Chapter Thirty: Covert
It was starting to warm up in her dungeon, but it was still cold enough that Ginny felt like an ice-cube from head to toe. She had a threadbare blanket, but it wasn’t enough to keep her even somewhat warm. It was useless.
For the most part, though, she was able to tell what time it was based on the temperature. It was always warmest in the afternoon, when her shivering wasn’t so bad and she could actually breathe normally. It was harder to tell in the mornings, because it was still just as cold as it was at night, but she had started hearing birds chirping outside, which gave her a sense of what time of day it was. It was coldest at night, when she was shivering so badly her teeth chattered and her heart was pounding in her chest, and she wondered why she hadn’t died of frostbite yet. Probably this was another form of Griselda’s torture. She was probably making sure she didn’t die of frostbite.
‘Weasley,’ someone hissed in the darkness. ‘Weasley, stop shivering for five seconds, would you?’
She stopped shivering, bracing herself for more torture. ‘W-what d-do you want?’ She stuttered.
‘Be quiet. I’m not supposed to be in here,’ the voice hissed.
It took her a minute to recognise the voice, and surprised would be an understatement compared to what she felt. ‘Goyle?’ She whispered.
‘Shh,’ Goyle hissed again, annoyance creeping into his tone. ‘Calor.’
She was about to ask what the unfamiliar word was, when the threadbare blanket at her feet suddenly warmed, as did the mattress under her, and she realised that it was a spell. She hadn’t studied heating spells much, but she was sure she’d never heard of this one before. ‘Thank you,’ she whispered.
Goyle muttered the silencing charm under his breath. She felt him sit down on the bed next to her. The mattress sunk under his weight. ‘You’re welcome,’ he said. ‘Potter saved my life once. I figured I owe it to him to keep you alive.’
‘You don’t happen to have any food, do you?’ She asked. ‘Or water? I’m starving. I’ve had nothing but bread crusts for who knows how many days.’
He chuckled, and she felt him press something into her hand. Her fingers wrapped around it, and she held the cup to her lips. She downed the water in seconds, and gave the cup back. He then handed her something else, and she realized it was more bread. But rather than the crusts she’d been fed, it was a sandwich, complete with cheese and lettuce and mustard and ham. It wasn’t her mother’s food, but it was food, and at this point, she’d take anything.
‘You’ve been in here since August. It’s April now,’ said Goyle. ‘I can’t tell you much, but I’ve been working undercover for the Order since July, when they started planning your abduction and Potter’s downfall. People know where you are. We’re just waiting until it’s safe to get you out of here.’
She couldn’t believe what she was hearing. Goyle, working for the Order? It was unbelievable. And yet… what a perfect spy. No one would suspect him, not after he stood with the Death Eaters. ‘It’s April? Has Easter happened yet?’ She asked.
‘The other day. No one suspects that you’re missing,’ said Goyle. ‘I don’t know about Potter and your brother, though. They’re smart enough to figure out that something’s wrong, at least.’
‘I can’t believe no one’s doing anything. Why are they waiting? Why don’t they just attack?’ She asked.
‘Because Griselda Granger is the most powerful witch since… well, since forever. No one even really knows how powerful she is. They’re being cautious. Since the war, a lot of your people died. I think we’re close to attacking, but I can’t be sure,’ he said. ‘I’m sorry, Weaselette. I really would take you out of here right now, if I could be sure it was safe. But it’s not safe yet.’
Ginny swallowed back tears. It could take days—weeks, even—of constant torture, before she was rescued. She could very well be dead by then. She didn’t think Griselda was going to kill her, though. In fact, she seemed to want her alive. But it didn’t entirely rule out the possibility. ‘OK,’ she whispered. ‘Thank you.’
‘I have to leave now, before they find me in here. That heat charm should last a couple days, and I’ll come back as soon as I can to bring you food and water,’ he said. She felt him get up, and he seemed to pause. ‘I’m sorry.’
