Slipping Away: II
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. The quote and title of the chapter comes from the song "Nobody Wants to be Lonely" sung by Ricky Martin and Christina Aguilera. No copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
"Time is precious and it's slipping away…"
Laughter danced in and around the trees, the sound echoing as it reverberated off each and every trunk in the forest. The laughter could be described in many ways; evil, taunting, angelic, siren-like, pure and perhaps even hellish. Indeed the laughter was a mixture of all things and more.
"Oh, Taranis, you're no fun!" a redheaded woman said, pounting as she leaned against one of the trees. Her red hair burned like fire, caused by the afternoon sun catching the colour of it, lighting it up in the early day. A male, ten feet away, squatted near the ground, one hand resting on his knee while the other held something. He looked up at her.
"Maeve," he spoke, fiercely. "You're playing with mortals here. It is not our place to interfere!"
"Ah, but we've already interfered!" The woman nodded as she pushed off from the tree and went to sit down on a wood bench. The bench had no back, but was just a panel of raw wood resting on two tree trunks. Behind the woman, a brook bubbled as it slowly moved down the slopping hillside. The sun was warm and inviting and all around was a a bright and saturated green, from the grass, to the huge leaves on the trees. Birds sung in the background and a fox walked quietly across the forest floor, paying no attention to the two figures. The woman smiled, displaying her perfect, white teeth. "And you aided me, mon chèr. How can you just sit back now and watch it?"
"Because unlike you, wench, I think it is in the best interest of the balance of our universe to figure it out themselves!" he spat at her.
"Ah, Taranis, you were the one who planted the gem on that… girl of ours." Maeve spoke with distaste when mentioning the girl. Taranis got up, sighing, and thrust a clump of grass into her face.
"Do you not see this? It is yellow! Dios mio!" he swore, running a hand through his white hair. "Already it is happening; our world is falling apart. The balance has already been upset."
Maeve sniffed. "O Mon dieu," she swore. "Our would is not falling apart." She smiled, then she studied Taranis for a moment, her eyes watching him carefully as he walked away from her and sat down on a flat rock next to the brook. He dipped his feet into the cool water and stared into water, seemingly absorbed in his own thoughts. "And besides, you enjoyed kissing that mortal, neh?" Taranis froze.
"That is no concern of yours!" he hollered, his pale cheeks going red.
"Ah, I was right." Maeve's eyes glittered. "You have fallen for the child. A wee thing, is she not?"
"She is no child…" Taranis muttered, looking into the water again.
"She looks no more than seventeen, by my guess," Maeve added, smiling. "Need I remind you that your three-thousandth birthday is coming up?" she asked.
"You know that age has no relevance in our world," Taranis muttered. "We are immortal, it does not matter how old I am. I am still young-looking."
"Hmm… Yes, yes you are," Maeve conceided, standing up from the bench and twirled, letting her long dress sway with the movement. It was a gorgeous dress, and Maeve took pride in it. The long green velvet held to her body as though tailored, a bodice held her breasts high and the gold trimmed glimmered in the sunlight. Maeve let her red hair, as long as her waist and perfectly straight bounce back as she stopped twirling. She wore no shoes, though one did not need any; the grass was as soft as carpet.
She walked over to Taranis gracefully. She put a hand on his pale, smooth chest, and draped one over his shoulder. "If you let me…" she whispered seductively, "you'll get to see the girl again." Taranis' jaw clenched as he thought and Maeve ran a finger over the jaw.
"Mi dios!" he said, softly, as if realizing something. He looked up into her eyes. "You like the boy! That's why you want us to see them again." Maeve laughed.
"The boy?" she asked, looking bored. "Please. He is merely a young mortal. Granted, he likes me. He enjoys my company." She smiled wickedly, then, "I excite him."
Taranis laughed deeply, "You excite him? Kien, Maeve. He thinks you are the girl. He is excited by the girl. You only look like the girl because you chose so." Maeve glared at Taranis, and flipped her hair.
"I am the girl, you fool," she said icily. "I chose that girl, I chose her myself, and so therefore I am her."
