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. Final Chapter in the Face trilogy. Harry is remade and working to confront the Dark Lord once more. Is he the Hero the people are looking for in these dark times? Is Lord Voldemort the Villain we once knew. Or will both hero and villain come from an unexpected place?
Chapter 1: New Way of Life
Chapter 2: Home Sweet Home
Chapter 3: A New Nature
Chapter 4: Death & Fear
Chapter 5: The Worst Kind of Love
Chapter 6: Taking Flight
Chapter 7: Heading Home
Chapter 8: Nothing Stays the Same
I worry my bottom lip between my teeth as I watch the front yard of the house we are all hold up in. It is an abandon muggle house that those in the rebellion placed wards on weeks ago to keep us undetected by Tom or the Ministry.
The day is bright and sun shines in through the window as I sit on the ledge. People are constantly coming and going from the house, but we are in a busy enough part of town that it doesn’t seem particularly odd.
It has been a week since my wedding day and I feel more alone than I have in months. I’m only allowed a few visitors. Most of the DA sees me as a traitor or at least some powerless girl who got in over her head. I laugh at that. In this place I have to choose if I’m weak, dumb, or both.
Harry says he is working on changing their minds about me. He tells them that he would not be here without me, but it is hard for people to understand things they can’t see.
I’ve thought about trying to escape, go back to Tom and try to regain his trust. At least with Tom I felt useful and needed by some people.
No one here understands how many people they put in danger by taking me from Tom’s side. I feel like no one here really understands who I am any more. Harry tries, but he has so much on his plate leading this rebellion that he doesn’t have a lot of time to help with my mess.
“I brought you a book.” Hermione says as she walks into the room. She closes and wards the door behind her before walking over to my seat at the window. “I thought it would be best to keep your mind busy.”
“When can I have a wand?” I ask taking the book from her. I try and keep my voice pleasant so that it doesn’t seem as if I was just thinking of running away.
“It’s hard for us to get our hands on new ones.” Hermione says putting hers away.
“And unlike you I can’t do anything useful with one.” I say bitterly as I set the book aside without really looking at it.
“Ginny.” She says with pity in her voice as she rests a hand on my shoulder. “It’s only been a week, and You-Know-Who’s forces are still out in mass looking for you. We can’t risk your safety.”
I look at the hand and then up into my friend’s eyes. “I know. I know the only safe place for me in this world right now is this window. Because even this house is full of people who hate me. Maybe you all should just let me go?” I ask not for the first time. “I’m no good to anyone here.” I finish turning back to the window.
“He would kill you Ginny.” She tells me tightly.
“He can’t kill me Hermione.” I remind her as I rest my head against the cool glass. “I’m the only one in the world Tom can’t kill.”
“I wish you wouldn’t call him that.” She says pulling a chair up next to my seat. It seems I’m not going to be rid of her anytime soon. “We think he has reignited the Taboo curse on his real name, but calling…”
“Tom is his real name.” I say watching as Corner walks up to the house freely and without any sign of harm done to him. I can’t help but think how Tom would torture him for me, while these people let him walk around more freely than I can.
“I know it’s his birth name, but I think if you stop calling him that, than maybe you could start seeing him for what he is.” She says sounding so very worried for me.
I turn to look at her frowning slightly. “I know what he is Hermione.” I tell her with a sigh then turn to give her a smile. “It isn’t him. I love Harry.” I tell her honestly. Being with Harry has been the only thing really keeping me sane for the last seven days. “I just think that having me here puts a lot of people in danger.”
She smiles at this as if I’ve taken some worry away from her. “Well actually we’ve been thinking about that.” She says a bit more brightly.
“Who do you mean by we exactly?” I ask as I hate the fact they have been discussing my future behind my back like I am some kind of child.
“Harry, Ron, Neville, and I.” She says carefully. “We are the leadership in this cell.” She adds quickly as I am sure I am showing my displeasure. “We think that maybe it would be best to get you out of town for a while. Maybe set you up in some place remote where you will be safe from everyone who wishes to harm you. It would also mean you wouldn’t be putting anyone else in any danger either.”
“The men sent you in here to tell me about this because they are all too chicken shit to confront me themselves?!” I ask letting my temper flair. “Those in the rebellion aren’t the only ones I’m responsible for!” I scream making her move back. “No one thought of what would happen to those under my care if you all just dragged me away from my life!” I tell her getting to my feet.
“You’re not responsible for anything Ginny! That wasn’t your life!” Hermione yells back as she puts her hands on her hips. “He was using you as just another piece in his game to take over the world. And you were letting him use you!”
“At least there, I was on the board! Here? What am I here but Harry Potter’s princess that you want to send away to some remote tower! I’m not some damsel in distress!” I yell waving my arms about and wishing I had a wand to curse her with.
When the door opens we both turn to the intruder. I wonder for a moment how they got passed the wards before I realize it’s Harry come to calm us both down. Not missing a beat I turn my rage on him.
“You’re not sending me away!” I tell him moving across the room so I can punch him in the nose. Harry grimaces and grabs my wrists before I can do any damage.
“Hermione, can you give us some time.” He says to the other fuming witch in the room before turning to me.
His hold on me is tight enough to hurt, but he is well aware I’m not one who will thank him for being careful with me. Once his friend is out of the room he puts both hands in one before casting something at the door.
“We could hear you yelling all over the house.” Harry says darkly as he gives me his full attention.
“I can’t do this any more Harry.” I tell him looking into his angry green eyes.
“Not everything is about you Ginny.” He says sounding almost disgusted. “You’re a distraction here. No one wants his whore in their hero’s bed.”
Him hitting me would have hurt less than those words.
“So you think I’m a whore too? Selling myself for things that don’t even matter anymore?” I ask him in a quiet tone.
“We are going to get your brothers out when we can. It isn’t possible just now.” He says as if the only reason I would be upset now is my worry about my brothers.
I am worried for them. I think about the family I left behind every day, but no one here seems to realize they were not the only ones who counted on me.
“I can’t help here.” I tell him softly, wanting him to understand this wasn’t just about me.
“We’ve talked about this, my lioness, you can’t go back. But there are ways you can be helpful. We are making a safe place for you to work Ginny; it isn’t just about keeping you away from him.”
I frown not understanding what I could do that was helpful in some remote location.
“You should see Luna’s article about you. They are all about Lady Mercy who was taken from their great Lord and how we are the bad guys that stole you from the man you love and the country that needs you….
“Luna is only doing what will keep her safe. You shouldn’t judge her for the position you forced her into. After she delivered… You wouldn’t be here without her!” I tell him outraged he dared to even bring her into this.
“I know what Luna has to do.” Harry says calmly. “I’m not saying anything against her. I’m just saying they’re propping you up as their hero, Ginny. But you’re mine.” Harry ends in a possessive tone.
I frown at him trying to tug my wrist free, but he only tightens his hold and I know it is going to leave marks. “What am I supposed to do about that?”
“I want you to write your thoughts and feelings and show the people what Lady Mercy really cares about.” He says his eyes shining at his own brilliance. “If they are going to prop you up let’s give you a voice.”
I sit patiently in the Dark Lord’s office as I wait for him to have time for me. I distract myself from whatever could go wrong today by working on another article about how Ginny was kidnapped out of the arms of the man she loved.
Blaise laughs every time I tell him I’m not lying. I know Ginny loves the Dark Lord, just as I know she loves Harry. It’s funny to think most people think you can only love one person at a time. From years of watching others go about their lives I can tell that is hardly ever the case.
Keeping my thoughts on Ginny helps with the fear of being alone in his office. He sent a message the other day that says he would be handling the investigation into Rookwood’s death himself. He seemed to believe me easily when I told him it was an accident; I have to wonder now what else he wants to know.
I push this thought away knowing it will only serve to get me into trouble if he dives into my mind again as he did at his wedding.
When the door opens I look up from my writing and look directly into the darkness that is the Dark Lord. I’ve spoke to Harry as Death once since his return and it is so odd seeing how differently the two of them wear the exact same body.
When I spoke with Harry his colors were a jumble of confusion and the pain of returning. I know it will take time for him to settle into himself, but still even then he had such an open air about him.
The Dark Lord on the other hand stands tall and closed. There is something appealing about him, but in the way things that aren’t good for you are always appealing.
I notice then that my heart is racing and I look away from him standing up so that he doesn’t think I mean him disrespect.
“Lady Zabini please sit.” He says motioning to the chair I was just using.
“Thank you my Lord.” I say folding my notebook closed and putting it and my quill back in my purse.
“Tell me, what do you think should be your punishment for killing one of my most trusted Death Eaters?” He asks in a tone that seems much too friendly for the words that it held.
I let myself look up at him and know that he is studying me in a way that I often study others. “I don’t think your Death Eaters should be above the law my Lord. He was attacking me, as you know, and I didn’t mean to kill him.”
“But you rid it from me and those whose responsibility it is to protect you.” He counters still watching me closely.
“I was led to believe doing so would end in loss of my life in some form or another.” I told him honestly. “I was led to believe that you do not protect women from what he was trying to do to me.” I say looking into his eyes to remind him exactly what he had tried the last time I was in this office.
“Are you not afraid of me Lady Zabini?” He asks as he leans forward on his desk. His elbows resting easily on the surface as he braces his chin on his thumbs.
When I look at him I see there is an underlying hurt and anger, but they are deep, hidden maybe even to himself. On the surface he is only curious.
“Not at the moment my Lord.” I tell him trying to stay as close to the truth as I can.
He laughs at this, but the sound is wrong, it is not something that comes naturally to him.
“There are very few people in this world that would be willing to make a statement like that and you’re not even a Gryffindor.” He says with a mocking sneer. The darkness around him deepens as his expression turns predatory.
“Though I understand you were defending yourself and your virtue…” He says the word with a mocking tone. One could mistake the inflection to mean he was insulting or didn’t really think he had virtue, but I could see the change in color around him, and it was much more clear that he was mocking the very idea of virtue.
“I wasn’t a virgin at that time.” I interrupt him having the sudden urge for us to speak clearly to each other. “I was scared that he would hurt me. It was as simple as that.”
He watches me for a long moment with his eyes narrow, it was obvious people never interrupted him.
“That being as it may…” He continues with a more deadly tone. “I don’t like to be deceived. Lord Lestrange has been learning this fact over the past week or so.” He says sitting back in his chair as he inspects me. “So we are back to the beginning of our conversation, how should I punish you?”
I frown at this as I try to think of what he would see as a fit punishment for keeping the death from him. “I would assume torture of some kind.” I settle on nodding in agreement with the thought.
“I have a feeling Lady Zabini that pain is not something that would deter future infractions.” He says and he is smiling again as we have come to the point in the conversation he has been waiting for.
“You’ve already chosen how you will punish me.” I tell him as I have the realization.
“You know if I didn’t discover this myself, if you weren’t so connected to my wife, I would have handed this whole matter off to someone from the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. I am your emperor; I don’t usually meddle in these things.”
“If you did that I would be classified as a Non Citizen and the Ministry would try to seize all of my property.” I told him trying to think of all the ways this could go right or wrong.
“Ah yes the Radcliff inheritance wards. They would be a problem if we took that route wouldn’t they? Many of the old family lines are the same. As long as there is someone alive that can rightfully inherit the estate the Ministry will have problems taking anything.”
“My Lord I can’t help but feel like we aren’t really here because of what happened with Rookwood. You know I do my best to serve the empire loyally, could you just tell me what you need?” I ask as I am tired of all this spin around.
“That is not the way this works Lady Zabini.” He says getting to his feet and walking around the desk. “If you really must know, you are honestly here for my amusement. You know I thought about taking my frustration with my wife out directly on you.” He explains as he leans on the back of my chair.
I turn to look at him and find his face inches from my own.
“The Rookwood matter is just a convenient excuse. How fast do you think she would come running back if we put a picture of your bruised and beaten body on the front of the Quibbler?”
“I think if she were able to come running back she would already be at your side my Lord.” I tell him trying not to show my fear at his invasion of my personal space.
“You really believe that propaganda you write about how she is actually in love with her Dark Lord?” He asks looking at me as if he is deciding exactly how he will devour me.
I ball my fists trying to keep my breathing under control. I’m about to answer him when there is a knock at the door. He stands then taking a step back from me before he orders the person in.
Daphne holds herself straight as she carries a tray of tea for two into the room. She glances at me for only a moment before turning to leave without a word to Voldemort or myself.
When the door closes again he turns and starts to serve the tea as if we are just having some kind of friendly conversation. He hands me a cup and saucer before sitting on the edge of his desk as he takes a sip of his own.
The way he looks at me now I know I don’t have an option to refuse so I take a sip and hope it isn’t poisoned. Though poison doesn’t really seem to be his style.
“You haven’t answered my question yet Lady Zabini.” He says looking at me with polite interest.
“I know for a fact that she loves both you and Harry.” I tell him and frown as I know I shouldn’t be so clear about the things that I can see in a person.
He tenses at my use of Harry’s name but says nothing until he takes another sip from his cup. I do the same as I think over how I could recover from the words.
“You seem very sure of yourself Lady Zabini, now why would that be?”
“I really don’t like to be called that.” I tell him as he’s used the title several times since I entered the room.
He chuckles at this and shakes his head. “Would you prefer I call you Luna? Are we on a first name basis already?”
“I don’t really know the etiquette for what we are to each other my Lord. You are married to one of my best friends, so Luna seems like a perfectly reasonable thing to call me.”
“Than tell me Luna, why are you so very sure that Ginevra is in love with me, how do you know?” He asks and I can see he is trying to act like this is some big joke to him, but in truth he had a need for her that could very possibly be his version of love.
“Because I can read people as easily as most read books. She never wanted to, I don’t think. Her love for you has always been a struggle. On your wedding day I could see she had finally achieved some acceptance of it. Then they came and they took her and I really don’t think she wanted to go.” I tell him wondering for another long moment at how talkative I was suddenly being. I look down at the tea then back up to him. “You know veritaserum really has no taste at all, does it?” I ask as the thought occurs to me.
“No it doesn’t.” He says watching me thoughtfully.
“I assume this was to see if I had any other secrets I was hiding from you?” I ask unable to keep my mouth shut. It is like months of training and fear have evaporated with the tea.
“Do you?” He asks like he is only mildly interested.
“A few, but they are things only my lovers know.” I say trying to direct my speech, just a push here and there. I know I can’t lie directly, but I have to at least try not to reveal everything.
“Is that an offer?” He asks looking amused.
“I don’t think we have the same sorts of sexual desires my Lord.” I tell him looking to my knees. “I don’t like pain nearly as much as you enjoy inflicting it.”
“What would be the best way to actually humiliate you Luna?” He asks more seriously now.
“I don’t think that is within your power my Lord. I’ve never been very shy about anything. I’ve always shown people who I really am.”
“Well that leaves very little fun for me.” He says sounding regretful. “Maybe you are correct and I will have to take out my anger the old fashioned way.” He adds as he draws his wand slowly. “Have you ever been under the Cruciatus curse?”
“Not directly, my Lord, no.” I tell him thinking about all the times I had seen it used.
“Have you ever cast it yourself?” He asks lightly.
“No my Lord.” I say frowning up at him.
“Well this will be a learning experience for you.” He says taking me by the arm and pulling me out of the chair.
I’m standing outside the kitchens rolling a tiny clear bottle back and forth between my fingers as I wait for the elves to bring me what I need. I’m paying more attention to the bottle in my hand than Draco who has been talking at me for at least fifteen minutes straight. He doesn’t seem to have noticed I’m not listening.
When the wall opens and three elves come out balancing the tea tray I take it from them with a nod and let them return to their work before thrusting it into Draco’s hands.
“Daphne have you been listening to me in the least?” He asks sounding more annoyed than he has in the week following our Lady’s kidnapping.
“No.” I tell him as I pick up the teacup with the pink flowers.
Draco sighs shaking his head as I pour a small amount of the clear potion into the cup and swirl it around so it covers the porcelain without being too noticeable.
“Who is this for anyway?” Draco asks looking down at the tray as I set the cup back in place and pocket the bottle.
“Our Lord didn’t tell me.” I say taking the tray from him before heading down the hall toward the Chamber of Secrets.
“Are we going to talk now?” Draco asks keeping pace at my side easily.
I sigh glancing over to the man I think I love and nod once. “Okay you want to talk? Here is what we need to talk about. We are breaking up. We are going to do it publicly and over something believable. Even the Dark Lord should think we are on the outs. I think it should probably be over our Lady…” I start explaining as I try to be as blunt as I can.
“You don’t have to marry him Daphne. I can protect you.” He says a bit more thickly. “I thought we decided you were not going to attach yourself to someone you couldn’t control?” There was a tiny hint of pleading in his voice now.
I sigh looking at him with my own frown. “Draco. You’re just as vulnerable as I am right now. We put all our backing in our Lady and until she comes back we need to make the smart move. I’ll never be able to control Antonin, but when Ginny gets back we will be on a much more equal footing an…”
“Daphne, she isn’t coming back.” Draco says moving into my way so he can make me look at him.
“It’s only been a week Draco.” I roll my eyes. “Our Lady wouldn’t just leave us here. You should have seen her at the wedding. She really didn’t want to go with them.” I tell him moving around him so I could continue my chore.
“There’s been sightings Daphne.” He presses urgently.
“Of Ginny?” I stop wondering why he hadn’t told me about this before.
“No.” He says pursing his lips and taking the tray from me without looking into my eyes.
“What are you talking about Draco?” I ask as he now leads the way down to the chamber. He doesn’t say anything else until we get to the Dark Lord’s office.
I knock on the door softly before taking the tray from him. When the Dark Lord tells me to enter Draco opens the door and I try to stay as calm as possible as I walk over and set the tray on the desk. I glance to his guest and try not to react as I see Blaise’s little wife in the chair across from the Dark Lord’s desk.
When I’m safely outside again I look to Draco. “Blaise’s wife is in there.” I say as we both see Blaise being led down into the main chamber by two masked Death Eaters.
“He told me.” Draco says under his breath as he takes me by the arm to leads me to an adjacent hall.
“What is going on Draco?” I ask pulling away from him once we are out of view.
“The Dark Lord uncovered something about Blaise’s wife while he was investigating our Lady’s kidnapping. They are being questioned about it today, but we don’t think it is going to be a big deal.”
“He was the only one of us not vulnerable!” I yell before looking around and quiet my voice. “He was the only one of us that was safe.” I remind him with a frown. “We need to… Maybe we can…” I shake my head and put my hands in my face. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“We didn’t want to worry you.” Draco says before clearing his throat.
“Everything will be better if we can just get our Lady back.” I tell him dropping my hands.
“She isn’t coming back Daphne.” He says again in a pained tone.
“Why do you keep saying that?” I ask frowning up at him.
“Potter has been sighted. She’s with Potter now.” He says shaking his head.
“No.” I shake my own head. “No, how is that even possible?”
“They brought him back somehow and our Lady helped them do it.”
We both watch each other in silence for a few minutes when we hear voices in the other room.
“Tell me Lord Zabini, have you ever cast the Cruciatus curse?” The Dark Lord asks in an easy tone.
I look into Harry’s green eyes for a long moment waiting for him to explain how his plan will help anything at all. He looks back at me as if expecting me to tell him how brilliant he is. Finally he squeezes my wrists with crushing force making me gasp and look away first.
He lightens his hold suddenly them looking down at the red handprints he left on my skin.
“I’m sorry.” He says sounding a bit confused.
“I’m fine.” I say putting my arms behind my back.
“I’ve hurt you again.” He says in a low voice reaching out for me before changing his mind and stepping back. This isn’t the first time in the last week that Harry has gone far enough to leave a mark.
“You’ve been through a lot. You’re adjusting.” I say quickly making excuses. The truth is that I like when he goes too far. I’ve been trained to enjoy pain, and that isn’t something that just goes away. Sometimes I find myself wanting Harry to hurt me and I know it’s wrong.
“It’s just so hard to focus around you Ginny.” He says at last. “Every time I see you I remember what I did- what he did to you. It makes me so angry and it’s all mixed up in my head. Please understand that I need you to do this thing. You can’t help anyone here but if we start publishing your words. If we start showing the people who their ‘Lady Mercy’ really is. Then maybe it will be safe for you again, and it will strike blows against the status quo.”
“You need distance from me?” I ask as I realize what this is all about. I take a step back from him trying not to show how hurt I feel. The only thing in my life that even resembles happiness and I’m not good for him.
“Ginny, don’t say it like that. We are going to keep in constant contact. I’m going to visit you regularly.” He explains moving towards me. “I love you. I’m just worried about what I turn into around you.” He says taking my hands gently and showing me the red marks that would bruise if we didn’t do anything about them. “This is not okay. You are not okay.” He pleads bringing my wrists up to his lips and kissing them softly. “You need time to recover, to get away from him.”
“When am I leaving?” I ask feeling a little numb because I know he’s right. Maybe space would do us both some good. How can I look into Harry’s face and not see Tom now?
“Tonight. I need you to pack up whatever you might need.” He says slipping arms around me and just holding me close. After a few minutes of silence he suddenly pulls back. “That reminds me. Hermione saved some of your stuff from before.” He said going to the wardrobe and pulling down a box. “I think it’s time, you can handle it.” He adds looking a bit sheepish.
“My stuff? From the castle?” I ask wondering what Hermione would have felt I needed.
“Don’t be mad.” He adds glancing over his shoulder as he sets the box down on the bed. “We were all just worried you migh…” He starts but I know at least one thing that must be in that box.
“You lied!” I yell as he drawls out my wand and holds it out of my reach.
“Ginny we all know you were planning on running back to him. We felt it would be bad news to give you a wand until we were sure you wanted to stay.” He explains in a cold tone. “The question is; am I making a mistake about giving it back now?”
I glare at him and he glares right back. I know he won’t give it to me if I seem like I would do something against them with it so I force myself to take a deep calming breath before I hold out my hand.
“I’m not going to try and run away.” I tell him with false calmness.
He relaxes a bit and holds the wand out for me. The moment I have the familiar weight in my hand once again I whip it around and cast the first hex I can think of. I watch for a moment as Harry stumbles back in surprise from the bat boogies now flying from his nose before the world disappears in fire.
My very bones seem to melt as the all too familiar pain rocks my body. A small part of me leaps with excitement as I recognize the pain that only Tom could inflict upon me. He’s here, he’s come for me! But before I run away with the primal instinct, words blast so loudly in my head I think my ears start to bleed.
“YOU DARE CURSE ME!”
The first thing I see as he pulls me out into the main chamber is Blaise standing in the center of the room with a Death Eater on either side of him. My mouth goes dry as I wonder what this horrible interview has been leading up to.
“You didn’t think I would forget about your other conspirator now did you?” The Dark Lord asks as he tosses me into my husband’s arms.
“I was really hoping you would.” I say still under the effects of the potion.
“Tell me Lord Zabini, have you ever cast the Cruciatus curse?” He asks him and Blaise looks a bit alarmed between me and the Dark Lord.
“Yes my Lord, a few times.” He says as he would dare not answer a direct question.
“Well then I’ll have you show your wife exactly how it is done. Please demonstrate for us.” He says motioning for Blaise to take out his wand.
“Whatever my Lord wishes, but who should I demonstrate on?” He asks looking around the room for anything to cast the spell on. He glances at the guards as if he is considering it.
“The woman in your arms of course.” Voldemort says as the cruelty shines clearly in his eyes now.
“My Lord please?” Blaise’s eyes snap to the other man’s. “She is my wife; she could be carrying my heir.”
“Than you heir will pay for his parent’s mistakes.” The Dark Lord says taking a step forward. “Unless you would prefer that I let my loyal Death Eaters enjoying doing it themselves? I am sure they could have hours of fun with her before she broke.”
My husband’s usually beautiful dark skin looks ashen as he looks between me and Voldemort. “Do it.” I tell him taking a step back. “This is what I deserve.” I tell him as I think of what happened to Ginny a few months before. What I set in motion for her.
I’ve never seen his hand shake so much as he was casting the spell. The word stutters on his lips and he looks at the Dark Lord with fear. Swallowing hard Blaise looks at me again. He closes his eyes as he tries to get himself under control.
“Crucio!” He calls in a much firmer voice and I feel the fires of Hades fill my bones.
There is no describing the white pain that is the Cruciatus curse. It is like every kind of pain all at once and there is no hope. It is like you have always been in pain and there is no room to hope for it’s end, there is no room in your mind for anything but the agony you are feeling in that moment.
When the spell is lifted I am shaking on the floor. My limbs still twitching as the memory of the pain still affects my nerves.
“Very well done Lord Zabini. One more time to make sure she fully understands her mistake.” He says coldly.
“C-crucio.” Blaise cast the spell again and though the pain is great it is not like it was the first time. I can think this time, not well, but well enough to know that it will end and there is hope.
When he lifts the spell I can hear the Dark Lord tsking over me. “Now that wasn’t nearly as well done.” He says sounding regretful. “I guess I’ll have to finish it myself.” He adds.
I don’t hear him cast but the effect is like nothing I could have imagined. The pain is so complete and so perfect I understand how people can lose themselves in it. I am nothing but agony, as it leaves no scrap left for humanity. I am living pain and know nothing else.
“What was that?” Lord Voldemort hisses and that moment of connection is now only shakes and aftermath of the pain that once was so complete.
“I-I don’t… I’m not exactly sure my Lord.” Blaise sounds even more frightened than he had a few moments ago.
“Has it ever happened before?” The Dark Lord asks with an accusing tone.
“Y-yes my Lord, twice since I’ve known her.” My husband says as I start to really come back to the room.
I sit up slowly as my body still aches with the spells that were cast. I feel the blackness of his colors close as Voldemort crouches down next to me and tucks his knuckle under my chin. He forces me to look up into his eyes.
“You’re a true seer.” He says and it is not a question. “No other could ever speak when I cast that spell upon them.”
“I spoke?” I ask surprised by this revelation.
He smiles in the cold and cunning way that isn’t really a smile. It’s a predator eyeing its prey.
“Yes my dear. You spoke. Are there more than two prophecies I should know about?” He asks looking at me and I know he is working his legilimency on me.
“I only know two. There could have been a third but I was cut off.” I tell him as my eyes try to find Blaise.
“Tell me child. Where any of these prophecies about me?” He asks very calmly.
“They could have been.” I say not wishing to let on how much I know about his life.
“Tell me.” He orders still looking at me, but now he lets me look away.
“The first one I had several months ago when Blaise and I first coupled.” I tell him unashamed. “The truth is now spoken as innocence is lost. Red and Green war out of sight. Before the Lion can step out of darkness. Three signs will herald the battle. She will invite the snake into her bed. Reformed as a man the heir of snakes shall father a child who will never see the day of its birth. Hidden courage shall form the face the Dark Lord fears.”
“Well that is most definitely about me.” He states frowning before waving for me to continue.
“The Dark Moon shows the way for the hero to be saved. What was stolen will be won by the Ancient Snake’s son. With the first battle over, the war will go on.” I tell him studying my hands closely as I wonder what the punishment is for prophesying about the Dark Lord.
“It seems to me much from both of these have come to pass.” He says reaching out and brushing my hair out of my eyes. “I assume these first two prophecies were not triggered by pain. You’re husband seemed most surprised as you started to speak.”
“As I said the first was when Blaise and I first had sex. The second happened as I was having sex with another.” I explain which makes the Dark Lord chuckle. “They both happened when I reached a certain amount of pleasure.”
“Ah. Now it makes since. It is the act of being able to completely block out everything but one simple feeling that can trigger them. With sex that feeling is pleasure. With the cruciatus it’s pain. But those two are so much closer than most people think.”
“It doesn’t happen every time.” I say hoping that this means he won’t try and curse me again.
“Unlike lesser scholars of divination I know the fates only speak when the message is worth telling.” He explains finally standing straight once again. “Now I think I am willing to forgo the rest of your punishment.” He says as if he is giving me a great gift.
“Thank you my Lord.” Blaise says quickly kneeling down next to me.
“But what is next for us is the real question. Can you be trusted to pass on any future prophecies to your Lord? Or should I keep you here?” He asks a new smirk lighting his face. “There is also the matter of keeping an asset such as you safe. I am in need of a new Mistress, especially while my wife is missing. And if these words of the future come most often during sex. It seems like it would make a good fit for your Lord.”
For once Blaise is too stunned to speak. “That is quite an honor my Lord, but I do not feel comfortable being the Mistress to my best friend’s husband. She loves you too much, it would hurt her greatly.” I tell him looking to Blaise with worry.
“Perfect. All the more reason.” He says coldly now.
“Please my Lord?” I beg looking up to him once again. “I-I fear your bed.” I tell him honestly.
“Many do.” He says with an amused expression. “There have only ever been a few women that were truly excited by the idea of my affection. And the one you speak of needs to be punished.”
“But my Lord?” Blaise stands up looking a bit panicked. “She’s my wife, surely you wouldn’t…”
“I have cuckolded greater men than you boy.” The Dark Lord chuckles with true dark pleasure.
“And you are expecting support from my uncle in Venice.” He says a bit more strongly as he gets to his feet. “I am your loyal servant my Lord.” He adds quickly lowering his gaze. “Let me take my wife home and I will make an unbreakable vow to you that I will report any future prophecies to you as soon as I am able.”
The Dark Lord looks down between the two of us frowning slightly in thought. “No.” He says pulling his wand from its hiding place as he starts to circle the two of us. “Luca Zabini will be giving his support in our push into Italy no matter what I do to your wife.”
“He…” My husband starts, but goes silent with a cold look from Voldemort.
“You are a shrewd little boy.” Voldemort says thoughtfully. “You serve loyally, but you have not taken my mark. Why is that exactly?”
“I’m not a fighter my Lord.” Blaise answers with a bowed head. “But I have served you loyally.”
“Except it seems when it comes to this woman at our feet.” He says motioning to me. “Could it be the notorious Blaise Zabini actually loves his wife?” The Dark Lord says the word love as if it is the lowest weakness one can have.
“Yes my Lord.” He holds his hand out to help me stand. “I do love her, and I would do almost anything to protect her.”
“Would you take my mark and join my army?” Voldemort presses with an evil gleam spreading across his face.
“No.” I say putting myself between the two of them. I’m tired of being an observer in this conversation. “My Lord my husband is not a fighter; please don’t force him into that role.”
“Luna, we all must serve our Lord in the best way we can.” Blaise says standing slowly beside me.
“Yes, you must.” The Dark Lord says smiling all the more widely. “And for your wife, that means one thing.”
Blaise’s jaw clenches as he realizes the trap he just dropped us into. “My uncle…” He starts again making the Voldemort laugh.
“Is my loyal servant.” He finishes sounding more than amused. “But as I am a benevolent leader I will be gentle with your wife when I take her into my bed.”
Draco and I move so we can watch what is going on in the other room out of sight of those within it. His arms tighten around me as we silently witness Blaise having to curse his own wife. His whole body shakes as it takes everything he has to cast Cruciatus curse with enough focus to actually make her scream.
“Very well done Lord Zabini. One more time to make sure she fully understands her mistake.” The Dark Lord says in a detached way.
“C-crucio.” Blaise tries to cast again, but we can all see he couldn’t get the same amount of focus as before.
The Lord Voldemort tskes shaking his head. “Now that wasn’t nearly as well done.” He says sounding mockingly sad. “I guess I’ll have to finish it myself. CRUCIO!”
The girl on the floor screams, but this time one can tell she knows nothing but pain. I turn my face in Draco’s chest. I don’t want to see her body jerk and writhe on the floor.
Suddenly the screaming stops and I turn only my head to see what’s happened.
Luna starts to speak in a strange voice I’ve never heard before. “When one love is at his weakest a hidden enemy will finally make his move.”
With wide eyes I look up at Draco and we move as one away from the scene. Not wanting to be caught eavesdropping on this particular scene we rush into the first unlocked door we find. When we light our wands we find ourselves in a supply closet.
“It happens with Cruciatus as well?” I ask Draco who nods silently in thought. “So he obviously knows; this is only going to get worse for all of us.”
“What do you think it meant?” Draco asks a bit dazed.
“Is that really the important fact right at this moment?” I ask punching him in the arm. “The Dark Lord knows Blaise has been keeping things from him. How long before he figures out we’re involved?”
“What do you want Daphne? To make a run for it?” He asks not unkindly.
“No.” I say looking around for a moment. “But we do need to discuss how we are going to publicly break it off.” I remind him.
“There is no changing your mind is there?” He asks sounding a little defeated.
“Maybe the Dark Lord is right.” I say wetting my lips. “Maybe love is a trap we’ve both fallen into. I think it would be best if after we convince the world we are nothing we don’t see each other unless we have to.”
I watch as Draco stiffens at my words.
“So you mean you want this to be the last time we are ever alone together?” He asks moving closer to me. “You want this to be the last time I have a chance to touch you?” He adds his hand brushing against my cheek.
“Yes.” I say stiffly as I try not to fall into his lure.
He leans into me and I can feel his lips centimeters from mine. “There’s a staff meeting tomorrow about upgrading security in the castle. We’ll do it there.” He finally says coldly and moves away without actually kissing me goodbye.
I shake there alone in the closet for a moment unsure about this empty feeling I suddenly have inside of me. I’m alone again, and maybe that is for the best.
When I wake from the pain, I can tell right away there is something wrong. I’m not where I’m supposed to be. There is too much light. I’m on a bed, not on the floor of a dungeon or even the house with the rebels. This isn’t Harry’s bed either it doesn’t smell like him.
Opening my eyes slowly I find myself in a small but clean bedroom. The smells of fresh cool air and pine fill my lungs as I take a breath. They already moved me to the cottage Hermione had mentioned. Slipping out of bed, I see a note propped up against the box Harry had taken my wand from.
I’ll be back later to check on you.
I frown at the note and set it aside. I have to wonder how long I was out. I’ve woken with the absolute certainty of what had happened when I cursed Harry. My wand was made to punish me if I moved against Tom. It is obvious that just like my marriage bond the wand thinks Harry is Tom.
I laugh as the first time the wand backfires I was doing something Tom would approve of. I can still feel a lingering ache in my joints from the Cruciatus curse. It must have been designed to cut off as soon as I blacked out. But then how did they move me so easily?
I sigh and open the box to see what else Hermione had packed just for something to keep me from thinking about my friends. Friends who think it is just fine to use me even more badly than the Darkest Wizard of our time.
On top of odds and ends I don’t really care anything for is my journal. The one Daphne gave me so long ago. I half smile half grimace at the book. It had helped me to work through my feelings for Tom. I’m thankful Hermione never deemed to read it, as I am sure if she had than I would be in a locked room and not a cottage all alone.
Looking through the box some more I find a quill and ink before setting the box aside so I can sit at the desk it had been sitting on.
I frown down at the book before opening it. This mundane book has been a friend for the last year of my life, it just feels right to catalog the events of the past week.
I feel more trapped now than ever. There was a time back in the beginning of my confinement in the castle that I had no rights at all. And somehow, I feel more powerless now. At least during that time there were those around me to listen. Daphne and even Tom seemed like they cared about what I had to say. It may have been an illusion, or a manipulation, but it was a comforting one.
Now I have been secluded away from everyone I know because my friends see me as nothing more than a distraction at best, and a traitor at worst.
I am a traitor. Because now no matter what side I choose, I have to betray a man that I love. I am a traitor to the side of light because I want to go home back. I want to be with a man that isn’t afraid of hurting me. I want to work towards changing this new regime from the inside. I am a traitor because I want to keep all my friends and family safe. I’m glad I could help give Harry back his life. I am happy in his arms. I like the smell of him on my sheets.
Hermione says that what I feel for Tom isn’t real. She says I have something muggles call Stockholm syndrome. In fact, I spent the whole day after my wedding listening to Hermione go into great detail about what that was and why I needed to fight it. I have a feeling it was something she had been holding in for the months we were together.
I look down at what I’ve written so far before I hear a door open and close. I shut the book quickly and hide it at the bottom of the box before standing and turning to face Harry as he enters the room. I don’t know why I feel the need to hide it from him but it makes me feel better to keep it to myself.
He puts his hands up with a grimace as he enters the room. “I think it is best if you don’t curse me.” He said but didn’t move any closer. “Do you know what happened?”
“My wand is cursed.” I say getting to my feet but leaving the distance between us. “So that I couldn’t use it against…”
“Him.” Harry finishes with a deep frown. “I think I am going to get a bit tired of magical things thinking we are the same person.” He said with a sigh before moving slowly towards me. “But I guess there are some advantages.” He adds before reaching out and taking my hand.
The only reason he could touch me like this after my bond to Tom was because the bond acknowledged him as if he were Tom.
“You wouldn’t add the fact that it seems I am punished for cursing you with this wand?” I ask motioning to the red instrument by my bed.
He frowns pulling me closer into his embrace and kissing the top of my head. “Ginny you looked like you were being tortured; do you really think I would have wanted you to pay that price just because I pissed you off?” He asks looking into my face with concern in his eyes.
“No.” I say with a sigh resting my head against his chest.
“I’m never going to let anyone hurt you again.” He said running his hand up and down my back gently.
I pull out of his arms and shake my head. “Is that who you want me to be?” I ask annoyance flaring once again. “Some fragile thing?”
“No.” He says ready for my attack. “No. I didn’t mean it like that.” He adds quickly putting up his hand. “I just mean that. Ginny I know everything they did to save me. I made Ron tell me what happened to you.”
I can’t have this conversation with him so I head for the door to the bedroom, but he steps in my way.
“I’ve banished them. I had to wait. I had to make sure everyone knew I wasn’t doing it purely for you. But those men are no longer members of my army.” He tells me with a hard expression.
“They helped save you.” I counter, just this morning I was bitter about the freedom they had, and now I’m fighting to keep them?
“I don’t agree with the tactics the leadership chose to use in order to save me. But if they had simply followed Ron’s orders then maybe they could have stayed. But they went out of their way to hurt you Ginny. They have no place at my side.”
I chew on my bottom lip unsure how I feel about this. Without the protection of the DA how long before those men, are found by Tom? I look back to Harry suddenly realizing that is his plan. “You’ve turned them over to Tom?” I ask taking a step back.
“Not directly. But really it is only a matter of time before they are caught.” He says without emotion. “If you’re really so worried for them maybe you’ve earned that name the papers have stuck you with.”
“Do you know what he will do to them if he finds out they are the ones who attacked me? Do you know what I had to do to protect their identities?” I ask angrily.
“He’ll do what I can’t.” Harry says pulling himself up to full height.
“He’ll make them beg for death.” I say watching the cold calculation in Harry’s eyes.
“Exactly.” He says nodding once.
“This isn’t you Harry. You don’t do this.” I tell him shaking my head. “Not this.” I repeat taking a step back from him.
“This is war Ginny, and I can’t trust them to follow orders. And you don’t get protected when you hurt people for the fun of it.”
“It would have been kinder to kill them.” I snap.
“I’m not that nice anymore.” He shoots back with such venom I’m stunned in place.
Standing in the doorway to the room that used to be Ginny’s I can’t help but feel cold and numb. They’ve removed all her things from the space. A remote part of me hopes they have just found a new place in the castle, but the main part of me just feels cold and numb at the look of my own future.
I haven’t been permitted to leave Hogwarts or even the Chamber of Secrets, so Blaise has gone back home to tell the elves and collect what belongings I may need here. In these moments, alone I can’t help but think how I have become the Dark Lord’s weapon.
