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Keeping Safe
By bring me the sun
Rating: M
Warnings: Violence and mild sexual scenes later on
Chapter one: In the Beginning, it was the End.

The night is dark above their heads, an ominous grey colour that seems to be reflective of the general mood of the Weasley family lately. They stand, united as a broken family. There's less than half left of them now.

Ginny feels weaker than ever, standing here, staring at nothing and not being able to do anything as the names she has always dreaded to hear this way are read out. The voice, cruel and cold and filled with delight, rings out clearly around the courtyard. She can hear sobs, but her family is stoic, though it's killing them, though they are dead along with those whom they have lost.

"And so," Voldemort starts once he has read out the names, "those who do not apply to the new regime will be prosecuted immediately." His voice is almost clinical, detatched of feeling now – almost like saying this has become a chore. Ginny feels a sincere hatred for the monster twist her guts tightly, never letting go.

He's killed the people she loves. Maybe not personally, maybe completely unknowingly, but he was personally wounded her by killing off those she loves. Her heartbeat is ferocious, because her throat is filled with a lump and her eyes feel like they have been dowsed with acid.

Now she wants to cry. Her gut twists and her head hurts with the pain of so many different things. She's so unbelievably tired, physically drained, ready to drop to the ground, to feel it hard and so real underneath her. But, most importantly, for the first time in her life, she's left with a cruel sense of lose.

She remembers being so filled with hope, so absolutely sure that Harry would defeat Voldemort that maybe only a kernel of fear snuck its way into her head. Now fear has a got steel hold on her every thought.

When she thinks about Harry, whilst gripping Molly Weasley's hand tightly in hers, numbness seems to reside in her chest, and if it goes, even if it slowly fades, she'll be hit by a wave of new pain. And not just for Harry Potter, but also for her brothers – Fred, Ron, George, and everyone else.

Suddenly, she's flanked by Death Eaters, two surly men taking a hold of her arms, digging their dirty fingers into her bare flesh. The one on her right – a small, yet very heavy-set man – has unclipped nails, and they're scratching painfully against Ginny's skin. The sensation is almost like being held by a fire.

The other man – whom Ginny cannot see due to the darkness – is breathing heavily, almost as if he's being forced to do this. She hopes he goes home to bed later, and he repents and she hopes guilt curdles its way into his head, grasping and poisoning his every thought with bleached memories of those he's killed tonight.

No, Ginny has no sympathy for this man.

She barely registers the fact her family has fled, because a sense of undying terror has risen in her chest. She cries out, but it's smothered by a silencing spell muttered by the man on her left.

They pull her roughly toward the entrance hall of Hogwarts, and she's too tired to put up a huge resistance – isn't that what she's been doing for the five years of her life? – and so they almost carry her like a rag-doll, yanking her this way and that, sometimes almost dislocating her shoulder because they have little communication and no sense of direction.

She sees snatches of scenes, and she wants – so, so desperately – to run to her friends and help them and just feel a sense of solidarity. But the atmosphere is drenched in despair, even though just under three hours ago they all swore to fight and fight until they are dead. Well, they're not dead and they've stopped fighting. They dropped their word and their defences, because they were stunned, by something that seemed impossible. It could be understandable to an outsider; to Ginny it makes her stomach feel acidic and shame settle on her chest.

If she could, Ginny would sob to match the tears slipping ceaselessly down her dirtied cheeks.

She spots Luna, being held by three Death Eaters, all cloaked and looking a bit harried and restless. They're murmuring something into her ear, and Ginny sees her relax into their hold.

This makes Ginny thrash harshly against the two men holding her, and they just sigh loudly, almost tiredly, and tighten their grips on her arms. She tries to moan, but of course no sound comes out.

Her stomach suddenly weighs about ten stone more with the weight of her worry and fear.

The entrance hall to Hogwarts is bruised, full with 'traitors', being led into a line, and then cast off and lumped onto a pile of bodies. Ginny's heart constricts, because her family could be in that pile, just nothing more than a dead weight on someone else's dead weight.

She tries to close off her mind's eye; to think about not having her arms torn off, not being the first in that line, quivering with fear, a coward, because she stopped fighting.

Maybe being dead is better than being alone in this new world, though.

To her surprise, she's led into the shattered Great Hall. It has no enchanted ceiling; instead the real sky is projected into her view, showing no stars. She remembers something that her father said to her once: 'It's always darkest before the dawn.' But dawn looks a long way off, light seems evitable, impossible against the sheer gloom of the events here.

Wood is splintered everywhere, bodies strewn almost carelessly, forgotten in the adrenalin rush of seeing the Chosen One being killed. Glass glints in the light cast by precariously hung lamps. Ginny can't see much, but she can feel her captor's grip loosening, hear a few words murmured into the darkness, an odd sensation tickling her neck, like light fingertips barely brushing along the straggly bits of hair that can't stay up. And then, so suddenly it could give her whip lash, she's falling spinning, screaming, gravity pushing in on her chest, like a visible hand.

She sees two vaguely familiar faces, and a flash of a triumphant, girlish smile, before the darkness overtakes her entire vision.

Draco Malfoy is scared. The stone room is unforgivingly cold, forcing the pure-blood to wrap his arms tightly, almost protectively around himself. His insides are squirming, restless in trepidation.

