Summary: When eleven-year-old Ginny Weasley is sorted into Slytherin, she is thrust into a world where the line between good and evil is blurred and where the boy she was supposed to hate becomes the man she was never supposed to love. DG, AU.
Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs to JKR.
Draco Malfoy never expected to care for Ginny Weasley. Even at twelve, he had too many loyalties already: to his parents, to blood purity, to the Dark Lord that he had never seen but hoped would return. All of those allegiances left no room in his heart for a lonely, redheaded First Year from a family of blood traitors. So loving her hits him like a train.
And so does the realization that here, at the end of it all, the only promise of loyalty that really matters is the one he made on a cold winter night, in bed, with the sheets pulled up over his head and warm brown eyes on his own. The only vow of allegiance that truly binds him was sealed with three words whispered in the darkness.
Chapter 1: The Beginning
The book was shabby and worn around the edges. She turned it over in her hands, running her fingertips over the dark leather of the spine, before flipping it open. All of the pages were blank. Her brow furrowed as she flicked through the sheets of pale parchment. Nothing. How strange.
She felt her stomach constrict. Harry was going to be at dinner. She would have to concentrate; she was not going to put her elbow in the butter dish again. Her cheeks flamed at the thought. "Coming!" she called back, tossing the book aside and bounding down the stairs.
For the next week, the mysterious blank book lay on the floor of her room, only half visible under the bed, and she didn't give it a second thought.
"Is Ginny feeling all right?"
Ginny heard Harry's question before she saw them. She froze behind a tree, forgetting the stray cat she had chased out here. It turned its head to give her a superior look, then padded silently away on the fallen autumn leaves.
"Whaddya mean?" Ron replied. She heard the soft splashes of them moving in the pond on the other side of her tree.
"Oh, I dunno." She could picture Harry shrugging.
"I think dear Harry has noticed that our baby sister gets awfully red at dinners," put in Fred.
"And that whenever he's around, she can't seem to string three words together," added George.
Ginny's cheeks flushed.
"Oh, that," Ron said. "She fancies you, mate!" She heard a big splash, probably a teasing one.
"Why would she fancy me?" Harry said awkwardly.
"Ooooh, is that a blush I see?" George goaded. "Maybe ickle Harry likes having an admirer?"
"Maybe he's got a crush on our dear sister, too!" Fred added.
Immediately, the twins launched into song. "Harry and Ginny kissing in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G! First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a Puffskein in a Puffskein carriage!"
Ginny felt an embarrassed sort of enjoyment welling up inside her. Just hearing her brothers put her name and Harry's in the same sentence in that way made her blush happily. Then Harry spoke.
"I do not have a crush on her!" he said loudly, giving the twins a big splash. Ginny's stomach dropped.
"You expect us to believe you don't like that Ginny's head over heels in luurve with you?" George teased.
"I don't like it!" Harry insisted earnestly. "I wish she didn't!"
"Are you saying our Ginny isn't good enough for you?" Fred said suddenly.
"I think he is, Fred!" George replied accusingly. "He's saying little Ginny Weasley isn't up to the standards of the great Harry Potter!"
"No!" Harry said frantically, voice rising in panic. "I didn't say that!"
"Oh, come on, Forge!" Ron said, coming to his best friend's defense. "You can't blame him, really. Ginny's right annoying!"
"That's not what I meant!" Harry said quickly, but Ginny didn't wait to hear any more.
Her cheeks were burning, and she was feeling the full force of the teasing and of Harry's rejection in the pit of her stomach. She wanted to stalk right out to the edge of the pond and hex them (her brand new wand was burning a hole in her back pocket), but ever since the enchanted Ford Anglia debacle, her mum had been taking a hard line on discipline. Underage magic of the violent kind she was considering would probably get her a list of chores as long as her leg. She had to get out of there before she did something rash.
She turned on her heel and started running as fast as she could back to the Burrow. As her feet pounded against the ground, the anger expanded in her stomach until she could feel it all the way up in her throat. Frustrated tears pricked at the corners of her eyes.
"Ginny, are you all right?" her mum said concernedly as she thrust open the kitchen door and flew up the stairs.
"I'm fine!" she yelled, throwing herself into her room and slamming the door loudly behind her.
She paced around her room, heart pounding. Her eyes fell on the much-read copy of The Boy Who Lived sitting on the top of her dresser, and with a frustrated growl, she grabbed it and threw it to the ground. It landed on the floor next to her bed, and her eyes slid past it to the corner of the mysterious blank book that just barely protruded from beneath a bed sheet.
With a jolt of impulsiveness, she picked it up and went to her desk. Grabbing a quill, she flipped it open and began to write in bold, angry strokes on the first blank page.