"You," Taranis said, looking right at her, "are immortal. Immortals cannot share anothers' life-spirit. She is separate from you."
"I can be whatever I please!" Maeve pouted, looking every bit like a spoiled child.
"We cannot mess with otherworldly fates, Maeve," Taranis spoke with a pleading tone. "You know what will happen when we do that. It's already gone too far. We have already done too much: the gem, the mirror. Let us leave them to their own devices. They have found the path. It was only supposed to be once, you know that as well as I. Leave them."
"I will not!" Maeve crossed her arms. "You will have your girl and I will have the boy!" And with that, she melted into thin air, vanishing from Taranis's face. He sighed, and looked down upon the water and felt saddened. Where Maeve had been standing was now a whole patch of yellow, dead grass. It is already beginning, he thought to himself. Soon there will be nothing left of this paradise. With that, he too, disappeared.
"You're not a dream walker, are you?" Ginny asked, looking at Draco. It was a moment before Draco reacted but when he did, he threw his head back and roared with laughter. Ginny looked around frantically; if Madam Pomfrey found him here, and her half out of bed, they'd be done for. Quickly, she put her hand over his mouth.
"Shut up!" she whispered fiercely. To her astonishment, he did. Slowly, Ginny lowered her hand; suspicious that Draco might laugh again, just to spite her. She listened for some sort of sound from within the nurse's chambers, but there was none. Sighing, she looked over at Draco who was watching her curiously. "What?" she snapped. Immediately the curious expression on Draco's face was replaced by a smirk.
"Nothing," he said, innocently. "So, to answer your question, no. A dream walker I am not." Ginny let out a breath of air she didn't know she had been holding. "What I came here to talk for, though," Draco continued on, "was something along those lines."
Ginny looked at him, studying him. "So…" she said, quietly, "You've been having the dreams too?" Draco nodded, slowly.
"But…" he said, quietly, hoping she wouldn't hear any sort of hope in his voice, "are they the same dreams?" Ginny bit her lip. She looked out the window, as she had been doing earlier, watching the peaceful sky, and hoping that it would give her some sense of calmness.
"In my dream," she said, still looking out the window, "I drown. But then… I'm saved…" she turned to Draco. "I'm saved by you. Or, at least what I think is you."
Draco frowned. "Then we haven't been having the same dream. Mine is in a forest. I'm walking – "
"A forest?" Ginny asked, interrupting Draco. "I've been to that forest too," she said, with a nod. "That's where I got…" Ginny stopped talking, got off her bed, and bent down to open a draw besides the table. "That's where I got this," Ginny continued as she pulled out the gem she had been keeping in the drawer.
"Where did you get that?" Draco asked. "You wouldn't be able to afford something like that," he said. Ginny stopped looking at the gem, and gave Draco the dirtiest look she could muster.
"I hoped that you would remain civil at least while in the hospital wing!" she hissed. "But I guess a Malfoy just can't keep his bloody mouth shut!" She was now standing with her hands on her hips now, leaning over slightly.
"Moonlight, Weasley," he said, with a nod to the window. "You have to remember how see-through that smock is."
"Is that all you think about?" Ginny spat, as she sat back down on the bed quickly.
"Basically," Draco replied, dryly.
"Gods!" Ginny groaned, letting her head fall back on the pillow. She closed her eyes, lying there for a while, one hand on her forehead, as if she had a headache. She then opened her eyes and sat up. "You're a bastard, you know that?" Ginny asked, looking straight at him.
"Thanks, Weasley," Draco smirked. "That means a lot to me, you know?" Ginny refused to answer him. She turned away from him and looked down at the gem pooled in her hand. For some reason, looking at it, touching it, calmed her down much more than any potion could. Feeling frustrated, she touched it softly with her finger.
"Listen," Draco said, clearing his throat, "as much as I hate to interrupt your 'special' moment with that gem of yours, I'd really rather be somewhere else." He smirked as Ginny shot him an annoyed glance.
"Are you trying to get hit or something?" Ginny asked, looping the gem around her neck without even thinking. "Because that can be arranged. I have lived with seven brothers, I know how to fight," she added, doing up the clasp.
