'This is the end…this is the end my friend.' – Homer Simpson
A/N: The final chapter of Catenatus. After long toils, and trouble, and adventure, it is ending…
This is dedicated to a very loyal reader, Mochabutterfly, I wouldn't have made it to the end if it weren't for you.
And to the people in Realms, who started out with the story, and then bid me farewell and urged me to continue to do it on my own. Thank you, you guys are so kind and I'm very honored to be thought of a good writer enough to continue the story.
Catenatus 9: For You
Hermione wrung her hands nervously as she paced outside of the castle doors of Hogwart's school. She'd delivered Draco's message immediately to the Headmaster, who then contacted Professor McGonagall and the Ministry of Magic. It took a terribly long time for them to just go and get her dearest friends, in the clutches of Lucius Malfoy and Merlin knows whom else.
But finally they left, getting over the official business. It had all been one blurry race of voices and movements to her, some conversations she could recall others she couldn't. She detected worry and excitement in most of the tones. Worry for the welfare of the students, and the excitement of the upcoming battle that was sure to happen.
If they got there in time.
"Hang on guys," Hermione said softly, stopping her pacing to look in the direction the many officials had headed to. "Help's coming."
Triumph spread across Voldemort's face and his shapeless lips turned up in what be a smile, if that expression was possible for him. Draco could hear his father let out a breath of relief and an approving murmur escape from his lips. He couldn't concentrate on him at the moment, for then he was encased in a perfumed hug, by soft yet unbearably cold hands.
"I knew," he heard his mother whisper into his ear, "You would come to your senses boy."
"Stand away," he heard Voldemort command, and obediently his mother complied, holding Draco's eyes as she backed away and clutched onto Lucius' hand with excitement.
That was the most outward affection his parents had ever shown in front of him. Something stirred inside of Draco but he caught eyes with Voldemort and held them bravely.
'Back straight, head level, and don't lower your eyes.' he could hear his father say in his memory. 'Your a Malfoy, be proud of who you are.'
But he wasn't.
And certainly no more proud when he chanced a look at Ginny, who's face showed such naked betrayal and hurt he almost went to her to explain. Instead he walked forward to meet Voldemort calmly, the odd smile still on the man's face.
"Draco Malfoy," he greeted voice low. "Ready to take your place you were born to? To ascend the steps of glory and power that await you?"
Draco's eyes flickered over to Ginny once more before answering with amazingly steady voice, "Yes."
"You swear your fealty to me, your Lord. To serve without question or thought."
"Roll the left sleeve up, Draco Malfoy." Voldemort indicated, his whisper raising to a regular tone.
Don't, Ginny willed watching Draco slowly roll the sleeve of his robe up to his shoulder. This is wrong, this can't be happening. But it was, and now that Draco had done as the Dark Lord had bid, he had taken his wand and began to recite something in rapid Latin.
Ginny was dimly aware of how many of the Death Eaters leaned forward in anticipation, how many unconsciously touched where their own hideous scar marred their skin near the crook of their elbow. She couldn't tear her eyes off of Draco, beckoning him to look at her; to know if what was happening was really true.
Harry had crawled over to her, looking ready to be sick, perspiration beading his face. Despite his outward appearance, his emerald eyes burned bright with defiance and anger when he glanced over at Draco. He looked at her, his eyes saying more than words could. Ginny looked away to the ground, unable to look at Harry's accusing glare.
I trusted you, she thought angrily, amber eyes once more raising to Draco when Voldemort reached the climax of the spell. I loved you.
And the wand descended, pressing hard into Draco's arm. A collected breath was held, waiting for his screams. They never came.
"They're doing a ceremony of some sort." a middle age wizard said, apparating back with a pop into the crowd of wizards that waited patiently for him. He wore the robes of a Death Eater, though his visage was more kindly and very out of place for his outfit. He stripped from his robes, now wearing his official uniform; a dark blue robe with the letters 'HW' printed near the shoulders of both of the sleeves of the robe. "Not very well guarded, everyone's paying attention to the ceremony...the boy, son of Lucius. He volunteered to join."
Albus Dumbledore dropped his head and closed his eyes, a deep sigh leaving his down turned mouth. He could hear the Minister of Magic exclaiming loudly beside him about the Malfoy's, but he tuned out the words. He had had hopes for Draco, hopes beyond the path that had been laid out for him. And for a short while, he believed Draco would take the right one, rather than the one he had chosen that night.
"There are two, other than Harry Potter. Both red heads, I think they're brother and sister."
"Ron and Ginny," Dumbledore confirmed.
