Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, nor any of the characters from the books or movies. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.


A Harry Potter fan Fiction. After a chance meeting in the woods, two very unlikely people form an odd kind of friendship. He makes her feel human again. She is the solution to all of his problems. Can the relationship survive the truth or outside influences, or is the small happiness a bubble ready to pop? (Small Disclaimor: This plot bunny was directly inspired by Equally Blind an unfinished story by wrenbailey. It has one or two of the main ideas in the stories are the same, but they are most diffidently two different tales.)

 

Chapters

Chapter 1: Rebel Camp & Malfoy Cottage
Chapter 2: Alone
Chapter 3: Damaged
Chapter 4: Different but Whole
Chapter 5: A New Man
Chapter 6: Nothing is Free
Chapter 7: Stronger
Chapter 8: Oddly Normal
Chapter 9: Honest Lies
Chapter 10: What is Real
Chapter 11: Sides
Chapter 12: A Good Day
Chapter 13: Forever Dark


Chapter 1: Rebel Camp & Malfoy Cottage

Ginny-

I sit in my tent and listen to the soldiers outside as they try to relax after a long shift of scouting. I think of them as soldiers and I laugh when I realize they’re really boys who’ve been forced into a life on the run. The camp we’re in is full of teens that had to grow up much too quickly, but I guess that’s what war does.

Voldemort’s forces have taken control of England, France, and Ireland. Rebel camps like this one are spread over the wilderness. No more than a hundred or so wizards in each camp. Much bigger than that and we would be noticed much more easily. We move the camp whenever his forces get near, so far our spies and scouts have kept us safe.

I sigh and pull myself out of my thoughts so I can get back to work. I slowly start to sharpen the blade in my hand. There’s a whole stack of sharpened ones to my left and dull to my right. I like to do the small chores as they keep my hands busy.

There’s a loud bang outside and my hand slips as I jump in reaction. I feel the pain a moment after my palm is sliced open and I curse under my breath as I feel around for my wand. When my hand lands the smooth piece of wood, I cast a quick healing spell on the cut, and then wipe the blood on my jeans.

“Ginny? You okay in here?” Ron asks before he pushes open my tent flap without being invited.

“I’m fine, what was the noise?” I ask as I set down my wand picking my work up.

“Some stupid git set off one of our own traps.” He says and I can feel him looking me over. “Is that blood?” He asks making me sigh because I know what’s coming. “Did you cut yourself?”

“Yes Ron, I was startled and I cut my hand, but I healed it and I’m fine.” I say in an annoyed voice.

“That’s it Gin. Someone else can do this; I told you it was a dangerous job.” He says in a gruff voice and pulls the tools out of my hands.

“What am I supposed to do Ron? Just sit here?!” I ask as I try to take the sharpening stone back from him.

“We have other people who can do this stuff.” He backs away and starts collecting my piles.

“I can do this stuff!” I stand up feeling my voice rising.

“No, it’s obviously too dangerous!” He says like the overprotective git he is.

“It’s no more dangerous for me than it is for anyone else! So why do you keep treating me like I’m useless?” I snap stepping forward.

“Ginny, you’re not useless; we just need to find you a safer job. Okay?” He says as he tries to keep his tone even.

“No! I can do this job! Stop treating me like I’m going to break at the smallest thing!” I take another step forward.

“Ginny.” He snaps back at me. “You’re blind! You need to stop pretending like nothing is wrong!”

“Fuck you Ron! I know I’m fucking blind! It’s kinda hard for me to miss! But that doesn’t make me useless!” I bend down and locate my wand and cane. “I’m going for a walk!” I say as I snap my cane into place and move past him out of the tent.

“Gin?” Ron starts in a much more smooth tone this time.

“And don’t have any of your cronies follow me this time General Weasley! They’ll come back with bats flying out of their nose!” I call back as I make my way out of the camp.

I find the familiar path I’ve been using since we set up the camp two months ago. It leads me away from the others. I don’t spend a lot of time outside my tent, I’m always feeling eyes on me, and hearing whispers filled with pity as I pass. I don’t want to be pitied; I want to be useful.

When I get to my destination, I slump down into the grass and slowly feel my way forward to the edge of the pond. It’s a small clearing I found just after we made camp. I like the smells of damp earth and flowers. I like the sounds of the creek that feeds the small pond in front of me. It’s a peaceful place where no one judges me; no one pities me.

After the fight with Ron I think back to a year ago when all of this happened.

I was out with two other scouts looking for new locations where we could set up camp. We separated to cover more ground. It was a few hours into the mission when it happened. When I ran into her.

I literally ran into her. We were both using a disillusionment charm to help keep out of sight. I jumped back when I hit the solid woman and I started to move away from her as she let her charm fall.

I remember the sneer on her face as she looked around to see what hit her. “Are you blind?” She laughed madly, but she couldn’t see me.

I backed away slowly as I knew how dangerous this woman was; she was not to be engaged in a one-on-one duel.

“Come out my pretty! Bella just wants to play!” She said as she was still scanning the area.

I was too focused on her and I missed the root. My foot caught and I fell back with a loud thud. She was on me a moment later. “Seems you are blind my little pretty!” She cackled. “Let Bella help you with that.”

The last thing I saw was a blue curse coming straight at me. The world went black and I passed out.

Later I found out a group of our soldiers had been tracking her, and caught up with her as she was distracted by me.

They got me out, and I survived, but the combination of curses that she’d cast on me left me in darkness. Our healers say that I’ll be in darkness forever. What she did to me wasn’t something that could be healed.

A soft breeze bringing the smell of fresh cut wood passes over my face, and brings me out of my dark thoughts. I listen closely to make sure no one from the camp followed me before I stand.

I kick off my trainers, and slip out of my jeans, before I pull the tank top off and drop it all in a pile.

What I need is a swim I decide and I drop my cane and my wand by my clothes before I step down into the pond. I move to a deeper portion and dip under the surface. As I come up for air again, I flip back my hair and laugh as I let the water take away my frustration at my life now.

I arch my back a little so I can just float on the surface of the water and feel the warm sun on my skin. My ears are below the water, so it gives me a sensation of floating in a warm sea of nothingness. It’s a comforting feeling now, where at first it frightened me.

I start to hum to myself and the sound reverberates in my ears in a strange and lovely way.

After a short time, I sigh and stand in the water. If I’m too long away from camp, they’ll send someone looking for me. With a huff, I start to head back towards the shore. The loud crack of a branch freezes me in place.

“Who’s there?” I call out.

Draco-

I stretched lazily in my sleeping bag. My current position has its upsides and downsides. Upside, I can sleep in as late as I like. Downside, the cottage needs a lot of work before I can actually sleep inside.

I look over at the shabby building and sneer. I was told this was a retreat, that it was felt I needed time off from the war. But I feel it may have been a punishment for hexing Lieutenant General Nott’s son. It wasn’t my fault the git was in my way.

Father, or rather General Malfoy, felt that it would be good for me to get away and work with my hands. So, he sent me here with the mission of making the cottage livable again.

The building is tiny compared to Malfoy Manor, but it has been in the family just as long, if not longer. I can’t really complain too much, Father knows I like carpentry. That building things is a guilty pleasure. So really, the project should be fun.

I stand and stretch again. I walk over to a small table where my food for the morning has been left. Until I can get the kitchen set up, and get a house elf installed in the place, Father agreed to have my meals sent so I wouldn’t have to worry about too much.

After I eat breakfast and drink a few cups of coffee, I sigh as I decide what to do first. Really, the first thing on my list should be getting wood. I decide to take a walk and scout the woods to the best place to get exactly what I need.

It’s almost midday, when I hear the sound of a woman humming. Slowly I stalk towards the sound, it actually is quite lovely, and it has been a very long time since I’ve seen a woman who isn’t my subordinate or a slave. Some of my peers take advantage of women below us in rank and station, but I have no taste for such things.

I come to the small clearing in the woods. I spot her, like a water nymph basking in the sun. She’s humming and floating in the water. From here, I can see her pile of clothing on the shore. It seems I’ve run across a muggle woman. I frown as I try to think if there’s a village around anywhere.

I move around the tree slowly, so she doesn’t see me, while I get a better look at her. Her curvy, but toned frame is the most appealing thing I’ve seen in a long time. Her milky white skin is speckled with freckles. Her face has soft almost heavenly features. Her hair is under the water so I can’t quite tell its color. Her wet bra and knickers do little to hide what’s to be found under them, and I enjoy taking in her round and perky breasts.

I feel my first thought was correct, there’s no way this creature could be a muggle or even a witch, she’s my water nymph. I decide I should get comfortable and watch her a while. I deserve a little treat after all.

When she sighs and stands revealing her flaming red hair, something clicks for me. I’ve seen her before. I know this woman and she’s a witch. I’m so stunned when I realize whom my water nymph is I take a step back, right onto a twig.

I cringe as the now grown Weasley freezes like a dear who has caught the scent of a predator.

“Who’s there?” She calls out.

I raise my wand to defend myself as I step out of the tree line. She’s looking right through me as if she doesn’t see me at all, and then turns her head in a completely different direction as if…

“You’re blind.” I say as the shock of it hits me.

“You’re the second person to inform me of the fact today. I’m so glad people keep me updated about these things.” She says in a snarky tone. “Who are you; I don’t recognize your voice.” She says as she moves towards her clothes.

I lower my wand. It was strange seeing her like this. The last time I noticed her she was a slip of a thing following Potter around like his personal shadow. She’s on guard because she doesn’t know me, but I don’t see the loathing I’m so used to from the Weasleys, which just gives me an odd sort of feeling.

“My name is Syler.” I lie easily enough. “I live on the other side of the hill. Where did you come from?” I ask looking around.

“You can call me Ginny.” She says as she finds her pile of clothes and starts to dress. “I’m from around.” She says vaguely. “I was just taking a dip.” She adds and then fingers her wand before putting it in her back pocket as if she’s hiding it from me.

“I’m a wizard.” I say as I smirk comes to my lips.

“Oh thank goodness.” She says sighing with relief as she pulls her wand back out and dries her hair.

“Are you out here alone?” I ask trying to sound merely curious.

“Why? Are you afraid I’m going to have my wicked way with you?” She asks as a smirk comes to her lips.

“Oh yes, I’m very frightened of the half dressed water nymphs.” I say darkly.

“Water nymph?” She asks with a laugh in her throat. Her whole face brightens with the laugh and it sends an unrecognizable feeling to my stomach.

“You heard me. You were the perfect image of one only a few moments ago.” I say waving my hand to the water. “You still haven’t convinced me that isn’t exactly what you are.”

Once she was completely dressed, she picked up a white cane that had been lying near her clothes.

“Well if I’m a water nymph what are you?” She asked making her way towards where she’d heard my voice.

“A man who lives alone in the woods.” I say as I watch her progress. By the way she held herself she’s been blind for at least a few months, if not more.

“Oh why is that?” She asks curiously. I could tell she was trying to figure out what side of the conflict I was on. She needs to know if I am safe. A prideful smile spread across my face.

“Because I like my privacy and I’m staying out of the war, why else?” I say and force myself to sigh. Soon she’s in front of me and her hand reaches out to touch my chest. I could grab her arm and Apparate her back to the Manor. If I remember correctly, there’s quite a price on this one’s head.

“How can you stay out of the war?” She asks with a dark frown crossing her face.

“I’m a pureblood man so the Death Eaters leave me alone. And of course the Rebels…They don’t go after anyone that hasn’t killed people.” I lie to her easily enough. I decide against the first plan, what if I could bring in her whole camp? She’s a Weasley after all; she would be camped with at least one of the golden three.

“What are you doing alone in the woods?” I ask as I again try to get her to tell me where her home is.

Ginny-

“What are you doing alone in the woods?” He asks and for the life of me, I can’t hear any pity or fear for me in his voice. In the beginning of the conversation, I had thought about just leaving, but I like the way this strange man speaks to me. It was nice to be treated like a human again.

Now that I’m closer to him, I realize he smells like fresh cut wood and sweat. I feel a hard chest against my hand, and the fabric that covers it is soft but durable. He was obviously, someone who works with his hands, someone useful.

“I was taking a bit of a walk to cool down.” I answer with a sigh. “But I should head back, I’ll be missed soon. It was nice meeting you Syler.” I say as I take a step back from him.

“Yes, you as well, it has been awhile since I’ve had a human conversation.” He says and I smile at his word choice.

“I was just thinking the same thing. Funny that. Thank you.” I say turning my back to him. I listen to where the creek is from me and I head in the direction of my path home.

“How often do water nymphs have to return to their ponds?” He asks and I can hear the teasing tone in his voice.

“Oh, it’s hard to say: sometimes days, sometimes hours.” I say with a laugh. When I feel myself step into the shadows of the tree line, I reach out my left hand to feel for the mark on the tree I’d left there my first day. Once I confirm I’m in the right place I decide to cast a disillusionment charm on myself. I can’t have Syler following me until I know more about him.

I walk carefully and silently back to the camp. On any other trail, I wouldn’t have been able to manage it, but this one I know so very well. When I’m a few feet from the unplottable camp, I pause and listen to the woods. I hear nothing out of the ordinary so step into the boundary.

“Ginny!” I hear the relief in the voice that calls to me from a few yards away. This man smelt of dirt and grass, with just a hint of something that was his and his alone.

“Field Marshal Potter.” I greet him as I hear him move closer. “Sergeant Weasley, reporting back from blowing off steam.” I say with a smile. There’s an uncomfortable silence that greets me as I use my old rank. I sigh, I’d gotten used to the man in the woods talking to me, and now that I was home, we were back to this.

“Ron told me what happened.” Harry said finally. “Promise me it wasn’t deep, and I won’t take the duty away from you.” He adds, he was always more reasonable than my brother.

“I’m sure Ron makes it seem like I cut off my whole hand, but it was only a small flesh wound. I healed it before he even got there.”

“Okay, I’ll have the tools returned to your tent. I was also thinking you could put together field kits.” He offers.  Harry at least understands that I want to feel useful.

“Yeah, I can do that.” I say giving him a warm smile. “Will you be in camp long? You could share my tent if you want?” I offer playfully.

The uncomfortable silence is there again. Now this was the problem with Harry. Before my injury, we’d been building a life together. It was a life of war, but at least we had each other.

He was a traditional kind of man; he wanted our first time to be after we were married. Back then, I agreed with him. But this hadn’t stopped us from sharing many nights together, just holding one another and sharing comfort.

I used to make that same offer every time he was in our camp, and his response used to be a sly smile and a wink, followed by a passionate kiss on the lips.

Now I got awkward silence and a clearing of his throat.

“They already set a tent up for me by command.” He says kissing me lightly on the cheek. “I should head back, we’ll catch up at dinner.” He promises before walking away.

He didn’t break up with me after the attack. He still swears he has feelings for me, and that he wants to be with me. But his actions speak louder than his words. He sees me as weak now, as something he’ll break if he holds me too tightly. I wonder what he’d do if I broke up with him?

Draco-

I watch her as she moves across the clearing. I decide I should let her get a little ways away before I start to follow. When she casts the spell that makes her all but invisible it takes all my will not to curse. She was a smart little witch I have to admit. It seems Syler will have to earn her trust.

I think about reporting the sighting to Father.  No, it’s best to come back with results than to report failure.

It’s time to get back to the project I was actually sent here to do. I wouldn’t put it passed Father to not let me rejoin the war until the cottage was complete. As it is, it could be a year’s worth of work.

My walk was fruitful in more ways than one, when I Apparate back to the cottage my pack is holding more than a few shrunken trees to be turned into lumber. I spend the rest of the afternoon converting the oaks into a more usable form. The spells are familiar and relaxing.

When I wake the next morning, I decide not to go back to the pond that day. Even if the little nymph showed, I don’t want to seem like I’m waiting around for her. Today I will use solely on my main objective.

I walk into the small two-story building and sigh at how much work there is to be done. The cottage is in complete disrepair, and looks as if more than one animal had decided to make it its home.

The downstairs contains a living room, dining room, kitchen, and small half bathroom. I know without going up the stairs that it has three bedrooms and two full baths. There’s also a small root cellar just off the kitchen.

I’ve only been to this place once, when I was a child. It was in better condition than, but not by much. Father had brought me here so he could pick something up and we hadn’t stayed very long. This hadn’t been a place, Malfoys actually inhabit since my grandfather was young.

Every room in the building is going to need attention and love, so it’s hard to decide where to start. I stand in the entrance way and think. Really it comes down to what I want access to first. When I ask myself, the question the answer comes immediately: a bath.

I can do without a kitchen or House Elf for the time being, but one good whiff of myself and I crave a working bath.

I head up the stairs to see what the state the bathrooms actually are. I step very lightly on the stairs, as much of the wood is rotted. I make my way down the upstairs hall and open doors as I go to see the exact state of things.

The guest bathroom is in adequate condition. Tiles and fixtures will need to be replaced. The bath itself is strong and sturdy. It was made in a time when things were built to last.

I walk over and turn the handle. Brown water sputters out. When I turn the other handle, the same thing happens. I try the sink next and I’m soon satisfied that the pipes in the room need cleaning, but as a whole they’re in good condition.

Next, I move to the Master bedroom and I wrinkle my nose at the smell. Something has died in the room. I step back out and close the door. I’ll get to the Master suite later. I put up a few spells to contain the smell to the area.

I go back to the guest bathroom and make a list of supplies I’ll need that I can’t gather myself. I then go back downstairs and make lists for the half bath and the kitchen.

I’m only permitted to leave the project once a week to get any supplies I might need, so I try to make the best use of the time that I can.

I decide this first trip will be to a smaller wizarding village. I don’t smell right to be seen back in London. I stop by the small shop to drop off my lists then leave to have some lunch while they get things together for me. I go to the only pub in the settlement and sit away from the others so as to not offend anyone with my reek.

“You’re a hard man to find.” A familiar voice says with a sarcastic tone.

“So very hard when I wear the tracking beacon ordered by my father.” I reply as I look up at my dark haired friend. “What’re you doing here?” I ask with a frown.

“Having lunch,” He replies as he sits down at my table and wrinkles his nose.

“I’m working on getting the bathroom finished first.” I say before he can make a comment.

“Ah.” Is all he says as he looks over the menu.

“I know you want something more than lunch.” I say pushing my own menu aside.

“How long do you think you’ll be kept in exile?” He asks as he can tell I’m in no mood for games.

“Father says until I finish the cottage.” I say with a sigh. “Unless, I can find other ways to get back into good graces.”

“I still can’t believe you crucioed Nott.” Blaise says with a smirk on his lips. “What did he do exactly?”

“I found him fucking one of his slags in my tent.” I say dryly. “It was a lack of respect and I stand by my decision.”

“He outranks you.” Blaise point out making me sneer.

“Only because, his father pulls every string to get him promoted, while mine makes me earn my own way.” I snap.

“True.” Blaise agrees laughing. “But it still really sucks for me.” He says as he pulls out a cigarette and lights it with his wand. “They transferred Pucey in to replace you, and I don’t think he likes me.”

“You fucked his girlfriend at a gathering a few months ago. He may still be a bit peeved.” I point out sitting back to watch my friend.

“The one with the short black hair and the undersized breasts?” He asks as if he can’t remember the incident.

“You really are a whore.” I say as I shake my head.

“It’s not easy being this pretty.” He says as he motions to himself. “I have a duty to witch-kind to spread it around.” He adds with a charming grin.

Chapter 2: Alone

Ginny-

I’ve visited the pond every day since I first met Syler there. I don’t know if I’m missing him, or if he hasn’t returned, but it makes me think I may have just imaged him. It has only been three days since I met him maybe he’s just busy.

I get back to camp as evening falls and make my way carefully over to where dinner is being served. I feel a hand on my back as I near the line and I sigh as I force a smile on my lips.

“How did the day go Harry?” I ask as he leads me to the line making trays for the two of us.

“Well, I’ll be leaving in the morning.” He says and I shrug in response. As the leader of the rebellion, he’s never in the same camp for more than a week.

“So we should talk tonight then?” I say as he finds us a seat.

“What do you want to talk about?” He asks trying to help me sit down when I can do it perfectly fine on my own.

“About us.” I tell him. I made the final decision today. This relationship is a farce and I’m calling it off.

“Is there something wrong Gin?” He asks with worry in his voice.

I sigh trying not to sound bitter or angry. “I think we should break up Harry.” I say looking to where I think his eyes should be. “I don’t…” He cuts me off.

“Who told you?” He asks in a worried tone.

“Told me what?” I ask narrowing my eyes.

“They don’t mean anything…” He starts and it’s my turn to cut him off.

“They?!” I snap standing up. “They? As in more than one? As in how many Harry?” I ask as I feel my temper rising along with my voice.

“Will you calm down; I thought…Then why were you…Gin calm down.” He says and I can hear him get to his feet.

“Answer the question.” I demand.

“Three, but they didn’t mean anything, Ginny I was just…I needed…” White-hot anger rises in me and I strike with my fist where I think his jaw it located. By the feel and the sound of the crunch, I think I hit his nose. Good.

When I move to hit him again, I feel other hands pulling me back. “You won’t even touch me but there are THREE women out there that you fucked?” I scream as one of my brothers keeps me from tearing up his stupid face.

“Gin, you’re…I didn’t want…” Harry is trying to explain, that to him I wasn’t a woman; I was a porcelain doll. I can hear it in his voice and it just makes me want to kill him more.

“Har, you’re making it worse.” I hear Ron’s voice close by my ear. He was obviously the one holding me back. “We’ll talk later.” He says and I can tell by his tone he hadn’t known either.

He pulls me away from the crowd that must have been gathering and I can hear crickets as I realize we must be near the perimeter of the camp.

“Gin are you okay?” He asks as he finally lets go of me.

“Why didn’t we break up months ago?” I ask as I start to calm down pacing back and forth.

He sighs and pauses for a moment before he answers. “Because he didn’t want to look like a bastard.” He says in a cold voice.

“Well now he IS a bastard.” I say and for the first time I realize I’m crying. “Ron, where am I?” I ask so I can find my way back.

“South end, by the cart path.” He answers. “You want me to go?” He asks knowing it was the only reason I wanted to know where we were.

“Yeah, I just want to sit alone for a while.” I say and then add. “I may sleep in the woods tonight, it’s clear right?” I ask so he won’t worry.

“Yeah, they cleared it for the evening. Just don’t go too far okay?” He asks and I nod.

I hear his footsteps carry him away. When I’m completely alone, again I stand slowly and pull out my cane. I start to wonder off into the woods aimlessly. Tomorrow I’ll cast the spell that will point me back towards camp, but tonight I just want to be lost.

Draco-

The last few days I’ve been so focused on getting the bathroom setup I had almost forgotten about the Weasley girl. I work late into the night to finish the last of the repairs needed.  When I’m done, I decide to reward myself with a bath.  As I sit in the tub and relax my overworked and smelly muscles, I sigh happily. I end up falling asleep in the hot water. I wake in the early morning, when I almost drown myself in the tub.

I dry off and decide to just get dressed for the day. After the scare, I don’t think I could fall back asleep anyway.

Being clean for the first time in days has put me into a good mood. When I head down to the table that usually holds my meals I realize it’s a bit too early, so I decide to take a casual walk in the woods while I wait for my coffee.

I’m not even a mile or so from the cottage when I nearly step on a hand half covered by leaves.  I frown and draw my wand, before I crouch down to see the hand is connected to an arm.  There is a body in my woods.  I look around to see where it could have come from.  When is shifts in the leaves and I realize it’s still alive.

I almost laugh when I realize it’s my nymph; maybe she’s a wood nymph this morning. I amused myself with the thought. I scan her sleeping form. She’s wearing the same clothes I’d seen her in last time, but she seems clean enough besides the leaves in her hair and a bit of dirt that got kicked up in the night.

“Do you always sleep out in the middle of the woods my little nymph?” I ask to wake her up.

She grumbles something that I don’t think are words and rolls over. I put my hand on her shoulder to try to wake her up again. Her wand is at my neck in a flash and I can’t help but find myself impressed.

“It’s okay little nymph…just me…Syler?” I question as if I think she may not remember me.  I see a frown cross her lips.

“You don’t smell the same.” She says making me chuckle.

“I finally got my bath fixed, I’m sure I smell much better.” I say and she relaxes nodding.

“You did mainly smell of sweat last time.” She says and then frowns again as she lowers her wand. “What are you doing here?” She asks as she brushes leaves from her hair.

“I was enjoying the morning before breakfast. What are you doing here?” I ask curiously.

“I needed some time alone.” She says as she slowly got to her feet.

“Should I leave?” I ask as I play the friend.

“No no… you’re fine.” She says sighing. “Last night was bad.” She adds softly.

“Would you like to talk about it over some food? My place isn’t a mile from here.” I tell her wondering if I could at least get some good intel from her.

“Sure, I don’t really want to go back yet.” She admits pausing for a moment. “If you’re leading the way I’m going to need your arm.” She says a bit shyly.

She doesn’t like to rely on others I can tell. So, the request makes her very uncomfortable.

“Of course, with that wand work I just witnessed, I will leave it to you if bandits descend on us.” I say trying to make her more comfortable. Honestly, I think she could take anyone who tried to attack, except maybe a Death Eater.

She laughs and nods. “Don’t worry, I’ll protect you.” She says as she pats my hand. Her laugh is a musical sound, something I wouldn’t mind hearing again.

“Would you like to tell me what happened?” I ask to keep her talking.

“Nothing major. I just broke up with a long-term boyfriend.” She tells me shaking her head.

My eyes widen, as my first thought is that she would have to be talking about Potter, but it’s possible she was dating someone else more recently.

“What happened?” I ask wanting to know for sure who the boy was.

“Honestly it was weird. We’ve been dating mostly since Hogwarts, and last year…” She trailed off and sighed. “Last year I was injured and blinded on duty. After that, he stopped touching me. I mean holding me. So we’ve been dating for the last year; and it’s been much closer to a brother sister relationship.” She pauses sighing. “I’m rambling.” She says in defeat.

“Sometimes one needs to ramble Ginny. So, your idiot boyfriend forgot you were a sexy wood nymph last year sometime. Go on.” I say with a smirk across my lips.

“I’m a wood nymph now? I thought I was a water nymph?” She asks with a smirk.

“Ah well, I’m not sure, this morning I found you sleeping in a grove of trees. You’re a very tricky nymph; I’ll have to observe further if I can, to tell for sure.” I say playfully. “But you were telling a story.” I nudge back towards the topic at hand.

“Oh yeah… So I decided a few days ago that I really didn’t want to be in the relationship any more. Last night I was trying to explain to him. His wires got crossed and he thought I had found out about the three women he has been sleeping with over the…You know I don’t know how long it has been going on.” She laughs at the realization.

“He was cheating on you?” I ask with a bit of amazement in my voice, I didn’t know Potter had it in him.

“Yep. That’s when I’m pretty sure I broke his nose. There was definitely a satisfying crunching sound.” She says wistfully. “So you should really watch out… I’m much more likely to have my way with you now.” She says teasingly.

“Nymphs are known to savagely attack innocent men.” I say back, unable to keep the amusement from my voice.

“I’ve heard that. They chase them around and try to tear off all their clothes.” She says with a little smile.

“Yes Nymphs are very dangerous creatures.” I agree looking down at her as we walk.

There’s a lull in the conversation as we head back to the cottage and I realize how comfortable it is to walk with this girl in silence. Most women I know have to fill the air with idle chatter, but she seems at peace just listening to the woods.

“I must warn you, my place is a dump. I’m still working on fixing it up.” I finally say as we near the cottage.

“I’m sure I’ve seen worse.” She says with a little smirk that comes to her lips.

“Ah yes, you’ll be saved from that fortunately, but the smell…” I tease her and she laughs again.

“I couldn’t even bring myself to deal with the master bedroom yet. I’ve been sleeping outside.” I tell her honestly.

“So how long have you been here?” She asks curiously. She sniffs the air and I look around to see what caused the reaction. I see my breakfast is sitting on the small-enchanted table not far away.

“Not very long actually. I just came into the property and thought I would take the chance to get away from things.” I explain dropping her arm to head to the table.

The moment I drop her arm she stops moving, I look back to see what’s wrong. She has a smile on her face as she looks in the direction of breakfast.

“Something wrong?” I ask wondering why she isn’t moving herself towards the table.

“You didn’t lead me to a seat or anything…” She says and I frown.

“Did you need me to? The area doesn’t really have any obstacles…”

She laughs again and I savor the sound. I could really get used to it if I’m honest with myself.

“No, I don’t need you to.” She says and with the help of her cane, she makes her way to the table. “I really like your company Syler.” She says suddenly with a smile.

“Okay…” I reply a bit confused by her good humor. I decide it’s best to distract myself with breakfast. “How do you take your tea?” I ask as I start to make my own mug.

“How do I take it?” She asks confused for a moment and then her eyes brighten. “Cream no sugar.” She says and bites her bottom lip. I frown at her reaction a moment, before the answer dawns on me.

“No cream where you’re living?” I ask as I make her a mug as well and hold it out so she can feel it against her hand. She takes it slowly.

“No, we tend to pack light.” She says and sniffs the tea as if it had been sent to her by the gods.

Ginny-

“How do you take your tea?” He asks and I can hear him pouring liquid into two cups. The question seems odd to me.

“How do I take it?” I ask confused for a moment and then I realize he must have supplies I haven’t tasted in years. I can’t keep the smile off my face at the idea of having a real cup of tea. “Cream no sugar.” I say and bite my lip excitedly.

There’s a pause at my reaction as he tries to figure me out.

“No cream where you’re living?” He asks as he continues with what he was doing. I feel the warmth of a mug press against my fingers. I smile inwardly as I slowly find and take it for myself. Too many times has someone wrapped my hand around the mug for me.  It’s nice to have someone do no more to help me than I actually require.

“No, we tend to pack light.” I tell him and breathe in my new wonderful gift. When I take my first sip, I make a sound that’s usually reserved for the bedroom.

He clears his throat and somehow I can tell he’s smiling at me. “You would feel the same way too if it had been… three years since your last cup of proper tea.”

“I just usually have to be much closer to get women to make those sounds.” He says with a light chuckle.

“Now you realize you’ve been doing it wrong all these years.” I reply playfully before I take my next sip.

“No…I do really like the other way better.” He says drinking his own tea. “So we’ve fruit, bacon, and crumpets this morning. I like to keep it as finger food until I get the kitchen working.” He explains.

“I could smell the bacon.” I admit and feel carefully along the table in front of me to make sure I don’t knock anything over. When I find a slice of bacon, I pick it up and start to munch. “You know what they say about feeding strays?” I say as I steal another piece.

“What do they say?” He asks with amusement in his voice.

“It’s very hard to get rid of them after that.” I tell him happily, as I find a crumpet.

“But when you find such a pretty stray, sometimes you just want to take it home.” He replies and I blush a little.

“You keep talking like that and I won’t be able to protect your virtue.” I say and I can feel him move in front of me.

He leans in very close to me and bends down to speak into my ear. I feel hot breath on my skin that sends a little thrill down my spine. “I’m far from virtuous… but I have doubts I can say the same about you little nymph.”

“You looking to test this theory?” I say because I was never one to back down first, I don’t move an inch away from him.

He just chuckles and pulls back. I get a light whiff of orange that he must have just taken from the table.

“Constantly trying to seduce the poor woodsman.” He teases as if I was the one who started it this time.

“I wouldn’t be a proper nymph if I didn’t try.” I say back playfully.

As we pick at breakfast and I drink three more cups of tea, we fall into easy conversation about things that don’t matter. After breakfast, I sigh and realize I should head back before people start wondering where I am.

“I need to go.” I say with a frown.

“Yes, your companions will be worried by now?” He asks and I can hear the frown.

“They’re constantly worried, but soon they’ll have a right to be.” I say and pull out my wand so I can get a direction for the camp. I feel his hand on my arm.

“I could Apparate you to your pond.” He offers. “It’s a three-hour walk from here.” He points out bluntly. “I imagine it would be a frustrating one for you.”

He’s right of course and if I heard any pity in his voice, I would have said no. But he seems to just be making a friendly offer instead of thinking I couldn’t make it back on my own.

“Okay.” I agree and put my wand away so he can Apparate us smoothly.

The moment we’re in the clearing I feel the sun on my face. Adjusting my position from the sounds in the clearing, I look back to where I think he is.

“Thank you.” I say smiling at him. “The tea was lovely.” I add with a laugh.

“I get lonely out in the wilderness, so any time you could stop by, I wouldn’t mind the company.” He says casually.

“I don’t know how to stop by.” I point out.

“I’ll leave you a portkey… by the pond.” He offers kindly.

“That would be nice I think.” I agree nodding. I head back to camp after that; still I make sure he doesn’t follow me any closer than my clearing.

The moment I step into camp a large hand grabs my arm. By the scent of cinnamon, it’s a Weasley, by the size of the hand; it’s either Charlie or dad.

“Hey! What’s this for?” I say trying to get them to speak so I know who I’m facing.

“We’ve been looking for you for hours. I can’t believe your brother let you go off to sleep in the woods.” Dad says as he tugs me along. “Do you know how reckless that was Ginny?” By his voice, I can tell he’s fuming. Dad is slow to boil over, but when he does, it’s worse than when mom did. “You’re grounded young lady.” He finally finishes pushing me into what’s obviously my own tent.

“No.” I say firmly looking back in the direction I’d been pushed from. “I’m twenty years old and I no longer answer to you.” I snap as he once again tries to treat me like a little girl.

“I was a soldier in the rebellion army; a scout, and a pretty good one at that. I can hold my own in these woods. And I refuse to be treated like a child.” I say firmly.

“Fine, I’ll ask the Field Marshal what he has to say about this. As long as you belong to this camp you have to at least listen to him.” He says. He doesn’t know about the fight last night, he must have been out on a mission.