"Weasley… That temper of yours is going to get you in trouble some day," Draco said, in a bored voice. "I don't blame you for getting all hot and bothered around me, but no need to shout." Suddenly Draco found himself falling off the bed and onto the floor, with a loud thump. Ginny stood over him, glaring down.
"Hot and bothered?" she hissed. "Never knew you were a comic, Malfoy." She turned around and got on the bed, pulling the covers up. "You can go, Malfoy," she yawned, "I'm in no mood for talking tonight." She settled down.
"What? Oh no!" Draco scowled and got up, dusting his robe off as he did. "I did not just spend half an hour with you just to get nowhere. We're going to talk, and talk we will."
"Sod off, Malfoy," came the sleepy insult from Ginny as she closed her eyes and turned over. He stood there for a while, at a lost of what to do, but then decided she just wasn't worth his time anymore. He strode out of the room, angry at himself for wasting his time with her.
One of Ginny's eyes opened as the door closed. She smiled to herself before closing her eyes again.
Ginny woke up the next day, to see Madam Pomfrey standing over her, clipboard in hand.
"Oh," she said. "Good, you're awake. Now up, child. I need to strip these sheets and wash them."
Ginny obliged, getting up and stretching before gathering her clothes and heading to the bathroom. She looked in the mirror and noticed that her red hair was still longer. Her face was smoother, and she still looked as she did when she had first put the small gem on. Looking down, she saw that it was still there, resting on her collarbone, stark green against the paleness of her skin. It wasn't glowing; no it looked quite normal in fact, which was odd considering it hadn't ever been normal. With a confused glance in the mirror, she decided to keep it on. It couldn't hurt, could it?
She quickly changed, and stepped out into the main hospital wing. Madam Pomfrey came bustling over quickly, taking her hand without asking and started moving it at all angles.
"Now tell me if any of this hurts," she instructed and Ginny nodded, not feeling like talking. A moment later, the nurse was done, stepping back and nodding with satisfaction. "Good, all healed. You may go," she added as she walked back into her office.
"Thank you…?" Ginny said to her retreating figure, before shrugging and grabbing her bag, hauling it over her shoulder.
Ginny's stomach was growling quite fiercely, so she decided to head down the Great Hall to see if she could snatch a quick breakfast before classes started. Walking in, she noticed that there only a few stragglers sitting around, eating slowly, apparently not caring that they were going to be late. She sat down by herself and quickly buttered a piece of toast. Looking around the Great Hall, she noticed Draco was also sitting by himself at the Slytherin, glaring at her. She ignored him, and finished off her toast, before grabbing her bag again and leaving.
Just as she was about to head up the stairs, she heard footsteps behind her and turned around, seeing Draco striding to catch up to her.
She rolled her eyes and continued up the stairs, ignoring him again. He didn't need to follow her everywhere she went, like some sort of stalker. She heard his pace quicken and she quickened hers, hoping he wouldn't catch up. But, he did and he grabbed her wrist, pulling hard, forcing her to turn around.
"Ow! Malfoy, that hurt!" she said, wrenching her wrist out of his grasp and rubbing her skin, which was rapidly turning from pale to pink.
"Like I care," he quipped.
"Well, you should," she said, glaring. After a moments' pause: "what?"
"What, what?" he asked, looking at her amusedly.
"You didn't just come up her to grab me, and I'm late for class now, so what is it?" she said, exhasperated.
"I want an apology," he said, simply.
Ginny sputtered for a moment, before laughing out loud.
"A-an apology?" she laughed. "You want me to apologise to you? Draco Malfoy?"
Draco scowled, and crossed his arms over his chest. "Yes, I bloody well want an apology. I spent half my night in the hospital wing trying to talk to you only to be brushed off. Malfoy's are never brushed off!" he said, haughtily.
"Except for last night, and now," Ginny said, raising an eyebrow and smirking at Draco. She turned to leave, when Draco burst out, apprently enraged Ginny seemed to always be getting the upper-hand in their banters.
"Shut it, you pathetic Weasley!" Draco yelled to her back. Ginny stopped walking up the stairs and turned around. Finally, Draco thought.
