Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Summary: What would you do if somebody locked you into a room with your worst enemy, and you were told that at the end of 24 hours, one of you'd be killed. But you don't know WHO…Chapter 1: Abduction
A soft breeze was blowing over the landscape, playing with the overly rich nature that was to be found there as if it was some sort of toy. If you were blessed with the gift of a healthy imagination, you could almost hear the wind giggling in delight as it caressed the soft, green grass or the leaves of the beautiful, old oak trees that were to be found there and only there.
The breeze continued its journey of everlasting play and swooshed over the surface of a lake, causing it to create little waves, stirring the nightly peace of the dark water. If anyone had been around to pay attention to this little spectacle, the person would perhaps have sworn to detect some sort of bristling excitement when the wind swept over the grassy hills that then led to a large building, looming in the dark, so near yet so far away. So many open windows to sweep through! Little slits to howl through! Candles behind closed doors to extinguish when sneaking about! But there was nobody to see, nobody to care.
Not a minute later there was. It was a little girl. Upon closer examination, it was perhaps not a little girl from age, but she was small and seemed fragile, her skin glowing white in the moonlight of the clear night that shone through her partially open window and gave the room a surreal quality, because it only accentuated bright features and left the darker ones to total oblivion. The color of her eyes and her hair you couldn't tell, because it was all distorted in the eerie rays of the full moon.
She was sitting upright in her bed, sleep still clinging to her features like water to wet hair, dripping away, slowly, ever so slowly. She blinked once, then twice to focus her blurred vision and reached for her nightstand to find something. Her fingers wandered over the wooden surface clumsily for a minute, searching, until they got hold of something.
The girl smiled a little smile of relief when her fingers curled around the object and then she whispered a word that was almost completely lost in the deafening silence of the night. "Lumos." And with that the room was illuminated in a warm glow that revealed the startling red color of her mop of hair, that was now a mess of curls sticking every which way. Her skin, which had been an almost ghostly shade of white in the moonlight was now still pale, but showered with freckles, especially around the bridge of her nose. The loose sleeping gown she was wearing revealed that the freckles continued at least over her shoulders and perhaps even further.
The wind, which had awoken her with a start by emitting a particularily nasty shriek had long since moved on, but the feeling of uneasiness had stayed with Virginia Weasley, the sixteen year old girl who was now sitting in her bed half awake, snapping out of a she hadn't realized she'd been in. She shook her head and looked at the watch on her nightstand. Its hands were both pointing somewhere between the five and the six. Oh, great she thought glumly it's Saturday and I'm supposed to sleep long. She sighed and lay back down, wincing at the creaking sound her bed made. Somehow she didn't like breaking the silence. But soon she would have to do it again, since sleeping obviously was not an option anymore. It was around the middle of November, therefore the sky was still pitch black except for the moon that was casting its strange light over the scenery, dipping it in the same unearthly light Virginia, or Ginny as everybody called her had experienced earlier.
Silence. Ginny Weasley had hated silence once, but it had been a hate that went beyond comprehension. She hated it, feared it, lived it, was it. She hadn't been silent. She had been silence. And she had hated it, still hated it now, years later. Hated being the tagalong, the third wheel, the leftovers, the crumbles of the cake. But back then, she didn't, couldn't, wouldn't dare to break the silence herself, and she had felt almost always guilty for saying something, for breaking the silence. To her it had felt like tearing skin. But eventually it had to be broken. Only it would be painfully mended again, in a slow process that took years, and wasn't completed even now. Whenever she had spoken in the beginning, she had felt like Tantalus, who was forever rolling the stone up the mountain only to see it roll down on the other side. Or was it Sysiphus? She didn't care. It had been a neverending story. She was just plain, shy Ginny Weasley, who lived in a world full of her own fears and was dominated by everyone, even by herself. She longed for nothing more than to be left alone, to be herself for once, but then she was afraid of loneliness. It was a vicious circle with a one way exit, one that she had come really close to. But then he had appeared. And he had not even seen the circle. He had simply dragged her out of there. Now she was able to break the silence without guilt. But she still hated and feared it.
At the moment though, all that didn't matter. What mattered was the fact that another loud growling sound echoed through her dorm, and upon realizing that it was her own stomach Ginny Weasley blushed uncomfortably, even though there was nobody around to have heard it.
