"Are you scared?"
"No," she lied, letting passiveness cloud her eyes and chalking up her body's trembling to the cold. The dungeon was rather cold.
"Liar," he would have smiled, were he capable of it. Any trace of his smirk transformed to a disdainful sneer. "I can smell it," he stated.
She wanted to bite her lip, her usual action when caught lying, but the captive knew it was a sign of weakness and fear, and so she fought the urge.
"You've never been more terrified," he continued. Taking two steps closer he ceased twirling his weapon idly and, aiming it at the redhead before him, commanded: "Admit it."
"Terrified," she mimicked quietly, pulling her eyes away from the enemy's wand back to his face, his eyes, his smile. His smile.
He smiled as he took yet another step towards her, and the expression gave him a mad, crazed look, as if he were a raving lunatic that knew something she didn't.
He smiled as he gripped his wand firmer, aimed it harder, and hissed a spell she was never able to hear.
That was when the pain began.
oO oo oO oo oO oo oO
480 minutes. 28,800 seconds. Eight days. Ginny Weasley had been kept prisoner in the dungeons of Malfoy Manor for eight days now. Yes, dungeons. The Malfoy's had dungeons, hidden away in their castle of a home. Ginny thought that modern civilization had discontinued the use of dungeons hundreds of years ago. Perhaps that was true, except for the occasional snoop caught within the walls of the mansion, but Ginny had a growing suspicion that Lucius Malfoy especially, still walked the dimly-lit passages and shoved unlucky, unsuspecting victims into the damp cells quite regularly. She heard their cries.
Late at night, early in the morning, sometimes even in the middle of the day, she could hear them crying, calling for help, praying to God to be killed during their next session of torture, anything to release them from their pain. It was almost constant, and always audible, sometimes so faint one would have to strain their ears and concentrate in order to understand what the others were saying, and sometimes so loud and near Ginny had to clamp her hands over her ears and squeeze her eyes shut and hum, sing, or scream herself to rid her brain of the intangible horrors of the words they screamed. She never yelled for help herself, knowing it was fully futile a gesture, and never answered the calls of the others.
She never talked aloud to herself, never muttered, never let tears escape her eyes nor allow cries escape her lips when it was possible. Never did she make a sound, unless he was talking to her, when she would find the shortest possible answer to satisfy the question he asked. Those were the rules. Don't cry, don't scream, don't speak unless spoken to. Ginny's rules.
Had he known of her rules things would have been far more difficult. He neither urged nor cared if she spoke to him, unless he wanted the answer, but he waited on the moment when he could hear her cry and scream and beg him to end her pain. Had he known of her rules he would have used even more terrible methods of torture, more painful and hideous curses to urge the cries out of her. But he didn't know. Ginny wouldn't let him know. She knew better.
She began making the marks when she first awoke in the cold cell, scratching a mark on the damp concrete with the bone from some dead animal, probably a mouse. She made a mark whenever she was fed, meager amounts of cheese and bread, and a bowl of lukewarm water. There was a window in her room, small and barred but allowing enough light in to fill the small cage she lived in. She knew it was a magical window, such as those in the Ministry of Magic atrium, so she could never be sure if it was night or day. For all Ginny knew her cell could have been full of gloomy sunlight at two o'clock in the morning. It was impossible to tell. Perhaps the others thought they were real windows, leading to the outside; the grass, the sun, and the breathtaking sense of freedom received from the outside world. Maybe that was why they screamed. Or maybe they were receiving worse treatment than her. Ginny had never thought to ask. That would involve speaking to him.
Her torturer. Her source of pain and, though she hated to admit it, fear. The terrible and dreadful things of the world wrapped up into one tall, pale, blonde-haired boy that was called Draco Malfoy. How she despised him. She wanted to kick him, hard, in the stomach, the face, anything that would put him in pain. She longed to grab at his wand, but then what? She could neither use it (he had claimed previously to have protected it with ancient spells) nor fend him off physically when she attempted her little trick, so what could she do? Stab him through the chest; impale him with the damned piece of wood, anything to cause him as much pain as he had caused her. She knew it would never happen.
