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. Second installment in the Face trilogy.  All is not what is seems in the newly formed Dark Empire. Hope still hides in the shadows, but there are now some who know it is there. Follow the continuing story of three very different women trying to make lives for themselves in this new dark world.

Chapters

Chapter 1: Summer’s End
Chapter 2: New Enemies and Old Friends
Chapter 3: Connections
Chapter 4: And Other Terrorist Acts
Chapter 5: The Truth Hurts
Chapter 6: Mistresses and Wives
Chapter 7: Dark Desires
Chapter 8: Truth & Tears
Chapter 9: Immunity
Chapter 10: Fury
Chapter 11: Recovery
Chapter 12: United
Chapter 13: Two Fragments
Chapter 14: What is Precious


Chapter 1: Summer’s End

Ginny-

31/8/98

I should be starting my 7th year at school tomorrow.  I should be getting up to the smell of mum frying something for breakfast and trying to sneak a peek at Harry as he takes his turn in the bathroom.

That isn’t what I am doing.  No, instead I am sitting at a desk in a new room thinking about my last few weeks of summer, and wondering if the man who owns me will allow me to go back to classes this year.

Three weeks ago I gave myself to Tom.  I gave him the last bit of myself that he allowed me to own completely.  And I don’t regret it for even a moment.  Because when I did, when he took the last bit of innocence I had left he changed.  It was only for a moment, but for that moment I saw Harry in his eyes and I saw love in their depths.

Tom pulled away from me like I was made of hot coal after the moment had passed, and sent me from him room.  He said he would punish me for saying Harry’s name, but he has yet to actually follow through.

I can see it in his eyes every meal we have together.  On one hand he wants me again, but on the other hand he fears that having me will bring back the man I love.  The fear seems to outweigh the lust because he hasn’t made a move to even touch me in the last three weeks.

Even Riddle has been quite in that time.  I think they both still fear the boy hero and that makes me happy.  They should fear him, because if he is in Tom, I know his soul is the stronger of the two.  At least that is what I like to tell myself…

“What are you doing?”  Tom’s voice comes from the doorway and I stuff the journal into the desk and jump to my feet.

“Nothing.”  I tell him and put myself between the desk and him.  He hasn’t been to my room in a very long time, so it is more than a surprise to see him there.

“You were writing in a journal.”  Tom says with an amused smirk on his lips.  “Haven’t you learned your lesson yet?”

“It is a non magical journal.”  I tell him a nerves bunch in my gut.  I don’t want him to touch it.  It has become somewhat of a respite for me to empty my thoughts onto the page.

“I see.  Well I will not take it from you if that is what worries you.  Why would I care if you have fallen into old habits?”  he asks with a sneer.  “I have come by to remind you that the students will be returning tomorrow.  I wish for you to be at my side during the welcoming feast.”  He said with a small knowing smile.

“I have no reason to submit to you again.”  I warn him with my back straight, thinking of all the students new and old coming back to school makes me nervous once again.

“If you are good you can have this.”  he said and held up a long thin box.  “I had it made just for you.”  he tells me with a taunt in his voice.

It is obviously a wand box, which confuses me to no end.  He is giving me a wand?  Does that mean I will be able to attend class?

“Why?”  I finally ask as I take a step towards him.

“Because I do not want an ignorant twit as my Empress.  But you must be on your best behavior to keep it.”  He says as he opens the box and shows me the blood red wand.

I can’t help but reach out and brush my fingers over the smooth wood, the wand calls to me.  This is my wand.  Something made only for me.

“But I must warn you, it is more loyal to me than you.”  he says as his hand moves to my chin so I will look into his eyes.  “If you try and use it in a way I do not approve of, you will not enjoy the result.  Do you understanding my Lioness?”

I frown and look back to the wand in the box.  I wonder what would happen if I tried to use it to escape?  “I understand.”  I tell him and he lets me take it from the box so I can look at it more closely.

“Try it out.”  He orders and steps back.

I look around for a moment and lick my lips as I try and think of the first spell I will cast in months.  I decide on a simply transfiguration spell to turn my teacup into a mouse then back again.  “Thank you.”  I can’t stop myself from saying as having magic back is more of a relief that I could have imagined.

“Just remember it will be taken away just as quickly if you do not behave.”  he says firmly as he places a hand on my shoulder.

My stomach drops and I look back at him slowly wondering exactly what he was thinking.  Would I have sex with him again just to keep my wand?  Well if it meant I could see Harry again I might.

“I will soon have an answer to our little problem my sweet, and then we can finish what we started before.”  he tells me softly as he looks into my eyes.  “I will enjoy you fully next time.”

He says with dark promise in his voice.

Luna-

It has been hard work to do everything to the robe that I needed to cover my identity fully.  I am glad to have the elves help and their loyalty.  I am on my first test of the robe outside the house.  It is very odd to have the much higher vantage point the spells give me.

I stand in the shadows of Knockturn alley and watch as people pass.  It seems to be more busy than usual today, but I guess with the students returning to Hogwarts makes everyone a bit more excited to shop.  Who would notice you buying a bit of poison with so many people about?

I wait for my target patently.  He has sent me everything from candy to books, all laced with hexes to try and bring me under his control.  Again I am glad for my elves and the protection they give me, not that I would have opened anything from him anyway if I think about it.

When I finally see his pock marked skin I smile and wait for him to pass my hiding place.  I follow him down the street almost seeming to float like a dementor, though no one has noticed yet.  When he is mostly alone I grab him from behind and toss him into a side alley just to test the strength of the robe.

“How dare you!”  Rookwood yells and his wand is already in his hand.  “Do you know who I am?  What I am?”

“I know exactly what you are Augustus Rookwood.”  I say in a much deeper voice than my own.  A voice so low it sends chills down my spine.

“Who are you?”  He asks, as he narrows his eyes to try and see my face.  All he will see is shadow, as if the robe is moving without an occupant.

“Let us just say I am not happy about the way your kind defiles my name.”  I tell him and smirk at his confusion.  “I can stay quiet no longer while scum such as yourself walk this earth.  I have a massage for your Master.”  I tell him taking a step closer right into his wand.  “Tell him I am coming for him, he can run from me no longer.”  I say and rip the wand from his hand while he is stunned at my words.

“The Dark Lord runs from no one!”  he says looking panicked now that I have his wand.

“Voldemort runs from me.”  I tell him forcing myself to use the man’s name.  “Death is coming for him now.”  I say and break Rookwood’s wand before Apparating back to Serendipity.

“How did it go Miss?”  Minty asks the moment I appear back in my room.

I take the hood down and step out of the robe.  “I think it was a good trial run.  I think he may have peed his pants when I broke his wand.”  I tell the little elf with a smile.

“Serves him right for trying to take advantage of Miss.”  Minty says with a firm nod of her head.

“I am going to have to do more than scare Death Eaters with it Minty.”  I tell her with a frown as I put the robe away.

“Of course Miss.  Dose Miss know what she wants to do next?”  Minty asks as she follows me out of my room.

“Now that the test is complete I think we should focus on the of the Muggleborn camps.”  I tell her about a thought that had been forming in my head for the last few weeks.  “It would be a good start, but I have to find ways to get them out of the country first.”

“Maybe Mr Ronald could help Miss?”  Minty offers and I smile.

“Mr Ronald can’t know what I am up to, but I do think I need to contact him under a different face.”  I say with a smile trying to think of how Ron would react to meeting Death.

“Would Miss like Minty to find Mr Ronald for her now?”  She asks with a bit of a squeak, I know she doesn’t like to leave the manor, but she always offers to help in whatever way she can.

“No Minty.  I will have to be patient.”  I tell the elf with a smile.  “For now I should head to work before Blaise wonders what is keeping me.”

Minty’s eyes darken at the name.  “I don’t like Mr Blaise Miss, he is always trying to touch Miss.”

I shake my head and look at her.  “Sometimes I like it Minty, but you must never tell him that.”  I say with a smile.

“Like it Miss?”  Minty asks looking very confused.

“It is nice to know a man desires you, more so when that man is as pretty as Mr Blaise.”  I tell her as we head down the stairs.

“It is nice to know you think I am pretty.”  Comes the very arrogant voice of the last person I wished to hear my last comment.

Minty squeaks and looks down at Blaise with wide eyes.  “Minty did not know he was here Miss, Minty is sorry!  Minty will go and punish herself now.”  The elf says and before I can tell her to stop she has disappeared with a popping sound.

I sigh and turn to look at Blaise with narrowed eyes.  “You know perfectly well I think you are pretty.”  I say as I even out my expression.

“But it is always nice to hear.  Muffin let me in, said I should wait here while you were getting ready, oversleep?”  he asks curiously.

“Well you know how it is?  My lover was over very late last night and simply wore me out.”  I say deadpan.

Blaise narrows his eyes for just a moment before he realizes I am playing with him.  “I would know if you had a lover besides me.”  he says a bit too stiffly.

“Oh?  Are we lovers?”  I ask curiously.  “I don’t think once counts.”

“We will be when you finally realize I am what is good for you.  I heard you have been getting gifts here.”  He says as his eyes twinkle with mischief.

“So you are the one who told him where I live?”  I ask as I get to the bottom of the stairs.

“You know he would stop once we announce our engagement.”  He tells me smoothly without really answering my question.

“There are a few problems with that.  The first being you have not actually ever proposed and the second being I would never accept.”  I tell him before heading towards the dining room.

“Never say never.”  Is his only response as he follows me down the hall.

Daphne-

I take a deep breath and make sure my green suit is perfectly straight before I step through the floo.  I say the words clearly and with more than a bit of pleasure.

“Ministry of Magic.”  I dust myself off a bit as I enjoy the sound of my heels clicking against the stone floor of the main building.  I go directly to the man at the small window to get my guest pass.

“Name and reason for being here?”  The greasy looking man behind the counter asks.

“Daphne Greengrass, I am here to see Dolores Umbridge, Department of Mudblood Correction.”  I tell the man in the most pleasant voice I can muster.

“Ah yes, you are on the list.  Take the elevator down to sub-level eight.”  The man says before looking up at me.  “Going to be working with us here at the Ministry Miss Greengrass?”  he asks suddenly as he gets a better look.

“Well not with the doorman.”  I tell him simply and walk away towards the elevators.  I feel like my old self in these halls.  There is nothing here that I can not overcome.  Here I am a woman with power to weld and I love it.

When I make it down to Umbridge’s office and knock three times before I let my hand drop.

“Enter.”  A sickeningly sweet voice orders with a small giggle at the end that makes me want to puke.

I open the door and greet the old professor with another sweet smile.  “Miss Umbridge.”  I greet her casually.

“You can call me Dolores my dear, we are colleagues now it seems.”  She says sweetly, but I can tell it is taking most of her will not to jump over her desk and throttle me.

“Well you can call me Miss Greengrass, Dolores.”  I respond happily.

She giggles again and motions for me to sit down in front of her desk.  “What can I do for you today Miss Greengrass?”  She asks getting straight to business, thankfully.

“As I am sure one as well informed as yourself knows I have gained the appointment of Head Maid to Lady Weasley.”  I start and am about to continue when she interrupts me.

“Yes I had heard that, what I don’t understand is why the maid to a piece of property has any say in how my department is run.”  She says as her smile falters for a moment.

“Oh, I have no say whatsoever Dolores.”  I tell her happily.  “The Dark Lord has only given me permission to observe and takes notes that I am to report back to Lady Weasley.”

“So there will be no actual interference?”  The woman asks as her eyes narrow, her fake smile gone.

“Not at this time.”  I answer and pull a small notebook from my purse.  “The Dark Lord just wishes for my Lady to get a more full understanding of how his government runs.”

“To what purpose?”  The woman asks her eyes narrowing again, though she looks a bit more relaxed.

“Are you questioning the Dark Lord’s wisdom?”  I ask without answering her question as I pull a quill from my purse as if I am ready to make a note of it.

“No no, of course not.  I could just give you better information if I knew exactly what sort of things the Dark Lord wishes for your Lady to know.”  She covers quickly.

“Ah well, that is wise of you.”  I compliment her on her backpedaling.  “But all information can be useful.”  I say and smile more widely as if I have just made a friend instead of an enemy.

Ginny-

By the time Daphne gets back from her meeting at the Ministry I have regained control of the shivers Tom’s dark promise had given me.  The part that upset me the most was I could not decide if I was revolted or excited by the idea of being with him again.

When I decide that he is just playing with my mind I get myself to calm down and put it out of my head for the moment.

Daphne returns with a wide smile on her face and sits down on the couch before she pulls a notebook from her purse.

“We have a project!”  She says happily and I frown as I go to sit with her and see what she is talking about.

“How bad is it?”  I ask not liking the way she is so happy about the mistreatment of the muggleborns.

She sighs and rolls her eyes at me before getting comfortable in her seat.  “Not as bad as that woman wants it to be.”  She says and starts to flip through her notes.  “The Dark Lord has kept all the more famous names for himself, and they are still sifting through merchandise and deciding on value.  They are planning the first auction in a few weeks, and right now they are keeping all those captured in camps around England.”

I frown at the light way she is talking about other witches and wizards. “So what do you think we can do for them?”  I ask shifting in my seat.

“Well right now they have no more rights than your average chair.  They have no one protecting them from what their future owners might use them for.  If we approach it as a protection of assets campaign I think we can get them some buffer like you want.”  She says and then looks into my eyes.  “We are never going to be able to set them free my Lady, but if we approach this way we will keep them from being too brutally tortured, raped, and killed.”

I chew on my lower lip and try and process what she this information.  I can see the logic of what she is saying, but it hurts to not be able to help more. Though in my position shouldn’t I just feel lucky that I will be able to help at all?

“So how do we introduce a law like that?”  I ask I don’t really have any experience with any of this so I will have to reply on Daphne’s knowledge.  I am sure that is why she is helping me, to show her value, and make it so I rely on her.

“Well the first thing we need to do it make your power known.”  She tells me simply.

“I don’t have any power.”  I point out to her with a frown.  She rolls her eyes and shakes her head.

“You do, you just don’t know it.  We need to build relationships with powerful people.  One way you can do this is by taking on other maids.”  She says as if she is explaining this all to a small child.  “Being a maid to the Dark Lord’s consort would give any family a status boost within the empire.”  She added while I am still looking at her in confusion.  “Maybe adding a few young men as well as guards under Draco isn’t a bad idea either.”

“All to build a relationship with their parents?”  I ask to make sure I am understanding her.  “I would have to ask the Dark Lord for that you know?”  I add wondering what I would have to give him.

“Exactly, I will get a list together of the families that would be the most beneficial to us.”  Daphne said with a smile.  “And don’t act like you are above making deals with the Dark Lord, I hear Bill and Fleur are doing well with the baby.”  She says to drive her point home.

I dress nicely for dinner.  I make sure to do my hair and look more presentable to ask the Tom for the right to take on more staff.

There is a nervous little slip in my stomach as I sit in the dining hall and wait for him to be done with his business for the day.

“I am sorry to keep you waiting my lioness.”  He tells me when he takes his down seat.  “You look lovely.”  he comments after pouring himself some of the black liquid he is always drinking.  “What is it you want from me this evening?”  he asks straight out.

“What makes you think I want anything at all my Lord?”  I ask him in the soft tone he likes the most.

“Because you only put effort into your looks when you wish to ask me a favor.  What is it?”  He asks looking directly at me.

I sigh and look to my lap.  “Daphne thought it would be a good idea for my status if I took on a few more maids, and maybe some more guards.”  I tell him lightly.

“She wants you to have some favor to curry with the important families of our Empire.”  he says knowingly and sits back.  “What are you offering me in return?”  he asks as a smirk settles on his lips.

“What would you like?”  I ask not wishing to give more away than he was willing to take for the favor.

“I want an offer from you.”  he presses not giving an inch.

I take in a long slow breath and start to think about what the health of all those muggleborns would be worth to me.  “I do not think it is that big of a favor, it really only helps your cause in the long run.”  I start out and sit a bit straighter.  “So I offer that I will put effort into my looks, not only when I am with you but at all times.  I will be more presentable as your… consort, as Daphne calls me.”

Tom rubs his chin in thought and I feel nervous as he seems to be studying me.  “That is reasonable, I will give you six positions you can fill.  I do not really care if you wish for guards or maids.  Only, any men you invite to be close to you will be approved by me.  Is that agreeable?”

“Yes my Lord.”  I say letting out a slow breath of relief.

Luna-

I was drying my hair from my evening shower when Minty suddenly appears in the bathroom with me.  I quickly summon my robe and cover myself before I frown at the elf.

“Can you please knock?”  I ask the elf kindly.

“Oh!”  She says and bangs her head against the wall.  “Sorry Miss, Minty didn’t think.”

“Stop hurting your self.”  I order her and sigh. “Why have you come Minty?  I was just getting ready for bed.”  I tell her as she looks back at me.

“Miss you have a visitor!  Mr Ronald has come to see you and he is very banged up!”  Minty says as if she just remembered again.  “Mop and Muffin are seeing to him in the drawing room.”

I frown and nod, pulling the robe around me tightly I head directly for the room where I will find Ron.  By the time I get there the elves have healed most of his wounds, fortunately it looks like he has just been in some kind of muggle fight.

“What happened?” I ask as I come over to sit on the couch by his feet.

“Have you ever heard of football?”  Ron asks and grins at me, one of his eyes still swollen.  “Well it seems muggles are very serious about it.”  He tells me and takes his head.  “I was hiding out at muggle pub and a few got into a row over a game and then the whole pub erupted into a mad fight!’  he says waving his hands about.  “It was actually rather brilliant, I think I may go back next week.”

I chuckle and shake my head.  “With the way Minty was talking I thought you had gotten into a row with some Death Eaters.”

“Nah, Death Eaters I can handle, mad muggles, now that was scary.”  He tells me with a grin.  “I thought I would use it as a reason to come by though, sorry for the hour.”  he says as he notices my robe.  “That’s pretty.”  he says his ears turning a bit red.

“Thank you, it is new.”  I tell him as I run my hand over the blue silk of the bathrobe.  “So why did you want to stop by?”  I ask and set a hand on his leg shyly.

“Well, I thought we could go out on a proper date.”  He says not meeting my eyes at first.

I smile and tilt my head.  “Where would you like to go to?”  I ask with amusement in my tone.

“Oh well, I guess we would have to stay in, but we could have a picnic on the grounds and just… have a date.”  he says and waves his hand about a bit.  “You know we could just forget about the world for a while and talk about normal teenager stuff, like quidditch, and food?”

“That sounds kind of wonderful.  We could talk about what teaches we hate and the fact I have had a crush on you since 3rd year.”  I tell him as a real smile comes to my face.

“Yeah exactly and… wait since 3rd year?”  He asks as his train of thought is derailed.  “When did that happen?  How did you even notice me in your 3rd year?”  He asks with a frown.

“Well that was the year of the Triwizard Tournament.”  I tell him and he nods as if he already knows this part.  “I guess I first really noticed you after Harry succeeded in the first trial.  You ran over to him, I have no idea what you said, but you had the most lovely color of, loyalty, mixed with guilt, family, and amazement.”

“I have no idea what you just said.”  Ron tells me with a goofy grin on his face.  “Harry was the big hero that year, why not fall for him?”  he asks with a bit of a dark cloud edging his expression.

“Ron, do you even know how amazing you are?”  I ask looking at him with wonder.  “Do you know how strong of a man it takes to stand next to the hero?  To hold up a person who has the world on their shoulders and never once try and use their fame to get your own?  I know some have said you were trying to ride his coattails, but if you actually were you would have been in the limelight a whole lot more than you were.”  I tell him and I can see by his expression he doesn’t believe me.

“Harry used to say stuff like that.  Stuff about where he would be without ‘Mione and me, but it was mostly her you know.  She was the real one that held him up, she was brilliant.”  He tells him and looks down as he thinks of the woman he loves.

“You don’t have to believe me, I still know it is true.”  I tell him sadly.  “Would you like to spend the night?  I can have Minty make up a room for you.”

“Thanks.”  he says looking up at me with a bit of a smile.  “Luna can you promise me something else?”  he asks and I can tell his mind his shifting to a new subject.

“What is that?”  I ask folding my hands in front of me.

“Friday afternoon, I don’t want you anywhere around Gringotts.  I won’t tell you more than that, but I want you safely away from there.”  he tells me with a firm tone.

“I won’t show my face anywhere in Diagon Alley that day if it makes you feel better.”  I promise him with a sad smile.

“It does, thanks.”  he says and sits back so Mop can finish her work.

Daphne-

I am finally back in my own room.  I get into my night clothes and sit at my vanity to brush my hair and relax from the stresses of the day.  I think today went very well.  Though I had to spend a great portion of it with that foul woman Umbridge, it was a very enlightening experience, and it will help with many of my future plans.

As I am going over my day in my head I hear a knock on the door.  I already know who it is, there has only been one person to visit my chambers in the last few weeks, though we never do more than talk.

I get to my feet and open the door to look up into his gray eyes.  “Ginny in bed?”  I ask as Draco moves into my room.

“Yes, she wanted me to tell you she would need you early tomorrow, she wouldn’t say way.”  He tells me as he sits down on my bed.

“Does she know about your visits?”  I ask with a frown on my lips, I am not ready for anyone to know about whatever it is that is forming between Draco and I.

“No, she thought she was sending me here.”  He says and rubs his face with his hands.  “How did your talk with her go?”  He asks with a sigh.

“She was rather responsive actually, she is smarter than I originally gave her credit for.  She said she was going to ask the Dark Lord tonight.”  I tell him as I sit down next to him.

“Yes, it seems like the youngest Weasley turned out to be the smartest of all.”  Draco says and looks up to me before wrapping an arm around my waist and pulling me into his side so I can rest my head on his shoulder.

I close my eyes and breath in his scent.  We have been doing things like this since he told me he was falling in love with me a few weeks ago.  We don’t talk about it, we just awkwardly try little things like this out to see how they feel.

We were both brought up in cold homes, where love was only a thing to take advantage of in another, so everything we try feels foreign, but nice.  Every time I wonder what he is feeling, tonight I decide to ask.

“Draco, what are we doing?”  I ask in a low voice.

“We are trying to build a future for ourselves.”  he says though I know he knows what I am really asking.  I stay silent, refusing to let him off the hook that easily.  “Being stupid.”  he adds finally.

“The Dark Lord offered you to me once.”  I tell him softly and saying well within his grasp.

Draco chuckled and shook his head.  “What would a marriage bring either of us Daph?”  he asks still thinking about the future.  “You are too useful of an ally to take out of the picture, and I need my wife to give me at least one heir.”

“Do you still think you can get the Lovegood girl?”  I ask more bitterly than I mean to.

“No.  That ship has clearly sailed.  The Dark Lord put her well and truly off of me, it is a wonder he didn’t do the same to you.”  he says resting his head on top of mine.

“I am stronger than Lady Radcliff.”  I say her title in tone that will clearly tell him what I think of nobility.

“You are.”  he agrees and runs his hand up my back.  “Which is why I can’t marry you” he tells me sadly.  “But I never planned to care about my wife anyway, did you have plans to love your husband?”  he asks softly.

I shake my head and laugh.  “No, my plan was to marry the weakest man I could stand and use him to gain more of an upper hand in the political arena.”

“You should marry a Death Eater” he tells me firmly.  “I will start to think about who would be the easiest to control.”

“You should marry foreign nobility, somewhere that ties will be useful once it too joins the Dark Empire.”  I tell him so he knows he isn’t the only one who can make plans for the other.

“Maybe Italy, Blaise has some cousins that have yet to be deflowered.”  Draco tells me with a slow nod.

“So we marry other people, and we what?”  I ask unclear of this future he is describing.

“You will be my Mistress of course.”  he says with such finality I can’t help but laugh.

“And you will be my Lover?”  I ask with another laugh and pull out of his arms.  “Do people like us actually love our Mistresses and Lovers?”  I ask moving to go sit back at my vanity.

“People like us don’t fall in love Daphne.”  He says in his same firm tone.

“Than I am back to my first question, what are we doing?”

Chapter 2: New Enemies and Old Friends

Ginny-

When I return from my music lesson with Draco in the afternoon a find a large black box on my bed.  Draco sees it as well and goes over to it before I can ever so much as touch it.  I smile as I watch him start to cast spells on the box.

“What are you doing?” I ask as I just watch him.

“Making sure there are no hexes or curses on the package or what is inside it.”  he says simply before he pulls the card off and hands it to me.  “What kind of Champion would I be if I just let you open random boxes?”  he asks with a raised eyebrow.

I take the card and smile.  “Why are you so very protective?”  I ask as I open the note to see who the box is from.

“Many reasons my Lady, not the least of which is the fact it is my job.”  He points out.  “I’ll be outside if you need me.”  he adds with a bow and heads to the door.

“Thank you Draco.”  I say as he closes the door behind him.  I look down at the note in my hand and swallow as I know the handwriting.

My Lioness,

All students are required to attend the Welcoming Feast.

~Lord Voldemort

I frown for a moment as I read the short note a few times before I smile slowly spreads over my face.  I look up at the box again and rush over to it to see what is inside.  I have an idea, but I do not wish to get my hopes up too much.

When I open the and see the uniform inside I start to jump up and down without really inspecting the new clothes.  I am going to class, I am going back to school!  I am still doing my happy dance when Daphne enters the room.

She chuckles and clears her throat to get my attention.  “What has happened my Lady?”  She asks then looks over to the box.  “Ah I see.  You should thank him tonight for this privilege he is bestowing on you my Lady.”  She points out.

Her words bring me back to reality and I frown.  “Why do you think he is doing it?”  I ask before I go back over to really inspect my new uniform.

“He is grooming you to be his wife my Lady.”  She says before she shakes her head.  “Do you really think he would want you to be uneducated?”

“I don’t know.”  I tell her honestly, then start to lay out my clothes for tonight.

He has changed the school uniform it seems.  The outer robe is more fitted, girls seem to have a black dress to wear under it instead of the skirt and jumper.  The Gryffindor crest is woven in silver over the left breast.

“No House colors.”  I say sadly as I think of the halls devoid of color.

“At least he isn’t getting rid of the Houses altogether.”  Daphne says to try and make me look on the bright side.  “Go take a shower and we will start getting you ready for tonight.  You want to look your best, don’t you?”  She asks just to remind me of what I have promised Tom.

I nod and head into the bathroom to clean up.  When I get out I dress and let Daphne do my hair without really much thought into my clothes.  I am much too excited at the idea of being able to go to class.

“Go see what you think.”  Daphne says as she finishes with my makeup.

I go into the bathroom to look at myself in the full length mirror.  I frown as I realize how form fitting the uniform is.  Is he really going to have all the girl students look like this?  Not that it looks sexy, it just seems so grown up.  I look more like a teacher than a student.

I head back out into my bedroom and frown at Daphne.  “Did anyone think that maybe a uniform like this may be too expensive for students?”  I ask as I remember my family’s problems with money.

“Don’t worry about it.”  Daphne says unhelpfully.  “You look wonderful and that is all that matters to him.  The Dark Lord for you to walk with him to the Great Hall.  He will be here around six, just before the other students arrive.”

I sigh and nod and try to put the cost out of my head for now.  “Do you think only purebloods will return to school?”  I ask and look over to Daphne.

“No, anyone of blood status C or higher is required to attend school once they reach their eleventh year.”  She said with a half smile.  “So all free citizens of the Dark Empire will be educated.”

I sigh as I think of all the muggleborns who will never really be able to learn about their magic.  I must have zoned out for a while because next thing I knew Daphne was opening the door to let Tom in.

“Are you ready for the feast my Lioness?”  he asks as his eyes run over me.

“Yes.”  I tell him simply and stand so I can take his arm.

We walk in silence for a little while before he speaks.  “What is going on in that little head of yours my Lioness?”  he asks as he stops us just off the Entrance Hall.

“Just thinking about how much this school has changed since the end of the war, how much I have changed, my Lord”  I tell him honestly.

“Both have bloomed and will bloom further under my reign.”  He says arrogantly.

“I am sure my Lord.”  I say because it is the least insulting thing I can come up with at the moment.

He just chuckles and shakes his head.  I hear the Entrance Hall fill with the sounds of students as they make their way into the Great Hall for the feast.

“Are you making a Grand Entrance my Lord?”  I ask just to get my nerves under control.

“We are, you will walk by my side as my Lady.”  he says poignantly.

I don’t respond to this remark as I can’t think of anything to say.  Fortunately I am saved by the fact the hall has cleared and it is time for us to enter.  I hold my breath and close my eyes as I let Tom lead me into the Great Hall.

The doors open before us and I hear the chatter of students turn into a soft murmur.  We are half way up to the stage when I open my eyes and glance around.  It looks like Hogwarts all around me.  For a moment it even feels like the school of my youth.  It is then I realize something that makes my stomach turn for a whole different reason.

Every single student around me is wearing the old uniform.  The black and gray with the color of their House.  Why am I the only one in something different?  I glance up to Tom, who is smirking as he obviously knows what I have just realized.

He leads me up to the teacher’s table and sits me down in a chair next to his large throne.  Once he is settled the Headmaster leads the first years into the hall and they are sorted like it is any other year.

That is besides for the fact the sorting hat has no song.  When I look at it, it seems just as depressed as I feel and I wonder if it has been forbidden from singing this year.

Once the new students are seated at their House tables Lucius gets up and goes into a very long winded speech about how Hogwarts has been saved along with the rest of the country.  ow we no longer suffer under the blight of the impure.

I ignore most of it and find myself looking at Gryffindor table to see who has returned, when I see the other Gryffindors looking back at me with very unkind expressions I decide my plate is very interesting.

Once the feast actually starts Tom leans down to speak in my ear.  “What is bothering my pet now, I thought you would be happy that I am letting you finish your education.”  He tells me in a knowing way.

“Thank you my Lord for such a great gift.”  I tell him in a dead voice, which only makes him chuckle.

“Tell me what is wrong my Lioness.”  he said and turns my chin so I have to look him in the eyes.

“Why am I wearing this?”  I ask and motion to the altered uniform.

“Because you are mine, and I wish for you, your classmates, and your professors to constantly be aware of that fact.”  He says with a twisted gleam in his eyes.

Luna-

The target for whatever the rebellion is planning has to be Gringott.  I tell Blaise I will be spending the day doing research at my home for one of the many upcoming articles.  If he shows up there to surprise me the elves will keep him busy until I can get back.

It is eleven when I show up in Diagon Alley.  I am dressed in what I have been thinking of as Death’s Robe, but I am keeping out of sight as much as possible.  I just want to watch and see what happens, maybe even help or at least make contact with the rebellion in this face.

My heart is racing as I sit in an alley across from the bank and wait.  Several hours go by and nothing happens.  I start to think about just going home to get my work done when suddenly the doors of the bank exposed off the hinges and shatter before spraying the street with their debry.

I do not know the smell that could do such a thing and I see no wizard around that could have cast the spell anyway.  What is Merlin’s name did they use?

After I get over the initial shock I start to scan the street for anyone who is not running and panicking.  That is when I see them, five wizards dressed in gold and red, they seem to be moving as one through the crowd as they make their way towards the bank.

Death Eaters soon show up to protect the doors and a full out duel ensues between the two sides.  Both sides are colors are very bright as they are energized with the passion on the battle.  I can’t tell who anyone is as their colors mix and change with the spells they are casting.

Slowly and careful to keep out of sight I move around behind those in the rebellion, but it seems I am not the only one to have thought of this as I see two Death Eaters coming up on them from behind.  With a few well placed spells I trip them up enough for the wizards in gold to notice they are being surrounded.

“The DA Lives!”  Yells someone that sounds very much like Neville.  Soon the whole area in front of the bank is being rained down with flyers.  As I and the Death Eaters am looking up to see where they are coming from I get a glimpse of two more wizards in red on broom before they all disappear with a popping sound.

“Put up anti Apparition wards!  Catch anyone who is left!”  I hear one of the Death Eaters call and I know it is time for me to leave as well.  Before they can get the wards in place I go Apparate to my room in Serendipity.

Out of breath with my heart still racing I look down at the flyer in my hand

Dumbledore’s Army Lives

We are those who will not let Hope Die!

I smile down at the message and run my hands over the ink.  Sometimes it is just nice knowing you are not alone.  I frown because I did not get a chance to talk with any of the rebellion today, but I can’t give up hope yet.

I pull off the robe and am about to head into the shower when Minty calls from my door.  “Miss, you have… visitors.”  She says and sounds nervous.

I pause what I am doing and look back to her.  “More than one?”  I ask with a frown.

“Mr Blaise is calling at the front door and Mr Ronald is calling at the back.”  She tells me with big eyes.

I sigh and rub the bridge of my nose.  “Take Ron to the kitchen and make him aware that it is not safe for him to walk about.  Then take Blaise to my private library and tell him I will be there in a few minutes.”

Minty nods and with a small popping sound she goes to carry out my orders.  I take the quickest shower I can and pull on a simply blue sundress before I dry my hair with my wand.  I don’t want it to seem like I was truly busy when either of them arrive, but I don’t want to be covered in sweat either.

When I open the door to the library I find Blaise flipping through a book I had on my desk curiously.  “What brings you here on a day off?”  I ask as calmly as I can.

“I came to see what you were up to with your free day.”  He says and smiles up at me.  “I like that dress.”  he said as he made his way around the desk.

“This one was actually mine.”  I point out as I try to keep things light.

“And there was obviously a reason I let you keep it.”  he counters with a smile.  “I was wondering of you would join me for dinner tonight?”  he asks smoothly as he slides right into his next move.

“No thank you.”  I say and shake my head.  “I am not in the mood to go to a sex clue and do drugs.”  I tell him with a smirk.

“That was not a date, that was us loosening up.”  he told her with a frown.  “I mean a proper date.  We will go out to a restaurant then danceing.  I suddenly realized I haven’t really tried courting you yet.”  He says with his charming smile.

“You have to give a girl at least a few days notice for that kind of date.”  I tell him and it only makes him smile more.

“Next Saturday it is then.”  Blaise says and takes my hand so he can pull it up to his lips.

“I didn’t agree.”  I say with a frown.

“You didn’t say no either.”  He counters and kisses my hand before heading for the door.  It was like he thought if he got out of the house before I could say no that would mean I was saying yes.

She bit my lower lip in thought.  If I just let him leave it would mean I could go see what Ron needed.  It would mean going out on a date with him, but would that be so bad really?  “Fine.”  I call after him and I hear a distant chuckle in answer.

Once I am sure Blaise has left I head to the kitchen to see why Ron showed up at my house just after his mission.  I worried knot starts to spring up in my stomach as I think maybe he knows I was there.

I push open the door to the kitchen and find Ron sitting at the table almost surrounded by food.  “Mop wanted to keep you busy it seems.”  I say as I sit down at the table next to him.

“She says I am too thin.  I was hoping I could bring some of this back to the others?”  he asks as he looks at me from the corner of his eye.

“Of course.”  I say and smile as I relax a bit sitting back.  “Want to tell me why you are here, I thought you would be busy today.”  I say casually.

“I wanted to make sure you listened to me.”  he says before shoving a whole muffin into his mouth.

“I see.”  I say in a snippish tone and look around the kitchen.  “Are you satisfied now?”  I ask and get to my feet.

“Don’t be mad.” Ron says around a full mouth.  It surprised me that I can understand him, but he must have had a lot of practice speaking with a full mouth over the years.

“You declare you don’t trust me then you ask me not to be mad?”  I ask and I realize I am faking this anger.  How can I be mad when I was indeed at the place he asked me not to go?

“I’m sorry, I just worry about you.”  he says more clearly after taking a big swig of juice.  “What are your plans for tomorrow?”  he asks to change the subject.

“I am going shopping for a new dress.”  I tell as I sit back down.

“What do you need a new dress for?”  Ron asks with a bit of suspicion in his voice.

“Blaise asked me out on a date.  He is going to take me to a nice restaurant.”  I tell him and I see his shoulders slump.

“You are going out with him again, after… we…”  he sighs and looks at his plate.

“Our date?  We never did set a time for that you know.”  I say with a smile.  “What are you doing right now?”  I ask with a wide smile.

“No.  I don’t want it to be like that.”  he tells me with a deep frown.  “Next Friday after you are done with work.”  he says as he sets down the sandwich in his hand.  “I am going to make you dinner and then we can go for a walk on the ground or something.  But I want to plan it and make it nice for you.”  he says and I watch as his ears turn a bit red.

“Okay.”  I say and tilt my head as I study him for a moment, I see the color of jealousy around him and I have to think for a moment before I realize what is going on.  “Do you think you and Blaise are in some kind of competition?”  I ask suddenly.

“No.”  he says a bit too quickly which makes me from.  “I just want to go out on a proper date with a girl is all.”  he tries to add innocently.  “Besides for being a slimy git he is a smooth character and he was… you… and he…”  Ron clears his throat unable to say the word.

“You are jealous because I had sex with him?”  I ask so I can understand him clearly.  “We could go have sex now if you feel that would make things fair?”  I offer to try and make him feel better.  It isn’t like I haven’t thought about sex with Ron before.

“LUNA!”  he yells, shoots up into a standing position and looks at me with bugged eyes.  “I…”  his mouth is moving but no words come out as he turns from pink to red to purple.

“Are you choking Ron?”  I ask suddenly worried with the colors he is turning.

“No.”  he finally gets out.  “I… Luna I don’t want it to be like that if we ever… make love.”  He tells him tightly.

“I wasn’t offering that Ronald.  I’ve never made love to anyone.”  I tell him simply.  “I think one must fall in love for that to happen.”

Daphne-

“My Lady are you paying attention?”  I ask with a sigh as I look up to find Ginny looking in the mirror again.

“I’m sorry.”  She said a bit sheepishly as she looks back to me and sits down in the soda to get rid of the temptation.  “Class was so weird today.”  She continued and chewed on her lower lip.  “No one wanted to talk to me at all, even the teachers seemed scared of me.”

I sigh and set the folder I am holding down so I can give her my full attention.  “And why is looking in the mirror help with that?”  I ask curiously.

“I wanted to see if I look different, or maybe this uniform has a spell on it or something.”  She said then looked to her knees in frustration.  “he could have warned me what I was walking into.”  She adds with a pout.

“Since the obvious point of the exercise was to keep you off balance, warning you would have been counter productive.”  I point out as he pick up a new folder.  “How many maids vs guards do you think you will want?”  I ask as I try and shift the subject back to the work we are actually supposed to be doing.

“Thats easy… none and none.”  She says with his arms crossed over her chest.  I sigh and settle in for a long night of Gryffindor Ginny.

“We’ve talked about this.  I think you at least need four more guards and two more maids.”  I tell as I think of ways to derail her train of stubbornness before it has a chance to get started.

“I don’t need more people following me around.  Do you know what Draco did all day?”  She asks as she sits back and puts her feet up on the end table.  “He made sure I had a female student sitting next to me in every single one of my classes, then he stood at the back and watched.  It made everyone nervous.”  She says and I can tell she is working herself up into a trangent.

“I’ll talk to him my Lady.  You know he is just trying to keep you safe.”  I say with a shake of my head.  “But you command him, if you do not like his behavior tell him he stand outside the class.”  I suggest helpfully.

“He won’t listen to me.”  She snaps with a huff and I suddenly remember how young we both are.  She is acting her age for the first time in the months that I have known her and I can’t help but think how childish she is being.

“The only times he will disregard a direct order from you is when it is getting in the way of keeping you safe.”  I tell her and place a hand on top of hers.  “These people are are gathering my Lady.  They will be loyal to you.  They wouldn’t go against the Dark Lord, but the goals is to find people that will put you above any other Death Eater.  This is important.”

She sighs and rubs her eyes before nodding into her hands.  “I know you’re right.” She says then sighs again and looks at me.  “I am sorry I am being such a child.  I just… I was so looking forward to going back to school as silly as that sounds.  It was like a tiny bit of normality I was going to be aloud to have.  It was just too much to hope for.”  She explains and holds a hand out for the folders.  “So who are we thinking?”  She asks to get down to business.

“I think the smartest choices for the maids, would be Miss Davis and Miss Bulstrode.  I would like to add my sister Astoria to the list once she graduates, but that would be more a personal favor to me.”  I tell her as I show her the files I have collected on the two girls.

“These were your friends.”  She says and it isn’t a question.

“Friends is a strong word to use for a fellow Slytherin.”  I say with a sad smile.  “They were my allies yes.  But for good reason, Tracey’s father works at the Ministry, he is now sub head to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.  Millicent’s parents own a company that makes potion bottles.  They have quite a few major contracts around the world, including Hogwarts and St. Mungo’s.”

“Were you only with them before of who their parents were?”  She asks like the innocent little Gryffindor she is.

“That is how our house works, no one just gives things away.  We use what we have to get what we want, the children of powerful people stay together.”  I explain slowly.

“So what do your parents do?  Who are they?”  She asks with a slight tilt of her head.

I look to the floor and frown.  “My mother manages an Apothecary, and father tracks magical animals.”  I tell her and wait for her to make fun.

“So why did you get to be in their group?”  Ginny asks as if she is studying me rather than making fun.

“I’m pretty.”  I tell her simply and shrug.

“What about Parkison?  Wasn’t she the leader of your group?”  She asks still pressing.  “Why isn’t on this list?”

“Good question.”  I tell her and sit back.  “There are a few reasons I don’t think she is a good fit.  First of all she would be greatly distracted by Draco.”  I start and try to be as honest as I can.  “Also she isn’t actually that smart, and she may not catch on to what are real goals are.  She would be more of a liability than a help.”

“What do her parents do?”  She asks, not letting it drop.

I sigh.  “They inherit money.  The Parkinsons are like the Malfoys in that they have had a lot of money for a very long time.  Only the Maloys still have a use to society.”

“So why was she your leader?”  Ginny asks as she can obviously tell I never liked Pansy.

“Simply put?  She had been with Draco for longer than any of us could remember.  It put her in a place of power because the Malfoys have both money and political pull.”  I am somewhat empressed that she is even asking any of these questions, it is almost like she wants to actually play the game and not just let me do it for her.

“So that is why he walked around like he owned the school?”  She asks then shakes her head and holds up her hand for me not to answer.  “Okay I will go with your choices this time.  I never really liked Pansy anyway.  But there is one person I would like as a guard.”  She says and looks down with a frown.

“Who is that?”  I ask slowly as I pull out the files of the men I have selected.

“I know this is about political pull and that sort of thing, but I think it would show my power if my brother George was one of my guards.”  She says as she looks up into my eyes.

I sigh and frown as well.  “Why George?”  I ask as I remember she has three brothers all training in the army now.

“I figured it would be impossible to get them all right now, and he is the one I was closest to.”  She says and bites her lower lip.  “Our Lord wouldn’t have to worry about him coming on to me or anything like that.”  She pokes out as she tries to make a joke.

“We will put him on the list.  The worse thing I see our Lord doing is saying no.”  I tell her with a sad smile.

“So who else do you think?”  She asks curiously.

“Well now that I’m down to three picks I would have to say, Mr. Nott, Mr. Pucey, and Mr. Warrington.”  I tell her and hand her the files so she can see the information I have collected herself.

She only frowns when she gets to Theodore’s file.  “What is this about Luna stealing half his inheritance?”  She asks and holds up a letter he wrote to the Minister that I got my hands on.

“Oh, well it is actually more than half if I you look at the numbers.  Draco and Blaise petitioned for Luna to regain her family’s land.  What she should have inherited from her mother.  He is not very pleased with Miss Lovegood because of that.”  I tell with a shrug.

“Why would they do that for her?”  Ginny asks with a deep frown, she knew nothing a Slytherin did was for free.

“More than likely because they wanted control of the estate once one of them married her.”

Ginny sighs and puts the files down.  “They look agreeable enough, but I am not sure about Nott, who was your other choice?”  She asks as she rubs her eyes.

“Mr Flint would also make a good choice.”  I tell her as I hand over his file as well.

She frowns as she knows she looks at his file and chews on her lower lip.  “I am not sure if George and Flint will get along very well.  They were very much enemies back in school.”

“They will both have to grow up if they are going to serve an Empress.”  I say bluntly.

She sighs again and reads over Nott and Flints files again.  I have to give her credit for really putting thought into it.  Even the choice of trying to get her brother is a sound idea politically.  It will slowly make the Weasley name less and less hated.

“Nott is the better fit.”  She says finally and sets his file down.  “Well you deliver the list to our Lord tonight for me?”  She asks as she sits back and pulls out her books.

“Yes my Lady.”  I say and stand as I collect the stack them so I can get them later.  “After I will retire if you do not need anything else?”

“No I should be find for tonight, thank you.”  she says and waves her hand for me to go.

When I make my way over to the Dark Lord’s office I am told that he is busy tonight and will see me just after breakfast, or when he has time.  I decided it is best to not press the issue so I head up to my room to tell Draco about Ginny’s picks.

Ginny-

It is the second day of school and I decide to brave the Great Hall for breakfast.  I could have it privately in my room if I wished, but I feel that I need to take as little advantage from being the Dark Lord’s consort in school as I can.

When I walk into the room everyone stops talking.  I turn to look at my blond haired shadow and speak in a low voice.  “I want to do this alone, could you stand outside the room?”  I ask with a frown.

Draco looks around for a moment.  “I’ll stand at the door, inside.”  he tells me.  “Too many entrances, and I don’t exactly trust this many people all at once.”  He says before walking off to take a distanced position.

I sigh and turn back to the tables.  Everyone is still silently looking at me so I make my way over to the Gryffindor table and sit down.  The few that are left there slide away from me and everyone in the hall starts to slowly continue whatever conversation they were having as I start to collect food on my plate.

I glance down at the other Gryffindors and wonder what exactly they are think of me.  It doesn’t really matter if I am mature about it, but it still hurts that most of them probably think I have sold out to Tom.

I am drawn out of my thoughts as a person sits across from me and clears a decidedly male throat.  I look over and frown as I see one of the male Slytherin students from my year.  We were never exactly enemies before, but it was a part of a group of boys that would tease me for being a Weasley.  I always assumed they wished to get in good with Draco’s gang, and now I wonder if that ever happened.

“Harper, what are you doing over here?”  I ask in a tired voice, too sad over the fact most of my friends are either gone, or think I am a traitor, to deal with a Slytherin right now.

“We are aloud to sit anywhere we want.”  He says and starts to fill his own plate.  “New rules say only at important events must the students sit at House tables.”  He tells me lightly as if we were friends.  “You missed yesterday’s announcements.”

“So why sit with a bunch of Gryffindors?”  I ask and just watch as he starts to eat his breakfast.

He looks to the left and right of him before looking up at me with a smirk. “I think the only Gryffindor I’m sitting with is you my Lady.”  He says as he lets his smile spread more widely.  

He is about to continue  when I cut him off.  “Don’t call me that.”  I snap.

“It is what Draco calls you.”  he says with a bit of a pout.  “Anyway as I was saying you don’t really even count as a Gryffindor any more anyway.”

I narrow my eyes at him and resist the urge to throw a muffin.  “I am still a Gryffindor and you should not forget that fact.  But you still haven’t answered my question, why are you here?”  I ask with a frown.

“Because you looked lonely and I want to be on your good side.”  He says with a shrug.

“Do you really think I am so lonely that I want to talk to you?”  I ask as I start to eat my own breakfast.

“Why?  Because I am a Slytherin, or because I used to make fun of you?”  He asks bluntly.

“Both.”  I answered and take a bite of eggs.

“Looks to me like all the people you are close to now fit that bill.” He says happily.  “I mean I hear the Dark Lord tried to kill you and now you’re…”  he starts and I cut him off again.

“If you wish to keep a dry head you will not finish that sentence.”  I snap and look up at him again.  “My relationship with the Dark Lord is off limits.”  I say as I really do not want to know what the other students think about what I do with him.

Harper puts his hands up in surrender.  “Touchy.”  he says and I can see his eyes positively twinkling with mirth.  “So what subjects aren’t off limits?”  he asks before he continues to eat his breakfast.  “Are you eating all your meals here now?”  I adss curiously.

“I don’t know if we come to another that is off limits I will let you know.”  I tell him then frown at his next question.  “I…”  I bite my lower lip and shake my head.  “Breakfast and most dinners I will eat here.”  I say as I don’t really want to explain that I eat lunch with the Dark Lord every day.

“I see.”  he says but doesn’t push any further than that.  “Can you tell Draco that I am not coming on to you or anything like that?”  He asks suddenly.

I look up and blink at him before I look over to Draco.  My guard is not giving Harper a pleasant look at the moment.  “I’ll think about it.  You realize he is just trying to keep the male population of the school safe.”  I add after a moment.

Harper sighs and looks back to me.  “Well maybe I am just brave.”  he says with a pleased look on his face.  “Well brave enough to talk to you, we won’t ever actually be touching.”  he adds after a moment.

“That seems smart.”  I say with a smile than frown.  “What a bleak future that looks like.”  I add mostly to myself.  The idea that no man but Tom will ever really touch me again really settles in for the first time.

Luna-

Ron left hours ago.  I spent most of the rest of the day in my library and devouring the information it has to give.  The Radcliff family collection of books is beyond what I had imagined a private library could be.  It is sort of sad that the books had been hidden away for the last few years.

I am getting ready for bed when Minty knocks on my door.  “Miss, there is a bad man here to see you Miss.”  She says and I can tell she is afraid.

“What is the bad man’s name Minty?”  I ask as I pull my dress back on so I can go deal with the visitor.

“He says it is Mr. Rookwood Miss.  He almost kicked Muffin, but Clipper got in the way Miss to protect her.”  Minty says with a shaking voice.

“What?!”  I turn and open the door so I can look down at the elf.  “Why?”  I ask but before she can answer I have my wand in my hand as I head to the front hall.

“Muffin didn’t want to let him in Miss.  She says he is the one that was sending Miss the bad gifts.”  Minty explains as she hurries behind me.

“I want you to stay out of his way Minty.”  I tell the small elf before we get to the stairs.

I am fuming by the time I get to the front hall and see him standing there in black robes like he owns the place.

“To what do I owe this visit Mr. Rookwood?”  I ask I calmly as I can.  I can see anger and lust as the dominant shades of his colors.

“You keep sending back my gifts and letters up opened Miss Lovegood.  I thought I would drop by and see the reason for such an insult.”  he replies in a tone that does not give away his emotions.

“I am unsure who you are buying these gifts from, but my House Elves keep finding enslavement curses on them.”  I say in a more direct voice.

He frowns at this and I notice the anger grow a bit.  “I see, that is unfortunate.”  he says in a way that makes me wonder if he means that they were cursed or that my elves found the curses.  It is obviously the latter, but I have to pretend like I think it is the former.

“I do wonder why you felt it was appropriate to visit as such a late hour.  This does not seem like pressing business.”  I say in a polite way of asking him to leave.

“I am sorry for the hour, I am very busy during the day as you know.”  I says and waves my dismissal away.  “Well if it seems I am very unlucky in sending my requests, maybe you will accept an in person request for your attention?”

“You flatter me sir.”  I say and force a smile on my face.  “But I do not think I am a very, age appropriate choice for you.”  I tell him in my most pleasant tone.

He laughs and shakes his head.  “We are both well within the prime age for wizards, I could give you many healthy children.”  He says and I can see his colors shift again so that lust in dominant.

“I am not yet ready to think about children sir.  I have a few more years left before I need to focus on family.”  I point out.

He takes a few steps closer to where I am standing by the stairs.  “You would not regret giving me the chance to change your mind.”  he tells me and reaches out a hand for my cheek.

It takes all my will not to flinch at his touch.  “I am honored that you would give me such attention sir, but I really have little time for such things right now.  Between the magazine and my estate, I have a very hectic life.”

When the hand moves down my neck I feel I have a right to pull away.  It makes him angry but I don’t really care.

“If you had a proper man you would not have to worry about any of it.”  he points out in a low tone.  “You know what I am worth, you know how important I am.  I am a good match for you.”  he says stiffly.  “Better than some italian playboy.”  he adds softly.

What is it and everyone being jealous of Blaise?  I sigh and take another step back.  “My relationship with Mr Zabini is none of your concern.”  I say as I let some of my anger out.  “Do you really think I would consider someone who has no respect for me, or for those under my care?  You almost kicked my pregnant house elf, and you did kick another.  I feel I have been tolerant up until now, but it is late and I have an early morning.  Please leave.”

He steps back and sneers at me.  “Your House elves need to be taught discipline girl, but it seems they aren’t the only ones.”  He and looks at me for a long moment.  “I’ll leave for now, but this is not over Miss. Lovegood.

“That is Lady Lovegood to you sir.”  I say as I straighten my back and try to look as tall as possible.

“See you soon Lady Lovegood.”  he says with a final leer before turning and leaving my home.

Once he is gone I sigh and I hear four pops as my elves all come to see if I am okay.

“We need to change the wards so he is not permitted on the grounds.”  I say before I look to them.

Daphne-

I think it is a dumb idea for Ginny to eat breakfast with the rest of the school, but it seems important to her to so I feel my reservations to myself as I watch her go.  Once she is gone I collect the files on the men we have chosen for the Dark Lord’s approval and head back to his office once again.

I don’t really like the private meetings I have with him, but I work my hardest to seem unaffected as I can.  When the guard finally lets me in I move to the center of his office and wait to be acknowledged.

He sits behind the desk reading from a large stack of papers there.  It is a very long few minutes before he looks up at him and smiles in a way that makes me glad I haven’t eaten yet today.

“You are here with the list of men that my Lioness wishes to have watch over her?”  he asked broadly as he studies my every breath.

“Yes My Lord.  I also brought files on all of them for your convenience.”  I say as I hold up the stack in my hands.

“Tell me their names.”  he says as he waves the files away.

“Yes my Lord.”  I say and try to smile.  “Adrian Pucey, Theodore Nott, Cassius Warrington, and George Weasley.” I tell him and hold my breath for his reaction to the last name on the list.

He chuckles and sits back in his chair.  “She wants one of her brothers, and known trouble maker and blood traitor to be put in a position where he is protecting the life of my consort?”  He asks in a way that makes me think he will say no.

“Yes my Lord.  He is training to join your army as we speak, it would mean much to her if you gave her brother this chance to redeem himself.”  I point out as I try to get her what she wants.

“I am sure she would.”  he says and rubs his chin in thought.  “Tell her I approve of the list, but is her brother puts one toe out of line I give him to Bellatrix as a plaything.”  He says with a smirk on his face.

I bow my head.  “Yes my Lord.”  I say and wonder if she is still going to be pleased with her choice.

“Tell me how she is doing.”  he says when I was hoping he would just let me leave.

“She is doing well my Lord.  She is excited and thankful to be able to finish her studies, though she resents the fact she is being singled out.”  I tell him honestly.

“It is what I expected.”  he says and watches me for a few moments before speaking again.  “How is your and Draco’s relationship blooming?”  he asks before he lets a smirk spread over his face.

I swallow hard and glance up to him.  “Honestly my Lord?”  I ask as I wonder why he even cares at this point.

“Always Miss Greengrass, always.”  he says knowingly.

“We have feelings for one another, we don’t know what we plan to do with those feelings, but they are there.”  I tell him and flush as he is the last person I wish to talk to about this.

“You don’t plan to get married and live happily ever after?”  he asks with a mocking tone.

“No my Lord.”  I start and swallow hard.  “We are not appropriate matches for one another.  At most we plan to be lovers.”

“You know I have heard a nasty little rumor that you are not very… functional… in that department any longer.  Is it that no man can compare with your Dark Lord?”  he asks meanly.

I clench my fist around the folders I am holding as I work not to have a panic attack in front of the Dark Lord.  “I really don’t want to talk about this my Lord.  May I please go?”  I ask as I take in slow deep breaths.

He laughs and waves his hand.  “You may go Miss Greengrass.”  he says before going back to his papers.

When I am about to open the door he asks.  “One more thing, I need a sample of Ginny’s magic.  You will talk her into giving me one freely.”  he says in a tone of finality.

“Yes my Lord.”

Chapter 3: Connections

Ginny-

Today I feel like Daphne’s dressup doll.  She calls the style of dress I am wearing casual chic, but I just feel overdressed for a Friday evening.  She has dressed me in a red off the shoulder sweater dress that cost more than the Weasley food budget for a year.  My hair has been pulled into a french twist and tightly pinned.  She even positioned me in a on my sofa in a way that would display the most power, whatever that means.

“So I am going to bring your guards in first.”  Daphne tells me for the seventh time.  “You can’t be yourself around these people Ginny, you understand that.  From the moment these people are in your presence you need them to see you as the future Empress of the Dark Empire.”

“Even my brother?”  I ask as my stomach starts to flip again at the idea of being able to see him.  How am I going to be able to stop myself from running across the room and hugging him?  Is he going to forgive me for giving in to Tom’s wishes?

Daphne sighs and frowns.  “When you are around others yes.  The Dark Lord has forbidden me from telling him about his full mission here.  He has just been told he will be protecting the Dark Lord’s consort and her maids.”

My eyes widen and I start to panic.  “He is going to throw a fit when he finds out that the consort is me!  Can I meet him in private first, so… so no one sees?”  I ask as I try to think of a way to protect him.

“That is probably a smart idea, I’ll tell them you wish to meet them one at a time.”  She said and patted my hand.  “You can do this, Ginny.”  Daphne tells me before getting to her feet.  “I’ll bring him in first.”  She adds after a moment and goes to the door.

When George enters the room there is a moment of silence as we look at each other, and I am glad Daphne is smart enough to use the opportunity to close the door.

He looks tired and beaten.  I see new scars on his face and hands and I can only imagine what they have done to him.  He looks around confused for a moment before he looks back at me in his eyes widen in rage.

“No. Bloody. Way.”  He says and turns to rip the door open.

“George!”  I call and run to him.  I wrap both my arms around him as tightly as I can.  “Please George calm down.”  I beg and I feel myself weeping but I am unsure when I started.

He stiffens in my arms.  “Calm down?”  he asks and I know that there is about to be an explosion.  “Calm down?”

“If you go out there like this he will let Bellatrix torture you.”  I tell him and hold him more tightly.  “Please just let me explain.”  I beg more and I am shaking.

“What would you like to explain Ginny?  The fact that that monster killed mom and Fred?  No that can’t be bad enough can it?  He has me and Charlie in… and now… I thought you were dead too.”  He tells him and his voice is getting tight.  “We thought you were dead and now I wish… I wish you were.”

I let go of him and try to wipe my eyes.  “I am sorry.  You don’t understand w-what it has been like for me.”  I say as I now realize he won’t forgive the fact that I am cooperating with Tom.  “It doesn’t matter, hate me like everyone else, just don’t get yourself hurt.”

“Hate you?”  He asks and turns to look at me.  “Ginnybean?  How could I hate my baby sister?”  he adds and he a moment later his arms are being wrapped around me.  “That isn’t what I meant…  You know usually I have Ron here to put his foot in his mouth so I don’t have to.”  George finishes to try and make a joke, but it felt more than a bit stale.

“I thought you would hate me, because I’ve…”  I start  but my voice gets too tight to go any further.

“No, I don’t hate you Ginnybean.” He tells me and hugs me more tightly.  “But I am going to kill the bastard that did this to my baby sister.”  he adds and I can hear the anger in his voice again.  “You are no man’s consort.”

“I belong to him George, but he hasn’t been… unkind.”  I tell him and take a step back to wipe my eyes.  “I mean he has been horrible but he never forced me to do anything.”

“So you’re sleeping with him willingly?”  he asked with a deep frown.

I know I am blushing a deep crimson red at his question.  “I… he… I’ve only… It only happened once.”  I tell him honestly.  “And it got Bill back with his family, and…”  I look around for a moment as I decide if I should tell him or not.  “I saw Harry.”

Before George can ask any more questions there is a knock on the door before Daphne pokes her head in.  “Is everything alright in here?”  She asks and looks between my brother and me.

“Everything is fine.”  I tell her as I try and look less puffy.

“My Lady we don’t have all day for these introductions.”  Daphne adds gently.

“Yes, send the rest of the new guards in.”  I say and look to George to see how he is dealing with the new information.

“Well not with you looking like that.”  She says and steps inside so she can close the door again.  “We can’t have you looking like you were crying, it shows weakness.”  She adds as she walks over to me with her wand out.

“Who is this?”  George asks as I let her clean my face and push me back onto the sofa like before.

“I am the Lady’s maid.”  Daphne says and turns back to him.  “And if you get her in trouble so help me you will regret it.”  She adds and straightens her back defiantly.

“If I get her in trouble?  I’m her brother!”  He says like she is a crazy person.

“Exactly, and a known troublemaker.  She did you a huge service getting you out of training and you will…”  It is kind of funny to see Daphne get protective over me but I stop her before she can finish her sentence.

“Daphne it will be fine.  George knows what will happen if he makes trouble.”  I tell her to calm her mood.

“He knows what will happen to him, but does he realize what will happen to you?”  She asks not ready to let the subject drop.

“What will happen to her?”  George asks and steps closer to us with a frown.

“Nothing.  Don’t worry about it.”  I say and frown at Daphne for bringing it up.

“She will lose any ground she has gained in the last few months, she will be back clothesless and trapped in this room.”  Daphne says without my permission.

“Back clothesless?”  George asks before he turns to me.  “You said he never forced himself on you.”

“He hasn’t.  He just made me wear… very little for a while as a punishment.”  I say as I blush more.  “I’ll explain it all when I can, I promise.” I tell him and look into his eyes pleadingly.

“Fine, but we will talk about this later.”  He says and turns to Daphne.  “Don’t worry, I’ll be on my very best behavior.”  He adds in a tone that makes me worry just a bit, when he smirks at her I start to worry all the more.

After a pause to make sure nothing else needs to be said Daphne goes to the door to let the other three men in to meet me.  They all bow and pledge to protect me with their lives.  I don’t really get a feel for any of them as they all seem to be acting as if they were around royalty.

“My Champion, and Captain of my personal guard will be here soon.  You will answer to him as if he were me.”  I tell them and looked to George with a somewhat apologetic expression as I realize he is not going to be happy working under Draco.

Once Draco enters the room George lets out the cross between a snort and a gasp.  My Champion sneers at him and walks up to stand directly in front of the older boy.

“Is there a problem Weasley?”  Draco asks stiffly.

“Just surprised to see you here Ferret face, thought you wouldn’t want to work under a Weasley.”  George says and motions to me.  “The youngest Weasley.”

“I am a loyal and devoted Champion to the Dark Lord’s consort.”  Draco says to rub it into my brother’s face.

“That will be enough out of both of you.”  I say before my brother can respond.  Daphne said I needed to show strength so that is what I will do.  “You will both put past disputes behind you or you will face my wrath.  I may not be able to hex the Dark Lord with my new wand, but nothing is protecting either of you.”

“Yes my Lady.”  Draco says with a  bowed head and a smirk on his lips.

“Fine.”  George says and after a nudge from Draco he adds.  “My Lady.”

“You may all go, it is time for me to meet my new maids.”  I say and dismiss them with a wave of my hand.

Before George leaves he gives me one last look and winks just to make me smile.

Millicent walks in first.  I remember the boys talking about how she reminded them of a hag with her squared off jaw and wide shoulders.  She has a somewhat masculine build, but I think she holds herself with pride and grace.  She bows her head to me but says nothing before she steps out of the way of the door.

Tracey Davis on the other hand is a lovely woman.  She had black hair like Millicent, but hers bounces and shines in the same way Daphne’s hair does.  Her robes fit her perfectly to show off her every perfect curve.  She smiles and bows her head when she enters the room, but somehow her nose stays high in the air.

“Welcome, Millicent, Tracey.”  I say and smile at the two before I look to Daphne.

“It is an honor to serve my Lady.”  Tracey says and smiles in a way that doesn’t quite reach her eyes.

“Of course it is.”  Daphne says before I can say anything I all, and when I look between the two girls it seems as if there is a silent power struggle going on.

“As I assume you know, Daphne is my Head Maid, so you two will be answering to her when I am not around.”  I say to help out my only known alley in the room.

“Yes my Lady.”  Millicent and Tracey respond in unison.

Luna-

I am sitting in my bathtub and watching my toes wiggle at the other end of the bubbled filled landscape.  I am not really watching the time, but I am sure Minty will tell me when I should get out and start to get dressed.  Unlike Blaise, my elves seem to really like Ronald, and they are all excited for this little date tonight.

I have been sitting in this tub since I got home from work, trying to decide if I am excited for tonight.  Somewhere deep down in my stomach I feel the little flutters of nerves like I used to feel whenever he was around.  I am finally going on a date with a man who I have liked since forever.  Another part of me feels like somehow I am betraying Blaise, not that I have ever made him any sort of promise of exclusivity.  Then there is the third part of me, the part that thinks I should kick all men out of my life.  I have so much I have to do, so many people I have to help, there is no time for romance in my life.

“Misses must get out now or she will be late for Mr. Ronald.”  Minty says from the other side of my bathroom door.

“Is he here yet?”  I ask as I stand and wrap my towel around my form before getting out of the tub.

“Oh Mr Ronald has been here since this afternoon Misses, he is cooking.”  She tells me in a disapproving tone.

“I am sure he is doing just fine.”  I tell her as I open the door and work very hard not to laugh at the expression on her face.

“He won’t let Muffin or Mop help!”  Minty tells me and throws her hands in the air.

“I am sure it will be fine Minty.”  I tell her and realize I am glad to have someone else to calm down so I am not thinking about my own worries.

I dress in a simple blue sundress and a wrap to cover my shoulders before I look in the mirror.  I smile and push the long blond strands out of my face.  I feel like I haven’t seen this girl in the mirror in years, but I know it has only been months.

“This should be okay for tonight, right?”  I ask and turn around to look at Minty.

“Oh, Misses, Minty thinks Misses looks beautiful.” The small elf says with awe.

“Thank you Minty.”

I head down to see if my date is ready and find Ronald standing in the main hall with a basket and blanket hung over his arm.  He is wearing clean robes that are a bit too large for him, but I decide not to wonder where he got them from.

He is looking at me like I am the dawn and it makes me want to look away.  “What is so interesting?”  I ask him somewhat shyly.

He just looks at me with his mouth open like some kind of fish without answering.

“Ronald?  Are you alright?”  I ask and touch his shoulder.

“You’re… you… wow… you… umm… you’re”  He  mumbles like he can’t think of the next word.

“I’m what?” I ask to try to get him over the brain error he seems to be having.

“Beatiful.”  he finally settles on and clears his throat.  “You look lovely tonight Luna.”  he adds and offers his free arm.

“Thank you Ronald, you look very dashing yourself.”  I tell him as I take the offered arm.

“You know most people call me Ron.”  he points out as he takes me out to the back porch.

“But you name is Ronald.”  I tell him and wonder why he needs to be reminded of this.

“That is true, but it sounds so formal when you say it like that.”  he tells me while he leads me down one of the garden paths.

“Does it make you feel uncomfortable when I say your whole name?”  I ask him as I try to get to the bottom of why he is bringing all this up.

“Sort of..”  he starts and sets the basket down on the path so he can turn and look me in the eyes.  “I don’t want to be formal with you Luna, we are on a date.”

I smile at him and nod.  “Okay Ron, I will stop calling you by your full name.”

“Thank you.”

The rest of the date was nice.  We walked for a little while longer and talked about old teachers and friends.  He made me laugh more than I have laughed in over a year, and it felt good to leave the world behind for those few hours.

When we made our way back up to the house Ron stopped by the back door and looked down at me a bit sheepishly.  “I’ll come by as soon as I can.”  He tells me and timidly lifts a hand to cup my cheek.

I nod and smile up at him as I wonder if he will get enough guts to even kiss me tonight.  “Are you sure you would not like to come in for some tea?”  I ask to give him a small opening.

“Oh…”  he starts and looks into the house before he shakes his head.  “I shouldn’t…”  he says and lets his words hang as if he wants to add something but decides not to.

“Big day tomorrow?”  I press as I want to know what is taking him away after our night together.

“Yeah…  Maybe they will even let your write about this one.”  He says and smiles, before he notices his hand is still on my cheek.  “I’ll come check on you soon.”  he says again and after a moment hesitation and leans down and kisses me sweetly on the lips.

I can’t help but compare it to the only other real kiss I have had.  Ron’s kiss is sweet and slow, where Blaise’s had been full of heat and lust.  I can’t really decide which kiss I like more, but I do like them both.

When he pulls away, I am left feeling cold and empty, and he is turning a bright red color.

“See you soon.”  he says and steps away into the darkness of the night.

Daphne-

“These two rooms will be yours.”  I tell the women in front of me.  “I will leave it to you as to who gets which room.”  I say because I don’t really care.  They really are nearly exactly the same.

“You must tell us Daphne, now that it is just us, how did you manage to train her so well?”  Tracey asks as she looks into each room I have shown them.  She sneers a bit as she realizes they are not as big as Ginny’s.

“You should learn one thing right now Tracey.”  I say in a friendly tone.  “The walls of Hogwarts still has ears, and the Dark Lord does not like people disrespecting his consort.”

“How does it feel to be replaced by a blood traitor anyway?”  she asks completely ignoring my last statement.

“I was never replaced by my Lady.”  I say and straighten my back.  “I was the Dark Lord’s Mistress, never his consort.”  I say with a forced smile.

“Mistress, consort, it all means the same thing doesn’t it?”  She says with a wave of her hand as she picks the room with the bigger windows and stands in front of the door so Millicent knows she has staked her claim.

“Oh no, a Mistress is purely a sexual partner for when the Dark Lord wished to release his stress.  He fully plans to marry his consort.”  I say plainly.  “And she has been his consort since he won this war.”

