The Den of Snakes
Summary (Expanded): AU: In 1986 the Muggle Raised Protection Act was passed after learning of the horrible treatment Harry Potter endured from muggles who were supposed to protect him. Now the wizarding world is a dangerous place where the ideals of Voldemort are Ministry policy. Ginny Weasley finds herself in the center of the headquarters for the pure-blood movement when she is forced to marry a member of the House of Malfoy. However, not everything is as it seems and Ginny discovers her new living situation to be exactly where she needs to be to fight in the war against blood purity.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. Sad but true. I could use the money to pay off my student loans. All Harry Potter related elements are obviously JK Rowling, the storyline and original characters are the product of my imagination.
Pairings: Dean/Ginny, Harry/Ginny, Ron/Lavender (More ships will be posted later. I don't want to spoil too much too soon) ;)
Rating: Mature for situations that will occur in the future. Nothing will be explicate, however adult themes, such as rape will be mentioned and there will be some sexual situations.
Chapter 1: A Fate Worse Than Death
August 1st, 1997
Ginny Weasley laughed as her boyfriend Dean Thomas swung her around the dance floor. The day had been simply wonderful for her brother, Bill's wedding to his longtime girlfriend Fleur Delacour, although Ginny mused, her name was Fleur Weasley now. Ginny couldn't picture a more perfect way for two people to being their lives together. She hated to admit it, but deep down inside she was a true romantic to the core.
"Come on, Ginny," Dean whispered in her ear, as he pressed his body closer to her. "Why don't we take a walk in the orchard?"
"Not now, Dean," Ginny giggled. "We can walk around the orchard anytime we like."
"Ginny," Dean whined. "That isn't what I mean."
"Dean," Ginny hissed in warning.
"But don't you want some alone time?" Dean asked with a glint of desire in his eyes.
"Not now!" Ginny said with gritted teeth. "This is my brother's wedding; we're not going to sneak to the apple orchard for a snog." With a defeated look on his face, Dean let the matter drop, and Ginny was able to return to enjoying her eldest brother's wedding.
As the music came to a close, Ginny realized there was only one tradition left, the throwing of the bouquet, before the bride and groom could slip away to begin their honeymoon in Milan.
"Dean," Ginny said, pulling his hand, "I want to join in the bouquet throwing."
"Do we have to?" Dean asked, the whine in his voice did not hide his displeasure.
"No, you don't have to," Ginny said with a smile. "But I'm going to."
With a resigned sigh Dean kept a hold of her hand as they walked off the dance floor, to where the Bride's bouquet was about to be thrown. But before Ginny could reach the congregation of waiting witches, a heart wrenching scream rocked the wedding party.
Immediately Ginny knew the cry was from her mother. Breaking her hand free from Dean's grip, Ginny raced to the source of the now constant sobbing. Her mother was sitting on a bench in the garden, crying on her father's shoulder. Ginny quickly realized she was the last of her siblings to reach her mother, as all of her brothers were standing around her.
"Not my baby!" Her mum wailed again, drawing further attention from the wedding guests who were standing around the immediate area.
"There's nothing to see here," Bill said as he began to usher away curious guests that happened upon the family. Charlie assisted their eldest brother in showing away their party guests.
"What's going on?" Ginny asked when it became apparent that no one was going to say anything. However the sound of Ginny's voice seemed to only make matters worse. Her mother's sobs increased in pace and intensity.
Her brothers Fred and George, who always would attempt to make a serious situation a little less grim, with a laugh or a joke, had stoic looks on their faces. While her brothers Ron and Percy were simply unreadable. Out of nowhere, Fleur wrapped her arms around Molly's shoulders and pried her away from Arthur, only to give Molly a different shoulder to cry on. Whatever was going on, it seemed as if Ginny was the last in the family to know.
"Ginny," her father said after a few long moments, "I just received an urgent owl from the Ministry. May I see your left hand for a moment?"
