Disclaimer: As always Harry Potter and all its wonderful cast of characters is the product of JK Rowlings' vivid imagination. I'm just borrowing characters from her wonderful work and use them to play a part in my own little plot bunny idea.
Summary: There's always that one person who will always have your heart; You'll never see them coming 'coz you're blinded from the start...
PhoenixRae's Notes: Adrian Diggory from the previous chapter is Cedric's nephew. I wasn't sure if he had a brother in the books, but for the sake of this fic of mine I made up one for him.
V. Secrets She Keeps
Ginny half walked and half ran back to her chambers, breathlessly calling out her password and slipped inside the refuge of her chamber inside the castle.
What was she thinking? Damn Draco Malfoy! He still had the power to make her lower her defenses. She was far too distraught this evening to think coherently. She was worried about Denise's safety. She took a really nasty blow by doing that fancy dive just to get the bloody snitch! She'd be writing to Harry, berating her brother's best friend on how poorly he trained his goddaughter!
In a short time she watched Denise in school Ginny already recognized she had the proud, stubborn streak of her father. It was a flaw she wanted to correct, to point it out to her, but it wasn't her place to do that. She'd leave that to Fleur to do. After all, she was Denise's mother...
Ginny couldn't control the tears that threatened to fall and she flung herself onto her four-poster bed face-down, burying her face in her feather pillow and sobbed her heart out. She didn't realize how badly she'll be affected once she accepted this teaching position Professor McGonagall offered her. She thought she'd be able to stay aloof and detached from her nieces and nephews, well, from one niece in particular anyway. But as each day passed by Ginny realized she was only hurting herself.
Denise wasn't hers anymore. She relinquished that right the day she bundled her up and gave her to Bill and Fleur to raise as their own.
It was the hardest decision she had to make, giving up her daughter and disappear from her life like she wasn't the one responsible breathing life into her. But Ginny knew for Denise's sake, and hers, she must give her up. If they found out...if he found out...Ginny shivered as she recalled the viciousness of the man who spawned a wonderful son, a son Ginny learned to love with all her heart.
His betrayal came as a shock to her, and hurt her deeply, but she knew he must have had a reason for doing what he did. She waited for him to come forward to her, to explain why he went back to work for the Dark Lord, but he never did. And that was when her hatred for him turned to loathing. She damned the man who promised her the world and all its wondrous glory, only to rip it off of her in a flash.
She only had one salvation, though. It was after she found out of his betrayal that a slight flicker of hope appeared.
She was pregnant. She will have a part of him that she could call her own, to love and cherish and shower with love for all the world to see. But her happiness was short-lived. Realization dawned on her like someone just threw a bucket of ice cold water on her.
She couldn't keep her unborn child. If Lucius Malfoy found out she bore his son a child he'd use the baby to his full advantage. Her unborn child's life already hung on a noose long before it was born.
Worried and scared, Ginny confided her fears to one of her eldest brothers. Bill and Fleur were already thinking of getting married as soon as the war was over, but she managed to convince them to hurry up their nuptials as a cover-up for Ginny's pregnancy.
"Are you sure this is going to be fool proof, love" Fleur asked when Bill presented his plan to his sister and his intended.
"I'm not one hundred percent sure, but it's the only plan we've got" Bill looked at his sister and smiled encouragingly, "For the sake of my sister and her baby. I'm still disappointed that you got yourself into this mess, Ginevra, but that's l'amour so I guess I can forgive you" he tried to joke about the whole situation, which helped Ginny overcome her ever growing paranoia.
Bill and Fleur dropped a whopper of a lie that Fleur was expecting and they needed to get married right away. That plan of his worked. Ginny used a concealing charm to hide her growing stomach while Fleur used a different charm to show she was expecting. Ginny returned back to Hogwarts after the Christmas break during her fifth year without a hitch. None of the students, not even Ron, Hermione and Harry, knew she was expecting. The only ones who knew were her head of house, Professor McGonagall, the headmaster, Professor Dumbledore, and Madam Pomfrey; Bill felt compelled to let at least one or two school figure heads in on their secret to help Ginny with her condition.
She went to live with Bill and Fleur the summer before her sixth year. She didn't want to chance explaining to her parents that her water broke and she needed to be rushed to St Mungo's to give birth when it was Fleur who was supposed to be pregnant.
Ginevra Denise Weasley-Malfoy let out her first wail on August 11, 1997 - the same day Ginny turned sixteen. Madam Pomfrey came to Bill and Fleur's home to help Ginny deliver her baby. She wasn't rushed to St Mungo's to avoid raising questions from everyone, including her parents.
Ginny only had less than five minutes to hold her newborn daughter in her arms before she was taken from her to be washed and cleaned and handed over to her supposed parents: Bill and Fleur.
Ginny wailed against the pillow, muffling her sobs as she tried to block out that memory from her mind. She shouldn't be wishing for something she gave up on years ago. Even if her brother and his wife would willingly give her daughter back to her, Ginny didn't want to break anyone's heart, especially Denise's. Fleur was the only mother she knew and love; she was just good ol' Aunt Ginny to her.