“You think the Dark Lord is going to marry that blood traitor?  You have got to be kidding me.  Maybe he just needs to find something with a better pedigree.”  She says and straightens her own back.

I laugh and shake my head as I realize her game.  “A better pedigree?  Weasley is one of the great Houses of England.”

“Was one of the great Houses.  Now they are all poor blood traitors.  Davis on the other hand is a minor House, but we are rich and connected to Malfoy family by marriage.”

“Seven generations ago maybe.”  I say and shake my head.  “And I really don’t think the Weasley line has to worry about money so much any more.”  I say and shake my head.  “But we shall see.  Good night girls, you should be ready to join me in her room by seven tomorrow morning.”  I say and walk back to my own room before I can hear any more of Tracey’s bull.

When I open my own door I find Draco already sitting on my bed.  He is wearing nothing but black slacks and I feel my throat tighten at the sight of his bare chest.

“Draco?” I force the word out wondering what he is up to.  He just smiles at me and stands.  He closes the door I left open and takes both my hands into his.

“I thought I could just… hold you?”  he offered and he is looking into my eyes, waiting for a reaction.

I relax a bit as I realize he is not looking for more from me yet.  When I nod he smiles and brings my hands to his lips so he can kiss them softly.  I know he is trying to help me heal, but it still feel so strange to have someone in my life that cares about me as much as he does.

“Tracey may be more of a problem than I thought.”  I tell him as I pull away from him so I can get ready for bed.

“Oh?”  he asks and sits back down on my bed.

“She has her eyes on the Dark Lord.”  I say as I remove jewelry and take down pins in my hair.

“I thought she was with Pucey?  They’ve been together since fourth year, I figured they were already engaged.”

I shake my head.  “I thought so too, but you should have heard the questions she was asking me tonight.  She is ambitious.”

Draco chuckles and shakes his head.  “She will just be making trouble for herself, the most she will get out of that line of thought is a position as his Mistress.”

“He wouldn’t treat her like he did me.”  I tell him stiffly as I brush my hair.

“What makes you say that?”  Draco asks.

“It is a minor line, but Davis is a noble line.  She wouldn’t be a common whore.” I say in a tone without emotion.

“Than she would be completely useless to him.”  Draco to reassure me.  “He needs someone to take his sick desires out on so that he doesn’t do it to our Lady.  If he wouldn’t feel it proper to abuse Tracey she would not even make a good Mistress.”

I take in a deep breath and looked back at him.  “She still may be a problem.  I am going to keep an eye on her.  How was your meeting with her new guard?”  I ask curiously.

“Warrington and Pucey will make fine guards.  Nott seems to think he is above our Lady, but I will beat that out of him.  Weasley on the other hand, I don’t even know what to do with him.”

“Not listening to you?”  I ask as I get up and to find myself pajamas to dress in.

“Well he seems to be, but he has this bloody smirk the whole time like he is about to pull something.”  Draco says with a sigh.

“Maybe that is just his face?”  I offer with my own smile.  I go into the bathroom to change and brush my teeth and when I come back out he is frowning at me.  “What?”

“Why did you make Weasley happen?”  he asks with a sigh.

I shake my head and stand at the foot of the bed for a moment.  “We need to try and make her family a part of her life Draco, it is the only way she is truly going to accept who she needs to become.”

He motions for me to join him on the bed as he speaks.  “I can see where that plan works, but did we really have to start with a twin?  His very nature is to make trouble.”

I smile at him as I crawl up his form.  “He knows what trouble will get him, and his sister.”  I remind Draco as I settle in his arms.

He holds me close and lets me rest my head on his chest.  I like this feeling, I feel safe, protected.

“We will see, I just don’t want her freaking out when he is given over to my aunt and tortured until he wishes he were dead.”  Draco said and I can hear the deep frown in his voice.

I close my eyes and listen to the beating of his heart.  “We will worry about that when it happens.” I tell him softly.

The next thing I know, the room is dark and Draco is still holding me in the bed.  I have moved so he is spooning my back.  His hard chest pressed against my form makes me smile.  It takes me a moment to realize what woke me.  In his sleep Draco’s hand moved to my breast, and his thumb is making slow circles around a sensitive spot.

I tence for a moment before I realize I am not panicking.  I smile and close my eyes again.  I relax in his arms and just enjoy the soft caress.

Ginny-

I have spent the last two days listening to my maids talk about clothes and eligible boys within the Empire.  I am more than glad to be going back to class in the morning and I have to wonder how I am going to deal with their chatter for much longer.

When there is a knock on my door I it takes all the will I possess not to jump up and answer it myself.  It is Tracey who rises to see who has come to visit me.

I see Tom in the doorway smile to my maid and she blushes and smiles back in a way that confuses me.

“My Lord, we did not think you would be visiting us this evening.”  She says in what can only be described as a sultry tone.

“I have come to invite your Lady to supper.”  He answers in a dismissive tone.

I rise and smile at Tom, glad to have any reason to be away from these two nitwits.  “I will join you if it pleases you my Lord.”  I tell him and he smiles at me as if I am on the menu tonight.

“Good, why don’t you join me now.”  he says and holds a hand out for me.

“Yes my Lord.”  I say and glance at Daphne to gauge if I am doing the right thing.  She smiles at me and gives a ever so slight nod before we leave the room.

“You need the approval of your maid to join me for supper?”  Tom asks as the door is closed.

“I am still learning the etiquette of this life you have put me in my Lord.”  I say and and hold my chin up as he leads me to the main chamber instead of the dining room.  “Where are we going?”  I ask after a moment.

“I thought a change of scenery would be nice, I am taking you out.”  he says in a oh so pleased voice.  “Has you head maid mentioned my request to you?”  he asks as he leads me up into the castle.

“You want a sample of my magic, freely given.”  I say to make sure we are talking about the same thing.

“Yes, I require it so we can be intimate without being interrupted again.”  he tells me as if someone has just stepped into the room while we were having sex.

“Nothing comes free my Lord.”  I say as I wish to put it off for as long as I possibly can.

“Of course not, what would you like?”  he asks and I can tell he is smiling.

I smile myself before I use the words he once said to me.  “That isn’t how the game is played my Lord, I want an offer from you.”

He chuckles and shakes his head.  “You are learning very well my lioness.”  He says in an almost loving way.  It makes my skin crawl and my stomach flip all at once.

“Thank you my Lord.”  I say and glance around to notice other students looking at us as we pass in the hall.  I notice Dean Thomas frowning at us and I remember the days when I was on Dean’s arm.

“You know I could have him put in one of the camps with the other mudbloods.”  Tom says when he sees me looking.  “He has no proof he is a halfblood.”

“Why would you even know that much about him my Lord?”  I ask and I start to panic a little that I drew unwanted attention to my old friend.

“I have gotten files on all your past lovers.”  He says as if it were obvious.

“I would hardly call Dean my lover, my Lord.  You have seen much more of me than he ever will.”  I say in a soft tone.

“Very true, but he has kissed you many more times than myself, and I find that it makes me jealous.” Tom says in a bored tone.

“There is really no reason to be jealous my Lord, that ended long before you.”  I tell him and I am glad with each step we take away from my ex.  “He hates me now.”  I add for good measure.

“He may hate you, but he still desires you.”  He points out.

“But you said you liked the fact that other men desire what is yours.”  I counter which makes Tom smile.

“I did at that.  And you are mine, body and soul.”  he says in a tone that makes me shiver.  “How is your brother dealing with that fact?” He asks in a knowing way.

“Honestly, it is something that will take him some time to deal with my Lord, but he won’t make any trouble.”  I say even though I am unsure of it.

“I am sure he won’t.”  Tom says with a chuckle as we walk down to the front gate.  “A carriage will be taking us into London.”  he says as I shiver in the night air.

“Am I really going into London shoeless my Lord?”  I ask as my feet meet cold ground.

“Yes.”  He says in a conversation ending tone.

We are both quiet for a long time and when he speaks again we are already half way to London.  “For a sample of your magic I am willing to give you a voice in our council meetings.”  he says with a smile.

Votes are called for whenever the Tom wishes for the real input of the others in the council.  He always has final say, but he puts weight in what those closest to him think.  A vote would mean real political sway and I know what Daphne would tell me to do in this moment.

“A vote, and your support on my Property Protection Act.”  I say trying to get as much as I can out of this favor he wants.

He frowns and rubs his chin.  “I have seen it mentioned in Miss Greengrass’ reports.  You wish to enact a law that will forbid wizards from needlessly bringing harm to their slaves?”

“Yes my Lord.  I am sure you understand my reasons for the law, but besides that it will help protect what will become valuable assets for the Empire.”  I repeat Daphne’s words.

“I will put my support behind it, but only if we agree on the final draft.”  he says, and I know it is as much as I will get.

“Then you have a deal my Lord.”  I say and a slow smile spreads across his face.

Luna-

The date with Blaise was actually sort of surprising.  He took me to dinner and dancing, which I had actually sort of expected.  He was his usual charming self, but he was also very sweet, and more of a gentleman than I have ever seen him be before.  When he took me home he gave me a chaste kiss on the corner of my mouth and left without a single lewd remark for the entire night.  It was sort of refreshing, but also had me wondering what his plan was and where this new tactic was leading.

It is Monday morning and I have a few errands to run before I head into work.  I got up early so I wouldn’t be late, and by the time I get Diagon Alley only the other shopkeepers are awake.  I pick up a few things I need for the office and am heading to the Quibbler when two wizards almost fall out of a doorway in front of me.

I move to step around them when I realize one of the wizards is Rookwood, and by the strong smell of firewhisky coming from him and his friend I would say they have been drinking all night.

I quicken my step to get away from the two as quickly as I can when something catches my wrist.

“I know you…”  Rookwood says and eyes me for a moment.  “Hey.. hey.. Bast… This is the twit I was telling you about.”  he tells his friend and tightened his hold on my wrist.

I pull my wand out with my free hand and aim the tip just under his chin.  “Would you kindly let me go.”  I ask softly, trying to get free without upsetting him too much.

“Well she looks like a pretty little lamb.”  The other wizard answered.  “But seems like too much witch for you.”

He growls at his friends words and tosses me to the ground like I am a rag doll.  My wand, which I was holding much too tightly gos flying from my hand.

“Just going to have to teach the slag a lesson.”  he says before he follows me to the ground.

I roll over and work on crawling in the direction of my wand.  A moment later he grabs my shoulder and with one strong pull turns me over onto my back.  “I think it is time I show little Miss Prude what she has been missing.”  He says and I hear a cruel chuckle come from his friend.

“Get off of me!”  I yell as loudly as I can and try to push him away, but his body is like dead weight on top of mine.

“Shhh, little girl, you are going to like this.”  he said and I can feel one of his hands searching to get under my clothes.

I feel the cold breath of a man very far away on my neck and when I look up I see red snake like eyes.  I start to fight with the man on top of me with all my strength.  All I can think of is getting him away, getting him off.

When I feel a sudden burst of energy from the same place my magic comes from the world goes dark.  I float in the calmness for what feels like hours, and when I come back to the world everything is so much more severe than it was before.

I sit up and look to see what happened, and when my eyes fall upon what looks like a dead Rookwood, with his friend kneeling above him my whole body tightens with dread.

“Is he…?” I start to ask unable to move from the spot on the ground.

“Yes.”  The man Rookwood had called Bast says before he pushes down his hood and looks over at me.

“I didn’t mean it, I don’t even have my wand.”  I tell him as I am simultaneously dealing with the fact that I somehow just killed someone, and what that means for my own life.  When I see the thin man’s face I know I have seen it before.

“Oh I know exactly what you meant to do little lamb.”  He says and then turned to cast a few spells over the body.  “Go now, you were never here.”  he adds and turns to smirk at me.  “We will talk about this later.”

Daphne-

I can see Ginny is getting antsy with the conversation over the last few days, but she has been on her best behavior.  She mostly only speaks when she has to, which may be for the best.  Though they do not have thrilling interests it is still better for the other women to feel at home here.

When there is a knock on the door I motion for Tracey to answer it and go back to studying Ginny.  If something doesn’t happen soon she is going to jump out of her skin.

I glance to the door and see that the Dark Lord has come to visit, I bow my head but I keep a close eye on Tracey as she interacts with our leader.  She smiles at him and blushes like a first year virgin to try and get his attention, but his eyes find his Lady and he sees no one else.

“My Lord, we did not think you would be visiting us this evening.”  Tracey says in an attempt to get him to even look at her.

“I have come to invite your Lady to supper.”  He answers in a dismissive tone.  It takes great strength for me not to laugh right in her face as she pouts slightly.

Ginny nearly jumps out of her seat and is actually smiling at the Dark Lord, she must be even more bored than I thought.  “I will join you if it pleases you my Lord.”  She tells him almost happily which makes him smile.

“Good, why don’t you join me now.”  he says and holds a hand.

“Yes my Lord.”  She answers and glances to me, obviously making sure she is doing the right thing.  I give her a smile and a slight nod to make my message clear.

As the door is closing I almost laugh when I hear the Dark Lord ask “You need the approval of your maid to join me for supper?”

“What exactly does he see in her?”  Tracey snaps as she comes back to the sofa where she had been sitting before.

“You do not want the honest answer to that question.”  I tell her and shake my head.  “You do not want me to remember you even asked it.  You are in service to her now Tracey, you need to start remembering your place.”  I warn her.

“So you really expect us to take this lady’s maid thing seriously?”  Tracey asked with a sneer then looked to Millicent for backup at how ridiculous I sounded.

“Yes.”  I tell her and smile as Millicent glances up to us then goes back to the magazine she is reading.

“But she is a Weasley!  She isn’t even a citizen!”  Tracey says and throws her hands into the air.

“She is the Dark Lord’s consort.  It makes her more important than any of us so deal with it Tracey.”  Millicent finally puts in her two knuts.  “Everyone here can tell you are trying out for the job, just be glad the Lady has not noticed herself.”

“What is she going to do to me?  Pout?”  Tracey asks and straightens her back.  “The real question is why aren’t you two on my side?”

“Adrian is a nice guy.”  Millicent says without a pause for thought.

Both Tracey and I look at her as if she has two heads.  Unfortunately for Tracey she recovers first and is soon standing in front of the much taller and broader girl.

“If you think you have a chance why don’t you just try to get his attention away from me?”  She asked with her arms crossed over her chest.

“You think he hasn’t noticed how much you primp whenever the Dark Lord is around?”  Millicent asked as she stood up to tower over the other girl.  “You are not going to have his attention much longer.  Oh and you should know the Dark Lord hasn’t looked at you once, let alone twice since we started here.”

“That is enough.”  I say before this turns into a real fight.  “Both of you should start to seriously think about what your next step is.  Our Lady has given you both a very valuable opportunity here, you should try not to waste it.”

“Seriously Daphne, I need to know…”  Tracey starts and turns all her attention back to me.  “What happen?  Why are you so… loyal?”  She asks as if it is a dirty word.

I sigh and shake my head as I decide how much I should tell them.  “She holds my life in her hands.”  I tell her and look directly into her eyes when I add.  “And if you stay on this road you insist on going down, you are going to find yourself in the same position.”

Tracey huffs and rolls her eyes.  “May I go?  It is Adrian’s night off, and he wanted to take me out.”  She asked like the last conversation never happened.

“Go, I am sure our Lord will be keeping his Lady out late.”  I say just to rub in that he is with Ginny and not her.

With another huff she walks out and leaves me alone with Millicent.  I turn to the larger girl and smile.  “Do you want him?”  I ask curiously.

“Will you make fun of me if I say yes?”  She asks a bit hesitantly.

“No, I will help you get him.”  I answer with a smile.  “She needs to be knocked down a few pegs, and if you plan to serve our Lady loyally, you will need a suitable husband.”  I say and smile more as she smiles.

“I want him.”  She says and looks down sheepishly.  “I don’t think I am his type.”

“Millicent you are still thinking of yourself like you were back in second year when you were bigger than all the boys.”  I say as I start to make plans for her in my head.  “I am sure that is no longer true.”  She was still tall for a girl, but she did not tower over the men any longer.  “You have plenty I can work with.”  I tell her firmly.

 

Chapter 4: And Other Terrorist Acts

Ginny-

“Do you need any help with your charms homework? You know I got top marks in charms when I was in school.” Tracey offers her help with a fake smile on her fake face. I look up to see both Daphne and Millicent looking at her oddly.

“No, I’m doing just fine on my own.” I tell her in as polite a tone as I can find in myself.

“Suit yourself…” She said before she goes back to whatever it was she was doing at the moment.

I go back to focusing on my homework and trying to ignore the fact the other girls are there. I have three scrolls to write for different classes and I plan to get the bulk of the work done tonight if I can. I’m not sure how much time passes before Daphne speaks up.

“How did your meeting with the Dark Lord go yesterday?” She asks drawing me out of my work once again.

I figure it’s time for a break anyway so I set my quill down and turn to face her. I sigh before I begin to speak. “It was fine I guess. It felt very odd to give him a piece of my magic, but I would have to say it was worth the price.”

“Did it hurt my Lady?” Millicent asks before she looks down in embarrassment. “Sorry…” She murmurs as she obviously thinks it isn’t her place to speak.

“It didn’t hurt; it just felt like he was pulling a thread from my heart. It was like an odd sort of tugging.” I tell her and give her a kind smile so she knows I’m not upset with her.

“Why did he want it anyway?” Tracey asks after trying to pretend she wasn’t listening to us.

“I can’t tell you that.” I say simply and straighten my back.

“What is so…” Tracey starts to ask when the door bursts open and hits the wall with a cracking sound.

All three of us jump and look up to see what has made such a loud sound. What I find in my doorway sends an uncontrolled shiver down my spine. Tom steps into my room with a look of cold fury upon his face.

“I need to speak with Miss Weasley alone.” He says and the three girls rush out of the room as if they were on fire. Honestly, I wish I could join them; the last place I wish to be is in a room alone with Tom in a mood like this.

“Is something wrong my Lord?” I ask once the door is closed. I try to keep my voice even, but I’m not sure I succeed.

“I wish to relieve some stress, and thanks to you I no longer have a Mistress to go to.” He says in a misleadingly calm voice.

I swallow hard as I remember what I saw when he last used his Mistress to relieve stress. I look at the ground and try my best not to seem like I’m defying him. “What can I do to help my Lord?” I ask in as calm a voice as I can.

He smirks at me in a way that makes me want to crawl out of my skin and hide. “Undress for me.” He says as he takes a seat in the overstuffed armchair.

“Does this mean you have solved the problem we had before?” I ask in what I hope is a pleased sounding tone.

He chuckled and motioned for me to stand. “Undress for me.” He repeats without giving me an answer.

With nervous flies in my stomach, I stand and walk to stand in front of him. My hands tremble as I start to undo the buttons of the shirt and slowly reveal a pink lace bra to him.  I hear a chuckle again before he suddenly pulls me into his lap.

“You are so very innocent my lioness.” He tells me as I sit stiffly, dropping my hands to my lap. “Did I tell you to stop?” He asks in a dark tone.

“No my Lord.” I say and quickly start to undo the last few buttons of my shirt. He parts it for me running rough fingertips over the top edge of my breasts.

“Your innocence is one of the reasons it has to be you.” He says more to himself than to me. “There are just so many reasons that make you my perfect Empress. It’s like you were made for this single reason.” He adds and runs his fingers up my neck before he looks into my eyes. “If I could love anyone, it would be you my lioness.”

I’m not really comfortable with the way he’s touching and speaking to me so I try looking away, but he catches my chin turning it back to face him.  I try to pull out of his grasp before I notice that his eyes are green. I hold my breath so I don’t scare the vision away this time.

“You must feel so lost here…alone with no friends.” He says in a soft voice, I’m not sure how I should answer him. I let out a slow breath and decide to go for broke.

“I have you.” I say before I lean in and kiss him the way I used to kiss Harry. I know he isn’t completely Harry, but I feel the kiss will only bring more of the boy I love out in this man that I hate.

He pulls back suddenly and pushes me off his lap. “You little minx!” He says in a tone that is no longer soft or kind. “You will pay for your little game.” He adds before standing to his full height.

“What did I do my Lord?” I ask to play innocent and try to get out of whatever he’s thinking.

“You know perfectly well what you were just trying.” He says and grabs a fist full of my hair by the root before he starts to drag me behind him. I can’t tell where we are going but I feel the soft rug turn into smooth stone.

He throws me down and when I look up, we are in the Chamber. “Now finish.” He says, but I have no idea what he’s asking for so I just look up at him.

“Finish what my Lord?” I ask glancing around to Draco and Pucey standing to the side, I know better than to think they would get in his way.

“Undressing.” He replies in a cruel tone.

I swallow trying to think of anything I could say to change his mind. He looks as if he doesn’t have much more patience for me and I find I can’t think of a single thing. Unable to see any other options I look at the floor and start to undo the buttons of my shirt.

It is cold in the Chamber so I can already feel goosebumps blooming on my skin as I let the shirt fall to the ground. I unzip the skirt and push it over the curve of my hips before I let it settle on the cold black marble floor. I stand in front of him and anyone else who is around shivering in my bra and knickers. I can hear whispering so I know that there are more than just those I noticed before.

“Continue.” He orders and a shiver goes down my spine.

“Please my Lord?” I ask in a tight voice. I don’t wish to be completely nude in front of his loyal followers.

“Hold your head up, and continue.” He says in an instructive tone as if I’m an unruly pupil.

I look up to him and straighten my back. I suddenly have the wish to present myself as noble as possible, to try, and save what little dignity he allows me. I reach behind and unclasp my bra before I let it too drop to the floor.

I suddenly hear scuffling off in the direction, Draco was standing, but I decide it is better not to look. I push the last shred of clothing I have on over my hips and let them pool with my skirt.  I stand before the Dark Lord completely exposed. I stand tall and say nothing as I wait for his next command.

“Miss Greengrass can you come and pull up your Lady’s hair, it is in the way of her punishment.” He says without looking away from my eyes.

“Yes my Lord.” Daphne says and I can feel her come up behind me adjusting my hair so it’s off my back before she moves away again.

“Put your hands above your head my lioness.” He commands and waits for it to be done before he cast a spell that wraps my wrists in rope, holding them in place. “Do you have anything to say to your Lord before your punishment begins?”

Luna-

Blaise opens my office door without knocking and I almost fall out of my chair. “We just got this from Hog…” he starts before looking me over with a serious expression, closing the door. “Luna, you have to tell me what has you so jumpy. I can’t help if you don’t confide in me.”

I look into his eyes and they are filled with concern, real concern. It’s a very odd feeling to think that maybe this arrogant blood purist has grown to like me. I bite my inner cheek and look down at my desk.

“Well someone worse already knows maybe you can help deal with him. A few days ago…” I start, looking anywhere but his face. “Rookwood was drunk and attacked me.”

With the sound of a heavy thump I look up to see a rather angry Blaise, I’m taken back by the raw emotion on his face. “I’ll kill him.” He snaps and turns as if he is planning to do the deed right in that moment.

“I already have.” I say very softly so that maybe he wouldn’t hear. The way he stops dead in his tracks lets me know he has heard me very clearly.

“You… killed him?” He asks and turns to face me once again. “You killed one of the Dark Lord’s inner circle?”

“I didn’t mean to, he was all over me and I panicked; I didn’t even have my wand, it was some accidental magic and it threw him back. I think he hit his head and Lestrange was there…” I know I’m ranting, but now that it has come out, I can’t seem to stop the flow of words. “… He said he would take care of it and that he would come to talk to me…”  I realize I’m having a bit of trouble breathing and that I may be going into a full panic attack when Blaise interrupts me.

“Which one? Which Lestrange?” He asked and I have to actually focus to answer his question.

“Rabastan.” I say and I’m about to keep talking when Blaise holds up his hand for me to stay silent.

“Only answer what I am asking love, okay?” He asks and I nod. “Take deep breaths.” He adds and I nod again. He lets me breath for a little while before he asks his next question. “Where and when did this all happen?”

“It was just outside of The Rusty Boot, Monday morning before I came into work.” I tell him still trying to keep myself calm.

“Well if Rabastan hasn’t reported it by now, he wants something else out of it. You have to let me listen in when he comes to call.” He says as if there is no question to this fact. “Now I need you to calm down because we have work to do.”

I nod, taking a few more breaths before I look up at him again. “What did you bring in to show me?” I ask, while he’s picking up the package, he dropped on the ground.

“This came for you from Hogwarts; it has the Dark Lord’s seal on it.” He says and sets the heavy packet down in front of me. I read the note on the top.

Quibbler Staff,

The following pages will be incorporated into your next issues as well as a full story on the enclosed events. I do not think I need to remind you that said article should show these events as the heinous terrorist acts they are.

~Headmaster of Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, Lucius Malfoy

When I open the packet, I find several pictures of my friends with notes on the back of each. When Ronald is suddenly glaring up at me from the pile, I sigh and run my hand over his face.

“You knew him?” Blaise asks as he looks over my shoulder.

“We were in the DA together…” I say and shake my head before looking at the next photo.

“You were in the DA with the lot of them, why is he special?” He asks sounding suspicious.

I sigh again looking up at him. “If you really must know, Ronald was my first crush. Well, actually my first and only.”

“So he is my real competition.” He says taking the picture from me so he can look at it more closely.

I shake my head and set the pictures aside so I can read the other information. As I’m reading, Blaise starts to read the back of Ronald’s photo.

“Blood Traitor, wanted for high crimes against the Dark Empire.” He shakes his head. “I just remember him cursing himself to puke up slugs, and now it seems he’s public enemy number one.”

“He was always very kind in school.” I say and look up at Blaise. “But it seems he’s a terrorist now. He and other DA members have raided one of the camps that are holding the muggleborns.” I explain motioning down to the pages, I’m reading. “It says they set 87 prisoners free, killed two guards, and seriously injured 17 more.”

“So what did you see in him back in school?” Blaise asks curiously, as he hands me back the photo.

“He was noble, in a way that I could see and everyone around me missed.” I tell him honestly. “He was a true friend to a man who had so much on his shoulders, not a lot of people could help carry such a load.”

Blaise looks down into my eyes and cups my cheek gently. “You miss him. You would marry him if that were at all possible.”

I shake my head and pull away so I can go back to reading the report. “Why does everything come down to marriage with you?” I ask a bit playfully so I can change the subject. “You are worse than a girl.”

“Marriage is power in our new world Luna.” Blaise tells me simply. “I never thought I would have to compete with a Weasley for a woman.” He adds with a mix of amusement and disgust in his voice.

“You’re not competing with Ronald, there is hardly a chance I will ever see him again, how would I ever be able to marry him.”

“That makes it worse because I am actually competing with a romanticized version of Mr. Weasley. Come out with me tonight, we can forget about the world together.” He offers his hand to me.

I think it’s the best way of keeping this Ronald idea out of his head so I nod. “Pick me up at nine?” I ask a bit shyly.

“I won’t be a moment later.” He says and leaves me to read the report.

Daphne-

“You know better than this Ginny.” I say as I carefully dab the red and bleeding welts on her back. “To tell him you’re not sorry for what you did, it only makes the things worse.”

She is playing brave but I can hear the pain in her voice. “He had me looking so weak in front of everyone, I couldn’t ask for mercy.” She explains tightly. I’m actually impressed with this insight to her situation. “I don’t want him to think of me as weak either.”

“That’s actually a good plan, though you had to pay for it.” I tell her as I dip the towel back into the cool water. “What did you do anyway?” I ask curiously.

She didn’t answer for long enough that; I thought I wouldn’t be getting an answer at all. Just as I was about to change the subject I heard her sigh.

“If you tell anyone this, you’ll put them in danger.” She tells me softly.

“I won’t speak a word of it.” I tell her as I continue to clean her back.

“Sometimes, when the Dark Lord and I are alone, I can see Harry in his eyes.” She says in such a soft voice, I almost miss it. I smile at her back, this was something I already knew from a few of her journal entries, but it was good she was telling me directly.

“So that happened tonight?” I ask as I try to get as much information as I can from her while she’s trusting me.

“Yes.” She says and lets out a small sound of pain. “I tried to prolong it and he caught me. It’s why he wanted a sample of my magic; he’s working on getting it to not happen at all.”

“I can see why you feel the information is so dangerous.” I tell her as I set the cloth aside and find a jar of healing balm. I’m opening the jar when she looks up to me and shakes her head.

“He said no healing.” She says and sits up before reaching for her robe.

“It’s just balm; it will help the wounds not get infected. I used it when…” I start and looked at the ground.

“He said no healing.” She repeats, making a slight hissing sound as her robe hits her back. “I think I’m going to sleep now, I have to be ready for school in the morning.” She gets up to move to her bed.

“I think if he hasn’t let you heal you should skip school tomorrow.” I tell her, as I don’t want her overdoing it.

“No.” Ginny snaps and shakes her head. “That would be showing weakness as well. I need to show him that I can take what he gives me and still keep going.”

I’m about to argue the point when there is a knock at her door. She moves to answer it but I put my hand up to stop her and move to answer it myself. I’m soon face to chest with a rather upset Weasley boy.

“The Lady needs her rest.” I tell him before he can start his yelling and make more of a scene than he did during her punishment.

“I’ve come to see if my sister is alright.” He says stiffly and I can tell he’s going nowhere.

“Let him in Daphne, and go get some rest yourself. I’ll be turning in very soon.” Ginny says, giving me a forced smile.

I nod and glare at George as I’m leaving. “Do not keep her up.” I snap at him before I let myself out.

As I see that Adrian is on duty at the moment, I give him a sweet smile and head to where the Lady’s guards are housed. I find Draco’s room knocking lightly.

When he comes to the door his hair is wet, he’s only wearing a towel wrapped around his bottom half. His lean and well-formed chest and arms are on perfect display for my enjoyment, but the first thing I notice is his black eye.

“What happened?” I ask and take a step toward him so I can view the eye better.

He sighs as if I was mothering him, but the smirk that forms on his lips doesn’t go unnoticed. “It’s nothing, Weasley and I got into a row after I pulled him out of the Chamber.”

“Why haven’t you healed it yet?” I ask running my fingers down his cheek and neck so I can look into his eyes, instead of at his injury.

“It wasn’t that big of a deal, it doesn’t hurt or anything.” Draco tells me and steps out of the way so I can enter his room. “What are you doing here anyway?”

“The Lady released me so I thought I would come and see you.” I tell him, looking around his simple room.

I know it must feel like a step down from the rooms he has at the Malfoy Manor. It’s about the same size as mine, with just enough room for a bed, wardrobe, and desk. He keeps it rather tidy and I have to wonder if it’s him, or if he has given special orders to the house elves.

While I’m thinking about the space, I hear the door close and feel the heat of his chest move up behind me. “Why?” He asks as gentle fingers move strands of my hair off my neck.

I feel my breath hitch in my throat and I’m trembling slightly like a girl who’s never been touched. I feel his soft lips brush against my neck in the most pleasing of ways, and I forget everything I wanted to tell him.

“Draco…” I say as if it’s a prayer.

“Yes?” He answers in a soft tone against my neck as his breath moves up behind my ear.

“What are you doing to me?” I ask stupidly.

I feel teeth on the rim of my ear, then a gentle kiss before he pulls away and leaves me feeling empty without his heat.

“Was that too much?” He asks sounding a bit guilty.

I take in a slow breath and turn to face him while I shake my head. “That was…lovely.”

He smiles and steps against my form again, this time his lips move to mine and his hands settle on my hips.  The kiss captures my complete attention and I find that I’m pressing my body into him without thinking about it. I feel his hands slide around me, to the small of my back and suddenly I have the feeling that I have entirely too many clothes on.

I gasp at the unexpected realization and pulled back from the kiss so I can look up into his eyes. He looks down at me questioningly before I start to unbutton my shirt. I smile as his eyes grow wide and a smile forms on his lips like a boy who just got an early Christmas present and it was exactly what he wanted.

Draco leans down and kisses me again. His hands move up my back, and the moment my shirt is open he’s pushing it off my shoulders.

My heart is hammering like a drum but I don’t feel the crushing panic I have before. I want this and I know I’m safe with him.

I pull back from the kiss once again so I can look into his beautiful gray eyes. He smiles down at me and it’s an odd feeling, how much I just wish to be close to him. What I’m feeling isn’t about power, or lust. The feeling is just a need for connection to a person I care about.

“I love you.” I tell him without fear or anxiety for the first time.

Ginny-

I can see Daphne is about to try and tell me off, but I am saved by a knock at the door. I move to answer it but she puts her hand up and I’m in too much pain to fight over the small things. When she opens the door, I see my brother in the doorway glaring daggers down at Daphne.

To her credit, it doesn’t seem to faze her in the least. “The Lady needs her rest.” She says to try and deflate a rant I can see coming from my brother.

“I’ve come to see if my sister is alright.” He almost growls back at her.

“Let him in Daphne, and go get some rest yourself. I’ll be turning in very soon.” I tell her, I wanted to have a bit of a talk with George anyway. He needs to understand how things are now.

She nods and gives George a look that could wilt flowers.  “Do not keep her up.” She snaps at him before she leaves in a bit of a huff.

“I’m going to kill him.” George snaps the moment the door is closed.

“Will you relax?” I ask and walk over to sit on the sofa so we can talk, I sit down gingerly, and I hear a low growl from my brother.

“How can I relax, you’re still in pain even after you saw a healer.” He says and I watch him pace in the small area in the center of my room.

“I haven’t seen a healer George.” I tell him in a calm voice.

“You what?”  He asks and stops his pacing so he can look up at me.

“I’m sure he’ll let me see one in the morning.”

“How can you be so casual about this Ginny? Have they already broken you that much?” George asks moving so he can kneel and look into my eyes. He looks as if he’s searching for something. I look back at him as if he were a nutter.

“You don’t seem like you’ve lost your spark, how are you so… tame?” He asks. I smile and cup his cheek.

“I’m learning to play their game, George.” I tell him and take in a deep breath. “When I got here, I was all rage and defiance, and the only thing that did for me was make things worse. There were weeks where I had no control over the simplest of things. I’ve learned that if I follow their rules and play their game, I get control over my life.”

“So you’re one of them now?” He asks with disgust in his voice.

“If I were one of them, I would not have been punished tonight.” I spit back as my anger flares a bit at his accusation. “Just because I’m playing things their way, doesn’t mean I don’t have my own goals.”

“Your goals should be escape.” He says and looks back up at me. “Get away from these people and the pain they cause you.”

“Of course.” I say looking anywhere but at my brother. “My goals should be to run and hide and keep myself safe?”

“Exactly.” George says taking my hands.

“Do you really see me as that selfish and fragile?” I ask with a deep frown. “I can do so much more for everyone by staying.”

“I don’t think…” George starts and I put my hand over his mouth to shut him up.

“Stop playing big brother for a moment and think. I’ve already gotten Bill released from Grayback’s pack, and his child and wife returned to him. I’ve gotten you out of whatever training hell they had you in, and I’m about to get a law passed that will make it illegal to abuse muggleborns.”

“But look what he did to you?” He counters and I can’t help but roll my eyes.

“It’s temporary pain. Plus there is the fact I think, I may be the only one who can bring Harry back to us.”

He looks at me very sadly and squeezes my hands. “Ginny, Harry is gone, only that monster remains.”

“You haven’t seen what I have. Why do you think he punished me tonight?” I ask and shake my head.

“I figured he was taking his anger, over the raid, out on you.” George says and I frown shaking my head.

“Raid?”

“It seems a group calling themselves; the DA, raided one of the muggleborn camps and set a bunch of them free.” He tells me with a frown. “Why did he punish you then?”

“Harry was coming to the surface and I tried to help him along.” I tell him, but I want to know more about the raid. “Do they know who was involved?”

“They’re just guessing at this point, but the rumors are, it was Ron.” He tells me as a proud smile spreads across his face.

I smile and looked back to George. “You need to understand that the smart move is for me to stay here and try to help as much as I can.  That being said you should go if you find a way.”

“Do you really think I would leave you here alone?” He asks and shakes his head, his face a picture of mock outrage. “Fortunately for you, you chose the most intelligent brother you have, to join you in this mission.”

“So you’ll keep your head down?” I ask hopefully.

“And my ears open.” He answers with a wide mischievous grin.

Luna-

I decide to do my best at looking nice for Blaise, so I let Minty straighten my hair and wear a deep pink cocktail dress, with shoes that match the color exactly. I put on a small amount of makeup and glance at the clock to find that it’s only eight thirty.

“What should I do till he gets here?” I ask myself, but Minty answers.

“Minty thinks Miss should do something to not look so pretty.” The little elf says with a frown.

“I was trying to look pretty for Blaise.” I remind her and she huffs.

“Minty thinks Miss should go find Mr. Ronald and look pretty for him.”

“I know that is what you think Minty, but this is safer for everyone.” I tell her with a sad smile.

I hear the front bell ring and look at the clock again. It’s still very early for him to be here; I frown and look to Minty. “Will you let him in and tell him I’ll be down in a few minutes.” I say before I go over to my jewelry box and pick out what I want to wear tonight.

I head down with a smile on my face so I can meet Blaise and seem as if I’m looking forward to our date.

When I get to the top of the stairs I look down to see a tall man who is definitely not Blaise.

“Mr. Lestrange, I wasn’t expecting you.” I say descending the stairs with an awful tightening feeling in my chest.

“But you were expecting someone…obviously.” He says with a knowing smirk on his lips.

“Yes, my date should be here soon.” I tell him feeling very odd.

“The boy can wait; we have some things to talk about. Do we not?” He asks with a bright tone in his voice.

“Of course.”  I say and look for Minty. When I spot her, I take a deep breath. “I’m going to take Mr. Lestrange to my office; can you send Blaise along when he gets here?” I ask and she nods.

“Mr. Zabini will be joining us? You told him what happened?” Lestrange asks curiously.

“Blaise and I are very close.” I say as I lead the way to my office.

“I would say so, if he hasn’t turned you in for your confession.” He says dryly as he follows me.

Once we are alone in my small office I turn to look at him. “What do you want?” I ask, as I want this over as quickly as it can be.

“Offer me a drink and maybe I’ll tell you.” He answers as he walks around and sits at my desk as if he owned the house.

“Would you like something to drink?” I ask as I try to keep calm.

“Good brandy, if you have any.” He says and smirks up at me playfully.

“Minty!”  I call and she’s in the room with a popping sound. “Please get Mr. Lestrange some brandy from the stock down stairs.”

“Yes Miss.” She says and with a second pop, she’s gone.

“Your house elf is rather young.” He comments in a conversational way.

“She’s only ten or so.” I say with a shrug. “But a very good worker.”

Moments later, she appears with a glass and bottle of brandy, and sets them down in front of him. She’s about to pour when the doorbell sounds again.

“Go get that, I’ll handle the brandy from here.” I tell her. I want Blaise here as soon as possible. She leaves the room as quick as she can, to get the door.

“I can pour my own.” He says and just smirks up at me. “I have to say you look even more lovely tonight, than you did that morning.”

“What do you want from me Mr. Lestrange?” I ask and ignore the compliment.

“You can call me Rabastan.” He says smoothly.

I shake my head. “I would prefer not to.” I answer as the office door opens and a confused Blaise steps in.

“Your elf said to…” he starts before he sees Lestrange. “Ah. I understand now.”

“Mr. Zabini, I’m actually surprised to learn you already know of Miss Lovegood’s situation.” Lestrange says but a smile is still spread across his face.

“Luna and I are courting.” Blaise responds simply. “If you didn’t bring her in immediately you must have reasons?”

“I did.”

“And those reasons are?” Blaise asks and sits down in front of the desk as if he’s my solicitor.

“I thought her gratitude for the favor would be more worthwhile, than her screams in the Dark Lord’s dungeon.” Lestrange answers with the most evil looking smile on his face.

“I’m sure it can be, it’s only a matter of what you think this favor is worth. Luna is rather well off, and I have funds as well.” Blaise offers.

“Money means little to me these days boy.” Lestrange says and shakes his head. “I’m one of the inner circle; I have more money than I could spend in a lifetime.”

“Than what do you want?” Blaise asks sounding a bit tense now.

“I think that really should be between myself and the Lady.” He answers with a smirk and gives me a look that makes me feel rather uncomfortable.

“She isn’t available, we are courting.” Blaise repeats in a rather possessive tone.

“Is there a proposal?” Lestrange asks and I feel the vice on my heart tighten slightly.

“I’m not ready to marry anyone.” I interject, clenching my fists.

“Be that as it may, I have been looking for a worthy bride.” The older man says with a smile.

“You do that and I’ll turn her in.” Blaise snaps and narrows his eyes at the man. “How will it look to be engaged to the woman who killed one of your best friends?”

I start to panic as I look between the two Slytherins; it seems no matter what, I’ll end up in some kind of prison soon.

“You want her that much?” Lestrange asks the younger man curiously.

“I’ve worked very hard to turn her into a perfect bride, for myself.” Blaise answers coldly.

“Then you will marry her.” Lestrange says and glances over to me. “You two will marry, and Mr. Zabini will become one of my…friends.”

Blaise relaxed a bit and nodded to the older man. “I think that is the best way forward. I can be very helpful to my…friends.”

“That is settled, I’ll show myself out.” Lestrange comments as he gets to his feet and heads to the door. “And I want an invitation to the wedding.” He adds with a smirk.

Once he’s gone, my heart is still hammering in my chest. I look over to Blaise with wide eyes. “I have to marry you now?” I ask with a dry throat.

“It was the only thing I could think of.” He says and moves over to me. “Unless you actually want to marry him? He’s more powerful in the Empire than I am at the moment.”

“No. No I would never.” I shake my head and try to calm down.

“Take a deep breath Luna, being married me to won’t be so bad, and we can have a long engagement if you wish.” He says lifting my chin to look into his eyes. “Let’s go out and have some fun?”

Daphne-

“What about this?” I ask holding up cute dark blue robe for Millicent to see.

“Don’t you think that is a bit form-fitting?” She asks shyly as she looks over at what’s in my hand.

“Did you really think it was a question?” I ask her shaking my head as I add it to the pile of things I want her to try on. “You need to change the way you think about your body. You’re not one of the guys.” I tell her as I search the rack for other things for her to try on.

“Thank you for taking me out like this.” She says for the seventh time since we left the school.

“Our Lady is in class, I thought it would be a good time to get you a makeover. What do you think about short hair?” I ask as I decide we have enough for now and lead her over to the dressing rooms.

“How short?” She asks with a worried tone.

“Do you think I would make a fool of you?” I ask as I hand her the first robe to try on.

“I’ve had long hair my whole life.” She answers from the dressing room.

“Well, I just think you would look cuter with a short jagged cut. The long hair just doesn’t fit your face, or your height.” I tell her through the door.

“Short? Jagged?” She asks as she opens the door with the first outfit on. She’s wearing long robes that are cut much closer to her form.

“Put that in the keep pile.” I tell her with a smile. “It’s sort of like a boy’s haircut that looks adorable on the right girl. You are that girl.” I tell her and motion for her to try on the next outfit.

We spend the rest of the day buying clothes, getting her haircut, and getting our nails done. By the time, we’re back at the castle it’s almost time for Ginny to be back in her room. I smile as I picked a time that Pucey will be guarding her, for us to actually head downstairs.

“Now when you see him smile shyly and ask him what he thinks of your new haircut. Pretend like nothing else has changed.” I tell her as we head down together.

“Are you sure I can do this?” She asks almost timidly.

“Millicent, the only thing that has changed between this morning and now is the packaging. I had plenty to work with; you just need to know how gorgeous you are. That is what men react to.” I tell her to try building her confidence.

When we get to Ginny’s door Adrian is already standing outside. As we approach, he can’t take his eyes off Millicent, which makes me smirk.

“What do you think of my new haircut?” She asks him shyly.

While I am heading into the room, I hear him respond. “It really looks good on you Milly.” He says as if he’s surprised. I close the door with Millicent on the other side so they can have some time to flirt.

“What has you looking so smug?” Ginny asks as she looks up from her homework.

“Pet project is going to be easier than I thought.” I tell her and walk over to sit in the chair next to her desk. “How are you feeling?”

“He sent a healer down just before supper.” She says with a shrug. “So I’m fine. I just finished some of the rewrites to the Property Protection Act.”

“Oh? Do you want me to look over them?” I ask understanding her message that she doesn’t want to talk about it.

“Would you?” She asks and hands me a small stack of papers. “With all these new responsibilities, I feel like I don’t have any time for school work.”

“You know I can help with anything you need. Well besides the school work.” I tell her with a smile as I start to look over her changes to the act.

“Tracey came down looking for you and Millicent while the healer was here.” She tells me to change the subject.

“Ah yes, Milly and I went out to do a little shopping with our free time this afternoon.” I explain. “When she comes in you’ll have to tell me what you think.”

“So you have taken Millicent under your wing?” She asks curiously.

“Well she’s being a much better Lady to you than Tracey.” I explain before the door opens again. Millicent looks happier than I have ever seen her as she walks in and sits down in her usual chair.

“Did it go well?” I ask and I can even see Ginny smiling out of the corner of my eye.

“I think so.” She says and sighs before she looks to us. “Nothing really happened, but he was definitely seeing me in a new light.”

“Well yes, we need for him to see Tracey in a new light as well if our plan is to work.” I tell her and she nods.

“Tell me if I can do anything to help.” Ginny says before she goes back to her work.

“Well actually, do you think there is any way you could get the Dark Lord to actually notice Tracey?” I ask curiously, it would go far in my plan if he at least flirted back with her every so often.

Ginny just blinks at me as if I have two heads for a whole five minutes before she speaks. “Maybe? I’ll have to see if an opportunity arises.”

Chapter 5: The Truth Hurts

Ginny-

I’m standing at the top of the Astronomy Tower looking out over the grounds of Hogwarts.  The stone is cold under my bare feet and the wind whips my hair around my face.  My hair is longer than I remember; it’s almost as if the wind is pulling at it making it grow.

It couldn’t be later than noon, but the whole world seems dark.  I have this idea pop into my mind that Tom is making even the sun as dark as his heart.

“You’re being melodramatic.”  Tom says as he walks up behind me.  “Not even the Dark Lord can make a force such as the sun an evil one.”

I shake my head blinking as I realize it isn’t Tom, but Riddle, who’s talking to me.  This is a dream I tell myself before looking down at my own form.  The dark sun reflects off a stone on my hand.  I’m wearing a wedding band on my ring finger.  Two snakeheads grasp a black stone as if they’re about to eat it.  My stomach is full and rounded by what I can only assume is Tom’s child.  I feel all hope drain away as I realize how my soul is locked with Tom’s.

“That’s already true.”  Riddle reminds me.  “Well of course it’s a dream, but it’s yours, not mine.” Riddle tells me as he leans back against the ledge and looks me over.  “I wouldn’t have you so… pregnant.”

“Would you stop doing that?”  I ask as I finally look up at him.

“Doing what?”  He asks innocently.

“Answering my thoughts.”

“My dear, I’m inside your head, these are all your thoughts.”  He points out with a chuckle.  “Why do you think you’re dreaming about this?”  He asks and motions to my form.

“I guess I’m just thinking about the future.  This is what he wants, right?”  I ask him and look down at my stomach again.

“This is exactly what he wants, what do you want?”  He asked and reached out to touch my stomach as if there was a real baby inside.

“I can’t have what I want so why bother?”  I ask as I look back out to the Forbidden Forest.

The world changed around me and I find I’m suddenly on a broom surrounded by what can only be the pitch for the Quidditch World Cup.  Thousands of fans are screaming my name.

I shake my head and fly down to the ground so I can walk away from this image.

“You can’t hide it; I see this dream in your head.”  Riddle tells me as if it’s something I don’t know.

“It’s an old dream.”  I explain as I take off the pads and look for a door out of the pitch.  “It’s too selfish now, I could never be happy doing this.”

The dream changes again and we’re standing outside of the Burrow.  I can see my whole family inside through the front window.  They’re eating a meal together and laughing and joking, like we always did.  Fred is putting a fake spider in Ron’s soup while George distracts him.  Hermione and Percy are debating some sort of practical application of magic as Harry watches with complete confusion as he tries to keep up.  Something wet falls onto my neck and I can’t look any more.

“Now this is something you want more than anything, don’t deny it.”  Riddle says and I find him sitting on the garden wall.

“Yes.  You’re right, but I can’t have this.  Half of them are dead and the ones who aren’t…”

“Need your protection.”

“Yes.”  I agree unable to make myself look back into the window.

“So that’s how you end up trapped in marriage and bearing his child.”  Riddle states, but it feels like something we both already knew.

“But you must want more.”  He continues after giving me a moment to breath.  I feel him close to me before he reaches down and takes my chin so I’ll look at him.  “You can have so much more with him.  If you play his game, if you give him what he wants he’ll give you the world.  Literally.”

“I don’t want the world.”  I remind him while I work on not crying.

“Then decide what you do want.”  He tells me firmly.

“I’ve been working…” I start but he shakes his head.

“Yes, you’ve been working to get mudbloods and the other unclean protected.  You’ve been working to protect your family.  If these are the only things you ask for he’ll always see you as his…” he paused as he tried to decide on the right word.  “…rebel queen.”

“So I should be selfish so he thinks I’m more like him?”  I ask taking a step away from him while I shake my head.  “So he’ll trust me more?”  I add and have to laugh at the idea of him trusting anyone.  The sound is hollow compared to the laughter that comes from inside the house.

“No one is like him Ginny, no one.”  Riddle tells me seriously.  “In all the world, do you know who knows him best?  Who really knows Lord Voldemort, his true face?”

I shake my head and try to ignore the sound of laughter coming from inside my old home.  “I don’t know.  Can we please go?”  I ask with a bit of desperation in my voice.

The world shifts around us and I find we’re standing back on the tower where we began.  I look back down at myself.  I’m back to being pregnant and dressed finely as I had been before only now I’m wearing green, Slytherin green.

“I always liked you better in that color.  Now answer my question or we go back.”  Riddle says, but I don’t really care what color I’m wearing.

I breathe in a tired breath and look up at him.  “I don’t know.  One of his followers, Bellatrix maybe?”  I guess so he’ll leave me alone.

“Bellatrix sees him as the god he wants all of his followers to see.  Unless you think he really is a god, try again.”  Riddle says like he’s a teacher and I’m a disappointing pupil.

“Dumbledore used to know him, and he taught Harry a lot.”  I point out.

“The old fool only ever saw one side of him, he never truly understood.”  The dark haired man shakes his head.  “Besides both he and the boy are dead, so they don’t really count.”

“I don’t think Harry is dead.”  I admit to him because I know I can’t hide things from him anyway.

“I know, and you really should drop that foolish hope.”  Riddle tells me with a frown.  “Harry is as alive as I am.  I’m sure what you saw was a small glimmer of him holding on, but nothing that could take its own form.  But you’re off topic.  Who knows Tom best Ginny?”

I frown and look at my hands, examine the small snakes on the wedding band on my finger.  “Maybe Daphne.” I say after a moment.  “He…” I start but he shakes his head.

“He showed her the monster.”  He says looking at me seriously.

“You’re trying to say it’s me.”  I realize after a moment.

Riddle only smiles.

“How can it be me?”  I ask feeling like I’m about to panic.  Why does it frighten me so much to think I know Tom better than anyone?

“Why do you think he chose you to be his lioness?  Why do you think you’re not rotting in the cell next to your friends?  Or sold off to some rich old Death Eater as a reward for his service.”  Riddle asks.

Words Tom said to me recently come to the forefront of my mind.  I thought at the time it had been Harry who made him say them, but now I’m starting to doubt.

“If he could love anyone, it would be you.”  Riddle says the words on my mind.  “I don’t want you to be like him.”  He adds going back to whatever point he was really trying to make.

“What do you want Riddle?”  I ask and my voice reflects how mentally tired I am in this moment.

“I thought it was obvious, I want us both to live long and happy lives.”  He tells me as if he was speaking to a child.  “I want you to think, and use what you have to both our best advantages.  I don’t want you beaten and broken.  You would be no fun to play with if you were, and you’re my only toy.”

“So you’re helping me deal with Tom so that he’ll not break me?  You want me to get him to think I’m truly accepting a place at his side.”  I ask so I know I understand what he said.

“No Ginny.  I want you to truly accept a place at his side.”  He says making me frown.

“I…” I start to tell him he just repeated what I say when I realize the difference.  “I can’t do that.”  I say and the panic quickly returns.

“Than this is not your future.”  Riddle says and motions to my form.  “This is.”  He adds before all I can feel is white-hot fire.  I scream as the pain shoots through my entire body never letting up.

Luna-

I sit at my desk with my knees pulled to my chest so I can rest my head on them.  Blaise and I went out after we were forced into the engagement, but I wasn’t any fun.  He took me back to his place and gave me the ring that now rested on my finger.  He told me it had been his grandmother’s on his father’s side.

I fiddle with the ring looking at it closely.  It’s actually rather pretty for a prison.  The stone in the center is a ruby and it’s held up by the three moons of the Zabini crest.  Blaise told me the ruby represents the purity of blood of his family line.  He explained that the ring is said to be cursed.  If any bride less than pure would put it on she would lose the finger.  Though he quickly added, that no one had ever tested if the story was true.

“Miss?”  Minty knocks on the door to my office bringing me out of my thoughts.  “Mr. Ronald is here to see Miss.”  She adds without pause.

“Take him to the garden; I’ll meet him out there.”  I tell her giving one last look at the ring before I take it off and place it in my pocket.

When I see him sitting on one of the low garden walls my heart breaks just a little more than I’m ready for and I let out a sob I don’t mean to.

“Luna?”  He asks with a frown.  “What’s wrong?”  He looks pale and thin.  I see noticeable black circles under his eyes; I see the color of worry surround him.  But for all that he’s handsome and strong and all I want to do is fall into his arms and let him hold me.

“I…”  I start leaving a space between us so I can say what I need to.  “You can’t come here again.”

“What?”  He asks with a frown moving closer to me.

I take a step back shaking my head.  “You’re going to hate me.”  I tell him.

“Tell me what’s wrong.”  He asks now standing directly in front of me, close enough to touch.

I pull the ring out of my pocket to hand to him, and then turn my back so I don’t have to see his reaction.

“Why?”  Ronald asks so softly I almost don’t hear him.

I wonder for a moment if I should tell him the whole story.  Tell him about Rookwood and how I got myself into this whole mess.  I decide it’s the only fair way.

“I killed a Death Eater.  It was an accident, and he attacked me.  But there was a witness and he was a member of the Dark Lord’s inner circle.”

“So this witness is blackmailing you into marrying him?”  Ron asks, his voice changing from sad to angry.

“He’s blackmailing me into marrying Blaise.”  I correct not knowing if it will make a difference to him.

“Oh I’m so very sure Zabini had nothing to do with it.” He says in a tone that’s obviously sarcasm.

“He’s just trying to protect me.”  I tell him finally turning to look at Ron.

“He’s just trying to own you.”  Ron corrects in an even more angry tone.  “That’s what he has wanted from the start.  Now he thinks he’s going to get it.”

“You don’t understand you didn’t see his face when I told him I was attacked.”

“Luna.  Come with me now.  Leave here and we can find a place to keep you safe.”  He presses and takes my arm.  “Please?”  When I look into his eyes, I see the hurt and not the anger.

I lean in without thinking and brush my lips against his.  Resting my forehead against his, I breathe in his air shaking my head.  “I can’t Ron.  I have to stay; I have to help in what little way I can.”

“I love you.”  He tells me softly like that should make a difference.

I can feel tears running down my cheeks breathing slowly to control my voice.  “That’s why you have to leave, and never come back.”

“No.”  Ron says pulling me into a tight embrace.  He kisses me, and this time there’s nothing gentlemanly about it.  It’s a passion filled kiss; one that easily takes what little control I have away and leaves me breathless.

“I’m going to marry him.”  I tell Ron when he lets me breath again.

“I know.” He says, but doesn’t let me go.  “And you’re going to have an affair with me.”  He tells me like it’s a simple truth.  “You’re going to have love in your life.  Then when this war ends, you’ll be mine.”

I can’t help but smile at his plans.  They’re so sweet, so innocent.  He still carries a light of hope in him that’s so very rare in this time of darkness.  It makes me love him more.

Daphne-

This time when I’m woken up in the middle of the night by a pounding on my door it is George Weasley and he looks panicked.  “She won’t stop screaming.  They told me to get you.”

I had hoped this wouldn’t happen again, but as they still don’t know why it happened the first time, I guess it has been a silly hope.  I pull a robe on before leading him back to the dungeon.

“Did they send anyone to retrieve the Dark Lord?”  I ask looking at him seriously.

“Yes, Draco just thought it would be better if I got you.”  He says listening to me only because of his worry for his sister.  “Someone said it has happened before?’

“Only once.”  I tell him like that should make him feel better.  “Did Draco give her the potion?”

“He tried, but she won’t swallow it.”  George sounds more worried

When we get to her room, the Dark Lord is standing over the healers as they try to calm her.  Usually screams of pain in this castle are met by smirks and dealt out by our Lord.  But at the moment the Dark Lord looks almost as worried as Ginny’s brother.

“Why isn’t it working you fool?”  He snaps at the healer.  He’s probably wishing he had learned the healing arts at the moment so he wouldn’t have to rely on another.

“Maybe we should put up a silencing charm.”  One of the healer’s suggests softly.  The look the Dark Lord gives him makes him take a step back.  “So that the whole castle isn’t woken my Lord.” he tries to explain himself.  “The children…”  

“Can wake for all I care.  If she has to suffer screaming because you’re too incompetent to sooth her, than all can suffer with her.”  The Dark Lord says with blazing red eyes.  All in this room know the man will not survive the morning if Ginny isn’t soothed quickly.

I step forward sitting next to Ginny on the bed.  I touch her face softly and whisper in her ear.  “Ginny, it’s only a dream.  He can only hurt you as much as you let him.  Ginny let it go, let us help.”  I tell her softly repeating my words until the screaming turns into whimpering.

“I’m sure you can handle it now that she’s done most of the work.”  The Dark Lord says coldly.  “Miss. Greengrass follow me.”

I look up at him swallowing before I glance to Draco.  He nods slightly and I get up and follow the Dark Lord out of the room.

“Do you plan to marry him?”  He asks as he leads me to his office.  I breathe out a sigh of relief that we’re not going to his chambers.

“No my Lord.”  I tell him honestly.  “Draco is a good friend, but we don’t bring each other any benefit in marriage.”

“He could make you an actual Lady.”  He points out as he motions me inside.

“But that would weaken his political position.  Did you call me here to speak about Draco my Lord?”  I ask confused.

“No.”  He said and moved around me to take up the place of power at his desk.  “Have you seen what she sent me tonight?  This act she’s proposing?”  He asks, but he already knows the answer.

“Of course my Lord.”  I say with a bow of my head.

“This is your doing.”  He adds after a moment.  “It’s well thought out and something I can actually support without looking weak.  It’s protecting the Empire’s assets without focusing on the fact the assets are people in some eyes.  People like to think their government is protecting their money.  In the end she gets what she wants, her mudbloods are protected from unwarranted abuse and torture.”

“I made a few suggestions Sir.  I helped clean the language, but the rest is her.”  I tell him honestly.

“You’re protective of my lioness now.”  He says and it’s not a question.  “Is it only because she saved you from me, or do you have other reasons?”

“She’s my path to power my Lord.  Why wouldn’t I protect that?”  I ask him, when he smiles, I know I’ve given him the correct answer.

“I chose well when I picked you.”  The Dark Lord said with a nod.  “As long as the little bond you have with the Malfoy boy is always used for the betterment of mine or my lioness’ position, I’ll not use it against you.  Now tell me what you want.”

I frown at him confused by what he’s asking for.  “What I want Sir?”

“You’ve done me a small service tonight; I owe you a small boon.”  He tells me with a wave of his hand.  “Choose quickly or it will be lost forever.”

I frown more deeply and try to think of something simple I could ask him for.  “My Lady has two maids, have you noticed them my Lord?”  I ask and try to seem uninterested.

“I know of them yes.  Why?”  He asks and I can tell his patience isn’t on my side.

“Tracey Davis has a habit of flirting with you my Lord every time you’re near.”  I tell him, which makes him smile slightly.

“I hadn’t noticed does it upset my Lady?”  He asks curiously.

“I think it more amuses her when you obviously show no interest in Miss. Davis.  The favor I would like for you my Lord, is when she does flirt, maybe every so often you could show some interest.”

“Why would I do that?”  He asks frowning, as he’s obviously annoyed at being asked to play childish games.

“It would help me gain more control over her ladies.  It might also make my Lady jealous.  My Lord could use it to his own advantage.”  I say calmly.

“I’ll consider it.”  He says and waves his hand to dismiss me.

Ginny-

When I wake the first thing, I feel is someone pressing a cool cloth to my head.  I smile at first because it feels nice.  I open my eyes slowly, half expecting to be in the hospital wing.  Riddle had done a number on me.  I can still feel the ache in my joints and the soreness in my throat.

When I look up into the red eyes of the person caring for me, I think how pretty they are before I realize whom it is.  I look around, wondering if we’re alone.  When I find no one in the room with us, I look at him again.

He withdrew his hand, looking at me seriously.  “You’re wondering why I’m lowering myself to care for you?”  He asks without emotion.

I try to speak and find my throat more raw than I thought.  I clear it to wet my sore voice box.  When I finally speak it’s a rough sound, but he’s oddly patient with me.  “Yes, my Lord.  I’m sure a healer could…” He stops me by holding up his hand.

“They were not doing their jobs to my satisfaction.”  He told me firmly.  “Now I think we need to discuss what happened.”

I look away from him; I don’t want to tell him about Riddle.  I’m not sure why but I think he’ll take it badly.  Though Riddle’s lessons are sometimes painful, they have helped me survive in Tom’s world.

“Bad dream.”  I tell him without looking at him.

“Obviously, but they could not wake you, or even give you a dreamless potion.  Something in you stopped them.”  He says sounding angry.

“I’m sorry my Lord.”  I tell him clearing my throat again.

“Drink this.”  He snaps holding a foul smelling bottle to my lips.

He doesn’t really give me a choice as he tips the contents into my mouth.  It burns and I almost spit it out, but Tom covers my mouth with his hand until I swallow the potion.  I wonder for a moment if he poisoned me, but then my throat starts to feel better.

“Why are you having such bad dreams lioness?”  He asks after a moment to make sure I’ve swallowed it all.

I don’t know what to tell him, I know he would be able to tell if I lie to him, but there’s no way I can tell him the truth.  “What would you want; to not make me tell you?”  I ask him softly, my voice much more clear.

“You’re trying to make a deal little lioness.  In this moment I only wish to make you better.”  He tells me shaking his head.  “If you don’t wish to tell me, then you’ll not be permitted to leave this bed for at least the next week.  You’ll take potions of dreamless sleep before bed until I say otherwise, and I’ll be the last one you see before bed each night.”

I bite my lower lip but nod in agreement.  “If that’s what you think is best my Lord.”  I tell him before nodding again.  I lay back in the bed turning away from him.

“It’s almost morning.”  He tells me running a finger over my cheek.  “I’ll stay until another caretaker comes.”

“You don’t have to my Lord.” I tell him, just wanting him to leave me alone.

“You’ll not be left alone until I feel it’s safe to do so.”  He says firmly, leaving no room for argument.

“Why do you care so much my Lord?”  I ask before I can stop myself.  His hand withdrawals from my cheek and I fear I have angered him.

“You’re an important part of my future plans Ginevra.  I need you healthy and whole.”  He says before he places a hand on my stomach.  “You’ll be my wife, and the mother of my heir.  I thought I had already made this clear.”

I try not to pull away from his hand, but I do flinch at his touch.

He chuckles low in his throat.  “What has you so worried my lioness?  Is it the idea of a marriage, or the child?  Neither will happen before you graduate.”

“And after?”  I ask as I take my NEWTs at the end of this school year.

“It depends on how fast other plans move.”  He says simply as he withdraws his hand again.  “Get some rest, and we can talk about this when you’re feeling better.”

I take in a deep breath nodding.  “Yes my Lord, but you know that marriage, and an heir, they will cost you.”  I push as I remember the lesson of my dream.

He smirks, leaning down so his lips hover over my own.  “They’ll be well paid for.”  He tells me and kisses me so softly that I imagine it’s Harry controlling the action.  I close my eyes and kiss him back.

When he pulls away, I look up to see only Tom’s red eyes looking down at me, and a smug expression on his face.  “Rest.”  He says getting off the bed so he can give me some space.

I lay in bed dozing for what seems like hours before someone opens the door and I hear voices.

“My Lord, I didn’t expect you to be here.”  Tracey says in a way that tries very hard to seem shocked.  I know she wouldn’t be down before Daphne if she hadn’t known Tom was in my room.

“I was watching over my lioness.”  He says obviously not looking up from whatever book, he had been reading.  There’s a pause in his words as I can hear the book being put down.  “You’re one of her maids?” he asks with a bit more interest in his tone.

“Yes, my Lord.  Tracey Davis.”  She tells him and there’s a rustling of clothes.

“Please sit.  Keep me company as your Lady sleeps.”  He asks her in a charming tone that’s usually reserved for more important people and myself.

“Thank you my Lord.”  Tracey says moving to one of the chairs across from him.  “I could watch her if you have more important things to get to my Lord.”  She offers only once she has sat down.

“No no, I have things I need to tell her Head Maid before I go.” he says dismissively.  “How do you like serving your Lady?”  He asks sounding actually curious.

“I enjoy it greatly my Lord.  I just wish there was something more useful I could do for our great empire.”  She says her voice suggestive as she tries to flirt with him once again.

I’m deciding if I should tell them that I’m awake to save her from another embarrassing moment when he answers.  “What did you have in mind?”  He asks in a seductive tone that I have only heard him use privately with me.

There’s an uncomfortable feeling in my stomach that I can’t explain as I think about how he must be looking at her.  His dark eyes will be focused on her completely, letting her feel like the only thing in his world.  I swallow hard when I realize I’m jealous.

“Anything my Lord desires.”  She says back and now I feel like I need to know what he’ll say next.  How he acts around her when he thinks I cannot see or hear.

“Oh I desire a great many things, Miss Davis.”  He tells her and I can hear the movement as he stands.  “I’m not sure you could help me with much of them.”

“I would help you with whatever I could my Lord.  Please, call me Tracey.”  She says softly, pretending to be shy.

I try to shake the feelings that are going through me away.  I shouldn’t be feeling jealous.  I didn’t feel this way when he was with Daphne.  But he didn’t talk like this to Daphne; he was cold and hard whenever he was speaking to her.

“Tracey would you like to visit my office later today so we can talk about this more?”  He asked and I clench the fist under my pillow.

I’m not in love with him, why am I so angry that he’s giving another girl attention?  Maybe it would be better for me if he were no longer interested.  He wouldn’t try to seduce me anymore, only use me against the rebellion.  I would be able to handle my life here better if he saw me as just a tool.  Even with those thoughts, I can’t press down the feeling of wanting to place myself between Tom and Tracey.  To let her know he’s mine, and she cannot take him away.

“I would love the honor my Lord.”  She says in an excited tone.

“Will you go and retrieve Miss. Greengrass, I need to get to work, and I can no longer dally around this room.”  He asks kindly.

She responds in a non-verbal way as I hear the door open and close again.  I wonder if I should tell him now that I heard their little flirtation when I feel a weight on the bed as he’s sitting next to me.

“I want permission to take her as my Mistress.”  He says simply.  I open my eyes and frown up at him.

“You knew I was awake?”  I ask without answering his question.

“Of course, part of the potion you took was to keep you awake, but restful.”  He says as if it’s obvious.  “Do you really think I would let you sleep so soon after what happened?”

My cheeks flush a bit as I frown.  “I guess not.  Do you like her?”  I ask trying to sound more interested than jealous.

“If I did, would you give your permission?”  He asked and it takes all my will not to whimper.

“Why do you need my permission?”

“Like Miss. Greengrass, Miss. Davis is under your protection.  You know how hard I am on my Mistresses.”  He says with more detachment in his voice than when he was speaking directly to her.

“You want my permission to rape her?”  I ask as I remember what I witnessed him do to Daphne.

“Oh I don’t think I’ll be nearly as hard on this one.  She wishes to be my Mistress after all, and she has noble blood.”  He says as if that makes all the difference.

Luna-

Ron didn’t let me move far from him the rest of the night.  He went so far as to sleep on a little sofa I have in my room.  He refused to sleep in the bed like I offered.  Now it’s nearly five in the morning and he’s flopped over the furniture like someone trying to sleep on a bed meant for a doll.

After an hour of watching him, it’s nearly five, and he only moves to seek out a more comfortable position that doesn’t exist.  I decide it’s safe to slip out of the room and do so.  The moment I step from my chambers, Minty is at my side.  She’s beaming up at me like Christmas came early.

“I’m still marrying Blaise.”  I told her so she doesn’t get her hopes up.

“Why would Miss do that?”  She asks with a pout.

“Because if I don’t; the Dark Lord would have a right to take away my house.”  I told her and let understanding come to her in its own time.

“That would mean Minty and her family would be taken away.”  She said worried.

“Yes, it would.”  I tell her and make my way into the room I keep Death’s cloak.  “I need to buy or steal a new wand.  Someone might recognize mine.”  I tell her to change the subject.

“How can Minty help?”  She asked trying to seem as pleased as she was when I exited my room.

“If Ronald wakes before I get back tell him I was getting some things for breakfast.”  I tell her before I step up into the cloak.  When I pull the mask down and close the front, the cloak takes on a tall male form.

