Ginevra was running as fast as her legs would carry her. She spared a glance back every few yards to see if she was still being followed. She raced through the woods, dodging limbs and jumping roots, until she reached a clearing. Looking around her, she panted heavily, and turned to face her pursuer.
"You don't have to do this. You don't have to be what they want. You can make your own choices." She tossed her wand away from her. It landed a good four feet distant. The man chasing her stood on the edge of the clearing just watching her, stunned by her actions. "Kill me, if that is what you truly wish. If you believe that blood purity is all that matters in this world, if you believe that I have betrayed all that is good and pure by defending those who cannot defend themselves, then kill me right now and make the world a better place, but if there is any doubt in your mind now is your chance to think. Now is your chance to examine everything you are fighting for. Now is your chance to choose without any outside pressure. Be yourself and decide." Her panting had ceased and she stood tall and proud. There wasn't a trace of fear in her eyes.
"Is this how we lost Nott? And Goyle?" A cold voice issued from behind the death eater's mask. "You got them to chase you, run to a secluded spot, and gave them this bloody speech?"
She laughed a light and breezy laugh. "Actually, I chased Nott, but basically, yes."
"Do the others know what you are doing? Does Potter know how you're throwing your life away?" The voice was mocking now. It spit out Potter's name as though it was vile.
She smiled. "Yes, they know."
She could sense an eyebrow raising behind the mask. "And they don't try to stop you? Some friends." He raised his wand. "Is it really worth it? The warm fuzzy feeling you have inside right now, knowing you're giving some poor kid a chance to do what's right, has it been worth it? Because it all ends here."
"Ask Theodore or Gregory when you meet them on the battlefield. Ask them if they are grateful for what I have done, and you will have your answer. Kill me now, Draco, it won't change anything. This isn't about a warm fuzzy feeling, this is about me, and it's about you. I'm not here to turn you good; I'm here to give you a choice. Whether you choose to remain where you are and I die here today or whether you choose to remove your mask and I die the next time I make this offer I have still given you a moment of peace, free of coercion. If you kill me here you will no longer be able to look back, years from now, and say that you were a kid, bullied into it by abusive parents. You will have no excuse, nothing to hide behind, because this moment existed, because you stood here, faced me, and took my life with no fear of recompense should you fail. You are completely free, Draco, for the first time in your life all that matters is you and what you believe." Her eyes seemed to bore into his mind and were reaching for his soul.
He lowered his wand. She did not smile but maintained her gaze. "This is not over, Red." He turned and ran back the way they had come.
She had presented two options, but in truth there had been three, and he took the third. He had let her live, but they would meet again on another battlefield with the line still between them.
"Well? I take it he didn't kill you but I don't see him either." Theodore looked relieved when Ginevra arrived at headquarters later that day.
"No, he took the easy way out." She sat down, weary.
"I still don't see why you insist on doing this, Gin. It's going to get you killed." Ron mumbled. He had long ago given up trying to talk her out of it, mostly because the twins had threatened to murder him if he didn't, but he was still adamantly against it.
"Because it needs to be done." Remus answered for the girl without looking up from his paper. "It is something that should have been started long ago by those who claim to be mentors and educators. Instead, we were lead by one we should have been protecting. Because of our folly the only way to reach those we lost is to endanger one we never could have kept." He looked up at Ginevra. "I am sorry, Ginevra, that we have put you in this position." She had only been doing this for two months and he had just returned from a mission and therefore only just learned of her activities.
She smiled sweetly. "I'm not sure anything could have been done while they were in school."
"Yes sir, when we were in school our parents still ruled our lives. Even when they were a country away they were always present. Now, out there in the war, we are treated as adults and expected to behave as such. Our home is no longer where our parents live and we are expected to be able to survive on our own." Theodore decided he would be the best qualified to explain what Ginevra meant.
Remus nodded thoughtfully. "Perhaps, but I will never be able to reconcile myself comfortably to the fact that one we incorrectly continued to view as a child began to act on need none of us had even seen. Even if we could do nothing about ourselves and still needed to rely on her to do the exact same thing she is doing now, we should have realized that not all of you were entirely lost, that some of you could be recovered, saved from that life. I am sorry, Theodore, that we would have left you to that."
Theodore smiled warmly. "Perhaps you are right, it is not my place to judge, but if you are, your apology is gratefully received."
"He wouldn't have let me live if there were no doubts." Ginevra had begun staring off into space after she had spoken.
"I take it you are going to try again?" Theodore smiled at his new friend. He had the utmost respect for this young woman; she had saved his life, hadn't she, by offering him her own?
"Of course I am. But now I need food." Ron's face turned red in his efforts to keep his sputtering to a minimum.