“I can read people as easily as most read books.” The Dark Lord’s voice rings out from behind me, but I don’t jump or tremble at his approach, but merely turn to face him. I am too numb to fear him. “What did you mean? Do you have some sort of legilimency as well?” He asks and I shake my head.
“I read their colors.” I say, as the potion still seems to be affecting my answers. “I think some would call it auras.”
He looks at me with great interest a slow smile making his face look more dark than happy. “You will use these gifts for my benefit.” He orders reaching out and taking my chin in his grasp. “You will make a divine little pet for me I think.”
“You’re trying to frighten me.” I tell him as I am in no mood to put on any sort of mask for anyone. “Why do you need me frightened when you have already taken my future away?”
“A bold little dove. I wonder now why I haven’t given you more attention.” He says looking past me into the empty room for a moment.
“Because I wasn’t very important.” I tell him with a shrug trying to look back into the room as well. “The only times we interacted was to use me as a tool against others. Trapping me in the Malfoy’s dungeon to use against my father, threatening to rape me to use against Draco. These are the only times we have met.”
“Who knew about your prophecies before today?” He asks looking back at me with a frown. His hand moves down to my wrist as he moves me away from Ginny’s room.
“I don’t want to tell you that.” I tell him shaking my head.
“But you are going to.” The Dark Lord says moving us down the hall where I have never been.
“No I’m not.” I say firmly trying to pull back out of his grasp. I smile to see the potion’s influence is starting to wane.
“You belong to me now little girl. Do you really want to make this harder on yourself than it will already be?” He asks trying to intimidate me and tightening his hold on my wrist.
“Have you officially taken my citizenship?” I ask still too numb be intimidated.
“Do you want me to?” He asks looking into my eyes for signs of fear.
“My Lord if you do what you are thinking, you are going to truly lose her. Having a mistress is one thing, breaking one of the few friends she has left is a completely different thing.”
“Do you really think I have ever cared about my wife’s desires? Do you really think she has ever been more than just another pawn for me to move?”
“I don’t think these things. I know them.” I say boldly. “As I know she will try to get back here. She didn’t want Harry to die, but she didn’t want to go with him either.”
He pushes me back by my wrist making me fall to the ground a few feet from him. “You are a fool.” He hisses drawing his wand smoothly.
“You want me to be your oracle. Then I will always tell you the truth. But if you punish me for that truth than I will have no choice but to find a way out. Then you will have no oracle.”
“There is no way out girl.” He says lowering his wand.
“I’m a very smart girl; there is a thousand ways I can find death in this castle.” I tell him before closing my eyes and waiting for his curse.
There is a long moment where the coldness of the stone under me is all I can feel. Then warm fingers push my chin up and I open my eyes to see him crouching beside me. “Take the unbreakable vow to only ever tell me the truth, and I will only take you as my mistress in name only.”
I blink at the sudden shift in him tilting my head as I wonder about this change. Another predatory smile graces his face at my confusion.
“Though we will give the Prophet a few pictures of how much I use you. I want her to think I bed you regularly and that you like it.” He adds coldly. “Only your husband may know the truth.”
“Yes my Lord.” I agree still stunned before he leans in and kisses me as if he is sealing this bargain in such a way. His hand moved to my hair and he tightens his hold on my locks as he takes what he wants from my lips. I can’t help but admit he is a fine kisser, but it has no fire for me like when I kiss Blaise.
When he pulls back, there is amusement in his eyes. “You should go tell Lord Zabini this deal, you both will come to my rooms in an hour’s time to finish our bargain.”
“I don’t…” I start but he shakes his head and points back down the hall.
“I think he went that way.” He says standing to his full height.
My eyes widening at his words I realize what the kiss was actually for now. Getting to my feet, I rush back towards where the Dark Lord pointed. He is almost to the stairs out of the chamber when I see Blaise again.
“Blaise!” I call breathlessly making him stop.
“He doesn’t waste time.” He says sounding hurt.
“It was just a kiss.” I tell him catching up to him and trying to take his hand. He pulled it out of my reach and wouldn’t even look at me.
“You’re not jealous?” I asked not really thinking to look at his colors just then. He was hurt and I couldn’t really understand why.
“No.” He said in a tone I didn’t understand.
“Then tell me what is wrong. You know I don’t want to be here.” I tell him before I look closer at him, taking in his colors for the first time. He was surrounded in shame and pain and it made me force myself into his arms.
“I hurt you.” He said softly allowing his arms to wrap around me. “I hurt you and it gave him more reason to take you away.” His arms tightened then, pulling me into him. “I couldn’t protect you Luna. I don’t know what to do.”
With my face buried in his chest, I didn’t answer for a long time. I was afraid after all, with him here to melt some of the numbness I could tell the fear was there waiting to crash over me.
“I’ve made a deal.” I tell him softly against his firm chest. “I will take the unbreakable vow to always tell him the truth, and in return he won’t…” I couldn’t think of words horrible enough to explain what I was shaking from.
Blaise stiffened around me all the more. “You’re playing a very dangerous game.” He tells me as if I don’t already know that.
“It was the only move we had.” I remind him looking up into his face. “What did I say? What was this prophecy anyway?” I ask, as I had not been aware enough at the time to know the words coming from my own lips.
“As the year dies the Serpent’s new heir will be born. If left in the hands of the adversary the mother will come to the same fate as the last.”
I’m settling down for the night unable to think of much other than the lonely ache in my heart where Draco used to be. I know it is for the best, but I didn’t realize it would hurt so much so soon. I remind myself once again that it is not just the best for me, but also the best for him if we are parted.
Soon after, I extinguish the candles in my room and slip into the bed alone. My sheet still smell of him, and I don’t know if I will miss the smell when it is gone, or if I should drive it away now to make things easier.
Turning in my bed, I notice something odd at my desk and sit up. The top drawer of my desk seems to be emitting a light. I frown at it trying to think of what it could be when I realize the only thing it could be.
I’m not sure how I make it across the room as I trip over everything to pull the drawer open and grasp the glowing book in my hand. It is charmed to glow every time Ginny has written something new. I hadn’t even realized she took the other book with her. My mouth goes dry as I flip to the newest entry.
My eyes take in every word and my pulse quickens as I read about how much she wants to come home. Even with Harry alive and well, she loves the Dark Lord. I smile, running my fingers down the page as I start to tear up knowing my Lady still worries for me. I’m not alone.
I read the entry a few times, as I try to decide my best action. I could take the book to my Lord and show him how she wants to come back to him. I frown as it also says she enjoys Potter’s touch.
The spelled journals are capable of sending messages both ways, but I’ve never used the function before, as I didn’t want her to know that I was reading. How mad would she be if I revealed this so we could somehow get her home?
Sitting down I know I would rather risk Ginny’s wrath than the Dark Lord’s any day of the week.
Dear my Lady Mercy,
Forgive me that I have tricked you in this way. The journal I gave you back before we were actually friends is a two-way message book. I needed insight and this was a way of gaining it. I swear I have not read any entry in many months, but when I saw that there was a new one my hope was too much not to read it.
Everyone here is alive… Draco and Adrian are on castle duty. Your family is being kept in the upper dungeons. The Dark Lord doesn’t wish to risk them joining you. Millicent is fine, she has been given work as the Headmaster’s assistant, and Tracey I think is still alive. But I don’t think he is torturing anyone, well maybe Tracey. I’m not sure how long they will be safe unless you return.
Tell me how I can serve you best my Lady,
I frown down at the words and quickly close the book before I can think twice about what I’ve just done. I clutch it to my chest taking it to bed with me without really thinking about it. It now contains all my hope. If I can only get her back, then maybe I won’t have to be alone after all.
The next morning I choose a large purse so that I can bring the book with me when I go out with Antonin. He wants to show me something today, and has even gotten permission from the Dark Lord to take me out of Hogwarts to do so.
I dress in my best casual robes and spend a long while on my hair, face, and nails. I make myself into the perfect little pureblood beauty he is looking for in a wife.
My work doesn’t go unnoticed as I meet him in the front hall of the castle. His eyes travel over my form, appraising me like some hippogriff he plans to buy.
“You look lovely today my sweet.” He says as he takes my arm and kisses my hand.
“It isn’t often I get to go out these days.” I tell him in a pleasant tone.
“And from the scene the Malfoy boy made last night in the village I take it you have broken it off with him?” Antonin asks amused with himself.
“Scene?” I ask unable to keep the worry from my voice.
His grasp on my arm got a little tighter as we moved towards the front gates. “He was more than a little drunk, making out with any pureblood twit in the place.”
“Oh.” I say with a slight shrug. “I’m sure he has been wanting to do that publicly for a while.” I say trying to sound unconcerned, but thankful he wasn’t hurt. “Where are we going anyway?” I ask turning my thoughts away from Draco.
“It’s a surprise.” Antonin said smugly. “Just hold on tight once we are off the grounds.” He added patting my hand pleasantly.
I moved closer to him as he Apparated us both to the middle of a small square. Looking around it was easy to tell that we were in one of the many small clusters of wizarding homes in London. It was hard to tell which one as many of them looked very similar.
The buildings were brownstones, and very well kept. The square was lush and green. These were the sorts of homes only the wizard elite kept in London. I wondered whom exactly we were visiting and why he wouldn’t tell me.
Still holding my arm Antonin smiled and led me to the closest house. The front walk was well groomed, and yellow roses climbed a trellis arching over the door.
“Whose house is this?” I ask curiously and he only smiles as he opens the door without knocking. “Yours?” I add in wonder as he pulls me into the empty building.
“Ours. Well it will be once we are married.” He says looking at me expectantly.
Looking around for a moment, I assess the ground floor. The building is full of light, with white walls and wonderfully designed moldings that add elegance. “It’s beautiful.” I say turning to him with a smile. I moved to him as he expects and kiss his lips, showing my excitement.
“I’m glad you like it.” He tells me his fingers reaching up to brush over my face. “You will be staying here when you’re not working. I think it is safer that way. Don’t you?” He asks and I wonder if he means that I will be safe from the Dark Lord or from Draco.
“Yes.” I tell him never letting my pleasant smile drop. If he wished to play these games now, who was I to refuse.
“There’s an elf called Rosy, and I bought a mudblood to help with housework. You did not seem like the type to do such things yourself.” He says casually, but I know he is testing me. I worked very hard to protect muggle-borns for my Lady, and he wants to know what I will think of owning one.
“Male or female?” I ask without any real concern.
“Male. He is scrawny now, but if you put him to some good work, I am sure we can strengthen him up. He’ll be delivered here tomorrow.”
“You trust me alone with a man?” I ask amused but not really giving him a chance to answer as I walk into the sitting room.
“I trust you alone with a boy. He’s barely sixteen, and he’s small for his age. I don’t really think I have anything to worry about.”
“I could teach him to be a man.” I say trying to push his buttons because I had nothing better to do.
“If fucking some mudblood amuses you than I don’t really care as long as my children look nothing like him.” Antonin answers boredly. “But if you are going to act like a slag than we are going to have to rethink our wedding contract.”
I sigh rolling my eyes at him and shaking my head. “I would never actually fuck one of them.” I say before turning to face him. “If you don’t want me to be a bored house witch, what do you want?” I ask still unclear in my standing with him.
“I thought I would get you a job at the Ministry. They’ll underestimate you, think you are just there to decorate the place, and then you are going to take their jobs one by one. Once you have enough influence to actually be useful to me, I’ll reward you by finding you an appropriate lover.”
“So nothing has changed but the fact you have power over me now?” I ask moving to the wide front windows.
“Exactly. I want a useful wife.” He says as I can hear him coming up behind me. “It is just a bonus I have more power over you at the start.” Antonin adds pushing blond curls from my neck.
“And if my Lady returns?” I ask thinking about the book in my bag.
“Do you think he will give her back even a small measure of the power she had before?” He asks with a chuckle, his lips brushing against the back of my neck. “She will be little more than his whore when he takes her back.”
“And if she returns on her own?” I ask trying not to tense as he presses the heat of his chest against my back.
“You’re a child if you think it will happen like that. She has her rebel prince; she was never on our side really.”
Before I can answer him, he shifts and twists me around so my back is against the glass of the window. I look up at him with fearful eyes before he takes my lips more roughly than he has ever dared to touch me before.
My heart hammers in my chest as he presses himself hard against my smaller form. It takes all my will to give into his desire, to not fight or scream in the fear I’ve blocked off in my mind. He knows how I feel about rough play and he is doing this to scare me.
That night I dream of pain. I know Riddle is playing with me, spinning me around, tossing me about, I feel hands all over me but the images never stop for me to focus. This is the first night I’ve slept alone since my marriage and Riddle seems to be having his fun.
When I feel as if I am going to puke he stops everything so suddenly, but I’m still dizzy and off balance, even in this dream place. I fall to my knees in a dark room and I hear a deep evil laughter. But this laugh isn’t Riddle and it isn’t Tom. This is Harry’s laugh, but somehow it had been twisted into something dark and wrong.
“You do seem to like them wicked.” Riddle says sounding amused, but not yet showing himself. In fact, I am still in complete darkness. The only way I know I’m not just floating in nothing is the fact that I can feel the stone against my knee.
“Harry’s a good man.” I counter as I work to gain focus in this dream.
“He was a good man once, but you never spread your legs for him back then.” Riddle mocked and I heard the twisted laugh once more. “Now he is willing to throw fools to a viper.” He added with approval. “We can work with this.”
“I’m not going to talk about this with you.” I tell him finally covering my face with my hands.
“We need to make plans. I’ve told you before that our fates are joined. I will not fail because you are being stupid.” Riddle hissed closer to me. “If I punish you tonight no one will be around to save you. You will live in the pain until I will it to stop. Is that what you want?”
My breath caught as I realized how right he was. Tom and Daphne know these dreams were dangerous. Now without sleeping potions, or even their support, I’m subject to his whims.
His face comes into view, his smile wide as he appears out of the darkness so close to me I could touch him.
“You understand your position.” He says running fingers down my cheek as I turn away from him. “So don’t make me punish you.”
“What do you want?” I ask my heart beating rapidly as I turn my face away from his touch.
“We want power.” Riddle says jerking my chin back so I have to look him in the eyes. “Harry is a new way to gain that power. If he takes out the Dark Empire than we can stand at his side as we would have stood at Lord Voldemort’s.”
“What if I want to go back? What if I would rather stand next to Tom?” I ask softly knowing I can’t keep things from this being inside my mind. “I mean I’m so much more useful to the people at Tom’s side. Harry hardly lets me do anything.”
“Is that the real reason you want to go home?” He asks mocking my thoughts. He moves forward so I have to lean back to stay out of his way when I don’t answer. “Do you really think I don’t know how much you desire your Dark Lord’s touch? How much you want him to hurt you?”
I fall back into the darkness in a way that can only happen in dreams. I feel myself scream as winds rush past me and I wonder if Riddle is going to kill me this time. When I hit the bed it hurts like I have really fallen a great distance, but nothing actually feels broken.
It is a moment before I realize I can see the room he had placed me in and I grimace as my body reacts favorably to being in Tom’s bedroom once again.
“Tell the truth my sweet, and we can get past this.” He says pouring two snifters of whiskey with his back to me. “I’ll even reward you if you are honest with me.”
“Reward?” I ask sitting up slowly as I can feel the pain in my bones.
“Yes.” He says turning and giving me that charming mask that made me fall in love with him back when I was a child. “You’ll like it.”
I swallow looking down at my knees and take in a slow breath. “I feel safer with Tom than I have with Harry.” I tell him blushing from the shame of it.
“Of course you do. Voldemort knows you better than anyone alive does. He has seen your true core of being.” He explains as he sits next to me on the black comforter. “Harry only knows the girl you were before you were forced to become a Queen. He only knows silly Ginny Weasley who gets in over her head because she can’t stand not to fight for what she feels is right.”
I feel his fingers tuck hair behind my ear and run slowly down the column of my neck. “Harry can learn these things. We can teach him.”
“Why are you so keen to stay? I thought you would be all about getting back.” I tell him taking the glass he offers and holding it between both my hands.
“It is true that if given a choice I think we would be better off with Lord Voldemort, standing next to him as his Queen. But that is not an option right now, so we must work on becoming Harry’s Queen as well.” He says tipping the glass up so that I have to drink some. It is odd how the taste burns as if I am really drinking the spicy alcohol. Everything about these dreams are always odd.
“What’s my reward?” I ask looking up at him before taking another sip.
He just smiles at me and pats my cheek for a moment. “You get to wake up.”
I sit up in bed with a start. The rough cotton sheets and hard mattress feeling so different from Tom’s dream room that I don’t know where I am for a moment. When I come to my senses, the room is filled with the dark blue light of twilight.
Knowing I shouldn’t press my luck and try for sleep, I get out of bed and head over to the box. I have some idea of recording the dream in my journal when I find that it is glowing. With a deep frown and a nervous feeling, I pull it from its hiding place and sit at the small desk.
I slowly flip through the pages that have recorded my life for the last year, worried about what I will find in a journal I thought was safe, was my friend. When I come to an entry that is not in my handwriting, I quickly throw the book at the opposite wall.
Digging my fingers into my scalp, I realize I’m shaking, as an avalanche of emotions want to bury me. How could I have fallen for a trap once again? How could Riddle have gotten into the book? What am I going to do without the solace it had provided me with these long months?
I know I am on the edge of breaking into a thousand unknowable pieces and it is a hard and painful fight to keep it from happening. I know that if I let myself break now, with no one here to anchor me, I will never return.
By the time, I get the trembling shards of my being back into a human form I see the sun has moved rightfully into the horizon, bring golds and reds to light the hills outside my window. I take in a slow breath and walk across the room to retrieve the book and look to see exactly what had happened.
I feel numb as I read Daphne’s note. It takes me several times before I understand the meaning of the words. Things make a little more since now if I really thought about how nice she was to give me the book in the first place. I knew back then there must have been a reason, and now I know what it was.
Though I wonder about something as I look at the note and I feel much better than I had before knowing it is only a communication device. The fact she gives me news of my brothers and my people somehow calms me more than I understand.
I am still thinking about the note when I make my breakfast. When Harry comes to visit me, he says I seem distracted and I know it is because of Daphne’s note. It isn’t until after lunch when he leaves that I go back to it and read it one last time.
She didn’t say how she was doing. She gave me information about all those who I care for, but not herself. I frown at this, and I lie to myself saying it is the only reason I will write her back.
I look into red eyes as I grasp the Dark Lord’s hand. It is odd as I look into the face that was once Harry’s and I see no trace of my friend left. Many say it frightens them to see their hero commit such evil, but I honestly can’t see it. I don’t see my friend at all any longer.
I feel the warmth of the spell as Blaise touches his wand to our linked hands.
“Will you, Luna, agree to never tell anyone outside of this room the truth of our sexual relationship?” The Dark Lord asks seeming almost bored.
“I will.” I agree as a wire-like strand wraps around our hands.
“And will you agree to always tell me when you have spoken a prophecy?”
“I will.” I say as another strand wraps around us.
“And will you agree to always tell me the truth?” He asks his last question.
“I will.” I say and the third and final strand tightens around our hands until they seep into our very skin.
The Dark Lord’s hand tightens on mine and he pulls me a bit closer to him so I can see nothing but those red eyes. “You may go.” He says and I know he isn’t talking to me.
“But you said you wouldn’t…” Blaise starts but Voldemort cuts him off.
“I have questions to ask of your wife. That you have no need to hear.” The man says without taking his eyes off mine. “You may come back in the morning to see your wife; she is safe under my protection.”
“Y-yes my Lord.” Blaise says and I know he will worry.
Once the door is closed, I swallow. “That wasn’t very nice of you.” I tell him because there are very few people that tell this man the whole truth.
“He pushes too much. If he hadn’t questioned I would have let him sleep here.” Voldemort says coldly. “Tell me Luna does my wife actually love me?” He asks a bit sarcastically, but I can tell there is rawness under the bravado.
“Yes.” I tell him simply.
“I forbid you to tell anyone I asked.” He says finally letting go of my hand. “Tomorrow afternoon I have a council meeting. You will join me there as my oracle.”
“Yes my Lord.” I say staying in the kneeling position as he stands. “What happened to your mother my Lord?” I ask because I need to know how bad things would be for Ginny if she stayed with Harry.
“She died soon after my birth.” He says without feeling.
“Then we really need to get Ginny back.” I tell him frowning, maybe I can get a message to Harry.
“Are you so sure I’m not the adversary?” He asks looking down to me hiding his fear behind amusement.
“She is having your heir.” I tell him simply.
He nods to this moving to the door without another word.
The next morning Blaise arrives with breakfast. The moment we are in private his hands start to run over my form as if he’s checking me for injuries.
“He didn’t touch me.” I comfort him as I lean into his form. He sighs and pulls me closer.
“You know this means we can’t even run away.” He says under his breath. “I’ve tried to think of all sorts of ways of getting around your vow. But how can you plan an escape without him finding out?”
“Wait for him to loosen his hold.” I tell him softly looking up into beautiful worried eyes. “I’ve only promised to tell the truth, not the whole truth. It is a dangerous game, but maybe I will be able to get useful information. He is having me attend a council meeting today.”
My husband laughs humorlessly as he looks down at me. “You are serious? You want to try to use this against him? You want to be a spy right under his nose? How do you plan on getting this information to those who can use it?” He presses darkly.
“I’ll save it until I can roam free again.” I tell him leaning back into his form. “Do you really expect me to stop being who I am?”
He sighs before kissing the top of my head. “No. Which is why I also brought some work for you. I didn’t think you would want me to take over the Quibbler by myself.” He says trying to sound as if he is teasing.
“Later.” I tell him blushing slightly. “We have our own heir to keep working on.”
His smile lightens at the idea, as I had meant it to. Leaning down he kisses me softly while moving me back towards the bed. We make love with heat and fire, soothing the pain of the day before as we take comfort in each other. The comfort lasts me until I step into the great council room among wizards that are twice my age.
I was given a long heavy gown to wear to this meeting and it feels like a costume more than clothes. But as I caught sight of the way those within look at me, I wonder if it has a meaning I do not know.
“Come here my sweet.” The Dark Lord calls coldly. No one in the room believes he has any affection for me.
I move to him bowing before the great chair as he sits above all others. I notice a small stool next to him carved with foxes and I frown.
“That is not yours.” He says and quickly pulls me into his lap. I tense at being so close to him making him chuckle against my neck. “This way we can speak privately and they will think it’s only the whispers of lovers.”
“No one in this room thinks…” I start but his hand moves to my neck quickly cutting me off.
“They think I am intimidating you, they think I am making a point, and they are right. You will tell me if you notice anything odd about any of them.” He says; the hand that just threatened moving down my form as if this is a lover’s game.
The focus of the meeting is movement into Italy. Most of them show varying amounts of pride and fear depending on if they are talking about success or failure. This seems completely normal. Mrs. Lestrange is the only outlier. Throughout the entire meeting no matter what is being spoken of, she shows a mix of anger and obsession. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out she wants the man on the throne. I think she may even worship him.
“Why not take Bellatrix as your Mistress?” I ask unable to keep my question silent after an hour of her glaring at me.
“She is of the most use to me where she is.” He says simply. “And I have no desire for her any longer.”
“You did once?” I ask knowing I am probably pushing my luck.
“A very long time ago when she was a sweet young thing that enjoyed kneeling at her Lord’s feet.”
“I am sure she would still enjoy that.” I tell him making him pull me a bit closer to show me he still has control.
“Do you have anything useful to say?” He snaps not answering the question.
“They all seem loyal and honest my Lord.” I tell him coldly as I know our small conversation is now over.
Antonin only releases me after he has fully ravaged my lips. I find myself rushing to the loo so that I won’t have to show him my tears. Only when there is a locked door between us do I let my shaking form fall to my knees as the fear threatens to swallow me.
“You can do this, you can do this, you can do this.” I murmur to myself as I try to get my feelings back under control.
I had thrown the bag down in my haste for safety. As I shake there, finding it hard to even breathe something happens that gives me a pure shot of hope. The book I had not wanted to part with starts to glow and I know my Lady is actually answering my call.
Scrambling over to the book, I rip it open as tears of fear turn to those of joy. The words are still forming on the page and I try to ready myself for her anger.
Daphne, are you well?
I wait for a long moment as if I know something else must come after this simple and silly question. I look around the bathroom for a moment then back to the book, as I try to understand why she hasn’t written more. Why hasn’t she at least admonished me yet? Taking a quill from my bag, I decide that she is waiting for an answer.
I set my quill point down on the page as I think of many comforts I could tell her. Somehow, it seems wrong to lie even if it will make her feel better.
No. You left me alone.
I write the words shaking slightly as I wonder if this will at least get a reaction out of her.
I know. I’m sorry. I tried to stay. You should have told me about this book sooner.
I look down at the words and I’m already thinking of a reply when there is a pounding at the bathroom door.
“What are you doing in there?” Antonin asks as if he doesn’t know how much his little advance scared me.
“Fixing my makeup.” I tell him as I stand before writing one last quick message.
I know my Lady. I am truly sorry. I must go. I will write more later.
I quickly shoved the book back into my bag and fixed the small smudges made to my perfect mask before opening the door and smiling to him. Somehow, I feel much more at ease knowing I have spoken to my Lady.
He moves me a smile reaching out to pet my cheek. “I thought maybe I went too far when you rushed off like that.” He says as if he is sorry for scaring me.
“You did get dangerously close to frightening me Antonin.” I admit trying to remind him why he is the better choice than going my own way.
“You’re saying the Malfoy boy never kissed you like that?” He asks lightly as he lets his hand drop from my face and offers me his arm.
I take it and shake my head. “Not like that, no.” I tell him softly and honestly. Draco would never dream of using such force with me.
“Well then I will work to restrain myself around your beauty.” He tells me as if this is all some funny joke.
“Thank you.” I say as he leads me towards the front door. “Where are we going for lunch?”
Lunch in public with Antonin was a much easier affair. He was ever the gentleman and it was mostly about having us be seen together before the announcement of our engagement went public. It was a purely political move, and I understood those well.
Once I was back in the castle, I went straight to Draco’s room. I really didn’t care if anyone saw me. I needed to share my real news with someone, and he was the only one I could trust.
It took him longer than usual to answer the door. But when he opened it for me, he looked presentable enough.
“What were you doing?” I ask pushing past him into his room.
“I thought we weren’t speaking.” He says leaving the door open as he turns to watch me. “Aren’t we supposed to have a big row soon? Or is that now?” He asks looking out his room and seeing no one around.
“Can you please close the door I have something important to tell you.” I say annoyed that he is still being a brat about things that are really out of our control.
He sighs and closes the door before turning fully to me. “Okay, what?” He asks crossing his arms over his chest and not moving a step towards me.
“Our Lady has her journal!” I say pulling mine out of my bag and flipping to see if she responded to my last entry. “I’ve made contact.”
“You’ve what?” He asks rushing to my side to look in the journal as well.
“See she wrote this.” I point to her entry before she knew I could read it so he could see how much she wanted to come back. “So I wrote back to her.”
He pulled the book out of my hands so he could read over the short discussion we had had in the bathroom.
“You had to go?” He asks frowning at my last entry.
“I was with Dolohov when I noticed she had written back.” I tell him a bit nervously.
“Ah.” He grunts in a cold sort of way as he walks over to sit down at his desk.
“Did she respond?” I ask walking over to look over his shoulder.
If I don’t respond right away, it is probably because Harry is here checking on me.
I read the words frowning deeply as I try to understand their meaning.
“They have her secluded somewhere? Do you think only Potter checks on her?” Draco asks as we both read the short response.
“There is only one way to find out.” I tell him with a shrug.
“I can’t believe she wants to come back.” He murmurs under his breath as he shakes his head.
“Can’t you? Do you not know her at all?” I snap the book away from him feeling insulted for my Lady’s sake. “They’re not letting her be of any use. We are all in danger because she was taken away. She isn’t one to tolerate either of those things.”
“I just can’t imagine running back here if I had yo- If I had someone that I loved with me. Even if the rest of the world was in danger.”
“Well that is the difference between you and her, and that is what makes her a worthy leader. She doesn’t just care about her own happiness and safety.” I tell him trying to overlook his little slip.
“That’s all the better for us I guess.” He says playing with a quill on his desk so he doesn’t have to look at me.
“What should I say?” I ask getting comfortable on the end of his bed and settling the book in my lap.
“Ask her what she knows about her situation.” He offers without looking up.
I’m back my Lady. We should talk about where they have you. If you wish to come back, then you know your loyal household would do anything to help you.
After I write the words, I look up to Draco with a frown. “What if she does decide to stay with the rebels? Would you honor her wishes?” I ask trying to settle my own feelings on the subject.
Draco is quiet for a long time, and I spend it looking between him and the book on my lap.
“I think I would join her if she asked.” He says finally looking up into my eyes. “And hope with all my heart that you would do the same.”
“I would. If she asked.” I tell him in a soft voice. “But I don’t think she would. She sounds like a prisoner there; I don’t think we would be much better off.”
“You wouldn’t have to marry him.” Draco says the last word in disgust.
“You used to think he was a fine match for me.” I snap back at him.
“You said she left you alone.” He jumps to his feet and points to the book. “He makes you feel alone! I’m here!” He yells throwing his hands up in the air. “He’s taken you from me, and worse he’s taken me from you. You can’t control him and you have so little power now compared to him. Even if we do get our Lady back, how much power will she have compared to what we had built?”
I shake my head, it being my turn not to look at him. My throat tightens at his words and I want more than anything to tell him what happened this afternoon. But I’m afraid Draco would do something dangerous if he knew the kind of man Antonin was turning out to be.
Trying to think of something to say I am saved when Ginny starts to write back.
Harry just left. I need to find a better place to keep the book he almost saw it glowing. I don’t want you to risk yourself to save get me.
I see where she crosses out a word and shake my head as I feel all the more sure she needs to come back. I feel Draco sit next to me on the bed so he can read what is going on.
My Lady we are no safer just waiting to see what the Dark Lord will do in his anger. Let us help you.
I write the words before I notice Draco nodding in agreement with my statement. I smile, enjoying having him so close even though it really hasn’t been that long since we were together.
They moved me to a secluded cabin in a forest. All I know is that the weather hasn’t really changed much from where I was before. Harry is the only one who checks on me. About once a day I think, but this is only my second day here. Daphne I need you to keep an ear out if they capture any rebels. I want to know when they are found.
Draco and I frown at this last statement. So far, the rebels have been doing very well since they’ve really gotten organized. She seems so sure they will be captured soon it makes me wonder why.
Why do you think they will find rebels?
I write wondering if it can help us find her.
Harry kicked a few out of the DA for what they did to help revive him.
I blink completely dumbfounded at this and looked at Draco to see if he has the answer. I see him studying the words with a slight frown of his own.
“The ones who raped her.” He says glancing over to me. “If she had been untouched by all but our Lord, he could have used a more powerful ritual.”
I look down at the book again and wonder why she is still worried about scum like that. Shaking my head, I decide not to dwell for her sake.
I will let you know if we hear anything. Is there anything else you can tell us about where you are?
I sigh still thinking about the rebels and what they did to her. They were supposed to be the good guys, the heroes, how could they do something so horrid to save one man. I remember what she was like for weeks after. It was worse than what the Dark Lord had done to me. At least he is upfront about who he is, and what he wants.
Not really. But I still have my wand. Maybe I can try to send a signal. Try to find a good trackable spell. I don’t know if the taboo has been reinstated, but it would be better if it were something you could only track if you were looking for it. I would rather Draco come than some snatcher.
“It’s a good idea. I’ll look for something in my family library.” Draco says pulling away suddenly and getting to his feet. “Are you sure you should be here?”
“What?” I ask with a frown.
“You don’t think your fiancé might have you tracked?”
I’m making myself lunch again when Harry comes striding into the kitchen with a grin on his face and a bag in his hand.
“I got you some supplies.” He kissing me on the cheek and holding up the bag.
“What kind of supplies?” I ask turning away from the food so I can give him my full attention. I hadn’t asked for anything since they banished me to this cabin so I have to wonder what he thinks I need.
“I told you you should start writing remember?” He asks as he pulls out a few parcels. “Well I got you plenty of quills, ink, and parchment.” He adds happily.
“What am I supposed to write about exactly?” I ask shaking my head and turning back to the sandwich I had been making. “Do you want one?” I ask they’ve supplied the cabin with plenty of food, so I wasn’t worried about running out or rationing.
“Lunch would be great.” He says as he unwraps his supplies. I start setting out things for a second sandwich as he continues. “Hermione thinks we should call it Mercy’s Voice. We want the people who still believe in you to see you’re not some lovesick girl pining for Dark Lord. We want to show both sides that you are your own person, and that you are not on their side.”
I nod thinking the idea of it wasn’t too bad, but I still didn’t know what I was supposed to say. “Are there topics you want me to write about?” I ask as I pour a serving of crisps on each of our plates before carrying them over to the table. “Do you want something to drink?”
“Pumpkin Juice?” He asks smiling at me. When I turn my back to get cups and juice he continues. “I think we should first work on getting everyone to believe it is really you. Hermione was thinking that maybe you could start on something you are known for?”
“What am I know for?” I as setting juice in front of him before taking my own seat.
“Well most of the nation knows about your work on the Asset Protection Bill. You know it is still going to be voted on?” He asks with a grimace. “You could start by sharing your real feelings about it.”
I take a bite of my sandwich to give myself time before I have to answer him on this. “That is very complicated Harry.” I tell him softly before taking a drink of juice.
“What’s so complicated? You don’t really think people are assets.” He says firmly as if there is no question in his mind.
“Well no.” I agree taking another bite. Ever since I returned to my friends it has been very hard to explain the complexity of my thoughts and ideas. “But if I write something that says everything I did on the bill is a lie, than that could put that work in danger.” I explain and he just looks at me blankly.
“This country doesn’t need a law that calls people assets Ginny.” Harry says as if I don’t understand.
“We already have that law Harry: The Blood Purity Act. My law makes it so you can’t hurt those classified as non citizens except for very particular circumstances. No Death Eater can just abuse those put in their possession. How is that a bad thing?” I ask frowning at him as he frowns right back at me.
“Did they really brainwash you that much?” Harry asks with clear disgust in his voice. “You shouldn’t have been working with them at all.”
I bite my lower lip and work very hard not to call him an idiot. “I’m not hungry any more.” I say getting to my feet.
Harry reaches out and grabs my wrist in a tight grasp. “You don’t get to just walk away from this Ginny. We need to talk. I need to help you get your head back on straight.” He says firmly, but not unkindly.
I’m a little distracted by my heart as all I can think is that I want him to tighten the grasp even more.
“Just because none of you can understand my life, doesn’t mean what I did was wrong. My choices helped to save you and helped to free Hermione. My cooperation got most of my family out of…”
Harry sighs dropping my wrist. “I don’t want to fight Ginny.” He says getting to his feet so he can wrap his arms gently around me.
“Please don’t do that.” I say trying to step out of him embrace.
“What?” He asks looking at me with an unreadable expression.
“Treat me like something breakable.” I say sitting back down and looking at my half finished lunch.
“That isn’t about you Ginny.” He says stepping back and sitting as well. “I’m worried if I’m not careful I will really hurt you.”
“How is that not about me?” I ask looking up at him with a scowl.
He sighs and shakes his head. “Because it’s about me!” He yells after a moment throwing his hands into the air. “I want to hurt you. I want to hurt something and most of all you.” He admits looking down with shame written all over him. “So I have to be careful not to fall into that darkness.”
“There is darkness in me too Harry.” I admit reach across the table to take his hand. “I crave pain. I want you to hurt me when we’re together.” I say very softly.
“He messed with your dead. He trained you to want that.” He says looking up at me. “I refuse to take advantage of what he did to you.”
I bite my lower lip as I let my hands fall back into my lap. “I think it could help me feel safe with you Harry, and if it’s something we both want that why is that wrong?” I ask looking up to him.
He sighs again making me feel dirty for even asking for these things I want. I knew there was something wrong with me, but if I could use it to help him why shouldn’t I.
“And what happens with my darkness fades over time and yours just festers?” He asks with worry. I know he is just trying to help, but the question makes me feel worse.
“Maybe doing this with someone that loves me will make me better too.” I say looking up and seeing the doubt in his eyes.
“Okay.” he agrees after a long moment. “But if I’m really hurting you, then I think we should have a word that makes me stop. Something you wouldn’t normally say in the heat of the moment.”
My heart is racing again as I think about what he is really offering me. “Um, would snitch work?” I ask blushing a bit as my brain goes to Quidditch.
“That’s perfect.” He says sagely before standing and offering me his hand.
“Right now?” I ask looking up at him.
“I’ll have to head back soon.” He says so I take his hand and let him lead me back to my bedroom.
Once we are there I feel nervous and awkward as he turns to me. There is something in his smile that makes my stomach twist. He starts to work on the buttons of my shirt and I move to do the same for him when he slaps my hand away.
“You don’t touch me.” He says firmly before ripping my shirt open as if he is suddenly impatient for what we are about to do. “I’ve need this for a while.” He adds breathlessly as he pushes me back onto the bed.
He moves over me as his hands work to remove the rest of my clothes his lips find the tender spot of my neck. I gasp wanting to reach out and touch him back, but know he doesn’t want me to.
When I am fully revealed to him he frowns down at the red wedding markings that are still all over my body. His hands move over them slowly for a moment before his fingers move to the Dark Mark on my pelvic bone.
“Most of the wedding runes will go away in a month or so.” I tell him softly.
“But this is forever.” He says with disgust. “I wonder if we could burn it off?” He asks lightly before leaning down again to taste my skin. “Think you would like that kind of pain?” he asks mockingly.
I swallow very confused by the way he was acting now. He must be really letting the darkness out for the first time.
“Luna says it goes to the bone.” I tell him as his starts to explore my body again.
“These I don’t mind.” He admits running his tongue over a few runes. “They mean you belong to me. You’ll never feel another man’s touch but mine.”
“Oh. But…” I start before he bites down on my nipple sending a jolt of pain and pleasure right to my core.
“He isn’t a man and he will never touch you again.” He says guessing my thoughts as he suddenly turning me over so I am on my stomach. “On your hands and knees.” He orders as he helps me into the position and makes sure my legs are spread to his liking. “Has he ever fucked you like the bitch you are?” he asks then landing a hard stroke to my arse.
“I don’t want to talk about him now.” I say and he spanks me again harder this time.
“Are you thinking about him bitch?” He asks as he starts to spank me in earnest.
I shake my head as I gasp letting myself enjoy the burning while he lets loose on me. “No. Only you.” I tell him, knowing what he wants to hear.
“Good.” he growls as he moves behind. I heard him unzipping his slacks so I turn my head watch him only to get slapped fiercely across the cheek. “Keep your eyes front bitch.” He orders and I’m not sure I like this any more.
When he thrusts into me it isn’t quite comfortable or at all pleasurable. We’ve had sex a few times since he’s been back, I know he knows how to make it feel good. It’s like he is trying to make not feel good.
“No Harry.” I gasp trying to shift my hips to make it feel better.
“Master.” He growls tugging my hair back. “And you’ll get yours if you’re a good little bitch.” He adds taking me harshly.