Turning on the spot; I Apparate from my home to Diagon Alley.  When I walk I keep to the shadows, I don’t wish to be seen by anyone, though there are few people out at this hour.  When I make it to Ollivander’s Wand Shop, I find that there’s a light on in the back.

I haven’t seen the old man since we were both trapped in the dungeon of Malfoy’s Manor.  I wonder now if he was actually given his freedom when the war ended.  The front door is well locked so I move around to a small alley at the side of the building.  When I look into a small window in the back door, I see Ollivander himself sitting at a small workbench carving a wand.  The door unlatches before I can even try the handle.

Most find his abilities to sense what’s needed disturbing and unsettling.  When I met Mr. Ollivander for the first time, it felt like I had found a kindred soul.  We kept each other safe at Malfoy Manor, and because of that, I kind of trust him more than anyone else alive.  Maybe more than I trust myself at this point.

I step through the door and close it behind me.  “Will you please take that thing off Miss. Lovegood?”  He asks without looking up from his work.

I smile to myself and step out of the cloak.  “But I’m not here for myself.  I’m here for him.”  I tell him motioning to the cloak.

He nods over his work but still doesn’t look up.  “I didn’t think they took away your wand when they made you editor of your father’s magazine.”

“You don’t approve?”  I ask stepping towards him carefully.

He didn’t say anything for a long while.  A silence falls between us as he finishes working on the wand and turns to look at me.  “I was worried that you had lost your way Miss. Lovegood.  But I see now…” he starts looking past me towards Death’s cloak.  “That you’ve been walking a hidden path.”

I look down unable to meet his gaze.  “I have been walking a very fine line.”  I tell him.  “But I’m doing my best to keep true to myself.”

“That’s the only thing that can be asked of you.  Now, for a new wand.”  He says getting to his feet.  “I have a few you can try out.  None of them will sing for you like the one you hold now.  Willow, seven inch, Centaur hair core.  These are a very rare combination.  The Centaurs rarely give such things to a wizard you understand.”

“I never asked; how did you get my core?”  I ask and look down at my wand.  It has served me well.

“One came to me.  They said I would need one of her tail hairs and that I should pair it with willow.  Weeping willow to be precise.”  He said with a shake of his head.

I blink a few times before looking back up to Mr. Ollivander.  “He gave a hair just for me?”  I ask feeling a strange flutter in my stomach.

She felt it was important, it could be for you, or whoever inherits your wand.  Centaurs a funny beings; it’s never easy to understand what they do.”

“It has always suited me well, but it doesn’t fit him.”  I said looking back at the cloak.

“No, not at all.”  He said, as he looked at the cloak.  “He needs something much more dark.”  He thought for a moment and started to pick up boxes from around his store, before putting them all down.  “No, it has to be something my father made.” he tells me and suddenly heads down a back hall.

I wait for him in his workroom looking around at the small bottles of things he had collected for cores.

“I have four that I think may do the trick.”  Ollivander says almost making me jump, as I didn’t hear him return.  I turn to look at him nodding as I look to the boxes in his hand.

“I don’t usually sell my father’s wands.  They tend to be a bit…” He starts before shaking his head.  “Well you’ll see.”  He tells me and holds out the first wand.  “Beech, five inches, with an Augurey feather core.”

I wave the wand and it starts to rain and thunder above our heads.  “Nope.”  He says and takes the wand away so the storm will clear.  He hands me the next wand.  “Elm, four inches, with a Ramora scale core.”

I only get half of a wave in before he takes it out of my hand and replaces it with another.  “Hawthorn, eight inches, with a grim hair core.”

I wave the wand this time and a dark light settles over me.  It feels strange but somehow it fits how I feel when I wear the cloak.

“That’s it.  I should have known from the start.”  He says with a nod.  “It’s best if you not use it outside of your alter ego there.”

I nod slowly.  “They all invoke some sort of dark energy?”  I guess about his father’s wands when I look up to him.

“He was a much more serious wandmaker than myself.  He also believed in the blood traditions.”  He told me sadly.

I frown at him and look down at the wand in my hand again.  “Thank you for this, you won’t tell anyone, will you?”  I ask sounding more like a child than I care to.

“No.  He can work best if they only see his face when he’s out.”  Ollivander says and motions to the cloak.  “But don’t let him consume you.”  He warns me seriously.

Daphne-

When I open the door, I hear Lord Voldemort’s voice before I see him sitting on Ginny’s bed.  “…So I could enjoy her more fully?”  He asks before they both look up to me.

“Should I wait outside?”  I ask not wishing to interrupt, but dying to know exactly what they were talking about.

“No, I need your help in convincing your lady of something.”  The Dark Lord tells me and motions me closer.  “I wish to make Miss. Davis my Mistress.”

I had asked him to give her a bit of attention, but I had no idea he would take the act that far.  I look for regret inside me, but I can’t find any.  Tracey made herself an enemy of my ambition and she was dull witted about it.  I realize I also feel there’s no way the Dark Lord would treat a girl of noble birth exactly as he treated me.

“This seems very sudden my Lord.”  I say so that Ginny doesn’t think I’m completely cold.

He chuckled and shook his head.  “You wished for me to look at her, and now I have.  I wish to taste her as well.”  He tells me in a deep voice that makes my stomach cold.

I look up to Ginny, ready for her outrage that I had nudged the Lord towards anyone, let alone one of her maids.  All I see in her eyes is worry, and something else that doesn’t look like it belongs there.

“My Lady, I’m sure your maid would be more than happy with the offer, as would her parents.”  I point out trying to calculate how much power with would give Tracey herself.

Ginny looks from me to our Lord.  When she bites her lower lip, I know she’ll give in.  “You may take Miss. Davis as your Mistress under three conditions.”  She says sitting up a little straighter in bed.

The Dark Lord smiles at this and places a hand on her blanket-covered leg.  “What does my lioness want?”  He asked in almost a loving way.  It’s a side of the Dark Lord a rarely see, and it disturbs me every time.

“I’m not agreeing to this blindly.  If she’s in any pain from what you two do together she’ll always be permitted to see a healer.”  She says firmly, and I’m impressed she’s thinking of Tracey’s well being.  She’s still a little Gryffindor after all this time.

“At no point will she ever have more political influence than me.”  That’s the Slytherin, I have been hard at work nurturing in her, and it almost makes me smile to hear.

“Those seem reasonable, what’s the last condition?”  He asked with a tilt of his head.

“When you grow bored of her, you’ll be the one to send her away from this castle, and I’ll be allowed to choose a new maid.”  I blink at her last condition.  It’s a very smart move, when the Dark Lord tosses Tracey away, Ginny will not have gained an enemy in the Davis family.

The Dark Lord, who has nothing to fear from any of the noble lines at this point, actually laughs at her final request.  “I agree, but you’ll be the one to send her to my chambers tonight.”  He adds in a knowing tone.

“Fine.”  Ginny says looking away from him as he gets up.

“You can watch her from here Miss. Greengrass.”  He said and got to his feet.  “I’ll see you tonight my dear lioness.”  He adds before closing the door.

I frown and look to Ginny, more has happened this morning and I need her to tell me.  I decide to take the friendly route and go to sit in the place the Dark Lord just vacated.  “How are you doing?”  I ask softly as if I’m worried about her.

She took in a deep breath, shaking her head as she laid back down.  “I’m on bed rest until further notice.  He’s worried I’ll be too sick to carry his child some day.”  She says with disgust.  She has more to say but she holds it back, so I venture a guess.

“You think he doesn’t see you as a woman so much as a thing to carry his seed?”  I ask carefully.

“Why would I care?”  She snaps too quickly.

“Because he sees Tracey as a woman, and he used to make such advances towards you.”  I remind her slowly.

She takes another deep breath closing her eyes.  “How am I messed up enough to be jealous?”  She asks softly.  “How can I actually want his attention?”

“You’re not going to like this.”  I tell her placing a hand on top of one of hers.  “I think you may be in love with him.”

She shook her head and bit her lower lip hard enough I start to worry that she’s going to draw blood.  “I love Harry.”  She tells me and her voice breaks just a bit.

I frown at her and squeeze her hand to be comforting.  “I know.”  I tell her forcing myself to keep my tone kind.  “Harry was your first love…” I start and she breaks down into sudden tears.

“No.”  She tells me shaking her head.

“No, what?”  I ask with a frown.

“I’m starting to fear he wasn’t my first love.”  She tells me breathlessly.  “I think he was right.”  She says and I don’t understand.

“Who was right?”  I ask when the door opens.  I look up to give the person a glare.

Milly stops dead in her tracks when she sees us.  “I’m sorry my Lady, should I go?”  She asks softly looking to us with worry.

“I need some time alone.”  Ginny says wiping her eyes.  “Could you two go collect my homework for the day?”

“But our Lord said…” I start but she looks up at me with pleading eyes.

“Please?”  She asks again softly and I nod.

“Of course my Lady.”  I say before squeezing her hand one last time.

I get up and join Milly at the door.  “Send a guard if you need us.”  I tell her with a nod.  At the moment Warrington is her guard.  When the door shuts, I look up to him.  “Do not let anyone into this room until I get back.”  I tell him firmly.

“No one?”  He asks with a frown.

“If they outrank me, than by all means let them in, but otherwise, no one.”

“Yes ma’am.”  He says with a nod of understanding.

I wait until we’re to the stairs before I speak to Milly.  “Tracey is about to show her true colors to our dear Adrian.”

“Really?  How is that?”  She asks sounding excited.

“She’ll be offered the position as the Dark Lord’s Mistress.”  I tell her simple.

She takes my arm gently to stop me.  “That’s why our Lady was upset?”  She asks seriously.

I smile at her tiredly.  “That’s part of it.”  I tell her honestly.

“Will she be okay?  We won’t have to answer to Tracey soon, will we?”  Milly asks with a worried frown.

“No.  The Dark Lord has important plans for our Lady.  More than likely he’ll get bored of Tracey and then we’ll no longer have to deal with her at all.”  I explain.

“But there’s a chance he decides…” She starts and I cut her off.

“No.  There really isn’t.  Our Lady is key to a few of his plans for controlling the Empire.  Even if he felt nothing for her, she would still be the future Empress.  It’s our jobs to make sure she’s up to the job, and crush anything that gets in her way.”

Chapter 6: Mistresses and Wives

Ginny-

Daphne has been very strict with me today.  I haven’t been allowed out of bed unless it was to use the loo.  She transfigured my side table into a small lap desk for me so that I could read and work on my homework during the day, but the moment she felt I was too stressed she took my things and ordered me to lay down.

The first half of the day Tracey was in a great mood, fluttering about and almost singing to herself.  She kept giving me secret looks, as if she’d won some battle between us and was now only waiting for me to find out.  By the end of supper, she was scowling at everything that moved.  I remember he had told her he would be calling on her today, I guess she thought that meant earlier than he did.  I decided to let her suffer for now, telling myself it wasn’t because I was jealous.

While I sit up in bed reading for pleasure, I keep hearing Tracey huff at the world. I try to ignore it focusing on my book.  The Witch and the willow is a silly little romance novel my mother would have loved.  I think sometimes it’s nice to be able to turn your brain off and only think about how tragic it would be if Stephaney married Charles instead of Dartanion.

When there’s a knock at the door, I don’t even look up.  I’m focused enough on the book I don’t really thinking about who it must be.

“My Lord.”  Tracey says in a pouty tone.  She must have answered the door, much more aware of the time than I was.

I look up just in time to see him give her a charming little smile that makes me want to stomp her face in the muggle way.  Embarrassed by the thought I stuff the trash novel under my pillow.  I don’t want him to see it.  I’m unsure why I care; I just don’t want him to think I’m the kind of girl that swoons over such silly things.

“Leave us; I will only take a moment of your Lady’s time.”  He says sending my maids from the room before he comes over to sit beside me on the bed.

To my complete mortification, the first thing he does is reach under my pillow to retrieve the book.  “The Witch and the willow.”  He reads looking at the cover for a moment before opening it to the marked page.  A smirk spreads across his face as he reads a few paragraphs to himself.

“I wanted something stupid to read.”  I snap before he can say anything.  Then I try to make a grab the book.

“Are you sure it isn’t because you wanted ‘him to take you under the swaying branches of the willow tree’?”  He asks obviously quoting the book.

“No.”  I growl making another snatch for the book.

“Good, because if you had any such desires to be filled it would be by me, not some book.”  He says tossing it out of my reach.  “How are you feeling?”  He asks more seriously.

My brain is still stuck on the part where he would fill any of my desires.  I blink a few times blushing before I have to look away.  “I didn’t think we could be together like that yet.”

He chuckles reaching out to run soft fingers down my cheek and neck.  “Soon.  Do you wish to be with me again?”  He asks with more curiosity than he had asked about my wellness.

“That question is a trap my Lord.”  I tell him forcing myself to look up into his eyes.  “More so when you’ll be having another woman in your bed tonight.”  I remind him for Merlin knows what reason.

He chuckles smiling before taking my hand.  “I do enjoy your spirit when it’s appropriately applied.”  He tells me before bringing my fingers to his lips.  “It makes life so much less dull.”  Tom says before getting to his feet.  “Speaking of the girl, I wish for you to send her to my rooms in one hour.”

“Fine.” I snap looking away from him.

I can feel his smile on me even if I can’t see it.  Tom runs fingertips down my neck again before getting up without a word.  I can’t think of anything to say, I really don’t wish to think of him with Tracey. I still feel the soft touch on my neck, and I wonder if that was to point, to leave me with a lingering thought of him before he goes off to take another.

The next thing I notice is Daphne taking the spot he vacated. He must have left while I was in thought.  I must have a dumb look on my face because she looks at me with pity in her eyes.

“What happened?”  She asks softly, looking behind her to the other two in the room.

I run my fingers over the place he had touched me so softly and shake my head before looking at my maids.  “It seems our Lord wishes one of my ladies’ company tonight in his chamber.”  I say as if I was just hearing about it for the first time.  “Tracey?”  I ask looking over to the beaming girl.  “He will expect you in one hour.  I suggest you not be late.”  I tell her and dismiss her with a wave of my hand.

She makes a squeaking sound and rushes for the door, obviously thinking she needs to ready herself for her time with Tom.  Once the door nearly slams shut, I close my eyes leaning back.

“I’m sorry my Lady.”  Daphne says as she takes my hand.  “I didn’t realize how much of an effect this would have on you.”

“I’m just tired Daphne.”  I say and I can hear how tired I sound.  “Do you have the potion ready?”  I ask wearily.

She sighs nodding before getting up to go retrieve the dreamless sleep potion for me to take before I drift off without it.  I’m anything but physically tired tonight, but I don’t want to think about anything anymore.

“Milly, you may go.” Daphne says before she rejoins me on the bed.  Millicent leaves without a word and I can’t help but be glad for it.

“You know he is mostly doing this to see if it would make you jealous?”  She asks gently.

I sigh before looking up at her.  I try to push a smile on my lips, but I think it comes out pretty pathetic.  “I figured it was something like that.”  I say thinking about his wordless touch again.  “I wish I wasn’t.  I don’t even really know why I am.  I hate him.”  I tell her trying to sound like I really mean it.  “How is it possible I’m falling for his tricks all over again?”

She smiles at me sadly, as if I should know the answer.  “I think if the Dark Lord looked at me, and spoke to me the way he treats you, even after all he’s done to me, I would still fall in love with him.  There is a reason he rules so many, and his raw power only goes so far.  Just think of it this way, you being jealous can be a smart political move for us.”  She says as her smile warms.

I can’t help but laugh.  “What?”

“Well, it pleases him.  Having the Dark Lord pleased always puts him in a better mood for negotiation.  He feels he has the upper hand right now, we will just let him feel that way, but not let your feelings for him change your ultimate goals.”  She explains as if one can just turn their feelings off.

I sigh shaking my head.  “I’ll leave all that up to you for right now.  I just need some sleep.”

Luna-

After getting a wand for my alter ego to use safely, I head back to my room and find that Ron is still sound asleep on the little sofa at the end of my bed.  He’s snoring as arms, legs and even his neck are all bent at odd angles.  With a sigh, I lean down and kiss him softly, trying to wake him up gently.

He blinks at me a few times as if he’s trying to figure out exactly where he is.

“I can’t stand it anymore.  Come lay down with me?”  I ask as I try to smooth down his hair.  It has grown much longer in his months on the run and now hangs into his eyes.

Ron yawns realizing what’s going on for the first time.  “Luna, I don’t want to take advantage of you.”

I give him a mischievous smile and shake my head.  “You looked so uncomfortable.  It’s just sleeping Ronald.”  I tell him before kissing his soft lips again.  “Please?”

“I don’t really care about my comfort.”  He says moving his neck this way and that in order to work the stiffness out.

“Well I do.”  I tell him with a frown before taking his hand.  “You have to stop being so much of a gentleman.  I’m not as fragile as you seem to think, or as pure.”

“Okay.  But no funny business missy, I have my virtue to think about.”  He says teasing to lighten the mood.

He lets me lead him back to the bed and crawls in after me.  At first, he tries to keep his distance, as if we’re some siblings sleeping together.  With a chuckle and a shake of my head, I snuggle up next to him and rest my head on his chest.

“What is so wrong with touching me?”  I ask sleepily.

“Only that I’m worried I won’t be able to stop there.”  He tells me softly as a hand comes up and starts to stroke my cheek.

“You don’t have to stop.”  I tell him as I enjoy the light touch.

“You don’t know what you’re saying Luna.”  He says, but his voice doesn’t sound sure.

“Really?”  I ask moving my head up so I can look at him.  “What is it you would like to do that I haven’t already done?”  I ask curiously.

“Once, while you were high on something.”  He reminds me.  “I don’t want you to think I’m anything like him.”

I frown shaking my head.  “Ronald, I don’t think you are.  What I did with him was pure lust.”  I say with a sigh sitting up now. “What I want to do with you will have a much larger emotional connection.  Why is that wrong?”

“I just don’t want to rush into anything.”  He says, but his resolve sounds weak.

“What if tonight is our last night?” I ask before leaning down and kissing him before he can respond.

His hands move to rest on my hips as the smell and warmth of him starts to fill me.  Ever so gently, as if he’s afraid I’ll break, he moves me down onto the bed as he positions himself over me.  The kiss seems to only grow in passion the longer it goes on and I’m regretful when I finally have to break just to take a breath.

As I tilt my chin up a fraction and his lips descend on my neck and I can’t help but moan.  “Ron”

He gives my neck a little nip that sends wonderful shivers down my body before moving to look into my eyes.

“I do want you Luna, but are you really sure you’re ready for this?”  He asks seriously.

“If you stop now I will kill you.”  I tell him with a smile on my lips.  Before he can change his mind, I move my hands to his shirt to start unbuttoning it.  “I want you Ronald.”  I tell him breathily.  Looking at his colors, I see a mix of love and lust and actually a great amount of happiness.  I smile; I really haven’t seen someone this happy in a while.

“Why are you doing that?”  He asks a finger running under my eye.

“I’m looking at your colors.”  I tell him before leaning up into another kiss.

Once I have his shirt completely open, I slip my hands over the skin of his chest.  He feels so different from Blaise.  Everything about this moment is different from my time with the Slytherin, the only connection being the pleasure it wells up within me.

Seeing that he doesn’t seem to want to do it himself, I start to pull on my own nightgown, wanting it out from between us.  I don’t want anything between us now.  Once I start the struggle with the garment Ronald catches on and helps me to remove it.

He looks down at me as if seeing me for the first time.  “You are…” he starts seeming to have a loss for words.  “…perfect.”  He finally decides on.

I feel the warmth of blood flow to my cheeks as I blush.  “Make love to me?”  I ask a bit meekly before he leans down and starts to kiss me all over again.

His lips don’t stay on mine for long and soon he’s leaving a wet line of kisses and bites down my body. As he passes between my breasts, I can’t help but arch my back in want for him.  I feel his fingers hook into my knickers slowly working them down as he goes.

I’m shaking in anticipation by the time he reaches my pelvic bone.  “Oh Ron!”  I gasp unsure of what I should be doing with my hands so I tangle them in the sheets next to me.

He smiles up at me, obviously pleased with my reactions.  Before going any further, he finishes his work with my underthings tossing them aside.  Once I’m completely nude under him he smiles again before leaning down and parting my legs.  His lips pick up right where they left off, trailing down between my legs.

As his tongue meets an electric button, my body jerks in response.  He chuckles against my skin, shifting to put my legs on his shoulders before diving back into his work between my legs.  My toes curl and I can’t seem to get away from his mouth.  Before I know it, I don’t want to get away as I feel a wave building in my core.

My hand moves to his head to keep him as close to me as possible.  I scream as the wave bursts and a feeling of wonderful pure pleasure floods my system.  As I come down from the high, I feel him still licking me, trying to extend that pleasure.

As I sink into the wonderful warmth of my afterglow, it’s a moment before I realize I’m speaking.  It’s a familiar feeling and I realize a new prophecy is tumbling from my lips.

This time I just let the words come.  “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 saw it a few time before the impulse to speak stops and I blink down at Ronald who is looking up at me in a mix of confusion and fear.

“I’m sorry.”  I say a bit breathlessly.

“We should write it down before we forget.”  He says pulling away from me.

I reach out and grasp his wrist before he can leave.  “It’s not important, I still want you.”  I tell him showing worry in my voice.

He smiles as he turns back to me.  “Think it will happen every time you climax?”  He asks as he tries to lighten the mood.

“Only one way to find out.”  I say smiling at him.

He laughs and kisses me again, moving back over me.  We spend many hours joining together again and again.  Teasing and laughing as we enjoy each other.  The impulse doesn’t happen again and we end up falling asleep still joined together.

I don’t think even an hour passes before I’m woken by someone shaking my arm frantically.  When I open my eyes, I see Minty looking both very pleased and very worried.  Before I can ask, she puts a finger to her lips and motions to the still sleeping Ronald.

I nod and try to slip out of bed as carefully as I can so I don’t wake him up.  I pull on my dressing gown and tie it tightly around me before following her into the hall where we can talk.

The moment the door to my bedroom closes Minty speaks.  “Really Bad Man here Miss.”  She says in a frightened tone.  “Says if Miss not come now he come to get Miss.” She squeaks.

“Blaise or Mr. Lestrange?”  I ask not sure who the really bad one is.  “Or someone else?”

“Older one.”  She agrees shaking slightly.  I wonder what he’s done to her this morning.

“Okay, go get me some tea and I’ll go see Mr. Lestrange.”  I tell her patting her on the head to sooth her before I head down the hall.  “Where did you put him?”  I ask realizing she hadn’t said.

“Miss’s Office.”  She said before popping away.

I smile; it really was the safest room for him in the house.  All he would see there was notes and work on the Quibbler.  I fix my robe as securely as I can as I head down to my office.  Pushing open the door, I find him sitting at my desk with his feet up.

“Can I help you Lord Lestrange?”  I ask giving him his title to suck up just a bit.  “It is rather early, I thought we were meeting later today?”

“I wanted to make sure to get here before your boy decided to show up.”  He says with a wave of his hand.  “I have a proposition just for you.”

“Oh?”  I ask making sure to keep as much distance between us as I politely can.  “What kind of proposition?”

“I’m willing to have sex with you for a price.”  He says with a slow smile, as I can’t help but step back from him.

“Why would I want you to?”  I ask frowning.

“Are you a virgin Miss Lovegood?”  He asks in a knowing way.

“No.”  I tell him and he actually looks surprised by this.  “I’m with Blaise Zabini.”  I remind him as if that should explain everything.

The smile that faltered for a moment soon returns.  “So you’ve only been with the dandy?”  He asks moving his feet to the grounds so he can sit up.

I bite my lip and think of my night with Ron.  Unsure if I should admit to it I decide to lie.  “Yes…”

“Well then.”  He says looking my form over for his own enjoyment.  I resist the urge to tighten the robe, knowing it will only look weak.  “If you want your future husband to be able to dictate you’re almost every action, than by all means, ignore the offer.”

My mind starts to work over what he’s talking about before a slow and horrible idea starts to form in my brain.  “No one uses those kind of marriage rites anymore.”  I tell him firmly.

He laughs and shakes his head.  “You don’t think the Dark Lord would take that kind of precaution with your history?”  He asks in a knowing way.  “After the request I made to him on your behalf?”

“Then I’ll go and find someone else.”  I tell him starting to turn my back.

“This morning?  Before you meet the Dark Lord for approval of your wedding contract.  I pulled a few strings to get you heard today.”  He says as if he was being helpful.

I think about the hours spent with Ron and wonder if the Dark Lord would ask me whom I was with.  “What’s this price?”  I ask to gather as much information as I can.

“It has to happen now.  No calling your boy to try to come up with a different idea.  This or nothing.”  He says with a relaxed tone.  “As for the true price, you could agree to service me in this way any time I wish.”

I frown at this and shake my head.  “I’m not becoming your personal whore.”  I tell him taking a step back.  That’s just too high of a price.  Really, he was making me choose between being under Blaise’s control or his.  That really didn’t seem like a choice.

“I thought you might scoff at that one.”  He says with a knowing smile.  “My other offer isn’t nearly as offensive.  All you have to do is drink this potion before we couple.”  He adds taking out a blue bottle and setting it on my desk.

“What is it?”  I ask unable to tell from the color alone.

“A fertility potion.”  He says as if that’s the most normal thing in the world to want to give me.

“You want me to have your child?”  I ask with a slight frown.

“Something like that.”  Lestrange says obviously not willing to go into detail.

I walk up to the desk and pick up the potion. Opening it, I sniff to try to place the exact fertility potion he’s using.  Potions has never been my specialty so I shake my head and chew on my bottom lip.

I shake my head and back away from the desk.  “I’m not ready for children.  There is too much in my life right now.”  I tell him firmly.

He chuckled shaking his head.  “You realize any marriage rite that the Dark Lord will approve will have a fertility charm worked into it.  A much more powerful one than this.  The question is whose child you will have, not if you will have one at all.  I would even claim her once she was born; it would be much less work for you.”  He points out with a grin.

“Her?”  I ask realizing the potion must also give a higher female birth rate.  This seems odd since it most pureblood families have a biased towards male children.  I blink a few times and tilt of my head.  “This is about my title?”  I ask him with a frown.  “You want to be the father of my heir?”

The grin on his face falters a little and I know I’m right.  “Maybe I just want lasting proof to the pretty boy that I fucked his wife.”  He says smiling again.

I work very hard not to blush at his words.  “It really bothers you that Blaise changed our deal?”  I ask pretending to buy this new excuse.

“The boy just needs to be put in his place.”

“And that has to involve my body?”  I ask him before shaking my head.  “No, Lord Lestrange, this is not something I’m willing to do either.”  I tell him before leaving him in the office alone.

He catches my arm as I near the stairs and I have to admit the hold hurts.  “You don’t say no to me girl.”  He says firmly before twisting me around and backing me against the banister to the stairs.

“You saw what happened to the last man that tried to force himself on me.”  I say trying to keep my voice steady.

He chuckles and shakes his head.  “I’m not going to force myself on you, but I will enjoy getting your husband to force you to fuck as many Death Eaters as I can think of.  Agree now, or you will be a whore.”

She swallow and shake my head.  “Blaise would never do that to me.”  I press.

“We will have to see about that.”  He says as a slow smile forms on his lips.

Daphne-

“I’m just tired Daphne.”  She says in almost a defeated tone.  “Do you have the potion ready?”  She asks wearily.

I sigh with a nod before getting to my feet and retrieving the potion.  I’m a little troubled by how much her pain actually affects me.

“Milly, you may go.” I tell the other girl because I wish to speak with Ginny before she takes the potion.  With a nod of understanding, she leaves without a word.

Walking back to my Lady I sit on her bed without handing her the bottle just yet.  “You know he is mostly doing this to see if it would make you jealous?”  I ask softly.

She sighs before looking up at me, a small sad smile on her face.  “I figured it was something like that.  I wish I wasn’t.  I don’t even really know why I am.”  She says shaking her head.  “I hate him.”  She says with less venom than she had the first time I met her.  “How is it possible I’m falling for his tricks all over again?”

I give her my own sad smile.  “I think if the Dark Lord looked at me, and spoke to me the way he treats you, even after all he’s done to me, I would still fall in love with him.”  I tell her, only slightly lying.  “There is a reason he rules so many, and his raw power only goes so far.  Just think of it this way, you being jealous can be a smart political move for us.”  I add with a warmer smile.

She actually laughs at this.  “What?”

“Well, it pleases him.  Having the Dark Lord pleased always puts him in a better mood for negotiation.  He feels he has the upper hand right now, we will just let him feel that way, but not let your feelings for him change your ultimate goals.”

Ginny sighs shaking her head.  “I’ll leave all that up to you for right now.  I just need some sleep.”

I nod before handing over the bottle.  “I’ll be sleeping on the sofa tonight, just in case you need me.  The Dark Lord doesn’t wish for you to be alone.” I tell her thinking it will make her feel a bit better.

She nods without a word before downing the potion.  I help her lay down in a comfortable position before heading over to my usual chair to read for a while.

When I hear the door, open I look up to see it’s been three hours since Ginny went to sleep.  Looking over to the door, I find an almost sick looking Tracey.

“Why didn’t you tell me?”  She asks in a shaking voice.

I knew this moment would come, though I didn’t think it would be so soon.  I thought I would feel cold towards her, like she had gotten what she deserved, but I as I look at her now I can’t help but feel regret for having any part in her pain.

I glance over to our Lady to make sure she’s sleeping soundly before answering.  “I tried.”  I remind her.  “Come sit down.”  I add, getting up to help her over.

She’s limping, and as I get closer, I can see bruises and scratch marks from the way the Dark Lord handled her.

“I can’t do this.”  Tracey whimpered.

“Do you want to tell me what happened?”  I ask, not thinking she was ready for the truth of her situation.

“I didn’t think he would be so cold.”  She tells me softly.  “I knew he would be rough with me, I had heard those rumors.”  She says looking at if she was about to burst into tears.  “But he was so cold, I could see it in his eyes, the only think I was to him was a warm body.”

I can’t help but blink at this. Was she really complaining that the Dark Lord had hurt her feelings?

“What do you think a Mistress is for?”  I ask as I help her to sit down on the sofa.

She just starts weeping without really being able to say a word.  I pat her back unsure of what to do.  I have to admit that Ginny is much better at this sort of thing, what had she said to make me feel better while it was happening to me?  While I’m thinking this over, the sound next to me changes.  Suddenly it sounds much more like laughing then crying.

“Tracey?”  I ask frowning over to her.

“Sorry I can’t keep this up any more.”  She says looking up with a smile.  “Merlin, I didn’t think you would be so easy.”

“What?”  I ask, stunned to the point of stupidity.

She sits back with a much more relaxed posture, though she still looks a bit stiff.  “I didn’t think you were so gullible.”  She says as if she’s talking to a small child.

That snaps me back to life.  “So you enjoyed your time with the Dark Lord?”  I ask, looking towards Ginny again before refocusing on the little brat in front of me.

“He’s actually a lot better than I would have thought.  I mean, I figured with golden boy’s body he wouldn’t have the skill, but he knows exactly how to use it.”

“So what was that about?”  I ask sounding bored at this point.  It seems I was correct in assuming he would be different with her than he had been with me.

“Oh, I just remember hearing about how much of a little wimp you were when he was shagging you.  I thought it would be fun to see what you’d do if I acted like a wimp as well.”  She says sitting now as if she owned the room.

“You need to keep your voice down, our Lady is sleeping.”  I say trying to remind Tracey of her place.

“Oh, I don’t think she’s going to be my Lady for long.”  She says with a knowing tone.  “Really I came to give you one last chance to join the winning side.”

“How generous of you.”  I say instead of calling her a fool like I really want to.

“It really is.”  She says sitting up a bit.  “The Dark Lord already fancies the way I make him feel.  Sooner or later he’s going to realize she can’t do anything for him that I can’t do better.”

“Tracey, I need some sleep.  Go get yourself healed; our Lady won’t want to see you looking like this when she wakes.”  I say, not caring enough to keep up any sort of act with her.  With her attitude, I’m sure she’ll be gone sooner rather than later.

“Oh I think I’ll have them leave a few marks.”  She says as she stands.  “She could use the reminder that he doesn’t really want her.”

Once she’s gone, I get comfortable on the sofa and close my eyes.  The Dark Lord doesn’t want her to be left alone any time soon, but I’m going to need my sleep if I’m going to have to deal with Tracey.

What seems like a moment later I hear the cold clearing of the Dark Lord’s throat.  I open my eyes and get to my feet as I see him looking down at me.

“My Lord.”  I say as I bow low to him.

“How did she react last night?”  He asks looking over to Ginny’s sleeping form.

“She went to bed early.  I don’t think she wanted to think about you with Tracey.”  I tell him knowing he’ll be pleased with the truth.

A calculated smile forms on his lips.  “Good.  I think I shall keep playing with my lioness’ mind for a while.  It will be good for her.”

“Tracey visited here last night.”  I add wanting to give him all the information.

“Who?”  He asks sounding slightly distracted as he looks at Ginny.

“Tracey Davis, the girl you are taking as your Mistress?”  I offer, finding it more than a bit amusing at the impression she actually left on him.

He sighs looking back at me.  “Did she bother your Lady?”  He asks sounding cold again.

“No my Lord, but she seems to think she has gained some favor with you.”  I tell him curiously.

“Let her think it.”  He says with a dismissive wave.  “I have a meeting this morning in the main chamber; I want Ginevra by my side.  Make sure she looks especially put together for it.”

“Yes my Lord.”  I say bowing my head.  “Who is the meeting with?”

“It will be a partly public gathering and I want the rebels to know how far she really has come.”  He says with a smile before walking over to her bed and sitting down next to her.

I take this as a dismissal and head to the bathroom to give myself a quick clean up to give him some privacy.

By the time, I return Ginny is sitting up and the Dark Lord is heading for the door.  Once he’s gone, I take her robe off the hook and bring it to her.

“Did he tell you he wants you to join him for a meeting in the main chamber this morning?”  I ask and she shakes her head.

“He didn’t say anything to me except to ‘drink this’.” She says looking a bit upset by that.  “He’s messing with me.”  She adds and I can’t help but smile.

“Maybe he wants to see how far you have come since coming here.”  I say knowing the truth wouldn’t be helpful in this moment.

Ginny-

I feel someone shake my arm and I wake with a deep breath.  The potion I’d taken the night before did its work well and I actually feel refreshed for once.  I blink away the light as I open my eyes and see Tom sitting over me.

“Drink this.” He says before holding a new potion to my lips.  I cough is down unclear what it is.

I open my mouth to say something to him, but he’s already getting to his feet and heading for the door.  I’m stunned, unsure of what to do until Daphne speaks.  “Did he tell you he wants you to join him for a meeting in the main chamber this morning?”  She asks from the bathroom doorway.

“He didn’t say anything to me except to ‘drink this’.” I tell her trying not to be upset he hadn’t even asked how I slept.  “He’s messing with me.”  I say to convince myself more than her.

“Maybe he wants to see how far you have come since coming here.”  She says and I can see her forcing a smile.  “Don’t worry about it right now, he wants you dressed to impress today.  At least you’re getting out of this room.”

“Yes.”  I say with a sigh.  “I get to go all the way to the main chamber, which usually ends in my torture.”  I remind her as I get myself out of bed.  “I can do this myself.”  I add as she tries to help me.  “I’m feeling better and I slept well.”

“Yes my Lady.”  She says taking a step back.  “I’ll pick out a gown for you while you’re showering.”  She says and I’m glad she’s giving me space.

I take a long shower and just let my thoughts get lost in the warm water.  When I come out the dress she’s chosen makes me stop in my tracks.  It’s a velvet emerald green number that reminds me too much of the dress I wore in the dream.

“Something else.”  I snap at her, more shortly than I’ve spoken to her in a while.

She blinks at me twice frowning without moving from her spot.

“I’m sorry.”  I say after a moment and shake my head.  “I just don’t want to wear that, it has bad memories.”

“It’s new…”  She says in a confused tone.  “But I’ll pick something else.”  She adds quickly as she can obviously see how much it’s bothering me.  “But I still think he would like you in green.”

“Why should I care what he likes?”  I ask and straighten my back.  “I’m not playing this game.  I’m not dressing to impress him, just because he’s playing around with that girl.”

Daphne frowns as she’s obviously trying to think of something to say to make me feel better.  “I want to wear red.  Enough of my old friends already think I’m some kind of traitor.”  I say before she press.  “I want to be myself, just a little.”

She gives me a half smile before nodding.  “I think he’ll like the image as well.  He wants you to be yourself Ginny.  He may not realize it, but it wouldn’t do him any good if you were seen as a cold and calculating queen.”

“I know you’re trying to help Daphne, but I don’t need that junk in my head right now.”  I tell her before sitting at my desk to cool my temper.

“Put this on and we’ll work on your hair.”  She says, smart enough to give me a few minutes before bothering me with it.

“Thank you.”  I tell her feeling a bit better.  When I turn to look at what she’s chosen, I can’t help but smile.  It’s a deep red halter dress beaded with gold.  Just looking at it makes me feel a bit more like myself, even though I never would have worn something so expensive in my old life.

Once I’m dressed, Daphne brushes my hair and pulls it up into a mass of curls.  It kind of reminds me of a mane, and I have to laugh a bit at the image.

“I think it’s lovely, and you can’t say you don’t look like a Gryffindor.”  Daphne says playfully as the door opens.

When I turn to see who it’s, Millicent and Tracey walk into the room.  Millicent looks pleased and bows her head.  Tracey narrows her eyes and huffs a bit.  I can see the marks he left on her, bruises that don’t look nearly as bad as what Daphne walked around with and I ease a bit.

“You know this won’t really help in the end.”  Tracey can’t help but say.

“What?”  I ask as I stand and look over at her curiously.  “Do you think we are in competition?”  I ask her in a tone I don’t recognize as me.  It’s cold and a bit demeaning.

“Life’s a competition.”  Tracey says showing the animosity that’s been boiling under her skin for weeks.

“I’m starting to understand that.”  I tell her in the same cold tone.  “I’m also realizing that one of the keys to winning is knowing who your real competition is.  You think we’re competitors before the Dark Lord used you as his whore last night.”  All the venom that had been building up over the situation was flowing out with these words.

“A Mistress to the Emperor is hardly a whore.  Did you know he offered me the position after I’d thoroughly satisfied his desire?”  She asks smugly.

“There are so many things you misunderstand about our Lord.”  I tell her before I glance to Daphne, suddenly realizing that maybe I’m messing up a plan of hers.  She only smiles in a very amused way so I decide to go on.  “First, of course I know you’re his Mistress now.  He had to ask my permission to make the offer in the first place.  You are my lady, and were under my protection.  Secondly, there’s absolutely no way you satisfied his desire.  You don’t even know what his true desires look like.  One of us in this room was your true competitor…” I start and see her look to Daphne; I have to laugh at her assumption.  “Wrong again.”  Is all I say before I again look to Daphne, not wishing to give away that last bit.  “Is it time for this gathering yet?”  I ask as I watch Tracey look to Millicent out of the corner of my eye.

“It is soon enough to go take your place my Lady.”  She says in a very pleased tone as she leads me out passed my other two Ladies.  Once we’re out of earshot she starts to giggle.  “I’m sorry my Lady, I just really enjoyed watching her face.  Of course she doesn’t believe you, or really understand what you just said… but that was priceless.”

“I thought maybe I shouldn’t have given so much away.”  I tell her with a slight frown.

“Oh, I saw her last night my Lady.  She should really already be packing her bags.  We won’t have to worry about her for long.”

I let out a slow breath as we walk into the main chamber.  I’ve become more used to it, but every time I see Salazar’s face, I still feel a chill run up my spine.  Tom’s usual throne is set up on a platform in front of his ancestor with a smaller chair set up next to it, obviously for me.  There are already people milling about the room as they wait for an audience with the Dark Lord, but I try to focus more on my breathing, and staying in control than the people around me.

Before I know it, I’m sitting in my place next to Tom’s throne with a straight back and the posture of superiority that has become second nature to me.  When did that happen exactly?  Daphne leans over to speak in my ear.

“If you need me I’ll be right here.”  She says in a way that actually makes me feel better.

As we wait for Tom to make his entrance, I let my mind wonder.  I start to think about what these people must be seeing when they look at me.  How much had I really changed since the girl who fought by Harry’s side?

I shift uncomfortably as I start to wonder how much of myself I’ve lost in my months of captivity.  None of those I once called friends will come anywhere near me while I’m attending class.  The only one who talks to me outside of my household is Harper and that’s only because I’m sure he wants to join my household once he graduates.

I feel the mood in the room shift and I realize Tom must have just made his entrance.  I glance up at him, but I have no greeting for him when he sits down next to me in his throne.

“You look lovely today.”  He says in a low voice as those around us start talking.  “A good night’s sleep did you well.”

“Thank you my Lord.”  I say without really looking at him.

“You also look rather troubled.  Is there anything I can do for you, my pet?”  He asks and his tone is amused more than anything.

“The question is a trap my Lord.”  I tell him making him chuckle.

His hand slides to the back of my neck in a gentle touch.  “Everything I do with you is a trap my pet.”

“I’ve realized that.”  I say before someone clears their throat trying to get Tom’s attention.

His hand drops away from me and I feel a new shiver that has nothing to do with painful memories.

Most of the business for the day is boring and nothing I have the power or interest to intervene in.  The rich and powerful squabbling over land and power.  It wasn’t until I heard a familiar name that I looked up.

“Lady Luna Radcliff-Lovegood and Lord Blaise Zabini.”  The secretary starts.  “Here to have a marriage contract approved.”

I stiffen at this watching as one of my best friends steps forward next to Zabini.  She looks as changed as I do.  Her hair is well groomed in long blond waves and her dress in formal and fitted.  I let out a breath I hadn’t realized I was holding when I see her looking up to the throne in her unfocused way.  So she isn’t as changed as I’d feared.

“This will be our Empire’s first truly noble wedding.”  Tom says bringing me back to the situation at hand.

Why would she marry him?  Was she being forced?  I hadn’t gotten a note from her in a while and I started to worry that something had happened to her.  Now it seems all my fears were coming true.

“Is there something wrong my lioness?”  Tom asks me pulling me from my dark thoughts.

“What?”  I ask as if I didn’t understand what he was asking.

“You look upset.”  He says and when I look up at him, I realize he has a knowing smirk on his lips.  This is the exact reason I’m even here right now.  He wanted to see my reaction to Luna marrying that slimy Italian.

“I wasn’t expecting to see anyone I knew.”  I tell him glancing to Luna and seeing her eyes on me.  I give her a weak smile and to my surprise, she smiles brightly back at me.

“Oh yes, Lady Radcliff was a friend of yours, wasn’t she?”  Tom asks already knowing the answer as he sits back in his chair to look the couple over.  “I will of course give my approval to such a fine match.”  He adds sounding pleased.  “I will even go so far as to insist the wedding be held here, at the Empire’s expense.”

Luna looked slightly troubled by this but catches herself before she can say anything.

“That’s too kind of you my Lord.”  The slime ball says next to my friend.

“Of course it will have to be one of the ancient rituals.”  The Dark Lord says, more to himself.  “Tell me Lady, are you a virgin?”  He asks but I can see his real focus is on me.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I know that this is the wrong move, but that doesn’t help me stop my actions.

I shoot up at the question and put myself between Luna and Tom.  “I don’t think this is a conversation for a public gathering my Lord.”  I say trying to keep my anger from my voice.

I watch as he sits back in his chair, looking like a cat that just caught a prized mouse.  “Maybe not.”  He says in an amused tone.  “But why does my pet think she has the right to speak to me in such a way?”

I swallow and flush a bit, keeping my focus completely on Tom.  “Have I been too gentle with you recently?”  He asks loud enough for the room to hear.  “You’ve been such a good little pet I thought that maybe we were past childish outbursts.”

I know he’s doing it on purpose, that he’s trying to stoke the fire of rage in me that has been forming since last night, but I can’t seem to stop myself or cool the heat.

“I’m sorry if I’ve offended my Lord.”  I say not trying in the least to keep the venom from my tone.  “But I really don’t think her personal life is any of your business.”

Tom taps his fingers on the arm of his throne for a moment as he was obviously thinking how best to punish my little outburst.

“Everyone is dismissed.”  He says finally as he gets to his feet.  “You two stay.”  He adds as he moves past me, obviously speaking to Zabini and my friend.

I glanced to Daphne, who was still standing behind the throne obviously unsure if she was supposed to leave or not.  Her eyes widen a fraction giving me my only warning before a spell hit me dead in the back.  Instead of the pain, I had expected it sent me to a hazy soft place.

“Kneel.”  A voice came, it was such a pretty voice and if I hadn’t felt this spell before I might even be listening to it.  “Kneel.”  The voice repeated with a slightly firmer tone, but I knew the Imperious curse when I felt it so I fought the urge still.

A new voice joins the first, but this one I know is wholly inside my head.  “Keep fighting.”  Riddle says and I can almost feel his soothing touch.  “If you can throw the spell off, he’ll respect you more.”  He explains in a calm tone.

“Ginevra kneel.”  Tom orders again and I can hear the anger starting to rise in his voice.

“Don’t you dare!” Riddle orders as my knees start to buckle.

“It’s going to hurt.”  I say just wanting to give in as I spend more and more will to resist.

“Yes it is.”  Both Riddle and Tom say at once giving me a weird stereo experience.

“But, it will be better in the long run.”  Riddle reminds me and I start to wonder how he’s even talking to me right now.

“You will kneel.”  Tom says sounding truly angry now.

“NO.”  I yell finally breaking the curse completely and turning to face my attacker.  I’m out of breath feeling almost as weak as I had after my last Riddle dream.

Tom’s eyebrows raise in surprise as I break his curse and the red is almost glowing in his eyes now.  I can see how angry he is.  Whatever punishment he’d planned originally was going to be nothing to what he would do to me now.  But that isn’t all I can see, there’s also pure animal desire as he looks back into my eyes.  Riddle had been right in that fighting would make Tom desire me more.

“Take my pet to my room while I finish my business here.”  Tom says, how was he calm enough to speak in a controlled tone?

Luna-

Once Lestrange finally leaves I head up to my bedroom to find a pacing Ron.  The moment I open the room he runs over to me wrapping his arms around me.  “You still won’t come with me will you?”  He asks in a knowing way.

“No.”  I tell him as I rest my head against his chest.  “But I would love to shower with you this morning.”  I add to try to distract him.

He sighs and shakes his head.  “Do you really have to get up now?”  He asks sounding more than tired.

“Yes, I’m sure, he’s contacting Blaise now, and we will have to meet up to see what we’re doing about this new problem.”

“You know I would have come out and pounded that wanker if I didn’t think it would make it worse for you.”  I says regretfully.

“Thank you, but if you see him someplace else you’re free to enact any violence you wish.”  I tell him with a laugh.  “Shower?”  I press.

“Shower.”  He agrees.

By the time, I’m dressed and ready to go, I come down the stairs to a pacing Blaise and I have to laugh at how similar the men actually are.  “Something wrong?”  I ask politely.

“Are you okay?”  Blaise turns looking me over as if he’s going to find injury.

“I’m fine; I just had a bit of a disagreement with Lord Lestrange this morning.”

“I know he sent a message.  In it he detailed what ritual he’s going to press the Dark Lord to make us use for our wedding rite.”  He explains as he starts to pace again.  “Luna, it’s going to give me a lot of power over you.”  He adds sounding worried about that.  “But I don’t know if I can fix this.”

I nod slowly walking over to put a hand on his arm.  “I’m not worried about it.  We will think of something.”  I tell him with a smile.  “At least I’m not a virgin, do you know how tightly bound those rites could be?”

He frowns at me shaking his head.  “So you’re not going to try to run from this?  I won’t blame you if you wanted to.  He also sent over some ideas of what I should do with that control once I have it.”

I frown at this nodding again.  “Do you think he’ll force you to share me like he described?”  I ask looking into his eyes.

“No, but he seems to think I would do it willingly.”  He says sounding a bit offended.

I take a slow breath and let myself get lost in the colors around me while I think.  “Do you think the Dark Lord would let him…?”  I start and Blaise puts a hand on my arm before I can finish.

“No.  You’re the last heir to one of the great noble houses of England.  He wouldn’t let even his inner circle turn you into that.  Being my…” he frowns at his own words.  “…plaything is your place as my wife, but being the plaything to his inner circle is not and dilutes and disrespects the line.”

I sigh focusing on him again.  “He wasn’t afraid to disrespect my line when punishing Draco.”  I remind him.

“And if the fool tells him exactly what he has on us he might be willing to punish you in a similar way.” Blaise explains regretfully.  “But now I have proof that he helped you cover the death and that’s just as damning to him as it is to us.”

I let out a slow easy breath as his statement penetrates my worry.  “You what?”

“I’ve found proof he covered up your involvement with the death, I think I can convince the Dark Lord he had as much to do with it as you do, which means he doesn’t have anything to force our hand with any longer.”

“But we still need to get married?”  I ask blinking at him.

Blaise frowns looking torn before nodding slowly.  “If we don’t go through with it it will give him the idea that I actually and truly care about you Luna.”  He says in a regretful tone.  “Which would give him power over me.”

I have to smile as I think about the logic of what he just said.  “We have to get married to prove how much you don’t care for me.”  I say unable to keep from laughing just a little.

He can’t help but smile at my point as well.  “This is a rather interesting world we live in.”  He admits before kissing the top of my head.  “You look nice by the way; I wasn’t expecting you to be ready for the day with how the Lord described his interaction with you.”

“He isn’t nearly as scary as other people.”  I tell him trying to keep my mood light.

“We have to be to the gathering around one, would you like to go out to breakfast and prepare for facing the Dark Lord?”  He asks brushing my cheek with his fingers.

“Blaise?”  I ask looking him in the eyes.  “Do you want this to be a real marriage?”  I ask as I realize his change in demeanor since our engagement.

He takes in a slow breath as he thinks.  “We need to make it seem like a real marriage at least.  You know I do care about you.”  He reminds me.  “And for right now you are…”  He blinks as if he’s realizing something for the first time.  He frowns obviously troubled by his thoughts.  “Never mind.”  He says taking my hand.  “A nice breakfast will do us both good.”

Our meal together is spent mostly in silence, as we both seem deep in thought.  By the end he starts to explain what will be expected of me in the gathering today, which isn’t much.  He will be doing most of the talking unless I’m asked a direct question.

When we arrive at Hogwarts we’re directed with a large group of people all heading to the same gathering.  As we descend the stairs to the main chamber, a coldness tries to seep into me, but I fight it by looking at Blaise and letting his warmth carry me through.

As the group waits for the Dark Lord to enter everyone is clustered in smaller groups talking about why they’re here or other political subjects.  I stay silent as Blaise speaks to an older Lord who’s here to petition for an expansion of his lands.  I tune them out watching the colors move about the room.

Most in the room have a selfish and greedy hue, but that isn’t really a surprise.  I just enjoy the way they meld together and dance around the people to keep myself entertained.

We have been waiting for ten to fifteen minutes when there’s a part in those gathered and brave and loving colors move through the crowd.  I blink away the colors and look as my friend takes the dais sitting in a smaller but lovely carved chair next to the Dark Lord’s throne.

She looks stunning and healthy and I can’t help but feel glad that my friend is well.

A few minutes later, the Dark Lord enters and sits down next to her.  Swallowing hard I look at their colors together.  It’s cold and complete darkness to her warm light, but somehow they mix in a way that makes the image bearable.  I study this for some time as I wait for Blaise and I to be called.

“Lady Luna Radcliff-Lovegood and Lord Blaise Zabini.”  The secretary starts.  “Here to have a marriage contract approved.”

As we move into the small clearing meant for those who are addressing the Dark Lord, I notice Ginny stiffen a bit.  Watching her colors, I can see a clear worry there so I try to smile as best I can to relieve her fears.

The Dark Lord says something but I’m not really paying attention, more worried about what Ginny will think of all of this.  I wish I could explain it to her.

“What?”  She asks as confused as I am.

“You look upset.”  The Dark Lord tells her in an odd kind of way.  I frown wondering what his game is.

“I wasn’t expecting to see anyone I knew.”  She answers obviously trying to keep some kind of control.  She gives me a worried smile, but I return a happy one still trying to show her things are okay with me.

“Oh yes, Lady Radcliff was a friend of yours, wasn’t she?”  The Dark Lord asks before looking over to us as if he’s never met us before.  “I will of course give my approval to such a fine match.”  He adds sounding pleased.  “I will even go so far as to insist the wedding be held here, at the Empire’s expense.”

My eyes widen and I try my hardest to resist the urge to look around for Lestrange.  What would this mean exactly?

“That’s too kind of you my Lord.”  Blaise says in a most polite tone.

“Of course it will have to be one of the ancient rituals.”  The Dark Lord says thoughtfully.  “Tell me Lady, are you a virgin?”  He asks looking to me.

Before I can answer, Ginny jumps out of her chair and puts her body between the Dark Lord and me as if she’s protecting me.  “I don’t think this is a conversation for a public gathering my Lord.”  She says angrily.

“Maybe not.”  The Dark Lord says sounding happy.  “But why does my pet think she has the right to speak to me in such a way?  Have I been too gentle with you recently?”  He asks projecting his voice to the room.  “You’ve been such a good little pet I thought that maybe we were past childish outbursts.”

I can see her hand tremble in fury as if she wants to draw a wand on him.  “I’m sorry if I’ve offended my Lord.  But I really don’t think her personal life is any of your business.”

The Dark Lord sits back on his throne, tapping his fingers against the on the armrest as he watches Ginny for a long moment.

“Everyone is dismissed.”  He says as he gets to his feet.  Blaise takes my arm again trying to move me away before he looks directly at us.  “You two stay.”  He adds with a grin.

Before anyone can say, another word and only half the people have left the room the Dark Lord turns on my friend and casts a silent spell.

I look at her colors to see what kind of damage he’s done when I see she has the soft muted colors of someone who is dazed.

“Kneel.”  The Dark Lord orders and I realize it has to be a simple Imperious curse.  When she doesn’t follow the order, I smile as I remember our training in the DA.  “Kneel.”  He repeats having no more outward effect.

I blink a few times as I see a new darkness enter her colors.  It’s manipulative and prideful, and I wonder if it’s the Dark Lord’s influence on her.

“Ginevra kneel.”  He orders and I watch, as this darkness seems to be protecting her from the spell rather than helping the Dark Lord over take her.

“It’s going to hurt.”  She says weakly as her and the darkness fight together.

“Yes it is.”  The Dark Lord agrees obviously not liking how she’s resisting his spell.  “You will kneel.”  He adds angrily.

“NO.”  She screams as the daze fades from her colors and she turns on the Dark Lord.

There is a very long moment when one can hear a pin drop in that chamber as Ginny and the Dark Lord stare each other down.

“Take my pet to my room while I finish my business here.”  He says finally before turning away from my friend to give Blaise and I his attention.

Once Ginny is out of earshot and most of the others have left the Dark Lord turns his attention back on us.  “I mean it when I say this is an important event for our nation.  Your union shows what is best about our new laws and customs.”  He says as he gives us a cold smile.

“Now that my consort isn’t here to rage in your name Lady Radcliff, I do actually need to know the extent of your experience.  It will effect which ritual we can perform for your marriage vows.”

“Of course my Lord.”  I say licking my lips and not looking up at him.  “I’ve been with two men.”  I tell him and feel Blaise go very still next to me.

The Dark Lord chuckles and shakes his head.  “I see, I don’t think your future husband knew this.  Do you think you still want such a well-used wife?”  He asks Blaise as if he hadn’t been with many more when than I had.

“Of course my Lord.  I wouldn’t deny her the experience of tasting what was out there before she was bound only to me.”  He says diplomatically.

“Such a modern wizard.”  The Dark Lord says dryly.  “I of course have little time for event planning, but you may set up a meeting with Lucius to start the necessary plans.”

“My Lord?”  I find myself asking as an idea strikes me.  “Isn’t it the Lady of the castle’s job to plan such important social events?”  I ask hoping he doesn’t take the suggestion as a slight.

There is a few moments of silence before he chuckles coldly.  “Traditionally yes.”  He agrees.  “We will see if she’s up to such a task.  I’m sure she would be happy to be able to spend time with the future bride.  It may even warm her to what her own future holds.”

With little more conversation, Blaise and I are dismissed and led back up to the castle proper.  We aren’t alone again until we are back on my grounds.

“When?”  Blaise turns on me with a growl.  “When was this other bloke?  I know you were pure when we were together!  And who would dare touch you?”  He asks sounding mad.

I frown at him and tilt my head.  “Did you actually want to own me Blaise?”  I ask not answering his question.  “Have me bound up in a marriage where I have no free will?”

“No.  But that doesn’t mean I like the idea of some slimy git having his paws all over you.  Who was it Luna, tell me.”  He demands.

I blink at him as the colors of jealousy swirl around him.  “What happened to not caring what I choose to do?”  I counter still not willing to tell him about Ron.

“Once we are married I’ll help you choose a lover if that is what you really want, but to shag some random guy on the street, it’s below you and they were not worthy of your noble line.”

I frown and shake my head.  “I’m not going to pick up some random guy at a bar or something.  I wouldn’t even go to a bar without you.”  I remind him.

“Then who Luna?  I will find out.”  He says with a determined air.

“Me.”  Ronald says from the top of the stairs and my stomach sinks as I watch Blaise’s eyes go wide.

Daphne-

I’m still thinking about Ginny’s reaction to the green dress while I do her hair to get her ready for the gathering.  She’s usually rather friendly with me these days, so snapping at me and pressing me not to talk has me a bit puzzled.  It has to do with the fact she’s upset over what’s happening with Tracey I decide, but I’m still puzzling it over when I hear her giggle.

I realize she has caught sight of her hair, which I’ve pulled into an intricate mane of curls.  “I think it’s lovely, and you can’t say you don’t look like a Gryffindor.” I say with a smile as the door opens.

Both Ginny and I turn to look as Milly and Tracey walk into the room.  Milly smiles and bows her head, and I can see she’s actually forming a great respect for our Lady and me.  I find it warms my heart to see how much the usually awkward girl is blooming in this setting.

When my eyes move to Tracey, I can’t help but let out a soft sigh.  Most of the damage from her time with the Dark Lord has been healed, but there are definitely a few clear bruises, she had purposefully left.  Surprising I feel Ginny ease a bit at the sight of the other girl.

“You know this won’t really help in the end.”  Tracey can’t help but say, as she looks Ginny over.

“What?”  Our Lady asks as she stands.  She obviously doesn’t understand the comment at all, which is kind of funny in a way.  “Do you think we are in competition?”  She asks Tracey as the truth dawns on her.  I can’t help but be surprised at her tone, it sounds nothing like the Ginny I know, and reminds me more of the way Mrs. Malfoy would address someone she felt beneath her.

“Life’s a competition.”  Tracey says with an open sneer at Ginny for the first time.  Is she really giving away the game now?  After just one night with the Dark Lord?  She’s a lot dumber than I had originally thought, and that’s saying something.

“I’m starting to understand that.”  Ginny says in the same superior tone.  “I’m also realizing that one of the keys to winning is knowing who you real competition is.  You think we’re competitors before the Dark Lord used you as his whore last night.”

“A Mistress to the Emperor is hardly a whore.  Did you know he offered me the position after I’d thoroughly satisfied his desire?”  She asks sounding very pleased with herself.

“There are so many things you misunderstand about our Lord.”  Ginny starts before she glances to me, it was almost as if she was asking permission to put Tracey in her place.  I give her a pleased smile in way of telling her to fire on.  “First, of course I know you’re his Mistress now.  He had to ask my permission to make the offer in the first place.  You are my lady, and were under my protection.  Secondly, there’s absolutely no way you satisfied his desire.  You don’t even know what his true desires look like.  One of us in this room was your true competitor…” She keeps going and Tracey looks to me, which almost makes me laugh, Ginny does laugh before going on.  “Wrong again.”  She finishes turning to look at me now.  “Is it time for this gathering yet?”  She asks as Tracey looks to Millicent with a bit of confusion on her face.

Milly looks very pleased with herself and I can’t help but be proud of our Lady for the little speech.

After that I take Ginny out into the main chamber while reassuring her she didn’t reveal too much of my plans for Milly.  As Ginny loses herself in thought I start to go over all the girls that I could get to replace Tracey once she was gone.  I meant what I said to Ginny, the girl wouldn’t last long with her attitude, not as the Dark Lord’s plaything.

I have the list in my head narrowed down to about ten girls when I hear silence fall over the room.  Looking up I watch as the Dark Lord sweeps up the stairs and takes his place on the throne.

It feels a bit odd, as he starts right in on small talk with Ginny.  I only really half listen to the conversation as I look over those gathered.  Nothing unusual catches my eye until near the back I spot a girl with stupidly long blond hair.  What was Luna Lovegood doing here?  As people shift, I realize she’s with Blaise and I can’t help but smile.  So it seems that project of our little group has taken a large step forward.  I wonder why neither of the boys told me what was going on with that.

As people start to come forward to make their complaint or ask for their favor, I pay attention closely to everything going on.  Most of these things are decided well before this kind of gathering, but it’s nice for the public to see our great Lord ruling his people.

When it’s Blaise’s turn, I take the chance to look over the girl more closely.  I can’t help but admit my friend’s influence on her has gone a long way.  Though I see, she still has this sort of faraway look in her eyes; Luna looks not only normal, but also well groomed and presentable.

“Lady Luna Radcliff-Lovegood and Lord Blaise Zabini.”  The secretary starts.  “Here to have a marriage contract approved.”

I see Ginny straighten a little at the secretary’s words and I start to get nervous about what she’s going to do.  Luna was one of her old friends, and if she gets a hint of the girl being pushed around I think maybe she’ll fall back into old habits.

“This will be our Empire’s first truly noble wedding.”  The Dark Lord sounds very pleased as he greets the couple.

This is truly bad luck.  Even watching her posture from the back I can tell Ginny is going to have little patents for this, not after everything that’s happened over the last few days.  Out of all the days, we could have sat in on one of these gatherings, why did it have to be the day her friend was here.

“Is there something wrong my lioness?”  The Dark Lord asks in a tone that makes me realize this confrontation has nothing to do with luck.  He has been pushing her buttons from the start.

“What?”  She asks as if she didn’t hear him.

“You look upset.”  He says with an amused tone that everyone in the room would be able to hear.

“I wasn’t expecting to see anyone I knew.”  She says and I have to give her credit for not losing her cool just yet.  Even if her voice sounds strained.  She looks to Luna and the blonde gives her a bright smile.  

“Oh yes, Lady Radcliff was a friend of yours, wasn’t she?”  The Dark Lord asks as if he hadn’t already known the answer.  “I will of course give my approval to such a fine match.”  He adds sounding pleased.  “I will even go so far as to insist the wedding be held here, at the Empire’s expense.”

No one looks happy with this idea.  The Lovegood girl frowns slightly, and even Blaise has to force his smile.  “That’s too kind of you my Lord.” he says, but I can tell he’s looking for a reason to turn the Dark Lord down.

“Of course it will have to be one of the ancient rituals.”  The Dark Lord muses to himself.  “Tell me Lady, are you a virgin?”  He asks but it’s obvious his real attention is on Ginny.

I watch on as Ginny snaps to her feet and puts herself in a protective stance in front of her friend.  “I don’t think this is a conversation for a public gathering my Lord.”  She says with a boiling temper.

“Maybe not.”  The Dark Lord says in an amused tone.  “But why does my pet think she has the right to speak to me in such a way?  Have I been too gentle with you recently?”  He asks letting his voice carry to the room.  “You’ve been such a good little pet I thought that maybe we were past childish outbursts.”

But it’s obvious from his tone and this little stunt that he had hoped for this exact outcome.

“I’m sorry if I’ve offended my Lord.”  Ginny says, but her tone doesn’t at all match her words.  “But I really don’t think her personal life is any of your business.”

There’s a pause before the Dark Lord looks to the room.  “Everyone is dismissed.”  He says finally as he gets to his feet.  “You two stay.”  He adds pointing to Zabini and his new fiancé.

Ginny looks at me now as I try to decide if I’m supposed to stay or not.  Before I can decide, I see the Dark Lord turn on the spot with his wand raised.  It’s obvious he had cast a silent spell on Ginny and I watch as her eyes become unfocused.

“Kneel.”  The Dark Lord orders and everyone still in the chamber stops breathing as Ginny only slightly sways on the spot.

“Kneel.”  He repeats and it’s obvious now what he cast on her, but it’s just as obviously that she’s fighting his control.

“Ginevra kneel.”  The Dark Lord almost hisses as he puts more will into the spell.

“It’s going to hurt.”  I hear her say softly instead of following his command.

“Yes it is.”  He agrees as his anger spikes.  “You will kneel.”  He says through clenched jaws.

“NO.”  She finally yells and I can see her eyes clear completely as she throws off the spell.

I watch as anyone left in the room besides those ordered to stay find a quick exit.  I don’t blame them for not wishing to be in the same room as our Lord at this moment.

“Take my pet to my room while I finish my business here.”  He says in a seemingly calm tone.  There’s a moment before I realize he’s speaking to me and I move forward to take Ginny’s arm.

As we walk, I glance over to Ginny who seems unusually calm as well.  When I see that she’s, actually trembling slightly I frown.  “You can’t show fear now.”  I tell her once we’re out of earshot of anyone.

“Not his study, or the dining hall, or my room.”  She answers and I can’t help but bite my lip.

“He knows how much this upsets you Ginny.  He won’t force himself on you.”  I point out knowing that that is a small relief when there are so many things he’s still willing to do to her.

“Do you think he will make me watch them together?”  She asks actually surprising me.

“I don’t know.”  I admit wondering if he actually knows how that would affect her.

“I’m always going to fall into his traps.”  She said as she got to the large double doors of his bedroom.

“Maybe, but you surprised everyone by shrugging off that Imperious Curse.”  I say still trying to make her feel better.

She licks her lips as she looks around the dark room.  “It’s only going to make this worse in the end.”  She reminds me.

“For today.”  I say clasping her hand.  “But tomorrow is he going to respect you all the more for it.  Why do you think he plays these games with you?  He enjoys having a woman that he can’t exactly control.”  I tell her with a frown.  “Do you want me to stay?”  I ask as I try to ignore our surroundings.

She gives me a sad smile and shakes her head.  “This can’t be pleasant for you either.  Go, I’ll live.”

Chapter 7: Dark Desires

Ginny-

Once Daphne is gone, I look around his room once again.  I haven’t been in here since the night I gave myself to him and Harry looked back at me for the first time.  I have to wonder what he has in mind to punish me with this time.

I start to pace the room moving back and forth always stopping to watch the door as I near it.  The waiting like this seems worse than actually being punished, but then I remind myself what punishments have been like in the past.

I’m not sure how long it’s been when the door finally opens and Tom moves to me in a rush.  I only see a flash of him before he’s on me gripping my hair.

“Did you think that was funny pet?”  He hisses forcing me to my knees with pure physical strength.

“No.”  I tell him honestly.  Nothing about today has been funny.

“No, Master.”  He says before backhanding me across the face.  “You need to learn who is in control here my sweet little kitten.”

I try to blink away the stars the strike left and nod slowly.  “I’m not calling you that my Lord.”  I say unable to get myself to cross that line.

Another strike comes and soon I’m being dragged across the room.  When he lets go of my hair I crumple to the floor and feel my face where he hit me.

After a moment of shuffling things around there’s a familiar pinch at the back of my neck as a weight settles around it.

“No…”  I say looking up to him seeing his satisfied smirk.  He runs his fingers over the collar as if it brings him great pleasure just to see it.

“You look afraid.”  He says in a pleased tone.  “I missed your fear.”  He adds after a moment.

“What are you going to make me do?”  I ask resisting the urge to try to remove the collar.  I remember the pain very clearly last time I tried.

“There will be pain and pleasure in your near future, but you won’t enjoy a moment of it.”  He warns.  “You will call me Master.”  Tom orders a moment later and his words take on an echo that I cannot seem to resist.

“Yes Master.”  I whimper knowing it’s wrong.

“We will be leaving this collar on until you learn your lesson.”

“What lesson is that Master?”  I ask still unable to keep myself from calling him that.  “I obviously acted as you wished me to act.  You wanted to punish me and that is why you set up the whole thing.”  I say deciding to not completely fold or beg.

“You know, I don’t think many people gave you credit for being clever.  I certainly never did when you were younger.”  He says as if he’s remembering better days.

“But what you wanted was an excuse to punish and hurt me.”  I say thoughtfully looking to the ground.

“Right again kitten.”  Tom says running fingers through my hair as if he’s rewarding a prized pet.

“Why do you need an excuse?”  I ask looking up at him seriously.  “I’m your prisoner, your slave even, you don’t need a reason.  You own me.”  I remind him.

“That is true, but I try to be fair with you as well.  I give you certain freedoms when you’re good, and take them away when you’re bad.  With that little display of yours in the chamber no one will think twice of me keeping you out of the public eye for a while.”  He comments with a knowing smile.

“But school!”  I say standing, unsure how long a while is and if I can catch up if he even lets be return.

“Kneel.”  Tom orders again with power behind the word.  I drop to my knees and groan at the pain of hitting the floor so fast.

“Sorry Master.  I just don’t wish to miss school.”  I tell him honestly.

“I know your education is very important to you, and honestly is it also important to me, which is why I think you should be privately tutored for the rest of the year.”  He said sounding unconcerned about my feelings on the subject.

“I like to be able to see others besides…” I start before the pain radiating down my spine stops all thought.

“I don’t care what you like; I don’t care if you’re happy.  Only your ability to please me is important.”  He says firmly as I shake my head.