She sat in silence; making no move even when she heard the spell chanted and the lock in the door turn over with a resounding clunk. She focused her eyes on a solitary brick where a horrible faded maroon stain marred the dismal gray. She didn't make an effort to turn from him as he strode up to her, nor when he took her chin and forced her head to face him, but she allowed herself to close her eyes in pain, and allowed her soul to hurt a little more when he uttered:
"Well aren't you a sight. I think we better hold off with the torture for awhile."
Ginny forced her eyes to focus and looked into his own.
"Nah," he shook his head, smirking still. "What would be the fun in that? Hmm?" he continued still, waiting for his rhetorical question to be responded to.
"I don't know," Ginny stated firmly.
He smirked greater still. "I think you do."
He left her side and moved to the fake window, displaying gloomy clouds over a deserted field. "I think you do," he repeated softly.
"Perhaps I do, what are you going to do about it?" the words were in the air before Ginny could even think to hold them in, and she felt more than heard Malfoy stiffen and turn to face her slowly.
Ginny glanced to him and found he was raising a hand to his ear. "Hark, what's this? Is the defenseless prisoner challenging me?"
She closed her eyes, but his laugh surrounded her, filling the room and pounding itself into her ears. When she looked to him again she found laughter only in his eyes, and he had crouched in front of her without making a sound.
He took her chin tightly in his hand, their faces inches apart. "Do not challenge me," he warned her quietly. "You will get hurt."
"I thought that's what you wanted," Ginny again let her mouth run off without her brain, and waiting in heavy silence she held her breath.
His stony face first smirked, then sneered. "You have no idea what I want."
The statement held so much potential and suggestion that it sent shivers up and down Ginny's spine. She closed her eyes and saw things she didn't want to see. She opened them again and saw Malfoy before her, staring through her eyes.
He stood and walked over to the window once more. "You wanna know what I think, Weasley?"
She knew she wasn't meant to answer, but she wanted more than anything to just piss the boy off, and damn the consequences. Maybe he would just get sick of her. "Yes, Malfoy. I'm dying to know exactly what's on your mind."
He turned to her for the third time, with a different expression covering his features; one Ginny had never seen him wear. He ignored his own question and took a seat next to Ginny, pulling out his wand as he did so.
"You know something, Weasley? You're absolutely incredible," he spun the wand around and twisted it in his fingers.
Ginny didn't respond, letting the strange compliment float in the air by itself. It didn't have to wait long for company.
"You understand what I'm saying?" Again Ginny didn't answer, so he continued. "You are trapped here, in my dungeon, and have been for days. You've been beaten, tortured with some of the worst curses I've learned and deprived of food and water so much you shouldn't be conscious right now. Any other person would have begged me for death three days in. Any other person would to keep their mouth," he grabbed her chin fiercely and pulled her towards him with so much force that she nearly toppled into him, "shut," silence filled the room once more as he stared hard into her eyes. "You aren't like anyone else. It takes some curses that I've been reluctant to try to get you to cry out. Absolutely incredible," he breathed the last part to himself, releasing her to toy again with his weapon.
He shook his head in disbelief in the silence, which Ginny broke a minute later.
"What would you do if I had your wand?"
He paused in spinning the object in question and glanced to her.
"Would you let me go? Fight me to get it back? What would you do if I were the one with the power?"
He straightened up and took an audible breath—and held the wand over to her.
Ginny stared at it, glanced at Malfoy, and back to the wand.
"Take it," he moved it towards her more, open palmed, and continued to wave it in front of her until she took the cool ash wood into her own hand.
He moved in front of her to face her better, on his knees and spread his arms out, opening a direct shot to his chest.
"Anything. Go on. Try it out," he glanced at the wand and stared her in the eyes and, smirking, added: "I dare you."
Ginny looked at him warily and, testing his confidence, stuttered out the only thing she could think, "S-stupefy!"
oO oo oO oo oO oo oO
When Ginny awoke next she was lying on the floor, Malfoy's arms pillars on either side of her, and his smirking face hanging over her. "I told you, didn't I? Why would I lie? I told you there were spells protecting my wand from use by anyone but me. You just had to try though. Such like a Weasley. Just had to test your limits and look what happened—you knocked yourself out," he shook his head, "Incredible."
