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Masks by MissMandarin
Chapter 11 : Where they belong
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 1


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Authors Note: I hadn’t originally planned to write this chapter, but I reread and I felt as if I needed a little more Draco development and to introduce you to the Pheonix’s, so enjoy.

 

               “Like bloody hell I’m going to go in there with just that snake”, Seamus slammed his fist onto the table, “He’ll probably hex me once I turn my back on him.”

               Seamus Finnigan was probably one of the best fighters in this war, his strategies were flawless, his execution not so much, but his heart was never lacking. It was his temper that Kingsley seemed to have such problem with. The man sighed for probably the third time in the past second or so. “We’ll send Blaise in with you then”.

               “Oh good two snakes!” Seamus continued. When he had asked Seamus to join the Pheonix’s he didn’t realize how difficult it would be to get him and the ex Slytherins to work together.

               “Why not give me McNally, and Lance?”

               “For the same reasons I couldn’t the first time Lance is still out from the leg mishap and McNally is in deep cover at the moment trying to clean up that mess you made in Belgium.” Kingsley was at his wits end with this argument. He could barely place Draco and Seamus in the same room. It wasn’t as if it was entirely on Seamus, Draco seemed to egg him on as much as possible.

               “What about Lavender?”

               “She’s doing recon trying to set up the communications again”. Granted Seamus knew all of this already.

               “I don’t trust either of them”, he folded his arms across his chest and Kingsley was reminded of a child.

               “Enough of this”, he stood sending some of the papers on the table whirling around. “I didn’t ask you to be my second so I could mediate some stupid school boy squabble, this is a mission, this is a fucking war, we don’t have time for petty and we don’t have time to stroke your sensitive ego and paranoia about Slytherins. This is your assignment whether you like it or not am I understood?”

               Seamus’s posture went rigid, his face blank. “Yes sir” he managed to get out.

               “Brief your team, get what you need from the store room, dismissed”, Kinglsey waved him away sitting back down hovering over the papers looking for anything he may have overlooked.

               Seamus said nothing just turned heel and left, fuming, but unable to do anything.

               “Alright there Finnigan?” one of the new members passed him by, Seamus couldn’t remember his name he’d probably be dead in a week anyway.

               “Sod off”, was his only response.

               “Malfoy, Zambini”, he entered the sort of living area the group used to socialize, it was really just a few comfy chairs and a couch thrown around a big fire place. Two heads turned towards him as they were addressed. “We have an assignment”, he said through gritted teeth. “Try not to fuck this one up.”

               It was Zambini who stood to the challenge first. “Fuck this one up, you mean like YOU did in Belgium?” he spat.

               “If you would have listened, she’d still be..” Seamus started, but was cut off by Blaise.

               “She’d be dead either way, and if we went in guns blazing so would we”, he threw back. Draco pinched the bridge of his nose, he knew this was coming. He understood Blaise’s anger just as much as he understood why Seamus needed someone to blame. It was no ones fault really, but they all blamed themselves as much as they blamed each other. They were meant to escort a healer to a safe house and were ambushed and pinned down. The healer was just a tiny blonde thing, but as soon as Seamus took a curse and went down she ran out to try to help, that was when she took the killing curse square in the chest. Blaise seeing the target lost, being third in command ordered the team to pull out while Seamus was down. Seamus, being as hotblooded as he was wanted to kill them all. Draco couldn’t blame him much. If it were Ginny there wouldn’t be a Deathie standing. Seamus blamed Blaise for taking them too close to wizarding residences and Blaise blamed Seamus for getting hit, she would have stayed put had she not felt compelled to go save him. Draco thought they were both mad.

               “Cool off Finnigan”, Draco said lazily, using his usual disinterested tone, “What’s the assignment?”

               “Fuck off Deathie”, he spat. It took maybe two breaths before Draco’s temper rose and he was up standing next to Blaise shouldering his friend out of the way.

               “Fuck you”, he spat back, “Maybe next time you go down I won’t save your dumb ignorant ass”.

               “Ignorant? That’s hilarious coming from you!” The noise had attracted the attention of the remaining team members and a crowd had sort of formed around the entry way.

               “God, if you lead this team much longer we’ll all be fucking dead”, Draco’s voice lowered and his body tensed.