“If that was true…”  I start trying to press past the agony still burning up most of my thought.  “…you would have me in one of your cells in the dungeon.”

I can tell he’s pulling back some of the torture so he can hear me out.  “Okay little pet, do you have some kind of offer for me?”

“If I can keep living as we have been this year I would surrender myself to your punishments willingly.  You wouldn’t have to come up with reasons to hurt me.”  I say trying to sound more confident than I felt.

“The collar will still have to stay on for a while.”  He answered after a moment.  “And you my sweet, would have to start calling me Master, in private, willingly.”  Tom says as he plays with a strand of my hair.

I close my eyes, really hating the collar and the idea of willingly calling him Master.  “Fine.”  I say after a moment, knowing my pride isn’t worth my education.  The pain he was inducing completely fades now and he tips my chin up so I have to look into his eyes.

“You know there’s only one other who has ever offered me her pain willingly before.”  He tells me seeming more interested than mad now.  “But the other one was obsessed with me and would to anything for my attention.”

“You must have found that very dull Master.”  I say trying to feel brave.

“I do.”  He agrees running his thumb over my lips.  “But I’ve never found you dull Ginevra.”  He says his words pleasing me more than I would like to admit to myself.  “And now here you are, offering your pain to me.  I think I will enjoy this.

With that, he gets to his feet and with a wave of his wand, I’m standing as well.  He has me tied with my wrists hanging from the ceiling before I can blink.  I pull at my bonds and find them very secure.

“You know Tracey was standing there just last night.”  Tom tells me as he moves around behind me.  “She has such a pretty scream.  I think I’ll play with her after we’re done for tonight.”

I took in slow breaths knowing this was all just to make me jealous of the other girl.  “After I gave her some pain, just a taste of what you’ll be getting, I laid her down on that bed and made her scream for a whole new reason.”  He says with a chuckle.

I start to feel my body humming with a very slight level of arousal, and I really don’t know where it coming from.  As the feeling gets stronger, I realize he must be using the collar again.

“Why are you doing that Master?”  I ask trying to shift to relieve the feeling.

“Doing what?”  He asks with an all too innocent voice.  “Maybe you like to hear about the other women I fuck?”  He says before ripping the back of my dress open and letting it fall to the ground around me.

I gasp as the cold air settled over newly revealed skin.  “I know it’s you, Tracey turns my stomach.”

He chuckles at my words and gathers my hair into his hand.  He pins it up with another spell before running a cool hand down my back.

“I do enjoy the blank canvas you offer.”  He says seeming to be speaking more to himself than me.

He treats my underclothes as if they’re simply trash in his way, cutting them off my body and tossing them aside.

The pleasure suddenly heightens as I can feel the heat of his form step away.  This confuses me for a moment before I feel the first cold lash on my back.  Pain blooms from my right, diagonally along my back.  With the high level of pleasure still being pumped into me, it causes a very confused reaction in my brain.  I gasp unsure if it was in pain or ecstasy.

There’s a long moment before the next strike lands across my hip and again the pleasure pulses with the pain.  The strikes start coming fast after that and I lose myself in the warring sensations he’s torturing me with.

Before I realize I’m screaming myself horse.  The searing pain always mixing with new levels of pleasure.  By the time he slows to a stop, I’m sure my back, shoulders, upper arms and legs are a bloody mess.

“Did you like that my sweet?”  He asks as he moves up behinds me licking my shoulder and causing a flare of pain there.

I’m still too disoriented from what he’d just done to really understand and answer.  I feel his heat move around to my front.

I can’t really see him so much as feel his closeness, but I have an impression of blood splatter on a pale chest.  He takes my chin directing my head towards him I think.  “Oh yes, this is a good start.”  He says, not making any sense at all.

Finally, he lets the unsatisfied pleasure drift away into an annoying empty feeling.  And it takes all my will not to whimper with its loss.

“You should rest now; you have a very busy day tomorrow.”  He says and I’m not sure if I understand him at all any more.  “I’ve decided you will be meeting with that friend of yours, the Lovegood girl.  She’s asked if you will plan her wedding as the Lady of this castle.”  He says sounding amused.

“But… If…”  I lick my lips shaking my head as I try to clear it.  “You said you wanted me out of public eye.  You tricked me?”

“If you didn’t offer me something good enough I would have turned her request down.”  He says smiling in a very pleasured way.  “I had no idea how sweet you would make this deal.  I think this is my favorite so far.”

With that, he pulled out of my view again but I was at least finding my head.  Unfortunately, as I come down from the high of what he just did to me the pain seems to intensify, making it feel as if my body was on fire.

“Take her to her room, and make sure her maid gives her the sleeping draft before tucking her in.”  He orders someone I can’t see.  “Tell her maid Tracey I require her in my chambers.”

I feel strong familiar arms carefully take me down from Tom ties.  I’m still too distracted to know who it is, but with the care he is taking, I assume it must be one of my guards.

We’re almost to the door when Tom speaks again.  “Oh, and boy, I know each and every welt on her skin, if I find even one out of place tomorrow you will not enjoy what my displeasure looks like upon her next time.”

We are halfway down the hall when I finally look up at my helper.  I gasp and look away, wishing my brother didn’t have to see me like this.  Didn’t have to help my naked and bleeding form back to my room.  “We need to get you out of here Ginny.”  He says in a very soft voice.

Luna-

There’s a moment of stunned silence as Blaise processes whose voice just drifted down the stairs.

“I love her.”  Ron presses and we can both hear him walking down the stairs even though I’m still looking into Blaise’s wide eyes as he looks back into mine.

He seems hurt for a moment before pushing it away and turning to face Ron with his own wand drawn.

“You’re either an idiot or not actually in love with her as you say.”  Blaise tells him coldly.

“What do you know about love?  You’re forcing her to marry you for some political gain you get from her bloodline.”  Ron spits back.

“At least my match with her won’t get her killed, or worse.”  Blaise counters as they size each other up for a duel.

“I’ll protect her.”  Ron says firmly.

Blaise laughs shaking his head.  “Oh will you?  You know what the best protection for her is.  You wouldn’t, because you’re an idiot.  Harry Potter’s idiot friend can’t protect anyone.”  Blaise hisses and I see Ron about to make a fool hearty move.

It’s as if his actions break a spell that’s been holding me in place, keeping me frozen as two men I care about finally confront one another.  The moment I can move I dart between them, keeping them from harming one another.

Ron lets his spell fall when he no longer has line of sight on Blaise.  “Please don’t fight?”  I ask looking from one to the other.

“If we let him go he’s just going to turn us in Luna, you have to come with me now.”  Ron says desperately.

“Ah, is that your plan, stealing her away to hide at whatever hovel the rebellion is gathered at now?”  Blaise asks with a sneer.  “She’s smarter than that; she knows that life isn’t sustainable.”  

“Like you care about her?”  Ron snaps angrily.  “We both know the first moment you can you’ll turn her in for harboring me.”

“If we both know that why reveal yourself at all?  You want to force her to go with you.”

“You want to force her to marry you!”  Ron yells back.

I lick my lips having to step between them again.  “I love you both!”  I scream unable to think of how to deal with the jealousy and anger cloaking both of them as they bicker.  I blush deeply as they both are now staring at me.

“You what?”  Ron asks recovering first.  “You can’t love him.  He’s the enemy!”  Ron’s anger only grows as he has time to think about my words, but Blaise’s colors are a mix of confusion and a bit of happiness, he keeps trying to ignore.

“I love him and I love you, but you’re both trying to bully me into things I don’t want.  I’ve already told you I can’t go with you.  There are people that rely on me here.”  I tell him with a frustrated sigh.

When I turn to Blaise, he’s smiling triumphantly.  “And you!”  I start so he knows he isn’t off the hook.  “We both know that things are working our greatly in your favor.  That to stay here I have to marry you and that’s what you’ve wanted since whenever you and Draco came up with that stupid plan.”  I have to take a breath because I’m not used to talking so much at once.  “But I’m a creature of freedom.  I need to breathe if you don’t wish to kill me.  And if you turn Ronald in or hurt him in any way you’ll be hurting that love I have for you.”

Blaise’s eyes widen and his jaw sets as I finish speaking.  He takes in what seems like a calming breath before lowering his wand.  “I won’t harm him, but you realize letting him go only puts you in danger.  The boy isn’t known for his ability to bite his tongue.  If he tells anyone he saw you, it puts you in danger’s way.”

“I’m not the one taking her in front of Voldyshorts.”  Ronald snaps.  “I’m not the one having her around all those Death Eaters day in and day out.  You’re not the one who had to comfort her this morning after that bastard nearly raped her!”

“You need to shut up and leave before I decide that killing her love for me is worth the satisfaction your death will bring both of us.”

I clench my fists unsure how to make my feelings more clear to either of them.  “You know what?  I think you should both just leave.”  I snap finally.  “Each go your own way because I am tired of this fighting.”

“I just want to know one thing.”  Blaise says looking to me, seeming nearly ready to listen to my request.

“What?”  I ask looking back at him with a frown.

“When?”

“When what?”  I ask blinking unsure of his question.

“He wants to know when we made love.”  Ron answers for him.  “I don’t think it is any of his business.”

Blaise just looks at me with that same jealous hurt around him as before.  “Last night.”  I say and Ron makes a sound behind me.  “I knew I wasn’t going to have the time or freedom to be with him after we were married, so when the chance presented itself I took it.”

The darker man nodded slowly in thought.  “At least I know I don’t have to compete with a perfect memory.”  He says with a sly smile forming on his lips.  “Goodnight Luna.”  He stepped up next to me and leaned down to kiss me on the cheek before heading for the front door.

When Blaise is gone, I finally turn to a disgusted looking Ron.  “You still can’t see why I care about him?”  I ask with a frown.

“I still think he’s playing you, and I know he doesn’t need you.  Come away with me before he sends back a squad of Death Eaters to bring us both in.”  He says sounding a bit desperate.

I sigh and shake my head.  “No, he doesn’t need me.”  I agree still shaking my head.  “But Minty, Muffin, Mop and Clipper do.”  I remind him.  “I meant it Ron, I need my space tonight.  I’m sure your cause needs you back as well.”

“But what if Death Eaters come for you?”  He asks sounding fearful, “They’ll show up any moment.”

“Then I’ll deal with it on my own, but they won’t, not tonight.”

He sighs and walks over to me so he can look down at me with his concerned blue eyes.  “I won’t be back for a while; I wish you’d just come with me.”

“Stop it Ronald.”  I press making him sigh again.

“Fine, I can’t force you.”  He agrees before kissing my lips and trying to convince me in a whole new way.  I’m breathless before he pulls back to look into my eyes hopefully.

“Good night Ronald.”

Daphne-

I actually feel bad about leaving Ginny to her fate in his chambers, but I can’t help feeling grateful that she doesn’t make me stay with her.  Knowing I’m going to be needed later though, I head back to her room and gather her other maids with me.

“So we’re just going to wait in here while he punishes her?”  Tracey asks with a sneer.  “I have better things to do with my time.”

“You’re still her maid which means her care is your only care for this moment.  I just wish I knew how he planned to punish her that he didn’t want to make a public spectacle of it.”  I say more to myself.

“Nothing to do right now but wait, you may work on other projects you may have while we do that.”  I tell them ignoring Tracey’s sour expression.

I move to Ginny’s desk and pull out my correspondence with those I think would make good allies to my Lady and start going over the latest political moves made by those families.

I hear Millicent and Tracey talking in the background as I work but I ignore them until I hear a familiar name.

“Do you really think Adrian would even look at a troll like you?”  Tracey asks her voice rising.  “Just because our Lady seems to think we’re competitors doesn’t mean you’re even near my level.”

“I would never presume.”  Millicent says quietly.  “It’s just I thought the job of a Lady was to find a good marriage.  I don’t think being the Emperor’s slut counts.”

I can’t help but smile down at my work at Milly’s words.

Mistress is just the first step.  I will be his queen.  My parents taught me to aim only for those who are worthy of me.”

“He’s never going to make you his queen Tracey.  Everyone knows he’s chosen Lady Gin…”

“Oh come on.”  Tracey interrupts.  “He’s never going to be happy with trash like her.”

I frown about to get up to discipline Tracey for speaking so about our Lady when I hear a slap across skin.  “She is our Lady.”  Millicent says fiercely.  “And you will never talk about her in that way in front of me again.”

I turn blinking as Milly stands over Tracey with a menacing expression.  It’s one of the rare moments her height is a true advantage.

“You hit me!”  Tracey says as she finds her voice.

“I’ll do it again.”  Millicent responds pulling back her hand as Tracey jumps to her feet and moves away.

The blonde then looks to me for backup.  “She hit me.”  She repeats as if it was the worst thing anyone could do.

“You needed a reality check.  You know what the Dark Lord would do to you if you called his consort trash in front of him?”  I ask to drive the point home.

Before she can answer, the door swings open.  Theodore holds the door as George and Draco carry Ginny into the room.

My heart jumps into my throat and Tracey’s behavior gets push aside with everything else.  “Lay her down on her stomach and get her a healer.”  I order but George shakes his head before anyone can move.

“No healer.”  He says as he helps to lay his sister on the bed.  “He said if anything was…”  He looks as if he’s going to be sick but before I can be distracted with that Millicent actually has the grace to lead him away.

“We need to at least clean her up and put some salve on so it doesn’t get infected.”  I say rushing to the bathroom to get a basin and towels to wash her back.  There’s just so much blood I worry that she isn’t screaming.

“Is she even alive?”  Tracey asks coldly.

“I put a numbing spell on her, it just keeps her bleary.”  Draco explains sharply and I thank Merlin he thought of it.

“Think he’s done with her now?”  She presses as if this beating is a sign that he’s losing interested in his consort.

“It sounded like he wanted to see her tomorrow.”  George says sounding a bit dead inside.  “What can I do to help?”  He asks as soon as I return to the room.

“Did he say anything else?”  I ask him to keep him from falling into despair, and wanting all the information from him I could get.

“Only that he wants her as soon as she can get there.”  He says sneering at Tracey.

“Why didn’t you say sooner!?”  She shakes and was out of the room before anyone could actually dismiss her.

“Why did he do this to my sister?”  George asks obviously wanting to make sense of everything he saw.  “And what is that around her neck?”  He adds, his eyes not leaving her for a moment.

Not caring about the sheets, I started to pat the blood away from her normally pale skin.  I glance to her neck swallowing at the familiar clasp.  The men hovered over as I revealed the real damage he’d done.  “It’s a magical collar.”  I tell those who don’t recognize it.  “And I don’t know.  I knew he would be hard on her, but…”  I shake my head this isn’t exactly adding up.

“Because I told him he could.”  Came a weak voice from the pillow where Ginny’s head lay.

“You what?”  Draco, George I ask, all shocked by her words.

Ginny licks her lips as she turns her head to look at the door.  “He wanted to take me out of the public eye.  He wanted to keep me from seeing people.”  She says not really seeing any of us.

“So you told him he could beat you senseless and collar you?”  I ask holding the basin up for Milly to wash it out and get me a new one.

“I offered him my pain for being allowed to continue with the small life I have here.  The collar was before that.”  She says as if I’d understand her motives and his.

“My Lady he didn’t hold back with these strikes.”  I tell her unsure if she really understood this or not.

“I know.”  She say hiding her face from all the onlookers.

“You all have better things to do, Millicent and I will take care of her from here.”  I tell them before shooing them out of Ginny’s room.  George is the last to leave, all the while giving me a pleading expression.  “We’ll take good care of her, if you want to help go pick of some ointment from the infirmary, just say it’s for open welts and they’ll know what to give you.”  I told him before going back to Ginny’s side.

“Why not clean it with a spell?”  Milly asks once we’re alone.

“My wand work isn’t as delicate as it could be.”  I tell her honestly.

“Oh.”  He nods in understanding as we slowly but surely clean Ginny’s wounds.  No one talks as Ginny seems worn out and neither Millicent nor I can think of anything useful to say.  When George returns with a few bottles of the ointment Milly helps slowly and carefully rub it over the skin.

“This will also make sure it doesn’t scar.”  I say once we’re finished.

“It feels a bit better.”  Ginny admits and looks over to me.  “I need my dreamless sleeping draft, and I’d like to talk to George before I sleep.”  She says in a weary voice.  “We’ll need to talk in the morning about what my life will be now.”  She adds when I think she’s done.

“Yes my Lady.”  I say with a bow.

I retrieve the draft, but instead of giving it to her, I head into the hall looking for her brother.  “She wants to talk to you.”  I tell him as I hand over the bottle.  “Give this to her before you leave, it will keep the nightmares away.”

“Why did he do this to her?”  He asked me again, a deep frown on his lips.  “I thought he wouldn’t hurt her if she behaved.”

I frown and let out a slow sigh.  “It’s just as dangerous being the Dark Lord’s favorite as being in his disfavor.”  I tell him regretfully.  “But your sister is strong, he won’t break her.”  I tell him after a moment, trying to convince myself as well.

He nods slowly and closes the rest of us out so he can spend some time with his sister.  I look around at the small group of Ginny’s household.  Theodore is the only one here without her blood smeared on hands and clothes.

“I think we should get cleaned up.”  I tell the rest.  “Theodore, you stay here and keep guard while we do.  If George comes out send him to do the same.”

The boy looks to Draco for confirmation before nodding in agreement.  “Yes m’lady.”  He answers before the rest of us head up towards our rooms.

Millicent walks a little ahead of Draco and I as we speak in low voices.

“How bad is it really?”  Draco asks as he places a hand on the small of my back.

“It looked scarier than it actually was because of all the blood.”  I tell him with a frown.  “But it still isn’t great, more so if he plans to do it to her daily.”

“I don’t know how to protect her from this.”  He tells me with worry in his voice.

I smile slightly.  “Are you actually concerned?”  I ask looking to him.  “I thought it was our job to pretend loyalty to her.  She was just a stepping stone in our path.”

“It’s hard to be around her all the time and not grow fond of her.  I’m an intelligent man Daphne.  Being her guard when she’s Queen will be far preferable to ever being his.”

“Only if she survives to that day.”  I remind him making him slow.

“So how do we protect her from him?”  He asks again.

I lick my lips in thought and shake my head.  “Try to minimize the damage as much as possible, be there when she needs us.  She gave this to him willingly…”  I shake my head at the thought.  “Right now he’s ravaging that twit and thinking of our Lady.”

“Oh yes I’ve been meaning to congratulate you on choosing that one for our Lady’s maids.”  Draco says dryly.

“Honestly I thought she was smarter than she is.  I thought she would aim for one of his inner circle or even you.”  I tell him regretfully.  “But we’ll be rid of her soon enough, and I’m going to purpose Astoria at the end of this year.”

“The choice won’t bring our Lady any more power than she has now.  Daphne you have to look at the powerful families of the Empire.  Later for your sister.”  He pushes as we get to my door.  Millicent as already found her room so I open the door and let Draco into mine.

“So who would you suggest?”  I ask as I move to my bathroom to start a bath for the two of us.

“How about one of the Patils, or there’s always Pansy.”  He called from the next room.

“Maybe a Patil, but there’s no way the Lady would agree to Pansy even if I wanted her.”

“True.”  He agrees stepping into the bathroom.  “I should head back to my room.”  He says and I can feel his eyes on my back.  “To get cleaned up.”

“You could clean up here, with me.”  I tell him turning to face him almost feeling shy.

“Is that a good idea?”  He asks with a frown.

I smile at him sadly and nod.  “What good would it do to bath alone?”  I point out.

He sighs and moves in front of me unhooking the shoulders of my dress.  “We need to start seriously looking for a husband for you.”  He says looking into my eyes.

“I can’t serve as a maid if I have a husband.  We need to wait until she’s allowed a complete household.  What we need to find is a wife for you.”  I point out letting the dress fall and working on the buttons of his robes.

“Blaise has a cousin he wants me to meet at his wedding.  Italian noble wouldn’t be a bad choice.”

“Not at all.”  I agree as we slowly continue to disrobe each other.

“But we should still decide who you’ll set your sights on?”  He presses.  “You can’t stay a maid forever.”

“How high should I look do you think?”  I ask running a hand over his now bare chest.  His body is lean and hard to my touch.

“I’m thinking inner circle.”  He says brushing light fingers over my cheek and neck.

When we finally climb into the tub I kneel in front of him, so I can wash the blood from him myself.

“Inner circle?”  I ask with a slight frown.  “Who’s unmarried?”

“Rookwood, Dolohov, and the second Lestrange… Rabastan.”  He says ticking them off on his fingers.

“Who would you suggest?”  I ask not having grown up in a Death Eater family, I don’t know the men nearly as well as Draco.

“Haven’t seen Rookwood around lately and there are rumors about him liking to cut little girls.” He says making a face.

“No.”  I say shaking my head with a sneer of my own.

“Both Rabastan and Antonin are fine choices.  Neither seems particularly cruel and they were both royal through the dark times.”

“Which one is smarter?”  I ask as he takes the cloth from me to start cleaning off my skin.

“Rabastan I think.  He always has something happening on the side, where Antonin only does what’s best for our Lord.”  He says but gets a playful look in his eyes as the cloth brushes over my nude breasts.

The conversation stops as we lose ourselves in each other’s bodies.  I make love to a man for the first time in my life.  It’s like nothing I’ve experienced before.  There’s the passion and the heat of having a skilled lover, but every movement means more, penetrates deeper.

“Daphne” Draco moans and I know he’s feeling the same things I’m.

“Draco” I gasp looking into his eyes as I reach a brilliant peak.  All the while looking into his eyes, and being only with him.

Ginny-

I wake to the feel of a soft finger running down the back of my skin, just above where the collar sits on my neck.  It feels nice for a moment before I shift and my back flares in pain.

“You’re beautiful like this.”  Tom says thoughtfully.  “Like a piece of art.”

I expected to feel frightened when I saw him again.  I expected to feel as if I was in danger or a victim.  But that isn’t how I feel at all.  I sort of feel at peace with the pain and comforted to have him near now.

“I don’t like that you sent me away.”  I find myself saying before I can think better of it.

“Really?”  He asks interestedly as he sits on the bed next to me, his fingers continuing to trace the collar around the back of my neck.

“It was the worst of thing you did to me.”  I tell him honestly.

“Sending you away was worse than giving you these?”  He asks as he lets his fingers trace over my back, sending spikes of pain that make me flinch.

“Yes.”  I gasp feeling breathless suddenly.  “After, I felt weak and I needed you.”  I tell him against my better judgement.  Admitting weakness to him seems wrong, but at the same time, I can’t think of any other way to describe it.

“It’s common for those in your position to wish for comfort from their Masters after tasting the whip.”  He says after a long pause.

“Those in my position?” I ask confused by what he means.

“Those who like to offer their pain willingly to their Masters.”  He says and I can hear the smile in his voice.

“People who like pain you mean?”  I ask with a frown as I try to look back at him.  “The only pleasure I got from last night was what your forced on me.”  I say to make things clear.

“That may be true.”  He said still smiling down at me.  “But there’s something freeing about giving into the whip of your own free will.  And I plan to train you to enjoy every lash.”

I frown at that before resting my head back on the pillow.  “Why are you here?”  I ask hearing the hardness in my own voice.

He only chuckles as if I’m being cute then leans down to kiss the spot just under my collar.  “To make sure the imbeciles you’ve surrounded yourself with took proper care of you last night.”

“Did my maid take proper care of you?”  I ask bitterly, and I have no idea where the flare of anger came from.

He laughs again, this time much more amused than the first.  “Oh yes, she’s a fine little strumpet.  She was exactly what I needed after our exchange.”

His words sting more than they had before and I find myself trying to hold back tears.  “Will you leave me alone now?”

“That really does upset you.”  He says sounding surprised.  “Are you falling in love with me little lioness?”

I lick my lips and shake my head.  “No.”  I say clearly and firmly.  I know this is the truth.  Over the last few days, I’ve to come to terms with it.  Through it scares me more than anything has in my whole life; I know I have been in love with Tom for a very long time.

“No?”  He asks curiously.  “Then why so jealous?”  He asks not seeming upset in the least.

“I’m not jealous.”  I lie this time trying to pull further away from him.

“I’m sure you wish that was true.”  He says in that arrogant knowing way that makes me kind of want to punch him in the face.

“I love Harry.”  I say trying to hurt him in the same way he’s hurting me.

The room is silent for a long time.  The storm that’s brewing inside of him leaves a thickness to the air, but I refuse to look.

“You love Harry Potter.”  He says slowly but before I can respond, I find myself on my back.  I scream as the welts and cuts burn against the sheets.  “You love Harry Potter.”  Tom repeats and I feel him moving over me.  “I’ve taken everything from him; his mentor, his school, his body, and even you.  You are mine, not his.”  He says in a low dangerous hiss.

“You’re still fighting against him.”  I choke out as I become more used to the searing of my back.

“Oh my pretty little lioness.”  Tom almost coos above me.  “We’re the only ones that know the battle I must endure with him still, but I’m the one winning.  If he were a challenge at all I could never do this to you.”  

I’m confused about what he means before a feel the tip of his wand against my pelvic bone.  “Morsmordre in aeternum” He hisses lighting what seems like a fire on an area that was untouched the night before.  The pain growing from the tip of the wand is like a sun against the candle of what he did to me the last night.

Still I felt the undercurrent of pleasure he forced on me to go hand and hand with this new kind of pain.  I can’t help but scream as he keeps me pinned to the bed with sheer force of magic.

My entire world shrinks down to the extreme sensations and the man who’s forcing me to experience them.  There’s no way for me to tell how long this sensation lasts, it feels like days, but when I come back to myself I hear people speaking over me.

“…believe he did it.”  Daphne says and I wonder what she’s talking about.  My body is still too tried to move, so I just lay there in a much lower level of pain than before.

“Do you think we should move her onto her stomach?”  Tracey asks sounding actually concerned.

“It was sensitive after he did it to me, but…”  Draco swallowed thickly.  “I don’t think that was anything like what he just did to her.”

“Yours is only skin deep.”  A light voice says and I can’t help but feel all the more confused.  What was Luna doing in my room?

“What?” Draco asks as if only crazy just came from her lips.

“What happened?”  I finally force myself to ask, wanting them to know I’m awake.  I open my eyes and look up at three sets of wide eyes.

“Ginny!”  Daphne finds her voice first.  “How do you feel?”  She asks chewing on her lip.  “Should we move you onto your stomach again?”

I shake my head knowing having that weight on my pelvis will only make the pain worse.  “Cushioning charm?”  I ask them meekly, because it isn’t like my back feels like rainbows and sunshine either.

“Good idea.”  Daphne says casting the spell that will lift me up on a small pocket of air.

“Sheet?”  I ask and she quickly nods to get something clean for me.  I look to Tracey and smile slightly.  “Are you still sure you want to replace me?”  I ask knowingly.  She turns white as parchment and shakes her head slowly.

“He would never do that to me.”  She says not exactly sounding sure.

“No I don’t think he would.”  I assure her with a sigh. “You would never talk to him the way I do.”  I add to make her feel safer.

When Daphne returns with the sheet, she helps me to cover up, being very gentle with whatever scar he just gave me.  “Can you all stop staring at me and tell me why Luna is in my room.”  I say remembering suddenly that I had a guest.

My dear blonde friend pushed past the crowd and sits on the bed next to me.  “They’re just worried after what just happened.”  She assures me in her distracted kind of way.  “I’m here to make wedding plans.”

“Already?  What time is it?”  I ask frowning, as I look around still feeling tired and hoarse.

“Almost noon.”  She says sighing down at me with worry in her eyes.

“Leave us.  Daphne can return when I call for her, but I don’t need a crowd gawking at me.”  I say seeing they’re still looking over Luna’s shoulder.

Once we’re, alone I smile tiredly up at my friend.  “Can you believe I can get a group of Slytherins to move that fast?”  I joke, but she only frowns now that we’re alone.

I shift under her gaze and turn my head to look at the wall.

“You shouldn’t have stepped in when you did.”  She says finally taking my hand.  “I can handle a little embarrassment.  You didn’t need to take all of this for me.”

“He was looking for a reason, if I wouldn’t have lost it then things would have only gotten worse.” I tell her to wave her worry away.  “And this isn’t for just you; there was a lot of back talk that went into what happened today.”

She frowns at this and nods slowly.  “How does it feel now?”  She asks looking down at my pelvic bone as if she can see the scar through the sheet.

“It’s a low humming pulse of pain.”  I tell her with a sigh.

“I’ve never seen one so deep before.”  She says sounding worried.

“I’m sure it will heal fine, he doesn’t like to permanently scar me.”  I tell her wanting her not to worry.

She looks up at me and shakes her head.  “Ginny it isn’t a scar…”  She says as if I should clearly already know this.  A chill goes through me as I quickly lift the sheet to look at what was once pale white skin.  The Dark Mark now looks back at me in a blackish green.  Spreading out from it covering most of my pelvis and upper thigh is a nasty purple, green and yellow bruise.

Quickly I cover it back up as I feel like I’m going to puke.  Luna puts a cool hand on my cheek and it helps to calm my stomach a bit.

“I don’t understand.”  I tell her and shallow a few times before trying to speak.  “Do you think they always feel like that?”

“No.”  Luna says shaking her head.  “He had you screaming in here for an hour and a half while he pressed the spell deeper and deeper into you.  I wouldn’t be surprised if your very bone was marked with it.”

I swallow hard and mill that over in my mind before shaking my head once again.  “He’s such a child.”  I say before quickly looking to her.  “You can’t…”

“I won’t say anything.”  Luna interrupts.  “Do you want to talk about it?”  She asks still sounding concerned.

“Not really, I’d rather talk about you.  You’re marrying Zabini?”  I ask with a frown.

“He’s not as bad as people think.”  She says with a sad smile.  “And I think he does love me in his way.”  She says cheering up slightly.  “He’s also very good in bed.”

I smile at how very pleased she looks with the comment.

“Have many to compare him to do you?”  I ask teasingly.

“Only one.”  She says looking shy all of the sudden.  She bites her lower lip and looks back at me.

“Oh?  And how was this other?”  I ask liking the weightless talk between us.

“I don’t think you really want to know.”  She says blushing more.

“Why wouldn’t I?  Don’t tell me it was Draco?”  I ask sitting up a little.

“No.  No Draco and I never did anything like that.”  She says looking around nervously before looking back to me.  “I was with Ronald.”  She says in a very soft voice.

I blink at her a few times as she turns beat red.  “And he’s okay?”  I ask then blush myself.  “I mean he’s healthy, not what he’s like in bed.”  I add quickly.

“As he can be while on the run.”  She says taking my hand.  “So how is your love life then?”  She asks with a smile changing the subject away from Ron.

“Love life?”  I ask with a slight frown.  “You do know the Dark Lord owns me right?”  I remind her.

“Yes, but besides the darkness planted there you seem to be in love.”  She says looking at me with unfocused eyes.

I put my hands over my face and shake my face.  “I love Harry.”  I force out too afraid she can see right to my soul.

“I know, but he’s gone now.”  She says worriedly.

“I don’t think he’s completely gone.”  I say taking in a slow breath while dropping my hands.  I decide to go on before I lose my nerve.  “I’ve seen hints of him when I’m close to To… the Dark Lord.”  My words are so rushed I almost use the wrong name.

“What kind of signs?”  Luna asks looking around, but I can’t help but smile, as she of course would believe me.

“Sometimes when his guard is down, he speaks to me in such gentle ways and his eyes turn green.”  I say sounding silly even saying it.

She frowns as if lost in her own thoughts.  “Red and Green war out of sight… Out… of… sight…”  She says making no sense to me.  “Ginny.”  She starts, looking around again before she focuses completely on me.  “This is very serious, have you been intimate with the Dark Lord?”

Luna-

At the mention of the love in her colors she covers her face and shakes her head as if she’s about to cry.  “I love Harry.”  She says with a trembling voice.

“I know, but he’s gone now.”  I tell her as kindly as I can.  The love in her seems much more current than she could have for the dead.  I don’t see sadness, only confusion.

“I don’t think he’s completely gone.”  She says as she takes in a steadying breath.  When she drops her hands, she looks back up at me.  “I’ve seen hints of him when I’m close to to… the Dark Lord.”

“What kind of signs?”  Luna asks looking around to make sure there isn’t anyone trying to hide nearby.  It feels weird to be so open in a prison like this.

“Sometimes when his guard is down, he speaks to me in such gentle ways and his eyes turn green.”  She tells me sounding as if she isn’t even sure she believes it.

I frown as her words trigger a memory.  “Red and Green war out of sight… Out… of… sight…”  I say thinking about my first prophecy.  “Ginny.”  I start not sure, if I should dare to hope I look around again just to be sure before giving her my complete attention.  “This is very serious, have you been intimate with the Dark Lord?”

“You mean sex?”  She asks chewing on her lip nervously.

“Yes, I mean sex.”  I say looking at the confusion only grow around her as she nods very slightly.  “Were you ever pregnant with his child?”  I ask wishing I could find a better way to ask these things.

“No.”  She says shaking her head with a frown.  “What’s this about Luna?”

“There’s a prophecy I know.  It could be about Harry.”  I say with a frown.

“What is it?”  She asks eagerly now she too looks around for intruders.

“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. And hidden courage shall form the face the Dark Lord fears.”  I recite the words from memory as if they’re burned there.

She frowns as I watch her go over the words in her head.  “I invited him in exchange for my brother’s family.”  She admitted looking to her knees.  “I know he has also fathered a child.  I won’t tell you who, but it wasn’t me and he made the girl end the pregnancy.  But there’s only one thing the Dark Lord fears and I don’t know how hidden courage could form its face.”

“What does the Dark Lord fear?”  I ask trying to seem innocent in that one.  I have an idea and it’s the exact reason I chose that face for my alter ego.

“Death of course.”  She says with a shrug.

“There’s a vigilante that has taken on the mantle of Death.  He’s working with the rebels, but I don’t know much about him.”  I lie unable to trust even Ginny with that truth.

“I don’t get that sort of news here.”  She says smiling and looking back up to me.  “So you think Harry has a chance?”  I ask but a sudden realization hits me that makes me sick all over again.  “That he can force the Dark Lord from his body?”

“I don’t think he’ll win.”  Luna says sounding hesitant.  “The same person has recently made a second prophecy.  It sounded like it was kind of a continuation of the first.  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.”

“You think it’s about Harry’s body?”  She asks looking into my eyes as if I’m her last hope.

“It could be, but I don’t think it means his death.  What other hero could the Dark Moon be saving?”

“So maybe we can save his soul?”  Ginny says looking more than relieved.

“If that’s what this is about.  Prophecies are a funny business.”  I warn her with a frown.

“Will you look into how to remove a soul form a body safely?”  She asks taking my hand again.  “I don’t have that kind of access here.”

“I’ll try.”  I promise before looking to the door.  “We should get to the work I was supposed to be here for before your maid gets suspicious.”  I say turning back to her.

“Yes.”  Ginny nods before calling Daphne back into the room.

Both Ginny and I let Daphne take the lead in the wedding plans.  She spent several hours talking about head counts and color schemes and I don’t think I was the only one drifting off to sleep out of boredom.

Before I finally have to leave, we set up another meeting for a week and I wished my friend goodbye.

Getting home, I feel mentally and emotionally tired from all that I’d witnessed and admitted today.  When I get into the main hall, I’m about to head up stairs when I see a light on in my office.

Frowning I head towards the light and find Blaise sitting behind my desk writing.  He’s dressed for a night out on the town, though a bit messed as if he’s already been dancing.  “Working at this hour?”  I ask with a frown.

At the sound of my voice, he leans back in the chair and looks up to me.  “Would you let me fuck you over this desk?”  He asks in such a blunt way I realize he’s either drunk or high.

I sigh and shake my head.  “I don’t think I’ve the energy for this right now Blaise.”  I tell him as I see a great amount of jealousy still shrouding him.

“I think you’d look hot with Quibblers all around you, screaming my name.”  He says as if he didn’t hear me.  “Or maybe you’d scream his name.”  He adds with a shrug like he doesn’t care.

“I don’t scream people’s names.  I spout out prophecies when I climax, remember.”  I say not thinking about how I hadn’t yet told him about the second one.

He frowns for a moment, as his brain needs time to catch up in his inebriated state.  “Did you give him one?”  He asks standing so fast he almost trips over the desk.

“Maybe I’ll tell you about it in the morning.  When you’re sober.”  I tell him coldly before turning to head up stairs.

“Luna… Luna don’t, please come back.”  He asks and he sounds so pitiful.  I sigh and turn back to face him.

He’s sitting back in the chair unable to find the balance to stand.  “I don’t usually do this.  I only fuck and drink and smoke to the fun of it.  I was going to go out, I was going to fuck, and I was going to have fun.  I was going to show you that no one pussy whips Blaise Zabini!”  He’s yelling by the end of his little speech and all I can find to do it roll my eyes.

“I don’t understand what you’re going on about Blaise.”

“I haven’t been with anyone since you.”  He admits rubbing his face.  “I mean I’ve gone out and I’ve danced and had fun, but when it gets to the point in the night I take them home and show them I’m the only man that they’ll ever want again.  I just keep thinking they’re not you.  They aren’t smart enough or they aren’t quite pretty enough or they’re just so very normal.  Then I find out you’ve been fucking that little…”  His face turns sour and he obviously can’t find a word bad enough for Ron.  “Well, it fucked with my head.”

I take in a slow breath and move to him.  “Let’s find you a bed.”

“I want your bed Luna.”  He says taking my hand and pulling me down onto his lap as soon as I’m within his reach.  “I don’t want to sleep anywhere else for the rest of my life.”

“You’re drunk.”  I remind him.  “You’re going to feel very silly for saying all these things tonight.

“I’m pretty sure I won’t remember.  But it doesn’t make it any less true.”  He says resting his head on my shoulder.

“Daphne has already warned me against having any more sex until our marriage rite.  There’s a special ritual the Dark Lord has chosen and it requires I stay chased until that day.”  I tell him so he knows nothing can come if he does stay the night.

“Yeah, I got a letter about not defiling you from Draco.  But we can still sleep together right?”  He asks still sounding hopeful.

With a deep sigh, I nod.  “It will be nice to have the company.”  I tell him before I wiggle out of his lap.  “Now let’s go up.”  I tell him before helping him to his feet.

The next morning I snuggle against Blaise’s hard chest.  He surrounds me and I can’t help but luxuriate in it for a few long moments.

“Hummm…”  He murmurs in in a sleepy way.  He shifts a little and pulls me into his arms more tightly before he suddenly sits up in the bed.  “Shit!”  He curses and he’s out of the bed before I can pull his warmth back against me.

“Your boss is forgiving, I’m sure she’ll understand.”  I saw yawning before opening my own eyes.

“You don’t understand Luna; I’m supposed to keep my hands off, until the wedding.  Draco is going to be pissed, the DARK LORD is going to be pissed I can’t keep my dick to myself for one night.”  He’s pacing and looking around for his shoes.

“Blaise you’re pants are still on.”  I point out with a yawn.  “Nothing happened, we just snuggled.”  I say kind of having fun with this.

He stops dead in his tracks and looks back at me in a disbelieving way.  “I don’t snuggle.”  He says firmly.

“People do a lot of things when their blackout drunk.”  I say laying back down to get a bit more sleep in while I can.

Daphne-

“My Lord.”  I say bowing as I enter the Dark Lord’s office.  “You called for me?”  I ask not exactly sure what he wishes to talk to me about.  It’s been a few days since he laid his mark upon Ginny and we haven’t heard a word from him.

“How is your Lady?” He asks not looking up from papers on his desk as if he’s not as interested as he could be.

“Her wounds are healing without trouble.” I say carefully.  I’m not exactly how much would be good for him to know.

“Are they causing her any more pain?”  He asks stilling as he waits for my answer.

“She still moves with great care, but she doesn’t complain to me.”  I answer and watch as a little smile crosses his lips.

“And her sleep?”  He presses on going back to whatever reading he’d been doing.

“She’s still taking the potion each night so her sleep is dreamless.”  I say then pause before I go on.  “She wishes to go back to school.”  I tell him carefully.  “She thinks she’s ready.”

“Does she?”  He asks with a chuckle and a shake of her head.  “Fine.  She may return to school in the morning.  But you must follow the entire day.  If she can’t handle it then it will be another week before she goes back.”

I frown at this but nod my head.  “Thank you my Lord.  Don’t you wish to see her yourself my Lord?”  I ask knowing she’s actually missing him for some reason.

“No.  The girl needs to learn that she desires my company.  Her presence at the advisors meetings is also suspending until further notice.”  He says with a knowing smile.

“Yes my Lord.”  I say biting my tongue so I don’t say anything I would regret.

“I’ll be away from the castle for the next few weeks actually.  If her condition changes at all you’ll let Lucius know.”  The Dark Lord says before dismissing me with a wave of his hand.

“Yes my Lord.”  I say bowing my head before backing out of his office and going back to check on Ginny.

As I open her door all three girl’s heads look toward me.  Ginny is sitting up on the bed today with a textbook in her lap.  Tracey is sitting as far from her as she comfortably can on the sofa while Milly sits in one of the armchairs with the best view of Ginny she can have.

“I’m just stopping in to see if you need anything.”  I say as I enter the room.  “I have another meeting at the Ministry in an hour.”  I remind them as I step into the room.

“How did your meeting with the Dark Lord go?”  She asks setting aside her book to give me her full attention.

“Mostly he was asking after your health my Lady,” I tell her with a slight smile.  “He also says you may go back to classes in the morning, but you’ll be expected to make it through an entire school day or it will be another week’s delay before you may try again.”

She smiles at this nodding.  “Anything to get out of this room.”  She says with a sigh.

“He also wished for me to let you know that you’ll not be attending any new advisor’s meetings until further notice.”

“Did he have any messages for me?”  Tracey butted in before Ginny could react.

“You didn’t come up even once.”  I say rolling my eyes.

“Who are you meeting with at the Ministry?”  Ginny asks to change the subject.

“Lord Dolohov.”  I say trying not to smile too much.  “He has some questions about our bill before it goes to vote this Friday.”

“How do you think it will go?”  Ginny asks and I hear a huff from Tracey’s side of the room.

“You know all that isn’t woman’s business.”  Tracey says suddenly.  “You all would find a better time of husband searching if you dropped all that nonsense.”

I roll my eyes again and decide to just ignore her.  “I think it should go well.  Since the Dark Lord himself is backing our cause, I don’t see how anyone could go against it.”

“Good.”  Ginny says nodding.  “It has to get passed before they start those auctions you were telling me about.”

“That would be the best.”  I say bowing my head with the same respect; I’d given the Dark Lord.  “I should go get my things now; I’ll come back after the meeting to let you know.”  I say and wait for Ginny to dismiss me before I head up to my room to gather the reports I’d compiled for the meeting today.

Out of all the inner circle Antonin Dolohov is the best suited for a husband for myself.  The meeting about Ginny’s law is important, but I’m also glad of it because it will be the first time I can meet this man face to face.

I think maybe Draco said a few key things in the right ears in order to have Dolohov come to me.  I don’t believe fate drops this good of an opportunity in one’s lap.

Not wishing to waste the opportunity no matter what I check myself to make sure I look stunning none of the less.  I’ve let my hair down into shiny waving lines to frame my face.  My deep blue robes are cut perfectly to show off my well-sculpted form without looking trashy.  The four-inch heels complete the outfit, giving me a much more feminine silhouette than any of the dowdy women that work there.

With one last smile for the mirror, I decide to head all the way down to the main gate so I can Apparate over to the Ministry a bit early.  Once there I check in with the same guard I always see and this time head towards Dolohov’s offices.

Lord Dolohov is an important man at the Ministry.  His official title being Head of the Department of Law.  There’s no more Minister of Magic, as the Dark Lord is the only leader our great empire needs, if the Department of Law is a parliament of sorts.  They help to govern by organizing and passing new laws as well as striking down old ones we no longer need.  As head of the department, he holds a lot of sway with the future of our nation.

“Miss Greengrass to see Lord Dolohov.”  I tell a frazzled looking witch who’s seated at the desk outside his office.

“Please wait over there, the Lord is running a bit behind schedule today.”  She says in a tone that makes me think he runs a bit behind every day.

After a few minutes of sitting outside and waiting, the voices from inside start to become higher in volume and aggression.  Both Dolohov’s assistant and I start looking at the door expecting curses to fly any time.

I almost jump when the door burst open with a fat man making his way out.  “I just don’t think I can vote for anything that blood traitor purposes!”  The man almost yells as he exits the office.

Lord Dolohov walks out behind him with a much calmer manner.  “The Dark Lord himself has spoken for the bill, and I’m not asking you to vote for it, all I require is that you read the thing.”  He points out gently.

“That’s another thing!  I don’t like the way this girl has turned our Lord’s head.”  The man snaps gruffly.  “You know I heard she spoke back to him at a public gathering!”  He adds scandalized.  “Where does she get the nerve?  How is it she hasn’t learned respect for her betters after spending months lock away?”

With the man’s words, Dolohov glances around as if he’s looking for something when he eyes land on me.  “Well if you’re really interested in such questions, her personal maid is behind you.” He says motioning to me.

I smile standing and brushing out my robes.  “You’re speaking of my Lady?”  I ask as if I’m just clued into their conversation now.

“How can any self-respecting pureblood serve that girl?”  He asks sneering at me, though his disgust doesn’t stop him from letting his eyes run all the way down my form.

“I serve at the pleasure of the Dark Lord.”  I say frowning slightly.  “Would you not say that’s the greatest honor?”  I ask curiously.

“So you don’t think your Lady has too much influence over our great and noble leader?”  He asks suspiciously.

“I think if she had any influence over him in the way you’re suggesting, like our Lord is some kind of weak boy, she would not have almost bled to death the night she spoke back to him in public.”  I tell him without emotion.  Out of the corner of my eye, I see Dolohov smile.

“You see Lord Granvent, now please take this and read it before Friday.”  He says handing the man a stack of papers.  “Just pretend the girl’s name isn’t on it at all.”

Once the man was heading down the hall Dolohov turns back to me and smiles.  “Miss Greengrass, thank you for coming.”  He says moving out of the way of his office door.

I can’t help but think he set it up so I’d meet that man and assure him our Lord was free of Ginny’s control.  Which means he’s smarter than Draco gave him credit for.

“I’m glad to be as helpful to you as I can.”  I tell him with my own smile as he closes the door.

“You’ve already been very helpful to my position.”  He says with a smile making his way around his desk.

The room is large and covered with files in disorganized piles.  I can’t really see any decorations or any kind of personal touch.  I sit down across from him and sit as straight as I can so I don’t have to touch any of the piles.

“What exactly is your position in this matter?”  I ask curiously, as he relaxes back into his chair.

“One next to the Dark Lord.”  He says casually with a pleasant smile.  “Every so often I have to cool a hot head off that doesn’t understand our great leader’s plan.”  He explains pleasantly.

“I see, and how will you be voting on the bill?”  I ask to move the conversation back in its direction.

“I only get a vote if there’s a deadlock in the council.”  He says avoiding my question.

“So what did you need to know?”  I ask keeping a pleasant smile on my lips.

“Really this meeting is to ask about the girl’s future plans.”

“Lady Weasley may not be people’s favorite person around here but she’s still a Lady to one of the old English lines and still holds the position of Emperor’s Consort.”  I say making him frown slightly.  “Don’t call her ‘the girl’ to me again.”

“So you have real loyalty to our Lady Consort?” He asks seeming interested.

“Yes I do.  She’s my Lady and I serve at her pleasure.  Even if I would deny it to come for her gain.”  I tell him bluntly.

Dolohov smirks sitting forward in his chair.  “So why admit it to me?”  He asks looking into my eyes.

“Because your position is next to the Dark Lord.  I know I don’t have to play games.  My loyalty to him is the only thing that outshines my loyalty to her.”  I tell him making him smile all the more.  “As for your question well that depends on the movement of the country.  At the moment she has no further plans for bill proposition.”

“What are your future plans?”  He asks sitting back again.

“Become head of my Lady’s household and marry a deserving man.”  I tell him with a flirtatious smile.  “And yours?”

He laughs again and licks his lips.  “I’m looking for a wife to bare my children, but I just haven’t found the right sort yet.”  He says sounding mournful.

“What exactly are you looking for?”  I ask curious on why he’s having so much trouble.

“All I want is a goddess’s body and a sharp wit.”  He says as a smile forms on his lips.  “Know anyone like that?”  He asks leadingly.

“Not off the top of my head.”  I say without taking his bait.

Chapter 8: Truth & Tears

Ginny-

Going back to a normal school day had its ups and downs.  On one hand, I was free to expand my mind and be around normal people for a while.  Not that anyone would really talk to me, but it was still nice listening to people talk to one another.  On the other hand, the four days left of the week brought with them a never-ending ache every time I sat, moved, or really breathed at all.

I walk slowly into the great hall to find myself some dinner. Since for some reason Tom had banished me from seeing him I’ve been told I have to eat with the general school population.  This again has been a mix of good and bad.

I take a place at a rather empty table and try my hardest to ignore the slight burning on my back and hip.  My hand moves to the spot the Dark Mark seems to still be burning into my skin and I can’t help to long for him.  I have to wonder if that’s part of the spell, he put on me or if it’s just the fact that he’s one of the few men in the world I can be myself with.  Or maybe I’m just so very broken and confused that I grasp for the man that causes all my pain.

“Is it true?”  A familiar voice asks bringing me out of my thoughts.  I look up to see my sometimes companion Warrington looking back at me.

“Is what true?”  I ask as I glance to the door to find Adrian standing guard for me.  Already this school year I’ve noticed Warrington only wants to speak with me when neither Draco nor my brother are on guard.

“There’s a rumor going around that the Dark Lord put a Dark Mark inside your quim so that if any other man were to…” He starts but I cut him off before he can go on.

“No.”  I snap trying not to blush.  “I’m so very glad my body is an entertaining topic of conversation these days.”  I tell him dryly.

“Yeah I bet it’s nice to know not everything changes.”  He says with a chuckle that makes me frown.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Weasley, your body has been a topic of conversation since we were thirteen.  You can’t even tell me you didn’t notice guys noticing you before all this happened.”

I glower at him.  “It’s not the same.”  I snip before leaning forward to get some potatoes.  I groan as my shirt rubs against my back, but I quickly try to cover it up with more talk.  “Uh, did you understand what Pro…”  I start when Warrington takes my hand.

Not only does my mind come to a halt but I’m pretty sure those directly around us fall silent as well.

“Ginny, you’ve been limping around all week, what’s wrong?”  He asks actually managing to sound worried.

I pull my hand away and try not to look around.  “You shouldn’t do that.”  I snap at him.

“Tell me what’s wrong.”  He says as if he doesn’t care the amount of trouble he could get into for just touching me.  I’m sure now that the people closest to us are listening to every word of our exchange.

I take in a slow calming breath before looking directly at Warrington.  “I’m sure you heard I acted out earlier this week?”  I ask and wait for him to slowly nod.  “There are consequences for such things.”

“But… how can you still be in pain?”  He asks sounding very confused.  “I’m sure it isn’t anything a healer couldn’t fix?”  He adds nervously, as if he doesn’t really want the answer.

“Most of it would be simple.”  I tell him with a slight smile.  “If I had seen one.”

“Ginny!”  He says looking taken back.  “You have to go to a healer!  Do you want me to take you?”

I smile at him sadly.  “I’m not allowed.”  I tell him simply.  Deciding I’m not hungry with the way he’s looking at me now. I slowly get up and walk out of the room.  When I get into the hall Adrian steps in line silently behind me.

“Is he following?”  I ask curiously knowing I couldn’t really outrun the boy at the moment.

“He isn’t quite that stupid.”  Adrian answers sounding as if it was a close call.

“Do you like your position as my guard?”  I ask as I slowly head back to my chambers.  “I’m sure it’s rather dull most of the time.

“Dull is fine for me my Lady.”  He says as he moves into a step beside me.  “My father wants me to try and get moved to the Dark Lord’s personal guard.”

“You have somewhat of an opportunity here.  You could tell the Dark Lord that a student was making advances on me before the rumors get to him.  He would be grateful.”

“He was acting like a concerned friend, and I don’t want to be moved my Lady.  I like serving you.”

“Why would you ever wish to serve a blood traitor?”  I ask with a slight smile.

He frowns at the slight, as if he wants to reprimand me for calling myself that but decides better of it in the end.  “I have several reasons actually.  I’m sure you know about Tracey and I.  But also, I respect Draco, and you my Lady.  Most people in the world will never actually know how honorable or brave you are, but your guard sees it nearly every day.”

I’m stunned for a moment by how he sees me and I can’t help but flush.  “You wouldn’t think I was so honorable if you understood what I’m letting happen to your Tracey.”  I tell him risking a glance to his face.

He frowns shaking his head.  “I’ve an idea of it.  But I wouldn’t blame you for her ambition.”

I nod slowly looking to the floor in front of us.  “If you know her real goals why stay with her?”  I ask after a moment of silence falls between us.  This is the most I’ve spoken to Adrian and I’m finding I want to understand the people who’ve decided to support me.

“You’ll think less of me if I tell you the truth, m’lady.”  He says as a rueful smile forms on his lips.

“Now you have me very curious.”  I tell him smiling myself.

“Tracey and I have been in mutual lust since my fifth year.  Before the Dark Lord won, we were even making plans for marriage.  We’re both from good pureblood families, it made scene.  Now, the fact her family is minor nobility makes a difference.  There would be no advantage for her to marry me.  My family is neither particularly rich nor powerful.”

“You’re giving me reasons why you shouldn’t be together.  So why keep true to her?”  I press.

He laughs shaking his head.  “Well it’s kind of heady thinking about the fact the Dark Lord gets my seconds.”  He says in a very low tone.

“You guys aren’t actually…”  I start in alarm thinking what would happen if Tom found out Tracey was fooling around on him.

“No, no, but we were before she became his Mistress.  So it’s sort of the same thing.”  He says with a shrug.  He looks over at me for a moment as if he’s trying to decide something.  “I still care what happens to her, I’m not completely heartless m’lady.”

“I never said you were I’m just not so certain she would have the same concern for you.”  I tell him thinking about how little Tracey considered Adrian these days.

“Not like I have a lot of time to find a match with this job.  So why not wait till the Dark Lord is done with her?”  He asks almost sadly now.

I bite my lip wondering if I should tell him what I know.  I decide he deserves to know.  “Once the Dark Lord is done with her she’ll be sent away from the castle, she will no longer be my maid.”

“So I won’t have much time for her either.”  He says taking in the information.

“If she plays her hand carefully he’ll set her up with someone appropriate.  He made the offer to Daphne when she was being forced to be his Mistress.”  I say carefully.

He frowns and nods slowly, still obviously thinking.  “My Lady, I do care about her.”  He repeats oddly.

“I realize that.”  I tell him as I wonder where his thoughts are going now.

“That’s why I need you to talk her out of a very stupid plan.  I know we’re over now, but I don’t want her to get herself killed.”

I frown stopping as I wait for him to go on.

“She has it in her head to trick the Dark Lord into giving her a child.”  He says in a rush before he loses his nerve.  “I’ve been betting on the fact she can’t pull it off, but it still makes me worry.”

I sigh as I try to play out in my mind what would happen.  Most of the scenarios playing did end in Tracey’s death.

“She thinks if she’s pregnant with his heir then she’ll take your place.”  He explains as if I couldn’t make that connection myself.

“I’ll see if Daphne will talk to her about it.”  I say more to myself than him before I start moving slowly again.

“Probably better than trying yourself.”  He agrees with a slight frown before looking around and stepping back into position behind me as others pass.

When I enter my chambers, I find Daphne sitting on the floor with scrolls and books spread out around her.  Millicent is getting to her feet and blushes as Adrian looks in.  Tracey on the other hand winks and blows him a kiss.

“Adrian, please leave us.”  I tell him seriously waiting for the door to close before I stomp over to her and slap Tracey across the face.  “Are you trying to get him killed?!”  I snap unable to hold my tongue.  After the conversation with him just then I was feeling protective, and this stupid girl played very dangerous games.

Tracey is on her feet with her arms crossed over her chest.  “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”  She says glaring at me.

I glare right back.  “You can’t flirt with Adrian, you can’t talk to him, and you can’t be seen with him.  Tom isn’t a forgiving man, and he doesn’t like to share his toys.  You are now one of his toys.  Do you understand?”

“Who’s Tom?”  Tracey asks suddenly looking confused.

“You two should go.”  Daphne says suddenly from my side.  “Ginny is obviously tired from her day.”  She tells them while I try not to panic.

Why did I have to let that name slip in front of Tracey?  I’m frozen in fear of what I just did until the girls close the door behind me.  When I hear it latch, I fall to my knees.  “He’s going to kill me this time.”  I say shaking my head.

Daphne kneels down next to me and sighs.  “No he won’t.”  She says kindly as she brushes hair from my face.

“You’re right; he’ll just kill George or someone to punish me.  I’ve pushed him too much lately.”  I say thinking of what could be worse than death.

I feel her hand stroke my face again, and I’m keenly aware she isn’t so quick to disagree with the new statement.

“Do you think if I killed myself before he found out I could save them?”  I ask not looking up from the floor.  It isn’t the first time I’ve considered suicide in this place, but now I have a lot more access to things that could bring my death.

“I think he’ll torture and slowly kill the rest of your family just to punish you for your disobedience.”  She says after a moment.

I nod slowly seeing the truth in her words.  “How can I love such a man?”  I ask myself still so distraught I’m not really thinking about what Daphne may hear.

She takes my hand in hers and squeezes it gently.  “Because after everything else I see the way he sets your soul on fire.  You’re never so much yourself as when you’re with him.”

I look up into her eyes.  “You really don’t think I disgusting for caring about him after everything he’s done to you and our world?”  I ask with a frown.

“No my Lady.”  She says sadly.  “Mostly I just worry about what that love will end up doing to you.”

Luna-

Thankfully, Blaise is more unsettled by our night of snuggling than he would have been if we just had sex.  I decide to use the distance he starts to give me to get some real work done.  When I’m not working on official articles for the magazine I start to scour the Radcliffe library for any information on soul magic.

I’m not exactly hopeful I’ll find anything, but the library is so big that I can’t help but at least look.  I set my mind to believe there is some way to save Harry, even if I’m not really sure we can bring him back.  Anything would have to be better than sharing a body with the Dark Lord.

I’m deep into taking notes about the magical theories behind reincarnation when I feel a hand on my shoulder making me jump out of my skin.

“Lady Radcliffe.”  Lestrange greets me with an amused smirk.  “I’ve recently volunteered to take over one of young Master Malfoy’s old responsibilities.”  He explains as I blush for being caught off guard.  “What’s this for?”

“Why didn’t Minty announce you?”  I ask looking around for the elf.

“She’s a bit busy at the moment; I wanted to see what you get up to in unguarded moments.”  He explains looking down at my book with an odd look.

“An old hobby of mine.”  I tell him pushing the book aside and getting to my feet.  “How can I help the Empire?”  I ask settling my hands in front of me somewhat protectively.

“We want these stories to be added to your next issue.”  He says holding out a familiar envelope.

“What sort of stories are they?”  I ask opening the package and flipping through papers as I start to head to my office where I work on the magazine.

“Mostly the usual government business, but we’re also announcing the auction of those Class Ds we’ve been holding on to.”  He says sounding very pleased as he follows me.

“Oh.”  I say trying not to sound as displeased by the idea of people being bought and sold as horrible.

“Maybe you should buy a few yourself.  You could use the extra help around here.”  He says as a jab to my elves.

“We’re fine.”  I say looking at him for the first time.  I mostly see him surrounded by the darkness that’s in most Death Eaters, but I can also see how pleased he is and a growing desire that makes me very uncomfortable being around him.

“Is there anything else you need Sir?”  I ask wanting him to leave now before we have another incident.

“I want to watch and see how you work.” He says as he follows me right into my office.

“I usually don’t have an audience.”  I point out.

“I’m sure you can make do.”  He says as he takes the seat across from mine.  “Where is your loving fiancé?”  He asks looking around as if Blaise was hiding behind a stack of papers.

“Blaise has been working from our Diagon Alley location the last few days.”  I tell him as I start to organize the papers he gave me into how exactly I’ll be working on them.

“Is he, and why is that?”  Lestrange asks sounding curious and I see a bit of that desire flare from the corner of my eye.

“I’m not allowed to have sex until our marriage rite.  Now that I’m forbidden to him he finds that I’m too much of a distraction and temptation to work around every day.” I explain as I skim the auction details.  “It’s going to be held at Hogwarts?”  I ask looking up to his curious eyes.

“Not allowed to have sex?”  He asks not seeming to have heard anything beyond that.

“The ritual that’s been chosen to honor our marriage requires the woman be chased for at least three months.”  I tell him without emotion.

“I see, so this directive comes from the Dark Lord?”  The Death Eater asks and I’m actually surprised he didn’t know all this already.

“I assume, though he doesn’t contact me directly.”  I explain with a shrug.  “Now the auction, it will be held at Hogwarts?”  I ask trying to get him back on task.  I’m glad to see the Dark Lord’s command has diminished the desire in him.

“Yes, it will be a formal occasion held out on the lawns.”  He says getting to his feet.  “I’ll leave you to your work.”

“Thank you; I’ll contact you if I have any other questions.”  I tell him with a smile.

Without another word he leaves making me let out a slow breath.  A moment later a very dirty looking Minty pops into my office.  “Very Bad MAN!  VERY BAD!”  Minty cries looking around in a panic.

“What happened?”  I ask getting to my feet wondering what exactly the Death Eater has done to my elves.

“Bad man has elf repellent charm!”  Minty says in a panic.  “Minty tries very hard to warn Lady.  Minty not be able to get here.”

I let out another sigh of relief.  “That’s fine as long as you’re okay.”  I tell her frowning at her clothes.  “What happened to you?”

“Minty tries every way to get to Miss.  Minty climbs on roofs even.”  She explains looking suddenly shy.

“Well thank you for trying, but I’m fine.  Do you want to go get cleaned up?”  I ask looking her over.

“Minty does Miss.”  She says looking down at her dirty towel.

“Go ahead, I’ll be fine here.”  I tell her and wait for her to go before I sit back down to get to work.

I start to go over every detail of this auction.  They haven’t yet listed what ‘merchandise’ will be offered but it does mention it will be completely Class D with no actual ‘criminals’ or non-wizards.  They also plan to only sell around sixty of these people for the first event.

They really are turning it into a social gathering as if selling people was some kind of sport people would enjoy watching.  The entire thing makes me a bit sick and I know I have to take some action against the camps soon.

Daphne-

When I get back to my room after spending some time, trying to calm Ginny down, all I want to do is crawl into bed and not think about anything for the rest of the night.  I play with the idea of inviting Draco to distract me but I decide it’s better not to take up too much of his time.

I’m half dead as I stumble into the dark room and head right for the bathroom to get ready for sleep.  With teeth brushed and only a pair of knickers to sleep in, I fall onto my bed without really seeing the room.  When I land on something softer than my sheets, I frown and move my hand around the bed.  Picking up a handful of the odd object it takes me a moment to realize they’re rose petals.

Sitting up in a mix of confusion and nerves, I look around the room to find every surface covered with vases of purple and blue roses.  I blink a few time because my brain can’t process what they could possibly be doing in my room.  Draco wouldn’t send something like this while we had to keep our relationship discreet.

Half of me wants to just fall back into the bed and deal with it in the morning, but the other half is too worried that it could be some sort of play I need to know about now.  What if someone were trying to set me up for something?

Begrudgingly I get to my feet and start searching vases for a note.  Hoping that this is just some easily explained crush, which I’ll have to deal with.  I find it in a vase of all emerald green roses that I hadn’t noticed at first in my sleepiness.

Miss Greengrass,

Care to join me for a more casual conversation?

~Antonin

I think, looking down at the short message before looking around the room once again.  I shake my head not really understanding why the man would move in so fast.  I didn’t really even flirt with him during our meeting.

Deciding I better get Draco’s council on this I wrap my robe around me and head down the hall to his room.  Knocking softly it’s only a moment before he answers.

“Daphne I don’t think this is a good idea.”  He says with a frown looking up and down the hall.

“I need you to see what is in my room.”  I say knowing why he thinks I’m here.  “I got a gift from Dolohov.”

“Didn’t we decide you were going to take that slowly?”  He asks as he follows me back to my room.

“I was I didn’t give him any kind of impression when I saw him.”  I told Draco before opening my door.

He glanced inside and frowned more deeply than I would have expected.  “This is a Malfoy move.”  He says moving further into the room.  “Let me guess, the note is short maybe just an invitation to something?”  He asks and I blink as I hand it over.

After he looks at it for a long moment, he nods to himself.  “Yeah, this is definitely a Malfoy move.”

“What do you mean?”  I ask unsure why it matters that Dolohov did something he would do.

“It means father has decided to join the game.”  He says with a sigh.  “But what does he want out of this?”

“Maybe he thinks if I’m married or something you won’t give me so much attention?”  I say slowly as I start to understand where this train of thought is going.

“Maybe.”  He agrees as he nods slowly.  “How did you find him during your meeting?”  He asks waving the note to indicate whom he was talking about.

“Surprisingly intelligent.”  I tell him as I sit down on my bed and watch him pace.  “He may be working on a whole lot less side projects or whatever, but he’s no fool.”

Draco shakes his head as he assimilates this information.  “Was he charming or anything?”  He asks not looking up at me.

“I didn’t find him particularly charming.  I didn’t find him rude either.”  I say after a moment’s thought.

“I don’t like my father’s involvement, maybe we should find someone else for you?”  He says finally stopping to look at me more seriously.  “I’m sure he’s let our relationship slip to Dolohov so the man will be on guard against it.”

“Probably, but your father would be able to do that with any man I married.  Better to see how this relationship develops.  Make it at least seem I’m falling into your father’s trap?”  I ask looking at him unsurely.

Draco blinks at me a few times and starts to nod slowly before it slowly speeds and a smile spreads across his face.  “You are a brilliant woman.  Yes, let’s play into this for a bit, just to feel out exactly what’s going on.  It isn’t as if you have to jump into his arms to start a relationship with him.  We should also pretend that you never told me about all this.”  He says motioning around him.

“Unless he finds out from the house elves or something.”  I point out.

“I’ll go now, to try and save the illusion.”  He says nodding to himself before heading to the door.

I fight the urge to go after him to steal a kiss or two since we had this moment alone.  As an empty feeling settles in my gut, I remind myself that I’m not that kind of clingy girl.  With one flick of my wand, I lock my door and with a second, I vanish the petals from my bed.

When I let myself fall into the sleep I so badly need I have dreams of standing on the edge of a cliff.  Men from all parts of my life are pulling me off and holding me on the ledge and all I want to do it find which side Draco is on.  I wake with a start before I discover it and I feel uneasy as I look at my clock.

I usually sleep in on weekend mornings.  Trying to get to Ginny’s room around eight or nine instead of six thirty.  When I blink at the clock next to my bed, the hand is pointing mockingly at the ten.

It takes me a few moments of blinking before I’m pushed into action.  I rush around my room getting ready for the day.  Taking a quicker shower than usual, I still spend time to make myself look perfectly presentable for the day.

By the time, I get down to her room I’m out of breath from trying to make up time by running.  I note there’s no guard on her door as I pass into the room, wondering where Ginny was.  Inside I find Tracey boredly flipping through a magazine.

“You know you could try to better yourself.”  I mention as I glance around.  “Where’s Millicent?”  I ask wondering if she was late too, no wonder Ginny ran from the room.

“Out on a walk with our Lady.”  She says in the same mocking tone she always uses.  Tracey sets down her magazine and looks up at me with a wide knowing smirk.  “Who’s Tom, and before you try to lie to me, you should know I’ll ask the Dark Lord if I don’t like your answer.”

I sigh knowing this had to have been coming; Tracey wasn’t dumb enough to not miss the signs of distress Ginny gave after saying the name.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”  I told her as I came around to sit across from her.  “You saw the way the Dark Lord has been with our Lady this week?”  I ask enjoying as Tracey goes slightly white.  “Would you like to join her?”

“It would upset him to ask?”  She asks trying to get more information.  “Is he Ginny’s lover that no one knows about?”  She adds trying to figure out the connection.

“Something like that.”  I tell her just a bit amused at how close she actually is to the truth.

Ginny-

It’s the first time in a while that I wake alone.  Ever since the last dream, I’ve had people watching over me in the night.  But without Tom here to direct and the exhausting day yesterday turned out to be, everyone actually went to bed.  I decide to enjoy the solitude by going to take a hot bath.  My back was scabbed over now but it was still safer than letting jets of water blast against it.

I find a bit of comfort in the normal activity of drawing my own bath and slipping into the warm water. I lay back to enjoy the heat surrounding me and close my eyes to savor it.  I feel the water flowing around me, caressing my wounds and soothing them.

The caresses become more purposeful, brushing areas that arouse and I can’t help let out a soft moan of pleasure.  Before I realize what’s happening I’m moving my body with the motion of the water and a slow beautiful pleasure starts to build.

“Oh.”  I moan as I feel him press inside me, my hands moving to my hips to meet his own.

“That’s it pet, surrender.”  He says against my ear before laying soft kisses along my neck.

I’m half way to release before my brain reminds me that I should be in a bath alone.  Opening my eyes, I look up into Riddle’s smirking face. “I’ve missed you.”  He says shifting us so he can press himself further into my wanting form.

The shock of it does nothing to dissuade my mounting pleasure our connected bodies is causing.

“Riddle?”  I ask as he hits a particularly wonderful spot inside of me.