Ginny attempted to sit, but one of Malfoy's arms pinned her down once more. "And now you can't move," he laughed.
"I can make you move," Ginny breathed.
"How's that? You may be better in Quidditch but don't think that I don't have the superior strength."
"You seem to not notice that my knee is placed conveniently between your legs, Malfoy."
He gave a short laugh. "Don't make it sound so dirty."
"Ugh," Ginny winced at the thought he'd imprinted into her mind. "Uck."
"Does something about me disgust you, Weasley?" he whispered down next to her ear, his lips lightly brushing against her cheek.
She made the same gesture, and after a minute breathed softly: "Only everything."
He moved swiftly then, into his original seat, his usual smirk crossing his mouth, "See what I mean? I had you pinned, you couldn't move. I could have done anything--," he gave an example as Ginny sat and scooted a foot or so from him, "—I could have strangled you dead in less than a minute, and still with the remarks. Sometimes it seems as though you aren't afraid to be tortured."
Ginny stared at her shoes, replying softly, "Maybe I'm not."
Just as swiftly and quickly he was standing in front of her again, wand in hand, this time as a weapon. "I don't think that's true."
oO oo oO oo oO oo oO
Eleven days. Eleven days she had been locked away. Eleven days of torture, both physical and mental. It was on the eleventh day that he sat by her again, in silence.
When Ginny asked why he was there he replied shortly: "Don't talk to me."
When Ginny stated that maybe he should go somewhere else if he didn't want to be bothered he merely glared at her and asked if another round of the Cruciatus curse would shut her up.
Not feeling up to the consequences of smarting off, Ginny shut up.
It was perhaps twenty or so minutes of silence later when Ginny hugged her knees and buried her head.
She closed her eyes and saw her mum, dad, brothers, Harry, Hermione, Hogwarts; she took a shuddering breath and saw the feasts of Hogwarts before her, felt the soft grass between her fingers and the cold water encompassing her feet. She saw her dorm, she saw herself, felt herself, flying around the Quidditch pitch, practicing with the team. She put her head back against the wall and felt then warm tears running down her cheeks.
She felt Malfoy look at her.
She didn't want to cry, but she felt herself breaking down. She didn't want to cry, tried to force herself to stop, especially since he was there. She thought of her rule and how she had broken it and felt herself sink deeper in sorrow and despair and felt herself cry out that emotion as well.
And she still felt him looking at her.
She wiped her eyes and took slow, deep breaths until she regained control once more, and it was only after she had calmed down that she felt him holding her. It was after she brought herself back to the manor, back to the dungeons, back to this cell that she realized that Malfoy had her in his arms, and was almost half-heartedly trying to comfort her. When he realized that she realized this, he released her and stared at the same blood-soaked brick.
Another tear slid down her cheek and she wiped it away while bundling up the courage to ask: "Are you ever going to let me go?"
She could barely breathe as he slowly looked from the brick, to the floor, to Ginny's face. "Yes," he answered.
She exhaled heavily and took another filling breath, "When?" the word fell out painfully, full of sorrow and disbelief.
oO oo oO oo oO oo oO
Hours later, they had sat in silence the rest of the time, Malfoy stood and walked to the door. He chanted the unlocking spell, and pulled the key from a pocket in his robes. When the door stood open, he reached again into his robes and pulled out Harry's invisibility cloak and in it, Ginny's wand. He held them loosely at his side.
Ginny rose slowly and walked towards him. His body still blocked the door. She reached out her hand to take the items. Malfoy neither pulled them away nor released them to her. He simply stood there, blocking the exit and sharing possession of the cloak and wand, staring into her eyes.
Without a word, he leaned down to her and captured her mouth in a short kiss; a passionate kiss that apologized and thanked her, and still held absolutely no emotion or meaning at all, much like the boy that was doing the kissing. When he pulled away he also pulled his hand away, turned, and started off down the dark hallway silently.
Pulling the cloak around her and pocketing her wand, Ginny followed quickly, towards the exit of his mansion.
oO oo oO oo oO oo oO
Kind of have a thought of where it's going, but not entirely sure, so don't be upset with me if I don't continue, or take awhile to do so.