Completely confused as to why her father wanted to see her hand, Ginny nodded her consent before placing her left hand, palm down, out in front of her for her father to inspect. But instead of looking at her hand, her dad was inspecting her wrist. Once he turned her wrist around he let out a hiss.
"How could this have happened?" Her dad asked in a completely defeated voiced.
Ginny had taken a glance at her own wrist when her father inspected it but she hadn't seen anything wrong with it. However, upon closer inspection, she could see white lines forming some sort of a mark around her wrist. The white lines reminded Ginny of a faded scar, yet she knew she never had on in that location.
There were three interloping ovals which all connected in the middle. The three ovals were also intertwined by a large circle in the middle of the ovals. Ginny vaguely recognized the symbol from her ancient ruins class. It looked like the Celtic symbol for the triquetra.
The triquetra sat in the middle of her wrist, on the palm side. The rest of her wrist was wrapped in a design that reminded Ginny of vine covered in leaves. The vines connected one side of the triquetra to the other. All in all, the mark made Ginny very nervous.
"What is going on?" Ginny asked again, only this time with much more urgency in her tone. "What did this letter say and what does it have to do with my wrist?"
"Ginny," her father began, not meeting her eyes. "The letter from the Ministry is about you."
"About me," Ginny interrupted. "What did I do?"
"Nothing dear," her dad said a bit too quickly for Ginny's comfort. "I am sure this is in no way your fault. But, the mark on your wrist proves that it is true."
"Proves what is true?" Ginny asked perplexed as to why her father wasn't simply spitting out what he need to say.
"You've been betrothed by magical means." Her father said simply and calmly. "And if this letter from the Ministry is genuine," her father continued, handing her the letter. "You are betrothed to a member of the Malfoy family."
All the strength suddenly seemed to leave Ginny's body as she clasped on the bench next to her sobbing mother. Gingerly holding the letter, Ginny opened it to read the words that would change the course of the rest of her life.
A meeting of the Order of the Phoenix was promptly called as soon as her brothers were able to convince their guests that the wedding reception was over. Bill and Fleur even postponed their honeymoon indefinitely until this issue was resolved.
"It is not like we could have enjoyed ourselves," Bill confided to her. "We both would have been worried sick about you the whole time."
So this was how Ginny found her family on the evening of a very joyous occasion, her parents and brothers in an emergency Order meeting while she sat on the top of the stairs with the muggle-born wards of her family clustered around her. Since the Muggle Raised Protection Act was passed nearly eleven years ago, her family had fostered several muggle-born witches and wizards. Even though her family strongly protested the law, they still attempted to help as many people as possible from what they felt was an unjust law.
"It's going to be okay, Ginny," little ten-year-old Amanda said as she climbed into Ginny's lap.
"Yeah," Dean agreed, as he placed his arms reassuringly on Ginny's shoulders. "The Order will know what to do. You'll see everything will be alright.
Ginny had to smile at Dean's statement. The Order had been around for as long as Ginny remembered. The meetings of the organization were frequently held at her family's home throughout her childhood, while her older brothers would watch the younger siblings and the wards upstairs.
Then one by one (actually two at once for the twins) her brothers joined the Order when they were of age. Most recently her brother Ron joined, even though he still had one more year at Hogwarts. In the eyes of the wizarding world he was of age, and the Order needed all the help they could get.
According to Bill and Charlie there was a time that the Order was not based out of their home. A long time ago the Order was an organization that fought the evil Lord Voldemort before Harry Potter defeated him. With Voldemort gone, there was no need for the Order to continue, so the Order had disbanded until the time when they would be needed again. Unfortunately, it all started again for the Order when Ginny was only five years old.
Rumor had it when little Harry Potter was orphaned, he was sent to live with his muggle relatives who treated him absolutely horridly. As soon as the Ministry of Magic learned of this they removed him from the muggles, and he was sent to live with a wizarding family. Soon after all muggle-born children were being removed from their homes.