“If you bring him here I’ll break his nose a second time!” I shoot back.

“You’ll…” That takes the air out of my father’s angry. “Why did you break Harry’s nose?” He asks with confusion in his voice.

“Because he’s a bastard that deserved it.” Is all I tell him in response.

Draco-

The morning was a pleasant distraction. Oddly, I’m finding myself rather enjoying the witches company. When I get back to the cottage, I look around for something small I can make into a reusable port key. It would have to be something small, so the others won’t notice it.

I pick up a small hinge and smile. This will be perfect; I flip the metal hinge one way and cast the spell that will take her to my front step. Then I slip the hinge back the other way and place it in my pocket. The item won’t be a true port key until its readjusted back the way it was when the spell was cast.

With that task complete, I decide the kitchen should be my next project. I already have the supplies thanks to my foresight before I started the bathroom, and I don’t really mind sleeping outside. It would be nice to have a House Elf to help me clean. I could have it deal with the smell in the master bedroom.

As I work that day, I find my thoughts keep getting drawn back to the girl. She was quite a little puzzle actually. I compare her to the child that shadowed Potter around in school and I can’t quite let myself believe they could possibly be the same person.

I decide to blame it on the fact I never really took much notice of her. In school, she was attractive enough by our last year together, but there didn’t seem to be much more to her. I mean what girl with brains would actually willingly kiss Potter in public?

Then I remember how she was given entrance into the Slug Club, when I was denied such a privilege. Father said Slughorn was always very good at finding the most capable of wizards and witches. So, he must have seen something in the girl she was then.

Now that I’ve seen the woman she’s become, I have to admit that Slughorn was correct. There are very few wizards in the world that could pull a wand on me as fast as the girl did this morning. Most of the others on that list couldn’t pull it off blindfolded; which is exactly what she did.

I find myself fantasizing what she would be like with just a bit of Death Eater training in her, and I smile as a result. She would be something truly frightening. Maybe I’m glad she ended up on the side she did.

It’s almost lunch when I finish up the cleaning and gutting the rotted wood. I stop by the pond very quickly to drop off the port key and head back to my meal. I find Zabini sitting back and enjoying half of my sandwich.

“There you are.” He says with a wide grin on his lips. “Didn’t want it to go to waste.” He adds as if he thought I’d just left it there.

“Ah yes, well at least you left me some.” I say as I grab the other half. “What are you doing here?”

“Thought I would check up and see how things are coming.” He says then frowns at the house. “I see not well.”

“What happened?” I ask knowing he wouldn’t be here unless he was hiding or had information he thought I needed.

“Just longing; for your return.” He says all too innocently.

“Well if you’re going to keep coming to visit I have a task for you.” I finally say. “And I should warn you that there may be another guest here at points in the future.” I say not wishing for him to mess up my plans.

“Oh? Found a witch in the area to finally relieve some of that stress?” He asks with a smirk as he finished his half of the sandwich.

“Yes and no. I need you to get me the file on Ginevra Weasley. That’s the witch you may find here if you come.” I say and then laugh as his face freezes in a cross between impressed and horrified.

“Wait?” He asks once the shock has passed. “Why would the Weaslette, be here as a guest?” He asks with suspicion in his voice.

“She and I have started to become friends.” I say with a satisfied smirk.

“Friends? How does that work again?” He asks still completely lost.

“Well I should also tell you if you do encounter the witch you should refer to me as Syler. You may also wish to come up with a name for yourself.” I say as I wave my hand at him.

“So you’re pretending to be someone else…and how does that work again?” He asks still very confused by the situation.

“She was blinded sometime last year. Oh that reminds me, also look for any reports on one of ours causing that. I don’t think it was reported correctly. It would be easy. There are only a few of us who could cause such a permanent wound. I want to know who.”

“Weaslette is blind?” He asks as his shock is making him a bit slow. “She still hot?” He moves to his ‘go to’ question.

“Was she hot before?” I ask. He seems to remember her from school; I may be able to understand why I missed things.

“Oh yes…” He clears his throat and closes his eyes. “All that bright red hair, those innocent chocolate eyes, and lips just begging to be wrapped around my thick cock. Body all curvy but toned from playing Quidditch. Ummm…I loved Gryffindor games the years she was playing.”

“Do you need some privacy?” I ask as I realize just how much about the girl my friend had noticed.

“No I’ll be alright. I’ll take it out on some girl later today.” He says and I can tell he’s still thinking about her.

“Well she seems very much the same as your description. A bit older and a bit less fed. Do you remember anything besides her body from our school years?” I ask as I try to pull by friend back from his fantasies.

“She was a bit of a spitfire. She threw some mean hexes if you tried to feel her up in the hallway. She started dating Potter in our last year, but that just made her more fun to think about.” He chuckles.

“Okay, go get the files you can and bring them back here. I want to know as much about her as I can before I see her again. Return as soon as you can with the information.” I command him and he stands to salute me.

“Right away Lieutenant Malfoy.” He says in a cheeky tone before he Disapparates.

Chapter 3: Damaged

Ginny-

I wasn’t exactly subtle with my anger towards Harry. I didn’t exactly keep our fight just between him and myself. I realize now that screaming at him in the middle of dinner was a mistake on my part. It wasn’t long before the whole camp knew, not only that we were broken up, but why.

The whispers follow me whenever I leave my tent. I hear the others talking about Harry and me. Some are mad at Harry for cheating on the poor blind girl. Some understand that it must have been tough to be in a relationship with me. Others despise me for yelling and hurting our great leader. The one bright spot of the whispers is that I’ve been able to gather that none of his women are in this camp.

No matter what they think, only two in the camp will speak to me. Ron, as his usual overprotective self has decided he’s not speaking to Harry outside of official matters. Dad told me that the two friends had a fight and a few hexes were actually thrown after I left that night. Nothing fatal, but Harry seem to have left with more than a broken nose.

I haven’t had a chance to go back to my pond in a few days, which means I definitely couldn’t go visit my secret friend Syler. Ron has been having me watched every time I leave my tent. What would he say if I suddenly portkeyed away?

On the upside, Dad and Ron keep finding projects for me to do and I’ve been kept useful and busy. I spent the morning cleaning, and disinfecting bandages for the infirmary. I finished the task and I’m heading towards the dining area for lunch when I realize I can’t hear any of my usual shadows.

I turn direction to head towards my pond, listening more closely to make sure no one is following me. Whoever was assigned to the task today must have thought my morning project would take longer than it did.

As I get to the clearing with still no sign of being followed, I almost skip to the pond to see if Syler left what he said he would. I feel around the edge of the pond carefully and as my hand brushes metal I’m suddenly locked to the strange item as I feel a portkey pull me away.

When I land with a thud, I push my hair back out of my face and wrap my fingers around the metal object to see exactly what it was. The thing is sturdy in my hand, and I feel rough spots where it seems to be rusted or marred. I place it in my back pocket and focus on my surroundings.

The air is a bit cooler here than it is in the camp or the clearing. We must be a little further up in the mountain. I hear a pounding sound in the background and I feel that must be Syler at work.

I get up slowly and head towards the sound. I’m soon confronted with a heavy wooden door. As I run my hand along it, I feel the intricately carved wood, and a metal knocker. This door spoke of old money. It makes me wonder what family Syler is a member of. Many of the rich pureblood families have sided with Voldemort.

I shrug the idea off, if he was in good with his family why would he run away to the woods? He said he was here to stay out of the war. I realize how very little I know of Syler. I’ll have to change that with this visit I decide.

I feel for the door handle and find none, only an empty hole where it once was. I push the door open slowly and call out inside.

“Syler!” I call out not wishing to just enter his home. “Syler it’s Ginny!”

The pounding sound stops and soon I hear someone walking this way.

“Ah, the nymph has returned.” He says and stops a little ways away from me.

“Yes, well you know I warned you, you shouldn’t feed the wildlife.” I say smiling at him.

“But I wanted it to come back.” He answers easily.

“What have you been up to since I’ve been gone?” I ask curiously.

“I’ve been working on the kitchen. It still needs work. I wouldn’t suggest coming in here just yet. There are a lot of things in the way.” He warns me but I step inside anyway.

“I don’t want to keep you from your work.” I say moving towards his voice. Using my cane, to keep me from tripping over anything that could be in my way.

He just chuckles. “Have it your way.” He says and I can hear him walking away. Soon I hear the banging start up again and I carefully make my way towards the sound.

I soon find a swinging door in my way and push it open carefully. I’m not sure how things are set up in the new room and I don’t wish to mess anything up.

“I realized today we don’t know much about each other.” I say over the banging as I stand in the doorway.

The banging stops for a moment as he speaks. “Well, I guess we could start with last names.” He says and bite my lower lip as I decide to tell a little lie. “Mine is Jones.” I tell him. There’s a high price on the heads of all Weasleys; I didn’t wish to tempt Syler even if he was a good man.

“Blackmoore.” He answers casually and starts hammering again.

“Nice to meet you fully I guess Mr. Blackmoore.” I say smiling widely at him.

“Call me Syler.” He calls over the sound.

“So Syler, where did you go to school? I went to Hogwarts, and you couldn’t be that much older than me.” I point out.

“The Durmstrang Institute. My parents weren’t pleased with the running of Hogwarts when I was a child.” He says stopping his banging. “They’ve chosen their side in your war.” He adds after a moment as if he knew I would ask.

“Oh.” Is all I can say for a moment. “I have a friend that says Durmstrang isn’t so bad.” I say with a shrug.

“You know someone else who went to Durmstrang?” He asks sounding surprised.

“Well, only kind of. One of my friends was dating a boy from there for a summer. They’re still very close, but I’ve never talked to him directly.” I explain simply.

“I see, maybe I know the boy. What was his name?” He asks curiously

“I would rather not say.” I tell him with a sigh. “It’s better if we don’t talk with names.” I tell him seriously.

“I see your point.” Is all he says before I can hear him starting to work once again.

“Can I ask why you decided to stay out of the war? I mean, if you family supports…” I frown very unsure about being here.

“It was a simple choice. They told me I was to either join the ranks of Death Eaters or come here to live until the conflict was over.” He says as if it’s the most normal thing in the world.

“So why not become a Death Eater?” I ask, as his answer didn’t make me feel any better.

“That’s an odd question coming from a rebel fighter.” He says with a laugh as he stops his hammering. I can hear him shifting things around.

“I’m not a rebel fighter.” I say a bit more bitterly than I meant.

“Oh then you’re a Death Eater?” he mused.

“You know what I mean, I’m not a fighter anymore because…” I clench my fists, annoyed that he would make fun of me so openly.

“Wait.” He stops whatever he was doing and is silent for a long moment. “Do you really mean to tell me you don’t… They keep you completely out of the war as well?” He asks. I would think he was making fun of me more, but I can hear the true surprise in his voice.

“Why are you so surprised? I’m blind Syler. What good am I to anyone?” I ask crossing my arms over my chest and frowning at him.

“You’ve better reflexes than many I know to have joined the Death Eater ranks.” He replies. I can hear something odd in his voice, but I can’t quite place the emotion, it doesn’t seem to match his words. “Whoever your commander is, they’re an idiot.” He adds flatly after a moment.

“My commander is my bro…” I start but am cut off by an alarm sound that fills the house.

Draco-

She has been asking me questions trying to figure out who I am and if she can trust me, I assume. It’s a smart little game, but not one I’m unprepared for. The key to a good lie is to keep it as close to the truth as one can.

It amused me that she lied as well, but it was a smart move. Weasley was a name across the Dark Nation. She wouldn’t even tell me her friend’s names; I couldn’t believe this girl was a Gryffindor.

“Can I ask why you decided to stay out of the war? I mean, if you family supports…” I see her frown as she asks me the more direct question.

“It was a simple choice. They told me I was to either join the ranks of Death Eaters or come here to live until the conflict was over.” It actually wasn’t really a lie. My mother had told me, my choice back in my sixth year, to her horror I’d decided to become a Death Eater.

“So why not become a Death Eater?” She asked as if she was looking for something more.

“That’s an odd question coming from a rebel fighter.” I say deflecting her question all together.

“I’m not a rebel fighter.” She almost snapped at me.

“Oh then you’re a Death Eater?” I ask mockingly and wonder where her anger came from.

“You know what I mean, I’m not a fighter anymore because…” She states and I can tell her temper is rising as realization at her words comes to me.

“Wait.” I stop positioning the new cabinet and set down my work so I can face her completely. “Do you really mean to tell me you don’t… They keep you completely out of the war as well?” I ask. I know she’s blind, but there are plenty of things, she would be capable of.

“Why are you so surprised? I’m blind Syler. What good am I to anyone?” She asks and I can see she believes it herself. Weren’t they supposed to be the side that accepted everyone? If she were a Death Eater, they would never pull her completely out of the field, not a witch as talented as she seems to be.

“You’ve better reflexes than many I know to have joined the Death Eater ranks.” I tell her feeling more than a bit amused at how stupid their leaders were. We would win this war in the end. “Whoever your commander is, they’re an idiot.” I state seriously.

“My commander is my bro…” She starts when the alarm for the outer border starts to go off in the house.

I try to sound more concerned than annoyed when I speak. “It’s the border alarm. You should stay in the house while I check it out.” I say and move past her.

“I can help.” She says as she rests her hand on my shoulder.

“If it’s someone from your camp they’ll have questions. Do you really want to explain why you’re so far?” I ask looking down at her. “If its Death Eaters you might mean trouble for me that I can avoid on my own.” I add before moving away.

I stand at the front door for a moment to make sure she wasn’t following me. After I’m sure, I move over to my bag and pull my Death Eater uniform over my clothes.

I apparate to the point where the person crossed the border. I see the scout immediately, but he also sees me. I raise my wand to kill him easily, before I pause. If a scout turned up dead or missing it would be harder to convince my Nymph, I’d nothing to do with it.

I frown under my mask and purposefully miss the idiot. I chase after him shooting spells mostly at his feet and side in order to shepherd him away from my cottage. When he goes down a hill and gets out of my sight, I let him go.

If I played this right, he would only strengthen my story. I look around and make sure no one is around before I cast a bone-twisting curse on my off hand. It’s painful, but maybe I could even get some sympathy out of her.

I head back to the house and take off the Death Eater robes. As I approach the door, I stop suppressing the pain in my hand; I let myself feel it fully. I can’t help but groan.

“Syler?” I hear worry in her voice and it makes me smirk. “What happened?” She pushed the door open for me.

“Death Eater.” I say tightly.

She steps forward and looks a little panicked. “Are you okay?” She asks, she’s used to those words meaning death or worse I realize.

“He just asked me a few questions and… it was nothing.” I say sounding as if I’m putting on a brave face. Gryffindors eat that up right?

“What happened?” She asks as she moved closer to me. “What did they do?” She presses as her hand finds my chest.

“It’s nothing I can’t take care of myself. I just needed to find a place to sit down.” I tell her which makes her frown.

“You’re in pain; I can hear it in your voice. Just tell me what they did.” She says as she feels around my chest to my arms.

I flinch at the contact and sigh. “Bone twisting spell… I can fix it. They were just having a bit of fun.” I say as if I’m used to such things.

She makes a face of disgust and takes a step back from me. “Oh yes, so much fun to curse people and cause pain.” She snaps, but I can tell she’s worried about me.

“No reason to get yourself worked up. What’s done is done.” I tell her and lean against the wall so that I can cast the counter curse.

“So they curse you for the fun of it and you still won’t lift a finger against them?” She asks with her hands on her hips. I have to admit if I weren’t in so much pain I would find her cute at the moment.

“Can you stop yelling at me while I fix this?” I snap back and brace myself as I cast the spell. The pain that goes through my hand is worse than the bone-twisting curse itself. I scream and my knees buckle under me.

“Syler?” She asks after a moment. She’s standing back and I can tell she’s even more worried about me.

“I need a drink.” I say even though it isn’t even noon yet.

“That sounded like it hurt.” She says stepping closer to me with a frown on her lips.

“Do you think?” I say in a sarcastic tone as I walk outside to my trunk. “You joining me?” I call over my shoulder as I find the bottle of firewhisky.

“Some other time.” She says as she walks out. “It’s unwise of me to go back drunk.” She pointed out.

“I see your point.” I chuckle before downing a few gulps. “Wonder if they know it hurts more to fix than it does with the curse?” I ask myself so she can hear. I didn’t know or I wouldn’t have used the curse on myself.

“Probably.” She says and takes my arm. “Can I look at you?” She asks quietly.

“Huh?” I answer dumbly because I’ve no idea what she’s talking about.

“If I touch someone’s face, it helps me to see them.” She explained lifting her hand.

“I don’t think so.” I say moving away from her. What if she, somehow figured out who I was?

She frowns at the answer and then smirk. “That ugly huh?” She asks playfully.

“No… that perfect. Don’t want you to come in your pants.” I tell her with a grin.

Ginny-

“Can I look at you?” I ask him softly

“Huh?” he asks back in a confused tone.

“If I touch someone’s face, it helps me to see them.” I bring my hand up to touch him. I don’t know why I suddenly want to know, but after hearing him in so much pain I just want a reason to be close to him, comfort him.

“I don’t think so.” He says and moves away from me.

I frown, some people just don’t like to be touched that way, but that doesn’t mean I won’t push just a little “That ugly huh?” I tease him to see if he’ll give in.

“No… that perfect. Don’t want you to come in your pants.” He says and I roll my eyes.

“Oh I’m so very sure.” I say with a laugh “Can we sit, I feel odd standing.” I say and find a place on the ground. I feel his weight next to me soon after.

“I don’t think I’ll be working the rest of the day.” He tells me and I can hear more liquid splash in a bottle.

“I can understand that.” I tell him and brush my fingers over the undergrowth.

“How good are your other senses anyway?”  He asks out of the blue. It was odd that no one had ever really asked before.

“Better than they were, but how much better, is hard to say. I can tell the difference in people by their smell. I never noticed before how everyone smells differently.”

“I read somewhere once that it’s like that for witches and wizards. If they lose a sense or whatever, their others get super charged. It’s the magic in your body filling in for what was lost.”

“Har…” I start to say Harry’s name and I realize I can’t finish it so I change what I was about to say. “I hardly think it’s just magic folk. I was told it happens with muggles too.” I tell him what Harry told me.

“Yeah maybe, but not to the same level. We should test it out sometime. It might be fun.” He says and I can hear that he means it.

“Maybe…if I ever decide to come back.” I say trying to keep with the light mood.

“Well lunch will be soon, I could feed you again.” He offers playfully.

I laugh shaking my head. “I need to get back before lunch today.” I tell him and pat his arm.

“Ah yes, much work to do I’m sure.” He says dryly. “I can Apparate you back to the pond before I get too inebriated.” He says and I can hear him stand.

“That would be for the best.” I say standing as well.

“You should really learn to Apparate on your own you know.” He says after a moment.

“I can to places I have a clear picture of.” I tell him and frown. “But if it’s a place I’ve never seen, they told me it’s too dangerous.” I explain.

“That’s stupid.” He says firmly. “They want to give you muggle limits. It would annoy me if I were you.” He adds taking my hand so he can Apparate us to the clearing.

“I like that you think I can do so much.” I admit to him once I’m in familiar surroundings.

“I just know that you’re a witch and not a muggle.” He says firmly. “You should remind others of the same.”

I laugh nodding. “I’ll think about it.”

Draco-

“I just know that you’re a witch and not a muggle.” I tell her. I just want her to understand that I’m not just stroking her ego. “You should remind others of the same.”

She laughs at my words but nods. “I’ll think about it.”

“That’s all I ask.” I say and I don’t wait for her to head back before I Apparate back to the cottage.

I flex my hand a few times. I really won’t be able to use it the rest of the day. I go over to the still filled bottle of firewhisky I’d opened and put the lid on tight before putting it back in my trunk. I wasn’t about to actually drink in front of her, but it would relax her to think I would.

I spend the rest of the day just cleaning and organizing the best that I can. I flex my hand as often as I can so I can work out the pain that still lingers in the muscles. I don’t plan to have to take two days off my project.

When dinner is delivered to my table, Blaise comes with it, with a small stack of files in his arms.

“Would have come sooner but I like your food.” He says as he sets the stack down and picks up my glass.

“Put it down before I hex you.” I say in a firm voice so he knows it’s not an empty threat.

“What crawled up your arse?” He asks as he sets the glass down and sits at the table.

I flex my hand again and walk over to take my seat. “I had a run in today I had to take care of.” Is all I say before I pull the stack of folders towards me. “What did you find out?”

“The only report that matches up is the Crazy Bitch.” He says as he pulls out a cigarette and lights it with his wand.

“What hex did my Aunt use?” I ask as I open the top file.

“Report didn’t say exactly.” He says and motions to what I’m looking at. “Her reports are just as fucked up as the rest of her.”

“You know you really should have more respect for those in the inner circle. She’s of the same rank as my father.”

“She’s a loon, and a danger to all around her.” He says firmly.

“Especially those who call her a loon.” I counter and look at him sternly to make my point.

“Fine fine.” He says putting his hands up. “But she’s going to be in deep shit if anyone else figures out what she did.” He says leaning forward to take another file from the stack so I’ll look at it.

“The Weasley girl isn’t just on the Priority List.” He says as I open the file and blink down at the green page within.

“She’s one of the Favored Lists?” I ask and read over the green letter to make sure I understand.

Ginevra Molly Weasley

Due to undisclosed events in subjects first year of school, she is placed in favored category C. She is to be captured without injury and brought before the Dark Lord without delay.

The letter has my father’s seal at the bottom to make it binding. I frown at it a few more moments before looking up to Blaise.

“You’re also playing a dangerous game.” He comments with a smirk as if he’s enjoying it greatly.

“Which one is C again? A is the inner circle; B is non combat loyalists, what’s C?” I ask with a frown.

“I had to look that up too.” Blaise says and takes a drag from his cigarette before answering. “C are those in the Dark Lord’s private dungeon. Some higher ranked Order members and the like. Mostly people that fought him in the first war. I’ve no clue why your girl is on there.” He says with a shrug.

“So she might be worth enough alone to just bring in.” I say and set the file down as I start to eat. “But I’m sure there are other Weasleys in her camp. At least one of her brothers.”

“How greedy do you want to get?” Blaise asks as he looks at me with great amusement.

Chapter 4: Different but Whole

Ginny-

I walk back into camp in a better mood than I’ve been in months, maybe years. Syler thinks I could really learn to Apparate again. The way he just pushes past my injury and tells me I’m different but whole fills me with a hope I’d lost that day in the woods with Bellatrix.

I skip going back to my tent and decide to make my way to my father’s. When I hear movement, I smile brightly.

“Dad, I think I want to tr…” I trail off as I realize he isn’t alone. I smell grass and dirt with a hint of something that tells me exactly who’s in the tent with my father. “What are you doing back so soon?” I ask in a cold tone.

“Ginny, we were looking for you earlier.” My father says sounding a bit uncomfortable. “Where have you been?”

“I went for a walk.” I lie narrowing my useless eyes. “What’s he doing here?” I ask again.

Harry finally speaks. “There was a Death Eater sighting in the woods.” He answers and I can tell he’s upset. “This is exactly what I’m talking about, they’ll be able to keep a better eye on her.” He says and I can tell he’s talking to my father.

“Her, is obviously standing a few feet from you. So what are you talking about?” I ask as I cross my arms over my chest.

“Harry thinks it would be best if we shifted your camp Ginny Bean.” My father explains and I can hear the frown in his voice.

“To where?” I ask in a deadly tone.

“Mongo’s Eleventh.” Harry answers with a cold tone.

“No.” I say firmly and turn from both of them. The hopeful feeling Syler had given me before now being sucked away once again.

“I can order you to go Ginny.” Harry says as he follows me. “We’re just doing what’s bes…” I swing around and cut him off.

“Best for you!” I snap and poke him in the chest. “I’m not going to a hospital camp Harry James Potter, and if you try to make me I’ll punch you in the nose again and leave.” I state firmly.

He laughs coldly. “Where are you going to go Ginny?”

“I’ll live in the woods like a wild savage before I go to a hospital camp.” I snap. “There’s nothing wrong with me. Actually I’ve decided I wish to learn to Apparate.” I state straightening my back.

“Now you’re just being stupid. Do you know how dangerous any of what you just said would be for someone like you?” He asks sighing like I’m being a child.

“I don’t care.” I keep firm. “I’m sick and tired of living in a glass bubble, so you’re NOT sending me to a more secure one!” I say and stomp my foot for effect.

“I’m your commanding officer and you’ll do as I say.” He says just as firmly.

I laugh in his face. “I was discharged! You’re no longer my commanding anything.” I snap back to him.

“As long as you’re living in one of the Order’s camps I’m responsible for you so you’ll listen to what I say.”

“That’s why I plan on leaving, remember?” I ask turning my back to him so I can stomp away. He grabs my shoulder and moves me so I’m facing him once again.

“You can’t leave.” He orders still having a firm grasp on my shoulder.

“Am I a prisoner then? Because that’s the only way, I’m staying. You’ll have to lock me up or tie me down.”

“Stop being this way and listen to reason. You’ll be safer at one of the hospital camps.” He pleads with me.

“I don’t want to be safer; I want to be more useful. This is my war too and the fact that some bloody bitch cursed my sight away gives me more reason to fight not less!” I growl back at him.

“Fine then be stupid and stay here.” He let go of my arm as he yells.

“I will!” I yell back then turn to head towards my own tent. I’m still fuming even though I’ve gotten what I wanted. Why did they all feel the need to take care of me all the freaking time?

I’m so wrapped up in my anger that I’m not really paying attention to the sounds around me. I soon collide with a large solid object and fall on my ass in an, oh so graceful, way. I frown up at the thing I hit and feel around to see what it was. When my hand lands on a shoe, I flush and pull it back. “Sorry.” I say then I feel a hand on my arm.

“My fault.” The man says as he helps me up. “I wasn’t paying attention, didn’t know pretty girls stomped through this camp without looking where they’re going.” He says laughinhg at his own joke.

I thought he was making fun of me at first and then I realize he didn’t know who I was. “You must be new here then.” I say smiling as I keep my head down.

“Joined up a few days ago. I’m traveling with the Field Marshal for my first few weeks.” The man says and I can hear him shift from one foot to the other.

“The git is back that way.” I say moving to step around the man when he chuckles.

“Never really heard someone from this side call Harry Potter a git.” He says lightly.

“Most women call their cheating ex-boyfriends gits.” I say as I turn back in his direction. “Or worse…”

“Cheating…Does that mean you’re not seeing him anyone?” The man shifts gears very quickly. I figure I better let him know who I was before this went too far.

I look up at him and smile wickedly. “Not seeing much of anything lately.” I tell him sarcastically and he actually laughs.

“Oh, I’m…Yeah..” He stumbled over his words as he tried to stop his chuckles. “Let me start again. Derrick Elrose and you are?” He asked as he got himself under control.

“Ginny Weasley.” I tell him as I try and place his name, I feel like I know it for some reason. “Didn’t you used to play Quidditch at Hogwarts?” I ask feeling like his name had a connection to the game.

“Yeah, back in the day. Was never super great at it, but good enough to make the Slytherin team at least.” I blink at him a few times. We didn’t have many Slytherins on our side.

“No wonder Harry wants you by his side; he never did trust a Slytherin.” I tell him openly.

“Yeah I think you’re right, but at least I get to meet pretty girls this way.” He says smoothly. “So you never really gave me an answer, are you single?” He presses to my surprise.

“Does it really matter?” I ask with a frown on my lips.

“Well I guess not, but I usually like to know if I’m going to have to fight a boyfriend off after I sleep with a girl.” He says casually.

It’s my turn to laugh. “Are you always so forward with blind girls?” I ask crossing my arms under my chest.

“Only ones as hot as you.” He says and I feel the back of his knuckles brush against my cheek and down my neck. No one has touched me in such a way for a very long time, and I shiver at the feeling.

“Well there’s no boyfriend, but there are six older brothers and a father that may want words.” I say playfully.

“That does seem like it could be a problem.” He agrees but only slowly pulled his hand away.

“Then there’s the fact that I’ll knee you someplace you really won’t like if you do anything I don’t like.” I say as I smirk back at him.

“Well that sounds much more scary.” He says sighing. “But I think I’ll take my chances.” He adds and I suddenly feel his hand on my breast. He squeezes once and lets go with a laugh. I’m so shocked by the action I’ve no idea how to respond.

“See you around Ginny.” He says and I hear his footsteps move away from me.

Draco-

It has been a week since I came to the cottage and I’m once again allowed to visit the outside world. Now that I have a working bath, I feel much more confident in going back to London for my supplies.

Diagon Alley is a changed place since the fall of the Ministry. Where it used to be a place full of people and laughter, now it’s a place of fear and silence. It’s as if Diagon Alley was eaten by Knockturn Alley. Some of the same shops remain, but most have been replaced by more loyal followers of the Dark Lord.

I walk into one of the small side streets and found the shop I was looking for. I spend little time there as I just hand the list of supplies I’ll need over to the clerk and ask him when I’ll be able to pick them up. After looking at the list the clerk informs me, they can have everything ready in a few hours. With that, I left the shop and aimed to enjoy my day in civilization.

I walk down the street and looking into the windows of each shop for something that might entertain me while I’m in exile. I stop in front of a cafe as two girls inside catch my attention. They’re both young enough that I wonder where their chaperon is, but old enough that I don’t mind fantasizing about bring them home to the woods with me.

After a few moments, one of the girls notices me watching, and smiles shyly before looking away with a blush. I smile back and think about heading into the cafe to talk to the two lovely things. When the second girl looks at me, I wink and find my way to the door.

The cafe is small and filled with the smell of coffee and sweet pipe tobacco. There were a few tables; in with chairs by the wide windows that covered the front of the shop. The rest of the area was taken up by overstuffed couches, and chairs.

There were few people inside. An old weathered witch sat behind a counter. I tiny pipe protruded from her lips, purple smoke rising from it slowly. A wizard sat on one of the couches and read the Daily Prophet as he sipped from a porcelain teacup. And of course the two young things sitting by the window.

I ignore the two girls as I make my way to the counter and order myself some tea. I flirt with the old witch and I make a blush come to her wrinkled cheeks. She tells me I’m a young scoundrel as she hands over my drink and I give her a last wink before I head over to the table beside my prey.

I pull my own paper from my cloak and pretend to read as I listen to the two girls talk about how handsome I am. They’re trying to pressure each other into talking to me. I keep the smile from my lips as I listen to the conversation continue in that line for five minutes. They are brainless things that think little about the world around them.

Once I feel I’ve tortured them enough I look up from the paper and smile at the first one to have noticed me. I study her for a moment before I decide on my next move. She had black wavy hair that looks perfectly done and kept. She’s wearing enough makeup to give her a finished look, but not so much she looks like a whore. Her green robes are fitted to show off her grown woman curves.

My gaze then shifts to her friend. The other girl is blonde, but unlike my own hair, I’m pretty sure it comes from a potion bottle. It’s straight and cut into a cute bob that’s perfectly in line with her thin face. She also wears makeup and I notice it’s a little lighter than her friends. The blue robes she wears shows that she’s not nearly as curvy as her friend, but still very nice to look at.

Both girls are pretty, but it’s an artificial pretty. These women must spend hours doing their makeup and hair. As I think about it, the picture of Ginny in the pond comes to my mind. She was wild and ravishing, her beautiful far surpassing these plastic pretties in front of me.

No one would ever mistake these two for a nymph; they really couldn’t hold a candle to what the Weasley girl had, oh so, effortlessly.

I shake my head out of my musing about my nymph and focus on my prey at hand. I smile at the girls again and rise from my seat.

“Are you ladies here alone?” I ask them sweetly with the most innocent smile I can muster.

“Our fathers have a meeting for the next few hours.” The blonde one explains and smiles up at me. She’s obviously glad I’m finally speaking to them.

“Oh well that’s a shame, such young beauties shouldn’t be without an escort.” I tell them and they both blush.

“You could save us by sitting down?” The dark haired one offered shyly. My smile broadens as I take a seat between the two.

“So what are my two young maiden’s names?” I ask, though I’m sure that Ginny is more of a maiden than the two here in front of me. I push that thought of Ginny aside, but keep it for later examination.

“I’m Bianca, and this is Stephanie.” The blonde says motioning to her friend.

“It’s lovely to meet you Bianca…” I say as I take her hand and kiss the very tips. “Stephanie.” I add and do the same to the other girl. “I’m Draco Malfoy.” I say my full name because I know of its weight. I watch as recognition lights in their eyes. Their bodies shift closer to me ever so slightly.

Girl’s like these are taught they have one purpose in life; to find a good husband and have his heir. Malfoy is a name of power, and riches. I would make one of them a very good husband. Well if I was in the least bit interested in a brainless twit. I may have to marry one someday to further the Malfoy name, but my father had not yet pressed the issue.

I let the two talk to me about things that aren’t in the least bit interesting. I smile at the right times, and wink and chuckle at their jokes. I even add bits to the conversation when I’m expected, always flirting, and carefree. As time passes the girls move closer and closer to me, constantly trying to get my attention to them over their friend.

If I were Blaise, I would just take both of them back to the Leaky Cauldron and have my fun. I would let them compete for my attention as I took pleasure in each of their bodies. I’m not Blaise though so I spend the conversation deciding which I would enjoy more. Neither of them compares to the nymph; if I’m honest with myself, I truly want, but one of them will do for the time being.

I wish I could touch their forms to see which felt better under my hands. They would both be soft and inviting I’m sure. Stephanie would be the softer of the two more than likely, but it makes me wonder if Bianca is a muscular kind of thin, or if she’s more bony under her robes.

“Would you like to escort us to the Leaky Cauldron?” Bianca asks and pulls me out of my lustful thoughts.

“Humm?” I ask innocently, I wonder if the girls have decided to take matters into their own hands.

