Summary: Draco coldly broke her heart for the promise of greater things, and seven years later, just when everything is perfect, Ginny reappears in his life as a prisoner of the war and her fate becomes his decision. D/G major angst/romance
Warnings: Slight AU; T for now (could go to M in the near future chapters) for slight violence and some steamy situations... you know what I'm talking about, nothing to serious though.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own anything you recognize... it all belongs to the wonderful JK Rowling and her family of publishers. In addition, these song lyrics do not belong to me, and they are not meant to promote this story in any way. I love these bands, and actually buy the albums. If anyone is interested in any of the bands I list, I would love to pass on their greatness!
And the picture frames are facing down
And the ringing from this empty sound
Is deafening and keeping you from this sleep
And breathing is a foreign task
And thinking's just too much to ask
And you're measuring your minutes by a clock that's blinking eights
This is incredible
Yes, this is love for the first time
Well, you'd like to think that you were invincible
Yeah, well weren't we all once
before we felt lost for the first time?
Well, this is the last time
The Brilliant Dance/Dashboard Confessional
Chapter 1: The Chance to Live
She was first aware of the staleness of the cell; it felt as if it had seeped into her skin and settled within her. The damp was chilling, and it made the darkness around her even deeper and more desolate.
She didn't open her eyes at first because she already knew what she was going to see. It wouldn't be different than the last time she woke up, or even the last time she moved from the filthy corner she had curled herself into. Her knees were pressed tightly to her chest and her arms were wrapped around her legs, wishing for warmth. But the frigid walls were not her first concern.
Keeping her face still and her breathing even, she listened for the sound that woke her from her shallow sleep. Hoping that it wasn't one of her captors waiting outside her cell watching her sleep, she strained for any noise that would alert her to their positions. Stalling her breathing, she listened. Deafening silence was all that surrounded her, and after a few more moments she allowed the panic that tensed her body to ease slightly.
Her eyes still closed, she forced herself to think of what she had been dreaming about. No doubt it had been far from her reality.
The overwhelming feeling of dread caught in her throat, forcing sudden hot tears to spring to her eyes. But with one deep breath they were gone; she would not allow herself to show any weakness to her captors.
And then she heard them… loud laughter echoed down the damp hallway. Even though she couldn't see them, the knowledge that they were close enveloped her in fear. Listening hard, she heard the distinct chink of clay chips and ruffle of a deck of cards. They were playing wizard's hands in the guard room further down the hall, which meant they were drinking their weekly ration of firewiskey. Slashing terror shot through her, remembering the last time her captors played wizard's hands. That was the night she received a cracked skull and concussion. With a silent shudder, she worked hard to even out her breathing again, knowing that even if she never made a sound they always managed to realize she was awake and ready to entertain them.
But she had a secret, a secret that would save her.
Slowly she opened her eyes to the darkness of her cell. Without moving her head, she glanced around it, taking note of the currently locked bars and the absence of the posted guard outside her cell. By her standards, the cell was large, almost as large as her apartment bedroom, but the similarities stopped there. It was a cold, stone wizard prison cell, made to detain magic. The vertical bars that made up the entrance to the cell sank into the floor at tight intervals then rose dauntingly to meet the high ceiling. At first sight there seemed to be no way into the cell, for there was no conceivable door that separated the cold grey bars. But there was no need for a door when the bars obeyed the guards, bending willfully to admit their wide bodies. And how she hated and feared that noise. The bars screeched painfully when they stretched, like long nails on blackboard, sending warning shivers down her spine.
The other three walls that made up her cell were dark rough stone. The floor was made of the same material, but slightly polished. She had once tried to figure out if the stones were smooth on purpose, or if they had been worn down by other prisoners, but that depressing thought only made her spirit drop farther. So she concentrated on the only light she could see in her situation, literally.
There were no windows in her cell, but the cell next to hers had a slight slit that opened to the world. The sun shown through confidently on bright days and she would watch the progression of it as it slid slowly across the stone floor outside her bars. She clung to the sunlight as if it were her lifeline and pictured herself escaping just to be free of the darkness that encased her cell.
