A/N: I am very nervous about this. I haven't written in this fandom in a terribly long time, but I really love this pairing. My first fic ship ever. I originally wrote this to keep a friend occupied during a conference, but I figured, hey, why not post it? There will be two other parts to this, but I can't guarantee when they'll be up, only that I'm hoping to have it wrapped up by the end of August.
Enjoy, and please review!
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. Not even a little bit.
Funny how one little hallucination can change everything.
A man can't be blamed for what he sees while suffering the effects of an extended Cruciatus curse. It's only reasonable, while in the grips of your best and worst fantasies coming to life, for the mind to make a connection that it may – no, would – never make under normal conditions.
I was laying in a bed, at the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix, body still wracked with the tremors brought on by the Dark Lord's punishment. Molly Weasley had long ago retired to bed after spending hours nursing my belligerent self. I'd insisted that I didn't need her, insisted that I could simply return home to Spinner's End and lick my wounds in peace. Lo and behold, I could barely move for the shaking, and was stuck in bed.
So there I lay, sweating, breathing hard, my eyes only just rolling back so I could focus my vision, when I heard a creak. I turned my head to the door in the same instant as I made to roll off the bed and reach for my wand. I realized my mistake as pain shot up my spine and rendered me motionless once more. I bit down on the inside of my cheek to keep myself from screaming as my eyes locked on the doorway. A small sliver of light appeared, growing gradually wider until it was blocked by a slight shadow. The shadow moved closer, my mind screamed to retreat, but I could do nothing more than stare at the intruder.
The only explanation I have is that my temporarily fragile psyche returned to the last time I felt truly safe, and who had made me feel that way. So when the newcomer stepped closer, and moonlight shone off her auburn hair, my mind filled the blanks, recreating green eyes and a warm smile, superimposing the familiar traits over the frightened and timid face of fourteen year old Ginny Weasley.
The hallucination lasted only moment, but it was a moment too long. When my fit was over, and my body relaxed back into the mattress, I could focus on the girl more closely. She was pale, chewing on her bottom lip, brown eyes wide and filled with tears.
Tears? Not for me. No; the girl hated me. Tears for herself, and what I represented for her. I was a fixture in her life, a constant. My presence was to be restrained only to the confines of Hogwarts, perhaps extending to Hogsmeade, although even that would make the average student uncomfortable. For me to be humanized before her, bound to a bed and wracked with pain like any other human being, meant that anyone could be debased. She wasn't safe; her family wasn't safe; her friends weren't safe.
I remained still, my gaze locked to hers as she continued to approach. She looked, to my deluded mind, like an angel: Hair glowing and body draped in a white robe. Her slippers scraped against the wood flooring with every step she took until she stopped at the edge of the mattress, her thigh nudging my still-twitching left hand. Her eyes left mine for a split second, flicking to my hand before returning.
And I had been so enthralled in the picture before me, images of Lily and Ginny fading and deepening until I couldn't keep them straight anymore; I had been so swept up in the true magic of the moment that I jumped when cold fingers interlaced themselves with mine. Her thumb slowly stroked the back of my hand, and in spite of myself, my grip tightened, clinging to her as an anchor to reality.
We remained that way for what seemed to be hours until my eyes could stay open no more.
When I woke again, she was gone. I stood, testing my limbs, gingerly placing one foot ahead of the other. I judged from the weak rays of sunlight and the deafening silence that it was still exceedingly early, and in spite of the trauma visited on my body mere hours before, my internal clock was still running as always.
I swiftly made my way downstairs, eager to depart without encountering anyone, dead or alive. Unfortunately, as I stepped onto the main floor, Ginny was gliding up the hall, most likely to return to her own bedroom.
Our eyes met, and a foreign feeling of warmth enveloped my heart. Neither of us said anything, and soon enough, I had left, cloak billowing behind me.
And I could have sworn I'd heard a tinkling giggle on my way out.
It became apparent to the teaching staff very soon after term started that things had changed at Hogwarts. It began with Umbridge's drawn out warning during the Welcoming Feast, and was reinforced as we learned of more and more detentions being served in her office.
