Title: Call me Ginevra.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. I don't own any characters except those you can't research on the lexicon and aren't mentioned in the books. The plot is my own. Any resemblances to other plots are pure coincidence. Think about it this way, great minds think alike.
Full Summary: The war has the Weasleys worried about poor little Ginny. After checking her resources McGonagall claims she has the best caretaker for Ginny. Too bad it turns out to be Narcissa Malfoy. While at Malfoy Manor Ginny faces growing up, a strict regime and daily encounters with Draco. Can Ginny and Draco brave the unknowns of friendship? Will the buds of a relationship form? What will Harry do when he finds out that only Ginny holds the key to defeating Voldemort?
Pairings: Draco/Ginny (I guess this sort of answers the "buds of relationship" question in the summary, huh?)
Rating: Eventually M, but pace yourself. (I will give fair warning of the chapters which that rating applies.)
Ginny Weasley stared out of the small window in the stuffy basement room. Sitting atop some boxes she had commandeered, which balanced nicely on top of a table; she watched as the glass was streaked with the falling rain. Her forehead rested against the cool pane throbbing lightly with the nausea and ache that overwhelmed her. Her stomach was a mess; knotted and twisting inside her with every passing moment causing more grief. Outside, the cobble-stoned streets of Diagon Alley; barely visible through the sheets of rain, were empty of passers-by. No-one would dare walk the streets anymore, not since the Hogwarts incident.
That's what everyone now called the attack on Hogwarts. It would forever go down in history as the first of many attacks to signal Voldemort's return. That night, Ginny's world had crashed in the chaotic rush of battle. Dumbledore's funeral was the last time she had seen either Harry or Hermione, and she only saw Ron three times after that. Harry, along with Ron and Hermione had immediately jumped on the Order bandwagon.
As was expected, Ginny had more than begged to go along, to do what she could to help. Despite her attempts, her parents more than outright refused, they had sequestered her to the Burrow. It wasn't so much that her noble, Gryffindoric nature demanded she be out in the front lines fighting evil, no. It was far deeper than that.
She couldn't bring herself to admit that her brother, her best friend, and someone she had almost loved would all be thrown into life-threatening danger, and there was nothing anyone could do about it. Nothing she could do about it. To top it all off, she was now in a basement waiting to be pawned off into another prison.
As previously mentioned, Ron had come home three times before taking his final leave of the Weasley family. Once to tell Ginny about his decision and another to gather up some items he had left behind. The last time he stopped by the Burrow Ginny remembered his sullen cheeks, and beaten body. He had told his parents to get Ginny to a safe house. The worst had yet to come.
She couldn't go back to Hogwarts for her sixth year; it had been shut down and quickly converted to a secondary hospital for the Auror casualties. The professors had been scattered to assorted places according to their expertise. Some joined the ranks of Aurors, some went with the Order, and a few remained behind to tend to the ill or guard the castle from the onslaught of attacks that plagued the once perceived stronghold.
No one had had word of Snape, most didn't care if he could still speak. Very few would stand up for his place in the Order after what he had done; only McGonagall insisted that there must have been some reason behind his actions, why someone who Dumbledore had trusted implicitly could do something so horrific. But everyone knew McGonagall was grieving the loss of Dumbledore, and could only hope to find reason for his death.
Ginny supposed she must also find a reason to survive her current situation. A clap of thunder woke her from her painful reverie. She looked down at her legs for a moment, they were falling asleep in her awkward position; but she didn't care to move. It was the first time in hours that she was able to drown out the fate that was dealt her. Ron's words had hit hard with Molly and Arthur.
They had known that it was only a matter of time until something was to be done with Ginny. She was about to turn sixteen, nowhere near the legal age to use magic and despite the state of things the Ministry would not let up on such restrictions. It seemed that their idea of getting rid of the problem was to continue on as if nothing had happened. With Hogwarts closed, Arthur rarely home; working overtime at the Ministry, and the Weasley's becoming one of the few remaining "blood traitor" families alive, Molly and Arthur saw their home as the most dangerous place for her to be, aside from the streets of Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley.
They had gone to McGonagall, begging her to do something for their only daughter. If only she knew of someone, it didn't even have to be on the same side of the globe; someone who could take Ginny in until she was an adult or until their current situation blew over, anything to get their daughter out of harm's way. McGonagall at first advised them to seek out their own relatives but, alas, most of them were deeply involved in fighting Voldemort's growing armies across Europe.
At last McGonagall agreed to check her small list of resources and get back in touch with them. It had taken nearly two weeks before she owled them a location at which to meet.
Sitting in a small basement beneath the room where they would be meeting, Ginny waited to be introduced to her new guardian. Oddly, outside the window that was taking her mind off the trade were scenes that reminded her why she was here.
Empty streets, broken buildings, city blocks completely obliterated; images reminiscent of England during World War II. Ginny shuddered, what was even more horrifying was that with each day new members rose up to fight alongside Voldemort. Whether for personal conviction or from fear that if they didn't, they would die. Through the wooden ceiling to the basement room Ginny could just make out the sound of raised voices. Her heart dropped. What could possibly make this day even worse?