               “I suppose you could do better?” Seamus wasn’t through yelling apparently. “Because you really seem to be able to just put the past behind you eh?” “How many times do you think Ginny’s cried over your undeserving ass?”

               Draco wasn’t sure whether it was the fact that he said her name, or the fact that he realized Seamus had a thing for her, but she jumped at the bigger man just then and the two topped over with Draco on top, he got a good hit in to the side of Seamus’ jaw before the tables were turned and Seamus used his strength to just throw Draco off him, kicking out he got him good in the stomach, and then Seamus’ fist connected with Draco’s nose. He felt it break as he reeled and fell from the hit. Seamus had him by the collar and up against the wall, fist aimed at his face. He paused though and then did something Draco wouldn’t have expected in a million years. Finnigan let him go and started laughing. Draco starred at his as if he was mad. 

               “You love her that much, you poor fucking sod”, apparently he found this all hilarious. Draco was still recovering from the hit, he pulled his wand and fixed his nose at least.

               “Fuck off”, he spat.

               Seamus managed to collect himself, “Briefing”, he told the two, “Five minutes.” Blaise and Draco exchanged perplexed glances as the man disappeared out of the room.

               “What in Merlins name just happened?” Blaise began.

               “I think he just learned to let go.” Draco shrugged.

               “By banging your head against the wall?” Blaise smirked.

               “I got a shot in”, Draco defended his manhood. “As if you could have fared any better”, he narrowed his eyes at his friend.

               “Muggle fighting”, Blaise cringed.

               “It’s sort of exhilarating you should try it sometime”, Draco shrugged and it was Blaise’s turn to look at his friend as if he was mad.

xXx

               Luna looked at herself in the mirror, there were dark marks under her eyes, and her hair was much more out of place than usual, but the small smile that graced her face was all Luna. The war hadn’t turned her into a stranger to herself, not like it did so many. She had lost people on the table, she had seen them drop dead in battle, but she remained, because she had to. Too many people needed her quirky optimism, because under the all the strangeness Luna was a protector. Ron saw it before she did. She forced her thoughts to change from his face, she still had heard nothing.

               The house was quiet; most of the teams that were usually near her were on a mission, or just out. Some people had taken to muggle night clubs and bars to let off steam.

               “Little one”, the gruff voice shook her out of her thoughts.

               “Hello McNally”, she turned to see the older looking dark wizard hunter leaning against her door frame.

               “Got you a present, Little one”, Luna smiled up at him. He nodded for her to follow him into the hallway. Into the room they used for a common room. There was a tiny figure standing in the middle with a bag in her hand, she could have been Luna maybe two years ago. Her blonde hair waved and reached down to her lower back. She had bright eyes and a nervous smile.

               “Luna Lovegood, meet your new apprentice”, Luna’s mouth dropped.

               “My what?” she breathed looking at McNally as if it was some sort of mistake. “I thought, I thought they were sending another healer?”

               “Wise up little one”, he casted her a sideways smile, “You are the healer here.” Luna’s breathing stopped for a moment.

               “Right”, she nodded to herself and turned on her smile. “I can do this”, she said more to herself than anyone else. Realizing she was ignoring the poor girl standing in the middle of the room looking down at her feet. “Hi”.

               “Hello Miss Lovegood”, she the girl looked up and her eyes locked with Luna’s. “I’m Joanna Thompson”, she held out her hand as if she was in a job interview. Luna looked at it strangely for a moment. She smiled brightly before grabbing it and then pulling Joanna into a hug.

               “It’s Luna”, she said after letting the girl go. “Let me show you around Joanna”, she surveyed the girl for a moment, “Hufflepuff?” she asked.

               “Yeah, sixth year how did you know?” Joanna was puzzled.

               “Little one over there has a gift for knowing things”, McNally tipped his Humphrey Bogart style fedora to both ladies, before disapparating with a crooked smile.

               “He is…” Joanna looked as if she was searching for words.

               “A man who has seen a great deal many things”, Luna finished for her. Joanna nodded accepting this as an alternative to what she was thinking; perhaps she was judging him too harshly. He did protect her for the entire trip here.

               “How much healing experience do you have?” Luna asked curiously.