“You fell asleep in the bath.”  He explains obviously enjoying our connection as well.  “No potion to protect you now.”

“Are you going to punish me?”  I ask thinking about how Tom had been lately.

“Only if you want me to.”  He says with a knowing smirk.

“I don’t!”  I gasp again nearing my peak and wondering if the climax will wake me.

“It won’t, I’m not letting go so easily.”  Riddle answers my thoughts.

When the pleasure of our union washes over me, I scream letting all my worries go with it, just for that moment.  Riddle doesn’t stop there becoming rougher with each thrust as he seeks out his own climax.  I wonder if he feels the pleasure the same way I do and I’m answered with a sharp bite to my neck as I feel him emptying himself inside of me.

He sits up after and sooths the mark with his thumb.  “I wish I could leave something permanent on you.”  He says regretfully as his other hand moves to the gleaming mark on my stomach.

I look down at myself noticing he’s done nothing to hide the bruising my body was suffering in real life.  “You like me like this as much as he does.”  I say pulling back from him and looking for something to cover myself with.

Suddenly I find myself in a white cotton dress as I stand alone in a meadow I once saw in a book when I was a child.  There had been unicorns in it in the book, but nothing of the sort lingered here now.

“What are you playing at today?”  I ask looking around to see where he could be hiding.

“I need you to start skipping your potions.”  He says from just behind me as I feel arms wrap comfortably around my form.  “I don’t like not being able to speak to you.”

“You should have thought of that before your last punishment.”  I remind him.

“That wasn’t a punishment, I was making a point.”  He says moving around to look at me.  “It isn’t like you’ve been doing very well without me.”

I frown and look to the ground.  “I don’t think you can do anything to fix this.”  I tell him thinking about my slip from the night before.

“Oh that isn’t what I’m talking about.  He knows Ginny, and that isn’t good for us.”  He says with a frown.

“Knows what?”  I ask thinking there would be a lot different treatment if Tom had discovered the Riddle in my head.

“No, he knows you love him.”  He says shaking his head.

I bite my lip and look at the grass for answers.  “A lot seems to change in a couple of weeks.”  I point out trying to play things light.

“We both know you’ve loved him since you were eleven so don’t even try to play that game with me Sweet.  In the last week you’ve just been forced to come to terms with it.”

“I still love Harry.”  I snap in the same way I had with Tom.

“Oh I know you do darling.”  He says taking my cheek.  “But you’re starting to wonder who you love more.”  He says as he tilts my chin up.  “Like when you thought for a moment that Harry would win the body and Tom would be no more.  I could feel the panic in you.”

“Do we have to talk about this?”  I ask pulling away.

“No, what we need to talk about is how we’re going to do damage control.  Now that the Dark Lord knows you love him, we need to make…” he starts up but I cut him off.

“No.  I’m not playing like that.”  I snap.

“He thinks he has power over you, like he has over the Lestrange woman.  He thinks he can make you do things just for the sake of your love.”  Riddle presses.

“Well he’s wrong.”  I cut back, crossing my arms.

“So when he returns in a week or so you won’t go jumping into his arms and begging for his comfort?”

I glower up at him.  “No.  I’ll only do things for him within the boundaries of deals we’ve already made.”

Riddle laughs.  “So you’ll let him beat you again and then go off and fuck his current slut.”

I lick my lips and nod slowly.  “I’ve agreed to that.”  I admit softly.

“And you don’t want my help at all…”  He starts but there’s a sudden jolt to my body and he disappears in a flash.

I’m being shaken and when I open my eyes, I look up into Millicent’s worried face.

“My Lady.”  She says her dress half wet as she pulls me from the now cold tub.  She looks wide-eyed and worried as she keeps shaking me.  “You could have drown.”  She says as I try to stand on my own.

Once I’m able to get to my feet, she’s there with a robe to wrap around me.  “I was worried when I was the first here.”  She says as she helps me back to the main room.

“What time is it?”  I ask reorienting to being in the real world once again.  I find with just the robe, I’m more stiff than in actual pain this morning.

“Nine my Lady.”  She answers looking from me to the door worriedly.

I frown as well but shake my head.  “I kept Daphne late last night, she deserves a bit of a lie in.”  I tell Millicent reassuringly.

“Should…”  She starts seeming uncertain about something.  “Should I help you get ready then?”  She asks obviously feeling uncomfortable with the idea of taking Daphne’s place.

“I would rather do it myself.”  I tell her and the girl looks relieved.

I pick myself out a warm and loose fitted sweater dress and get into it carefully before brushing my hair out myself.  It has been a while since I’ve brushed my own hair and it reminds me of the dream on the tower.  My hair is longer than it’s been in a while, going past my shoulders and settling on the tops of my breasts.  Unable to do anything fancy I pull it up into a ponytail just to give it a finished look.

By the time I’ve finished all this Daphne still isn’t here, but Tracey has since walked in.  I glance between the two girls and stand.

“I want to go for a walk.”  I decide feeling like moving is the only thing that will help my body now.

“Have fun.”  Tracey snips settling into one of my chairs and pulling a magazine out of her bag.

“Would you like me to come with you?”  Millicent asks, sounding a bit pleading, as she obviously didn’t want to be left alone with Tracey.

“Sure.”  I tell her kindly and we make our way out to the castle proper.  On the way, I decide that I really don’t know much about Millicent.  Reminding myself on how it had felt to learn about Adrian I start up a conversation for the sole purpose of learning more about my maid.

I frown as I listen to her talk about herself and discover the girl has no real interests and dreams of her own.  She’s spent most of her life trying to please a mother that reminds me a lot of Tracey.  Being a large girl had played a very key part in her identity, and she was very self-conscious about it, even now.

I remember my brother calling her Troll Face when we were younger.  I hadn’t thought much about it at the time, she was a Slytherin and they were the enemy.  Now I wonder how I would have reacted to everyone around me calling me names like that.

“What about after you’re married?”  I ask as she tells me about all the steps she plans to take in order to find a good match.

“After?”  She asks looking a bit confused.  “Well, I’ll be married so I’ll have children and…”  She shrugs obviously not really planning beyond that.

“So that’s everything you want out of life?”  I ask curious.  It isn’t that I didn’t understand or respect the impulse to be a mother and wife, but not having any other real interests confused me.

“Those are the things that are important for a woman.”  She says simply.

“You had a very different up bring than me.” I tell her diplomatically before looking around to see where we were.

I notice two things in that moment.  First, we don’t actually have one of my guards with us.  Secondly we had somehow made our way down to one of the sub-dungeons I was pretty sure Tom was using as a place to keep actual prisoners.

Millicent seems to notice this as well and takes my arm as she decides which direction we should head back in.

“No.”  I say looking around and licking my lips.  “I want to see who is here.”  I tell her bravely.

“It isn’t like you can do anything to help them m’lady.”  She points out looking nervous as she drops her hand.

“I know, but I still want to know.”  I say looking around for guards before I head further into the area.

“It is strange no one is protecting down here.”  She says as if she was hoping to see someone soon.

“Maybe there’s no need.  They’re more than likely wandless and starved.  Not going to put up much of a fight.”  I point out.

When we start to pass doorways, I notice the low numbers marked on them.  Many of the doors are actually partly open showing the fact they’re not used.  “Cell fourteen…”  I murmur to myself and start looking around for the number.  “I want to see who’s in cell fourteen and then we can go.”  I tell the other girl.

“Why?”  She asks looking for the number with me.

“I’ve heard him talk about it before.”  I remember the way he was so cold when he spoke of the person within it.

When we get to the door marked fourteen I look around to make sure no one can see us before trying to peak in the small window in the door.  I frown when I realize I’m too short, and just when I’m about to think of another way I’m being lifted to the window.

I look back at Milly and give her a smile before looking into the small chamber.  Within there’s a small figure curled into a ball.  The girl is dirty and scared her hair a mass of knots and blood.  My stomach sinks as I see her and I find my voice too dry to speak.

After swallowing three times I finally force the word from my mouth.  “Hermione?”  I ask and my voice still shakes.  The girl looks up to me, her amber eyes wild but still very much aware.

“Who’s that?”  Came her scratch reply.

Before I can answer her, I’m dropped on the ground and Milly is moving back from the door.  Confused by her sudden reaction the hairs on the back of my neck start to prickle before I hear him speak.

“I was wondering when you’d make your way down here pet.”  Tom says sounding more than a little amused.

Luna-

I’m not sure how late it is but I’ve spent most of the day going over every scrap of data I’ve collected on the muggleborn camps of Britain.  My last strike against them was a low security place with flawed protection.  This time I know I can’t get that lucky again.

I’m back to being completely zoned into my work when someone places a plate down next to me.  Thinking it’s Minty I take half of the sandwich and refocus on my work.

“What are you working on?”  A very not Minty like voice asks making me jump for the second time that day.  I look up to find Blaise with a frown on his lips as he looks at the work over my shoulder.

“Nothing, just curious.”  I tell him shoving papers aside before he can grab a few.

“These are guard schedules for one of those Mudblood camps.”  He said and his frown is getting even deeper.  “Luna?”

I lick my lips trying to think of exactly what I could say to him that would put his mind at ease.  “I was curious.”  I told him sort of honestly as I sit back.  “Ron left them and I wanted to see what he was up to.”  I lie complete.

“He’s never told you what he’s up to?”  Blaise asks still frowning.

“No, he wants to protect me from all of that.”  I say with my own frown.

“That’s something we can agree on.”  My soon to be husband says and he tosses the paper into the fireplace and pulls his wand to light it ablaze.

I sit back in my chair looking up at him.  “I don’t understand you.  Why do you keep protecting me?”  I ask him curiously.  “I mean I know you have grown fond of me, but where’s that limit?  Anyone else would have assumed the worse and called Death Eaters to arrest me.”

“You are my future; your well-being is also mine.”  He says as if that’s reason enough.

“I’m sure if you called them you could still marry me, have me have your children.”  I point out thinking of Ginny.

“You would hate me if I did that.”  He points out as if that should matter.

“I might, but why do you care?  Care enough to…”  I motion to the ashes in the grate.  “Burn it instead of use it?  I mean you found out I was protecting the most wanted wizard in the empire and all you did was tell him to leave.”

He sighs and takes a seat on the corner of my desk so he can look down at me.  “Luna, I don’t really care about the Empire.  I have no loyalty to the Dark Lord or any of this stuff beyond what it can do for me.  It doesn’t benefit me to turn you in when I know you’re already going to be a loyal wife.  So why go through the bother and risk you ending up in Lestrange’s bed?”

“Because I might be a rebel with the intent to take down this whole empire before the end.”  I tell him watching the colors move around him.

Protectiveness flairs in his colors and he reaches out gently to stroke my cheek.  “I’ve grown fond of your oddness.”  He tells me softly.

“You don’t think I’m capable of it?”  Not understanding his words completely.

“Oh you are.”  Blaise agrees stroking my cheek again.  “And I’ve come to respect your brilliant mind.  But I’m pretty sure your boyfriend will keep you out of these things as much as I would like to.”

I blush as jealousy brightens when he refers to Ronald.

“You really do care about me.”  I say as I think back to his drunken rant the other night.

“In my own way.”  He says with a smirk as his fingers trail down my neck and play with the collar of my shirt.  “Will you please stay away from this stuff so I don’t have to protect you from yourself again?”  He asks with a frown as his glances to the rest of the notes on my desk.

“I can’t promise not to be curious about the world around me.  It’s my nature to seek out the hidden.”  I tell him knowing I’d feel too guilty lying to him when he was being so sweet.

Blaise sighs shaking his head.  “Just stop being so good at it then.”  He says with a playful smirk.

Daphne-

It’s almost one when Millicent comes back to the room alone, looking white as a sheet.  She glances to Tracey and shakes her head slightly, obviously not wishing to talk in front of the other girl.

“Tracey you can go to lunch.”  I tell her with a sigh.  “With Ginny spending the day away I think we can all take a break.”  I add after a moment before I take Milly’s arm and lead her out as if nothing is odd about the girl.  

Tracey tries to follow us for a while; very aware we’re working to keep something from her.  So it takes me closing my door in her face in order to get Milly and I some privacy.

When I turn to look at the taller girl, I see she actually looks a bit messed, with dirt on her dress, face and hands.  She’s looking around at the flowers still decorating my room and obviously trying to calm herself.

“What happened?”  I ask her after putting up a silencing charm just to be safe.

“Are they from Draco?”  She asks instead of answering my question.

“No, from another admirer.”  I tell her as I move to the shaking girl and put my arm around her.  “What happened Milly?”  I ask carefully.

“We were just wandering around.  The Lady was interested in who I was and how I was raised.”  She explained blushing slightly as she thought about the attention.  “But somehow we ended up in the Dark Lord’s private dungeons.”  She says, as she turns a bit whiter.  “I wanted to go but she wanted to see who was down there.  She saw something I’ve been sworn not to reveal, and then the Dark Lord took her.” She finishes and lets out a slow breath.

“Was he mad?”  I ask curious how in Merlin’s name they even got near such a place.  “He seemed happier actually.  Like he wanted her to find that place.”  She admits obviously confused.

“Then everything is fine, I’m sure she’ll be returned to us in no time.”  I say taking her hand and squeezing it.

“You didn’t see him Daphne, I don’t know if he’ll ever let her go.”  She says looking a bit sick.

“He doesn’t have to.”  I tell her trying to be comforting.  “We’re the ones who keep her when he doesn’t have the time.”  I try to explain carefully.

“But she isn’t better from the last time; she fell asleep in the bath this morning.  I don’t know what would have happened if I hadn’t gone looking for her.”  Millicent starts to ramble and I frown all the more.

“Who drew her bath?”  I ask seriously.

“I think she did.”  She says getting to her feet and fidgeting.  “What should we do now?”

“Wait until we’re called to collect her.”  I tell her simple.  “For now I think you could go and see if Adrian has heard anything.”  I say trying to get her to refocus.

“But I don’t think he’s on today.”  She says sounding very confused.

“All the better.  If he hasn’t heard anything maybe you two could take a walk down to the village and maybe get some sweets for the Lady when she’s feeling better.”

Millicent blushes as she realizes what I’m suggesting.  “But what…”  She starts and I shake my head.

“Go; keep your mind on things you can do something about.”  I tell her patting her on the shoulder.  “You did well today, now take a breath and do as I say.”  I press firmly.

The girl nods after a moment before leaving me to my own thoughts.  What did he plan to do to her now?  Was he even going to have a Consort left if he kept punishing her like this?  Taking in a long breath, I decide I need to talk to the Dark Lord.  As bravely as I can I head down to his office thinking to set up a proper appointment to speak.

Oddly when I tell his guard what I want he just opens the office door.  “Our Lord is expecting you.”

Stepping into the Dark Lord’s office I see that he really is here, and not off somewhere torturing Ginny yet again.  I jump slightly when the door closes behind me, not truly mentally psyched for this meeting just yet.

“Ginevra will not be needing you for the rest of the day.”  He says not looking up from his work.

Swallowing to wet my throat, I force myself to speak.  “My Lord I’m worried about her.”  I tell him as steadily as I can.  This will be the first time I’ve disagreed with him to his face, and he isn’t known to take these things well.

His quill stops moving at my words and he chuckles only slightly before he continues his work.  “You think I’ve been too hard on her lately?”  He asks without looking up.

“I think if you’re much harder on her she’ll break in a way that will be useless to you.”  I tell him in a way so he knows this isn’t rebellion in me.

“She’s not being punished Miss Greengrass.”  He informs me with a smirk.  “I needed a certain set of circumstances for my plans to have their full effect.”  He says finally looking up at me.

“What…”  I start to ask when he raises an eyebrow at being questioned at all.  The question dies on my lips.

“Those circumstances were achieved this afternoon.  Now.  She’ll not need you the rest of the day so you should go to the Ministry and check on her interests there.”  He says in way of dismissal before he sealed whatever he’d just been working on with his a spell.  “Since you’re going anyway you’ll take this to Lord Dolohov.”  He finishes holding the scroll out to me.

“Yes my Lord.”  I say taking the scroll and bowing my head before moving out of the room as fast as I can politely.

Once free of his office I take another deep breath and head to my room to get my cloak.  Antonin’s note had been the last thing on my mind all day.  Now that I was heading to his office, I started to construct a good response in my head.  I made sure to look my best before heading to the Ministry.

Twenty minutes later, I’m standing in front of his assistant once again.  “I have a message for Lord Dolohov from the Dark Lord.”  I tell her thinking that takes importance over my other business with him.  Well at least it would to them.

“Oh, go right in.”  She says obviously not wishing to hold up the Dark Lord’s works even for a moment.

When I enter the office, I find that Antonin isn’t alone.  Lucius Malfoy is sitting in the chair I took last time I was here.  He rather looks funny as he tries not to be touched by any of the stacks around him.

“Miss Greengrass, what a lovely surprise.”  The other man in the office says sounding pleased.

“Lord Malfoy.”  I say coldly then smile at Antonin.  “Lord Dolohov.”  I say with a much more pleased tone.  “I have a message for you from the Dark Lord.”  I say and hold the scroll out to him.

“Thank you dear.”  He says taking the scroll and opening it with a complicated spell.  While he’s busy, I turn to Draco’s father.

“I didn’t expect to see you here my Lord.”  I tell him to see what he’ll reveal.

“Antonin and I are old friends.  Actually we were talking about heading out to a late tea, why don’t you join us Miss Greengrass?” He asks forcing a smile.

“Oh yes!”  Dolohov agrees sounding distracted while he read the scroll.  “I insist.”

“I just came to deliver the note and see what happened in your department last night?”  I say shaking my head.

“Checking on that interesting law your Lady wrote up.”  Lucius asks without referring to her in the tone I’d come to expect from grown Death Eaters.  He actually sounded respectful.

Taken aback by the tone it takes me a moment to answer.  “Yes, my Lady will be most interested in the outcome in the morning.”

Lucius gives me a knowing smirk.  “Or whenever it is you see her next.”  He says leading my thoughts to dark places.  It was really unsettling me to not have seen Ginny at all today, and he seemed to be implying it might be a while before I saw her again.

“Exactly.”  I say not wishing to reveal my feelings on the subject.

“So if you’re not needed back at the castle you’ll come with us.”  Antonin says as he finishes with the scroll and shakes his head slightly at Lucius.

A message passes between the two men that makes Lucius suddenly frown.  “Actually I think I need to back out now that I think about it my friend.  There’s something back at the castle I should check on.”

“So suddenly?”  Dolohov asks but I could tell he wasn’t surprised by the sudden change.  “I’ll have to entertain the lovely lady myself then.”

“Best that way maybe.”  Lucius says getting to his feet.  “Narcissa can be such a jealous creature.”  With a bow of his head for each of us Lucius leaves Antonin and I alone.

Licking my lips I look back to the man, I thought I was going to seduce.  “You know I’m not exactly a twit.”  I tell him finding a very Ginny like statement coming to my lips.  “Didn’t get the answer you wanted from the Dark Lord?”  I ask motioning to the scroll.

Antonin chuckles at my bluntness shaking his head.  “You didn’t seem like a twit last time we met, but Lucius has a way of convincing me otherwise.”  He admits with a relaxed tone.

“Lord Malfoy thinks very little of me.”  I admit something he obviously already knows.  “So what’s the game?”  I ask taking the seat across from him.  “Why all the flowers?”

“The game is that you’re well positioned for a future in power.”  He says seriously.  “Power within that castle.  Others have told me you’re the only reason Lady Weasley is still alive let alone thriving.  With my power here at the Ministry and your growing influence in the castle we make a good match.”

“I’m not a Death Eater.”  I remind him thinking those were the ones in power wherever one went these days.

“More balance.”  He presses.  “That distinction is going to become less important as our nation expands.  Don’t tell me you didn’t come into my office last time partly to size me up for yourself?”  He asks knowingly.

“I did.”  I admit easily.  “But I found you to be too intelligent for what I was looking for.”

He laughs nodding.  “I see, so you’re looking for a man you can control, a puppet?”  He asks sounding amused.

“Marrying someone I can’t manipulate seems dangerous to me.”  I tell him and I have to admit I’m enjoying this openness we have going at the moment.

“Is that because of what happened with the Dark Lord or because you just like to be in control?”  He asks making me actually blush.

Sometimes I let myself forget how many people were aware of my humiliation at the Dark Lord’s hands.  “A bit of both I guess.  Honestly, at the moment I’m looking for a man I can easily cuckold.  You didn’t seem like one to me.”

“Lucius is looking for a man you can’t and I’m not.  So it’s true that you and his son are lovers?”  He asks making me blush again.

“Yes, and I’m really not willing to give him up.  Which brings us back to the fact I decided against you.”  I point out.

“You both have the same power base, so he doesn’t do anything for you politically.”

“Which is why I’m not marrying him either.”  I point out with a smile.

“So the sex is good?”  He asks bluntly, as he tries to figure me out.

I smile as I think about our night in the bath.  “The sex is very good.  Which is hard for me right now.”  I admit blushing at my weakness.

“You trust him.”  He says knowingly.  “Let’s get to know each other Daphne, maybe you can trust me.”

“Why put in such work when you could happily take most any woman easily?”  I ask pushing back.  “I’m sure I could set you up with the Dark Lord’s current Mistress once he’s done with her.”

He laughs the idea away.  “I told you I want a sharp mind for my partner.  I’ve heard stories about her as well, and I don’t think she’s up to my standards for a wife.  Add to that she’ll have no power once the Dark Lord is done with her, and she’ll be at best a trophy wife for someone.”

“But I’m not giving up Draco any time soon, so where does that leave us?”  I ask then wave my hand to dismiss whatever he planned to say next.  “Look, even if I never planned to sleep with him again, we work as a good team towards our goals.  Could you really have your wife working closely every day with a man she used to fuck?”

Dolohov thought about this for a long moment before answering.  “I could if she swore an oath never to go outside of our marriage with anyone.”

“Then you should find a girl that’s willing to do that.”  I tell him before getting to my feet.  “Are you going to tell me how the vote went?”

He only smiles as he gets to his feet as well.  “Only if you come to lunch with me.”  He says moving around his desk.

“Why are you pressing this?”  I ask him as he moves towards me.

“I’ve already told you.”  He answers as he leads me out of his office, his hand moving to the small of my back as we walk.

“You’re not telling me something.”  I press this time as I let him lead me out.

“You’re not telling me plenty of things.”  He answers lightly.

“You know I’m not from a noble family.”  I say trying a new tactic.  “I’m not sure what Lucius told you.”

“I’m not either.”  He smirks.  “I was granted my title by the Dark Lord for my loyalty and service.

“So you don’t care what my bloodline looks like?”  I ask with a frown.

“Are you a pureblood witch with proven fertility?”  He ask when we get to the elevators.

I stop dead in my tracks at the question, as a cold stone seems to settle in my stomach.  “He told you about that?”  I ask pulling away from him.

Chapter 9: Immunity

Ginny-

“I was wondering when you’d make your way down here pet.”  Tom says sounding more than a little amused.

“No!”  I hear Hermione scream from within the cell.  “No! Run! RUN!”  She’s panicking; not knowing who I am isn’t making her any less worried for my safety.

I turn to face him and I can see the pleasure on his face at Hermione’s fear.  “I should show her exactly what I’ve done to her best friends sister.”  He says dropping the spell he’d put on Milly, and letting the girl up from to her knees.

“Go.” He orders her turning his attention on my maid for a moment.  “Don’t speak of who you found down here.”  He adds with a threatening growl.

Once she’s running off down the hall, Tom turns his attention back on me.  Hermione is still yelling for me to run but I know there’s no place to go.

“You wanted me down here?”  I ask making her fall silent so she can listen to the exchange.

“I wanted you to find her on your own, in your own time.”  He admits with a smirk.  “Why do you think I left you clues?”

“Why?”  I ask swallowing the nervous lump in my throat.

“Because I wanted to be ready to make our next deal.”  He says taking a step closer to me.  “Shall we go in and see our lovely temptation?”

“What have you done to her?”  I ask trying to seem brave.

“Let’s go see.”  He presses and unlocks Hermione’s door with a spell.  Opening it so I have to enter first, he moves in close behind me before locking it again.

“G-ginny?”  Hermione asks looking at me with wide eyes, clearly taking in my clothes and seeming lack of physical harm.

I feel Tom’s arm wrap around my side as he lets his hand settle on my stomach.

“You bastard!”  She screams trying to lunge for us but being cut off by a chain connected to a metal collar around her neck.

“I’m so sorry Hermione.”  I say trying to move toward her but Tom is holding be firmly.  “I didn’t know…”

Now that I’m in the cell, I can see every detail of wounds, scars and bruises that seem to cover her skin.

“What have you done to her?”  Hermione asks, as she can’t take her eyes off how his hand is grasping me so intimately.

“I’m making her mine.”  He says as if that should be obvious.

“Get your hands off of her you bastard!”  Hermione growls ever full of the fire and protectiveness.  I have to admit when Tom calls me is lioness I can’t help but think Hermione is the real lioness here.

“Impressed with her little show after everything I’ve done to her?”  Tom asks me as he brushes his lips against my neck.

I don’t want to talk about my friend as if she isn’t here so I just nod and try to pull out of his arms again.  “My Lord please?”  I ask sending a deep frown over Hermione’s face and making Tom laugh.  “Just tell me what you want.”  I say my voice breaking at the confusion in my friend’s expression.

“I’ve finished the potion that will protect me from your influence.”  He says pressing his chest against my wounded back.  “You’ll take it and you’ll spend tonight with me.”

“If I do you’ll stop hurting her.”  I say firmly.

“No.”  Hermione says finally realizes what we’re talking about, and why I’m here in the first place.  “No you can’t do that for me Ginny.”  She says shaking her head.  “You can’t give yourself to him.”

“I will stop hurting her for as long as you’re by my side.”  Tom offers as his hand slips down to my leg.

“Ginny don’t do this, it isn’t worth it.”  She begs with no idea what I’ve already given to him.

“Let me put her under my protection and I’ll agree to marry you.”  I say as my heart is racing.

“Make a mudblood one of your maids?”  He asks as if it’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever requested.

Hermione falls silent at my offer and his response.  She’s obviously trying to assess what’s been going on while she was trapped in this hell.

“Yes.”  I press, making to take my friend out of this place in this moment.  “With a room attached to my own.”

“You’re going to have to make your offer a lot better than that.”  He says as he pulls up the hem of my dress.

“What else do I have to give?”  I ask taking in a slow and steadying breath.

“You’ll have to start kneeling at my feet for all public events and you’ll bare my heir once we’re married.”  He says firmly.

“Fine.”  I agree with a quick nod knowing I would say yes to anything to keep Hermione safe.

“And you have to choose her a husband.”  He adds after a moment’s thought.

I bit my lip and nod again.  “Good girl.”  Tom coos and nips my neck before he pulls away.  “You’ll stay here with her until I’m ready for you tonight.”  He says firmly.  A moment later, I hear the cell door once again lock.

Hermione and I look at one another for a long moment as we assess the other.

“Why did you do that?”  She asks sounding sad as she keeps her eyes on me.

“It was in my power to make your life better, how could I not?”  I ask her taking a step closer.

“Ginny what’s been going on?”  She asks moving to the end of the chain holding her to the wall.  I once again notice how worn and scratched her voice sounds.

“Tom’s won.  He’s slowly been expanding this Dark Empire across Europe.  There’s a resistance fighting back, but they can’t do much.”  I say feeling sick for having to tell her all this.  “I know some simple healing magic, may I?”  I ask pulling out my wand.

“You have a wand?”  She asks her eyes wide.

“Tom is letting me attend school.”  I say flushing slightly.  “It’s somewhat restricted.  I can’t do anything against him with it.

She nods slowly still frowning as she looks at it.  “Okay.”  She agrees finally looking at my eyes.  “What happened to you Ginny?”

I cast the few healing spells I know hoping it will take away some of her pain.

“I’m the Dark Lord’s personal consort.  If I’m good, he lets me help people.  This is even limited, but if I’m not good it doesn’t do anything for anyone.”  I defend waiting for her to tear me apart for playing Tom’s game.

“That’s why you called him your Lord?”  She asks already sounding better.  “Because you’re playing their game?”

I nod slowly.

“But you’re not one of them?”  She asks and I can see her fear starting to rise.

“I don’t know what that question means.”  I tell him and shake my head.  “I’m not the same girl Harry loved.”  I tell her taking another step closer, wanting to touch her.  I need to know she’s truly real.

“If you saw a way out, would you run?”  She asks as she reaches out for my hand.

“I couldn’t.  They would hurt the people I love.”  I tell her knowing she would at least understand this.

Hermione takes in a slow breath as we just hold hands.  “I understand.”  She says finally and suddenly we’re in each other’s arms.  I feel myself break down into tears as I hug one of my oldest friends.  It’s nice to know Hermione is still Hermione and she still knows everything.

Luna-

I wait for the very moment the gates to the encampment start to open before Apparating into a storeroom I figured would be empty.  The tracing spells aren’t as good when they have to open the gates to let people in or out.  It’s shoddy work, but what does one expect from government contracts?  Once inside I take a look out into the hall and find it abandoned.  It’s the advantage of coming here so late at night.

Slowly I make my way down to where I know the men’s dorms should be.  With the amount of manpower in this place, I don’t think I can get everyone out, but that doesn’t mean I won’t try.  When I get to the door, I’m looking to use a counter spell given to me by a very uncomfortable guard.

I don’t feel like smiling when the door opens as I find a single man sleeping inside.  I was hoping for more than just a guy, where were they keeping everyone else.  Feeling nervous about this development I slip into the room and close the door.  Maybe the man will have answers that can save others.

I lean over him carefully and shake his shoulder.  I know Death isn’t someone you want to look at when just waking up, but I can’t risk showing this man my real face.

He blinks up at me a few times and rolls over in his bed.  “It isn’t my time.”  He says with such absurdity I have to chuckle.  The sound is deep and mellow as the voice-changing spell does its job.

“I’m here to get you out along with any other muggleborns we can find.”  I tell him which makes him roll over to look at me more seriously.

“I’m not a muggleborn.”  He says though he still sits up.  “I’m a pureblood.”

“Are you being held here against your will?”  I ask him standing up myself.

“Well yes…” the old man starts but I don’t let him finish.

“Then that’s good enough for me.”  I tell him and turn to move towards the door.  “Do you know where they’re keeping most of the population?”  I ask him listing at the door as I do.

“They don’t let me leave the room.”  He says frowning as I hear him moving behind me.  “Too much to get done.”  He says and soon he’s next to me.

“What kind of work?”  I ask before opening the door and letting him follow me down the hall.  “Anything they can think to put my dying mind to.”  He says seeming almost cheerful when he talks about dying.  “Nice to keep busy before the end.”

I frown though he wouldn’t be able to see that.  “What are you dying of?”  I ask as I check the next door to find an empty room.  I decide then they aren’t in this hall at all.  I want to kick something now; I can’t just go searching this whole camp without direction.

“Old age.”  He says simply as I lead him back to the storeroom I came in at.  I look at my watch to make sure I time our exit correctly.

Exactly when I timed when the next gate opening should be I Appreciate both of us out of the camp.  When we land, we’re right where I wanted to be in a dark corner of Diagon Alley.

“Old age?”  I ask with a frown.

“Oh yes, I’m already six hundred and sixty something.”  He says as if it isn’t of real concern.

“That’s impossible.”  I say not used to having to use that word.  “The only modern wizard who lived to even near that age was Nicolas Flamel, and he died over five years ago.”  I tell him looking at this man in a new light.

“Well that’s when I stopped taking the Elixir of Life, but it still takes some time for death to really settle in after one has been taking it for so long.”

“You’re Nicolas Flamel, the Master Alchemist?”  I ask blinking at his easy demeanor around me and after just being pulled from his bed in the middle of the night.

“Nice to meet you…” he let his words trail off to encourage me to give him a name.

“Death.”  I answer looking around to make sure no one is around.

“Well we both know that isn’t true.”  He says with a chuckle by waves it away again.  “Do you have a plan now; you seem to be at a loss.”  He points out after a moment.

“I was going to turn you over to the rebellion.”  I tell him and he makes a sour face.  “No thank you, do you know a good place to get some tea?”

“You can’t be seen in public now Mr. Flamel.  You’ll be hunted down.”  I remind him.

“Oh that, well I can handle that.  I’ll just turn myself in.”  He says evenly.

“If you didn’t want to leave why did you come with me?”  I ask on the edge of frustration from this completely useless night.

“You look like someone with interesting problems, I like to solve problems.  For instance, is that your face, or some kind of disease?”  He asks curiously.

Something clicks in my brain but I force myself not to sound too excited with the idea.  “I could take you to someone with a very interesting magical problem.”  I tell him, thinking having a magical genius on Harry’s case wouldn’t hurt it one bit.

“Oh?”  He asks interestedly.

“I’ll let her explain it.”  I tell him before Apparating us to my own grounds, a decent way from the house.  “You’ll find her up there.”  I say pointing to my own house.

“Well this already seems much better than living with the rebels.”  He says happily before heading towards the house.  When I’m sure, he’s on his way I Apparate into Death’s room so I can remove and store the robe out of sight.

When I catch sight of Mr. Flamel near the house, I walk outside and look at him with what I hope is a confused tone.

“How did you get here?”  I ask frowning and looking around.  “My wards don’t allow just anyone to Apparate in.”

“A mutual friend gave me a ride.”  He says holding his hand out to me.  “He says you have an interesting problem?”

“Humm, maybe?”  I say taking his hand hesitantly.  “Who are you?”  I ask and really look at him for the first time.  His colors have a halo of gold that seems to diminish as I’m watching it.  It’s something I’ve never seen before.

“Oh yes, sorry.  Nicolas Flamel at your service.”  He says bowing deeply.  “You have a magical problem to solve?”

I stand there for a stunned moment before nodding slowly.  “Do you know anything about soul magic Mr. Flamel?”  I ask as I invite him in.

Daphne-

I look the Death Eater in the eye waiting for his answer.  I knew my brief pregnancy was something the Dark Lord didn’t like people to talk about and I liked it that way myself.  So the fact that this man just spoke so lightly about the fact my fertility has been proven makes me nervous and angry.

“The Dark Lord told me.”  He says as concern flashes over his face and he continues to lead me out of the building.

“Why would he do that?”  I ask myself more than the man next to me.

“He promised you a good match once.  He wanted to make sure I gave you a fair shot.”  He says more lightly now.

“So I have both Lucius Malfoy and the Dark Lord singing my praises.  No wonder you’re so eager.”  I say a bit mockingly.

“I wouldn’t go that far.”  Dolohov says dryly.  “It isn’t like we sit around and gossip like some teenage girls, but the Dark Lord did feel I needed a reminder of the law I’ve help pass and that I far exceed its age limit.  And if this new title of mine is to mean anything I need an heir.”

“So they suggested me?”  I ask starting to relax a bit again.

“The Dark Lord mentioned you yes, but it has been Lucius who has really latched onto the idea.”

“He wants me away from his son.  In this new world we live in I’m not good enough for him.”  I tell him easily.  “Though it’s funny that he think I’m good enough for you.”

Dolohov chuckles and nods his head.  “Lucius is a snob; we all know it, but the fact remains that you and Draco do nothing for each other in marriage.”

“Life would be a lot easier if the man believed I wasn’t planning to marry his son.”

“No, you only plan to keep up a dangerous game of going outside your marriage with him.”  The man next to me points out dryly.

“I’m sure only until we tire of each other, then we will both move onto other lovers.”  I say in passing so this man really doesn’t understand the full scope of my feelings for Draco.

“Why not just marry a man who can satisfy you in a way that you don’t need a lover?”  He suggests as his hand moves from my back to my ass.

He takes me to a little cafe in Diagon Alley for lunch, sitting a fair distance away so as not to seem too eager.

“Are you so sure you can satisfy a woman half your age?”  I ask finally unable to help my flirting nature now.

“Oh I have my ways.”  He says really looking at me now.

I lean in slowly propping my chin on my hands as I slip one of my shoes off.  “Do you know what would satisfy me right now?”  I ask slipping my toes along his ankle.

“What is that?”  He asks keenly interested in my needs.

“The voting report on the Assets Protection Law.”  I say in the same honeyed voice as I let my foot gracefully slip up his inner calf.

He chuckles nodding and pulls a few scrolls out of his bag.  “I was wondering when we would get back to that.”  He says as he hands the scrolls over.

I move to drop my foot so I can read the reports when he catches it in his hand and pulls it all the way into his lap.  Smirking at him, I look down at the scrolls.

“It passed with a decent margin, though it was closer than I expected it to be with the Dark Lord’s support.”  He explains the numbers as he started to use deft hands to massage my foot.

I have to admit the feel if his hands on my skin is surprisingly erotic and I have a slightly hard time following what he’s saying.  By the time, he’s done with the report I realize I’m panting a bit.

“How are you doing that?”  I ask as a quiver of pleasure radiates up my leg.

“Experience.”  He says simply as he finally lets my foot drop back to the floor before catching my hand.  “I know you worry about how your husband will hold up against the Dark Lord as a lover.”  He says in a very quiet voice.

I frown at the way he puts it, wondering what exactly they’ve told him about me so far.

“I’ve seen him with his lovers in the past.  I don’t think I could compare.  We aren’t the same kind of lover.”  He says and I have no idea what he’s getting at.

“The same kind of lover?”  I ask but before he can answer, the waitress comes with our food.  I hadn’t even noticed her take our order and I wonder when that happened.  Once she’s gone, he looks back at me, something new in his eyes.

“You may not have noticed me, but I saw you a few times while you were his Mistress.”  He says changing his tactic.  “It didn’t seem to me that the two of you aligned right in certain areas.”

I blush slightly as I think about how bruised and hurt I always was during my time with him.

“You didn’t seem to have the fire in you that you have now.”

I swallow thickly and look down at the salad he must have ordered for me.  “You’re trying to say you won’t hurt me.”  I say in a soft voice.

“I’m trying to say that your tastes didn’t seem to align well with our Lord’s and that I think you and I would be a better match.”

Making sure my voice in calm and no tears come to my eyes I look back up at him.  “If you’re going to keep working to pursue me you should know that that area isn’t exactly easy for me.”  I tell him thinking that maybe the truth will put him off.  “I have a great amount of trust with Draco which is one of the things that allows our relationship.  He’s been very patient with me.  I don’t know if I’ll be able to feel the same thing with another man.”

“So that is what’s really keeping you distant?”  He asks sounding more curious than anything.

“Partly, I still think you’re too smart.”  I tell him trying to lighten the mood.

“I think we can work with that.”  He says with a smile.  “I think I can gain your trust.”

Ginny-

When Tom returns for me, Hermione and I are sitting against the far wall talking softly.  At the sound of the door, I feel her flinch ever so slightly and I wonder for the thousandth time exactly what he’s been doing to her down here.  She’s refused to go into detail so far, but I know she’s just trying to protect me.

“It’s time for you to live up to your end my little lioness.”  He says as he steps fully into the room.

I take in a slow breath looking up at him.  “What about Hermione?”  I ask not wishing to leave her in this cell for a moment longer than I have to.

“She’ll be moved as soon as we have finished a space for her.  Until then you can visit her every day down here.  Make sure I’m not…”  He pauses and his words take on a mocking tone.  “hurting her.”

I look at my friend as I move to get up and she grasps my wrist.  “Please don’t do this Ginny.”  She begs softly and I know she’s just trying to protect me.

“It’s already done.”  I tell her before kissing her head and getting to my feet.  “But I do want a proper bed down here for her.” I say turning cold eyes on Tom.  “Unless you’re backing out of the deal?”

He only smiles at me and shakes his head.  “That’s an acceptable compromise.  Better than I thought you’d demand.”  He admits holding his hand out to me.

I glance back to Hermione trying to show her I’m not afraid as Tom leads me out of her cell.  The moment the door is locked back in place a pain shoots from the collar tracing through my entire body and making me scream as it disables me.  It’s so strong and overwhelming, I completely blackout as my knees hit the stone floor.

When I wake again I feel better than I have in days.  There’s no more pain or even stiffness in my back or anywhere.  I realize quickly that he probably had a healer finally see me while I was out cold.  More than likely, he wants a fresh canvas for his games tonight.

My stomach twists as I think about what tonight is actually going to bring.  Opening my eyes slowly I find that I’m laying on the leather couch in his office, not exactly where I expected.  I can hear the sounds of quill on paper and wonder how long I could get away with still pretending to be asleep.

I take in a deep breath knowing it will be better for me if he doesn’t think I’m trying to hold back from our deal so I sit up slowly and look over at him.

“Come kneel here.”  He says motioning to the space beside his chair.  When I start to get to my feet, he shakes his head, not actually looking up at me.  “Crawl.”

Swallowing I lower myself to my knees and start to crawl over to him.  As I do I feel a very slight twinge of pleasure that I figure is coming from the collar as some kind of reward.  He’s working to train me with positive and negative reinforcement as one would a pet.

Settling on my knees at his side, I look up to study him more closely.

“I have one last meeting, and then we’ll have some fun.”  He tells me not looking up.  After a few more minutes of only the sound of writing, Tom stops to look down at me.  He brushes gentle fingers through my hair and I can almost see Harry in his expression.  “You were made to kneel at my feet.”  He says as if it’s some kind of compliment.

With his words, he increases the pleasure flow and I can’t help as my breath deepens.  “If you can honestly say no part of you is actually just a little bit excited by tonight I’ll wait until our nuptials to truly make you mine.”

“I’m already yours Master.”  I say just at the door opens and I flush glad I can’t be seen behind his desk.

“My Lord, you wished to see me?”  The honey sweet tone of Bellatrix Lestrange calls from the door.  I’m guessing she didn’t hear my comment after all, and doesn’t know I’m so close to Tom if she’s sounding like she’s such a good mood.

“Yes Bella, please sit down.”  He says looking at her with a pleasant smile.  As she sat, he reached his hand down and started to play with my hair.  The gesture seemed thoughtless, but I knew better.

“What can I do for you my Lord?”  She asks in a way that sounds halfway suggestive, half way worshipful.

“I need a room installed on the other side of Ginevra’s.  It should be about a fourth of its side and only have a door leading into my pet’s.”  He starts and I wonder why he’s giving this job to an enforcer like Mrs. Crazytown.

“My Lord?”  She asks sounding just as confused as I am.

“There should be a small attached bathroom as well.  I don’t want the mudblood washing where my pet washes.”  He says with a sneer his hand tightening in my hair suddenly.

“My Lord?”  She asks again and I can only imagine her expression right now.

“Can you have it done within the next week or so?”  He asks as if he hasn’t noticed her confusion in the least.

“Of course my Lord, I would have to spend a lot of time in…”  She trails off and I can hear her disgust.  “…your pet’s room.  Will that be okay?”

“I’m sure you can behave yourself with my fiancé.”  He says dropping that bomb on her in a way that will make sure she hates me even more.

“Your…”  She asks then obviously thinks better of it.  “Of course my Lord.  Congratulations.”  She says bitterly.

“You may go now.”  He dismisses her before yanking my head back by my hair to open my neck to him.

“Now that that’s done with, we can have some fun.”  Tom says as he lets go of me and gets to his feet.

I stay where I am as I watch him walk over to a cabinet in the corner of his room and unlock it.  Inside are an array of random objects and bottles.  My stomach sinks as he pulls out a deep blue one and walks back over to me.

“Sip it slowly.  We don’t want you throwing it up.”  He tells me holding the bottle out to me.

“What is it?”  I ask as a scent of tar rises from it when I uncork the bottle.

“You really don’t want to know.”  He tells me seriously and motions for me to drink as he sits back in his chair.

I take a small sip from the bottle but only because I had already promised to drink it.  If it was at all possible, it tastes worse than it smells and I gag a little as I try to swallow.

“Maybe I don’t.”  I agree before drinking the thankfully small but highly putrid concoction.  All the while Tom watched me closely as if he was expecting to see me in a different way once the potion was finished.  “Do you think this will change your feelings for me?”  I ask curiously.

“Do you think I have feelings for you?”  He asks me coldly.

“I think you desire me, and I think you even respect me a little sometimes.”  I tell him thoughtfully.  “I think you even enjoy playing with me.”

He smiles and brushes his fingers through my hair.  “I do enjoy you.”  He agrees letting me finish the last of the potion.  “I enjoy doing things to you that he never would.”  He adds once I set the bottle down.

With a sudden jerk, he pulls me up onto his lap by my hair.  With uneasily rough handling, he settled me so that I am straddling his legs.

“What to do with you now?”  He asks thoughtfully, but I know better than to actually answer.  “Tell me about your feelings for me Ginevra.”  He says with a slow smile.

I blush and lick my lips.  Thinking about what Riddle had told me.  I shake my head not caring and swallow.  “I love you.”  I tell him honestly.  “And I absolutely hate you too.  I hate you for making me into a creature that could love you all those years ago.  I hate you for what you do to my world now, what you’ve done to those I love and care about.  I hate you for a thousand different reasons.  But what does any of that mean when the idea of not having you makes my heart ache?”

I watch the storm brew in his eyes as I speak and I really don’t have any idea how he’s going to react, but he was the one who asked.

“You are a singularly unique creature.”  He admits as his hands run down my form.  “Smart, brave, powerful, and fiercely devoted even when you don’t’ want to be.”  He says pushing the dress up.  “We are going to have so much fun.”

With the last word I could feel him start to pump the pleasure into me again slightly, and I stay perfectly still as his fingers hooked into my knickers.  He ripped them off me, which is a lot more painful than one thinks when reading bad romance.  He tosses the fabric aside before lifting me up and placing my bare arse on his desk.

He settles me on the desk before opening a drawer and pulling an angry looking knife that makes my heart race.  He pumps more pleasure through the collar trying to trick my brain into being excited by whatever he plans to do next.

I sit perfectly still as he cuts the dress from my form, purposefully nicking my skin every so often and always sending a jolt of pleasure along with the cut.  When I’m sitting completely nude before him he only smiles and continues to drag the knife along my skin.

He drags the blade along my breastbone leaving a thin cut that burns then leans forward and licks the wound he just made.  His tongue soothes the pain a bit and I find myself pushing against the attention.  The second cut is made just under my breast and that too he licks clean.

When the knife moves between my legs, I hold my breath as the cold pain starts at my knee and slowly moves up towards my core.  He stops just shy of cutting anything but my leg, then kneels down and again follows the wounds with his tongue.

The night becomes a blur after that.  I thought since I took the potion he’d want to actually have sex with me, but it never comes.  He continues cutting my skin and between the pleasures, the collar forces on me and the feel of his tongue after each mark I start to look forward to the blade by the end of the night.

He brings me to climax as he cuts a much deeper wound in my arm and I can’t help but scream his name.  “TOM!”  I yell unable to say anything else with the adrenaline and lust clouding my every thought.

It takes me a moment to realize what I said and I look around to see his reaction to my words.  His eyes are narrowed on me, looking like a snake as it’s readying to pounce.  We had long since moved to his bed and I had a nice view of his chest, even if his pants were still on.

“I’m sorry Master.”  I say remembering myself though I was still panting.

“You still think of me like that don’t you?”  He asks running a thumb down one of my wounds to let the pain spike.

“I can’t help it that is who you are to me.  No matter what your face looks like.”  I tell him facing his anger.

“So this love you have for me, it has nothing to do with this face?”  He asks almost curiously.  It was as if he assumed I love him because he looks like Harry.

“No.  I love you in spite of what your face looks like.”  I tell him honestly.

He chuckles pushing his thumb against the wound once again.  The pain shot a spark of pleasure right to my core and I have to wonder if he’s actually still using the collar.

“That pleases me, though you still need to be punished.”  He says and suddenly pulls me from the bed.

Luna-

“I don’t understand how that works.”  I tell the older man as I pace back in forth in my library.  “Why do you think he’ll use this ritual?”  I ask motioning to the book he has open.  Mr. Flamel has spent several days looking over my notes and now has found what he thinks is the answer.

“You say he has a young girl that he plans to marry locked away in Hogwarts?”  He presses as if I’m the one being bull headed.

“But involve her?”  I ask frowning and shaking my head.  “Wouldn’t it be safer to just try something that evicts Harry?”

“Evicting a soul from its own body is not something that’s easy to do.”  The old wizard points out.  “If he tried something that just evicts a soul more than likely it would be his that would be banished.”

I sit down looking over the text once again.  “So by joining his soul with Ginny’s he’s what, outnumbering Harry?”  I ask working it out.

“Yes, and the more connected to him she is the more power he’ll be able to draw.  Not only will he be able to push Harry’s soul from the body but he’ll be able to destroy it completely.”

“What do you mean by connection?”  I ask looking up at the man.

“Well wedding rituals like this require the girl to be a maiden, do you know if she is?”  He asks curiously.

“She isn’t, but I’m pretty sure the only one she’s been with is the Dark Lord.”  I tell him and he frowns deeply.

“That would still be a very strong connection; I don’t think Harry’s soul would survive the ritual.”  He says sadly.

“But if she were to have sex with someone else before this ritual is done?”  I ask thinking of the way Ron got in the way of my own marriage rites.

“If she was with another man before this rite is tried, it would give Harry’s soul a chance.  Though if you didn’t want it to just go to the land beyond you would need to make a soul trap and have it at the ritual.”

“But what do we do with a bodiless soul of Harry Potter?”  I ask frowning as I try to think of a way that makes this better.

“That I don’t know.”  He admits and looks around at the books.  “But I could think on it.”  He adds after a moment.

I smile at him and nod.  “Do you know how to make a soul trap?”  I ask as I think about the rest that has to be done to make this plan work.

“Oh yes, I’ll make a list of supplies I’ll need.”  He says with a smile.

“Thank you.  I need to go tell our mutual friend a few things.  We have to get something in motion.”

“Ah yes, seems like it would be very hard to violate something that belongs to You Know Who.”  Nicolas says in passing as he goes back to his work.

The word violate sticks in my head, as I get ready to go drop in on Ronald and the rest of the rebels.  I’ve gained a few contacts over time that have helped me pinpoint where and when the rebels shift around.  Though only in Death’s form.  No one wants to talk to the reporter known to be in the Dark Lord’s pocket.

After making sure all the spells are in place I Apparate right outside their current hideout and make my way to the door.  Looking around I make sure no one is around before I step inside.  I’m met by five ex-Gryffindors all pointing their wands directly at my face.

“I’m here to speak to your leader.”  I say in my spelled voice.

“How did you find us?”  Ronald steps forward, though no one takes their wands off me.

“People are starting to trust me.  I’ve already sent you some muggleborns haven’t I?”  I asked tilting my head at him.

“What do you want?”  He snaps still not liking the look of me.

“I need to know if you have anyone at Hogwarts.”  I ask then a moment later I think better of it.  “Any males at Hogwarts.”  I correct myself.

“Why would I tell you that?”  He asks but I can see by his color that he’s become protective, meaning he does.

“Because I know a way to save Harry Potter.”  I say and everyone in the hall falls completely silent.

It took several minutes for everyone to recover, but once they do, I find myself in a private room with Ronald and Neville.  I smile as I think about these two as the leaders of their peers.  Who would have guessed?

“Okay so let’s say we believe you and trust that you have a way of saving Harry after all this time.  What do you need someone inside Hogwarts for?”

“According to my information Mr. Potter’s soul is still trapped within his body.  It’s just unable to act or do anything about it.”  I tell them seriously.  “Though reports say that Ginny has an effect on the Dark Lord that brings Harry to the surface.”

“Is my sister in danger?”  Ronald snaps his question.

“No more than she has been these last few months.  Unfortunately she’s also key to his plan to rid himself of Harry.”

“What’s he going to do to her?”  Neville asks this time frowning.

“Marry her.”  I tell them simply.  “If he performs a certain marriage rite with Ginny as things stand now, it will destroy Harry’s soul.”

“Okay, show the way for our hero to be saved.”  Neville presses suddenly angry.

Both Ron’s and my eyes widen.  I realize in that moment I must be the Dark Moon, but how am I going to explain that to Ron.

“Luna…”  He says to himself making Neville look at him with a frown.

“What?”  The once shy boy asks.

“I told you she had another prophecy when I…”  He trails off, obviously not wishing to tell his friend how I made that prophecy.

“Ginny has to have sex with another man.”  I blurt out to distract Ron from thinking about me.

“What?”  Both boys ask looking completely caught off guard.

“She needs to not completely belong to the Dark Lord.  The only way to do that in the time that we have; is to have sex with someone else.”  I tell them frowning.  I hope they will get to the next part on their own because I really don’t want to have to say it.

“The guys I have at Hogwarts aren’t going to be able to woo her; she has too many people around her all the time.”  Ron says with a frown.

“It would be safer for her if they didn’t woo her anyway.”  I point out chewing on my lip, glad the mask hides my uneasy.

“The only way it would be safe for her is if…”  Neville’s eyes widen to the size of Galleons.  “Is if she didn’t consent at all!”  He growls angrily.

“You want me to send one of my men to rape my sister?”  Ronald asks pulling his wand in his own anger.

“Only if you want to be able to save both her and Harry.”  I tell him, as I feel sick with the words.

Daphne-

I’m pacing my bedroom floor as I go over everything I learned from Antonin.  Draco watches me from the bed, looking much more relaxed than I feel.  He’s laying back in only a pair of loose fitting slacks, obviously an attempt to distract me with his perfect chest.

“Everything is happening too quickly.”  I tell him as I go over details again.

I realize I’m trying very hard not to think about what’s happening with Ginny.  It’s been a few days now since I’ve seen her and it’s making me more than a bit nervous.  Add to the fact that that psycho Bellatrix keeps kicking everyone out of Ginny’s room.  I can do nothing but worry.  I quickly put her out of my head once again and focus on Antonin.

He sent me more flowers today and a gift of an expensive dress for me to wear on a date with him.  The dress is a lovely deep rose color and it fits me perfectly, which only troubles me more.

“He’s just being a whole lot more forward than we were expecting.”  Draco points out.

“He seems to know everything about me!”  I snap back.  “How is that a way to start an engagement?”

Draco just chuckles and shakes his head.  “Are you trying to say you don’t find the idea of a partnership with him appealing Daphne?”

“I was expecting to marry a man that underestimated me at every turn.”  I pout back.  “How am I going to be able to manipulate him?”  I ask crossing my arms over my chest.

“The same way you’re constantly manipulating me.”  He says trying to summon me to the bed for the thousandth time that evening.

“Why do you think he’s so driven to woo me?”  I ask and suddenly feel his arms wrap around me to stop my pacing.

“I’m the wrong man to ask that question.”  He whispers softly as he kisses my neck.  “I would pursue you if I could.”

“You’ve already caught me.”  I remind him as he pulls me back against him.

“Humm, I’m not sure about that.”  He says leading me towards the bed.  “I’m not so sure you didn’t catch me.”

I laugh as I finally comply and lay down with him on the bed.  Snuggling into his form and resting my head on his chest.  “I’m just trying to worry about things I can change.” I tell him softly.

“I know.”  He says kissing the top of my head.

“If he kills her we have nothing Draco.”  I remind him softly.

“If he kills her we won’t last much longer, but I think we would have heard if that was his plan.”  He reminds me.

“What if he does it by accident?”  I press with a frown.  “In the heat of the moment?”

“Look at it this way.”  He says not answering my question.  “I’m pretty sure Tracey will be leaving us now that he seems to be getting everything he needs from Ginny herself.”

I sigh and shake my head.  “But what exactly did she get if that’s true?”  I ask feeling as if we’re on hold at the moment.

He doesn’t answer me and I suddenly realize he’s holding back.  I turn in his arms so I can look up into his silver eyes.  “Draco?”

He sighs shrugging his shoulders.  “I heard my aunt grumbling about the blood traitor slut fiancé.”  He says watching me closely.

“That’s just her giving away more!” I snap as I sit up and look back at him.  “What is she getting?”

“Something to do with a room Aunt Bella is building connected to Ginny’s, but I don’t think she knows what it’s for exactly.”

“A room?”  I ask frowning and laying back against him.  “She wouldn’t marry him for something cheap.”  I say trying to convince myself.

“Or something shallow.”  Draco points out as he runs light fingers over my neck.

“So you think she’s saving someone’s life?”  I ask as it’s the only thing I can come up with.

“Someone she wants to keep close?”

“He wouldn’t allow a male to be that close to her, even if it’s family.”  I point out and Draco agrees with a nod.

“So what woman would she care about enough to marry him for?”  He asks and we both scroll through her known friends and family.

“Maybe someone from the Order?”  I ask after a while.

“I don’t know.”  He admits and we both lay there in silence for a while longer.

I fall asleep in Draco’s arms dreaming of what Ginny must be going through as I lay comfortably with the man I love.  I’m woken in the middle of the night, by a pounding on my door.

Both Draco and I look at one another for a moment before he moves off the bed and heads to the bathroom to hide.  I pull on a robe and move to the door to see who’s calling at the late hour.

Lucius Malfoy stands outside looking perfectly put together.  His eyes make me feel self-conscious with my rumpled hair and night robe.

“How can I help you Lord Malfoy?”  I ask loudly enough for Draco to hear me.

“You and my son are required in our Lord’s office in thirty minutes.”  He says and sneers down at me.  “Make sure you are both presentable.”

Twenty-five minutes later Draco and I are led into the Dark Lord’s private office.  With a quick glance around, I notice Lucius looking pleased as he relaxes back on the sofa as the Dark Lord himself sits behind his desk while they speak.  They fall silent when we enter and both men smile at us in different ways.

“I’m sure you’ve been worried for you Lady the last few days.  So when the decision was made we felt you as the heads of her household should be the first to be told.”  The Dark Lord says and I have to wonder what Lucius is doing here.

“It has been decided that the month following the Zabini wedding Hogwarts will be once again celebrating the union of two great noble houses.”  The Dark Lord says with a wide smile.

“Congratulations my Lord.”  We say bowing our heads right on cue.

“The Dark Lord feels that once she has a place at his side, the household and residence needs to reflect this.  After reviewing the space we have in the castle, after we’ve recently cleared away the undesirables. We’ve decided her final residences will be placed in the west dungeons.”

“She would be happier someplace with light.”  I say looking between the two men.

“That may be true, but that is where we have to give her.”  Lucius says snidely.  “After the wedding she’ll be allowed a household of a personal advisor, a champion, seven companions, and thirty guards.  I’ll put the two of you in charge of making everything to her satisfaction.”

“And the room Ginny occupies now?”  Draco asks curiously, as we gather as much information as these two men are willing to give.

“Will become my Mistress’ rooms.”  The Dark Lord says simply.

“May we see Ginny now?”  I ask itching to make sure the girl is all right.

“In the morning.  I’m not quite done with her.”

Chapter 10: Fury

Ginny-

I’ve been back in my own room for a few days now and the mood is still filled with tension.  Both Daphne and Millicent have been overprotective of me since my return and I think they both feel guilty as if they let me down in some way.

Tracey on the other hand has been doing everything she can to keep her distance from us and spends a lot of time with Bellatrix.  I wonder if she’s actually helping or if she’s getting in Bella’s way while she works on Hermione’s room.

“Are you sure you’re up for this?”  Daphne asks pulling me from my thoughts.

“A healer saw me this morning Daphne, I’m fine.”  I remind her as she fusses.

Today is going to be a big event for the Empire.  The first of many auctions to sell off the muggleborn slaves that have been kept in camps up until now.  Tom has made it perfectly clear I will be spending the day at his side and that it will be today that I must choose Hermione’s future husband.

The thought of Tom makes me think back to those days in his room as his plaything.  We never actually had sex but he brought me to the edge of pleasure many times for his own amusement.  He spent hour upon hour training my body and mind to react the way he wanted.  I shift in my seat and realize even the thought has turned me on.

I shake my head pushing the feeling away and giving Daphne my attention once again since I realize she’s been speaking to me.

“…ke all this secrecy either.  You should be able to be open with me.  How can I serve you properly otherwise?”  She asks and I wonder what was in the rest of that speech.

“Soon Daphne.”  I tell her tiredly.  “Just focus on the staff they’re letting us hire.  You are going to have a lot of positions to fill in a few short months.  We need to find five more companions, and how many guards?”  I ask shaking my head.

Daphne frowns.  “Six.”  She says after a moment.

“What?”  I ask looking over my shoulder at her.

“I thought I would be taking the position of your assistant.”  She says with a slight frown.

“You are.”  I tell her still confused.

“Then Milly will be the only companion you have so you are going to need six more.”  She says slowly.

“I was counting Tracey.”  I lie and look at my knees.

“I asked about that.  She’ll be taking up the post of Mistress full time once you are married and will no longer be needed as a companion.”  She tells me, though I already knew that.

“Oh, good.”  I say standing and pacing over to the mirror to see how I look.  The girl looking back at me looks tired and beaten and I shake my head.  “I can’t do this.”  I say suddenly turning to the girls.  “I need to fly.”  I say thinking about the only thing that ever made me feel better.

“You can’t my Lady.”  Daphne says painfully.

“Look at me!”  I snap then rubbing my face.  “Listen to me!  When did I become this person?”  I ask feeling a bit of panic.  When did I become his whore?

A frown crosses Daphne’s lips before she grabs my hand and pulls me from the room.  “Wha- where are we going?”  I ask as she pulls me down halls and up stairs.  It takes a long while before I’m standing in the last place I want to be.

A painting of a large woman looks down at us with a severe expression.  “Let her in.”  Daphne orders in a hard tone.

“Password?”  The painting asks coldly.

“She’s a Gryffindor!”  Daphne snaps angrily

“She doesn’t live here.”  The painting argues.

Daphne continues to argue with the painting as I shake my head walking away sadly.  I’m not sure why she thinks facing my house will help but being up this high gives me another idea.  I head up in a different direction.  Glancing back, I see Daphne still fully engaged with the painting so I decide to just leave her behind.

It takes some doing but it isn’t long before I find myself at the Astronomy Tower, I can’t help but smile as the cool winter wind whips through my hair.  I move to the edge and look down on the Hogwarts grounds.

Below there are setting up for today’s event with heating spells and tables with drinks and food.   I see a tent set up for the muggleborns and two raised platforms.  One for the sales and the other with a large throne constructed on it for Tom to sit.  I can’t help but wonder who I’ll see on that stage today, if I’ll know the people as they are sold like chattel.

I walk around the edge of the tower slowly until I have a view of the Forbidden Forest.  With a quick glance back at my guard, I see he’s standing in the doorway, back to the castle.  Before he can do a thing, I hike myself up onto the ledge in a graceful move.  I stand there so that the full strength of wind can hit.

I take the cool air into my lungs as my hair and fancy green gown flutters around me in the breeze. Snow has covered Hogwarts and the bite of winter only adds to the feeling of freedom that fills my chest and head.  This is where I’m happy.  This is where I live.

“Get down from there.”  Nott orders darkly.

“You work for me.”  I say dismissively stretching my hands out to my sides and up into the air.

“If you kill yourself I’ll be soon to follow.”  Nott says sounding closer and mad.

“If you take another step I will step off.”  I say glancing back at him with only seriousness in my eyes.  Once I’m sure, he believes me I go back to flying.

I’m not exactly sure how long I lose myself in the wind, but when it ends, I know Nott isn’t the one who’s acting.  With a sudden jolt, I feel myself being pulled back and thrown to the ground by the force of his magic.  I look up through now messy hair at Tom’s enraged face.

“What did you think you were doing?”  He growls, his wand still pointed at me.

“Flying.”  I answer the pain in my knees doing nothing to break my peace.

“Do you know what I would do to all those you love, if you went flying?”  He asks darkly still in an obvious bad mood.  I must have really scared him I realize.

“I wasn’t trying to kill myself, my Lord.”  I tell him as I slowly get to my feet.  “Just trying to get some air,” and actually feel myself smile.  “I’m sorry for worrying you.”

Tom narrows his eyes as he takes in my calm form then nods after a moment.  “I had come to your room to take you to see your pet before the gathering today.”  He says coldly.  “Now I don’t think there will be time.”  He says then turns to leave.

I frown at not getting to speak with Hermione today, but the peace I found in the few moments would be worth waiting until tomorrow.  Once Tom is completely gone Daphne steps out of the doorway and looks at me with concern in her eyes.

“I wasn’t trying to kill myself.”  I say as I read her expression.  “Look at me.”

She eyes me for a long moment before nodding.  “So coming up here helped?”  She asks before taking my arm so we can head back to the room.

“I think so.”  I tell her and actually smile.  “It’s not going to be easy being his wife.”  I tell her when we’re about half way down.

“I wouldn’t think so no.  But on the upside, most men fear pregnant women so you’ll get some time off.”  She says with a small smile.

I chuckle and nod slowly.  “I don’t see him as being different in that respect.”

Luna-

I sit at my vanity for a long time looking at myself and examining every inch of my face.  I would have to face Ginny today, and I wasn’t sure I could do it after what I had told the resistance.  My mind starts to wonder, when or if they will follow my advice.

“Miss?”  Minty says softly to get my attention.  “Miss, Master bad man is here pick you up.”

“Send him up.”  I say not wanting Blaise to accidentally run into Nicolaus while he was here.

I’m still looking in the mirror when he comes into the room.

“You’re not even dressed.”  Came Blaise’s smooth voice.

“I can’t decide what to wear,” I tell him as I finally pull myself to my feet.  “How does one dress for a Slave party?”

He sighs and shakes his head as he walks over to me.  “Getting this all out now?”  He asks wrapping his arms around my form.

I rest my head against his chest suddenly wanting to lay all my worries at his feet.  “Yes.”  I say instead knowing he would never understand.

“Do your hair and I’ll take care of the robes.”  He says kissing the top of my head before moving to my closet.

With a sigh, I sit back down and start to twist my hair up into something neat and professional.  I was going as a reporter after all, so I thought I could get away with the look.

“You know you have such a pretty neck.”  Blaise says as he moves behind me running a finger over my skin.

I let out a soft laugh as something silly occurs to me.  “I’m no longer a freak am I?”  I ask remembering our first conversation.

“Oh you’re definitely still a freak, but I think it makes you more alluring now.”  He tells me with a rueful smile.

I bite my lip wanting a distraction from my thoughts.  Getting to my feet, I start to slip out of my robe.

“I should leave.”  Blaise says setting clothes on the bed for me.

“You don’t want to watch?”  I ask him teasingly as I let the fabric slip off my shoulders and pool on the floor.

“I’m not a strong man.”  He says, as his eyes seem to devour me.

“Am I really that much of a temptation?”  I ask walking over to my dresser to find underclothes to put on.

“Only because I can’t have you.”  He teases without taking his eyes off me or moving to leave.

I find a set I like and start to slip into the purple satin.

“I can’t wait till we’re away from all this and enjoying each other’s bodies.”  He says wistfully and I feel his eyes on my every move.

“Oh?  When is that going to happen?”  I ask looking over my shoulder as I adjust my bra.

“On our honeymoon.”  He says sounding as if the answer was obvious.

“Honeymoon?”  I ask freezing in place.  “We’re going on a honeymoon?”

“I’ve already started arranging it.”  He says moving closer, I feel lips on my neck as the last of his will has obviously broken.  “A month in Venice.”

“A month?”  I ask with a frown, my mind going over all the horrible things that could be happening here in a month.

“We need time Luna, time to relax and really enjoy one another.”  He says frowning at me.

I frown back at him and tilt my head.  “You should enjoy yourself.”  I say nodding more to myself than to him.  I step away from his warmth and turn to look him in the eye.  “Maybe find yourself a sexy woman to enjoy.”

“I’ve already done that.”  He says catching my hand and pulling me back against him.  “I know this marriage isn’t exactly romantic Luna, but why can’t we still enjoy each other?  I know you like me, and I’ve grown very fond of you.”

“I just don’t know if I can relax for that long, what about the magazine?  What about Ginny?”  I ask looking up at him.

“What about the Weasel?”  He asks his voice dark.

“Are you jealous?”  I ask with a deep frown.

“Am I jealous?  Of him?  No.”  He says and I can see the colors of deceit all around him.  “What do I have to be jealous of exactly?”

“You think I’m in love with him?”  I ask timidly.

“People like me don’t need things like that.”  He says, as his voice turns cold.  “Get dressed, we should head over soon.”  Without giving me another chance to speak, he leaves the room.

I sigh and pull on the robes he’d chosen without even really looking at them.  They’re a deep blue color, still professional, but fitted to me like the rest of my new clothes.

When I make it into the entrance hall Blaise is standing there smoking one of his green cigarettes.  I know it isn’t exactly tobacco and I worry about us going to this event with him high.

“Should you be doing that?”  I ask walking over to him.

“It relaxes me, you should try it sometime.”  He says holding it out to me.

I frown at it for a moment before deciding to take a risk.  I need something to calm my nerves and conscious at the moment.  I draw in a slow breath like I used to watch my father do on his pipe, then let the smoke out slowly after holding it in my lungs for a moment.

“You’re good at that.”  Blaise says as an arm comes around my waist.  “Ready?”  He asks before Apparating us to the point outside of Hogwarts.

We walk up the long path through the castle gates and find the place has been set up with tents and heating charms for those invited to the auction.  There’s a stage where musicians were playing now and I figured the auction would take place once everyone was gathered.  Another platform was raised above the crowd as well; this one held a single snake carved throne and a large scarlet pillow.

I couldn’t take my eyes off the pillow as my stomach starts to sink even more.

“What’s wrong now?” Blaise asks as he looks in the direction I’m facing.  “You knew he was going to be here.”  He added not understanding my worry.

“Last time she had a chair.”  I point out as I turn my face away and let him guide me to the open bar.