"Ron's there too?" Arthur Weasley asked. His normal cheerful face was pale and very worn out, as if he hadn't slept in a long while. Dumbledore had requested Arthur stayed with his wife, but he had firmly vetoed the idea, declaring his duty to his children, who needed him.
"Your wife needs you as much as your children Arthur," Dumbledore had reminded. "And what you could be going to is very dangerous. I don't think Molly could handle loosing you as well."
"She won't be loosing anyone in this family tonight, Albus." Arthur had said, his jaw clenched. "I'll be sure of it, even if I have to take the whole lot with my bare hands."
Despite his words, Arthur still looked a mess. He straightened when he noticed Dumbledore's scrutiny and drew his wand. "Then we go?" he asked, his voice strengthening.
Dumbledore glanced at the Minister, and at his confirmed nod he looked over at Arthur. "We go."
It was worse than the Cruciatus Curse. The pain not only wreaked havoc on his physical body, but on his soul too. It hurt beyond describable words, and yet he managed to not make a sound. He did bite through his lip again, but sucked on the blood before it could cover his face.
As soon as the wand had touched he looked down at his arm, to see what would happen. The point pressed right before the joint, digging into his skin. That's when the pain hit, but despite his watering eyes, he managed to see a sort of slithering black smoke stick to his skin. It covered a small area of his arm, and when Voldemort had finally pulled away the wand, it disappeared.
Nothing happened for a long moment. And then slowly, very slowly, the Dark Mark took form on his arm. A cheer went up through the crowd, for his bravery on not crying out, and the relief that Lucius had managed to get his son to join. Those cheers nearly broke Draco then. He'd done what he had sworn to himself he'd never do. Give his life to the man that stood before him, snake-like eyes dancing with delight.
Someone was pounding him on the back congratulating him. He glanced back to see his father, the normal cold face spread into a smile. The look didn't suit him; he looked like more like he were grimacing rather than smiling. His mother was nearly jumping up and down with excitement, her eyes sparkling.
They were proud of him.
Draco felt that feeling again. He could recognize it now, and was almost sick with realization of what it was. He was happy. He'd made his parents proud.
Was it worth the price?
"No," he whispered, looking back to Ginny. Her face didn't brighten when he looked at her now. Rather, it hardened, and her eyes narrowed with distrust and hatred. Her hands were clenched into fists beside her, and he could tell she was trembling with anger. Draco noticed Harry staring at him, just behind Ginny. A look of triumph. Someone who had just been proved right.
"Now," Voldemort's hissing voice silenced the cheers. "Do the honors."
Draco didn't understand what he had meant at first.
"I knew you were looking forward to this," Narcissa purred beside him. She pressed his wand firmly into his hand. "Kill the girl."
Draco stared at the wand and then back to Ginny. She didn't change the ferocity of her look; rather, she stood and took a step toward him. Instinctively he raised his wand, the tip pointed at her, his own eyes widening with the open threat he had just given her.
"Do it," Voldemort snapped impatiently.
I've never killed anyone in my life, Draco thought to himself. And now I have to kill someone I just told them I loved? Why is my life so bloody screwed up?
"Do it," Ginny whispered.
Draco's arm jerked, then dropped to his side.
Before anyone could react, the room was filled with the popping noise of apparating Hit Wizards, Aurors, Ministry officials, Albus Dumbledore, and outraged father with bloodlust.
When the first spell was cast, Draco was knocked to the ground by the rush of men. He lost sight of Voldemort, Ginny, and the other two prisoners. He saw his mother running off toward a back door, not bothering about her son who lay on the floor helpless. Draco didn't care; he was too busy frantically searching for Ginny.
He had to roll away when two men, locked to each other's throats, fell where he had been lying. Pushing himself up into a crouch, he made his way steadily to the door. Someone ran into the back of him, sprawling him to his face and sliding into a couple of people struggling near the door to the foyer. Dazed, he turned his head to see who it was and was surprised to see a thrashing Ginny and his father.
Without checking to see who had knocked him off his feet, Lucius grabbed Ginny by her arms and dragged her out of the room unnoticed. Draco scrambled to his feet, dodging a stupefy spell that had been badly aimed, he ducked after them.
Lucius was having a hard time getting her to go wherever he was headed. She struggled against him, kicking out at him and frantically trying to pull her arms away.
"Hey!" Draco called jogging towards them.
Lucius reacted by spinning Ginny around she had her back pressed to his chest, her arms held to her sides and a wand pressed at the base of her throat. The wand dropped down when Lucius recognized who it was.