               “My Mum worked at St. Mungos I interned with her for the summers, I was always planning on becoming a healer after Hogwarts, well before all this”. Luna nodded.

               “Let’s find you a room that isn’t completely trashed”, she smiled at the girl before leading her down the hall.

XxX

The war continued, lives were lost on both sides. Young wizards stepped up to join the Phoenixes still under Kinsley’s command, the rest of the team called them weekers because they would regularly last a week before they either asked to be transferred or didn’t make it. It was cruel maybe, but their squad wasn’t for the light of heart. More safehouses had been set up as people joined the Order most just had nowhere else to go. It was either join a side or be caught in the crossfire. The Dark Lord hadn’t been idle however, he was recruiting. Not only wizards, but monsters as well… Giants, Werewolves, Vampires, the worst kind of dark creatures. Dementor attacks had become so aggressive that they didn’t always distinguish between Order members and Deatheaters, or Deathies as the Order were prone to calling them.

Months would go in between anyone hearing from Ron, Hermione, and Harry. Communication was almost impossible for the group without being intercepted. Regular Muggle attacks had London thinking they were under some sort of new terrorist threat.

Ginny and Luna both turned seventeen although to them it felt as if they’d been in the war this whole time as promised Ginny joined the Order and was assigned to Neville’s team of Ex Gryffindors. They had become Alpha team, second only to the Pheonix’s themselves. Hogwarts was taken, the last safe place. Half the students stayed out of fear what would happen to them if they didn’t comply, but a few also to give the order eyes and ears inside the school. It was open war.

xXx

Alpha Team – Search and Rescue mission – Muggle Residence

Ginny dashed through the courtyard of the muggle mansion. IT was supposed to be some influential politician who had sided with the New Wizarding World Order. Ginny like most had taken to calling it the NWWO for short. A bright green light flew over her head and her thoughts went back into the task at hand. She had been separated from the rest and was desperately trying to get back to them, but the Deathies had made her take a turn and go the scenic route, with lovely curses flying past her the entire time. She ducked them, but barely as she flew behind a statue.

“Get down Red!” Neville’s voice filled her ears. Fred and George were quite brilliant about rethinking their listening devices into communication devices.

“Two Deathies”, Ginny reported, “The muggle is already dead, has been for awhile from what I could tell”, sat in the grass behind the statue while the Deathies argued how best to attack her with their wands trained on the marble mermaid. The dead muggle only confirmed their suspicions that the NWWO were using polyjuice to keep the muggles in the dark and in line.  She had to move and quickly before they figured out they could probably just blow the entire statue up. She knew her team must be in viewing distance of her by now which means they also had the Deathies in their sights.

“How do you want to play this Trevor”, Ginny whispered hurriedly. Neville had codenamed himself after his toad. Where as Ginny had picked the name Red, she never really told anyone that it was a name Draco had sometimes used for her.

“Sit tight we’ll take them”, Ginny rolled her eyes.

“Tall one is just a pawn, we don’t need him. I can handle him, take the other on three”, She replied quickly and tightened her grip on her wand and took a deep breath before she began counting.

“One.”

“Negative, Red! Stand down!”

“Two.”

“I said stand down, damnit!”

“Three”

“Fucking…” A string of curse words most of them directed at her came from her device, which they had named CD. Ginny shot out from behind the statue and did a tactical roll as curses shot onto the grass, leaving scorch marks where her body had just been. She trained her wand on the tall Deathie and in the split second before she spoke the words she let her anger guide her and her mind fill with hate. The way they tore apart her friends and family, what she had seen them do to innocent people, people who had never asked or deserved this. When they had killed Charlie and what those Deathie fucks had done to Luna’s father.

“Avada Kedava”, The words spilled from her mouth as easy as if she was casting a charm. A jet of green light shot from her wand and it her target square in his chest. He went down without a word. It had always unnerved her how they never even screamed. The other hit the ground a moment later, before he could retaliate for his fallen comrade. Cho’s stupefy hit home, Ginny knew her team would come through for her. They always did. It wasn’t the first time she killed and she always felt the weight of it after. Some had refused to use the unforgivable even still, she envied their discipline, but Ginny had gotten over that some time ago.

“Clear”, It was Dean’s voice this time in her CD. Neville was probably still ranting at her inability to follow orders, was what he called it. Ginny usually defended herself with what needed to be done and their argument hit a stall. Neither side willing to give any ground.