One question, one thought, screams out repeatedly at him. 'What are they going to do to me?' That's why he's scared; that's why his heart is beating a tuneless, frantic melody under his sternum. The hairs on the back of neck are standing at edge, as if he's just come around from being Stupefied. He can taste blood from where he's been biting at the inside of cheeks – it's tastes like rust. He spits it out, harshly wrenching his up to look the low ceiling, and the windowless walls.

He can hear the whimpers of the Greengrass girl on the other side of the holding room. She's crying, ugly tracks of black trailing down too-pale cheeks, making her look ghostly. She's curled up in a ball, her back shaking with the force of her sobs. Maybe Draco should feel some kind of sympathy for her; she was trying to do what is right, after all.

But was it right?

Draco doesn't even know what's right anymore. Is right killing off half of the British Wizarding community, just because of a background they can't help? Is right aiding these people into safety?

Is right being a coward and running, as fast as your legs can carry you forwards, away from the war?

He sighs, getting up on trembling, unsteady legs. Morals and ideals pump through his mind; they are tattooed there, forever imprinted there because of the almost eighteen years spent being told that these morals and ideals are what is 'right'. It's kind of like being drowned in cold water, being forced to see that what he has spent his life being taught it wrong.

Of course, maybe he knew it was wrong, but now he can see with bright clarity.

He says, "Are you okay?"

The girl looks up at him, his wide blue eyes afraid. "Don't…" she trails off, cowering away. Draco notices, in the dim lighting, the bruises around her eyes, the yellowing tinge that shows physical violence. There's a raging red mark on her arm, as if she had been burned. His stomach swirls with nausea.

He feels a rush of unfamiliar compassion. This girl was doing what she thought was right, helping blood-traitors and Muggle-borns escape – to where, Draco didn't know – and she was caught and punished. They were the same position – locked away because they turned their backs on The Dark Lord's regime – but with different motives. His was out of cowardice, sheer selfishness to get out of there, whilst hers was entirely selfless.

Draco settles down next to the girl – she's a little younger than him, he knows, maybe about fifteen/sixteen – and she flinches. "I'm not going to hurt you," he tells her, not as gentle as he should have.

She still backs away, her eyes darting around almost hysterically. "Don't touch me!" Her voice is stronger now, resonating around the empty room.

Draco gets up hastily, backing away with his hands out in front of him. "I'm sorry." His own voice is weak, like worn thread.

She stops, apparently believing him; he stops backing away, letting his hands drop uselessly to his sides.

Wringing his hands, he repeats, "Are you okay?"

She snarls, a disgusting noise, accompanied by a contorting twist of her nose and mouth, her eyebrows bending to meet each other. "Why do you care? You ran away as soon as Harry Potter really died! I watched you turn around and run!" She's shouting loudly, looking a little insane. In some odd comparison, she looks like Draco's Auntie Bellatrix. The wild dark hair, plastered to her forehead by sweat, her wide eyes – screaming her fear – staring at him openly, the coil of her lips as she regards him. If they fought of the same side, they probably would have been friends.

Draco doesn't say anything. Words don't match up to the guilt he feels, winding its way into his chest and stomach and heart. He looks away, ashamed.

Silence settles over the two, until Draco hears the girl get up and pad her way over to him. She fits a fair distance way, obviously still a bit afraid of him, but close enough that he can hear her soft breaths, smell her sweet sweat and feel her sighs.

"What were you doing? To get put in here, with me," Draco adds quickly, so she doesn't grasp the wrong end of the question.

The girl pauses – she looks little like her older sister, Daphne. Daphne was proud and stubborn, loud and crass; this girl seems ashamed of her lineage, but still stubborn in her own way. Her dark hair is a stark contrast to Daphne's pure white tresses. "Can I trust you?" she questions hoarsely.

"Yes." His answer is whole-hearted and immediate.

"Then I was helping blood traitors and-"

"I know that part," Draco interjects, "but I don't get why?"

"Because, I thought I could save them, and then run away, like a coward, and rejoin my family. They caught me when I was readjusting the Weasley girl's memories. I don't know if the spell went right, because I was interrupted half way through. They asked me what I was doing – I lied. I distracted the Death Eaters long enough so Kingsley could get her away." She looks tired, suddenly.

"Why were you readjusting her memories?" He shouldn't be asking these questions, but curiosity killed the cat – or, Draco.

"So she can be sent to safety. If she doesn't know what happens, what's hopefully happening to her now, then if the Death Eaters do find out the whole truth, then she – and so many others – won't have a clue when they question them."

Draco almost laughs; his lips twitch and he has the think really hard about not laughing. "That's absurd. Voldemort will notice, he's got lists and will be counting the numbers – it'll be found out in no time."

"That's what you think. Do you really think – honest to Merlin – that they haven't thought about every scenario and thought up an answer? Do you think they haven't got people on the inside? This is war: it works both ways. One side has defences and weapons and sacrifices and snoops; and so does the other side – most of the time."

Draco tries to think about something else, but catches the determination in her eyes, bright against the darkness and gives up.

It's a while until she speaks again, and when she does her voice is small and scared. "Do – do you think they'll hurt Daphne? She had nothing to do with it, she doesn't know anything."

"I don't know," Draco says honestly, kind of wishing she'd shut up and leave him alone. The fear has seeped in again, sneaking decidedly under his skin. He squirms.

She sighs, getting up, casting him one last look before walking off and leaving Draco to wonder about this new 'helping' institute.