"Draco," Lucius looked after him to see if anyone followed. "Hurry up, kill her."
"Accio!" Draco said not slowing as he ran toward them. His father's wand leapt into his hands, and Lucius' eyes grew wide with realization of his son's double-cross.
In one movement, Lucius shoved Ginny to her knees and pulled out a dagger the length of Draco's forearm. He'd forgotten that that his father always carried it with him. He was almost to the pair, but there was no way he'd be able to reach him in time.
"Desoras!" Draco shouted the first spell that came to mind. A flash of white light sent Lucius flying away from Ginny, the dagger clattering to the ground. Lucius didn't move from where he fell, dead or unconscious.
Draco barely managed to dodge at the swipe Ginny made at him with Lucius' dagger. He backed away, his wand up and ready, caught off guard at her attack.
"Death Eater," Ginny said her voice trembling with anger. Her face was nearly as red as her face, her features twisted to match her angry stature.
Draco straightened and lowered his wand, "Your wrong," he said bluntly tossing both of the wands at her feet. He spread his arms wide, "But if you believe what you claim, might as well kill me before the Officials get here."
The red tint faded at his words, but she advanced on him, the dagger held in her hand proving she'd never used a weapon before. She held the point to his chest, her eyes beginning to water, staring at the metallic glint, avoiding his eyes. "You joined him."
"This means nothing to me," Draco said indicating with a nod of his head to the Dark Mark on his arm. The pressure of the dagger was increased as Ginny stared at it.
Before she could move Draco had grabbed her wrist and twisted it so the blade fell to the floor. He kicked it and the wands away and grabbed her so she faced him.
"To buy time." Draco said, searching her face. "It was you or me Ginny."
Ginny attempted to wrench her arms from his grasp. "It makes you guilty, Draco! Everyone knows Harry, Ron, and I bet those entire Ministry wizards do too! Are you going to tell them the same thing? Do you really think they'll believe you?"
"It's not like that Draco! How can I trust you? Just let me go,"
"Ginny." Draco gripped her tighter, "Yes, I knew my father was coming. I knew, I admit. I'm sorry for not telling you, but that's why I wanted the spell to be broken this morning."
"Oh?" Ginny's face was red again, and a few tears had already escaped down her cheeks. "Then why wasn't it broken when we left? Why now?"
"I don't know." Draco looked away.
"Then let me go,"
"Why? You know why!"
"I love you,"
Ginny blinked. "What?"
"In some...unexplainable way, I-" Draco let go of her so he could run his hand through his hair. "Damnit Ginny, your different from every girl I know. You make me feel...strange. You treated me like a person since the spell and since I've gotten to know you-"
Ginny didn't say anything but still stared at him, confusion on her face.
"Ginny," Draco took a deep breath. "I love you."
There was a shocked silence.
"Until peace between two become allies or love, the bonding together will then dissolve." Ginny whispered.
"Yeah," Draco shifted, his eyes searching hers. "At least on my side. I don't know if we both have to feel the same. What about you?"
"Draco-" Ginny took a deep breathe, and found she couldn't support herself. She sank to the ground, her hands falling into her lap. "You're not lying to me?"
"No," Draco said, falling to his knees in front of her.
"Draco," Ginny stopped and closed her eyes. "I've liked you a bit longer than you did to me. I admitted it to myself before you...distracted Voldemort from killing me. I trust you Draco, and I do love you,"
"Ginny," Draco warned, raising an eyebrow.
"I do." Ginny opened her eyes. "I had always told myself it wasn't you, that it was something else. I always thought it was Harry but-" she shook her head.
"You're not lying to me?" Draco teased.
"No," Ginny smiled at him. "Never."
"Good," and Draco pulled her onto his lap. Ginny dropped her head and rested it on his shoulder.
"It's over though."
"For now," Draco said grimly. Ginny looked up sharply at him, not immediately understanding. She saw his gray eyes flicker over to the foyer doors, which were still closed, and then squeezed his hand reassuringly. He still had to face the Ministry, and now he had the Dark Mark on his arm...
Her small hand ran down his arm and rested lightly above the Mark. He winced slightly, even though she had barely touched it. "It hurts?" she asked, staring at it with a bit of awe and disgust.
"Yes," Draco admitted, "It was worse when he gave it to me. It burns like hell right now."
"Do you think that somehow they could get rid of it?"
"I don't know." Draco admitted. "No one ever has, Snape-" he stopped his eyes widening.
"Snape was here with your father," Ginny straightened and looked around.
"No," Draco shook his head; "He was here, but not for my father." Draco groaned and muttered something under his breath that Ginny was sure was inappropriate. "I'm such an idiot. He was here for Dumbledore no doubt."