“Clear”, Ginny confirmed, and doing a glance around the courtyard for any other enemies that may have been lurking, out of habit.

“Meet up at the extraction point Phoenix outfit is here to relieve us, they apparently have information on dark items inside this place”, Ginny could tell he was speaking through gritted teeth and she could understand his frustration, first with her and now his assignment was being taken from him.

“Alpha team you’re wanted back at Lakeside”, It was Kingsley’s deep voice in their CD now which meant, Phoenix was here and it was time to get out of their way. “Red, don’t go anywhere once you get there I need to discuss something with you”, was all he said before the CD clicked out and he transferred to his own team’s channel. Ginny thought about clicking in for a moment just to hear if Draco’s voice was still among them, but she knew she was being crazy she would have heard something if he wasn’t. Still she sighed at the message because she was probably going to be reprimanded once again for disobeying orders. After the transferred the still breathing Deathie to the Order’s holding facility and took the required amount of port keys to make sure they had no one following them, they finally were allowed to portkey to Lakeside.

“What the hell was that Ginny?” Neville was really never on to yell, but his lecturing voice could sometimes be worse.

“I made a call”, she shrugged knowing her indifference pissed him off most of all, “One less Deathie I have to look over my shoulder for”.

“No, you disobeyed a direct order… again”, He sighed this argument was all too familiar to them. Dean and Cho managed to escape into the next room, pulling the rookie that had just been assigned to their team, Jackson with them. He was fresh out of Hogwarts, well he would have been if he hadn’t escaped Hogwarts when the Deathies took over.

“Ron is going to kill me, but I’ve signed off on your transfer”, Ginny who had been walking away at the time froze midstride. She had put in for a transfer to the Phoenix outfit some time ago. She knew she was more than a good enough fighter to be there, but Neville had been holding it up partially to protect her and partially because Ron had threatened to kill him if he let her go. Ginny left him in a bad position where he couldn’t have her on his team doing one thing, whilst the rest of them did another. Either her or someone else was going to get hurt because of it.

“Neville…” Ginny didn’t have words, so she threw her arms around his neck.

“Don’t thank me yet.” He warned, “Kingsley still wants to talk to you.”

Ginny nodded seriously. She would prove she was ready for this, “Now get yourself to Luna”, he surveyed her fresh bruises, “Before some of those start to swell and we mistake you for a mountain troll.” Ginny smiled and chuckled at his familiar joke, she would miss him and the rest of her team, she had been with them for almost six months now, but Phoenix was where she needed to be, it was where she was most needed. She moved into the house and pushed through the swing door that led to what used to be a string of bedrooms, before they knocked a few walls out and turned it into a hospital. This was Luna’s territory. She had been given her own safehouse to look after and designated healer around the same time Ginny had gone into the thick of things.

The blonde turned at the sound of the door, Ginny smiled at her old friend.

“You look like norbogs planted eggs in your face”, she studied the marks for a moment before forcing Ginny to sit on one of the cots.

“It can’t be all that bad”, Ginny joked lightheartedly and Luna smiled.

“You know the Phoenix outfit is due here soon”, Her usual bright expression dropped as she watched her friend’s reaction. Ginny merely nodded. She and Draco had barely seen each other, let alone had words with one another. Last Ginny heard he’d rather be as far away from her as possible. She knew a lot of what she heard about him was just rumors, but they still dug. Ginny barely recognized his outfit anymore when she saw them. From the nine that were there when Draco first join only four remained not including him.

“Luna” a girl with bright golden hair, who could have been Luna if it were a couple of years ago back in school. Ginny assumed she was Joanna, Luna’s assistant who they had sent to her a month or so ago. “Phoenix has two critical incoming”. Luna’s expression changed from bright to serious. It was strange how much even she had changed, how much they all had to change.

“Feel like reliving old times?” she held out a pair of surgical gloves to Ginny. The redhead took them from her without a word.

There was a popping noise directly behind them and all three of them whipped around Ginny’s hand fell to her wand she had it half out before she realized it was Phoenix. Her eyes fell to Seamus and Kingsley and then fell to the wizard they had on a stretcher between them, they widened.

