Early morning meetings had had Draco and Blaise up before their wives. They had joined each other for breakfast, taking a chance to catch up with each other on the past week's events. Having someone else in their lives that were dependant on them had taken time away from their usual schedule. While Blaise had seemingly come to a level of understanding with Susan, Draco was struggling with Ginny, currently they were ignoring each other.

"So... Wives," an ever familiar, nearly nasal, female voice interrupted the conversation. Pansy Parkison-Nott slid into a seat at the table and began to fill a plate with food. "It's so hard to see you two with anything of the sort."

Draco nodded to her own ring, sneering at her. "You attached yourself to Nott rather quickly."

"An old man, you two who are like my brothers, or Nott... not a hard choice really." She smiled her nearly predatory smile at the two of them, her fork poised as if to stab something. "So, do I get names? I am assuming I know them."

"You do."

"And?"

"Susan Bones," Blaise said in a clipped tone, not looking up from his breakfast.

"Alright." After giving a nod she turned her gaze to Draco. "And you, Mr. Malfoy?"

Draco lifted his eyes to match hers, wanting to see clearly the unsettled look that would come into her eyes as he said it. "Virginia Weasley."

Pansy's eyes widened and her mouth nearly fell all the way to the table, but she caught it rather admirably and snapped it shut. "A Weasley?" she managed finally.

Draco only let half of his mouth lift in a twitchy smile. "She's Malfoy now. And they have pristine blood I'll have you know, regardless of their lack of blood pride."

"But they're..." Pansy trailed off, out of words to describe the progeny of the largest "blood traitor" family in wizarding England. She lifted her shoulders in a snobbish shrug. "Hopefully something can be done with her. I can try my hardest."

"I doubt she'd accept your help."

"All the more reason to give it."

"Excuse me," Blaise said, quietly putting his fork down beside his plate and standing.

Pansy and Draco's gaze followed their friend across the floor of the dining room to where his wife stood in the doorway, looking for him.

Pansy's smile widened as she watched the way the young couple interacted. Blaise had never been one for sharing secrets with anyone, but there was something in his body language. "He really is smitten," Pansy said turning back to her meal. "Well, I may just like that one after all."

"You're not going to give my wife the same consideration?" Draco asked, with a large amount of fake hurt. He pronounced his pout causing Pansy to roll her eyes. "I'm wounded."

Pansy let out an undignified snort. "She's still a Weasley."

"She is a Malfoy as far as you're concerned."

Watery blue eyes almost sparkled at him out of Pansy's face. "Aren't you protective." It wasn't a question, but a statement. And a smug one at that.

Draco set his jaw and resisted the urge to lose control over his emotions or the situation. "She is my wife for eternity," he stated simply, as if that explained everything. "It is my job to protect her."

Pansy was still looking absolutely delighted by everything and it made Draco want to hit her. "Ah, and the Malfoy sense of duty strikes." She stroked the back of her hand along his chin for a moment before he pulled away. "How charming of you darling."

The sound of a throat clearing luckily saved Draco for whatever it was his old friend was planning on torturing him with next. Blaise had returned to the table with Susan by his side. "Pansy, I'm sure you remember Susan from our days at Hogwarts."

"Yes. It's good to see that he got someone decent. Welcome to our little inner circle as it is," she said, offering her hand to Susan.

Susan looked completely bewildered, and Draco wondered how much they had really alienated the rest of the school. "Thank you," Susan murmured, as she took her seat.

"Ah," Pansy's voice came breaking through again, pointing across the room, "there's yours, are you going to go fetch her?"

Draco followed the line of Pansy's gaze and spotted Ginny. He did not want to get up and go to her. It was one thing to be married to the girl, it was another to associate with her in public. "She'll find her way over here on her own."

He tried to focus on eating his dinner, but Pansy's voice interrupted him. "You might want to protect her from some of the others, she's quite attractive. You wouldn't want anyone dishonoring your wife," she shot at him finally.

Draco forcefully threw his fork down next to his plate. "Fine."

"He's too easy."

"Who is?" a rather gravelly voice came, as a tall, slightly gangly young man stepped up to the table and took the seat next to Pansy.

Pansy turned her icy eyes on her own husband. "Draco. Theodore, you remember Susan Bones..." her mouth curved slightly as Nott nodded, and it made Pansy look nearly predatory. "Blaise married her while we were away."