When her stomach gave another cry for food, she sighed impatiently and cursed herself for not having eaten anything at dinner. But she knew that it was senseless, since a) she couldn't change it now anyway and b) even if she had known she'd wake up sometime in the morning she wouldn't have been able to eat anything.
She knew she had to do something to distract herself. Going to the kitchens would prove to be useless, she knew that. She had tried it some other time, but without success. The twins had once told here where to find the entrance, but she hadn't needed to do so for years, so her memory of their words was rather blurred. Go to the painting with the fruit bowl still life, tickle the apple, and then it'll open up. Or something like that. She had tried it out. It hadn't worked.
So, instead of making her way to the kitchens, she pulled on her cloak, and searched for her slippers until she found them halfway hidden under her wardrobe. She slowly made her way to the front of the castle, carefully prying the doors open. When she stepped out, the cool winter breeze that had been blowing for the whole week now immediately rummaged through her hair, tangling the soft, red tendrils only more and giving her skin a fresh, pink tinge. She shivered a little and pulled the cloak tighter around herself, wrapping her arms around her middle, and then walked over to the edge of the lake, seating herself on a tree stump, enjoying the soft sounds the waves made when they splashed against the shore, and the rustling of the leaves that were being whirled around by the wind.
She was so absorbed in non-thoughts that she didn't hear the light footsteps that were advancing from behind until they were level with her position. She she turned her head around sharply to see who had joined her when she felt a sudden, sharp pain in the back of her head and then everything around her went black. Blacker than it had previously been, that is.
There was still blackness, but this time it was different. It was not the sterile blackness that hat enveloped her until now, no, it smelled of something, something like dust, and old stone walls. Also her nose felt somehow odd, as did her face. She tried to move but when a sudden wave of nausea and pain surged through her she immediately stopped and whimpered. She wondered why her head was hurting so badly until she remembered. The lake, somebody coming up to her and then pain. Only pain. Right now she wanted nothing more than to lay in a nice, warm bed, and for the pain to stop. She wasn't granted any of the two wishes. On the contrary, the pain only worsened when she was suddenly jerked upwards and turned around by someone or something, she didn't know. All she knew was that the darkness had faded a little, presumably due to the fact that she wasn't lying on her face anymore now. She saw something white, and a shadow looming over her. She guessed the shadow was somebody human, since a voice came from its general direction.
"Weasley? What the hell did you do?" it barked. She blinked to get a better picture of what was going on, but it was no use. "Dunno…" she croaked. "Hurts," she added.
"Don't play that game with me! What the hell did you do to me? And where is my wand?" the voice asked harshly, and the person in front of her grabbed her roughly by the shoulders, shaking her.
"Do t'you? My head…" was all she managed to say when the person finally stopped shaking her. "Who're you, anyway?"
Slowly, ever so slowly, she was beginning to see the outlines of her surroundings. It seemed that she was in a room somewhere in the castle. It was dimly lit, and the stonewalls were a little damp, so she guessed she had to be in the dungeons. She made out a mattress in one corner, a table and two wooden stools in the other. Apart from that the room was completely empty, except for her and the person in front of her. He – she guessed it was a he from his build – was standing between her and where the only light source in the room had to be, so she could only see his outline. He moved a bit to the left, and Ginny got a better look at him. He had white blond hair, slicked back perfectly in place, smooth, pale skin, gray eyes that looked down on her scathingly over a perfectly chiseled though a bit pointy nose. Taking one last look at his obviously expensive clothes she had no doubt as to who her opponent was.
Suddenly her mind kicked in full force. She had been outside and obviously hit over the head with something, and now was in a room that didn't seem to have a door and with him to boot. She tried to scrabble away from him, only she couldn't, since her back was already resting against the wall.
"What did you do?" she asked, her voice sounding squeaky. "Why am I here? Blackmail? You obviously can't want any ransom, you know our family hasn't got any money and I'm not important, I don't know anything and-" she knew she was babbling, but she couldn't stop herself.
"Weasley? Do shut up!" he snapped and sat down on one of the chairs. "I didn't bring you here, you silly twit, and as it seems, you didn't bring me here either. I suppose you don't have your wand?"
"Of course I didn't! I was unconscious, so how could I?" she asked indignantly, and after checking all her pockets added, "No, I don't have my wand".
"We-ell, seeing you're a Weasley brat and therefore related to that oaf you call a brother, I figured you had inherited his clumsiness…" he let the statement hang in the air and watched with a trained sneer as anger welled up in her face.
