Prisoner of War


Summary: Curiosity gets the better of eighteen-year-old Ginny as she tries to prove a point to her older brothers and disappears in Knockturn Alley. After a stunning spell the young Weasley finds herself suffering from the horrors of being a Prisoner of War. While Harry refuses to believe that she may be dead, Ginny turns to an unlikely source of help at Malfoy Manor.

Warning: Although allusion is made regarding the horrifying treatment toward female prisoners of war, this story does not contain explicit descriptions of sexual mistreatment.

Epilogue: Prisoner of War

Ginny stared at the small oval-shaped glass bottle that contained a black liquid as she turned the bottle of Harriet Drapper's Luxury Brown Hair Dye Potion around and read the instructions. 'Take this potion in its entirety and receive a glossy new hair colour within seconds. To make this effect permanent repeat every six months.'

It would be so easy to swallow the potion and watch her hair change from the vibrant red to a safe and familiar mousy brown colour. A colour that would mean she would finally be able to fade into the background instead of standing out in a crowd. With two large gulps from the green bottle resting in the palm of her hand, maybe, just maybe her life would become easier.

But then again, it would not change anything that had already happened. The potion did not contain any added memory charms and her past would not change with the loss of her red hair. In reality, her red hair, freckles and surname was as much a part of her as anything else and helped make her who she was. And she did not really want any part of her to change.

It was her life, past, experiences and her mistakes. Instead of looking for quick fix solutions, she should be learning from this. And if she changed anything about herself, then she would just be letting Riddle's scum win.

She studied the red marks around her eyes in the mirror. It was time that the involuntary crying fits stopped. She could not start to rebuild and live her life when she did not know if the floods of tears were going to stream out of her eyes at a second's notice. And the only cues for her tears to start were her own self-pity and other people feeling sorry for her. So it made sense that the only way to stop them was to move on with her life. And being locked in her bedroom for the past week wasn't helping the way she had hoped. Hadn't she always told Harry that they had to live their lives and not let Riddle control them?

Besides, she smiled softly, even if she did change what she looked like, Harry wasn't going to change his appearance. And he was clearly the most recognisable Wizard in the world. She was not going to disappear out of his life. She glanced at her ring; she was staying with him for as long as she lived, like she had decided when she had accepted his proposal.

Slowly, she pulled out the brittle cork out of the bottle and held it up against the bathroom light. Two mouthfuls would change things. She smiled ruefully, she could not see herself as a brunette. Slowly she turned the bottle upside down and the potion started to trickle down the sink.

She was Ginny Weasley and damn proud of it, freckles and red hair included. No Death Eater would ever have the power to change that. None of Riddle's cronies would make her feel the way she had when she had written in that bloody book seven years ago. Otherwise, she might as well have died on that cold and dirty stone floor in the pit.

Water gushed from the tap and dark liquid washed through the sink. Her smile emerged and grew as the corners of her lips twitched, and the potion swirled around the sink making black shapes before disappearing. If only those cowards in masks would vanish as easily.

"Ginny," her mother's voice rattled up the stairs. "Are you out of bed?"

She scooped up some of the water directly from the tap in her cupped hands and threw it over her face. It was time to end the same self-pitying bed rest. She was as sick of the four walls in her bedroom as she had been St Mungo's. She was going to get her life back and that was going to start right now.

"I can hear you walking around up there, young lady!"

She rolled her eyes letting out a small sigh, quickly making her way back to her room before her mother could come up and collar her, demanding to know what she was doing out of bed. Her sigh grew; she knew her mum was trying to protect her and look after her the best way she knew how, by stopping her little girl from getting hurt. But that wasn't the person she was, the person she wanted to be, nor the life she had missed when she had been away from it.

Her smile grew into a grin and her eyes sparkled. Harry had said as her mum had shoed him out the house that if she needed anything today that she could find him at one of their favourite Muggle pubs with Ron and Hermione. Well, if Harry could go out for a couple of drinks then so could she.

"Don't make me come up those stairs, Ginerva Weasley!"

Grabbing her old, red sports jacket off the chair by the desk, she threw it over her shoulders. Jeans, shirt and jacket; okay for a Muggle pub. Catching her reflection in the mirror, she pulled up the hood on her jacket. She studied herself for a minute, who was she hiding from? Biting her bottom lip, she threw down the big, baggy sports coat and pulled on a dark blue, denim jacket. Scooping her vibrant red hair out of her jacket, she paused as the white streak fell into her hands. A constant reminder of her stupidity.

Her hair flared as she Disapparated and reappeared outside the Muggle pub 'The Speckled Hen.' There was just something about Muggle pubs that were safer than the Wizarding ones. They tended to be the last place in the world that Death Eaters would go, making them the safest place to escape to. And in her opinion, Muggle pubs were far more interesting than Wizarding ones, or maybe that was just because they were different to the ones that she had grown up visiting.