"Pathetic Weasley?" Ginny asked, her eyes glowering with hatred. "I am anything but pathetic, which is more than I can say for you."
"You're annoying as hell, too," Draco said, shot back.
"And now I'm annoying as well. What else is wrong with me?" she demanded, sarcastically.
Draco looked her over, as if sizing her up. "Your head is a tad too big for your body," he said. "Those freckles, they really are quite horrid; your hair, you definitely need work on that. Your personality is rancid, to say the least. In actual fact, over all, you are the worst Weasley I've seen yet," he said, looking at her and smirking. "And that's saying something."
Ginny glared, and crossed her arms, her mind working furiously.
"At least, people actually like me, Malfoy, instead of sucking up to me for my money," she said, in a quiet voice. "At least my father is isn't a bloody Death Eater or a wife beater! Can't your mother stick up for herself, Malfoy? Or is she too afraid to? Like you are every time you see him!" The moment Ginny said that, she regretted it. While it was common knowledge in the pure-blood families that Lucius was an alcoholic, abusive father and husband, it was one of those things that just wasn't spoken about. Draco paled, his cold grey eyes faltering. "I'm sorry," Ginny said, almost immediately, not sure why she was appologizing, or even why she should feel as bad as she did. But somehow, what he said to her wasn't half as terrible as what she had just said to him. They both knew which one was true and which one was only out of spite. "I shouldn't have said that."
"Yes," Draco sneered. "You should learn to keep you bloody mouth shut. Perhaps you could go kill yourself and do the whole world a big fucking favour." And with that, he turned around and strode away, leaving Ginny alone in the corridor, feeling a hundred times worse than she had only an hour earlier.
Biting her lip, she turned around and went to class, knowing she was incredibly late. It didn't matter, though.
Draco entered his the dorm he shared with his fellow seventh years and slammed the door behind him, making a satisfying noise. Just for good measure, he walked back to the door, opened it and slammed it again, as hard as he could.
"I can't believe the nerve…" he muttered to himself as he strode over to his desk, which was littered with vast amounts of parchments and envelopes. "The little bitch, thinking she can say anything about my family and get away with it," he muttered to himself as he stomped around the room, angrily, hoping to make enough noise as humanly possible. He walked back to the desk and sat at it, glowering at the pieces of paper strewn everywhere; old potions assignments, old essays and homework and of course, letters from home. Taking the latest letter from underneath a Transfiguration sheet ("Explain, in your own words, why transfiguring animals into objects requires more skill than transfiguring objects into animals."), he looked at it, re-reading the letter for at least the fiftieth time that week.
Draco (it read)
As usual, I hope this has found you in good health. You mother and I are planning for your trip home this Christmas vacation. We are expecting you to come, as we have something very important to discuss with you. I will not write it down, as I suspect that that fool Dumbledore may be checking students' mail without our knowledge, but it is obviously related to what we discussed over summer with you.
You will be please to know that Narcissa has made a full recovery from her fall down the stairs ("I bet it was a fall," Draco muttered.) and is anxious to see you. Remember, we are expecting you home and I dare say if you stay at the school over the break, I will be very disappointed in you.
Do not get into any trouble and remember we expect high marks from you.
Draco looked at the paper, and wished it would be set on fire; to spontaneously combust into millions of flames. He knew what they wanted to discuss – actually, more like what Lucius wanted to discuss. He knew he was to pledge his loyalty to the Dark Lord. He was going to get the Dark Mark, and he was going to get it in a month's time.
He was slowly counting down the days to his prison sentence.
Ginny entered her class late, Professor Flitwick sending her a little glare of annoyance but nothing else, and slipped into a seat, next to her dorm mates. Taking her wand out of her bag, along with a quill and parchment, Ginny set down to work, copying what the Flitwick had written on the board already. She chewed on her bottom lip the whole time, a nervous habit she had acquired when she was younger.
She was writing down notes on the sheet, trying to listen to the professor as she thought about what she had said to Draco. Every time she remembered what she said, her stomach did a little dip and her heart squeezed slightly. She felt extremely guilty; now he probably wouldn't ever talk to her again and they would never figure out what was going on. Not that she wasn't unprovoked but… They needed to be able to have a conversation without resorting to firing insults are each other. Sighing, she played with a lock of her hair as she gazed at the professor as he tried to show them the levitating spell, her mind somewhere else.