Sighing softly, she looked for the little square of sunlight, but it had disappeared behind the wall. So she slowly fluttered her fingers down along her leg searching for the hard metal object lashed tightly to her calf with a dirty sock. Her fingers brushed the cool metal and she wrapped it tightly into her palm.
She sat still for a few moments, listening for a change in the sounds coming from the guard room. But the laughter, shuffling of cards, and clink of glasses remained constant so she continued slowly, gaining confidence.
She brought the pointed object up in front of her face, reverently running her thumb across the blunted edge. It had been a spoon when she had started work on it, and now, after hours of slow grinding against the stone, it was a curved blade. It had been hard work to hide it from her captors, especially after they found the fork she had been hiding embedded into a guard's thigh. She knew the spoon was not sharp or particularly threatening, but it was a weapon and she clung to the thought that it would protect her. Presently, however, it had a different function.
Leaning forward slightly, she ran her hand along the cold stone searching for the groves she had placed in the wall. Finding them, she ran her fingers over them, counting silently to herself though she already knew how many there were. She counted the groves whenever she felt alone, which seemed to be her most prominent emotion lately, besides fear.
There were two sets of groves, the first counted the number of days she had occupied the cell. She meticulously added a mark each day the sun disappeared behind the wall, and slowly pressing the sharp point to the wall she added another one. Today's mark brought the total to thirty-four days.
But her favorite groves to count were the second set. They represented the number of times she had tried to escape, and counting them gave her a rush of dark emotion that satisfied her and frustrated her at the same time. The count totaled at nine and she could remember every escape attempt. Number two was the reason a guard was supposed to be posted outside her door at all hours; number five was the reason the guard had to sit across the hall instead of against the bars; number eight was the reason she was no longer allowed to have silverware. But even though those thoughts buoyed her sprits, she could also remember each beating she received afterwards.
She had been careless at first, trying foolish ways to get past the guards. She learned fast to be clever and plan her attempts thoroughly before executing them.
Her fingers itched to place another grove in the second set, but instead she smiled knowingly to herself. Her wounds were finally healed sufficiently that she would be strong enough to carry out what she had been planning for the last week, providing they actually fed her tonight. Her last attempt at freedom had cost her three dislocated fingers, a severely sprained ankle, and a broken collarbone. Pain had become her constant companion, but she learned to work through it by thinking about her next plan to escape.
She leaned back, running her fingers over the groves once more, and closed her eyes. Unwilling to strap the sharpened spoon to her leg again, she kept it tightly fisted in her hand. She listened to the guards for awhile longer, confident that she had a few more hours before their firewiskey was gone and they remembered to check on her. Idly wondering if the guards would save some whiskey for their favorite game of trying to set her on fire with it, but she pushed the thought out of her head, knowing the answer would come soon enough.
Concentrating on her breathing, Ginny Weasley fell into a shallow sleep.
Thirty-four days earlier…
Ginny looked up from the medical chart she was reading to watch a young mediwitch place an IV into her patients' arm while another mediwitch checked the man's breath sounds. Glancing once more at the chart, she gave the order for palliative spells to be administered.
"And then get him up to the fourth floor to Healer Stonge for a body scan. I want the results in an hour," she added.
"Right away, Healer Weasley," the mediwitch answered.
Ginny placed the chart on the bed beside the patient, snapping off the protective gloves and tossing them in the nearest waste bin. Leaving the exam room, she looked quickly towards the near empty triage board floating above the mediwitch station and wondered why today was so slow. Usually she didn't have time to stop and think, but she was glad for it today. She loved it when she was busy and challenged, however, it seemed that the work never stopped. Taking a breather, she headed towards the Apparation bay deciding she needed a walk outside, but her mind so distracted with calculations and contraindications that she didn't hear a mediwitch yell for her.