"He has the Dark Mark-" Ginny started but quieted when Draco shook his head again.
"I know he does, he was a Death Eater when he was younger. He left Voldemort a long time ago and has been helping Dumbledore since. I was too angry earlier to think about why he would be here in the first place."
"Does he still have the Mark?"
"Yes," Draco frowned. "I guess it can't be removed, I'm sure Snape would get rid of it if he could."
Both were silent for a long time, Ginny lowering her head to his shoulder again, each listening to the sound of fighting in the other room, which had slowly begin to lessen. Somehow Ginny wasn't afraid for Ron or Harry, or her father. Somehow she knew they'd be okay. She looked up at Draco, hoping that everything for him would be all right as well.
"Jesus," Draco swore softly, startling Ginny. His eyes were resting on the dagger that had come to a rest near his father. "Lucuis nearly killed you."
Ginny raised her head, "I've nearly died a lot this past day," she said lightly, but shivered when she looked over at the knife and wands. "But I'm okay. We're okay."
Ginny felt his hand lightly tilt her face up so she looked him fully in his face. His gray eyes were dark, and his face was torn between sadness and happiness. Then ever so slowly his silver head descended to meet hers. Their lips met, starting as a gentle kiss, and as the reality of what had happened, and nearly happened, it intensified. Ginny was only dimly aware of Draco's arms sliding around her waist and pulling her closer, and her own wrapping around his neck, holding him so he couldn't withdraw.
The kiss ended only when the noises started to cease in the room they'd escaped from. Ginny would have toppled over if Draco hadn't been supporting her, drugged from the ferocity of their kiss. Her eyes widened, and her mouth opened to shout out a warning, but it was too late.
There was flash of metal, and Draco fell over, hitting the floor with a dull thud, dragging Ginny with him. She let out a scream, seeing blood beginning to seep from the back of his head.
A freezing cold hand grabbed her by the arm and jerked her up and away from Draco. Ginny couldn't look away at the prone form lying on the floor. She barely heard the frantic exchange of words between the two people.
"You killed him you idiot." Narcissa shrieked who had a hold on Ginny. She looked down at her son, no motherly fear in them, it was more distatched and unfeeling.
Lucius scowled, shoving the dagger back into his robes.
"He's bleeding!" Ginny cried, unheard.
"Well I needed to be sure he'd be out," Lucius shrugged carelessly. Neither had made any notion of Ginny, too busy with their argument. "If he's dead, he's dead. Never was much of anything but a nuisance.
"He was valuable." Narcissa argued but shook her head. "Grab the wands, what will we do with the brat?" Narcissa asked, giving Ginny a shake.
"Be sure to do it this time," Narcissa snapped. "She's avoided it three times now, I'm beginning to question your abilities Lucius."
Lucius scowled at his wife, picking up his and Draco's wand off of the floor.
Ginny nearly passed out when they announced Draco dead. She went rigid when they began to talk about her as if she weren't there. As Lucius bent over to pick up the wands, Ginny reacted by twisting around in Narcissa's arms and stomping hard on her foot.
Narcissa let go with a startled cry and stumbled backward, her foot catching on her robes tripping her to the floor. Ginny managed to step back away from her so she wouldn't fall along with her, but had to drop to the floor to avoid Lucius' curse. He recovered quickly though and sent one at her while she crouched on the floor.
Desperate, Ginny slid across the floor toward Lucius' legs. She went right into him, causing him to topple on top of her painfully and the wands clatter to the floor. Elbowing him off of her, Ginny recovered her senses first and reached out to grab the wands but a booted foot stomped down on top of them.
Ginny looked up at the triumphant sneer on Narcissa's face, her heart sinking. Then quite suddenly, Narcissa's feet fell out from under her and she landed hard, her head crashing into the back of her husband's neck.
If the situation hadn't have been so serious, Ginny would have laughed, but she was crawling after the wands which had been shoved down near the Malfoy's thrashing feet.
"Ginny!" she heard someone call, muffled by the door.
"Out here! Come quick!" Ginny screamed diving for the wands. Just as her fingers closed around the wands Lucius kicked out, hitting the side of her face. With a groan she rolled away, feeling the grip on her wands weaken with the stinging pain on the right side of her face.
The smooth wands were jerked roughly from her grasp, and the sound of a door opening was all she could hear over the yelling of voices. Just as she opened her watery eyes there was a flash of light and two loud pops.
"Ginny!" she heard Harry's voice call. "She's over here Ron, get your dad!"