Ginny jumped up at his statement, ignoring the pain that shot through every muscle in her body. "Why, you, you oversized ferret, slimy bastard, you're such an asshole, you know that? Why did you bring me here?" she had stormed over to him now, looking as though she was ready to kick him straight into next Tuesday.
He briefly pondered telling her again that he hadn't brought her here, but decided that, while he was here, he might have a little fun with her. "Well, what would I want to do with a girl in a secluded room such as this…?" he asked, smirking nastily.
Ginnys mouth fell open. "You wouldn't," she choked out as her face started burning bright red, and even Ginny herself couldn't tell whether it was from anger or embarassment.
Draco raised one eyebrow suggestively and started smirking again but when he saw her dissolving into a fit of really annoying coughs, he snorted derisively and then said "Come on, Weasley, as if! I'd never lower myself to even touch you, sorry to destroy your little girl's daydreams. Besides, if I really wanted a good rumble in the sheets I wouldn't have to abduct anybody to do it…the girls usually line up in front of my door."
Ginny who had finally managed to compose herself if not completely, then at least a little, was really angry now. To her own surprise she let out something that sounded like a low growl from her throat. Wow, some distant part of her brain thought, that sounded dangerous.
She gave that part a nice kick in the butt for good measure and glared at Malfoy. "You are one arrogant, conceited, overly self-assured, egocentric, ugly bastard," she bit out between clenched teeth. You're the little Ginny Weasley, you know? Nice, shy, little Ginny. Do you remember? It would certainly not be a good idea to forget that just now! She desperately clutched to these thoughts so as not to jump at Malfoys throat.
Said boy was now standing in front of her, with a feigned look of hurt on his face and his hand clutched to his heart. "Now, Weasley, that hurt. I mean,ugly? I'm not ugly, am I? You're the first girl to have ever told me that, you know? Where all the millions of others who told me otherwise all lying? How unpolite of them."
Nice little girl, come here, sit. No, don't bite, bad girl!
Just when Ginny was about to lunge at him there was a loud BANG and in a matter of milliseconds somebody was standing directly between her and Malfoy.
Ginny stopped in mid-move and looked at the person. It was not possible to define whether it was male or female, since it was wearing a black cloak that was billowing around him or her oddly since there was no wind at all.
"Now, what's going on in here with you two?" it asked, it's voice revealing it's gender as definitely male.
Ginny, relieved that someone had come to rescue her, breathed a long deep sigh and explained. "Well, thank goddess that you came, I have no idea who you are, but Malfoy here kidnapped me and he wanted to rape me or somehting-" she started but was rudely interrupted by Malfoy.
"I did neither kidnap nor intend to rape you, silly twit," he snapped.
"Oh yeah, and why should I believe you?" she retorted, narrowing her eyes at him in a manner her mother often did when one of her brothers had earned the full focus of her motherly fury once again. (100 points for the candidate, do you want the washing machine or the one week long honor of doing the dishes. Oh, sorry, the washing machine was already taken, my mistake…)
The black clad figure between them chuckled and shook its head. "My my, you are a bit on the slow side. He couldn't have done it…because I did!" he said nastily.
"Thank the fates, I didn't want to rape her anyway. Go ahead, but don't forgot to use a gag, she talks an awful lot it seem," Malfoy drawled, sneering obnoxiously.
"I'd watch my tongue, Mr. Malfoy, since it's me who brought you here, and although I intended to have a little fun with you two-" at this point the flicker of a queasy look flew over the blonde's usually composed face, but it was soon squelched by his Malfoy sneer "-but not that kind of fun. I only came to tell you, that you are, my, ah, prisoners. And that in the next 24 hours starting from now, this will not change."
Ginny's eyes widened. "We are your prisoners? B-but why? I mean-" at this point Malfoy had stepped forward to land a nasty blow on the black hooded figures chin. At least in theory. What happened was, that he punched right through it, causing whoever was hidden under the dark material to let out a small, not very nice laugh.
"Oh, please. Do you think I'd be so stupid as to come here in person? This is only a projection of myself. I'm standing in my room at the moment, and I'll return there right now. Oh, just one last thing: only one of you will come out of this chamber alive, so perhaps you should both start, you know, dealing with things. Last wills and stuff." With that parting shot there was another cracking sound, and they were alone in the room again.
"One of us is going to die…who of us is going to die?" Ginny asked dazedly.