"Ginny!" Helea yelled again from where she was sitting behind a desk in the mediwitch station. Ginny smiled when she realized who was calling her and made her way back towards the center of the emergency department.
"Hey, Helea," Ginny leaned over the low enclosure, resting her head on her folded arms. "Did the results from the bone Healer come back for my chest fracture patient?"
"Do I look like your house elf? You have eyes and hands, you can check for yourself," Helea scolded her.
"Five years of Healer training plus a year of working here and I still get bossed around by you," Ginny retorted harshly. They were silent for moment, sizing each other up, then both burst out laughing.
"That was good, Ginny, I almost believed you," Helea chuckled. "But you know I'm always going to boss you around."
"Unfortunately," Ginny smiled. Helea had been her first friend when she started at St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries Emergency Department last year. She was the only Mediwitch who had challenged her on medical decisions and all around gave Ginny a hard time. For the first few months, Helea was Ginny's number one enemy until one day when Ginny made a spectacular catch that every other Healer and Mediwitch on the floor had missed, and saved the patients' life.
After that, Helea and Ginny were fast friends. Ginny liked to tease Helea that she needed to do something spectacular to get her to stop nagging. Helea told her that after seeing so many Healers walk through the hospital entrance, she wanted to make sure that Ginny belonged there. The sideways compliment reminded Ginny of something her mum would say, and only smiled at the praise. Helea and Mrs. Weasley were close in age, and with all the constant harassing Helea put her through, Ginny felt like she had found a home away from the Burrow.
"I've been meaning to ask," Helea asked her seriously, lowering her voice to respectful tone. "Have you heard any news about your best friend?"
Ginny knew she didn't mean to do it, but even thinking about Emlyn's disappearance over a week ago made her heart squeeze in agony. It was all over the wizard news, but only a few of Ginny's friends at the hospital knew of her connection to the abducted Auror.
"No, nothing yet," Ginny smiled bravely at her, and Helea reached out and patted her hand comfortingly.
"Well then, before you go strutting out of here, you have paperwork that needs to be done," Helea tried to hide her smile as Ginny groaned and looked at the huge stack of patient records that had to be completed. She reluctantly shoveled them into her arms, almost straining under the load, but she didn't fail to give Helea a bright smile.
"I've got some good news for you though," Helea said as Ginny was turning to walk away. "Your boyfriend stopped in to say hello."
"My boyfriend?" Ginny looked at her doubtingly.
"Yes, your boyfriend! Merlin, Ginny, you forget them too easily! Anyways, he came in while you were with your last patient, and I told him he could wait for you in the resident Healer lounge. He looked upset, and I didn't want to break his cute little heart telling him he couldn't see you," Helea grinned at her.
Ginny gave her a confused glance, thanked her for the message, then headed off for the lounge with her paperwork. Her boyfriend, Michael Corner, would never visit her in the hospital because of his aversion to blood and anything related to it. She wondered if he had actually braved the hospital because of the fight they had last night before he stormed out of her apartment. He knew being a Healer was what she loved to do, but he couldn't accept the fact that she needed to work the long hours. Even before they had officially started dating, she had given him fair warning that she kept odd and extremely long hours.
But somehow he found out that not all of the Resident Healers worked like she did. Ginny worked every shift she could, throwing herself into the hospital in the early morning and not leaving until way past darkness. It was what she loved… and subconsciously she knew she also did it because it killed any chance of thinking about… him.
During their fight last night, Michael admitted to seeking out and having a talk with another resident. He found out that Ginny was known for working intense overtime, even though it wasn't necessary. This made him furious and Michael accused her of lying to him and not wanting to be with him. It should have made her heart melt, Michael was basically telling her that he was hurt without her and that he missed her. Ginny had waited for the feeling of love to come, but all she felt was emptiness.