She heard the door close, and she let a few tears escape. When she was a little girl, she remembered falling and scraping her knee on a rock. Her mother had bandaged the knee, and then she’d held her in her arms, rocking her back and forth, singing to her. She started humming the song under her breath, imagining warmth and the smell of fresh-baked apple pie and cinnamon toast. She imagined her bedroom, and she imagined the crowded kitchen as her family gathered around for Sunday dinner. But most of all, she just imagined being home.
‘Maybe you should go see Madam Pomfrey,’ Draco said as Hermione flushed the toilet and promptly began rinsing out her mouth, which still tasted like vomit. They’d been back at Hogwarts for two days, and she’d spent every morning and afternoon leaning over a toilet bowl, vomiting. Draco was starting to worry. She was worried herself, but she didn’t dare tell Draco why she thought she was sick.
She’d been late. The first time she’d got sick, she started calculating. She was supposed to menstruate the week before Easter, and she hadn’t. She was late, but she didn’t dare tell Draco.
‘I’ll see her after classes,’ she told him. ‘I’m sure it’s nothing, Draco. It’s probably just a normal bug. But if it’ll make you feel better, I’ll visit Madam Pomfrey.’
‘Thank you,’ he said, looking rather relieved. ‘Perhaps it’s stress-related. You’ve hardly slept since we got back. You’ve been pushing yourself too hard, trying to study and juggling Quidditch and prefect duties and everything else.’
She hadn’t thought about that before, but now that he mentioned it, it made perfect sense. If her sickness was related to stress, well… that was so much better than the other option. ‘I’ll go see Madam Pomfrey,’ she promised. ‘But don’t worry, Draco. I’m really sure it’s nothing.’
He sighed. ‘OK,’ he said. ‘Come on. We’re late for class.’
They had skipped breakfast because she was sick, and the thought of food made her want to vomit again. But she followed Draco out of the dormitory, holding hands, and they headed to Defense.
Professor Quincey had already begun the class when they entered, and they were greeted by curious looks. He didn’t seem to be bothered by their lateness, though, and paired them up and told them what to do.
They’d begun practicing complicated defense spells, like the invisibility spell among others, rather than physical combat. Though Draco completed the invisibility spell right away, Hermione had trouble, which was unusual for her.
‘Miss Granger, stay behind after class, please,’ Professor Quincey said.
She nodded, feeling as though she failed. Draco looked concerned, as did Harry, Ron and Blaise, but she pretended to ignore it. During the remainder of the class, Hermione failed at conjuring a successful invisibility spell, and she felt defeated by the time the bell went and the rest of the class left.
‘I’m so sorry, Professor,’ she said immediately, as soon as the classroom was empty. ‘I haven’t been well lately. I’ve never had a problem with spells before.’
‘Oh, I can tell you’re not well,’ Quincey said. ‘You look rather pale, in fact. That you didn’t cast the spell isn’t a big deal, though I would suggest seeing Madam Pomfrey as soon as possible. As being ill doesn’t usually affect a witch’s spell casting, you may have acquired a virus.’
She felt ill again. ‘I’ll go see her right away, Professor,’ she said. ‘Er… Professor, can I ask you something?’
‘Of course,’ he said.
She hesitated, swallowing. ‘Er… I was wondering, did you ever marry?’ She asked. ‘I know you loved that girl you told me about, but I was wondering if you ever married? I guess what I’m asking is… did you ever love anyone else?’
‘I will not lie. I did try to move on, but I never could. It is quite impossible to love anyone else once you have found your soul mate,’ he said. ‘Why do you ask? Is something the matter?’
‘No, no. It’s just that I related to your story. I’m a muggle-born, and I’m in an almost identical situation as yours, so I related to it, is all. I was just wondering if you ever did find your happy ending,’ she said. ‘You certainly deserve one.’
‘Thank you,’ he said, smiling. ‘And I wish you good luck with yours.’