While I was never one to coddle students, (there is a difference, I might point out, between coddling and preferring,) I found myself in the uncharacteristic situation of having rescued a student from another professor's punishment. Dolores had caught wind of Ginny defending Potter to another student, her fierce temper and quick wit rising to promote her case while undercutting that of the Ministry. Needless to say, the in-house Ministry representative was none too pleased.
It was purely by chance that I'd happened upon them: Dolores berating the girl, and Ginny torn between wanting to let loose her impotent teenage rage, and being terrified of the punishment that such a loss of control would entail.
Without taking a moment to reflect on my choice of action, I ordered the student to my office, to serve a detention I had supposedly assigned her earlier in the day. We were gone before Dolores could register what had happened, and I must admit that it brought me great pleasure to imagine her spending her evening stewing about her lost opportunity.
We arrived in my office, where Ginny automatically sat in a chair, while I perused a bookcase behind my desk, at a loss as to what to do with the girl, and why I'd even brought her here to begin with. A foreign, protective instinct was blooming in my chest, though I couldn't yet recognize it, nor could I trace its roots.
"Professor?" she prodded.
"What?" I snapped, a habitual response to any student queries.
"I didn't – What did I – What am I meant to do? Lines? Cleaning?"
"Yes," I answered, grabbing a stack of parchment from my desk. "Follow me into the classroom; there are cauldrons to be scrubbed."
And somehow, with visible difficulty, Ginny swallowed down her disdain for such a chore. Without complaint, she rolled up her sleeves and set to work, while I sat at my desk and began futile corrections.
Or, at least, that's what I'd meant to do. In reality, I'd spent the time wondering at why I'd felt this inexplicable closeness to the girl, and why she'd taken her unearned punishment so lightly. I came to the conclusion, regarding the latter issue, that Ginny Weasley was much brighter than I'd ever given her credit for.
She knew why she was here, and she knew not to press me for my own reasoning. I had expected a tantrum, a flare-up of the rage that the youngest Weasley was known for. I hadn't expected her to cooperate, or collect her things quietly, taking her leave with a small smile on her face, a smile that was meant for me.
When I was alone, I ran my hand through my air, releasing a breath I hadn't known I was holding. My entire body relaxed as I tried to identify the root of my discomfort, or, at the very least, where I'd felt it before.
And then I realized... When I'd been with Lily.
I'd spent the rest of the evening rationalizing my relationship with the girl. It had to have been the hallucination – my exhausted brain connecting Ginny and Lily had left a link in my consciousness that I was finding impossible to ignore.
That was the evening of the first dream.
It was the summer between my fourth and fifth years, and Lily and I had sent all of our days together. And during those hazy days, my dream had come true. We'd been sitting under a gnarled old tree, quizzing each other on our summer reading, when suddenly, she'd rolled up onto her knees and kissed me. Her lips were soft and warm against mine, her kiss tentative, but it changed my world.
After that, our daily meetings became less about studying, and more about exploring each other, as young lovers are wont to do. We would sneak into Lily's home when her parents and sister were gone, or laze about in a nearby park. Never at my house, but it was better that way.
The dream began as a memory. Near the end of the summer, the Evans' had gone on vacation to the coast, while Lily had elected to stay behind. One of the neighbours had broken their leg, and she would help them during the day for some pocket money during the school year.
After the sun went down, and my own parents had retired to bed, I'd snuck out to visit Lily. I'd climbed through her window, more out of habit than any other reason, to find her sitting cross-legged on her bed, playing nervously with the lace at the edge of her white silk night gown. I stood frozen next to her window, eyes taking in how beautiful she was: Hair draped over one shoulder, tucked behind her ears; silver necklace glittering in the moonlight; green eyes smiling.
"Severus," she beckoned, opening her arms in invitation.
I toed my shoes off and approached her, leaning in to capture her lips in a soft kiss. Her arms snaked over my shoulders, pulling me in so I was on top of her, our kiss intensifying. My leg was beneath both of hers, her body warm beneath my own. One of my hands was gripping her hip, while the other was propping me up, fingers splayed between her back and the mattress.
She pulled away, her eyes meeting mine, biting on her bottom lip and smiling. She slipped her hands down my back slowly before gripping the hem of my overlarge sweater and tugging it over my head. Without waiting, I ducked my head, kissing her hard and slipping my tongue against hers.