She said nothing after that, and Michael left angry and rejected. It was physically impossible for her to say something to comfort him, Ginny realized. It had been that way with her last boyfriends also; they all accused her of being guarded and cautious. They were all great men, and according to her mother, if she had let herself Ginny could have loved any of them. Michael was a successful attorney for the Ministry who devoted mostly all of his free time to be with her. She even heard from Hermione that he went ring shopping for her last week and selected one from Scintillo's, the most expensive and respected dealer in Diagon Alley. The thought made her want to be sick.
She knew that she didn't desire or love Michael, and that she was leading him on. She liked him well enough to put up with his kisses and roaming hands. She even tried many times to convince herself that she felt more than tolerance for him. But even after a year of seeing Michael exclusively, his admission of his feelings for her only made her disgusted. Knowing how much he loved her made her feel guilty and angry at herself for letting him. He shouldn't have been so generous with giving her his love, Ginny thought cynically, after all she gave nothing in return. He shouldn't have shoved his feelings on her; he should have dyed his hair white blond, grew half a foot, and charmed his eyes to be steely grey… then she would have loved him.
Ginny almost sat down on an empty gurney in shock, the thought of him came so fast and so unwelcome. Without wondering where the thoughts came from, she immediately shoved them out of her mind and prepared to meet Michael. Turning another corner she pushed the door to the resident lounge open with her foot and looked to where a man was sitting, staring blankly out the windows. But it wasn't Michael who turned and looked at her.
"Harry!" Ginny exclaimed, but the swinging door came back threatening to hit her in the side. Harry lunged forward and caught the door just as Ginny regained her balance holding the patient records. "Thanks," she murmured, Harry barely smiled at her. Helea was half-right, he wasn't her boyfriend, but he was very upset.
"This is a nice surprise," Ginny said, setting the charts down on the large circular table that dominated the room. "Do you want some coffee?"
"No," Harry said quietly, retaking his seat at the table. He was more than upset, Ginny realized, but after spending years with him, she knew that he would tell her what was wrong eventually if she didn't press the subject. A hospital elf appeared at her side, and she kindly asked for a cup of coffee for both herself and Harry, anticipating that he would want one.
"I missed you at Sunday dinner; Fred and George were giving me a hard time since they got that awful letter from the head of the Emergency Department last week," she smiled at him, but Harry was still staring down attentively at his hands. "Their Wizarding Wheezes are just overcrowding the ER needlessly, parents don't realize that the effects are temporary and bring their kids in for treatment. Fred and George think it's hilarious because now the hospital is stocked with the antidote candy to their own inventions," Ginny laughed and she saw the corner of Harry's mouth quirk. "You think that's funny too, eh? Not too much is funny about more work," she smiled as he looked up at her. They looked at each other, knowing that they didn't have any reason to be laughing right now, so Ginny stopped trying to joke with him and picked up a patient chart.
They were silent for only a while longer when Harry got up and went to the windows. Ginny watched him carefully as he moved, and her heart hurt painfully as she noticed how defeated and tired he looked.
The war had been incredibly hard on him, but Harry took everything in stride: his training with the Aurors, his exploration of his new power, knowing that confrontation was inevitable. But the hardest hit he had taken was when Emlyn had disappeared more than a week ago. They had been inseparable since graduating from Hogwarts together seven years ago, and she was more than another Auror. They were in love and Harry showed it with every move he made.
It hadn't started like that between them though; it had grown from full blown hatred. Emlyn had arrived with her brother Lukas during their seventh year at Hogwarts with only one goal in mind: revenge on Harry Potter. They fought and struggled with each other's presence in school for months until Harry finally confronted Emlyn. A spectacular fight took place in the Great Hall that students still talked about. That was the night Harry found out about his powers and the powers of the two new students. They were Aspects, and after extensive training, Harry developed his powers to surpass Emlyn's and Lukas's.