I hate all of them! I hate Harry and Fred and George and Ron! I wish I never had to see any of them again!
She stopped, breathing hard, and stepped back, staring at her angry words slanted across the page. Just writing them down made her feel a little better, and she set down the quill.
And then her words began to sink into the page. Eyes wide, she watched her thoughts disappear into the parchment. And then new letters began to form where hers had been.
Tell me more.
They were written in neat, black script, wholly unlike her frantic, messy scrawl. She picked up the book, turning it over in her hands. Where in the world –
She looked at the page again, only to see more ink appearing of its own accord.
I'm Tom. What's your name?
Ginny swallowed, but still she didn't move to respond. She stared at the parchment as more words materialized.
Don't be afraid. I just want to be your friend.
Ignoring the suspicion in the pit of her stomach, she sank into her desk chair, and with a trembling hand, picked up her quill and wrote.
Who are Harry and Fred and George and Ron?
She hesitated before responding, but she replied: Fred, George, and Ron are my brothers. Harry is Ron's friend. She paused, then: I've liked Harry for ages, and Fred, George and Ron just made fun of me for it. And Harry said he didn't like me back – I embarrass him.
That's terrible. They shouldn't treat you that way.
Ginny felt a twinge of affection for the diary – for Tom. They humiliated me, she wrote.
There was a pause, and then, You could get them back, you know.
She swallowed. What do you mean? Like a prank?
Yes, exactly. Do you know of something they're afraid of?
Well, Ron's afraid of spiders.
So put spiders in his bed. I bet he'll make a fool of himself when he discovers them.
Ginny couldn't help chuckling at the thought. That would be pretty hilarious. But I've never really pulled a prank before. My mum gets pretty angry when we pull practical jokes on one another. Anyway, that's more Fred and George's style.
Another pause. So make it look like they did it. You'll get all three of them back in one stroke.
I have to admit that's a pretty good plan.
Now we just have to find a way to humiliate this Harry character.
Ginny shook her head, then realized that Tom couldn't see her. It wasn't his fault, really. My stupid brothers were teasing him.
But he was part of it, Tom insisted.
No, it wasn't his fault.
All right. It's up to you, after all.
Ginny smiled. Unlike everyone else, Tom took her opinions seriously. Her brow furrowed.
How is it you can write back to me? You're a book, after all.
There was a long pause at that, and Ginny felt a surprising pang of fear in her belly. What if she had offended him somehow and now he wasn't going to write to her anymore? She breathed a sigh of relief when the ink materialized.
I've been trapped in here for a long time, just waiting for someone to come and talk to me. I've been so lonely. I'm so glad we found each other. Aren't you?
Ginny smiled at that. Yeah, I'm happy too. I'm going to Hogwarts soon! I'm excited, but I've been so worried that I won't find any friends. But at least I'll have you. I hardly know anyone my own age, and I'm so nervous that the Sorting Hat won't put me in Gryffindor.
You want to be in Gryffindor?
Yes, everyone from my family's been in Gryffindor. All six of my brothers, both my parents, everyone…
Tell me more.
The next morning, Ginny woke early. She tucked a quill and her diary into the pocket of her coat and made her way quietly out of the Burrow. On the way, she grabbed a glass jar from the kitchen. She headed straight into the forest, scowling in the direction of the pond. The leaves were still dewy around her, making the cobwebs easy to spot. She plucked any spiders she saw gingerly off their webs and dropped them into the jar.
Half an hour later, she'd collected two dozen fat arachnids, and she looked at them gleefully, tapping the glass with her fingertip. She screwed the lid on and headed home.
She kept the jar concealed in her top dresser drawer for the rest of the day, but after dinner, she made her move. Ron and Harry were playing chess in the living room, and George was sitting nearby, yelling taunts at the irate chessmen. The sound of the shower filtered down from upstairs. Fred must be in there: perfect. Percy was nowhere to be seen – probably studying in his room, as always. Her parents were busy cleaning up the dinner things. The coast was clear.
When no one was looking, she slipped up the stairs and straight into Fred and George's room. It was an unmitigated disaster zone. Their belongings were strewn everywhere – the actual carpet was hardly visible through the mess – and there were some suspicious-smelling potions bubbling on the corner of George's nightstand. Crossing the room on tiptoe, Ginny went to Fred's dresser. In a moment, she located his wand and pocketed it.
On the way back down the hall, she passed the bathroom and paused to press her ear against the door. Fred was singing a bawdy song inside and the shower was still running full force.
She retrieved the jar of spiders and climbed the stairs to Ron's bedroom. Inside, she skirted Harry's camp bed to get to Ron's bed. She unscrewed the lid and pointed Fred's wand at the eight-legged buggers. A whispered charm immobilized them, and another spell put a timer on the removal of the immobilization. At precisely eleven o'clock this evening, the arachnids would be able to crawl about again. A brilliant piece of magic, that second bit. Tom had given her the idea.