Blaise chuckles ordering us some drinks before lighting up once again.  “Yeah Draco told me she’s made some new deals since you got the chance to see her last.  No one’s sure what’s she’s getting, but she’s really become his little plaything lately.”

I sigh looking around at the others that have started to gather.  Many I know from reputation as members of rich and pure families.  They all seem friendly with each other and many even have smiles for Blaise.

“You know you’re one of the few of her old gang that even cares about her anymore.”  Blaise says as he wraps his arm around my waist.  “Most think she’s a little slut that gave into the Dark Lord first chance she got.”

I glare at Blaise shaking my head.  “Not those who really knew her.”  I say firmly and avoid looking back at the throne.

“Blaise!”  A woman with beautiful chocolate skin and large hazel eyes came rushing towards us from across the party.  Her hair braided into the tiniest braids I’ve ever seen and falls in graceful rivers down her back.

“Lisa.”  He greets her with a kiss just shy of her mouth making him pull away from me.  “I thought your family was still enjoying Greece?”  He asks in an easy tone.

“They are, but I wanted to come back to see what’s happening at home, you know I can’t stay idle for long.”

I suddenly remember the girl from being in my house, only a year above with Blaise I guess.  From the way she stands near him I can tell they’ve tasted each other and for some reason that makes me feel hurt.  I know Blaise likes women, that he’s been with many of them and that he plans to keep seeing them once we’re married, but still it hurts.

“Lisa this is my friend Luna.”  He finally remembers that I’m there and I frown at how I was introduced, ‘his friend’?

“Luna?”  She asks her eyes moving to me for the first time and I see shock in them.  “Looney Lovegood?”  She asks sounding all the more amazed.  “Wow, you’ve changed.”

“Death and destruction of everyone one loves will do that to a person.”  I say not feeling the need to play politics with her.  “I’m going to go sit down.”  I tell him and walk away from the two of them while Lisa was still stunned.

I watch the two of them for a while. Wondering if he’ll sneak away with her today while they’re here.  There is nothing stopping him from having sex with other women leading up to our wedding, only me.

“One of his many conquests.”  Comes a rather tired sounding voice from beside me.  I glance over to see a man dressed in guard’s robes.  His sandy hair and blue eyes ring a bell in my head, but I can’t exactly place him.

“I know.”  I say with a shrug as if I didn’t care how close they were standing.

“I think everyone knows how Blaise is.”  He says before giving me a friendlier smile.  “Theodore.”  He says holding out his hand and everything clicked into place.

“Luna, but you already knew that.”  I say taking his hand.  “How mad are you with me?”  I ask trying to sound friendly still.

“I’m not mad anymore.”  He says giving me a lopsided smile.  “I can’t really compete with Zambini when he puts his mind to something.  He wanted the Radcliffe fortune and now he’s getting it.”  He says easily.

“It’s so kind of you to make me feel like luggage.”  I tell him in a sweet tone.

“Aren’t you?”  He asks with a laugh glancing at his watch.  “A guy like that see women as nothing more than targets.  Things he wants.”

I look back at Blaise and nod slowly.  “True.”  I say thoughtfully.

“I should be heading back, but I would like to actually talk sometime if you’re ever free.”  He says standing.

“Where are you going?”  I ask with a frown.

“I’m the consort’s main guard today.  I got a break after there was a scare this morning, but I need to get back before the Dark Lord and she head down.”  He says trying to sound impressive.

“Scare?”  I ask with a frown wondering if Ginny was okay.

“Can’t really talk about it now, but maybe later?”  He asks taking my hand and kissing it before heading off.

I frown as he rushes away wondering if he’d just come to introduce himself.

Daphne-

Ever since Ginny returned to her own room she refuses to talk about what happened with the Dark Lord.  She won’t tell me why she agreed to marry him or any of the other conditions, only giving me vague answers about how he’ll tell me when I’m permitted to know.

I know Milly feels guilty about whatever happened when they were together.  Whatever it was that triggered all of this. I see that she is trying to make up for it by being overprotective now.  I can tell this and my behavior is driving Ginny up the walls, but I’m not sure how to fix it until things are more settled.

At least we’ve been rid of Tracey for the most part, as she’s been spending a great amount of time with Bellatrix of all people.  Another mystery I can’t solve now is the fact there is now a door leading into our Lady’s room from the wall opposite the bathroom.  Tracey and the insane witch have spent most of their time beyond it since Ginny’s return.

I look at Ginny now and frown.  She looks tired and worn and I know at the best of times she would hate today’s event.  “Are you sure you’re up for this?”  I ask as I start to do her hair.

“A healer saw me this morning Daphne, I’m fine.”  She says as if I’m speaking of her physical wellbeing.

“My Lady I just don’t think he should be making you face all of this while he’s keeping you so worn.  I’m worried that this is going to be the final crack that makes you break.”  I say as she nods to my words.  “I don’t like all this secrecy either.  You should be able to be open with me.  How can I serve you properly otherwise?”

“Soon Daphne.”  She says tiredly and I’m pretty sure she wasn’t actually listening.  “Just focus on the staff they’re letting us hire.  You are going to have a lot of positions to fill in a few short months.  We need to find five more companions, and how many guards?”

“Six.”  I say frowning

“What?”  She asks looking up at me.

“I thought I would be taking the position of your assistant.”  I say timidly thinking maybe I assumed too much.

“You are.”  She says still looking flustered

“Then Milly will be the only companion you have so you are going to need six more.”  I remind her slowly.

“I was counting Tracey.”  She says then looks away from me making me think that isn’t true, but it does remind me of something.

“I asked about that.  She’ll be taking up the post of Mistress full time once you are married and will no longer be needed as a companion.”  I tell her thinking that may make her a bit relieved.

“Oh, good.”  She dismisses in the same distracted way she’s been with everything since her return.

Suddenly she gets up and walks over to a mirror on her wardrobe door.  She looks at herself for a few moments before shaking her head “I can’t do this.”  She says softly turning back to us.  “I need to fly.”

“You can’t my Lady.”  I tell her regretfully, though I know she already knows.

“Look at me!”  She bites and rubs her face.  “Listen to me!  When did I become this person?”  She asks sounding as if she’s about to lose it.

I frown as I try to think of what could remind her of who she was.  With a sudden strike of inspiration, I grab her hand and lead her from the room.  I’ll take her to Gryffindor tower; the common room there must hold some good memories.

“Wha- where are we going?”  She asks in confusion, but I say nothing until we’re standing under that large ugly woman.

“Let her in.”  I order the painting in a fierce tone.

“Password?”  The painting asks coldly.

“She’s a Gryffindor!”  I tell it angrily.  She hasn’t been here this year but that doesn’t make her any less a part of this house.

“She doesn’t live here.”  The painting argues.

“That doesn’t mean she can’t visit!  She is a student here.”  I tell the ghastly thing.

“Then she should get the password.”  The woman says smugly.

“You know this house is supposed to be honorable and brave and all, but you people have done nothing but treat her horribly for being stuck in an even worse situation!”  I yell in frustration before I realize Ginny just heard all of that.

I turn back to her slowly to get her reaction but find she isn’t there.  My stomach sinks as I get a bad feeling about what could be happening now.  I notice Nott is gone as well so I feel a bit better until I see him rushing down the hall towards me.

“Where is she?”  I yell not liking the look in his eyes.

“Astronomy tower.”  He says a bit winded.  “She just threatened to jump off, I shouldn’t have let her get so close to the edge, I wasn’t thinking.”  He says in a panicked voice.

Nott and I run back to the tower only to find Ginny on the ground at the Dark Lord’s feet.  Relief washes over me, before I remind myself how severe his punishments can be.  Well at least she isn’t dead.

“Flying.”  She says in a calm tone like having the Dark Lord’s wand pointed at your head means little.

“Do you know what I would do to all those you love, if you went flying?”  The Dark Lord asks in a deadly tone.

“I wasn’t trying to kill myself, my Lord.”  She says calmly as she gets to her feet.  “Just trying to get some air.  I’m sorry for worrying you.”  She says sounding as if they were having a normal conversation.

There is a moment of silence as the Dark Lord assesses her.  “I had come to your room to take you to see your pet before the gathering today.”  He says coldly.  “Now I don’t think there will be time.”  He tells her before turning towards us.

Nott and I quickly step out of the way so the Dark Lord can pass.  Once he’s gone, I step out onto the tower and look at Ginny.  I realize how very worried about her I was and I resist the urge to hug her.

“I wasn’t trying to kill myself.  Look at me.” She says in a much calmer tone than she had back in her room.

I look her over and realize her whole posture is different now.  She looks as if she got a true break from the horror of her life.  “So coming up here helped?”  I ask before taking her arm and heading back to her room.

“I think so.”  She says with a smile.  “It’s not going to be easy being his wife.”  She adds a few minutes later.

“I wouldn’t think so, no.  But on the upside, most men fear pregnant women so you’ll get some time off.”  I tell her trying to lighten the mood a little.

She actually laughs nodding at my words.  “I don’t see him as being different in that respect.”

“No, I don’t imagine the Dark Lord will be a very hands-on father.”  I say with a smile as my mind starts to wonder what kind of father Draco would be.

She looks a bit sad at these words, but it’s a different kind of sad than before.  “Do you think he would allow me to have a big family?”  She asks softly.

“Like yours?  I’m not sure if you’d want to go through that seven times.  Your mother was a god.”  I say lightly.

She laughs and nods.  “They really wanted a daughter.”  She tells me a bit shyly.  “That’s why they stopped with me.”

“Do you want a daughter?”  I ask knowing that most noble lines will prefer sons.

She thinks about it for a moment and shrugs her shoulders.  “I don’t think I care.  Children have never really been my aim in life, but…”  She shakes her head.  “I’d like them, now that I think about it.  Lots of them.  How about you?”

I frown and think about the child I’ll never meet.  My hand moves to my stomach and Ginny puts a hand on mine.

“I’m sorry.”  She says regretfully.

“I won’t make a good mother.”  I say after a moment.  “I’m too wrapped up in other things, but whoever I marry will expect an heir I’m sure.  So more than likely we will only have one.”

She takes in a long breath and shakes her head.  “I think you would make a great mother if you wanted.”  She says with a smile.  “Look at how well you take care of me.”

I grimace at her and she actually laughs again.  “I’m not dead yet.”

Ginny-

Daphne almost completely redresses me for the event, as she has to fix both my hair and dress.  I’m starting to think of these elegant gowns he has me wear in public as a kind of armor, keeping me safe from the eyes and thoughts of the people around me.

When she finishes, she has me dressed in a long bell sleeved velvet dress the color of dried blood.  My hair is pulled back today in a long French braid down my back which only shows off the collar, he still makes me wear, all the more.

I’m still not allowed shoes and with the auction happening on snow covered ground that presents a bit of a problem as we get to the castle doors.

“How?”  I ask frowning down at the snow and biting my lip.

“Draco is going to carry you to his platform.”  Daphne says reassuringly as she slips a fur-trimmed cloak over my shoulders.  It’s also velvet, but more of a deep golden color than the red of the dress.

“He won’t get in trouble?”  I ask thinking about how close he would have to hold me to carry me all the way to the gathering.

“No, he’s been given special permission.  The Dark Lord looked in each of your guard’s minds this morning to see which one would be least likely to act undesirably.”

“Not George?”  I ask sounding a bit confused.

“Something about stray thoughts of making a run for it with you.”  Daphne says with a small smile.

“Ah, that makes sense, is he alright?”  I ask wondering if he was punished for the thoughts.

“The Dark Lord says they were fleeting enough that they don’t worry him, but he still wouldn’t want to tempt the boy.”

“That’s good.”  I say with a nod as Draco approaches bowing his head to me.  I give him a smile.  “Did you ever think you would see the day when you are the least lecherous of your friends?”  I ask him teasingly.

“No, my Lady, but I simply don’t see you that way anymore.”  He says as he sweeps me up into his arms and heads down towards those gathered.

“I have some other things to attend to; I’ll meet you after, my Lady.”  Daphne calls as I sit stiffly in Draco’s arms.

“So you did once?”  I ask once we were half way down.

“Once yes.”  He nods slightly.  “After I actually noticed Weasel’s little sister at all, I had some very bad thoughts about what I could do to her, but more recent events have cured me of those fantasies.”

“Good to know.”  I say as he sets me down right on the stage where Tom is already waiting.  I nod my head to him and turn back to my future husband.

“You look better now.”  He says as he helps me to my feet and leads me over to a large red pillow for me to kneel down on.

“I feel better.”  I tell him while I arrange my dress around me.  “I’m going to need an outlet of my own.”  I say without knowing I was going to.

“Hum?”  Tom asks as he looks over the slowly growing crowd.  As people pass the stage, they bow to him before moving on.

“An outlet.  Something that relaxes me.  If you don’t want me to snap and completely lose what you desire about me.”

I feel his hand wrap around the base of my braid so that he can jerk my head back to look into his eyes.

“What do I desire about you?”

“My willingness to look you in the eye and spit in your face if I’m angry.”  I tell him without flinching.

He chuckles and nods slowly before letting go of his grasp on me.  “It does keep things interesting.  What sort of outlet were you thinking?”

“Flying.”  I say without need for thought.

“Like on a broom?”  Tom asks sounding as if he thinks the idea is ridiculous.

“I was on the Gryffindor quidditch team before I became your plaything.”  I point out frowning.  “I’m a good flyer.”

“And if you decide to fly away?”  He asks with a frown.  “Or try to kill yourself by jumping off?”

“You have George.  I wouldn’t do either of those things as long as you could hurt him.”  I counter.

“I’ll think about it.”  He says in a way that I know the conversation is over.

After that, some of the people walked up onto the platform to speak with Tom about favors they wanted or things they wished to offer him.  The talk was so dull I frown and glance at him for a moment.

“I need to use the loo.”  I tell him shyly just wanting to get away from the suck-ups.

“Be back before it starts,” Tom says then smiles slightly as an idea forms in his head “and you walk.”

I frown as I look down at the cold ground but nod nonetheless.  I move to the stairs pulling my cloak around me tightly before stepping into the cold snow.  A shiver goes through me but I cast a warming spell on myself to take care of the worst of the chill.

As I wander away from the crowds, I hear the steady footsteps of my guard in the snow behind me.  I take a longer way up to the castle than I need to, just wanting some time alone to collect my thoughts on what this auction actually means before I have to watch people being sold off.

When I’m halfway to the door I’m aiming for, I hear the guard’s footsteps speed up and look back to see what changed.  It was only in that moment I realize the person following me wasn’t my guard at all.

It surprises me to see Michael rushing at me to the point I don’t defend myself as he throws me down in the snow.  Before I know it, he has my wand and I can only stare at the face of disgust and anger he’s giving me.

“What?”  I ask before he quickly covers my mouth with his hand and looks around.

He is soon over me having me completely pinned to the ground.  The weight is oppressing making it hard for me to breathe and he doesn’t seem to care.  Once he’s sure, no one is around he looks back at me with such revulsion that he wakes me from my daze enough to try to push him off.

“I would think you were used to be treated rough.”  He says in a low deadly tone before pulling his hand back to strike me across the face.

I manage to push him off a moment later while he’s off balance and find myself crawling in the snow to find my wand.  The dress and cloak encumber me and he has me pinned on my stomach with my face in the snow now.  He grabs my braid in a similar way Tom had and uses it to keep leverage over me.

I feel a spell settle over me but I’m too frantic to know what it was.  Keeping me down as best he can he reaches forward and grabs my wand from where he had tossed it before.

“This is a better idea.”  He says before snapping it in two.  “Not like you need it to be that monster’s whore.”

I scream in rage and try to push him off, but no sounds leaves my lips.  He holds me down easily in this new position and puts a hand on the back of my neck to keep my head to the ground.

“Someone’s coming.”  I hear an unrecognized voice say a short distance from us and I realize for the first time we’re not alone.

“You three go take care of it then, I got this under control.”  Michael says pushing on me to prove I couldn’t move if I wanted.

“But I wanted a turn.”  The other voice says making my body freeze up.

“Take care of it and hurry back.”  My ex says as if it’s a simple solution and I hear several sets of feet rush off.

“You’re going to be our whore now bitch.”  He says with a laugh and I try to struggle against his hold as I feel him pulling at my dress.

I soon feel a cold chill on the back of my legs and the lace material I wore under that was soon ripped away.  I whimper but no sound leaves my lips as I try with all my strength to get away from this man I once kissed and hugged.

With no regard for me at all he seats himself inside me with one hard thrust.  I scream silently as he starts to ravage me, taking out all the anger he has inside.

“You know bitch, one of the cocks is going to be a muggleborn.  Think your Lord will even want you after this?”  He asks tauntingly.

By the time they leave me in the snow, I can’t do anything but curl into a ball.  I’m not sure how long it had all taken or how many of them actually violated me, the only thing I can think is that this boy I had once cared for just attacked me in a way not even Tom had dared to.

“She’s over here.”  I hear someone call, as I lay completely numb in the snow now.  “My Lady are you al…”  I know the voice but somehow it doesn’t penetrate deeply enough into my mind.  “Get the Dark Lord.  Now.”  The person orders and kneels down next to me.

“Ginny?”  The same voice asks, now seeming much more gentle.  “Ginny I need you to look at me.”  The voice asks carefully, but I can’t seem to care enough to comply, all I want is to block it all out and be numb in the snow.

“What is going on here?”  A deeper voice asks and I know this one.  Tom is near.  I burst into tears wanting nothing more than to be wrapped in his arms so that he can protect me from the rest of the world.

Think your Lord will even want you after?  Michael’s voice rings again in my head and I try to hide my face in the snow.

“I found her like this my Lord.”  The first voice says and I realize its Daphne, who’s been speaking to me.  “I think…”  She starts but is cut off when strong familiar arms lifted me from the snow.

“No.”  I gasp, though I want to sink into his warm smell, so he can protect me.  “No, don’t, put me back.”  I tell him as my body curls into his from.  “Please?”  I ask my voice catching.

“I’m taking you to your room.”  He says firmly and I try to push him away.

“No I can’t, please, I can’t.”  I tell him not wanting to corrupt him with how dirty I feel now.  No person I loved should touch me now.

“You will be still.”  Tom says in the echoing voice that makes me listen.  So I weep in his arms and wait for the moment he can be free of me.

“Someone should bring the boy to the healers as well.”  He’s telling someone as we walk.  “He didn’t look well.”

“He must have stumbled onto them when they attacked her.”  Daphne says from right next to me.  “Do you know who did this to you Ginny?”  She asks when he notices I’m listening.

“The good guys.”  I say weakly than return to making the world numb.

Luna-

A few minutes after Theodore leaves, the Dark Lord makes his grand entrance flanked by four fully masked Death Eaters.  The crowd goes silent as he makes his way up to his throne above all gathered.  It strikes me once how little this man reminds me of Harry.  He wears Harry’s body, the body of our greatest hero, and still anyone can see the evil lurking inside.

Once he’s settled, everyone around me goes back to whatever it was they were doing.  I glance around for Blaise and find him still talking to Lisa only now she’s standing up against one of the tents and he’s standing very close while speaking into her ear.

I bite my cheek as my own jealousy tries to climb up and force me to react to the display.  He’s free to do as he wishes, I remind myself; this isn’t a real relationship.

To distract myself I look around again and start to make notes on the event.  I’ll have to cover it in the next issue of the magazine so it’s only prudent to do so.  Looking around I notice Draco carry Ginny into the event and place her on the stage with the Dark Lord.

To several people’s amazement, he stands and helps her to her feet before guiding her over to the pillow that had been arranged for her.  She actually smiles at him as she settles into the place and I realize she’s looking better than she had last time I say her.  Something in her colors is so much like the Ginny I used to know.

Though she’s kneeling at his feet, I watch with curiosity as they interact on what seems to be a much more equal level.  They’re both obviously oblivious to the crowd and it’s interesting to see how they move around one another.

“What are you looking at?”  Someone asks making me jump.  I smile to Theodore as he sits back down next to me.

“Our leader and his consort.”  I tell him making a few notes as I wonder if I would be allowed to do a piece on their relationship.

“You looked very focused.”  He says not seeming to find the two nearly as interesting.

“I guess you see them every day.”  I say as I turn my attention to him.

“Not exactly together like that.  Most of the time if they’re together in the castle there’s screaming or moaning going on behind closed doors.”

“So they enjoy each other’s company?”  I say drawing the only logical conclusion.

“Well he enjoys hers I think, but let’s not talk about them.  How have you settled into Serendipity?”  He asks putting on a charming smile.

“Well actually.  I didn’t think I would be able to deal with such a large house before, but with the elves it’s become a home.”  I tell him honestly.

“That’s because it’s your rightful place.”  He says more easily than his colors reveal.

“It’s odd talking to you about all of this.”  I tell him trying to make the conversation feel more natural.

“Ahh well I’m just glad the estate is being taken by someone who will care for it.”  He lies expertly.

“Would you like to visit it sometime?”  I ask curiously, as I wonder what he wants out of this conversation.

“I’d like to visit you sometime.”  He corrects and flashes me a charming smile as his hand seems to naturally move to my knee.

“We just met really.”  I say glancing at the hand curiously.

“And I would like to get to know you.”  He answers squeezing the knee.

“I think I might like that.”  I tell him as I think of having a contact so close to Ginny would be helpful in the future.

His smile broadens as he moves closer to me, his hand moving up my leg.  “I would love to see you tonight.”  He says in a much softer tone.

“Aren’t you guarding Ginny?”  I ask with a slight frown.  He was not really paying attention to his charge at all I notice.

I glance over to her now bored expression as one of the many guests speaks with the Dark Lord.

“I mean after I get off.”  He says obviously not thinking about her in the moment either.

I turn back to him and tilt my head.  “What time is that?”  I ask figuring I could make plans for the evening if Blaise was going to be busy with Lisa tonight.

“Right after the auction actually.  Weasley takes over for me for the evening shift.

“Well maybe you can escort me home.”  I say with a smile as his hand moves further up.

“Theodore?”  Blaise moves up on the other side of me and towers over the seated boy.  “Why do you have your hand on my fiancé?”  He asks in a hard tone.

“Oh?  Does she belong to you?”  Nott asks coldly.  “I thought maybe you were with someone else now.”

“Get lost.”  Blaise orders sounding actually mad.

“I’m speaking to the Lady, not you.”  He says standing to get into Blaise’s face.

“Well she doesn’t want to talk to you anymore.”  Blaise says stepping even closer to the other boy.  With how close they were standing, I thought they would either, start wrestling or making out.

“Do I get any say in this?”  I ask looking up at Blaise.

When he looks back down at me, his face is hard.  “I tolerate a lot of crap with you.  I’m not going to stand by and watch some fortune hunter pawing at my fiancé.”

“I wouldn’t have known she was yours with the way you were making out with the slut in the corner,” Theodore says clenching fists.  “And I wouldn’t be a fortune hunter if you hadn’t supplanted most of my inheritance to this tart!”

Blaise lost it in that moment punching Theodore hard in the jaw.  Looking around to see other’s reactions, I notice something that fills me with unease.  When I look back at the two men, they’ve already started a full out fight and I have to step back not to be hit.

“Theodore.”  I say trying to get their attention.  “Theodore were you Ginny’s only guard today?”  I ask making both men pause for just a moment.

“What?”  Blaise asks with a frown.

“Ginny isn’t next to the Dark Lord anymore, could she be wondering the grounds alone?”  I ask making the guard’s eyes widen as he looks over at the stage.

“I’m so fucked.”  He says without a thought for Blaise any longer, he rushes off towards the castle.

Blaise looks at me with a deep frown.  “You were letting him touch you.”  He says sounding hurt.

“Your attention was somewhere else.”  I remind him still worried about Ginny.  “Should we help look for her?”  I ask after a moment.

“You’re really worried about her?”  He asks with a frown, as if he couldn’t believe I still even cared about my friend.

“Of course, there was some kind of scare this morning and now she’s alone with strangers in the castle.”  I point out.

“I think you’re going to have to let the staff handle it.”  He says sitting down next to me.  “But I’m sure Draco will find her.”  Blaise adds actually trying to reassure me.

I nod slowly as I notice Daphne heading towards the Dark Lord.  She stands by the stage looking out when the Dark Lord seems to see her.  I see anger flash in the ruler’s red eyes as they talk, before Ginny’s companion is sent away.  I sigh and shake my head knowing I won’t be able to relax until they find Ginny safe.

“What if the rebels found her?”  I ask knowing what I told them to do.

“Wouldn’t they just smuggle her out of the castle?”  Blaise asks as if he knew I would have preferred that.

“I don’t know.  I mean I don’t think many of them like her.”  I tell him chewing on my lip.  I try to calm myself; telling myself there’s very little chance they could be ready to make a move today.

I almost have myself convinced when I see Draco now running towards the gathering, and his face tells me everything.  This is all my fault.

Daphne-

Theodore comes rushing into my room without knocking and looks around for me in a panic.  His mood is much more frantic than when Ginny had been on the ledge and I have to wonder what could have possibly gone wrong now.

“Is Ginny okay?”  I ask as I stand.  I was organizing files on my floor for the next project I was going to suggest to our Lady.

“I don’t know.”  Nott says with wide eyes.  “I’ve lost her and I know he’s going to kill me this time.”  He tells me all in a rush.

“What do you mean you lost her?  How did a barefooted girl in the snow get away from you?”  I ask angrily as I slip on boots and a cloak.

“One minute she was kneeling next to our Lord and the next she was gone.”  He says watching me unable to stop moving in his distress.  “What should I do?”

“Well we’re going to search for her.  She couldn’t have gotten far.”  I tell him shaking my head.

“Draco is already looking with the rest of the guard, well most of them.”  He says swallowing as if it’s hard to do.  “Weasley is missing as well.”

I stop dead and peer over at him.  “If they got off the grounds you’re a dead man.”  I told him honestly before rushing down to join the search.

Starting at the stage, I look back up at the castle and try to get into Ginny’s head.  Where would she go?

“What is taking your Lady so long in the bathroom?”  The Dark Lord asks from behind me and I blush.  I really didn’t want to be the one to tell him she was missing.  I swallow hard and turn to face him.

“My Lord, it seems she’s missing at the moment.”  I tell him carefully.  “But we will find her soon.”

“This event isn’t starting without her.”  He says obviously working hard to hold back his anger.

“Soon my Lord.”  I told him bowing my head.

I turn to face the castle once again and I decide to see if she did go to the loo.  Half way up to the main door, I decide the boys would have already checked this way and wonder if she would have taken one of the side doors to get away from people.

I smile to myself and head for the most out of the way side door into the castle.  When I see the large crumpled body in the snow I run up to make sure he’s still alive.  Looking him over I frown as it looked like someone had really worked him over the muggle way.

“George?”  I ask hoping he isn’t dead.  He groans and I nod.  “Okay I’ll get someone.”  I tell him as I turn to head back to the others

“No… Find her.”  He says though it’s hard to understand.  Looking back down at him, I’m torn between going on in hopes that whoever did this didn’t do the same to Ginny.  I see a couple of the guards coming up the path and wave them down.

“I’m going on, take care of him.”  I tell them before heading further up the path.

When I see her curled up in the snow, my first instinct is that they had done the same to my Lady.

“She’s over here.”  I yell back to the guards as I rush to her side.  As I get closer, I can’t see any blood around like there had been with George.  “My Lady are you al…”  I start before I notice the ripped garments and bruises around her neck.

“Get the Dark Lord.  Now.”  I command not wishing to move her just now.  I kneel down beside her and worry that she hasn’t seemed to move since I arrived.

“Ginny?”  I ask trying to coax her back to life.  “Ginny I need you to look at me.”  I tell her not knowing if I should touch her.

“What is going on here?”  The Dark Lord asks a few minutes later as he arrives.  I hear a soft whimper from Ginny in response and I’m not sure if having him here in this moment is a good idea.

“I found her like this my Lord.”  I say as I turn to face him.  “I think…”  I start but he’s already pulling her out of the snow and picking her up bridal style.

“No.”  Ginny gasps sounding almost panicked.  “No, don’t, put me back.”  She begs, but she doesn’t sound afraid, just desperate.  “Please?”  She whimpers finally.

“I’m taking you to your room.”  Our Lord says firmly.

“No I can’t, please, I can’t.”  She keeps begging as she tries to shift from his arms.

“You will be still.”  He commands her and her body instantly relaxes, as if she didn’t have a choice.  She falls silent after that just sniffling every so often.  Once he’s sure, she wouldn’t slip out of his grasp he starts to carry her the rest of the way to the castle.

“Someone should bring the boy to the healers as well.”  He tells me and I nod to the guard behind us to relay the message, I really didn’t want to leave Ginny now.  “He didn’t look well.”

“He must have stumbled onto them when they attacked her.”  I say looking down at my Lady.  “Do you know who did this to you Ginny?”  I ask when I see her react to our conversation.

“The good guys.”  Comes an oh so soft answer before she snuggles into the Dark Lord’s chest and closes her eyes.

I frown and look up at the Dark Lord to see what he thinks of all this and I see him frowning as well.  “What do you think that means my Lord?”  I ask unable to stop myself.

“It means these so called rebels wanted to punish an innocent girl for being forced into a bad situation.”  He says surprisingly calm.  “Who was responsible for her safety today?”  He asks his mind working on a different problem than my own.

“Theodore Nott was supposed to be her bodyguard while at the event.”  I tell him knowing that Nott was not going to have a good day now.  “Will you…”  I start and have to clear my throat before I can finish the question.  “Will you kill him?”

“Do you think I should?”  He counters as we head toward the Chamber of Secrets.

“I couldn’t say my Lord.”  I tell him not wishing to be the cause of someone’s death.

“You couldn’t say?”  He asks in a mocking tone.  “What would you do with the worthless creature that caused her pain as well as forced me to adjust important plans?”  He asks his voice becoming more angered as it went on.

“He would have to be punished my Lord.”  I agree still not willing to commit to killing someone.

Before we reach the stairs down to the chamber, a masked Death Eater steps in front of us and gets down on his hands and knees.

“My Lord, please show mercy.”  The man sounds as if he’s begging.  I realize it must be Theodore’s father.  “I have served you loyally.”

I notice the way the Dark Lord twitches as if he wants to kill his follower on the spot.  I think the only reason he isn’t dead is because of the burden of Ginny in his arms giving him time to think it over.

“As you well know I have no mercy.  The only thing that will bring such ideas to my rule is the girl your son almost got killed today.  If you wish mercy from me, than I shall have her decide your son’s fate.  Now get out of my way before I have a whole new Nott to discipline.”  His voice in low and deadly.

“Yes my Lord.”  The man says quickly tripping over himself in his rush to get out of the way.

He doesn’t speak again until we’ve crossed into Ginny’s chambers and he has settled her on the bed.  “The healers should be on their way.”  He tells her in a much more gentle tone than he used with Nott’s father.

When she doesn’t respond he brushes some hair from her face.  “You have mercy for her my Lord.”  I say quietly.

“Maybe.”  He agrees not looking up at me.  “If I do leave the younger Nott’s fate to her, she won’t have him killed.”  He says shaking his head.

“I don’t think she will my Lord.”  I agree.

“I can’t have anything like this happen again.”  He says firmly.  “We are going to have to up her guard if the rebels are so very bold.”

“From your own guard or would you like me to find them?”  I ask as a plan starts to form in my head.

“Replace Nott, he will not be working for her any longer, and find four more besides, for now.  From the list I’m sure you’re already working on.”  He says with a chuckle.

“Actually there are two I can think of off the top of my head.  If we would have taken them on before, this would never have happened at all.”  I tell him thinking this was what Ginny needed from me most right now.

“Oh?” The Dark Lord asks turning to look at me.

“Bill and Charlie Weasley.”  I say nervously.  “George tried to protect her, even though it wasn’t his position today he still went after her when she left the event.”  I say quickly before he can disagree.

He chuckles and looks back at Ginny.  “Bill isn’t pure.”  He points out and shakes his head.  “Next you’ll be asking me to let the father protect her.”

“We assumed he was dead.”  I say feeling a bit shocked.

“People with souls can be made to suffer much more.”  He says easily.  “But he will never leave that island again.”

“I don’t think she would ask.  I don’t even think she would ask for Bill and Charlie so soon, but I think it would be good for her my Lord, and I think they would always be her fiercest protectors.”

“I would like her protectors to have some loyalty for me as well.”  The Dark Lord says, but sounds thoughtful.

“You could extract an Unbreakable vow from all three of them.”  I say wondering if the Weasley men would agree for the chance to keep Ginny safe.

Chapter 11: Recovery

Ginny-

For the next several days, I spend most of my time being looked after by healers.  They don’t bother me much after they heal my physical wounds, probably scared that I would send the Dark Lord after them.

Daphne on the other hand bothers me all the time, constantly trying to get me to bath and eat. a She isn’t scared of Tom like the others, or at least she knows him well enough to know what will actually anger him.

I’m both glad and hurt when Tom himself stays away.  On one side, I still feel the safest when he’s there, when I can feel his hand on my skin.  On the other side, I don’t want him to be dirtied by me.

The attack keeps playing out in my mind, as I lay there unmoving.  I can remember with vivid detail how their hands grabbed and how they smelled.  Their words run over and over in my head.

I think she likes it… bet the whore has been dreaming for a real man… He’ll never want to touch you again once he founds out… This is what you get for fucking an evil bastard…This is what you deserve…what you deserve…you deserve…

“Ginny.”  I hear a clear real voice that pulls me from my thoughts.  Looking up I see Luna standing over my bed with concern and pain in her eyes.

“Don’t let the Grabbles win.”  She says in a very serious tone as she sits down next to me.

“The what?”  I ask too confused to remember not to engage.

“The Grabbles.”  She repeats clearly pushing some hair from my face.  “They’re flat gray creatures that feed off mental pain.  I think there might be some on your walls.”  She explains looking around the room.

“What are you doing here Luna?”  I ask with a frown.  I really didn’t want to be bothered by life but it was always very hard to ignore my friend.

“Daphne and I just finished up a meeting and she wanted me to come see you.  I’m glad she did.  You don’t look well.”  She says looking much more pained than I thought she should.

“I just need everyone to leave me alone.”  I tell her rolling over so I don’t have to look at the blonde.

“So you can slowly waste away to nothing?”  She asks sounding regretful.

I sigh pulling the cover over my head and trying to block her out.

“I wish Hermione was alive.”  She says sounding sad as she remembered our friend.  “She knew about these kinds of things.  She would know what to say now.”

“She is alive.”  I tell Luna suddenly feeling guilty for not thinking about her since the attack.

“What?”  She asks sounding shocked.

“I found her in the dungeon.  Tom is going to let me bring her here once the other room is done.  Then she’ll be under my protection.”  I explain, not thinking it odd that I can tell Luna this after the silencing charm Tom cast on me.  I was magically bound to not speak of her until the room was set up.

“In exchange for marrying him?”  Luna asks knowing the kind of deals I made with the devil all too well.

“And being a good little whore.”  I say not wishing to really explain the rest.  “The funny thing is he hasn’t actually had sex with me since we made the deal.  I think he was waiting for something and now I’m useless trash.”

There’s a pause before she speaks again.  “Ginny?” She asks and I can’t quite tell what he tone means.  “I think you need to ask for her to be brought up.”  She says with that same tone.

I frown and turn to look at the door that was supposed to lead to her room.  It was sitting open now.  One could see a very utilitarian bed in the corner.

“I…”  I start before losing my voice and covering my head once again.  “I can’t talk to him.  I can’t.”

“I know it’s hard, but I don’t think he would go back on your deal.”  Luna pressed setting a hand on my back.

I jerk away at the touch and turn on her.  “Don’t.”  I snap unable to stop myself.  “Just don’t.”  I say a little more meekly, I think I may start crying again.  I can’t help my friends; I can’t even stop them from corrupting themselves with me.

She frowns down at me as she looks into my eyes.  “I can’t imagine what it must be like for you.  Being attacked by people you once trusted.”  She says and looks to her lap again.  I realize then she feels guilty for some reason.  She’s trying to hide it, but she feels responsible.

“You told the rebels something that got me attacked.”  I say and it isn’t even a question.

She pales a bit and looks around before looking back at me.  “It’s all my fault Ginny.”  She says as she lets the guilt show on her face now.

I look at her for a long time and shake my head.  “If I hadn’t given into Tom no one would hate me that much.”  I tell her softly.

“He…”  She starts and I have to cut her off.

“They.”  I correct her, knowing she needs to understand that truth.

“They?”  She asks looking confused.

“You were going to say something about my attackers?”  I ask feeling a bit better talking about it with my friend.

She nods still looking confused as worry grows in her eyes.

“There was four of them.”  I say turning away from her, as I don’t really want to see her reaction.

“What? why?”  She asks standing with shock.

“Why?”  I ask now feeling like she thinks I deserved to be raped by one of them.  Even my friends know what I deserve.

This is what you deserve…

“Sorry I-I didn’t mean it like that.”  She says sounding as if she regretted her words.  “I was just taken off guard.  How could they do that to you?”  She asks after a moment sounding angry.

“Because, I’m a traitor and Tom’s whore.”  I tell her swallowing thickly.  “They wanted to make it so he wouldn’t want me anymore.”

“Oh Ginny.”  She says sounding pained.  “I’m so sorry.”  She says resting her hand on my side again.

“Stop it!”  I yell pulling myself from the bed just to get away from the comfort she’s trying to give.  “I don’t deserve your pity or comfort.”  I scream shaking all over.  “They made it perfectly clear I shouldn’t be around good people.”

“They are wrong.”  Luna snaps back in the fiercest tone I’ve ever heard her use.  “They are monsters Ginny.  They let their fear and anger make them do something that was unforgivable.  There was no point in treating you like that.  Ginny tell me who they were and I’ll make sure Ron knows what they did.”

“It doesn’t matter.  I don’t even know.”  I tell her shaking my head.  “I only knew one of them.”  I say and I can feel the tears welling up in me once again.

“Tell me who he was Ginny.”  Luna presses.

“No.  Just leave me alone.”  I press back.

“No.  Just tell me who he is.”  She mimics.

After a long silence, it’s clear that neither of us are getting what we want and she finally sighs.  “I’m not leaving Ginny, but I won’t ask any more.”  She agrees softly.

I lick my lips looking back at her.  “And no touching.”  I tell her looking back at my bed.

“Then no getting back in there.”  She says as she sees where I’m looking.  “Go shower and we’ll talk.”  She insists and I don’t think she’s going to back down from this one either.

“Fine.”  I say heading off to the bathroom to clean myself up.

I didn’t exactly smell but using magic to wash didn’t exactly get everything off either.  I had to admit as I stood under the burning hot water that it felt cleansing in a way.  I started to scrub my skin to try to remove the feel of those men and found I was raw before I actually removed the taint of them.

Half an hour or so later, when I stepped out into my room wearing a robe Luna was sitting on the couch.  The coffee table was set with tea for two.  Glancing to my bed I found my sheets and blankets had been removed so I turned back to glare at Luna.

“Really?”  I ask as I take a seat in the armchair.

“Daphne says you’ve barely left it for over a week.”  Luna says as if that’s a reasonable reason to remove my comfort.

“It’s only been a couple of days.”  I argue wondering what day it was.

“It’s been over a week.”  She disagrees before taking a sip from her cup.  “Everyone is worried about you.”  She says then glances to the door to Hermione’s room.  

I blink a few times before I realize the truth of what she’s saying.  “I’ve left her alone!  Again!”  I say jumping to my feet.  “He just let me abandon her.”  I explain as the anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach starts to bloom into full out panic.

“I’m sure we can get that solved by the end of the day, but only if you’re willing to rejoin the living as well.”  Luna says looking up at me.

I look at the floor shaking my head.  “I don’t have anything left Luna.  He won’t keep to his deal if he isn’t getting what he wants out of it.”

I can’t see her expression but she stays quiet for a long time, until I look up to meet her eyes.  “Do you really think the Dark Lord doesn’t want you anymore?”  She asks more curious than anything.

“Why would he?”  I ask her shaking my head.  “Why would he want something so…”  I couldn’t think of a bad enough word for the kind of filthy I felt.

“Do you really think you would still be here if he wasn’t planning to keep you?”  She asks tilting her head.  “Ginny if he didn’t still plan to use you, you would think he would have shipped you off to one of the camps, or put you in one of his dungeons.”

I shake my head and chew on my bottom lip.  “No.  I mean he doesn’t understand yet.  But he’s obviously…”  I shake my head a second time unable to explain how I knew he would throw me away once he knew the truth.

Think your Lord will even want you after this?

“I think maybe it’s time you talked to him.”  She says setting her teacup down and frowning at the fact, I hadn’t touched mine.

I pull the robe more tightly around him before glancing to the still barren bed.  “I’m not ready for that.”  I tell her softly.

“On the contrary, I think you’re craving him.  His absence is only hurting you more; the need for him is all around you.”  She tells me like it’s something she can tangibly see.

I sit down and look at my empty plate.  I pick up a sandwich without looking at her and start to pick it apart. I’m not hungry, but I need to do something with my hands.

“You know I love him.”  I say so softly that I hope she doesn’t hear me.

“I know.”  She answers in her own soft tone.  “And right now I think you need that love, even if he can’t give it back to you.  Please go see him Ginny, go now.”  She presses.

“Now?  Like this?”  I ask in shock.

She smiles softly nodding.  “Yes, exactly like that and tell him everything you don’t want to tell me.”

“I-I couldn’t” I say shaking my head and tossing bits of bread back on the table.

“You need to.  I think at the very least you need to save Hermione.”  She says the one thing that could actually get me out of the chair.

“Hermione…”  I take in a deep breath and nod slowly.  “I have to face him, for Hermione.”

“Yes.”  She says and guides me to the door.  “Do you want me to wait here?”  She asks obviously wanting to be as supportive as she could.

“No, I’ll have Daphne if I need someone.”  I tell her not wishing to keep her delayed any longer.

“Okay.”  She says before kissing my cheek.

On the other side of the door was a very tired looking Draco.  He blinks at me a few times then looks to Luna.  “You really are magic.”  He says to her before looking back to me.  “How are you feeling my Lady?”  He asks in a weary tone.

“I need to talk to the Dark Lord as soon as it’s possible.”  I say sounding braver than I felt.

Draco blinks at me a few times, as Luna kisses my cheek again and heads off in her own direction.

“Are you ready for that?”  He asks with concern.

“I hope.  He needs to pay his end of the deal if he still wants to marry me.”  I tell Draco, still feeling odd about getting into the specifics.

“Well, let’s go see if he’s between meetings.”  He suggests before looking down at my robe.  “Do you want to get dressed?”  He asks a moment later.

“I’ll lose my nerve.”  I tell him softly.

“You shouldn’t rush into anything.”  Draco says with a frown.

“I need this.”  I say feeling oddly better with the idea of seeing Tom so close.

“Okay.”  He agrees after a moment and leads me down the hall to the Dark Lord’s office.  In a clear and loud voice, he speaks to the guard outside. “Lady Ginevra Weasley to see the Dark Lord.” He was obviously trying to speak so that Tom could hear him, knowing the guard wouldn’t bother the Dark Lord if he were busy.

“Our Lord is in a meeting.”  The man predictably says and I turn to head back to my room, both glad and hurt that I couldn’t see him right away.

“Send her in.”  Tom’s cold voice comes as I hear the door open and Tracey rush past me out of the room.  I have to wonder if he knew she was with the Dark Lord after all.

With a calming breath, I step into his office, unable to make myself look at him as I hear the door close behind me.

“Does this mean you’re feeling better?”  He asks after a long silence.

“I guess.  Luna visited me today, she forced me to think and move.”  I tell him honestly.  “Is there someplace I can sit?”  I ask feeling like a naughty pupil in the Headmaster’s office.

“Where would you like to sit?”  He asks in an interested tone and I look up to see his face is curious.

“Honestly?”  I ask and he gives me a knowing smile.  “Somewhere where you’ll put your arms around me.”  I say unable to keep the shaking from my voice.

He looks at me with a puzzled expression.  “Did you miss me my sweet?”  He asks actually sounding shocked by the very idea.

I pull the robe more tightly around me and nod ever so slightly.  I think I may start crying soon if this lasts much longer and he motions me to come sit in his lap.  Not needing to be invited a second time I rush forward until his warmth and smell is surrounding me.

“I must admit, when your maid told me to stay away until you had recovered I had agreed with her, but now I’m not so sure my absence didn’t do more harm than good.”  He says just holding me close with no further gesture of comfort.

“I must disgust you.”  I say and the tears are coming freely now.

“I do despise crying.”  He agrees making me stiffen in his arms.

“I’m sorry, I can’t stop.”  I tell him as I try to dry my eyes, though he holds me firmly in place.

“At least you’re not making that awful wailing noise I hear from some women.  He says as he runs fingers through my hair.  “Did you only come to cry on me?”  Tom asks without emotion.

“I’ve come to see if you still… Still want me?”  I ask unable to look up at him again.

“Want you in what way?”  He asks as if he’s never wanted me at all.

I lick my lips swallowing.  “In all the ways I guess; marriage, sex, torture…” I think of all the things he’s done to me over time and how it never once made me feel the way I felt about the attack.

“Has my little lioness convinced herself that I don’t want her because another man has taken her?”  He asks curiously.

“Men.”  I correct for the second time that day.  “There was four of them and they each took their turn.”  I say feeling a bit dead inside.

His hand, which had been idly playing grasped my hair suddenly and turn it to face him.  It was a move he’s done many times before but this was the first time it really scared me.  “I see I’m going to have to start your training in pleasure from the very beginning.”  He says almost to himself before looking me in the eyes.  “Ginevra, you are going to tell me what you know of the men who attacked you.”  He says in a tone that I always have a hard time denying.

“I can’t, you’ll kill them.”  I say not wishing to betray old friends even more.

He laughs darkly and shakes his head.  “I swear they will not die, no matter how much they beg for release.  They will live to be old men in new and lasting levels of pain like no living thing has ever experienced in the entire history of the world.”

“That’s not better.”  I tell him, but he only smiles.

“You will tell me Ginny.”  He says very seriously.  “Or I will go and get the information myself.”

“You’re going to make me relive it?  Do you want to see what they did?  Do you want to know exactly how dirty I am now?”  I ask finding a voice where I didn’t know I had one left.  “I’ll tell you everything but who they are.”

He looks as if he’s actually considering my words for a moment before shaking his head.  “I don’t need to know what happened with them.  I know what damage was done and that is all I need to know.”

“Not enjoying my pain?”  I ask suddenly making him smile.

“Ahh sweet lioness, I only enjoy the pain that I inflict myself.”  He says before plunging into my mind.

Luna-

I think about how exactly I want to pass on what I’ve learned to Ronald.  I know there are two key pieces of information he needs from my conversation with Ginny, but I’m not sure which is really more important.  I Apparate to the front steps of my house without much thought and head inside.

“Luna!”  Nicholas yells as soon as I step over the threshold.  “Luna, I’ve caught an intruder!  He’s seen me!”

A sudden panic hits me as I wonder if Nicholas would be yet another thing I was going to have to explain to Blaise.  When I make it to the place Nic is keeping the intruder, I can’t help but let out a sigh of relief.

“I was hoping I would see you soon.”  I tell the exasperated looking redhead.  “Nic, he’s a friend.”  I tell the older man.

“I was trying to tell him, but he wouldn’t listen.”  Ronald says waving his hands frantically in Nic’s direction.

“What exactly does it say when the leader of the rebellion can be caught by a 671 year old man?”  I ask a bit teasingly to both of them.

“Experience is better than youth.”  Nic says grinning back.  “And I’m not quite dead yet.”

“Six hundred?”  Ron asks obviously thinking I’m a bit touched at the moment.  “Ronald Weasley, Nicholas Flamel, Nic, this is Ron.”

“Nicholas Flamel?  I thought you were dead?”  Ron asks looking at the older man.

“I get that a lot.  I thought you would be shorter.”  Nic says looking Ron over before looking to me.  “I think it’s time you called the other friend of yours, an idea has struck me that I would need to talk to him about.”  Nic says before leaving me alone with Ron.

“Who is he talking about?”  Ron asks still obviously thrown by the fact that Nic is my houseguest.  “And why is it so bad that I’ve seen him?”  He asks turning to me with a frown.

“Well Nic is kind of an escaped convict.”  I say with a bright smile.  “But we have other things we need to talk about.”  I say quickly pushing that aside.

Before I can say anything else he has me pushed to the wall and is kissing me with such passion I forget for a moment the news I have for him.  When his hand starts to sneak into my robe, I push back against him.

“Not that.”  I say feeling breathless.

“I just missed you.”  He says looking away.

“Hermione’s alive.”  I blurt out in reaction to what just happened between us.  There goes all my gentle planning.

Ronald frowns almost looking angry.  “I saw them attack Luna, I saw the green light, and I saw her fall.” He says as if it makes what I said impossible.

“Ginny’s seen her.  She’s been in the dungeons of Hogwarts for who knows how long.”  I tell him frowning as a mix of emotions pass over his face.  I see him go from not believing me to taking in the hard set of my own expression.

“It’s some kind of trick.”  He says finally still trying to push the truth away.

“Ginny is marrying the Dark Lord to keep Hermione safe, which is how much she believes in this… trick.”

“She’s what?”  He asks his eyes widening.  “After what I did to her?”  He asks angry again and forgetting I shouldn’t know about what he had done to his sister.

“What you did to her?”  I ask my eyes narrowing as a vile thought runs through my head.

He looks at the ground as if he’s going to be sick.  “You wouldn’t understand.”

“Enlighten me.”  I press angrily.

“No.”  He says firmly shaking his head.

“Nothing to do with the fact she was brutally raped by four unknown men?”  I ask unable to keep my own anger in check.

He looks even sicker at my words.  “Brutally, by four?”  He asks his mind latching onto the details he doesn’t think belong.  “No… No she wasn’t.”  He says shaking his head.  “The extras were there just to take care of her guards.”

“You mean like your brother?  Still stuck in the hospital wing from the beating he took as he tried to protect his sister?”  I ask though I know it’s unfair.  I’m piling my own guilt in this matter onto him.

“Luna, please…”  He starts not really knowing what he wants, maybe for me to make it untrue.  “I told him to be as gentle as he could, that he just needed to make it so she had been with another man.”  He tells me in a pleading voice.  “I picked him because they actually dated; I thought he would care…”  He says his voice shaking as he drops to his knees.

I take in a slow breath and kneel in front of them.  “I’m sorry.”  I say knowing I was too hard on him.  “Even though this was the worst way possible for it to be done, it will protect her and Harry in the end.”

“But he’s going to marry her now.”  Ron shook his head.  “Why does the rest matter?”

“Because we can save her and Harry.”  I say carefully.  “And Hermione all at once.”  I tell him as I let him rest his head on my shoulder.

We stay like that for a long moment before he pulls back to look into my eyes. “Luna, how did you know about saving Harry?”

I blush and look at the ground unable to meet his eyes.  “Nic and I are the ones that told Death how it could be done.”  I say softly hoping he doesn’t read the soft lie in my words.

“You’re working with Death!”  He looks at me with shock and anger.  “I told you not to get near this Luna!  It’s too dangerous!”  He growls.

“Death doesn’t seem to have the same thoughts of what I’m, capable of.”  I say fiercely.  “And if it wasn’t for our work Harry would be destroyed!”

“So that is the other friend Flamel wants to talk to right?  Well he can talk to me.  You aren’t going near Death anymore.”  Ron says firmly getting to his feet.  “Where is he?”

“Death?”  I ask as I stand a well.

“Flamel.”  He says in a clipped voice.

“Library.”  I answer and lead the way, wondering how this was going to end exactly.

When we enter the library, Nic is writing rapidly as if he’s trying to get the information out before he forgets it.  Ronald stomps over to him and puts his hand on the scroll Nic is using.

“Tell me what you need and what you’re doing.”  He says firmly.

Nic sits back in his chair and frowns as he takes Ron in.  “I had a thought of how to give Harry’s soul a new body once we capture it.”  He says seriously.  “But there are three main ingredients to the potion that are very hard to come by.”

“What do we need?”

“Bone, flesh, and blood.”  Was Nic’s simple answer.  It seemed to mean something to Ron, but I couldn’t think of exactly what.

“You know how to make it?”  Ron asks pulling his hand back.  “It’s very dark magic.”  He adds after a moment.

“Albus told me to look into it after his rise.  I found how one could do it, and it’s very dark magic.”  Flamel says and I’m now completely lost.

“What potion?”  I ask not liking to be left out of the loop.

Ron looks at me with a deep frown, as if he wants me to leave the room so I’m not in on this part of the conversation.

“What potion Ronald?”  I ask firmly.

“You know that Voldemort came back to the land of the living at the end of my fourth year?  Harry did that interview about what happened in the graveyard.”  He reminds me.

“Yes.”  I say nodding slowly; it was for my father’s magazine after all.

“Well what he didn’t go into detail about was that Voldemort used this dark potion to remake his body.  The three main ingredients are bone of the father, flesh of the servant, and blood of the enemy.” Ron explains.

“Will the Dark Lord’s blood even work?”  I ask looking to Ron and Nic.  “It isn’t actually his body.”  I remind them.

“I think if the blood is taken after Harry’s soul is removed than it should work.”  Nic says after a moment’s thought.

“Who’s going to be able to get close enough to him to the draw blood?”  I ask what I feel is an obvious question.

The answer seems to hit us all at the same time, and I feel sick all over again.

Daphne-

It’s hard leaving Ginny alone, even if Luna is with her.  I don’t know if I can really trust someone from my Lady’s past to help her make the best decisions.  But of course, it couldn’t be helped.  The Dark Lord insisted if I felt Bill and Charlie should be added to Ginny’s guard that I would have to go and collect them myself.

Armed with my wand and an amulet shaped like a Dark Mark I walk into the werewolf settlement where Bill and his family are supposed to be living.  The Dark Lord gave me the amulet as a symbol that I’m on official Ministry business and should not be harmed.

The first place I head is the Alpha’s home.  I would have liked to go my whole life never meeting Fenrir Greyback in person, but the only way I would be able to take one of his pack away from the settlement with me is by getting his permission.  There’s also the fact I couldn’t say exactly where Bill’s home is, in this collection of cottages.

With a deep calming breath, I walk up the stairs of the biggest house in the settlement.  The large sweeping porch looks run down and the door hangs half off its hinges.  I’d go and ask someone where Greyback actually lived if I didn’t hear laughing coming from inside the house.

When I knock to get someone’s attention the laughing stops and it’s completely silent for a moment.

“See who it is girl.”  An older man growls before I hear the shifting of bodies.

A tall willowy blonde comes to the door and looks at me for a moment before her eyes shift to the amulet.  Her expression is unreadable but she steps out of my way.

I remember the radiant Fleur from her year spent at Hogwarts.  How every boy in the school seemed to drool over her every word.  In full womanhood, she’s no less striking, but she also has a weary and run down feel to her that takes away from that natural beauty.

“Who is it girl?”  A man growls dangerously from inside.

“Ministry.”  She says in a thick French accent before stepping out of my way.

“Send him in.”  The man snaps and I step inside figuring that was the best invitation I was going to get.

Fleur leads me to a room where several men sit around on mistreated chairs and couches.  There’s about ten in all and the largest sits above the rest.

I feel all their eyes on me as I step into the room and Greyback actually laughs.  “Are you a new gift from the Dark Lord pretty?”  He asks licking his lips as he obviously ogles my form.

“No Sir.”  I say deciding it will be best to play respectful with this group.  “I’ve been sent to collect two of your pack for official Ministry business.”  I tell him working hard to keep my voice firm with the way they were all looking at me.  I felt like lunch.

“Oh?  Who does he want?”  Greyback asks with a knowing grin.  Only the Dark Lord has the power to ask for such favors from the pack and only he would ask.

“William and Fleur Weasley.”  I say watching, as his face turns sour.

“The runt and his mate?  What do you need them for?”  He asks looking over my shoulder where I assume Fleur is.

“Ministry business.”  I tell him firmly.

He actually laughs at my words looking back to me.  “Oh you know I don’t have to give them up right?  Yes, our Lord can ask, but he’s also given me the right to say no to such things.  So here is the real question, how are you going to make it worth my while?”

“I have been authorized to pay you a sum as recompense for losing two of your pack.”  I tell him pulling a purse from my side.

“Ah but she’s one of my bitches, are you going to replace that?”  Greyback asks as he leers at me once again.

“She is Mr. Weasley’s mate.”  I say looking back to Fleur who looks away from me in shame.

“The runt didn’t deserve such a pretty thing so I took it for myself.”  He says making the rest of the men in the room laugh.

“That is unacceptable.”  I say stepping forward as I think what Ginny gave up so that Fleur and Bill could be together.  It had been her first real step towards giving up who she was.

“Who’s your mate little ministry witch?”  He asks trying to intimidate me.

“I don’t need one.”  I say not showing fear.  “You will let me take them both away before I tell our Lord that you made him break a promise and jeopardized key plans with your games.”

“He has no right to tell me how to run my pack.”  Greyback growls before striding over to me in a couple of quick steps.  I try to back up but the man is too fast and has me by the neck before I can take more than a step or two.

“You can have the runt for twenty galleons but I’m keeping his mate.  Unless you want to replace her?”  He asks before letting his free hand grasp my breast.

I look up for a moment in complete fear as visions of what the Dark Lord did to me, plays through my head.  Knowing that I’m dead if I let myself freeze I push past the fear and drawl my wand.

“I don’t think the Dark Lord is going to like your offer.”  I tell him before pressing the tip of my wand to his Dark Mark in the way his servants used to call him back during the war.  I don’t know if he’ll come, but I do know I won’t be able to leave without help.

A silence fills the air as everyone in the room realizes what I just did.  Greyback growls menacingly and backhands me across the face dropping my neck.

The moment my knees hit the floor I feel the air in the room change and my heart speeds up as even the breathing in the room silences.

“Now this seems like fun.  What exactly have I walked into?”  The Dark Lord asks in a cool voice.  “Why was I called?”

“Your bitch needed some discipline.”  Greyback growls in a much lower tone than he was using a moment ago.

I feel the Dark Lord eyes on me so I straighten and look up to him.  I see his eyes run over my form but in a much less lecherous way than Greyback’s had.  He’s assessing me for damage I realize.

“This woman was under my protection Fenrir.”  The Dark Lord says as he turns back to the werewolf.  “Striking something under my protection is akin to striking me.”

“I didn’t mean that my Lord.”  He says quickly with actual fear in his voice.  “She was getting mouthy and wants to take away what’s mine.”

“I sent her to collect two Weasleys.  Do you have some kind of important use for the boy?”  The Dark Lord asks sounding actually interested.

The silence that follows tells me Fenrir isn’t sure about what I said a little while ago, but I am.  “He’s taken Bill’s wife as a bed partner my Lord.”  I say because no one else is answering.

Crucio.”  The Dark Lord cast the spell with anger in his tone.

To his credit, Greyback goes down without a word.  Many scream under such spells but the werewolf only jerks on the floor.

“You don’t touch anyone I don’t give you express permission to touch.  I sent the girl here to be back with her husband, not to be your plaything.  You’ve made a liar of me and now there are consequences for that.”  He tells the twitching form.

After a moment longer, he releases the werewolf from the spell before turning to the other men in the room.  They all shift their eyes away from their Alpha unwilling to see the man in this state.

“Fenrir no longer has my protection.”  He tells the room seriously.  “But the Weasleys and this girl do.  If I hear about this again there will be more suffering.”  He says firmly before turning to me.  “We will discuss your rights to summon me once you return to the castle.”  He says before he disappears as silently as he arrived.

I feel a hand on my arm trying to pull me to my feet as the rest of the room stays in stunned silence.

“Miss we ‘ave to go.”  Fleur says softly in my ear.  “Before et starts.”

I let her pull me from the room before I turn to look at her.  I’m not sure, when she left, but now she holds a small bundle in her arms.  “Do you know where your husband is?”  I ask still very unsure how this pack is organized.

“Basement, ‘e did not stand for what ze Alpha did.”  She says showing me the way.  “Zay took my wand.”

“Are you okay?”  I ask as I glance to the baby in her arms.  She’s already leading us towards the basement door.

“We will be.”  She says firmly as we head down a set of dark stairs.  “Bill?”  She calls into the darkness.  “Bill?”  She asked calling again as I follow her down into the basement.  She sounds much more frightened for him than she ever had for herself.

This time a groan answers her words and I hear a man shift in the corner.  Both Fleur and I rush to the sound and I light my wand to see the damage.  The tall redhead is working to sit up as he watches us approach.

“Who?”  He asks in a pained voice as he looks at me.

“I’m Daphne the personal assistant to the Dark Lord’s consort.”  I tell him seriously.  “She wishes you to serve her as one of her guards.”

“No.”  Bill says once he gets upright and leans back against the wall to rest from the exertion.

“Bill!”  Fleur chastises.  “Et will mean leaving ‘ere.”

“I’m not…” He starts shaking his head as he swallows the pain he’s in.

Looking him over with the better view, I see he’s been beaten similar to how I found George after Ginny’s attack.  It seems Greyback has been using him as a punching bag.  It isn’t surprising a Weasley couldn’t make a real life with this bunch.

“I’m not…”  He groans again shaking his head.

With a sigh, I cast a few minor healing charms I’ve learned, though I know we’re still going to have to take him to a real healer.

He looks at me strangely, as the pain he’s feeling lightens with my spells.  “You seem nice enough, but I’m not guarding Voldemort’s whore.”  He says sounding more angry with the Dark Lord than Ginny.

“Why does et matter if et will keep us safe?”  Fleur says looking to the child and sounding desperate.

“I serve a good Lady Mr. Weasley.  Whatever issues you have with the Dark Lord, his consort needs protection and is worth protecting.”  I tell him not sure, if explaining that it is Ginny would make him agree or outright refuse.

“Why me?”  He asks still sounding pained though much better than before.

I sigh biting my lower lip.  “Because she was recently attacked, and the only one of her guards that even noticed she was missing was your brother George.”  I tell him making him frown in confusion.

“He’s already protecting her?”  He asks and I can see how the idea of seeing his brother is enough to actually peak his interest.

“He has been for a few months now.”  I tell him making him shake his head.

“Why would he do that?”  Bill asks in confusion.

“Well he wasn’t given a choice. Do you wish to know why he hasn’t made trouble?”  I ask and Bill nods.  Glancing between the two, I purse my lips before answering.  “Because of the identity of our Lord’s consort.”

Fleur still looks confused but I can see the realization in Bill’s eyes, as he knows the only woman any of his brothers would toe the Dark Lord’s line for.

“No.”  He says for a whole new reason.  “Please, not her.  He doesn’t have her.”  He says looking into my eyes pleadingly.

“Who?”  Fleur asks not quite knowing her husband’s thoughts as I can read them.  Maybe it’s because I know George better now.

“The Slytherin and Weasley houses will be joined in about three months’ time.”  I tell him somehow being unable to just say Ginny’s name.

I see the muscles in his body twitch as he takes in this information.  Before he can answer there’s a loud thump from upstairs and it sounds as if a fight has broken out.

“We need tu leave before zey come down ‘ere.”  Fleur says “You want tu protect your sister I know zis.”   She tells her husband firmly.

“Yes.”  He agrees still frowning.  “What’s going on up there?”

“Voldemort ‘as taken away Fenrir’s protection.”  His wife says making Bill’s eyes widen.

“Can you Apparate us?”  Bill asks suddenly in just as much of a rush to leave as his wife has been.

Once we’re settled into the hospital wing of Hogwarts I notice that Bill can’t take his eyes off his sleeping brother in the next bed.  “What’s wrong with him?”  He asks as a mediwitch checks over his injuries.

“Healers said he would wake today.  When you have to heal so many bones at once it’s best to keep the patents asleep while they recover.”  I tell him what I was told.

“Who?”  He asks looking at me for the first time.

“As far as we can get, it was a group of rebels intent on harming my Lady.”  I say still unable to call her name in front of the eldest Weasley.

Bill frowns at this looking very confused by the idea of what he would consider the good guys brutally attacking his family.  “Is she okay?”

“She had a different kind of recovery after the attack.  It’s why I was allowed to get your and Charlie to further her protection.”

“Where will we live?”  Fleur suddenly asks her hand idly brushing her stomach as she held her child in the other arm.

“For now you’ll be staying in guest rooms, but a section of the castle is being turned into rooms for our Lady and her household.  You’ll move there afterwards.”  I glance at her hand then back up to the part Veela.  “Fleur should a healer look at you as well?”

Ginny-

Tom’s invasion into my mind was painful on many levels.  As he gathered the identities of my attackers, I felt as if I was betraying them all over again.  What right did I have to turn them in?  Then there was the fact as he looked into my memories I had to relive nearly every moment.  Tom saw every detail, as I was made unclean and untouchable.

By the time he was done, I was crying again in his arms, unable to stop the waves of sobs that tore from me.  Surprisingly he hadn’t reprimanded me for my tears, or even thrown me from his lap as he realized what a vile thing he was touching.  He only sighed impatiently and lifted me to carry me back to my room.

With the bed still unmade, he sets me down on the sofa and moves some hair from my eyes.  “I’ll wait for your lady to return.”  He tells me before starting to lift my head in order to sit down.

When he hisses angrily, I shift away from him knowing what’s coming next, but not understanding why it took so long.

“It seems Fenrir needs my help.”  He says angrily.  “I will return.”  He promises before I hear him strike from the room.

Exhausted from this new invasion into my mind I close my eyes.  I don’t even have enough energy to move to the sheet-less bed and soon fall asleep on the sofa.

The first thing I feel is pain, something completely new strikes me across the face.  When I open my eyes, I realize I’m hanging from the ceiling by my wrists and wonder why I hadn’t known this before.

“How dare you!”  Tom screams in my face making me shrink away.  “How dare you let them do that to you?!  Do you know how much trouble it was to keep you pure for him?”  He adds before striking me again.

It was in this moment I realize I’m dreaming and Riddle is finally going to get his say about the attack.  I look up at his angered face and have to look away again.

“I’m sorry.”  I whimper not really taking in his words.  “I tried to stop them.”

“Not hard enough.”  He says as he forced me to look into his eyes.  “You could have attacked!  You could have killed them.  But you did nothing!  Too concerned with their safety to protect yourself!”

“I lost my wand!”  I whimper as he pushes me away and moves around me with an angry looking whip in his hand.

“Then you dared not to tell him who had violated his property!”  Riddle hissed and I feel nothing good about the way he strikes my back with the whip.  It seems to open a wound and tear the flesh.  “We need revenge!”

“Please?”  I whimper as he strikes me several more times making me scream in agony as he shreds my back.

“You’ve ruined everything!  He isn’t going to want you anymore!”  Riddle screams as he gives me lash after lash.

Just as suddenly as I had been tied to the ceiling and trapped in the dream, I was laying on the couch looking up into Riddle’s, no Tom’s, eyes.

“You woke me?”  I ask still feeling the sting of the lashes Riddle was able to give.

“You aren’t supposed to sleep without a dreamless potion.”  He says as if I’d forgotten.  “You are going to tell me what just happened.”  Tom adds and there’s no room in his tone to talk back.  “What were you dreaming of?”

“I was punishing myself.” I tell him as I wipe tears from my face.  “For not being able to stop them, for letting that happen to myself.  For ruining your plans for me.”

He pushes fingers back into my hair to grasp it, easily turning my head so I’m looking up into his eyes.

“That is not for you to punish.”  He tells me firmly as if I’ve offended him by doing so.

“This part of me doesn’t agree it’s afraid that you won’t want me anymore.”  I tell him seeing if I can tell him all about Riddle without really telling him about Riddle.

His frown grows at this as he studies me for a long time.  “You’re still very key to my future plans Ginevra.”  He says carefully.  “I don’t like others touching or harming what belongs to me.”  Tom adds with a growl, his hold on my hair tightening.  “And I will punish you for letting them if you feel you need it.”  He says as if that would be a favor he was granting me.  “But I see no reason that this attack was your fault.  I plan to punish those whose fault it is, not you.”

“Why are you being so kind?”  I ask as Riddle’s words still bite at me.

Tom chuckles darkly and shakes his head.  “Only you would think I was being kind lioness.”  He says tightening his hold a little before letting go.  “I have decided that you will choose your guard’s punishment for failure to protect you.”

“What?”  I ask feeling confused.  George already got a beating for trying to help, why would I want to punish him further for that.

“Theodore Nott was assigned to be by your side while we had so many guests in the castle.  He didn’t notice when you left the gathering.  He will be punished.”

I lick my lips, as I understand his meaning now.  “I didn’t realize.”  I say looking away from him.

“If I feel you’re soft on him I will have him taken to the middle of Diagon Alley where I’ll Imperius several mudblood slaves to reenact what was done to you in great detail.  He will experience your pain over and over again until he begs for death.”

I swallow thickly as I nod my understanding.  “Let me think about it at least?”  I ask not wishing that upon anyone.

“Until you decide he will reside in the dungeons.  Take your time.”  He says almost warmly.

“Speaking of dungeons.”  I say being reminded of Hermione.  “The room for her is done.”  I say motioning to it.  “Or don’t you want to marry me anymore?”  I ask a bit shyly.  He wouldn’t have to live up to his end of the bargain if he didn’t want me like that anymore.

“No, your wedding date has to shift a little, but it is still in place.”  He promises as he pets the side of my face.  “I’ll have her sent up after I go.  I was waiting for you to feel better.”

I lean into his touch and close my eyes.  “Please don’t stay away anymore?”  I ask realizing that if he knows the truth and still wants me, I don’t want to be separate from him.