Fighting with Emlyn was easy, but finding out why Emlyn hated him so much proved to be very difficult. But when she finally did tell him, it opened up a whole new battle between them. Emlyn and Lukas were two of the three magical talents, called Aspects, born under a second Prophecy relating to Voldemort and Harry. Their sister, Tynan, the third Aspect, and their parents were murdered by Death Eaters, which was why Emlyn and Lukas arrived at Hogwarts for protection. But the death of Tynan had hit them hard, mentally and magically. The Aspects were created in a way that all three had to be present to be able to fight and defend themselves. Tynan was the Aspect Lifter; she gathered the Power from their surroundings and sent it to her brother and sister to use. Lukas was the Aspect Elemental; he used the Power from Tynan to control the air, water, earth and fire to attack and destroy. Emlyn was the Aspect Ancient; she used the Power from Tynan to fuel her Dark Magic and curses to be able to defend and intimidate.
Without Tynan, they had no way to gather the power they needed to fight… until Harry's powers were discovered. He turned out to be talented in all three branches of Aspect magic, and Emlyn was furious that she was now dependent on Harry, the person she blamed for Tynan's death, for protection and Power.
Ginny and Emlyn didn't start off as best friends either. Emlyn, who couldn't admit to herself that she actually admired and liked Harry and held him wrongly accused, was enraged when she found out that Ginny and Harry were dating. They weren't dating of course, it was a misunderstanding, but Emlyn didn't bother to learn the truth and preferred to hate Ginny instead.
Harry, however, was just as enraptured with Emlyn, and tried many times to tell her his feelings only to get shot down by Emlyn's harsh words. Ginny knew all of the embarrassing details because Harry confided in her just as she confided her secrets in him.
Their close friendship had been going only for a bit before Harry discovered what Ginny was hiding. She had a Power too, but it was completely different from any Aspect Power. Ginny could project an image to a person to make them see what she wanted them to see. Harry found out when she tried to use her abilities on him when, in a twist, it didn't work. They eventually figured out it was because of Harry's use of the same Power. She didn't know how she had developed it, but Harry helped her to control it further, which meant spending more time together. Which then increased Emlyn fury further, Ginny smiled to herself. What a good laugh they all had once the truth was sorted out, she reminisced fondly.
When Emlyn was captured by Death Eaters, Ginny knew that Harry blamed himself for not being there to protect her, just as she knew that nothing would ever be the same for him with her gone. He worked endlessly to find out what happened to her, and even with the powers that connected them, he still had not been able find a trace of what happened to her.
"She was set up, Ginny," Harry said so softly that Ginny almost didn't hear him.
"By who?" she asked quietly, trying to control her hammering heart. She had missed Emlyn so much and she wanted to find her just as much as Harry did.
"An officer Auror," Harry swallowed hard, his jaw tightening.
"Thomaston?" Ginny asked, though she knew it was him.
"I knew they were having problems, but I insisted that he was to be trusted. Even Lukas didn't catch his betrayal," Harry said, trying to control his wrath.
"It's not your fault, Harry! Stop blaming yourself, you know how stubborn she is, she would have gone to the fight even if she knew you weren't going to be there," Ginny joined him at the window, grabbing his arm to get him to look at her.
"They are taking everything I love, Gin," Harry said quietly, looking down at her. Tears sprung to her eyes just thinking about how much he was hurting, and she quickly wrapped her arms around him and pressed her cheek to his chest to hide her emotion. He slowly wrapped his arms around her and rested his chin on the top of her head.
Only one other person was tall enough to do that, she thought, then scolded herself.
"I can't feel her presence anymore. I think she's gone, Gin," Harry said weakly.
"NO! You can't say that Harry, they could have done something to block her from you, or…"
"It doesn't matter! They wouldn't have let her live, can't you see that! Once they found out who she is to me, she's dead. But, there is a chance for her," he grabbed her upper arms and forced her away from him. "Marry me, Ginny."
Ginny was silent, her body going still and her eyes fixated on his. He was serious, she realized.
"They are taking everything I love, and if I make them think that I don't care about Emlyn and they can't use her against me, maybe they will let her go," his eyes were bright green with fury and hope. "They can't get to you while you're in the hospital, and you would be protected everywhere you went. I would never let something happen to you, you know that."