She moaned, murmuring, "Severus," against my mouth, her voice a little higher than I remembered. My eyes drifted open to meet hers; brown iris' looking back into my dark ones.
Before I could reflect on the change, her hands were on my belt, fingers deftly unfastening my pants and pushing them down my legs. Her thighs came up to clench around my hips, her hands pressing against my chest. With a shove, she'd rolled us over, so when I opened my eyes again, Ginny was straddling my stomach, smiling mischievously.
She leaned down, pressing kisses to my throat as my palms slid up her thighs, my entire body electrified as I touched her. I moved my hands up, fingertips tickling her ribs, smiling when she giggled against my skin, continuing along my path to cup her soft breasts.
"Mmm... Undress me, Severus," she ordered.
I obeyed, reverently loosening the ribbon from the collar of her thin gown, licking my lips as the fabric dipped lower and lower until I could see her nipples. She raised her arms and I slipped the nightdress over her head, tossing it to the side, eyes trained on her naked form hovering over me. I cupped her face with both my hands, spreading my fingers and trailing my palms down, over her chest, squeezing her breasts, continuing down to feel her trembling stomach, reaching around to explore her back.
Her head was thrown back as she luxuriated in my ministrations. Swiftly, I sat up, pressing her closer to me, clamping my lips over one pert nipple. She gasped, knitting the fingers of one hand into my hair to hold me in place. With her other hand, she teased the skin of my torso until she reached between her legs to grip my hardening erection. I bucked at the soft touch, groaned as she began pumping me. With one hand kneading her other breast, I slipped my fingers to the juncture of her thighs, shocked at how wet she was for me already, slipping one digit into her tight channel.
"Ah! Severus!" she cried out, much to my satisfaction. "More!" she begged.
"As you wish..." I thrust another finger inside, moving them faster as I left wet kisses over her chest.
Her hips were bucking in time with my hand, but suddenly, she slowed to a stop, whimpering as she did so.
"I want you," she insisted, pushing me to lay back.
With singular accord, my hands moved to her hips to lift her, and she guided my hardness into her warm entrance. As one, our backs arched, cries of pleasure erupting from our throats.
"Ginny," I moaned when she rolled her hips, her nails digging into my chest.
"Severus! Oh Severus!" she replied in a wanton whisper.
I thrust upwards as she sliced down, driving me deeper and deeper into her warmth. The moonlight made her skin glow, like an angel, though the sounds she was making were far from pure. My hands tightened on her hips, encouraging her to move faster. We sped up, grinding together, sweating together, screaming together. She fell forward, her tiny body stretched along mine. Our lips met again, frantically, tongues thrusting in time with our hips.
We rolled, my hands pinning her arms down by her wrists. She let out a sustained whine, head thrashing as I drove harder and deeper. I nuzzled into her shoulder, nibbling on her skin, sucking harder as I felt my body tighten.
"Ginny... I'm close..." I rasped.
With surprising strength, she freed herself from my grip, moving my hand between her legs to circle her clit. I teased the bundle of nerves, flicking my thumb over it softly, swallowing her screams as I kissed her once more.
We writhed against together as I struggled to hold off my impending release. Thankfully, I didn't have to wait long as Ginny's walls began to flutter against my hardness.
"Oh... Severus... Just a little more- AH!"
Her body stiffened for a moment before she flooded me with her juices. I followed her over the edge of ecstasy, collapsing over her small form, still cradled between her legs, wrapped in her arms.
When I woke, I was sticky with sweat and my own semen. I scowled at my own loss of control. I was no longer an undisciplined teenager; I was a grown man. In fact, I was a teacher who had found pleasure in dreaming about my student. It was wrong; it was unnatural.
It was too late; the seed had been planted, the connection made, and I would never look at Ginny Weasley the same way again.
Something to be noted about Ginny is that she isn't frequently noticed. Yes, she is the only daughter among seven children; yes, she is the youngest. The girl, however, is rarely seen as an individual, rather a blend of her brothers. When she says something bright, she is compared to Bill; when she does something athletic, she is Charlie; when she is pompous and pretentious about something, she is taunted as being a 'Percy'; when she is mischievous (which, granted, is frequent), she has learned too well from Fred and George. And when she sits with Potter, or defends him to others, she becomes Ron.
