in succession with the others as the lights brightened and the cabinet with the healing potions and equipment flew open. Trays flew into the room next to it, and before the last picture had been covered with plastic hangings there was a loud pop and then another and one by one, they apparated into the room.
It was Harry who appeared first, there was something red on his hands and Ginny looked horrified as he realized it was blood.
“Harry?” she started towards him, he shook his head and nodded her off. She soon realized it wasn’t his.
The second pop was Hermione looking battered and bruised, her arm was bleeding but she was otherwise alright.
“There’s worse”, she said quickly as moved to take care of herself.
“Make way”, the next group appeared. Pavarti was in Fred’s arms unconscious.
“What happened?” Molly moved immediately as she ushered her son to one of the couches.
“Crucio”, Fred looked down at her horrified, her breathing was coming faintly. “Other things too, I don’t know I couldn’t get to her”, Molly only nodded at her son.
“Bring me the third potion on the second shelf”, and she and Fred went to work.
The rest of the Weasley clan appeared next, among them was one blonde head. “Draco”, Ginny immediately went to him and threw her arms around them. He grunted as she made contact and she immediately retracted.
“Nearly got himself killed” her older brother Bill was escorting his wife Fleur to a chair, “Saved all our lives”, he finished and he nodded at Draco. Ginny watched the exchange of respect, her mouth fell open.
Kingsley came next, Tonks and Remus followed.
“Sirius?” Harry asked the two.
“He had tracers after him he’s losing them now he’ll be here shortly”, Remus assured him. If anyone could lose someone it was an unregistered animagus.
Ginny forced Draco to lay down on one of the cots.
“I’ll be alright for now”, he grabbed her hand as she was about to fuss over him, there’s worse coming”, he said through gritted teeth Ginny was about to argue when the next group popped into the room, she realized where the blood from Harry’s hands had come from.
“Dean”, she breathed. He was limp in between Cho and Seamus and the front of him was covered in blood.
“What happened”, Luna disentangled herself from Ron’s minor cuts as her and Ginny helped him onto a bed.
“Was a charm on the vault, no one knew”, Cho said in her thick accent. “Soon as he touched something charms came down like daggers, sliced him to ribbons, most of the cuts aren’t as deep as they look but he’s lost so much blood”, worry creased her face.
“Luna the blood stopping potion quick”, Ginny spoke to the blonde girl who bee lined for the cabinet. “How long has he been out?” Ginny asked her as Neville , Padma, Lavender, and Sirius appeared. Padma’s face was barely recognizable, it was already swelling well beyond normal size, Neville was limping and his arm was hanging loosely as his side. Lavender was cut up as well, but nothing serious looking. Sirius had a gash that went down him face and there was something peculiar about the way he was holding his arm.
“Few minutes”, Cho ignored Lavender’s attempts to make her sit down and put something on her own wounds. “He went out right before we came here, if there weren’t tracers we’d have been here sooner”, she seemed to be blaming herself for it.
“You did what you had to”, Seamus placed his hand on her shoulder, with some effort.
“Jesus you all look like you’ve been through hell and back”, Luna surveyed the entire group as she handed Ginny the bottle.
“It’s like they were half expecting us”, George growled, his shirt was off and Tonks was covering the wounds on his stomach with salve, and Ginny knew from experience that it stung like crazy.
“Had wards and things all around that place, before we even got to Gringots”, Sirius sat himself down on one of the chairs and was pressing a cloth to his bleeding face.
Ginny was busy dropping the liquid into Dean’s wounds that would encourage blood to clot faster. If they were trained healers and at St. Mungos they could have made the rate in which his blood cells duplicated speed up until his body was healed, but seeing as how they had no means of getting there, when they were all wanted people, they had to make due the muggle way.
He already had a fever rising. Arthur was the last to return as was his normal way of doing a perimeter check and making sure no tracers had followed them back.
“All clear”, he spoke to no one in particularly, he briefly squeezed Molly’s hand before letting her get back to work on Pavarti. He moved to Dean.
“Father what do you know about Muggle’s solution to blood loss?” Ginny asked him. She had stopped it and the cuts were healing nicely, there would only be a few scars, but it was his weakness that concerned Ginny.
“He needs blood, from someone”, he said simply. Ginny’s eye widened, that sounded barbaric. “They do it all with needles and tubes”, he continued, “I could probably rig something up, but we’d need someone with the same blood type as him”.
Cho cleared her throat. “I actually am”, her face flushed slightly red, “We were joking about it one day”, she gave them a brief explanation. Ginny gave her a knowing look, Cho and Dean had been somewhat secretive of their affairs, but Ginny knew that look anywhere.
“Alright young lady”, Arthur was already busying himself with needles, “Don’t go anywhere”. Cho picked up Dean’s hand as she sat next to him.
With Dean being attended to, Ginny moved to Draco he had been watching her from where he lay and he moved to sit up, but fell back down in pain. Ginny’s hand darted under his shirt immediately and Draco gave her a smirk. She pushed his head back down flat with a no nonsense look on her face. He grimaced when she pushed against his ribs. “Dear god”, she breathed. Not one but two felt broken, its amazing he was still conscious. “How in Merlin’s name?” she looked to him.
“Big spell, meant to crush…” he was cut off by the pain Ginny had newly created with her prodding. “Anyone, thought I could withstand it with a protection charm, took the blunt of it”.
“Idiot”, Ginny hissed at him, he scoffed back.