“We were just thinking we needed a…” Stephanie starts and is at a loss for the word she wants to use.

“…nap.” Bianca finishes with a shy smile on her lips.

“A nap?” I ask looking between the two girls. “Both of you are…sleepy?” I ask as a simper forms on my lips.

“As sleepy as you want us to be.” Bianca says as she becomes more bold and places a hand on my knee. I only raise my eyebrow in response as I look to both girls.

I have to think about this one. I hadn’t planned to taste both of them, but here they were offering themselves to me. Was it a trick of some sort? Were they the types to get a man in a compromising position and then steal from, or blackmail them? Or were they both just so eager to get my attention they would put the competition aside in order to separate themselves from the many other woman I’ve enjoyed? I decide it must be the later, as if it were the former the girl’s hand, would be placed much higher on my leg.

“Well then, let’s go find a place to nap.” I say and get to my feet. I help them each to theirs in turn and take their arms so I can lead them down the street to the Inn. The Leaky Cauldron isn’t a place I would ever actually sleep, but it will do for the few hours I’ll need the room.

I slip the wizard behind the bar a few galleons to show us to his best room and order some champagne, fruit and chocolates to be brought up when ready. The man looks to my two giggling companions and frowns. I see as he struggles with himself for a moment while he tries to decide if he’s brave enough to intercede in my afternoon’s activities or not. He knows who I am, so fear wins out in the end.

He shows us to a room at the very top of his inn. The room is furnished with oversized dark wooded pieces. The large bed in the center is covered with a heavy fur blanket. The weathered wood of the floor is covered by expensive but worn rugs. By a fireplace off to one side of the room, sits a large black leather armchair. In another corner sat a small round table with two wooden chairs pushed up to it.

The girls walk into the room and look around timidly. I smile at the back of their heads, they’re either good actors or this is the first time they’ve done something so bold. Bianca is obviously the leader of the two as she takes her friend’s hand and leads her over to sit on the bed while I tip the man to get him to leave the room.

With a flick of my wand, I turn the leather chair around so it’s facing the bed. I walk over to the chair and take a seat comfortably so I can watch them. “Don’t let me interrupt you; I’m sure you wish to get ready for your nap.” I say and wave my hand at them with a smirk on my lips.

Stephanie looks to Bianca to lead the way. I smile and see what the girls will do in order to entertain me. Bianca leans over and whispers something in her friend’s ear and the other girl blushes. They then turn to each other and start to undo the buttons of their robes. The girls pushed the fine fabric off their friend’s shoulders revealing their under-things. The blonde wore a lacy wine colored set, and her friend wore satin midnight blue.

They turn to me and dark haired Stephanie rested her head on her friend’s shoulder. “Are you going to join us?” Bianca asks as she runs her hand down her friend’s back.

“I think I may need your help.” I say as I stand up and beckon the girls forward.  They slip off the bed and walk over to me. They seem to be more relaxed at giving me attention than each other. I pull my wand from my pocket as I let them slowly undress me. As they reveal my skin to the air, I feel lazy kisses on the pale surface. I cast a simple contraceptive charm on both girls. I was not one to get trapped in such a way, and I refuse for the heir of Malfoy to be a bastard.

Stephanie kneels down in front of me as Bianca runs her hands into my hair and kisses me softly on the lips. She speaks lowly. “You know we would never be jealous of the other.” She tells me as her lips trail down to my neck.

I have to clear my throat as I feel lips wrap around my shaft. The blonde smiles against my neck as her hands run down my chest. One of my hands drifts around her waist as the second moves into her friend’s dark locks. “I’ll have to keep that in mind.” I tell her as her friends starts to bob her head onto me. “She has a very talented tongue.” I murmur as I enjoy myself. It had been a while and I was determined to enjoy myself.

Bianca’s lips move to mine and she nips at it playfully. My hand moves up her back and with one hand, I unclasp her bra. I pull the bra from her and lean down so I can taste the skin of her chest. Just as I was about to flick, her excited nipple with my tongue there’s a knock at the door. I’m too interested in what I’m doing to stop now.

“The door…” Bianca moans as I pleasure her breasts with my own skilled tongue.

“He’ll wait…I don’t want to interrupt your friend.” I say as my hand tightens in Stephanie’s hair. The knock becomes more firm as we ignore it. By the time, the curvy girl on her knees is swallowing my seed the knock at the door has become a pounding.

I don’t bother to get dressed as I go to open the door ready to hex the innkeeper for being so rude.

When I open the door I don’t find the man from downstairs, instead standing in the doorway are two wizards my father’s age. Their eyes go from my form to the sight of the girls behind me and a look of pure rage forms on both of their faces. So the innkeeper had a bit of balls after all.

“Can I help you? This is my time with them; you’ll just have to wait your turn.” I can’t help but say, then purposefully scratch my head in order to bring attention to the Dark Mark on my arm. I watch as the men’s eyes flick to the Mark and then back to what I assume are their daughters.

To be honest I feel as if I’m enjoying this situation more than I would have actually enjoyed fucking the two twits behind me.

Ginny-

“Is this seat taken?” I hear a familiar voice ask and I smile before I shake my head. I notice he smells like leather and a hint of chocolate as he sits next to me.

It’s suppertime and I’m sitting away from most of the group as everyone uses the free time to socialize. I haven’t really felt a part of the group for a while and I sit alone unless Ron, Dad, or Harry have been having a meal at the same time as me.

“How long are you guys staying in this camp?” I ask as I turn to face Derrick, people always like it better if you try and face them.

“Well actually the Field Marshal has already left. I’m in General Weasley’s care now, so I guess you won’t be getting rid of me any time soon.” He says and I can hear the smile in his voice.

“You can wipe that smirk from your face; you know General Weasley is my brother.” I warn him with a smirk of my own. “And he doesn’t take kindly to flirtatious cads.”

“Me? Was I flirting?” He asks with mock surprise. “I would never dream of flirting with his innocent baby sister.” He says as he leans in close enough to me that I can feel his breath on my cheek.

“I’m sure that’s the last thing from your mind.” I say then take a bite of my food.

“It isn’t my fault that I’m going to have vivid dreams about her tonight while I’m alone.” He adds after a moment of silence.

“Oh?” I ask unable to keep my curiosity at bay.

“Oh yes.” He says leaning in closer so that we’re sitting right next to each other with our legs touching. “I see them now, flashes of red hair splayed out across the forest floor as she moans and begs for me to take her right there.” He whispers into my ear and I know I’m turning a bright red at his words. He chuckles at my reaction and his next words sound surprised. “You’re innocent.” He says and I know it isn’t a question. “Oh those dreams have taken on a whole new level.”

“Will you stop.” I snap at him as I try to control my flush. “I hardly know you.” I point out.

“But as you can tell I really wish to get to know you better.” He points out and there is a pause before I feel his hand on my knee.

“Can you control yourself at all?” I ask as I listen to see if anyone is paying attention to our conversation. He chuckles in response and pulls my knee to part my legs so he can slip his hand further up my thigh. I would have pulled away by now if I wasn’t wearing jeans.

“With a beautiful, innocent, woman who wants me? Not at all.” He says leaning in to risk a small kiss to my neck. That hit my limit; I jerk away from him and glare at where I think he is.

“Oh you’re very full of yourself.” I tell him and cross my arms over my chest as I snap my legs shut.

“I’m just very good at reading the messages women send my way.” He says but I don’t feel him try and get closer again.

“I don’t even know what you look like, why would I want you?” I ask stiffly and turn back to my plate.

“Not sure why. Maybe it’s my deep voice?” He asks with a chuckle taking one of my hands. “Do you want to know what I look like?” He continues placing my hand on his face.

My thumb runs over his cheek and I start to feel the sharp edges and soft lines of his face. The picture they form in my head is a rather beautiful one. He was more of a man than Harry, but still a boy compared to my brother Bill. His lips were soft and formed a smile as he just took my touch in stride.

After a few moments, he asked with a knowing voice. “Like what you see?” He was an arrogant prick to be sure, someone who knew they were pretty and wore it like a badge of honor.

“You’re okay I guess.” I reply noncommittally.

My words didn’t seem to discourage him, because he leaned in close and whispered in my ear. “Bet your knickers are all wet now, want me to help you with that?” He asks to make me blush before he bit my ear softly. I gasp and suddenly stood as the nip sent a shock threw my body that I was very unused to. He chuckles again pulling me down into his lap. “You like that?”  He asks happily.

“What’s going on here?” Ron must have noticed at some point and came over when I shot up.

“Nothing important, General.” Derrick answers as he put an arm protectively around my waist. “Just making new friends.”

“Get off my sister Corporal.” Ron orders and I can hear in his voice that he’s very near exploding. I wonder if it bothers him more that Derrick is so blatantly coming on to me, or if it’s the fact, Derrick was a Slytherin.

“If she wants me to I will Sir.” Derrick answers and I could feel his body shift so he’s facing me.

If I show weakness in front of my brother now I’ll have a hard time ever getting him to accept that I’m a woman and not just his broken little sister. I take in a slow breath before speaking. “Ron leave us alone, we were just having a bit of fun.” I say as firmly as I can manage.

No one says anything for a moment but I can hear my brother’s breath become unsteady. I can clearly imagine him turning red and his eyes start to bug out as they always did when he got truely upset.

The next thing I know I’m being pulled roughly from Derrick’s lap. “You!” Ron yells as I’m tossed to the side. “Will not come anywhere NEAR her again! Do you understand Corporal Elrose?” He growls but before I hear a response, my arm is grabbed again and I’m being pulled away from the dining area.

“How dare you Ron!” I yell as I try to struggle out of his grasp. “How dare you embarrass me in front of everyone!”

He pulls me closer to him as he spins around so that we’re facing each other. “You were the one making a fool out of yourself Ginny.” He growls lowly. “He was treating you like a common slag! Is that your plan, spread your legs for any guy that will have you so you can get back at Harry?”  He asks as he shakes my arm.

I try to tug my wand arm free so that I can hex him, but he’s too strong for me to free myself. With that option taken away I do the next best thing, my off hand closes into a fist and I strike him as hard as I can across the left side of his face. His grip on my arm loosens and I free it before taking a step back so I can draw my wand.

“Take that back!” I demand holding my wand in the direction of my brother.

“Ginny put that down before you hurt yourself.” Ron groans and I can tell I’ve at least busted his lip.

“Hurt myself? I’ll show you how I’ll hurt myself!” I cry and with an easy flick of my wrist I send the fiercest bat-bogey hex, I can muster in the direction of his words. The next thing I hear is the familiar groan of my brother as bats start to fly from his nose. “Think before you speak next time.” I snap turning on my heels so I can walk away and figure out where he’d dragged me to.

Once I’m a dozen steps away from Ron, I hear another familiar voice. “Didn’t mean to get you in trouble Sweetheart.” Derrick says and I can hear the smirk in his voice. “But you showed him.” He adds as he restrains laughter.

“You know you’re disobeying an order from your commander.” I point out as I focus on my surroundings. I hate when people drag me about, it’s always so hard to get my bearings again.

“I don’t think he has the right to make that kind of order, do you?” Derrick asks then adds after a moment. “We’re just south of the medic area.”

“No, but that has never stopped him before.” I say then blush. “Thank you.” I add softly deciding to head in the direction of my tent. I hear him following me before I feel his strong hand on the small of my back.

“Where are you going?” He asks softly as he walks with me.

“To bed.” I answer as I keep my back straight.

I feel his breath on my neck again as he leans into speak. “I’ll join you if you like.”

At his words, I stop in my tracks and clear my voice. “I don’t think that’s such a good idea.” I say and pull away from him a bit. “Don’t get me wrong Derrick, your…forceful flirting has been fun and everything, but…I’m not that kind of girl.”

“Oh I don’t think you know what kind of girl you are yet Ginny, but I’m more than willing to help you out in that department.”

I sigh pulling my wand slowly so he doesn’t notice. “Seriously Derrick, I just need to be alone right now.” I tell him a bit more firmly. When I feel his chest press against mine, I aim my wand at his throat before he can say another word. “No, I really mean it Derrick. Go away. I’ll see you around.” I say as I press the tip of my wand against his Adam’s apple.

“Wow Ginny! I was just goofing.” He says taking a step back. “See you tomorrow maybe?” He offers as he tries to play things more relaxed now.

“Maybe.”

The next morning I wake before the rest of the camp and I decide I need a break. I need to talk to someone about Derrick that isn’t going to just tell me he’s trying to use the blind girl. There’s only one person I can think of that I can have that sort of conversation with, so I head to my pond to retrieve the portkey I hid there. Once I flip the hinge back in the correct direction I feel the familiar tug on my navel.

When I land, the first thing I notice is the smell of the area is off. There’s a faint smell of leather, cigarette smoke, and a musky smell that makes my skin tingle a little.

“Well hello there.” I hear a deep voice that’s definitely not Syler’s call from behind me. I draw my wand and swing around to point in the direction of the voice. “Woah, you’re a feisty one.” The silky voice reacts to my actions. “No reason to use that, we’re all friends here.” He says and I can tell he isn’t getting any closer.

“Who are you?” I ask in a firm tone, not moving my wand from the ready.

“I’m Travis, a friend of Syler’s.” He says in a calm tone. “I was just waiting for him to come back down for breakfast. You must be Ginny.”

“He…told you about me?” I ask still unsure of this new person.

“Yeah, he said he made a friend out here. Never said you were this fit.” He adds in a charming tone. “Can we put down the wands and be civil?”

Draco-

I head down the stairs after my bath. The events of the day before still bringing a smile to my face and I’m looking forward to telling Blaise all about it. As I reach the front hall, I hear Blaise talking to someone so I stop to listen.

“Who are you?” Ginny asks and I can hear the strain in her voice.

“I’m Travis, a friend of Syler’s.” Blaise answers in a calm tone. “I was just waiting for him to come back down for breakfast. You must be Ginny.”

“He…told you about me?” Ginny asks in a very unsure tone.

“Yeah, he said he made a friend out here. Never said you were this fit.” Blaise flirts and I can’t help but roll my eyes. “Can we put down the wands and be civil?”

“Not until Syler confirms who you are.” She says and I smile with pride. My Nymph isn’t trusting Blaise nearly as easily as she trusted me.

Blaise sighs and I can hear the pout in his voice. “Okay okay, he should be down soon I’m sure. While we’re waiting I’m going to go back to drinking my tea.” He says and I can hear him moving back towards the table. I decide that my fun is over for now and I open the door in front of me.

“Syler?” Ginny asks lowering her wand just a bit.

“Ginny, I didn’t expect to see you today.” I welcome her warmly and look over to the pouting Blaise. “I see you’ve met Travis.” I add and she lowers her wand completely.

“So he’s a friend of yours?” She asks just to make sure.

“One of my oldest.” I tell her and head to make myself some tea. “You’re just in time for breakfast, would you like some?” I offer and I start to make tea for both of us.

“Yes please.” She says eagerly and makes her way over to the table without any help. When she sits down Blaise takes the seat next to her.

As I make the tea, the way she asked for it before, I watch him study her with that familiar look in his eyes, like a tiger eyeing its prey. He was waiting for a weak point where he could strike.

“It isn’t nice to stare.” Ginny says after a moment and I can’t help but chuckle.

“How did you know?” Blaise asks sitting back in his chair and looking all the more hungry for her

“Your breathing is quite…distinct.” She says and looks in my direction. “What’s wrong with your friend exactly?” She asks like he wasn’t sitting a few feet away.

“As far as I can tell his brain has a problem working around breasts.” I tell her and she blushes a bit.

“That seems to be a problem for the entire male population.” She says as I hand her the tea and she takes a long slow sip.

“Trouble at home?” I ask curiously, wondering why she’s here so early in the morning.

“Oh there’s this new guy at the camp.” She says with a sigh. “He’s very… direct.” She says looking in Blaise’s direction then back to me.

An odd feeling comes over me when I realize Ginny has come to me with boy problems. I’m another man and not one of her girlfriends. No, seeing me in such a light would have to be nipped in the bud right now.

“So?” I ask trying to think of a way to show her I’m the wrong person to be talking to about this.

“How do you know when I guy really likes you, or if he’s just, trying to take advantage?” She asks as she takes another sip of her tea.

I open my mouth to reply but Blaise beats me to it. “If he has a cock he wants to take advantage.” He answers directly. “Well that’s unless he’s a true friend.” Blaise adds and looks over to me with a smirk. “Someone you don’t have to worry about wanting you in that way, like Syler here.” He says and then leans on the table. “What exactly do you mean by direct?”

The next thing I know Blaise’s chair is being tipped backwards and he goes sprawling to the ground. “Sorry, did I do that?” Ginny asks innocently and turns to face me. I notice the foot that had kicked his chair settle back down in front of her.

“Look girly I was just trying to help!” Blaise shouts as he gets back to his feet. “No reason to be such a bitch.”

I sit back and just watch as the fight unfolds. “Maybe I would if you would stop being such a prat.” She answers back in a sweet tone. He narrows his eyes at her then smirks.

“I’ll work on it.” Is all he says before he sits down. When I give him a questioning look on why he gave up so easily. He motions to her and then makes a vulgar sign for blowjob. I roll my eyes and look at Ginny who’s looking between the two of us suspiciously.

“If you want my advice, don’t ask blokes about this sort of thing.” I tell her after a moment. “It makes us uncomfortable and then stupid things come out of our mouth.”

“I just wanted the opinion of someone who doesn’t look at me like I’m a broken doll. Everyone else in my life is going to tell me that the only reason he wants me is that he can take advantage of good little blind Ginny.” She says with a sigh.

“That isn’t the only reason any bloke wants you.” Blaise cuts in again.

Ginny turns and glares at him and he puts his arms up in surrender before he remembers she can’t see him. “I’m serious. You‘re one hot piece of ass Red.” He says licking his lips. “There’s no straight guy out there that isn’t related to you in some way that wouldn’t jump at the chance to bed you. Am I right Syler?” He looks to me for support; Ginny looks in my direction as well.

“I’m not nearly the whore that my friend is, but he’s right. I wouldn’t mind sharing an evening or five with you if we became more comfortable with one another.” I say thinking that would put her back in the right frame of mind when it came to me.

She blushed and looked down a bit; she seemed much more shy than she had a moment before.

“So you two see me as…a whole woman?” She asks a bit softly, I’ve never heard her sound so shy.

“Oh yes.” Blaise and I answer together which makes her turn from pink to bright red.

 

Chapter 5: A New Man

Ginny-

I slip back into camp as people are starting to wake up and I head straight for my tent. I still don’t think I’m ready to face Derrick or my brother so it seems like the safest place to be for now.

I spend the rest of the morning putting together medical kits just to keep my hands busy as I let my mind drift. The moment I smell ink, parchment, and rose oil I know that my brother must have really been fuming after last night.

“Ginny, I brought some lunch.” Hermione says as she enters the tent. “I didn’t see you at breakfast.”

“I didn’t know you were here.” I tell my friend with a sigh. “I’m sure my brother sent you.” I tell her more softly.

“He called me after your fight last night, you know he can’t end that curse on his own. I could tell you were really mad at him” She says I feel her sit down next to me.

“Your husband is a git Mrs. Weasley.” I say firmly and set my work aside to make room for whatever food she’d brought.

“You think I missed that somewhere along the way? Do you want to tell me what happened?” She asks and I hear her setting the small table for lunch.

“I was flirting with a new guy from the camp and my brother stomps in and starts to act like a royal pain in my arse.” I tell her as I rub my eyes and sit back in my chair.

“He’s just worried because he doesn’t fully trust this Derrick person, neither does Harry.” She says sounding somewhat worried herself.

“Don’t even get me started on Harry.” I snap then something occurs to me. “Please tell me you didn’t know Hermione. Please tell me you didn’t let me make an absolute fool of myself.” I say and I’m disgusted with the pleading tone to my voice.

“No Ginny, if I would have known what was going on with him I would have hit him about the head until he told you.” Hermione reassures me.

I relax a bit and sigh. “Well I don’t trust Derrick either, but that doesn’t mean I can’t flirt with the boy. Ron makes it sound like I was doing a strip tease in front of the entire camp!”

“You mean you weren’t?” Hermione asks in a teasing tone. “So you obviously like that he’s flirting with you, anything else you like about him?” She asks in her usual logical tone.

I frown and think about the question. “Well from what I can tell he’s rather pretty, and very solid when I ran into him a few days ago. He’s sort of funny, though pretty perverted to tell the truth.” I rattle off the first things that come to my brain.

“Well maybe you should ask him out on a date then.” She says handing me a fork and knife.

“Do you think? Ron will blow his top.” I remind her as I start to eat the salad in front of me.

“It sounds to me like you’re interested in this guy Ginny; why not give it a try?” She asks and I can hear the smile in her voice. “Just be careful and don’t do anything stupid until you’re sure YOU trust him. I’ll take care of Ron.”

I sigh and nod with a smile on my lips. “Thanks Hermione.” I say and let silence fall between us a moment before I’m reminded of something else I wanted to tell her about. “Oh, I’ve decided I wish to learn to Apparate.”

“Where did that come from?” She asks and now I can hear her frown.

“I’ve been thinking about it for a while, I know one of the healers said that it isn’t possible without sight, but the more I think about it the more I think that sounds stupid. We’re magical beings Hermione, why does everyone seem to think we have muggle limitations. I mean when you Apparate, do you picture the place you want to go to, or do you just feel yourself stepping there.

“I would have to say it’s more of a feeling if I’m honest.” She tells me but I can still hear the frown.

“Hermione I can’t keep this life up any longer, I need to become a full witch, a full person.” I say and will for her to understand.

“I can only imagine how frustrating things are for you Ginny, but I’m just not sure if it’s safe.”

“Safe is the worst word in the entire history of the world.” I snap slaming my hands down on the table. “I’m tired of being safe, I want to live! I want to fight!”

Draco-

I’m putting the last touches on the kitchen cabinets when an owl swoops in and lands on the counter. I recognize it as belonging to my father. With a sigh I put, my tools down and untie the scroll off its leg. Without a moment’s pause it flies away, which means he was not expecting a reply. I frown and uncurl the scroll to read.

Draco,

It has come to my attention you were found defiling the daughters of not one, but two members of the Board of Economic Growth. Report to Malfoy Manor immediately so we can discuss the repercussions for this behavior.

~Lucius Malfoy

Huh, the old fools actually had enough balls to tell on me to my father. I’m still completely sure the looks on their faces were well worth it. The letter said immediately, but I know my father enough to shower and change into my Death Eater robes before I go.

When I arrive at Malfoy Manor, I find the place its usual level of busy. Father helps run a war and a country from this mansion so the constant flow of people is never a surprise.

I get to my father’s study and I’m told to wait. It wouldn’t matter if my father was in a meeting or not, as I’m being punished he would make me wait either way.

Once I’m finally let in to see him I notice no one left the office before I entered. I just shake my head and smile. I move to the seat and sit in front of his desk before he even acknowledges that I’m there.

“You told them to wait their turn?” He asks not looking up from his paperwork.

“Yeah, it was pretty funny actually.” I tell him in the most respectful tone I can find.

“The Zabini boy is rubbing off on you.” He says with disdain and looks up to get a better look at me. “How is the work on the cottage going?”

“Well actually. I’m just about ready to install a House Elf.” I tell him with a smile.

“You can take Bally back with you.” He tells me with a wave of his hand.

“I would prefer to buy my own actually.” I tell him and fold my arms over my chest. “You said the cottage would be mine. I don’t need an elf that’s first loyalty is to you.” I tell him clearly.

My father looks impressed for a moment, but soon his cold mask is back in place. “You don’t trust one of my elves?”  He asks as he leans back in his chair.

“No.” I say looking him directly in his eyes.

“Fine then, but you’ll have to wait until your next scheduled outing to get it.” He says and after a moments staring contest he leans forward again. “What are we going to do about this escapade of yours?” He asks back to multitasking with his paperwork.

“Well I see three options. I can go scare them again, as well as actually ruin their daughters so they know better than to question the pleasure of a Death Eater again. We can pay them off and find their daughter’s proper husbands so the two little twits can stop trying to whore themselves out. Or I can set it up so their daughters are very publicly outed as whores.” I say deadpan.

“I’ll send someone to attend to it, you’re still in exile.” My father points out without saying which suggestion, he would be taking, if any.

“I’m sure Lieutenant Pucey’s unit would enjoy the assignment Sir.” I tell him as I stand.

“You mean your unit.” My father says firmly as he watches me rise. “I’ll use them and let the Lieutenant decide what he thinks is the best option. Did I dismiss you Lieutenant?” He asks as he sits back in his chair.

“No Sir.” I say and sit back down as I take his point clearly.

“Now if it was just useless bureaucrats that had drawn my attention back to you I wouldn’t have bothered to summon you here.” The General says as he leans forward once again to look into my eyes. “Your… crony has been sniffing around the Weasley files. Why would that be?”

Internally I groan at Blaise’s sloppiness but I keep an uninterested mask on my face. “How would I know?” I ask as innocently as I can.

“Because if that boy does anything outside of orders that isn’t sniffing at some tart’s skirt it isn’t his idea.” My father states firmly, and then waits for my real answer.

“I thought I may have gotten a glimpse of red hair in the woods. It was longer so I think it might be the girl.” I tell my father seriously, making it seem as if I didn’t even remember her name. “I wanted to know if it would be worth my while to find a way to trap her.”

“Ginevra Weasley would be well worth your time if you could catch her. It would mean the instant removal of your exile.” He tells me, and I can hear something in his tone that makes me feel like it would be worth more than that.

“I read her file, why does the Dark Lord want her so badly anyway? To what purpose?” I ask to see if I can get any more information than I already have.

“The Dark Lord plans to corrupt the girl and turn her to the use of our side.” My father tells me without hesitation.

“Like as a spy?” I ask with a frown, the plan wouldn’t work any longer while Ginny was being kept out of things by her friends and family.

“No, more as a symbol. If we can turn her to our ways, others will lose hope that this war can ever end in their favor.” He explains.

“But why her, surely there are better, more easily attained targets?” I ask him with a deep frown.

“The girl was chosen for her close connection with the leadership of the Order, her abilities as a witch, and the fact she already has a seed of darkness planted within her.” My father tells me easily.

“So what if I was to corrupt the girl?” I ask curiously. “What if I could bring her before the Dark Lord ready to take his mark, trained to fight and kill?”

My father raises his eyebrow at the idea, and I can see it would please him. “It would mean several promotions for you, not just one.” He tells me in a dry tone. “I didn’t think the Weasley girl liked you that much.” He says with a smirk now in place.

“When the reward is worth it, I can be very charming.” I answer as wonderful ideas dance in my head.

“Be warned though, if you were to catch her then lost her because of your greed, the consequences would be… unpleasant.”

Ginny-

After asking a few people, I find out that Derrick is in one of the supply tents taking inventory. I assume this is a punishment from my brother for daring to touch his baby sister. When I find the tent, I step inside and listen for movement. I hear someone shifting objects so I head in that direction, careful not to bump into any boxes or crates on my way.

The supply tent is one of our largest. On the inside, it’s almost the size of the Great Hall at Hogwarts, and on the outside, it’s around 6 foot by 6 foot. I can’t imagine how muggles would do in our situation; I really do feel sorry for them sometimes.

Once I’m within a few feet of the sound, I call out. “Derrick?” I ask, as I don’t feel like bumping into him to find him. I smell leather and chocolate so I know that it’s him.

I hear a crate being dropped, a flurry of curses that almost make me blush, but I decide to chuckle instead. “Did I scare you?” I ask as a smirk plants itself clearly on my face.

“Crap Ginny, you shouldn’t sneak up on a guy like that.” He says in a frustrated tone.

“Sorry I didn’t realize I was sneaking.” I tell him with a shrug. Quiet was my natural way of walking since I was trained as a scout, and my steps have only become more silent since I rely so heavily on sound for navigation.

He sighs and his voice comes from lower down. “So what brings you here?” He asks. I hear him shifting but I can’t tell what exactly he was doing.

“Have you had lunch yet?” I ask as I hold up a basket that I’m holding. “I’m sure he’ll give you a break to eat, right?” I add after a moment.

“I’m allowed to take a break for lunch.” He says tentatively as if he thinks this might be a trap of some sort.

“Great, follow me.” I order him and turn before I turn back. “You did want a date with me right?” I ask to make sure.

“Yes.” he says with a chuckle as I hear him get up. “I would love a date with you.” He purrs as he walks towards me.

“Good. Then we’re going to my favorite spot to have a picnic lunch.” I tell him then continue to make my way out of the tent. I lead him to the small clearing with the pond where I first met Syler.

“It’s… wow.” He says which makes me smile. “I can see why this is your favorite place.” He tells me and takes my free hand to walk out into the field.

“Hermione suggested I bring you here.” I tell him and hand him the basket to he can set up the picnic for us.

“So she knows about this date of ours?” Derrick asks and I can hear a slight regret in his tone.

“Did you not want anyone to know we were going out?” I ask as a frown forms on my face and I try not to feel hurt.

“No… I was just. I would prefer not to have to clean the loos.” he says and takes my hand. “Your brother isn’t fond of me, and aren’t they married?”

“She says she’s going to handle that. She’s the one that thought it would be a good idea if we went out.” I tell him and I feel his hand on mine again.

“Well then I’ll have to thank her.” He says in a deep tone. “For giving me some time alone with you,” he adds and I feel his breath on my face as he leans in. His lips barely brush against mine before he pulls away, and leaves me breathless. “Are you hungry?” He asks and helps me to sit on the blanket.

“I could eat.” I say as I try to ignore his tease.

“Well you made lunch.” he says and hands me a plate. I feel around and find the things I want for now then sit back so I can pick at it as we talk.

“How bad has my brother been anyway?” I ask curiously.

“Well he has me doing odd jobs, and refuses to let me in on anything of interest. But I think that’s less because of you and more because I’m a Slytherin. I don’t really understand why they take school house so seriously.”

“Draco Malfoy mostly.” I tell him and shrugged my shoulders. “When Harry and I still talked he told me about some of the things he did to them. Then he turned out to be a Death Eater and part of a plot to kill Dumbledore.”

“Okay so I should take it up with that psychopath the next time I see him.” Derrick said with a chuckle.

“I only spoke with him like once at school, he ignored me more than anything, but he was ruthless to Ron.” I explain and frown. “But I don’t want to talk about him. Tell me about you.” I say and smile, as I’m pretty sure I’m looking in his direction.

“Me? I’m not very interesting. After I left Hogwarts I went to University for business management, I planned to take over my father’s company you see. Before I graduated the war broke out, my family joined the safest side for us. We were never Death Eaters mind you, my father only donated to their cause in order to keep his place in the community.” He told me carefully and I can tell he’s waiting for a reaction.

“So why join our side now?” I ask in the most casual tone I can find. I can’t judge people that just wanted to keep their loved ones safe.

“A few weeks ago I was in a pub with a few friends of mine, in Diagon Alley. We were joking and having fun when three off duty Death Eaters entered the pub. As you can imagine most Death Eaters walk around like they own the world, so when they wanted our spot at the bar we gave it up. Only then they spotted Samantha.” he said and paused so he could take a drink.

“Who’s Samantha?” I ask as I try and get him to go on.

“She was my best mate’s girlfriend.” He said sadly. “One of them grabbed her and was being rather crude. So Jason, he was my best friend, he tried to step in and protect her honor…” his voice got suddenly quite. “She had none left after they were done with her; they said they needed to show everyone what happens to those who disrespect servants of the Dark Lord. While they were…” he stopped and I could feel he was having trouble telling the story now.

“I can see why you decided you couldn’t just keep yourself safe after that.” I say and try to find his hand. He offers it to me and I kiss his knuckles to try and sooth him.

“Jason is in Azkaban now for attacking one of them, he’ll never get out unless this side wins the war. I don’t know what they did with Samantha; they took her when they left the pub.” He finished sadly.

Draco-

Once I complete the last touches on the kitchen, I start to plan my next move. Walking around the down stairs for a few minutes I decide a stable staircase is the next most important aspect of the house. After checking every stair and being rough with those, I’d been gentle with before I decide the whole thing needs to be ripped out and replaced.

I’m so engrossed in the sound of my sledgehammer I don’t hear the little Nymph arrive until she announces herself. “Sounds like you decided to start from scratch.” She says and I’m glad I keep a firm hold on the hammer when I jump.

“Yes well the stairs are mostly rotted.” I explain and then get an idea to warm her up to me a bit more. “It’s actually quite freeing to be able to just… let loose.” I tell her and carry the hammer over to her. I lean over her form and whisper in her ear. “Want a try?”

She clears her throat and takes the hammer. “Actually it sounds fun.” She says and I help her stand facing the direction of the things I actually want knocked down.

“Go at it.” I say and move back so I don’t get hit with a stray swing. “What brings you here anyway?” I ask as she starts to pulverize the wood.

“Oh!” She starts and I can see her grin widely. “I was so excited about my date today I wanted to tell you about it!” She tells me. “Derrick is actually really fun!” She adds.

“Derrick?” I ask wondering if I can get more information about the suitor before she realizes what she’s saying.

“Yeah, the guy I was telling you about. My brother absolutely hates him though, always had a thing against Slytherins.” She informs me of something I’m already quite aware, and then it hits me.

“He was a Slytherin?” I ask and then add for good measure. “That was a House at your school right?”

“Yeah. My brother and I were Gryffindors; the two houses never really liked each other. Doesn’t help that Derrick was also a quidditch player.” She said and laughs. “Bet that rubs Ro… my brother the wrong way.”

She catches herself at the last minute and she’ll probably be more careful now, but she had given me enough to know exactly whom she’s dating. Derrick Elrose, it couldn’t be anyone else. I frown at that thought and wonder how he got into the camp in the first place.

