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The Unexpected Path Of Love by rae_grace
A Quick Discovery by rae_grace
I would like to dedicate this story to my friends Cookie, B-girl and Pink Angel! Thanx for putting up with me!! I hope everyone else enjoys too!! I would also like to thank Icy, who did an amazing job editing this for me! Thank you! I hope you all enjoy!
The rain hadn’t stopped yet. It had been raining the day that the students arrived, and it had continued the entire week. By the time the weekend came all that she had wanted to do was spend the day reading under a cozy blanket. So that was what she was doing.
Ginny had spent the afternoon reading, and had become so absorbed in her book that she had skipped lunch. Soon supper would start in the great hall and though her book was almost done, Ginny knew that if she didn’t eat, she would have to sneak down to the kitchen while everyone was asleep.
Finally getting the will power to rise from the alcove by the window, she threw her blanket onto the bed and put her bookmark into the dog-eared pages of her book. After throwing the book down too, she stretched and left the room in the crumpled clothes that she had been lying in all day. She didn’t take the time to put on her faded robes that hung beside her bed.
Today, