A Double-edged sword by madalene3666
Summary: How sharply can hate cut? Draco doesn't want to know.
Categories: Long and Completed Characters: None
Compliant with: None
Era: None
Genres: Drama
Warnings: None
Series: None
Chapters: 7 Completed: Yes Word count: 17266 Read: 29512 Published: Oct 27, 2004 Updated: Dec 24, 2004

1. The edge of hate by madalene3666

2. The first cut is the deepest by madalene3666

3. The Pensieve by madalene3666

4. The road not taken by madalene3666

5. Common bond by madalene3666

6. Words unspoken by madalene3666

7. Epilogue by madalene3666

The edge of hate by madalene3666
The standard disclaimer applies, only the plot is mine.

This is a departure from my normal style of writing. I needed to exorcise this plot bunny (actually more of a plot werewolf considering the content). Bear with me please.

There are many types of hate and Draco Malfoy knows them all, because he feels them all.

There is the abstract hate he feels for Muggles, Mudbloods, and Half-bloods. He doesn’t know many of them but he hates them all in a detached way; they are contemptible and beneath his notice other than to hex and curse.

Then there is the almost intellectual hate he feels for Dumbledore, McGonagall and most of the professors at Hogwarts. He cannot understand why they do not allow the Dark Arts to be taught, and why they do not accept the superiority of Purebloods … it is beyond his comprehension and he hates not understanding.

And then there is the intensely personal, visceral hate he feels for Potter, Weasley and Granger. Oh, this hate threatens to consume him at times, it makes him almost lightheaded as he stares at Pothead, Weasel and the Mudblood, a red haze in his eyes as he imagines the terrible things he wants to do to them.

He can deal with most of the hate he feels because it does not really affect him, the inner him, the being that is intrinsically Draco Malfoy. But the hate that he feels for the Golden Trio … that he cannot deal with. At night, he lies in his bed and trembles with the force of that hate, and slowly he comes to realize that he hates that hate most of all.

He starts to analyze, to intellectualize, to pick apart this hate he has for them, trying to understand why it takes up so much of his being.

Does he hate Harry Potter because he rejected his offer of friendship so long ago, because he always, always, beats him to the Snitch, or because he is the one everyone admires rather than Draco?

Does he hate Ron Weasley because he is the one Harry Potter chose as a friend, because he has a family that accepts him the way he is without hesitation, or because he has a sense of purpose that Draco cannot fathom?

Does he hate Hermione Granger because she is a Mudblood, because she is the pet of almost every teacher at Hogwarts, or because she is smarter than Draco will ever be?

He doesn’t know the answer to those questions, and it bothers him, worries him, makes him feel uneasy, and almost sick … how has his life been taken over by his hate for these three people?

Draco believes that he loves his mother and his father, but what he feels for them is no longer the blind love, the trusting love of a child. He understands that his mother is torn between her love for his father and her hatred of the life he has made for them. He knows that she will be pulled under by her conflicting emotions, and will perish if nothing changes.

He understands that his father has been changed, been warped by his own hate for Muggles, Muggle-lovers, and those who do not accept the superiority of the Malfoys. His father’s service to the Dark Lord is not one of loyalty but of blind ambition and revenge, yet all it has earned him is a cell in Azkaban.

Does he want to be like his parents? No … he does not want to be compelled to do things because his hate blinds him to everything else. He wants to be himself, not ruled by his hate; he wants to have a choice in what his life will be. This is his final year at Hogwarts and he knows that soon he will be expected to make certain choices – he wants them to be his own.

And so, in the dead of the night, Draco makes a decision. He will overcome this hate; he will somehow control it and not let it control him. But he does not know how, and he realizes he needs help to do so. The question is who … who can help him overcome this? None of his so-called friends, he knows that instinctively … they are as bound by family and tradition as him.

Who does he know or know of that has overcome this type of hate? And then he has it … Ginny Weasley, the small sister of Ron who managed to overcome the specter of being possessed by Lord Voldemort in her first year. Few know that she was possessed; he only knows because his mother let it slip as she bitterly ranted about his father and his imprisonment in Azkaban.

Perhaps she can help him, this slip of a girl who held the Dark Lord at bay for so long. Perhaps she can help him to take that first important step to no longer be controlled by his hate.

But will she do it? She has no reason to help him, after all. In fact, she has many reasons to curse him into oblivion, and has shown no hesitation in doing so when threatened in the past. He still winces when he thinks of that evening in Umbridge’s office, when his dreams of finally besting Potter disappeared in a flurry of Bat Bogeys and pain.

Whether she wants to or not, he will seek her out tomorrow and somehow make her help him. He falls asleep, his sense of purpose driving out the blood red dreams of hate he normally has, and for once, his face is peaceful as he sleeps.

The next morning he awakes, for once feeling rested and at ease. It comes to him, his decision of last night, and he gets showered and dressed quickly, eager to put his plan into motion. Of course, his plan is still nebulous, not yet fully formed … it will not be easy to convince Ginny Weasley that she should help a Malfoy.

He goes down to the Great Hall, shadowed as usual by Crabbe and Goyle who follow him more from habit than from any sense of friendship. He would ditch them in a moment if he could, but they would find him and follow, needing his guidance to get through their day without mishap. He accepts their presence as he accepts the fact that he is a Malfoy … it simply is, and he cannot change it.

Once in the Great Hall, he spies his target and sits at the Slytherrin table where he can keep her in his sight. She is hard to miss with that fiery head of hair, similar yet different to that of her brothers. She’s sitting with a group of friends, and her laughter can be heard clear across the Hall … his stomach clenches at the sound and he is overwhelmed by a deep envy that she can be so carefree.

He ignores Crabbe and Goyle, shakes off Pansy, and dismisses Zabini with a curt nod – he cannot be distracted this morning. Finally she rises from the Gryffindor table and leaves with a cheery wave to her friends. Perfect, he thinks, she’s leaving alone and if he leaves now as well, he can intercept her on her way to class.

When Crabbe and Goyle move to leave with him, he mutters a terse command to stay and quickly exits the Hall, only a few paces behind her. He keeps to the shadows, not ready to reveal his presence until just the right time. She seems oblivious to his following her, as she walks with determined steps to the stairway to the dungeons. Her next class must be Potions, he thinks, and moves quickly to intercept her in the corridor near an empty classroom.

Ginny Weasley is lost in her thoughts as she walks towards her first class of the day, Potions. Her friends had been horrified when she decided to continue with Potions after fifth year, aghast that she would deliberately choose to spend time with Snape in the dungeons. Ginny knows that they think her balmy but she really doesn’t care … she’s very good at Potions and she needs the NEWT level to pursue her chosen career as a Healer. Snape is as miserable to her as he was to her brothers but she ignores this most of the time … he cannot escape the fact that her marks put her at the top of her year.

She is caught by surprise when a hand reaches out and grabs her arm in a strong grip, pulling her into an alcove off the corridor. Malfoy, she realizes, and goes for her wand instinctively. He pushes her against the wall, one arm going immediately to hold the hand with her wand immobile, one hand against her mouth, rendering her speechless. They stare at one another for a long moment, neither able to move lest the other gain an advantage, and suddenly Draco realizes how deadly hate can be.
The first cut is the deepest by madalene3666
Standard disclaimer applies, only the plot is mine.

Ginny Weasley knows that it is Draco Malfoy that has her pinned against a wall; she knows that. But as she looks up at him, she sees Lucius Malfoy instead, his sneering face as he thrusts Tom Riddle’s diary back at her in Flourish and Blott’s, and the horror of her first year washes over her, drenching her in fear. Draco watches as her face goes slack, her eyes go blank, and he wonders what the hell is going on. Then suddenly her entire body tenses, her wand hand tries futilely to break his grip, and her mouth works against his hand, and he is shocked to realize that if she could speak, she would cast the killing curse at that very moment.

He pulls back from her, just a bit, and it’s enough to bring her back to her senses. Her eyes refocus and the horror of seeing Lucius Malfoy in front of her is replaced by the horror of knowing she would have killed Draco Malfoy had she been able. She sags against him and he pushes her back up against the wall, trying to keep her upright. He’s not sure what just happened but he now knows that Ginny Weasley can’t help him; she’s as much a prisoner of hate as he is – she just hides it better.

“Look, Weasley,” he mutters, knowing that students could be coming by any moment and reluctant to draw any attention to this bizarre drama, “I made a mistake. I’ll let you go but only if you promise not to do anything, okay?”

Ginny can only stare at him, unable to speak and wanting only to escape. She finally nods, feeling as if her head will fall off if she moves it more than a fraction, and he releases her from his grip. She bolts, trying to put as much distance between them as she can, and he watches her slight figure disappear down the corridor. His stomach is clenching with disappointment and another emotion he can’t identify – it’s foreign to him. He would be shocked to know that it is pity. With a sigh, he turns and walks in the opposite direction from the fleeing Ginny Weasley.

After the incident in the corridor, Ginny Weasley skulks about the castle, trying to avoid Draco Malfoy. They’re in different years so it should be easy, but it’s not … it’s ironic how their class schedules result in their passing one another in the halls too often for comfort. She can feel his silver gaze slip over her, and it’s unwelcome – like the touch of a cobweb, delicate but dangerous, not knowing if the next touch is the bite of a fang. She begins to lose weight and gain circles under her eyes, and her brother keeps pressing her to tell him what’s wrong. She can’t tell him; he hates Draco Malfoy and if he knows Malfoy’s the cause of her distress, he’ll confront him. She doesn’t want anyone to know, especially Ron, that she was a hair’s breath away from casting an Unforgivable.

Draco’s as miserable as she is. He was so sure Ginny Weasley could help him, even if he wasn’t sure that she would. The knowledge that she can’t, that she’s even more damaged than him, has shaken him. He doesn’t know why she acted the way she did, and now the need to know why is almost as great as his prior need to have her help him.

He begins to tail her, to follow her, and it only spurs her to more desperate measures to avoid him. It finally comes to a head in a seldom-used classroom near the entrance to the Slytherin dungeons. Ginny has seen him coming down the corridor and she’s hastened her pace, hoping to outrun him. His legs are longer than hers though, and she hears his footsteps drawing nearer and nearer. She ducks into the empty classroom and locks the door, hoping to give him the slip, hoping that he’ll just pass by. She’s pressed against the wall by the door, waiting to hear his footsteps move past. They don’t and instead she hears a spell and the lock open with a click. She’s behind the door so he won’t see her immediately when it opens but he will … eventually. Her thoughts skitter in her mind like spiders on a floor and she can’t think of what to do.

Draco pushes the door open slowly, wand held at the ready, knowing that she’s in this room. He catches a glimpse of her behind the door through the crack and pushes the door open to its full extent, trapping her against the wall with the door. He can’t keep her there for long though as he needs to close the door so that their conversation can be private. He reaches into the space, finds her arm, and then with a strength he didn’t know he had, pulls her out and shuts the door in one swift movement.

He’s seen her in the halls but this is the first time since the incident in the corridor that he’s been able to take a good look at her. Her appearance shocks him – she’s pale and thin and she’s lost the vitality he once envied. She’s trembling and her arms hang loosely at her sides … she hasn’t even gotten her wand out.

They stare at one another and then Draco breaks the silence. “I need to know why you acted the way you did that day in the corridor, Weasley. We both know what you would have done if you could. Why?” he asks, his voice low but determined.

Ginny can only continue staring. He wants her to explain it to him when she can’t even explain it to herself? Finally she says only one word, so faintly that he has to strain to hear it, “Can’t.”

Draco tamps down the feeling of rage that washes over him at her refusal; getting angry won’t get him the answers that he needs. He grasps her shoulders, resisting the urge to shake her, and spits out, “Can’t, or won’t?”

His touching her shakes her out of her apathy, and she wrenches out of his grip, pushing herself back against the wall. “Can’t, Malfoy, can’t. I can’t explain to myself so how the hell can I explain it to you?” she snarls. “I thought I was over this, thought I had more control, but I was wrong. Just go away and leave me alone, damn it!”

He shakes his head. “I can’t. I need to know. I thought you could help me but now I find that you need help yourself. You hide it well … I’d never have known.”

Ginny jerks in surprise, and then to his amazement, starts laughing almost maniacally. “Help you? Help a Malfoy? Your father did this to me. Why in the hell would I help you?” she manages to get out, tears in her eyes now. “If you’re in pain, then I’m glad. It’s only justice that you should hurt too.”

Draco looks at her uncomprehendingly. “What does my father have to do with this?” he asks.

Now it’s her turn to look at him with the same incomprehension. “You don’t know?” she says, disbelief in her voice. “Your father was the one who caused me to be possessed in my first year. He gave me an enchanted diary – Voldemort’s diary from when he was here at Hogwarts. Your father’s the reason I’m damaged.”

His father, responsible for Ginny’s Weasley’s possession; now that is something his mother didn’t let slip in her ranting. Yet he knows it to be the truth; it makes sense and it is something his father would have done in his mad quest to serve the Dark Lord.

They stare at one another and the silence builds until it is oppressive, weighing them both down. Finally Ginny breaks it, crossing her arms defiantly, or so she thinks, and says harshly, “Move away from me now, Malfoy, I want to leave.” She would have been more believable if her voice hadn’t quavered at the end and if she’d been able to stop the trembling of her limbs.

Draco doesn’t want her to leave – he has her here with him now and this could be his only chance to get some answers. He’s not quite sure how to keep her there, however, and he says the first thing that pops into his mind. “How do you control it, Weasley? I’d never have known there was anything wrong with you.”

Her eyes slide past him and he can tell she’s readying herself to bolt at the first opportunity. He moves closer to her, invading her space, cutting off her possible escape. Finally she says only one word, “Pensieve.”

He doesn’t understand and asks, “What?”

She bites out, “Pensieve! Dumbledore gave me one. It helps, or it did. Now let me go.”

Draco is determined; if she has something that helps, he wants it too. “Alright, Weasley, I’ll let you go but you have to do something for me first. I want to try that Pensieve.”

Ginny stares at him and then shrugs her shoulders. “Fine. I’ll meet you back here at 10 pm. Now, let me go.”

He moves aside and she dashes out of the room. He wonders if she will show up … if she doesn’t, he’ll find her again. He has to.
The Pensieve by madalene3666
Standard disclaimer applies, only the plot is mine.

It’s almost 10 pm and Ginny Weasley is standing outside the Gryffindor common room, debating whether she is foolish enough to meet Malfoy in the classroom. She’s wearing Harry’s Invisibility Cloak and has his Marauder’s Map under her arm – both borrowed without his permission but necessary if she’s to avoid being caught. It’s awkward trying to keep the Cloak on and the Map from slipping as she’s holding a small, shallow basin carefully in one hand and she doesn’t want the contents to slop over.

Finally, with only a few minutes to spare, she makes her decision and moves as quickly as she can down the corridors to the classroom. She’s late though and when she enters the classroom silently, she sees Malfoy pacing, obviously angry that she hasn’t shown up. She lets the Cloak slip off her and takes a childish pleasure in his start of surprise. Folding the Cloak up, she slips the Map into the folds; she doesn’t want Malfoy to see it – no point giving him something to hold over Harry’s head.

She moves over to one of the desks pushed up against a wall and gently places the Pensieve on it. She pulls a small bowl from her pocket and places it next to the Pensieve, then turns to face Malfoy. He’s staring at the Pensieve with interest, and reaches out to touch the shimmering silver liquid inside but is stopped by Ginny’s hand on his arm. “Don’t,” she says somewhat sharply, “That’s not a good idea.”

He watches as she carefully transfers some of the liquid in the basin to the bowl and then, touching her wand to the basin, pulls out what appears to be gossamer filaments. They curl around her wand but when she dips her wand into the bowl, they unfurl and mix with the liquid within. She repeats this three times until nothing comes out of the basin when she dips her wand.

“What are those things, Weasley?” Malfoy breathes, “And just what is that basin?”

“A Pensieve, Malfoy. And those things, as you call them, are my thoughts, captured in the Pensieve until I take them back. But I don’t want them back in my head just yet, so I’m putting them in this bowl until we’re finished,” Ginny answers, covering the basin with a sheaf of parchment.

Draco doesn’t want to admit it, but he knows nothing about a Pensieve or what it does. All he knows is that it sounds a bit dodgy, thoughts being captured and put in a basin – do they change once they’re out of your head? How has this helped Ginny Weasley? Finally he breaks the silence and says in what he hopes is a commanding voice, “Look, Weasley, I don’t have all night. Let’s get on with it.”

Ginny just laughs; Malfoy is so predictable … she knows he’s desperate to find out about the Pensieve but is trying to hide his ignorance with his usual arrogance. There’s a bitter undercurrent to her laugh though, it’s obvious he thinks this will be a quick fix – ta da, you’re cured. He has no idea.

She pulls two chairs up to the desk where the Pensieve sits and motions Malfoy to join her. He’s beginning to have second thoughts about the whole thing … does she expect him to do that strange thing with his thoughts? But his need and truthfully, his curiosity, outweigh his caution and he sits down in the second chair, giving her a wary look.

“It’s difficult when your thoughts are jumbled all up to sort them out,” she says, almost as if she were reciting a lesson, “And the Pensieve helps you by taking the thoughts that are giving you the most trouble and finding threads between them.” She stops for a moment, trying to choose the best words to explain. “Sometimes what you see in those thoughts is upsetting; it’s a part of you that you don’t want to see, don’t want to accept.”

“And what did you see in your thoughts, Weasley?” Draco asks, achingly curious to know what Ginny Weasley could fear in her thoughts.

“We’re not here about me, Malfoy” Ginny spits out, “We’re here about you, your thoughts, not mine.” She looks away, and her gaze becomes distant for a moment, as if she’s seeing something she’s forgotten and regrets that she’s done so. “But if you’re thinking this is going to be easy, we might as well stop right now. It will be one of the hardest things you’ve ever done. It’s no picnic facing up to your failings.”

His pride is immediately pricked; is she implying that he, a Malfoy, might not be able to do something a Weasley could? “I can handle it, Weasley. Just tell me what to do and let’s get on with it.”

She gives him a pitying look, and then shrugs. So be it … it’s his decision. “The process is simple. You think of what thought is bothering you, making sure it’s foremost in your mind. Then put your wand to your temple and say ‘Menta Mobilus’ and the thought will solidify so that your wand can pull it out. Once it’s out and curled round your wand, you transfer it to the Pensieve. The liquid inside binds the thought until you’re ready for the next step.”

“And that is?” Draco asks, leaning forward in his eagerness. “What happens next?”

Ginny stares at the Pensieve, at the smooth surface of the silver liquid, as if it were a viper ready to strike. “Once you’ve transferred all of the thoughts that are troubling you, you mix them in the liquid with your wand and say ‘Pensa Revela’. The Pensieve will take your thoughts and put them into order, into sequence somehow, so that you can see how they relate. How you use that knowledge is up to you then.”

Draco stares at the Pensieve as well now. He’s skeptical but Weasley is convincing. “Will you be able to see my thoughts?” he asks, the thought suddenly coming to him – he doesn’t want anyone, especially her, to see what’s in his mind.

“No, you’re the only one who’ll be able to,” she replies, “That’s why I took my thoughts out before. Can’t have them mixed up … Dumbledore warned me it could be disturbing to mix peoples’ thoughts.” She looks over at Draco, and then adds, “The only way I’d be able to see your thoughts would be if I went into the Pensieve. That’s why I told you not to touch the liquid before. Physical contact pulls you in until someone or something pulls you out.” She shudders. “I did it once – it’s like reliving everything over again. If I did it when your thoughts were in there, I’d experience the events that led to your thoughts.”

Draco doesn’t really understand what she means by that, but decides it doesn’t matter at this point. “Well, let’s get on with it, Weasley. I told you before, I don’t have all night.”

Ginny just barely restrains herself from hitting him, slapping some sense into him. He doesn’t have a clue, and she wonders why she’s even bothering. Then she remembers … the incident in the corridor. She could probably brazen it out; after all, everyone would think he’s just trying to slander a Weasley. But she doesn’t want to risk it, she’s spent five years trying to appear normal – she’s not about to take any chances.

“Listen to me, Malfoy, and listen well because I’m only going to say this once. I’m going to stay here only as long as it takes to make sure that you know what to do. Then I’m going to leave and you’re going to take that Pensieve to your room or wherever you want to go to do this.” Ginny pins Draco with a look, and for a moment, he’s almost frightened by its intensity. “When you’re done, when you’ve found out what you need to know, then send me a message. I’ll come and take the Pensieve back.”

Draco can’t help but blurt out, “But what if I need some help? What if the spells don’t work?”

Ginny says coolly, “They’ll work. Now, I don’t have all night either. Let’s make sure you have the incantations right and then I’m gone.”

They go through the process several times, Draco trying not to wince as he transfers a thought to the Pensieve. Ginny’s satisfied that he knows what to do and she gathers the bowl and the Cloak in preparation to leave.

“One piece of advice, Malfoy,” she says, turning back from the door, “Make sure you’re sitting down when you take a look at your thoughts. I know from experience that seeing them, seeing what they mean, can be upsetting. We wouldn’t want you to fall on that pampered butt, after all.” With that, she’s gone, leaving Draco sputtering in indignation.

He picks the Pensieve up carefully and leaves the classroom to creep back to the Slytherin dungeons. Ginny Weasley has surprised him again and he wonders what other secrets she’s holding. Well, if she thinks she’s finished with him, she’s sadly mistaken. Draco has full intentions of learning everything about her before he’s done.
The road not taken by madalene3666
Standard disclaimer applies, only the plot is mine.

Ginny walks down the corridor to the Great Hall for breakfast, trying to decide if she should buy the jumper she saw on sale in Madame Malkin’s when she last went to Hogsmeade. She still has some money left from her birthday and if she’s careful, she can stretch it enough to buy Christmas presents and the jumper. Absorbed in her mental calculations, she sits down at the Gryffindor table and absently takes some toast and fruit. She’s shaken out of her semi-trance by the eagle owl trying to grab a bite of her toast and with a frown, she gives it the rest of the slice after taking the message tied to its leg. The message reads simply, Weasley, 10 pm in the classroom. Be there.

She gives an inward smirk; it’s only been two days since she gave Malfoy the Pensieve and it seems he’s already eager to return it. Oh, Ginny knows from experience that what you see in the Pensieve can be frightening and even worse, disheartening. You see yourself without any illusions and sometimes the choices, the actions, the words make you cringe for the person you really are. She looks over at the Slytherin table where Draco is seemingly casually surveying the other tables. As his gaze flicks over her, she gives an almost imperceptible nod and then turns back to her breakfast, not even bothering to see if he has any reaction.

At 9:50 pm, she’s in the classroom, sitting at one of the desks, idly twisting her hair around one finger. She knows she’s early but the opportunity to leave the Gryffindor Common Room without anyone noticing was too good to miss. She didn’t need Hermione or Ron quizzing her as to where she is going so near to curfew.

She’s brought the bowl with her thoughts so she can transfer them back to the Pensieve. She still doesn’t want them back in her head, thank you very much, but she also doesn’t want to lose them entirely and she’s not sure of the effect on them of being out of the actual Pensieve for too long.

At 9:58 pm, the door opens and Draco walks in, holding the Pensieve in front of him as though it were something foul. He puts it on a desk and sits down, shaking his head. “Sometimes ignorance is a good thing, Weasley,” he says with a contemplative tone, “Sometimes it’s better not to know what sort of person you really are.”

Ginny laughs; Draco Malfoy – the big, bad Slytherin – scared by his own thoughts. “Really, Malfoy?” she asks, “And I take it that you didn’t care for what you saw?”

“No, I didn’t,” Draco says seriously, “I didn’t care for it at all. Oh, I suspected it, I reckon, seeing that as I wasn’t surprised as much as I would have thought.”

She waits for him to continue but he is now staring at the opposite wall of the room, almost as if something of interest was on it. After a few minutes, she grows impatient and decides it best to leave him there to ponder by himself. She goes over to the Pensieve and reaches in to stir the contents before returning her thoughts. She hears a startled “Wait!” and is suddenly pulled into the Pensieve, realizing as she falls through that the idiot Malfoy hasn’t taken his thoughts out yet.

Ginny finds herself in a coldly formal room with a young Draco Malfoy standing stiffly in front of Lucius Malfoy. Seated to their right is a woman she vaguely recognizes as Narcissa Malfoy. Lucius is speaking, telling Draco of his expectations for him when he goes to Hogwarts. His expectations are very specific and very high, but Draco Malfoy does not seem daunted by them; he seems to be eager to prove that he can meet them.

Next she’s in a shop she recognizes as Madam Malkin’s in Diagon Alley and a young Malfoy is talking to a young Harry Potter. She can see the confusion and uncertainty on Harry’s face and realizes that this must have been his first visit to the Wizarding world. To an almost intimidated Harry, Malfoy’s words must have seemed disparaging and snide but even with this quick glance she can see that they’re more the words of a boy parroting his father than anything else.

Then she’s on the Hogwarts Express and Malfoy is reacting to her brother’s smothered laugh over his name and then being rejected by Harry Potter. The images are coming faster now; Slytherin losing the House Cup in his first year as Gryffindor is awarded 160 points, her confronting him to defend Harry at Flourish and Blott’s and then his being beaten to the Snitch by Harry in his second year, his being injured by Buckbeak and Hermione Granger slapping him in his third year, Moody turning him into a ferret in his fourth year, Harry exposing his father as a Death Eater and her Bat-Bogey Hex in his fifth year, his mother’s pain and his confusion over his father’s imprisonment in Azkaban in his sixth year – they’re almost too much to take in, to bear, as they whirl around her.

Through them all, she has the overwhelming sense of being faced with continual forks in the road, a choice of roads to take, and always, always taking the one with his father in mind … his expectations of what his son should be. With some she gets a feeling of regret, with others a feeling of anger, and with yet others a feeling of hate. This latter feeling, this feeling of hate, grows stronger at the end and finally, when she’s certain she’s about to be consumed by blackness, she feels a strong tug and she’s back in the classroom, arse down on the floor, being glared at by a furious Draco.

She can only blink at him in confusion, her mind trying to process what she’s seen, and then she murmurs, “The road not taken.” Draco recoils at the statement and turns away, not wanting her to see his expression. After a few moments, he turns back, his face a blank mask, and holds out a hand to help her to her feet. She’s surprised but takes his hand and gets up somewhat shakily.

“I’m sorry,” she says with unexpected sincerity, “I thought you had taken your thoughts out already. I wouldn’t have done that otherwise.”

Draco sneers as he spits out, “Right, and that excuses you? Those were my thoughts and you invaded my privacy. Just like a Gryffindor … rushing in blindly.” He’s paler than usual with anger and with something else – fear?

Ginny replies softly, “Look, I’m sorry.” Then, before she knows what she’s saying, adds, “If it will make you feel better, I’ll show you some of mine.” She cringes inwardly as she realizes what she has just done; has she really offered Malfoy a weapon against her?

She can tell he’s considering her offer, but to her surprise and relief, he shrugs his shoulders and says, “No thanks, Weasley. I have a feeling that bad as mine were, yours would be worse.” She nods her head in acknowledgement and turns away to pick up the bowl with her thoughts, only a faint trembling of her hands betraying her tenuous grip on her emotions.

“I’ll transfer my thoughts out of the Pensieve now. Did you want to wait or would you prefer to pick it up tomorrow?” Draco asks quietly.

Ginny wants this to be over and done so she quickly replies, “I’ll wait.” She goes to one of the empty desks and sits down, her hands cradling the bowl with her thoughts, her eyes fixed on the shimmering liquid within.

It doesn’t take long for Draco to transfer his thoughts. As soon as the Pensieve is emptied, Ginny dumps the contents of her bowl into the Pensive and rises, eager to leave. She’s almost at the door when she hears Draco say in a strangely diffident voice, “I don’t want to see your thoughts but … can you tell me what thread you see in yours? I’m curious to know if it’s similar to mine. Just for comparison, you know – not to use against you. I promise.”

She turns back to stare at Draco appraisingly; for him, the request was polite and shockingly sincere. She gives a sigh and says, “It’s the same thread as yours. Accordingly to Dumbledore, most people see the same thread – the road not taken. The key is to understanding is not why you took the road you did, rather it’s why you didn’t take the other.” She gives a bitter laugh; oh yes, it’s always easy to justify why you acted in a certain way – we can always find excuses for that. But just why you didn’t act the way you should have done, again and again … it’s hard to find an excuse for that.

Ginny can tell Draco is confused, and she can sympathize – she didn’t understand the difference for a long while, and it took a number of times staring at her thoughts interlinked with one another to fathom it.

“You’d think they were the same, wouldn’t you? But they’re not. It took me a while to realize that. But that’s the key to the Pensieve helping you, Malfoy. You need to understand why you didn’t take the other road.”

Draco swallows audibly and then, with obvious effort, chokes out, “I don’t think I can do that alone. Would you be willing to … help me with that?”

The two gaze at one another for what seems to be a long time. Ginny wants badly to say no, but she’s torn by the pain in his face and by the fact that he’s actually asked for her help. Finally Ginny answers, “All right. Back here tomorrow night, same time.” And with that, she’s gone, the door closing after her.

Draco stands in the room, looking at the closed door, almost expecting Ginny Weasley to come back and say she’s changed her mind. He knows she won’t though; she’s the sort of person who will follow through with what she says. He slumps down in a desk, his head in his hands, wishing he’d never started this. It’s much easier to deal with your hate of others than to deal with your hate of yourself and your actions. It’s almost laughable when he thinks about how he was determined to learn everything about Ginny Weasley and now she’ll learn everything about him.

He’s torn between relief that she said yes and fear of what she’ll learn, and as he leaves the classroom, he wonders if he’ll have enough courage to return the next night.
Common bond by madalene3666
Standard disclaimer applies, only the plot is mine.

This is a rather long chapter and contains a great deal of dialogue, which is not necessarily my forte. However, it was in my mind the best way to move the story along, particularly at this critical juncture.

Draco is distracted all day, snapping at Crabbe and Goyle, pushing Parkinson away, and at one point, threatening to hex Zabini if he doesn’t leave him alone. He changes his mind about meeting Ginny a hundred times, even writing a note telling her not to come but then tearing it up in frustration.

Ginny’s similarly distracted although she shows it differently, avoiding her classmates and the Golden Trio as she stumbles through the day in a daze. She knows that she’ll have no choice but to reveal some of her own secrets if she goes through with helping Draco Malfoy – there’s no other way to do it. She’ll have to explain how she understood and in doing so, she’ll have to tell him about the choices, the roads she faced.

And then, finally, they’re back in the classroom, facing one another in desks they’ve pulled to the center of the room. She’s brought the Pensieve, not that she wanted to, but she knows that she may need it. Ginny is the first one to end the uncomfortable silence as they stare at one another.

“My family doesn’t have a lot of money,” she says in a carefully neutral tone, “So I’m used to hand-me-downs and second-hand things. Often when we’d get something from the second-hand store, there’d be other things with it, like a hair ribbon in a pocket or some parchment stuck in a book.” She looks away from him to stare at the wall; she doesn’t want to see his likely sneer at the thought of their poverty or of using someone else’s things. “I really didn’t think much of it when I found an old blank diary in one of my school books after we got home from Diagon Alley. I just thought someone had stuck in there and forgotten it.”

She closes her eyes, remembering how she’d examined the diary, wondering why it was blank and thinking what fun it would be to record her adventures with Ron at Hogwarts. She shakes her head at the memory and continues, “I didn’t start writing in it until I got to Hogwarts. I wanted to save it for when I finally got there and started experiencing everything I’d heard about from my brothers. I wonder to this day if I would have told my parents about it writing back if I’d still been at home.”

Draco is listening intently, his eyes fixed on her face, watching the myriad emotions flit across it as she talks.

“It took me a long time to realize why I didn’t tell anyone about the diary sooner, why I didn’t take the right road. Oh, I know I should have – my mother had told me often enough not to trust anything that could think for itself if I couldn’t see its brain – but I had all kinds of reasons for not telling. That’s the point, you see, you can always rationalize your decisions, not matter how wrong they are in the end.”

Ginny wrings her hands unconsciously as she talks, the knuckles white with the pressure. “I’d expected Ron to be there for me my first year, to be my friend as he was at home, but he wasn’t. He ignored me to be with Harry and Hermione, kept secrets from me, didn’t stand up for me when I was teased by the twins or mocked by my classmates for my worn robes and books. So I didn’t tell, I didn’t take the right road because now I had a secret, now I had someone who stood up for me, even if it was just in a diary.”

“It’s easy enough to justify why I kept writing; I was lonely, I didn’t know any defense, I was overpowered by Tom. But that implies I didn’t have a choice, and I did. It wasn’t until I tried to understand why I didn’t take the other choice, the right road, that I was able to finally understand what happened.” Ginny takes a ragged breath and adds, “But even understanding doesn’t mean it makes it any easier to live with … to know that you were the reason people were petrified, that Riddle could have come back to life.”

Draco stares at her; who is Riddle? He’s never heard the name before – wasn’t it Voldemort’s diary that caused her possession? She looks up and sees his confusion, then laughs almost hysterically. “Don’t tell me you didn’t know that Voldemort was Tom Riddle back at Hogwarts?” she cries, “Surely you knew that!”

He bites back the sarcastic rejoinder on his lips and as calmly as he can, replies, “No, I didn’t know that. And just who is Tom Riddle?”

“Tom Riddle is the half-blood who ultimately became Voldemort, and because he so despised his Muggle father, devoted his life to exterminating those with any trace of Muggle blood, just like himself!” she exclaims, “And your father, with all his Pureblood ravings, is the toady of a half-blood.” She gives a bitter laugh, “Talk about irony. Anyway, that doesn’t matter in the end. What matters is why I didn’t do what I knew I should.”

Draco looks away from her; her face is painful to look at, all sharp angles and shadows … it hurts him somehow, somewhere inside. And that information about Voldemort – it can’t be true, can it? He can’t process it right now, the implications too shattering to his world to consider. Then her voice draws him back and he is compelled to look at her again.

“I finally realized that there were three points in time at which I was faced with different paths to take, three forks in the road, three opportunities for me to take the right road. The first was when the diary wrote back for the first time. I can remember almost dropping my quill in shock, wondering what kind of trick the twins had pulled to make it do that. Then I realized that they didn’t even know about the diary until I’d forgotten to take it in the mad rush to get to the train and that they couldn’t have had time to jinx it. I kept the diary not because I was ignorant or lonely, but because I knew if I gave it up as I should, I wouldn’t have something no one else had, and oh, I craved that. I wanted to be special, to be different, and the diary made me that – no one else could possibly have a diary that wrote back.”

Ginny’s head is bowed now, and her words are becoming softer and softer until Draco has to lean forward to hear. “The second time was when I finally realized that it was me who was setting loose the Basilisk and who was responsible for the students being petrified.”

Draco starts in surprise at this new information; he somehow hadn’t connected her possession with her actually controlling the Basilisk, he doesn’t know why he didn’t – how else would it have happened?

“I tried to flush the diary away in Moaning Myrtle’s loo, even though I knew I should have gone to McGonagall and confessed, knew I should have given her the diary to destroy. I didn’t because I didn’t want anyone to know how the youngest Weasley, the only girl, had screwed up so badly, had been so stupid – I couldn’t have borne seeing the looks on my parents’ faces or my brothers’. And I couldn’t have borne being treated any worse than I already was by my classmates … I wanted so desperately to fit in but couldn’t. And then of course, there was Harry – my hero; how I could possibly look any worse to him?”

“When I stole the diary back from Harry, I could have burned it, could have taken it to the Headmaster, could have done anything else but started writing in it again … but I did. Not because I was still possessed or didn’t know any better, but because I craved what Riddle could give me, flattery, a sense of being special, something I didn’t have otherwise. I didn’t take the right road because I wanted what the diary gave me, no matter how wrong.”

Ginny leans back in the desk chair and closes her eyes for a few moments, trying to calm herself before finishing.

“After Harry rescued me and my parents were so thankful to have me alive that they didn’t take me to task for what I had done, I fooled myself in thinking that everything was alright, that I’d been an innocent victim of Voldemort and wasn’t to blame for what had happened. I managed to fool myself up until the dementors boarded the train as we were going to Hogwarts for my second year. When the dementor came into our compartment, all I could think of were my worst fears realized; I saw fingers pointing, horrified looks, people turning away in disgust. And what was even worse was when Professor Lupin had turned the dementor away … all anyone could focus on was how Harry had fared. Oh, they’d noticed I’d been shaking like mad but no one even thought that I might have been affected. I sat there, burning up with anger, wanting them to suffer like I was. That’s when I knew I needed help. I went to Dumbledore the next day and that’s when he gave me the Pensieve and showed me how to use it.”

She opens her eyes and pins Draco Malfoy with her gaze; it’s frightening in its intensity. “It took me almost two full years to come to grips with what happened, to understand what made me not take the right road each of those times. Once I had done that, I could start to move on, to try to deal with those aspects in my character that made me flawed enough to succumb. I can’t change the fact that we’re poor, that I’m the youngest, that my brothers tease me unmercifully at times, but I can change how I deal with it, how I react in situations. The one thing I’ve never been able to change is my hatred for your father, my desire to hurt him as badly as I was hurt by what he did. That hate, that rancor, it burns me up at times. Had I been able to, I would have killed him that time in the top box at the World Cup … it made me physically ill to see him there as if nothing had ever happened.”

“I rejoiced when he was thrown in Azkaban; I danced about my room in glee, hoping a dementor would torment him for all eternity. I reveled in my hate for him and then boxed it away neatly in my mind – or so I thought. But I’ll deal with it; I’ll learn to handle it just like I’ve learned to handle everything else. That’s what I’ve learned from the Pensieve. If I look at this long enough, I’ll be able to figure out why I can’t take the road to forgiveness, can’t at least take the road to acceptance. And then I’ll be able to move on once again.”

Ginny’s voice is hoarse after talking so long, and Draco conjures up a glass of water that she takes and drinks thirstily, giving him a grateful look.

They sit in silence for a few moments and then Draco clears his throat and starts to speak. “I really intended to become friendly with Potter,” he says, his tone almost conversational, “My father had told me he’d be starting Hogwarts that year and that it would be ‘helpful’ if I were to be seen as an ally. I didn’t realize I’d met him before at Madame Malkin’s, not until I saw him on the Hogwarts Express. He was sitting in a compartment with your brother and they looked quite chummy, even after such a short time.” He gives Ginny a sideways glance and then continues, “I didn’t have many friends, you see, actually none when I think about it. I had companions or acquaintances that my parents thought suitable to associate with, so I was actually a bit jealous when I saw that Potter and your brother were so friendly already. I might have gotten past that if your brother hadn’t snickered at my name. I’ve never really liked it, you know; it’s always seemed a bit odd to me. But my mother’s family always named their sons after stars in constellations and my mother always did what her family wanted. My father protested a bit, I’m told, but he gave in because my mother’s family is quite wealthy and he didn’t want to annoy them.”

“Well, your brother hit a nerve when he snickered, and so I lashed back and ridiculed him and your family. Potter took offense and rejected my offer of friendship, refused to even shake my hand. I was embarrassed and furious … how dare he turn down a Malfoy, I thought. So that was the beginning of it, the infamous feud between Potter, Weasley and me. When they hooked up with Granger, that made me even angrier – taking sides with a Muggle-born over a Pureblood is how I saw it.”

“I don’t need to tell you the rest; you know it. But up until I saw all of it in the Pensieve, I never even considered that I had a choice in what I did. This is what my father would do, I’d think, or this is what a Malfoy should do. I never really thought about what it was I should do.” He shakes his head, almost in wonder, “It’s rather like Potions, isn’t it? Every action has a reaction, change the action and you change the reaction. As I watched every event, I kept wondering what would have happened had I acted differently.”

Ginny’s been listening intently, her eyes fixed on his face, and now Draco lifts his head to meet her gaze. “You know, it wasn’t until you said what you did after you came out of the Pensieve that I even thought about trying to understand why I didn’t act differently. Yes, I wondered what would have happened, but in the end I was too busy justifying why I did act the way I did.” He looks down at his hands that have been clenching his knees, and gives a bitter chuckle, “I’ve got a lot to think about, I reckon, particularly now that you’ve given me that information about the Dark Lord. I still can’t quite take that in, it just doesn’t make sense … or perhaps it makes too much sense, when you really think about it.”

They’ve been there a long time and Ginny knows she has to get back soon or Ron will start asking questions that she doesn’t want to answer. She gets up slowly and walks towards the door, stopping just before opening it to turn back and look at Draco. “You know, Malfoy, that if you breathe a word about this to anyone, my Bat-Bogey Hex will look like a walk in the park to you, right?”

Draco gives her a slight smile and she blinks in surprise that it’s not a smirk; his face looks quite different when he smiles. “I know,” he says, “And I wouldn’t expect anything less from you.” He hesitates and then says, “Could we talk again? Once I’ve had a chance to think about this some more? Now I know that I really can’t do this alone and I don’t know who else I could turn to.” He looks away, his pale cheeks tinged with color, embarrassed that he still needs her help.

Oddly enough, it’s that flush of color that sways Ginny; his embarrassment is strangely endearing and her innate good-heartedness wins out. “Alright,” she answers, “Let me know when you’re ready,” and she escapes before she can regret her words.

Draco sits in the classroom by himself, trying to suppress the feeling of relief that had flooded him when she agreed – he’s not sure if he’s in his right mind to continue this. But as he leaves the classroom, he knows he’ll contact her and he’ll be back – he doesn’t think he could do anything else.
Words unspoken by madalene3666
Standard disclaimer applies, only the plot is mine.

Thanks to Mynuet for the insight into how Molly and Arthur Weasley might think about Muggles.

Draco sits quietly in the deserted classroom, waiting for Ginny Weasley to show up. He’s early but as is the case lately, he couldn’t stand being in the Slytherin common room a moment longer, listening to his housemates discuss the rise of the Dark Lord and the return of the Purebloods to power. If only they knew the hypocrisy of the Death Eaters, he thinks, if only they knew that their so-called savior is half Muggle himself; he can’t help snickering to himself at the chaos that would result at that knowledge.

At times he’s tempted to blurt it out, to tell them what he knows – but he can’t, not now at least. He’s discussed it with Ginny and she’s convinced him that since Dumbledore knows, as do others, and they’ve not revealed it as yet, they must not want it to be public knowledge. They’ve both wondered why; Death Eater attacks have been escalating and one would think that the revelation that Voldemort is not a Pureblood would cause dissention amongst them. Ginny has told him that she thinks Dumbledore may be waiting for a critical moment, so although it’s difficult, he keeps silent.

He won’t have to put up with his housemates for much longer; it’s only a week until he leaves Hogwarts forever, a fully trained adult wizard. His NEWTS are over and he knows that he’s done well on them – he certainly spent enough time studying, usually in this very room with Ginny Weasley next to him, quizzing him constantly, challenging him continually. He shakes his head; he’s changed so much since the day he walked into Hogwarts to begin his final year.

At times he wonders what would have happened had he not sought her out, not forced her to help him, not faced his demons. Would he be like Crabbe and Goyle, parroting their fathers, mindlessly awaiting their initiation into the Death Eaters when they returned home? Would he be like Zabini, straddling the line between the light and the dark, uncomfortable in either? He doesn’t really want to know the answer because he’s afraid of what it would be. Although she doesn’t know it, Ginny Weasley is the person who gave him the strength to make his own choice, and it’s not the one everyone expected him to make.

He sits there, thinking of Ginny Weasley and the past months, thinking of the relationship they’ve forged. It took him a week after that first time of sharing their thoughts to contact her again, a week of trying on his own to understand his actions, a week of growing more and more frustrated as his thoughts skittered around his brain. He knew she really didn’t want to continue but that she would not go back on her word, so finally he sent her a message to meet him once again in the classroom. He still remembers the feeling that washed over him when she walked in, not just relief but something he couldn’t put a name to, at least not then.

”You came,” he said, “I didn’t think you would.”

“I said I’d help,” she answered, walking to the desk next to him and placing a basin with runes engraved on it on his desk before sitting down. “I’ve brought you your own Pensieve. I went to Dumbledore and asked him for one. Oh, don’t worry … I didn’t tell him who it was for, I just said that another student needed help and I was giving it.”

He looked at the Pensieve and then at her. “You went to Dumbledore? For me? You didn’t have to do that, you know.”

“I know,” she replied, looking at him carefully, “But without it, it’s going to be harder for you. And I couldn’t give you mine; I still need it.” She sighed and then said, “Sometimes I wonder if I’ll always need it, if I’ll always need to keep those thoughts separate.”

“Is that so bad? To keep them separate, I mean,” he asked. “Will I have to?”

“I don’t know,” she said, “That depends on you. But if you do, now you have your own Pensieve.” She gave him a small smile and teased, “I mean, a Malfoy having to share. Can’t have that, can we?”

She could have made it so much harder for him, but to his surprise she didn’t … even through the many sessions after that one. At first they met once a week, and then it became twice a week and sometimes more. For the most part she listened, periodically interjecting with her own experiences and challenges. At times she had a light, teasing manner, refusing to be drawn in by his dark, bitter moods, while at other times she was implacable, making it clear she thought he was trying to avoid dealing with something. While he knew she had a temper, she never lost hers when he became frustrated and kicked the desks in anger, furious at his inability to move past certain issues.

He remembers that it had been one of those times when he was frustrated that they started talking about other things.

”I can’t bloody do this,” he shouted, throwing himself into a chair and glaring at her, furious with himself and because of that, with her. “I don’t know why I didn’t just walk away from Potter when he caught the Snitch. I was pissed off, you know. I never ever catch it when I’m playing against Potter. So I said things … big fucking deal. You’ve never said things when you’ve been angry?”

“Yes, I have,” she answered quietly, “But they’re usually directed at the person I’m angry with, not about the people they love and care about. Those taunts cut deeper and you know that, that’s why you say them, because you want to hurt them more than you’re hurting yourself.”

“Such insight,” he sneered, “You know so much about me then? So, tell me, why didn’t I walk away from Potter and your brothers then? Hmm? Can’t answer?”

She shook her head. “No, I can’t. Only you can. You know that as well as I do.” She gave him a small smile and then asked, “So who’s your favorite Quidditch team? My brother’s followed the Chudley Cannons for years but I think they’re a bunch of losers. I’m a Falmouth Falcons fan myself.”

He stared at her, not understanding the sudden shift in conversation. “What are you on about? Why the bloody questions about Quidditch? Who the fuck cares about Quidditch?”

“You obviously do. You play, and if you play, you likely follow the professional teams. You must have a favorite team, everyone does.” She shrugged her shoulders and added, “We might as well talk about Quidditch. It’s obviously time to give the other a rest. You can’t force it, Draco, you just can’t. It’ll come to you eventually and then you can move on to other issues. So let’s talk about Quidditch for a while.”

It became a routine after that; when he couldn’t deal any more with his thoughts about his actions, they’d talk about Quidditch, and then later, they moved on to talk about school and their classes. That’s when they started bringing their schoolwork with them, finding the deserted classroom a welcome respite from the crowded library or the noise of their respective common rooms. Their conversations about classes and assignments led to other discussions and he found that Ginny Weasley possessed a keen intelligence and a lively wit. She had a quirky sense of humor and her wry observations had him often snickering, if not downright laughing.

He soon learned that she had no compunction in challenging many of his long-held beliefs. In fact, her favorite activity seemed to be forcing him to think for himself.

”Blast it all, that Granger’s a bloody know-it-all who can’t ever shut up!” he raged, slamming his schoolbooks on the desk, “I cannot believe that they made her Head Girl, it’s an outrage, considering who she is.”

Ginny gave him a cold look and with definite ice in her voice, asked, “What do you mean, who she is? I certainly hope you don’t mean what I think you do.”

He gave her just as cold a look back and replied, “Well, she is a Mud … I mean Muggle-born. They should keep the Head Girl and Boy positions for Purebloods. It’s bad enough that the others even have to be here but they shouldn’t be given prestige positions; it just encourages them.”

“Honestly, Draco Malfoy, why do you believe that? Look at some of the Purebloods in this school – could you honestly see Gregory Goyle or Vincent Crabbe as Head Boy? They can barely write their own names and their idea of magic is to crack someone’s head open. Oh, they’re shining examples of Pureblood superiority,” Ginny said exasperatedly. “Some of the best students in this school are Muggle-born. Grow up and deal with it, for pity’s sake!”

“Well, I would have expected no less from someone from a Muggle-loving family like yours!’ Draco spat, “Don’t you have any pride in your heritage, Weasley?”

Ginny sighed heavily. “Oh, find another song to sing, Malfoy,” she drawled in an uncanny imitation of his own bored voice, “I don’t know why you insist on calling my family Muggle lovers. The only Muggles my parents even half know are Hermione’s parents and that’s only because Hermione is my brother’s friend. My dad is fascinated with Muggles and how they cope without magic; he thinks they’re cute – that’s a far cry from loving them to pieces. Quite frankly, my parents are only comfortable with Muggle-born wizards and witches who have become a part of our world … they’re not comfortable with any other type of Muggle and they certainly don’t love them blindly.”

“But they’d let their son marry a Muggle-born, wouldn’t they? I mean, everyone knows your brother and Granger are mad for each other and when they finally stop mistaking arguing for foreplay, they’ll get together,” Draco bit out, “So purity of blood doesn’t mean all that much to them.”

“You’re confusing a Muggle-born witch or wizard with a Muggle, Malfoy,” Ginny pointed out, “There’s a world of difference. And my parents happen to believe that they can’t dictate who their children will love and want to marry.” She gave him a rather pityingly look and added, “And I do know that my parents believe that people shouldn’t be looked down on for something they had no control over. That’s not Muggle-loving, Draco, that’s respect for others, something your family has never seemed to learn. And as for you, your beliefs should be your own, and not just what you’ve learned to parrot from others.”

It was shortly after that conversation that she gave him the name of a book and suggested he read it, telling him that it theorized why Muggle children were born with magic and why some of the purest blood families produced squibs. He was fascinated as he read about the Muggle science of genetics and how recessive magic genes in Muggles could produce a child with dominant magic, and generations of interbreeding amongst Pureblood families could weaken the magic so that a child was born with recessive magic – a squib. He's never looked at Crabbe or Goyle the same way after that, and he's thankful that he told his mother in sixth year that he would never agree to an arranged marriage with Pansy … the thought that his children might have had Parkinson family traits still makes him shudder.

Draco has known for some time that he cares very deeply for Ginny Weasley; she’s become as essential to his well being as air. He finds himself daydreaming at times, thinking of a future in which they’re together, married with children and living the normal family life he’s always secretly wanted. These daydreams never last though; he’s a realist and there’s too much standing between them, too many barriers that are too great to overcome, no matter how much he’d like to try. He’ll knows he’ll never reveal how he feels to her… it’s the one thing he can’t confide; he’s too fearful of how she’ll react, and he doesn’t want to risk what little he has of her.

He’s startled when he hears Ginny laugh softly; she’s standing in front of him with a smile on her face. “Where were you?” she asks, “You looked as though you were a million miles away and it wasn’t a pleasant place.”

He forces himself to smile back and answer, “Nowhere really, I was just thinking about leaving Hogwarts. It seems odd, you know, to think that soon I’ll be expected to be a fully functioning adult, working away at whatever, instead of just a lowly student.”

Ginny laughs and waves her hand airily, “You? Really, Draco, when could you ever be considered a lowly student? Isn’t that against the Malfoy rules?” She sits down opposite Draco and looks at him appraisingly. “Now why don’t you tell me exactly what you were thinking? I know that it wasn’t about the job you’re likely to get in your family’s firm.”

Draco hesitates and then, before he can think better of it, asks her, “Why did you agree to help me? I know you didn’t want to, and you’ve certainly given up a lot of your time to do so. Why? I mean, you could have told me to go to blazes … no one would have ever believed me over you.”

He’s thought about asking her many times, usually fantasizing that she flings herself into his arms, telling him through her tears that it’s because she loves him. He holds his breath, knowing deep within him that his fantasy is just that and her answer will likely be no more or no less than what he expects.

Ginny’s obviously surprised by the question and she looks down at her hands clasped loosely in her lap to avoid looking at him directly. Finally she replies, “Because you asked. I couldn’t help thinking what would have happened had Dumbledore said no to helping me. I felt somehow that I should return the help he gave me.” She looks up at him, her face shielded by the hair that falls across it and then asks, “Why did you ask for help in the first place?”

It’s a logical question considering the one he asked her. Draco can’t answer her at first; his reasons for doing so, so clear at first, are all jumbled up now because of his feelings for her. It started as an attempt to control his emotions and then became a journey of discovery, of finding himself and of finding Ginny Weasley. Not knowing quite how to put it into words, he simply says,” I was tired of hating, of having that hate make my choices for me. I wanted to make my own choices but I couldn’t, not with those emotions controlling me.”

Ginny nods; she understands … she knows the feeling of needing to quell the emotions roiling underneath the surface before they consume you.

Draco clears his throat and almost hesitantly asks, “Have – have you told your parents about your using the Pensieve?”

This question surprises her more than the first one. “No, I haven’t,” she answers, “They think I’ve gotten over it. I’d rather not have them know – they’ll coddle me otherwise and I hate being coddled. Bit of a reaction to being the youngest and a girl, I reckon.” She looks up at him and asks, “Have you told yours? Your mother, I mean.”

Draco shakes his head, “No, I haven’t and I won’t. But I did tell my mother that I had no intention of taking the Mark and that I wouldn’t make the mistake that my father did. She told me that she was immensely relieved that she wouldn’t lose her son as she had her husband.” He closes his eyes, thinking of his mother’s words on the parchment, her relief almost tangibly seeping through the ink.

Ginny gives him a bright open smile and then to his shock, hugs him tightly. It’s the first time she has ever touched him and he feels warmth rush over him. “I’m so glad, Draco. I couldn’t bear the thought of you following the dark.”

“Well, just because I’m not fool enough to follow a raving lunatic, don’t think I’ve completely gone off the deep end and plan to devote my life to good works, Weasley,” Draco says gruffly, trying not to show how much her touch has affected him, “I’m still a Slytherin; I have to be somewhat dark and sinister … it’s in the Slytherin handbook, you know.”

Ginny laughs and moves away; he feels an emptiness where she was and he turns away to hide it. For a moment he wonders if he’s brave enough to speak of what she means to him, but he hesitates too long and then knows that the opportunity to do so is gone. She’s writing something down on a piece of parchment and after blowing on it lightly to dry it, hands him the parchment.

“This is my address, Draco. If you ever need to vent to someone, once you’re home, just write me,” she says, smiling gently.

“Only if I need to vent?” he queries, “Not for anything else?”

“That’s up to you,” she replies, “I consider myself your friend, Draco, whether you feel the same or not, and friends listen, no matter what.” Her voice is sincere and Draco feels a pang; he knows he’ll never write her … he can’t tantalize himself with thoughts of her once he’s left Hogwarts. Better to end it now completely than to torment himself with dreams of what can never be.

“Thank you, Ginny,” he says with only a faint tremor in his voice, and then, daringly, he clasps her gently to him and drops a kiss on her forehead, “Thank you for being my friend.” Before he can do anything he’ll regret later, he pulls away and leaves, closing the door firmly behind him, closing the door on the one thing he really wants to take with him from Hogwarts.

The next morning, Ginny comes down to breakfast, hoping to see Draco and perhaps arrange a final meeting before they both leave the school. She’s later than usual, and as she slides into her seat next to Hermione and across from Ron and Harry, she catches the tail end of a conversation between the three.

“Well, who told you, Harry? Did they say why?” Hermione asks, “Do they think that he’s, you know, gone to join ... Vol-Voldemort?”

Harry scowls and snaps, “Who knows? All I know is that he apparently got an owl early this morning, packed, and left immediately. If anyone does know why, they’re not saying.”

Ginny snags a piece of toast and bites into it, grimacing a bit at it being cold, and then asks, “Who’s left? Who’re you talking about?”

Hermione leans over and whispers, “Draco Malfoy. Apparently he took off this morning and no one seems to know why or where.”

Ginny’s now knows what people mean when they say their hearts stopped. She feels as if the bit of toast she’s eaten will choke her and she closes her eyes, trying to keep herself composed. She gets up and without a word, leaves the Great Hall, Hermione calling after her and Ron starting to get up to follow her before Harry pulls him back. She almost runs back to her dormitory and throws herself on her bed, fighting back the tears that threaten to overwhelm her. As she clenches her hands into her pillow, she notices a scroll lying next to it. She grabs it and reads its contents, her tears blurring the words.

Ginny –

My father has escaped from Azkaban. My mother’s frightened that he will try to force me to join the Dark Lord so we are leaving the country. A Secret Keeper has been arranged so I’ll be unable to contact you.

I didn’t have the courage to tell you before and now I don’t know when or if I’ll ever have the chance.

I love you … and I would give anything if we could be together someday. I know that it’s not possible outside of my dreams, but know that if I could make it possible, I would.

Take care of yourself, please.

I love you.


Ginny crushes the scroll in her hands, holding onto it tightly as if by doing so she can keep Draco with her. Tears trickling down her cheeks, she stares blankly at the wall … she doesn’t move for a very long time.
Epilogue by madalene3666
Standard disclaimer applies, only the plot is mine.

It's Christmas Eve, I'm two thousand miles from my family and I wanted a happy ending. I tried not to be too sappy but if I have, forgive me.

Draco Malfoy stands in Diagon Alley, trying not to be staggered by the rush of emotion he feels at being back in Wizarding London after so long. His mother is next to him, gripping his arm tightly, trembling slightly with her own emotions as she looks around.

“Sometimes I thought we’d never see this again, Draco,” Narcissa whispers, “It’s changed, hasn’t it, or is just me?”

Draco pats his mother’s arm, not sure if it’s for her comfort or his own, and answers only a fraction above a similar whisper, “No, it’s not just you, Mother, we’ve both changed and it’s changed as well.”

They walk to a small shop near the Leaky Cauldron where Severus Snape waits for them. Narcissa clasps his hands gratefully, thankful for his support, while Draco and Snape exchange glances, a wealth of feeling silently transmitted between them. With Snape at their side, they make their way to the Ministry where Arthur Weasley, the Deputy Minister of Magic, is waiting for them. He’s polite but not warm; there’s still a lingering distrust of the Malfoy name.

Arthur Weasley has papers for both Draco and his mother to sign and has a slightly offended air when Draco insists on reading all of them carefully before signing. Draco doesn’t blame Arthur Weasley but nonetheless this is his inheritance and he’s not about to let the Ministry take one Knut more than it can. When everything is signed, Arthur gives Narcissa a small smile and welcomes her back to England and then shakes Draco’s hand and wishes him good luck.

Now that they have the signed papers from the Ministry, they head to Gringott’s, conscious of the curious looks directed at them, generations of Black and Malfoy pride enabling them to ignore them. With Snape still at their side, they sign the necessary papers the Goblins have prepared, transferring the Malfoy vaults from trusteeship to Draco’s control. It’s done now; all of the Malfoy holdings are now back in Malfoy hands.

By the time the three return to the Malfoy townhouse near Diagon Alley, Narcissa is exhausted and Draco’s head is pounding. Malfoy Manor has been closed since they left and both Narcissa and Draco have agreed that until things are more settled, they’ll stay in the London residence. After a light supper, Narcissa embraces Severus Snape, murmuring her thanks, and then bids both men good night. Draco leads Snape to the study and pours them each a snifter of Muggle brandy.

“How are you feeling, Draco?” Snape asks, his eyes hooded as he examines the man he considers a son.

Draco looks at Snape, the man Dumbledore chose as their Secret Keeper, and wonders how he’ll ever repay him for protecting him and his mother all these years. He sighs and then hesitates a moment before answering, “I’m really not too sure just how I feel. It’s only just sinking in that we’re really back, that we’re not in Kansas anymore.” At Snape’s quizzical look, Draco gives a slight shrug and says, “Sorry, just a Muggle expression I picked up in Boston from an old movie.”

“It’s to be expected … after all, you left when you were seventeen and it’s been five years. That’s a long time at such a young age. And of course …” Snape’s voice trails off; not sure of quite how to proceed.

“And of course Mother and I are now faced with the fact that things weren’t as they seemed, at least not at the end,” Draco finishes, a strained note in his voice. “It’s difficult for us both, but we’re coming to grips with it slowly. I think it will take longer for Mother; she keeps second-guessing herself, wondering if he would have done the same if we hadn’t left, wishing that she could have been there with him at the end to tell him that she loved him, no matter what.”

Both Draco and Snape are silent for a few moments, thinking of Lucius Malfoy and how little anyone really knew him, even his own family. Lucius Malfoy, right hand of Voldemort, Death Eater incarnate – that’s what everyone thought, including Narcissa as she fled England with their only child, the Malfoy heir. No one ever thought that Lucius Malfoy would turn against the Dark Lord, secretly circumventing Voldemort’s plans, leaking critical information at opportune times, urging suicidal forays into Ministry strongholds. By the time Harry Potter faced Voldemort in the final battle, Lucius Malfoy had turned the Death Eaters into a fractured, ill-prepared force, most of them ready to bolt at the slightest sign of trouble.

No one suspected any of it and it might never have come to light had it not been for Lucius Malfoy deflecting a fatal curse thrown at Nymphadora Tonks and Ron Weasley and then preventing other Death Eaters from assisting the Dark Lord as he and Harry Potter battled. As Voldemort fell and the realization hit her, Bellatrix Lestrange had howled her rage and sworn her Dark Lord would be avenged. Striking Lucius Malfoy fatally from behind, she then escaped from capture, along with several other Death Eaters. It had been deemed unsafe for Narcissa and Draco to return until she was finally captured only two weeks earlier, still plotting her revenge.

“He knew, Draco, that’s why he did what he did. He loved your mother and you, and the fact that Narcissa felt she had to leave to save you from his fate brought him to his senses. Your father made his choice, Draco, and he paid for it dearly; he lost his family and he atoned for his sins the only way he could,” Snape says gently, knowing that nothing he can say can ever make up for the destruction the Dark Lord wreaked on the Malfoy family.

Narcissa Malfoy is not the only one who regrets not being able to tell him goodbye and that they loved him, it’s a regret Draco will live with for the rest of his life. He closes his eyes; the Malfoys have gained back their fortune, gained back at least some of the honor of the Malfoy name, but the price has been high, oh so very high. He doesn’t allow himself think about the price he paid, the five years spent in exile, the loss of any chance of happiness with the girl who still haunts his dreams. No point in regrets, he thinks, and pours another brandy for each of them.

“So, what’s been going on in the English Wizarding world?” he asks, not really caring but not wanting to discuss anything more personal.

Snape gives him a strange look and then says, “Do you remember Ginevra Weasley from Hogwarts?”

He barely avoids spilling his brandy; the question has caught him totally off guard and he just manages to answer, “The youngest, right? Yes, I vaguely remember her.”

“Draco, for a Slytherin, you don’t lie very well. You don’t think that Dumbledore knew about the two of you?” Snape says with a snort, “I must admit that I was surprised at first when Dumbledore told me that Miss Weasley and you were meeting, but after some consideration I realized that she probably was one of the few people that could relate to what you were going through.” Snape swirls the brandy in the snifter, staring at the liquid as if it could reveal many secrets. “I had feared that we would lose you to the Dark Lord, a fate I fervently wished you would avoid. Miss Weasley earned my eternal gratitude for the part she played in helping you determine the path you should take.”

“Who else knew?” Draco manages to choke out, trying to recover his composure, “I thought we were quite careful to keep it a secret.”

Snapes allows himself a small smile, answering, “Only Dumbledore and I. We both agreed that it would be best to keep it to ourselves. Miss Weasley can be very close-mouthed herself; none of her family or friends knew about her meetings with you.”

Draco pins Snape with his gaze and asks, “So why are you bringing it up now? That was five years ago. Ginny Weasley is just a part of my past.” The words sound false, and he doubts Snape will believe them, but it’s all he has to give at this point.

“Ginevra Weasley was one of the most talented Potions students I had and she entered the Healer program immediately after leaving Hogwarts. She finished the three-year course in two years, even with taking time from her studies to volunteer with the Aurors. For the last two years after the defeat of Voldemort, she’s been specializing in a new type of therapy designed to help assist physical recovery by alleviating mental distress. Oddly enough, the therapy uses a Pensieve. Interesting, isn’t it?” Snape says, watching Draco for his reaction.

“Interesting but not surprising,” Draco says, his gaze softening as he thinks of Ginny Weasley, “She was determined to heal herself, and then to heal me. It seems only natural she would carry that on.” He pictures Ginny as he last saw her, long red hair tied back in a pony-tail, petite form drowning in hand-me-down robes from one of her brothers, bright, open smile as she hugged him. A feeling of warmth rushes through him and he closes his eyes, wanting to see her again, to have her arms around him once more.

Snape keeps his gaze on Draco’s face … the Malfoy mask is gone and Snape feels a pang as he sees the naked longing instead. “Draco,” he says tentatively, “I know you cared for Miss Weasley, and I believe you still do. There’s nothing now to prevent the two of you from being together if that’s what you both want. Why don’t you go and see her?”

“And why don’t you keep your thoughts to yourself,” Draco says with no real malice, “This isn’t a fairy tale and there’s no happy ending for a Malfoy. What I want and what I deserve are two different things, and I don’t deserve someone like her. I’ve too many shadows in my past, Severus, too many shadows.”

“And she doesn’t? Draco, let her make the decision as to whether you deserve her or not. She’s unattached, in fact she hasn’t had any romantic involvement since well before she left Hogwarts … almost as if she were waiting for someone.”

Draco doesn’t reply, simply sips his brandy and stares into the fire. After a while, Snape murmurs his goodbye and leaves Draco sitting alone in the shadows of the study … he has done what he can.

Ginny Weasley puts down the newspaper, the photo of Narcissa and Draco Malfoy in Diagon Alley staring back up at her. The photo’s blurry, as if the photographer just barely had time to snap it before his subjects moved out of range, but she can make out Draco’s features well enough to see that he’s grown into his looks. The boy with the pale, pointed face and tall, lanky frame has become a handsome, well-built man, his demeanor proud and confident.

She wonders if she’ll see him now that he’s back, wonders if he remembers the words he wrote to her just before he left. She hasn’t forgotten – the scroll is carefully preserved in a small box nestled in one of her bureau drawers. As she looks again at the man in the photo, she shakes her head; there’s no reason for such a man to seek out Ginny Weasley. The words he wrote so long ago were likely written in haste, gratitude mistaken for love as he hurried to flee with his mother. No, there’s no reason for such a man to seek her out. Now that he’s back with his looks, his wealth, his restored family status, he’ll return to his place in Wizarding society, a place she’s never been and has never wanted to be.

As she prepares to leave for her shift at St. Mungo’s, she wonders if she’ll ever get it right, if she’ll ever find someone to care for her at the same time she cares for him. All those years of yearning for Harry Potter and now five years of yearning for Draco Malfoy; all of it pointless. Of course, the bitter irony is that after so many years of being oh so over Harry Potter, he came to her shortly after the defeat of Voldemort, telling her that they could now be together. Ginny grimaces as she remembers the backlash from her family at her rejection of the seventh Weasley son … of course it would have been far worse had she confessed that her rejection was based on her love for a Malfoy.

Arriving at St. Mungo’s, she goes into her office and dons her work robes, thankful that the hospital officials have lifted the restriction on colors other than lime-green. She finds the color jarring to her patients and both her robes and her office are a range of soft blues, shades more pleasing and calming to the senses. She feels empty and unsettled and knows that it’s due to seeing that photo in the newspaper this morning. For five long years, Draco Malfoy was beyond her reach and now he’s not; he’s back in England and foolish as it is, she wants to see him. She forces her thoughts back under control and starts reading the file on her first patient of the day.

Draco is somber as he sits at the table in the morning room, sipping his coffee slowly and perusing the newspaper. He spent a restless night, tossing in part from exhaustion but mostly from his conversation with Severus Snape. Ginny Weasley, the girl he’s loved for so long but without any hope … he can’t let himself believe that there might be a chance.

Narcissa walks into the room, her gaze brightening as it lights upon her son. She too spent a restless night, tormented as usual by the choices she made and the doubts she still has on those choices. The conversation she had with Severus Snape two years ago is forever seared in her mind. He had come to Boston to tell them that although Voldemort had been defeated, they were still in danger due to the twisted plans of Bellatrix Lestrange. He had then gone on to tell them about Lucius and the unexpected part he had played in Voldemort’s defeat. She had sank back into her chair, stunned, while Draco had simply walked out of the room, his face a stony mask.

Two years and not one day has gone by without her wondering what the outcome would have been had she not fled England with Draco on learning that Lucius had escaped from Azkaban. Would he have still turned against Voldemort? Would he have fled England with them? She has so many questions … and all of them without answers and no possibility of ever getting them.

Not all of them, she thinks as she looks at her son, she now has one question that has an answer. She often wondered why Draco made the choice not to follow the Dark Lord, but he never told her and she never asked as the fact that he’d made that choice was enough for her. It wasn’t until last night when she had gone to the study to find a book to help her fall asleep and had inadvertently eavesdropped on Draco and Snape that she learned about Ginny Weasley and the part she had played in her son’s life. She made up her mind then … if Draco has any chance of happiness, she’ll move heaven and earth to make sure he gets it.

She sits gracefully into the chair opposite him and watches as he picks at his breakfast, systematically destroying the toast without taking a bite. Finally she speaks, her voice rousing him from his preoccupation, “Draco, go and see her.”

Draco looks up at her, his face frozen for a moment and then says slowly, “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Mother.”

Narcissa holds his gaze as she replies, “Oh yes, Draco, you do. You know exactly what I’m talking about. And before you ask, Severus didn’t break your confidence – I overheard the two of you talking last night. I owe Miss Weasley a great deal it seems.”

She watches as her son’s face flushes slightly and his gaze drops back to his plate. She reaches across the table and takes one of his hands and squeezes it softly as she asks, “Draco, why don’t you want to see her? And don’t tell me it’s because you don’t deserve her … that’s rubbish and you know it.”

He meets her gaze again and the pain in his eyes startles her for a moment. How has she missed this? Has she been so caught up in her own grief and doubts that she’s totally overlooked her son?

“She helped me because that’s the sort of person she is, Mother, nothing more. Yes, I cared for her and I still do, but I resigned myself to the fact long ago that it’s not possible. You saw how Arthur Weasley acted yesterday. It was a Malfoy that almost got their only daughter killed in her first year. How do you think they’d react to a Malfoy wanting to marry her?”

Narcissa starts in surprise and looks at Draco fearfully, knowing the answer before he even says it. “Yes, Mother, Father was responsible for Ginny Weasley’s possession by Voldemort. He slipped her Tom Riddle’s bloody diary when we ran into the Weasleys in Diagon Alley. The Weasleys and Dumbledore weren’t just persecuting Father by blaming him for her possession – he did it,” Draco says bitterly. “Add to that my own run-ins with her brothers and Potter … well, I’m not going to embarrass her by confessing my feelings. I know how she’ll react.”

It’s difficult but Narcissa manages to push away the shock of finding out yet another crime by Lucius to concentrate on her son. “Draco, you may think that you know how she’ll react but you don’t … and you won’t until you see her and tell her. Believe me, it may be painful to find out the answer but it’s far worse not to have the chance to ask the question,” she says in a low voice, pain in every syllable. “Take the chance. What do you have to lose? You have everything to gain.”

Draco turns his gaze away from her and stares out the window. After a long moment, he nods his head slightly and then rises and leaves the room. Narcissa sits at the table and hopes fervently he will do as she has urged. If Ginny Weasley loves her son as he loves her, she’ll personally fight the Weasley family on their behalf.

Draco stands outside the entrance to St. Mungo’s, wondering if he’s mad to even consider this. Better to know, he tells himself, than to have the same doubts and regrets that his mother has. With that in mind, he says firmly, “Draco Malfoy to see Ginevra Weasley,” and the moth-eaten dummy in the dusty window beckons him in. He walks to the desk and is directed to the third floor, the witch behind the desk looking at him strangely as she gives him directions. Once he’s standing outside the door to her office though, his resolve falters and he almost turns away. Finally he knocks and at her muffled command to come in, slowly opens the door.

Ginny’s sitting at her desk, head bowed over the file she’s reading, the sunlight from the window turning her hair into a nimbus of fire. She looks up and her eyes go wide in shock as she sees Draco standing there. There’s a moment of hesitation and then she rushes to him and hugs him tightly, tears trickling down her cheeks. His knees almost buckle at the sensation of having her arms around him again and he clasps her to him, resting his cheek against her hair. They stand that way for a moment and then before he can think better of it he lifts her face to his and kisses her. His pulse races as she returns the kiss, deepening it, one hand rising to cup his cheek.

They’re both out of breath by the time they pull apart and stare at one another. “You’re back,” she murmurs, “You’re really back.” She traces the contours of his face, wonder in her own face as she feels him, really feels him after all this time.

“Ginny,” he says, a hitch in his voice, “I love you so much … I’ll understand if you can’t love me back but I had to tell you … I couldn’t not say it, not let you know.”

She closes her eyes and just feels the joy of hearing him actually say the words, and then with a strangled cry, throws herself back into his arms. “Draco, you idiot – who the hell do you think I’ve been waiting for?” She’s laughing and crying at the same time and to Draco’s astonishment, so is he. It’s a long time before either of them can speak, their lips and bodies saying what their mouths can’t. Finally they manage to break apart and collapse on Ginny’s worn office sofa, her nestled in his lap, arms clasped around his neck.

“Marry me, Ginny. Please, make me happy,” he says, his mouth against her neck.

“Of course,” she answers, tilting her head so that his mouth meets hers, “I want to be happy too.”

Narcissa Malfoy sits in the formal rose garden of Malfoy Manor, Severus Snape beside her, awaiting the bridal procession. Just behind Narcissa are her sister Andromeda and her husband Ted, along with their daughter Nymphadora and her fiancée, Remus Lupin. There’s a smattering of Draco’s Slytherin friends as well, Blaise Zabini, Pansy Parkinson and Greg Goyle the most notable. On the other side of the aisle are the Weasleys and all their family and friends, outnumbering the Malfoy side by a substantial number but Narcissa doesn’t care. Her eyes are fixed on her son, standing in front of Dumbledore, waiting for his bride.

Ginny Weasley comes down the aisle with her father, almost rushing him in her haste to get to her future husband. Arthur Weasley carefully transfers her hand to Draco’s and has to swallow hard to restrain the tears he feels at seeing the two of them, so obviously in love. His daughter, his precious only daughter … now the wife of a Malfoy; it’s not at all what he imagined for her but it’s what she wants.

As Dumbledore intones the words that will bind them forever, Draco looks deeply into Ginny’s eyes and wonders how he, a Malfoy, could have been so blessed. What had started as a selfish mission to deal with his hate had resulted in his finding the love he had sought for so long.
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