A piece of parchment flew right in front of her face, startling her out of her revere. Looking down, she saw that it was a folded square of parchment, with 'Ginny' written on it. By the looks of it, it was her friend, Anna's writing.
Glancing over at Anna, who nodded and motioned to the note, she picked it up and unfolded it discreetly. Looking down, she read:
You're staring at the professor, Gin and biting your bottom lip. Trust me, he's totally not your type. Ha, ha, just joking, hon. Anything up?
Ginny looked over at Anna, who was now braiding her brown hair, then back at the parchment, thinking. She was desperate to tell someone. It felt horrible keeping it all inside. She needed to tell someone what was happening with the gem. Plus, whatever was going on between her and Draco. And someone who wasn't Hermione. Anna was smart, even if others thought all she cared about was superficial things. Anna was quite brilliant, even if she herself didn't see it.. Though she was Muggle-born, she had fit right into the Wizarding world. It would seem to any wizard or witch that Anna Edwards was one you played with on your street in Hogsmeade as a child.
But… Could she trust Anna? Sighing, made a quick decision and wrote a quick note back:
Meet me in the Library at 8 tonight. I'll tell you then.
Sending it back to Anna, Ginny hoped she was doing the right thing.
Ron and Hermione sat in the common room, Hermione reading, Ron clucking his tongue rather distractedly. Cluck, cluck, cluck…
"Could you please cut that out?" Hermione snapped, annoyed, from behind her book.
"Cut what out?" Ron asked, looking at her.
"You clucking… your tongue!" she said, bringing the book down to look at him over the top of the cover. "I'm trying to read," she added, unnecessarily.
"Aw, Hermione, you're always trying to read!" Ron whined, sounding like a four-year-old. "Can't we do something fun for once? It's a Friday night for Gods' sake!" He looked at Hermione, his brown eyes wide with pleading, his short red hair spiked slightly from him running his hand through it earlier. If chocolate pudding had been around his mouth, he would have really looked like a four-year-old boy.
Hermione put the book down, sighing. He looked so cute staring at her like that. "I suppose," she said, as she bookmarked the place. "But what's there to do? There's only limited fun in this castle, Ron," she added, that educated tone creeping in her voice. Ron scowled.
"Let's go find Harry," he said, shortly. "We'll figure something out then."
"All right," Hermione said, getting up. "Let me go put this book up in my room and I'll be back in a moment." She ran up the stairs and Ron threw himself into the armchair. 'Be back in a moment' meant about fifteen minutes of waiting while Hermione brushed her hair and put on lip-gloss and all those girlie things she was doing lately. He was afraid that Lavender and Parvarti had got to her, but the fact that she still acted all-knowing around him soothed his heart somewhat. He still didn't know why she was doing that lately, though. It confused him. Girls, in general, confused him.
Sighing, he glanced around the common room. There weren't many people in there, a few groups of girls here and there, seeing as it was a Friday night. Boys hung about in pairs, wandering in and out of the common room every now and then, trying to find something to entertain themselves with.
Most of the people had actually headed down to the Gryffindor Quidditch practise, just to amuse themselves. Looking around again, Ron saw that one group of girls in the corner were whispering furtively. They each shot him a glance, then broke into gales of laughter. Ron scowled and looked away.
Just then, the portrait door opened and Dean walked in, carrying his backback and looking a little frustrated. He must have just come from the library, trying to do one of the thousand essays assigned to the 7th year Grffindors. Ron was about to just nod at Dean when he remembered that Dean had gone to check up on Ginny.
"Oi!" he called to Dean, as the fellow seventh year was about to head up stairs. Dean turned around and ambled over to Ron.
"Hey mate," he said, sitting down in the chair across from Ron. "Anything on the go?"
"Did you talk to Gin?" Ron asked, leaning forward in the chair and giving Dean his best serious look.
