Scared to Death
A/N: My muse, Maggie, is simple girl. All she likes are plot bunnies and reviews. So be kind to Maggie and feed her review cookies please.
Big thanks to my beta Lbandoly for her hard work. She has spent countless hours editing and providing plot help for my stories. She makes my writing possible.
No copyright infringement intended. All characters are the property of JKR, Scholastic, and any number of other companies with more money than I've ever dreamed of seeing. I didn't make any money off of this, so please don't sue.
A/N 2: This fic is based of the song Sara by Rascal Flatts. If you've never heard it I strongly suggest you do, but have a box of tissues near by. I cried like a baby when I first heard it this morning. Before the song was even finished the image of this ficlet had formed in my mind. I literally rushed straight home to write this. The last lines are lyrics from said song.
Ginny sat quietly between her parents on a hard chair in the ward waiting area. The sterile smell of the air turned her stomach but she did her best to pay it no mind. She had never liked the hospital, not since she had been a child and had watch Charlie lay so sick in St. Mungo's. She wasn't old enough to know what was wrong with him or why, but she was old enough to know the feeling of fear of losing her beloved brother. Sure he came home better than ever, but still that sense of dread always filled her the moment she entered the hospital doors.
The soft rustle of turning pages filled the air every now and again as she flipped through an abandoned copy of Witch Weekly that was several months old. Molly sat next to Arthur holding his hand, concern making her look older than her age.
She sifted in the chair consciously not aggravating the massive bruise on her hip, the one that just wouldn't go away. It had been four weeks since she had taken a rather nasty fall from her broom during the last quidditch match of the season. Gryffindor verses Slytherin was always the best game of the year and by far the most dangerous but she always looked forward to it. This year had proved equally as exciting. Gryffindor had taken the lead early in the morning, but Slytherin hadn't let them pull ahead by more than 10 points all day. Every time Gryffindor scored, Slytherin had matched them. Twice Slytherin had taken the lead once by 10 points, later by forty only to have Gryffindor come back and take the lead again. It was a long game. Harry and Draco situated high above the crowd constantly scanning the pitch for the snitch that proved to be elusive. Some six hours and nearly 500 combined points later Harry caught sight of it followed nearly instantly by Draco. The two seekers leaned into their brooms and shot after the tiny golden ball. So engrossed in watching the snitch, neither had seen Ginny move into their path in her quest to intercept the quaffle.
The collision was spectacular. Harry had pushed head long into her, throwing her from her broom some sixty feet in the air. Amazingly Harry had managed to stay on his broom and but was too far away from Ginny to even try and catch her. Draco, who had been not two brooms off his rear, had surprisingly dived to catch her. He had or so it had seemed. Then a rouge bludger caught the end of his broom as he descended to the ground with her that sent them both falling the remaining twenty feet.
Both ended up spending the night in the hospital wing to mend broken bones and a plethora of bruises. In side by side beds the two had the first real conversation they had ever had. No barbs, no cutting remarks about either one's family, just an honest conversation about school, the weather, and quidditch. By the time they were released the next day you could almost call them friends.
At the time neither Madam Pomfrey nor Ginny had thought anything peculiar of the large bruise on Ginny's hip that hadn't gone away with the others. It was rather large after all. Even healing draughts can't always fix all bruises of that size.
A week passed and Ginny still thought nothing of the fact that the bruise had not healed or even yet to change to a sickly yellow green that would have meant it was healing. She thought nothing of feeling ill most of the day or being constantly tired either.
Week two had brought questions from her new friend. Draco couldn't figure why the baby Weasel always seemed to be tired. He had cornered her and asked her about why she constantly had bags under her eyes and seemed to yawn more than she did anything else every time he caught sight of her. She blamed it on stress; after all she was studying for her OWLs.
Week three had brought an offer from Draco to help her study. They had met in every spare moment they had in hidden niches and empty classrooms. Both of them enjoying the private friendship that had developed out of pure coincidence, they studied and talked and even laughed together whenever they could. Still Ginny seemed to be even more tired and no closer to being well. When she passed out over her potions essay during one of their study sessions he knew something was terribly wrong with her after all. He had scooped her up in his arms and ran across the school as fast as he possibly could. All the while wishing one could apparate inside Hogwarts so he could get her there faster.