Heavy footsteps drifted away and suddenly the door to the room flew open, Arthur stomping in. Ginny could barely suppress the shudder that ran through her body in response to the shouting match which was obviously in mid flow.
"Trust me! Trust him!"
"Grab your things!"
"No daughter of mine-"
"-The only place that's safe-"
"-Subjected to that kind of cruelty-"
"-Better off at the house-"
"-Suggest such a thing-"
"She won't survive anywhere else!" McGonagall exclaimed, throwing her hands in the air furiously. "I know you have your reasons to be concerned, trust me I have my own, but there is no other option if you wish to keep her safe."
Her frazzled demeanour shook Ginny. She had never seen her former professor look that way before. Silence had fallen across the room. Still perched on the table Ginny found the continued noise of the rain distracted her. She cast a glance out the window, she couldn't think of anything to say. What was so terrible? It wasn't as though McGonagall had suggested she stay with Voldemort.
Arthur looked McGonagall in the eye, towering over her with his height. "You tell me, you tell me for sure that you trust her. That you know Ginny will be safe."
"Arthur you can't!"
Molly flew to Arthur's side but he put up a hand to silence her, eyes on McGonagall.
"I give you my word as a witch, and a member of the Order that no harm will befall Ginny should you choose this woman as Ginny's guardian."
More time passed, Ginny watching the scene intently. Finally she could keep silent no longer.
"What's going on?"
Arthur turned and walked towards his daughter, taking her hands in his as he looked into her eyes.
"Ginny, there's nowhere else for you. You've got to understand that even though your mother and I reacted unenthusiastically to the prospect of this woman as your guardian does not mean that we had any good reason to do so."
Ginny's mind swam, she recalled McGonagall telling them that they had a very good reason to react that way.
A knock resounded on the open door, a gloved hand dropped back into the shadows as a billowing skirt swept across the threshold. Beneath a hat and veil Ginny could not discern any of the lady's facial features; only her voice could be heard enquiring:
"I hope I'm not interrupting anything?"
"Who's that?" Ginny inclined her head towards the cloaked figure.
"Ginny listen to me. This lady has agreed to take good care of you, do you understand?"
Ginny slid off the table, walking past her father without acknowledging him.
"Who is it?" She couldn't very well be offended by an unknown person, it wasn't in her nature.
A gloved hand pushed the veil up past a face and Ginny was frozen in her tracks.
"Are you out of your bleeding mind?"
"I thought we were trying to KEEP me from getting killed!"
A small cough silenced the commotion.
"If I may?" Narcissa stepped forward and approached Ginny.
Ginny, watching her parents out of the corner of her eyes could see her mother's eyes grow wide with astonishment.
"Ginevra isn't it?"
"Yes." Ginny replied quickly, eyebrows squinted together in confusion and disbelief. Narcissa Malfoy? Were they being serious? Why had McGonagall even suggested her?
"Well, Ginevra, first let me say that unfortunately you are not in a position to negotiate. You were in need of a place to keep you safe. My home offers that. Malfoy Manor is unmatched in security and should I need to I could turn it into a stronghold that rivals even Durmstrang. You were in need of someone legally able to protect you as you are currently unable to defend yourself using magic. I can offer you that, and I can offer my experiences dealing with dark magic. I am fully capable of teaching you how to deflect or avoid almost all the dark curses used by Death Eaters. This will make you almost untouchable." Narcissa paused, checking that Ginny was still attending to what she had to say. "You will be unable to attend a school and I have agreed to home school you in all the necessary subjects, feed you, clothe you, ensure you have opportunities for socialisation and by magical contract, I am bound to do whatever is in my power to ensure you remain unharmed. What that means dear girl is that you are about to enter the safest place imaginable."
Silence stretched on after Narcissa completed her speech. Sensing that no one, for the time being, had anything to add she continued.
"Now, if I were trying to kill you as you fear, I could simply do it and be on my way. Instead I'm standing here convincing you to become a guest in my home and be victim to nothing but my good nature. Does that really seem evil? Of course some of my motives are self-serving, it will be nice to have another female in the house and a companion once Draco is gone. Outside of that the only thing you should fear is learning a little from your experience. So, we can sit here and argue all day, or you can gather up your things and we can be on our way before this storm gets any worse."
Ginny considered her situation. If McGonagall really had suggested Narcissa Malfoy, surely there was something good to be found in the woman. It wasn't as though McGonagall had it in for Ginny. The woman had been deeply involved in all of the Order's business, maybe this was just another undercover ploy like the ones Dumbledore had come up with?
Dumbledore… Her mind changed gears when Dumbledore came up. She missed him. He was a great Headmaster and since his death Hogwarts had lost much of its character and the feeling of sanctuary which had been part of it for years. For that reason, aside from all others, no one had the heart to carry on teaching, or learning there. He was one of few people Ginny had depended on in this crazy world of hers. He could be relied upon to expect the unexpected from her. But now he gone, his name struck off her mental list of empathic listeners. What would Dumbledore tell her to do in this situation, she wondered? It didn't take her long to answer.
"Very well, let us leave before we get completely drenched."
She left the building with Narcissa that day, starting her life anew.