"Yes," he gave her a smile and a nod, before glancing at Blaise. "Nice choice. Is Draco with Weasley?"

"Mmmmhmm," Pansy answered, playing with her food instead of eating it. "She is a pureblood."

Theodore snorted. "Barely."

Blaise's hand closed over Susan's knowing she was inches away from protesting. "Don't," he whispered, feeling her stiffen under his hand. "Its safer if you let them go."

Working to ignore the other couple, she turned and looked up at her husband. It still seemed so odd to her, that she was married, and to Blaise. After a week of living as husband and wife, in every sense of the word, she would have expected to be adjusted to it all, but then she had also expected to plan her wedding and have her family be there, and to have been with the man before she was married.

She smiled realizing that Blaise would tell her that they had been together before they were married, they'd just taken a break for two years and then jumped right into marriage. It would probably be his way of explaining it to everyone else.

Noticing that he was staring at her intently, she shook herself out of her thoughts. "So, what's on the agenda for today?" She turned back to her breakfast and began to pick at it. "More of me sitting around in the room until I claw my eyes out."

He chuckled lightly at her tone. When would she realize that he was not here to keep her prisoner. "You've actually been granted freedom to join a Medi-witch to complete training."

Blaise's smile deepened as her bright blue eyes lit up with excitement. "Really?" she asked, as if he had given her the best present in the world. He wondered if maybe he had.

"Yes." He rubbed his thumb over the ring he had put on her finger. He hoped that she would come to accept their marriage in her heart and mind.

His mood darkened though, as he thought of where she would be working, and the fact that he couldn't be with her. He squeezed her hand a bit harder this time, to let her know he was giving her serious instructions. "I want you to keep the ring on at all times, and make sure everyone addresses you at Mrs. Zabini. You'll be safer."

"I've dealt with difficult patients before Blaise."

"To them you'll be a pretty girl, and there aren't many of those around. You being my wife should be enough to keep them from trying anything, but if one of them so much as makes a pass at you, you tell me."

His hand was tight around hers, he had been tightening it unconsciously throughout his last bit of instruction. The look in his eyes was so dark and so deadly that for the first time ever Susan was actually afraid of what he would do. "Of course."

"I hate you," Ginny snapped as she and Draco came up to the table.

"Good the feeling is mutual."

"Hello Virginia," Pansy said with a piranha like grin, "so good to see you again."

Ginny tore her eyes away from Draco who she was glaring at to the sound of the voice. Her eyes widened before she collapsed in a chair and covered her face. "I want to die."

"We can have that arranged," Pansy said conversationally.

Draco's previously bored eyes, narrowed and glared at Pansy. "You could try."

"I am officially in hell."

"Well today you get a chance to visit another level of it in working on your training," Draco said mildly, taking a sip of his tea and scowling. "Try not to kill anyone," he muttered as he refilled his cup.

Once again Ginny's brown eyes, turned their fiery gaze on her husband. She hated this, she hated him, she hated the idea that he could be so calm about such a horrible statement.

"Why would I ever think of doing such a thing?" she cried out, her anger only intensifying as he didn't pay any attention to her. "I have a sworn duty to save the lives of those in need. If I'm going to kill anyone it will be someone alive and healthy."

Susan stood biting her lip. "Come on Ginny, let's go get ready." She turned to Blaise. "I'll see you this evening?"

"Yes."

Ginny didn't ask a similar question of her husband, and in fact stood and followed Susan out of the dinning hall as quickly as possible. The four friends that they left behind paid little attention

~*~

It was a long day for the two of them. Susan and Ginny were not just worked until they thought their feet might just fall off, but they were also insulted by just about everyone who realized that they were not supporters of the cause. Luckily their last names held a great deal of weight, which also made the two, Ginny especially, uneasy.

"Well, we did good work today, regardless," Susan said, letting out a weary sigh. She worked quickly to put her hair back into some semblance of shape, but one piece kept falling down. "Do you think anyone will mind that we're having dinner here?"

Ginny was looking down at the food she was pushing around on her plate. "It's not like we're all that welcomed in the dining hall."

Susan turned her own gaze towards her plate. "True. So ho have things been for you?"

"Hell. I just..." Ginny trailed off as tears she had been fighting all week began to fall. Not knowing what else to do she just buried her head into her arms.

"Oh Ginny."