With a quick shake of the wrist, she emptied the jar out into Ron's bed and pulled the garish orange sheets over them. She carefully replaced the wand in Fred's room before bounding back downstairs.
"Going well, Ron?" she said, smiling brightly at her brother as she crossed the room and ensconced herself in the big armchair with a book.
He looked at her oddly, then shrugged. "Pretty well," he replied, "Harry's rubbish at chess."
"Hey!" his opponent protested. Ginny lifted her book high to cover her face as they continued their game. She was really going to enjoy this.
Several hours later, she lay on her back in her bed, staring up at the ceiling. The clock on her wall quietly chimed eleven, and she strained her ears to hear. Two minutes later, she heard Ron's panicked yell of fear and Harry's accompanying shout. The light went on in the hall, and she heard her parents' frantic voices.
Then her mother's screech of fury. "FRED! GEORGE!"
"Wha—? What's going on?"
"Whatever it was, we didn't do it!"
"WHO ELSE WOULD'VE PUT SPIDERS IN RON'S BED?"
"We don't know who it was, but it wasn't us!"
Her father's calmer, deeper voice cut into the fray. "Well there's an easy way to check. I'll write to the Ministry and get their record of underage magic done in this house tonight. That should solve matters." Ginny smirked to herself as they all traipsed down to the kitchen.
There was silence throughout the house as they waited for the Ministry to respond, and Ginny just stared at the strip of light filtering in under her doorway. She knew what the record would say.
Finally, after fifteen minutes, she heard her mother start screaming again. "YOU NEARLY GAVE RON A HEART ATTACK! YOU KNOW HOW SCARED HE IS OF SPIDERS!"
"Mum, we swear it wasn't us!"
"Don't try that with me, Fred! It says right here: spells performed on the night of August 26th by the wand of Frederick Gideon Weasley…."
The slightly lowered, and therefore muffled, sounds of Molly Weasley's yelling echoed throughout the house for almost an hour.
Ginny pulled her diary from beneath her pillow and flipped it open.
Tom, it worked! she wrote.
Well done, Ginny.
Ginny was generally pretty pleased that her prank had worked. Ron didn't speak to Fred and George for the rest of their time at home, and the twins were given a horrible set of chores to complete.
She did have one moment of guilt. It was the night before they were set to leave for Hogwarts, and her mum asked her right before bed to go remind Ron and Harry to pack their toothbrushes. When she went into their room, Harry was already under his covers, but Ron was hesitating before climbing into his own bed. She watched him gingerly lift his pillow and pull back all of his sheets, a slightly sheepish look on his face, and she knew he was checking for spiders. The sight made her chest constrict uncomfortably.
She stammered out her mum's reminder before scrambling from the room as fast as she could.
Before long, she found herself on Platform 9 3/4, excitement bubbling in her chest as she stared at the Hogwarts Express. She gripped her diary in her pocket. She'd almost forgotten it, and they'd had to turn the car around. Ginny felt her mum pat her shoulder reassuringly.
"Now don't forget to write to me and your father," Mrs. Weasley said, starting in on her list of reminders as Mr. Weasley stowed her trunk. "And make sure to listen to your professors and don't believe anything Fred and George tell you."
"I know, mum," Ginny said. "Don't worry about me."
"We're not worried, Gin-bug," Mr. Weasley said, putting an arm around his wife. "Are we, Molly? Ginny's smart and independent. She'll be fine."
Her mum was starting to tear up, so Ginny nodded emphatically and smiled brightly. "I'll be fine, mum. Definitely."
"My youngest, off to school," Mrs. Weasley said wistfully. The train horn sounded.
"All right, Molly," Mr. Weasley said, rubbing his wife's arm. "Ginny needs to find a compartment. Bye, dear." He gave her a quick hug. Mrs. Weasley pulled her into a tight embrace, brushing a tear from the corner of her eye.
Ginny waved to her parents as the Express pulled out of the station. When they were out of view, she started down the train, peering into each compartment along the way. She spotted Fred and George chatting animatedly with some girls from their year and passed the compartment by. She saw some of Ron's school friends – Hermione, Neville Longbottom, and two others that she guessed were Seamus and Dean – and wondered vaguely where Ron and Harry had gotten to. Maybe buying something from the sweets cart?
"Out of the way, Weasley." She looked up at the snide voice. Draco Malfoy was staring down at her, arms crossed and an infuriating smirk on his lips. She scowled at him, remembering their run-in at Flourish and Blotts. A tall black boy and a dark-haired girl with a short nose stood behind him, looking at her superiorly.
