Chapter 5 : Gryffindor's Sword
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Draco sat in the common room late one evening, his head in his hands. He hadn’t been able to meet Ginny in the library that night, and he was mad about it. They hadn’t planned on meeting, but he had still hoped he’d be able to see her. Things had been awkward between them since that morning when she had slapped him, and they'd only met in the library once since then. Draco realised they'd been avoiding the truth of their situations -- a Death Eater and a Blood Traitor -- and everything had been brought to the forefront of their minds since then.
It had been a particularly busy week for Draco, with yet another meeting with at the Manor, and he had slept right through dinner. By the time he woke up around nine o’clock that evening, he knew Ginny would be long gone. He sat by the fire, snapping at Goyle for daring to breathe near him.
“What’s got you, mate?” said a voice behind him. Draco looked up, prepared to tell off the poor idiot who interrupted his thoughts, and saw Blaise standing over him.
“Not now,” he grumbled. Blaise, unlike Crabbe and Goyle, had been the least irritating of the Slytherins in his year.
“Come on,” Blaise jeered cheerfully, falling into the sofa beside Draco. “Don’t you want to hear the latest?” He looked like Christmas had come early. Draco ignored him. He didn’t really care what was going on at school, though he was supposed to act otherwise. “Some kids tried to break into Snape’s office,” said Blaise. “I guess most of them got detention with Hagrid, but then the Carrows caught a girl actually holding Gryffindor’s sword.”*
This caught Draco’s interest. He sat up straighter. “Who was it?” he asked, dreading the answer. “Who stole the sword?”
“You’ll believe this -- It was that Weasley girl!” He laughed incredulously. “I’d be surprised if she was still alive. You never know, those Carrows might actually kill her this time, even if they have been warned not to spill any pure blood.”
“What do you mean, this time?” Draco asked, trying to keep his voice steady.
Blaise shrugged. “She’s been in detention with them just about every other night,” he explained, apparently surprised that Draco hadn’t heard this. “Either from breaking curfew or mouthing off in class. That Longbottom kid does it, too. There have been a few times when they’ve just put her to work, but sometimes they use the Cruciatus on her like they do the Mudbloods, trying to teach her a lesson.” He frowned slightly. “I don’t really think it’s right, using an Unforgivable on a student, especially a Pureblood, but -- hey, where are you going?”
“Prefect’s duties,” Draco mumbled as he jumped to his feet. As soon as he was out of the Common Room, he started to run. Cold fear seized his heart as he bolted up the stairs, out of the dungeons. The castle was dark and empty. No one was out after dark anymore, it seemed. He slowed his steps and walked quietly through the halls, heart pounding, listening hard.
It was a full twenty minutes later when finally he heard it. He was on the sixth floor, walking down a corridor, and heard a noise. It was very quiet, so quiet, in fact, that if he hadn’t been listening for it he would have missed it. A hiss of pain; restrained, laboured breathing. Draco held his wandlight higher. He turned a corner and saw the hem of a robe poking out from behind a suit of armour.
“Weasley?” he called softly.
He heard a sharp intake of breath.
“Malfoy,” came a faint whisper. “Is that you?”
He drew closer and peered around the suit of armour. Ginny was curled up in a ball again, her arms wrapped around herself. Her body shook violently. She looked up at him and he gasped. Her face was bruised and bloody. Blood was matted in her hair. The rest of her was covered by her bulky school robes, but he could only assume she looked just as bad under there.
“I’ll take you to the Hospital Wing,” he offered quickly as he tried to look away from Ginny's beaten face, but she shook her head, wincing as she did so.
“Madam Pomfrey’s been forbidden to heal students who were...in detention…” She squeezed her eyes shut for a moment. Draco watched her, feeling helpless.
“What can I do?” he begged. “You need help.”
“Seventh floor.” She opened her eyes again. They looked slightly out of focus. “I was on my way, but--”
“Room of Requirement?” Draco asked. She nodded. Of course. Why hadn’t he thought of that? He practically lived up there last year. “Here, I’ll carry you.” He got closer and Ginny recoiled from him. “Hey, it’s okay,” he said softly. He put his hands up and approached slowly, like he would a scared animal. “I’m not going to hurt you.” Her eyes met his and she nodded warily. One arm wrapped around her shoulders and the other went under her knees. She groaned as he lifted her carefully.