His free hand settles on my hip his fingers brushing over the Dark Mark. I don’t think he does it on purpose but I feel a trace of his magic flow into the sign giving me a very clear reminder of burn when Tom gave it to me.
“Stop!” I cry as the jolt of pain goes all the way up my spine. “You might call him!”
“Don’t worry, he can’t be called her my little bitch.” He assures me sending more power into the Mark. The paid is almost worse than when I got it and now all I can think is that i want this to end.
I scream as I can’t control single muscle in my body. They all tense as if being electrocuted with agony. This isn’t the pain I was craving, this wasn’t anything I wanted.
“Finally, I didn’t think anything would make you scream.” Harry answers me as he laughs and continues his sharp thrusts.
“Please stop Harry.” I finally gasp as I get control of my voice. He just laughs again and lets go of my hair so he can grasp my other side.
“Almost there sweetheart.” He groans sounding pleased.
I turn back to look at him again. How do I get him to stop? Right. “Snitch snitch!” I yell remember the word that was supposed to stop all the pain.
But he doesn’t stop for a moment, the pain continues until I feel his release inside of me. His hand moves away from the mark and he pets my spin tenderly.
“Did you say something?” He asks breathlessly as he smiles at me.
“I said snitch.” I saw feeling a bit foolish now for some reason.
“Was I a bit too rough?” He asks pulling out of me and helping me to lay on my side.
“Just a bit.” I lie, feeling silly for my fear of him. “But that didn’t call Tom?” I ask looking at him.
“Even if I was actually doing the right action it wouldn’t have worked. This place is protected against that. Hermione felt you may try to call him when you were alone.” He says as he sits on the bed next to my limp form. “You were amazing” He adds brushing hair from my face
“Do you think it helped?” I ask before looking back up into his eyes.
“Yes, I think it did. It bled off a little of it anyway. I think maybe if we do this enough I can get back to my old self.” He says thoughtfully making me smile.
“Good.” I tell him glad I could do this small thing to help him, even if I didn’t like it in the way I thought I would.
I am making the best I can of my time trapped in the castle. Blaise brought me supplies to continue working on the next issue of the Quibbler. I have a few pieces gathered around me on the floor as I try and decide on placement in the magazine.
When the door flys open slamming against the wall I know who it is so I don’t really see the point of looking up at his angry face.
“You stand when your Lord enters a room.” He hisses before I feel a magical force pulling me to my feet.
Looking up at him I see nothing but fury and darkness. I try to step back but his magic holds me tight as he slams the door shut again with a wave of raw power.
“I’m sorry my Lord. I was caught up in my work.” I say looking to the floor and trying to stay as still as possible. I don’t think all this anger is coming from my misstep and I don’t want to be the way he vents it. “Is there something I can help you with my Lord?” I ask knowing he came here for a reason.
“Can you help me kill that boy again?” He snaps his power pushing me away so I stumble back into the foot of teh bed.
“No my Lord.” I say frowning deeply and keeping my eyes on the ground. “Has he done something particular to anger you?” I ask wondering if the DA has made some dramatic move.
“At this very moment that little worm is fucking my wife and making me watch!” He says hissing. He is nearly shaking with his fury. I’ve seen his cold fury and I wonder if it is better or worse that he is showing such an outward display of emotion. “He’s trying to injure her.”
“Harry?” I ask so surprised by the sureness in his words that I forget I probably shouldn’t say his name.
“Oh? Did you think there wouldn’t be a price to coming back from the dead?” Voldemort laughs darkly. “The boy has been changed by it. Oh but that girl, always the little martyr is trying to help him deal with the darkness. But I can feel him, I know what he really wants.”
“What can I do for you my Lord?” I ask trying to push the mix of emotions his works incete in me to the side. Why would no one stop Harry if he was suddenly so out of control. Why would they let him hurt Ginny?
“I want you to tell me where they are!” He yells crossing the room again in two strikes his hand moves to the side of my face, and I flinch thinking he is going to strike me.
He forces the image of Ginny into my mind. She’s naked and under me, no Harry. I don’t know what I am supposed to learn from this. I pull away from his grasp, I don’t need to see my best friend like that. The strike would have been preferable to the image.
“Why would he be showing you that?” I ask frowning at the obvious private moment.
“Because he wants to hurt me. He was very recently living inside my mind, you don’t think he knows how I feel about that brat?”
“Are you admitting to me that you love her?” I ask softly as I moved back from him further onto my bed.
“Let’s not play these games Luna.” He sneers. “She is mine, and that is all that is important. He is using something that is mine.”
I frown at that thinking back to their wedding rite. “How is he even doing that? He shouldn’t be able to touch her.” I point out trying to think that part over.
“Clearly the magic thinks we are the same person.” Voldemort says as if this is obvious. “Do you know how long that boy and I have been twisted and bound? Probably as long as you’ve been alive.”
“I have no idea where they are my Lord.” I say remember his question.
“I need you to find them.” He says standing a bit taller. “You are a seer, I want you to see this.”
“I can’t make it work like that my Lord.” I point out moving back from him again. “I have no control over what I see.”
He is fo fast I don’t see him drawing his wand. I;m suddenly thrown back against the wall over the bed, my feet dangling above the pillow.
“I could torture you, and then we would see what kind of results we got.” The Dark Lord pointed out as he keeps me pinned. “What use do I have with a seer that doesn’t see what I need?”
“I’m sorry my Lord. I want to find her too, she is my friend and she is in danger.” I remind him having to take shallow breaths as the force of his magic presses against my chest. “I would do anything to find her.”
“Good.” He says dropping me roughly on the bed and making me land in a heap. “Do you know what Divination is a dying art?” He asks his voice turning upbeat in a way that frightens me more than his yelling. He holds out his hand to me as I struggle to straighten myself.
“No my Lord.” I say making my way to him and taking his hand.
“It is because those with the talent don’t know where to look to help cultivate it.” He says as he leads me from the room.
This is why he same to me from the start, and I wonder what sort of thing he would have planned to help cultivate my gifts. He leads me to his office near by, still holding my hand as if I am some kind of friend.
I’ve been here many times, so I know the layout easily. I am surprised to find a small table set up in the corner with a collection of books and writing supplies.
“You were a Ravenclaw. I have some research material for you.” He says leading me over to the low table. “You will be spending your time here until I feel you have improved your gifts enough.”
As he moves away he missteps hissing as he catches himself on his disk. I move to him unsure what is not knowing what I can do about it.
“What is he doing?” I hear him say, but the words are obviously not meant for me. “Get to work now!” He snaps picking himself back up to full height as he points me towards the table.
I nod still curious about what he just saw but by his colors even I know better than to ask. Harry must have done something awful to Ginny for me to actually see worry in his colors.
I kneel down at the table and pick up the first book from the stack: The Dark Pattern. After finding it’s table of contents it was soon very clear this was a dark magic book about Cartomancy.
I frown as I flip to chapter one which seems to be all about how to make one’s own deck. I look up to the Dark Lord a bit confused.
“Do you have a deck? A real one?” I ask looking back down at the book. “This isn’t just about the seer, I would need the right magical tool.”
He doesn’t look up as he answers me. “If you read a bit farther you would realize the best desk are made by the seer.”
I nod to myself and start to make notes on how to make the deck. Drawing the cards seems simple enough, but then I find that most of the cards need to be enchanted in its own special way. I frown even more as I read about the things I would have to do to enchant these cards.
To properly enchant the Fool first you must find someone who is light hearted and happy. They then must be confronted with something that truly breaks all happiness in their lives. At the moment they realize their world is destroyed you must cast the harvesting charm below taking all the innocence that drains from them in that moment.
I shake my head and look up at Lord Voldemort with a grimace. “I am not going to destroy someone’s happiness.” I say looking back at the book and then to him. “That sounds awful.”
He looks up at me with a slight smirk on his face. “Oh that isn’t even the worst of the things you will have to do.” He says seeming to enjoy my discomfort. “Read the directions on how to enchant the suit of swords.” He says waiting for me to look.
I look back down at the book and find the section on how to enchant the four suits. At least they seem as if you enchant them as a suit instead of each card separately. When I find the section on swords my eyes widen.
It is best to start with the target tied to a vertical surface. You must place the cards at their feet and cast the charm before so they will collect the power when it is released. Once everything is set you must take thirteen silver swords and thrust them through the target one at a time. The sooner they are pinned to the surface with the swords the better. Once they are secure the ties should be removed. It is much more powerful if they are hanging by the swords before the blood starts to flow into the cards.
I look up at him again and I am sure all the color is drained from my face. “I can’t do this.” I tell him closing the book and shaking my head.
“You said you would do anything to get Ginevra back.” The Dark Lord says sounding amused.
“I can’t kill people.” I tell him shaking my head. “Ginny wouldn’t want me to kill people.” I tell him pushing the book away.
He gets up from his desk in a single move he is coming towards me. He towers trying to intimidate and I can’t help but move back from him as he is very good at being intimidating. His hand is in my hair a moment later and he is dragging me back towards the table. I kick and fight unable to stop the animal part of me that needs to get away from the predator.
Holding me easily I think he must be using magic as he picks up the book with his free hand and opens it to the first chapter.
“You are mine.” He says shaking my head to get me to stop fighting him and listen. “You are mine.” he repeats. “You have earned the honored position of Orical of the Dark Empire. I am your Dark Lord and you will do as I tell you. Ginevra doesn’t get a choice in how she is brought back to me. You will make each and every one of these cards.”
“It will take me months to make them.” I point out trying to keep the fear from my voice. “We don’t know if Ginny has months.” I gasp as he pulls my hair back to make me look into his red eyes.
“You will not like the consequences of my wife’s death.” He tells me in a cold tone. “I will break you in every way possible. You won’t get to die like her, I’ll even keep you from true insanity. There will be no escape from what I do to you.”
I spend a lot of time on my own now that I have no real job to get to. This afternoon I’m sitting in a little used courtyard looking down at the journal and hoping to see writing from my Lady while I wait for an important and secret meeting.
I’m so focused on winning writing to appear in the book that I don’t hear that something is approaching till I feel a hand on my shoulder. I jump trying to close the book as quickly as I can till I realize it’s Blaise.
“You scared me.” I say setting the book aside.
“I said your name twice.” He says taking a seat next to me and pulling out his silver cigarette case. He pulls one out for himself than offers me another.
“You know I don’t smoke.” I remind him making him shrug and light his with the tip of his wand.
“It’s polite to offer.” He says leaning back against the stone lench we’re sitting on. “Draco said to tell you he’ll be late. He’s having a meeting with his father right now.”
“Do you know what it’s about?” I ask shifting a bit away from him to get more comfortable on the bench.
No clue, but if I had to guess it would be about his position here and you. Isn’t that what he’s always nagging Draco about?” He asked glancing to the book. “He told me about the message. So the loon actually wants to come back to this?”
I punch him in the arm as an answer and shake my head. “Of course my Lady wants to return. This is her place. She can’t help anyone if she is out there being protected.”
“Hey hey…” Blaise says putting his hands up in surrender. “I’m not complaining. The sooner she comes back maybe the sooner my wife can come home.”
“He knows your wife is an oracle now, do you really think she is ever leaving this castle?” I ask shaking my head that he would be so naive. “The best you can hope for is he doesn’t need her company as often once his wife returns.”
He shoots me a glare and shakes his head. “So what can we do for her anyway?” He asks taking another draw from his cigarette.
“We are going to research a spell for her. I guess she has her wand, but we need something trackable so we can go and get her.” I tell him with a frown as we havn’t found anything that would work just yet.
“Doesn’t she have the Dark Mark?” He asks as if I am stupid. “If she really wants to come back all she has to do to call him is touch her wand to the mark. Then he would go get her wherever she is. It would also show that she does want to come back.”
I frown as I didn’t think of how simple that could be. “That is actually a good idea. But what if they probably have her warded somehow.” I tell him thoughtfully.
“Then any spell may be a waste of time.” He pointed out after blowing a buff from smoke away from us.
“What’s a waist of time?” A worn out looking Draco asks as he walks up to us.
“Detection spells. If they have her well warded.” I try to get him caught up. “But Blaise pointed out that she could use the Dark Mark to call him directly.”
“That’s actually a really good idea.” Draco says with a sigh as he sits down on the other side of me. “Father is working to get me reassigned to the unit tasked with finding our Lady. That and he has some women I should be looking into to make a good match. I have to start courting in earnest or he says he is disowning me.”
“That is probably a smart idea.” I say carefully before turning to Blaise. “Were any of your cousins a good match?” I ask as I haven’t heard about the progress of that project in a while.
“There is one that would fit well.” Draco answers as he rubs his eyes. “She isn’t on father’s list, but he isn’t looking so far from home. Can you believe Pancy is on the list?” He asks looking at both of us while a smile. “Tracy was too, but her name as been crossed off recently.”
“Well they are minor nobles, they could have been good matches.” I point out shaking my head.
“So it seems the plans of our little cabal all hinge on the goal of getting Lady Mercy back by our Lord’s side.” Blaise cuts in try relieve the tension between Draco and I.
“Yes. I’ll write something to her about trying the Dark Mark at least. It couldn’t hurt to try if she hasn’t thought of it already.” I say getting to my feet. “Is there anything else we can do at the moment?” I ask looking to the two of them.
“Luna’s involved with the rebellion and I’m pretty sure she’s the one that snuck in whatever your Lady stabbed the Dark Lord with.” Blaise says as if this information is no big deal. “I might be able to get a message to them and pretend it’s from her.”
I don’t think Draco or I knew what to say in that moment. After a long silence Blaise stood as well. “You guys can’t be that surprised by this. She was an original member of the DA, did you really think she would stop after our side won?”
“How long have you known?” Draco asked before I got the chance to. “Why haven’t you mentioned this before?”
Blaise sighs taking another drag from his cigarette. I think he is stalling for time to think before he throws down the bud and stomps it out. “I…” He starts and he looks more serious than I have ever seen him.
“No.” I say shaking my head and crossing my arms across my chest. “There is no fucking way you have actually fallen for Looney!” I throw up my hands as if the idea is completely ridiculous.
“Yeah just like there is no fucking way you two found someone with each other!” Blaise growls before Draco steps between us.
“We figured you may have a growing fondness for her, but is it more?” Draco asks calmly.
“You guys don’t know her like I do. No one knows her like I do.” Blaise says looking away and sitting back on the bench, slumping in defeat. “I know she is a bit odd, she takes some getting used to. But that’s only because she doesn’t see the world like rest of us, she’s special.”
He takes a deep cleansing breath before looking up at us. “It doesn’t matter that I haven’t told you in the past. I’m telling you now.”
“Only because the situation forces you to seek our help with her.” I say stepping towards him. I’m about to tell him she deserves exactly what she is getting from the Dark Lord when I stumble from the very thought.
“That’s how our kind works babe, are you new here?” He shoots back sarcastically without looking at me.
Draco sighs sitting back down after giving the courtyard a good onceover. “So you can get a message to the rebellion. You can tell them about Luna’s prophecy? If they care about her enough they’ll return her on their own.”
“They’ll just think the Dark Lord is the adversary. They life to challenge their perspective like that.” I say rolling my eyes. “I mean they took her against her will because they just had to save her.”
“You’re right.” Blaise nods in agreement. “I’ve clashed with Weasel a few times and I think he would do anything to keep his sister from our side.”
I frown looking at my feet for a moment as I work up the courage to say something else. “Does this have to be our side?” I ask the others softly. “Is it really doing us any good to be afraid all the time?”
“We have a future with this side Daphne.” Draco says looking at me sadly. “We don’t have anything like a future of we turned full out traitor. Even if we helped them take out the Dark Lord himself, they would still spit on us for the rest of our lives. Look how quickly they turned against Ginny?”
I nod having to agree with his assessment. “Well you could at least see if you can find out how she is doing, maybe where they are holding her. She won’t really be honest if they are mistreating her.”
“I’ll see what information I can find.” Blaise agrees getting to his feet. “When you’re around could you keep an eye on my wife, maybe even talk to her?” He asks looking at me again as if the request is no big deal.
“I can do that when I’m around. Tonight I’m going out with Antonin.” I tell him trying not to look at Draco.
“I should be around tonight. The Dark Lord has asked for a special photo shoot for the next issue of the Quibbler.” I says mockingly. “Has to show his wife that he has a new Mistress I think.”
“You two go get ready for your things. I think this meeting is done.” Draco says waving both of us away.
I open my mouth and try to think of some way to comfort him, but before I can say anything Blaise rests his hand on my arm and shakes his head.
“We’ll talk as soon as I hear anything back.” Blaise says before leading me back into the castle. “You shouldn’t be seen around him any more. Everyone thinks you broke up with him for Dolohov, maybe you should keep it that way.”
I sigh and nod slowly. “How did that get started anyway? We planned to have a public breakup so it would spread fast.”
“Draco got drunk and was trying to whore himself out to every witch in Hogsmeade, telling them how you stomped on his heart for a richer man. Called you a gold digging bitch.” Blaise says seeming very amused with himself.
“I heard something about that, but I didn’t know the details.” I tell him flushing a bit by what people must think of me.
I fall asleep soon after Harry leaves. The act was a bit more draining that I had expected. Something else I hadn’t expected was for Riddle to let me just lay in a comfortable bed in my dream as well.
“Don’t try to move, you need to recover.” He says as I shift on satin sheets.
I lay back taking the rest if he was offering but I hear the strange sound of drawers being opened and closed joined by shuffling. I frown and open my eyes to find that we are in my room in the cabin. Only he has changed to the bed to be much more comfortable than it is in reality.
“What are you doing?” I ask as I watch him opening drawers and collecting clothes and other things into a big trunk.
“We have to leave as soon as possible.” Riddle says without looking back at me.
“What?” I ask trying to sit up only to find my body hurts even here. “What are you talking about?”
“We’re leaving the cabin. As soon as you can easily move again.” He says firmly looking around. “We need food.” He adds walking off towards the kitchen.
“Riddle this place isn’t real.” I call after him wondering what kind of game he is up to. “I thought you wanted me to become Harry’s Queen?” I add after a moment.
“That was before.” He says poking his head back into the room.
“Before what?” I ask laying back on the bed because I really don’t feel like moving.
“Before he hurt you.” Riddle says as if the answer is obvious.
“Tom hurt me for months and you had no issue with that” I point out. “In fact I am pretty sure you are one the reasons I liked it so much.”
“I helped in your conditioning because it benefited us. We needed to be someone that could fulfill his needs.”
“Well now I am fulfilling Harry’s needs.” I point out trying to figure out what is problem is.
“You don’t understand Ginevra.” He says coming over to sit next to me on the bed. “Tom has dark desires, he wants to push you to your very limit enough times that that limit moves deeper and deeper into the dark.”
I blushed looking away from him, I know he’s right but I really don’t understand what his problem is then.
“Harry wants to find that limit so he can break you, not change you.” Riddle finishes seriously.
“You’re wrong.” I snap angry that he would say something so horrible. “Harry is dealing with the fact that a very dark potion brought him back to this world. It’s understandable that he is having a hard time with it.”
“If you don’t leave now he will keep your trapped in this cabin for the rest of your life. And I am not even really sure that will be very long.”
“You’re lying!” I yell sitting up even though it hurts.
“Look at his face Ginevra.” He said pointing to a mirror that was now showing a reflection of Harry. “You were a bit distracted to notice at the time, but I wasn’t”
It was showing images of my perspective of what Harry and I just did. When I glanced back at hims the first time, just before he struck me the image froze. The expression on his face is hard to read, but it makes me want to shrink into myself.
“He wants to break you. I can see it perfectly clear even if you can’t.”
I frown as I look back at Riddle. “This doesn’t mean anything.” I say blushing a bit.
“What did he say when you started to scream and real undiluted pain?” Riddle asks but the memory moves to that moment.
“Finally, I didn’t think anything would make you scream.” I hear the memory replay and I can’t help but hear the glee in his voice this time.
“He told me he wanted to hurt me.” I remind Riddle, laying back down because I don’t have the energy for this. “I knew this. I gave my consent.”
“But you thought it was the same way Tom likes to hurt you. Tom isn’t happier than when you beg for more pain.” He pushes back. “He may not be doing it on purpose, but he is still a danger to you. A danger to you is a danger that will not be tolerated.”
“You are actually standing there telling me that Harry Potter is a higher risk to my sanity that Lord Voldemort?” I laugh at the ridiculousness that is his statement.
“Ginevra I am much more skilled at reading people than you are.” He points out as he sits next to me on the bed. “I am keeping you asleep here until you are well enough to move.” He adds after a moment. “But you have to pack food and anything useful, then leave this cabin as quickly as you can.”
“I’m in the middle of who knows where.” I point out a problem with his plan.
“You have a wand.” He counters.
“I don’t know how to Apparate yet.” I say wishing I could just go home. “And maybe I shouldn’t leave, he needs me now…” I point out. I don’t want to be selfish.
“He will destroy you and your child.” He says putting his hand on my stomach.
“There is no way you could know any such thing you big liar.” I snap pushing his hand away. “It’s been a little over a week.”
“There were very strong fertility charms in your wedding rite and he timed it for your best chance to conceive. So no, I’m not sure, but it is a very good educated guess.”
I put my hand on my stomach frowning as I think of how young I still am. I’m not ready to be a mother, let alone think of how my choices could affect another person that intimately.
“I hate you.” I snap turning my back to him as I fight the tears. I feel like life has completely overwhelmed me.
“You don’t.” He says laying down on the bed behind me so he can wrap an arm around me and place his hand over mine. “You love me as much as either of them.” He says as he strokes the back of my hand. “I’m the only one you are completely honest with.”
“But you’re just some twisted part of me. I couldn’t hide things from you if I wanted to.”
“That may have been true once.” He says laying a soft kiss on my neck. “You need to rest, as I said. What he did to you hurt your core of magic. That is why you are feeling the pain now, here.”
“But using the mark doesn’t usually do anything that destructive.” I tell him frowning. Not that I had ever used the mark before.
“He wasn’t trying to use it.” He says with a sigh. “I have no idea what he was trying to do, but it didn’t mix well with the mark’s power.”
After a while I wake in the real world feeling much better than I had when I passed out. It’s dark out and I’m cold because I’m still starckers and I’m still laying on top of my covers. With a shake I get myself out of bed and try to find the warmest clothes they left me. I layer as many shirts and pants as I can fit then head to the kitchen. Extra clothes would be nice for the trip, but it doesn’t seem as important as food and water.
I don’t really have a bag that I can pack things into so I empty the box of useless things Hermione had collected from my room. I put the journal and a quill and ink back in the box before I go to the kitchen and load up as much food as I can manage.
I shake my head in disbelief that I am actually going to walk off into the forest. But if any of what Riddle said is right I need to get away from this place sooner rather than later. Harry may need me a bit, but there was still my family and others to consider. I levitate the box and start marching out in a random direction because it doesn’t really matter what way I go.
I’m not sure how late it is, but I find that I am still kneeling in the Dark Lord’s office as he works on paperwork for who knows what and I take careful notes on what I will need for this tarot set. The things one must do to other living people makes my stomach ache, but I try to make myself feel better by hoping Ginny returns before I can finish drawing the deck.
I can’t help but think that if the rebels knew that keeping her with them would end in her death than they would let her come back freely. I wonder Blaise would take a message to the rebels for me? Surely if he knew what was at stake if Ginny dies then he would be willing to break a few rules.
“Chin up.” The Dark Lord says and I jump when I realize that he is standing directly behind me. Without another word he wraps a choker around my neck and I suddenly feel a pain as he fixes the clasp.
Reaching back I feel a tear shape design and I can feel there is something actually sticking into my skin.
“What is this?” I ask fingering the metal collar he has just thrust upon me.
“It’s a control collar. It’s actually Ginevra’s, but I felt that it would be useful to have on you for a bit.”
“I’ve already vowed to tell you the truth my Lord. What else do you need from me?” I ask with a deep frown.
“I need for you to be at my whim.” He said simply. “Stand.” He ordered, his words seem to vibrate down to my bones and I was getting up before I could even process what he said.
“I’ve taken an Unbreakable vow to serve you my Lord.” I say not liking the feeling of not being in control of my own body. “Please take it off.”
A small devil smile played across his lips as he looked down at me. “Sleep.” He orders and I know no more.
I’m not sure how much time passed before I woke in a bed next to a warm figure. I snuggles against Blaise as my drowsy mind tried to catch up with everything that had happened. A dark chuckle next to me makes me sit up in shock. I look over at the Dark Lord. I had just been snuggled against his lean muscular chest. I’ve never had such an exposed view of his athletic form. He’s only wearing silky black pants, and I had just been snuggling against his bare chest.
“You may take her back to her room now Lord Zabini.” Voldemort says dryly making me look up to Blaise. My husband’s jaw is tight and he holds a camera.
“W-what?” I ask still not understanding why we were here.
“Just a bit of a photo shoot to sell the idea of you as my mistress.” The Dark Lord says dismissively. “You can go back to your room with your husband. Pick a good photo for your next issue.”
I swallow hard looking down at my completely nude form. Covering my breasts with my arms as best I can and move away from him off the bed.
“Pictures?” I ask feeling dumb and slow at the moment.
I can feel his smile even though I am not looking directly at the Dark Lord.
“Special pictures, for the article you will be writing. Tell the people how much you enjoy serving your Lord.”
I back into Blaise until I feel his arm wrap around my stomach.
“My clothes?” I ask glancing around the room to see if I can spot them.
“Oh yes, I think we left them in my office.” Voldemort says offhandedly. “Would you like to go get her dress Lord Zabini?”
“Thank you my Lord.” Blaise says nodding the whispers. “I’ll be right back.” Before pulling away from me.
I’m left standing exposed in front of him so I turn towards the door to wait for Blaise. I hear the him get off the bed and I glance back to see him undressing. I quickly look back towards the door, my heart thundering as I try not to think about what could have happened while I was asleep.
“You said nothing had to be real if I played my part. Have I displeased you my Lord?” I ask trying to face this tightening I was feeling in my chest.
“No.” He says and his voice is much closer than I thought it was. I feel as the heat of him move closer to my back and waves his hand into my sight. I hear the lock click and I take a step closer to the door and away from him.
“No what my Lord? If you break me I can’t help Ginny.” I point out in a rush closing my eyes tight as I force myself to stay calm.
“No you have not actually displeased me yet.” He says as he reaches out and pushes my hair to the side so he can run a single finger down my spine starting just below the collar.
“Than why are you doing this?” I ask hearing the doorknob rattle as Blaise tries to open the door.
“You see me much too clearly for my liking Lady Radcliff-Lovegood.” He says and I feel him take a step even closer. “But I see you clearly now too. Has anyone ever truly understood your worth? Humm? Does that child husband of yours understand what you could be to my Empire?”
The knob starts to shake harder in Blaise’s frustration. “I love my husband my Lord.” I tell him simply, not really understanding what he wanted.
I flinch as he grabs the back of my hair jerking me back against him. “That has nothing to do with what we could have together.” He says softly against my hear.
“You love Ginny.” I remind him wondering what she would think of me right now.
He chuckles darkly before turning my neck and licking it slowly. I can’t help the whimper that escapes my lips.
“I can’t handle you my Lord.” I try another tactic.
“I’m not talking about carnal desire Luna.” He says much more seriously. “I’m talking about another kind of seduction.”
Blaise is now ponding on the door as if he thinks the Dark Lord must be murdering me. “I don’t know what you want my Lord, but husband is making a scene.” I say before thinking about it for a moment. “But that is the real plan. Better than staged pictures is a man trying to claw his way in here to save his wife. Rumors will get around.”
“Such a quick mind.” He says and I can feel the smile that forms on his lips. “What I want is for you to open that mind to everything you could be under my tutelage. I can feel the darkness in you, and if you give into that darkness, you could be one of my greatest servants.”
“I already serve you my Lord.” I point out with a frown.
“I’ve had The Dark Pattern moved to your room, study it, make the cards and we will talk about the enchantments later.” He says before pushing me hastily to the ground. “This will only hurt a bit.” He adds before I feel as if I’m being kicked from every direction.
I whimper as the effect of whatever spell he uses only lasts a moment. I hear the door burst open and Blaise is at my side a moment later covering me in the dress I had been wearing before.
“You are not to heal her or have her healed until I say.” The Dark Lord says loudly and I grab Blaise’s wrist because he seems like he is about to do something stupid.
“It’s not real.” I tell him under my breath as I work to sit up. I am sure if someone had really kicked me I would still be in a great amount of pain, as it was I was stiff all over like the wounds were already on the mend.
I let Blaise help me into my dress and make a show of leaning on him as we head back to my room. Once the door is closed I stand on my own and go to sit down on the bed.
“You’ll want a shower.” Blaise says with a detached sort of voice.
“He didn’t really touch me.” I tell him sitting up to look at my husband and his colors. Shame was written all over him. I move to him cupping his face in my hand. “Blaise look at me please?” I ask waiting for him to look into my eyes before I say it again. “That was a show so that there will be rumors to back up the article.”
“I left you alone with him. I took pictures of you with him.” He says searching my eyes for the anger he thought I should feel towards him. “He did touch you and I took pictures.”
I take in a long shuddered breath and shake my head. “That was all a mind game to mess with you. To make you feel guilty and push you away from me. Please don’t let it work?” I ask and he turns his head to kiss my palm.
“When did I get so soft?” He asks as he takes my hand in his before looking back at me. “I don’t want anything to happen to you. When did that feeling take over my life?”
“Lets not think about things like that.” I tell him moving on my toes so I can kiss his lips. “Come to bed with me?” I ask pulling him towards the bed trying to distract us both from the day.
“I think you want a shower first.” He says pulling back towards the bathroom. “Let me wash your back.”
“Why?” I ask frowning slightly.
“He had someone paint on it for the picture.” He says and I let him pull me into the bathroom so I can see what was painted on my back.
Pulling my dress back over my head I turn to look at the what was painted there. Spanning the length of my spine is an exact replica of the Dark Mark. The black paint against my pale skin makes it look like a void carved from my flesh.
“I think it was supposed to make a point.” Blaise says carefully. “To drive home that he owns you.”
“This message isn’t for me. It’s to Ginny.” I say shaking head and looking up to him with a shrug. I need him to feel better and I never swore an oath to always tell him the truth.
“Shower with me?” I ask brushing it aside as if it doesn’t bother me. “Or maybe a bath?”
An hour after I leave Blaise’s side I find myself sitting in the bath and really not wanting to go get ready for my date. Ginny’s journal is set open near by so I’ll know right away if she writes anything. I’ve already sent the message about our idea with the Dark Mark, but she hasn’t responded at all.
With a final sigh I force myself to stand and start to dry off. I fall easily into the routine of getting ready so I don’t really have to think until I’m diamond studs in my ears. I look down at the long elegant robe I decided on for the the evening out.
Antonin is taking me to a elite club in wizard london. This will be one of the first times we are really seen together as a couple, and it makes me nervous. Tonight I play the part of a pureblood woman fit to be on the arm of one of the Dark Lord’s inner circle.
I think how my parents will be so proud of the match when I can finally tell them of my engagement. I smile at the mirror testing to see if I can still wear the mask like armor.
When I hear him knock I glance over to the journal one last time. Still no answer, and there is no way I could risk bringing the book with me tonight. I shove it into a drawer before I go to open my door.
“You know I can’t believe he hasn’t had you moved from this room yet.” Antonin greets me with a smile. His eyes roam down my form, checking to see if I meet his approval. With a slight nod I see I have made the cut.
“Where should I have been moved?” I ask smiling back at him as if this conversation is a light one. He offers his arm and I take it easily.
“These rooms were set aside for Lady Weasley’s maids. He could have moved you to the visiting dorm.” He offers thoughtfully.
“It has only been a week, and with the Queen’s rooms done these are no more than employee housing again.” I point out as we make our way to the front hall. “I still work for our Lord.”
“For now.” He says patting my hand. “Once the engagement is announced you will move into the townhouse.”
I smile at him as if I would like nothing more. “Before we’re married?” I ask curiously.
“I’ll still be living in my apartments near the Ministry.” He says comfortingly. “But I think taking some time off working would do you some good.”
“I thought you wanted me to work in the Ministry. My whole appeal was that I was someone who could help add to your own power.” I say with a bit of concern.
“Definitely not your whole appeal.” He says his eyes traveling to my chest to make his meaning clear. “But I’ve been working to find an appropriate starting position for you.” He says as we walk out into the cold night air.
I snuggle more closely against him and he wraps part of his cloak around my shoulders as well.
“You know I could look as well.” I point out as we make our way down the cleared path to the gate.
“The problem is that you’re already well known around the Ministry.” He says completely ignoring my words. “People are hesitant to hire the girl who lost the Queen.” He adds after a moment.
“None of that was my fault.” I say frowning that so many would be blaming me. The Dark Lord didn’t even really blame me. My fear from him is that he would use me to hurt Ginny.
“Well appearances and all of that.” He says waving his hand dismissively.
“I could start in the private sector. Find a job with a law firm, or lobbyist organization.”
“You don’t have to think about that just now. For tonight all I need from you is to look lovely as ever and seem to be infatuated with me completely.” He says with a grin.
“O-of course.” I say only faltering a bit before we leave the grounds completely. Once we are able to Apparate he pulls me into his arms so he can take ous to the club lobby.
I spend the next few hours smiling at him and making small talk with other pureblood women on the arms of Antonin’s peers. When I see someone I recognize I try and move out of sight. I really don’t want to have to deal with her just now.
“Daphne!” Pansy comes walking over with the troll like Marcus Flint by her side.
I give her my best frenemy smile as greet her in the same tone. “Pansy, it’s been so long.” I say thinking how upset she was when I tricked her into writing an embarrassing letter to Draco.
“Seems like forever.” She says giving her fake smile as well. “I heard the other day that you can Draco split up.” She adds a little pout on her lips as if she is sad for me. “You know Marcus right? My fiance.” She squeals holding out a decent sized diamond on her finger.
“I broke it off with Draco, we really just weren’t a good fit.” I say trying to stay with the same story Draco was spreading around.
“Well who could be, after the Dark Lord.” She says looking around me for a moment. “Are you here all alone?” She asks sounding positively gleeful.
“No.” I say shaking my head. “My date had to have a private conversation about work.” I tell her looking around to see if Antonin was on his way back yet.
“Pansy said you were always career focused. I’ve heard recently you lost your postion court because if that whole mess with losing the Queen at the wedding.” Marcus finally speaks up, obviously realizing Pansy wishes to crush me.
“Who told you that?” I ask seeing for myself that Antonin was right.
“Marcus works at the Ministry, the Department of Magical Sports and Games. Very trusted member of the team.” Pansy says happily.
“I overheard my boss talking to the head of the Department of Law, Lord Dolohov? He witnessed what happened at the wedding so you can’t really dispute his word.” Marcus says smugly.
I feel ice dropping into my stomach as I should have realized it would be Antonin that was poisoning the Ministry well. Pansy noticing the shift in my mood jumps on it like the viper she is.
“He’s right isn’t he?” She asks barely trying to mask her glee. “With a black mark like that you should probably focus on getting someone who can take care of you. You’re not getting any younger, and there is always the marriage law to consider.”
I smile from one to the other. “It is a complicated situation, but of course I am looking for the right match while still working directly for the Dark Lord. Actually I am doing quite well in both areas.” I lie as I try to decide if I should skip out on Antonin or not. “I think Antonin must have just been making a joke, and you misunderstood.” I say dropping his first name.
“Antonin?” Pansy asks looking between Marcus and me.
“Oh of course, I meant Lord Dolohov.” I tell her pleasantly and they are both looking at me in complete confusion. “My date.” I add looking around for him, I finally spot him coming back this way. “Would you two like an introduction?” I ask deciding rubbing their nose in the connection is more important than being mad just now.
“You’re with Lord Dolohov?” Marcus asks a slow frown crossing his face.
“Darling.” I say cheerfully as he gets to our little group and I take his arm. “These are some friends from school. Pansy Parkinson, and Marcus Flint.” I introduce them easily.
“It is always good meeting Daphne’s friends.” He says smiling to them pleasantly.
“Are you done for the night? I’m getting a bit tried, I want to get to bed really tonight.” I tell him only a bit suggestively so that he will lead me from the club.
Once we are outside and I have no more reason to play nice I pull away from him completely. “I can make it back to Hogwarts alone.” I tell him as I pull my wand from my purse.
“You’re running hot and cold tonight. Is something wrong?” He asks taking my hand in his to stop me. “You know I have to escort you back.”
“Fine then, take me back.” I say not sure how to say what I want to say.
He frowns at me a moment longer before pulling me in so that he can Appreciate both of us to the front gates. Once I am standing on solid ground again I turn my back on him and reach to open the gate.
“Daphne you do not walk away from me.” Antonin says firmly grabbing my shoulder so he can make me face him again. “What is wrong with you.”
“I’m not sure if this is an agreeable arrangement after all.” I tell him with narrowed eyes. “Of course there is a rumor going around the Ministry if you are helping to spread it. When you came to me in the first place you said you wanted a partner, someone who could work with your to cement the partnerships place in this Empore. What changed?”
He watches me without saying anything for a long moment, as if he expects me to go on. When he finally decides I’m not going to continue he sighs. “You know what changed. Your Lady Mercey was taken from the Empire. What none of you in the castle seem to realize is if she hasn’t joined the rebellion than they’ve probably killed her by now. So what kind of power could you ever have to help me? There is simply no way the Dark Lord will let you attach yourself to his next wife like you did to the blood traitor.”
“If you believe all of that why not just drop the whole thing? It is still very easy for you to walk away from this right now. You wouldn’t lose a lick of face.” I say as my jaw tenses in anger.
“You still have an agreeably intelligent mind, you’re young and lovely, you know how to take care of yourself and how to act in front of company. You will still make me a fair bride, only a different kind of wife than I originally thought.”
“I don’t think so.” I say shaking my head. “I don’t think this is going to work out for me. If you think I would be satisfied being your arm candy than you have sorely misjudged me.”
“Oh Daphne.” He breaths leaning over me so that I’m forced to take a step back into the closed gate. “You’re not walking away from me now. I’ve already decided you’re mine, and I don’t see why I need to give you a choice in the matter any longer. When it is revealed that the Queen is dead, or working against Empire, the Dark Lord will act on his anger. And I will make sure that at least part of it is directed at you.” He says seeming amused more than anything else.
“Well then. I don’t see any reason to talk to you until then.” I say grasping for the latch and backing through the gate as it opens. “Good night Antonin.” I snap before turning and heading back up to the castle.
I am still a semi-free pureblood woman, and there are enough guards walking the grounds that I feel secure he wouldn’t actually attack me in front of so many witnesses.
I don’t think I have ever walked so much in my life. I’m not exactly sure what time it was when I left, but I still haven’t found any kind of civilization by the time the sun starts to rise. It is possible and maybe likely that I have been walking in circles, as I really don’t know how to navigate at night in a forest that all looks the same.
When I can’t walk any more I lower the box to the ground and kneel beside it to have some breakfast and maybe a short nap. Looking down at my hip, I feel a slight flutter in my stomach, as I’m nervous with what I should try next.
I’m pretty sure I’m ways away from the cabin by now, how big would they have made the suppression ward against using the Dark Mark. I decide it is best to get some food in me before I can face Tom. I’m sure if I can call him, I am in for unimaginable consequences for my actions.