“So is he mean to all the Slytherins were you live?” I ask as if I didn’t know that most of my house either has taken the Mark, or at least live under the Dark Lord’s rule in peace.

“He’s the only one.” She tells me and sets down the hammer out of breath. “That felt really good thanks.” She tells me with a wide smile. “Almost like punching Ha… my ex.”

I chuckle and shake my head. “Glad to be of service.” I tell her as I take the hammer to finish the job. She moves back and leans against a wall. “So you like this Derrick then?” I ask curiously.

“I’m not really sure.” Ginny tells me with a frown. “He’s very… persistent.” She says leaning her back against the wall. “He only joined our side because some Death Eater’s raped his best mate’s girlfriend and put his friend in Azkaban for trying to help her.” She adds with a frown.

“That sounds rather… distasteful.” I say with a frown. “What happened to…” I leave it open to see if she knows the girl’s name.

“Samantha.” She fills in with a sad frown. “He doesn’t know; they took her with them. None of them even did anything wrong.” Ginny says and waves her hands about. “They just thought she was pretty or some bullshit!”

I frown at that. It didn’t sound right; we don’t pick random victims any longer. If the girl was raped and taken there had to have been a crime, or at least a show of disrespect. Either Derrick isn’t telling my sweet Nymph the whole story, or he’s ignorant of it. I’ll have to get Blaise to look into it for me. I hate being stuck here sometimes.

“That’s sickening.” I tell her and start to use a sanding spell on the rough edges of the wood. “But I guess that’s why I’m hiding here.” I say with a sigh. “You know you could hide with me.” I add under my breath.

“You could come fight with me.” She counters in a not so quiet voice.

“Oh? Done much fighting lately, have you?” I ask dryly just to push her buttons.

She frowns deeply at me and sighs. “No. But I’m wearing them down.” She says and straightens her back.

“You know I was thinking about that. I could help.” I tell her as I glance over just in time to see her perk-up. “You know, teach you how to Apparate, maybe help with some dueling techniques you might find useful?”

“You would do that?” She asks and I smile at her excitement.

“Not for free…” I say and let the comment hang in the air.

 

Chapter 6: Nothing is Free

Ginny-

“You know you could hide with me.”  Syler says and it only half sounds like he’s kidding.

“You could come fight with me.”  I quip back so he knows there’s no way that’s ever happening.

“Oh?  Done much fighting lately, have you?”  He asks and I can hear the smugness in his voice.

I frown deeply at him sighing because I know he has a point.  “No.  But I’m wearing them down.”  I say standing a little taller.

“You know I was thinking about that.  I could help.”  He tells me and I can’t help but be a little excited by the idea.  “You know, teach you how to Apparate, maybe help with some dueling techniques you might find useful?”

“You would do that?” I ask excitedly.  No one has made such an offer, and I feel I know him well enough that he wouldn’t be easy on me.  He’s one of the few that sees me for the woman I am.

“Not for free…”  He says letting the idea linger so I have to ask him the price.

After considering what I would be willing to pay for a brand new life, I ask.  “What would it cost?”

“Well considering we’re really talking about an apprenticeship here.”  He starts and I can hear the thoughtfulness in his voice as he’s obviously trying to make it seem he hadn’t thought about what he could get before this.  “I would say that’s worth quite a bit.  Do you have anything you could offer?” he asks curiously.

“Not… really.  I mean besides myself…”  I start and then blush, as I know how that sounds.  “I mean I could help around here.”  I add quickly so he knows I’m not offering to have sex with him.

He chuckles and there’s a pause before he answers.  “What exactly are you offering to do around here?”  He asks with a hint of suggestiveness in his tone.

“Well my skill sets right now are limited to repetitive tasks, like assembling things, and spying with my ears.  Do you need either of those?”  I ask, only half joking.

“Once you learn to Apparate you could go into town for me and pick up things.”  He offers.  “Like a messenger.  Other than that you can keep me company and help when you can in my work.”

“I…”  I start, unsure how to explain why I can’t go into town.  I’m just too recognizable; it would be much too dangerous for me to, just go walking into a wizard-inhabited area.  “I can’t go into a wizarding village.”

“Why?”  He asks and I can hear the frown in his voice.

“There’s a chance I may be recognized.  You already know I’m with the resistance.”  I point out.

“There are thousands of wizards with the resistance, no one is going to recognize one girl.”  He protests.

I frown and decide to tell him the truth.  “Someone may recognize me.”  I start with a sigh.  “My name is Ginny Weasley and…”  I’m about to explain what that means when he interrupts me.

“From the most wanted wizards list, Ginny Weasley?”  He asks as if he doesn’t believe I could be one of the most wanted wizards in the country.

“That exact one.”  I say feeling the heat come to my cheeks as I look to the floor.  “Should I leave?”  I ask after a moment.

“No.”  He says without hesitation.  “I knew you were a rebel, I just didn’t know I had Harry Po… Harry Potter cheated on you?”  He asks as he connects something in his mind.

“Shut up.”  I snap as the heat from my cheeks spreads to my neck and chest.

“Sorry.”  He says but he doesn’t sound sorry at all.  “For the leader of the resistance, it seems he’s a complete fool.”  He adds with something like a laugh to his voice.

“What?” I ask because his statement confuses me.

“What kind of guy doesn’t take advantage of being with a wood nymph like you?”  He asks and he’s closer than I remember, I feel the heat from his form only a few feet away.  “These other birds, they would have to be reeeally fit to make a guy look away from you.”

I shake my head and roll my eyes at him.  “Stop teasing.”  I command him and take a breath.  “Do you think doing things around here, and keeping you company will be payment enough?”

“Yeah I think that will be enough.  So you have to come at least every other day for training and payment.”  He tells me with a firm voice.

“I’ll do as much as I can.”  I tell him and smile excited again for the training he’s promised.

“So let’s start with Apparition.”

Draco-

It has been three days since I made the offer to Ginny.  Three days since she trusted me enough to tell me who she really was, and I’m still smiling.  She’d come over every day since, and we’ve either worked on her Apparition skills or she has kept me company while I work on rebuilding the stairs.  I told her not to come today, that I had errands to do and I wouldn’t be at home.  She said she would be spending the day with Derrick, which makes me uneasy, but it can’t be helped.

“Why are we meeting here?”  Blaise asks as he walks up to me.  I’m standing outside of a much lesser known Gringotts holding.  It’s actually located in the muggle half of London so that only wizards who know of it can find their way here.

“I need an elf for the cottage.”  I tell him as I lead the way down through the small disgusting alleyway.

“What did you need me for?”  He asks with a clear sneer on his face, no one really enjoys dealing with goblins.

“Do you remember Derrick Elrose?”  I ask him before knocking on the black door that only wizards and other magical beings are able to see.

“The Quidditch player from our house?”  He asks in a tone that says he is clearing cobwebs away from any information he has about the man.

“Yes.  Do you know what he did after Hogwarts?”  I ask while we wait for someone to answer the door.  The goblins love to make wizards wait whenever they can; these are even meaner than the ones who work at the bank.

“If I remember right, he was recruited right after he graduated, but I haven’t heard a lot about him since.  Do you want me to look into his file as well?”

I sigh, I had the same thought about him, but I’d been hoping I was wrong.  “Yes, it seems he’s the one Ginny was telling us about the other day.”

“He’s in a rebel camp?”  Blaise asks with surprise but before I can answer, the door opens and a foul smell nearly explodes from the hall behind it.

“What do you want?”  The goblin asks as he eyes us with a sneer.

“I’m looking for an elf.”  I tell it simply.

“What kind?”  The creature asks and steps out of our way.  It seems to be smiling now, but I can hardly tell when it comes to goblins.

“What kind do you have?”  Blaise asks out of pure curiosity on his part.

“Wood elves, tree elves, a mating pair of fire elves, and of course house elves.”  The way the goblin answers the question actually makes me think of Granger; and how much she would hate this place.  The thought makes me smile, and tempts me to buy more than what I came for.

“I need a house elf.  I want one previously un-owned and young.  I don’t wish to have to break it of bad habits other masters have caused in it.” I tell him being direct and to the point.

“Oh I’ve a couple of ten year olds that we bought yesterday.”  The goblin says and rubs its hands together. “Twin boy and girl.  They have no training as of yet.”

“Ten years and no training?”  Blaise asks with suspicion before I can.

The goblin eyes him as if he’s a flea on his coat and shakes his head.  “They were being hidden from their master, and were sold the moment they were found out.”

Both Blaise and I look at the goblin as if we don’t believe him.  I know enough about house elves to know they wouldn’t breed without permission.

“They were triplets.”  The goblin adds as if he can read our minds.  We nod and he leads us down to a hallway with a thick solid door.  The wood of the doors are carved with runes for entrapment.  With some of the creatures they sell at this place, it makes sense that they wish to be as secure as possible.  They aren’t marked in any other way, so I have to wonder how they could remember what was in each room.

The goblin stops in front of one of the many doors and motions for us to stand back as he opens it.  “There they are, just have to pick whether you prefer a boy or a girl elf.”

I eye the two simple looking creatures and they look up at me with their big eyes and mouse like noses.  Their ears flop forward in the front like a pug, and I have to admit they are sort of cute.  This will be the first time I’m really buying something important for my new home, and I feel the weight of this choice press down on me.

“How much for both of them?”  I find myself asking before I know I’d made that decision.

Blaise snorts to tell me I’m a sucker, but doesn’t say anything that would mess with my negotiation.

“500 galleons each.”  The goblin says, eyeing me like I’m some kind of sucker.

I look at him in a very un-amused way.  “600 for the both of them.”  I counter and look over at the elves again. “They are way underfed, and I’m sure I’ll have to beat some insolence out of them if they’ve had no master for ten years.”

The goblin frowns as he considers my offer and his counter offer.  “800”

I sneer at him as if he just insulted me and I’m thinking about just leaving.  “650.” I tell him after a brief pause.

“750”

I shake my head.  “650.” I repeat and wait for his reaction.

“700?”  He asks and he sounds unsure.  All I have to do is raise an eyebrow at him. “And we’ll throw in an ice pixie for free.”

I frown as I consider the offer; pixies can be useful when properly trained.  “Deal.  You may take it from my personal vault.”  I inform the annoying little creature.

“Your vault Sir?”  It asks and folds its hands in front of it.

“Vault number 87, Draco Malfoy.”  I tell it and a smile definitely spreads across its face this time.

“Thank you Sir, where would you like the items delivered?”  It asks smoothly.

I frown at that, what if they get delivered while Ginny is around?  I don’t trust a goblin further than it can throw it.

“Malfoy Cottage.”  I tell him and look at it very seriously.  “If they are delivered by the end of the day, you may take an extra 50 for yourself.”  I tell it because I know nothing motivates a goblin like gold.

“It will be done Sir.”  It says and bows it’s head before it leads us out.  I’m looking forward to breathing fresh air again.

Once we’re free of the den of creatures I turn back to Blaise.  He kept himself quiet while I was dealing with business, but now that we were free, I knew the silence wouldn’t last.

“Why get both?”

“The idea of a matched set appealed to me.”  I tell him as if the extra expense was nothing.  “Until my father dies and this war is over, the Manor will not truly be mine.  The cottage is mine.” I try to explain my feelings about independence.

“Yeah, I get that.  It won’t hurt either that they’ll be more loyal to you, for keeping them together.”  Blaise adds with a smirk, he knows me too well.

When I was young I didn’t understand what the loyalty of a House Elf could mean, but after witnessing the effect Potter’s kindness had on Dobby and Kreacher I know better now.

“That did also cross my mind, yes.”  I admit as we head back to the main street.  “Let’s eat lunch on the muggle side of London.” I suggest which inspired a disgusted expression from him.

“Why?”

“No wizards to overhear plans.”  I tell him simply looking around for a place to grab a bite.

“Food is food I guess.”  He says with a reluctant sigh.  “So you want to know if Elrose is a traitor or a spy?”  He asks to get back to our conversation from earlier.

“Exactly, I want to know what kind of competition I have.  Also see if he has any connection to a witch named…”  I try to remember what Ginny told me.  “…Samantha?  Something like that.”

“You got it boss.”

Ginny-

“How did you get me out of trash duty?”  Derrick asks as he steps into my tent.

“I pulled some strings.  I’m not busy today so I thought we could enjoy a walk.”  I tell him with an easy smile.

“A walk sounds nice.” I can hear the smirk and the hint of mischievousness in his voice when he says the words.

“When I say walk, I mean walk.”  I tell him as I tie my shoe.

“I don’t know what you mean.”  He says trying to sound innocent.  “I’m just talking about a walk too.”

“Sure you are.”  I say and get up to head towards him.  “Come on you perv.”

When I feel his warmth, I reach out and take his hand to lead him to one of the forest paths.  We walk for a little while in silence before I decide to learn more about him.

“Where is your family now?” I ask innocently.

“They’ve disowned me, and are still living comfortably under the Dark Lord’s control.” He says in a sad tone, but there’s something off about his voice, that I can’t really place.  “Why are you really single?”  He asks before I have time to think about it much.

“Well we met the day I broke up with Harry, so I haven’t been single for long.”  I remind him.

“Oh, by the way I hear it; you’ve been single for over a year.  You guys were just calling it dating.”  He says almost cruelly.  “Word around the camp is he couldn’t… perform.”

I sigh.  “He pitied me.”  I say and bite my lip in anger and sadness at the loss of my relationship with Harry.  Honestly, he’s right; it ended the moment I was cursed.

“Seriously you’re one of the hottest witches I’ve met.  I can’t see being put off by the fact you can’t see me.”  He says and moves a hand to the small of my back.  “It’s sort of better in a way; I wouldn’t even have to blindfold you.”  He tells me in a breathy voice and I step back away from him.

“Cute, but seriously.”  I start wanting to lead him away from things I’m not yet comfortable with.  Why would he think we were already to that sort of place in our relationship?  “Have you ever had a girlfriend before?”  I ask him another question to get him thinking about the past.

“Back in Hogwarts, but nothing ever serious.  It was really just a way to pass the time.”  Derrick says and I can feel him shift to keep up walking down the path.

“I had a few boyfriends before Harry.”  I tell him, though I’m sure he doesn’t care for some reason.  I start to really feel uneasy with the idea of being so alone with him suddenly, but I can’t think of where the feeling is coming from, so I ignore it.

“Any of them good kissers?”  Derrick teases me.

“None of them were bad kissers.”  I tell him with a shrug.

“Even that nerdy one, Neville?  He always seems like he would trip all over a woman’s lips.”

I slow my steps at his words frowning.  “I never dated Neville…”  I start unsure why his words are making me all the more uncomfortable.

“Oh, I just remember you with him at the Yule Ball, you seemed close.”  He tells me and I frown all the more.

“But I didn’t think you knew who I was until we met at the camp.”  I tell him and stop walking all together.  I suddenly realize I was letting him lead, and I don’t really know where we are any more.

“Ginny…”  He starts and I can hear the forced confusion in his tone now.  “I didn’t know your name, but I do remember seeing you at school.  You’re attractive, and have bright red hair, you stand out.”  He explains himself.  “Why are you being so weird?”

I lick my lips as I analyze his words, they make since enough that they explain his statement, but it doesn’t make me feel any more at ease.  “You’re right.”  I start as I try to calm myself down a bit.  “I think I’m just snappish because I haven’t eaten lunch yet.”  I excuse my words as foolish so he doesn’t know how anxious I really am.  “Let’s head back so I can get something to eat.”

“Lead the way.”  He says and I can hear the triumphant smirk in his voice.

“I’m a little disoriented at the moment.”  I start and suddenly there’s a hand on my neck and a tree at my back.  He knocks the wind out of me but I hold onto my wand and throw a Bat-Bogey Hex in his direction.

When his grip loosens, I take off in a shot.  What is going on?  Why did he attack me?  I shake off the questions and focus on the forest ground.  I keep a hand out in front of me and to the side so I can feel what is around me.

“You little bitch!” I hear Derrick growl behind me.  I can hear him moving in my direction, his steps much louder than my own.  My heart is hammering in my ears as I just keep running, what else can I do?  I have no idea where I am, we can’t be that far from the camp, maybe a scout will hear me if I yell.

I feel the hex hit me like a cold wave and suddenly my tongue is glued to the roof of my mouth, and my lips are stuck together.  He must have been worried about me screaming as well.  I decide to take a sharp left in order to see if the new direction can take me towards camp, towards safety.

Soon I collide with a familiar strong body and I’m knocked to the ground a second time by him.

“Pinpoint Apparition can be a very useful tool.”  He says and there’s a meanness in his voice, I’ve never heard before.

I scream as best I can and he just chuckles.  “I’m getting tired of this little game Ginny.”  He tells while I’m trying to move back from him as fast as I can.  “Accio Wand.”  He calls my wand out of my hand.  A moment after my wand is gone there’s a heavy body straddling my thighs.

“Sweet little Ginny, you really shouldn’t try screaming with that hex on you.  You could hurt yourself.”  He tells me in a cruel voice as his hands gently brushes hair back from my face.

I pull my face away from him and his hand is on my neck again, it’s large enough to wrap two thirds of the way around.  His hand squeezes tight enough to make it hard to breath.  “We’ll have none of that bitch.”  He tells me in a voice that I know it’s a warning.  Something hard, I assume his other hand, strikes me so firmly across the face that I think I see stars for a moment.  It’s an odd and painful moment.

“No one said I couldn’t enjoy you a little before I turned you in.”  He says which makes me started to claw at him.  I may not be able to be a witch in this moment, but that does not mean I’ll lie down and give in.

He slams my head down against the ground, but I don’t stop clawing.  He pressed my neck against the ground trying to cut off my airway completely, but I keep grabbing at him widely.

In my wild movements, my finger catches his eye and I push which makes him scream.  I move myself back and pull one of my legs free so I can kick his crotch, the weapon he’d been planning on using against me.

I hear him scream again, this time he rolls off me to protect himself.  I keep kicking at him until I’m completely free.  I turn over to push myself back up onto my feet and feel a hard wooden shaft on the ground under my pinkie.  I grab it and smile, I’m not sure if it’s my wand or his, but at the moment I don’t care.

When I stand up all I can do is think of safety and try out the new skill Syler had been teaching me.  As I Disapparate, I can hear his feral scream of anger.  He didn’t know I could do that, and he wasn’t happy.

Draco-

I’m pacing in the front hall when the blasted goblin finally arrives with my purchase.  I take a deep breath when he knocks on the door and open it slowly so I can give him my best arrogant bastard frown.

“What took you so long?”  I ask it and the creature looks as if it wants to kick me.

“Sign for the elves and pixie.”  It says and holds up a scroll.

I look the scroll over before signing it, signing something a goblin gives you without looking it over is just plain stupid.  “Anything else?”  I ask as I look over to the two crates.

“That’s it Sir.” It says the last word with disdain before heading off towards the property line.

One crate is larger, and must have both elves.  The second crate is the size of a shoebox, and would have to be my free pixie.  I decide to put the pixie aside for the moment and focus on my new elves.

I open the larger box and smile at the two young house elves huddled in the opposite corner.  “Are you ready to be helpful?”  I ask them in as kind of a voice as I can find.  “Tell me your names?”  I ask, trying to make them less afraid of me.

“I is Teeny, this my sister Tiny.”  The male stepped forward shyly to speak.  “Yous going to be our Master?”

“Yes.  I’m Draco Malfoy, and I’ll be your Master.”  I tell him with a kind smile.  “Now come out, and we will go to the kitchen.  We need to bind you to your new home.”

“Wes going to have a home, wes going to be allowed to work?”  Tiny suddenly stepped forward excited by this idea.  “Wes going to be real elfs now?”

I smile at her and nod.  “Yes, you’re going to have proper work.”  I tell her and stand.  Hermione never really understood what makes most elves happy.  She was always trying to force them into freedom, but that was like trying to force someone to stop breathing for their own good.  Most elves live to work.

They find their happiness is serving their Masters.  She was always too stuck in muggle morals to understand the truth.  Elves need to be owned in order to live and be happy.

I lead them into the kitchen watching as the look around the room I just built.  “Are you two ready?”  I ask and the both nod, standing a bit straighter with pride.

I chant the ancient rites that bind an elf to their home and Master.  Swirls of magic flow around the room, moving through the elves and through myself.  When it’s done, and I feel the connection lock into place I let myself fall against the countertop.

The two elves are pass out on the floor, I know from my reading they’ll be that way for at least an hour.  To show extra kindness I plan to place them in the soft living space I made for them in one of the cupboards, but before I catch my breath, I hear someone clapping from the doorway.

“I’ve never actually seen it done before.”  Blaise says, though he’s not smirking like I expect him to be.

“What are you doing back here?”  I ask and take in one final breath before I go to pick up the elves.

“I found a few things on your guy, and I didn’t think they could wait.”  He says as he watches me.  “I couldn’t grab the file; I didn’t want to be spotted snooping around him.”

“Well what did it say?”  I ask getting annoyed that he doesn’t just spit it out.

“He’s on our team, just like we thought.”  Blaise starts as I stand to look at him.  “His original mission was to infiltrate a camp and try to find out who their secret keeper was.  He was also given a list of witches, if he found one he was to work to seduce them, and if possible without blowing his cover bring them in.”

I frown, he’s about to tell me Ginny is on the list, but I could easily guess that with what my father told me about the plans the Dark Lord has for her.

“But it gets worse than you think.”  Blaise says and actually frowns.  “First, Ginny is the top of the list, with special orders that he’s to choose getting her above keeping his cover.”

I growl low in my throat, she was going to be alone with him today, is she already in captivity and out of my reach?  “First?  What is second?”  I ask dangerously.

“You told me to look up Samantha?”  Blaise actually looks angry as he thinks about whatever he plans to tell me next.  I know my friend well enough to know the only thing that actually gets under his skin.  “Her name was actually Santhena.”  He continues.  “After him and his friends were done with her…” Blaise can’t go on, but he trusts me to understand.

“You need to go back and keep your ears open.”  I tell him in my command tone to try and help calm him down.  “I want to know about it the moment he brings her in.”

“Wait, you think it will go down today?”  He asks wide-eyed.

“I don’t know, but she was spending the day with him because I was busy.  If she leaves the camp with him…” We both shake our heads.

Blaise and I can both agree most of the time that we’re cutthroat arrogant pricks.  We’ll do anything to get what we want in this world, but there are some lines, we’ll only cross if forced.  I blame the fact we both had mothers who had a great deal to do with our upbringing.  My father blames my mother as well.  He calls it the weakness in me, and at the moment I agree with him.

All I want to do right now is go hunting through the woods and kill a man who’s actually on my side of this conflict.  If he actually did anything to Ginny before I got to him, he would die slowly.

Before either of us can pull ourselves from dark thoughts, there’s a muffled pain filled scream from my front porch. We look at each other for a second before running to the front door.

Ginny is curled into a ball with her legs tucked under her.  From here, I can see the large red opening in her arm.  A shot of white tells me it is to the bone.  She Splinched, but it could have been much worse.  Blaise steps forward, as he’s the better healer of the two of us.

He tries to take her arm so he can heal it properly, but she flinches and pulls away.  “Ginny.  It’s Travis, I need a better aim at your arm, are you hurt anywhere else?”  He asks and she lets him take the arm.  I can’t really see anything besides the arm, because clothes and a large curtain of hair that’s hanging all around her cover her skin.

As he starts to murmur healing spells to weave new skin for her, I move to the other side to push back her hair to get a better look at her.  When she looks up in my direction, her eyes are full of tears and I can see a dark bruise on her neck and cheek.

My stomach tightens in anger, and the need to kill Elrose slowly returns.  Oddly, I think that the tears upset me more than the bruises.  I’ve gotten to know this spitfire of a redhead over the time we’ve spent together.  No one should make her afraid like he’s made her afraid.  No one should kill the fire I’ve seen within her.

No one…

Chapter 7: Stronger

Ginny-

When I land in the new location, all I can feel is pain.  I scream against the hex that glued my mouth shut and I taste a coppery substance on my useless tongue.  I feel like my arm as been torn apart and I know I must have Splinched when I was Apperating.

I don’t know where I am, or if I’m even close to the place, I wanted to be.  I think maybe I’ll bleed to death here and I still feel it was the right choice.  It’s better to die alone in the woods rather than be raped; and then handed over to Voldemort.

I soon hear someone near me and I wonder if I just didn’t get far enough away.  When the person tries to take my arm, I pull away until he speaks.

“Ginny.  It’s Travis, I need a better aim at your arm, are you hurt anywhere else?”  He asks and I smell the smoke and musk that I remember from him.  I let him take the arm and I realize I must have at least made it close to where I wished to go.  He also has the smell of leather, like Derrick had, so it makes me a little uneasy so I hold still and don’t even try to answer his question as he starts to heal me.

When another person kneels next to him and I smell the fresh cut wood that means safety to me I feel myself relax and whimper.  I know Syler will keep me safe.  I feel cool fingers on my face and I know he’s pushing my hair out of the way.  When they run over what must be a bruise across my cheek I whimper.

“Someone hit her.”  Syler says and I can hear a deep anger in his voice as I feel the fingers travel to my neck.  “Ginny?  Can you speak?”  He asked sounding worried even though my arm was starting to feel better.

“UmmmMmm.” I grunt trying to show him I was hexed.

“Tongue locking curse.”  He says and sounds relieved before he murmurs a counter.

“Thank you.”  I tell him hoarsely though I taste more copper than before.

“Don’t speak Ginny.”  He says firmly and put his hand over my mouth.  “You hurt yourself when you screamed.”   I feel him shift before he speaks again.  “How is the arm?”  He asks and he isn’t speaking to me.

“It’ll be fine.  She has the whole bone still.”  Travis tells him in a much more serious tone than I have ever heard him use.  Syler’s hand is still lightly over my mouth, but I don’t really care, I like the feel of his slightly rough hands against my skin.  He is safety; I don’t want him to go anywhere.

Once Travis is done, healing my wounds Syler picks me up and carries me inside.  I realize I made it almost to his front door and I can’t help but be a little pleased with myself.  He sets me down on a hard raised surface and I lay back.

“I’m sorry.”  I tell him as I realize I must be interrupting something if Travis is here.

“Don’t be.  I’m more than glad you came to me.  I have to speak with Travis a moment and then we can talk about what happened.”  He says and runs a hand down my face.  I nod before he leaves the room.

I think I’d be panicking if the entire room didn’t smell like the man I trust, to protect me.  Though I start to wonder why I didn’t go home, why I trust Syler more than my friends and family.  Admittedly, I knew I couldn’t Apparate directly into the camp, also it would have been more dangerous for me to try, and head back.  I also remind myself of how they would look at me if they had known what happened in the woods with Derrick, I really can’t face them blaming my weakness right now, I’m doing that well enough on my own.

I’m so deeply lost in thought that I don’t hear someone moving in the room I’m in until they speak.

“Whats is it?”  A small voice asks, high pitched, like an elf.

I sit up and try to back away from the unfamiliar sound when I hear the reply.

“Its being a witch Teeny thinks.”  Another voice answers.

“I am a witch.”  I say holding still so I won’t scream.  They both sound like elves, but there’s something odd about their voices.

“Teeny think Master wants Tiny and Teeny cooks witch for dinner?”  The first one, who I assume is Tiny, asks.

“No.”  I tell her firmly wondering when Syler got elves.  “I’m your Master’s friend.”  I tell them softly trying to calm myself down.  House elves are only as dangerous as their Master lets them be.

“Why yous being on counters?”  Tiny asks telling me where he’d set me down.  It’s probably the only clean place in his house.

“Nowhere else to put me at the moment I think.  I’m pretty sure he’s still rebuilding the stairs.”  I tell them and chew on my bottom lip.

“Teeny will goes ask to make sures.”  The more male sounding voice says and there’s a small popping sound.

“Tiny hopes Miss being right.  Tiny doesn’t wants to cooks witch.”  The elf says seriously.  “Hows Tiny seasons witch?”  She asks as if that would be the worst part of it all.

Draco-

“I’m sorry.”  She says and I can see how shaken she is.  I am glad the marks are gone from her skin, but they still blaze brightly in my mind.

“Don’t be.  I’m more than glad you came to me.  I have to speak with Travis a moment and then we can talk about what happened.”  I try to reassure her as I gently touch her face to remind myself she’s safe now.  When she nods, I leave her in the kitchen so Blaise and I can speak out of her earshot.

“She was banged up, but nothing too…”  I start and Blaise is frowning at me.

“I can tell where those injuries were leading and so can you.”  He says and rubs a hand over his mouth before taking a cooling breath.  “On the bright side, this is good for you right?”  He asks to distract himself from what could have happened.

“She trusts me completely, yes, this is good.  I can use this.”  I say trying to sound cold.  “Though I need to find out what he said to her.  I need her to feel comfortable with her rightful place as a pureblood.”  I remind him with a frown.

“He couldn’t have done any more harm than your freak Aunt did when she blinded the girl.”  Blaise reminds me that Ginny has never had it easy with Death Eaters.

“True, I’ll figure it out.  You should go, keep your ear to the ground, and see if Elrose comes in from the cold.”

“I’m looking forward to it.”  He says and I catch his wrist.

“Don’t touch him.” I say with a warning tone.  “That’s Ginny’s right.”  I add when he frowns.

“Oh man, you have no mercy.”  He says and actually chuckles.

Once he leaves, I stay out of the kitchen for a while so I can think of exactly what my next move is.  I need to get as much information from her as I can about what happened tonight, but I don’t want to push too much.  As I’m, thinking of tactics my elf Teeny appears in front of me and looks up with big eyes.

“Whens wes woke Master there’s being witch on counter.  Do wes cooks her?”  It asks sounding as if it would do exactly as I asked.

“No, but if you two are already up to it, you may cook dinner for the two of us.  Also you will have to call me Master Syler while Ginny is around.  Okay?”  I ask the elf being as kindly sounding as I can.

“Yes Master Syler.”  It says nodding and grinning happily.  “I’s tell Tiny too?”  It asks to make sure it understands my rule.

“Absolutely.  She isn’t to know my real name.  Not until she’s ready.”  I tell the elf before he pops back to the kitchen I assume.  I follow him by walking back to the room I left Ginny in to find her alone.

“Maybe we should sit outside.  This is all new to them.”  I say as I walk over to her.

“Yeah, I don’t want them to change their minds about cooking me.”  She says giving me a forced smile.  I help her off the counter, but decide to let her walk outside on her own.  I’m sure she feels weak enough at the moment; I don’t wish to be the one to add to that feeling.

She uses walls and furniture to make her way through the house, keeping her hands out and stepping carefully so she doesn’t trip.  I would offer to transfigure her a new cane, but I don’t think she wants to think about how she lost her last one.

Once outside she takes in a deep breath.  “I asked them to make an early dinner.”  I tell her wishing to break the silence with something harmless.

“You have house elves now.”  She says probably wishing to stay on the harmless subject.

“Yes, Travis helped me get them.”  I tell her easily.  “I would starve if I had to feed myself and I didn’t want my family worrying.  Do they bother you?” I ask remembering Granger’s view on elves.

“No.  They sound a bit strange.”  She tells me with a frown.

“They’re very young.”  I explain and she nods slowly.  “Ginny, are you going to tell me what happened?”  I ask and I don’t even have to fake the worry in my voice.

She takes a deep breath again and plays with a strand on her hair.  “I told you I was spending the day with Derrick?”  She starts.

“Yes.”  I say after nodding when I remember she can’t see me.

“Well we went for a walk and I got a bit lost.”  She says frowning as she speeks.  “Then he started to say odd sorts of things and the next thing I knew…”  She bit her bottom lip.  “He wasn’t the person he said he was.  He works for them.  He was sent to capture me.”  She was frowning at all of these statements.  “He had access to Harry, to Ron… Why would he want to take me?”

“Opportunity?”  I offer.

“He said that they told him to bring me in.  Like I was his main target.”  She says and I can see she’s holding something back.

“Ginny?”  I ask touching her shoulder.  “What did he do?”  I ask her softly.

“He didn’t…he was going to… He said they didn’t tell him he couldn’t have fun first.”  She says and shakes her head.  “But I don’t think he had much fun when I shoved my thumb in his eye.”  She adds and I have to smile at the slight glee in her voice about hurting him.

“Maybe one day you can take out the other one.”  I suggest letting her know I have no qualms with revenge.  Honestly if my plans go, the way I want them to she’ll get her chance to torture him as slowly as she wishes.

“Do you think?”  She asks actually smiling at the idea.

“Anything is possible, and I don’t like to underestimate you.”  I tell her and squeeze her shoulder.

“Thank you.”  She says softly.  “If it hadn’t been for my lessons…I mean I Splinched, but it would have been a lot worse if I couldn’t get away.”

“You actually did very well for a first real unguided run.  Plus you were under stress.  Actually I’m quite impressed.”  I tell her and let my hand drop.

Ginny-

“Maybe one day you can take out the other one.”  He says as if there’s every chance in the world I would be able to get my hands on Derrick.

“Do you think?”  I ask, unable to keep myself from fantasizing about hurting the man who attacked me.

“Anything is possible, and I don’t like to underestimate you.”  Syler says and I can hear the honesty in his voice.  Even now, he thinks I’m capable of anything.

“Thank you.”  I tell him softly, I wouldn’t be standing here without his lessons and he needs to know that I know this.  “If it hadn’t been for my lessons…I mean I Splinched, but it would have been a lot worse if I couldn’t get away.”

“You actually did very well for a first real unguided run.  Plus you were under stress.  Actually I’m quite impressed.”  He tells me and I feel his hand drop from my shoulder.

I turn in the direction I think he is and smile a little more lightly than I have since I arrived at his door. “Thank you.”  I tell him again, but for what I can’t really place.  “I’m just lucky I got this back.”  I tell him holding my wand in my hand.  “It must have fallen in the struggle.”