“Took the blunt of it for all the rest of us is what he forgot to add”, Harry was healing up a cut above Hermione’s eyebrow.
Ginny looked to Draco who merely shrugged. First Bill then Harry.
“This is going to hurt”, Ginny warned as she pulled her wand. Draco braced himself on the sides of the bed. “Episky”, there was a loud snap sound and then another as his two broken ribs mended together and moved into their proper place. To his credit Draco didn’t scream or pass out, but the look on his face and the grit of his teeth, as he turned completely red from lack of breathing. He finally let out the breath and his face relaxed.
“Alright?” she asked him, feeling the ribs, there would be bruises, but they were back to where they belonged.
“Hurts”, he admitted, leaning his head back.
“Here”, it was Ron behind her with the bottle she was about to go retrieve, a painkilling potion. “Mum needs your help with Parvarti”, he said as if it was some excuse for his new kindness.
Ginny gave her brother one last confused look as she moved past him to help Molly.
Ron handed the bottle to Draco who merely nodded. “She doesn’t know exactly how much you did down there” Ron spoke uncomfortably as he watched his sister cross the room. “You’ll never be good enough for her, and you’re still a slimy git, but you saved lives today of my family, and I reckon I won’t have to kill you anymore”, was all he said before he turned to leave.
“Good”, Draco said to his retreating form, “I’d hate to murder her brother in self defense”, he sat with his usual smirk and Ron merely kept walking towards where Luna was sitting with Padma trying to figure out how best to bring the swelling down, but there was a small smile on his face.
There was a tube that connected Cho and Dean now, blood moving through it, Dean still hadn’t roused at all. Arthur was monitoring them both carefully. Pavarti was finally awake and Fred was holding her in his arms as she cried, her sister sitting next to her with her arm draping over her. A crucio was not an easy thing to get over, she was more traumatized than hurt.
“It’s more her mind that will need healed”, Molly told her son and Fred nodded, “It is not an easy process, while under the Cruciatous they invaded her mind, made her feel and see things, she’ll have to sort that out”.
“We’ll take care of her”, Fred for once seemed determined and not his usually light airy self. Padma smiled softly at him. Finally a man worthy of her sister.
“We will” , she agreed. Most of the swelling had gone down now leaving blue and purple bruising down the right side of her face, it was painful to move, but she was soon getting used to the dull ache, they had offered her a potion for the pain, but she wanted to be of mind for her sister right now.
Ginny had moved on to Sirius, she was healing the gash on his face. He had no words for her it seemed. She knew he hated Draco with a passion and part of that hate stemmed from the hatred for Draco’s godfather and father, but from Sirius no words were the same as good words. He caught her hand before she went to leave. “He did well”, was all he said before returning to his usual gloom. Ginny said nothing but simply turned away. What on earth had gone on down there, it had to be more than Draco blocking a simple trap for them to all be acting like this. She looked over to the man in question. He was resting on the bed starring off into the fireplace, distant and in thought, she frowned before returning to healing cuts and scrapes.
“Don’t be such a wimp”, Lavender huffed as Seamus recoiled from her again.
“Don’t be such a bloody harpy then Woman”, he replied as he dodged another attempt for her to press the liquid up against his wound. He was shirtless and Lavender was trying to pay attention to the gash that reached across his belly button than his nicely defined abdomen muscles.
“It’s cleaning it, of course it’s going to hurt”, she tried to reason, but he moved once again.
“It’s clean enough”, he countered.
“Fine, if it gets infected and moves down and your thing”, she moved her glance downwards and back up to emphasize her point, “falls off, don’t come crying to me.” Within moments Seamus forced her hand onto the wound with the soaked cloth. He wasn’t sure any of that could actually happen, but bloody hell if he wasn’t going to take a chance like that. Lavender smiled satisfied as she went to work cleaning and then healing the wound.
“Alright all done”, she surveyed her work, she was planning on becoming a healer before all this had started, there was barely even a scar. “You can put your shirt back on now”.
“I’m good thanks”, his white t-shirt was soaked through with blood from where the gash was, “Enjoying the view?” he raised his brows.
Lavender rolled her eyes at him. Some things would never change.
“There’s dinner in the kitchen” Molly announced, “A simple reheating spell should do it”, she added and then turned to Seamus before he could leave, “Simple does not mean blowing up the plate”, she added. A few people around him hid their laughter as Seamus’s cheeks reddened and he ducked into the kitchen.
The story of Mad-eyes death was retold for the three absent the event. True to his form he had taken several Deatheaters with him. He collapsed one of the tracks in Gringotts, plunging him and four deatheaters down into the darkness.
Kingsley returned to his home, as did Seamus, and Lavender after having some of Molly’s cooking. Bill and Fleur returned to their muggle flat as well. Charlie had to leave quickly back for Romania before anyone noticed he was missing. Percy secluded himself in his room as he usually did after a mission, probably to fill out paperwork or something. He took to not being able to go back to work at the ministry very hard and his old habits seemed to continue on. His defense was always when things went back to order there would be no question in the lawfulness of their actions.
Luna would stay in Ginny’s room since it was too late for her too travel alone and she would be heading back to her flat where she would be by herself anyway, Ron didn’t seem to want her to leave anyway.
(Authors note numero two: At points in this story it'll start skipping months at a time I'll try to make sure you can keep up, but don't hesitate to review if i've left you clueless on something.)
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