Once I feel strong, enough I lean back so that I can show the mark to the morning air then hold my breath. A whimper escapes my lips as I press the end of my wand to the Dark Mark. I feel a similar burning to when I first got the mark, but not nearly as intense. The feeling builds inside the mark. When I somehow know it reaches out to connect with the other marks the feeling fades completely.
It must still be blocked even so far from the cabin. Why would they make the ward so very big? I suddenly feel more like a prisoner than I have in a while. It angers me to think they feel they have the right to make my choices for me.
Too tired to go on any more right now I make myself as comfortable as I can against a large tree. I shiver in the cold now that I am not moving, but I try to use the cloak I have as a blanket.
I’m not sure how long has passed when I’m woken by being picked up into someone’s arms bridal style. When I open my eyes, I get a very good view of Harry’s angry profile.
“Put me down!” I snap trying to wiggle from his arms, but my body is still stiff from the cold.
“In a minute.” He says tightly before Apparating us back to the cabin. I only get a brief view of my bedroom walls before I am dumped on the bed. “What were you thinking?!” Harry roars the moment I land.
“You can’t keep me here Harry Potter! You have no right!” I yell back as I untangle myself from the cloak.
“Do you know how much worse things could be for you, Ginny?” He asks when I finally sit up properly. “Do you know what could have happened to you out there in the forest?” He presses as he glares down at me.
“I wouldn’t have to go trudging out into the forest if you weren’t keeping me captive out here in the middle of nowhere. I am a grown woman and you have no right, no right to keep me against my will!”
“I have every right!” Harry yells back throwing up his hands in annoyance. “We are at war! You are a valuable asset to our side. Do you think there is any chance anyone is going to let you go back to your husband? He doesn’t have anything to give us worth you.”
Without thought to my wand, I lunge at him swinging to punch him in the jaw when his grabs my wrist in a bruising grasp. “I’m giving you one more chance Ginny. You either get to be a prisoner of war or an asset to the cause. No more riding the line. What’s it going to be?”
Instead of answering his stupid question, I kick him in the shin as hard as I can. He cries out in pain letting go of my wrist so I start beating him about the head and shoulders. “You will never talk to me like that again Harry Potter!” I tell him hitting whatever part I can before he finally gets a hold of both wrists this time.
“I’ve tried to be nice to you Ginny.” He says we are both panting from the struggle. “I love you. Please don’t make me really hurt you.” He adds looking down at me with an unnerving cold look in his eyes.
I whimper and look away. It was harder to look at him with that expression than it had been when I first saw Tom in his body.
“There are too many people that need me, Harry. My family, Daphne, Draco, and everyone else there that relies on me. How can you all ask me to turn my back on my responsibility?”
“The people that love you will understand there is a larger good that we are fighting for here.” He says sounding a little calmer.
“I’m no good to anyone here. I’m not a writer Harry, that isn’t how I can help.” I say trying to pull from his grasp. This time he lets me go.
“Will you please just try?” He asks in a pleading tone that makes me look up.
“Why is this so important to you?” I ask taking a seat on my bed.
“It’s what you can do for now, but I promise as the people trust you again you will be able to do more. I’m not going to take your wand, but there is no way out of here Ginny. The reason I’m leaving you with it is that it will do you no good.” He says as he heads towards the door.
“Way to make a girl feel empowered.” I mock, rolling my eyes.
Harry sighs as he looks back at me from the room. “I’ve tried being nice Ginny, I think it’s time you understand your position here. I think you should stay in here today to think about what you almost did.” He adds taking a step out of the room and locking the door without a further word.
Wide-eyed by what just happened, I run to the door and try to open it. “This isn’t funny Harry!” I yell through the door but I hear no response. With a slight growl, I pull my wand and try every unlocking spell I know. The problem is that Harry and Hermione are the ones who taught me every unlocking spell I know.
Blaise left early last night and I’ve spent most of the day reading and taking notes on how to make a Dark Tarot deck. I really don’t like some of the ideas and things I will be expected to do to enchant this awful magical tool.
I’m almost glad the Dark Lord interrupts my studies so that I can attend another council meeting. He holds his arm out to me and I take it even though I feel very uncomfortable touching him after last night.
I’m still marked by his curse so I limp, playing as actually being in pain for those who take interest in such things. He’s had someone do a complete overhaul on my clothing. I remember when Blaise helped me to look professional and stylish. But that isn’t the look, the Dark Lord wants from his Oracle and Mistress.
All the new dresses are heavy and most are made of a rich velvet. The one that was laid out for me this morning has a neckline that showed off my navel, and back that matched the V. If it wasn’t for the silver cord fitted just under my breasts I have a feeling the dress wouldn’t exactly stay on my body.
“I feel naked in this,” I tell him because this is the first chance I’ve had to complain. “Worse than naked,” I add a moment later as he just smiles down while drinking in my form.
“It covers quite a lot actually.” He comments casually with a twisted smile.
“You like making me uncomfortable,” I tell him as he uses his free hand to pat the one on his arm.
“You did swear to always tell me the truth.” He says seeming actually amused. “Have you thought about my offer Luna?” He asks out of the blue. “It is one I’ve never actually made before.”
“Don’t you think Ginny would make a better student for you my Lord?” I ask carefully. I feel a little like I am throwing her to the wolves, but I need to understand why he made the offer before I can take it seriously.
“I like Ginevra’s heart the way it is.” He tells me and I actually think he is being honest. “I don’t actually wish to darken her soul in that way.”
“But you don’t care about mine?” I ask and he looks at me carefully.
“No matter what your husband may think, or your friends, your soul is half dark already. You wear your grief differently than she does. And of course, your mind is more open than most. It will not take nearly as much to empty out old ideas.”
“I have morals, my Lord.” I point out to him before the door to the council room opens before us.
It isn’t until he once again pulls me into his lap that I really get the full awkwardness of this dress. With a little adjustment, he could touch nearly any part of my body. I hate it and he knows just how to intimidate me with this sexual power.
He settled for stroking my neck as the meeting starts and I watch his people’s colors with only half an ear to what they are talking about. I can do little about troop movements against other countries; it isn’t as if the resistance is getting help from outside of England.
When they move to talking about more local problems, I shift to get comfortable so I can listen more closely. The Dark Lord’s fingers wrap around my throat in a warning gesture and I look up to see what I have done wrong.
“You’ve had little to add to the conversation.” He says studying me.
“They’re not lying,” I tell him and he squeezes my neck a fraction harder.
“What are they feeling then?” He asks and turns to look at his inner circle once more. They have stopped to wait for the Dark Lord’s focus and I frown as I glance at everyone’s colors again.
“Everyone is confident and proud. Lady Lestrange hates me very much but actually worships you. Lord Dolohov is a bit distracted. Lord Malfoy is feeling particularly satisfied. Lord Rabastan Lestrange is jealous and very much afraid of you. I mean they are all afraid of you. But he is focusing very hard on not upsetting you again. What did you do to him?” I ask turning to face him.
“Simply showed him he made a painful mistake.” He answers looking over his people. “Do you think he was planning to fuck you?” He asks curiously. “Should I let him?”
“No.” I gasp jerking away at the question, but he holds me tight and easily manipulates my neck so he can lean down and lick from just above the collar to just below my ear. It is all I can take not to cringe at the touch when I feel a sudden strange desire course through me at his touch. He licks again, nipping at my ear this time.
“My Lord, would you like some time alone?” It’s Rabastan that asks and I glance over to see his jealousy increase when I let out a soft moan. Is this how he got to Ginny?
“No, no, I was just rewarding my pet. We can continue now.” He says but for some reason the pleasure I was feeling only increases to the point I can’t focus on anything at all.
It takes me a moment to remember the collar and the fact this is artificial. The realization offers some comfort, but I reach behind me and tug at the lock so that pain will override what he is doing to me. But instead of one canceling the other all the wires get mixed up for a moment in my head and I find myself grasping the front of his robes as he actually forces me to orgasm in his lap.
“Stop it.” I whimper wanting to start crying but squeezing my eyes shut tightly enough that no tears can appear.
“You need to remember who is in control.” He says blandly before it is all gone suddenly making me sigh in relief.
“Yes my Lord,” I tell him feeling all sorts of odd as I turn and try to pay attention to the meeting once again.
This time I want to pay attention to what they are talking about but there is little, I can focus on beyond their colors. Everything that just happened has my head spinning and I don’t really hear anything until they start talking about someone very familiar.
“The one calling himself Death was spotted in London last night. We think he has made contact with a rebel cell there and is, in fact, working with those who fight under the name of DA.”
What? I look at the one making the report but see no deception in him. How can Death be walking the streets? I have to stop thinking about it in the Dark Lord’s lap
“Has there been any more idea of who this imposter is? We obviously don’t actually have the grim reaper walking the streets of London.” The Dark Lord asks but they all look down shaking their heads.
“What do you think darling?” He asks against my ear and I can’t help but be nervous about this line of questions.
“None of them are lying,” I say not sure if I can answer much more.
“Which one of your friends do you think is playing dress up in London town?” He asks and I really don’t know what to say.
“Why do you think it’s my friends? I serve you, my Lord.” I say trying not to seem too nervous.
“Yes, they probably all hate you now.” He says then turns back to the meeting.
I can’t stop the pounding of my heart and hope against hope he doesn’t try to read my mind while we are sitting here.
“But the question is. Who is i…” He stops mid-sentence and then tenses against me. “Everyone leave. NOW!” He bites out and I move to get off his lap but he holds me tightly.
“He’s with her.” He breathes out a growl and I understand why I am the one staying.
“So how do I make you suffer without damaging you?” He asks against my ear and I shake my head because I really don’t know how to answer that question. “Those are his words.” He adds a moment later before letting me up.
“Can you block him out?” I ask. I really wish Harry would stop doing this.
“I could. But he may slip up. He may show me something he doesn’t mean to.” He says getting up and pacing. “She offers herself to him so freely, how could she ever love me?” He asks with a sneer. “She offers her suffering to him when it really belongs to me!”
I really don’t know how to answer this question so I stay silent sort of hoping that he forgets that I’m here. He is muttering to himself, as he must be experiencing whatever they are doing. I decide it is best to make a run for it if this is going to get any more heated, I don’t want to be in his way.
When I place, my hand on the door pain shoots down my spine robbing me of all motor control. I fall hard, slamming my head against the doorknob on my way to the floor.
The next morning I am still agitated with what happened with Dolohov last night. My first thought is to go directly to Draco and tell him what happened. But I slow and stop myself because I don’t want him telling me he told me so. Rubbing my hands together, I try to decide what to do with myself. The Dark Lord had no work for me this morning.
I decide to head down to the great hall to get some breakfast. I wonder how long I can avoid everyone I know. Maybe that would be for the best. There are students still in the hall as I go up to a staff table to find myself some food and a seat.
“Daphne?” I turn to find my sister sitting at the Slytherin table and looking up at me nervously.
It’s been awhile since I have really had a chance to talk to her. She looks so young even though she is only a year younger than I am. It just feels like a lifetime ago that I was sitting here waiting to get to class.
“Astoria,” I say taking a seat next to her. “How have you been?” I ask because I have nothing better to do and I can check in on her.
“Classes are starting to ramp up for the NEWTs.” She says nodding and she is studying my face.
“I haven’t really heard from mother or father,” I say wondering if they have written her.
“Their well, doing more than well in this new great nation.” She says nodding as she looks around then back to me. “Someone told me you’re out of favor since Lady Mercy ran away.” She says sounding worried for me.
“Lady Mercy did not run away, don’t you read the papers? Those horrible DA people stole her. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”
“But you are out of favor?” She asks looking at me with big eyes.
“For the moment. Don’t worry about me. I’ll come back stronger than ever.” I say trying to comfort her.
“Last night a man came by our dorm to talk to me.” She says looking around again. “He told me to give you this.” She adds holding out an envelope. “And to tell you to be smart.” She frowns with concern.
I open the letter and bite my cheek as I read who it is from. He sure likes to make points.
“I was going to come to your room after class, but then I saw you just now.”
“Don’t worry about it. It was just a friend.” I tell her patting her hand. “Giving me a little reminder of something,” I tell her as I work not to crumple the paper.
“Then why did he…”
“Don’t worry about it. I have a few errands to run, but we should do something sisterly this weekend.” I say leaning in to kiss her cheek before I stand and head back out.
I open the letter again as I walk and the contents make my blood boil.
You have a very pretty sister. She is even of age. Do you think she would like the townhouse? Maybe I’ll ask her if you really don’t want to use it. Do you think she’s still a virgin? Were you at her age? I could teach her so many things I am sure.
There is no way around talking to Draco now. How can that man twist things so very quickly? When I get to Draco’s door, knock loudly and I realize I don’t even know if he is on shift today. When the door opens, it’s Blaise and I frown for a moment before I see Draco further in the room.
“You shouldn’t be here,” Draco calls and I’m about to tell him off when Blaise interrupts.
“Hey, before you two, get into a row, could you stop by Luna’s tonight and check if she is alright after the council meeting. I’ve got a thing.”
“Sure,” I tell him before he waves goodbye to Draco and heads off.
“He was in a rush,” I say stepping into his room and closing the door behind me.
“You can’t be here Daphne.” He says again looking at me seriously. “Your future husband is going to be livid when he finds out.”
“I broke it off last night,” I say taking a step into the room. “You were right, I can’t marry him.”
“What happened?” He asks giving me his full attention. It seems as if he was getting dressed for work still.
“He has been poisoning the ministry against me so that he can keep me trapped in that townhouse,” I say shaking my head as I go to sit on his bed. “That’s not the plan. I am not here to be arm candy.” I tell him and he nods as he sits down next to me.
“If he thinks it is worth poisoning the ministry against you, it will be hard finding a replacement.” He says stiffly.
“Maybe I should look beyond England as well,” I say as a joke, but he nods sagely. “This is my bigger worry,” I say handing him the note. “He gave it to my sister after hours last night.”
I watch as Draco’s expression hardens as he reads the note. He puts the paper in his pocket then starts to pace.
“We are going to have to do something about this.” He says and I sit back as I watch him think. It is somehow comforting to think that he actually cares enough to be upset.
“I can’t marry him Draco, it would be like dying,” I tell him honestly as thinking of being trapped the way Dolohov wants me. “But I can’t let him do that to my sister either.”
“We’ll figure something out.” He says looking back to me. “The whole point of power is to protect my family. Your family is my family.” He agreed, looking grim. “But there are only three ways forward that I can see. Either you give him what he wants, we find you a powerful enough husband to protect your whole family, or we get our Lady back so she can take your sister into her household after graduation.”
“That is what I wanted for her before everything fell apart,” I admit looking down at my hands and see they are shaking.
He takes them in his, covering them with large strong hands and crouches down in front of me. “I’m going to protect you, Daphne.” He tells me with so much conviction in his gray eyes.
“Can you hold me?” I ask softly, feeling weak. I always feel stronger in his arms.
Leaning in he takes my lips in a soft kiss and I feel relief fill me as I breathe in his air. He loves me, and that makes me safe here.
I sigh as I give up on opening the door and look around the room once more. My stomach grumbles at me so I glare at the door once more. I wonder if Harry actually left the cabin or if he is staying around while he has trapped me in this room.
“Harry, I’m hungry!” I yell to see if he answers.
When only silence answers I look around the room and realize he had brought the box back with us as well. I rush over to it because maybe there is a tool I can use. At least there is food that should last me until he gets back.
I pull out some fruit I packed and my journal because I really need some company right now that Harry’s away and Riddle isn’t rattling around in my head. I find a new entry from Daphne about trying to use the Dark Mark and I smile sadly down at it before finding a quill so I can write back.
I tried to run away last night. I don’t know how far I got because I have no way to navigate the forest, but when I thought I was decent ways away, I tried to use the mark to call Tom to me. They know all my tricks… They taught me most of them.
An answer starts to appear so quickly that I know she must have been waiting for my answer.
If the Dark Mark doesn’t work there, I’m not sure if a dark location spell will work either. Do you still have your wand? What made you run away so suddenly? Are you okay?
I look around my prison and try to think of an answer to all of her questions. I remember what Harry and I did yesterday, and what Riddle showed me in my dream. I even think about Harry’s threats before he left. No, no I am not okay. I lick my lips, trying to decide how and if I should tell her this simple fact.
I can’t just make a run for it again. After he found me in the forest, Harry was pretty mad.
I stop writing there because I don’t know how I can admit that Harry is starting to actually scare me.
Ginny please tell me what is going on.
I sigh, looking down and let out a chuckle as she calls me by name. I run my fingers over her words and for some reason, I don’t understand, I start to cry. How is it that her actually using my name makes me feel safer than any of my old friends? Have I really changed so much? Have they?
I still have my wand because Harry says it will do me no good here. He has locked me in my room and I’ve already tried to get out. He says that I have to decide what side I’m on. There is something wrong with him. He hurt me… I’m unharmed, but I’m not okay.
Her answer doesn’t come for what seems like forever.
Do you want me to take the journal to the Dark Lord?
I look at her words blinking. My confession must have really scared her if she was willing to do that, and show him that we are actually in communication.
I don’t want you to get hurt. Find me a spell. I don’t think they would have protected against things they don’t know I can do. Please don’t tell anyone about Harry.
I frown at my words, I don’t know why, but it makes me feel uncomfortable for people to know how Harry has changed. Maybe he just needs to work out the darkness of the spell they used to bring him back. But I don’t think I can be the one to help with that.
We’ll do our best.
The words write themselves and I nod before closing the book and hiding it under my mattress. I don’t need Harry deciding to go through my things to find that I have a way to communicate with those who are actually loyal to me.
I pace for a while after that. I don’t really like being alone. Every time I pass the desk, I see Harry’s paper and that gets me thinking about these letters they want me to write. But what do I believe now? I’ve never believed in enslaving people. I’ve never believed that the Muggle-borns are any less than the purebloods. But is there a way to get Tom to see that? Would my voice actually help anything at all?
Before I know it, I’ve made the decision and I’m already seated at the desk with the ink in front of me.
I’ve been asked to write down my thoughts by the people who took me on my wedding day. These are not villains. These people only fight to keep their ideals alive as we all fight to keep ours. I’ve been told the papers now call me Lady Mercy wife of the Dark Lord. I do not know if this name fits me. It is not mercy I feel, or even forgiveness when I am apprehensive to punish those who have wronged me. It is just a desire not to see any more blood, a need to live in a world without the pain of loss.
Very few know the nature of the attack on me on the Hogwarts grounds. I feel the need to talk about this more than any political issue of the day. Several men, with the purpose of keeping the Dark Lord from using a stronger marriage rite, assaulted me. When those men attacked me, the only man I had ever known so intimately before was the Dark Lord himself. I cannot go into greater detail, but their attack made it possible to bring Harry Potter back from his trapped existence. I could still hate them all, and I do, but I kept their names from the Dark Lord so he couldn’t punish them.
There are those who call me the Dark Lord’s whore. I am a woman in love. I love many people, my friends, and my family, and those I feel responsible for. But I am in love with two, and they both love me back in their own ways. I do not agree completely with either of these men. Sometimes I do not agree at all with either of them. But that does not stop my love. With all that off my chest, I will try to write again after I have more time to think.
~Your Lady Mercy, the Dark Lord’s Whore
I take a deep breath after looking over my words. I don’t know if this is at all useful to them, but it is what I needed to say before I could say anything else.
It isn’t until after dark that the door opens and Harry looks in on me. “Have you thought about what I said?” He asks sounding as if he is expecting me to spit in his face. “Have you chosen a side?”
“Yes,” I say because I have actually chosen a side. “I wrote a thing,” I tell him pointing to the desk as I curl my feet under me on the bed.
Harry sits down and looks over the words nodding to himself. “It’s a start. It will help the people know that you are real, and these are really your thoughts. But you maybe shouldn’t sign off on it like that.” He says pointing to the bottom.
“It has to be like that or it isn’t real,” I tell him firmly and he nods before setting it aside.
He moves over so he can sit next to me on the bed and reaches out to place a hand on my knee. “If you love me, why did you try to run away?” He asks looking into my eyes.
“Because you scared me, and I love him too, and I am so worried for my people in the castle,” I tell him honestly moving a bit closer to him.
He sighs as he reaches out to pet my face. “I’m sorry for frightening you. I didn’t mean to. I just got carried away I guess.” He says looking right into my eyes. He seems so very honest that I find myself nodding. “I was hoping we could do it again, but if you don’t trust me than…”
I find myself shaking my head. “I trust you, Harry, you just need to be a bit more careful. T-He has a lifetime of learning to control his darkness; you are just starting to learn.” I say hoping it doesn’t upset him. He nods in agreement.
“You can help me learn.” He says with a smile as he slowly pushes me back onto the bed.
“This isn’t the only thing.” I remind him as he moves over me and pushes up my shirt.
“Let’s not think about it for a while Ginny. Tell me how to control this need, please?” He asks so sweetly before leaning down and kissing my stomach. Riddle is probably pissed but I can’t think of anyway but giving into him.
“What do you need Harry?” I ask trying to really help him with all of this. “To hurt me or to make me suffer?” I ask and he looks up at me curiously.
“They aren’t the same?” He asks propping himself up on his elbow so he can watch me.
“No. I like pain. I don’t suffer from most pain. You would have to really damage me I think if you wanted to make me suffer from pain.” I explain and he nods. He’s listening, and that is a good sign, right?
“So how do I make you suffer without damaging you?” He asks as if that is the most normal question in the world.
I lick my lips as I try to figure out a way to voice my thoughts. “It would have to be more, emotional pain. Humiliating me, and belittling me is much safer than physical harm.” His eyes lighten with this idea and he nods.
“And that won’t scare you?” He asks as a smirk starts to play on his lips.
“Not if you hold me after and tell me that you love me,” I tell him swallowing as I wonder what is going through his mind.
“Oh, Ginny I do love you.” He says kissing me passionately as his hands move up under my shirt. “But there are no safe words for this kind of play.” He reaches for something in his pocket and forces what can only be a snitch into my mouth.
He grins as I whimper. I don’t like the idea of not being able to tell him to stop. I guess he is right that he can’t actually harm me with his words. When fingers push into my mouth to turn the bloody thing on I try to fight again.
“Keep it in there Dark Whore or there will be consequences that you won’t like.” He says with a deadly look in his eyes. It shifts my attention from trying to spit the thing out to try to keep it in. “I’m very curious to know what Tom thinks of his fucking slut wife.” He adds as he pulls my shirt off over my head and tosses it aside. “I just thought of a better way to keep your brainless ass in this cabin.” He says as he unhooks my bra and I move towards his pants.
“Not yet baby.” He shakes his head and throws my bra, in the corner before pulling down my pants and nickers, tossing them all in a pile. Once I am naked under him, he gives me a kiss on the neck before getting up and moving away from me.
“Petrificus Totalus!” He cast, locking my body completely as if I am made of stone. He leans me back against the wall so I can watch as he collects every scrap of clothes I have in the room into the box I had used to run away.
I don’t know how this is helping him as he grabs the box then actually floats me out into the front yard. He puts the box down and it isn’t until he actually lights it up that I really believe he is burning every single piece of clothing I have here. Even my shoes are in that box!
It isn’t until there is no saving anything that he releases me from the spell and I spit out the snitch.
“What the fuck did you just do!?” I scream trying to make a useless attempt to grab something from the box as he grabs me around the waist to keep me from the flames.
“You’re wand was in that box.” He says against the back of my neck. I feel his fingers move down between my legs and there is no way I am letting him fuck me now.
“You’ve gone too far!” I turn to scream in his face and he lets go of me to actually hits me again. “Do you really think Hermione is going to stand for any of this? She is going to find out!” I keep yelling once I recover from the strike.
“Where’s the mirror?” He asks grabbing my wrist to pull me with him as he heads back into the house and I have no idea what he is talking about.
“The wards picked up communication from this place Ginny. I’m not stupid. I just can’t let you have anything I see that now. Tell me where the mirror is!” He yells back as he heads into my room.
Communication? The book? It picked up the book, but he thinks I am using a magic mirror.
“Y-you just burned it. It was hidden in my shoe.” I lie because he cannot go search my room, that book is the last thing I have left. A struggle to pull his focus away from my room. Maybe I can still get to my wand?
Merlin, what has happened to him? Why is he like this now? He turns on me to look me in the eyes again. Satisfied with something he sees there he quickly pushes me up against the wall.
“Now we can finish our fun.” He says and I try to push him away shaking my head. “You lost the snitch. I’m going to have to punish you.”
“NO!” I scream because there is no way I am letting him fuck me now.
When he tries to push my legs apart, again I hit him across the face so he knows we aren’t playing these games anymore.
“What the fuck Ginny?” He asks touching the red mark on his cheek.
“Get the fuck off of me!” I yell trying to hit him again only this time he catches my other wrist and I hear a snapping sound before I feel the heat of pain bloom in my arm. I scream because it is nothing like a pain spell. There is something just more real, about a broken bone than any spell can provide.
He leans in close to me and I see something in his eyes I never wanted to believe. “No one is ever going to come looking for you Ginny. You are mine now, so get with the program or suffer the consequences.”
“What is wrong with you?” I ask trying very hard not to pass out from the pain.
“I’m actually free for the first time in my life.” He says as he reaches for my face and slowly drags his nails down my cheek.
“Don’t you love me at all anymore?” I sniffle pathetically.
“Of course Ginny.” He says with such sincerity I get whiplash. “But my love comes with a price now. That price is obedience.”
“You’re not Harry at all.” I shake my head because this is a monster standing in front of me.
“I am Harry. But I think a few weaknesses got lost in transition.” He tells me before leaning in pressing his chest against my arm painfully so he can dominate my lips with his own.
I’m still limping for real as I make my way back to my room alone. I don’t know exactly what Harry was doing to Ginny, but it seems she was communicating with someone outside of Harry’s control. The Dark Lord thought it was me of course, and I wonder if Harry is thinking about the consequences of showing the Dark Lord so much.
When I make it to my room, I see Daphne standing outside my door with a frown on her lips. “You don’t look good.” She says carefully and I have to wonder why she is talking to me at all.
“Thanks?” I offer as I open the door to my room and she actually follows me inside. “What are you doing?” I ask watching her as she closes the door for me.
“Blaise asked me to make sure you are alright. You don’t look it, so I’m here to help.” She tells me simply and I frown as I take a seat at my desk. “He gave you Ginny’s collar.” She adds when she notices it around my neck. “I’m sorry.”
“He likes having control,” I say because I don’t know what else I am supposed to say to this girl.
“I know.” She says and I guess she really knows better than me what he can do. “I didn’t think he would be so hard on a noble, but I guess you have no real family he has to worry about.”
I take a slow breath nodding. “I should get some work done,” I say turning to my notes and The Dark Pattern.
“Would you like some help?” She asks moving around to look at what I am doing. I guess she knows better than to ask what happened.
“Where’s my husband?” I ask suddenly wondering if he was worried about me where he could possibly be.
“I don’t know, he just said he had something important to do tonight and he wants us to make friends. We’ve fucked two of the same guys so you know we have that in common.” She says and it takes me a moment to try to figure out when she had sex with Ron before I realize she is talking about the Dark Lord.
“Blaise told me you two had a thing,” I tell her wondering if she was actually trying to upset me.
“Only briefly. So can I help?” She presses as she picks up my notes. “You’re making these cards?” She asks and when I nod my head, she nods as well. “I can get you some supplies. What do you need?”
“Are you so trusting?” I ask and she just shakes her head.
“This book is from the Dark Lord’s personal library. There is no way you have it without his permission.” She says as she motions to the book in front of me. “He keeps it in his room.” She adds a bit more stiffly.
“I will make you a list of things,” I say wondering why she really wants to help. “I’m best with watercolors so I was planning my designs around that.”
“Watercolors will be easy.” She says and I shake my head.
“There is a particular set which I think will be best for the project, but it isn’t exactly sold in an art supply store,” I admit. I’ve always wanted this rare set and this project was at least a good excuse to get them. “They are most pertinently called the Flos Venenum. They are all made with the pigment of highly poisonous flowers. But they make for very brilliant colors.”
“You want me to get you poisonous watercolors?” She asks crossing her arms as I think I have gone too far.
“Ask the Dark Lord for permission if it makes you more comfortable. I think he will agree that they will be the best tool for the job.”
“I will have to ask him to bring you poison.” She says seeming sorry.
“It is alright. Delays on this project are not unwelcome.” I admit and look at her more closely. Her colors are all over the place and I get the sense she wants to ask me something. “What do you need?”
She holds her breath a moment before looking around as if she was checking no one else was in the room. “You knew Harry Potter.”
“Yes.” I agree with a frown because no one really brings him up except for the Dark Lord.
She scratches her nose and I know that couldn’t be her only question. “Do you think my Lady is safe with him if no one else is around?” She asks as if it is a hypothetical question. No one had a connection to what is going on with Ginny except for the Dark Lord… and the one she was communicating with.
“You’re in contact with her?” I ask because I am a direct kind of person.
“What? What would make you think that?” She asks thrown off guard by my leap.
“The Dark Lord knows someone has been communicating with her. He thought it was me. He may even ask you about it because he knows it is someone Harry doesn’t have control over.”
“Shit.” She says biting her lip hard as she looks at her hands and shakes her head. She looks nervous so I know I was right.
“What has Harry done?” I ask wondering how long before the Dark Lord, thinks to ask Ginny’s loyal handmaid.
“I don’t know exactly, but she wants to come back,” Daphne says in a rush. “But it has to be on her terms. If he…” She shakes her head.
“I think you may wish to leave before he comes looking for you,” I tell her because I know she is right. If Ginny doesn’t come back on her own then it could be very dangerous for all of us.
“But if I run he will have me hunted down.” She says and I can see the gears in her head working. “How did he even find out?”
I shake my head because I don’t really know how his connection to Harry works. “I think Harry showed him,” I tell her carefully and watch as her eyes widen in horror. She drops her purse on my desk and pulls out a leather bound book and a pen. She writes something down in it as if someone’s life depended on it and I look over to see what she is writing.
Are you okay?
I frown at this, feeling a bit slow suddenly as I wonder why she would be writing that. She then stares at the words and it slowly comes to me.
“That is a message for Ginny?” I ask and she nods her head looking like she is willing a reply.
“I think Harry may still be with her. If she is hiding this from him than, she wouldn’t risk writing back.” I say trying to be comforting. “You need to think about what you are going to do.” I point out watching the page as well.
“I’m going to tell him the truth.” She says looking from me to the book. “But I need you to keep this for me. The book will glow if she replies.”
“You trust me?” I ask tilting my head.
“To protect her? Yes.” She says with a firm nod as she collects things back into her purse. “I should go before he calls for me.”
“You are very brave,” I tell her and a weird sort of look passes over her face before she nods and heads to the door.
“I’ll come pick that up tonight if I can.” She says nodding to the book. With one last breath, she turns and heads to find the Dark Lord. I hope he is gentle with her because I know she is actually trying to help Ginny.
With the book in hand, I can’t help but look at what they’ve written already. It starts out as a journal and then Daphne admits she can read it. I flip through a few pages when I find their last conversation.
There is something wrong with him. He hurt me…
My eyes keep being drawn back to those words and there is a sour feeling in my stomach as I wonder if after everything it isn’t really Harry we brought back at all?
I have no idea what punishment is coming, but I know it would mean my death if I run. I find the Dark Lord exiting the council room and I drop to my knees before him, trying to show my extreme reverence before I dare say a word.
“You’ve been in communication with her.” He says coldly because he is not a dumb man. “And you did not feel the need to tell your Lord?”
I take a deep breath before speaking. “Please forgive me, my Lord. I was scared you would take it away. I need to get her back if I am to regain any kind of honor in your great empire.” I tell him trying to be as honest as I can. I cannot poison this with lies, or he’ll know.
“You risk my temper for simple ambition?” He asks moving closer to me.
“It’s not ambition if I have nothing, its survival,” I argue because how can he not see that I am drowning in his disapproval.
“Survival? I’ve heard Lord Dolohov will already be seeing to that.” He says still mocking me.
I can’t help it, maybe I’ve contracted hot-headedness from Ginny, but I just can’t be meek in the face of his mocking.
“Did my service never please you, my Lord? Did I not help the Lady ‘see’ things your way?” I ask looking up at him. “Did I not help mold her to your desire?”
He looks down at me with interest that I don’t think I am going to like. I swallow lowering my head again to show my penitence.
“So you do have a spine it seems.” He says coldly. “I had been wondering if I completely broke it.”
“My Lord?” I ask looking up again.
“Follow.” He orders moving past me with swift movements so that I have to run to catch up to him. He leads me to his office thankfully and has me stand as he takes a seat behind his desk.
“Hallways have ears and I need to know how you are in contact with my wife. You see he may not be the best at reading her, but I see the lies plane on her face.” He says holding his arms over his chest.
“There is a book,” I admit biting my lip. “But please don’t ask for it?” I beg. “Let Draco and I go and get her back for you. She wants to come back my Lord. She’s actually tried to use the mark to call you.” I tell him honestly.
“Before or after he started breaking her bones?” He asks coldly and I look up in shock. “Today must be the first time he went that far. But he had hit her before correct?” He asks, but somehow he knows more about that than me.
“She said he hurt her, she wouldn’t give me details,” I admit softly.
“Of course not.” He says with a sneer. “Why should I trust that you can get her back more swiftly than I?”
I lick my lips. “You are a great and powerful wizard, my Lord. There is no limit to what you can do. But politically if you are seen as kidnapping her from the rebels, our people will never really see her as your Queen.”
“So you would risk her safety for our political gain?” He asks sounding almost amused. “Because he will kill her sooner or later.”
“I heard the prophecy, my Lord,” I admit with a lowered head.
“And now we know what it means. I will give you two weeks, out of the castle, away from distractions. If you do not bring her back I will, and you will all pay for my time.”
“My Lord.” I bite my lip and bow my head. “M-my Lord I am worried that if I leave the castle now my sister will be in danger,” I admit because this is the only time I will ever have.
“From me?” He asks sounding almost shocked.
“No, my Lord. Lord Dolohov threatened her when I broke things off with him.” I say directly.
“Weren’t we just talking about ambition? Lord Dolohov has much power.” He reminds me.
“Yes my Lord, but as I have been trying to prove, I can serve the nation with more than just bearing children. Marrying him would be becoming his slave. A kept woman.” I say honestly. “I have more to offer than that.”
“I will speak to him.” He says and I almost sigh in relief. That is one less worry. “But if you fail in this, I will give him both you and your sister.” He adds coldly.
“I understand my Lord,” I say tightly, knowing that I have cut off all other paths for myself.
“You may take one other from her household to help. I assume young Master Malfoy?”
“Yes my Lord,” I say nodding wondering what I’ve gotten Draco into.
“Go collect him now.” He waves me off.
I nearly run from his office towards Luna. I need to get that book back if we are to figure out anything else about where she is being held. I knock on the door as casually as I can and only enter after being invited. She relaxes a bit at the sight of me and then pulls the book from the desk drawer she must have stashed it in.
“I didn’t know who it was.” She says getting to her feet. “What happened with the Dark Lord?”
“Draco and I are getting one chance to save her before he steps in. It could have been much worse.” I say not knowing if it is still going to be worse in the end.
“Then you’ll need this.” She says holding the book out to me. “And you shouldn’t tarry here. I’ll give the Dark Lord my supply request myself.” She says as if her stupid cards mean anything to me at all.
“Yes, that is probably for the best,” I say as I take the book. “I’m sorry I can’t stay, but now that we have Empire backing, I hope to have the Queen back soon,” I say stuffing the journal in my bag.
“We can only hope,” Luna says as she sits back at her desk. “It will be better when she is back here.”
I don’t feel safe to check on the book until I know that he is indeed gone. I’m not sure when but at some point I stopped fighting last night and just let him use me for his pleasure. Then he actually slept here, peaceful and relaxed. I sat on the bed next to him cradling the arm he still hasn’t healed.
I thought about getting a knife from the kitchen, so I could stab him or fight back. But I haven’t because I’m weak and ridiculous I couldn’t get myself to move past him. I didn’t get any sleep while he was here, and now that he is gone I still can’t sleep. I need out. I need some way out.
When I open the book, I see Daphne’s message, and I wonder how she knew I was in trouble. There are many problems with sending another message. The first is that I have no way to heal my wrist and I’ll have to write with my left hand. The second and more significant issue is that if I do write her a message Harry is sure to find out.
Are all the wards the same? What if I go outside to send the message? I don’t know how long I sit there debating the issue in my head when I hear someone out in the hall. I stuff the book back in its hiding place and get off the bed just before Harry walks in with a broad smile like last night never happened.
“Have you left this room at all darling?” He asks sounding almost sweet. Why is he acting like this? I shake my head because I don’t really trust my voice.
“Let’s get you some lunch, and then we can heal you.” He says holding a hand out to me. When I don’t take it right away, his expression turns cold, so I push myself forward because I don’t want him to get angry with me. He smiles and leads me into the kitchen where he had brought a basket of food for us.
“Luna’s magazine came out today. I thought you would want to see the cover.” He says as if this is no big deal as he pulls it out of the basket and tosses it on the table.
It only takes a glance to see why he is showing this to me. “I’ll set up; you read the article.” He says, and I know somehow it’s a command.
When I sit down, I can’t help but look at the cover in more detail. It’s apparently a staged photo, but I can tell that it’s really in Tom’s bed. They lay there curled together both looking utterly nude with a silk sheet covering his modesty. Luna is turned away from the camera with her head resting on his chest. A large Dark Mark runs the length of her back.
“It seems your husband is sending you love letters,” Harry says in that light tone.
“She’s wearing my collar,” I say softly because if he has her wearing that, it’s something the rebellion should know. Could they save her?
“Jealous?” Harry asks meanly before I look up to him.
“It’s a magical control collar. It means He is doing horrible things to Luna.” I tell him trying to look unaffected otherwise. “Could you save her?” I ask wondering if he’s even a hero at all anymore.
“We’re working on it. Ron’s met with that Death guy; they are trying to work out a plan.” I sigh feeling a bit better about him before I open the magazine and see what they actually have to say about Tom’s new Mistress.
“But I can’t help but be glad it isn’t you.” He says touching my hand.
He acts this way through the entire lunch. Like he is himself, and I have to wonder if torturing me last night really did help vent some of the darkness within him. When we finish lunch he has me put my broken wrist on the table; he stokes the purple marks lovingly before healing it solidly once again.
“Is that better?” He asks getting to his feet.
“Yes thank you,” I tell him as I stand up as well moving my wrist this way and that.
“It wasn’t broken too badly.” He says retaking hold of it lightly so he can maneuver me towards him. “This was nice, wasn’t it?” He asks using his other hand to stroke my face.
“Yes,” I tell him because that is obviously what he wants to hear.
“Things can be nice if you don’t make me hurt you. If you obey me as you should.” He says still petting the side of my face. “You obeyed him; you will learn to do the same for me.”
“Yes,” I say trying to give him a weak smile.
“Because if you don’t, you know what will happen?” He asks as his hand tightens around my newly healed wrist.
“Yes.” I nod quickly trying to obey him as best I can at the moment.
“You don’t need a reminder?” He asks as his other hand takes the same arm.