I feel his hand on mine then he pulls it slowly before I feel lips on the back of my hand.  “I am so very glad you did.”  He says before letting go and moving away.

I end up spending the night at his place.  He easily conjures me a sleeping bag and we sleep a fair distance from each other.  He gives me my space without going so far that I feel alone.  The next morning I wake to the smell of bacon, and sausage.  I smile and sit up slowly with a yawn.  I’m disoriented for a few moments before the events of the night before come crashing down on me and I remember where I am.

“Syler?”  I call out unsure if he’s up yet.

“I thought you’d never wake.”  Says his amused tone; from the direction of the delicious smells.  “Full English breakfast if you’re up to it.”  He adds to try and tempt me over to the table.

I smile at him and push myself to my feet before making my way over.  “I must look like a sight this morning.”  I say yawning again as I sit down next to him.

“Actually you’re rather cutely rumpled.” He says and I can hear him pouring tea.  Oh, tea would be lovely.

“Is that for me?”  I ask reaching out to find my cup.

“Just the way you like it.”  He says happily, as he hands it to me.

“You come from the gods.”  I tell him before I sip the life giving liquid.

“I’ve always thought so.”  He says and there’s something oddly familiar about his tone, which unsettles me for a moment.  “What did I do?”  He quickly asks sounding worried for a moment.

“I-I don’t know.  I think I’m just a bit skittish from yesterday.”  I tell him as the unsettled feeling quickly goes away.

“Yes, I’d be surprised if you weren’t at least a bit jumpy this morning.”  He tells me and I hear true concern in his voice.  I take a breath and nod.  I do feel safe here with Syler, I remind myself he has helped me, more than anyone in a very long time.

We don’t speak again until I have a few sips of tea and a chance to start on my breakfast.  I find that I’m ravenous this morning.  “I don’t know what to do now.”  I tell him once I’m feeling more satisfied after breakfast.

“You can stay here for as long as you need.  Clean up of the house is going to go much faster now that I have elves to help me.”  He offers and that reminds me of other questions I had.

“Where does one even get new elves?”  I ask with a frown.  I remember him mentioning something about Travis, but I hadn’t really thought of how one would get an elf for a new home.

“You buy them.  You know it’s odd to me that as a pureblood you don’t know any of this.”  He says casually.

“There were certain topics that were never discussed in my home before the war.  Anything that had to do with people having money or people being pureblood were at the top of that list.”  I tell him blushing slightly.

“Ah.”  Is all he says in reply.  “Well under the Dark Lord’s rule there are several companies you can go to find magical creatures and beings for sale.”  

“And before the war? It must’ve been illegal to sell or buy a magical being?”  I ask him curiously.

“House Elves have always been the exception to that rule.  As their need to be owned is a firm part of their identity.”  He says making me thinking of what Hermione would have to say to him in this moment.  I smile as I think of my friend.

“I can’t stay here.”  I say after a moment, though I don’t want to leave the safety of his company.  “Everyone is probably worried about me, and I have to warn them about Derrick, just in case he goes back.”

“And if he’s waiting for you?  What happens if he catches you before you’re safely with your friends?”  He asks echoing my own concerns.

“If I know my brother they’ll have search parties out combing the woods for me soon.”  I tell Syler with a deep frown.  “I know you don’t want trouble here.”

“That’s actually quite perfect.  As you know I have boarder alarms that let me know when an intruder is getting close.  When the first goes off we can go and see if it’s Derrick or someone you trust.”  He says in a tone like the whole problem has been solved.

I frown at the idea, then I would have to share Syler with those from the camp, and I didn’t think they would be happy about it.  “I haven’t actually told anyone about you.”  I tell him softly.

Draco-

“If I know my brother they’ll have search parties out combing the woods for me soon.  I know you don’t want trouble here.”  Ginny says with concern for me deeply laced in her tone.

As I look at the girl, I can’t help but acknowledge her strength.  Yesterday she had been running for her very life, and now she can only think of what would be most convenient for me.

“That’s actually quite perfect.  As you know I have boarder alarms that let me know when an intruder is getting close.  When the first goes off we can go and see if it’s Derrick or someone you trust.”  I tell her full of confidence.  I know she wouldn’t let me reveal myself, but I need her to think I’m willing to.

“I haven’t actually told anyone about you.”  She says as if I’d be upset over this fact.

“And you don’t wish to?”  I ask like I’m sort of hurt by the fact.

She blushes slightly looking away from me.  “I’m sorry, but I don’t think they’d take it well that I’ve been talking to someone they don’t know.  I wish to keep talking to you.  I want you to teach me to duel now more than ever.”  She says chewing on her lower lip.

“Do you really think they’ll let you alone for one moment once you get back to the camp and tell them what happened?”  I ask putting the thought into her head.

She blushes more deeply and I can’t help but smile as I watch the gears working in her head.  “They’ll send me away.  To another camp.”  She says more to herself than to me.  “I can’t go back…”  She adds and stuns herself with the revelation.

“Ginny, you should go back.  They can protect you a whole lot more than I can.  You said it yourself; you’re on the Dark Lord’s most wanted.”  I say only letting myself smile again after I’m done speaking so she won’t hear it in my voice.

She’s now chewing on her bottom lip and shaking her head.  “I can’t stay here either.  Forget about you protecting me, I don’t want to put you in more danger than I already have.”

“I can take care of myself Ginny.”  I tell her firmly.  “And I really don’t think going off on your own is any kind of smart idea.  Go home; we’ll go with my original plan.”  I tell her as if it’s the only solution.

She shakes her head looking back in my direction.  “I can’t go back Syler.  I was already drowning in their concern and protection.  I won’t survive it if I go back.”  She tells me showing me what her confinement is doing to this feisty witch.  Honestly, I think the Dark Lord would do less hard to her than her friend’s kindness.

“Then you’ll stay here while I teach you to really be able to defend yourself.”  I tell her firmly.  “I know we haven’t known each other long Ginny, but I care about you.  I’m willing to take my own risks for your safety and your sanity.”  I press the last word, trying to show her my annoyance with her friends without outright bad mouthing them.

I watch as she takes in a slow breath and nods.  “Thank you Syler.”  She says and I can see she really means it.

“Now, unless you wish to sleep out here again tonight we have work to do today.”  I tell her and smile when she does.

“But I need to at least message my friends.  Tell them about Derrick and let them know I’m safe.”  She adds as she’s working on finishing her breakfast quickly.

“Will owls get through their protection?”  I ask curiously, it would be interesting to know.

“Only from those who know the secret.”  She tells me and I file the information away.  “Do you have an owl?”  She asks timidly.

I think about my personal owl Thena.  I’ve had her since my school days and I wonder if her brother would recognize it if I let Thena carry Ginny’s letter.  On one hand, it would be so deliciously wonderful to rub it in Weasel’s face that I was the one who now had his sister.  On the other hand, the fool might make my life hard if he told this to the wrong person.  No, it would be better to save that little victory for when I’m was sure it couldn’t backfire.

“Travis should be back later today if I know him.  I’ll have him take it to the post office for you.”  I offer with a sigh.  “A part of my deal with my parents is limiting my exposure to the wizarding world.”

She nodded slowly as she set down her fork and finished her tea.  “I think that should be fine.”  She says once she’s done.  “So how can I help around here?”

Finishing the stairs goes much faster as she can hand me supplies so I don’t have to go up and down while trying to keep everything together.  While we’re working on that, I have Teeny and Tiny work on cleaning any surprises animals may have left behind in the rooms upstairs.  By the time Blaise comes back to check in with me, I’m already starting on the railing.

Before I even notice him, standing in the doorway Ginny has her wand out and pointed almost directly at his chest.  When I realize she isn’t handing me the nails I just asked for, I look up to see Blaise standing there with a smirk, his hands in the air as if that would help anything.

“It’s Travis.”  I tell her as I climb off my perch to sooth her with a hand to her shoulder.  She visibly relaxes as I touch her and this pleases me more than I can say.  Point for me I think as I smirk at my friend, who’s obviously disappointed with her comfort around me.

“Sorry Travis.”  She says taking in a breath.  “It’s the leather.  You smell a little like him.”  She tells him as she lowers her wand.

“Ah, I’ll have to work on that.”  Blaise says coldly.  “I don’t really want anything in common with a man that would…”  He shakes his head unable to finish his own sentence.  “But I do feel you should know I don’t need to force a woman to make her scream around me.”  He adds suggestively to lighten his own mood.

“I’ll have to take you word on that.”  Ginny says rolling her eyes and shaking her head.

“No you don’t.  I’m pretty sure I just offered you a personal invitation to experience it firsthand.”  Blaise says taking a step towards her.

“And I’m pretty sure I just turned you down.”  She says smiling in his direction sweetly.

“I’m growing on you, I can tell.”  He says with a smirk.

“Like a fungus.”  She countered and I can’t help but laugh.  She smiles at me and back to him.  “I’m going to go write that note.  You have parchment somewhere?”

“Kitchen.  Ask one of the elves I’m sure they can find it.”  I tell her with a chuckle as she leaves the room.

Once she’s gone, I smirk again at Blaise.  “Growing on her?”  I mock him for throwing her such an easy line.

“Had to make sure she hadn’t lost anything after that…he attacked her.”  He says looking to make sure; she’s out of the room before he frowns again.  “Did you see the look she gave me when she thought I was him?”  He asks actually sounding worried.

“No.”  I say thoughtfully.

“Something between rage and absolute fear.”  He says slowly and frowns more.

“It only happened yesterday.  She’s actually done quite well today; I think she’s stronger than even she knows.”

Chapter 8: Oddly Normal

Ginny-

Writing is harder than I would like these days. I use a spell to make sure my words align, but it’s always hard to remember what I’ve written if I can’t go back and read it. I started a letter to Ron many times before I gave up. He won’t understand no matter what I say. So, I start my next letter to Hermione in hopes she can explain how I feel to my family. I think if I hadn’t had her the last year I would have made a run for it long before this.

Hermione,

First, you should know that I am safe. I am with a friend I trust; and who has helped me more than I can explain in a letter.

Hermione, Derrick is a Death Eater! He attacked me when we were on a walk, and he planned to take me back to his masters. I’m not sure why he chose me, probably because he thought I couldn’t protect myself. He has since discovered that was a misjudgment on his part.

I am sorry that I can’t tell you where I am, but I know what they would do and say if I came home now. They would say that I need more protection, that I need to be suffocated until I can’t breathe. I was reaching my limit before this happened, and we both know it will only get worse now. I will be in contact when I can, but for now you just have to convince everyone that I am safe and I am building a life for myself.

Hope this letter finds you well,

~Ginny

Once I was happy with the letter, I folded it up and put a symbol on it so that it would find its way to Hermione. We all had symbols we used for our mail, as trying to take a letter marked Hermione Granger to a post office would be dangerous for anyone.

When I return to the guys they’re outside at the table, it seems the elves had made lunch while I was writing. I can hear them as they stop talking abruptly when I make my way outside. I frown approaching the table and glare in what I hope is their direction.

“You guys aren’t going to start treating me like I’m made of glass are you, because I can and will kick both your arses.” I tell them firmly to nip this behavior in the bud.

“Syler here was just saying how he can’t wait till you run out of clothes so you can walk around here naked. I must say I have to agree I’m looking forward to the sight.” Travis says and I can hear the true anticipation in his voice.

“Because that sounds so much like something I would say.” Syler adds dryly. “Come sit, we’re having lunch.”

I smile feeling better because of the banter and take my usual seat. “Yeah I didn’t really think about what I’m going to do for clothes.” I tell them honestly. “Do you have anything I could borrow?” I ask Syler.

“White button downs, she’d look hot in nothing but white button downs.” Travis chimed in.

I roll my eyes and I hear Syler chuckle. “Friend I do think you should tone it down before she trips you again.”

“Or punches you in the nose.” I add coolly.

“I bet you couldn’t even hit my nose.” He counters.

I look at him with an expression that should have him doubting if the blindness would be that much of a hindrance.

“You wouldn’t even know where my face was.” He says sounding less sure now.

“Only if you can keep your mouth shut.” Syler points out to laugh at his friend.

They then go into a full-on debate on how long Travis has ever been able to keep his mouth shut for, while I serve myself lunch. I enjoy just listening to them banter. They have obviously been friends for a long time; they must have gone to school together. I can hear how much they know and trust each other in their tone and words.

I realize it has been a while since I’ve been able to sit back and listen to people just be relaxed with one another. Almost everyone in the camp is always so nervous to say anything around me, and that started before I was blinded. I was one of the leader’s baby sister, and another’s girlfriend, so I could never truly be just one of the gang.

Here, even though Syler knows who I am, he and Travis have already easily adopted me into their small group. It’s something I hadn’t realized I missed until now.

“So what does our day look like?” I interrupt when I’m halfway through my sausage.

“Travis has agreed to stop by a post office for us.” Syler says and I remember the letter in my pocket. I pull it out and set it next to Travis’ plate.

There’s a pause as he picks up the letter. “What is this?” He asks, obviously seeing the symbol.

“It’s the name of the person I’m sending the letter to, is there a problem?” I ask with a frown.

“Will a post owl know how to handle it?” He asks sounding curious.

“Oh yes. The person who came up with them is rather brilliant and she made sure they all work just as good as the person’s name and address.” I tell him with a wide smile.

“Ah.” Travis says in an unnaturally tight tone.

“Is there something wrong?” I ask never having heard him sounding so restrained.

Draco-

“What is this?” Blaise asks as he holds the letter up so I can see the symbol on the front.

“It’s the name of the person I’m sending the letter to, is there a problem?” She asks frowning with worry.

“Will a post owl know how to handle it?” Blaise asks looking down at the letter curiously now. It was an interesting system and I motioned for him to take note of the symbol before sending the letter. This was useful information, and explained a lot.

“Oh yes. The person who came up with them is rather brilliant and she made sure they all work just as good as the person’s name and address.” She says with a wide proud smile. There’s only one witch, this description brings to mind, and I can tell Blaise is on the same page.

“Ah.” Travis says in a forced tone, not knowing what to say about Granger’s handiwork.

“Is there something wrong?” Ginny asks with a frown in Blaise’s direction.

“Not at all.” He said pushing a smile onto his face. “Is this brilliant witch of yours taken?” he asks to cover his discomfort. The idea of touching the mudblood makes us both gag a little, but he works hard to keep that out of his tone.

“She’s married to my brother.” Ginny says shaking her head, oblivious to our discomfort now. “Do you have to jump every time someone says witch?”

“Humm… Not every time. I just like the pretty ones, and the smart ones.” Blaise says leaning back in his chair and obviously pretending it isn’t Granger we’re now talking about. “If she’s hot I may have to steal her. What does she look like?” He asks with a curious smirk.

“I’m hurt.” She says instead of answering him. “Are you over me so easily?”

“Only if she’s hot.” He says as if that should be acceptable.

“Are you trying to say I’m not hot?” She asked crossing her arms over her chest and mock pouting at him.

“Oh you’re definitely hot.” Blaise answers with a wide grin.

She frowns for a moment as she lets his words settle in. “Oh so you’re saying I’m dumb?!”

“Well, actually you just said it.” He chuckles and gets up before she can tip over his chair on him again. “You know, I have to get to work. See you around Sugar Cakes.” He said before Apparating away before she could take her vengeance.

Once she hears the popping sound, she just chuckles and shakes her head. “I actually do like him.” She tells me as she sits back in her chair. “You can tell the two of you have been friends for a while. It’s nice to be around you guys.”

“He likes you too.” I tell her honestly. “And even though it’s not in my best interest to tell you this, he is seriously interested.”

She blushes slightly and shakes her head. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.” She says but still seems more than pleased.

“Me either.” I tell her with a smile. “I’ve known him since we were both three, and I can tell you he’s nothing but a pain in the arse.”

She smiles at me even more brightly. “I just don’t think I have a very good track record with men, maybe I should find someone else to pick them for me.” She says with a laugh.

“I volunteer for the job.” I say with a wicked grin she can’t see, though by the answering smile she probably heard it in my voice.

“Have anyone in mind?” She asks playfully.

“Not yet, but I’ll let you know if I find the right one.” I say cutting off her game for now. I would be lying to myself if I said I wasn’t interested in bedding her. I have been from the start. She’s a beautiful and interesting witch. What’s wrong with wanting to see her scream in pleasure under me? But there are more important things for us to achieve first, and if I bed her before she fully trusts me, before she knows parts of the truth, then it will ruin everything that comes after.

“I think we should finish the day with some dueling lessons.” I say to change the subject.

“Really?” She asks and perks up more than the play flirting had done. She really is a violent little thing.

“Nothing too exciting to start, we have to rework your forms to accommodate your new situation.” I tell her getting to my feet and waiting for her to do the same.

“My new situation?” She asks with an amused tone.

“Yes. This isn’t really about learning new spells; it’s about learning a new form to cast the spells. Let me see your old dueling form.” I ask to see where exactly she’s at.

She looks in my direction blankly. “Dueling form?” She asks sounding as if she’d never heard the term before.

“So no formal training at all?” I ask with a laugh. “Don’t you rebels get any training?” I add as I lead her out into a clear area.

“We train, but isn’t all that formal or anything.” She tells me before sticking her tongue out in my direction.

“Well than you won’t have anything to unlearn.” I say putting a positive spin on it. I move behind her so I can guide her arms more easily. “Stand as if you were going to cast a spell.” I tell her and look at her form.

“What is your off-hand doing?” I ask as I watch her casually stand there with her wand out.

“Should it be doing something?” She asks with a frown.

“For most it’s best to keep it tucked behind their back so it doesn’t get in the way, but at the same time adding to the flow of your magic.” I explain with a shake of my head.

“You said for most, I should be doing something different?” She asks picking up on the lesson quickly.

“First you need to turn your hips away from your wand hand.” I explain as I watch her move. “You want to have your off-hand up and in the lead.” I say moving her body to show her exactly what I mean.

“You want me to use my non-wand hand as what, a way to feel where my opponents are?” She asks pulling her wand hand’s elbow back to give the other arm more of a lead.

“How does that feel?” I ask, taking a step back from her for a better view.

“Weird. I don’t know how this will help; don’t wizards stay back from each other?” She asks without breaking the stance.

“Well you’re going to want to get in people’s faces. Grab their clothes even. Not only will it give you better aim, it will keep them off balance.” I tell her as she moves to get more comfortable with the position. “I think you should cast a few spells like this, see how it really feels.”

Ginny nods before casting a few light effect spells. I can’t help but smile at how focused she looks, and how beautiful she is when she casts. I shake away the thought and clear my throat.

“Did I do something wrong?” She asks now moving from the stance I placed her in.

“No, I was just thinking that we should work on a physical regimen as well. Any strength and endurance you could gain would only be helpful.” I half lie.

“So I can keep ahold of people in a struggle.” She says nodding to herself. “Muggle fighting wouldn’t be bad either.” She adds thoughtfully and I have to agree.

This style of dueling I’m proposing for her would be just as physical as it is magical. I‘ve seen my aunt duel in a similar way, and the effect is breathtaking. If Ginny were able to master it, it would be like watching a vision of the old stories of Battle Magi. She could be a goddess in her own right, and a force to be reckoned with.

“I think we should start with running daily, fighting will have to come later, when I can find you a proper teacher.” I tell her with a smirk.

“Oh so, there are limits to your god like knowledge?” She asks teasingly, a smile spreading across her face.

“A few…”

Ginny-

A week has gone by at Syler’s and things are starting to feel normal. We have a bit of a routine formed as we’ve gotten used to having one another around. In the mornings, we go running in the woods. He runs next to me so I can hear his footfalls and pace myself while not feeling as if I’m going to slam headlong into a tree.

After we eat breakfast outside, we work on fixing his house up until lunch. I realized over the week how much Syler cares about the house, and how much pride he takes in fixing it with his own two hands. He uses magic to make certain tasks easier, but refuses to use any spell that would make the final product anything less than perfect.

With the elves help and mine, we’ve gotten the stairs to full working order and finished fixing the upstairs bathroom as well as one of the guest rooms.

When the noon hour comes, we break for lunch and after that, we’ve been working on dueling and weight lifting to build my strength. Travis comes by when he can to help show me fighting forms that he knows to incorporate into this dueling style.

On the days he visits, he eats dinner with us and we drink and enjoy each other’s company. In their presence, I find I can forget about my troubles. I forget that my blindness is a weakness and see it only as a small inconvenience. I even forget about the war and the darkness my world lives in now.

Every so often, I find myself familiar with my two new friends. I get a strange sense of Deja vu, as if I should be able to picture the pair of them in my mind. It’s an unsettling feeling, but it usually passes quickly enough.

“Focus!” Syler order comes right before I find myself on my back for the umpteenth time that day. He laughs and I can hear him walking away as I feel the warmth of Travis move over my form.

“Well if you wanted to make out you could have just said so.” He says and I can hear the smirk in his voice.

“I wasn’t ready.” I tell him rolling my eyes as I easily push him off me by his shoulders. “Let’s do it one more time.” I say as I get to my feet and brush myself off.

“We haven’t done it once to be doing it again.” Travis implies something lewd with his tone.

“Must your mind always go there?” I ask getting myself in a readied position.

“Probably until you give into my needs Mia Bella.” He says and the sense I that I should know him washes over me once again.

“You’re Italian.” I tell him straightening with a frown to think if I know anyone from Italy.

There’s a pause before he speaks and that only makes me frown more. “My father is.” He says finally. “I spent a lot of time there growing up.”

“Are you ashamed?” I ask not understanding the reason for the hesitation in his answer.

“I’m disowned.” He says and I feel a hand on my waist. “But focus on our task; if you land on your back again I’m claiming a prize.” Travis warned the lightness back in his voice.

I roll my eyes and move back into position. “Now, use my extra weight and height against me.” he told me for what felt like the thousandth time. “Your timing is everything.”

“Yeah, yeah, let’s get this over with.” I say putting my hands into position to be able to flip instead of landing on my ass.

“As you wish.” He says and with that, I try and fail to flip him like I’m supposed to. Once again, I find myself on my back with the air knocked out of me.

“I wasn’t ready.” I tell him sticking my tongue out as he snickers. Before I can react, he’s over me again and my tongue is in his mouth. He turns the childish gesture into a kiss like nothing I’ve ever really experienced.

I melt a little, trusting him in a way I never trusted Derrick. I feel hands move to the sides of my head, not restraining, but guiding me to deepen the kiss. I think I may be moaning against his lips when I hear someone else clear his throat.

“Really?” Syler asks coldly. “I leave you two for three minutes and you’re shagging in my yard?” There’s something in his voice, which makes me feel like I’ve betrayed him somehow.

I push Travis away easily and blush before I get angry. “We were kissing!” I snap and fling my hand out to smack Travis in the chest. “And he started it. Why do you care?” I ask getting up and brushing myself off again.

“He’s just jealous.” Travis says as I hear him get up as well.

“Well if you want him so badly you two should just make out and get it over with.” I snap at the two of them before heading inside to cool my temper, and other things off. I decide it would be best to take a bath before dinner, as I smell like sweat, and I need some time away from both of them.

Admittedly, the kiss had been a while in coming and Travis had never made a secret about his desire for me, but somehow it had still caught me off guard enough that the whole situation unsettled me.

When I settle into the warm water of the bath, I let my mind drift and fall asleep in the quiet comfort. I have dreams of a cold blond boy that never even looked my way and a smooth dark skinned one who always leered.

“Mistress Ginny!” The small elf squeaks waking me from the dream and driving the images from my head.

“Tiny? Did I fall asleep?” I ask rubbing my eyes and sitting up in the bath.

“Master wants Tiny to gets Mistress Ginny for supper.” The elf says and I feel a towel being wrapped around me as the still slightly warm water disappears.

“I’m not in the mood tonight Tiny. Tell Syler I went to bed.” I tell her as I take the towel and stand, stepping out of the bath.

“But Master…” She starts with a determined tone.

“Is not my boss.” I snap and I don’t know why I’m still so angry with him.

Draco-

After watching Ginny get knocked down once again I can’t help but laugh. I shake my head walking away because I really can’t watch it any longer. Heading inside I take a survey of what needs to be done in the down stairs before heading back out to see how far they’ve gotten

My temper flares for unknown reasons as I watch them on the ground kissing. It wouldn’t be so bad if she was at least putting up a small fight, but I can see her limp under him, the way most girls go to jello with my charming friend.

“Really?” I ask in a cold fury. “I leave you two for three minutes and you’re shagging in my yard?” I know it isn’t really fair to call what they’re doing shagging, their lips seem to be the only thing that’s touching, but it feels nice to say.

She pushes Blaise away and I can see the anger boiling in her already. I wonder if that’s what I was aiming for with my comment. “We were kissing!” She spits hitting him in the chest with the back of her hand. “And he started it. Why do you care?” She asks getting up before dusting the debris off herself.

Before I can answer, Blaise does for me. “He’s just jealous.” He says with a smug grin in my direction.

“Well if you want him so badly you two should just make out and get it over with.” Ginny snaps obviously angry with both of us now she goes stomping off into the house. I decide to wait until I hear her marching up the stairs before I turn back to my friend.

“What the hell mate?” I find myself growling at him.

“What?” He asks looking as innocent as always.

“You’re supposed to be teaching her fighting, not tongue wrestling.” I say taking an angry step towards him.

“You’re seriously into her.” He says with a triumphant grin on his face. “Just mad I made the first real move.”

“No, I’m just pissed you took the risk. She was attacked by a shit for brains less than a week ago!” I cover quickly.

“I wouldn’t have moved in if she didn’t welcome it.” He says waving me off. “Admit it, you like her and you don’t want my cast offs after I’m done with her.”

“I’ll admit that bedding her has crossed my mind a few times, but I’ve stopped myself from making a move because it could mess with my plans.” I tell him as if he’s a child. “How much would she trust us to show her which side of this war was right for her if we jumped into her bed before she really knew who we were?”

“Wait, you’re planning to tell her you’re Draco Malfoy? You honestly think there’s any way that’s going to go well?”

“Under the right conditions she can learn I have what’s best for her in mind. If she can see we’re truly working to make her battle ready, if our side sees her as a whole witch, how could she turn her back on that?”

“She’s been brainwashed her whole life, how do you plan to undo that in the time you have left here?”

“I won’t report that I’ve finished the house until it’s done. And I plan to tell her in stages.” I explain as I pace back and forth. “First I’ll let her find out who I really am, and claim that I’ve been outcast for other reasons than the real ones. After that, I’ll slowly explain our ideals to her, and show her how much those muggle lovers have hurt her. They almost killed her spirit Blaise!” I point out heatedly. “If I hadn’t found her in the woods she would be…” I shake my head thinking what Derrick would have been able to do to her.

“Okay, okay, I’ll keep my cock to myself when I’m around her. But I’m not promising anything more than that.” Blaise says holding up his hands in defense.

Chapter 9: Honest Lies

Ginny-

I walk down to breakfast the next morning feeling my temper has finally cooled a bit.  I sit down at the table in silence and start to fill my plate without acknowledging that I know he’s there.

“You slept in the house.”  He says as he hands me my tea.

“The guest room is nearly finished.”  I say as if that was the only reason.  “The bedframe seems good, maybe a little love to get it up to its old condition.”

“You think I should restore what furniture I can?”  He asks as if he’s giving it real thought.

“I don’t know what your budget is like, but I can feel it was once an expensive piece.”  I say feeling comfortable talking about anything but yesterday.

“My family has moved most of the really worthwhile pieces to the main estate; we should take stock of what’s worth restoring and what I should buy new.”

“That’s smart.”  I state only nibbling at my food.

“You didn’t come for our run this morning.” He adds after a few minutes of silence.

I sigh and shake my head.  “I’m mad at you.  I still needed time.”

“You’re mad at me?”  He asks and I can hear the frown.  “I’m sorry Ginny.  He’s right I was jealous, I shouldn’t have said those things.”  He says after a moment.

“I realize we flirt and there’s this attraction between us, but you don’t own me.”  I tell him firmly.

“No, I don’t.  I had no right.  You’re your own woman.”  He says honestly with a sigh.  “I guess I just wish you would have picked me.”

“I haven’t picked anyone.”  I say with a frown.  “It was just a kiss.  We were both caught up in the moment.”

“I know Travis and he’s very good at turning a kiss into something more.”  He says a bit sheepishly.

“Well he’s a very good kisser.”  I have to admit.

“I don’t want to know.”  He answers teasingly now.  “I thought we could work on your long distance Apparation today.” Syler adds to change the subject.

“Really?”  I smile at the thought.  “How do we do that?”  I ask eagerly.

“Well I’m going to take you on a side along so you can see how it feels, then you’ll try to Apparate back here.”  He explains before sipping his tea.

“I can do that!”  I say excited that we’re trying something harder.

“If our world was normal this would be like your final test.”  He says sounding very pleased himself.

Taking in a slow breath.  “If our world was normal.”  I say shaking my head.  “If I wasn’t stuck in hiding because of those Death Eaters.”  I add bitterly.

“Well, because of the conflict.”  He says sounding a little uncomfortable.

“Because of the conflict they started!” I snap.

“You know you act like there’s a clear good and a clear evil in this war and I can’t help but find it a bit ridiculous.”  He says sounding exasperated.

“Oh?  So Death Eaters who go around raping people; that’s a gray area?”  I ask narrowing my eyes at him.

“This fellow you ran into isn’t the rule Ginny.  I’ve chosen to stay out of it for my own reasons, but there is a point to their side.”

“What is that?”  I ask making it perfectly clear he’s walking on a dangerous edge.

“Why is the Great Hall of Hogwarts decorated with twelve trees during the yule season every year?”  He asks as if that has anything to do with our conversation at all.

“What?”  I ask showing my confusion clearly on my face.

“Why twelve?”  He asks again as if the answer is simple.

“Because that’s how many that will fit?”  I say with a frown.

“They represent the twelve sacred meeting places of our people.”  He says sounding disappointed.  “You have no idea of the rich and beautiful history and culture your parents deprived you of.”

“And that’s worth segregating from new ideas and people?”  She asks shaking her head.  “My best friend wouldn’t have a place in their world.”

“The muggleborn thing is the only leg the rebels have to stand on.  They keep making this war about that one point.  It’s not Ginny.  I’m too old to believe my parents stories about muggleborns being anything less than purebloods.  It isn’t about their lessness; it’s about their otherness.  Why are we forced to change our ways so that they feel more comfortable.  If they want to come into our world and have a place why does that mean they get to dictate our ways?”

“No one is trying…”  I start but he cuts me off.

“Look at you Ginny, look at the way your friends were treating you.  They were giving you muggle limitations, acting as if we’re the same as them, because that’s all they understand.  They’ve completely bought into that wizards and muggles are the same.  We’re not.”

“So what you’re saying is no one would have a problem with muggleborns as long as they entered the wizard community ready to comply with our traditions?”  I ask with a frown.  “That’s bull.”

“You’re right everything has gone too far.  But that’s because there’s no one on my parent’s side pointing out that we could live with them as long as there was an actual balance.”

“No one would say that to his face.  No one would stand up to him, not like that.”  I tell him thinking about my time with Tom.

“You talk like you know.”  He says and I can hear that he doesn’t believe me.  “You’re coming at this from a side that doesn’t know.”

“I know him!”  I snap getting to my feet.

Draco-

“You’re right everything has gone too far.  But that’s because there’s no one on my parent’s side pointing out that we could live with them as long as there was an actual balance.”  I tell her, needing her to see there’s a better way to get what she wants.

“No one would say that to his face.  No one would stand up to him, not like that.”  She says with such certainty I have to wonder if she’s actually met the Dark Lord.

“You talk like you know.”  I say trying to draw-out where this certainty is coming from.  “You’re coming at this from a side that doesn’t know.”

“I know him!”  She yells and gets to her feet.  “I know him!”  She repeats shaking her head.  “I still have nightmares about opening the fucking chamber and almost killing all my friends!”

I blink, stunned at what she was telling me.  Ginny opened the chamber?  How could she be the heir of Slytherin?  Did it have something to do with the darkness they say is already within her?

“What are you talking about?”  I ask knowing I should play dumb about the chamber of secrets.

“Have you ever heard of Lucius Malfoy?”  She asks coldly and by her tone, I know she really isn’t a fan of my family.

“He’s one of the Dark Lord’s ranking generals.”  I say really not able to claim him as father at this moment in time.

“Well when I was eleven he gave me To… Voldemort’s diary.  It contained an aspect of him that overtime possessed me and made me release a very dangerous creature.  All the while slowly draining away my life to fuel his resurrection.  I’m done with breakfast.  Can we Apparate now?”  She asks as if her confession was something people did every day.

I look at her for a long time and wonder how on earth I was going to get her to the Dark Lord’s side now?  She hates my father and has a personal vendetta against the Dark Lord himself.  They really didn’t leave me with a lot to work with.

“I’m sorry Ginny.”  I say shaking my head.  “You need to calm down first.  I’m sorry I brought this all up for you.  I just feel like you…”  I shake my head.

“Like I what?”  She asks more curious angry for the moment.

“You’re letting all that get in your way of seeing the truth.”  I say carefully.

“What’s the truth?”  She asks folding her arms.

“That all these people are only mortals, and no side is perfect.”  I tell her getting to my own feet.

“Which is why you don’t belong to a side?”  She asks and I can see that she’s calming.

“Well I’m perfect.  It wouldn’t be fair.”  I tell her making her actually laugh.

“Yeah right.  So when are we doing this?”  She asks excitedly.

“I guess now.”  I tell her as I make my way around the table.

I move behind her and put my arm around her waist.  I take out my wand and before she can comment I Apparate us across the country to a wheat field just to be safe.

“It feels different.”  She says taking a breath and leaning back against me.

“The hold is a little longer, so you think you could do it?”  I ask not wishing to move away from her at the moment.