The Muggle Raised Protection Act was passed as a reaction to the negative way muggles tended to react to magical children; the case with Harry Potter being the only evidence that the ministry cited. Soon after the law was passed, the Order was reformed to swoop in to help as many muggle-born families as possible. Her family had taken in a large number of muggle-born children as well as act as host for the Order of the Phoenix.
"Why is Ginny up here with us?" Amanda asked suddenly breaking Ginny from her thoughts. "Why isn't she downstairs with the Order?"
"She isn't of age," Dean gruffly replied. It was a bit of a sore point for her boyfriend considering he wouldn't be considered of age until the next year due to the Muggle-born restrictions that had been past two years previous. Even though pure-bloods and half-bloods were considered of age when they turned seventeen, muggle-borns were not considered of age until eighteen like their muggle counterparts. Otherwise, Ginny was quite sure Dean would be in the meeting of the Order himself.
"It's alright, Amanda," Ginny said with a smile on her face. "I know the Order is doing what they can for me."
Amanda continued questioning why everyone was worried about Ginny, but Ginny could not concentrate on the questions. She was too nervous and worried about what could happen to her. After what felt like an eternity, Ron appeared on the top of the stairs.
"It's okay to go down now," Ron said with a rather subdue tone. He would not meet Ginny's eyes, when she attempted to get some reassurance from him.
Things were not looking very optimistic for Ginny at this point in time.
Slowly Ginny entered the kitchen, not truly knowing whether or not she would want to hear the results of the meeting. Sitting at the kitchen table was her immediate family and the headmaster of her school, Albus Dumbledore.
"Miss Weasley," Professor Dumbledore began. "I wish we were meeting under better circumstances. However, one cannot always choose what will come their way in life."
Ginny wordlessly stared at the ancient wizard, hoping that he would just get to the point.
"As you know," Dumbledore continued, "the Order held a meeting this evening discussing the letter your parents received this afternoon. Before I continue, is there anything you wish you wish to tell me?"
Ginny stared at Dumbledore in shock, "What do you mean professor?"
"Is there anything you wish to confess about your relationship with Mr. Malfoy?" Dumbledore continued to press.
"What relationship with Draco?" Ginny asked in genuine confusion. "I barely know the pounce."
"That is not what the Malfoys are claiming," Professor Dumbledore continued in a serene tone. "According to their account of the story, Draco and you chose to bond with one another in marriage since neither of your families would approve of your relationship."
"That is completely insane," Ginny spat in response. "That is a cock-bull story," Ginny continued unperturbed by her mother's outrage with her language. "I am in love with my boyfriend Dean. I don't really know Draco other than the fact that he tries to make Ron's life a living nightmare at Hogwarts." Ron squawked in indignation at Ginny's last statement, yet he couldn't refuse the charge. "I don't know what the Malfoys are planning, but despite their claims, I am not a willing participant."
"Very good," Professor Dumbledore replied with a nod. "I believed this is what you would claim, but several members of the Order pointed out it would be difficult to refute the Malfoys' claims." At Ginny's startled look, Dumbledore continued. "They claim you committed this betrothing bond due to the fact that your family would not approve, Miss Weasley. Even if you claim that you did not willing participate, the Malfoy family will simply reply that this is why you and Draco went through such drastic measures."
"So what are we going to do about this?" Ginny boldly asked, staring Dumbledore in the eyes.
At her question Dumbledore let out a sigh. "To be quite honest, Miss Weasley there is very little we can do. I will attempt to run an appeal through the Wizengamot, but if that fails, you will have to marry Draco Malfoy. The nuptials will have to occur on your sixteenth birthday and the union will need to be consummated within twenty-four hours or you may die."
"And if I refuse?" Ginny asked intently, trying to determine her options.