She drew herself up to her full height and met the steely gray eyes. "An excuse me would have sufficed," she replied. A flicker of surprise crossed his face. He must have expected her to be meek without her father and brothers beside her. They stared at each other for several long seconds, both refusing to look away. Dislike ran between them like a charge.
"Hmph," he scoffed finally. "You should really learn to respect your elders."
"Sod off, Malfoy," she said fiercely, pushing past him.
She brushed the encounter from her mind as she came to the last compartment.
"Luna!" she said as she pulled the door open, unable to keep the relief out of her voice. The blonde girl looked up from the magazine on her lap and a wide smile broke slowly across her face.
"Ginny!" she said. "It's nice to see you in real life."
"What do you mean?" Ginny asked curiously as she settled into the seat across from Luna.
"Well, as neighbors, we only really see each other around the neighborhood. Now that we're going to Hogwarts…it seems more like real life, somehow. Don't you think?"
"You mean, like we're grown up?"
Luna cocked her head to one side and smiled brightly. "Something like that. If you don't mind, I'll finish reading this article. It's very important that I know how to avoid orange beezles at school, you know."
Ginny grinned. Luna had always been a bit odd, but Ginny found it endearing. "Let me know what the article says."
Luna retreated behind her paper, and Ginny brought her legs up to sit cross-legged in the seat. She fished Tom out of her pocket and began to write.
Ginny exhaled and strode up to the front of the hall. She settled herself on the stool and saw Luna gives her a thumbs up from the crowd of First Years waiting below. She scanned the Great Hall. Fred, George, and Percy were watching her from the Gryffindor table, but she still didn't see Ron…or Harry. Hermione was giving her a wide, encouraging grin, and she tried to smile back as McGonagall set the Sorting Hat on her head.
"Ah, another Weasley," the hat said knowingly. "I know just where to put you. You Weasleys have been making things easy for me for years."
Ginny breathed a sigh of relief. Gryffindor.
"Happy about that, are you? But wait," the hat continued. "There's something else here…something very non-Weasley."
"What?" Ginny murmured, unable to keep the panic from her voice.
"I do like a surprise," it chuckled, as if it hadn't heard.
Not Slytherin, not Slytherin, not Slytherin, Ginny thought desperately, shutting her eyes to focus on that one thought.
"But there's something distinctly cunning about you, my dear."
No there isn't! I don't belong in Slytherin! But even as she thought it, she pictured herself pouring the spiders across Ron's bed.
"Oh, but you do," the hat insisted, "That was quite a sly little prank you pulled with the spiders. And there's something deeper…whatever motivated you to scare your brother half to death and set someone else up to take the fall. Brilliant piece of work, that. Very scheming. You could be great in Slytherin."
Ginny was at a loss for words. And then, before she could protest, the hat bellowed out, "SLYTHERIN!"
There was no applause; the Great Hall was silent. Ginny knew it was with shock. Weasleys were always in Gryffindor, and even if they weren't, they were never in Slytherin.
Heart pounding, she opened her eyes. Her brothers' mouths were hanging open in shock – Percy was red in the face and looked as if he might holler at the hat to try again. Hermione was looking at her pityingly.
Professor McGonagall seemed to recover herself. "Well, Miss Weasley, you'd better go take your seat," she said gently, patting Ginny's shoulder.
Ginny tore her eyes away from the disappointed faces. Numbly, she stood and started down the hall. She glanced up, looking for an empty seat at her new house table, but no one scooted over to make room.
She scanned the faces – most of them were unfamiliar…her family didn't know many Slytherins – and her eyes locked with Draco Malfoy's. He met her gaze, his brow furrowed with obvious confusion. And then to her complete surprise, he shifted ever-so-slightly to his left to make room for her between him and the pug-nosed girl.
Her eyes flicked down the table one more time, looking in vain for another seat, then she grit her teeth and slid onto the bench beside him. At the front of the hall, the next student had been placed in Hufflepuff, and the clapping drowned out the heavy silence that had followed her own sorting.
"What the hell happened, Weasley?" Malfoy said wonderingly. For once, his voice wasn't dripping with derision.
She stared at the wall behind the tall black boy across the table, still unable to believe what had just happened. Slytherin. She felt her stomach clench in panic. She was a Slytherin.
She swallowed thickly and didn't look at him as she answered. "I have no idea."
They didn't speak for the rest of the meal.
Author's Note: So there's the beginning of my newest story! As you can probably tell, it's completely AU. It's also DG-centric, and will follow their relationship throughout their time at Hogwarts. Some years will go very quickly (with many time jumps) and others more slowly - I think you'll get the idea as we go along. It will also get darker and will earn its M rating down the line, so fair warning on that front. Let me know what you think!