“Yeah I think so.”  She says with a nod and takes a step forward.

I watch as she closes her eyes, focuses before she turns, and Disaparates from the spot.  I glance around to make sure she hasn’t left anything behind before I follow in hopes she made it back to my place.

I smile when I find her sitting on the ground on my doorstep smiling from ear to ear.

“Well Miss Weasley, you’re a first class Apparationist.”  I tell her as I walk over to sit next to her on the ground.  “How do you feel?”

“Like I could do anything.”  She said leaning her head on my shoulder.  “We may not agree politically Slyer, but you’re a good man.”  She tells me happily.

Over the next few days, we do as she’d suggested and take inventory of anything in the house that could be useful.  We both note that Blaise has stayed away.  Each of us having our own opinions as to why that is exactly.

Once the inventory was done, we start the hard process of moving everything out.  It takes all of us to separate trash from anything salvageable and after our third day of lugging both Ginny and I are in dire need of a break.

It’s been two weeks now since she came to stay with me and her clothes are starting to look truly ratty.  She’s been using spells to clean them each night and the elves had helped a bit, but I know she needs new clothes.

“Let’s go into town.”  I suggest as we set down a magic resistant trunk out in the yard.

“I don’t know about that.”  She reminds me playing with her hair.

“We’re wizards.”  I remind her again and easily change her hair from auburn to black.  “Come on we need a break and I can go into civilization today.”  I remind her.  “We need to pick up a few potions and other things for this work.  We could also get some lunch, and maybe even a couple of new outfits for you.”  I say trying to be temping.

She runs her hands over the thin t-shirt and blushes a little.  “What if someone recognizes me?”  She asks not actually knowing what I’ve done.

“I changed the color of your hair; you’ll blend right in now.”  I promise.

With a deep breath, she bites her lower lip then nods with a smile.  She’s obviously wanted to get back to a real town for a while.

I take her hand easily and Apparate us to the small wizarding village I first visited when I got to the cottage.  We decide to get lunch first and we’re soon sitting together in the small pub I ate in before.

“I feel like I’m being naughty.”  She tells me happily, as she runs her hands over the table.

“Lots of rules to keep away from civilization I bet.”  I say knowingly as she nods.

When the waitress comes over, I order both of us the special so that she’ll leave quickly and we can get back to enjoying our time.

“Thanks.  I don’t feel comfortable talking around people.  When most people realize I’m… new people tend to start talking really loud.”

“I can imagine.”  I tell her looking around the place for a moment.  It was only then I notice something odd.  There are way too many patrons for a small place like this, and many of them were glancing at us uncomfortably.

“Ginny?”  I ask trying to keep my voice calm as not to tip anyone off that I’ve noted anything.

“Yeah?” She asks obviously hearing the concern in my voice.

“You know I care about you a great deal and anything I haven’t been completely honest about has been born out of my own fears and… and my need to protect you.”

“What are you talking about?”  She asks shaking her head.

“When I give the word you need to Apparate out of here.”  I tell her firmly.

“What?” She asks her voice now cold, and her body frozen as she listens to the room.

“I don’t know who they are, but…”  And that’s when every wizard in the room stood at once.

Ginny-

“Ginny?”  He asks straining to keep a calm tone.

“Yeah?” I answer concerned about the sudden change in him.

“You know I care about you a great deal and anything I haven’t been completely honest about has been born out of my own fears and… and my need to protect you.”  He says as if he’s willing me to understand, but I have no idea where this is coming from.

“What are you talking about?”  I ask him shaking my head.

“When I give the word you need to Apparate out of here.”  He orders in a final tone.

“What?”  I ask knowing he wouldn’t talk to me like that if there wasn’t something very serious about to happen.

“I don’t know who they are, but…”  He starts but is cut off by what seems like every chair in the room screeching against the wooden floor.

“Draco Malfoy.”  A clear accusing voice comes from the other side of the room.  “You are charged with high crimes against the People of England.”

I blink still frozen to my chair as the man speaks.  Draco Malfoy is here?  My hand tightens around my wand as I push away the truth of what’s happening.

“Ginny go.”  Syler says firmly and my breath catches as I see the young man I knew from school using almost that exact voice.

I only have a moment to think before I stand ready to follow his command.  I shake my head knowing I can’t leave without understand what’s going on.

“Grab the girl!”  Someone yells making me turn to defend myself from anyone who thinks they’re getting my wand away from me.

“This is Ginny Weasley, you’ll let her go.”  Syler says standing as well.

“If that’s Ginny Weasley we have orders to take her in as well, for her own good.”  The man answers and I can hear movement as those around me ready stunners or other spells.

Without thinking, I strike first pushing into the closest one to me and stunning him before using his body to take down a second.  After that, the world is a chaos of spells and movement.  Keeping my new training in mind, I focus my universe down to those in my way.  I don’t have time to think as I stun wizard after wizard.  Syler had been right; I keep them easily off balance as I toss bodies around.

For a moment, I get a bit too cocky and a spell slams me back against a hard form.  When I feel an arm wrap around my waist I know exactly who’s holding me, and I’m not afraid.

“Time to get out of here.”  He whispers then Apparates us both far away from the tiny pub.

We go on a bit of a trip as he works to get a trail to a place they won’t follow and ends up somewhere cold in wet.  It smells of trash and I figure we’re in an alley of some kind.

“Sorry about that.”  He says sounding actually concerned.  “I don’t think they’ll follow us here.  Too dangerous for them.”

“You’re Draco Malfoy.”  I say once I catch my breath.  I push aside all the feelings of safety and security in his arms and take a step back from him.  “You are fucking Draco Malfoy!”  I yell and he quickly puts a hand over my mouth.

“Not a great idea to draw attention to you here Gin.”  He says and I feel his body shift back and forth, as he looks around.

I pull back from him again.  “Why?”  I ask shaking my head.  “Why?”  I ask again as tears come to my face.  “Why?”  I stutter out a third time as my back meets a wall.

He sighs but gives me my distance.  “At first, I just really liked the way you looked at me.”  He says sounding almost lonely.  “I really didn’t want to tell you this way.”

“I’m so stupid.  They’re right; I should be protected from myself.”  I say slowly sliding down the wall.

“No.  You’re not stupid Ginny.”  He says with a sigh.  “When I started to see how they were treating you, all I could think about was getting you away from that kind of life.  You deserve more.”

“You’re Draco Malfoy.”  I tell him again as if he’s forgotten.  “Your family represents everything that mine is against.  You’re a Death Eater just like Derrick.  Why not take me to your Master like he wanted to?”  I ask looking up to where I think he is.

There’s a long silence before he speaks again.  “I am against everything your family stands for, but not everything they stand for is right Ginny.”  He tells me forcefully.  “If I was anything like Derrick I would have turned you in the first time we met.  I had my chance to take you down right then and there.”

“Why didn’t you?”  I ask as I break down in front of him.

“We should go home and really talk about this.”  He says not answering my question.

“Why would I go with you?”  I ask narrowing my eyes at him.  “Why would I ever trust you again?”

“Because I haven’t hurt you Ginny.”  He keep using my name as if we’re friends.  “Because I still want to help you become the witch I believe you can be.”

“A Dark witch.”  I snap.

“A powerful witch.”  He answers just as fiercely.  “This idea of Dark and Light are dumb and if you get bogged down with them you lose so much.  Please Ginny; I’ve never given you a reason to mistrust me.”

“You lied about who you are.”  I remind him unable to take any more.  “Why are you really staying in that rundown cottage?”

“I’m not talking about this here, you come with me back home or you can figure something out for yourself.”  He says his voice suddenly cold.

“You would just let me go?”  I asks frowning.

“You’ve never been my prisoner.”  He reminds me and I can hear him standing up.

I take in a deep breath and keep a tight hold on my wand.  “I’ll meet you there then.”  I tell him trying to find my own balance.

“Fine.”  He says Disapparating away without another word.

I lean back against the wall to give myself some time to think.  If I follow him now, it could still well be a trap, but there are too many unanswered questions I don’t understand.

Draco-

I can’t help but pace when I she doesn’t appear right away.  If she’s left, I’m doomed.  There were just too many witnesses that we were together, something is going to get back to the Dark Lord and he’ll want answers.  But I also know that if I would have forced her to come back with me it would be the end of any kind of trust I can earn back from her.  She needs to trust me, trust the real me if we’re both going to get through this now.

Ten minutes later, there’s a popping sound of Apparition and I turn to greet her.

“Thank Merlin yo…”  Blaise stands a few feet away, looking at me oddly, for my weird greeting.  “What’re you doing here?”  I ask changing my tone completely as he isn’t the one I want to see right now.

“I thought I’d given you enough time to cool off.”  He says looking me up and down.  “Guess I was wrong.”

“Ginny knows the truth.”  I tell him bringing a deep frown to his lips.

“How did that happen?”  He asks but before I can answer there’s another Apparition just next to him.

I can’t help but breathe a sigh of relief even if she looks ready to kill someone.

“Okay I’m here, but you bett… Travis?”  She asks sniffing the air before taking a step back from him.  “Wait, no not Travis.  Some other Death Eater friend of Draco Malfoy.”  She says coldly.

“You can call me Blaise, buttercup.”  He says as smoothly as ever.

“Okay flaming buttercup, someone needs to start talking.”  She says with her fingers firmly locked around her wand.

“You wanted to know why I’m actually staying here and fixing up the old cottage?”  I start trying to remember her questions from before.

“I’d more like to know why you played this game at all; why not just give me over to your Master?”

“I’m not in the Dark Lord’s favor at the moment.”  I tell her as I try to decide exactly how much of the truth she needs.  “If I’d turned you in when I first met you I would have gained some of that favor back, but not enough to really matter to me.”

Blaise gives me a look as if I’m saying too much.  “I discovered the Dark Lord’s plans for you, and I felt if I could show you that you could trust someone from our side, that maybe you could join us.”

“You really think I’d ever join Voldemort’s army?”  She asks shaking her head.  “Let’s leave the fact that they wouldn’t want someone like me, what would I want out of them?”

“Well there’s the fact that both Blaise and I believe you’re a powerful and skilled witch that would be a great asset to either side of this war.  You’d be around people that would at least give you a chance Ginny.  Not suck in some hole and pitied for some minor flaw.  You’d be treated like a witch and with your skill you’d gain rank quickly.”

She shook her head but I could see that my words were being heard.  She denied how much she wanted to just be seen as the witch she was, but the idea was now at least planted.

“Look we’re on kind of a timetable now.  I thought I’d maybe even have months to really ease you into these ideas, but fate isn’t with us.  I’m not sure how long it will be, but when my father calls for me then our time is up.”

“What do you mean?” Both Ginny and Blaise were now frowning at me.

“People saw us together today Ginny, at some point it will get back to the Dark Lord and he’ll want to know where you are.  When that time comes you’ll have three choices.”  I tell her as forwardly as I can.

“You’re giving her choices?”  Blaise asks stepping toward me with a frown.

“You can come with me to see my father and show that you wish to join our side right then and there.  You can come with me to the Manor and resist whatever they plan to do to turn you.  Or you can run for as long as you’re able.”

“Are you crazy dude?”  Blaise almost growls.  “Do you know what they’ll do to you if they know you let her go?”

I could always count on my friend to fill in the things I don’t want to say myself.  “It will be fine, this is up to Ginny.”

“Until this message comes, you think I’ll be safe here?”  Ginny asks frowning slightly in thought.

“I’ll guarantee it.  We can continue your training as before.  Nothing’s really changes but our timetable.”

“Yeah and the fact you’re probably going to get my best friend killed.”

“Blaise.”  I snap as if I’m angry with him harping on my fate.  “It’s not as bad as all of that.”

Her head turns between the two of us for a moment before she nods.  “I need a walk.”  She says and takes a deep breath.  “But I’ll be back for dinner.”  She promises after a moment, and then heads off into the woods alone.

We both watch her go and I can’t help but be amazed with the fact that after everything that’s happened in the last month, she still has no fear.

Once I’m sure she can’t hear us I look to Blaise.  “You were perfect, thanks.”  I tell him heading inside to start to get some work done.  It was only then that my stomach reminds me I didn’t get lunch.

“Teeny, I need two sandwiches.”  I call towards the kitchen before heading up the stairs.

“You really think she’ll come back?  You really think you can still get her to join our side?”  Blaise asks curiously.

“I need you on any incoming intel from this area Blaise.  I want to know our side has it before my father knows.”  I say instead of answering the dumb question.  I’m a Malfoy; we don’t simply give up on good plans.

Chapter 10: What is Real

Ginny-

I set off into the woods before I can really think about everything that’s happened so far today.  All too soon my thoughts catch up to me.  My mind replays the day that started out so good and went so wrong so fast.  I keep running over that moment I realized Syler was Malfoy.  I hadn’t let myself think about it fully before we fought our way out of that mess. It was like I rather be with him than let the rebels take me in for my own good.

It may have been because I didn’t recognize anyone that was there.  That I felt safer with the known than the unknown.  Though that doesn’t account for the fact that the familiar was Draco fucking Malfoy.  It doesn’t change the fact that Syler is Malfoy.  It doesn’t change the fact that Malfoy is a Death Eater.

Draco Malfoy.  I start to think about all the fights he had with Ron and Harry in school.  I think about all the mean things he’d say to Hermione.  I try to bring up our own interactions and realize I was always below his notice in those days.  How could such an arrogant little prick be my Syler?

Even thinking of Syler now I can’t help but feel a certain amount of safety and comfort.  It makes me all the more angry as I think how it was all a lie.  Could it all really have been a lie?  I’ve lived with him for a month now, could he have been faking every single moment?

He took me in after what happened with Derrik and has been so kind.  How can the brat I knew from school have been so supportive when I needed him?

Everything is still mixed up in my head and I really don’t know what to think anymore.  All this mix of emotions running around in my head.  Why has he been so kind?  Why is he treating me like I’m this whole person when even my family treats me like a broken doll?  What does he get out of any of this really?

The answer comes to me all at once and makes my anger spike anew.  Harry.  Ron.  Hermione.  The rebels.  He probably thinks I’ll let him use me to get to my family.  He’s already said he wants me to turn against them; it has to all just be a ploy for information.

I should warn them!  I should Apparate back near the camp and warn them Malfoy is close.  Instead I nearly collapse against the nearest tree as Travis’ words hit me like a wound.  If this really were a plan to get my loved ones, why would Draco risk so much by letting me go?

It doesn’t help the matter that I know if I go back now they’ll whisk me away to one of the hospital camps to keep me safe for my own good.  I don’t know if I can handle that, if I could survive that, and my self-preservation is too strong to let me try just now.

I told Draco I’d be back for dinner.  What will my life be like if I really go back and try to act as if nothing has changed?  He said he’d keep teaching me to fight for as long as he could. He said he’d let me run when it became too dangerous, but was that a lie.  How can I know which is the better choice out of two such lousy ones?

I don’t want to think any more.  This day has just been too much.  My body’s tired, my brain’s tired, and I’m just so tired.  I listen to the rapid pace of my breath and feel the burn in my legs.  I’ve been running.  How did I not notice I was running?

In answer my mind goes back and forth over these two futures that stand in front of me.  If I go back to Draco, it would be out of complete selfishness, and if I go back to Ron, it would be martyring myself for the cause.  Even I know going off on my own, half trained will only lead to my capture from one side or the other.  When did I lose a side in this war?  When did I become a free agent?

I think back to all the things Syler has taught me.  Syler was a free agent; he wasn’t tied down by either side in this war.  I laugh a little wondering if this was all a part of Draco’s plan.  Or maybe it was my family that did it.  They pushed me further and further away from the fight, that I feel no tangible connection to the cause.

While that was happening Syler came into my life.  Syler who gave me respect and taught me real things.  Syler who let me be helpful and was never overly protective.  Syler who I still want.  I stop at the thought.  I want him?  I want him to keep teaching me.  I want to feel the light brush of his fingers as he hands me my morning tea.  I want to feel his arms around me.  I want to feel his lips on mine.  For this last month, my want for him has only grown, but the question is; do I still want all of that from Malfoy?

“Tiny is bringing Miss food.”  The little elf startles me as it drops something solid in my lap.

“I want to be alone.”  I snap at her before I can think better of it.

“Miss must eat.  Tiny brings Miss sandwich.”  It explains firmly and I know Draco must have told her that he didn’t want me to starve or something.

“Fine, I have it.  Now go away.”  I tell her still not in the mood to deal with anyone, let alone an elf loyal to Malfoy.

“Why Miss is upset?”  The elf asks meekly.

I realize then I must have hurt her feelings.  Over my time with Syler, I’ve gotten to know his new elves and I can’t help but like them.  They’re curious creatures.  They try very hard to be good elves, but a lot of times, they just don’t know how to act.

“I’m sorry.  I’m not upset at you.  But I do want some time alone right now.”  I tell her trying to be more gentle.

“Tiny think Miss stay with Master.”  The elf says as I feel her sit down next to me.

“You heard what happened?”  I ask knowing I wasn’t getting rid of her any time soon.  “Did Malfoy send you here to talk to me?”

“Master sends Tiny to deliver food.  Master say ‘Tiny you no bother Miss, she mad.’  But Miss seems sad no mad so Tiny think Tiny stay and help.”

I sigh and play with the paper around the sandwich she brought.  I’m a bit hungry now so after a moment I decide to just open it.  “I don’t think you can help Tiny.”  I tell her after a moment.

“Tiny think Miss should stay with Master.”  The elf says in answer.  “Tiny glad Miss know how much Master care now.  So Miss should stay.”

“Malfoy doesn’t care about me Tiny.  He cares about what I can do for his career.”  I tell her softly.

“Tiny know Miss not see, but she not know Miss not see.”  The elf says putting such weight on her last word, I have to laugh.

“What am I not seeing Tiny?”  I ask her feeling all the more tired.

“Miss not see…”  The elf starts as she tries to think of the right words.  “Miss not see Master’s love.”  The elf finishes and I can hear her nodding in agreement with herself.

I have to laugh at this and shake my own head.  “Draco Malfoy never loved anything but his own reflection.”  I tell her firmly.

The elf huffs obviously annoyed with my response.  “Master is good Master.  Master keep Tiny and Teeny together.  Master help Miss.  Master want Miss.  Master not take Miss.”

“Oh so he loves me because he didn’t rape me like Derek tried?”  I ask shaking my head.

“No.”  Tiny snaps sounding actually angry now.  “Miss not feel Miss self.  Miss would let Master have her if Master ask before.”

I blush at this and think about that.  What would I have done if Syler had been more forward?  My blush deepens, as I know I’d probably have fallen into his arms and his bed eventually.

“Let’s say you’re right Tiny, what does that have to do with anything?”  I ask taking my first taste of the turkey sandwich.

“Master not take Miss.  Master want Miss.  Master not take Miss because Master know Miss not know him.  Master want Miss know Master.”  The elf says getting more and more agitated.  “Now Miss know Master!  Miss stay with Master.”

“It isn’t that simple.  Malfoy wants to use me against my family.  How can I just stay with him and risk that happening?”  I ask the elf.

She’s silent for a long moment.  “That Miss only reason not stay?”  She asks like there’s a simple cure.

“That’s the biggest at the moment.”  I admit with a frown.

“Tiny take what Miss know.  Tiny make Miss not danger.”  She says firmly.

“You mean you can just erase any of the sensitive rebel information from my mind?  Would I still be able to remember my family and friends?”  I ask suspiciously.

“Tiny only take danger, then Miss must stay.”  The elf lays down the law.

I lick my lips as I think about this new idea.  It’s crazy and I don’t know if it solves all my problems.  What if I go back and tell him and he doesn’t want to teach me anymore?  I take another bite so I don’t have to answer right away.

“I can’t do back there anyway.”  I tell her finally.  “Not to my family.”  I explain shaking my head.  “Take the dangerous things I know.”  I tell her, my voice shaking only slightly.

I feel her tiny hand on my face and the magic pulls at my brain ever so gently.  Elf magic feels so very different from wizard magic, and I’m suddenly amazed by the power they have when they’re allowed to use it.  When the hand falls away from my cheek I blink a few times and try to think about where the camp is, or even how many are housed there.

“I don’t know…”  I say unable to hide the amazement in my voice.

Draco-

I’m already tearing up the guest room floor when I hear the small pop of the female elf returning from her mission.

“How did it go?”  I ask tossing useless wood into a pile by the door.

“Miss say shes be back for dinner.”  Tiny says though I can hear in her tone that she has more to tell me.  “Miss want knows if Master want her back?”  She asks in a strange tone.

I stop what I’m doing so I can give the elf my full attention.  “Why wouldn’t I want her back Tiny?”  I ask carefully.

“Miss want Tiny tell Master whats Tiny did.”  She says looking afraid suddenly.  “Miss say she come back if Tiny do this.  Tiny think Master wants Miss back, but now Tiny not know.”

“What did you do?”  I ask with all the patience I can muster.

“Tiny make Miss not remember things.”  She says toeing the ground.  “Miss not remember important things…”

“About the rebels?”  I ask unable to keep the smile from my face.  “She thought I wanted her for the tidbits of information she may have had about her organization?”  I ask more amused than anything.  Once I figured out they were treating Ginny like she was some kind of leper I was sure she didn’t really have anything of worth.

Tiny’s nod is the only answer she gives.

“Don’t worry Tiny, I still very much want Ginny to return.”  I tell her and the elf actually sighs with relief.  “She’ll get used against the rebels one day, but not like that.”

I go back to my work still shaking my head as my little Nymph tried to outsmart me.  It’s true we may have been able to get some helpful things from her on the location of a camp or two, but since she was not the secret keeper for those camps it wasn’t worth much to me.

I decide to wash up before dinner.  If she’s returning to me for the meal, I want to show her what a fully armed Malfoy can really do.

I groan as I find Blaise already sitting at our table as night approaches.  “Not already?”  I ask worried that my time was already up.

“No no, I just came to eat your food.”  He says in a dismissive way.  When I raise an eyebrow in his direction a smile spreads across his lips.  “You said she was fair game once she knows who we really are.”  He reminds me happily.

“Is that what I said?”  I ask rolling my eyes as I sit down in my usual spot.

“Or something like it.  It isn’t like you can say you have any claim on her now.”  Blaise adds looking around.  “Think she’ll show?”

“From what Tiny tells me I think there’s a good chance she’ll be back soon.  Though I don’t know why you think you have any more of a chance with her now than you did as Travis.”

“Hey at least I’ve tasted that sweet tongue of hers.”  He rubs it in.

“Only because I’m a gentleman.”  I tell him stiffly as a flash of them on the ground replays in my head.

“Maybe she doesn’t want a gentleman.  I mean how long was she with Potter, and you said she never gave him any either.”  Blaise says as if he has a valid point.

“How would he know?”  The distinctly feminine voice asks from just outside our ring of light.  She was frowning at both of us when she came towards the table.

“It was only a guess on my part.”  I tell her in way of apology.

She didn’t speak again until she was seated at her usual stop.  “So am I right in assume you guys are actually sitting here discussing which one of you I would sleep with?”  She asks turning to each of us in turn.

“Oh there wouldn’t be any sleeping.”  Blaise chimed in helpful as always.

“I was simply pointing out to my friend here that he still has no chance with you.”  I tell her trying to make this less about me.

“Today I’ve learned that the man I trust most in the world in Draco fucking Malfoy.”  She says in a much too calm voice.  “Oh and lets add his adorably perverted sidekick Blaise Zabini.  So here I am sitting down to dinner with the two most infamous Slytherin pricks from my school years.”  She almost laughs at this.  “And they think I even care about which one I’d actually fuck right now?”  She asks and her anger is now showing.

“Or later.”  Blaise says just to be true to himself.

The moment his chair goes flying backwards I can’t really say I’m surprised.

“Ginny.”  I say as my friend picks himself back up.  “We don’t really care about any of that.  You know what he’s like; his cock is the most vocal part of his brain.”

“I’m not fucking either of you.”  She tells me firmly.  “I’m not here to be your little toy.”

“All I want is to train you Ginny.  Just give me a chance to show you what it could be like on our side.”  I tell her reasonably.

“Tiny told you I’m of no use to you anymore?”  She asks making Blaise frown.

“The elf told me she took away the bits of intel you had.  Since that was never a care of mine, I could hardly say you’re of no use to me.”  I tell her shaking my head slightly at Blaise when he looks like he’s about to say something.

“Than what do you really want Malfoy?”

“I want to see you be the brilliant frightening witch I know you are.  I want you to walk into the Dark Lord’s court and show them what real fear is.”  I tell her resting my hand over hers.

She pulls back after a moment looking down towards her plate.  “I want to learn, but I’m not making any promises about what side I’ll fight for.”

I shake my head and sneer at her.  “Ginny, we both know that you fight for us, or you let them hide you away.  Those are your only choices.”

Ginny-

“The elf told me she took away the bits of intel you had.  Since that was never a care of mine, I could hardly say you’re of no use to me.”  He says in such a casual way I almost believe him.

“Than what do you really want Malfoy?”  I ask tired of all the games.

“I want to see you be the brilliant frightening witch I know you are.  I want you to walk into the Dark Lord’s court and show them what real fear is.”  Draco says the words with such passion and belief it almost takes my breath away.

I can almost see myself, as he seems to see me.  Visions of a strong powerful witch walking into Voldemort’s court and telling him to piss off almost makes me smile.  But I know it’s a fantasy.

“I want to learn, but I’m not making any promises about what side I’ll fight for.”  I tell him because I don’t want him thinking I’ve suddenly turned traitor.  I love my family, no matter how suffocating they are.

I can hear the sneer in his voice when he speaks.  “Ginny, we both know that you fight for us, or you let them hide you away.  Those are your only choices.”

I glare right back at him with narrowed eyes so he knows how much I appreciate his insight.  “You’re on a fine line Malfoy.” I warn him wondering if I could use one of the hexes he taught me against him.

“So you guys ran into rebels today?”  Zabini asks seeming to be trying to interject a lightness in the conversation.  “How did our girl do?”

I open my mouth to tell him off but Draco beats me to the punch.  “She was beautiful Blaise.  I think she took down at least five of them on her own.”

“I don’t think it was that many and I tripped on something.”  I say trying to cover the sudden flip my stomach did at the pleasure in his voice.

“It could have been more, I was a bit distracted myself.”  He presses still sounding as if he was actually proud of me.

“Well don’t expect a repeat.”  I finally say unable to think of anything better and decide to focus on my food.

The two Slytherins continue to talk about the fight and I get a much clearer view of what happened today.  I decide to keep out of it and just listen as the conversation turns to things they’ve never mentioned before.  From what I can gather Malfoy is on the outs with the Dark Army because of something he did to a superior officer.  Zabini is obviously his subordinate in the army, but I can’t place their ranks.  Though nothing they say is any sort of intel I could give the resistance, it’s interesting to hear the difference in them.  I thought they were relaxed with each other before, but now I’m feeling the real them.

Zabini leaves after dinner with promises to return with new information in a few nights.  Once we’re alone again I can’t help but feel awkward around a man I thought cared about me.

“Tomorrow we’re tackling the Master suite.  I finished the guest room today while you were gone. I even got Teeny to get a mattress for the bed in there with real sheets.”  He says after a long silence.

I pull on the sleeve of my frayed sweater nodding to myself.  “So finally you can have a good night’s sleep.”  I tell him trying to sound friendly.

“No matter what you may think of me Miss Weasley I’m a gentleman.  I couldn’t have you sleep on the floor while there’s another option in my house.”

“I’m not sleeping with you Malfoy.”  I snap taking a step back from him.

“I hope this is the last time I’ll have to say this Miss Weasley, I’m a gentleman of good breeding.  I don’t force myself on women.  You’ll take the bed and I’ll sleep out here.”  He says as if it was a simple matter.

“Oh.”  I start embarrassed by the outburst.  “No, I couldn’t take your bed.  I can sleep out here.”  I say a bit more shyly.

“I won’t hear of it.”  He says a bit more firmly.

“I’m not being coddled.”  I tell him as he tries to force shit on me.  “If you’re going to be a git we can both sleep out here.”

Malfoy sighs as if I’m the one being ridiculous.  “I’ve found it very hard to sleep so close to you in the past; it would be a great favor to me if you took the bed.”

“I don’t snore.”  I tell him not really understanding his tone.

“No, you don’t.”  He agrees sounding tired.  “You make these little keening sounds that I find distracting.”  He adds after a moment.  “Honestly you have to know I’m attracted to you.  I think distance would do us both good.”

I frown at this shaking my head.  “I know no such thing Malfoy.”  I tell him crossing my arms. “I remember school.  You didn’t even know I was alive.”

“No I didn’t and I’m kind of relieved that I hadn’t.”  He says in another strange tone.

“Why?”  I ask scrunching my nose, as I can’t follow his thoughts.

He chuckles truly sounding amused by the question.  “Let’s have a drink and I can explain the mind of my fifteen year old self.”

“Okay…”  I start taking a seat back at the table as he pours us each some brandy he had the elves pick up for him.

He’s silent until he seems comfortable in his usual seat.  “It’s simple really.  If I would have noticed that one of my major nemesis had a feisty, ravishing little sister back when we were in school I’d have had no choice but to act.”

I laugh and shake my head.  “And do what?”  I ask taking a sip from the glass and enjoying the smooth burn on my throat.

“I would have stopped at nothing to bed you Ginny.  I’d have tried my very hardest to seduce you and fuck you all so I could rub it in your brother’s face.  I was a pretentious little prat in school.”  He says as if it’s obvious.

“And you’re not anymore?”  I ask a bit mockingly.

He sighed saying nothing for a long time.  “We’ve all changed with this war.  We’ve all grown and there’s no going back to being the children we once were.  Now that being said, I must admit I’d probably still rub it in your brother’s face were we to…” he paused in thought.  “Enjoy each other’s company.  But now at least I know there are more important things than getting back at Weasel.”

“Like trying to get me to go Dark?”  I ask him not trying to hide the mocking tone in my voice.

Draco sighs again.  “It isn’t about Dark and Light.”  He says and I can hear a frustration in his voice.  “It’s about Weak and Powerful.  I want you to grow into your gifts.  I don’t want them to hide you away anymore and you don’t want that either.”

“That doesn’t mean I’d just give up on my family and friends and kneel at Voldemort’s feet.”  I tell him making a disgusted face at the very thought.

“They’ve given up on you.  None of them understand who you are, or who you could be.  If they did you’d never have come back here.”

“That isn’t a reason to turn my back on all those Voldemort would slaughter.”  I tell him coldly.

“The mudbloods you mean?” He asks with venom in his tone.  “Yes, let’s all protect the innocent mudbloods.”

“They haven’t stolen anyone’s magic.”  I snap as I think it’s a ridiculous idea.

“No.  No, they haven’t, but as I’ve said before they’ve stolen our identity.  They’re the reason you’ve been treated this way.”  He snaps slamming his glass down.  

Draco-

“The mudbloods you mean?”  I ask her with a sarcastic tone.  “Yes, let’s all protect the innocent mudbloods.”

“They haven’t stolen anyone’s magic.”  She snaps thinking I mean the old tale we use on the masses.

“No.  No, they haven’t, but as I’ve said before they’ve stolen our identity.  They’re the reason you’ve been treated this way.”  I growl slamming down my drink.

“So if I were a Death Eater I wouldn’t have been killed or something for not being able to do my job of torturing and killing?”  She asks sarcastically.

“No, you wouldn’t.  If you’d given up, or said you wouldn’t try, than you’d have been tortured and discharged.  But you didn’t up Ginny they gave up on you.  Potter couldn’t even see you as a woman!”  I say getting more worked up than I should.

When I saw the hand coming for my face I didn’t move fast enough to stop the hard slap across my cheek.  When my vision cleared she was standing in front of me with her wand drawn, every bit the witch I loved.

“I broke his nose, but I’ve learned some nice curses since then.”  She warns ready to strike at me again.

“Look at you.”  I say with awe in my tone.  “It just makes me so angry, to think of this amazing witch that you are treated the way you described to me.  You’re brilliant and powerful, you deserve to rule the world, not cower away from it.  That’s all I want for you.”

“But that has a price.”  She said lowering her wand.  “To be that witch means I have to give up my family, my friends?”

“To be free you have to give them up, and that wasn’t my doing.”  I point out watching her closely.  “I’ve promised to teach you all you want to know, but to use that knowledge, to really use it, you have to join me.”

She shook her head still not lowering her wand.  “Do you understand I’d never be able to face them, any of them, in a real fight?  What use am I to your side if I can’t hurt the other side?  What am I fighting if I’m not fighting them?”

I look at her for a long moment as I collect my thoughts.  “You still have a while of training left before you’re ready to fight the leadership of the rebellion.  You’re friends and family are only a few of a much larger group.  A group that isn’t exactly innocent in all this even if they try to make it seem that way.”

I sigh shaking my head as she lowers her wand.  “I’m afraid of what you want to turn me into.”  She says softly.

“I miss my nymph.”  I tell her suddenly feeling the loss of the relationship we once had.  “I know you hate me for everything, for lying to you, but I don’t regret it.  I liked when you could look at me without anger or suspicion.  When we could joke and you made lewd comments about my virtue.”

She sat down again at the table and nodded slowly.  “That wasn’t very long ago.”  She points out successfully distracted from her tirade about what she can and can’t do.

“Instead of thinking about your overall position in this war, can we just, I don’t know, work on building some trust between us again?”  I ask her wanting so much to reach out and touch her face.

She goes silent for a long time before she slowly starts to nod.  “I think we can do that.  But you have to start really being honest with me, or it won’t work.”

“I’ll be as honest as I can.”  I tell her before deciding to reach out and take her hand.

Chapter 11: Sides

Ginny-

“Hey Red, you ready to get your ass kicked?”  Blaise calls from down stairs.  I can’t help but smile at the casualness in his tone.  Does he really think we can go on like nothing’s happened?  It’s only been a couple of days since I found out who they really are.

