Dance with the Devil
Tonks probably hated her family as much as they hated her. Luckily, most of the psychotic ones were tucked away in Azkaban—or dead—but she still had to deal with a few distant relatives who were still clinging to the Black tradition of evil. That was why, after the war, she hadn't taken the training job Kingsley had offered. She wanted to be out in the chaos. Tonight was sure to be an interesting one for the Black family, because no matter how much either side tried to deny it, she was one of them. She had a little bit of Black blood running through her veins, and that, she knew, would probably make a difference as she dealt with them tonight.
Well, technically it was the Malfoy family she'd be dealing with, she thought as she took a drink of water. Still, Draco was her cousin. Maybe that's why Ginny had come to her instead of going to one of her brothers. Or maybe it was because she knew Tonks wouldn't actually kill him, whereas Ron and Bill very well might. Or it might have been that Ginny just figured Tonks would guess after a while—what with the semi-affair they were having. Whatever the reason, Ginny had shown up to the flat the day before and, crying over her cup of tea, explained everything to Tonks. Above all she'd stressed timing, and as Tonks looked at the clock, she knew she couldn't leave yet. To take her mind off the wait, she replayed the previous day in her mind.
Tonks slid in fuzzy socks down the hall, managing, for the first time, not to fall or run into the door. Opening the door, she jumped in surprise. "Ginny!"
"Is this a bad time?" the redhead asked quietly.
"No, of course not," Tonks said, standing aside so Ginny could enter. "Are you alright?"
Ginny shook her head, tears welling up in her eyes. Without a word, she walked forward and wrapped her arms around Tonks.
"Hey, don't cry. It's alright," Tonks said, holding her. "Come into the living room, and we can talk."
It took Ginny a little while to be calm enough to talk, but she finally got around to it. "I can't go back…"
Ginny nodded, a few more tears slipping out. She pulled away from Tonks and turned to face the metamorphmagus. She lifted her shirt up to reveal a huge, nasty bruise on her stomach.
"Bloody hell!" Tonks yelped. "What happened?"
Ginny leaned into her again and said, bitterly, "Another one of his temper tantrums. It's been happening for a while now."
"About a year, but never this bad. He completely lost his mind last night. I…."
Tonks held her, making sure not to squeeze too hard in case there were bruises she didn't know about. "What?" she asked, kissing Ginny's shoulder.
"I wanted to tell you before, but I couldn't. I just…I always fought back, and he would always back off. It would be a little slap here or there, or a shove, but he never really…. Last night I thought I was going to die," she finished in a whisper. "It took me all morning to get over here. I could barely walk."
Somewhere in her mind, Tonks knew why, but she still had to ask. Just to gauge how painful she needed to make Draco's death. "Why couldn't you walk?"
Ginny turned into her, not saying a word. She stayed like that for a long moment before saying, "He said he was tired of waiting for that night."
Tonks swallowed the rage that was boiling inside of her. "Have you…do you need me to heal you? Are you still hurting?"
"Okay," Tonks said, pulling away.
Ginny laid back on the couch, shivering. "I couldn't do it all myself."
"It's okay. Trust me?"
Ginny nodded, unbuttoning her shirt. With Tonks's help, she managed to get all of her clothes off without flinching much.
Tonks closed her eyes for a second, trying to keep it together for Ginny's sake. When she opened them again, the bruises hadn't gone away. Gently, she trailed her wand down Ginny's body, healing what she could. Ginny's hips were various shades of blue, but the insides of her legs were the worst. "Ginny?" Tonks said quietly.
She grabbed a throw from the back of the couch and wrapped it around the redhead. "I can't heal all of this with just my wand. I'm going to go get ointment from the bathroom. I'll be right back." She waited for Ginny to nod, and then ran down the hall. She rummaged through her medicine cabinet, finding a small jar under two bottles of toothpaste. She grabbed one of the potion vials as well, and walked back to the living room. "Try to relax," she said, gently removing the blanket. "I'm not going to touch you at all, okay? I can do this with the wand."
Ginny held completely still until Tonks had finished and she had her clothes back. "What's that?" she asked, pointing to the vial Tonks had brought in.
"Pain potion," Tonks explained. "Sometimes I get roughed up on a mission, and I hate going to Saint Mungo's for minor things. So I keep this in stock. Drink it quick. It tastes awful, but it works really well."
For the rest of the day, they talked. They talked about what happened, what Ginny needed, random things like the Cannons' standing in the league…. Wherever the conversation led, Tonks went with it. All she wanted was for Ginny to feel safe. As the sun began to sink, and the noise of the traffic outside died down, Tonks finally asked a question that had been burning in the back of her mind for the past two years. "Ginny? Why did…why Malfoy?"
Ginny was quiet for a second before answering. "When Harry left, I went through this…phase. You were gone; Harry had just run off with my best friend… I felt like I'd never be able to keep anyone around. Everything I did had to be destructive. I couldn't just go out for drinks—I had to get plastered. I couldn't just go for a ride on my broom—it had to be mountain races—"
"I'll pretend I didn't hear that, seeing as those are illegal," Tonks said with a smile.
For the first time that day, Ginny smiled back. "Yes, well… I was in a bad place. Then one night I saw Draco and I figured that was the worst idea I could possibly have. Turns out, we were surprisingly normal while we were dating. Lots of yelling, but it wasn't ever…like this. So when he asked…I don't know…I guess I figured it was my only chance. Then you came back," she added, smiling again for a second.
"Do you want my help?"
"Do you trust me?"
Ginny nodded again.
Tonks smiled. "Good. Let's go to your parents' house. You'll be safe there, and it'll give me some time to come up with a plan."
"Will you stay?" Ginny asked.
"If your Mum will let me," Tonks said. "I think she might know that our visits haven't been completely platonic."
Ginny snorted. "It's not like we're fucking," she said. "We acknowledge what's between us, instead of playing stupid games. I don't think she'll see it as a big deal. Especially if she finds out about…you know."
"I don't want Ron going to jail tonight," Ginny said simply.
Tonks nodded and took her hand. A moment later, the apartment was empty.
The clock stuck six. Time to go. "Broom!" Tonks called. She held out her hand as it came zooming toward her. She slung it over her shoulder—she wouldn't be riding it, unless something kept her from Apparating. She closed her eyes, concentrated, and after a few moments, opened them again. She pulled her hood up and walked up the steps to Malfoy (formerly Lestrange) Estate.