“No.” I shake my head not even daring to move away. “No, no, I’ll be good,” I promise him.
I scream when he breaks the wrist again, falling into him and whimper as I hear him sigh in something like relief.
“Shhhh, shhh.” He says against the top of my head as he is still holding my arm. “You just needed a little reminder.” He tells me, and I have no idea what I did for him to do that to me again. “Hitting me, or going against what I say, they have severe consequences. You did both last night, didn’t you?” He asks, and I think he actually wants an answer.
“Yes.” I whimper against his chest.
“Next time it’s going to be a knee, and I can’t heal those. Do you understand?” He asks gently as if this should somehow be a comfort to me.
“Yes,” I tell him nodding again. It is so much worse this time. The rest from the pain hadn’t lasted long, but it made this new suffering far worse. This was not done in the heat of passion; this is a cold calculation.
“I think we are going to be better now, now that you understand.” He explains as he gently runs fingers through my hair. “Look into my eyes, and tell me you love me.” He urges as he helps me to stand on my own.
I swallow hard before I can look up into his kind eyes. I do still love him. I love him so deeply that his anger and abuse feels like a betrayal. How did I become the girl that loves her abusers? How did Tom become the kinder man?
“I love you,” I say trying to catch my breath. Harry searches my eyes for a moment before smiling.
“Good girl.” He says before leaning down and kissing me softly. “I’m coming back tonight after I work. If you’re still a good girl, I’ll heal it.” He promises with a nod.
I whimper as I hold the wrist close. “I’ll be good,” I tell him hoarsely. I do not doubt that he would break me until I comply with him. I have to be good until I know I can actually get away from him.
He gives me one last kiss acting like everything is reasonable and sane. When he Disapparates, I fall to my knees, whimpering over my wrist once again. I know now that Harry Potter is going to kill me, but I can’t see what anyone can do to stop him.
“Here it is,” Blaise says as he walks into my rooms looking annoyed. He sets the most recent magazine down on the desk in front of me taking the opportunity to kiss my cheek.
“You took a lovely picture,” I tell him as I look at myself wrapped in the Dark Lord’s arms.
“I had a lovely subject.” He admits stepping back to unbutton the collar of his shirt.
“I hope it is to your exacting standards. It was the first you couldn’t go over the printing yourself.” He points out with a sigh.
“You did a lovely job, Blaise,” I tell him getting up so I can follow him into the more comfortable sitting area. When he takes a seat in the armchair, I move comfortably into his lap. I like sitting with Blaise much more than with the Dark Lord. “Are you taking the rest of the day off?” I ask as he wraps an arm around me.
“I have a thing I need to do later, but I’m with you for a while. Want to try and make a baby?” He asks leaning in to kiss my neck.
I find myself smiling and shaking my head. “Not the best idea right now.” I remind him with a sigh, and he shakes his head.
“Maybe not… do you want to not make a baby?” He asks as he runs a finger over my lips and pushes inside for me to suck on.
I press my tongue against it and suck for a moment before pulling away so I can talk to him. “What do you have to do tonight?” I ask as he takes my free hand and places it right on his crotch.
“Just a thing, we have plenty of time.” He groans as I message my hand over him for a moment.
“Does this thing have anything to do my Death Cloak?” I ask grasping my hand around him in a much more threatening way.
“Was I spotted?” He asks a bit tightly trying to shift so I will loosen my hold.
“Yes. Fortunately, the Dark Lord asked the wrong question or I could have gotten you killed.” I say getting to my feet. “You know I have to tell him the truth.”
“But he underestimates how cunning your mind is.” He points out as he looks up at me.
“Why were you wearing it at all, where are you going tonight?” I ask frowning at him. It is so dangerous if either side found out who he really was he would be in trouble.
“I went to go talk to the rebels, I spoke with Weasley.” He says frowning up at me.
“Why would you do that? Do you know how dangerous that is?” I ask, and he gives me a look like I have two heads.
“But you feel it is something safe for you to do?” He countered without answering my question.
“When I do it, I’m only risking the wrath of the Dark Lord.” I point out because he doesn’t seem to understand the DA is dangerous too. “Why take the risk?”
“Why do you think?” He asks looking at me like I’m stupid again. When I shake my head, he sighs. “I wanted to see if there was anything they could do to get you out of here. Serendipity is fortress of magical wards. If we could just get you there than you would be safe.”
“Blaise!” I say shocked that he would try something like that. “So are you changing sides now? Are you going to start supporting muggle rights?” I ask crossing my arms over my chest.
He rolls his eyes and shakes his head. “No, but we could hide there until we think of a way to get on his good side again. Maybe give him Weaselette?” He offers, making me frown.
“I want her back here as much as anyone,” I say thinking about the journal. That makes me frown even more. “Did you know?” I ask looking at him.
“That you wanted her back in the castle? Yeah, ever since you heard the prophecy about her impending death.” He says acting utterly blasé about my friend’s demise.
“I mean that Daphne was in contact with her?” I ask wondering what else he has been keeping from me.
“So you knew,” I say this time instead of asking.
“I knew. But Luna I just can’t tell you everything I know. Just like you really can’t tell me everything you know.
“Did you know Daphne and Draco are leaving to go find her today?” I ask searching his face and colors for the answer.
“No. I missed that part.” He tells me honestly before leaning forward so he can take my hand. “I should see them off; I may have some information on that front too.” He adds pulling me into his lap again.
I relax against him, resting my head on his shoulder. “From Ron?” I ask closing my eyes as he softly strokes my head. He is trying to put me at ease, and I am letting him.
“Yeah, under the guise of worrying that she isn’t safe from the Dark Lord. Only Potter can get to her. Not even her brother or the know-it-all have access.”
“He’s hurting her,” I tell him softly.
“Do you really think the hero of heroes is actually hurting his lady love?” He asks with disbelief.
“There’s something wrong… They need to get her soon.” I tell him not wishing to explain further.
“Well maybe if they can actually get some government resources they will be able to find her. Those two are pretty quick.” He says in a rare compliment of someone else’s skill. “Plus I have some information that will narrow down their search a bit.” He adds and I smile because he can never leave himself out of it.
“You should go check on them then,” I say, but I don’t move because I am enjoying the closeness with him over what I’m forced to share with the Dark Lord. “And please stop trying to save me. I’m not going anywhere until Ginny is back.”
He sighs, his shoulders deflating under me like he is somehow defeated. “Luna…” He starts, but I shake my head. I sit up a bit so I can look him in the eyes.
“I want you to trust in the fact I can take care of myself. I can handle this. I will come out stronger for it.” I tell him before placing a kiss on his lips.
“I’ll see what I can do.” He says not promising anything, but it is the best I can expect.
“Now go see Daphne and Draco about what intelligence you have gained,” I tell him kissing him again before slipping off his lap so he can rise.
“The moment we sort all this out I am taking you back to the club.” He says brushing himself off as he stands. “And we will have several nights of total and complete debauchery.” He promises with a wink.
I chuckle shaking my head before giving him a kiss on his cheek to send him on his way. Once he’s gone, I turn back to what I was working on before. I’ve started to sketch the cards to plan out the art of them before getting the supplies.
I woke up early to pack everything I think I will need on the trip, but I have to wait for Draco to be ready as well. So I sit and stare at the journal. My heart sinks with every moment she doesn’t answer. Did Harry destroy the journal, or maybe it’s something much much worse than that.
I jump as someone knocks on the door. I hide the book quickly in my things before going to open it. I smile with relief as Draco stands ready. I’ve never seen him dressed so roughly before. He looks prepared to camp if we must, but I can’t blame him when I wear the same type of clothes.
“You know I don’t think I’ve ever seen you in pants.” He says while I hike my bag onto my shoulders.
“We don’t know what we are going to run into, utility over anything,” I tell him shyly. I decided to not put makeup on either, and I tied my hair back into a braid out of my face.
“Probably smart.” He agrees with a frown as he leads the way towards the front hall.
“Have you thought up any ideas?” I have a few things I would like to try, but getting his input is always helpful.
“Our main advantage is the book, right? Maybe a way of tracing the magical link between the two.” He says in a distracted tone.
“She hasn’t answered at all since yesterday. I’m a little worried there is no other book to track.” I tell him my worries.
“That will make this a lot harder, but I still think it’s what we should do first. Tracking will be tricky though if we can’t narrow down where she could be. For all, we know they could have her anywhere in the world.” He points out. “Even if we can track the link…”
“It would take so long to follow it anywhere.” I finish for him and we both nod. “Well let’s hope she’s in Scotland.” I say with a hollow laugh. We walk in silence, each in our own thoughts until we get to the main hall.
“What is he doing here?” Draco growls making me look up to see Antonin standing by the front door looking very pleased with something. “There are other ways out of the castle.” He adds trying to change our course.
“I’m not doing that,” I tell Draco seriously and hold my head up straight as I march right for the front door.
Draco follows me, but I have no idea what he thinks of this plan.
“Ah, Miss. Greengrass?” Antonin smiles widely when he sees me. “I’ve heard you’re going on vacation with the strapping young Malfoy.” He says, his eyes shifting behind me then back to my face. “I do hope you have fun.”
“Thank you,” I say and try to move past him before he puts his hand out to bar the door.
He leans in close so he can speak into my ear, unheard by anyone else. “I’ve also heard when this doesn’t work I’ll have two little Greengrasses playthings. Your sister is going to make such a beautiful bride.”
I step away from him and give him a hardened smile. “Thank you for the well wishes Lord Dolohov. You are very kind.” I say working hard to not let on how worried I am about the outcome of this trip. “But we really must be off.”
“Well if you two need any help, be sure to let me know, my prices are very reasonable.” He adds, and I don’t even know what that means. “Mr. Malfoy and I discussed it all last night.”
“Oh. Thank you.” I say glancing back at Draco’s dark expression. I will have to make him tell me later.
Once he seems to have made his point he lets us pass. I let out a sigh of relief.
“What exactly did he offer?” I ask thinking how dangerous it would be for him to ‘help’ us.
Draco rolls his eyes as he moves up next to me again. “The grossest thing you can think of.” He says shaking his head. “He put in no uncertain terms that we are not getting Ministry help on this unless you let him…” Draco shakes his head. “We don’t need it.”
“Why is he being this way?” I ask as I rub my face in frustration.
“Power. He seems to have concluded that having power over you is fun.”
“It isn’t beneficial to the nation.” I point out glancing back at the castle only to see Blaise rushing down the path behind us.
“Now what?” Draco asks looking around to see if anyone is within earshot.
“Sorry. I meant to catch you guys in your room.” He says looking rumpled and unapologetic.
“What do you need?” Draco asks glancing around again. We are both on edge with what we need to do now. All that we need to accomplish to retake our places in this world.
“I actually got some information out of Weasley,” Blaise says as he searches his pockets for something. “I mean he didn’t know much, but he told me, well not me exactly. It’s a long story.” He explains as he finds a pack of cigarettes and sticks one in his mouth.
“Get on with it. Did he know anything useful?” I ask wondering if we could actually get a break for once.
“Seems Potter and the brain set up a safe house for her in some cabin.” He says lighting the cigarette and taking a deep breath from it.
“We already knew she was in a cabin.” I point out, wondering why he’s wasting our time.
“Yeah, but did you know that they set that cabin up outside of the Dark Lord’s control?” He asks being as smug as ever. “I don’t have an exact location, but I know it is located somewhere within the Black Forest.”
“Well, that does narrow things down from the whole world,” I say glancing to Draco.
“Yeah, and how exactly did you get Weasley to tell you all of this?” Draco asks with a deep frown.
“I’ll explain some other time mate. Just go get your princess back, so I can get my wife home?” He says looking between the two of us.
I’m still crumpled on the floor weeping when I feel a touch on my shoulder. I jump because I know I couldn’t have been like this all day, but when I look up, it’s Riddle standing over me, not Harry.
“I fell asleep?” I ask wiping my eyes with my good hand.
“What do you expect after multiple traumas and a full night without it?” He asks sneering around at the setting for a moment.
Shifting suddenly like can only happen in dreams I am kneeling in the Chamber of Secrets, Riddle sitting on Tom’s throne.
“Much more comfortable, don’t you think?” He asks as I look up at him.
“You know I’ve never liked it here,” I tell him, but it doesn’t bother me nearly as much as it used to.
“I think you are growing to enjoy the place, just as you grow to enjoy Tom.” He says with a charming smile. “And me.”
“What’s the point of this?” I ask holding my arm against my chest because even in this dream it hurts.
“We need to make a plan, don’t you think?” He asks cocking his head like I was something strange to observe. “Or your Chosen One is going to kill us.”
I look to the black marble under me and nod slowly.
“Well, at least we can agree on that.”
“What is there left to do?” I ask looking up at him again. I have no wand, and it isn’t safe to communicate with the outside world.
“We could use my power.” He says leaning forward. “I’ve never really brought it up before because the need has never been like this.” He explains, and suddenly I’m on my feet with his chest pressed against my back.
“You’re just a part of me.” I remind him as his arms wrap around me to pull my form against his.
“I’m not just a part of you Ginevra. I’m a powerful part of you.” He explains softly. “You just need to surrender to me.”
“What?” I ask with a deep frown.
“Surrender control to me, just a little, and I can help get us out of this mess.” He tempts me smoothly, like any good snake.
I shake my head because that doesn’t feel right at all. Riddle was an infection in my mind; one should not give into an epidemic.
“This infection loves you, Ginny.” He says because he has no tact not to answer what I’m thinking. “He loves you because you are him. We survive together or not at all.”
“Why can’t I read your mind?” I ask because there is no way I’m ‘giving in’ to him.
He chuckles against my ear, and I can feel him shake his head. “We’re in your mind, not mine.” He explains as if that made any sense at all.
“How can you have a separate mind?” I ask feeling that isn’t fair at all.
“In the same way, I have separate power. Would you like me to move us to my mind?” He asks his hand stroking over my injured arm, making it feel a bit better. “You could know me as fully as I know you.”
I swallow thinking that it maybe isn’t a good idea to know Riddle any better than I do now. “No thank you,” I say, and he chuckles again. “I-I don’t want any of it,” I tell him shaking my head.
“You don’t have to decide now my sweet.” He says running his nose and lips along the column of my neck.
He always invades my space like this when he wants something from me. I have a feeling it’s more a manipulation tactic that him having any actual desire.
“Oh, I have desires for you.” He says as he continues to softly stroke my arm. “I want you to serve me beyond either of them. I want you to surrender to me so that I can save us both.”
I shake my head again, and he just laughs. “That is all you want,” I tell him firmly. “To have more power over me. I don’t know where that could lead, but it’s no place good.”
“What I truly want from you now, is if you use my power you will have to promise me something, you must swear to it in fact.” He says, and I suddenly find myself dropped on Tom’s bed, Riddle kneeling over me like we are about to make love.
“What?” I ask even though I don’t think I want to know.
“You must swear never to take one of those horrid sleep potions again.” He says running his fingers along my skin.
“I’m not using your power,” I tell him firmly as I gasp, he can make me feel any way he wishes here, and now he wants me to feel pleasure at his touch.
“We will see.” He murmurs as he leans down over me to take my lips in a soft kiss.
“I don’t need three Dark Lords wanting to own me,” I tell him as he kisses his way down my neck. “And you are just trying to confuse me,” I gasp.
“I’m distracting you.” He answers as his lips trail between my breasts. “I’m worried you are going into shock.” He admits with a frown. “You need to be distracted from the arm.”
I swallow as I look down at him. “So you are manipulating me?” I ask, and he gives me his slick smile.
“I only manipulate you for your own good.” He promises before he turns to run his tongue around my navel.
“Couldn’t I be distracted with something a little more…” I ask he starts to move lower, spreading my thighs as he goes. “A little more…”
“Don’t worry, I will give you a lot more.” He says before playfully kissing my core with soft wispy touches.
“This isn’t what I mean,” I tell him tightly before he gets any further.
“I’m going to be gentle. We can easily make love until you wake.” He says as if that is the problem. “We’ve done it before.”
“This is just confusing. You’re inside my head, you can’t want me like this.” I tell him because I’ve had too many men take without asking.
“Ahh.” He sighs moving up to his knees, and suddenly we are both dressed once again. “This is about those men.” He says as if he doesn’t quite understand, but admits there is logic to my thoughts.
“I could take them from your mind for a little while. Would that be better?” He asks tilting his head as he looks down at me.
“No,” I say holding my arm because it is starting to ache again. “Can you just let me wake so I can take care of myself?” I ask remembering I must be lying naked on the cold kitchen floor back in reality.
“You do need sleep.” He tells me seriously.
“It would be better if I was curled up in my bed.” I remind him.
“Which would mean you are coming right back.” He points out.
“But more safely.” I counter.
“I will be the judge of that.” He says, but nods and I suddenly wake up curled over my arm on the kitchen floor.
I’m shaking even though it isn’t really that cold, and I think he is right that I may be going into shock. Swallowing hard, I go to my room to see if I can find anything to bandage my arm before going back to sleep.
I must have been more focused on the drawing than I knew. When someone touched my shoulder, I had no idea the door had even opened. Looking back at the Dark Lord with a start, I can see his anger still boiling, but also something else, something I’m not sure about.
“My Lord?” I ask staying seated because his hand is still on my shoulder.
“You were very focused.” He tells me leaning over to pick up one of the sketches I made for the cards. “You are quite skilled at this part. It doesn’t really matter what they look like, but it will make them stronger to put so much thought and will into their creation. What do you need to get started on the actual cards?”
“The book suggests fine paper for the cards and a hardening for after they are completed,” I tell him but he nods, he has read the book of course and already knows this.
“Do you have an idea of what you would like to use for the actual art?” He asks looking back to me.
“I would like to do them in watercolors,” I tell him licking my lips a bit nervous about my next question. “There is a set I have in mind, they are somewhat rare, but would be worth it.”
“A particular set of watercolors? I did not realize there was a difference.”
“Oh, there are many different kinds in our world as well as different levels of quality like anything else. The ones I want are of top quality, they are called the Flos Venenum set.” I explain.
“Poison flower?” He asks a cold smile coming to his lips. “Why would they be called that?”
“Their pigment is made of poisonous plants. I thought it would be fitting for the deck.” I tell him without shame.
“And you swear to me you won’t try and kill yourself or something just as dumb with these poisons?” He asks looking directly into my eyes now.
“I have no such notions in my head, my Lord,” I tell him because I have no plan to kill anyone or anything with my paints.
“Than I think you are correct that they would add it your deck’s power.” He says taking a step back and making as if he was planning to leave. I can see in his colors he has something more to say, he is somewhat dramatic about things when one has time to observe.
“Oh yes, those children that still look to fight me have had my wife start writing a publication of her own.” He says pulling a small flyer from his robe and holding it out to show me. “I thought you might have some professional interest.”
I look down at the page scanning Ginny’s letter to the nation.
I’ve been asked to write down my thoughts by the people who took me on my wedding day. These are not villains. These people only fight to keep their ideals alive as we all fight to keep ours. I’ve been told the papers now call me Lady Mercy wife of the Dark Lord. I do not know if this name fits me. I do not feel mercey, or even forgiveness to those who have wronged me.
Very few know the nature of the attack on me on the Hogwarts grounds. I feel the need to talk about this more than any political issue of the day. I was assaulted by, Michael Corner, Justin Finch-Fletchley, Malcolm Jones, and Jerith Goberstop. I have learned they had the purpose of keeping the Dark Lord from using a stronger marriage rite. When those men attacked me the only man I had ever known so intimately before was the Dark Lord himself. I can not go into great details, but their attack made it possible to bring Harry Potter back from his trapped existence. But I still hate them all.
There are those who call me the Dark Lord’s whore. I am a woman in love. I love many people, my friends, and my family, and those I feel responsible for. But I am in love with only one, and he loves me back like no one else could. I do not agree completely with him. But that does not stop my love. With all that off my chest I will try to write again after I have more time to think.
There is something very wrong with this letter. Some parts sound very much like Ginny, but some things are not her at all. I frown looking up to the Dark Lord to find him watching me.
“It’s in her hand, is it not?” He asks, and I look down at the paper once more. “It seems to be. But why release the names of her attackers now?” I ask looking up at him. “This can’t be her, at least not fully.”
“She didn’t even know all the names of her attackers when I read her mind.” He says making me frown more. “Than why…”
“It’s obvious that he is giving them to me. So when I catch these buffoons, I can punish them for us both.” He explains darkly. “It seems that the boy and I agree on something.”
“If he did that, he could have changed other things as well,” I say looking down at the letter. “Ginny would never have said she only loved him,” I tell the Dark Lord.
“That may be so, but there is no benefit to denying the validity of this letter. When I get my wife back, we can just as easily claim she is saying how she loves only me.” He says, and I look down at the words again. “That was a mistake on Harry’s part,” I tell him.
“He may have only had so much to work with; he obviously changed a letter that she actually wrote.” He says taking the paper back from me. “I wonder if he will let her see how he twists her words. Are you having any doubts about your hero now?”
I move to say that he isn’t my hero, but lying could mean my death. I take a deep breath and look at my hands. “What do you mean my Lord?” I ask wondering how much he actually knows.
“I’ve been thinking about how that syringe even made it into this castle. Who would have talked my consort into taking my blood? Humm?” He asks making me swallow hard.
“Are you going to kill me, my Lord?” I ask because there is no way to deny my actions.
“Did you let the rebels in as well?” He asks directly, forcing me to look up at him.
“No, my Lord.” I can honestly say because I was not part of that plan. “I was asked to smuggle a warded package.”
“You know you are too useful to kill.” He says stroking his thumb down my neck. “You will make a valuable ally to me in the end.” He says as if thinking. “I will forgive this, without punishment, if you consider my offer.”
“Do teach me dark magic?” I ask, and he nods.
“You never actually finished your education, it is a shame. I wish to replace it with something better.”
I lick my lips, unable to look away from him. “And if I decline, my Lord?” I ask wanting to know which I could live with more.
“If you decline my lessons I will take both your husband’s and your citizenship, dissolve your marriage, and take you as a full consort in front of my dark council. One can always use more heirs with the pureblood in such decline.”
I take in a staggered breath and shake my head. That is not something I can live with. “Than I will learn from you, my Lord,” I say trying to keep my voice steady.
“I thought you might say that.” He says patting my cheek before turning to go. “And Luna?”
“Yes, my Lord?” I ask bowing my head. “If you ever betray me in such a way again, I will kill the husband.”
“Not me, my Lord?” I ask, wishing to be the only one at risk.
“You’re too valuable to kill.” He reminds me leaving me shaken as he seems to have a great talent to do.
With the vital piece of information, Blaise got for us, Draco and I made immediate plans to leave the country. With the ability to site our benefactor as the Dark Lord himself, these things went much faster than they could for most anyone else.
By the time it was getting dark, we were, in fact, able to settle into a small inn just outside of the Black Forest. I let Draco deal with these plans as he spoke the language, and I actually had no clue about what these people were saying.
He got us separate rooms which made me feel a bit sad, but it was probably for the best as I had no idea where our relationship stood at the moment. After settling into my room and getting comfortable, I made my way the short distance to his door and knocked.
“Daphne?” He asks being cautious about who he would just let into his room.
“It’s me,” I say in return and give him a half smile as he opens the door. “We’ve spent so much of today getting here; I thought we should start making plans,” I tell him softly as he stands in the doorway.
“Yeah.” He agrees, stepping aside. His room is nearly identical to mine with a small bed and a desk. I decide to be bold and take a speak on his bed while he closes the door.
“You mentioned your father changing your duties to the search team?” I ask trying to remember our recent conversations.
“I’ve only had one orientation meeting with them. The best I can figure is that they are still waiting for any kind of lead.” He says taking a seat at the desk.
“So our best bet is still to try and track my book to her book,” I say holding the book out to him. I brought it with me just in case.
“Yeah, I have a few spells that may work,” Draco says taking the book from me and opening it so he can see our conversations for himself. I watch, as his expression grows darker. “I knew Potter for a long time before all of this. It doesn’t really seem like something he would do.” He says with a frown.
“Well, we don’t really know how he was brought back. I know the marriage ritual the Dark Lord used with our Lady was meant to expel him from the Dark Lord’s mind. But after that I have no idea what was going on, do you?” I ask with a frown.
“No idea.” He says sighing. “But I guess it doesn’t really matter, does it? What’s it to us if their savior has gone wrong?”
“So you have a few spells in mind?” I ask to keep the conversation moving. “I can think of one or two good tracking spells myself. I never really saw myself as a hunter though.” I say giving him a weak smile.
“There are plenty of dangerous things in the forest we are going to have to watch out for. Including several werewolf packs.” He says, and I nod in agreement.
“And what do we do if tracking doesn’t work?” I ask looking at the journal again, I wish Ginny would answer, it would make me feel so much better.
“We know she is in some cabin. Maybe we can look into muggle real estate. I assume they would put her someplace muggle because they would assume we would never think to check there. That is at least how Granger’s mind seems to work.”
“Do you really think they’re that predictable?” I ask as I pick at a thread on his quilt.
“For some things, yes.” He says firmly.
“Do you think there is anything else we can do tonight?” I ask not really looking at him because I am feeling oddly nervous.
We haven’t really talked about us since the kiss the other day, and now I feel awkward around him.
“I don’t think so.” He says with a sigh. “Best to just get a good night’s sleep.”
“Yeah.” I agree, standing as I force myself to look up into his eyes. “Do you remember when our worst problem was Pansy Parkinson?” I ask trying to lighten the mood. “What is she even doing with herself now?” I ask with a smile.
“Last I heard was she was dating a French Lord.” He says shaking his head. “She never had any real ambition.”
“No…” I agree, shaking my head. “She isn’t even that pretty.” I point out tilting my head. “Why did you date her?” I ask curiously.
“She was very easy.” He chuckles as he gets to his feet. “When we started dating that seemed like the most important thing in the world.”
“She wanted your money, your importance,” I tell him with a laugh.
“What did you want?” He asks still smiling.
“I never wanted to date you. It was never my actual aim.” I remind him softly.
“No, you were always very upfront about that.” He agrees with a smile. “What will you do if we get our Lady back, and you are free once again?” He asks curiously. “You’ll still have to marry.”
“So will you,” I say letting that hang in the air for a moment.
“It wouldn’t get us anything. Wouldn’t advance either of us in any way.” He says picking up on exactly what I meant.
“We’ve had that conversation, but maybe we’re wrong,” I say trying to be honest with him. “We make an excellent team,” I tell him with a smile.
“Stronger together than we are apart.” He comments, and I nod with agreement.
“I’m still a pureblood, and our children would be both beautiful and intelligent,” I say with a laugh.
“I can’t deny that. I don’t know if the world would be ready.” He says with a grin.
“Well then, all the more reason to test those waters. You know how much I like a challenge.” I say as he moves to me so he can stroke my face. “We would have no way into the Dark Lord’s inner circle.” He points out.
“I still believe he wants a powerful wife. We would be in her inner circle.” I point out because none of this works if we can’t get Ginny back.
“Meaning we would never be quite on top.” He points out as his face starts to get very close to mine. “Never strike fear into the hearts of the masses.”
“But with our Lady, we could inspire devotion, which is a whole lot more powerful,” I say before closing the last distance between us. I kiss him, moving my hands against his chest and pulling him closer. All the fear and uncertainty of the previous few weeks turning into passion between us.
It doesn’t matter that the bed is small as we fall back onto it, we don’t need much space as we wrap ourselves around each other.
“Oh, Draco…” I purr with all our clothes still on. Maybe there are some things a bit more important than rest.
The next day Harry healed my arm as promised. After that, I’ve gone out of my way to please him. Whenever he is around, I submit to his every need even if it’s degrading or painful. I need to behave so that he doesn’t kill me before I can figure out a way out of this.
Things have been alright the last few days. He hasn’t done anything particularly bad, nothing that will leave me with any lasting damage. Well, physical damage at least. I feel like such a coward whenever he is around, but he has all the power, and he makes sure that I know that I have none.
No one else has come to check on me; I imagine that no one from the side of light even knows any of the things he is doing. It makes me wonder if he has become that good of an actor, or if it’s something wrong with me that brings out this cold side in him.
Each night as I’ve slept Riddle keeps offering to help me, to give me the power I will need to face Harry, but I just don’t think I can trust him either. I have to keep reminding myself that I sort of know this Riddle, this was the boy who manipulated me back when I was a child, and I can’t let him do that again.
Every time Harry comes to visit me, Riddles offer sounds just a little bit better. How much longer before I give in?
When Harry is away, I find myself looking at the journal. I realize it must only detect communication when I send a message out, or Harry would have already returned in anger. Daphne keeps asking if I’m alright, to just send her a sign.
I want to ease her fears, but it’s too risky without a plan in place before I put even a dot of ink on that page.
Harry hasn’t come yet today, but I find myself looking at the journal once again. I sit on my bed curled in blankets with the journal open on my lap. She hasn’t written anything new today, and I wonder what she is doing. Maybe she has given up on me. I think that I should close the journal and do something productive with my day when words start to appear on the page.
We have a plan. But we’ve found that it’s only going to work if you write back. We can track the book my Lady, but only if you can send a message to track. The longer the message, the better. We don’t know how else we can find you if you can’t write to us. Please write back as soon as possible.
I mouth goes dry as I look at the words. I read them several times before I look up to where my quill and ink are sitting on the desk. It is possible Harry is busy right now, and if I do this, he won’t be able to come and punish me right away. It’s also possible he is on the way anyway, and this will just set him off.
When he comes, he always appears in the kitchen, and I have to think that is some kind of safe Apparition zone for him. As I take a staggered breath, a plan starts for form in my head. I set the book aside and head out into the kitchen. Beginning in the hall leading to my room I put as much in his way as I can, I find anything that can trip him up, anything that can delay him from getting to my door.
Once the hall is filled I close the door to my room and lock it the muggle way before pushing all the meager furniture I have in front of it. I steady my breathing before picking up the journal and ink. I cram myself into the furthest corner from the door before I open to Daphne’s page. Swallowing back the last of my fear I start to send my first message in days.
I haven’t been writing because Harry has a ward that can tell when I do. If this spell of yours works then, you have to come as soon as possible. I have no wand to defend myself from him, and he will be so very angry for this betrayal. I’m worried he is going to kill me so if you don’t make it tonight I have no idea what I’m going to do. I’m so sorry Daphne, but this is all I have left.
I hear a crash in the kitchen that makes my ink stall. “GINNY!” He growls in anger so I start writing again, wanting to give them as much time as I can.
He’s here now, but I put some obstacles in his way so I can write to you for as long as possible.
“You little bitch! What are you hiding from me!” Harry yells as he blasts things from his path.
He’s furious so you should expect a fight when you get here. It’s selfish to ask you to come, but I’m so scared that he is going to kill me this time.
I look up when I hear the door shake. I turn my head just in time for everything in the room to explode out of his way. My only thought is that he can’t find the book right away, so as the debris crashes against me I shove it under a large piece of dresser and move away from it as he steps over the door.
I’m trying not to shake as I stand and look into the blazing fury in his eyes.
“Where is it Slut? What did you hide from me?” He asks in a low, deadly tone. “Were you talking to him do you think he can save you?” He asks with a cold laugh as he moves closer to me.
“No,” I say shaking my head because I wasn’t talking to Tom at all.
“Right.” He says keeping himself between me and the door he glances around the room looking for what I was using.
“I’m going to say it was a book.” He says motioning to my leg.
I flinch because I thought he was going to break it when I glance down to see I’m covered in ink. The bottle must have spilled in the explosion.
“Please Harry. I just wanted to talk to someone.” I say, and I don’t have to fake the fear in my voice.
“You were calling for help, and we both know it.” He says as he takes another step towards me. “Where is the book, Ginny?” He asks before grabbing my wrist.
I shake my head; I suspect the only way for them to find me is if the book is still whole. I know I have to stall as long as I can.
“I don’t know. When you…” I start but he puts the end of his wand on my arm, and I feel the bone shatter. I fall to my knees screaming in the pain that he just inflicted. It’s worse than anything he as done before and I think I may actually pass out from the blinding agony.
“I can help you…” Riddle says in the back of my mind while I try very hard not to puke or blackout.
“Come on Ginny, be a good girl, so I don’t have to punish you even more,” Harry says as he stands over me.
“I can make you strong…” Riddle temps as I feel Harry’s wand press against my shoulder.
“I don’t know!” I scream before everything goes white with pain.
“It’s me or death…” Riddle says, and I know he’s right as the blackness presses in on me.
“YES!” I scream because I don’t want to die.
Everything shifts after that. The pain is gone, and I find that I’m sitting out in the sun on the Hogwarts lawns dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. I’m comfortable and warm, and I feel safe for the first time in weeks.
“Everything will be okay now Ginevra, you stay here and rest, I’ll deal with this,” Riddle says before I feel a kiss on my cheek and I find myself completely alone. Well, this can’t be good.
The Dark Lord has allowed me a space in one of the well-lit rooms of the castle. I can’t help but enjoy the feel of the sun on my skin as I set up my newly acquired supplies. It’s been a few days since he confronted me about my part in the plans to resurrect Harry, but he had not approached me about any of these lessons yet.
What I have received is the watercolors and other supplies to start making the cards. I’ve planned all the sketches now, so I use the light I have been given to begin painting the first card. It isn’t long before I lose myself if the art of shapes and colors.
When I feel lips on the back of my neck, I jump, pulling my brush away from my work, so it doesn’t get ruined. I look back at Blaise’s challenging smile and shake my head.
“Have you eaten at all today?” He asks looking around at the studio I’ve made my own.
“I think I had some toast this morning,” I tell him before turning back to my work.
“It’s four,” Blaise says taking my wrist and pulling the brush from my hand. “You can take a break.” He adds as I glare at him.
“I’m not really hungry,” I tell him as he starts to collect the rest of my brushes.
“You know you’re rather pretty when you’re not being so weird.” He says trying to be playful with me.
“You should know by now that I don’t really care about being pretty.” I remind him as he takes my hands and leads me over to a table in the room. He’s set out a meal for us, and I have to wonder how long he was here before I noticed him.
“You know writing doesn’t really distract you as much as this does.” He says motioning with his head towards my painting supplies. “Is this what you wanted to do before everything happened?” He asks as he pulls a chair out for me.
“Make evil cards so that I can suck the love and joy away from people’s lives?” I ask looking over at the two I have drying.
“Making beautiful things.” He answers making me look at him.
“Painting you mean,” I say as I pick at the food in front of me. “Always just a distraction. I was going to follow in my father’s footsteps and really find all the wondrous creatures of the world.” I tell him thinking about my camping trips with my father.
“These adventures made you happy?” He asks curiously, and I nod before looking up at him. “What did you want to do?” I ask taking a bite of my chips.
“Oh my plans were always simple. Whore myself around and enjoy life.” He tells me with a smile. “Find a rich widow to give me all her money and support my hedonist lifestyle.”
“I’m not a widow,” I tell him with a smile, which makes his smile brighten.
“But you are rich.” He points out stealing a chip from my plate.
“Only because you and Draco took it upon yourselves to make sure of that.” I point out.
“That property was your due,” Blaise tells me seriously. “I still can’t really touch it myself.”
“You know it doesn’t really mean very much to me. Being rich was never a fantasy of mine.” I tell him pushing my plate away because I can’t really think about eating right now. “I need to get back to work,” I tell him as I stand.
He sighs catching my hand and looking up at me. “Are you okay?” He asks searching my eyes.
“I know you’re worried about me, but you really don’t have to be,” I tell him squeezing his hand back.
He chuckles as he to gets to his feet and kisses my cheek. “I think that is all I do these days.” He says shaking his head. “I never thought I would actually… care, you know?” He asks, and I smile at him with a nod.
“I know caring is new to you,” I tell him cupping his cheek in my hand. “But I really am okay. It isn’t perfect obviously, but…” I lick my lips. “It’s not as bad as it seems,” I say with a nod.
When I pull out of his hand, he lets me slip away and head back towards my work.
“These are the cards you were telling me about?” He asks to change the subject, but that is probably for the best.
“They will be my Dark Tarot someday maybe.” I agree as my stomach sinks at the idea of actually enchanting any of them.
“You know there hasn’t been a Dark Oracle in more than a thousand years,” Blaise says in a distracted tone. “The Dark Lord told me some of his plans for you.” He admits turning to look at me as I clean some of my brushes so I can start anew.
“I know. At least none of any real power.” I say trying to pretend it isn’t that big of a deal.
“He says you could be one of the greatest of all time.” He says, and I know he is looking at me.
“He has said the same to me as well,” I admit wondering why we are talking about this.
“I never really thought of you as a Dark Witch before.” He says, and I know he is going somewhere with this. “Is that something you want?” He asks making me sigh as I start to work on the small card once more.
“It’s something I’m doing now,” I tell him not looking away from my work. “It’s something I will have to live with,” I add after a moment.
“You know I’m a Dark Wizard Luna.” He says as if that should mean something.
“The power isn’t all bad.” He tells me gently, and I stop so I can give him my full attention. Looking at his colors I don’t see a lie, but there is some hesitance. “Using dark spells can be rather intoxicating.” He admits watching me carefully.
“He’s asking you to help convince me?” I ask, shaking my head before turning back to my art. “You know if I give myself over to it, if I become the witch he wants me to be, I may not really be yours any longer. There is a reason Bellatrix Lestrange is in love with him.” I point out because I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately.
“You are never going to be anything like her.” He tells me, and I can hear his frown. “But you are going to have to pick a side. Either you stay here, loyal to him, or we run when we can and join the rebellion.”
“You would run with me?” I ask glancing back at him with a frown of my own.
I watch him take in a deep breath before nodding. “I care about you.” He reminds me, but he’s still frowning. “But I’ve given it a lot of thought, and I would rather stay. I would rather live in this world than what we had before.”
I frown at that and shake my head. “So you want people to be living as property? You want our world to be divided into classes?” I ask trying to understand.
He sighs shaking his head like I’m being childish. “I want to not live in a world where I must be ashamed of my blood; I want to live in a world where I don’t have to hide the fact I can use real power. I don’t want to live in a world where every idiot gets a gold star for trying, and truly exceptional wizards are ignored.”
“But is all of that really worth the price of families being torn apart and people enslaved?” I ask narrowing my eyes at him.
“I don’t care about those people. I care about my people.” He says without anger.
“Well, I care about those people. I can’t just do nothing when people are living like that.” I tell him shaking my head.
“Does that mean you’ve decided to run away with me?” He asks, and I look at the floor with a frown.
“I don’t want to join the rebellion anymore,” I say in a small voice. “I helped to bring back Harry, but I can’t follow him like he is now.”
“So what then?” Blaise asks moving to rest his hands on my shoulders.
“I don’t know,” I tell him shaking my head.
“Have you ever thought about the fact that you have the most powerful wizard in the world listening to what you have to say?” He asks gently. “That maybe you could actually do good for those people you worry about right here?”
“Like Ginny was trying to do?” I ask looking up at him as he strokes my cheek softly.
“Yeah. You’re his oracle. You could do some good right here.”
“It didn’t work. It’s just pointing back to this book.” Draco says after he casts the tracking spell for what seems like the twentieth time.
“Try tracing back one of her entries,” I tell him pointing to the last message Ginny sent.