When she felt her friend's hand rubbing her back in an attempt to comfort, Ginny worked for some sort of control. "He's Draco Malfoy. And I have to sleep with him, and sleep next to him, and smile and play the dutiful wife." She sniffled as Susan's hand ran over her hair wishing she was stronger. Ginny raised her eyes to Susan's. "How do I forget that he tormented me and my family, that his father nearly killed me, that he's done unspeakable things?"

Susan bit her lip and shook her head. "I don't know, I don't know."

Ginny shrugged herself out of Susan's grasp and asked the one thing that she had been curious about since she had first seen Susan with Blaise Zabini. "How do you do it? How do you live with Blaise, sleep with him, without wanting to kill him in his sleep? You of all people..." Ginny trailed off realizing what she said and how awful it was. How could she throw something like the deaths of loved ones in her friend's face. "I didn't mean."

"You did." Susan wondered how she could put into words what she hadn't said aloud to anyone in ages, least of all Blaise. "I love him Ginny."

"After a week of a forced marriage?"

Susan stood and began to pace, looking for the appropriate words to explain something she didn't always understand. "No. I loved him when we were in school, and then he chose this. I didn't know there were other circumstances behind it then." She wondered, as she had been all week, if she had known why he had made the choice then, if she would have chosen to stay with him. "Things aren't always as clear as they appear."

"You sound like Draco."

"Has he hurt you?" Susan asked finally, slightly afraid of the answer.

"No." Ginny let out a mirthless laugh just thinking about the way her "husband" had been treating her. "He's been a perfect gentleman. Well aside from his normal sarcastic, snippy behavior. It's unnerving me."

"Maybe you can trust him."

Ginny shook her head vehemently. "No. No I can't. I need to find a way out of all of this, to find a way home."

"I have a feeling only Harry killing Voldemort is going to get us out of here. We are victims of this war in our own way, but we don't have to let it defeat us."

"Show them our spirit isn't broken?"

"Yes, exactly."

"I think I might have to decorate my chambers, they are mine now after all, perhaps in red and gold."

Susan's smile was one of small triumph. "It would brighten the place considerably."

"That's what I was thinking."

The two of them burst into laughter, somewhere between the image of the room and the look on Draco's face when he spotted them.

Draco found the two of them sitting in the anteroom together, heads bent in conversation, occasionally letting out bursts of laughter. For the first time, Draco admitted to himself that his wife was attractive in quite a few ways. And it wasn't strange, to find a pretty girl attractive, not in the slightest.

He had to talk with her though, and so he cleared his throat rather loudly to alert the two women in the room. Both looked up at him, and the laughter stopped immediately. Susan's head dropped away slightly, and the light slipped away from Ginny's eyes, leaving her looking at him with cold brown eyes.

"I need to have a talk with my wife, Mrs. Zabini, and I do believe your husband has wondered where you have disappeared to. If you wouldn't mind," he murmured, gesturing towards the door.

"Not at all." Susan gave Draco a polite nod before she turned a smile on Ginny. "I'll see you tomorrow, alright?"

"Of course."

Susan sent Ginny a comforting smile before slipping out of the door and down the hallway.

Ginny didn't look at Draco after Susan left. She actually wanted to see how long it would take for him to address her properly. After awhile the silence was beginning to grate on her. She could withstand his silence, she could.

Alright, maybe she couldn't. "You wanted to talk to me?" she asked in curt tones, still refusing to look at him.

"My parents will be arriving tomorrow and they wish to meet my wife."

That got her to look up at him. "Your... your parents?" The idea of having to come face to face with the Malfoys here on Voldemort's territory was terrifying. There were few people she was willing to admit to being afraid of, but Lucius Malfoy and his wife were two people who definitely made her nervous.

The look of scorn on his face was one that took her away from fear and had her wanting to spit at him. "Yes Virginia, my parents. They will be coming from the holdings in France they have taken to after my father's imprisonment. They want very much to meet you."

"I highly doubt that."

"Why?"

It was a challenge, and Ginny had no fear of rising to it. Feeling the anger building in her, she stood and began to stalk towards him. "Your father has nearly killed me on two separate occasions. He has absolutely no use for me, and I highly doubt he wants to meet me formally as your wife."

Draco gave her a look of mild annoyance. "You have no real proof that he tried to kill you."