"Oh…" Dean's face turned slightly red. "Uh, no, I couldn't find her…"
Ron looked hard at Dean. "I see…" he said, at last. "Well, if you do see her, see if she's OK."
"Sure," Dean said, once again cool. Dean got up and walked over to the stairs, disappearing around the bend as he ascended the boys' dormitory. Ron glared after him, his eyes dark and concerned. That hadn't seemed right. Ron worried that everyone was lying to him, keeping him out of something important. He didn't like people keeping secrets from him. He'd just find out in the end; better tell him now and get it over with.
"All right!" Hermione said, coming downstairs and standing in front of him. He looked up and noticed she was definitely wearing make-up. What was with that? he wondered, as he got up.
Why was Hermione start acting so strangely now? He sighed and followed her out the Common Room, down the to Quidditch Pitch, where Harry should just be finishing practise about now.
There were too many bloody questions in life for Ron.
Anna entered the girl's dormitory to find Raina lying upon her bed, a huge book open on her lap.
"Studying?" Anna asked, after taking a brush from the dresser and sitting on her bed as well. Raina snorted and shook her head, smiling.
"Just reading up on some interesting legends," she said, as she turned a page, her long blonde hair falling over the book. Anna smiled to herself as she looked at herself in the mirror. Raina was constantly into myths and legends, Anna noticed as she tried on some lip-gloss and sat back, trying to gauge its appeal. Grimacing, she wiped at it with the back of her hand, and turned back to Raina.
"Rai," she said, "do you have any good lipstick?" Raina looked up and shook her head.
"Always with the make-up aren't you, Anna?" Anna blushed.
"Is it bad that I like to look good?" Anna asked, getting up and walking over to Raina. "What exactly are you reading there?" she inquired, sitting down on the bed beside one of her best friends. Raina looked up, her blue eyes sparkling with excitement.
"Oh, Anna, it's one of the more exciting legends I've read in a while!" she said, grinning.
"In other words, boring to the rest of the world?" Anna asked, laughing lightly. Raina stuck her tongue out at Anna and pushed her lightly.
"Blah, blah, blah," she said, looking at Anna again. "You think anything not to do with boys or make-up is boring."
"That's not true!" Anna said, standing up and going over to her bed. "I've got some depth to me."
"Oh yeah?" Raina intoned from her bed. "Prove it then, girl."
"I will," Anna said, getting on her hands and knees and searching for something under her bed. After a moment of dust bunnies and curses, Anna crawled back out, smiling madly. "Here," she said, throwing a silver box at Raina and sitting on her own bed, watching Raina warily.
"What this?" Raina asked, as she took the box and turned it around in her hand. The silver had been carved beautifully, depicting scenes of angels and trumpets. It looked very old and expensive.
"Just open it," Anna said, grabbing a pillow and smiling to herself.
"Oh wow…" Raina said, as she shifted through the contents. "Where did you get these?" she asked, taking out various pieces of jewels and ornaments.
"Around," Anna shrugged. "I've been collecting them since I was nine. Ever since my Nana died and left me my first piece of magical jewellery."
"Anna," Raina said, at lost for words. "All these… they're… wow. They're gorgeous." Raina kept digging through the box, finally producing a lion pin. It was red and gold, the gold seemingly real, a glisten of luxury. The red were rubies, and there were a lot of them too. The lion roared, its call magnified in the room, and it shook its mane, as though happy to be free of the box. The ruby eyes looked straight at Raina and roared again, waving it's paws in the air slightly. It was old, antique almost, but it looked near perfect in its condition. "What's this?" Raina asked, her eyes wide.
"That," Anna said, simply, "is Godric Gryffindor's cloak pin."
Draco entered the library, his eyes scanning the room like a predator looking for its prey. After hours of sitting in his room and seething about his father, his life and Ginny, he decided that he was just going to get it over with and talk to her; no distractions, no excuses. It had gone on long enough and he, for one, was fed up with her behaviour. Finally, his narrowed eyes settled on the petite redhead sitting at the far back table, where Ginny was studying. He stalked over to her and a sat down in the chair across from her, expecting her to at least look up.
But Ginny continued to write; ignoring Draco.