“It doesn’t work.” He says shaking his head back at me. “If I try on anything but the latest message the magic doesn’t work at all.” He explains with a deep frown. “The spell is tracing your words because they are the only active magic. Maybe if we could get her to write something we could trace her words.”
“But she hasn’t answered any of my messages yet.” I point out looking at the notes from the last few days. “Maybe she doesn’t even have the book anymore,” I say as dread starts to fill my chest.
“This is what we are going to do,” Draco says speaking firmly as he tries to take some of my worries off my shoulders. “We are going to get ready to move out, then you are going to write a message to her…” I start to interrupt, but he holds up his hand to stop me. “…That says we need her to write to us. Explain the situation. Hopefully, she is just cautious.” He says still speaking in a direct tone.
“Alright.” I agree before preparing myself for a long hike in the woods. We’ll obviously Apparate as close as we can, but they have to have a ward up that protects from just anyone going in.
“Any word from the castle?” I ask looking up from my boots because I know Draco got mail today and I have to wonder what it was about.
“Just my father being helpful.” He says with a sigh as he shakes his head. “He is going to see me as the teen that couldn’t kill Dumbledore for the rest of my life you know. He feels the need to take care of every little thing.”
“You’ll prove him wrong Draco; we’ll prove him wrong,” I promise as I stand and move in to distract him just a bit. “What does he want now?” I ask as I sit in his lap.
“There is a French girl he wants me to meet.” He says as his hand settles on the small of my back. “This is after I told him of my intentions when we get our Lady back.”
I smile before leaning in to rest my head against his. “When I turn our Lady into a political power he will see the right of your choice,” I tell him as he pulls me a bit closer.
“We can do this.” He says with a single firm nod.
“We will do this,” I tell him slipping off his lap so we can get back to the work that needs to be done.
“I’ll write the message; you be ready as soon as she starts writing back,” I tell him trying to play hopeful.
“Agreed.” He says standing over me as I start my message.
We have a plan. But we’ve found that it’s only going to work if you write back. We can track the book my Lady, but only if you can send a message to track. The longer the message, the better. We don’t know how else we can find you if you can’t write to us. Please write back as soon as possible.
When I finish the message, I look up to Draco to see if he agrees with what I wrote. He nods his head in confirmation keeping his eyes on the book and his wand ready to start the spell. I feel like I’m holding my breath for the next five minutes before I whimper and shake my head.
“She can’t write a message back,” I say because I can’t think of anything else that would keep her now. I know she wants to come home, and she knows she is in danger there, what else could be delaying her?
“Maybe he’s there right now?” Draco offers an alternative answer, so I nod wordlessly. “We should still keep as vigilant as we can.” He adds pulling over a chair so he can relax while still keeping his eyes on the book.
We sit like that for what feels like hours but was probably just under an hour when lines start to form on the page. I hold my breath as I read her message and Draco begins to cast the tracking spell.
I haven’t been writing because Harry has a ward that can tell when I do. If this spell of yours works then, you have to come as soon as possible. I have no wand to defend myself from him, and he will be so very angry for this betrayal. I’m worried he is going to kill me so if you don’t make it tonight I have no idea what I’m going to do. I’m so sorry Daphne, but this is all I have left.
“Oh, Draco tell me you have it,” I say looking to him as he wraps his arm around my waist and I snatch the book from the desk.
He Apparates us to what seems like the middle of the woods, so I open the book again as Draco continues to follow the spell.
He’s here now, but I put some obstacles in his way so I can write to you for as long as possible. He’s furious so you should expect a fight when you get here. It’s selfish to ask you to come, but I’m so scared that he is going to kill me this time.
I take out my wand as I follow Draco. When we pass the same rock for the third time, I shake my head and stop him from going on.
“A Confungus ward,” I tell him looking around to see if there is any rune in sight that it could anchored to. If we can’t find an anchor then we will never make it to the cabin.
“Pretty smart, probably Granger’s idea.” He says as he starts to look around too. It has to be on a rock or a tree.
The weakness for this kind of ward is that the rune for it is pretty apparent. If you can figure out what you’re stuck in you should be able to find and destroy the anchor.
“Unless she put an illusion over the rune,” Draco says as if he is reading my mind.
“Multipart protection does seem like her style.” I agree before I start my spell to reveal hidden objects.
I smile brightly as a glow forms on a rock, and I go over to dispel the illusion.
“You are brilliant,” Draco says kissing my neck before I go to look in the book once more. I frown, she hasn’t written anything since we got to the woods, and that can’t be good.
I hear rocks crushing and glance up to see Draco blasting at the rock a few times. “Hopefully there aren’t any more surprises. She didn’t have limitless time to set this all up.” Draco reminds me walking back over so he can recast the tracking spell.
We start heading deeper into the forest once again as Draco follows his spell more easily now. I scream as the book bursts into flames in my arms, and I toss it to the ground so that it doesn’t burn me too.
“He’s found it.” Looking up to see Draco has lost the thread of the spell.
“Yeah, but it’s definitely in this direction,” Draco says firmly taking my hand as we keep going with nothing to guide us, but where the spell was last pointing.
My heart is racing because I know Ginny is in danger if not already dead or maybe even worse. I try to focus on just putting one foot in front of the other as we keep moving forward while the sun seems to be getting lower and lower on the horizon.
I perk up as I hear yelling off in the distance and I don’t miss a beat before I start running full force in that direction. Yelling means Ginny is still alive and I will be damned if I miss saving her by moments. I can hear Draco on my heels as we are both running full tilt towards the fight.
When I spring into a small clearing around a modest cabin, I see them at once. Raw power runs over Ginny’s skin as she defends herself against Harry’s spells and seems even to be throwing a few of her own without a wand.
“GINNY!” I scream, running towards her so I can add my shield to her own.
She turns to look at me, and I swear her eyes are blazing red for a flash before she loses her footing and slumps to the ground in a heap.
Both Draco and I put up shields to get ourselves between Harry and our Mistress.
“Back off Potter!” Draco snarles, as he throws some more offensive spells back in Harry’s direction.
“SHE BELONGS TO ME!” I hear a cry that sounds nothing like the Harry I knew in school. I don’t have time to look up through as I make sure Ginny is still alive.
Only now do I notice the deep purple bruising all down the right side of her body. Oh, Merlin what has he done to her.
“We’ve got to get her out now!” I yell moving up next to Draco so that I can throw my own spells. “I can’t lift her,” I say more softly as I start to take on the defensive role.
“YOU’RE NOT TAKING HER ANYWHERE, YOU SLIME!” Potter screams, and I’m actually pushed back as his spells hits my shield.
“Meet you in the place.” Draco agrees as he moves back to scoop up Ginny. When I see him Disapparate, I make a run for it, casting defense spells behind me as I go. I need a moment to Apparate, so I move around the cabin to get out of his eyeline before I think hard on the room at the Inn.
I land screaming as I was hit by one of his spells just before I got away. My shoulder feels like it’s on fire, but I can’t help but feel relieved to see Ginny laying in my bed and Draco casting as many wards as he can remember.
“We did it.” I tell him collapsing to my knees as I put pressure on my wound.
I watch the blue sky as the dread in me builds the longer I’m in the fantasy creation alone. If Riddle isn’t here, it has to mean that he is the one with control over my body. The lingering memory of the pain makes it so I can’t really regret giving into Riddle, but at the same time, I have no idea what kind of evil he could do in control of my form.
“I think we should stay here for a bit,” Riddle says suddenly laying next to me. “It’s pretty rough out there, and I think your loyal servants can do their job without us.”
“What happened?” I ask sitting up so I can look down at him.
“Your ex and I had a bit of a battle. He is throwing some very nasty spells these days. I’m pretty sure he stole them from me.” He says looking completely relaxed.
“Draco and Daphne came for me?” I ask hoping they don’t get hurt while saving me.
“That Daphne is a raging fury.” He says in a pleased tone. “But we should still stay here until things settle down a bit.”
I nod my head looking at the sky as if I could see out into the real world.
“I told you I could help,” Riddle says as he runs his hand up and down my back. “Don’t worry, I’ll think of all sorts of ways for you to repay me.” He adds and I can hear his smirk.
I know when he finally lets me wake because my body feels as if it has been crushed under something very heavy and maybe a bit sharp. It hurts so much I can’t really tell where the hurt is. There is a new jab of pain every time I take a shallow breath. It takes me a few moments before I can think of anything outside my own body, but soon I am hearing familiar voices.
“We can’t stay here much longer. It will be easy for them to track us to this Inn.” I hear Draco’s voice carry from a short distance away.
“I wish we could get a healer here before we have to move. Where can we even go Draco?” Daphne asks, and she is much closer.
“How is your shoulder doing?” He asks, and I frown as I wonder what happened to Daphne’s shoulder.
“It’ll be fine; I’m worried about our Lady.” She says, and I think she may be squeezing my hand.
“W-where?” I ask finding it painful to speak, but I need to know what is going on.
“My Lady?” Daphne shifts on the bed I’m laying on and I whimper as a new shock of pain travels down my form. “I’m sorry.” She gasps moving away quickly.
“Where…” I start licking my lips before I push out another word. “…are…” I have to take a new breath before speaking, but Draco cuts me off.
“Don’t speak my Lady. We are in an Inn on the outskirts of the Black Forest.” He says, and I can hear him coming closer to me. “The rebellion is going to track us here soon. I think it’s best if we put you to sleep for travel.” He explains.
“Y-yes,” I tell him because I can only imagine how it’s going to feel to Apparate or flew in my condition.
I hear a loud thumping sound before blackness devours me and there is nothing.
The next time I wake much of the pain is gone, but much of the feeling is gone too. It’s like someone just removed the right side of my body and left a low ache in its place. I open my eyes slowly to look at myself.
My right arm is nearly purple and more than a bit puffy. But it’s still there, so I assume they have done something to lessen the pain. I look around slowly from what I can see in my lying down position. It seems to be some kind of room in a castle with stone walls. They aren’t exactly right for right for Hogwarts, and I can’t really think of any other castles I’ve been to.
“Ginny?” I hear Daphne call, and I try to look in the direction of her voice. She sits on the bed next to me, and I smile because she is smiling at me.
“Where are we?” I ask still only being able to take shallow breaths speaking is a bit labored, but not nearly as bad as before.
“A Malfoy estate in France. You’ve been out for three days.” She tells me carefully.
I swallow nodding slightly as I try to put my mind around these simple concepts.
“Draco has a healer here that he trusts and has been looking after you.” She explains a bit more.
“You’re shoulder?” I ask because I remember Draco mentioning it.
“The healer repaired the damage. It’s fine now.” She says, but I don’t know if I should believe her. “Your injuries are much more extensive, and he is worried that he doesn’t have the skill not to make it worse if he tries in real healing.
“Tom?” I ask because I want to know if he is coming for me now that I’m free of Harry.
“We’ve sent him an owl. But we aren’t sure if he got it. We were a little worried about giving away our location if anyone gets the mail but him.” She says, and I can’t help but whimper. I have a driving need to be safe in Tom’s arms. It’s like his embrace is the only place I will ever feel safe again.
“Dark Mark.” I say and she shakes her head.
“Draco’s mark isn’t powerful enough to signal all the way back to England.” She says, and I shake my head.
“Mine is deeper.” I remind her. I want Tom here now, and it’s the only thing I can think to do.
“That could work, but it’s too dangerous in your condition, my Lady.” She says taking my left hand in both of hers. “We’ll be safe here for a while, and we’re figuring out transportation back to England.”
“Give me a wand. I’ll do it myself.” I tell her swallowing as I try to ignore the ache.
“The patient is awake.” A man that I don’t know says as he walks into the room.
“Give me a wand,” I command him making him frown down at me.
“Why do you want a wand?” He asks sounding a bit worried.
“She wants to use her Dark Mark,” Daphne explains, and I can hear the worry in her voice too.
“That is out of the question m’Lady. You are in no condition to be subjecting yourself to that high amount of dark magic.”
I whimper. Why don’t these people understand that I need Tom to make me safe again?
“When?” I ask trying to relax my body because the stress only makes the pain start to return.
“A few weeks at the very least.” He says, and I shake my head even though it hurts and is making a buzzing sound in my ears.
“No. No, I can’t wait that long.” I tell him as my breath comes in shorter and I think I might actually suffocate.
“Shhh shhh.” Daphne moves in and runs her fingers up and down my arm as she works to calm me. “We will be back at the castle in no time.” She promises, and I work to calm myself as I think of being back with Tom.
“Is there really no way to bring this healer here for her?”
“We’ve told you that’s out of the question. There is just as much a question of safety as there is health.” Daphne argues. “Once we finish the litter we need to get back to England.”
“Litter?” I ask confused now by this conversation. I continue to force myself to breathe as the world seems to be closing in.
“We are building a bed to transport you in safely my Lady.” She says, and the Healer huffs as if he thinks the idea is ridiculous. “Well more safely anyway. It isn’t perfect, but it’s the best we can do in the time ranger we have.”
When I enter my studio a few days later, I find the Dark Lord looking over the few cards I’ve finished that day. I could have gotten more done if Blaise hadn’t distracted me, but I hope I’ve made enough progress to please him.
“My Lord?” I ask bowing my head to announce my presence.
“Your style is very delicate.” He says as he takes my first card down from the drying line. “This will do very nicely for our lesson tonight.”
“Lesson my Lord?” I ask because he hadn’t mentioned it at all before.
“You will be enchanting your first card.” He says looking over at me with a cold smile. “I’ve found the first few of your volunteers earlier today.” He explains making me shiver a little. “But there is a risk to you to enchant more than one card night.”
“Volunteers my Lord?” I ask as he hands me the card and moves past me into the hall without answering. I look down at the card in my hand the lion looks up from it with knowing eyes.
I force a deep breath from my lungs before rushing to catch up with the Dark Lord. “My Lord?” I ask again as I follow him down the stairs. Students I once attended class with, move out of our way.
“Where are we going, my Lord?” I ask trying to ignore any of the looks people are directing our way. They think we are lovers and wonder what kind of woman I have to be to agree to such a thing.
“The Chamber will do for this; there are those who wish to watch.” He says as if we will be putting on some kind of show.
“My Lord, for this card I have to…” I start unable to bring myself to say it.
“And there are those who need to see.” He tells me as if he is savoring what I must do to whoever his volunteer is.
“I’m not ready, my Lord,” I say, and this time he stops to pivot in my direction. His hand lunges out to grasp my neck before I can react he pulls me much too close to him.
“Have you not been studying as I have directed?” He asks squeezing my neck just a little.
“I have, my Lord,” I tell him trying to keep my breathing calm, so I don’t run out of air too quickly.
“Than what is the problem?” He asks his hold tightening enough to bruise and make my airway struggle.
“I don’t think I can do that to some innocent person.” I gasp out.
He actually laughs at that. He squeezes my neck just a little harder before letting go of me completely. “Oh, I wouldn’t worry about that.” He says before turning to continue on his way.
I follow him in silence after that. When we get to the Chamber, I find that the entire inner circle is gathered around as well as other high ranking Death Eaters. I swallow hard ignoring the pain in my throat as I do.
“Ready yourself as I explain what is about to happen.” The Dark Lord says as he holds the card out to me.
I take it before curtsying and walking over to kneel next to his throne.
“Welcome my most loyal subjects.” He greets them with his arms spread wide. “Tonight will be a showing of great and ancient magic. But you all know that is not why I have invited you. That is not exactly what you are here to witness. Bring out our first… Volunteer.” The way he says the word makes me shiver and all I can think is that he’s caught Harry, that he wants to force me to do this horrible ritual to Harry.
When I see an untouched Michael Connor, I almost feel relieved, then sick with myself for that relief. No one deserves what I have to do to enchant this card.
“This boy was one of the rebels to dare touch what is mine. For that reason, my Mistress will be using him to add to her power.”
I keep my eyes down, but I can feel all eyes upon me now. I glance up to see a man struggling to get free of his captors. He is strong I can tell, he fits what I need to make the spell work, but at the same time I know I can’t do that to someone.
I’m so distracted looking at Connor that I don’t notice the Dark Lord until he crouches down right next to me.
“Can we both agree he isn’t exactly innocent.” He uses my words against me. “You will do this.” He orders and I shake my head because really can’t bring myself to cross this line, not even with someone as foul as Michael Connor.
“I don’t think I can,” I tell him in a soft voice so that the room doesn’t hear. “Not even to him.”
“You say that now. But let’s see what you think after I show you what he did.” He says before forcing me to look into his eyes.
Before I can blink, I find myself standing in the snow in a nearly abandon part of the castle grounds. I watch as three wizards are heading away at a fast pace and I look around trying to figure out how I got here.
“You’re going to be our whore now bitch.” I hear Michael say with a laugh that makes me sick. Looking over I find him holding Ginny down in the snow, her broken wand already a short ways away. He’s pushing her dress up nearly ripping his as she struggles under him.
I take a step forward to stop him when I realize I must be inside of Ginny’s memory. The Dark Lord had told me he had taken it from her, but I wasn’t expecting him to make me watch.
She lets out a cry as he is undeniably forcing himself on her. I want to look away; I don’t want to watch this. But a part of me knows this is all my fault, I have no right to turn away from her pain.
When she goes silent under him it gets much worse, and I know he has only cast a spell so that she doesn’t raise any alarm.
“You know bitch, one of the cocks is going to be a muggleborn. Think your Lord will even want you after this?” He asks taunting her cruelly.
I don’t know when the tears started but I’m shaking in place by the time the other three get back, and everything gets so much worse. He forces me to watch everything they did to her and only when she’s left bleeding in the snow am I pulled back into myself.
I’m shaking in the real world too, and his eyes are looking at me questioningly. I know his silent question, and I answer it by getting to my feet. I wipe the tears from my face and stand tall and cold as I look at Connor’s still struggling form.
Ginny had strength too, and he and his friends nearly broke it, like I am about to break him. I walk forward and place the card at his feet before standing and looking into his eyes.
“You deserve this,” I tell him as he had said that same thing to Ginny over and over again while he and his friends raped and tortured her.
His eyes blaze with anger and fear, and he starts to struggle against the guards all the more. I cast the collection spell on the card before taking a few steps back from him.
“To gain strength, one must take it from the strong,” I announce as the book instructed. “To take strength, it first must be broken,” I say before casting the first of my spells. I know it will take a while to break every bone in Connor’s body this way, but the book said it was the best way to collect what was needed, and I can’t help but enjoy his pain.
I use the same spell on him again and again, breaking each and every bone one at a time. I keep him alive because I have no plans to let him have such a simple death, and not because I don’t want to kill him after what I had to watch, but I know living will be so much worse for him.
“How long?” She asks, and I can still see the panic in her eyes. I wish the stupid Healer hadn’t been so blunt with his words. In fact, since he has been somewhat useless in actually helping Ginny I sort of wish he would just go away.
“A few more days my Lady,” I tell her trying to soothe and calm.
“What if they find us?” She asks, and I’ve never actually seen her look so afraid as she does now. One would think to face the Dark Lord was the scariest thing in the world, but it seems somehow Harry Potter has him beat in my Lady’s eyes.
“The wards here are almost as old as those at Hogwarts,” I tell her glancing to the Healer to see if he has anything else helpful to say.
“I need to talk to your Lady alone about certain medical issues.” He says as if that is ever happening.
“What? No. I don’t know you. I don’t have a wand.” Ginny says before I can make my own arguments. I smirk at him as honestly, she should have the final say.
“They are delicate matters.” He presses making me wonder what he has been hiding from Draco and me.
“I’m sorry, do you not know who I am?” Ginny asks, and her panic seems to be pushed aside by annoyance. “Does he know who I am?” She asks turning to look at me.
“You are Lady Mer-Weasley.” The Healer corrects himself because many people have gotten used to calling her Lady Mercy.
“I am Queen Voldemort.” She tells him coldly as he flinches at the name, but I’m pretty sure that was her goal. “Are you second guessing me?”
He clears his throat looking to me for help, but I only give him a pleasant smile.
“Of course not m’Lady.” He says holding his hands behind his back. “If you trust Miss Greengrass than it is not my place to question you.”
“No. It’s not. Now, what do you have to tell me?” She asks taking in a slow breath. Even with her side numbed, it seems to be taking a toll on her focus and energy.
“You may not know, but the spells are conclusive that you are in fact with child.” He says, and as I wait for the delicate information, I realize that was it.
“I suspected,” Ginny says as if she too is unimpressed.
He frowns as we wait for him to continue. “At this early stage, it is hard to tell exactly when the child was conceived…”
Her frown deepens as she watches him. “If you’ve examined me you must realize that my marriage rite wasn’t exactly modern. Are you suggesting I have gone outside of my marriage to the Dark Lord?” She asks keeping a straight face.
“I would never m’Lady.” He says quickly as he looks more and more uncomfortable.
“Than we will have to assume my pregnancy is a result of the consummation of my wedding.” She tells him coldly.
The Healer swallows hard nodding in agreement. “Of course m’Lady. But that doesn’t exactly make things better for you. It would, in fact, be a much easier recovery if we didn’t have to worry about the pregnancy.” He says as if what he is suggesting wasn’t rigorously discourages under the new blood purity laws. We were a dying race and needed as many magical children as we could get. My child would have been a complication to his rule; her child would be his legacy.
“Are you under some impression that my condition isn’t a happy one?” Ginny asks the man as if she is confused. “Do you think that my Lord doesn’t want an heir?”
“I-I I’ve just heard stories, m’Lady. I told you these were delicate issues and I wanted you to know you had options. Especially since considering the child will make your healing much more complicated. For instance, I can’t give you any truly effective pain potions…”
“I don’t want any. I’ve heard what that stuff can do to a child.” She says shaking her head again. “Daphne says you do not have the skill to help me at all?” She says bluntly without care to his feelings.
“All the bones in your right arm, your leg, and the right side of your hip are shattered. It was some very nasty dark spells that did this m’Lady. To heal it properly it will take several healers working over time make sure that nothing goes wrong. But I can numb some of the pain, and now that you are awake I would like to put some magical casts on the affected areas so that you have less of a chance of harming yourself further.”
“Fine. Do that.” She says shaking her head as her patients for the man has long since run out.
The Healer is at least smart enough to get directly to work without another word. When he leaves to get his supplies, I turn back to Ginny to give her my complete attention.
She is laying back as if that conversation took all she had.
“Would you like me to renew the numbing spell, my Lady?” I ask worried that she is pushing herself.
“No. I’m fine.” She says closing her eyes. “I just need to see him, Daphne. I know I was only away for a few weeks, but I can’t help but feel… exposed.”
“I won’t lie and say I understand, but I will tell you that Draco and I are here for you. The Dark Lord may even send backup when he gets our letter.”
“What about a Floo call?” She asks not moving as I watch her mind run through every possibility.
“We’re still too far away to be on the same network,” I tell her softly. “We are also not in Empire controlled France. Getting back into the Dark Nation will be complicated.”
“So we are still exposed. I was in Germany?” She asks obviously remembering our conversation from before.
“I was sure they had the safe house in England before. Do you think he was actually Apparating all that way?” She asks frowning as she is thinking of Harry again.
“Draco thinks he had a portkey that only let him in and out. We’ve thought of making one ourselves, but it could be hazardous for you.”
“What isn’t going to be dangerous for me?” She asks sounding a bit annoyed.
“The litter will allow us to Apparate short distances,” I tell her carefully. “We were also considering getting a flying coach.”
“How much longer before Hermione figures out we would come here? You know Harry has told the whole DA by now.” She asks putting her hand on her left hip where I know her Dark Mark is.
“My Lady you can’t,” I say my voice sounding more pleading than I would like. As she pointed out before, she is the Queen and does, in fact, have rank on all of us here.
“I’ll give you a day.” She says firmly before looking up at me. “One day to get us moving. I won’t last longer than that.” She says as I see the fear in her eyes.
The Healer comes back just then, keeping me from really arguing my point. He continues about his business without a word and starts to wrap Ginny’s broken body carefully.
I wake the next morning, and it takes me a moment to remember where I am and what is going on. I lick my lips as I feel a bit groggy and I know something is off. I remember having some tea after I told Daphne not to give me the dreamless sleep potion she had brought with her. I made a promise to Riddle after all and I did use his power during the battle with Harry. But I didn’t have any dreams last night, and I groan as I realize she must have slipped some into the tea. I do hope he understands I didn’t do it on purpose.
“Daphne?” I ask wondering if I’m alone in my room.
“I’m here my Lady,” Draco says softly.
I try to turn to look at him, but with all the magically reinforced wrappings on my right side, I can hardly move anything at all. I look down at my arm instead, taking in the hardened green gauze covering much of my shoulder, and all of my arm and hand. I can still feel the pain, and I know nothing is any better. Fortunately, the continual numbing spells on the casts help manage it to a reasonable level.
“How are the plans turning out?” I ask wanting to know if they will make the deadline or give me a wand I can call my husband with myself.
“My Lady, please give us more time. The magical construction of something that can travel through Apparitions is complicated.” Draco says as he steps into my line of sight.
“So you won’t be making the deadline?” I ask feeling sure Daphne would have told him about my demand as I hold out my able hand for his wand.
“At least give us a full day my Lady.” He asks with a frown.
“Only if you keep your Healer away from me. He tried to convince me several times while he was putting the casts on to give up my child.” I tell him as lower my hand to my stomach.
“Are you sure the Dark Lord even wants a child?” Draco asks timidly, and I give him a powerful enough glare that he steps back.
“There are quite a few fertility runes still marking my skin from our marriage rite.” I remind him, taking in a slow breath because tensing is quite painful still.
“You’re right my Lady; I’m just concerned about your survival if we…”
“Once I am home everything will be better Draco.” I cut him off because I heard all of that yesterday. “Please tell me you’ve got a vow from that man never to share anything he’s learned about me. All we need is for people to find out before it’s safe.”
“He is under a vow, my Lady.” Draco agrees, bowing his head.
“So it seems you have until this afternoon. I’ll be fine here as long as everyone leaves me alone.” I tell him purposefully. “Though I could use something to read.”
“We also have some food for you.” He says moving away and coming back with a bland selection of items, and I’m thankful. I don’t think my stomach could handle anything much, but I will be able to pick the crackers and toast for the rest of the day. Also on the tray is a small book on magical music. I smile and look up at him as I pick it up.
“Are you still interested in learning my Lady?” He asks, and I remember the lessons we used to have back when I wasn’t his Lady at all.
“I don’t know,” I tell him honestly but open the book anyway. “Thank you,” I add before waving him off so he can get to work.
I set the book aside and start to munch on some mild cheese on my plate as I try not to think about everything that has happened in the last few weeks. Of course, that means I can’t think of anything else.
My mind keeps looking back at Harry’s expression when he came to find the book. He was cold with this air that reminded me much too much of Riddle. I groan as I think about Riddle himself and how angry he is going to be with me that I took the potion after I promised not to. I hope he forgives when he understands they slipped it into my tea.
I bit my lip as I know he will know better being inside my mind. I’m not so dim as to not realize Daphne would do just that to try and force me into a restful sleep. She doesn’t know exactly what is going on with Riddle, but she didn’t forget how horrible it was when he got mad.
I shake my head and pick up the book Draco left for me. Reading will keep my mind off all the men in my life I have to fear. How am I the kind of woman that has to love all the men she fears? All the men? I frown as I think about from where that thought came. Do I love Riddle? Or does he not count as a man?
I look at the book in my hand and force all thoughts of any of that from my head. It’s a bit hard to maneuver with only one working side, but the book is small, and I use my thigh to rest the book on so I can open the first page.
I force myself to focus on the words in the books, so no idea worries or concerns prop up in my head. It becomes interesting to read about the how one can use music in magic, and that brings back memories of my lessons with Draco.
“My Lady?” I hear Daphne ask and I look up to find her nervously standing at the door. I set the book aside and frown at her.
“You drugged me,” I tell her, so she knows it is still very much on my mind.
“You look so ragged after everything that happened yesterday, my Lady. And I know I don’t know what you have been doing about the dreams the past few weeks, but you needed to be able to sleep in peace.” She says as if she has been practicing those lines all night.
“It can’t happen again,” I tell her firmly. “Do you understand?”
“Yes, my Lady.” She says finally stepping into the room. “I wished to come and report on our progress.” She adds as she sits down on the bed near my healthy side.
“What do you have to report?” I ask looking to a large window in my room to find the sun well past its midpoint. I wonder if the worrying or the book took up the day?
“We’ve finished the actual structure and just need a little more time to enchant it, so you don’t get any more hurt.”
I sigh frowning at her. “How much is a little more time?” I ask her seriously.
“Three days at most. I told you we couldn’t rush this.” She says biting her bottom lip nervously.
“Give me your wand Daphne. We don’t have time.” I command her firmly.
“Please don’t my Lady?” She asks as she clutches her wand to her chest. “The Healer said it could kill you.”
“That Healer doesn’t want the Dark Lord here. I need to do this Daphne, and you need to let me. We should have done it from the moment we had some breathing room.” I tell her earnestly as I shake the hand I’m holding out.
“You know I’m just worried.” She says with a deep frown before giving over her wand to me.
“The tray is in my way,” I tell her and she quickly takes it from my lap to set it aside.
I take a slow breath as I think about being wrapped in Tom’s arms. That is what I want. That is what I need right now even though he too scares me. I move my covers down and lift my shirt a bit so that I can push my pants down enough to reveal the Dark Mark on my hip.
“If something does go wrong you have my permission to call that awful Healer,” I tell her without looking at her because I don’t want to see any more worry in her eyes.
I press the end of Daphne’s wand to my mark and let the magic flow as I had before. The magic builds, and it feels like fire on my skin, but this is a cleansing fire, and I try to hold my breath until I feel the message fill me entirely before being sent off into the world.
I’m still grasping Daphne’s wand by the time I am aware of myself again, and I find that I am panting as if I’ve run a long way. My whole body hurts more than it has since he put on the cast but I bare with the pain because now I know I’ve done everything I can to call my husband to my side.
“Are you okay my Lady?” Daphne is at my side, her voice filled with worry.
“Mostly,” I tell him unable to keep the pain from my voice. “I think the numbing charm is wearing off,” I tell him wondering if I have injured myself more.
“I’ll get the Healer to fix it.” She says getting to her feet and rushing from the room.
I wonder how long it will take for Tom to come for me. Suddenly struck by a thought, I wonder if he will come at all. What if I am just a tool for him? What if he just sends his minions to collect or even maybe kill me now that I am of no use to him?
“You need to calm down m’Lady.” I hear the Healer say and I point the wand in my hand at his chest.
“Just do you work,” I tell him through gritted teeth because I am over having to deal with the man.
“You used powerful dark magic m’Lady.” He says as he checks me over. “It has started to dissolve the healing spells on you. I’m going to have to re-enchant your casts.” He says, and I can hear the sneer in his tone.
“Just do it,” I tell him as I close my eyes to let him work as the pain is still growing and I am starting to feel sick with it.
He starts on my hands and moves down my arms, but it is slow, tedious work and by the time he gets to my elbow I think I may black out from the pain in my leg. But I’m still alone with the man, and I just don’t trust him enough not to be aware while he is tending to me.
“I could give you something to help you rest m’Lady. As you know this takes a while.” the Healer reminds me stopping his work, and I think I really may at least throw up.
“It wasn’t this painful last time.” I point out as I can’t figure out the difference with how much the agony in my body is distracting my mind.
“No numbing spells this time m’Lady.” He says calmly. “It would be better if you let yourself rest, with what you did there is not much time left.”
“What?” I ask clutching the wand and I know I’m only still conscious by sheer force of will on my part. “Where’s Daphne?” I ask because shouldn’t she be here at my side? “Why did you stop?” I ask as I notice he isn’t casting any longer.
“Because it will look better if you pass out from the pain.” He says, and I shake my head the pain spiking on my shoulder with the movement.
“What are you talking about?” I gasp, and I think I may be crying as my vision starts to blur.
“This will all be better soon if you just rest m’Lady.” He says, and I don’t understand.
“The pain!” I gasp because he must not understand.
“Will give me a reason to make it all better even if the DA doesn’t figure out where we are in time.” He says sadly. “I am sorry, but I am saving you from all of this m’Lady.”
“FUCK YOU!” I scream as I hear the door slam open and I force the Healer back from my side.
I take in slow breaths trying to manage the pain while I wait for someone I trust to come back. What the hell could Daphne be doing right now? Was that her at the door.
“Calm down my Lady” Draco says taking my hand with Daphne’s wand. “You need to quiet down now.” He says, and I hadn’t realized I was screaming until he said something.
“Numb?” I gasp because I can’t do the spell myself, I’m in too much pain, and I don’t even know the spell to cast.
“What is wrong with her?” The new cold voice fills my body with a heat of relief. Tom has come for me, and he came himself.
Draco casts a numbing spell that doesn’t work nearly as good as the one that had been on my bandages, but at least I can think a little better now.
“Nearly all her bones on her right side are shattered,” Draco says, and I try to look up at Tom, but my vision is still hazing, and he is on the painful side.
“You came…” I say, and I can feel the smile form on my lips as it starts to sink in.
“Of course I came.” He says even though he and Draco were talking about something I couldn’t focus on or understand. I’m about to tell him something important; I know it is essential when the darkness swallows me whole.
I’m a horrible person. The worst kind of person. I curl into a ball, the memories of what I did to Conor play over and over in my mind. He was a sick man, but how am I any better now? I remembered that he was begging for death by the end of my spell.
My magic wouldn’t even let him black out like he usually would have with so much trauma to his body. I had broken him mentally and physically by the end, and the card was powerful because of it.
It had all felt so good. When it was all done, and someone had taken Conor away to who knows where I came back to my room and nearly attacked Blaise. He let me ravish him while I was high on all that dark magic and I never wanted the feeling to end.
Now the high was gone, and I can now see what a horrible person I was, I am. I’m not sure how long I’ve been laying in my bed sulking about all of this, but it has at least been a couple of days, and so far the Dark Lord has let me be.
When I feel someone slip into bed behind me, I sigh because there is a man that won’t just let me sink into the despair of what a horrible person I am.
“Luna?” Blaise asks wrapping his arms around me, and I can’t stop myself from snuggling back against him.
“The Dark Lord says he has been patient enough. If you don’t get up, shower, dress, and meet him in his office in one hour, he is going to come here and get you himself. He wishes me to add that neither of us will like it if he has to do that.”
“Is Connor dead?” I ask as I puzzle out a way to say shove it to the Dark Lord.
“Yes.” He says running his hand down my arm for comfort. “With your magic no longer keeping him alive…”
“So I killed him,” I say biting my lower lip and closing my eyes as I remember how much I enjoyed what I did.
“It was probably for the best after…” He starts, making me whimper and shake my head.
“The first time I killed someone it was an accent. I was afraid and trying to save myself. Now I am killing people for fun and pleasure.” I tell him in a tight voice as I feel my throat tighten with emotion.
“He was a bad man Luna; he doesn’t deserve any of your remorse,” Blaise says firmly before moving away and trying to pull me from the bed.
“I liked it, Blaise,” I tell him worried. “I liked it, and part of me wants to do it again,” I admit as he forces me to stand and look up into his eyes.
“You’re an amazing witch.” He says searching my eyes for something. “I didn’t fall in love with you because of your…” He made a face as he searched for the right word. “…goodness? That need to be kind and right and all the sickening stuff I am sure the other side talks about all the time. It means nothing to me. There are those people who belong to you, and those who do not. The people who belong to you are important; everyone else can go to hell.”
“Everyone is important to someone,” I tell him trying to look away from him, but he doesn’t let me. “Connon had a mother and a father and friends.”
“Conor let his loss hurt him enough that he thought it was okay to hurt one of your people. You have every right to hurt him back.”
“I killed him. I used him to advance my power; then I killed him.” I remind him frowning.
“He meant nothing. He was nothing to you after he decided to hurt someone you loved. Move your line Luna, or this is going to break you completely.” Blaise says before pulling me towards the bath.
“When did I start protecting myself before other people?” I ask as he sits me down so he can turn the shower on for me.
“When you realized that you are worth more than other people,” Blaise says as if it is that simple.
“It must be easy to be you.” I snap, and he is kneeling in front of me looking into my eyes once again.
“Are you kidding me?” He growls narrowing his eyes at me. “Do you know what it is like to love a woman who is in constant danger and just refuses to see her worth?” He asks pulling me to my feet again.
Before I can respond, he’s banished all our clothes and is guiding me gently into the shower. He moves in with me and starts to run soap over my shoulders.
“I can wash.” I whimper without stopping him.
“You could have fooled me the last few days.” He says wrinkling his nose at me and turning me so he can wash my back.
He pushed the long strands of my hair out of his way so he can start kissing my neck. He is using my need to wash as an excuse to run his hands all over my body.
“Blaise…” I murmur because I shouldn’t be allowed to enjoy things like this anymore.
“Give yourself to it or run. That is what I told you before.” Blaise reminds me as he pushes my legs apart with hand and holds me tightly to his chest with his other arm around my waist.
“I know.” I gasp laying my head back on his shoulder.
“It is only going to get harder to run now that you’ve started.” He points out as he thoroughly washes the most intimate parts of my body.
“You said I wouldn’t turn into Bellatrix either.” I remind as I can’t help but push back against his hand.
“Do you love me?” Blaise asks as I have to hold onto his arm to steady myself.
“YES!” I moan as he brings me to the very edge of my climax.
“Do you love him?” He presses holding me on that edge without letting me fall over just yet.
“…no” I whimper because it’s true.
“Say the words, Luna, say them and know you are nothing like her and never will be.” He orders as he nips at my neck.
“I love you!” I scream as he finally lets me fall over into a delicious orgasm of his creation. I feel safe in his arms. Better than I have felt in days, and it had little to do with the climax.
When I come back too early from the beautiful high of my peak and the water is off, and he’s wrapping a towel around me. I’m jarred by the change enough I swallow as I look up to him.
“Was it new?” I ask realizing quickly I must have made a new prophecy.
“Wh-” I start before we both turn at a pounding at my door. I look to Blaise who is already moving to see who is making all the racket, and with the towel wrapped tightly around me I peek out to see who it is as well.
“The Dark Lord wishes me to deliver a message to Lady whatever the fuck she wants to call herself.” Bellatrix’s voice sounds both amused and annoyed at having to be a message.
“She’s getting out of the shower Lady Lestrange,” Blaise says and I hind back behind the door.
“Oh, we’re all girls here.” She says, and I can hear as she pushes passed my husband. “You’re even pretty as one. Has anyone ever told you that?”
“Lady Lestrange?” I push myself to greet her in the towel. “What can I do for you?”
“Our Lord wishes you to know he’s had to leave the country on short notice.” She says looking around the room curiously.
When she starts towards my desk and all the books I’ve been reading at the Dark Lord’s command I clear my throat. “Is that all?” I ask, wanting her to leave so I can talk to Blaise about whatever new prophecy I’m going to have to sort out.
“It seems he found his bride.” She says sounding less amused. Has he found Ginny? That is some good news at least. “She called him…” Her face sours even more. “She used her Dark Mark. Like anyone has the rig…” She cut herself off and gives me a wide smile. “You know…” She starts moving across the room towards me. “I didn’t have a chance to talk to Daphne or Tracey about our shared position under the Dark Lord.”
“Really?” I ask because I have no idea what to say to that.