“Over here”, Luna directed them to one of the beds. Ginny stared in shock at Draco Malfoy. His arm was completely mangled, Ginny was pretty sure she could see the white of the bone. His leg was equally twisted and laying at a strange angle.

“Hang in there mate”, Seamus touched his good arm just before Luna shooed everyone away to work. Seamus cut Ginny off before she could beeline for the bed.

“I know”, he blocked her path, just as she was about to protest, “But Lav is going to need you.” She looked up to question him again, but she received her answer with another apparition. A man she had never seen before was supporting Lavender and half her face looked as if it had been burned and the very center from the side of her eye down to her jaw was a gash that was dripping fresh blood.

“Joanna”, Ginny called for the girl to help her, but she was like a deer in the headlights. Ginny didn’t have time to coach at the moment and she guessed the girl hadn’t seen brutality like this yet. She had it easy with Neville’s team a few bruises some bad gashes ,but not a curse burn like this. “There on the bed” ,Ginny directed the man, as he lay Lavender down. She was at least half conscious as Ginny began work. She had to stop the bleeding and stop the spread of the festering as it seemed the curse wasn’t finished running its course. Some were like that now. The Deathies were designing them like diseases where it would continue to eat away until there was nothing left if not stopped.

The rest of the Phoenix had arrived by the time Ginny had stopped the bleeding. Lavender was talking in circles, but Ginny prompted her on to keep her awake, it was a necessary cruelty she didn’t know how hard she’d been hit.

“We got a frozen one”, the man who had dropped off Lavender nodded towards Joanna who was transfixed in the middle of the room like she was a piece of the furniture. Blaise followed his gaze and then let out an agitated sigh.

He went right for the girl grabbed her by her arm and whirled her around with him, “You, with me”, he growled and pulled her back through the swing door into the other room.

Ginny was literally over her head in this. She had managed to stop the spread, but she was pretty much nowhere on curing whatever this was. Luna was busy; by the way the blonde was hovering over the other bed she knew it was bad. She knew it wasn’t a matter of if she could heal him without leaving scars she was trying to save his life. It was just then the swing door flew back open and Joanna reappeared Blaise was right behind her. He went to take his place with the rest of his team.

“I got this”, Joanna took the potion from Ginny. “I need the little green jar from the cabinet and at least three drops of the sedation potion”, Her face was deadly serious, whatever Blaise had said to her, must have worked.

She brought the bottles the girl required. “Luna what do you need?” Ginny asked knowing an extra pair of hands could make all the difference.

“Regrowth potions, bones, skins, muscle tissue”, she listed a few more that had Ginny’s hands shaking a bit when she placed them all on the tray and delivered them to Luna.

“Give me the truth”, Ginny said in a low tone as to not be overheard as she moved to Luna’s side trying to avoid Draco’s injuries and look at his face.

“He’s a fighter”, was all Luna said before she took her wand out. She pointed it at straight at his injured leg and with a cracking noise it started to move back into place. Draco didn’t even stir. Ginny knew that was a bad sign.

“Ginny, she’s drifting again”, Joanna called from the other side of the room. As much as she hated to leave, she had work to do.

“Lav!”, Ginny called to her friend, “Lav!”

“Finnigan”, Lavender mumbled, “Tell him for me”.

“Tell him what?” Ginny tried to follow her ramblings, “Tell him what Lav? Stay awake you haven’t finished your sentence, remember?” Ginny was asking her questions now. What her favorite color was, who she had gone to the Yule ball with, anything she could think of to keep her awake.

“Is Malf… is he dead?” Lavender went on.

“No, not yet.” Ginny admitted more to herself than to Lavender.

“Saved me…” she breathed.

“Not yet he didn’t” Joanna added, she had her wand hovering over the girl’s face now. It was starting to lesson bit by bit her skin was returning to its normal color. Ginny kept her talking the entire time, pinching her hand or demanding she answer her question any time it looked as if she was drifting off. When the last bit of burn disappeared from her face, and only a thin scar of the gash that was underneath showed through Lavender breathed a sigh of relief.