“It hurts,” she whimpered. Her eyelids began to droop and her breathing became shallow.
“Stay with me, Weasley,” Draco said as he walked quickly toward the stairs. “Hey, come on, keep those eyes open. Weasley!”
Her body went limp in his arms. He panicked. Was she dying? He held her tighter and hurried up the stairs. At last he found the tapestry with the ugly, dancing trolls. He rushed up to the wall where he knew the door would appear. “Help!” he shouted at it. Immediately, as if sensing his urgency, a small, wooden door appeared and swung open on its own. He stumbled in, trying to catch his breath.
The room looked like a smaller version of the Hospital Wing, but cozier. A small fireplace contained a happily crackling fire. A bed with white linens was in one corner, with some chairs and a short table beside it. On top of the table sat an empty basin. Draco gingerly set Ginny onto the bed, making sure her head was supported by the pillow. He looked down at his hands and saw blood on them. His stomach turned and he shut his eyes, trying to slow down his heartbeat. He had to focus. He opened his eyes and looked again around the room, trying to find something that could help him. A small cabinet stood on the other side of the bed, and Draco opened it to find it was stocked with healing potions, washcloths, bandages, and crisp hospital gowns. He knew he would have to find Ginny’s wounds first, and clean them, before he could give her any of the potions. He grabbed a few washcloths and a bottle of Dittany and went back to Ginny.
He sat in one of the chairs next to her and pointed his wand into the empty basin, casting a silent Aguamenti charm. Water flowed from the tip of his wand and into the basin. He dipped a washcloth into the water and began to wipe the blood from Ginny’s face and hair. A long gash was along her hairline, and Draco dropped a few beads of the Dittany onto it. The cut closed up quickly, leaving a pink scar.
Ginny began to stir.
“Careful, Ginny,” Draco said gently. He’d never called her by her first name before, and she opened her eyes at the sound of it. “I need you to take your robes off. Can you help me?” She bit her lip but nodded. Draco helped her sit up and slid the robe off her shoulders, and gasped. The back of Ginny’s blouse torn in several places and soaked with her blood. He bit back another wave a nausea. “You’ll need to lie on your stomach,” he said in a shaky voice.
“I know,” Ginny said. Of course she knew. She sounded so defeated, he thought, as she turned over. She winced as she laid back down, but otherwise didn’t make any other indication of how much pain she was in. Draco pulled the robe off of her completely and began cutting her blouse off with some scissors he found in the cupboard. Her bra was barely hanging on by a thread. In the back of his mind he wondered if Ginny felt uncomfortable with him seeing her near-bare back, but he forgot about that when he pulled the bloody fabric away. Five long lashes crossed her skin, still oozing.
“You were whipped?” Draco asked in horror.
“No,” Ginny answered weakly. “No, it was some sort of spell.” Draco felt guilt seep through him. He knew what spell it was. The Death Eaters had modified Snape’s Sectumsempra curse to do less damage, but still be just as painful, allowing them to drag out the torture. He didn’t ask any more questions as he began to wash the blood from her back. Ginny hissed through her teeth as the cloth brushed her cuts. Draco tried to work quickly, knowing he needed to close up the wounds, but he didn’t know how. When *Potter had hit him with Sectumsempra the previous year, Snape had needed to magically heal the wounds. He dropped some Dittany across the lashes and they stopped bleeding, but they wouldn’t close completely. If Ginny moved at all they would start bleeding again. He cursed the Death Eaters silently -- of course they would think up the terrible spell but not teach the counter-curse.
Draco looked around desperately for something that might help him. As if answering his unasked question, a book was lying on the side table, as if it had always been there. It was an *old Potions book, tattered and falling apart, and vaguely familiar to Draco, but he didn’t have time to dwell on it. He flipped through the pages, scanning quickly until he saw, scrawled into a corner in neat handwriting, the spell he was looking for. Sectumsempra -- for enemies*. He continued to search and finally found what he hoped would help, scrawled into a corner of a page. Pulling out his wand, he began to quietly chant the latin words, just as Snape had done for him last year, and watched in amazement as the cuts slowly began to close. Ginny let out an audible sigh of relief. Within minutes the lashes had scabbed over. It would definitely leave a scar -- Draco's work wasn't the neatest -- but he didn’t want to tell her that now.
“Is your front okay?” he asked.