Ginny didn't see Harry run to her. All she saw was a puddle of blood, where the now missing body of Draco had lain. Then it was black.
Voices...arguing...laughing... Ginny sat up quickly from the hospital bed both fists closed tightly around her blanket. The rush of blood from her head made her sway and fall back to her pillow yet her eyes remained open. Another dream about him.
She was back at Hogwarts, in the infirmary. She remembered being brought there by her father, and then she'd fallen asleep or passed out.
She remembered crying hard enough to wrack her small frame in shudders that had frightened Madame Pomfrey enough to stun her senseless.
She managed to sit up again, slower this time, and looked slowly around the darkened room. The curtain was closed around her, and the sound of hushed voices came from the other side. She recognized her parents and her brothers, and even Hermione and Harry's. Ginny smiled wistfully, but didn't make a move to let them know she was awake yet. She didn't feel like being surrounded by people right now.
A barely audible sigh escaped her lips as she turned to the open window by her bed. The moon was out, slowly beginning to be covered by the black clouds that drifted lazily along. She couldn't concentrate on the beauty now. All that was on her mind was Draco.
He'd told her he'd loved her, and she'd admitted even to herself that felt the same. That explained everything, why he acted so strangely and why the spell had been broken.
But he was dead. Killed by his own father.
Ginny felt her body shudder and she leaned over the window's edge, staring down the tower to the ground, many miles below. A cold breeze numbed her face immediately, and set her unbound auburn hair flying wildly around her face. Since she'd come here all she had were dreams...always of Draco, of death. Of finding him alive.
If she could find it in herself, she would have cried, but no tears came...
"Why can't I cry anymore?" she asked herself, lifting her eyes to stare out at the Hogwart's grounds. The only answer was the groaning of the shifting tree's, and the lulling calls of hunting owls.
Aoria withdrew her paw from the bed, seeing that Ginny was going to attempt to jump. She had been worried for a moment. The girl was merely contemplating what had happen, of all, which Aoria knew about. A very human-like smile crossed her cat like features as she turned and walked out of the room, unseen and unheard. Ginny's family and friends sat outside her curtain discussing what had happened in quiet voices.
Aoria didn't pause to listen. She knew everything. She knew what had happened before anything had occurred. But such knowledge cannot be given freely.
That and she didn't want to spoil the great time she was having watching it play out.
There was more for the girl to discover, and there were many things Aoria had to prepare for. The solstice was fast approaching and she would have to travel swiftly to reach her destination before them.
As she walked down the hallway, the great black cat slowly began to fade.
There was much to do.
It wasn't over yet.
DobbyWinky, MochaButterfly (Oh…your story is over. I nearly cried. I definitely want a sequel Mocha-Chica!), Segev (thanks! If you would email me about beta-ing I can talk to you about it, I'll be busy this weekend and New Years but I'll get back to everyone asap), wildmajik, Starrika, DarkKnight (just remember the line that Aoria's told them repeatedly. Ginny says it in this one too…and its on the summary), meg, Tigre (Hmm, great dream! You know what else would be great? Another chapter of your story!), linna, Nemesis, Rosandra May, Snowlily, Tiny Q, Ijustapoorboy(Thanks girl, good reviews, lol), danadian sheep, rebecca, snowstar, dragon queen (glad you got my back! J ), Just_A_Fan, LilyAyl, wmlaw (I know, I thought he would be a bit OOC at first but then I remembered he's in a very stressful situation and even the nicest people can get that way…I love Ron, and all the rest of the Weasleys! WEASLEY POWER!), ~meg~, fic head, Lady Terayne, Cloudzi, Angel Solo (thank you!), ~*Crystal Lily*~
Again, thank you all so much. I wrote this fic not only for me but for all ya'll and your reviews made it all worth it! Thank you! Thank you! And now for the credits…
All characters are owned by JK Rowling.
The plot was made by Realms and the developing of the story was done by myself.
Draco Malfoy is a sechsibish HO and he's mine ^_^
Now I must say goodbye, for I will be gone for a good while before I can come back and check my reviews. So make me happy. Email me too, I love to get email! Gold star if you know where this comes from. It's something I'd listen to often while writing. Sort of a theme song I suppose…
When the cold of winter comes
Starless night will cover day
In the veiling of the sun
We will walk in bitter rain
But in dreams
I can still hear your name
And in dreams
We will meet again
When the seas and mountains fall
And we come, to end of days
In the dark I hear a call
Calling me there
I will go there
And back again
Lol, you don't think I'd leave it at that did you?
Heads up for the sequel!