"Beyond being there, I suppose you're right," she snarled at him. "The first decent thing the Ministry did in this whole bloody war was imprison your father."

His hands, which rarely ever touched her, vised down on her arms. "You will not disrespect your new family as such," he growled back. It was the first show of anything but the mask that she had seen in a long while.

His loss of control allowed her to gain some. "I have a family, rest assured they are not a part of it. Family resides on love, trust and honor, three things your family knows nothing about."

"My family knows all about it," he told her, withdrawing into a wall of ice. "Do not pretend you understand me or my family Virginia, because you don't."

Ginny pulled backwards out of his grip and turned her back on him. "Don't you have a meeting of some sort?"

"Yes. The robes you'll need to wear for tomorrow will be hanging from the wardrobe in the morning. I will fetch you at 11 am sharp to see them, be ready," he instructed before he re-secured his mask and slammed the door behind him as he stepped out into the hallway.

~*~

Susan let out a sigh as she opened the door to the chambers she shared with Blaise. She hoped that Ginny would learn to acclimate herself to this situation soon, but knew that there was a good chance it would never happen. Susan was honestly in the best of circumstances, Ginny wasn't so lucky. It had never been a secret at school what Draco Malfoy had thought of the Weasley clan.

"Where have you been?"

"With Ginny, if you're not certain you can ask Draco, he just sent me back here."

"This place isn't a safe place for you to be alone," he said, taking her by the shoulders and causing her to raise her eyes to his. She looked at him with irritation. "I know I sound overprotective when I say that, but its not Susan. The men who live here are ruthless."

Her eyes were questioning when she asked. "Including you?"

Blaise's hands slipped off of her shoulders and he turned and walked away from her. "Sometimes one has to be." He knew his voice sounded harsh, but it had to be. He wasn't an innocent in this mess and she needed to know that.

"Ginny asked me today how I could sleep next to you without killing you," she said softly, causing him to turn back around. Her gaze lifted to his again. "Sometimes I wonder that too."

"Do you wonder, or do you already know the answer?"

She was searching for an appropriate answer that didn't reveal too much when she spotted the parchment folded under one of his arms. "What's that?"

Blaise followed her gaze. "Nothing," he practically snapped, trying to hide it from her view.

It was too late, she spotted words she recognized and she was now desperate to get her hands on the paper he was holding. "That's the Prophet. Please, give it to me."

"Susan."

"If I cannot speak to anyone from home," she said plainly, trying to keep from being overly emotional about this, "let me read about it."

His lips were set in a firm line, but Susan could sense his weakening. "It will only make it worse."

"Please."

The look in his eyes clearly stated that he thought this was a bad idea, but Blaise handed the paper over to her wordlessly. In an act of strength and normalcy that she didn't feel, Susan sat at the desk stiffly to show that she was fine with everything.

Her eyes began scanning the paper, and she could still feel his eyes boring a hole into her. Susan ruffled the paper and focused harder on the paper. The first article concerned the missing girls. She read a bit of it, catching a harsh comment for her aunt, and quickly averted her gaze. She found herself doing that quite a bit as article after article spoke about the war that was plaguing England and had begun sweeping the continent.

Susan could see her brother sitting down to this paper every day. Opening it up and reading the horrors, wondering where she was. Little Matthew coming out and tugging at his sleeves, asking endless questions. Her mother with weepy eyes, missing her, raging at anyone who would listen.

Tears began to unconsciously fall down her face as she lowered the paper to the desk. "Why can't I stay in touch with them?"

"Because they'll find you, and us, and this whole encampment." 'Because this side will kill you and make me watch. They'll destroy your family in ways you can't think of,' he added silently. "More likely than not, most would end up evacuated from here without the Order's knowledge and he would use this place as a trap. It is better for all concerned if you don't."

"I suppose you're right." Susan stood without sparing him a glance, but the sorrow in her eyes got to him all the same. "I've had a long day, I think I'm just going to go to bed now."

"Susan." He reached out for her finally, but she walked past him.

"Good night."

Blaise collapsed into his easy chair and rubbed his hands over his face. She still cared about him, he had to hold on to that. For everything else that went wrong, for the times like this where she walked away from him, he needed to hold on to the fact that she still cared, possibly still loved him.

He would make it up to her one day, he would. One day Susan would understand everything that had happened, and maybe they would find a way to be happy after all.