“I...I think something’s broken…” Her face was buried in a pillow and her voice was muffled, but Draco could tell she felt awkward. He certainly did.
“Here,” he said, reaching into the cabinet and pulling out one of the hospital gowns. “Put this over you. Just let me know when you’re covered.” He turned around and waited. He heard the springs on the bed creak slightly. Ginny gasped faintly as she moved and it was hard for Draco to not run and help her, even though he knew she probably would smack him if he did.
“Okay, I’m good,” Ginny called softly. Draco turned back toward her. She was sitting up on the bed, leaning on her arms. The hospital gown covered her, tying at her sides. Her face was deathly pale. “Could I have some water?” she asked, looking up at him. Draco conjured up a goblet and filled it with water from his wand, pushing it toward her. She drank gratefully.
“You ready?” he asked. She nodded and shifted the hospital gown to reveal her side. A dark bruise was developing across her left ribcage. Draco’s stomach clenched and he swallowed loudly. Raising his wand, he muttered “Episkey!” and heard a faint snapping sound as Ginny gasped. He gingerly felt across Ginny’s ribs and felt confident that they’d healed correctly. “I think they’re good now,” he said, pulling his fingers away from her skin. “You’ll want to check with Madam Pomfrey anyway, though. I’m not an expert Healer or anything.”
“It’ll have to do,” Ginny said. “Pomfrey’s not allowed to do anything, remember?” She pulled the fabric down to cover herself. Draco tried not to notice the faint blush spreading on her pale cheeks, and busied himself by digging through the cabinet once more. He pulled out a small vial filled with a deep blue-colored potion, and a large beaker containing a brothy, yellowish fluid.
“Here,” Draco said, sitting again next to Ginny. “This--” he held up the small bottle “is a Dreamless Sleep and Pain Relief potion, and this--” he lifted up the beaker“--is Murtlap Essence, which should help the cuts on your back even more.” He Vanished the blood-tinged water from the basin and poured in the Murtlap Essence. “Drink the pain potion, then turn over and I’ll put the Murtlap on your back.”
Ginny looked hesitant at first, but reached out to take the potion from him. Their fingers brushed as he handed it to her, and he felt his skin tingle where she had touched him.
“How much am I supposed to drink?” Ginny asked, reading the label for any sort of instructions. Draco shrugged.
“Maybe just try a gulp or two at first, and see how it goes. I don’t know how powerful it is and I don’t want to knock you out for a week.” He gave her a half grin and was rewarded with a weak smile in return.
“I wish I could,” Ginny said, her eyes darkening. “Sleep, and just forget everything. Though it'd be twice as painful to deal with once I woke up.” Draco wanted to reach out to her, to comfort her, but held back. He watched as she took a quick swig from the vial and made a face. “It’s disgusting,” she complained, but immediately her eyelids began to droop.
“Hang on. We’ve got to turn you over before you pass out.”
Ginny nodded sleepily and let Draco help her turn onto her stomach. He pulled the blanket up to her waist, and opened the back of the hospital gown. Some of the cuts had been pulled open slightly, and a few tiny drops of blood welled along the lines. After thoroughly soaking a clean towel in the Murtlap Essence, he lay the dripping fabric across Ginny’s back, making sure every cut was covered.
Ginny instantly relaxed. “Mmm,” she mumbled. “That feels good.”
“Good,” Draco replied gently. “Let yourself sleep.” He stood up to stretch, when suddenly her small hand reached out and grabbed his. Looking down, he saw she had turned slightly so she could see him.
“You’ll stay with me?” she whispered in a wavering voice. Her eyes were pleading and scared. Draco knelt next to her, clutching her hand firmly.
“I’ll stay with you,” he promised. “Always.”
I realise Ginny's punishment in the book was just referenced as "doing detention with Hagrid" (HPDH, chapter 15), but if the Carrows had caught up to Ginny before Snape did, I really think Snape would have had to let her get punished.
Here are a few more questions for you:
1- After reading the last chapter, did you guess what was coming in this chapter?
2- What do you think of Draco coming to Ginny's rescue -- AGAIN? She's quite the damsel in distress lately. I don't want her to be, though. I want her to be the same strong, fiery Ginny, but her spirit beaten down a bit after her experiences during Voldemort's reign.
3- Who is your favorite character/characters out of all the HP books? Mine are the Weasley twins (who, unfortunately, won't make much of an appearance in this story). I wish I could have known them!
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