Draco quietly walked up to the sleeping Gryffindor's hospital bed. He watched the slow rise and fall of her chest, the angelic face framed by her mop of red hair.
Sweet Merlin, he was a father! This stubborn, know-it-all Gryffindor was a product of his love for Ginny Weasley years ago. He was still reeling from shock when Ginny let it slip that he was Denise's father.
He stopped right beside her bed, one hand arrested mid-air to touch his daughter's forehead. But he stopped himself from doing so. For the first time in his life he was scared. He was scared to show emotion. He was scared of...what? Rejection like the way Ginny rejected him minutes ago?
This was his daughter lying on this hospital bed for crying out loud! And he had every right to worry about her safety just as Ginny was, only she was more concerned of letting Bill and Fleur, Denise's supposed parents, know that she was alright.
"Why are you with Bill and Fleur" he whispered, his gray eyes staring lovingly at his daughter's sleeping face.
"Because Mum wanted to protect us" came the husky reply from the child lying on the bed.
Draco was startled. He took a step back, his hand dropped to his side and stared at the girl sleeping on the bed. She slowly stirred, cracking open one eye slowly followed by the other. Soon Draco was staring at the same gray eyes as his; the same eyes he thought were Ginny's, but up close Denise's eyes were as gray as the steel.
"W-what" he stammered.
"You heard me, Professor" Denise replied groggily. Her head felt like it was spinning still, but at least she was able to stay awake. "Mum wanted to protect our hides, you know? She didn't want to give me to her brother and sister-in-law, but she had no choice" she explained matter-of-factly.
Draco couldn't believe he was hearing this. It must be the medication Madam Pomfrey gave her. She was talking as if she knew exactly what happened. If Ginny kept his daughter's existence to him, surely she kept her existence from their daughter as well.
"Miss Weasley, I think you're too drugged-up to be thinking properly here" he pointed out.
"Oh please, Professor, my head's fine. A bit wuzzy, I must say, but I am thinking coherently here. And I should know the truth since I heard it from my godfather. Well, Lily heard her parents talking about it before school started and she told me 'coz she thought I had the right to know" she explained.
"You knew since the beginning of term about this" He was dumfounded. Apparently he was the only one left in the dark. Ginny's secret wasn't a well-kept secret anymore.
"Uh-hm" she nodded, wincing when pain shot up to the back of her head. "Damn Snitch" she muttered and closed her eyes and waited for the pain to pass. When she opened them again she saw her father's face looking at her, his gray eyes, similar to hers, clouded with unspoken emotions all tangled up and unreadable.
Denise didn't know what to do when she sensed her Potions Professor's presence on her bedside. He was the last person she expected to check in on her while she was here. Her mother had been by her side from the moment she was rushed from the pitch to the hospital wing. Madam Pomfrey stood by and let her mother do the work, after all Ginny Weasley was a certified medi-witch and nobody questioned her when she fretted over her 'niece'.
She didn't know exactly how much her mother loved her. When Lily told her the truth about her parentage she couldn't believe it. It was too much to swallow. She remembered first glimpsing their Aunt Ginny two years ago, when she came to the Burrow for a visit unannounced. She remembered her aunt keeping her distance from her; she gave her other cousins a warm welcome but kept her distance from her. At the time Denise didn't know why. She remembered hating her for singling her out, then she found out she was the 'castoff' daughter of her absentee aunt. That didn't do much to help change her mind about hating her.
If she was her daughter, why didn't she welcome her with open arms like she did her cousins? Why must she keep her distance from her like she was the carrier of some deadly virus? When the new school year started and she had the chance to watch her aunt and her Potions professor did she slowly realize there was more to what Lily heard her parents were discussing that night.
Denise's opinion of her aunt changed slowly after that. She became obsessed in finding out exactly what broke her parents apart. They still loved one another; she knew that deep in her gut. She saw the attraction between them every time they came into blows. But her mother was making damn sure to keep her and her father at arm's length away from her. But why? She almost believed Ginny Weasley doesn't care a whit about her until her accident during the game. No one would make a big fuss like what she did as soon as she was taken to the hospital wing. She ordered Madam Pomfrey around - and this was the old school mediwitch's domain!
"I didn't want to say anything, you know? I didn't want to confront her about it because she always kept me at arm's length. But I knew." She paused and met her father's gaze, smiling encouragingly she added"And now you do too, but I don't think Mum would be too happy about that."
"You're right" Draco nodded, a smile slowly creeping on the corners of his lips. "She wasn't too happy when she accidentally let it slip that you're my daughter." He sounded so proud when he said those words out loud.
My daughter. Oh yes, that she was. Denise Weasley was indeed his daughter.
A/N: OMG! Finally I'm done with this chapter! LOL Sorry for the delay in updating. Work, as usual, got the better of me, plus I suffered from a minor writer's block hence the delay. Anyways, nice father-daughter moment there, don't you think so? I hope this chapter explained a bit on why Ginny wanted to keep her distance from Draco. I would also like to send out a special shout-out to tigereyes320 (aka Maria) for doing yet another brainstorming with me a few weeks ago. And as for my numerous readers reviewers: THANK YOU VERY MUCH! You all know who you are. Thanks and I hope you enjoyed this chapter.