“Go help Luna”, Ginny touched Joanna’s shoulder “I’ll check her vitals and then let her get some rest”, she placed her wand over her friend as the lights danced between it. Her mother had taught her to do this, to check if things were alright. It was sort of like a wizard Xray machine, Hermione had informed her. Granted Ginny had no idea what an Xray machine even was. She scanned it over her head several times and a green light shown from the tip of the wand. Ginny breathed a sigh of relief no internal bleeding. “Alright Lav, you can rest now”, she turned around and realized the rest of the Phoenix were still sitting on the empty cots. Ginny set Lavender’s alarms in case something would develop over the night and pulled the curtains around her bed.

The entire group stood as Ginny approached them. She realized Lavender was the only female of the bunch. It was almost like her and her brothers, hell these people spent more time together then most families. “She’s in the clear”, she informed them and they all breathed a sigh of relief. “Rest, doses of potions just to make sure the infection doesn’t come back, and probably some pain potions as well to help her sleep, but she’ll recover”. She looked to where Luna and Joanna were still working on Draco.

“Kingsley, you all should get some sleep”, she offered.

“Not a chance”, Blaise stood with his arms across his chest.

“I’ll wake you when”, she didn’t know what to add. If something changed? If he died? Ginny sighed realizing this was a useless fight. “I’ll go make coffee”.

“I’ll help”, Seamus muttered and he followed her through the swing door. He looked exhausted, but so was Ginny. The sky was starting to lighten, hinting that sunrise was soon. She had never seen anyone worked on for so long, at least no one who lived.

“You Alright Red?” he asked and before Ginny could even come up with some sort of bullshit about how she was fine Seamus pulled her into his arms. It took all of two seconds for Ginny to let go. She cried into his chest.

“I know”, he whispered, “trust me.” He backed her up by her shoulders to get a look at her, and wiped the stray tears away. “Thank you, for helping, with Lav” he added. It was then that Ginny saw it. Seamus was in love with that girl lying on the cot in there.

“Of course”, she nodded understanding.

“He’s going to make it Ginny, you should see him out there. He’s the strongest fighter we have save maybe Harry, He has to make it.” She wasn’t sure if Seamus was reassuring her or himself now.

“I wish he’d stop”, she admitted. “He told me once he couldn’t stand the way I saw him, that he had to do this.” She waved her arm around. “He knows I forgave him, but he left anyway.”

Seamus nodded, “Well you both better figure this out soon before you both end up getting yourselves killed trying to protect each other, he’s going to be livid when he finds out you put in for transfer, Kingsley hasn’t told him yet, since Neville wouldn’t release you, but now”, Seamus shook his head. “I do not envy anyone on the end of his wrath when he wakes up and finds out.” He laughed.

Ginny smiled. “Kingsley hasn’t said yes yet.” Ginny reminded him. Seamus gave her a look as if she was daft.

“You’re a brilliant fighter Ginny, Kingsley couldn’t wait to get you with the outfit”, he rolled his eyes. Ginny nodded turning away pretending as if she was busying herself with the coffee, a tiny smile graced her face.

Between the two of them they managed to bring two trays full of coffee the others drank it down eagerly.

“How badly do you think Lavender is going to hurt Draco when they both are up and about?” one of the members asked. Ginny learned that his name was Lee. He was only sixteen, apparently the Order had been taking underage wizards now, volunteer basis only of course. He had somehow ended up with the Phoenix, they all treated him as some sort of younger brother even though the kid was a head or so taller than Ginny. Usually only the twins towered over her that badly.

“My money’s on Draco”, McNally, an ex-auror added. He was maybe Ginny’s fathers age, but he seemed sharper somehow, as if he was twenty years younger than what he was.

“Nah, Lavender all the way did you see that nasty piece of work she did in Germany”, Jesse, reminded them. He had been in Hufflepuff when Ginny was in school a few years older than her. He didn’t look the part at all with his shaggy blonde hair and baby face.

Kingsley had introduced them all by name, besides for Draco, Lavender, Blaise, Seamus, McNally, Jesse, Lee, and Himself. There was a short stocky man who didn’t talk much, He had been a dark wizard bounty hunter of sorts before the war they all called him Ned and another younger boy, Serge, maybe Ginny’s age. His accent reminded her of Victor Krum and her suspicions were confirmed when he said something about Durmstrang. The rest of the crew simply called him Ladies man though. Even Ginny had to admit through the grime and tiredness he was quite handsome.