“What’s he doing here?”  I ask turning my head towards the door.

“I assume your usual lesson.”  Draco says after he finishes pulling one of the floorboards free.  “When you go down can you send up Teeny, I think I found another nest.”  He adds with a sigh.

The work on the master bedroom has been slow going.  Much of the floor has dry rot and there have been plenty of things living in the space between.

“Yeah, what do you think it is this time?”  I ask getting to my feet dusting myself off.

“Maybe forest midges?”  He answers thoughtfully.

“Great.”  I shake my head as a head for the door.

When I exit the room, I feel a prickle at the back of my neck, which makes me alert.  By the sounds of slow breathing and the smell of smoke and aftershave, I can tell he’s waiting just at the top of the stairs for me.  His call had been from further away and with him being so silent I can tell he’s trying to take me by surprise.

After only a moment of hesitation as I assessed the situation I move towards him as if I don’t know he’s there.  The instant I feel the air shift I duck under his grasp before ramming his stomach with my shoulder and jabbing my wand into his side.

“Good.”  He says in a strained tone as I knocked the air from him.  “Always be ready for an attack.”  He adds the theme of his lesson.

I let out a short laugh at him before heading down the stairs and towards the kitchen. “Teeny, Malfoy needs you upstairs.” I say as I poke my head in.

“Yes Miss.”  The elf says and a pop tells me he’s on the problem.  With that done I turn back towards the front door.  I’ve becomes so use to the house I can navigate it without much issue or thought about my surroundings.  Though it may help that there really isn’t any furniture in the downstairs.

“Malfoy won’t like it if we mess his new house, we should head outside before any curses fly.”

“Where is the prat?”  Zabini asks as he follows me outside.

“Still cleaning up the master suite.”  I explain as I get into position in the little clearing in front of the house.

“Tell me Red, is it like living in a mansion?”  Blaise asks trying to get under my skin.

I make like I’m thinking about it before I cast a quick tripping curse at him instead.  When I hear the satisfying sound of a body hitting the ground and the air going out of his lungs I grin.

“You really want to go there after being a part of the group that burnt my family house down?”  I ask him lightly.

“It should have been condemned years before.”  Blaise says getting to his feet.  “You going to keep blaming our side for every act of war?”  He adds as he readies his own attack.

I only give a small part my attention to the conversation as I work to get inside his guard.

“You really saying the rebel army has done anything like that?”  I ask as I duck under a curse and hold my own so I can be sure where he is.

“I don’t know…”  He starts while I let my curse loose in the direction of his words.  I hear him dive out of the way.  “Maybe you should ask the Notts, or the Turpins, or maybe the Greens.”

“Who?”  I ask getting my next attack ready.

“All families who have lost their homes to rebel attacks.”  He points out and I take my chance to get into his space.  “Civilian homes I might add.”

Without answering his words I use his own movement to trip him face first onto the ground and sit on his back as I work to get his wand.

Blaise turns over before I can grab it and the next thing I know I’m under him with his wand pointed at my throat.

I sigh and shake my head.  “I almost had you that time.”  I tell him trying to keep the whine out of my voice.

“You can have me any time you want.”  He says lifting my hips and lewdly grinds himself against me.

I have a sudden flash of the kiss Draco had gotten so upset about and push him away.  “In your dreams.”  I say as I get back to my feet.

“Every. Single. Night.” Blaise replies with a wide grin in his voice, but I don’t hear him getting up.

“Prat.”  I say without real conviction rolling my eyes at him.

I hear him sigh and shift on the ground.  “Honestly Red I think we’re good with your training for now.  You can’t take me because I know all your moves.  You need to practice on someone else for a while.”

“Oh.”  I say and sit down next to him with a frown.  I listen as he shifts and feel a hand brush my calf.

“Are you really so stuck on him you won’t even consider having a bit of fun with me?”  He asks suddenly.

“What? Who?”  I ask my heart hammering in my chest as I pull my leg away.

“Potter.” He says sarcastically earning a scowl from me.  “Draco, you dumbass.”

I flush a little at that and turn away so my hair falls over my face.  “We just flirt sometimes.”  I say lamely.  “And that was before I really knew who he was.”

“Yeah, that’s totally what I’m talking about.”  Blaise says knowingly.

“You’re kidding right?  How can I like…”  I shake my head.  “It would be wrong to like either of you.  I’m just here to get as much training as you jerks are willing to give.”  I tell him stiffly.

“Because we’ve been your only real friends for a long time Ginny.”  He says so honestly it makes my stomach twist.  I hear him shift then as if looking around.  “Look, he wouldn’t like me bringing this up again, but you know what happens when they find out you were here and that he lost you right?”

I bite my lower lip and nod slowly.  I assume it would pretty bad by the tone in his voice.

“They’ll think he’s a traitor and they would be right.”  Blaise goes on anyway.  “The Dark Lord doesn’t kill traitors; he only makes them wish he had.”

“So I’m supposed to turn my back on everyone I care about?”  I ask him tightly.

“They already turned their backs on you.”  He points out.

“That isn’t the same thing.  This would make me a traitor to my people.”  I say but I can already hear him shaking his head.

“Look Ginny, you’re going to have to choose, and choose soon.  I know it’s a shitty choice, but that’s the way life is.”

“This isn’t just turning my back, this would be hurting people.”  I say shaking my head all the more.

“Look cupcake, you’re hurting people no matter what side of a war you take.  Maybe there was a time when our side was evil and the rebel’s side was good, but at this point in time that’s bull and you really need to grow up and understand that.”  He says more firmly than I’ve ever heard him speak.

“How about this, I don’t believe in your cause.”  I counter straightening my back.

“At this point babe our cause would be self preservation for you.”  He points out brushing hair back from my face.  When his fingers trace over my neck I can’t help the goosebumps that rise there.

Draco-

Blaise says something and pushes hair back from her face.  I watch as his fingers trace over the back of her neck and I can see the shiver that goes through her from my spot at the door.

I haven’t really seen my friend work so hard for anything before.  Even in army training he only did things half-assed.  I have to wonder watching him if he actually has some kind of real feelings for her.

I can’t really hear what they’re saying from my place at the door, but their body language is comfortable.  Every so often, she’ll tense, and he’ll touch and everything will be soothed.  He really is a master.  She doesn’t even seem to know that she’s being manipulated.

There are moments as I watch them I feel the urge to walk over there and start a fight.  I want to pull him away from her.  I want to beat my chest and make my claim.  The only thing that stops me is the memory of her face last time I tried something like it.

With a show of more willpower than I knew I had I turn away from them and head back inside.  I know if I stay in that doorway, any longer I’ll give into my darker nature.  So I head inside to the kitchen to get myself a drink.

With Teeny, working upstairs there isn’t a lot for me to do at the moment but plan and stew.  As planning seems like a more desirable option I start mentally going over what’s left to do with the house.

The upstairs is almost complete, it will soon be time to start working on the rooms down on the main level.  I’ve finished the kitchen so that only leaves the dining room, living room, and privy.

I think we’ve been enjoying eating outside for the most part, but it would be nice to have someplace besides the kitchen to eat in the bad weather.  The dining room will be next.

With those decisions made I start to think about the edge Ginny and I are balanced on when it comes to this war.  I need to show her the effect the rebel side is having on innocent people, but how can I really do that without risking us both?

I’m still thinking over this problem when I feel a hand on my arm. “Malfoy?”  Ginny asks to get my attention.

“Finished so soon?”  I ask with as much innocence in my voice as I can muster.

“Zabini thinks I’ve learned as much as he can teach me.”  She says with a proud smile.  “I was actually thinking it would do me some good to go for a walk and really clear my head.”

I frown at this idea; the forest could still have rebels near by.  I’m not sure if they left after her disappearance or not.

“Would you mind if I came with you?  Nothing to do till Teeny is done clearing out the master bedroom.”

She smiles ruefully at me, knowing exactly what I’m up to.  “If it would make you feel better.”  She says heading towards the door.  “I know how much you need my protection.”

“Well yeah, there are wild things in this forest… like nymphs.”  I say as I follow her out.  “Just think of my virtue?”

“Oh yes, I completely believe you’re an untouched flower.”  She says easily smiling more naturally at me.

“Are you saying I’m impure?” I ask enjoying our first real banter since she found out who I really was.

“Your exploits were well documented at Hogwarts.”  Ginny tells me in a knowing tone.

“Scandalous lies perpetuated by my enemies!”  I tell her knocking her shoulder lightly with my own.

“Of course.”  She says in sarcastic tones.

We continue the nothing conversation for a while longer as we make a way through the woods.  Before I realize where we’re headed I look up to see the small pond where I’d first spotted Ginny.  I glance to her wondering if she somehow led us here on purpose.  But how could she?

“Is that a spring?”  She asks with smiling in a purely innocent way.

“It’s your spring my water nymph.”  I tell her watching her close for her reaction.

“My spring?”  She asks frowning as if she’s confused.

“Where we first met?”  I offer cautiously.  “I mean when I told you the lie, obviously not when we met back in Hogwarts.”

“I don’t…” Ginny starts seeming a bit out of step.  “…I’m not really clear how that meeting…”  She shakes her head as if trying to clear cobwebs from it.

“Why wouldn’t you remem…”  I start to ask her when there’s a clearing of throats less than twenty feet from us.  I look up cursing myself for not being more vigilant; being so close to where the rebel camp obviously still was.

“Ginny, step away from him.”  The dark eyed leader of the rebellion says in a commanding tone.

“Harry?”  She asks her body stiffening next to mine.

“Not just him.”  I tell her in an undertone.

“Don’t you dare talk to her!”  The bushy haired know-it-all nearly growls at me.  “You took her away from her family, away from where she was safe.”

Ginny-

“Ginny, step away from him.”  I hear the all too familiar voice command me as if he still had any right.

“Harry?”  I ask to make sure I wasn’t just hearing things.

“Not just him.”  Draco tells me in a strained undertone.

“Don’t you dare talk to her!”  I hear Hermione growl and I tighten my hand around my wand.  “You took her away from her family, away from where she was safe.”

“How many?”  I ask not feeling the need to comply with either of them just now.

“Five including your ex and the mu… woman.”  He says changing his words for my benefit alone.

“I said don’t talk to her.”  Hermione repeats and I can hear her move closer to us.

“Send the other three away now or Malfoy and I Apparate straight to Malfoy Manor.”  I announce turning my body so I’m facing the group.  I don’t even have to say a thing before Draco puts his arm around my waist and positions us ready to Apparate.

“What has he done to you Ginny?  What lies has he told you?”  Hermione asks in her sympathetic tone.

“Do it now, or the next time you see me I’ll have a Dark Mark of my own.”  I say surprising myself at how steady my voice is.

“Go back to camp, tell them we’re moving.”  Harry orders in a steel tone.  “No one is to come out here.”  He adds before I hear some feet moving away.

“They’re gone Ginny, what do you want to say?”  Hermione asks in a way that obviously communicates she thinks there’s something wrong with me.

I really didn’t think I’d get this chance again so soon after letting the elf take my memories.  I don’t know exactly what I do want to say to them, but Draco starts for me.

“Stop talking at her like that.”  He says not bothering to keep the anger out of his voice.

“She’s none of your concern Malfoy.”  Harry says and I can hear the both of them are now moving closer to us.

“Yeah, and which one of us is she letting hold her against him?”  Draco asks moving his hand a bit more freely than is needed for an Apparation.  The touching is purely for show though as his hand never moves anywhere that would force me to hurt him.

“She’s confused.  You’ve done something to her.”  Hermione cuts in, her anger obviously on the rise.

“Oh I’ve done many things to her, but nothing very confusing.”  He quips back and I can’t help the blush that rises on my cheeks with his suggestion.

“You bastard!” Harry yells and we both know it’s better to duck just before the spell goes flying overhead.

“Are you a moron Potter, or are you trying to kill your ex?”  Draco asks as he tries to pull me behind him now to shield me from any further attacks.

I stomp on Draco’s foot to get him to stop then stand in front once again.

“It’s none of your fucking business what I do or who I do it with.”  I snap.  My silence now broken the words come without thought.  “You made it quite clear to me that you don’t know a thing about me, that you can’t even see me.”  I can’t help but let a single chuckle roll over my lips at this.  “So very funny that it ends up you’re the blind one.”

Then I turn to where I think Hermione is standing.  “Do you really want to know what he’s done to me?  Draco sees me.  He sees that I’m a witch, not some broken little thing to be humored.  Because that’s the most any of you ever did for me since the attack.  Humor me.  I realize now even the stupid tasks I was given were just to keep me busy.”  I shake my head.

“Ginny we just want to keep you safe.”  Hermione cuts in sounding more worried than ever.

“I don’t want to be fucking safe.” I feel like screaming.  “Tell me about the Notts, or the Turpins, or the Greens.  What was gained in attacking them?”  I ask thinking about my conversation with Blaise a few short hours ago.

“Where are you getting these names?”  Harry asks and I can’t read his tone.

“Their homes were attacked, why?”  I press on.

I feel Draco slip his arm around my middle again, obviously satisfied that we won’t be attacked just yet, but a bit worried for our safety still.

“That’s classified.”  Harry says his voice tightening.  “Malfoy step back.”  He adds making Draco pull me a bit closer.

“Sorry if I don’t really trust you Potter.”  Draco says holding me firmly.

“Why do you want to know about those people?”  Hermione asks saying the last words in the same tone I’ve heard Draco say mudblood.

“Because their homes were attacked by rebels right?”  I ask getting a very odd feeling.  Up until this point I was sure no matter what the rebels flaws, they were still the good guys.  No matter how mad I was at Harry for what he did to me, he was still a good man.

“They were purebloods.”  Harry says in a tone that makes me a bit sick.

“The Weasleys are purebloods.”  I remind him, as it seems these two have forgotten.

“Not really.”  Hermione defends without thought.  “The Weasleys are… the Weasleys.  Besides Rose isn’t pureblood, none of this generation will be.”

“What?”  I ask hearing a ringing in my ears.

“Your family knows what is right for wizard-kind’s future.”  Hermione says as if I’m not getting a very simple point.

“But there isn’t anything wrong with being pureblood.”  I tell them wishing more than anything I could see there faces in this moment.  “Just like there isn’t anything wrong with being muggle born.”

“That isn’t exactly true Ginny, you’re over simplifying things.”  Hermione explains and she sounds a bit too calm now.

I take in a slow breath as I try to think of what I can say to this when I smell them.  There are too many human smells around us now.

“Draco… home.”  I say soft enough so only he can hear me.

I don’t have to say it twice before he Apparates us both back to the yard.

“I’m sorry Ginny.”  He says the moment I pull out of his arms.  “I had no idea those ideas went so high up.”

“What?”  I ask looking back in his direction, barely controlling myself as I feel as if my whole world is being ripped away from me all over again.

“It’s known there is an anti-pureblood movement within the rebels, but the assumption has always been that it was a knee jerk reaction to the Death Eater’s extreme stated views.  I didn’t realize the leadership held this view.”

“They’ve never said anything…”  I stop myself as my mind flashes to a million small moments that add up to a completely new meaning.  I take in a staggered breath as I work to keep the whirlwind of emotions at bay.  “How could I not know?”  I ask shaking my head in disbelief.  “No, no it’s a trick.”

“Maybe.  Maybe we just misunderstood.”  Draco says hesitantly.

“It wasn’t them.  What’s the likelihood we meet a group of rebels like that?  More so the leadership… my friends?”

“By that pond, where I first saw you?”  Draco asks making me shake my head.

“We met by a pond?”  I ask grabbing on to anything that wasn’t the problem in front of me.

Draco-

“By that pond, where I first saw you?”  I ask and she shakes her head.

“We met by a pond?”  She asks and I can hear the panic on her voice.

“I think the memory may be muddled, by the elf magic.  That pond must be near a rebel camp.”  I tell her taking a step towards her.  Honestly I could kiss Potter and the mudblood for their words.  It can only help my cause if she can see that neither side are heroes.

“It can’t be them.”  She repeats and I can see the tears are going to break her resolve soon.

I wrap my arms around her and she collapses as if the touch has given her permission to break down.  I remember what it was like finding out my heroes were really only human.  When I was a boy my father and godfather were all but true gods in my eyes.  There was nothing they couldn’t do, or make right.

“Shhhh.”  I tell her softly running my hand slowly up and down her back.  We stay like that for a long while.  I let her cry herself out and wait for her to make any move before speaking again.  As time goes on I only make soft comforting sounds.

“I’m being dumb.”  She finally says.  “I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”

“You just found out there are no heroes my love, you’re allowed to break down.”  I tell her softly, not wishing to upset her more.

There’s a long silence from her before I realize what I said and swallow hard.  “I didn’t… Ginny I do care for you very much.”  I say feeling suddenly awkward.  “It just slipped out, I really didn’t mean to…”  I start to babble unsure how this got away from me so fast.

She cuts me off from my confusion with a deep passion filled kiss.  Her hands move up my chest and wrap around the back of my neck so she could pull me down against her lips.  I settle into the wonderful taste of her.  My dream could not even compare to the true fire in her.

When our lips finally part she takes in a deep breath.  She’s still looking up in my direction, sightless, but seeing more than most give her credit for.

“Draco?”  She asks a bit of nervousness coloring her voice.  “Take me to bed?”

It’s my turn to stop breathing as I look down at the witch I’ve wanted.  I know in that moment I could make her as my witch and never part from her again.

“I can’t.”  I tell her surprising myself.  “Not like you want, not tonight.”  I say running my fingers in her hair while she’ll still let me.

“Why?”  She asks sounding rejected and ready to pull away.

I grasp her harder so she won’t leave me so fast.  “Because I don’t want our first time to be from grief.  I want to be wanted for myself.”  I tell her kissing the top of her head.

She turns her face away from me obviously embarrassed.  “Fine.”  She says nodding her understanding.  “I can respect that.”  She adds pulling away and wiping her face.  “I’m going to clean up for dinner.  Blaise will be joining us tonight.”  She says and is gone before I can respond.

I sigh wondering if I made the wrong decision when Teeny appears at my feet, he seems to be covered in a layer of black goo.  It gives me a bad feeling on how the master suit looks now.

“Teeny got em Master.  Teeny smash em good.”  He tells me proudly with a wide grin on his small elf face.

“I see Teeny.  Does the room have any resemblance to yourself?”  I ask seeing his towel is as dirty as the rest of him.

That gives the elf pause for a moment.  “Yes um.”  He says with a single nod.

“Could you go clean that mess for me, then bath and clean you towel?”  I ask in a patient tone.

“Oh Master yous think of Teeny?  You wants Teeny be clean and happy?”  He asks happily.

“Yes Teeny.”  I say thinking that I much more want him to not get that goo into my food or in my house more than he already has.

“You good kind Master.”  He tells me before disappearing with a pop.

Chapter 12: A Good Day

Ginny-

By the time, we gather for dinner I have myself much more under control.  Tiny did me the favor of finding me something to wear besides my ratty day clothes.  I walk towards our outside dinner table and hear the boys stop talking, as I get close.

“What’s the occasion Red?”  Blaise asks and I can hear the appraisal in his tone.

“I just wanted a change.  Tiny found it in storage…”  I say running my hands down the robes.  “I hope you don’t mind?”  I ask turning to Draco who hasn’t spoken.

“Not at all.  I think they were my grandmothers.  I’m surprised anything survived from the attic.  I honestly haven’t even looked.”  He says casually.  “You can use anything you like.”

I nod and take a seat at the table trying to shake off the feeling they’re both staring at me.  I can hear them motioning frantically to each other and I have to laugh.

“Is there a problem?”  I ask turning between the two men.

“Nothing a well-placed curse or two won’t fix.”  Draco says dryly.

I shake my head knowing I won’t get more information from him, so I turn to Blaise.  “What have you done?”  I ask with a smile.

“Why do you think it’s always my fault?” He asks shifting in his chair.

I lean on the table towards him.  I know it’s simply a reaction to Draco’s rejection earlier, but I want him to see, to know that I’m a desirable woman.  “Because it’s always your fault.”  I say playfully.

There’s a moment of silence before Blaise responds.  “I was asking our friend here a few lewd questions.”  He explains with amusement.

I sit back up nodding slowly in thought.  “Well how much has he told you about our afternoon?”  I ask wanting to know exactly what Draco told him about my breakdown.

“Something happen this afternoon?”  The smooth boy asks sounding interested.

“I didn’t tell him anything about our private walk.”  Draco says casually as if it was nothing very interesting.

“You guys actually have some fun?”  Blaise asks, his tone a mix of regret and relief.

“Nothing you’d consider fun.”  I say then add after a pause.  “No, I’m wrong… I’m sure Zabini would have found taunting Harry very fun.”

Draco takes in a slow breath as if he’s truly cherishing the memory.  I try not to let it bother me that pretending to want me is more satisfying to him than actually having me.

“Wait! What?”  Blaise presses, eager for the story now.

“We met Potter and company out on our walk.”  Draco says in a bemused tone.  “Our Ginny here gave them a real piece of her mind.”

“Start from the beginning.”  Blaise says obviously eager for any gossip about taking Harry down a notch.

I motion for Draco to tell the story and as I listen, I have to wonder what it was like for the Slytherins back in school.  They were a nasty bunch of course, saying and doing horrible things to those they didn’t see as worthy, but thinking back I never really noticed how much school was prejudices against them as well.  How the whole school was always rooting against them.

“Wow, you are a firecracker Red.”  Blaise says in a tone filled with so much desire I can’t help but blush.

“Down boy.”  Draco says bemused by his friend’s reaction.

“I could stand to hear more.”  I say flipping my hair a bit and turning my body towards Blaise.

“You could?”  They both asked in such unison I couldn’t help but laugh.

“Sometimes a girl likes to hear her praises sung.”  I tell them both shaking my head.  “I think we could all use a bit of a celebration.  Have anything good to drink?”  I ask Draco unsure exactly what he had access to.

“I’ll send Tiny for something.”  He says getting up and heading for the kitchen.

The moment he’s out of earshot Blaise leans in, his hand moving to my knee in his always-comfortable way.

“Are you trying to make our boy jealous or something?”  He asks curiously.

“And if I was?”  I ask tilting my head before reaching out to touch his lips.  “Would you mind if I used you for one night?”

He licks the tips of my fingers before answering.  “I wouldn’t mind one bit, but I must warn you.  There’s a point where you won’t be able to get enough of me.” He says with confidence.

“I’m willing to risk it.  As long as you won’t start following me around like a puppy dog once I’m done with you.”  I say putting on heirs of confidence as well.

He leans in closer as his hand slips up the outside of my thigh.  “Oh I won’t have to.”  He says his lips oh so close to mine now.

“Just tell me Blaise…”  I start in a whisper.  “…why do you want me?”  I ask as I hear my heart pulsing in my ears.

“Merlin Ginny, what a question.”  He says sounding more than a little amused.  “I’ve wanted you for so long it’s hard to give you just one reason.  Mostly I want you because you’re so fucking sexy and you don’t even try.”

“Am I interrupting something?”  Draco asks dryly but this time I don’t pull away from his friend.

“A bit, what did you bring?”  I ask just turning my head and letting Blaise be the one who moves back.

“A bottle of Emerald Brandy.”  He says as he pours some in a glass for each of us.

“Well that sounds good.”  I say picking up my glass and holding it up for a toast.  “To new paths and new ways.”  I say letting them clink their glasses against mine before taking a deep drink.

“Does this mean you’ve decided to join our side after all?”  Blaise asks after he takes his own drink.

I run my teeth over my bottom lip, biting slightly to keep myself from thinking too much.  Before I answer, I finish off the drink and then smile brightly at him.  “A few things came into focus today.”  I say thoughtfully.

“So you’re still undecided?”  He asks sounding a bit confused.

“Don’t push her.”  Draco cuts in filling my glass once more.

“Okay okay, tonight is about fun.”  Blaise says patting my knee.

As the night goes on, we all fall into easy conversations about nothing at all.  I flirt openly with both men and they in turn compete for my attention.  For these few hours, everything seems so simple.  These dangerous men have become my new family somehow and I know it started long before I got to really know them.

After the first bottle, I find myself sitting in Blaise’s lap as I enjoy the cool fuzzy feeling of the alcohol filling my head.  By the time of the third bottle, we’re all sitting in the grass, a Slytherin to either side of me.

I’m not even sure which of them I’m resting my head on as all I can smell is the fruit bite of the brandy all around us.

“I should put her to bed.”  Draco says from the other side of me.  So it must be Blaise, which is good.

“I’m taking him to bed.”  I tell the ‘master of the house’.  “You had your chance.”  I say getting to my feet very carefully.

“Ginny…”  Draco starts but a motion from Blaise stops him.

“Don’t worry I’ll take care of her mate.”  He says getting up next to me.

There’s a definite sigh from Draco’s direction as Blaise leads me away.

“What’s this going to cost me?”  I ask him unsure what I even mean as we climb the stairs.

“I know it’s a bit confusing but I’m not actually a whore.”  Blaise says without sounding the least bit offended.  He actually doesn’t even say the word with a negative tone.

“I mean you helping me to make Draco jealous.”  I say as I fall against my bedroom door.

“Ahh that.”  He says stepping into my personal space.  I feel the rise and fall of his chest as the breaths in my hair.  “How much are you willing to give me Red?”  He asks his fingers starting to play with the top button of my robe.

“I don’t really know.  I’m curious about…” I falter unsure of myself in this area.  “Everything.”  I tell him finishing strongly.

Without another question, I feel his warm soft lips move against my own.  I breathe him in and give up my mouth to his questing tongue.  I’ve kissed a few men in my life, this part is nothing really new, but I have to admit Blaise is one of the more skilled partners I’ve had.  I let out a soft moan to show my enjoyment while my mind compares him to the only two others that really matter.

Harry was always so soft and his kisses became more and more timid as our relationship went on.  Draco on the other hand had been firm and nice, like he wasn’t afraid of breaking me.  This kiss though was raw in a new sort of way.  I want him, but not out of any feelings I may have, but from a pure desire for pleasure.

When Blaise finally lets us both take in air, he remains silent for a long moment.  His thumb brushing softly up and down the column of my neck.

“Merlin Red, I could live the rest of my life in a kiss like that.”  He says softly almost to himself.

Then he pulls fully away and opens the door for us.  Once I hear the door click closed again, I move towards him to restart where we’d left off.  But Blaise puts an arm on my shoulder to hold me at a distance.

“I can’t do it while your drunk Red.”  He says with a shake of his head while pulling back from me.

Not willing to take no for an answer so easily I start to unbutton my own robe wanting to show him exactly what he’s saying no to.

“I want this.”  I tell him as I drop the robe and move in for another kiss.

Lava vinolentia.”  He casts in a soft voice while I feel a warm wind wash over me.

As my head clears, I force myself not to blush.  “Did you think that would change something?”  I ask unfastening my bra and letting it drop to the floor before moving towards him once again.

“I honestly did.”  He says in a bemused tone.  “Ginny, you sure, you sure you want it to be me?”  He asks but I can already feel him moving closer.

I lick my lips trying to ignore the nervousness in my stomach.  “I want to lose myself tonight, and I don’t think you’ll mind me using you for your body.”

I can feel the static of his hands hovering just above my skin, waiting for the final approval.

“Tomorrow we’re still friends… nothing more.”  I tell him firmly.

“This is just sex.”  He says as he finally touches me, his hands running down the length of my arms.

“Just sex.”  I repeat as he consumes me with a heated kiss once again.

Draco-

“I don’t really know.  I’m curious about…” I watch as she decides exactly what to say to him.  “Everything.”  She tells him firmly.

I clutch my wand tightly fighting the urge to hex my best friend in a million different ways.  This is her decision and I’m the one that said no before.

When I hear her moan into his lips, I turn my back and retreat from the scene as fast as I can.  I had no right to follow them up the stairs to start with.  I hear her door close behind them like it was spelled to be heard throughout the forest.

Once outside I start to pace.  Half of me wants to go up and break their little lovefest up, the other half knows that won’t do anything for me in the end.  If she wanted to find a bed warmer for the night, I could do the same damn thing.

I start to go over all the places I could go to pick up some random little slut before I remember I’ve already used my town visit this week.  Wand still in hand I blast a random destructive spell at the ground in my frustration.

If I had really been thinking I would have already fixed the fireplace in the living room so I could use it for communication.  Then I could have called one of my groupies to me.  I could have taken her in every room of the house, loudly so that Ginny was sure to hear and know what we were up to.

With a growl, I push my sleeves up and march back into the house.  I know I won’t be able to sleep while Blaise is upstairs tasting the flesh that was rightfully mine.  So I do the only other thing I can think of and start to rebuild the fucking fireplace.

The next morning a sharp pain to the middle finger of my left hand wakes me.  Opening my eyes, the room seems too bright as the hangover hits me in full force.  My body is stiff all over and I can’t even think of where I must be.

Giving my eyes a moment to adjust I can at least take in where the pain is coming from.  My father’s owl Ares is happily pecking at my hand.

“Get off you dumb bird.”  I say waving it away before I take stalk of myself.

It seems at some point I’d fallen asleep wedged against the wall of the living room.  Turning so my back is pressed to the wall, I notice the scroll the blasted bird must have brought.  Groaning in pain, I pick up the letter and open it.

Lieutenant Malfoy,

You are to report to me as soon as you receive this missive.  I care little for your state of being.  The longer I am kept waiting the worse it will be for you.  As I will be reviewing your probation this morning, I suggest you arrive promptly.

~General Lucius Malfoy

I groan again not really in the mood or condition to deal with him this morning, but if I don’t show promptly, he’ll know something is off.  I think about telling Ginny where I’m going, but then I remember who was probably still with her.  I shake my head and head outside where I can Apparate to the Manor.  I give my face a good rub and run my fingers through my hair before I head home.

To my surprise, it’s my mother who’s waiting for me as I entered the large house.  She smiles at me and kisses each of my cheeks.

“I convinced your father this could be done over a family breakfast.”  She says before taking my arm and leading me to the casual dining room.

As we enter, my father is already sitting at the head of the table looking over his messages for the day.

“It seems your subordinate Blaise Zabini has gone AWOL.  Do you know anything about that?”  He asks without even a greeting.

“He probably got drunk and fell into some girl’s bed last night.  I’m sure he’ll be back on duty by the end of today.”  I say as mother shows me to my usual seat before moving around the table to take her own.

“That seems in character for his record.”  Father says before looking up at me.  “But we are here to talk about your record.”  He adds before taking in my state of dress.

“It seems a bit fast for a review.”  I tell him ignoring the house elf that serves our food.  I work very hard not to jump on the coffee as it’s poured.

“I know I make things hard for you, but that’s only because I want your men to respect you when all’s said and done.  That Captain Nott may have rank above you, but does anyone respect him?”  Father asks sipping his tea.

“No.”  I have to agree on this point.  Everyone knows how Nott got his position.

“Obviously or you wouldn’t have felt the power to hex him and friend.”

“They were in my tent.”  Draco grumbled under his breath for what felt like the thousandth time.

“Yes, you’ve said.  But that doesn’t not mean there are no privileges to being my son.  This review is one of them.”  Lucius continues.

“Thank you father, but what exactly is it you have to review, and why did it mean I had to come without a shower.”  I ask sipping the coffee slowly as I let it restore my higher functions.

“I wanted to see how you were truly living.  If you were still on military time you would have been up and showered already.”  He points out.

“I had a late night with some repairs last night.”  I say thinking I’ll have to go over every inch of the fireplace before I move forward.  Drunk repairs were never a good idea.

“Hm, good, how is the cottage coming?”  He asks setting down everything to give him his complete attention.

“Well I think.  I’m nearly done with the upstairs; I just have to re-floor the master suite.”  I say giving my full attention back to him.

“Why didn’t you do the master suite before the guest room?” He asks but he doesn’t really sound like he cares.

“There was more work to be come with the Master suite.  It was just smarter to fix the room I could do quickly so I could move into the house.”

“Hm.”  He makes a sound that’s neither approval nor discouragement.

“Well it sounds like you’re doing very well my love.”  Mother says giving me a warm smile.  “I’m glad you’ve kept focused on the task at hand.”

About to take a sip of my coffee I set it down as her words set off an alarm in my head.  “Why wouldn’t I be focused mother?”  I ask looking to her.  I’ve been better at reading her over anything my father may give away.

“I just mean, boys your age… pretty girls can be very distracting.”  She says nervously and my father cuts her a severe look.

I feel a chill descend upon me as I look at my father.  “Father, why am I here?”

“How long did you really think to keep your activities from my notice?”  He asks picking up his fork as if this conversation was of no consequence.  “An agent has been dispatched to the house, and hopefully he’ll come back with the girl so you don’t get yourself into trouble.”

I jump to my feet ready to head right back to the cottage and defend her if I have to.  “I was handling this.”

“Yes, you’ve had plenty of time to handle whatever it is you think you were doing.  When Lieutenant Elrose returns with her in hand, then all will be forgotten.”

“You sent Elrose after her?”  I ask already heading for the door.

“You’ll be too late; he’s had plenty of time to subdue the blind child.”

Ginny-

I sigh happily, as I run lazy fingers over Blaise’s firm chest.  The night with him was exactly what I needed.  He surpassed his reputation from school and I has me wondering if we could have another go before he left.  As I run my fingers down to lower regions, I can feel that he’s having the same idea.

“Morning Bella.” He says with a chuckle.  “I do wish I could let you finish that.”  He adds with a sigh before removing my hand.  “But I have to go before anyone notes I’m missing.  Need to make sure your pretty little head is safe.”

I give him my best pout and lay back in the soft bed.  Only now remembering who gave me the bed to begin with.

“Do you think he’ll be mad?”  I ask as I hear Blaise moving around the room to retrieve his clothes.