She reaches towards me and brushes some hair back from my face. “Oh yes, The Dark Lord seems to enjoy you.” She says pulling a lock of my hair back with her so she can examine it. “I can tell you know what a place of honor it is to please our Lord.”
“I try my best,” I tell her gently pulling my hair from her grasp.
“We will have tea when things settle down.” She says not giving me a choice.
“That would be interesting,” I tell before stepping away. “But I really should get dressed now.”
“There will be a council meeting tomorrow whether he is back or not. He has asked me to tell you, that you will be attending either way. It will be up to you to inform him of what is discussed.”
“Of course.” I agree, letting out a sigh when she finally leaves. Once I am sure we are alone again I Look back to Blaise who had mainly stayed silent while the woman was invading my space. “Now what did I say?”
“If something does go wrong you have my permission to call that awful Healer.” She tells me as she keeps her eyes on the Dark Mark before pressing the tip of my wand to the ink embedded in her body.
I watch as her whole body goes stiff and I can see the pain of what she is doing run across her face. I wish I could stop her, but this was her choice I just hope the consequences aren’t too far-reaching.
The moment her body relaxes again I let out the breath I didn’t realize I was holding. “Are you okay my Lady?” I asked stepping up to her side as I see she is still twitching a little with what she had just done.
“Mostly.” She says in a pained voice. “I think the numbing charm is wearing off.” She adds making my eyes go wide. If the numbing charm wears off completely, she is going to be in a lot more trouble.
“I’ll get the Healer to fix it,” I tell her before rushing from the room so I can get the Healer from the place we’ve put him up here on the estate. Draco felt it was best to keep him on hand, and I have to say right now I agree.
He answers quickly when I start to pound on his door and frowns at me as I try and catch my breath.
“My Lady’s numbing spells is failing,” I tell him swallowing hard.
“That would only happen if you let her use dark magic.” He snapped moving into his room to gather some supplies.
“Is that important right now?” I ask stepping into the doorway.
“It hurts my cause with her.” The Healer says, and I frown at him thinking he is still fighting for her to give up her child. “Petrificus Totalus.” He casts hitting me right in the chest before pulling my frozen body into his room. “Don’t worry. I’ll do my best before he gets here.” He says before closing me in.
It feels like hours before Draco opens the door to his room finding me still fully bound on the floor. My body relaxes the moment he releases me from the spells, but I try and shoot to my feet which doesn’t precisely work after some time of being frozen.
“Our Lady is in danger!” I gasp out wanting him to go to her while he kneels down next to me.
“She may be, but there is nothing we can do about it,” Draco says as he takes my still numb foot and starts to rub it. “The Dark Lord is here; I assume her doing?” He says looking me in the eyes.
“She used my wand on her Mark.” I agree feeling much better to know the Dark Lord would have things under control. “Your Healer was a DA sympathizer,” I tell him coldly.
“I realize that now, but at least I got a Vow out of him so that he couldn’t tell them where we were.” He says sounding pretty tired as his hand moves up my leg to try and get the blood moving I realize.
“He didn’t get a chance to do anything too bad to her, only left her without any numbing spell for so long she passed out from the pain.” He explains as he shakes his head. “The Dark Lord came with a few others, and they are getting ahold of some of our Healers. He doesn’t want to risk moving her either.”
“Not till he knows how hurt she really is?” I ask making Draco nod. “What about us? Is he sending us back sooner?”
“He gave me a few words alone, but it seems we are members of her household and there is no reason to deprive her of us. For now at least. I have the sense he wishes to review this arrangement once we are back in England.” He says sounding a little relieved. “He is pleased that we got her back, even if she isn’t in the condition he left her in.”
I let myself relax just a little with the knowledge that I will be allowed to stay on and continue to serve Ginny.
“My sister is safe. He can’t touch her or me.” I let myself feel the relief over that. “How does the Dark Lord seem with our Lady?” I ask looking to Draco.
“Well she passed out after a terse exchange between them, but any anger he has seemed to be focused on the Healer for now. We came upon him standing over her and doing nothing but waiting for her to pass out.”
“Is he… alive?” I ask frowning as I was still in his body bind when Draco found me.
“Oh yes.” Draco sneers. “The Dark Lord said using him as Death? I don’t know what that meant, but I assume it will be painful by the look of glee in the Dark Lord’s eyes.”
“We should go to her now,” I say trying to get to my feet and feeling much better after the short message Draco had given me.
“Probably. He brought two Death Eaters with him; Uncle Rabastan and Dolohov.” He warns me, and I tense just a little.
“We have our Lady back. There is nothing that he can do to me now.” I tell him keeping my back straight.
I make sure to keep my head high as we head back up to the master room she had set Ginny up in in the first place. Antonin and Rabastan stood outside; they do not look happy at all to have been put on basic guard duty.
When I move to pass them, it is Antonin who walked into my way. “The Dark Lord’s orders are that no one enters until he returns with the Healer.” He says coldly.
“She shouldn’t be left alone.” I frown wondering if the Dark Lord meant they should keep Draco and me out. “Were those his exact orders?” I ask feeling too empty to play nice with him right now.
“Are you questioning our Lord?” He asks raising a brow at me.
“No. I am questioning you. If those were not his exact orders and something happens to the Queen while he is away, who do you think will be in trouble for not letting us pass?” I ask glancing to Lord Lestrange as I have a feeling he will have the better sense in this matter.
The two look at each other for a long moment. I really have no idea what is passing between them, but there seems to be some silent battle going on as we have to wait to be let into the room.
“I’ll escort her in. You and the boy can stay out here to keep guard.” Antonin says finally, and the other man nods in agreement.
When I see Draco about to protest, I shake my head at him. I need to show him I’m not afraid of him, and Ginny’s safety is my top priority here. After a moment Antonin opens the door and lets me enter first before following me in.
“You don’t need to chaperon us,” I tell him as I go right to Ginny’s bed to make sure everything is alright.
“I have been charged with the Queen’s safety.” He says her title in a mocking way, but I decide not to respond.
“And I am her Lady’s maid.” I point out as I do a quick scan to see what spells he has on her. There is a mild numbing spell and a much stronger sleeping curse. I assume the Dark Lord didn’t know anything more powerful to take her pain; he isn’t usually the one to do such a thing.
“The Dark Lord told me no such thing.” He said taking a seat at the table where he can keep his eyes on me. “You know he could be away all night.”
“Then I will sit here all night with her,” I tell him taking a seat on her bed so I can face her and put my back to him.
“You know there is still time to take my offer before I completely ruin your life, Daphne.” He says sounding as if he was trying to do me a favor.
“You’re the one that ruined what we could have done together,” I tell him shaking my head. “You had an advantage, but you pushed it much too far. Soon you will have no advantage at all.”
“Do you really think he will forgive that slut in front of you?” I can hear his sneer. “The Dark Lord knows she was fucking the Potter boy. Do you really think he is that forgiving?”
“I think that is between them,” I tell him stiffly.
“For you to have any power here she needs to be more than a pretty whore at his feet.” He says trying to push my buttons. “And I highly doubt that is going to happen anytime soon.”
“I think you underestimate not only my Lady but our Lord as well,” I tell him half turning so I can see him out of the corner of my eye. “He knows how useful she can be to his cause, and I feel the fact she risked her life to call for him will go a long way,” I say turning fully back to Ginny before using my trump card. “And there is the fact he needs to show the world how happy he is that she is carrying his heir.”
“The bitch is pregnant?” He asks, and I hear him get to his feet.
“You should really stop referring to your Queen with such disrespect,” I tell him drawing my wand subtly just in case he tries something stupid.
“There will be brought about who the father is.” He says in a more satisfied tone. “I know there will be doubt.”
“There are ways to test the child’s magic in the later stages of the pregnancy if there is doubt, it will be silenced.”
“You have no doubt?” He asks smugly. “From what I hear, she fucked the boy as soon as he came back to this life, she fucked him on her wedding night.”
“And you will not be spreading such lies around.” Voldemort’s cold voice made my hair stand up on the back of my neck. “Why are you even in here?”
“I told her…” Antoin started, but the Dark Lord soon cut him off.
“I’m not speaking to her.” He says darkly. “She is at her Lady’s side, where she should have been earlier. I will deal with her failings in due time, but you should be outside of this room with Lestrange.”
“Yes my Lord.” The man bows his head and rushes out before our Lord decides to punish him.
“You.” He says the moment the door is closed making me tense so much I may hurt something. “You almost let that Healer do some undesirable things to my wife.” He says, and I think keeping quiet is my best path forward. “He let her suffer in agony for who knows how long while you were where? Her pain belongs to me Miss Greengrass, and you gave it away.”
When he is silent for a few moments, I take in a deep breath and bow my head low to him. “I thought he could help her when the spells broke my Lord. He was pushy, but I didn’t see him for the traitor he was. He caught me off guard without a wand of my own.”
He moved closer to me, making me hold my breath as he reached out and ran two fingers along my jaw, and over my lips. He is trying to frighten me, and he is doing an excellent job of it.
“It is fortunate for you that you are under her protection.” He says, but I am not enough of a fool to relax yet.
“For how long my Lord?” I ask meekly.
“Now that will depend greatly on her.” He says looking over to Ginny. “The curse he used is a nasty thing he stole from me. I’ve never used it multiple times on the same victim without killing them. Either he was very very careful, or your Lady has powers I haven’t seen her use before. Not for a long time.”
I frown not knowing what that meant. “My Lord?” I ask confused.
He tilts my head up, so I have to look him in the eyes. “When she recovers, and I have had a chance to see what she has to offer me, then we will decide everyone’s fate.”
“…like this, the more damage will be done to the surrounding muscle.” A voice I can’t quite recognize says, and I wonder if Daphne found a new Healer because that last one was awful.
“So what exactly are these options?” Tom asks, and I can’t help but gasp in relief. I remember him being here before I passed out, but I was so out of it I wasn’t sure if I had imagined him.
“Tom?” I squeeze the hand holding mine. I feel sluggish right now as everything goes quiet and I wonder if I’m falling asleep again.
“We’ll finish this soon. I need a moment with my wife alone.” He says, and the hand slips out of mine. “Daphne please get Healer Dovanan some refreshments.” He orders and I can feel as someone gets up from my bed.
“Daphne?” I ask trying to open my eyes and clear my vision. All I see is ceiling when I look, and I soon find I can’t move my head.
“I’ll be back soon my Lady.” She says retaking my hand and squeezing it for support before moving away.
“Why can’t I move?” I ask, but I also notice the pain is completely gone as well.
When he comes into my line of vision, I can’t help but smile up at him. His cold, emotionless mask is in place, but I don’t care. I’m finally safe again, and he will make sure nothing else happens to me.
“The Healer says it is safer to limit all body movement at this time.” He explains taking the seat next to me that Daphne had just left.
“I can’t feel anything on my right,” I tell him so he knows and I see him nod in agreement.
“She also instituted a fully functioning numbing spell. It seems your last Healer was leaving you with pain on purpose.” He explains in a very clinical way.
“How angry are you?” I ask, with my current health explained I need to know how much trouble I’m in with him.
“You stole my blood and left me on our wedding day.” He informs me as if I didn’t know.
“I didn’t want to leave. They were worried you would hurt me for taking the blood.” I tell him, but I am sure he has already figured all this out.
“They wanted you away from me no matter what Ginny.” He points out, and I wish he would touch me.
“They feared for my safety with you, blood or no.” I agree finally.
“Then they gave you to him as if you were his prize.” The mask is gone as he sneers fully down at me.
“I know exactly what you did with him, Ginevra.” He says leaning in to look more directly into my eyes. “He showed me every moan and every scream every time he tasted what is mine.”
I swallow closing my eyes because I can’t turn away. “Why would he do that?” I ask still not understanding the darkness in Harry.
“More than likely because I had done the same to him when he still resided in my body,” Tom says making me open my eyes to look at him in shock.
“You are mine, and he needed to know that before he died.” He cuts me off looking sternly down at me.
“What now?” I ask because if he already knows the worst of things I’ve done, then I don’t have to go into what happened while I was away.
“Now you heal.” He says finally touching me so he can stroke my cheek lightly. “You are in no fit condition to take my anger or desire.”
I shut my lip because the question I wanted to ask sounded obnoxiously needy and I refused to add that to the list of my new qualities.
“After that?” I ask instead. “How am I make this right?” I ask looking into his eyes once more.
“Is there anything useful you can tell me of their plans or location?” He asks making me frown as it didn’t even occur to me he would ask such a thing.
“They told me nothing,” I say feeling a little relieved they hadn’t shared plans with me now. “But I wish you wouldn’t have asked.”
“Do you really still have loyalty to that group of misfits that decided to give you wholly over to an unstable wraith?” He asks, and his anger becomes quite evident in his tone and the hardness of his fingers against my cheek.
“They didn’t know. I still think he’s hiding it from them.” I whimper trying to shrink away. Anger only leads to pain, and I still have so many bones he could break and destroy.
“You’re shaking.” He says as if he is surprised by my reaction to his fury. “You’re shaking like…” He growled even more furious as he pushes away from me and gets up from the bed.
“I’m sorry.” I whimper which makes him growl all the more.
“I’m not going to kill him I am going to destroy him. I’ll make him beg for death, beg for it!” He hisses, and I can tell he is pacing back and forth, even though I can’t turn my head to watch.
I take in a slow breath to try and calm my fear because I really don’t understand what he is talking about or what has made him so upset.
“My Lord?” I ask swallowing again, wishing I could look at him. “I’m sorry.”
He goes silent at my words, and I wonder what he is doing, but I also don’t know what else I can say without making him any angrier than he already is.
“He’s made you fear me.” He says after a long moment of silence. “I will not tolerate that.”
“I’ve always feared you,” I tell him licking my lips. “And you revel in it.” I remind him even more confused by his anger over this.
When he moves into my sight once again, he is frowning down at me. “There is a difference. You’ve never been stupid.” He says retaking his seat. “But you would have never quaked so before. At least not in fear of me.” He says narrowing his eyes. “That is for other people. You are my lioness.” He explains. “I don’t want you to be other people.”
I swallow frowning as I look up at him trying to think of what I could say to fix this new thing that seems broken.
“Give me time,” I say ashamed that he is right. Harry had made me fear, long hours of pain and the smiles he had when he broke my arm made me fear.
He takes in a slow breath and brushes my face again with his fingers. “You need to heal.” He says again shaking his head. “But you should know I do not want a spineless whimpering slut for my Queen.”
I close my eyes as his words hurt more than just my pride. “You can never be gentle with me can you?” I ask trying to ignore my anxiety over upsetting him.
“You’ve never needed gentle before. Even after the attack, you came begging for a firm hand.” He reminds me, and I really wish I could look away from him. How pathetic am I that he is right about what I needed then, what I still need?
“That was different. That wasn’t…” I swallow, and he leans in very close to me.
“That wasn’t someone you love.” He says giving the work his usual sneer.
“I love you as well.” I remind him without irony. When I feel his tongue against my lips, my breath catches, and I open my mouth to surrender to him.
“You do.” He agrees without moving further into any kiss. “And do you still desire your Lord?” He asks as his fingers trail down the side of my neck.
My heart is racing again, but this time it is not in fear. “Yes,” I admit wishing I could lose myself in his embrace.
“I think I believe you.” He says before bringing his lips down to mine and letting me genuinely taste him for the first time in weeks. I feel as he breathes darkness into the kiss bringing my body alive with desire and need.
When he pulls back from me, I whimper, and he smiles down at me as he searches my eyes.
“Now.” He says pushing the covers off of my breasts and I realize for the first time I’m not wearing anything anymore. The blanket was the only thing protecting my modesty while others were in the room.
I feel his fingers travel down to play with my left nipple. It was already hardened painfully by his magic, but I let out a soft keening sound at his touch. When his hand travels to the right, the strokes feel dull, and I wonder if something is covering my breast after all.
“Please?” I whimper making him chuckle.
“Do you need me now my pet?” He asks his hands are moving around the numb areas of my body.
“Yes.” I gasp, and he should know that because he was the one that ignited that need on purpose.
“Enjoy this suffering as it is only the start of your punishment.” He says before getting to his feet and moving away from me.
I whimper clutching the sheet in my left hand as the need doesn’t seem to want to go away. When I hear the door open and close, I gasp when I realize he has left me in this needful state. Swallowing I find I can actually move my left arm, so I cover myself once more.
With my insufficient ability to move and the complete void of feeling on much of my right side, I know that there is no way to find satisfaction with my attention. I lay there in frustration before I hear the door open again.
“…really the only solution if you won’t want her to be in some pain for the rest of her life my Lord.” The Healer says as the group of them return.
“And how long will the process take?” Tom asks not sounding very happy at all.
“We can vanish most of them by the end of the day. With her pregnancy and everything, the particle hip will be the most complicated. We would want to do that first, so she has something strong to build the leg upon.”
“How long after that till she can be moved?” Daphne asks sounding nervous for some reason.
“Once we vanish the bones she can be moved easily back to the castle without much risk.” The Healer explains making me blink.
“Vanish my bones?” I ask as I think about how much of me is broken.
“La…” The Healer starts, and I frown as the room goes silent. “What do I call her my Lord?” He asks sounding confused.
Tom chuckles in amusement, and the sound of it presses against me, reminding me how much I want him to touch me. I let out a little whimper making him chuckle all the more.
“You may call her your Lady for now. She is my wife after all and deserves your respect until I say otherwise.”
“Yes my Lord.” The Healer says before moving to me. “My Lady there is just too much damage to the bones to repair fully. It may be a painful process, but if we vanish the broken bones, heal the damages muscle and then regrow the bones it will mean living without continuous pain for the rest of your life.”
When I walk into the council’s chamber, I find that I am the last to arrive. I keep my head up, so I don’t know these vipers any fear, but when I get to the end of the table, I have to frown because I have no idea where to sit. Every chair is taken but the Dark Lord’s and Ginny’s.
It would be presumptuous to sit in his chair when he wasn’t here, and he has already made it very clear I shouldn’t touch Ginny’s stool. With a little more hesitation I decide to kneel in front of his chair making sure I can see the room clearly before settling my hands in my lap.
Two members of the council are missing as well, but they both sent proxies to take their place as I heard they were attending the Dark Lord directly.
“Now that we are all here,” Malfoy says with a sneer as he glances over at me. “We should discuss the issue of France. My informants tell me they have noticed the Dark Lord’s position on the Malfoy estate there, and they are mobilizing to strike.”
“Isn’t your son and his bitch there as well?” Rodolphus asks earning him a smirk of approval from his wife.
“The information that is being sent back says that my son and Miss Greengrass singlehandedly saved the Queen from those rebels who had been holding her.”
“Can we not call that blood traitor slut Queen for just one day?” Bellatrix snapped sounding disgusted.
Malfoy glances to me briefly and smirks before turning back to the woman with a straight face.
“I for one know how to give the proper respect to our Lord’s wife.” He says, and I can see by his colors he is feeling rather good about something. He does hate Bellatrix.
“Is France going to be an issue?” Another member asked getting the meeting back on track. “Can they mobilize before the Dark Lord returns to the safety of the castle?”
“My spies say it will take them four days before they feel they have enough numbers to attack the grounds and get through my families wards.” Malfoy answers.
They continue to talk about what they refer to as the France problem a bit longer before they turn to other issues. I am smart enough to know I am here to simply observe them for the Dark Lord and that I have no say is what is going on in this area or that.
I slowly start to realize how old all these people seem. They are so stuck in their prejudice that I have to recognize the Dark Lord is progressive by comparison. These are all representatives of the old and powerful families of England, but he is moving outward. He is gaining power in other places and his support there will be different from here.
With a start, I realize the Dark Lord is a politician. Is it at all possible his blood purity laws and ideas are more about the people in this room that his own beliefs? I decide to store that knowledge away to ponder later as the meeting continues on and on as if it will never end.
When the meeting was finally over, and the group was getting up to leave Malfoy seems to take longer than the rest and moves over to me to hold out his hand once there weren’t as many witnesses.
I look at the hand for a moment then back up at his face. We have never really talked much over my entire life, and all those conversations we have had were not all pleasant, so I have to wonder why he is here now.
“You are here so you can report to the Dark Lord about the meeting.” He says as he finally drops his hand and steps back so I can get to my feet by myself. “May I escort you to your room?” He asks offering his arm.
I frown wondering why I would need this when he glances over to Bellatrix who is now giving me the most pleasant smile.
“You are too kind,” I say taking his arm awkwardly so he can lead me out.
“You must know the Malfoy family is loyal even though my son’s transgressions. He is an ambitious boy and sometimes gets ahead of himself.” He starts talking, and I don’t know why.
“I’ve spoken with Draco,” I say still unclear on what this was all about.
“Yes of course, then you must know he is loyal.” He says, and things start to become clear.
“Ginny seems to trust him to make him her Knight,” I say wondering the kind of reaction I’ll get for that. “And from what you said she was right to.”
“He has done a great service for the nation.” He agrees with a nod.
“He has done a great service for his Queen.” I offer back making the man tense a little.
“The Malfoy family’s true loyalty will always be to the Dark Lord. I saw the magic you used on that man a few nights ago. I see that you will have great value to him as time goes on. You should know that the Malfoy family will always be helpful to the Dark Lord’s cause.” He says, and I blink at him a few times.
It has been a while since I was completely confused by a person, but Lucius Malfoy was doing an excellent job. “D-do you have some idea that I plan to replace Ginny in the Dark Lord’s esteem?” I ask because that would solve this puzzle.
“I think the Dark Lord has great plans for you. That he plans to train you to be a close advisor and you will have a position to shape this empire as time moves forward.”
“And you think Ginny will simply be the mother of his heirs?” I ask carefully.
“What does an immortal need with heirs Lady Radcliff?” He asks turning to me as we approach the door to my rooms.
“Everyone must do their duty to spread of magical lineage Lord Malfoy.” I counter making him smile.
“True. All I offer is my support if you need anything that will make our great nation better.” He says opening his arms.
“Thank you, Sir,” I tell him before opening the door myself. “It has been an interesting conversation.”
“Yes my Lord.” The Healer bows to our Lord before turning to Ginny. “My Lady there is just too much damage to the bones to repair fully. It may be a painful process, but if we vanish the broken bones, heal the damages muscle and then regrow the bones it will mean living without continuous pain for the rest of your life.”
I move to her side so I can help support her if she needs it. She can’t see anything but the ceiling with how they have laid her down, and I am sure that is annoying.
“That doesn’t sound so scary.” She says licking her lips. “What about my child?” She asks, and the Dark Lord nods for the Healer to answer.
“There will be a short risk to your child as we heal the hip. Fortunately, you are not very far along yet, or you probably would have lost them already. It is a miracle you haven’t my Lady.” He tells her honestly. “With massive trauma, you’ve suffered and the shock that trauma would have caused to your system it is honestly a miracle you are still alive.”
“I had help.” She says with a sigh but doesn’t expand on that further at the Healer looks back to the Dark Lord.
“When will the other Healers be arriving so you can start the process?” I ask because no one else is.
“Within the hour.” The Healer says bowing their head to the Dark Lord. “I will give you time alone while I wait for them.” After waiting for dismissal from the Dark Lord, the woman left the three of them alone.
“Would you like me to go as well my Lord?” I ask softly if he hadn’t finished it talk with Ginny he wouldn’t have come to get us.
“No. You will keep her company. I have business to attend to.” He says leaving the room again without a word to Ginny.
“I’m going to need another major healing once he’s done with me.” She says biting her lip. “I’ve hurt him.”
“My Lady?” I ask as I think she is talking about the Dark Lord’s feelings and I was under the impression he didn’t have human emotions.
She swallows and closes her eyes. Remembering she can’t exactly turn her head I take a seat on her neck so she can at least see me.
“Once I am better my punishment will be severe, but I will deserve it.” She says frowning. “Is there water?” She asks running her tongue along the inside of her mouth.
“Yes, my Lady,” I tell her leaning over to pick up a glass and pitcher to pour her a drink. I conjure a long straw so that she can more easily drink while I hold the glass. “He doesn’t know if he will allow me to stay in your service, my Lady. He says that will be up to you.”
Once she was satisfied, she used the working hand to take the straw from her mouth. “He wants me to be strong. To take my punishment and show him loyalty.” She tells me, and I see a blush on her cheeks. “I can do it, Daphne.” She says after a moment of hesitation. “After everything, I think being by his side is where I can do the most good now.” She says, but I hear the doubt in her voice.
“Do you believe that my Lady?” I ask because she has to be fully committed if we are going to get her back any ounce of power she had before they stole her away.
“I want it to be true. I don’t want a war.” She says swallowing thickly. “But there are things about his Empire that are just wrong.” She adds but I get the sense that is not indeed where her apprehension lies.
“Please tell me what’s wrong my Lady. What’s really wrong?” I ask taking her hand and squeezing it so she can feel I am here for her.
She swallows again. “He…” She licked her hips and whimpers. “I’m afraid.” She admits, and I know that is a lot coming from a woman like her. “What if I can’t be his Lioness any longer? What if I really am ruined this time?”
“With everything that is happening with you. Maybe we should find you, someone, to talk to?” I ask because Draco had made the same suggestion for me after my nightmares about the Dark Lord. It was always good to pass on good advice, even if you didn’t take it, right?
“I’m talking to you.” She points out squeezing my hand back.
“I mean like someone professional,” I say timidly.
“I’m in no to position to go to a mind Healer.” She says with a frown. I sight because she isn’t exactly wrong.
“Than talk to me. I won’t judge, and we can talk about anything you need to.” I tell him because I think that is what she needs right now.
She sighs and frowns once again. “Let me think about it. Do I want to know more about what is going on back home? How is Luna? Harry showed me the magazine.”
“She seems to be doing better than I would have thought about someone in her position. It’s Blaise that’s a wreck. I’m worried he’s close to trying to hex the Dark Lord.” I tell her shaking my head.
“Really? He must love her.” She says thoughtfully.
“I think he does oddly enough. Being in Slytherin I never thought he would ever settle down, never become emotionally attached to one of his conquests.” I say thinking of the times I myself enjoyed his company. “Some girls use to take it harder than others.”
Ginny chuckles a little. “Not just in Slytherin. There were a few Gryffindors girls that were well dissatisfied with the way he left things.”
“And now he is in love with his wife. The odd little Ravenclaw he wouldn’t have looked twice at in school.” I say with a laugh of my own. “She is an interesting woman. We’ve talked a bit since she moved into the castle.”
“She’s in the castle full time?” She asks sadly.
“He moved her into your old rooms,” I tell her with a sigh. “I think he plans to keep her there for a while to make you jealous. Your new rooms are not nearly as close to him.”
“My new rooms?” She asks with a whimper.
“The Queen’s suite. They have windows and have been made to your taste my Lady.” I remind her.
“Remember that first time we met, and they had made my room out of black stone. The fools made it a place to please the Dark Lord.” She says thinking.
“Yes, I remember requesting the change so you could feel comfortable.”
“So you all could manipulate me into becoming what I am.” She cuts me off a bit sharply before taking a slow breath.
“What are you, my Lady?” I ask frowning because I can’t exactly deny what she says.
“Lost.” She says taking another breath.
I set the water aside and brush my fingers over her face to push the hair back from her eyes. “No my Lady. You’ve grown.” I tell her seriously. “I was once on his side, manipulating and helping him to form you to his will. But I have not been doing that for a long while, and we both know it. My advice is based on what I think is best for you now.”
She smiles sadly up at me. “Your advice will always be based on what is best for you Daphne. But I know that I’ve always known that. I didn’t mean to blame you.” She says sighing. “We’ll talk about that after I feel better. It may change my whole outlook to have a working body again.”
“That seems like it would brighten anyone’s outlook, my Lady,” I tell her with a smile.
“What else can you tell me about Luna?” She asks pushing the subject back to her friend.
“He keeps her with him more days than not. She attends every council meeting. I don’t know how she is treated there, but he jealously protects her from any of the others who may have interest. It is nothing like when I was his Mistress, or even when Tracey had the honor.”
“What about Tracey? My brothers?” She asks worry all over her face.
“Your brothers are still locked up. They are in the castle, and I was checking on them every so often when I was there. They aren’t being mistreated yet. I think the Dark Lord was saving that to see if you joined the other side.”
“Fleur? Her child?” She asks because she can’t help but worry about those she loves.
“Both well. She hasn’t been taken from her room she had shared with Bill. They have her work to pay for their room and board. But they haven’t revoked her marriage to Bill yet, and they haven’t charged him with anything so she can’t be touched just yet.”
Ginny takes in a slow breath as relief seems to flood her system. “Tracey? Nott?” She asks about those who weren’t exactly her loved ones.
“Tracey has joined Nott in his cell waiting for the Dark Lord’s judgment,” I tell her with a frown.
“Tom gave him to me…” She reminds me with a bitter smile. “Have any ideas what would please him if he asks me for my judgment?” She asks trying to keep her tone light.
“I think we can think about that another day my Lady,” I tell her as the door opens and the Healer walks in with three others with similar robes. “It’s time?” I ask getting to my feet.
“You can go.” The first Healer says nodding to the door. When I hear Ginny whimper, I shake my head.
“I’ll stay out of you way, but I would prefer to stay,” I tell them as I squeeze Ginny’s hand before stepping away from the bed.
“Just keep out of our way.” Says a gruff male Healer as he moves past me to start pulling the sheets carefully down and off of Ginny’s nude form.
“I am right here if you need me, my Lady.” I tell Ginny as I watch another slowly remove the bandages holding her body in place.
Without any bones, in most of my side, I have to be transported on a stretcher. They bound my arms tightly over my chest to keep me secure and hide the worst of my disfigurement. They’ve removed all of the numbing spells now, and my body just has an odd deflated feeling rather than any pain.
School is still in session, of course, so there are a ton of people to stare and whisper as I’m levitated through the halls of the castle. After only a few feet, I decide it is best to close my eyes and pretend I’m asleep rather than watch people gawk and wonder what happened to me.
I can still hear the whispers, though, so it’s a great relief when I hear the doors closing off the rest of the castle.
“Right through here.” Daphne directs the guards responsible for me, and I don’t think to open my eyes until they are unwrapping my bindings.
The room is more substantial than my last, or maybe it seems that way since it has less furniture and lots of light pouring in from the windows to my left. Turning my head, I see a glass door that opens into an enclosed balcony. I can’t imagine how I have a balcony. I’m a bit confused about where these new rooms are in the castle, but it does sort of lift my heart to know I will have such free access to the outside.
“Where do I eat?” I ask, looking around with confusion. I’m used to my old chambers that had everything I needed just steps away. This room is made up of a bed, a chair, a dresser, and a wardrobe. There is no real place to socialize or do anything but sleep and get changed.
“This is the Queen’s apartment,” Daphne says, dismissing the men as she walks over to sit next to me. “Rooms. You have this, the balcony…” She motions to the glass door. “And a common room where you can entertain and such. I’ll show it to you when you’re better.” She promises with a soft smile. “Or at least, someone will.” She adds, and I know she still feels insecure in her place here.
I reach out and take her hand with my good one. “You’ve done so much, Daphne,” I tell her and swallow thickly. I want to say everything is going to be okay now. But I haven’t seen Tom since before they vanished my bones, and I just don’t know what he’s thinking.
“They are moving my things into a fitting room for your companion, which is a positive step. They are also moving Draco to this wing…”
“Wing?” I frown because I try to think of everything she is talking about, and it just doesn’t make sense. “Where in the castle are we? You never said.” I point out.
“We’re near the northern tower, the second floor. The hall was mostly unused classrooms. We converted them into your rooms and rooms for your staff, such as your guard.”
“What about the rest of my guard?” I ask because I want to know about my brothers. She sighs and shakes her head.
“Pucey and Warrington have been pulled from the regular guard duty they were assigned in your absence and will be taking up residence nearby tonight.”
“And the others?” I ask because I can’t help myself, but I also can’t mention them by name.
“No news,” Daphne tells me softly. “But I’m sure he’s waiting to see how things go. At least you won’t have his men nearby quite so much with some of your men coming back. Millicent wanted to know if she could see you, but I thought it best to wait until after you’re fully healed.”
“Do we know how long it’s going to take to regrow everything?” I ask because no one has talked about that process except to say I will be put to sleep through a lot of it.
“A few days.” She said frowning. “It won’t be long before you are as good as new, and we can get back to things.” She says, forcing a smile.
“When will the Healers be coming back?” I ask looking around my new home and everything that Daphne did to make me feel comfortable here in the castle. Most would probably have given the room a Gryffindor theme with reds and golds like she had my last place. This room showed how much better she’s gotten to know me. Everything felt open and full of space. It was exactly what I needed now, and I’m thankful she’s made it possible.
“The Dark Lord wishes to have dinner with you tonight, so they are holding off until after that.” She says, and I look at her in surprise, she hadn’t mentioned these plans before.
“He wants to see me like this?” I ask, blushing slightly as I look down at the weirdness of my arm and hand.
“I do not presume to know what our Lord wishes.” She says, and I nod. “But my Lord did say he didn’t wish to impede your healing in any way, so he will be joining you here if you allow.” She adds, sounding a bit awkward.
“If I allow?” I ask with a frown. Tom can do whatever he wishes, why would he ever need my permission.
“He explained that for now at least he wishes for you to think of these rooms as your domain, he will not enter uninvited.”
“I see. Well, since sitting at a table is sure to be even more humiliating than sitting here. I guess my husband is invited to have dinner here.” I say thinking the whole thing made me feel more nervous than I liked. I know I need to see him, I even want to see him, but the idea also scares me in ways I don’t understand. I’ve always feared him, only an idiot wouldn’t, but there are new types of fear that I can’t explain even to myself.
“I will let him know, my Lady.” She says with a nod as she gets to her feet.
That night Daphne helps me dress in a long-sleeved nightgown to look at least a little more presentable with my body’s malformations. It is a lovely dress but nothing too fancy, so I don’t look like I’m getting dressed up for him, but still showing him respect. When Daphne explains this all to me, I nod along, trusting her judgment in such things.
The food is brought in first, and a tray is placed next to me so I wouldn’t have to get out of the bed to eat. A small table was brought in with a chair for Tom’s meal, and I find myself playing with my deflated fingers while I wait for him.
It is such a weird but somehow satisfying feeling to move the fingers this way and that. I roll them lightly between my thumb and forefinger, feeling the space where the bone should be.
“Are you supposed to be bothering them?” Tom asks as he stands in the doorway to my room.
“You’ve never picked at a scab, I suppose?” I ask, looking up at him as I try to arrange my face into something pleasant.
“Not my own.” He comments, and I don’t even want to know what that means, so I let it go and watch as he moves to the chair intended for him.
“Is everyone out of hostile France?” I ask because I’m not sure what he wants from this dinner or this meeting.
“You don’t need to know that.” He says as he picks up his glass and takes a slow drink watching me.
“True, I guess,” I say awkwardly because I didn’t care a moment ago, but it reminds me of when Harry and Hermione kept me in the dark about things. “So, what do I need to know?” I ask, not being able to keep all of the sarcasm out of my voice.
He smirks over his glass before putting it down and watching me for a bit longer. “You must be feeling better.” He says instead of answering my question.
“They say growing bones is a nasty business, but for now, I have no pain at all,” I say with a sigh as I look down at my dinner. I still don’t know why he’s here, and I have to admit it hurts to have him in the room but purposefully sitting so far away. It’s like I can feel every inch of space between us both physically and mentally.
“Potter told you that back before the war.” He says, and I nod because there isn’t much point to lying even though I don’t want to talk about the other man. “Ironic you would be quoting him since he is the one that put you in this condition.”
“I know, but he’s the only person I know that’s ever had to regrow a bone,” I say, swallowing thickly. “Is that why you’re here to check on how I’m feeling?” I ask, forcing myself to look up at him.
I watch as Tom takes a meticulously small bite of his chicken and put it into his mouth to chew with a poise I sometimes forget he has. I find myself mesmerized by how he holds himself and how very different he is from a man who has his exact same body.
Tom is always in control of himself; his every move and action has a purpose and grace. Harry, on the other hand, has never been precisely disciplined. At that moment, I realize that they share the same darkness now, only Tom knows how to use his, where that shade is probably using Harry instead. The thought makes me feel a little sick, so I brush it aside and reach for my water.
“I wish to talk about how you are going to make this last month up to me.” He says, setting the fork and knife down. “I want to know what you expect and want from your life now.”
I lick my lips and look down at my food as I think about his question. It isn’t exactly easy to explain how I’m feeling or know the right thing for us moving forward.
“I don’t have any expectations, but I do have hopes,” I tell him as I look back into his eyes. “I hope you can forgive me and we can move on from here. I hope not to disappoint myself in how I deal with everything. I hope to keep the people I care about safe, and that I can still please you enough that you don’t th-throw me away.” I say, sighing because my voice hitched at the end.
Of course, his expression gives nothing away as he examines me like I’m some interesting insect that he hasn’t decided what to do with yet.
“I want you to read something.” He says, getting to his feet and moving to the bed to hold a small scroll out to me.
I look down at it with a frown as he takes his seat once again, and at first, I blush because I realize it’s the letter thing I wrote for Harry, but then I realize something is wrong with it. For one, I signed the letter as both Lady Mercy and the Dark Lord’s Whore, but this one only says Lady Mercy.
I go back through the text and find that these are mostly my words; they are also edited to alter the meaning from the original version.
“Someone changed my words,” I tell him because I don’t know what else I can say. I look at the names that were published, and I have to swallow because I didn’t know for sure any of them but Michael.
“Obviously.” He says with a tilt of his head. “I wish to know what you said in the last paragraph.” He states, making my eyes move to that paragraph on the paper.
“I said that I love two men and that they both love me in their way,” I say because that is the main change in the text that I can remember.
“You think I love you?” He asks, sounding curious now. “Do you still think he does?”
“In your ways,” I repeat, looking at the paper, so I don’t have to see his expression. “I think if you didn’t care for me at all, I wouldn’t be in this bed. I think when I called you, you would have sent someone else instead of coming yourself. I think…”
“I do have a certain investment in you, Ginevra, and it pleased me when you used your mark to call me.” He says, cutting me off. “If you wish to ever return to my good graces, you will start by making a statement telling the world exactly what he did to you, what the resistance let him do to you.”
I swallow thickly as I’m not exactly sure if I’m ready to think about everything that happened over the last week, let alone talk about it.
“Once you’re recovered physically, you will share my bed. I will not be gentle with you. The longer you stay, the more privileges will be returned to you and those you care about.” He says, and I can’t help feeling a strange mix of terror and relief at his words.
“Yes, my Lord,” I say, keeping my voice calm.
“You will start referring to me as Voldemort. You are my wife and should have some familiarity with me.” He points out. “And your public title is Queen Consort Ginevra Slytherin.”
I blink at him, not expecting the last, but maybe I should have. I understand why he would grant me Slytherin more readily than his mother’s or father’s surname.
“What about the taboo?” I ask because the resistance didn’t know if it was still active.
“You have been made exempt from the magic. It is not taboo for my wife to call me by name.” He explains, and I nod slowly.
I have a sneaking suspicion that Ginny is returning to the castle today because I have been put under a kind of house arrest with Blaise as my jailor. At least we use the time productively as we work on finalizing the Quibbler’s next issue for most of it.
I can’t help thinking about my newest prophecy and what it will mean for the Dark Lord when I have to tell him. Blaise and I have talked about it at length, but we have no idea what it could mean.