My first mistake with my treatment of her was in singling her out. When I first rescued her from Umbridge, offering her a kindness that I would never have dreamt of offering her brothers, she held onto it, her irresistible curiosity holding her firmly in its grasp so that she had no choice but to push me further.
She became more attentive in my lessons, no doubt hoping to receive more attention. When that did not work (to her knowledge), she hovered. She was consistently in my laboratory early, and hung about after the lesson had ended. I found her exploring the dungeon hallways in the evenings, long before curfew so she would not be punished for it. Or, if I did punish her, she would know that it was another sign of my uncharacteristic feeling for her.
And when that also did not serve its purpose, her behaviour shifted, and she exploded her potion in class. Using non-explosive ingredients. When questioned about her motives, she admitted that she 'just wanted to see what would happen.' She was handed three detentions, to be served in my laboratory. Her response had been a tiny quirk of her lips. But before I could so much as blink, the nearly imperceptible smirk was gone.
That evening, when she arrived for her detention, she was humming. Humming! She dropped her bag on the floor and took a seat, crossing her legs and propping her chin up on the heel of her hand, watching me with that smirk yet again.
"Are you going to sit and stare all evening, Weasley, or are you going to use your time to do something productive?" I drawled without looking up for my corrections.
"What would you have me do, Professor?" she answered in a friendly sort of tone.
"One would presume that you have homework to do? I seem to remember assigning some myself. I might recommend that you get started on that."
I could see her cock her head to the side, but otherwise remain motionless. Which is when I made another mistake. I looked up at her. Her smirk had faded into a genuine smile, which simultaneously warmed my heart and froze my insides. What did she think she was doing, smiling at me?
"What?" I snapped.
She shrugged. "Just my homework, sir. You don't want me to clean or sort or anything?"
"Do what you like, provided you keep quiet. I don't need you distracting me from my work because you are inept at your own."
She laughed quietly at that, the tinkling giggle that had come to haunt my dreams.
"Are you correcting, sir?" she asked, still smiling at me. I nodded stiffly. "May I help?"
Exasperated, I roughly grabbed a handful from the pile before me. Spinning on my heel, I yanked a book from the shelf. I then slammed the whole down in front of the girl, flipping the book open to the proper page.
"It's first year memorization. I trust it shouldn't be too difficult for a fourth year, like yourself."
Thankfully, she said nothing, simply set to work. The rest of the detention passed in silence, Ginny working past the allotted time, until I was forced to write her a note to excuse her from staying out past curfew.
The following detention, she found a stack of corrections and the answer key waiting for her. I was already seated at my desk, fully entrenched in the corrections, and she wisely left me to it. She left late again, but I had a note ready for her this time. We hadn't said a single word the entire evening.
The third detention is what broke the routine I was attempting to force us into. I had still been suffering from the odd Ginny-related dream, and I had decided that firmly establishing boundaries to myself would solve the problem. Unfortunately, Ginny was not privy to my thoughts.
"I was scared," she whispered after an hour of silence. She had spoken so low, I hadn't even been convinced that I'd heard her correctly.
"Silence, Weasley," I'd snapped, desperate to keep her quiet.
"You're terrifying," she murmured, continuing in spite of my order. Her eyes were still on her stack of parchment, as if she could pretend that she wasn't admitting to anything. "Everyone in this castle, students and teachers alike, are so afraid of you, and you came to us - that night in the summer – you came to us broken, and I -" She took a shuddering breath, and I couldn't help myself from staring at her. "I thought I understood the threat; I thought that I was ready but -"
"You can never be ready."
She looked at me, and for the first time, I noticed the dark bags under her eyes. Upon closer examination, I realized her cheeks seemed a little more sunken, her lips a little more cracked. Her shoulders were slumped in defeat.
I couldn't help myself. I rose from my seat, stepping around my desk until I stood directly in front of her. Then, at a lost as to what to do next, I placed my palms on the desk and leaned forward. In any other situation, this would have been to intimidate the student. But all I wanted to do in that moment was give in to my protective instinct, and this was as far as I would allow myself to go.
"Nothing anyone can say or do can prepare you for what lies ahead. You will be pushed to your limits, over and over, and if you do survive, you will be broken and beaten down."
Through it all she held my gaze, and I watched her resolve harden.
"How do you do it?" she asked me, genuine concern etched on her face.