“Germany was only because it was that time of the month”, the words were quiet and groaned, but they came from the drawn curtain on the other side of the room.

“Malfoy?” Blaise was up on his feet already moving towards the voice.

“Yeah Zambini I’m not dead yet.”

“You should be” Luna huffed as she drew back the curtain. Draco was lying still in the bed, but a satisfied smirk was on his face. “You may be the most stubborn man of all times”, she was peeling the gloves off her hand. Joanna was checking his vitals.

“I don’t even know how you’re conscious”, she tisked as her wand read green.

“You try to sleep with that racket”, he managed to get out, his eyelids half open. The group was around his bed in a minute.

“Brown?” he asked as his head was lolling to one side.

“She made it”, Kingsley confirmed. Apparently that’s all Draco had been waiting for because with that his head finally dropped off and his eyes closed.

“He needs to rest”, Luna assured them, “As do all of you”, some of them had the decency to look sheepish as she berated them. “Doctors orders”, she reminded them, “Or I’ll slip you something and you won’t see daylight again for a week”. That got most of them headed off towards the sleeping quarters.

“Mind if I check on her first?” Seamus gestured over to Lav’s closed curtains.

“Quickly”, Luna sighed. She smiled after him though.

“I’ll take first shift”, Joanna patted Luna’s shoulder, “You look ready to fall over”. Ginny could agree with that statement. Luna looked as if she had spent her entire energy, and for what Ginny knew of her friend, she probably did. Healing magic wasn’t easy and it could sometimes cost the healer a great deal as well.

“Ginny you need to rest as well”, Luna added and looked to the window the sun was now over the horizon, it painted orange stripes in the sky, she smiled at it, before turning off to get some rest. Ginny for once couldn’t agree more. She cast one last glance at the sleeping Draco before leaving Joanna to her work.

xXx

When Ginny awoke the sun was on the horizon again painting purples in the sky, she had slept nearly the entire day away, but when one found time to just completely pass out, one did so without asking questions. She found her clothes from the night before folded and lying in a neat pile on her bed side table, apparently someone had grabbed them and performed a few cleansing charms for her. She had her suspicions on Luna, she really did take to the safehouse caregiver role well. For a moment Ginny envied her brother before she turned her thoughts to other things. She hadn’t heard from Harry, Ron, or Hermione in three months. Word in the rumor mill was no one had.

“Glad to see you’re awake”, she headed into the main room. She had planned on heading straight to the hospital wing of the house to check on well everyone.

“Kingsley”, she felt a bit stupid now she had slept so long when everyone else was awake.

“Neville’s team left mid day”, he informed her. Ginny nearly panicked for a second, they left without her, but then she realized he had called it Neville’s team as if she wasn’t a part of it. “I signed off on your transfer”, he gave her a smile. “Welcome to the Phoenix outfit, the guys already know, as does Lavender”. Ginny nodded and before she could ask Kingsley’s smile turned a bit mischievous. “No one is brave enough to tell Malfoy, he’s awake by the way, kept asking about you, but wouldn’t ask for you directly”, he raised a brow at her, “Is this going to become a problem for me?”

“No sir”, Ginny smirked, “I’ll go let him know”, she added and pushed through the swing door.

“Yep”, Kingsley brushed his robes off, “She belongs here.”

Ginny had just caught Draco plop back down in his bed and pretend he was asleep as she was walking in. She rolled her eyes. “Childish much?” she asked his unmoving form. It seemed the insult didn’t arouse him.

“Fine, but you’re going to have to talk to me at some point”, she added, “I joined the outfit.” Draco’s eyes flew open and in an attempt to sit up he nearly threw up. “Woah”, Ginny moved to help him back down, but Draco’s gaze was furious.

“Are you daft?!” he would have yelled but his voice was so horse that it sort of sounded like an old man telling kids to get off his lawn. Ginny resisted the urge to laugh. She heard a few chuckles and looked behind her to see shadows moving behind the curtains drawn over Lavender’s bed. She wondered if the entire outfit was hiding in there.

“Quite”, Ginny answered in her usual no nonsense tone.

“Are you trying to get yourself killed?” He added.