She smiled. ‘Thank you. And I got the answer, to the question you asked me regarding Narcissa Malfoy,’ she said. ‘She never had a miscarriage.’
He stared at her, looking as if he was going to faint. ‘Promise me you will keep this a secret. Draco cannot know the truth,’ he said. ‘He can’t know. Not yet. Not until we are certain that Lucius is locked away in Azkaban for good.’
‘It’s not my secret to tell, but it will be safe with me. But, Professor, how can you handle it? Seeing him in class every day and knowing that he’s your son and he has no idea you’re his father?’ She asked.
‘It will be difficult, knowing what I do now, but I also went my entire seven years at Hogwarts pretending that I didn’t know Narcissa Black and that I wasn’t in love with her. I didn’t do a good job, obviously, but for Draco’s safety, I will keep this a secret,’ he said.
‘You think Lucius would kill him, if he knew?’ She asked, her voice trembling.
He looked at her gravely. ‘I think we both know that Lucius is cold. I think he suspects that Draco is not his son, but if he knew I was still alive, then he would kill us both. In fact, I fear he’d kill us all.’
She swallowed. ‘I’ll keep it a secret,’ she said. ‘Until Lucius has been sent back to Azkaban with no possible way to return, Draco won’t know.’
‘Thank you,’ he said. ‘I know how hard it is to keep a secret from someone you love, especially one as big as this. I hate that I must ask this of you, but thank you.’
‘I’ll admit that I’ve never kept a secret as big as this one,’ she said. ‘And as I said, it’s not my secret to tell. This is between you, Narcissa, and Draco. It wouldn’t be right for me to say anything, so I won’t.’
‘You should be going to your next class now. I’ll give you a note so you have proof that I kept you,’ he said. He scribbled something on a piece of parchment, and handed it to her. ‘And thank you again, Miss Granger.’
She nodded, smiling, and left the classroom. She had no doubt that it would be extremely difficult to keep this secret, especially from Draco. She didn’t want to keep secrets from him, and she told herself that it was for his own safety, and she would tell him as soon as Lucius was locked up for good.
Blaise met Astoria after dinner in the locked classroom he and Hermione had brewed the Sense Potion in. It seemed like ages ago, but it was really only months. The classroom had become a regular spot that the pair met. They were the only two people who knew the password.
‘Cygnus,’ he told the door, and it swung open.
He nearly fainted when he entered the classroom and saw that Astoria was not alone. On instinct, he reached for his wand and pointed it at his fellow Slytherin’s throat.
‘What are you doing here?’ He demanded.
Gregory Goyle rolled his eyes at him. ‘He’s on our side, Blaise,’ Astoria said. ‘Put your wand down, please.’
He lowered his wand, but still kept a tight grip on it. ‘You haven’t shown up all year, and now suddenly you do, and you’re on the good side when you fought for the Death Eaters last year. What the Hell are you playing at, Goyle?’ He asked.
‘I only fought for them because they’d have killed me if I didn’t,’ said Goyle. ‘I pretended I was one of them to get them to trust me. Snape even gave me tips. Tips that probably helped save my life.’
‘You mean to tell me you’ve been working undercover or something?’ Blaise asked, unsure if he believed him.
‘I’ve been working undercover for the Order since seventh year. I know that Theodore Nott and Pansy Parkinson are working for someone. I know that the imposter Ginny is actually Romilda Vane. I know that the person Nott’s working for is extremely dangerous and a hundred times more powerful than Voldemort,’ said Goyle.
‘She’s got the real Ginny Weasley, doesn’t she?’ Blaise asked.
Goyle nodded grimly. ‘And I know where to find her. But I’m going to need your help.’
CLIFFHANGER!! Don't' you all hate me? Sorry for doing that, but I couldn't write anymore! So, what do you think? About Goyle? Ginny? Professor Quincey? Or the chapter overall? Please leave a review. I really count on them. I'd also love to hear what you think will happen next. Thanks.