"You will die, and your father will face incarceration in Azkaban for allowing your death and not honoring the betrothal agreement." Dumbledore said in a very sad tone.
Ginny just stared at the elderly man, unable to fathom what he had just stated.
"Death?" Her Mum squeaked out, "No one said anything about death!"
"I hope this will not be the case," Dumbledore said while addressing Molly. "I have every confidence that this betrothal will be overturned. We can just never be sure, until it actually happens."
"Did you really have to tell her that?" Her father asked, his anger evident by his neck turning shades of red.
"She asked, and she deserves the truth," was Dumbledore's simple reply.
August 10th, 1997
Ginny reveled in the feeling of the wind blowing through her hair as she continued to dip and dive across her family's orchard. While it probably was not very wise to fly in the dark, Ginny was very used to it. Ever since she was five years old, Ginny would sneak out at night and steal her brothers' brooms to practice flying on her own. Over the past few days her brothers had been treating her as if she was made of glass; she needed to escape to enjoy her last few hours of freedom.
Just hours before Ginny's fate was sealed. Dumbledore arrived after the latest meeting of the Wizengamot to deliver her the devastating news. The appeal had fallen through, and Ginny was ordered to surrender herself to the Malfoy Manor the next morning. Once again her mother had a break down crying and screaming, while her father and brothers just looked depressed. Ginny couldn't remain in their presence when they were all acting like that. She loved her family very much, but she needed their strength, not their pity at this point.
Ginny, with tears in her eyes, trekked out to take a walk around the woods that surrounded the Burrow, taking the time to remember her childhood home, before she was ripped away from it. She had been so lost in her thoughts she didn't realize that Dean had found her until he grabbed her shoulder.
"I guess we're not dating anymore," was the only thing Dean said to her. But it was the look in his eyes that said everything. He was angry with her.
"What have I done?" Ginny quietly asked.
Dean turned his head to stare into her eyes. "They have been saying a lot of different things Ginny. Things about you and Draco," he continued at her confused expression. "A lot of people claim you and Draco did this on purpose."
"Who?" Ginny snapped at Dean. "Who is claiming this about me?" She was seething inside. Of all the people in the world, Dean should believe her over the rumors about her.
"Other Hogwarts students that I met up with in Diagon Alley," Dean replied dropping his eyes. "I have no idea what has happened to us anymore."
With those final words, Dean walked away. Ginny didn't know if she would ever see him again.
Coming out of her memories, Ginny made one final dive before heading back into the Burrow, and the unknown. As she slowly walked back to the Burrow, she glazed over her five-floor family home. The size of Burrow increased as the amount of people living in the Weasley home grew. It had always looked as though it was barely held together by magic, but as they needed to add more floors, it became more apparent that it was only love and magic that kept this home together.
Walking up to the back porch, Ginny noticed a light on in the kitchen. Obviously she was not the only Weasley who could not sleep this night. As she walked in the back door to the kitchen, Ginny saw her mother sitting at the kitchen table with two glasses in front of her. Ginny found this out of place since her mother was never one to stay up late. In all of Ginny's years of flying late at night, she had never once encountered her mother when she returned after her flight.
Unsure as to what to do Ginny silently walked through the kitchen, waiting for her mother to make the first move.
"Couldn't sleep either?" Her mother simply asked.
"No, mum," Ginny said with a weak smile. "I needed to clear my head and the best way for me to do that is by flying."
Her mother clicked in disproval, "Ginny dear, you know it isn't very safe to fly at night."
"What does it matter?" Ginny asked in a depressed tone. "I'm going to the Malfoy Manor in the morning. I might have been better off if I had died in a horrid crash during my flight."
"Ginevra!" Her mum exclaimed in horror. "How dare you suggest you would be better off dead?"
"I'm sorry Mum," Ginny replied, her regret for her previous words evident in her voice. "I'm just…" Ginny trailed off, unsure exactly how to put her feelings into words.