Pushing open the doors, she scanned the room for Harry as she stood in 'The Speckled Hen's' entrance. It was much easier to find someone without the masses of coloured smoke that filled Wizarding pubs. Locating him sitting with Hermione at one of the corner tables, she made her way over to him. She smiled as he got to his feet and pulled out a chair for her.

"When did you learn to be a gentleman, Potter?" she asked as she took her seat.

"I've always been a gentleman, Weasley," he said as he smiled and leaned over to kiss her.

Her heart fluttered as Harry's lips meet hers. She slowly opened her mouth as he raised his hands to cup her face, and her tongue slipped between his lips. Their tongues touched and her whole body trembled as the kiss deepened. A series of butterflies filled her stomach as her sense of anticipation grew and her hand slipped onto his leg. She moved her hand slowly up his leg until she reached his jean pocket. Her heart pounded against her ribcage as her tongue explored his mouth, and all her thoughts that normally filled her mind disappeared. She was back where she belonged, with Harry.

Hermione's cough interrupted them from going any further with the myriad of desires that would have easily got them thrown out of the pub, and she straightened her face as she slowly pulled away. "Since you're such a gentleman, does that mean that you are going to get up and get me a drink?"

"Ron's up there getting them as we speak," he replied with a small smile, blushing slightly as he glance over at Hermione. "Do you want me go and tell him to get you one."

"That makes a change," she said, mouth twitching into a grin as her eyes flicked towards the bar and her brother's vivid red hair standing out in the crowd before returning her attention back to Harry and Hermione. "So what has the infamous trio been gossiping about?"

Harry rubbed the back of his neck as his face reddened further. "Nothing in particular."

Shooting him an innocent smile, she turned her attention to Hermione. From the looks on their guilty faces, she knew exactly what they had been talking about. And to this day, her brother's girlfriend had never failed to answer one of her questions.

"Hermione?" she asked as she made her appeal to the older girl.

"Well, Ginny," she started as she glanced down before looking up and meeting her eyes, "we, we were actually talking about you. We want to help. How are you?"

"I'm getting there, getting better."

"You look better," Hermione agreed with a small genuine smile, "much better than when you were in St Mungo's and almost back to your old self."

"Well, I'd hardly look like anyone else."

"What the hell are you doing here?" Ron demanded as he came over and interrupted their conversation. He slammed the tray with three drinks down on the table and beer slipped over the top of his and Harry's pint glasses. "Who let you out the house?"

"No one let me out the house!" she spat back as she felt her temper flare, she did not need Ron doing the over protective big brother gig today and him treating her like a child. "You see, brother dear, I'm quite able to leave a house on my own."

"But you have been told to rest!"

Her eyes twinkled as she sent Harry a smile. She was not going to stay around and be lectured. With Ron it was always best to fight fire with fire. "Have you any idea how boring bed rest is alone? I'm not going to break if I live my life."

"But you are not indestructible!" Ron shouted as his ears glowed red and Hermione made 'shhing' noises. "When are you going to learn, Ginny, that you can't run out of the house when you want. You can't go disappearing into Knockturn Alley without consequences!"

"And you think I don't know that!" she hissed as her emotions twisted between anger at Ron shouting at her and relief that people had finally stopped tiptoeing around her.

One of the worst things about the last week was people were nervous around her. They had treated her like a porcelain doll that would break if they raised their voices. And the more people had treated her like that, the more she had become like a porcelain doll that would erupt into tears at a moment's notice. That wasn't who she was and neither was it the actions her family wanted to take. They wanted to shout at her as much as she wanted to get her life back together and that was not going to happen while they were tiptoeing around her.

"Well, what the hell do you think you were doing then?"

"Ron!" Hermione interrupted in a hushed voice as she reached for his hand and slowly stroked it. "Let it rest."

"Rest! My little sister has a death wish. And you say, 'let it rest!'"

"Don't we all have one?" Harry offered to his friend as he held Ginny back. "And even if we don't have one, life doesn't look to well at us. People want to kill us all the time."

"So why make it easy for them?"

"We're not, we are just trying to live."

"Couldn't have said it better myself," Ginny agreed as she got to her feet. She was not going to leave one scene of captivity and mollycoddling for it to be replaced with another form of confinement. At eighteen she was an adult that had seen and experienced more than many people twice her age and was going to be treated as such, not lectured about the wrong decisions and mistakes she had made. Unable to look at her brother's face any longer, she turned to Harry. "Ready to go?"

"Yeah," he replied with a small shrug.

"Gin," Ron offered in an uneasy voice as Hermione eyed him suspiciously.

"What?" she replied, placing her hands on her hips and her hair seemed to crackle with anger.

"Be careful."

"I will," she whispered as she slipped her hand into Harry's and turned to leave.