Draco had refused to leave her side all night. To the point that he had promised Madam Pomfrey he would scrub bedpans if that is what it took to be allowed to stay. The woman had relented but only after he confessed he thought he might be in love with the fiery red head.
The next morning, Draco was woken by unfamiliar voices chatting with Madam Pomfrey several feet away from where he had fallen asleep in a chair next to Ginny's bed.
"Molly, something is terribly wrong, but I just can't find anything. My spells are meant to find broken bones and common colds and viruses. Whatever is wrong with Ginny is nothing ordinary. She needs to visit St. Mungo's so that a proper spell of discovery can be done."
The rather short red headed woman had nodded in reply with tears in her eyes while the man had wrapped his arms around her in comfort.
Draco pretended to be asleep until the adults that he remembered to be Ginny's parents had left the room with Madam Pomfrey in search of the Headmaster to see about letting them take Ginny out for the day to have her checked over.
Draco had gently shaken her awake as he climbed up to sit on the edge of the bed next to her. He couldn't bear the thought of what was possibly to come without telling her. She had to know how he felt. Right then and there with no one to see them he had sat on the edge of the bed and proclaimed that somehow the littlest Weasley had stolen a heart he didn't even know he had before that fated quidditch match. Ginny had smiled bright enough to light a thousand suns lying in a hospital bed holding the hand of her former enemy. "I think I might love you too."
He leaned down to kiss her just as her parents, Madam Pomfrey, and the headmaster reentered the hospital wing. None of them said a word against it. It was a miracle in itself to see the children of the rival families together in any fashion, but the sight of them kissing was down right astounding. The tender kiss between the two had ended with a soft cough from the Headmaster whose eyes twinkled with mischief and happiness for the two.
Minutes later Draco had been asked to leave so Ginny could dress, she would be visiting St. Mungo's for some tests. She would be back by dinner. He had left distressed, worried that just when he had found someone he could be himself with he would end up losing her. Ginny hadn't missed the look of fright on his face.
Now she sat, cold, ill to her stomach, and scared waiting. The fear in Draco's grey eyes seemed to worry her more than the worried looks on her parents' faces. Draco just didn't show fear. Not for anything or anyone. If he was scared, it couldn't possibly be a good thing.
The double doors swung open, a slender nurse with a warm smile entered the waiting area. "Miss Weasley. Please come with me dear. The medi-wizard will see you now."
Ginny rose from her seat, placing the magazine down on the table between her chair and the small sofa her parents where on. "May my parents come back with me?"
"In just a bit. Let's get you in an exam room with a gown on first. Then I'll come fetch them back."
Ginny nodded and hesitantly joined the medi-witch. Fear rolled off her in palpable waves as she walked down the hall with the nurse, leaving her parents sitting huddled together on a waiting room couch.
She lay in the hospital bed, covered with a thick warm blanket with one parent on each side of her when the medi-wizard and the medi-witch entered the room. The tests were complete after a very long day.
The medi-wizard looked older than he had when Ginny had first met him that morning. Maybe not older but certainly more haggard; Ginny knew what was coming.
"Ginny I have bad news."
She nodded and waited for him to continue. Her father gripped her hand tighter, giving his little girl every ounce of himself. Her mother wrapped her arms around her shoulders preparing to soften the news as much as any mother can ever do.
"Most diseases either affect just wizards or just muggles, but some…some very dangerous things attack both populations with equal vengeance. My dear I'm so sorry but you have one of those diseases. There is a problem with your blood. You have a cancer in your blood call leukemia Ginny. More so you have a very rare and very dangerous form of it. It's killing you Ginny. I'm fairly certain with the treatment I want to try we have a good chance of beating it. The treatment is terribly new but it's proven to work on about 6 out of 10 cases it's been used on."
Ginny heard her mother begin to cry and felt her father's grip falter with the news. She just sat stunned and disbelieving with the news.