"Weasley," he whispered, in a low voice, looking down upon her. She raised her face once, rolling her eyes, before continuing to write on. "We need to talk."
"Why don't you go raise a pack of wild ferrets, Malfoy? Can't you see I'm busy?" she asked, without looking up once from the parchment she was writing upon. Sneering, Draco grabbed the quill out of her hands and broke it in two. "Hey!" she said, looking up angrily. "You're going to replace that!"
"Fine. I'll replace it, if you agree to talk to me,' Draco said, trying very hard to stick to the game-plan.
"What is it, Malfoy?" Ginny said wearily. "I'm trying to work, if you even know what that is."
"Not here," he said, "Somewhere else."
"Fine,' Ginny said, angrily, standing up quickly and ignoring the glare coming from Madame Prince. "Fine!" she said stacking her books one on top of the other, hard, making them slam into each other. "This really better be worth it, Malfoy! You better leave me alone after this."
"Oh, believe me, I will," he said stonily, as he grabbed her elbow and steered her out of the library, trying to pretend that everyone in the library was not gawking at the two of them with their jaws hanging open. He sure hope this scene didn't get back to his father.
"Could you slow down?" she asked, when they were out of the library and in the hall. "I'm not as tall as you, remember?"
"For once, Weasley, just be quiet, all right?" Draco said out of the corner of his mouth, yet he slowed slightly. Ginny remained quiet, while he led her down the stairs and outside. She didn't even complain about not having a cloak out in the cold air even though the wind ripped through her robe like a knife slicing through air. It was a bitter, bitter wind and Ginny shivered right down to her core. But something inside of her told her not to complain. It seemed that Draco was in a horrid mood and Ginny didn't want to provoke him right now. Who knew what he would do? He might throw her in the lake for all she knew. Draco suddenly stopped and Ginny noticed with a bit of irony that they had stopped right by the lake. Throwing it a glare, she turned to Draco and waited for him to speak. "I think it's time that we sorted this all out," he said, looking right at her. For some reason it gave her the chills.
"Sort… The dreams out?" Ginny questioned. Draco nodded.
"And that stone of yours," he added, looking down at her collar. With her robes slightly undone (as the library had been a bit stifling), he could see the gem resting against the pale of her skin. It glittered in the moonlight, twinkling like an innocent star.
Against everything his brain was screaming at him, he felt his hand rise and skim over Ginny's shoulder, to her collar, fingers dancing lightly against her, before picking up the gem in his hand. He felt Ginny stop breathing for a moment, as she stared at him, wide-eyed.
His hand closed over the gem, and he gripped it tightly, feeling the oddest sensation tickling his palm. He squeezed it slightly, as though testing its internal structure. Opening his hand when he felt the tickling sensation again, he saw that it was glowing. It was as if the sun shone from within, coming out in a green cascade of colour.
"Do you see this?" he asked, staring at it, slightly taken aback.
"Yes," Ginny said, looking up at him. "It has happened before."
"I don't know about this…" he said. Ginny suddenly took it out of his hand and placed it back upon her chest. She closed up her robes; wrapping them around her as though she was hugging herself. She lowered her eyes to the ground, staring at the almost blue grass in the moonlight. "You need to get rid of it," he said, suddenly.
"What?" Ginny snapped, looking up at him. "Get rid of it? Why?" She looked up at him, anger and confusion in her eyes. "Why would we do that?"
"Well, it's obviously dark magic!" he said, throwing his hands up in the air at the density of the girl in front of him. "Think about it, have you ever heard about necklaces that glow or change physical appearances?" he asked, lifting up strands of her hair and letting it fall through his fingertips like water. Ginny glared at him and backed up.
"Why would you care?" she asked, "You're going to be a Death Eater – dark magic is your thing." When Draco didn't reply, she looked at him again. "Maybe you want me to get rid of it so you can have it for yourself. Maybe you know what it really does and you want it all for yourself."
"Oh yes," Draco sneered, "I really want some jewellery so I can rule the world."
Ginny glared at him again, and walked forward. "Well," she said, standing as tall as she could to look him right in the eye, "you aren't going to get it! Not even over my dead body." The fiery glint in her eye put Draco on the alert. He had seen gazes like that before and it wasn't natural.