"I understand," her mother said with compassion in her tone. "Really, I do Ginny. This was not the way any of us ever pictured you would be marrying." Tears started to come to Molly's eyes as she continued. "I always dreamed we'd plan your wedding day together, now it is whatever that Malfoy crone decides it to be."
"Mum! I can't believe you called Mrs. Malfoy that." Ginny said with a bit of a giggle in her tone.
"Oh, I'm sorry dear." Molly replied, although the last thing she looked was sorry. "Why don't you sit down dear and join me for a cuppa before you head back up for bed."
"Alright Mum," Ginny said with a genuine smile on her face. Ginny sat next to her mother at the table and gingerly took a sip from the mug her mother indicated was hers. "Mmmm, warm milk, my favorite."
"I know dear," her mother said with a twinkle in her eye. "It was the only thing that would help you go to sleep when you had a nightmare as a little girl."
Ginny chuckled, "Feeling a bit nostalgic tonight?"
"I guess I do." Molly said with a teary smile on her face. "Have you thought about Professor Dumbledore's idea?"
Ginny nearly dropped the mug from her grip at her mother's words. While Ginny hadn't been focusing all her thoughts on her headmaster's offer, it was never truly too far away from the surface of her thoughts.
After Professor Dumbledore told her the appeal had been rejected, he asked Ginny if she would be interested in helping the Order of the Phoenix from her new position. It was never a secret to the Order that the base of the Pure-blood movement was the Malfoy Manor. However, they never had the perfect opportunity to have a spy on the inside, until now that was. Ginny would be able to gather information while she was at the manor, which she would pass on to Order members when she was at Hogwarts.
It was clear to Ginny if she agreed to spy in Malfoy Manor, there was a chance it may be the last thing she did. While she was a Gryffindor and was proud to do whatever was necessary to help the Order. She was a bit concerned about agreeing to be a spy and risking her life in a completely unknown situation. If Ginny was caught passing on messages, it was almost certain that the Malfoys would kill her and make it look like an accident.
"I have, Mum," Ginny stated, with determination in her voice. "I'm going to do what I can to help the Headmaster."
Her mother had tears once again in her eyes. "I knew that was the decision that you would come to. Ginny, just remember that your family loves you dearly and will be doing what we can to help you. Your father and brothers have been spending a lot of time researching about the betrothal bond used to attempt to find a way out for you."
"I know mum," Ginny replied, "I hope they know how much I appreciate them doing so."
"Oh they do," said Molly before the two Weasley women fell into a comfortable silence.
"Ginny," Molly finally broke the silence several minutes later. "We need to talk about what roles and functions you will need to perform due to your 'marriage'."
"Mum," Ginny said in a drawled out tone, a blush beginning to rise on her face. "We've already had the talk."
"That's not what I mean," her mother replied, while placing a comforting arm around her shoulders. "I was talking about the station you will be taking as the lady of a family."
"Your marriage will place you as the lady and wife of a powerful pure-blood family. While we may not care about traditions, the Malfoys do." Molly patiently explained to her daughter. "I want to go over some of the things the Malfoys will expect you to do, and some of the tasks you will be forced to perform."
Ginny drank the last sip of her warm milk, as she waited for her mother to continue to tell her about what the future expected out of her.
A/N: Thank you all for trying this story. The chapters will be shorter than in my other fic The Strength of Family. However, I've got several chapters beta-ed and ready to be posted. Look forward to weekly updates of this story as well. Thank you zephy for all your hard work. You know I couldn't do it without you.
As many can tell with this first chapter, this story will be radically different and much darker than my other fic. I came up with the idea for it after reading Deathly Hallows and the way the ministry began persecuting muggle-borns. My thought was what would happen if they found out muggles were abusing wizards? How would the ministry react since Death Eaters are still there pulling the strings? Hope you all join me for the ride.
Next Chapter: The Happiest Day of a Woman's Life