"I honestly think we caught it in time. I do. I'm sure you can beat it my dear."
All she could think is all this time she had felt ill. If she had let Draco talk her into visiting Pomfrey before she passed out maybe…
"You'll be able to return to school in a bit. We'll give you your first dose of the treatment in just a moment, after that the school medi-witch can give you your daily dosage instead of you returning here everyday."
She stopped listening. She just couldn't stand to hear anymore. It was bad. The fear in Draco's eyes that morning had been founded. Just when she had found love in the most unlikely place she found herself facing her own possible death for the second time in her life.
She let her mind wander. Soon the voices around her grew faint and sleep took her.
Her red hair hung long and curling down her bare back. A strong arm was wrapped around her delicate waist. Her own right arm was wrapped around his waist while her left hand was held tightly in his. She pressed her face into the curve of her love's neck as he twirled her around the dance floor. The hem of her dress robes fluttered around her ankles like shimmering waves as they moved.
She felt free moving as flowing water dancing with Draco across the ballroom. There was warmth that radiated from him; warmth that told her she would always be safe and loved with him. So loved when he held her close…
She was pulled back from the wonderful dream by a steady shake from her father's broad hand on her shoulder. "Wake up luv. You need to take the treatment. Then we can go."
The next thing she knew medi-witch handed her a glass vial of dark green potion. "Drink it up Hun. It will taste pretty bad, but you can chase it down with water to get the taste out of your mouth."
Ginny took the vial and drank it in one swallow, trying hard to not let it linger in her mouth any longer than necessary. The foul flavor nearly made her gag as she passed the empty vial back to the warm witch. She took the glass of water that was waiting and drank it down; thankfully it took the foul taste away.
The medi-wizard was gone; the medi-witch was leaving the room as her mother sat in a chair next to her bed tear tracks staining her face. Arthur smiled at his daughter. "We're free to take you home whenever you feel up to dressing."
She nodded, pulling back the covers, and rose from the bed. Her mother handed her cloths as she passed her on the way to the curtained off area in the corner of the room. She dressed in a stupefied haze unable to think of anything but the words cancer and death.
"If you would like to go home for a few days I'm sure the headmaster wouldn't mind at all dear," she heard her mother tell her.
She shook her head. "No I would rather go back. I…"
Molly smiled sadly. "I understand Gin Bug."
Her parents took her back to school. She sat in the headmaster's office dazed and silent while they adults talked. When her parents had bid her goodbye she had kissed each on the cheek automatically and told them not to worry, she had survived worse. She would be fine. She didn't even know why she was saying it. It just felt right to make them think she was taking it all in stride. The headmaster had walked her to the hospital wing to discuss her treatments.
So it was decided that it was too dangerous for her to live in the tower. Until she was well she would have a private suite right next to Madam Pomfrey's own quarters. That way she always had medical care available at a moments notice if she needed it. The headmaster had opened her floo to allow a single connection to her parents' home. While he understood her desire to remain at school her health was precarious, she would need access to her parents.
When dinner came around she thought of not going, but then decided she would if only to see Draco. She needed to see him.
Three weeks had passed; three very painful weeks since that day when her world had gone from almost perfect to ripping at the seams. Now she sat crying in her mother's arms, a handful of red hair clutched in her tiny hand.
Molly rand her hand down her daughter's back. "Oh luv, it's okay. No one will care. They know you're ill dearest. They'll be proud of you for not letting it stop you."
"Oh Gin Bug it's just hair. It will grow back when this is all done with. Draco won't think any less of you. I never thought I would ever hear myself say this, but young Mr. Malfoy is very much in love with you dearest. He's not going to leave you because you lost your hair while you were sick."
Ginny's tears flooded anew, soaking the front of her mother's robes. Arthur stood silently nearby his heart breaking for his little girl. She couldn't even voice that it wasn't what she looked like that bothered her, but the undeniable truth that she was sick. So very sick and that she wasn't getting better yet. Slowly her tears ebbed back to the infrequent tear rolling down her pale freckled cheeks.