“Oh yes, I expect to be thoroughly cursed when I show my face back here.  That being said it might be a little bit.  Let him cool off.”

“You’re going to leave me alone with him?”  I ask with a laugh.

“I think you can handle him, you have a natural defense.”  He says easily.

“Oh what is that?”  I ask as I try not to let anything break my good mood.

“Perfect tits are a good start.”  He says and by the way his movements have stopped, I guess he’s enjoying the view of mine.

I reach under my pillow for where I usually keep my wand so I can hex him when I realize with a moment of panic it isn’t there.  The panic doubles when I feel a wand like implement trace over my nipple.

“You shouldn’t leave this lying around.”  Blaise says before dropping the wand on my chest.

“I guess I won’t hex you this time.”  I say taking the tool and shoving it under the pillow where it belongs.

“Thanks.”  He says leaning down and taking my lips in a quick kiss.  “See you around.”

“Mmhumm.”  I say closing my eyes and deciding I’ll stay in bed until Draco comes to wake me.

Blaise just laughs before heading out.

I’m only dozing when I hear the door open again.  I’m about to ask Draco what kind of manners he has; when the smell leather and chocolate drift from the person.  My mouth goes dry and my hand tightens around the wand as I work very hard not to panic.

“I know you’re not sleeping, so why don’t you just put both hands where I can see them.”  Derek says in a tone filled with bitter anger.

“Draco doesn’t like visitors at this hour.”  I tell him before quickly rolling out of the bed to break his view of me, crouching down beside it.  Well at least I hope I’ve broken the view.

“Sadly Draco was pulled away on important business.”  Derek says before using a well-placed diffindo spell to blow up my cover.

I move away as soon as I hear the words and rush towards where I last heard his voice.  Hoping that he hasn’t thought to move I cast a full body bind.  I hear the defensive spell and my spell bounce off harmlessly.

He lets me bowl right into him and grabs me around the waist thinking that it would make me defenseless.

“That’s it baby, come to your master.”  He says before he feels the end of my wand.

I laugh as him before casting the tongue-locking spell he’d used on me, then kneeing him in the balls.  As he whimpers and falls to his knees, I can’t help but feel powerful.

“How does it feel to know you’re going to die?”  I ask as my hand grabs a chunk of his hair and jerks his head back.  I do the full body bind now and kick him so he falls to the ground completely.

I can hear him struggling to curse me out as I search around for his wand.  Once I feel the stick in my hand, I move it close to his face feeling his expression so I know he’s looking right at it as a break the thing in half.

“Got your eye fixed I see.” I say laughing all the while.  It feels so heady to have such power over someone that had made me so afraid before.  “Let me fix that for you.”  I tell him before driving a piece of wand into each of his eyes.

He wants to scream, but I’ve really taken that from him too.  I get up slowly making him suffer while I stand to my full height.  Putting a bare foot on his neck I know I hate this man enough to do a spell, I had never before considered even trying.

Avada Kedavra!”  I said with my entire being.

As the magic flows through me I was surprised by how deliciously wonderful it made me feel.  It vibrated every single cell in my body as I felt him go cold and limp under my foot.

Draco-

Avada Kedavra!”  I hear as I run by the stairs to Ginny’s room.

The sight that greets me as I get to the doorway seems to make my brain stall.  There was the witch I’d been dreaming about for the last few months.  A stark naked Ginny Weasley, her hair wild as bits of magic crackle in the strands.  Her hands and chest are splattered with blood as she laughs in pure joy of what she’s just done.

I look down at the body of Derek Elrose.  Remnants of a wand sticking from his eyes and his dead face contorted in horror.

Some truly dark part of me wanted to have her right there on the bloody floor.  I shake off the feeling though as in her mood I can see it would be very dangerous to act upon.

“Ginny?”  I ask unsure what to do exactly.

She looks up in my direction and shakes her head as if she’s trying to shake away a dream.  “Did I just kill him?”  She asks sounding a bit confused, but not exactly upset.

“Yes you did.”  I tell her taking a single step into the room.

“He thought I was weak.”  She says nodding ever so slightly.

“He was undeserving.”  I tell her before taking another step.

“I just killed someone.”  She says taking a careful step back from the body.  “I should be upset.  Right?”

“That depends completely on you.”  I tell her just noticing the mess of the bed.

“I don’t feel upset.”  She tells me shaking her head.

“You may still be in shock.”  I warm carefully, unsure myself what this reaction means.

“He was scum, and he deserved to die.”  She tells me nodding still.  “I deserved to kill him.”  She says with a bit of pride in her voice.

“You absolutely did.”  I agree carefully moving towards her.  “And I’m sorry to cut your enjoyment short, but we have other worries now.”

“They know I’m here.”  She nods making the connection quickly.

She’s a brilliant witch, but the quick connection tells me she’s probably not actually in shock.

“Exactly.  Now they’ll give him a few hours before they come looking.  You need to clean up and make a very hard decision.”  I tell her resting my hand on her arm.

“There is no decision.”  She says shaking her head and turning to face me.  “I mean… They’ll never accept me, not now, and I don’t want them to.”

“You’re still coming down from your first truly dark spell.”  I tell her not wanting to seem as if I’m pushing her.  “Go take a quick bath.  I’ll clean up here.”

“Okay.”  She nods turning her head towards the body.  “I didn’t make too much of a mess did I?”

“It’s fine.”  I tell her and nudge her towards the door.

When she gets to the doorway, she stops and turns back to me.  “Is it supposed to be better than sex?”  She asks very seriously.

“Sometimes, but maybe you should try different partners.”  I say as I move towards the body.

“For which one?”  She asks with a grin before leaving me to the body.

“Both!”  I yell unable to keep myself from grinning.  I know I should still be upset by the fact Blaise had actually shared her bed last night, but as it had led to the dark goddess I walked in on, I can’t hold the grudge.  At least not at the moment.

“Teeny, Tiny?”  I call out to the elves and they both quickly appear in front of me.

“Master?”  They say in unison their ears lowering as they look around at the mess.  “Mistress?”  They ask with worry in their tone.

“Is cleaning herself up.  I need help with this.  Go get Ginny another of my grandmother’s robes.  Make sure it’s well suited to her.  Then take this…”  I kick the body lightly with my toe.  “…to my father.”

With a single nod, they went to work.  I can’t help but smile.  Today started out horrible, but it’s really looking up now.  I go down to collect my own things.  I want to look presentable if Ginny decides to face my Lord today.

Chapter 13: Forever Dark

Ginny-

My body is still humming as I wash the blood from my skin.  It’s such a wonderful high that I understand why people cast dark magic for the first time in my life.  Do all the spells have such a feedback or does it have to be a truly dark spell like the killing curse?

I’m not sure how long I muse on this idea before Tiny clears her throat so I know she’s there.

“Master tells Tiny to get Mistress new robe.  Tiny gets a good one and makes it very pretty for Mistress.”  The elf says proudly and I give her a warm smile.

“Thank you Tiny.”  I say as I get out of the bath so I can dry off.  “How is Draco doing?” I ask her as I let her help me into the robes.  I find my fingers are trembling and I don’t know if it’s the high or if the nerves about what I just did have finally settled in my mind.

“He is very proud of Mistress.”  She says happily.  “Mistress kill very bad man that hurt Mistress.”

“What do you know about him Tiny?” I ask running my fingers through wet hair.

“That he bad man.  That he hurts Mistress so he very bad man.”  She says as that is all she needs to know.

“You know he fights for the same side as Draco.  The same side Draco wants me to join.”  I remind her turning back so she can tell me how the robe looks.

“Not anymore.  Mistress kill him dead.”  She says very seriously.

I can’t help but laugh at her words nodding in agreement.  What kind of person am I that I can be laughing so soon after killing someone?

“Mistress look almost perfect.”  Tiny says happily.

“Almost?”  I ask with amusement.

“Tiny do Mistress hair?”  She asks shyly.

“If you like Tiny.  Though I think, Draco and I’ll be on the run for a little bit.  Until we decide how to deal with what I’ve done.”  I tell her as I let her have her fun.

With that, there’s a light knock on the door and Draco clears his voice.  “We are going to want to get out of here soon, are you almost ready?”  He asks through the door.

“Almost.  Where are we going?”  I ask hearing the door open.

He’s silent for a moment before responding.  “Well first we just need to get someplace safe to talk about what happens next and what you really want.”

“What choices do I really have now?  Neither side will take me after what I’ve done.”  I remind him as I enjoy the feel of Tiny playing with my hair.  It seems she’s braiding it somehow or at least pulling it out of my face.  “The rebels won’t condone the use of dark magic, and it isn’t like they’ve been my biggest fans lately anyway.  And the Death Eaters aren’t exactly about to welcome the murderer of one of their comrades into their ranks.”

“That isn’t true.  I have no idea about how the rebels will react to your actions if they ever find out about them, but our side will see it as self-defense if we frame it correctly.”

“I had him in a full body bind when I killed him Draco, I was safe by then.”

“But if you left him alive he would be back eventually.”  He presses.

“Okay fine.  So I could still go over to your side if I wanted to.”  I repeat only half believing him.

“You could Ginny, and you’d fit in.  You could get more than rewarded for doing so.”  He tells me sounding very serious about it.

“Rewarded?”  I ask biting my lower lip as the elf pats me on the shoulder.

“We go in front of the Dark Lord today and you could ask for anything you want.”  He says stepping forward and taking my hand.  “But it’s important it’s done willingly.  So we can’t be caught by the army.”

“So we have to get out of here now.”  I say nodding as a new worry floats into my mind.  “Will we ever get to come back?”

Draco kisses my fingers holding my hand a bit more tightly.  “If it’s what you want.”

“I do.”  I tell him very softly and he pulls me into a firm embrace before I can stop him.  His lips find mine taking them like they’re coming home after a long journey away.  His hands move down my back holding my slight frame against his broad chest. Soon I’m shaking once again, but this time in a whole new kind of high.

When he finally pulls away, he rests his head against mine so we’re breathing the same air.  “Please Ginny.  Be mine.”  He says ever so softly.  “I don’t know if I could handle letting you walk away now.”

“Is this a ploy to get me to say yes?”  I ask but before he can answer we both hear a crashing down stairs.

“Time’s up.”  He says pulling me against him once again before Apparating us away from the house.  It’s funny the things that you think of in those moments of panic and confusion, but I clearly have the thought about how he must have changed the house wards if we were able to Apparate inside.

When we land again, I can tell we’re still in the forest by the smells of decomposing leaves and fresh sap.  He takes my hand once again and starts running in a random direction.  I can’t help but laugh as I run with him feeling so free but at the same time so frightened for our future.

He suddenly stops after about twenty minutes of running and casts a quick succession of spells I’ve never heard before, and a few we use in the wardings of the camps.

“We should be safe for a while now.”  He says moving back to me and touching my chin ever so softly.  “If you really want to be on the run for the rest of your life Ginny.  I’ll run with you.”  He says in a resigned tone.

Draco-

“We should be safe for a while now.”  I tell her as I walk back to her waiting form.  I can’t help but reach out touching her chin lightly, wanting to keep some kind of connection with her.  “If you really want to be on the run for the rest of your life Ginny.  I’ll run with you.”  I tell her and with a shock I realize that I mean it.  I’d obviously prefer another way but if running is what she needs right now, then we will run together.

Her unfocused eyes seem to look into my soul as she processes what I’ve just told her.  “You would do that for me?  Why?”  She asks a slight frown creasing her face as her cheek and neck start to color.

“Ginny…” I start then find I have to swallow a thick lump in my throat.  “Ginny just because I didn’t…”  I shake my head wondering why I can’t just tell her what’s on my mind.  But I don’t seem to have words for what I’m feeling, what I’ve been feeling for some time.

“I love you.”  I tell her finally but it feels weird on my lips.  “Those are the words right?”  I find myself asking her for some idiotic reason.

She smiles up at me with a slightly pitying grimace and I suddenly panic that she doesn’t feel the same way about me.  What was I thinking saying something like that to her when she’s never really given me any reason to think she feels the same way?

“I think love you too.”  She says and the sudden release of tension makes me want to fall to my knees.  “Which means I don’t want you to ruin your life for me.”

“You could come back to Malfoy Manor with me.  We could confront the Dark Lord together and then live happily ever after.”  I offer making her grimace again.

“You say that like it would be so easy to just walk up to To… Voldemort and… what?”  She asks and I can feel something new coming off her.

“That’s the second time you’ve made that slip Ginny.”  I tell her softly as I pet the side of her face and neck.  “Tell me why?  Please?”

She holds her breath and chews on her lips as she thinks of what she can say to me next.  “I told you about the chamber… that I was the one who opened it.  I told you about the diary, that your father gave to me.”  She says as if she’s only now making that connection.

“Very briefly.” I say wanting to her get past that particular point.

“You have to know Lord Voldemort isn’t his birth name?”  She asks with a crinkled frown.  “He chose that name for himself.  His original name was Tom… Tom Riddle and he’ll always be Tom Riddle to me.”

I squeeze the back of her neck as I try to comfort her.  “Ginny.  You’re no longer an eleven-year-old.  You’re a bright and powerful witch.”  I tell her slowly.  “I know those memories are painful, and I want to carry some of that burden for you if and when I can, but right now the Dark Lord is a means to an ends.  I’m not asking you to join in order to be his slave.  I’m asking because it’s the only path to making you more powerful.”

She swallows hard nodding slowly as she listens to my words.  “It’s all happening so fast.”  She says finally shaking her head.  “How long do you think we could run?”  She adds sounding a little defeated.

“Honestly, with both sides after us I don’t think we could run for longer than maybe a year at most.”  I tell her letting my hands drop to hers.

In the distance we both hear spells going off as the group of Death Eaters pick up our trail.

She licks her lips looking in the direction the sound is coming from.  “Do you think I could get a rematch with Bellatrix?”

“Is there any member of my family you don’t have a vendetta against?”  I ask trying to lighten the mood.

“I’ve never really met your mother.”  She says smiling up at me.

I sigh as I think about what my mother is going to say about Ginny.  Looking over her at the moment in my grandmother’s fine robes and the wild hair I enjoy so much neatly plated.  I’d say my mother would approve of the vision in front of me now, but it really isn’t Ginny.

“That will be a process when it happens.”  I tell her with a grin.  “This is the way things happen my love.  Nothing for a long time, then everything at once.”

She takes in a deep breath looking back in my direction.  “I don’t think we really have a choice from the way you’ve made it sound.”  She says finally with a nod.  “How do we do this?”

I take both her hands in mine search her face to make sure she’s ready for what we will have to do next.  “You have to be completely sure Ginny.”  I tell her squeezing her hands.  “There’s no way out once you’ve taken the mark.”

One of her hands pulls out of mine so she can feel the Dark Mark on my arm.  “He marks everyone in his army?”  She asks sounding unsure again.

“Not everyone, but he will want to put his mark on you.  You’ll be a valuable asset, you see that right?”

“I’ll be a traitor.” She says her fingers tracing over the slightly raised black on my skin.

I sigh shaking my head.  “No.  You have betrayed no one.  You’d that elf take all that could be used against those you were once committed to.  Your debt to them is paid.”

She nods slowly at this before leaning into me and resting her head on my chest.  “But I’ll be held up as a rebel who has seen his way?”

“Yes, one of your uses will be to show that the rebels aren’t perfect, they aren’t the good guys.”  I tell her dropping her hand and wrapping my arms around her.

“One of my uses?”  She asks looking up at me with a face of disgust.

“You will quickly show them all it’s not your only use Ginny.”  I tell her seriously as I pull away so I can look at her more fully.  “Are you ready for this?”

Ginny-

“Yes, one of your uses will be to show that the rebels aren’t perfect, they aren’t the good guys.”  He tells me as he pulls me against him for comfort.  It distracts me for a moment from what he actually says.

“One of my uses?”  I ask thinking about all the ways this plan could go very wrong.  Am I really going to throw my lot in with Tom?  Let him have power over me again?

“You will quickly show them all it’s not your only use Ginny.”  He says so firmly that I have to feel more confident in the plan.  He pulls away from me holding my arms and I know he’s looking at me.  “Are you ready for this?”

“No.”  I admit honestly as we can both year the searching spells getting closer to our little hiding spot.

“Then we need to keep moving.”  He says pulling me close again for another side along Apparation.  I pull away before he can move us.

“There’s no point Draco.  We both know it.  How do we do this?”  I ask as my stomach clenches in fear.

“I take you to the Manor to see my father.  He gets us an appointment in front of the Dark Lord.”  He tells me sounding so sure of how this will all work out for the best.

“And if I spit at him?”  I ask seeing if I can break his composure.

“My father or the Dark Lord?”  He asks with a chuckle pulling me back into him.

“Your father.  I’m not that crazy.”  I tell him breathing in the scents of him.  They’ve become important over the last few months and I gain strength from them.

“I’d like to see that actually.”  He says turning us on the spot and taking us away to his family home.

We appear on a gravel path.  I can hear the rocks grinding beneath our feet.  I feel his lips brush my head once in a soft kiss before he pulls away taking my hand and leading me towards our future.

“We are here to see General Malfoy.”  He says in a commanding tone I haven’t really ever heard before.

“Lieutenant, she’s a wanted criminal.”  The guard replies obviously not moving.

“And she’s still armed.”  I say feeling like I shouldn’t be showing weakness here.  “Get out of my way.”  I warn getting ready to draw my wand.

“She is my guest.  We will see my father.  Miss Weasley has had a change of heart.  Do you really think the Dark Lord will thank you for keeping a category C from his presses when he has demanded it?”

“Armed?”  The man asks and I draw my wand now thinking of showing them exactly what I did to Elrose.

“My guest.”  Draco says firmly and his hand moves to my arm to calm me.  “My father.  Now.”

I sigh putting the wand away knowing this is Draco’s domain to navigate.

“We will tell him you both are here Sir.”  The guard finally says and we’re moving again.

We’re taken to what I can only assume is a waiting room and I start to pace, feeling around the room get a better feel of my surroundings.

“I don’t think he’ll make us wait very long.”  Draco tells me trying to be reassuring.

“No.  Not long at all with what you had your elf leave in my office.”  Lucius Malfoy’s arrogant voice sounds from the door.  “Did you really have to kill him in such a messy way?”  He asks making me turn towards his voice.

“Yes.  He deserved worse, but I didn’t really have a lot of time to get creative.”  I tell the older man before I even realize he hadn’t been talking to me.  “You thought Draco killed him.”  I say laughing to myself.

I feel Draco move up beside me and take my hand.  “Yes he did.”  Draco says sounding satisfied.  “She killed him in self-defense as you lot had sent that scum after her twice now.  Her file says unharmed, but both times he tried to do real damage.”

“Miss Weasley you surprise me.”  Lucius says after a moment.  “So you’re turning yourself in willingly?”

“I’m here to join the war effort, but I don’t think I’ll be saying anything more to lackeys.”  I tell him as I hold myself as straight as I can.

“Who do you think you are little girl?”  He asks and I can hear the venom in his voice.

“I think I’m someone who knows the Dark Lord better than you.”  I say sounding much more confident than I feel.  “I do have to thank you for that.”  I add spitting in what I hope is his face.

“You!” The usually composed man growls and I feel Draco shift in front of me.

“Unharmed father.”  He reminds Lucius.

“Yes, well let’s see how she does against the Dark Lord.”  He says sounding more than satisfied with that idea.  “I’m sure he will want to see her directly.”

With that I hear him turn and Draco is leading me down the halls of the large Manor once again.  I want to ask him all sorts of questions, but I know silence is better with so many around.  I squeeze his hand to get as much support as he can offer now.

When we stop I hear Lucius mumble something and the sound of large doors creaking open.  The sounds of a room full of people fills my ears and I wonder how many will witness this confrontation.

“Wait here.”  Lucius orders before walking into the room.  More loudly he starts to speak to those within.  “My Lord.  My son has brought you a gift you have desired for many years.”

“A gift?”  I ask under my voice.

“He’s trying to make me look good, because it makes him look good.”  Draco says just as softly.

“Has he?  I thought your son was in exile for attacking a superior officer?”  The all too familiar voice of Tom Riddle responds making chills run up and down my back.

“Wait, what?”  I ask as this is the first I’ve heard of it.

“I’ll tell you later.”  He says squeezing my hand once again.

“He thought this person was important enough that you would forgive his breaking exile to deliver her.”  Lucius says in a groveling tone.

“Well bring her forward.”  Tom commands and Draco walks with me into the room on this cue.

I’m not sure if it’s my own nerves, but it feels as if the room has gone completely silent as we enter.

“Ginevra.”  Tom voice brushes over my name in a way that makes me a bit sick.  “Do you have her under some kind of spell young Malfoy?”  He asks and I can hear him shifting then standing from the head of the room.

“I’m under no spell.”  I say knowing if I am to be respected, I need to speak for myself.  “I’ve come here willingly to join your ranks.”  I announce dropping Draco’s hand and taking a step forward.

“There’s a clear aisle to him.”  Draco tells me softly.  “About ten feet wide, with people on both sides.”

“What’s wrong with her?” The Dark Lord asks sounding a mixture of confused and concerned.

“I was blinded by dark magic cast by one of your loyal followers.”  I tell him and realize Draco isn’t even trying to speak for me.  I take another step forward.

“And you still wish to join us?”  He asks sounding interested.  “Do you think we have some way of fixing you?”  He adds with amusement.

“I don’t need to be fixed.”  I tell him feeling truly whole.  “I’m here because I’ve been told you will actually use my skills as a witch.”

“Oh yes Ginevra I will have many uses for you.”  Tom says in that familiar way.  “So young Master Draco has already convinced you to join us?  He has already corrupted you to the dark?”

I frown at the phrasing but nod all the same.  “I guess you could say that.”

Crucio!”  I hear the Dark Lord cast bracing myself for the spell when I hear Draco scream a few feet behind me.

I turn and rush back to him, unsure what I can do as he writhes in pain on the ground.  I kneel down and take the first thing I find into my lap.  His hand is curled into such a tight fist I worry he’ll hurt himself.

“Stop it!”  I yell back at Tom.  “He did what you wanted!”  I remind him not understanding why he was doing this to a loyal subject.

“He took what was mine.”  The older man says darkly.  “I wanted the pleasure of breaking you to our side.”  He adds in a much too intimate way.

“Well then he isn’t the only one who should be punished.”  I say hoping he’ll stop soon.

“Oh?”  Tom asks finally releasing the spell.

“Well he wouldn’t have even had the chance to corrupt me if it wasn’t for the one who blinded me.”  I say making sure Draco is alright before I stand to face him once again.

“Is that so, and who disobeyed my standing orders not to harm you?”  He asks eager for someone else to punish.

“Bellatrix Lestrange.”  I say wondering for the first time if the woman I have feared for so long is in the room.  I don’t feel that fear now.

“She lies!”  The witch screams answering my unasked question.

“It seems we have a disagreement.  Bella, come forward so we can settle this matter.”  I hear her movement to my right and I move my hand to my wand, not willing to be unarmed with her so close.

“I don’t think we will be needing that.”  Tom says easily.

Draco-

As the pain recedes from my mind the first thing I year his Ginny’s voice.  “Well he wouldn’t have even had the chance to corrupt me if it wasn’t for the one who blinded me.”  She says her hands checking me over before she moves to stand.

I move slowly onto my knees as they speak, unsure if I’ve seen the last of our Lord’s spell-work today.

“Is that so, and who disobeyed my standing orders not to harm you?”  The Dark Lord asks eagerly.

“Bellatrix Lestrange.”  She tells him clearly and I can’t help but smile at how beautiful she looks as she faces our Lord with strength and calm.

“She lies!”  Aunt Bella screams making my head split a little.  Most of the inner circle is here and I see them step away from her as she is singled out.

“It seems we have a disagreement.  Bella, come forward so we can settle this matter.”  Our Lord sees my aunt hesitate for a moment before coming forward with her head held high.

“I don’t think we will be needing that.”  The Dark Lord says sounding amused and I turn back to see Ginny has her wand in her hand.

Dark Lord or not, I think it’s a smart move with the expression on my aunt’s face as she kneels to our leader.

I get to my own feet and take a step back as I have a feeling Ginny will need to prove herself, and my help will not actually be welcomed.

“Now don’t you think one of my most favored Death Eaters would know if she had blinded you?”  He asks Ginny in an all too amused tone.

“I was disillusioned at the time, and she caused so much strife to the rebels why would she remember one scout?”  She asks keeping her calm.

I look to my aunt as Ginny explains and I see the light and horror go off in her eyes as she remembers the interaction very clearly.  She has one of two paths before her, and I have a feeling neither will go all that well after feeling the Dark Lord’s anger for myself.

As the Dark Lord turns to her, she keeps the same stiff pasture as someone who has no idea of what they’re being accused of.  I honestly feel it’s the worse of her two choices, but she can’t go back now that it’s been made.

“Bella it does sound like you, to attack an unknown enemy in such a vicious way.”  He says moving to her with a deadly calm.

“And risk hurting someone you would prefer to break yourself my Lord?  Never.”  She says in her most innocent tone.

Those around the room are holding their breath as they all know how much the Dark Lord likes to be lied to.

“Oh that’s so thoughtful of you Bella.”  He says smiling as if he believes her lies.  It calms my aunt quite a bit and she moves closer to him as he waves her forward.

When he takes her chin in his grasp and probes into her mind, she screams with a pain and fury that I have to wonder if he’s being particularly rough with my poor aunt’s broken mind.

I watch Ginny stand there, show no emotion at this exchange except the slight tightening and loosening of her wand hand.  I doubt anyone else even notices.

When the Dark Lord lets Aunt Bella drop to the floor he turns back to Ginny, and I can tell she senses his eyes on her.

“So you know the truth of what happened?”  She asks having no real idea of what he just did to my aunt.

“Oh yes, I have the truth of her side of it.”  He says sounding amused as he moves slowly towards Ginny.

“I told you my side.  I didn’t lie to you.”  She tells him standing her ground.

“No I don’t think you did, but I still don’t know exactly what brought you to this point.”  He reminds her.

“Do you still want me to join you?”  Ginny asks interrupting this train of questioning.

The way he smiles at her makes me want to step between the two of them.  I’ve never seen him look at anyone with such a look of… desire?

“Of course my dear.”  He says in a way that makes me want to take out my own wand.

“Even though you didn’t get to break me yourself?”  She asks in a sarcastic tone that makes me worry for her.

“Still quite the little lion aren’t you?”  He asks sounding amused.

“Well I don’t really see myself as broken if that’s what you’re asking.  I walked in here because Draco showed me it was the only way to get what I want.”

“And what do you want my dear?”  He asks glancing to me and then back to Ginny with interest.

“Power.”  She says clearly.  “I want to be the Mistress of my own destiny.  I don’t want to be coddled and protected and ignored.”

“You don’t think you need my protection?”  He asks looking her over again.

“I need your consent to live my life in the open.”  She tells him boldly.  “But not your protection.”

“You’ll take my mark, join my army.  I will rule your destiny my dear.”  He tells her circling around her slowly like a snake eyeing his prey.

“You will be my Lord.”  She agrees and I wonder how fast her heart is beating.  “But, I refuse to answer to anyone else.  I’m not joining your army to be some minor player at anyone’s command.”

“Oh she has demands.”  He says turning to the crowd to join in his amusement.  “The little girl wants to be on level with my most trusted followers.”

The room laughs as they pick up on his mood of amusement over this idea.

“I do have demands, but I think I also have more potential than most of the other sheep you have following after you.  And I’ve never lied to you.”  She adds poignantly.

That freezes the Dark Lord for a moment at the way she says this and turns to those gathered.  “Out.  I will speak with her alone.”  He commands the group and everyone goes rushing for the doors.  I have mixed feelings, not wanting to leave her alone with him.

“Draco stays.”  Ginny speaks up just as firmly.

“I think you are right about that.”  Lord Voldemort says looking to me with more interest than he has given me since he sent me to kill Dumbledore back when I was a child.

Once the three of us are alone once again, I move up next to Ginny, but there’s something that tells me not to take her hand.

“What have you told the boy?”  He asks without pretense.

“A summary of my time in the chamber.”  She answers honestly as ever.

“My Lord, I would never reveal anything she divulged to me.”  I tell him bowing so he knows that I still more than respect his power.

“I do not negotiate.  You will do as I say.”  He says looking to Ginny very seriously.

“This is not a negotiation.  I don’t like your followers.  The only reason I’m here is for my own benefit.”

“Does that include Draco here?”  He asks and I really wish I didn’t have his attention in this.

“No.  Obviously it doesn’t.  Nor does it include one other.  But for the most part I find them disgusting, and if they try anything, they’ll get the same as Mr. Elrose.”

“Who?”  He asks looking unimpressed.

“The spy my father sent after her my Lord.”  I cut in respectfully knowing he doesn’t like to have to ask, I add.  “She killed him my Lord.”

“Ah, so you’ve already been blooded, good.  How did you kill my sweet?”  He asks looking at Ginny in that way that makes me want to do very stupid things.

“Do you want the gory details?”  She asks coldly.  “I used magic.  The Killing Curse.”

“Really?”  He asks sounding pleased.  “Very good.  This can be confirmed I assume?”  He asks reaching out to her.

“It was the last spell I used.”  She says holding her wand out handle first.

“No need, I believe you.”  He says in a knowing way I really don’t like.

“All she wants is to be respected my Lord.” I say for Merlin knows what reason.

“You will answer to only me, but you will have no command over any other.  Not yet.”  He says with a slow nod.  “What else did you want?  Power? The Mistress of your own destiny?  Is that right?”

“Yes.”

“What does that look like to you?”  He asks and I see his eyes going down to our almost touching hands.

“I want Draco and I to continue to live at his place in the woods.”  She says and I see she’s now shaking just slightly.  “I want to continue to train and grow in my power.”

“What does the young Malfoy have to say to that?”  He asks turning to me.

“It would be my honor my Lord.”  I tell him knowing better than to use the word love in front of him.

“Then you both may continue to live there when not on active duty for me.”  He agrees before smiling.  “You will train with me personally and we will make you a most powerful witch.”  He adds a slow grin coming to his snake like face.

“Then I will take your mark if that’s what you wish.”  She says holding out her arm.

He brushes his long spider like fingers over her arm and shakes his head.  “You’re to be a new breed of follower my sweet.”  He says lifting her chin.  “I want it right here.”  He says reaching around her and running a single finger down along her neck and following the top of her spine.

“Is that really necessary my Lord?”  I ask unable to think of how much it will hurt to have the mark in such a place.

“If she truly wants all she seeks.”  The Dark Lord says stepping back to give her air to think.

Instead of responding Ginny unbuttons the top half of her robe and loosens it so the spot he touched is fully revealed.  She turns her back towards him and pulls the braid from his way as well.

“You might wish to kneel; we don’t want you moving once I’ve started.”  He says obviously gleeful about the upcoming pain he gets to inflict.

Ginny swallows thickly and I can’t help but move down in front of her.  I’m the one who’s gotten her into this after all.

She takes my hands in hers squeezes as she readies herself.  Over her shoulder, I see our Lord eyeing us interestedly but he says nothing before he lowers his wand to her neck.

As he starts the spell, slowly dragging his wand down the curve of her back, she gasps her unseeing eyes looking blankly into mine.  I kiss her hands again and again as she shakes with the pain of it working very hard not to make a sound.

When he gets to the end of his mark he looks into my eyes as he lets the grin widen then starts moving the wand back up over the mark.  Her scream seems to penetrate my soul and I hold her hands more tightly.  I’ve never seen him mark anyone like this before and I have to worry for Ginny’s future.

Thankfully Ginny blacked out after the third pass of the mark.  I was forced to hold her up while he traced over it four more times before he was satisfied.

“Seven my Lord?”  I ask him as I hold her limp body in my arms.

“She will know what it means.”  He says his eyes once again on her.  “I have great plans for this one Draco.”  He adds standing to his full height.  “It is a great honor that I am trusting her to your care.”

“Thank my Lord.”  I say as I fix her robes for her; not wishing to look Lord Voldemort in the eyes at the moment for my own safety.

“I think Lieutenant General Malfoy has a good ring to it.”  He adds and the shock of it makes me turn up to him.

“My Lord I was only a Lieutenant.  That’s… a large jump.”  I say, as I would now be answering only to my father.

“Yes, well I see now that you have been undervalued in the past.”  He says with a simple wave of his hand.

“There’s one other that helped in my work with Miss Weasley.”  I say unsure of calling her by her first name to a man that seems so familiar with the woman I love.

I’d love to punish Blaise for fooling around with her last night but I know Ginny would want him to be acknowledged as well.

“The one other of my followers she doesn’t think is scum?”  He asks amused.

“I think so my Lord.”  I say feeling her move in my arms.  “Second Lieutenant Zabini was more than helpful in showing her the truth.”

“And what do you think he deserves for his help?”  He asks his eyes moving back to Ginny as she starts to wake.

“I think he would prefer to be under my direct command my Lord.”  I say as that’s what he had been asking for since I was exiled in the first place.

“It doesn’t seem that he has ever stopped.”  Voldemort says with a chuckle.  “I will decide on a new rank for him and give him to you as a personal officer.”

“Thank you my Lord.”  I say standing as I shift Ginny into my arms bridal style.  “May I take her home to recover my Lord?”  I ask not sure, I’ll ever be able to relax around him.

“You are dismissed for now.”  He answers waving me towards the door.

As I carry Ginny down the halls of my old family home she whimpers before opening her still cloudy eyes.

“What happened?”  She asks in a small voice.

“Everything is good my love, we’re going home.”  I tell her softly.  “We’re going home.”

The End.

Advertisements

3 responses »

  1. i have loved this chapter, LV was absolutely perfect. i wonder if his plans for her include keeping her blind or restoring her eye sight? so here to hoping that you will write a sequel:)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s