"You're obsessed with the stone," he said, matter-of-factly.
"No, I'm not," she hissed. "I could get rid of it right now if I wanted."
"Then get rid of it." Draco crossed his arms.
"Oh, right, so then you can steal it?"
"No!" Draco yelled. "Bloody hell. Again! This is not what I wanted to talk about!"
"What did you want to talk about?" Ginny glared at him. "The dreams? Ask away, because I don't know anything more than you, Malfoy."
"I was thinking…" Draco ground out, apparently close to his wits' end.. "We try to find out who these people are that are in our dreams. They can't just be figments of our imagination. They either need to represent something or be real themselves. They're the cause of all these weird things happening around us," he said, gesturing around with his hands.
"Fine," Ginny agreed. "We'll look around the library for whoever these people are."
"Good." Ginny turned to leave, when Draco caught her arm. She didn't protest, she simply looked back at him, one eyebrow raised in question. "Weasley… Ginny," Draco said, "put the gem away. Hide it until we know what it is."
"No," Ginny said, placing a hand over her chest and turning fully around to face Draco. "It's mine."
"I'm not going to say it again, Ginny. Put it away." Draco's voice held a tone of warning, but Ginny simply glowered.
"Don't give me orders like I'm a house-elf, Malfoy."
"I'm not," Draco protested. "But I've seen that look in your eyes before. I think it could very well be a dangerous piece of magic."
"I'll do what I please," Ginny said, her streak of independence obvious.
"I can't let you," Draco said, grabbing her other wrist. Ginny wince, not out of pain, but out of fear of what he may do, but said nothing. "You cannot wear that thing."
"I – I will," Ginny voice shook as Draco glared at her and placed both of her wrists in one hand, leaving on of his hands free. "Malfoy, touch me, I swear to Gods I will push you into the lake!" Ginny warned. Draco paid no heed. With a violent gesture, he ripped the stone from her neck, the chain now hanging from his hand as he held the stone itself. With a cry of anger, Ginny pushed all her weight against Draco, making him lose his balance and fall backwards into the lake. Only Ginny had forgotten that Draco was still holding onto her and, she too, fell in with a cry.
There was a resounding splash as water flew up in the air and the two figures sank underwater, before both disappearing completely in the bubbles of the commotion.
Draco wasn't sure where he was. He was dry. And he was alone. He looked around, trying to figure out how he came to be here.
He seemed to be in some sort of pasture, fields of tall grass stretching endlessly for miles, blowing gently in the wind. The sky was the purest blue he had ever seen, not a trace of clouds anywhere, and, it too, seemed to be forever expanding. Birds flew overhead, in flocks, calling to each other, their cries resounding about the plane of grass. They flew past him, quite low and the wind whipped his hair, making him almost spin with the flock as they rushed past him, screeching. He stared after them, when he noticed one of the smaller birds broke away from the flock, making a beautiful arc in the sky, flying down, down to… land on a milky white shoulder.
Draco looked up, and gaped. Ginny, again…? What was she doing here? The woman, in a beautiful dress made of blue, which flowed down to the ground, walked towards him, her steps graceful. The dress, which had a black corset, pushed her cleavage up, and slimmed her waist, as the long sleeves seemed to be attached to her hands with small rings around the middle fingers. Her eyes were deep brown, her lips red and plump and she seemed never to waver her gaze as she walked towards him, her hips swaying slightly, the blue and white train following her as she walked. It couldn't be Ginny… he had never seen Ginny look this seductive before.
"Draco," the goddess breathed as she stepped in front of him. "Welcome. Welcome to my Sídhe."
Author's Note: Just so you don't think I'm pulling all these names and words out of thin air, most of the names have significance and these immortals are, in fact, real Celtic Gods and Goddesses. Sídhe is a sort of a plane in the otherworld where the Gods live for the most part. You will find out more about it in coming chapters. I have all this to thank for from my Celtic mythology dictionary and to Irina, as well, for introducing me to Celtic mythology. It is very interesting stuff, if you want to check it out.
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