When the knock sounded at the door to her room she shook her head as if to say she wouldn't face whoever was on the other side. Arthur sighed heavily and went to see who was at the door. He slipped it open just far enough to slip out and pulled it quickly shut behind him.
It didn't surprise him to find that Draco was standing in front of him. What did surprise him was the state in which the boy was in.
"I take it my son and his friends informed you."
Draco nodded. "Yes sir. May I see her?"
"She's not up to company just now," he said sadly. Arthur couldn't help but think that just maybe she would want to see him anyway. "You know what; I think this just once I'm going to let you in anyway. She might like what she has to see," he said with a lopsided smile.
Arthur opened the door and stepped in the room ahead of Draco, obscuring Ginny's view of the open doorway. "Now Gin, don't be mad. I know you don't want visitors but maybe just this one."
Draco entered the room and smiled at her.
She lifted her head to find her boyfriend standing in the doorway bald as you please smiling as if he had just won the Quidditch and House Cups both.
"Your hair!" She couldn't believe her eyes. Draco, Mr. Vain Malfoy, was standing in her room with no hair.
Draco laughed and shut the door behind him. "Funny thing happened this morning. Your brother came and told me at breakfast that you didn't want to see anyone today. When I asked him why, he wouldn't tell me. So I threatened to hex it out of him if he didn't just tell me what was wrong. He drew his wand, I drew mine, and then we both got stunned by a very pissed off Granger who proceeded to lecture us about dueling in the great hall during a meal. Granger let us out of the bind but only with the threat of going to McGonagall who would certainly give us both detentions with Filch if we tried to go at each other again.
Anyway Potter figured it was just best if your bother told me what was wrong. He still wouldn't tell me so Granger did. Anyway I decided it was time for a haircut. So what do you think? Is bald the new Malfoy look or what?"
Ginny sat staring stupidly at Draco. "Your hair!"
"Wow, I had expected a little different response. They haven't given you some new potion have they?"
Ginny's mouth opened and shut silently as she tried to find words for what she was feeling.
The longer the silence stretched the more Draco became worried. "Okay I guess that wasn't the best decision I've ever made. I'll just go now." He turned to leave.
Ginny snapped out of her stupor. "No please don't. I'm sorry I was just a bit surprised."
"Well I would hope so."
"You cut your hair off."
"Cut it then, shaved it actually. I have to say don't ever let Granger after you with a pair of scissors. I think she got my ear on purpose," unconsciously he rubbed to top of his right ear.
Ginny started to cry softly as she got up from her seat next to her mother. She walked to him and gently rubbed the top of his bare head. "You cut your hair. You love your hair."
Draco smiled shyly. "Yeah well, it's just hair. It will grow back. I thought it might make you more comfortable if I cut mine off."
Her tears increased as she threw her arms around him. He wrapped his arms around her and held her tightly against his chest. "I love you Ginny," he whispered in her ear. "Hair or no hair, sick or not sick, I'm hopelessly yours Gin. Please say you will still go to the farewell dance with me tonight?"
She nodded against his chest and smiled through her tears. She could do this after all.
She stood next to him in the gown from her dream. Shimmering green fabric fluttered around her ankles in the warm spring breeze. Her back bare to the world in the halter style dress that Draco had picked for her. When he had brought it to her the week before she didn't tell him she had dreamed of that very dress that day at St. Mungo's.
While everyone in the school knew she was sick, only a handful of people knew the two had been seeing one another. She couldn't help but smile knowing soon everyone would see how much she loved him and just how much the supposedly cold-hearted Draco Malfoy loved her, a Weasley.
They walked down the path to the dance floor situated in the center of the front lawn at Hogwarts. Slowly their fellow students began to notice. Draco held her hand tightly in his, giving her encouragement as much as he was taking it from her. After all they weren't supposed to be. A Weasley and a Malfoy, a Gryffindor and a Slytherin, enemies of the greatest magnitude were joined with intertwined hands.
Draco led her onto the dance floor and they go dancing around and around without any cares and her very first true love is holding her close. For a moment she isn't scared.