“I won’t, but I think your training should be put on hold for a little while.  We will wait until after you are completely mine.”  He says sounding regretful.

I nod blushing slightly as I think about the pain that he loves to inflict on me.  When did I start looking forward to it?

“I should go.  I have a country to run after all.” He says standing and pulling away.

“Thank you Sir.”  I say feeling better now that we spoke.

“No more sleeping without a potion.”  He orders seriously.

“I’m sorry.”  I say as if he was the only who had to deal with Riddle’s anger.

Once he was gone, I slowly sat up knowing that if I let myself lay I would more than likely fall asleep again.  I was still trying to decide what to do to keep busy without anyone around when there was a loud banging on my door.  If it wasn’t for the voices that followed soon after I might have ignored it.

With great effort, I got to my feet and headed for the door to see what the commotion was about.

When I open the door, a somewhat surreal sight greets me.  Adrian is guarding and in a battle of wills as he stares down Rodolphus Lestrange.

“Let me in boy.” He says with a curl of his lip.  “I told you I have a delivery.”  He adds shaking a limp Hermione by her arm.

“What have you done to her?”  I ask the moment I realize why he’s here.

“Lady?”  Adrian asks, obviously surprised I’m even up.

“Minor sleeping curse, she’ll wake in an hour or so.”  The older man sneered, the shift in his lip and body telling me he was not happy about having to answer to me.

“Adrian, bring her in.”  I tell my guard before stepping out of the way.  “Thank you for the delivery.”  I tell the Death Eater.  “You may go.”

Once Hermione is in Adrian’s arms, the older man stomped off muttering something to himself about not needing my permission.  When I turn back to my guard, I see that he’s set Hermione on the couch and is looking at her oddly.

“Something wrong?”  I ask rushing over to see if my friend was hurt anymore while I’d been distracted.

“This can’t be who I think it is.”  He says after a long pause.  “Because who I think it is; is dead.”  He tells me as if I didn’t know the story.

“The Dark Lord was keeping her in secret.”  I tell him as I kneel down by my friend to check her over.

“And now we’re keeping the mudblood?”  He asks with his own sneer.

I look up at him with narrowed eyes.  “And you think I would accept that kind of language because?”  I ask a bit coldly.

He blushed slightly swallowing.  “Sorry my Lady.”  He says before bowing his head.  “But I don’t feel right about leaving you alone with her, not after what they did to you.”  He adds after a moment.

“Hermione has been stuck in a cell for the last few months she hasn’t done anything to me.”  I tell him firmly.  “I’m much more worried about what Rodolphus might try.”  I remind him making Adrian nod in understanding.

“I’ll be just outside the door.”  He says as if I’m going to face a live tiger.

The moment the door closes Hermione opens her eyes and I have to giggle as I realize the curse didn’t work nearly as long as the pompous Death Eater thought.

“What was he talking about?”  She asks before I can say anything.

“What?”  I ask getting to my feet now that I know she’s all right.

“The boy said he doesn’t feel right about leaving you alone with me, not after what they did to you.”  She repeats his words, her mind always sharp.

“How long have you been awake?”  I ask instead of actually answering her question.

“Since the brute shook me in the hall just outside your door.  I thought I was going to lose it when you dismissed him as if he were a bug.”  She says actually smiling at me.

I grimace at her sitting down on a chair as she sat up.  “I’m an odd mix of things in this castle.”  I tell her chewing on my lower lip in embarrassment for her seeing my ice queen persona I usually took on with the Death Eaters and Tom’s other servants.

“I was worried about you after you stopped showing up to see me.  I thought maybe Voldemort hurt you…”  She said frowning at me.

I took in a deep breath and shook my head.  “No, I just lost track of what was going on for a few days.”  I tell her not really wanting to go into detail.  “And now that you’ll be living up here you can’t call him that.”  I tell her before she can ask more.  “When others are around you need to call him the Dark Lord or something like that.”  I say with a grimace as I remember my first days in the castle.

Hermione frowns and looks me over.  “Okay.”  She says though I can see her mind working on a problem she sees.  “Only if you tell me what happened that made you lose track of a week.”  She says firmly and I know I can’t avoid it any longer.

“A small group of rebels found their way onto the castle grounds and attacked George and I.”  I tell her as lightly as I can.  “It’s overwhelming when you realize what side you’re on.”

She frowned at this and shook her head.  “They just attacked you?  I mean they weren’t trying to stop some kind of… I don’t know…”  She asks wondering at the idea of our old friends attacking someone for no reason.

“Maybe it was a plan to stop the auction, but it didn’t work.  They just had it without me.”  I tell her shaking my head.  Wondering myself if that was their real plan.

“Auction?”

Luna-

I arrive back at the castle bright and early the next morning.  I was sent a message that Ginny was feeling better and since no planning got done the day before, I was to come this morning to catch up.

When the guard opens Ginny’s door I can’t help but let my mood lighten at the sight of Hermione sitting at a small table eating breakfast.  I force myself to wait until the door is closed to rush over to my friend and give her a crushing hug.

“We thought you were dead.”  I say before realizing I may be hurting her and stepping back.

Hermione gives me a short little smile and looks back at Ginny.  “I still feel very out of the loop.  What are you doing here?”  She asks looking at me.

“Wedding plans.”  I say blushing a bit as it sounds silly after what she must have been through.

As my friend looks at me with obvious confusion, I take in her state of being.  She shows signs of being beaten, but they all seem to be over a week old.  Her face looks sunken and she’s obviously thin from lack of food.  However, her colors tell a story of a woman who has been though a lot and has never broken.

“Luna is getting married in a few months’ time.  Since she’s from one of the royal houses of England and her fiancé is of one of the houses of Italy, Tom wants to make an event of it.”  Ginny explains.

Hermione narrows her eyes in thought and shakes her head.  “Lovegood isn’t one of the royal houses.”  She says as her academic thoughts take over.  I really did miss that look on her face.

“My mother was the last Radcliff.”  I tell her and see understanding come to her eyes.

“You know there are stories about the Radcliff house.”  She says still focused on the knowledge she had to share.  Before we have a chance to answer, she frowns.  “Wait, who are you marrying?  Are you… free?”

“Ginny told you about the blood purity act?”  I ask and Hermione nods slowly.  “I wasn’t charged with any crimes against the empire and I’ve been trying to appear a loyal citizen.”  I tell her slightly embarrassed.

“Luna runs her father’s magazine now, but it’s full of Death Eater propaganda.”  Ginny explains without judgment.

Hermione’s face-hardens at this, as she looks me over obviously waiting for more information.

With a deep breath, I start to explain.  “I’m marrying Blaise Zabini.  I offered to run the Quibbler because I didn’t want Death Eater hands on it, even if I have to write what they want.  Blaise was my keeper, there to make sure I followed the rules.”  I start unsure if she wants the full story or not.

“Do you want to marry him?”  Hermione asks still frowning.

I frown myself as I give the question serious thought.  “I’ve grown very attached to him over the time we’ve worked together.  And I absolutely prefer him over the alternative.”

“Alternative?”  Both my friends ask at once.

“I’ve gotten myself into trouble that I can’t really go into now.”  I tell them shaking my head.  “Blaise worked it out so to get out of the trouble I could marry him instead of a Death Eater.”

“How convenient.”  Hermione says without emotion.  “And I have to wonder, who petitioned the Ministry for you to gain your hereditary rights from your mother?”  She asks seriously.  “Not you I assume?”

I sigh and shake my head.  “Blaise and Draco.  They always planned to get me to marry one of them.”  I tell her with a sigh.  “I know this, but I think he cares about me in his way.”

“Why not run Luna?”  She asks with a frown.

“Because I wouldn’t be able to do any good that way.”  I tell her and glance over to Ginny.

“Ginny said there were rebels, you could join them.”  Hermione presses.

I laugh at that and shake my head.  “Ronald would never let that happen.”  I say before realizing whom I’m talking to.

“Ron?”  Hermione asks angrily.  I can hear the worry and excitement in her voice.  “You’ve spoken to him?”

I look down at my lap feeling guilty.  I’m glad that she can’t see colors as I can or I would be completely given away.

Ginny clears her throat.  “Luna has hidden him a few times.”  She explains for me.

Hermione’s face brightens at that.  “Then he’s doing okay?”  She asks me eagerly.

“As far as I can tell he’s one of the leaders of the rebellion.”  I tell her looking up into her eyes.  “He doesn’t like to tell me much, but he’s offered to steal me away and hide me several times.”  I say frowning.

“So he won’t let you help.”  Hermione says in understanding.  “Even though you’ve positioned yourself in a place that could be very good at getting and relaying information?”  She asks in a rueful voice.

“When he lost you and Ginny was being held here, I think his protective instincts went into overdrive on me.  I was someone he could keep safe.”  I tell her and I can feel my face start to warm with blood.  “I think it’s only fair to tell you Ronald and I have been intimate.”  I say unable to look at her.

There’s a silence in the room for a long time before I was brave enough to look up at my friends.  Ginny is looking at me with understanding while Hermione’s expression is thoughtful.

“He thought I was dead.”  She says softly after a moment.  “Just tell me how long it took him to move on?”  She asks sounding a little hurt.

“He hasn’t.”  I tell her firmly.  “And we only took that step very recently.  We are never going to be together again.  When I told him you were alive…”  I start before Ginny cuts in.

“You saw him last night?”  She asks taking my hand.

“We yelled a lot at each other last night.”  I correct with a frown.  “I was so mad at him after I saw you yesterday.”  I tell Ginny softly.

There was a silence in the room as the two Gryffindors realized for the first time that maybe Ronald had something to do with what happened to his sister.

“Was he well?”  Ginny asks obviously not wishing to follow that line of thought.

“He was healthy.”  I say knowing that wasn’t a full answer.  I turn to Hermione then deciding to give her just the right clue for at least her to understand why they attacked Ginny.  “I know it’s selfish, but I can’t help but be glad I was with Ron at least once.”  I tell her before looking at my knees.  “He’s so kind, and if I hadn’t been with anyone but my future husband the Dark Lord would have forced me into a much more binding wedding rite.”

Hermione nods distractedly and I’m not sure if she was really listening to me, but it isn’t as if I can say it again in normal conversation.  After that, Ginny and I got down to the business of the upcoming wedding.  Neither of us were as excited as two girls planning a wedding are expected to be.  Hermione spent the time deep in her own thoughts, ignoring us completely.

Daphne-

After getting Bill and Fleur are settled, I left them to go collect my other new charge.  I was pretty sure this wouldn’t be nearly as hard as the first, though I was still cautious that I’d have to convince this Weasley to help.

As I walk across the training camp towards the administrative office, I get the feeling that many of the eyes are on me.  Glancing around something about the men training strikes me for the first time.  There are no women here.

Though there used to be plenty of female Aurors and other Ministry workers, now any job that involves risking one’s self is most restricted to us.  I have to wonder then if they’re going sexiest, thinking women couldn’t do these jobs, or practical, wishing to keep women safe in order to further the wizarding race.

When I make it to the building and step inside, I find two men working behind desks and wonder if any of them have even seen a woman in the last several months.

“I’m here to see Mr. Rowle.”  I explain to the room, though neither man has looked up at me since I entered.

“Do you have an appointment?”  One of them asks without looking up.

“No, but…”  I start to explain before the other cuts me off.

“Then he’s busy.”  He says dismissively.

“I am here…”  I start before the first one cuts me off.

“Busy.”  He snaps glancing up at me and blinking a few times, as he takes me in.

I had fixed myself after having to deal with werewolves and grimy basements.  I wore robes that hugged my form and my hair fell in graceful waves down my back.  Even if they had seen a woman in the last few months, I could tell by his expression they hadn’t seen one like me.

“I am here…”  I start again before the second cuts me off.

“We don’t care.  Make an appointment.”  He says continuing his work until his co-worker clears his throat.

The man finally stops working to look up at me and his eyes run over my form for a moment.

“I’d like an appointment right now.”  I tell him in a sweet voice.

“I think that could be arranged with some… motivation.”  He says smirking to his friend.

Seeing as the second one was obviously the senior of the two I strode up to him slowly, letting him watch as my curves moved gracefully.  “You need motivation?  I ask before leaning down over his desk, which gave him a nice view down my button up shirt.

He only nodded, not taking his eyes off my breasts.

“Well I think we can do that.”  I tell him in a smoldering voice. His smile grew and I thought he was about to say something else when I decided to interrupt him.  “I’m here on official business for the Dark Lord himself.  Is that motivating enough for you?”  I ask before standing up to take away his view.

His eyes widened at me and he nodded quickly.  “Tough to get Mr. Rowle.”  He says motioning for his friend to move quickly.

With their boss on his way, I give him a cold smile before finding a seat against the wall to wait.

“We get a lot of people wanting to see loved ones.”  He says obviously hoping to erase his rudeness from before.

“I see.”  I tell him without emotion.  I won’t let him off for his rudeness; it would make me look weak.

A few minutes later a rather large muscled man enters the small office.  With his height and bulk, he seems a bit comical in the now small seeming outer office.

“What’s this about?”  He snaps angrily at his subordinate.

“The lady says she has business from the Dark Lord, Sir.”  The man says motioning to me.

Rowle turns to look at me for the first time so I decide to stand and give him a pleasant smile.  “What kind of business would the Dark Lord send his whore here for?”  He asks me with a sneer.  “Are you a present for the men because I don’t think they deserve it.”

I try my hardest not to blush at the words.  “I’m here to collect Mr. Charlie Weasley.”  I tell him as firmly as I can.

“The Dark Lord doesn’t swing that way.”  He says just as firmly, keeping on the sexual line of thinking.

“I’m no longer the Dark Lord’s Mistress.”  I tell him seeing as he wasn’t up to date on that.  “I’m here as a representative of his consort’s household.”

He laughs and shakes his head.  “Already got tired of you?”  He asks thinking that my position was lost since I stopped being the Dark Lord’s personal victim.

“That is none of your concern.  Now where is Charlie Weasley?”  I ask straightening my back.

“The little blood traitor is in the brig where he belongs.  When are you going to send me back the other one?”  He asks with a sneer.

What was it about the Weasley boys and ending up in some kind of cell?  “That is no concern of yours.  What is of concern to you is that the Dark Lord wishes me to escort Mr. Weasley back to Hogwarts.”

“Gibson, take the nice whore to the brig.”  Rowle orders before heading further into his own office.

The man I’d flirted with gets to his feet and grins at me.  Knowing my history and the way his boss talked to me seems to have helped him get over his earlier embarrassment.

When we were a few steps out of the building, he chuckles next to me before asking.  “So how much do you run anyway?  The status of fucking the same woman as the Dark Lord seems priceless.”

“I’m not actually a whore.”  I tell him with a roll of my eyes.  I wasn’t about to explain the difference between a whore and a Mistress to the obvious gutter trash.

He just chuckles leading me to another building set up on the grounds.  The one looks much more stable with bars on all the windows.  Two black cloaked figures stand guard in front of it.

Gibson leads me right past them without saying a word so I assume he visits the brig a lot.  Inside the building is broken up into two large cells with a path between them.  There are about three men in the cell on the left side and a good fifteen in the one on the right.

Seeing my confusion on why it’s broken up this way Gibson laughs.  “Minor infractions.”  He says pointing to the left.  “Blood traitors.”  He adds pointing right.

“Ah, so any man deemed a blood traitor gets no training?”  I ask looking in the cell for any spot of red hair.

“Only if they learn their lesson.”  He says grabbing my arm suddenly.  With a quick shove, he pushes me into the cell with the traitors and locks the door behind me.

Why must stupid men make even the simplest task so much more difficult?

“What do you think you’re doing?”  I ask feeling maybe he just thinks this is funny.

Expelliarmus.”  He replies making my wand fly into his hand.  “My orders were to take you to the brig.  Enjoy your time; I’m sure some of these men will love to experience the Dark Lord’s whore.”  He says loud enough for the group behind me to hear.

“You and your boss are going to be in so much trouble when the Dark Lord finds out about this.”

“If the Dark Lord actually wanted one of our recruits he would have sent a request form.”  He says knowingly.

“You idiot!”  I growl taking the form out of my robe pocket.  “All you needed to do was ask.”  I say shoving it at him.

He took the page looking down at the Dark Lord’s seal and letting his eyes widen.  “Crap.”  He says moving to unlock the cell when one of the prisoners grabs me to pull me back away from the door.

A rough hand goes over my mouth and I freeze as I realize the dangerous situation this imbecile has put me in.

“You’re going to let us go, or we take you up on the offer you made a moment ago.”  A dark voice says near my ear.

I can’t help the whimper that leaves my lips before I realize how much I’m shaking in the unknown man’s arms.

“Weasley let her go.”  Gibson says firmly.  “You know I can’t do that.”

“Then get Rowle so he can watch.”  The man tightens his hold when Gibson runs for the door to explain the shit they just got themselves into.

I sniffle trying to think of anything I can do to stop this and wish the imbecile hadn’t disarmed me.  I don’t really know how one defends one’s self without magic.

Once Gibson is gone I feel a third hand grab my breast.  “Weasley let me hold her for a minute.”  A man asks when I’m jerked away from the hand.

I realize then what both men just called my captor and relief floods me for a ridiculous reason.  A Weasley would never actually make good on such a threat, would they?  Pulling my mouth away from his hand, I try to speak.

“I’m here to collect you.”  I say not looking back at him.  “You’re needed at the castle.”

The man behind me chuckles and swings me into a wall so that he can keep me pinned and look into my eyes at the same time.  He looks healthier than his brother had, but there’s coldness in his eyes that Bill hadn’t shown.

“My brother was collected a few months back.  Already tired of him?  His screams not amusing enough for the Dark Bastard?”

I swallow and shake my head.  “He’s serving as a guard and that’s what you’re needed for.”  I tell him and he laughs humorously.

“Why would the Bastard want blood traitor guards?”  He asks with a sneer.

“For his consort.  She was brutally attacked recently.  George did his best to protect her but he was out numbered.  Because of that the Dark Lord wants her to have more Weasley guards.”

“You’re lying.  George would never work for the Bastard.”  He says spitting in my face.

“He is working for the Dark Lord’s consort.  She is a good woman and is trying to help the people when she can.”  I tell him while he shakes his head.

“Let her go Weasley.”  Comes Rowle’s firm voice.  “Or are you already so eager for our weekly quality time?”

“Is she telling the truth?”  Charlie snaps not taking his eyes off me.

“She’s here to collect you for guard service at the castle.”  Rowle answers coldly.  “Or would you rather stay here?”

I note now that as I look past Charlie I see the other prisoners have already been subdued.  I think if Charlie has to be taken in the same way he wouldn’t be permitted near Ginny.

“Look.”  I say taking a slow breath to calm my nerves.  I’m very aware of what Charlie could do to me, but I have some trust that someone from his family wouldn’t harm a defenseless woman.  “You need to come with me please.  She needs you.”  I tell him seeing no change in his cold eyes.

“You know what I need?”  Charlie asks as his face moves very close to mine.  “I need my family back.  If I agree to protect whatever little Slytherin the Dark Bastard has deemed worthy of his bed, I get to spend time with all living members of my family.”  He says firmly, seeing that he has something I want.

“I can guarantee everyone but Ronald and your father.  Ron is free and I have no way of getting you into Azkaban.”

“No deals.  You will obey.”  Came Rowle’s firm protest.

“If you make one move towards us I’ll make sure the Dark Lord finds out how well you followed his orders.”  I say firmly, though I was planning to do it either way.  This idea of keeping the blood traitors trapped in here seemed like a useless waste and it needs to change anyway.

“Who else is left?”  Charlie asks ignoring the short exchange.  His eyes were eager for the information.  I really couldn’t understand the strong family tie these people had, but I was thankful for it.

“George you know.  There is also Bill, Fleur, Victoire, and Ginny.”  I say knowing I had padded the list and they had lost many in the final battle.

He frowns at me nodding slowly.  “Victoire is Bill’s?”  He asks figuring the count for himself.

“Yes, he will be working with you.  He’s already agreed.”  I tell him trying to make it all seem like a good thing.

“Ginny and Fleur guard too?”  He asks and I think he was confused on how easily I was giving him what he wanted now.

“Women can’t be guards.”  I tell him and he actually snorts in laughter.

“That’s your problem.  If my sister would have been guarding your little Slytherin you wouldn’t need the rest of us.”  He says almost lightly as he lets me go.

“Your sister can’t guard herself.”  Rowle says smugly enjoying the fact; he was able to throw one last blow at his ex-prisoner.

Charlie froze in place for a moment as he looks into Rowle’s eyes, maybe looking for truth or deception in them.

“From what I hear she’s been enjoying her position under our Lord for some time now.”

Chapter 12: United

Ginny-

The next morning things start to return to normal.  Well as normal as they can be.  Tracy and Millicent sit on the sofa together each reading their own magazine while they pretend to ignore Hermione.  Hermione herself sits at my desk looking through one of my school books and taking notes.

I decide to see if I can catch up with homework while everyone is ignoring each other.  I spread a few scrolls out of my bed and start to write an essay that was due a week before.  I wonder where Daphne is in all this, or if she even knows about Hermione yet.

I look up to Millicent to ask when the door opens and my friend steps into the room.  She smiles as she sees the other girls there and me sitting up in bed working.

“Well the Lovegood girl seemed to help.”  She said before she spotted Hermione and froze.  She frowned then and turned back to me.  “Ginny what did you do?”  She asks in a warning tone.

Hermione had looked up at Daphne’s entrance and almost smirked at the other girl’s question.  “She is marrying your Lord to grant me this amount of freedom.”  She answers for me.

Daphne turns back to Hermione and gives her her full attention.  “And you let her give up something so important for you?”  She asks not bothering to keep the disgust from her voice.

“I didn’t really have much of a choice in it.”  Hermione answers.

Deciding they can have this fight without me I turn back to my work to block them out.  I had the work half way done when someone touched my shoulder to get my attention.  It was Daphne Still looking angry I would have made such a huge concession without consulting her.

“We are going to talk about this later.”  She says firmly.  “But I actually have something else to tell you.

“We will not.”  I tell her straightening my back.  “It was the right thing to do, you have no idea what she looked like when I found her and no matter how much of these games I have to play to protect those I love Hermione is one of them.”

Daphne sighs looking back to Hermione who seems to be back at her own work.  “She said mostly the same.  That no matter how much she asked you wouldn’t even let her turn down your protection.  But that is up to you my Lady, I am here to serve.”  She says sounding regretful.

“Good.  Now what is it you wanted to tell me.”  I ask pressing the conversation on.

“Our Lord wishes to up your guard before the wedding.  He had given you five new position as well as having to replace the vacated position.”  She explains slowly.

“Does Ginny get to pick her own guard?”  Hermione asks suddenly interested in the conversation.

“How do you think Fred became one of her protectors?  And Draco her champion?”  Daphne asks as if it is plain as day.

Hermione purses her lips at the question as if she is thinking about holding her thoughts on the subject back.  A moment late it is obvious that she has decided against restraint.

“We both know all this deal making and manipulation is only in place to give Ginny an illusion of power over her own life.  Slaves are much more malleable when they think they’re your equals.”  My friends says making my cheek redden in embarrassment.

Was I really being so expertly deceived?  Well I knew I was being manipulated and I was manipulating the others in turn, but maybe that was just a pretty lie I told myself so that I could lay comfortably in Tom’s arms.

I glance over to the other girls in the room and frown.  They were both obviously listening closely and I thought it would be best if they didn’t witness any further fighting.  “Tracey, Millicent, you may go.”  I say dismissing them then I slip off the bed and cross my arms.

Once the girls had left I rounded on the two who I actually thought of as her friends.  “Don’t talk about me like that in front of them.”  I say to Hermione taking all my will to keep my voice calm.  “I know what this is Hermione.”  I tell her shaking my head.  “I thought I already made that clear, but doing it this way keeps my loved ones safe, and that includes you.  If I fought like a lioness at every turn I would not have lasted the way you did.  He knows me too well…”

At this she cuts me off shaking her head.  “Only because you just let him in.  Why didn’t you ju…”

“What?  She should have just kept him at arm’s length and shielded herself from him?”  Daphne cut in.

“You’re on his side, you have no say in this conversation!”  Hermione snaps back.

Daphne laughs in Hermione’s face shaking her head.  “You don’t know anything about me so don’t even pretend that you do.  You know all the horrible things and tortures he did to you?”  She asks not waiting for an answer. “I’m guessing he never actually raped you.  Probably felt you were too unclean for his person?”

Hermione narrowed her eyes at Daphne, but we could both tell the Slytherin was right.

“Imagine all that plus not being too dirty for him.”  She says her jaw twitching.  “That is the life Ginny saved me from.  That is why I am loyal to her above almost all others.  I have every right to defend my Lady in this conversation.  And you should have defended her back when he got into her head.  Maybe she could have been strong against his advances if you all hadn’t ignored her during her first year.”

I take in a deep breath and shake my head.  “That’s enough.”  I say looking to the women again.  “This is the way things are now and no matter what you two think I actually care about him.”  I say swallowing thickly.  “And being with him helps me to protect people even if it is just a manipulation.”  I say taking a calming breath.  “So who do you think we should choose for the six positions?”  I ask trying to get back to what Daphne was trying to tell me in the first place.

The blond blushes a little and looks to the door.  “Well he actually, by my suggestion already posted two of the six positions himself.”  She says looking from me to the door.  “I was bringing them by to see you.”  She adds slowly.  “They’re waiting outside.”

I sigh and shake my head.  “I’m not in the mood to meet more Slytherins Daphne.”  I tell her tiredly and sit down on the end of the bed.

“No, you’re going to want to see them.”  She promises and heads to the door before I can refuse.

When she opens the door two large redheaded men step into my room.  I blink a few times as my eyes go glassy and my vision blurs a bit as I look over their scared and bruised faces.

I hear Daphne whisper something as I just look at my two eldest brothers. They look back at me.  When I hear a door close I realize both Daphne and Hermione are gone.  Unable to keep myself at bay any longer I run across the room and throw myself into their strong arms.

I hadn’t been able to see Fred since the attack, and it’s been months since I’ve been able to see any of my other family.  I didn’t realize until this moment how much I needed them.  The Weasleys were a tight knit clan, and it felt broken being disconnected from them.

“Do you hate me?”  The question burst from my lips before I even knew it was on my mind.

My brothers grasped me more rightly for a moment before moving back to look into my face.  I looked from one face to the other, my own wet with tears.

“We don’t hate you Ginnybean.”  Bill says looking both sad and angry.

I note new scars on both of their faces and have to look away.  “I just don’t understand.”  Charlie says his hand moving to grasp my upper arm.  “Why are you…”  He starts and can’t seem to even finish the question.

“Rumors around the castle say that you willingly…”  Bill starts and he can’t seem to finish either.

I swallow the tight lump in my throat and step back from them.  “It’s a very long story.”  I say unable to look at either of them as I speak.  “But at its core is this simple fact.”  I start taking in a slow breath so I can get it on.  “I belong to the Dark Lord, and I’m going to marry him in a few months time.”

Luna-

My wedding was a large affair.  Half of wizarding england came to show their support to one of the first noble marriages in the new regime.  None of them really cared who I was, I didn’t actually have an real noble connections.  Blaise was popular though and kept me by he side for most of the night.

The actual ritual was overseen by the Dark Lord and a few other trusted Death Eaters, but they had left to join the party before Blaise and I joined as one.

It had required sex to join us and I was glad we didn’t have to deal with witnesses to that.  Sex with Blaise was as good as it had been the first time.  The drugs in our systems replaced by power of the ritual rushing through us.

Even after the connection was sealed he pushed me and made sure I found release before he found his own inside of me.  My lips moved and gabe Blaise the same words they had given Ron a month before.

I understood my words by then but he didn’t question me about them and I was glad.

Now I lay three weeks later in a sun filled room.  Blaise forced me to come away with him for our honeymoon and I have to admit part of me is glad for it.  In his family home in Venice it is easy to forget the troubles of England and the wizarding world.

He hasn’t let me put on clothes much since we’ve gotten here, but it seems fair since he hasn’t worn much either.  The shaking connection we had back in England has grown strong as we spend nearly every moment together and really get to know one another.

I hear the shower running when I open my eyes and wonder what time it was.  Slipping from the bed I walk over to the balcony doors and see that the sun is already pretty high in the morning sky.

I step out into the day dress only in long blond hair and look down at the small garden that adjoins this side of the house.  The place is perfect.  He knew I would find comfort in the old and beautiful lines of the house and city.

My mood darkens as I think about returning to England in a few short days.  There is much I need to help with if the plans the rebels have for Ginny’s wedding will succeed.

A warm body moves up behind me and pushes hair from my neck before he tastes the skin of my shoulder.

“I want to make love to you.”  He says softly while gentle fingers move around to my thighs.

“Aren’t you tired of that yet.  I figured you were the kind of man that only tasted a woman once.”  I tell him as he parts my thighs and opens me right there on the balcony.  With a quicken breath I add.  “And I didn’t realize what we were doing was making love.”

He chuckles into my shoulder as his hand continues its wicked task of making me want him.  “I guess it isn’t.”  He agrees with a nip to my shoulder.  “But I like to taste woman as many times as they still feel good.”  He explains simply.  “The way you shake in my arms and respond to my touch, I think I may enjoy you for years.”  He says as he pushes a finger inside of me.  “Plus I want many children.”

“I didn’t think you were much of a family man.”  I say as my hips move against his hand.

His free hand moves up into my hair and jerks my neck back so he can take my lips in a fierce kiss.  “I want our line to last the ages.”  He says once he breaks from me again.

A moment later he has me braced against the ledge of the balcony as he enters me from behind.  I can’t help but moan as I fall into another round of carnal pleasure with my husband.

A while later when we are forced to stop for food and rest I get to look into his eyes for teh first time that day.  I smile at him knowing full well that I care for him more with each day we spend together.

“You know I am more than likely with child already.”  I tell him as I pick at the late of food hsi eld brought us.  “The wedding rite had a fertility component.”

He smiles at me lazily as he picks at his own food.  “But there is no harm and making sure.”  He says looking up to me as if he isn’t finished having me that day.

“We really should do other things in this beautiful city besides have sex.”  I tell unable to keep the blush from my cheeks when he looks at me that way.

“Maybe next visit.”  He says waving the idea away.  “We only have a few more days here before we have to go back for the royal wedding.”  He reminds me with a frown.  “I wish they would have waited a while longer.”  He adds with a sigh.  “Kind of takes away from our day to have them get married so soon after.

“Too much at risk until they get married.  I’ve had a letter from Ginny, The Dark Lord has officially pulled her from school.  He worries that the rebels may try again and doesn’t want her in any unnecessary danger.

“You gave up school.”  He reminds me as I frown for my friends loss.

“I had a magazine waiting for me.  It keeps one’s mind occupied.”  I remind him.

“And shell have her queenly duties for her.”  Blaise said moving toward to get out plates out of his way.

“You’re impossible.”  I tell him as he scoops me up and carries me back to the bed.

“How can I resist when you look so delicious.”  He says laying me down before moving over me.  “I was just thinking how I could tie you up and torture you with the mouth for the rest of the day until you beg for release.”

I squirm under him a little at the thought and his grin widens.

I wake in the night still unsatisfied as my husband was very serious about wanting me to beg.  Unknown to him I’ve been going back to England while he sleeps to check on things at the house and plans with the rebels.

Tonight though I frowned at my bound and and ankles and wonder if he maybe knew after all.  I realize now that I should have given into him while he was awake if not for my sexual desire than for my more hidden plans.

Pronti a presentare la mia luna nubile?”  He asks in a sleepy but husky tone.

I can’t help the shiver that goes through me when I hear the liquid language flow from his lips.  “What did you say?”  I ask not understanding a lick of italian myself.

His hands started to trace over my overly sensitive form once again and my breath catches  as he makes his meaning clean with actions instead of words.

“Are you really going to keep me this way until I give in?”  I ask as he skillfully brings me to the edge of what could be a wonderful release.

“Even if it takes days.”  He tells me as he pulls his hand away and taste the what is left behind on his fingers.

“You must be in need of some satisfaction yourself.”  I say trying to see his manhood before he quickly hides it under a sheet.

“I can take care of my own pleasure.”  He reminds me with a grin.  “You on the other hand can’t do a thing about it until I let you.”

“This is a mean game.”  I tell him starting to cool a little.

“And you’re enjoying every moment of it.”  He says easily before going back to the work of making me edge once again.

“Please.”  I finally give in, thinking he won’t know by this time I have more than one motive.

“Good girl.”  He said pushing a finger inside of me.  “Now tell me where you’ve been going around this time every night.”

I gasp arching my hips to meet his hand.  “You little bastard.”  I gasp as he confirms what I only briefly thought of the bondage game before.  This was a plan to keep me in his bed.

“I’m not the one leaving our bed in the middle of the night.”  He says denying me release again as he didn’t get an answer to his question.

I whimper as my lust addled brain tries to come up with a good reason for my little trips.  “I’ve been going home.”  I gasp and he pushes two fingers inside of me this time.

“Why?”  He asks moving to over over me so that his lips can join on my torture.

“To check on everything.”  I say as lips and teeth wrap around my needful nipple.

“What everything?”  He asks and I can feel his more than hardened rob at the entrance to my core.

“The elves, the magazine, everything.”  I say trying not to let out too much.

“Luna have you seen him?  Are you two still fucking?”  Blaise asks and I can feel a sudden surge of anger from him as he readies his hips against mine.

“NO!”  I gasp realizing what he suspects.  “I’m yours Blaise, only yours!”  I scream as he takes me in the most possessive and brutal way he has ever touched me before.  My body almost immediately clamps down on him as he finally gets what it’s needed since the game became hours before.

“Mine.”  He growls as he bruises my jerking body with each of his thrusts.

Daphne-

“I think she’s lost weight since our original meeting.”  The designer says as she looks Ginny over in her white gown.  “That would be usual, but the girl was a stick to begin with.”  She adds as she pulls and pushes the redhead as if she were some kind of doll.

“I haven’t been hungry.”  My Lady says to the woman trying to combat the probing fingers.

“Nerves are normal dear, but you have to have some meat to fill out my masterpiece.”  The woman presses and shakes her head before adjusting the fit with her wand.

“I’ll try to get her to eat something this week.” I tell the woman as I look over Ginny in the intercut beaded gown.

The gown displays every curve of Ginny’s pette form, but in a way that isn’t lewd at all.  She looks as if she was some kind of otherworldly being in the folds of shimmering white light.  I wonder if the Dark Lord wanted exactly that.  Wanted to seem as if he was taking some creature from heaven and devouring her before the whole empire.

Walking over to the mirror Ginny looked at herself in a tight frown and shook her head.  “I don’t like it.”  She says turning this way and that to get a view of it from all sides.

“It looks lovely my Lady.”  I tell her glancing over to the other women in the room for help.

“You don’t like it?”  The designer sounds as if they didn’t understand those words.

Hermione purses her lips as I’ve found she frequently does when she is holding back some kind of comment, but fortunately Milly comes to the rescue.

“I think you look beautiful my Lady.”  The tall girl says giving Ginny a true smile.

“I think it’s a little frumpy looking.”  Tracey helpfully adds a moment later.

“It’s just, I don’t feel, right in it.”  Ginny says and notice her posture for the first time.  “It’s too nice.”  She adds after a second thought and shakes her head.

“Well maybe you should try to get used to it while the rest of us are getting fitted?”  I offer with a regretful frown.

“Oh yes I have the base dress I think you bridesmaids should wear, but you really must pick a color.”  The designer says happy to move on from the criticism of her dress.

“Okay.”  Ginny says smiling in a way that doesn’t touch her eyes.

“Wait?  I have to be a bridesmaid?”  Tracey asks with narrowed eyes.

“I was told there would be three.”  The woman glances to Hermione uncomfortably as we all know she will not be invited to the wedding.

“Yes, you have to be a bridesmaid.  You are a twit if you thought otherwise.”  I say before looking to Milly.  “Why don’t you go first?”  I ask wanting the most awkward of us to get some attention.

Ginny actually smiles at this idea.  “I think I want them in blue.”  She says after a moment as she looks over the blue robe Milly is wearing.  The woman does look fine in the color and it pleases me that Ginny wants to be helpful to the others at least.

“Oh blue would be a fine choice.”  The designer coos and shuffles Milly into teh bathroom to get her ready.

“Shouldn’t they wear green?”  Hermione asks once the door closes.

“I don’t think green would look very good on Millicent.”  Ginny says not getting the point Hermione was trying to make.

“I look nice in green, a pretty emerald maybe.”  Tracey adds not really understanding either.

“I don’t think house colors have anything to do with planning a wedding.”  I tell the other girl with a thin smile.

“Maybe it should when the groom in an heir to one of the houses.”  Hermione says back in mock pleasantness.

Ginny sighs and crumples in on herself a little more at her friend’s words.

I narrow my eyes on the bushy haired girl and will her to burst into flames.  “I would assume that would mean his groomsmen will wear green, but the bridesmaids can wear anything our Lady likes.”

“Oh it is such a big decision though, do you think she can handle it?”  Hermione asks mockingly.  I really don’t think the woman understands how her jabs at the Dark Lord and Ginny’s life effect Ginny.

I stand and wish for the thousandth time I could pull my wand on the girl.  After one of our fights had gotten to wands, or at least my wand, a few weeks ago Ginny had forbid me to even bring it in the room.

“Look, I know you think you’re helping, but you’re not.  This is the way life is now and you really need to learn to go with the flow.”  I tell her with gritted teeth.  “If you can actually stop all your whining and think for a moment you would realize our Lady is going to become one of the most powerful women in the world in a week’s time.”

“In a week’s time she is going to fully give herself over as a slave and lose whatever small power she does still have.”  Hermione argues yet again.

“She already is a slave!”  I yell in frustration.  “You all made sure of that when you formed your little half thought our Army.  If you want to blame someone for how the world is now, look at yourself!  Look at your friends!”

Hermione’s eyes widen in anger and she suddenly jumps over the coffee table to tackle me to the ground.  There is a flurry of scratching and hair pulling as we go at each other in a way we have been wanting to for months now.

“STOP IT!”  We both freeze as we hear the pain in Ginny’s voice as she yells.  “Just stop it both of you!”  She adds with a whimper.  “Just…”  She shakes her head and closes her eyes in pain.

“Is everything okay out here?”  The designer appears in the bathroom doorway.  I look between her face and Ginny’s and disentangle myself from the stupid little Gryffindor.

She does the same and takes a step towards Ginny.

“Is Millicent ready?”  Ginny asks ignoring us both and giving the designer all of her attention.

“Yes my Lady.”  She says wearily before stepping out of Milly’s way.

I smile at the usual awkward girl as she grins widely at all of us.  The dress is a deep midnight blue with flecks of crystal that glimmer like stars on a tightly formed bodice.

“It’s perfect.”  Ginny says smiling to Milly.  “You look beautiful.”  She says honestly and looks back to Tracey.  “I think it will look nice on you as well, go try yours on.”  She says still ignoring Hermione and me.

“Uh, okay.”  Tracey says unsure how to deal with the tension in the room that she didn’t create.

Once the other blond has disappeared into the bathroom Ginny finally turns to look at Hermione and I.  “This is the last time I’m going to say this, so I hope you both are really listening.”  She says taking care with each word.  “You both are important to me, and if you keep it up you are going to force me to find someplace else for each of you.  If this ever happens in front of the Dark Lord, do you know what he would want?”  She asks her eyes moving back and forth from me to Hermione.

“Ginny…”  Hermione starts sounding regretful.  “I don’t…”  She tries to start again and Ginny just shakes her head.

“It’s not your fault that I’m here.”  She says looking directly at Hermione.  “But it’s not hers either.  She is just trying to make a good life for me here.”

“If she was really your friend she would be helping you get out of here before…”  Hermione presses but can’t bring herself to actually say it.

Ginny-

“Is Millicent ready?”  I ask as I try to calm my temper over yet another fight between the two women I trust the most.

“Yes my Lady.”  Says the dress woman, I think her name is Madam Maxim, before stepping out of our way so we can see Millicent.

“It’s perfect.”  I tell the surprisingly shy girl and give her an encouraging smile.  “You look beautiful.”  I add as the girl blushes a bit.  I look back to Tracey, not wishing to give the otehr two any more attention.  “I think it will look nice on you as well, go try yours on.”  I tell her really mostly wanting her out of the room.

“Uh, okay.”  Tracey says looking akward herself suddenly.

When I’m sure Tracey is safely locked in the room with bathroom I turn back to my friends.  “This is the last time I’m going to say this, so I hope you both are really listening.”  I start trying to keep my anger from my voice.  “You both are important to me, and if you keep it up you are going to force me to find someplace else for each of you.  If this ever happens in front of the Dark Lord, do you know what he would want?”  I ask them knowing that each of them have pretty good ideas of what would happen to them.

“Ginny…”  Hermione starts sounding regretful.  “I don’t…”  She tries to start again but I just shake my head at her.

“It’s not your fault that I’m here.”  I tell Hermione seriously.  “But it’s not hers either.  She is just trying to make a good life for me here.”  I say motioning to Daphne.

“If she was really your friend she would be helping you get out of here before…”  Hermione starts but she can’t seem to finish the thought.

“Before I completely belong to our Lord?”  I ask her with a shake my head.  “Where else would be safe for me Hermione?”  I ask as I think about the way Michael and the others looked at me that day.

“This place is not safe.”  Hermione argues.

“This is the safest place for her.”  Daphne counters.  “Just because it isn’t perfect, doesn’t mean that isn’t true.”

“If she could get away she could explain herself to them.”  Hermione says not letting this thought go.  “If you hadn’t made any deals wi…”

“Than they wouldn’t have had a right to rape her?”  Millicent asks angrily.  “I know what you think of our ways, and sometimes I can even understand why.”  She says speaking more than I had heard from her in a while.  “But don’t you dare tell her to go running to the people who attacked her.  I don’t care what they think she did.  If those are the good guys than this world in fucked anyway, mide as well be on the winning side because good is dead.”

We are all still blinking at her when the bathroom door opens “Ta Da!”  Tracey says as she comes out in the gown.

Millicent turns shy again as Tracey really does look just as beautiful in the matching dress.  Though I wouldn’t say she looked more so, I’m sure that was what the tall girl was thinking.

“You know dress fittings are supposed to be a happy girly day.”  Tracey says as she looks around at us.  “This is why I didn’t want to be a bridesmaid.”  She huffs before going back to change into her normal clothes.

“I thought it was because she wanted to wear black to moan her chances with the Dark Lord.”  Hermione says making the rest of us crack smiles.

“No I think that idea flew the coop when she watched Ginny get her Dark Mark.”  Daphne says ironically.

“Dark Mark?”  Hermione asks and glances to my arm as if she had missed it all this time.

I feel the blood rushing to my face.  “Can someone help me out of this?”  I ask not wishing to talk about it.  It is odd that she hadn’t seen me in the right state of undress to notice it before now.  I wonder if I was subconsciously hiding it from her.

“I’m sorry my Lady, I thought…”  Daphne says looking abashed as she sees my discomfort with the subject.

“Ginny?”  Hermione asks worry in his voice.

“It happened just before I found out you were alive.”  I say as casually as I can.  “It isn’t that big of a deal.”

“She was screaming in here for hours, Tracey actually threw up a couple of times.”  Millicent says helpfully.  “Lady Zabini said he had pressed the spell in bone deep.”

“I don’t want to talk about it.”  I say turning to Millicent.  “Help me with these buttons.”  I press to distract her.

Finally taking the hint everyone let it drop.  The rest of the day went without much event.  Daphne looked just as lovely in the dress as the other two had and they convince me that Tom would like the beautiful gown the woman had made for me.

When everyone but Hermione had gone up to their own rooms I sat in bed reading a new romance novel.  I was only a few pages into it when I felt her sit down on the bed.

“I know you don’t want to tell me about it.”  Hermione starts hesitantly.  “But the more I know about this new life you are so fiercely protecting, the more it will understand what it is all for.”

I set the book aside before looking at her.  “I’m embarrassed about it.”  I tell her seriously.  “Everything Tom does to punish and hurt me embassies me when it comes to you.”

“I know I’m very judgemental, but the more I see how your life has been while I was in that cell…”  She takes a deep breath shaking her head.  “The more I worry about you.”

“Because I love him?”  I ask softly.

“Because you think you love him.”  Hermione says taking my hand.  “In the muggle world we call it stockholm syndrome.  It is when I person starts to identify and even seem to love their captor.  The feelings are mixed up and confusing and I think it is what is happening to you.  You’ve gotten so turned around here, and I worried you’ve lost yourself along the way.”

I take in a slow breath not looking at her.  “I’m not lost Hermione.”  I tell her shaking my head.  “I’ve grown up.”

Luna-

I take a breath as we step out of the fireplace into Serendipity once again.  I’ve been visiting so often I should have felt homesick for it, but I did.  There is something peaceful as sleeping in one’s own bed.

“Minty, we’re home.”  I call out glancing to Blaise before I before I pull my hand from his and move further into the hall.  “Minty?  I call again before the elf appears with a pop in front of me.

“Minty welcomes Mistress and Master home.”  She says with a small curtsy to both me and Blaise.

“What took so long elf?  We need our luggage taken up.”  Blaise asks in slight annoyance.

“Minty sorry Master.  Minty will close her hand in the door!” She offers and I shake my head.

“That is fine Minty, is everything alright?”  I ask shooting a dirty look at Blaise.

“Muffin in labor Mistress.”  She explains apologetically.  “Minty should go help.”

“Okay Minty, just tell me if you guys need anything.”  I tell her ignoring my husband’s groan.

“Yes Mistress.”  She says disappearing with another pop.

“It seems like we are on our own tonight.”  I tell carefully.  “I wish you wouldn’t talk to her like that.  You know how much I hate it.”

Blaise takes in a deep breath and glances to the luggage.  “We can levitate them up.”  He says taking my hand again.  “At least we have an excuse to go to the bedroom.”  He adds as he enchants the bags.

“Bedrooms.”  I say shyly before leading the way up the stairs so i can open teh door for him.  When I get to the door I had the elves prepare for him I do just that not meeting his eyes as I open the door.

“This isn’t the Master suite.”  He says setting everything down in the hall.

“I thought you would want some space of your own.”  I tell him unsurely.

“Why would I want that?”  He asks as if the idea is ridiculous.

“Well it is actually pretty traditional for those in our station.”  I remind him still trying to play things casual.

Blaise moves so he can corner me against the door frame before he speaks.  “Luna, we are married now.”  He says touching my cheek gently.  “We will live the rest of our lives together, why do I need my own room?”

I look back into Blaise’s eyes and smile.  “We are not exactly a love match are we?”  I ask him as my stomach does little nervous flips.  “I thought you might want to have visitors.”  I add after a moment’s thought.

He sighs shaking his head.  “I thought I had made myself very clear on our honeymoon.”  He says sounding a bit tired.

“You made it clear you don’t want me with any other men, and that makes perfect sense, especially when we are expected to conceive a child as soon as possible.”  I tell him logically.

“Luna.”  Blaise sighs again lifting my chin and kissing me in a long and lazy way until all I can think about is his lips.  “I want to sleep with only you for the foreseeable future.”  He says as if it is serious matters.

I couldn’t help but blush at that and nod slowly.  “All I was trying to say is that I understand what this marriage is.”  I tell him trying to get back to my train of thought.

“What is this marriage?”  He asks as his hand moves to play with my hair.

“You have saved me from a very undesirable future in Azkaban.”  I tell him with a soft smile.

“I did it because…”  He starts and I shake my head to cut him off.

“You did it because it gives you control over all my assets not related to this house or my title, and once I give you a daughter you will have control over those as well.”  I tell him evenly.  “I may be a bit odd, but I’m not dumb Blaise.”

He sighs and shakes his head.  “Without you I don’t have a english title.”  He agrees after a moment.  “But I do care about you too, maybe when I set out to trap you I didn’t, but I do now.”  He says honestly.

“I know.”  I tell him leaning in for softer kiss.  “But that doesn’t make our marriage based on the usual things.”

He chuckles resting his forehead against my own.  “For my kind our marriage is based on very usual things.”  He tells me before taking a step back.  “Do you really want me to stay here tonight?”  He asks motioning into the room.

I shook my head.  “Mostly I just want us both to have that option, without you having to go some place uncomfortable.”  I tell him wondering if he would actually leave my bed if I wished.

I knew it would be an adjustment to have someone living with me.  I wonder now if I can actually pull my double life off still, with Blaise wishing to stay so close.

As if in answer to my thoughts Blaise sighs and turns to put his bags into the room I’ve set aside for him.  “We need to get this part done, I want to have a quick go before I need to meet Draco.”

“Meet Draco?”  I ask closing the bedroom door as he moves the rest of my luggage down the hall.

“Yeah, haven’t seen my mate in over a month, need all the news from the castle.”  He says in a much more casual way than he is actually feeling.

“When will you be home do you think?”  I ask trying to put more regret in my voice than pleasure.

He sighs shaking his head.  “Late.”  He tells me with a grimace.  “But I’ll wake you up when I get here.”  He adds with a wink.

I roll my eyes opening the door to the master suite.  The moment the bags are set carefully in the room Blaise makes good on his words.  He pulls me into my own room and slams the door shut by forcing me back against it.

We both give into carnal desire in the way we had learned well over our honeymoon.  No one could deny my husband is an excellent lover, with little effort he has be moaning and panting while I am surrounded by the colors of lust and love.

I only hope that I am really nearly as enjoyable for him.  I move back against him learning the things that made him moan and gasp as well.  When he takes my thighs in his hand and easily lifts be against the door I let out a shuddering scream.

We discovered that if I have sex a lot more often than I had been, if I peak several times a day the prophecies don’t come with every act of pleasure.  Every few days I would repeat the one I had given Ron first, or I would make some minor prediction about our day. BUt just now nothing but sounds of pleasure came to my lips.

Several orgasms later Blaise found his own peak deep inside of me.  With us both panting from the workout her slowly let me down from the wall and carried me over to our bed.

“I’m going to make love to you in every room of this house.”  He says as he lays me down and climbs in next to my panting form.

“Was that making love?”  I ask him playfully, though I already know the answer.

“That is what making love will always look like for us my moon.”  he says softly as he fiddles with my engagement ring while we lay next to each other.

I smile at him about to say something sweet when he stops touching and sits up suddenly.  He turns back to me with hard eyes and I can see suspicion surrounding him.

“What?”  I ask not liking the way he is suddenly looking at me.

The Dark Moon shows the way for the hero to be saved.”  He says in an almost dead tone.  “You know what it means.”  He adds almost accusingly.

I nip my lower lip and pulled my legs in on myself so I wouldn’t feel so exposed during this conversation.  “I thought it was me maybe, the moons are my crest, and I’m darker skinned, but why would I want to save a hero?”

I lick my lips and look away from him.  I don’t want to lie directly to him like this, but I can’t see another way.

“You have to tell me what you know Luna, it is the only way I can keep you safe.”  He says taking one of my shoulders and shaking it.

It was the final straw and I spring from the bed to glare at him, no longer caring about my state of undress or the fact he just made love to me.  “I am so very tired of you men trying to keep me safe!”  I snap throwing my hands into the air.

I take a deep breath placing my hands on my stomach so that I don’t do something I’ll regret, like killing him.  “I don’t need to be kept safe!”

Blaise watches me with a furrowed brow.  “You need to tell me what the words mean, they were given to me I deserve to know!”

“You weren’t the first who got them.”  I say straightening my back a little more.  “Ronald received them first.”  I explain wanting to hurt him for unknown reasons.

“What do they mean Luna?  Does he know?”  He asks and I can hear the anger in his tone.

“Not exactly, but enough.”  I tell him watching his colors closely as he thinks.  “I found a way, I found a person who could figure out how to save Harry.”  I tell him knowing he won’t stop until he gets the truth.

His colors flashed frightened and I wasn’t sure exactly why because they were soon replaced with a flashing mix of colors as he worked things out in his head.  “Potter is still inside the body.”  He says nodding to himself.  “But whatever your lover’s people plan to do will take him out and leave that body for our Lord.”

“Yes.”  I say turning away from him as his colors settled on thoughtful and were calming in brightness.  “Are you going to warn him?”  I ask not looking at my husband.

“I don’t know yet.  I would prefer not to.”  He says throwing me off yet again.

I turn to look at him as I wrap a robe around my form.

“I would really prefer our Lord not know my wife is an Oracle.  You know how obsessed with divination he is?  I think he would demand I give you to him.”  He tells me tiredly.

“I would never use any of my skills for his benefit.”  I tell him more softly as I shook my head.

“How did you find this person?”  He asks picking up on another problem that I would really prefer not to tell him.

“He was dropped off on my doorstep.”  I say and I can see Blaise doesn’t believe me.

“That isn’t what it said, you said you would find a way, where did you find him?”  He asks wanting all the information.  “I will go into your mind if I have to.”  he adds a moment later.  “I’ve never before, but this is important Luna.”

“I’ve actually become rather skilled at Occlumency.”  I tell him but know it wouldn’t stop him from trying.  “I found him in one of the muggleborn camps.”  I say after a moment and look to the ground.

“Why were… I’ll kill him!”  Blaise says suddenly standing himself.  “I will hunt that caward down myself and strangle the life out of his freckled neck!”

“Who?”  I ask very confused by what he is even talking about.

“That dipshit pulled you into the rebellion!”  He growls his hands flinging into the air.  “Luna does anyone else know, how many of them have seen you?”  He asks as if he wants to make a list of them to assassinate.

“Ronald has forbidden me from joining the rebellion.”  I tell him with a frown.  “None of them have ever seen me with him.”

“Than why were you in a mudblood camp?”  He snaps not believing me.

“I was there to break out as many muggleborns as I could before the auction.  I found out later they had already been moved to Hogwarts.”  I tell him with a sigh.

“You just said you were a member of the rebellion.”  He reminds me as if I didn’t know.

“You really are just worried for me?”  I ask watching as he colors never shift to hate, on the contrary, they had settled into a protectiveness now.

He turns to look at me a bit stunned that I hadn’t known that before this moment.  “I could give two flying shits about who’s on top Luna.  My game is about keeping myself safe and in comfort.  Now you’re a part of that.”

“I’m careful.”  I say fiddling with my fingers.  “No one has ever seen my face, not even Ronald.  But I can’t just sit by and do nothing.  I’ve placed myself so I can get good information and help as many people as I can.”

“Than how haven’t you been…”  I see a light go on in his brain as he comes to the truth.  “No fucking way Luna.  You are not that fucking crazy or scary!”

“You’re one of a very few people that know now, are you going to turn me in?”  I ask looking back to him.

Daphne-

I didn’t know if I wanted to leave Ginny alone with that stubborn little witch tonight, but I hadn’t had the choice after she dismissed me with the rest.  I lay in bed now staring at the ceiling and thinking about the chain of events that had formed my relationship with the redhead.

I realize sometimes when I look at her with Hermione that being a Slytherin had saved me some of my childhood.  They had grown up very quickly having to deal with our Lord more directly than myself or any of my friends.  Now though the last of my childhood had fallen away.  I was responsible for my actions in this life and the punishments could be far worse than detention.

As I say in bed thinking of all that would go if I did help Ginny in some escape attempt I shudder and shake my head.  Her life is hard here I know, but it is also the safest life for her, and the one with the most reward.  She handles him in a way that is beyond anything I could ever understand.  I smile as I remember his words after her attack; she is my mercy.

When someone knocks on my door I blink a few times and sit up before the door opens.  There is a moment if fear when I grab my wand before I see Draco’s tell tale hair. I let out a soft sigh and then frown as Blaise enters as well.

Once the door is closed I light the torches with a way of my wand and frown at the two of them.  “I don’t do threesomes.”  I say looking from one to the other.

“I’m a happily married man wench.”  Blaise says with a grin and then frowns.  “Well happy with my sex life at least.”

I shake my head and can’t help but smile at him.  “Is the loon a tigress between the sheets?”  I ask playfully before slipping out of bed and pulling a robe on over my nightgown.

“A gentleman doesn’t tell.”  He says and then grins widely.  “But since I’m no gentleman she is…”

“We’re not here to discuss you love life Blaise.  Tell her what you told me.”  Draco interrupts irritably.

Blaise sighs and sits down in the chair at my vanity.  “Out little braintrust needs to decide what we are doing in reaction to my wife’s latest vision.”  He explains pulling a flask from his pocket.

“The rebels seem to know what our Lady has been guessing at: Potter is still inside that body somewhere.”  Draco cuts in.  “They are planning to extract him somehow for merlin knows what reason.”

“Haven’t you read the marriage rite they are using?”  I ask with a frown as I look from one of the other.  “The Dark Lord is planning on pushing him out.  He could have de…”  I blink a few times as realization hits me, why hadn’t I made the connection before?

“What?”  Both boys ask as they look for my answer.

“It is complicated ritual magic which neither of you bothered to study.  Simply put the Dark Lord could have actually destroyed Potter’s soul with this rite.  It would have destroyed the hero completely if our Lord had been the only man to ever be with Ginny.”  I explain letting them make their own leaps in logic.

“That’s why they did it?”  Draco growls sounding disgusted.  “Why force her?  She loves that full Potter, she would have done at least that to save his life.”

We all frown at this and shake our heads.  “Maybe they didn’t realize that, they do think she is a traitor.”  I point out still shaking my head.  “So they know and they more than likely have some plan to save the boy?”

“I’m not sure of all of the connections but I’m sure it is going to have to happen at the wedding right?”  Blaise asks as he rolls this new information around in his head.

“So what do we want to do about it is the question?”  Draco asks looking at us now.

“If we tell the Dark Lord we know anything he will want to know where the information comes from.”  Blaise presses immediately.  “She is worth more to us if he doesn’t know about her gift.”

“So that is the down side if we tell and stop the rebels from taking any action.”  I say thinking back to Ginny, unable to keep from my mind what she would want.  “What’s the downside if we don’t take action and they somehow get Potter’s soul?”

Draco frowns at this and shakes his head.  “I’m not sure what they would do with it.  It would be a living soul, but all the magic needed to give him any kind of life is very dark stuff.  Do you really think the rebels would be willing to delve that deep?”

I stood up and clenched my jaw tightly.  “A gang of them got together and raped one of their leader’s little sister.  I really don’t think they are taking this moral high ground.”

Both the men had to nod to this and I sat back down.  “But having Potter in play again, how does that affect us?”

“Honestly?  I think Daphne and I are well placed whoever is in charge.  Ginny will protect us, and Potter will at least still trust her.”  Draco says nodding to himself.  “I’m just worried about you.  Luna’s gone completely loyal.”

Blaise sighs shaking his head.  “Yeah, right.”  He says with mock amusement.  “She is playing both sides already, I’ll be fine.”

“So than we do nothing?”  I ask looking between the two men.  “What is the point in having an oracle if we ever act on her words?”

“I didn’t say we do nothing.”  Draco says before getting a slow smile.

Chapter 13: Two Fragments

Ginny-

When I open my eyes in the dim light of my room it is a moment before I remember what today was.  I sit up taking in a slow breath and rubbing my face as I realize I must have woken early.  None of my ladies are here yet and there isn’t even light from under Hermione’s door.  I slip out of bed knowing I won’t, and really shouldn’t go back to sleep now.

Looking around as if I would catch some specter watching me I walk over to the full length mirror on my wardrobe and look into my own eyes.  I remember the look in Fleur’s eyes the morning she married my brother, and I see no trace of it in my own.  I do find an excitement there, but it isn’t as bright or shining as it had been with her.

Pulling back I take my whole self in.  I run my fingers over unmarked skin and find myself frowning.  He hasn’t touched me for a while, and made doubly sure every previous injury was healed perfectly.  He wants me prestine for our wedding day, and I wonder how he would react if I marked my own skin?

I hear a door open behind me and know it is too play to do anything about the fantasy now.  I still smile as I look to the blond to have been a vital source of support in my time in this room.

“That was my last night here.”  I tell her looking to the bed.  “Do you think Tracey will be moved down here tonight?”

Daphne smiles at me and shakes her head.  “I think she will be moving out tonight.”  She says with a smirk as she walks towards me.  “Are you ready to start all this?”  She asks knowing I can get overwhelmed with preparations for these big gatherings.

“Not really.”  I say with a sigh and shake my head.

“Well the first few hours will be relaxing I promise.”  She says soothingly.  “There is a special bath you have to soak in for the ritual, but you can just relax and have some tea while you do that.”

I nod thinking tea would probably be wonderful in this moment.  “How about breakfast?”  I ask surprising her as I haven’t had an appetite in weeks.

I wide smile spreads across her lips before she answers.  “You can have anything you want, I’ll arrange it.”  She says before disappearing into the bathroom.

I sit down at my desk and start to think about what would keep my energy up the best.  I’m still drumming my fingers a few minutes later when Daphne appears in the main room once again.

“It’s ready, do you need any help, or should I do get tea and order food?”  She asks leaving the bathroom door open for me.

“I think I can handle it, you could bring me waffles with butter and jam and bangers?”  I ask and can’t help but smile as her glee with my request.  “It’s only that I know today is going to be long.”  I tell her not wanting her to get her hopes up.

“Of course.”  She says trying to restrain herself and failing.

With a shake of my head I enter the bathroom and disrobe so that I can climb into the hot smelly bath.  It doesn’t smell bad exactly, just very sharp.  Part of me is glad for the smell because I know there is no way I will be able to fall asleep with it around me.  Though after a few minutes it does lull me into a dazed almost hypnotic state.

I’m not sure how much time has passed when the bathroom door opens.  Looking up I expect it is Daphne with the tea, so when I see Tracey standing in my bathroom I’m a bit confused.

“You don’t usually wake this early.”  I tell her as if she didn’t know.

“Today is a special day.”  She says in a much too cheerful tone.  She walks over to me slowly and sits down on the edge of the huge bathtub.  “Did you know that there is no way to reverse the marriage rite he chose for today?”  She asks me as if it is a part of a conversation we were already having.

“I think I knew that.”  At least I figured it was true.

“It also doesn’t permit those involved to kill one another.”  She says her smile becomes wider as she pushes some hair back from my face.

“I didn’t know that.”  I tell her shaking my head as I feel a sharp pull at my scalp.  ‘Why did you do that?”  I ask leaning away from the invading hand.

I can see a few gleams of auburn between her fingers.  “No reason.”  She says looking down at the bath.  “This is a part of the prep.”  She says sniffing the air.  “I think it’s time you got out.”

“Daphne said I would be in here for a while.”  I tell her very confused as she messes with a bag at her side.

“Well there has been a little change in her plans.”  Tracey says smugly before pulling out a clear flask if muddy green liquid.

“That’s Polyjuice Potion.”  I say remembering it from mom brewing it last year.

Tracey just smiles at me and drops my hair into the potion.  I try to get up, but my limbs are heavy with whatever is in the bath.  “Tracey you don’t want this.”  I tell her shaking my head as I realize now what her plan has to be.

“Oh, but I do.”  She tells me before taking a few swigs.  She makes a face as it goes down and shakes her head.  “He’s going to get rid of me tonight.  I’ll be nothing, but this way, I’ll be his wife and there won’t be anything he can do about that.”  She says rushing to the loo as the sudden desire to puke overtakes her.

“Tracey, he’ll know before it’s done and he’ll kill you.”  I tell her shaking my head still wishing I had more to stop her than words.  When she turns to face me again her body is already transforming into a new shape.  “I’m sure he will set you up with a respectable life.”

“I don’t want a respectable life!”  She snaps holding her wand out in sudden fury.  It is odd to see that anger on my face directed at me.  “I want a life a true greatness!”

I swallow thickly, my new wand sitting on my bedside table.  I had gotten lax in my own rooms, thinking nothing could hurt me here.  No one would let me get hurt in the safety of my room.  I suddenly realize that there has to be a guard posted at my door.

“HELP!”  I scream still trying to push past the heaviness that has settled into me.  I can move hands and fingers, but little else.  “PL-”  I am cut off as she hits me with a silencing spell.

She loves quickly to shrug her clothes and grabs my robe as I hear the outside door open.

“My Lady?  Are you okay?” It is Adrian’s voice who asks which only makes her smile.

She steps out into my room slowly closing the door firmly behind herself.  “Sorry I panicked, I couldn’t get the door open.”  She says with much too much pout to sound like me.

“The bathroom door?”  He asks sounding both confused and concerned.  “Where is Tracey?”

“Using the loo.”  She says and I can hear movement as a well as a second door opening.

“What were you screaming about Ginny?”  Hermione asks sounding half asleep but still worried.

I try my hardest to slosh around in the tub, but every muscle works as if it is moving through mud.

“Nothing.  Go back to bed.”  She snaps.  “Just wedding jitters.”

No one seems to move in the other room before I hear yet another door open.  I can’t help but laugh to myself as her plan has to be completly fucked by this point.  She didn’t seem to really think any of this through.

“Ginny?”  Daphne asks slowly sounding the most confused of all.  “How are you standing right now?”

“What do you mean?” Tracey asks snidely.  “I’m getting ready for my wedding.”

“I know, and there is enough Jambu in the bath I made for you to keep you from living an arm easily.”  She says and I have to agree with her as it takes all of my focus scratch my own nose.

“A Jambu bath?”  Hermione asks sounding a little panicked.

“Jambu, yarrow, mint, and valerian.”  Daphne explains.  “It is a cleansing bath in prep for the ritual.  I put her in it myself.”

“How are you still walking?”  Hermione asks sounding more calm.  Maybe the mix of things is more healthy than just the Jambu alone?

“I got right out, it stank.  I don’t want to stink on my wedding day.”  She says forcibly.

“O-okay.”  Daphne starts still sounding as if she knows something is off.  “I promise you won’t stink later on.  There will be a cleansing shower to wash the bath away.  Lets just get you back in, and then you can have your tea.”

“You can’t go in there!”  Tracey snaps again when I hear the door handle move.

“Tracey is in the loo.”  Adrian says helpfully.

“Tracey?”  Daphne says knocking on the door making me laugh silently.  This ridiculous play was now how I imagined my wedding day to start.

“She wasn’t feeling well, I should go check on her.”  Tracey says obviously trying to get everyone away from the door.

“No need, I’ll do it.”  Daphne says sounding suddenly cold as she opens the door.

Before she can move inside I hear it slam shut and there is sounds of bodies tussling.

“What is wrong with her?”  Adrian asks sounding truly worried for me.

“My guess?”  Hermione cuts in sounding cold herself and much closer to the door than she had been before.  “I think she is realizing it was a dumb plan from the start.”  She says before pushing the bathroom door open and looking around it to find me still lying sleepily in the bath.

I must look really out of it because she walks over to check me for a pulse.  When she feels my steady heart she lets out a low breath of air.  “Thank merlin.”  She says turning back to the outer door.

“How did you really think this was going to work Tracey?”  Daphne asks sounding as if she was about to laugh or cry.  “How is Ginny?”  She asks sounding more than amused.

“Very relaxed in that bath.”  Hermione says from the doorway.  “Though I’m not sure was she isn’t talking, do you think the bath is restricting her voice?”  She asks sounding doubtful.

I shake my head, but it happens so slowly I don’t think the woman in the room with me even notices.

“It shouldn’t, maybe silencing spell?”  Daphne offers and I hear a grunt in answer from Tracey I presume.

Hermione glances back to me and I nod just as slowly as I had been shaking my head.  I see her eyes move from my face to my body.  I realize the green skull and snake must show vibrantly on my pelvic bone with no other marks around it.  She looks to the floor a moment later as if it hurts to see it then turns to the door.

“Silencing spell.”  Hermione agrees moving out of Daphne’s way.

“Sorry my lady, I should have thought of how vulnerable you would be like this.”  She says before countering the spell Tracey had placed on me.

“She’s an idiot.”  I say letting out a slow breath.  “Tea?  Sit her on the sofa until the juice wears off.”  I say having too many thoughts at once.  “We can’t tell him what she tried.”

“My Lady we can’t keep this from him, she would have killed you.”  Daphne says frozen to her spot.

“He’ll torture and kill her Daphne.”  I tell her as if she didn’t know.

“I know but…”  She shakes her head before placing a teacup in my hand.  “Drink this, you should feel a bit more awake.”  She says changing the subject instead.

Some time later after the bath has been watched from me, and a lovely breakfast fills my stomach I find I have a spare moment to sit down and look at myself as Tracey sits looking glum.

“If we tell the Dark Lord what you tried this morning he would kill you, and I don’t think he would make it quick.”  I tell her with a frown as the other women busy themselves with prep.  “So what are we going to do with you?”  I ask feeling nothing but pity for the girl in front of me.

“It isn’t fair.”  She says in her own voice, which is very odd coming from my mouth.  “I’m three times the witch you are, he wouldn’t have to punish me like he does you.  Why doesn’t he want me?”  She asks shaking her head as it made no sense.

I take in a slow breath.  “Tracey, I’m one small part of a plan he has for conquer the world.  I’m a step, he isn’t marrying me because of who I am.  He is marrying me for what I represent.  We do not represent the same things.”

“Yeah right.  He loves you.  Why else would it always be your name on his lips?”  She asks sounding angry now.

I look at her silently and it takes a moment before I realize the entire room is silent.

Luna-

I look down at the two packages sitting on the table in front of me.  Both are wrapped in vibrant red paper that has been spelled to resist any kind of detection spell.  They are untraceable back to myself or any of those who helped create what is inside of them.  One is addressed to The Dark Lord and Lady, and the other’s tag simply says Ginny.

Blaise has given me some distance since he found out the truth.  He has slept in his own room and we have only spoken about the magazine.  It feels cold after how heated it had been between us since the wedding, but right now it was for the best.