I thought for a long moment about what she was asking. No doubt she had meant to say 'why' instead of 'how', but it was little matter. I would answer the question she had posed.
"Because I have to," I stated plainly, and after a moment, I rose and sat down behind my desk again.
Neither of us spoke for the remainder of the detention.
After her final Potions lesson before the Christmas holidays, Ginny left behind an envelope. Inside was a Christmas card.
Inside was a simple inscription, by her pen.
It was that evening that the Weasley clan and Potter were whisked away following Arthur's unfortunate accident. I saw her once a few days before the start of term, while I was at 12 Grimmauld Place. Our eyes locked for a brief moment; she smiled quickly and then disappeared.
Almost a week into the new term, I was taking inventory of my supplies when there was a soft knock at my laboratory door. I turned, only to realize that Ginny had let herself in. I said nothing as she turned and locked the door with a wave of her wand. And then, before I could draw a breath to ask her what she was doing, she had run across the room and barrelled into my chest.
To my complete and utter horror, I realized that the girl was crying, her face pressed into my robes, arms wrapped tightly around my midsection. At a loss as to where to put my hands, I settled on keeping them straight out at my sides.
"Do you not have a multitude of brothers for this?" I hissed out between my teeth, trying to suppress the stirring in the pit of my stomach at her nearness.
"He could have died!" she whimpered, her voice muffled by the black fabric.
I rolled my eyes by reflex, uncharacteristically glad that she couldn't see me.
"He knew the risks," I stated plainly.
She froze and pulled back, her arms still holding me in place. Her eyes were red and puffy, tear tracks staining her cheeks. For one, terrifying second, I thought she would hit me.
"He's my father," she all but growled.
"And he's a member of the Order. We are working to make the future a little better for children like yourself, and with that come certain dangers."
Now she stepped back, fists clenched at her sides.
"He has a family."
A heavy silence fell, interrupted only by the sound of Ginny's jaw snapping shut. Her face dropped and her hands came up to cover her mouth, as though she were going to be sick. She seemed almost as shocked by our argument as I was. Somehow, we'd both forgotten that we were not equals; that she was the student, and I, the teacher.
"Leave," I ordered.
"Professor, I – I'm so sorry; I didn't -"
She took a step toward me, but I shuffled back, stopped only by the wall behind me.
"It isn't a punishment, Gi-Weasley. Go back to your common room."
I watched her warily, as one would watch a shark when there was blood in the water.
"You almost called me 'Ginny'," she smirked.
"It's all right, you know," she whispered, brown eyes dancing with mirth. "You can call me Ginny."
I scoffed out loud, curling my lip in derision. "It most certainly is not 'all right,' Miss Weasley. Or have you forgotten that I am a professor at this school. Now for the last time -"
"I'm leaving," she conceded, throwing both arms into the air and backing away. "But don't think I won't be back."
If looks could kill, the infuriating, beast of a child would have gone up in flames. But as it was, all she did was wink at me before unlocking the door and dancing out of it.
I was plagued with dreams that night.
As the school year wore on, and Umbridge's grip on the school became a choke-hold, Ginny spent more and more time in my laboratory and office. True to her word, she had been back the following evening. I'd thrown her out before she'd set more than a foot inside. And thus, she grew more resourceful by forcing my hand.
She began such a streak of distracting and mischievous behaviour, I was reduced to assigning her detention every week. I knew what she was doing, but if I hadn't doled out punishment, the class would have seen through it. I didn't want to turn her over to another professor for fear of Umbridge finding out and punishing Ginny further.
Which were all excuses made to disguise the fact that I was secretly becoming desperate to see her. I was dreaming about her every night, was haunted during the day by her smirking presence in my classroom. She was driving me insane, and she hadn't even done anything.
The more time she spent in the dungeons, the more she tried to convince me to be friends with her. What started out as a simple 'no' had evolved to a lecture on boundaries, and ended with a screaming match between the two of us, (thank Merlin for soundproof EVERYTHING) as I tried to describe to her the terrible things that happened to my friends.
In the end, she won. But only because she began to cry again.
I was only humouring the child, I tried to convince myself. Best case scenario, what with her family being so directly involved with Potter's protection, she would be dead before she left Hogwarts; what damage could my supposed friendship really do to her?