“Oh”, Ginny rounded on his bed finger pointed accursedly, “So it’s ok for you to go off and play hero, throwing yourself in harms way left and right, but not for me?”

“Exactly”, Draco folded his arms over his chest, another mistake his previously mangled arm, that was now whole again, except for the lines of scars where his skin had healed over. Another snicker from behind the curtain. Ginny flicked her wand and half the outfit was revealed huddled on Lav’s bed with sheepish grins on their faces.

“I think I need some air”, Lavender spoke suddenly, “Little assistance”, she held up a hand and it was Seamus who was quick to grab it as he escorted her from the room and towards the door, the rest followed suit they at least had the good sense to look down and avoid Ginny and Draco’s glare. It was Blaise who met both of their stares.

“Welcome to the outfit”, he winked at Ginny causing Draco to fume more and with that he went through the door as well.

“Is this funny to you?” Draco glared, “This is some sort of game?”

“No”, Ginny admitted. “This is where I belong.”

“In harm’s way?” Draco demanded.

“With you.” Ginny countered and whatever reply Draco was about to make it stopped.

“Don’t”, was all he said, “Don’t do this, not for me.”

“Bullshit”, Ginny countered.

“What?”

“You heard me bullshit! This entire self pity thing you have is bullshit, I’m not going another year not knowing where you are. If you’re alive and barely speaking to you because you can’t get over yourself”, She was three seconds away from must stomping her foot on the ground. Draco was dumbfounded, so Ginny continued. “How many times do you have to almost die, how many times do you have to save someone, how many Deathies do you have to kill until it’s enough.” Her hands flew to her hips, Molly Weasley would have been proud. “When does it stop Draco? When you’re dead?”

“Dear god witch”, Draco let her wrath pass, as she subsided into calm. He saw the hint of insecurity cross her features, just like it used to. Like maybe she was wrong, maybe he just didn’t want her anymore. “Get over here.” He demanded. Ginny took a step towards his bed before Draco reached with his good arm and pulled her down with him.

“When are you going to just let me protect you”, he whispered as he pulled her close to him and kissed the top of her head.

“When you let me protect you as well”, she countered and looked up at him. Their lips met for the first time in over a year. Ginny deepened the kiss. The movement made pain shoot up in all sorts of places for Draco, but at the moment it was worth it.

“When did you decide to stop hating yourself?” Ginny arched her brow at him when they broke.

“When I jumped in front of that spell for Lav”, he spoke softly, “I thought about how if it were you”. Ginny looked at him questionably. “That’s what it would have been like for Seamus, it would have been like losing you for me”, he explained. “When I realized I may have already lost you though, I couldn’t think straight, I heard you, you know with the team while Luna was working on me. I knew you were here I knew you were safe and somehow I knew if I died you’d find some way drag me back from hell because that’s what you do, you pull me back from my darkest moments. You drag my ass back to the light even though I may be kicking and screaming the entire time.”

Ginny giggled, “I think your pain potion dose may be a little too much”. He was almost sounding like Luna now.

“Shut up woman”, he pulled her close content to rest with her just like this. “This conversation about you joining the outfit isn’t over you know?” he said as he drifted off.

“Yes it is”, Ginny smiled at his sleeping form.

“Finally”, Luna whispered to herself and there was a mass of agreement behind her as they let the door shut all the way the entire group had been listening just in the hall.

“I thought Malfoy was batshit crazy at first, but after seeing her, damn”, Jesse waggled his brows, “Good going Malfoy.”

“Don’t say that around any of her brothers”, Seamus warned. “Actually don’t say that around me”, he knocked the kid over the head with the back of his hand.

“What?” Jesse looked up innocently, “She’s smoking!”

They all simply shook their heads at him.

“Who’s up for dinner?” Joanna had a bundle of groceries in her arms. Blaise immediately shot up to help her carry them in. Kingsley shot Seamus a look that only Luna saw as she smiled to herself. It wasn’t always violence and bloodshed. She looked around the room, these were the times she would remember if she survived all this and grandkids asked her about the war. She would tell them of the heroes. The ones who were just normal people who had to step up. Had to be something more than what they were. She had to focus on positive things. It was who she was. Even though the nagging in the back of her mind that worried about Ron, and the rest of them pushed its way through sometimes. Usually in the darkness of night, she would feel most alone.


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