I slip the small of the two packages into my purse that I plan to use today then I pick up the larger of the two and take it down the hall.  Looking around I make sure my husband is no where in sight when I open the door to the next room.

Closing the door behind me I look at Death cloak standing in the middle of the room as if it is already filled with a person.  With a sigh I walk over to a small set of drawers and withdrew his wand as I put my own away.  I have to deliver the soul trap to Ronald, and I can’t do it as myself.

I wish I could have had Nicolas do it, but he left with Ron three days ago to start and prepare the potion for Harry’s resurrection.  I have to wonder if the old man will survive casting the magic that is needed for such an act, but I have an odd feeling he doesn’t plan to.

Once I have his wand I walk over to the cloak and step inside.  I feel myself being surrounded by the darkness of it and it feels comforting in a different kind of way.  Right now I am not myself, I am Death.

When Ronald shows at our meeting place he does not appear alone.  There is a second wizard with him, this one dressed in some kind of uniform, maybe a waiter, or footman?

“He will be taking the package?”  I ask holding the red wrapped parcel out to the two of them.

“As well as retrieving it after the ritual.”  Ronald says sounding a bit hollow.

“Does he know what he is carrying?”  I ask turning to the man that couldn’t be older than his early twenties.  He seems so young to me as I look at him and it takes me a moment to remind myself that I’m only seventeen.

“We think it is better for him to not know everything.  For his safety as well as packages.”  Ronald says before I can say too much.

“Very well.  I have already given the other piece to the operative with instructions on what is needed.”  I say talking about myself.

“Do we really need to use her?”  He asks sending the boy away so we can talk freely.

“We’ve been over this, she is the only one who can get in to see Ginny before the ritual.  It will look in no way odd for her to give Ginny a gift before her friends wedding.”  I remind him.

“Maybe we should use Ginny, we already have several in place for the exit, I could…”  He starts but I’m already shaking my head.

“She is the only one who will be close enough.  The others already have enough to do.”  I tell him again.  “They can do this.  They are both stronger than you give them credit for.”

“Don’t you think I know that?!”  He asks suddenly angry.  “They’re all strong.  Ginny, Luna, Hermione, I’m surrounded my strong intelligent women.  I just-I’m not strong enough to lose them.”  He says making me frown.  “I don’t think you would understand, I don’t believe you have anyone.”

“You would be surprised.”  I tell him before turning to walk away.  “If all goes well we will see each other in the clearing tonight.”  I call back before I Apparate away.

I’m just closing the door to the cloak’s room when I feel a warm hand on my back.

“Is that where you keep it?”  Blaise asks with a soft whisper against my ear.  “This other you?”

I nod slowly and I feel him wrap both arms around my waist from behind.  I relax into his chest and wonder at how much I have missed this closeness to him.

“So you were already out this morning?”  He asks resting his chin on my shoulder.

“Yes.”  I say deciding I won’t lie to him any longer.

“I won’t ask the details.”  He says which makes me frown and turn my head to look up at him.

“Why not?”  I ask confused that he hasn’t turned me in or even really interested me fully himself.

“Because you are safer the less people know.  It is my pure luck I found out, so I trust you to keep your own secrets.”  He says kissing my neck before taking my hand.  “But if we want to get there early enough that you can wish her well than we need to get in the shower.”  He adds leading me back towards my room.

“So you’re not mad at me any more?”  I ask once we are disrobing.  It becomes more and more clear he plans for us to share this shower.

“I wasn’t mad at you exactly.  I was just figuring out how this marriage was going to work for me.  When it happened I never really thought about you having your own life and goals.”  He says a little sheepishly.  “Beyond the magazine, I didn’t..”  He shakes his head again as he moves towards me.

I have to admire how beautiful his nude form is.  His dark skin is smooth and unmarked.  His chest and stomach are sculpted, but without the true definition of someone who works out too much.  He is always so confident in his body, as if he knows exactly how perfect he is.

I still blush when he looks at me.  I feel scrawny and underdeveloped next to him, sickly pale with messy hair.

“I love that.”  He says tracing a finger down my cheek, then neck and chest.  “It is such a pretty pink.”  He tells me as he looks over my skin.  I realise he is talking about the blush and flush all the more which makes him chuckle.  “When are you going to stop being so shy?”

“No one has ever said I was shy.”  I tell before he leans down and kisses my lips.

“Maybe only when it comes to your body.” He says once the kiss is broken.  His hand moves to my hips and he guides me back step by step until the floor changes from carpet to tile under my feet.  “I love you know.”  He adds after a moment.  “I feel like I’m taking a virgin every time, you are just so innocent.”

“I don’t think you’ve left me much sexual innocence.”  I say as he leans past me to turn on the shower.

Once we are both under the steaming water he makes love to me with his mouth.  He kisses every inch of my skin with great care.  When his tongue presses into the deepest parts of myself I can’t help but call his name like a prayer.

I lose time as we finally come together under the falling water.  His body joined with mine, making me feel as if I am finally a complete soul, as if this was the only thing I didn’t even know I was missing.

I cry out his name again before I feel the haze press down on me.  “Love’s choice…” I start before he covers my mouth with his and kisses the rest of the words away.

After we both take our time to recover we actually get to the business of getting cleaned then dressed, neither of us saying a thing about any of it.

“Why did you stop me?”  I finally ask once we are walking up towards Hogwarts.

“I didn’t want the future.”  He says in a low voice.  “I wanted to be in that moment a little longer.”  He adds looking over to me with a slight smile.  “I’m going to go mingle, you go see her.”  He adds kissing my cheek before heading towards the Great Hall.

I’m lost in thoughts of that moment as I head down to the Chamber and her rooms there.  When I am faced with two redheaded guards outside her room I can’t help but smile up at Bill and Charlie Weasley.

“She wrote that you two had joined her guard.”  I say glad something good had come out of her attack.

“Yeah, it’s all very…”  Bill starts shaking his head.  “I feel like we should be doing something better than protecting this door today.”  He says running fingers through long hair.

I smile at him sadly understanding how he must feel.  “But you are keeping your family safe, that is the important thing.  I understand that.”  I tell him looking to the ground, unsure how these men judge who I appear to be now.

“I saw you slipped an article into the magazine about Tribbles.”  Charlie says as if he wants to cheer me up.  “Our dads would have loved it.”  He adds as he put a hand on my shoulder.

“Thanks, am I allowed in?”  I ask looking past them to Ginny’s door.

“We’ve got to check the purse.”  Bill says sounding regretful.

“Don’t worry about it, I want her safe too.”  I say handing it over so they can look through the bits and things I keep there.

Charlie frowns at the small gift and casts a few spells on it before putting it back in the purse.  I smile both at his caution and the fact the paper worked.

“Okay, you’re safe.”  They say before opening the door for me.

I put a big smile on my face before I walk into the very busy room.  Ginny isn’t exactly dressed yet, though it would still be early for that for her.  All the girls but Hermione are getting nails, both feet and hands, gone over my an absolute army of elves.

“Luna!”  Ginny calls shaking elves away from her hands and feet so she can get up to greet me.

“I was hoping to catch you at a quiet moment.”  I say looking around at how many witnesses there are in the room now.

“They’re almost done.”  She says as she hugs me tightly as if she needs contact to calm herself.

“Do you think we could talk alone after?” I ask looking to all her maids.  “Maybe you me and Hermione, like old times?”  I ask trying to seem calm about it.

Ginny lets the elves lead her back to her seat then so that can finish up their work.  “That would actually be pretty lovely.”  She says looking about to burst with nerves.

“I have things Millicent and I should go get and organize, but I’m not sure what we can do about Tracey.”  Daphne cuts in obviously trying to help.  So I must have pulled off casual.

“Lock her in my room and put a sound ward up.  Should have done it this morning.”  Hermione says glaring at the silent blond.

I know I’ve missed something now.  Tracey always seems to be a bit of extra trouble, but never to this degree.

“Perfect.”  Daphne says with a nod.  “We still need to get her ready for the ritual, Ginny needs three maids there.”

Hermione shakes her head and sighs.  “That’s too dangerous.  Isn’t there anyone else you can get?  I know why you can’t use me but…”  Hermione glances over in my direction.  “What about Luna?  She’s pureblood and a loyalist.  Everyone knows Ginny and her are friends.”

I swallow thinking how me being a part of the ritual will affect any plans for today and decide it is safe if Hermione’s suggestion goes any further.

“Why does tracey need to be replaced?”  I ask looking around the room a bit confused.

“Only because she tried to kill our Lady and take her place this morning.”  Millicent says in a cold tone as she glares at the blond next to her.

“Oh.”  I say looking at the dead woman myself.  “I can step in, could someone send a message to my husband?”  I ask not wanting Tracey in the rite any more than the others in the room.

“If we replace her he’ll ask why.”  Ginny protests, making me frown.

“We would rather risk her safety than yours.  The maid’s parts aren’t that complicated, but they are in a position to hurt you.”  Daphne points out, clearly liking the idea of no longer using Tracey.

Ginny shakes her head with a sigh.  “Fine.”  She says and I am suddenly pulled down into a chair by the elves who had been working on Tracey’s nails.

“Bill!”  Daphne calls out to the guards.  When they open the door the older one looks inside.

“Yeah?”  He asks seeming not very happy about answering to Daphne.

“Can you two lock Tracey into Hermione’s room for now.  I’m sure there are those who will wish to talk to her after the ritual.”

“Wait, I need a few things.”  Hermione says going into her room as the men come in to take custody of the very sick looking Slytherin.

When Hermione exits with an armful of books I can’t help but laugh.  “I need something to do while you all are…”  She glances to Ginny and shakes her head.

It isn’t too long after that that the elves finish up and Daphne and Millicent leave us so I can talk to Ginny alone.  Once we are all sure no one is about I cast another ward on both Hermione’s door and the one leading to the hall.

“I have something for you.”  I say feeling a lump form in my stomach.

“You didn’t have to get me anything.”  Ginny says shaking her head.

“Are we really pretending like today is something to celebrate?”  Hermione says coldly.

I swallow thickly and look up at the two Gryffindors.  “By the end of today I think we will be celebrating.”  I tell them feeling more nervous than I thought I would.  Maybe it’s that I don’t have the mask to protect me here.

“What?”  They both ask looking at me in confusion.

“Open it.”  I tell her thrusting the red package into Ginny’s hands.

She frowns but does as I ask, opening the small glass and gold device.  We made it as small as possible so she could hide it during the rite.

“It looks like a syringe, but with no plunger.”  Hermione says with a deep frown.

“They need the Dark Lord’s blood.”  I tell the women looking from one to the other.  “If you stab him in the leg it will get enough for the potion.”  I tell Ginny who is still frowning at the device.  “But it has to be after the ritual is done, after Harry’s soul is gone.”

“What?”  Ginny looks up in alarm and I realize she didn’t know what the ritual would do to Harry.

I look from one girl to the other.  “This wedding rite was designed to push whatever is left of Harry out and destroy him.”

“Those little…”  Hermione growls looking like she is about to punch something.

“The rebels have made plans so that he won’t be destroyed.”  I tell them slowly, not knowing how much I should keep back at this point.  “But to make it all work they need the Dark Lord’s blood.”

Hermione stops in her tracks a moment before turning back slowly to face me.  “But they need it after Harry is gone?”  She asks again and I can see her intellect working on the problem.

“I’m not exactly sure how it all works.”  I tell him and realize I getting much better at lying that I’m completely comfortable with.  “They just said they frownd a way to keep Harry from being destroyed and they need you to take the Dark Lord’s blood.”  I say before looking around once more before taking a final breath.  “It may also be a good idea to have a bit of a bag packed…”  I add looking at Hermione.

“They are coming for us?”  Hermione says getting to her feet.

“Again I’m not sure of the exact plan, but they have a way of getting down here and they plan to take her out of the Great Hall.”  I say looking to a very pale Ginny.

She shakes her head looking down at the device.  “I can do this part for Harry, but I don’t want anyone…”  She starts before I take her arm.

“Ginny you have to go with them.  I don’t know what the Dark Lord will do after you take his blood.”  I remind her softly.

She chews on her lower lip and nods slowly, though I am not completely convinced we won’t have to stun her.

Daphne-

The moment we leave Ginny’s room I send Millicent to go and let Blaise know that Luna will be joining the wedding party.  I know he will be wondering by now what is taking her so long and I really wouldn’t like her to come on my errand.

I head further down the hall until I meet the two fully masked Death Eaters outside of the Dark Lord’s door.

“I need to speak to him about some changes.”  I tell them a little nervous about how he will take changes to his plans at the last minute.

The first thing that hits me as I enter the room is a metallic almost coppery smell.  I find the Dark Lord standing stark naked in the middle of his floor as two female attendants pain careful runes all over his body.  With the way the red paint is drying brown I have a good idea what the smell is, and I can’t help my stomach from turning.

“What changes?”  He asks without moving or even opening his eyes to look at me.

“I don’t trust your Mistress to be one of the maids attending Ginny today.”  I start knowing my Lady will be pissed when she finds out I came right to him.

“Do you have a good reason, or have you just grown to dislike her that much?”  The Dark Lord asks sounding bored by this already.

“She tried to kill Ginny this morning and take her place in the ritual.”  I tell him trying to sound as casual as I can.

“WHAT!?”  He growls moving suddenly and ruining some of the intercut work.  “Why wasn’t I contacted immediately?”  He asks his wand suddenly in his hand.  Where the hell did it come from?

“My Lady was worried you would overreact and we have it perfectly under control.  Tracey is locked in Hermione’s room as we speak.  Lady Radcliff has volunteered to take Tracey’s place.”  I say bowing my head.

He clinches his hand around the wand for a long time before he turns back to stand where he had been in the first place.  The women clean the ruined marks off carefully and start from where the runes are well placed.

“I will deal with the brat after my honeymoon.”  He says after a long while of silence.  “The Lovegood girl will be fine.  Take Antonin to retrieve Miss Davis from the mudblood’s room and escort her down to a more hospitable cell.”

“Yes my Lord.”  I say with a bow, taking his words as a dismissal it takes me a moment to realize that one of the masked men outside must be Dolohov.

The moment I’m in the hall he slips off his mask and smiles at me.  “Funny meeting you here.”  He says offering me his arm as if we are out for a sunday walk.

“You are attending the Dark Lord today?”  I ask even though that is obvious.

“I volunteered when I found out you would be attending the.. humm we will have to find something good to call her once she is his wife.”  He says thoughtfully.

“No, I don’t think the Dark Lord will take a liking to hearing his wife called His Slut, or whore.”  I say nodding slowly.

“Ah yes, Malfoy made that slip last night.”  Dolohov says with a slight from.

“Is he okay?”  I ask knowing he must mean Draco’s father since I had been with Draco at the time.

“He will be.  Nothing permanent, and he has already had an heir so it really isn’t that big of a deal.”  He says but I can see the shiver that goes up his spine.

“She isn’t really dark..”  I say not wishing to think about Lucius at the moment.

“No, though there has been a new name going around.  Nott started it.”  Antonin says thoughtfully.  “Senior, I mean.  The son is being held for now.”

“What is he calling her?”  I ask unsure if I really want to know.

“He says it is something the Dark Lord said to him, and it has stuck in his head.”  He explains stopping me a few doors down from Ginny’s.

“What is it?”  I ask again very curious now.

“Lady Mercy.”  He says with a funny kind of smile.  “You know many of his followers were sceptical when he first took that boy’s body.  They thought it would change him and weaken him, but if anything it has made him stronger.  He’s kind of odd around her though.  Nott said the Dark Lord told him that she was his mercy and he had known of his own.”

“I don’t think that was exactly what he said, but pretty close.”  I tell him remembering that day.  “I think she is going to hate the name, but it is fitting.”  I say thinking about the way they are together.

I feel his finger on my chin as he tilts my face to look up into his eyes.

“You know we would make an excellent team.  You should just agree to marry me.”  He says making me flush a bit in surprise.

“Already jumping to that stage?”  I ask as he takes a step towards me.

“You’ve been ignoring my messages for months.  I’m ready for a wife Daphne, we would make each other more powerful with the union.”  He says backing me into the wall.  “Say yes, we can tell our children we got engaged on the Lord’s wedding day.”

“I need to think.  What about…”  I start and he covers my mouth with his hand.

“If this is really what worries you, you may have a lover as long as my children don’t come out with platnum blond hair.  I don’t want to be talked about, you have to make a very public break with him so people know who you belong to.”

I nod slowly as I think over those conditions.  It would be a good match, and I can see what he means when he says it would serve both our goals, but I can’t bring myself to say yes just yet.

“Give me time.  A week?”  I ask looking at him so I can at least talk to Draco about what this offer could mean.

“Fine, a week.”  He says stepping back from me and offering his arm once again.  “Though I would like to point out I just had you pressed against a wall.”  He adds smugly.

Ginny-

I stand perfectly still blocking out the world as the two beautiful women paint runes in blood all over my body.  I note after a while their work is focused on areas like my stomach breasts and legs.  Places that will not show over the dress that was chosen for me.  I wonder if that was one of the requirements of the dress?

“I think I’m going to be sick.”  I can’t help but say to the other women in the room.

“Just don’t think about it.”  Daphne offers helpfully.  “Once they dry I’ve been told you won’t even be able to smell them.”  She adds after a moment.

“When can I wash them off?”  I ask not for the first time wondering whose blood they were using.

“Umm…”  Daphne starts like there is something that she really doesn’t want to tell me.  “Well I’m sure the Dark Lord will let you shower right after the consummation.”  She says though I can tell by the tone of her voice that isn’t actually an answer to my question.

“When will they wash off?”  I ask opening my eyes to look at the girl.

“They’ll fade after a month or so.”  Luna cuts in seeing that Daphne didn’t want to answer.  “Mine did, though this isn’t exactly the same.”  She adds with a frown.

“Most will fade after a month or so.”  Daphne agrees sighing.  “A few mark you as married and will never go away.  This is a blood tieing more than a normal marriage rite.”

“That is pretty dark magic even for him?”  Hermione says getting up to inspect the women’s work.

“I’m realizing more and more that he really didn’t give me a lot of information about this wedding.”  I say thinking about what was about to happen to Harry’s soul.

I wonder if I will still love Tom without the moments of Harry’s kindness seeping through.  It will be a test of the last thread of sanity I have to cling to for my feelings for the evil man.  I glance down at Hermione and wonder if she is right, and the reason I love him is more to do with some break than any real emotion.

“She can put the dress on now.”  One of the women says as the two gather their things.

“Why are there so many runes for fertility?”  Hermione asks with a frown as she examines my stomach.

The older of the two women look down at her as if she shouldn’t dare be so close to their work.  “Lady Weasley is to be wife of the Dark Lord.  The empire requires an heir.”  She speaks in a tone that tells the entire room how she feels about the question and the person who asked it.

Hermione frowns and I know she is about to say something even more rude to the woman.

“Of course.”  I say as I already knew Tom wanted a child from me.  “You may go.”  I tell the woman giving her a clear understanding of what I thought about her.

Once the women are gone Daphne and Luna help me into the dress and make sure the runes stay covered.

“You should have let me yell at that woman.”  Hermione says with a sour face.  “The empire requires an heir?”  She says in a mocking tone.  “Why would Voldemort want an heir?  Has he given up on his quest for immortality?”  She asks looking around to Daphne and me.

“I don’t think so.”  Daphne answers thoughtfully as she fixes my hair.

“I think it is much more a statement of his own power, and a way to set an example for the masses.”  I tell them stepping back from everyone to look at myself in the mirror.  “I know all this anyway.  We’ve talked about it already.”

“Even with the spells in place it isn’t a sure thing that you will get pregnant.”  Daphne points out more for Hermione benefit than mine.

Before anyone can say another word the door opens and three silver masked Death Eaters stand in the hall.  A cold stone drops into my stomach as I think about the small metal and glass device hidden deep within the folds of my dress.

I’m walk down the halls of Hogwarts looking straight ahead.  My maids and Luna are each on the arm of one of the Death Eaters in front of me.  Behind me are all of my guards.  The halls are packed with people from every corner of the empire, but I try not to think of what they see when they look at me.

When we get to the Great Hall I see that is has been completely cleared out.  The dias where the professors and staff eat is covered in boxes and gifts of all kinds.  in the very center of the room Tom stands in black dress robes, looking to be every bit the shadow to the light of my dress.

I walk to him as was practiced the few times over the last week, and the Death Eaters and maids take their places around the painted circle.  It is only the eight of us in the large room while the rest of the world waits outside for the bonding of their ruler.

With a long calming breath I kneel down on the stone floor in front of him and lower my head.  I close my eyes as he starts to speak the dark and ancient spells that will kind me to him more tightly than I already am.

The rhythmic words lull me into a dazed kind of trace as I wait for it to be my moment.  As the spell gathers power I feel a strange sort of tugging on my core, like a small stand is being teased from a large ball of yarn.

I feel him kneel down in front of me and I can’t help but look up into his beautiful red eyes.  “You will be mine.”  He says while the magic works its way around us and through us.

“I always have been.”  I tell him before he takes my lips into a devouring kiss.  I feel as he shifts me on top of his kneel form and suddenly he is inside of me.

I feel myself melt with him in a completely new way as he forced my unprepared body to take him with brutal force.  I think briefly that I should be afraid of this, I should be broken for him because of what other men did, but I know he is not other men and he is only taking what already belongs to him.

I feel find myself on my back as I feel magic building up inside of me.  I know with the magic encouraging the union neither of us will last long.

My hand moves into the folds of my dress to read my hand around what I know I must do.  I won’t go with them in the end, but I will give them what they need to save Harry.

“VOLDEMORT!”  I scream as his seed spills into me and my own pleasure crests with the power of the spell.  I see a flicker of green pass over his eyes as I look up into him, then I see it disappear completely.

“He’s gone.”  Tom pants in a pleased tone as he is still seated deep inside of me.  “No one between us any more my pet.”

“No one” I agree leaning up to kiss him once more right before I drive the needle into the back of his shoulder.  “But I still need to save him.”  I add once I break from the kiss.

His eyes widen at what must be only a slight sting, but he quickly pushes me off of him. I keep his blood closed tightly in my hand while the most dangerous wizard in the world moves over me.  I can see the fury in his eyes and I only hope the rebellion gets what they need after he kills me.

“I’m sorry, but I love you both.” I tell him and something flickers behind his eyes that I can read.  Before he can react though the back doors to the chamber blow off their hendges.  The eight of us look back as a floor of wizards all in red enter the room.

The Death Eaters move forward with hesitation to protect their sovereign.  Even Daphne and Millicent get in the way as more come towards the center of the space.  I wonder what they will do without wands.

“Daphne!  Get my wife out of here.”  Tom orders as he gets off of me and draws his own wand.

My friend rush back towards me and helps me to my feet.  “It will be okay my Lady.”  She says not sounding exactly convinced of that as several of the unknown wizards get past the line of defence.

None of them seem to care about causing Death Eater or even Tom harm, their only focus seems to be getting to me.  When Daphne realizes this she pulls me as quickly towards the other side of the hall as our feet can take us.

We aren’t half way down the hall when one grabs me around the waist and pulls me back towards him.

“Funny meeting you again.”  Michael says from behind a darkened hood.  My blood goes cold as I freeze in his arms.  “Think we should have some fun with your pretty maid too this time?”  He asks as another grabs Daphne.  “I’ve heard she’s used to rough play.”

“Corner let her go.”  I hear a familiar voice that actually makes me want to cry.  “You’re already on thin ice with me.”

“Just doing as directed Sir.”  My captor says before pushing me towards the new man.

I look up at Ron, unable to see into the depth of his cloak I still know it’s him.  “Take it.”  I tell him when I find my voice.  I press the blood into his hand as I try to move out of my brother’s reach.

“I’m taking you.”  He says before takes my arm.

“I can’t Ron.”  I say in a soft voice, not wishing to advertise to anyone that my brother is here.  “I belong here now, but get the others; our brothers, Hermione, save them all if you can.”

“No Ginny, you don’t.”  Ron says before he casts a quick stunner in my direction and the whole world goes dark.

Luna-

I watch as one of the DA stuns Ginny and catches her before she hits the ground.  Since the fighting has broken out around me I have been very careful to stay out of both Death Eater and the DA’s way.  I watch all around me as the large number of DA easily overtake the Death Eaters, but they are careful to cause no real harm.

Lord Voldemort is not so easily subdued and is taking on at least ten of the group by himself.  I move back against the wall and take it all in as the plan seems to go perfectly.  When Ginny has been taken from the room the rest retreat slowly to give the one holding her time to get out of the castle.

Not wishing to seem like a spy, the moment the room is more clear of flying spells I start making a run for the far door.  I know that there are many more Death Eaters and other loyalists on the other side, but by the time I get to it it will be too late for them to stop the DA’s goals.

When I pull the large door open I don’t really have to fake the panic on my face.  I’m still worried about those who went after Hermione and those still retreating from the castle.

All of Ginny’s guards stand on the other side of the door and I don’t know how to tell them to run for it.

“They took her!”  I say instead pointing towards the now far door.

When I look back I see the Dark Lord casting spells to break the ward the DA put up as they left.

“No.”  I hear Draco say as the entire guard rushes forward to go after their lost lady.

Not wishing to draw any more attention to myself I move through teh crowd to find Blaise.  He is leaning against a wall in the back.  As always he looks utterly relaxed even though the rest of teh guests are in a panic.

When I eyes meet me reaches out and pulls me into his arms before whispering softly in my ear.  “What happened?”

“They took her.  They came in force and took Ginny.”  I tell him making myself sound as shocked as I could.

“Did you know?” He asks obviously not buying the act.

I nod slightly but only because I promised myself I wouldn’t lie to him any longer.  He knew the truth about me, but he was keeping it to himself.

“Anything traceable back to you?”  He asks pulling me closely as if he was just a loving husband comforting his scared wife.

Luna shook her head into his neck.  “No.  I’ve stayed out of most of the workings today.”  I tell him as I take in a deep breath.  “But I’m sure if they don’t get her back…”

“…they will question everyone here, starting with those at the rite.”  Blaise says frowning as he thinks about how much danger she is in.  “Luna, if he questions you himself…”  He starts looking around like he wanted to get her out of there.

“Than I will put my best face on it.”  I say pressing herself back against him as if their closeness would give me the strength that she needed.

“It’s very hard to lie to him.”  He says softly as his hand pet over the back of her dress.

“We can always hope he is too busy.”  I tell him and close the world out while we wait to see what will happen next.

It is a good hour before the guests are rounded up and separated into groups so they can be questioned.  When the Death Eater comes to take me from him Blaise doesn’t move an inch.

“She’s my wife, I’m going with her.”  He says giving the men a look I can’t see.

After that he keeps his arm around me as we are led back into the Great Hall.  I see Daphne and Millicent kneeling near the edge of the room and I wonder for the first time what will happen to them.

The Dark Lord sits in the center of the room watching us as she draw closer.

“Lady Zabini.”  He says as we approach.

“My Lord.”  I answer with as much frightened respect as I can muster.

“As you probably realize by now my wife is gone.”  He says coldly.

“Yes my Lord, I saw them stun her.”  I say trying to keep as close to the truth as I could.

“Really?  Miss Greengrass says the same, that they had to force her to go with them.”  He says thoughtfully.

I glance over at Daphne before looking to the floor.  Her colors are mostly those of fear, and Millicent looks the same.  I wonder if it is to do with their questioning or if they are worried for their futures.

“Yes my Lord.”  I confirm again.  “When I could I could get across the room safely I went to get the other guards.”  I tell nervously.

“So you are the one you opened the main chamber door?”  He asks as if he really didn’t know how that happened.

“Yes my Lord.”

“It is a pity that it was too little, too late.”  He says regretfully.  “Or was that a part of the plan?”

“I’m sorry I couldn’t do more my Lord, but we were told to leave our wands in Ginny’s room”  I tell him glancing up at him fearfully.

He is surrounded all the more tightly by darkness, but now it doesn’t shift as it did.  I see colors in the darkness that I could not tell before.  He’s angry of course but he is also very worried and the two emotions are fighting against one another for dominance.

“You love her…”  I can’t help letting the words slip as I have the revelation.

The Dark Lord chuckles giving me a mocking smile.  “I don’t love Lady Zabini.”  He tells him simply looking at me over once more.  “You were once a member of the DA back before the final battle.”

“Yes my Lord.”  I say as I feel Blaise’s arm tighten around my shoulder.

“Now you help to spread my words with your father’s magazine.”  He says like he just read this in some kind of report.  “How did changing sides so dramatically feel?”

“I didn’t want Death Eaters with their hands all over my father’s work.”  I tell him honestly.  “I won’t try to say that I don’t have sympathies towards those I feel deserve their freedom.  There is nothing wrong with Muggleborns.  What there is something wrong with is a group who would rape a woman out of vengeance and then kidnap her from her wedding.”

“What if she went willingly, she seemed to be working with them.”  The Dark Lord says to gauge my reaction.

“Not from what I saw my Lord!”  I tell him in a panic.

“She took something very important from me, something that can be used as a weapon against me.  She told me herself she still loves Potter.”

“Harry’s dead.”  I say as my eyes start to water.

“Look into my eyes Lady Zabini.”  He says finally.

Even though I knew this had to be coming my stomach still drops as I look up at him.  Instead of putting up a wall like so many of the books say, I let him enter my mind freely but work to shift my thoughts in ways to give him the wrong information.

When he starts to look at what I have been doing that day I shift my thoughts randomly between sitting in Ginny’s room and making love to my husband.  He chuckles at this before trying to move into dark parts of my mind.

He can obviously tell I’m hiding something, so I give him embarrassing tidbits at a time.  When I got drunk that first time with Blaise.  The way I felt when he was threatening to rape me in front of Draco.  When I was afraid and drugged at Rookwood’s mercy.

“Wait.”  He says finding something interesting in the moment.  “When did you last see him little dove?”  He asks under his breath.

I flush as my mind skips to the day on the street and I try to push it anywhere else.  He pushes back against this and makes me relive the memory a few times before he shakes his head and passes out of my mind.

“Your wife’s killed one of my Death Eater.”  He says looking to Blaise.

“I’m sorry my Lord.”  I say falling to my knees to keep the focus off of Blaise.  “I didn’t mean to, my magic got away from me. I didn’t mean to.”

“I know child.”  He says coldly with a shake of his head.  “I’m not completely unreasonable it was obvious in your memory that it was an accident.  What was not an accident was the actions of my other Death Eater.  But I have no time to deal with this today.  Take her home, get her out of my sight.”

With those words I work very hard to constrain the floor of relief in me.  When the door closes behind us I slump into Blaise arms and he holds me all the closer.

“We need to get home.”  He says softly as he leads me down the long path to the gates.  “I’m very proud of you, not many can keep things from him.”  He says though I can still tell he is afraid.

“But it isn’t over.”  I say thinking there will be further investigation into Rookwood.

“No, it isn’t over.” Blaise agrees kissing the top of my head.

Daphne-

“Funny meeting you again.”  One of the red clad men says as he tightens his hold on Ginny.  I can tell by the way she stills she knows and fears him.  “Think we should have some fun with your pretty maid too this time?”  He asks as another figure grabs me from behind, there are just too many of them.  “I’ve heard she’s used to rough play.”

I know they are just trying to scare us. There really isn’t time to do what he is suggesting and make it out of here alive.  But it still sends a cold chill through me to think about.

“Corner let her go.”  Another figure says with authority.  “You’re already on thin ice with me.”

“Just doing as directed Sir.”  Corner says before he tosses Ginny at the woman man.

She looks up at him as if she is seeing a ghost.  “Take it.”  She says pressing something into his hand.

“I’m taking you.”  He answers as he take hold of her arms.

“I can’t Ron.”  I hear her say ever so softly.  “I belong here now, but get the others; our brothers, Hermione, save them all if you can.”

“No Ginny, you don’t.”  Is all he says before he casts a stunner on her and she slumps in his arms.

“Leave that one, we don’t need her.”  Ron says to my captor and the man thrusts me roughly to the ground.

Without a wand and in a stupid gown I struggle to my feet and try to run after Ron and my Lady.  I don’t know what will happen if they take her out of here.  It doesn’t feel safe for her or me so I aim to tackle him.  Several more red figures move in my way once he is passed the main line.

I dodge several spells before a leg locking curse hits be dead on and I fall to the ground.  I close my eyes in defeat and wait for it all to end.

“You were supposed to get her out.”  The Dark Lord says as he kicks my prone form with his foot.

I whimper and close my eyes tightly.  “I’m sorry my Lord, they overpowered us.”  I tell him softly.

“You mean overpowered you.”  He says snidely.  “I’m sure my wife is happy to be rid of me.”

“She wanted to stay my Lord.  They had to stun her to carry her out.” I tell him wondering why he ever cares.

“After what she took it is smarter of her to run.”  He says leaning down over me and turning my chin so I have to look up into his eyes.  “Did you know about any of these plans Daphne?”  He asks as I feel him enter my mind without warning or care.  Memories of the past few days flashed through my mind as he looked for some connection that simply wasn’t there.

He watches the moments of the battle over and over again before he pulls away suddenly.  When he was done with me he tossed me back towards the ground and stalked away.  Itw as Millicent who undid the spells and helped me over to the wall as he and his Death Eaters decided what to do next.

“Do you think she is okay?”  Milly asks sounding more than worried for our Lady.

“It was her brother.  I think she is safe for now at least.”  I tell her not thinking the same was true for us.

When the Lovegood girl is brought in with Blaise I stiffen a moment before I force myself to relax.  He won’t be looking for her abilities I remind myself but I still can’t watch as he questions her.

When I look up again the girl is gone and another Death Eater approaches him in a panic.  I hear the man say mudblood and I know Hermione must be gone as well.

“What are we going to do?”  I ask myself more than the girl beside me.

“Ready her rooms for her return.”  Millicent says firmly.  “He won’t let her stay away for.  She is his wife now.”

I smile at that and shake my head.  Who would have thought the day Ginny tired herself to the Dark Lord would be the day she would find some kind of freedom?

Millicent and me sit there for a long time, watching as Death Eaters and others come and go.  First all the guests at here for the wedding a questioned and some are even led away.  I feel Milly shift next to me many times as we sit uncomfortably on the floor.  Our wands were still in Draco’s custody, but I haven’t seen him or any of Ginny’s guards for that matter.  My mind starts to swim around new dark places as I wonder if they are being punished for her escape.

When someone pushes a warm porcelain cup into my hands I look up in surprise.  I hadn’t even noticed the man approach.  Dolohov is crouched down in front of me, trying to look into my eyes.

“Worried?”  He asks still kindly.

“The men who attacked my Lady just kidnapped her, how should I be?”  I ask feeling it was important to reiterate with anyone I could that Ginny was taken against her will.

“You really think she didn’t want this Daphne?”  He asks sounding slightly amused.

“I know she didn’t, she told him her place was here.”  I tell him with a deep frown.  “She wouldn’t leave us if she had a choice.”  I say glancing over to the Dark Lord I start to wonder about my own punishment.  Would he keep up his end of the deal with Ginny?  Were Draco and I still under her protection?

As if reading my mind Antonin brushes some hair from my face and sighs.  “I would protect you.” He says softly before getting up and rejoining the group around the Dark Lord.

“He’ll find her Daphne.”  Milly says firmly.  “Those evil outcasts will not be able to keep our queen.”

I can’t help but laugh at the girl’s word choice.  “We’ll see.”  I tell her before drinking the tea that had been given to me.

Chapter 14: What is Precious

Daphne-

It felt like hours before Antonin walks back over to us with a grimace on his face.  “You ladies can go back to your rooms.  You won’t be permitted to leave the castle until further notice.”  He says seriously looking between each of us.  “For your protection of course.”

I nod before trying to get to my feet as gracefully as I can.  “Does our Lord think the rebels will come after us?”  I ask trying to seem unafraid for my own future.

“We don’t know.  Would you like me to walk you down?”  He asks looking more to me than Milly.

“Can I go find Adrian?”  She asks softly, we were both worried for Ginny’s guard after not seeing them this whole time.

“The three Weasley’s are being held in the dungeons, but the others should be around.”

“I don’t think they knew anything about this Lord Dolohov.”  I tell him seriously as Millicent nods and heads off to find Adrian.

“I think you should worry less about them and more about yourself.”  He answers before taking my arm and guiding me from the room.

“I know.”  I say with a sigh shaking my head.  “I just can’t turn off the part of me that likes to keep her business in order.”

“The good news on that front is that with both you and Lady Radcliff having the same story about the kidnapping, the Dark Lord believes she didn’t wish to leave.”

A bit of tension about that lifts and I nod.

“The bad news is she took some of his blood with her, so she’ll be punished when we find her.”  He says shaking his head.

“If they’re smart they’ll hold her for ransom.”  I tell him trying to think of all the ways they could get our Lady back.

“We both know they were trying to save her.”  He says in a mocking tone.

“I think you’re right, but one can hope.”  I tell him shaking my own head.

“In other bad news neither you nor young master Malfoy have her protection while she’s gone.”  He says glancing down to me.  “I’m not even sure you’ll have it once she returns, it may be part of her punishment.”

I bite the inside of my cheek to not show my fear on my face.  “What is he going to do?”  I ask more softly.

“I’m not sure yet, but if you agreed to marry me I could protect you.”  He says lightly.

“Why would you still want that my Lord?”  I asks shaking my head.  “I hold no power at the moment and we can both agree that even when she does return that power will be greatly diminished.”

“You’ll fix that in time, and I know that given the chance you have a mind that will go places.”  He says smirking down at me.

“And what about Draco?”  I ask a bit more firmly.

“I think he’s in a much better position to protect himself than you are Miss Greengrass.  The Dark Lord is without a mistress at the moment.  How long before he turns to the pretty common girl?  How long before he decides he could start punishing your Lady right now, simply by punishing you?”

I suddenly can’t breath as his words hit home.  I stop in the middle of the hall and try to take in air.  Shaking my head I try to deny this is what I’ve feared since Ginny was taken away.

“What did you say to her?!”  Draco’s voice cuts through the air.

“I simply reminded Miss Greengrass that the only reason the Dark Lord stopped before is now no longer standing in his way.”  Antonin says coldly.

“Daphne breathe.”  Draco tells me and I feel his hands on my shoulders.

“Tell her I’ll be waiting for her answer.  I’m staying in the guest rooms tonight, on the fourth floor.  She has until I leave in the morning.”

“Daphne, I need you to take a breath.”  Draco presses something into my hand.  “You’re no longer defenseless.

I wrap my fingers around the familiar wand and let myself fall against his chest.  I take a slow breath and shake my head.

“That’s it, and another.”  He sooths running a hand up and down my back.

“I’m going to have to marry him.”  I tell Draco softly.  “It’s the only way.”

Draco wraps his arms around me fully and shakes his head.  “Maybe if we got married.”

“The Dark Lord wouldn’t think twice about cuckolding you.”  I remind him shaking my head.  “He would make you thank him for the honor.”

He sighs and pulls me in more tightly.  “You were thinking about him anyway.”  He reminds me.

“When our power was more balanced.  Now he’ll make demands if I go to him tonight.”  I say and I feel Draco moving me back slowly towards our rooms.

“Anyway I thought you were courting Blaise’s cousin.”  I say trying to take the focus off me.  “That can still work out for us.”

“Yeah, she was here today, I was supposed to dance with her at Ginny’s wedding.”  He says coldly.  “I was going to purpose next week.”

“You should still purpose next week.”  I tell him thinking being in a noble marriage would help to protect him a bit.

“Maybe you should go to Dolohov tonight.”  Draco says bringing the conversation back to where I don’t want it.

“I’ll lose you.”  I says ever so softly.

“Maybe you should go to him smelling like me.”  He teases trying to comfort me in the only way he knows.

“Can I just get lost in you tonight?”  I ask resting my head against his shoulder.

“For a little while.”  He answers kissing the top of my head.

Luna-

“We should get something to eat.”  Blaise says kissing my cheek as we walk through the front door.

I can see the worry all over him as he moves away to get the elves to make us dinner.  We hadn’t planned to eat here, but for obviously reasons the reception was canceled.

“You could have told him who I am and keep yourself safe.”  I say still standing by the front door.  “You still could.”  I add after a moment.  “I don’t want you to get hurt over my crusades.”

He stops walking and just stands in the middle of the large front hall.  His back is to me but I can still see the hurt that flairs in his colors in reaction to my words.

“Luna we’re both very aware of the fact that I’m not a good man.”  He says turning slowly to look at me.  “I’m a self-serving pureblood snob who’ll do just about anything to maintain my way of life.”

I look down frowning and shaking my head.  It wasn’t what I’d been trying to say at all.

“But you’ve become a part of that way of life.  I’ll lie, cheat, steal, and kill to keep you safe, to keep you with me.”  He says and I hear his footsteps coming closer.  “I think I’m in love with you oddly enough, and I think you already knew that.  So why do you keep wanting to push me away?  Do you not love me?”

I realize now that we’ve been on the tip of this conversation for a very long time.

“Would you rather I was him, all brave and selfless, and brash?”  He asks and I can hear the hurt in his tone.

“No.”  I say finally before he has a chance to go on.  I look up into his almond shaped eyes and I see his love glowing hot as if it will not be denied.  “No.”  I repeat unsure for once exactly how to express how I’m feeling.  “I keep pushing you away because I know how much of a danger I am to you.  I’ll never be able to stop myself from trying to help those I feel need me.”

He sighs as if he already knew this and was resigning himself to the simple fact.  “You know what?”  He asks taking a step closer to me.  “I can live with that.  I know I have to, which is why I never turned you in.  But I think sometime very soon the Dark Lord is going to find out exactly what you are.  He’s going to discover exactly how useful you could be to him.”

I look down ashamed all of the sudden.  “You don’t know how useful I could be in his hands.”  I tell him shifting uncomfortably.  “But I’d never use any of my abilities for his profit.”

“I know the uses of an oracle Luna.”  He says his hands moving to my sides as he pulls me into a soft embrace.  “I know what he could do with your prophecies.  I know what he’d do to gain that knowledge.”

“And if that wasn’t my only skill?”  I ask wanting to share everything, I am with this man, with my husband.

He sighs and shakes his head above me.  “What else have you been keeping to yourself little dove?”  He asks softly.

“The colors.”  I say just as softly.  “Their my last secret Blaise.  With this you know me better than anyone else alive.  I mean I’ve mentioned it to people before but no one really understands.”

“What do you mean by colors?”  He asks turning my chin up so I have to look into his eyes.

“The colors around all living things.  Most people can’t see them, but I see them without trying.  They shift and move and change depending on how a person is and how they feel.  I can tell when people feel love, hurt, or even hungry.  Which you are all three at this moment.”  I say with a soft smile.  “You’re also a bit confused and slightly aroused, but I find you slightly aroused most of the time.”

“Only around you.”  He says smiling down at me before taking my lips in a soft kiss.  “Luna if you can really see people’s auras you’re a much more dangerous weapon than I thought.  You could be very helpful to either side of this war.”

“I’m on my… I’m on our side.”  I tell him with a frown.  “I know we have different goals, but I also want to keep us safe.”

He takes in a deep breath.  “We need to talk about this, really test it out.”  He says obviously believing me without a bit of mocking.  “Radcliff women are more of a treasure than I thought.”

I hide my face in his chest.  “They’re also a lot more trouble than you thought.”  I tell him playfully.  “You’re not going to like it, but I do have to go soon.”

“What?!”  He asks frowning as he looks down at me once again.

“The rebellion is expecting to meet up with Death in an hour or so.”  I tell him shyly.  “After everything I’ve done I want to be there.”

“Are you going to where Ginny is?”  He asks with a frown.

“No.”  I say knowing they’ll want to keep Ginny very hidden for now.

He lets out a little sigh of relief.  “What possessed them to take her anyway?  Do you know how dumb that was?  How many people they may have sentenced to death today?”

I frown at that and shake my head.  “They saved many of his prisoners today, why not her?”  I ask frowning up at him.

“You should know better than most that things aren’t always so simple.”  He tells me shaking his head.  “At least tell me they plan to use her for the asset she is?  She’s something the Dark Lord wants back very badly.”

“I don’t know their exact plans, but I don’t think Ron plans to use his sister as bait any time soon.”  I say shaking my head.

“Oh, he’s taking the moral high ground after sacrificing her for their little plan today?” Blaise asks coldly.  “You do understand I talk to Daphne and Draco, they’re my friends.”

I look down and frown as my own guilt over what happened to Ginny rises.

“You knew the whole time they were going to do that to her, just to save Potter?”  He asks forcing me to look up at him.

“It’s my fault.”  I tell him tightly.  “I suggested it to them, but it wasn’t supposed to be like it was.”  I say shaking my head.  “But it was the only way to both keep her safe and help Harry to survive.”

Blaise shakes his head and laughs darkly.  “I’m pretty sure whatever torture the Dark Lord would have come up with after she’d been with someone willingly, wouldn’t have been as bad as what happened to her.”

I frown at this thinking about his words and shaking my head.  “We don’t know that for sure.”  I tell him taking a step back.  “I can’t change the past now.”  I add feeling even more horrible if he’s right.

“No, you can’t.”  He says stepping forward and taking me in his arms.  “So do better next time.”  He orders in a firm tone.  His hand moves into my hair in a comforting manner and I rest myself against his chest once again.  “Luna if you’re going to be Death, and fight against this world we live in, you’re going to have to keep the high ground, because if you don’t, then what’s the point?”

With that he pulls my head back and kisses me with such love and passion that I melt into him.  The contact pushes all other thought from my head and I just let myself live in his lips.  He pulls me against him and his hands start to explore in a way that says we’re going to make love right in the front hall.

Ginny-

I open my eyes slowly the rush of magic from the ritual having completely left my body while I was under.  I feel tired and the closet like room I’m in is spinning ever so slowly.  Daphne has warned me there would be backlash from the rite, but I was expecting to have it overshadowed by the games Tom would want to play with my body now that I was completely his.

The room I’m in comes into slow focus.  I think it may actually be a closet I realize after a moment of looking around.  There’s even a bar for hangers across the top.  It’s then that I realize that I’m laying on a pile of clothes.

I sit up slowly as any quick movements make my stomach want to come out through my throat.  I lay a cheek against the cool wall once I’m up and it makes the spinning slowly stop.  With my world coming more into focus I decide I need to figure out what to do now.

“Ron?”  I call wondering why I’m even locked in here.  Maybe they think I’ll try to get away if I’d more freedom.

I think about that for a moment and move forward to try the door as I realized I hadn’t before.  Locked as I thought.  With a sigh I decide I really need someone’s attention.

“Ron?”  I call again then shake my head and swallow.  “Anyone?  I really don’t want to puke in here.  Can you take me to a loo?”  I ask as my stomach starts to churn and the world starts spinning again.

When the door opens I look up into a face that I can’t help but smile.  “Neville.”  I say with a breath.  “Am I in a closet?”  I ask trying to make light of things.

He smiles down at me and helps me to my feet carefully.  “We weren’t sure if you’d try to run or not.”  He says as he gets me to my feet.  “Bathroom is near by.”

I lean on him heavily as he shows me to a full bathroom then stands in the doorway unsurely.  “Ron doesn’t want you left alone until he gets back.”  He says looking embarrassed.

“No one trusts me, you shouldn’t.”  I tell him as I kneel by the toilet and rest my head on the seat.  “My wedding really messed up my… something.”  I tell him before quickly turning my head and emptying my breakfast into the porcelain bowl.

Neville moves forward to grab my hair so I don’t get sick on it.  “Dark arts have a way of doing that, but we’re going to find the counter-rite Ginny.”  He tells me firmly.

“It’s a blood binding Neville.”  I tell him shaking my head.  “I’m not really sure death would release me.”

I couldn’t see my friends face from this angle but the silence spoke volumes.  No one had told him exactly what kind of wedding was happening today.

“Well it means nothing if he can never get near you again.”  He says finally kneeling down next to me.

I give him a half smile and shake my head.  “You’re still very sweet Neville.”  I tell him as I close my eyes, wanting the sickness to stop.  “I didn’t realize it would be this bad.  My body must really not like Dark magic.”

“I’m sorry we’d to let him do this to you.  It was the only way we could think to save Harry.”  My friend says sounding more than upset with himself.

“I wanted this.”  I tell him softly closing my eyes.  “This I wanted.  This could have helped people.”  I say knowing now it meant very little.  When Tom got me back, he wouldn’t trust me with anything.  I wouldn’t be surprised if I didn’t end up naked locked in his room for the rest of my life.

“You did help.”  Neville says his hand softly caressing my face before he jerked back suddenly.  “Ow!”

I open my eyes just in time to see an angry red mark on his hand.  “Did I do that?”  I ask remembering leaning on him to get here.  “Did I hurt you before?” I add looking for any other wounds.

Neville looks down at the hand and shrugs.  “No, it’s fine.  Nothing happened before.”  He promises as the mark starts to fade.  “Maybe it’s skin to skin contact?”  He questions thoughtfully.

“Just don’t touch me again.”  I say not wanting to hurt anyone.  I knew Tom was possessive, but this seems a bit extreme.

“You can’t go through the rest of your life with no one touching you.”  Neville says with a deep frown.

“It’s probably only men.”  I say thinking he wouldn’t have wanted to keep my maids from helping me dress.

“We’re going to fix this Ginny.”  He tells me firmly as I hear other footsteps in the hall.

I look up to see Corner standing in the doorway with a few others standing behind him.  I pull my legs up under me and push myself as far away from him as I can.  Maybe Tom had other thoughts when he made me untouchable.

“You guys aren’t supposed to be in this hall.”  Neville says firmly as he gets to his feet and puts himself between me and the door.

“Just came to see how our favorite little traitor was doing.”  Corner says his eyes never leaving me.

“Do I need to report you?”  My defender asks in a much harder tone than I’ve ever heard from Neville.

“We were under orders last time; we thought we could have a bit of real fun now that she’s our guest.  Come on Neville, Ron isn’t here, we could always share.”  He says with cold amusement.

I don’t really hear the rest at first as my head repeats his first words again and again.  We were under orders…  I hadn’t really wanted to believe it before now, maybe he was still trying to get under my skin.

“You were under no orders to brutalize her!”  Neville says not really disagreeing that they had orders at all.

“I don’t see what the big deal is, we enjoyed our work.”  Corner answers not seeming to notice the growing anger in Neville’s voice.

“Get out, all of you, now.”  He says in a commanding tone that makes me look up at my friend’s back.

“You’re no fun.  But you can’t watch her all the time.”  The group says with a laugh as they walk away.

Neville looks back to me once he was sure they’d left.  My eyes are glassing over without my permission and I feel my body shake.

“Is it true?”  I ask trying to ignore the rising panic and need in me.  I want Tom, I need him to wrap his arms around me and protect me from this.

Neville looks down obviously ashamed.  “We didn’t want it to be like that, but it had to happen.”  He says very softly.  “If Voldemort had complete claim to you today, it would have killed Harry.”

“Why didn’t you ask, tell me what was going on?  They could have told me!”  I say feeling the panic jump.

“We talked about it, we thought it would be safer for you if Voldemort thought you weren’t willing.”

“We… You mean Ron.  You and Ron ordered those men to rape me.”  I say surprised that my voice doesn’t shake.

“The leaders decided.”  He says looking ashamed.  “We didn’t tell them to, it was only supposed to be Corner.”

“That doesn’t make it better!”  I snap getting to my feet.

Daphne-

I look at the door to the guest room I know he should be staying in while at Hogwarts.  It felt weird to be looking right into my future with a man that would once again have real power over me.  I frown wondering if I’ll be able to live on the leash this man will surely try to place around my neck.  I remind myself of the darker leash Ginny has worn and I knock on the door.

Dolohov opens the door with a smile on his lips.  He knew I’d come I was sure, so the fact he was already in his nightclothes bothers me a bit.

“Lord Dolohov.”  I say in as friendly of a voice as I can muster.

“Miss Greengrass.”  He says back pleasantly, though in no ways moves out of the way to invite me in.

“I’m here to discuss your proposal.”  I say cringing inwardly at how businesslike my voice sounds.

“How romantic.”  He teases and finally steps out of the doorway to let me inside of his room.  “What would you like to discuss exactly?”  He asks as he closes the door.

I glance around the guest room seeing nothing very exciting to look at.  Though in the back of my mind I feel like there’s something missing, but I can’t place what it is.  There’s a beautifully made bed, with side table and lamp, a desk and even a private entrance to a small bathroom.  I shrug off the feeling and look back at the other occupant.

“Exactly what would be expected of me in this marriage.”  I tell him simply.

“Ah.”  He starts before heading over and sitting on the end of the bed.  “You will be my lover, partner, and mother to my heir.”  He says casually.  “That seems to me to be what wives are for.”

“That seems fair.”  I say nodding to myself about to agree right there and then.

“Now I think what you’re really asking is what restrictions I’d like to place on your behavior.”  He says with a knowing gleam.  “Once our engagement is public you’ll stop this affair you have with the boy.  You’ll move into my townhouse in London and start getting used to the idea of sleeping with me.”  He says in a way that he obviously thinks is being kind.  “I’m offering you a lot of protection now, this relationship won’t be nearly as balanced as it could have been once.”

“What if Ginny returns?  My position will require for me to stay at the castle.”  I point out as if the move is what will be really bothering me.

“If you regain your previous position before our wedding night than we can renegotiate or deal.”  He says smugly.  He doesn’t think Ginny will be returning anytime soon.  “If not I’ll get you a position in my department, I don’t want an idle useless wife.”

Well that was at least something we could agree on.  I take a deep breath and nod.  “I don’t wish to be idle.”  I tell him honestly.  “When would you like to ask for the Dark Lord’s blessing?”  I ask knowing that he’s a noble and means it would be required.

“Out of respect for our Lord’s loss we should wait a few weeks, maybe a month.”  He says thoughtfully.

“And if he decides to use me to punish Ginny before then?”  I ask as my stomach clenches.

“If that happens then I’ll tell him privately about our arrangement.”  He says as he if doesn’t see the problem.

I think it over for a long moment.  I pace back and forth in the open area by the bed.  The Dark Lord would respect one of his inner circle enough to not do something against his intended.  I finally nod looking up to Dolohov.

“Okay.  Than I agree to your proposal.”  I tell him as I stop just in front of him.

“Good, we should have a drink on it.”  He says sounding more than pleased with himself.  “Sit down.”  He says only seemly slightly commanding in his words.

I glance around for a place to sit when I realize what was missing from the room to begin with, chairs.  I take a slow seat on the bed waiting for panic to set in over what he obviously wants from me tonight.  When he comes back from the desk with teacups in hand I force another smile on my face.

“Maybe this isn’t a good idea.”  I say as he sits down next to me.

“This is a perfect idea.”  He says shaking his head while holding one of the cups out to me.  “It’s a soothing blend I always drink it before bed.”  He says almost kindly.

I take the tea wondering how I was going to get out of sleeping with him tonight.  Taking a sip to give myself more time I smile at him and decide to wait for him to make any kind of move.  He only smiles at me sipping his own tea in silence.

I frown looking around again.  Why force me to sit on the bed if all he wants to do is drink tea?  I take another sip and find the brew is rather calming after all.  Maybe he just doesn’t like chairs?

After my third sip from the cup I feel his hand move to my back and I ready myself for panic once again.

“You have to know how I wish to seal this agreement of ours.  It only makes sense to try each other out.”  He points out logically.

I finish off the tea then and shake my head.  “I think the old me would have been more than happy to comply with such a reasonably request.”  I tell him as carefully as I can.  “I just…”  I start biting my lower lip as I try to think of the right words.

“You have let this fear get in your way for far too long.”  He says gently as he finishes both our empty cups.  “How do you feel right now?  How is my touch affecting you?”

I look up at him in a sort of shock when I realize that I still feel perfectly relaxed.  The panic I used to feel with strange men and even Blaise is nowhere to be found.

“I’m okay.”  I admit with a half smile.

“So…”  He starts brushing hair from my face.  “Why not enjoy ourselves and seal our engagement?  We can stop at any time, and I promise not to hurt you Daphne.”  He says in a careful, almost loving way.

I look up at him with new eyes and I can’t help but smile.  “I think I’d like that.”  I tell him remembering the power I used to have in bed, wondering now if I could get that power back.

He gives me an answering smile before leaning in to really kiss me for the first time.  He has to be one of the oldest men I’ve been with, but his mouth leaves nothing to be desired.  I push him back taking control of the situation and making him lay down on the bed without breaking the kiss.

He surrenders to me, letting me move over him and taste every bit of skin I want.  I find myself actually being aroused by his combination of power and submission.  I roll my hips against his loins and feel his hardness between my legs.

There’s no panic or even anxiety in me as I ravage his mouth with mine.  It’s been so long since I’ve been able to be this forward in bed I don’t wish to wait to take him.  With a quick flick of my wand I vanish our clothes.  Not a moment later I sheath myself onto him and cry out in ecstasy.

Yes, this power I’ve missed.

Luna-

I’m still feeling the warmth of his lips when I arrive in the set meeting place.  Nic has been brewing all day to be ready for when the last of the ingredients was within our grasp.  There a several young wizards standing around waiting to help when he needs, but mostly the older wizard ignores them.  I watch the gold light around him slowly slip away as if he’s draining it into the potion itself.  I have a guilty doubt about how safe it was for him to be brewing the dark concoction.

“This is Death.”  Ron says and I notice him standing near me with Hermione next to him.

I can’t help but be glad we got her out when we did.  She looks better than she did this morning, the freedom agreeing with her fierce spirit.

“It’s nice to finally meet you Miss Granger.”  I say with a bow of my head.

“I don’t really trust people who hide behind a mask, and send little girls to deliver their messages.”  She says coldly.

I see the anger in her and I can’t help but smile bitterly to myself.  I’m finding it harder and harder to understand how these people can’t understand simple tactics.  Hermione out of all people should know this.  She’s the smartest woman I know.

“I wouldn’t be all that frightening to the Death Eaters and Voldemort if I was simply a man.”  I tell her with a shrug.  “And I don’t trust anyone here.”  I add coldly.  “As for calling Luna a little girl, you should really stop insulting people you obviously don’t understand.”

“She’s not even of age!”  Hermione counters obviously angry and needing to take it out on someone.  “And you all just left her there, in that pit of snakes!”

“Luna can take care of herself.  I know for a fact she’s already home with her husband.”

“Another snake.”  Ron says under his breath.

“That is not for me to say.”  I tell them not wishing to seem too invested in my own life.  “How much longer till the potion is done?”  I ask trying to get them off the subject.

“A few more minutes until he can start to add the main ingredients.”  Ron says uneasily.

“Who is sacrificing their flesh for the savior?”  I ask looking around at the group of wizards.

“I’m going to.”  Ron says bravely and I feel that little flop of attraction for him once again.

“I don’t think you should.”  Hermione says looking thoughtful.  “Why not Mr. Death?”  She asks sneering at me.

“I don’t feel I count as one of Harry’s servants.”  I tell her simply.  “But you may.”  I add since we were suggesting others.

“Maybe I will.”  She snaps and stomps away from us.

“She’s just upset over decisions that got us to this point.”  Ron says looking after her.  “Of what happened to Ginny and using Dark magic to bring Harry back.”

I watch him for a moment as he looks at Hermione and I realize he never actually looked at me in the same way.

“War is hard, it’s dark and ugly.  We just need to try and stay as true to ourselves as we can.”  I say thinking about my role in all of this.

He takes a deep breath and looks down at his hand.  “At least we could save them from that place.”  He says obviously thinking about Ginny and Hermione.

“The two women you love the most.”  I say not feeling as hurt as I thought I should.

“Yeah.”  He agrees thoughtlessly and I can’t help but smile.

I was a warm spot to him when he lost the woman he really loved.  I thought I’d feel angry or sad or something, but all I feel is happy that he has that love back.

Before I can think about it more the clearing darkens and the potion starts to glow.  We move in closer.  As we all settle around the large cauldron Nicolas picks up the box that now leaked a glowing mist of light from every crack and corner.

He opens it slowly and pours the light into the caldron.  It has a fog like look to it but as it hits the crystal surface of the potion it sinks into the liquid and one can actually hear a soft thud as it hits the bottom of the vessel.

With that done Nic turns and picks up a large jar filled with white dust.

“Bone of the father, unknowingly given, you will renew your son!”  He says opening the jar and emptying its contents onto the still surface.  As the dust enters, it sends off sparks, making a hissing sound like droplets of water hitting a heated surface.  When the last of the dust disappears the potions turns a vivid blue.

Nic then turns and picks up a long silver knife.  Ron and several others in the group step forward holding their hands out.  All of them willing to give this for Harry.  I take out my wand so that I can heal whoever actually gives the flesh.

“Flesh of the servant, willingly given, you will revive your master!”  The older man says firmly and brings the knife down on his own left hand letting it drop into the cauldron before anyone can react.

With a quick flick of my wand and a whispered spell the bleeding stops.  Nic looks up at me with a nod as everyone stands in stunned silence.  I realize then Nicolas was never planning to survive this night.

By the time any of us noticed the potion again it was a glowing red color.  This seemed to satisfy Nic so I figured everything was still going as planned.

“Blood of the enemy, forcibly taken, you will resurrect your foe!”  Nic says as he lifts the small vile that I’d given to Ginny earlier that day.

We all hold our breath as he pours the blood into the cauldron with everything else.  As the last ingredient hits the surface the potion turned a brilliant blinding white.  I alone watch as the last of Nic’s golden glow siphons off into the potion as well.

The old man stumbles back and a satisfied smile crosses his lips before he slumps to the ground.

Turning back to watch the potion I see the light turning a slow deep red before it stilled completely.  I know everyone is still holding their breath as we wait for the potion to work.  A vapor starts to leak from the cauldron surrounding us and shading everything around us from sight.

I feel tension around me rise, as a dark figure stands still hidden in the mist.

Ginny-

I smile as I shift on the familiar sheets of my bed.  It was actually nice to know that my time with the rebellion had been some kind of weird dream.  Maybe I was nervous about my upcoming wedding to Tom?  I open my eyes slightly disoriented as I look around at the brightly lit tower room.

I sit up suddenly and shake my head trying to blink away the image of one of the boy’s dorms.  This was Harry’s and my brother’s dorm when they’d gone to Hogwarts.  Why was I here?

“I thought you’d consider this a safe place.”  Riddle answers as he casually lays down next to me on the bed.  “Don’t you like it?”  He asks with a pout.

“I’m dreaming.”  I say dumbly as I always do when I haven’t seen him for a while.

“No one here knows about me, or what I can do to you.”  He whispers playfully in my ear.  “You’re going to have to start being nicer to me again.”

“Was I ever nice to you?”  I ask coldly as I slip away from him and out of Harry’s old bed.

“Oh I think there were times in our early days that you were very nice to me.”  He says suggestively.

“Before I had any real knowledge or control of these dreams you force me into?”  I ask shaking my head and refusing to play into his game.

“Oh…” he starts and in a flash, I find myself back in the bed.  “You’ve never had any control here my sweet.”  He says and I find myself tied down by ankles and wrists.

“What’s the point Riddle; I’ve already ruined all of your plans.”  I tell him knowing that Tom will never take me back now.

“I’m nothing if not flexible.”  He says as he softly strokes my neck.  “And the point is that I think I deserve a taste of you on our wedding day.”

“I married Tom; you are a part of me.”  I point out trying to pull my chin away.

“He’ll find you you know?”  He asks before leaning down and kissing the neck I left open.

“I know, and then he’ll stick me in an even deeper hole and I’ll never see the light of day again.”  I tell him as if he didn’t already know this.

“I don’t know about that.  It depends on what you’re worth when he finds you.  We’re still playing the game my sweet and I’m still here to help with that.”

“Oh I see, and what would you have me do now?”  I ask with a deep frown.

“Become the princess of the rebellion once again.  Show the people you really are fighting for them.  Maybe even hook up with one of their leaders.”  He tells me as he kisses his way down my shoulder.

It’s only then that I realize he’d taken away the nightgown I thought I’d been wearing a few moments ago.

“And that will help him to see my value once he takes me home?”  I ask trying to keep my minds on the conversation rather than the feel of his lips.  They felt so very much like Tom’s that it was a hard task.  “Also you do realize the leader here is my brother?”

“When you go back to him willingly and on your own terms he’ll see that you’re making a statement to the whole empire.”  He says simply then grins.  “The Longbottom boy seems to be in a leadership role, and he’s always liked you.”

“Are you forgetting he got hurt by simply touching me?”  I ask shaking my head and then all thought stopped for a moment as his lips wrapped around my nipple.

“That is a problem.  Something we can deal with later.”  He says and there’s a knowing smirk on his lips.

“What am I missing?”  I gasp as his finger starts to trail down my stomach.

“I think it’s time you found out.”  He says happily before I wake with a start.

I sit up in the closet to the sound of angry voices just outside my door.  I can’t really understand what they’re saying and I’ve a feeling they’ve cast some kind of muffling charm on my small cell.

When the door is suddenly yanked open, I find myself blinking up into the most beautiful green eyes I’ve ever seen.  Looking up into his face makes my heart stop as the obvious anger in the expression changes to one of pure joy.

“Harry.”  I say in a quivering tone and a moment later he’s down on the floor with me taking my lips into a passion-filled kiss.  His arms wrap around me protectively and I melt into the safety of his arms.

“I’m sorry, you were my first thought.”  He says in a low voice when his lips momentarily break from mine.  “I needed to know this is all real.”  He tells me and helps me to my feet.  All the while kissing me again and again and again.

I can’t help but to respond to his every touch.  I shake in his arms, as what I’ve wanted for so long is finally real.

“How?”  I ask suddenly realizing I may have lost someone tonight while gaining him.

“I’m taking her to my room.”  He says without answering me.  I can hear the anger in his voice as he speaks to them.  I get a brief glance to those in the hall before firm strong hands pull me away.

The view I have of the hall is a jumbled mess as Harry pulls be along quickly.  He only lets go when we finally make it into one of the rooms.  He quickly locks and wards the door behind us finally giving me time to look around.

The room is small, only about four times the size of my closet.  It’s scattered with papers and reports, old quills and random clothes.  It looks much too well lived in to be Harry’s room alone and I wonder who gave up their room to him so easily.

Walking over to the tiny desk I look down to find the Marauder’s map.  The first thing I note is that Lord Voldemort and Lucius Malfoy are in the headmaster’s office.  Tom’s alive?  The relief that floods me is expected, but also makes me feel very dirty all of the sudden.  How could I really be in love with Tom if Harry is also alive?

When the latter kisses the side of my throat I let out a soft purr before suddenly looking away to look back at him.

“Did that hurt?”  I ask as I suddenly remember Neville’s reaction to simply touching me.

“No?”  He says sounding confused by the very question.  “Should it have?”  He asks with a frown.

“They must have told you about the wedding?”  I ask blushing as I realize I’m still wearing the dress.

“No one had to tell me.  That’s something I remember about being trapped with him.”  Harry tells me with a frown.

He takes a step forward and cups the side of my face in his hand.  I close my eyes pressing into his skin.  Tom may be inside of Harry’s old body, but they’re still so very different, they even smell different.

He sighs and kisses the end of my nose.  “We’re even more connected him and I.  If you’re saying he put some kind of ward in that ritual, than more than likely the magic thinks we are the same person.”

“How?”  I ask again opening my eyes to look up into his perfect face.

“Blood, bone, and flesh.”  He says a bit bitterly.  “The blood you took from Voldemort was used to give me a new body.  It’s the same potion he used to return my fourth year.”  He tells me as he rests his head against mine.  “Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad to be back, but I didn’t want anyone getting hurt for me.”

“I’m sure it was worth it.  There are so many that see you as a symbol of hope Harry.  While you were gone there’s been very little of that in this world.”

“They raped you Ginny.  That’s too high a price for this.  They should have let me die.”  He tells me firmly.

My stomach turns and I take another step back, this time my knees hit the small bed and I suddenly find myself sitting.

“Someone told you.”  I say looking to my knees.

“Voldemort showed me every image he took out of your mind.”  He says quickly sitting down next to me.  “I questioned them about it the moment I could think.  They did it for me Ginny.”  He says sounding disgusted.  They did it so I wouldn’t be destroyed during that ritual that happened today.”

“Oh.”  Is all I can think to say to this new information.  “At least something good came out of it.”  I tell him and rest my head on his shoulder.

He frowns and suddenly pulls me into his lap.  He holds me there as if he’s trying to keep me safe from my past.

“While I was trapped you were my only source of hope Ginny.”  He says pushing hair from my neck and kissing me skin.  “I want to wash away every bad thing that’s ever been done to you.”  He tells me his hand playing with my zipper.

Suddenly the image of Riddle teasing me on Harry’s bed flashes unwelcome through my mind, but instead of making me jerk away the thought fills me with a need for Harry.

I take his lips in a new kiss to show him how much I want him.  I know this is Riddle’s doing, but I need this comfort in my life, and I don’t know if I’ll ever get another chance to be with Harry in this way.

We strip each other in a sudden mad rush and I know he wants the same thing as I do.  When we move fully onto the bed Harry move me and smiles down at me, his green eyes nearly glowing.

“You’re my lioness now Ginny.”  He says claiming the pet name Tom used so many times.

He takes my wrists in his hands holding them almost painfully tight as our bodies move together in the oldest kind of dance.  He’s dominate in his every move and I easily submit under him.  As we come together he pushes all other thoughts from my head.  I know now I can survive in the arms of one of the men that I love.

The End

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2 responses »

  1. I love this story! And it has been so long since there has been an update. Just wondering if an update is in my near future?

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