"You don't even know if that was the reason she was captured, Harry," Ginny told him.
"They are slowly dismantling my life and my team, this is the only chance I have to get her back," Harry tightened his hold on her, forcing her to meet his eyes.
"I can't do this to her, I can't agree to this," Ginny shook her head, just thinking of betraying her best friend was enough to reject the idea.
"You would be helping her, Ginny! I need you to be here for me," Harry's cheek twitched with emotion, and Ginny reached out and laid her hand against it.
"I've always been here for you, Harry, you know that," Ginny told him softly, still trying to sort out her feelings.
"Then do this for me. I never got a chance to tell Emlyn how I really feel, and you were best friends. I know that even if she is gone, she would want us to try. You know how much I love her, Ginny; I can't let Voldemort see that taking Emlyn affected me," he said fiercely.
"So this would just be a big 'piss it' to the Death Eaters?" Ginny asked him, realizing what he was getting at. She was not offended at his offer, but rather in awe of his strength to go through with it.
"And added protection for you worthy of my future wife, which your father will love," he added, smiling slightly, then turned serious. "You're the only one who knows just how much I loved her, Gin, and you're the only one that would realize that I'll never be able to love another person that way. It has to be you, Gin, for a week or for forever. And after you lost Malfoy to the Death Eaters, I know you understand how I feel."
"Don't talk to me about him," Ginny said quietly, throwing a chilled look at him.
"Why? It's time to face the facts, Ginny! You think I don't realize these things, but I know what you are doing. You lock yourself away in this hospital driving away every man that has the guts to even try and date you. You compare them all to the one person who you shouldn't even been thinking about anymore, and every time you find them lacking. What's wrong with Michael, Ginny? He's in love with you, he'd do anything for you, but you can't bring yourself to love him. Why! Malfoy broke your heart, but please tell me he didn't take it with him when he left…"
"STOP!" Ginny pushed against him. They stared hard at each other for a moment.
"He never deserved you." Harry broke the silence.
"I hate him!" Ginny cried violently. "Don't even think otherwise."
"Then marry me and prove me wrong," Harry said quietly, his mood shifting dramatically. He pulled a ring out of pocket and held it up to her. It was a gorgeous clear diamond set into a slim gold band. Ginny throat went dry, he was definitely not kidding around.
"Harry, you can't give up on Emlyn like this," Ginny swallowed.
"I'm not giving up on her, I'm giving her a chance to live," Harry looked at her hard, moving the ring a fraction closer to her. "It can be a sham, it can be real, it can be whatever you want it to be. We might even be forced to actually go through with it, but if there is the slightest chance of saving her life, anything is worth it."
Ginny stared at the ring, then lifted her gaze to his pleading face.
"Please, do this for me, Ginny," Harry asked her. "You're the only one who can save her; I could never ask anyone else."
Ginny bit her lip then slowly plucked the ring out of his hand. Immediate relief washed over Harry, and Ginny was glad that at least she could help him with this.
She studied the ring a moment before she said anything. Then looking up into his green eyes she told him, "Between us, Harry, I am only holding this ring for Emlyn."
A slow smile spread over his face when he realized she was agreeing. "We can talk about the details later," Harry looked at her, gratitude and love radiating through his face and she watched the tension leave his body. He studied her face for a moment, then with a raucous laugh he grabbed her to him and crushed her in a tight hug. "Ginny, I love you so much. Thank you for doing this for me."
With those last words he was gone, and Ginny was left staring at the beautiful diamond engagement ring sparkling in her palm.
Start off with a proposal...nice. Sorry about the random back-story in there too, I tried to fit in with flowing grace... I hope it worked out and wasn't too random. But anyways, tell me what you think, good or bad! I will still heart you, no worries! I'm excited to be posting again and I am anxious to hear from you guys!
I'll probably update in twoish weeks... in the mean time, take a go around on your desk chair... lol -DC