After dinner, I let him distract me with pleasure, so I don’t have to think. It’s one of the things I enjoy about copulation with my husband. He makes it so I can turn off my mind for a while and think only about how things feel at that moment.
We are not exactly gentle with each other tonight. I let myself revel in the hedonistic pleasure of our carnal acts. I know I will be bruised in the morning, and so will he, but somehow that only adds to enjoyment instead of taking anything away.
It isn’t a surprise when we fall asleep, twisted up with each other, and still connected in a very intimate way. What is a bit of a surprise is when I wake suddenly in the middle of the night. I glance over at my husband to find him very much, still asleep. It takes me a moment to realize what woke me.
The Dark Lord is sitting at my desk looking through the cards I have finished there. Unsure what to say, I glanced at Blaise again to find that he is still sound asleep, which seems odd.
“I didn’t want him interrupting us.” The other man says, and I realize he must be under some kind of sleeping spell.
Fear spikes when I realize I’m alone here and very vulnerable with my wand somewhere on the floor with my clothes. I pull the sheet around me to feel as if I have some shield against the Dark Lord, even though I know that thought is silly.
“How may I serve you, my Lord?” I ask as I wipe the sleep from my eyes.
“I have a present for you.” He says and holds up whatever card he had been looking for, but I can’t tell in the dark which one he has.
“But if you’ve found Ginny, then I don’t need to finish the deck,” I say because he tricked me into this whole thing from the start with the promise of helping Ginny.
“We can go more slowly, really choose your victims now that we aren’t in any rush to save my wife.” He agrees as he gets to his feet and moves towards the bed. “But I see no reason not to complete what promises to be a potent tool for you.”
“The reason is that I don’t want to hurt anyone else, my Lord,” I tell him, looking down at my hands as he moves closer to me.
“You will be up, dressed, and in the main chamber within the next ten minutes.” He says before turning to leave. He takes the card with him, and I shake my head at the door.
I glance at Blaise again, wishing I could talk to him about all of this, but then I realize I know what side he would be on. With a sigh on my lips, I go about the chores of getting dressed. I take one of the fastest showers of my life because I don’t want to smell like sex when I face the Dark Lord again. I slip into the simplest dress in my wardrobe before brushing out my hair and heading out into the main Chamber.
The Dark Lord is sitting on his throne, and there are a few guards around the room, but nothing so dramatic as when I enchanted the first card. In the center of the room, a man in Healer robes lies unconscious.
“I don’t want to do this, my Lord. I don’t wish to hurt anyone else.” I tell him because I’m bound to be honest.
“We will discuss that in a moment. I wish to talk about the Dark Council meeting you attended.” He says, and I let myself relax a bit. “I, of course, have a report on it already, but I would like your thoughts.”
“I don’t have much to report, my Lord,” I say, thinking back to the meeting. “Except I don’t think any of them care for your wife,” I add, remembering my conversation with Lucius.
“They have all made that quite clear.” He says, nodding slowly, lost in his thoughts. “But they understand my reasons for choosing her. Did any of them question my decision?”
“No, my Lord,” I say, shaking my head as I think about exactly what was said and how their colors shifted while anyone spoke about Ginny. “I think it is more her role they question. They see her as a pawn in your game.”
“Good.” He says with a smile, and there is a delight in his colors that I don’t understand.
“Ginny could be so much more than that. You must see how much potential she has as a witch and a politician?” I ask, worried that he won’t give her a chance to be a whole person again, and it will be all my fault.
“Remind me to teach you legilimency, you are a rather talented occlumencer, and with your abilities, you could master legilimency quite quickly.”
“My Lord?” I ask frowning as I didn’t ever tell him I could use occlumency.
“You kept things from me, Luna. When I went into your mind on my wedding day, I saw no signs of your gifts. Even though it wasn’t what I was looking for, most would be thinking of all the things they would wish to hide. Only someone with practice could shift their minds in such a way.”
Not knowing what else to say to this observation, I move the conversation in a different direction. I will have to tell the Dark Lord soon if I’m to keep my Unbreakable Vow. “I have a new prophecy for you,” I tell him, not looking in his direction or the man on the ground. “But I haven’t figured out what it means yet.”
“Tell me.” He says in a commanding greedy tone.
“As the war between Lord and Hero approaches its final battle, darkness readies itself to strike. The one with the power to banish this evil will know strength from love and faith.” I repeat the words that have been running through my head since Blaise told them to me.
He laughs at this, and I look to see him shaking his head. “The fates think they can bring some other fool to strike me down?” He asks the very air. “Love was not powerful enough the first time; I doubt it will do any better this time.”
I can’t help but blush as he makes fun of my words, or rather the meaning he places upon them. I turn to look at the man on the floor, wondering if there is anything I can do to help him, while the Dark Lord continues in his delight over my words.
When the Dark Lord touches my shoulder, I can’t help but jump as my heart makes its way into my throat. His other hand brushes my hair away from my ear so he can speak lowly while invading my personal space.
“He’s not worth helping.” He says amusement still in his tone. “You will continue to make this deck willingly to expand your power, and I will continue to choose victims that you can stomach.”
“So why do you think I would be alright with breaking this healer’s mind?” I ask as I think of what is needed for the Death card.
“You see…” He starts as his hands move down my back and come to rest on my hips. “…I found this man torturing Ginevra. He was hired to help her with injuries she received in a battle during her escape from Potter. But this healer chose to prolong her suffering and injure her further in the name of the Light.”
“And I’m supposed to take your word on this?” I ask, shaking my head. “Even if I would be willing to take another person’s life because they hurt my friends, how could I ever trust your word, my Lord?”
“Would you like me to show you the memory of her?” He asks as his fingers rub odd little circles against my hips. “Laying on that bed screaming in pain and keeping herself awake by sheer force of will?”
“You’re not going to trick me like that again,” I say, and he pulls me back against him a bit more firmly.
“I didn’t trick you; I showed you the truth.” He points out as his tongue grazed my ear.
I have to remind myself as I shiver that this is all a show for the guards. He wants the entire castle and maybe the nation to see us as lovers. And I’m expected to play my part.
“What you did with that truth was beautiful.” He says breathily as if it aroused him to think on. “Now, you are going to do it again, or I get a young, bright-eyed healer fresh out of their apprenticeship, and I do it myself.”
“The card would be useless to my deck,” I say, knowing the cards must be enchanted by the same person to work together.
“You’ll just have to make another card.” He says as if it doesn’t matter to him.
I swallow and force myself to turn and look him in the eyes. “Then show me what he did,” I say because I have to see for myself if I’m going to do this again.
I see him briefly smile before I’m transported into his memory this time. The Dark Lord is moving down the hall of a manor house, at least as old as my own. Draco is quick on his heels as the man tries the door and finds it locked and warded.
With a sneer on his face his blasts through the wards without issue and crashes into the room
“FUCK YOU!” I hear Ginny scream, and I rush to follow and see what is going on.
Draco goes directly to the bed where Ginny is screaming, and I’m right behind him instinctively wishing to help my friend.
“Calm down my Lady,” Draco says, looking at her with such pain and worry on his face as he takes her hand. “You need to quiet down now.”
“Numb?” She whimpers, seeming to plead for it.
She looks horrible. Her right side is off somehow, and I can see dark bruises on her skin.
“What is wrong with her?” Lord Voldemort joins us, and I look back to see the healer passed out on the ground.
“Nearly all her bones on her right side have been shattered,” Draco explains after casting a few spells on her.
“You came…” Ginny says, and there is such relief in her voice. I look back to see the glow in her eyes. She loves him so much.
“Of course, I came.” He says before turning his attention to Draco. “It seems your healer was working for the resistance. We need to get those we can…”
The memory fades then, and I frown because I didn’t see much of what the healer had done. It’s odd if she was as hurt as Draco described, and she did look that hurt, not to have any numbing spells active.
“Why would he keep her in pain?” I ask because it doesn’t seem to make any sense to me.
“He couldn’t warn his people that he had her because they made him vow not to tell anyone where they were or what he was doing. He discovered my wife was with child, and I think he was working on getting her to have a miscarriage.” He says without emotion.
“I assume you got that from his mind?” I ask, looking back at the man with a deep frown. Ginny’s child is innocent; he had no right to make that choice for her.
“Yes, I have done a little digging into his mind to see what he wanted.” Voldemort agreed before nudging me towards him. “Put down the card next to him and collect his power as you break his mind.”
“A healer that wished death and pain on his patient would be a powerful alignment with the card.” I agree, taking a step towards the man. “But what about the price for me?” I ask, knowing if I take this step, if I do it when I don’t have to, I will have given myself entirely to my darkness. Could I ever come back from that?
“What about the rewards?” He pressed. “You must know what you could be, Luna? What you could really be?” He asks, putting his hands on my shoulders. “All I ask is that you accept your power and learn what I have to teach. I will never ask you to harm those you see as innocent, but this man is not innocent. This man would sacrifice my wife and child to his prejudice. He wanted to give her back to the man who had harmed her, a man who would have killed her in the end.”
I swallow as everything he says makes sense in its way, but does it make it right? “I don’t know if I can do it,” I tell him honestly as he moves his hand down my wand arm and takes a gentle hold of my wrist.
“Help me punish the guilty Luna, or watch me punish the innocent. That is your only choice.” He pushes as he lifts my hand, obviously guiding it in a wand movement. “Timorus Somnias.” He says softly.
“That’s a nightmare curse,” I tell him to buy myself time to think.
“Yes, as you cast the spell, you should think of a theme for the curse to take. Alternate that and the Cruciatus, which you already know how to cast.” He says smugly. “I will wake him while you start the enchantment on the card.”
When I look up at him, and he is holding out the card to me with no emotion on his face. I take it and look down at the picture as if it will tell me what I should do. But that figure on the pale horse has nothing to say that I don’t already know.
I cast the collection charm on the card and place it at my feet before I look at the stranger in front of me.
When the Dark Lord wakes him from his magical sleep, he looks around confused for a moment before his attention turns to Voldemort, and his eyes go wide.
“My Lord!” He says, getting to his knees, preparing to beg. “I-I-I…”
“Your fate is no longer in my hands.” The Dark Lord says coldly. “Luna, you may start.” He adds without taking his eyes off the man.
He turns to me, his entire expression filled with fear. “Miss please, I didn’t do anything wrong. I was trying to protect her.” He seems to have an easier time speaking to me. But Voldemort will always be much more frightening than a short willowy blonde like myself.
“What’s your name?” I ask because I refuse to destroy someone without a name. I will not make this easy for myself.
“Healer Nathan Stone.” He says, swallowing his fear. “I just wanted to protect your Lady.” He says as he pleads with his whole being. “I don’t deserve to die!” He is getting more desperate as I let him continue to speak.
“That is up to the Dark Lord,” I tell him because I know if I don’t do this, Voldemort will make good on his promise. “Maybe one day you will,” I tell him, and his expression changes to one of confusion.
“You don’t understand what’s at stake! His child will bring the END!” The man suddenly screams as he launches himself at me.
“Crucio!” I cast to disable him as my anger rises with his words. “Timorus Somnias,” I say, taking a step back from him as I send him from physical pain to mental.
It feels so good to cast the dark magic, and even though I know it is wrong, I start to delight in his whimpers and screams as I move back and forth between the physical and emotional pain I can inflict upon him.
I feel my heart pounding in my chest as I torture this man, keeping him on the edge of sanity for longer than I have to. I take pleasure in his suffering before crushing the last of his sanity. He endangered my friend’s life for his ignorance, and he should be punished for it. As his mind breaks, the card pulls the power of the act into itself. I look down at the healer as I exalt in the magic coursing through me.
“That was very good, Luna.” The Dark Lord whispers in my ear. “How did it feel?”
I’m still breathless and trembling as I don’t know how many times I cast those dark spells, and I try to keep telling myself the feeling is wrong.
“Good.” I gasp and swallow. “So good,” I admit, and I can feel his smile as he leans in to kiss my cheek.
“Try to get some sleep. You have done well, and I will have someone new for you in a few days once you’ve recovered.” He says in an almost fatherly way.
“Who?” I ask as I want to do it now. I want to make this feeling last. It feels so sweet not to have to think or care about any of it for a little while.
I look around my new room and feel no joy. I have to remind myself that Ginny is home safe, but the tension between the Dark Lord and her is too high for me to feel any comfort.
I take a deep breath and try to push all of the worries out of my mind; there is nothing I can do to make that situation better. It’s entirely in my Lady’s hands to take the first steps towards regaining her place here. I have faith that she can overcome this as she seems to defeat every obstacle put in her way. She is quite a remarkable woman, and I can’t help feeling both pride and shame that I sever her and cannot hope to have a portion of her will.
I glance at the boxes that I packed from my old room and sigh again before moving over to them. I kneel and start to sort through my worldly possessions to keep my mind from worrying about things outside of my control.
Searching my thoughts for more pleasant topics to mill over a smile comes to my lips as I think of Draco. He proposed while we were seeking Ginny, and I think he was serious. We aren’t exactly going to do each other any favors or advance either of our positions with the marriage, but maybe we could make each other happy, and that would be enough. I wonder what my Lady will say when we ask for her permission. I think she will approve and be glad about the match. It will strengthen ties within her house, at least, so that is something to consider.
Of course, we will need the Dark Lord’s approval as well. Draco’s family doesn’t seem overly keen on the match, but I shake those worries away. I wonder if he will come to my room tonight? I look at the door willing him to appear. He would be a nice distraction from dark thoughts, at least.
When he doesn’t appear, I go back to sorting and pull a picture of me with Pansy’s gang of girls from fourth year from the box and brush my fingers over the image. They are all smirking as if they own the world; it is their rightful place to rule it.
I try to imagine being the girl from the picture once more, so sure she knows the secrets to get everything she wants. She was so full of life and determined to make the world hers. I smile as I think about how I played with Draco’s attention last year and tricked Pansy into writing that embarrassing letter. It all seems so childish now.
I didn’t know what friends were back then; I didn’t know how much people were willing to risk and give for those they cared about. I don’t know if I feel better or worse with the knowledge I have now. Knowing now how shallow my life was up until recently.
When a knock comes to my door, I smile and think maybe Draco has answered my call. “Coming,” I call as I set the photo on my desk and head to the door.
When I open it, I find Astoria looking up at me with tear-filled eyes. “Daddy’s sold me!” She cries and wraps her arms around me before I pull her into the room.
“What?” I ask, holding her as she sobs.
“That friend of yours.” She sniffles, and she looks up at me. “The old one. The Death Eater.” She says, and I nod slowly as a cold fills my gut. “He went to Daddy to ask for my hand, and Daddy said yes. They’re drawing up a contract, Daph, I don’t want to marry an old Death Eater! He was scary!”
She was still so young; I planned to bring her in as one of my Lady’s maids after graduation. I thought I had more time to protect her.
“I’ll fix this.” Dolohov would not treat my sister well after what happened between us. Why would my father agree to such a thing without talking to me? A girl like Astoria would make a good match for any of the pureblood sons. “Stay here,” I tell her and head down the hall before I can think my actions through. It needs to be fixed as soon as possible.
I glance at the guards on Ginny’s door and then to the door itself before hesitating. “Is he still with her?” I asked because I need to speak with the Dark Lord. I don’t know what I will have to give to protect my sister again. But he had promised her protection if I found his wife.
The guard shakes his head, and I nod before heading towards the Chamber and his office. If he’s retired for the night, I wonder if I can offer myself to him. He used to delight in my pain. I would gladly let him play whatever game he wished to protect my sister from Dolohov and the men like him.
When I make it down to the main Chamber, he kisses Luna as Healer Stone whimpers at their feet. I frown, wondering what I’ve missed while I was away, but he soon sends her back to her room, and I take a moment after her door closes to catch up with him.
“My Lord?” I ask softly, keeping my eyes on the marble floor.
“Miss Greengrass.” He says, and I take a step closer to him. “Is there something wrong with my wife?” He asks stiffly as if he is worried.
“No, my Lord.” I shake my head. “I have come on my own behalf, or rather my sister’s,” I say as I try not to fidget.
“The sister. Someone was just asking about the younger Greengrass today.” He said and turned so he could continue down the hall, expecting me to follow.
“Lord Dolohov?” I ask softly, but it has to be him.
“He wishes my blessing on the match. It seems he had already extended an offer to your father.”
“I brought my Lady back to you, my Lord,” I say as I clutch my hands together in front of me so they won’t shake. “You said you would protect her.”
“While you were away.” He corrects, and I know he’s right.
Without hesitation, I lower myself to my knees as we stop in front of the door to his chambers. “My family hasn’t spoken to me since my Lady was taken. My father doesn’t understand the kind of husband Lord Dolohov would make.”
“It seems like you want a favor from me.” He says, taking in my posture.
“My Lord, please grant me parental power over my sister, and I will guide her to become an asset to you and your household.”
“What will you give me for such a large favor?” He asks, and I can feel his eyes on me, though I don’t risk looking up.
“I would give anything within my power. My sister is one of the most important people in my life.” I admit because there is no right way to hold back with the Dark Lord.
“More important than my wife?” He asks in a tone that gives nothing away.
I bite my lip and shake my head. “The Queen is my life, but my sister is the only family I have left. She’s scared and upset that she will be forced to marry someone several times her age. Someone who has purposefully frightened her in the past to get to me.”
“You are speaking of one of my inner circle.” The Dark Lord warns.
“He is cunning and cruel, and that is what you prize in your inner circle, but these are not desirable traits for my sister’s future husband.”
“You don’t want a cunning husband?” He asked, smirking down at me. “Shall I let young Master Malfoy know?”
“One of the many reasons Draco and I have been trying to find other partners, my Lord,” I tell him truthfully.
He laughs at this and reaches down to take my chin. He forces me to look up into his eyes. “By your account, my wife did very poorly in her match.” He says, daring me to respond.
“You, my Lord, would never be a good match for me or mine.” I start as I keep eye contact with him. “But you are a perfect match for my Lady.” I continue knowing how much Ginny cares for the Dark Lord.
“So, I am told.” He comments but doesn’t explain himself further. Instead, he looks down at me, his fingers still grasping my chin. “I will not make you your sister’s guardian.” He says after a long pause.
“Please, my Lord, I need to protect her. I’ll do anything.” I tell him, knowing I’m showing too much of my hand, but I can’t see any other way.
“I will adopt her into my house, giving myself parental authority over her. This will be an honor for your parents, instead of the shame and insult you propose.” I can’t argue with that reasoning, though it will bring a whole new set of worries.
“What would you want from me for such a great honor, my Lord, and what would you do with that parental power?” I ask as I try not to fidget under his gaze.
“I don’t need anything from you for this favor. You have served me well by retrieving my wife and saving her life. As for what I will do with your sister once she is under my care. I think that will depend completely on how well you and the others in Ginevra’s household serve my purposes.”
I swallow thickly, wanting to look away as I hear the threat in his words. He is doing me this favor, so he has Astoria to hold over me. But I don’t feel like I have many choices in the matter.
“You will keep them all in line. The brothers included.” He says as he finally let go of me.
“So then you will allow them to return as her guards?” I ask, knowing this news will please Ginny, at least.
“They did their job well, and when the truth of what their hero did to my wife is known, I am sure they would cut him down themselves if given a chance. You will take my wife to the dungeons to retrieve them once she has finished her treatment. They gave her the potions as I was leaving this evening, but they tell me it will be a few days.”
“Yes, my Lord.” I agree, nodding my head as he turns to open his door. When I start to rise, he turns back to look at me.
“Oh, and Daphne?” He asks to get my attention.
“Yes, my Lord?” I ask, keeping my eyes cast down even as I rise.
“The Queen and I are the only ones you should ever kneel to. As the head of her maids, you need to show pride in your position.” He orders and closes the door before I can respond.
I wake with a groan as my entire side aches. Still feeling as if my head is filled with clouds, I look down at my hand and smile as I move my fingers and lift my wrist.
“Magic is amazing,” I say even though I can feel the soreness, there is no way muggles would have been able to repair my injuries fully.
“Sometimes, I too forget what a blessing it is to have in our lives,” Daphne says, and I look up to smile at her. I hadn’t realized anyone was in the room with me, but I am glad I have a friendly face.
“Have you been watching over me this whole time?” I ask as she takes a seat on the bed next to me.
“No.” She shakes her head. “But I knew you would wake soon, and I didn’t want you to be alone.” She explained, offering me a hand.
I take it with my now healed one and squeeze it.
“Also, the Dark Lord wished for me to take you to retrieve your brothers from the cells.” She adds. “Your dinner must have made quite an impression.” She compliments.
“Let’s see if I can live up to what he wants from me. I promised to speak with the press once I was healed.” I say fidgeting a little now that I think about it. “I have to tell them what Harry did to me.”
“I think he wants you to tell your brothers first. I’m surprised he didn’t march them up here to see it firsthand before you were healed.” Daphne says, and I nod slowly.
“My brothers,” I say with a smile as I push myself into a sitting position. “I should get dressed, can we go down now?” I ask as I focus on the good news instead of the hard tasks ahead of me.
“If you think you’re up to it, my Lady.” She says with a nod and gets up so she can pull a dress out for me. “Do you think you can shower on your own, or would you like help?” She asks as if it is no big deal.
“Oh, a shower on my own. That sounds lovely.” I tell her as I carefully slip out of bed and stand. It feels uncomfortable to put weight on my hip, but I feel steady enough to make my way to the bathroom.
It tires me more than I expect to take a shower, and it takes longer than I would have liked, but eventually, I find myself standing back in my bedroom, wrapped in a towel. Daphne has set out an emerald green dress made of soft velvet. It is simple to put on but still gives me a striking appearance; it also covers the bruises still left on my skin.
She helps me into the dress without a word and sits me down at a vanity to do my hair.
“No fight about taking so much time dressing my Lady?” She asks as she tries to make me smile.
“This is all armor,” I tell her, and she grins outright at me.
“How things change. So much change.” She shakes her head as she uses her wand to braid my hair around my head to give it an almost crown-like appearance.
“For you too.” I point out with a soft smile. “Thank you for finding me, Daphne. You’re my hero now.” I tell her and take a breath so I won’t tear up.
“It is my duty, and I am glad to serve.” She says, trying to brush the emotion aside. “And I will be glad to have three more strapping guards that we can trust. So we best retrieve them.”
I smile at her and nod, letting the moment pass I stand carefully and lock my hands in front of me.
“Lead the way,” I tell her even though I’m already worn out from dressing.
“Draco and Pucey are waiting to escort us down.” She says as she holds out an arm for me. I take it gratefully. Walking like this will look as if we are being social, but it will honestly help support me as we walk down.
“We need an escort?” I ask, trying not to seem nervous. I should know better than to think we are safe within these walls. Or that I would be trusted to be on my own. There are people on both sides of this conflict that will wish to hurt me now.
“It is best if you are seen as having power here. Nothing says power like two strapping men shadowing your every move.” She says in earshot of said men. They both grin at us as we enter the room.
“That is my greatest wish to be simple window dressing,” Draco says, looking at Daphne with a surprisingly open fondness.
“For us? It is the greatest of honors Master Malfoy.” She says, teasingly back at him.
I smile at Adrian and shake my head at how easy they were speaking to one another. “Has this been going on the whole time I was gone?” I ask him, trying to make myself feel as light as they are acting.
“This is new, my Lady.” My guard gives me an answering smile. “Milly wished for me to pass on her relief that you are home safe.”
“I hope to see her in person soon. Tell her I’ve missed her.” I say as I have weirdly missed having her and Daphne around. Even before the solitude, living with the rebellion was hard, as there were hardly any friendly faces for Tom’s wife, even if I was also Harry’s prize.
“Do any of you have information on what we will find when we get my brothers?” I ask, hoping everyone is ready to go.
“They were well last time I checked on them.” Daphne reminds me as we head for the door with Draco and Pucey in tow. “I don’t think he would have done anything to them in my absence.
“They are mainly just bored and worried about you, my Lady,” Draco adds, and I smile back at him as he admits to checking in on them as well. “They are my men.” He defends as he sees my expression. “I have to keep track of them.”
“Of course,” I say, clearing the smile off my face before turning forward again and grinning at the thought of a Malfoy feeling responsible for multiple Weasleys.
My good humor doesn’t last, though. As we move out into a more public section of the castle, I can’t help but notice the stares. Both students and professors alike are stopping just to watch our group pass.
I push my chin up and straighten my back, so I can act as if their opinion is below my notice. But I can’t help but wonder what is being said about me now. Do these people see me as someone to pity or hate? I can’t imagine any of them have any respect left for me.
I’m lost enough in these dark thoughts that I’m surprised to find we are already to the dungeons. Daphne steps forward, letting go of my arm to speak with the guard. This is a different group of cells from where I’d found Hermione, and I have to wonder if that is a good sign.
“The Queen is here to retrieve her brothers,” Daphne says with authority as if our group is doing the guard a great favor by coming down here at all.
I look down at him with what I hope is an impassive expression and wait to see if he plans to give us any trouble. The man looks back at the group of us as if he is weighing his options.
“I received their release orders this morning, so there is no reason to put on this show for my sake.” He says in a mocking tone as he starts to stand.
Before I can say anything, Draco steps forward and sneers right back at the man. “Was that disrespect I heard in your tone? You are in the presence of your Queen.” He reminded the man.
The guard looks back at my champion, seeming unimpressed. “I’m in the presence of a wandless little girl, and her trumped up…” He starts as he waves to my companions. “…little troop of children.”
I step around Draco so I can look directly into this man’s eyes. “I may be wandless for now,” I say, looking down my nose at him. If I don’t act like the Queen, I will never be able to help those I care about. No one will respect me enough for me to influence anything going on in this country. “But I am also the Queen Consort of the House of Slytherin, and you have no right to talk to me with such familiarity. What is your name, peasant?”
He looks back at me with his same smug expression, like my act doesn’t fool him. I know that Tom wishes for me to hold power here, and even if I can do nothing to this guard directly, he will relish the chance to make an example out of him.
I can almost feel Draco smirking as he moves up to stand next to me. The guard now looks a little unsure as he takes in my champion’s expression. “My Lady, this is Guardsmen Lukas Blight.” He says as if he is releasing some grand secret. “I will make sure to note his disrespect in my next report to your husband.”
The man’s cocky behavior seems much more forced as he looks between the two of us.
“That is only your duty. Voldemort doesn’t like it when you are anything but forthcoming in your reports.” I say the name I am supposed to use for Tom and enjoy the fact it makes Blight flinch.
“Don’t…” He starts but cuts himself off as he looks around as if I have called Tom directly.
“Call him by name? What else would I call my husband?” I ask, trying to sound innocently confused by his worry.
“That name is taboo.” Blight points out, and I give him a little laugh.
“Not to me. Now, take me to my brothers.” I order firmly and motion towards the cells behind him.
The guard seems to decide it is in his best interest not to speak, for which I can’t blame him. He nods his head instead and leads the way to one of the cells. He unlocks it with a wave of an odd-looking stone then steps out of my way as he opens the door.
Three sets of eyes look up at me as I step into the doorway, and I can’t help but smile brightly as my brothers rush towards me as one.
“Ginnybean!” Bill is the first to pull me into a tight hug, but neither George nor Charlie wait for him to be done before also squeezing me close enough to make my newly healed bones groan.
I must make a sound because they all move back as one and look me over with worried expressions.
“Malfoy said the rebellion took you,” Bill says with a grim expression. “You shouldn’t have come back for us.”
“It’s a very long story,” I say because I’m not ready to tell it. “But first, I think I need a rest,” I explain and grimace as I think about walking all the way back to my rooms.
“Charlie? Could you, by chance, carry the Queen, she is still in recovery.” Daphne suggests making me turn and glare at her.
“I’ll be fine. I don’t need anyone carrying me through this castle.”
“Recovery? Did he hurt you?” Bill growls darkly, and the guard steps forward as if he is planning to take action against my brother.
“No one hurt me,” I say, and Draco clears his throat, making me turn my glare on him. “No one here hurt me. I’ll explain once we get back to my rooms.” I promise my brothers as I turn to leave. There is no reason to waste more energy by standing around the dank space.
I feel oddly calm as the guard opens a cell for me and moves so I can enter without them. I was sent a message to meet the Dark Lord at Justin’s cell, but so far, he has not arrived.
I kneel in front of Justin. He isn’t chained, but I’m not afraid; I’m the one with the wand and the power. We knew each other once upon a time. I remember laughing with him in the first days of Dumbledor’s Army.
I can see the confusion in his colors; he doesn’t know why I’m there. I can see the fear in equal measure. But he doesn’t fear me. To him, I am only that silly girl who said odd things once upon a time.
“You’re You-Know-Who’s mistress.” He says because he was never one to be comfortable with silence.
“You are one of the men who raped Ginny,” I reply because I can point out uncomfortable truths just as quickly.
He frowned, and a look of disgust flashed across his face as anger brightened his colors.
“And you’re not even sorry,” I add as I frown more deeply.
“You don’t get to judge me.” He snaps as he jerks as if he is keeping himself still. He is worried that if he attacks me, he will be punished for it. He wouldn’t be wrong; I already plan to punish him for what he did to Ginny. I see no reason not to defend myself. “She betrayed all of us! She betrayed Harry! And he still took her back.” He’s working himself up now, and he stands as his agitation grows. “You don’t seem much better.”
“And that gives you the right to hurt her?” I ask I want to know if anyone outside the small group had given the order to attack as brutally as they had. I take responsibility for her violation, but there was no reason for what they did to her.
“What we did saved Harry. It made it so he could be brought back.” He says, straightening his back and looking down his nose at me. “I took action while you just cower and allow yourself to be turned into a pureblood whore.”
“It’s worse than you think,” I tell him as I purposefully get to my feet. “I’m not just the Dark Lord’s Mistress, I’m his oracle, his advisor, and most regrettably, I guess I am also his apprentice,” I explain as I brush my hands down the fancy dress I choose for the day.
All my clothes show more skin than I am honestly comfortable with, but it plays nicely into the image Voldemort wishes for me to cast.
“I’ve all but killed two members of the rebellion so far, and he has chosen you to be my next victim. We have some time, and I don’t believe in making these things easy for myself. Destroying someone should never be easy.”
The door opens to allow the Dark Lord to enter before I can say anything else. The way he looks at me and the gleam of his colors make me think that maybe he was listening. He confirms it as he speaks.
“My apprentice?” He asks, sounding as pleased as he looks.
“How long were you listening?” I counter without answering his question. He is in too good of a mood to worry about small infractions.
“Long enough, my little dove.” He nearly purrs as the door closes the three of us in the cell alone.
I shake my head at his performance, and I have to wonder if it’s for Justin or the guards that may be listening outside. When I look back to the prisoner, I notice he has moved back against the far wall.
“He thinks I am the one to fear.” He smiles as he stalks closer to Justin. “But as my little pet was saying, she is the one you should be afraid of.” Voldemort looks back at me proudly. “She is the one who is about to torture and break you until you beg for death.”
“Luna?” Justin looks between the Dark Lord and me as he works to keep myself away from the Dark wizard. “She doesn’t do that kind of magic.”
“What part of being my apprentice did you not understand?” Voldemort asks with a sneer. “I thought before we get to the enchantment, we could use him to practice your legitimacy.” He says, obviously done speaking directly to Justin. “Someone who has no skill is the best for beginners; once you master diving into heads like his, we will find a Death Eater to practice on.”
“What about you?” I ask with a small smile.
“I doubt you will ever grow that skilled, but we shall see. Draw your wand; you know the spell.” He says with a motion towards Justin. There are things I would like to know.
When I turn my wand on Justin, I am suddenly struck by the comparison between the two. Physically they are the same age, but the Dark Lord carries himself with the confidence of a much older wizard. I sometimes forget how young his body still is. I find myself wondering what that’s like for Ginny.
“When do I get to see Ginny again?” I ask instead of following his instructions. I lower my wand and look back towards Voldemort.
“Ginny’s here?” Justin asks with wide eyes.
Voldemort’s wand is in his hand before I can see where he drew it from. Justin crumples to the floor, groaning in pain as the Dark Lord casts a wordless spell in his direction.
“She is allowed to speak the name of my wife, scum like you are not.” He hisses before lowering his arm and releasing the spell.
Justin is gasping on the floor when the Dark Lord turns back towards me. “She may have visitors once she is recovered to my satisfaction. Now. Read the mudblood’s mind.” He orders more firmly.
It is not the moment to cross him, so I turn back to Justin and take a slow breath. I raise my wand and follow the movements I’ve studied. ” Legilimens .” I cast and gasp as images from Justin’s mind bombard me.
I hold onto the thread and try and find some way to get the information I am looking for. Everything seems so random and unconnected. There is a stream of his voice telling himself that he has nothing to hide from the whore.
“You’re holding the spell. Impressive. Most lose the train the first time they are assaulted with another person’s mind.”
“How do I look for what I want?” I ask as if this is all part of the lesson.
“The easiest way is to give your victim verbal reminders of what not to think about.”
“Ginny’s attack,” I say without hesitation and images of what he did to her start to flash over me.
“You don’t have to punish yourself like that,” Voldemort says as I feel his hand on the back of my neck.
“I want to know why he brutalized her,” I say through gritted teeth. He presses soft circles into my neck as if he is trying to comfort me as I watch Ginny being attacked again and again. I can see he is trying to hide something behind the violence, and when I finally break through, I skip forward and find myself inside a memory.
The four men that attacked Ginny are trudging through the forbidden forest. Michael Corner is in front, and they walk in silence until they get to the edge of Hogwarts’ land. They stop as one, and I watch as they wait on the forest’s edge to join the crowd that will gather for the auction.
“So who’s doing it?” Justin asks, and they all look to Micheal for an answer.
“I don’t see why we all can’t have a turn with the bitch.”
“But Ron said-” Jones started, but Micheal interrupted.
“Ron told us to fuck his baby sister.” He pointed out with a sneer. “She’s a traitor, and she doesn’t deserve our pity. He knows it, or he wouldn’t have sent us to do this.”
All but Jones were nodding in agreement with twisted smiles on their faces. I pull out of his mind before I have to see any more. I find that I fell to my knees while I was distracted, and Voldemort is kneeling at my side.
“What did you find, little dove?” He asks and turns my face to look at him.
“Don’t, please. I’m going to be sick as it is.” I ask because I know he was planning to read my mind.
“Tell me then.”
“It was just the four of them, but it wasn’t a real plan. Ron ordered one of them to have sex with her. But the group that decided how horrible it needed to be. Why would Ron order that?” I ask because a question isn’t a lie. “And Jones. Jones didn’t seem all that comfortable with the idea of all of them having their way.”
“You saw the attack, he held her down just as much as the rest of them, and he took his turn.”
Once we settle back in Ginny’s room, I get her a drink of juice and sit next to her so that none of the boys crowd her. They are all on edge, but it can only forgive it as long as they understand their sister’s well being is my priority.
“Maybe this isn’t the time. You need to rest, and I can get your brothers set up in their rooms.” I say softly as the redheads take turns fidgeting and glaring at Draco and Adrian.
“I’m sorry I abandon you all.” She says loud enough for the room to take in. “I didn’t mean to, but I wasn’t strong enough to make them send me back. But I know that isn’t a good excuse.”
“Ginny bean you were saf-”
“I wasn’t safe.” She interrupts Bill and shakes her head. “At first, it was easy to pretend that I hadn’t changed that I belonged there. But it quickly became harder.” She sighed and closed her eyes. “The only reason I was even tolerated was because of Harry, Ron, and Hermione.
“What happened?” George finally asks as they all sit on the edge of their seats, trying to be as close to their sister as I will allow. I think they can tell she needs space to tell her story.
“The resistance used a dark potion to bring Harry back, and I helped them,” Ginny explains. “From what I understand now, it was the same potion that brought Lord Voldemort back. That’s why they attacked the wedding; they needed Harry’s soul and Voldemort’s blood. When Ron saw the opportunity, he took me as well.”
“Good for Ron.”
“Charlie, let her finish,” Bill says as if he can read something in her posture.
“For my safety, I was sent to live in a cabin alone in the woods. My only contact with the outside was Harry.” She says as she looks at her knees. “No one else came to check on me, only Harry.” She repeats as if she is stuck on that part of the memory.
I take her hand to remind her she isn’t alone now. I know the Dark Lord wants her to tell this story, but it could be too soon.
“He came back wrong, and it didn’t take long for him to show his true colors once he had me isolated from everyone.” She squeezes my hand back as she takes my offered strength. “He broke my wand and would hurt me as punishment for not doing what he wanted or seeking escape or help. He would have killed me if Daphne and Draco hadn’t come when they did. I’ve just recovered from an injury where he shattered…” Ginny covers her mouth and shakes her head. She can’t say it aloud, but I think she’s voiced enough that her brothers understand.
“We’ll leave you alone,” I say finally, trusting that her brothers will understand what she needs.
“Thank you, Daphne, will you return in an hour or so?” She asks, and I give her a nod.
“Yes, my Lady.” I bow to her, and the guards do the same. Once we are in the hall, Draco has Adrian stay at her door, and he takes my hand as we head back towards my room.
“He wants her to say all of that in front of the press?” Draco asks under his breath while we walk. I nod thoughtfully.
“No one is going to believe a statement she writes. But I’ll help her organize the story more, so she doesn’t ramble in front of them.” I tell him thoughtfully.
“I just try to keep telling myself we got to her in time.” He says thoughtfully as if he needs comfort over what she had to go through. It is odd to think that we have both grown rather attached to the woman. We serve her now because we owe her our loyalty.
“There will still be people that don’t believe her; no one wants to see that maybe they made a mistake, and their hero is now a monster.” I remind him as we slow near my door.
“True.” He sighs and looks up and down the hallway. “Not nearly a far enough walk.” He pouts at me playfully. “You know what I was thinking about last night?” Draco asks, and I can tell he is trying to change the somber mood.
“What?” I smile up at him to show him it is working.
“This beautiful girl that had never made it onto my radar until she convinced my ex to write me a dirty letter.”
I laugh as he slowly backs me towards the stone wall of the castle so that he can lean over me.
“Well, before I realized you could be of use to me, why would I put in the effort?” I ask him, wondering if he plans to kiss me out in the open like we are.
“You said you’d marry me.” He reminds me, with a smile. He seems so much younger than just a moment ago. Are we really only teenagers?
“And yet, I still have no ring.” I pout back.
A troubled expression crosses his face for a moment, and he sighs. “My father is being an issue, but I’ll have it for you soon.” He promises before he starts to lean down once more.
“He doesn’t think I’m worthy.”
“We’ll make beautiful babies, and he will forget about everything else.”
“Babies? You want more than one?” I ask as our lips just brush one another.
“Is twelve too many?” He asks curiously. “I was an only child, and my mind has always overcompensated.
“Were you jealous of the Weasleys?” I ask him playfully.
He looks down his nose at me. “I said twelve; I’ll beat them.” He deadpanned.
I can’t help but laugh and lean up to kiss his lips, happy in that moment. “Yes, twelve is too many, unless you’re planning to birth a few,” I add after a moment.
“I’ll just have to change your mind later.” He says before taking my lips in another kiss.
My hands settle against his chest, and I let myself just dream of a life with him filled with family, even just for a little while I can block all my other worries away.