"Where the hell should I know? Probably you!" Malfoy snapped back angrily, either not realizing or not caring that the emotion showed clearly on his face. He hated not being in control of a situation. And right now he was everything but in control.
"Me? Why should I be the one to die? I've never done anything wrong in my life, whereas you've probably already killed dozens of people, raped, looted, burned whole villages or whatever…" Ginny shrieked hysterically.
"Oh, please, do you think the guy who has more white marbles will get out of here alive, or what? And, just to your information, I have never, ever in my whole life raped a whole village. I think it's going to be you, because I would be exchangeable against money," he said as if explaining the difference between red and green to a small child.
Ginny snorted and plopped herself down on one of the wooden chairs unceremoniously. "Do you really think this is about money? 24 hours and then one of you is going to die? Honestly. This is a game. The epitome of evil and the nice, shy girl in one room, along with that message, let's see what happens, huh? This is a game Malfoy, in case you hadn't noticed, and I'm not going to make myself a pawn that easily. Besides, he was lying."
Malfoys only reaction was to raise his left eyebrow a notch.
"He said that he was standing in his room, but somehow I don't believe that. He wants us to believe he was a student, and for the one to survive this to search for him in vain, but he really isn't. He's somewhere out on the grounds, out in the open. Didn't you notice his cloak? It was billowing all the time, much too hard for an open window. But then, perhaps he is a student, and he wanted us to think he wasn't so the survivor of this ordeal wouldn't…"
"Weasley? Shut up, for heaven's sake," Malfoy snapped angrily. "We're going to be here for a while, and I'm not going to listen to you talk all the time."
Ginny sighed in defeat, and then crossed her arms on the table and rested her head in them. One of them was going to die…
At the same time, quite some distance away the other Hogwarts students had seated themselves on the table of their respective houses to eat their breakfast more or less peacefully. But at one of the tables, the Gryffindor table to be precise, one student was not peaceful. He was restlessly checking the doors of the Great Hall as if waiting for someone to step through.
"Ron," the girl to his right said, "I understand that you're worried, but Ginny is sixteen years old, come on, she can watch out for herself. She's perhaps only taking a stroll around the ground," she continued, leaning over and rubbing the boy's back comfortingly, not noticing that her mop of bushy brown hair was hanging into her porridge, which caused the boy to her right to chuckle. She sat up straight, looked at the boy sternly and asked, "Harry James Potter, what is so funny about this? He's just worried about his little sister, there's nothing wrong with it!"
The boy who had been adressed with the name of Harry shrank back a bit and said, "Sorry 'Mione, but er, I was only laughing because, err, your hair is, um, full of porridge, you kn-" he didn't get any further because at that moment an athletic looking, black owl let a letter fall into his lap and took off immediately afterwards. He eyed the letter curiously, his messy black hair falling into his eyes, reminding him that he really needed a haircut. The bushy haired girl and the red haired boy looked at him questioningly and he shrugged as if to tell them he didn't know whom the letter was from. He opened it and as he read the few lines his eyes grew bigger. Putting the letter down sharply after finishing it he turned around to the Slytherin table, searching it for a particular pointed face that was framed by immaculately gelled blonde hair, but to no avail.
"Fuck," he muttered and jumped up from his seat, leaving the Great Hall, not listening to the bewildered calls his friends sent after him.
The girl, Hermione, carfully pried the letter out of Harrys half eaten breakfast and wiped the strawberry jam that still clung to it away with a paper towel and then began reading, with Ron hanging over her shoulder.
When she had finished, she quickly turned around to grab his arm and shook her head. "Don't, Ron. Come on, let's get out of here," she whispered, leading the shocked redhead out of the great hall.
"I knew it, I knew it," he muttered all the time. When they were well on the second staircase on the way to their common room he seemed to get out of his stupor, and he exploded, "That bloody git had it all planned, he's alone there, I don't know where, with my sister, and she's only a helpless little girl, oh my god, he's going to kill her, I'm going to have his eggs for this, I swear…" he raged.
"Ron, keep your voice down, shhhh. The letter says they are both prisoners!" she said reasonably.
"You don't actually believe that crap? That's Malfoy we're talking about!" he exclaimed indignantly.
"Come on now, Ron, we're going up and find Harry, then we're going to the library and we'll see what we can do, sounds like a plan?" she said torn between fear for the girl, pity for her friend and the urge to not let everybody know what the letter had said.
The boy nodded defeatedly, and they trudged up the stairs to their common room in silence.
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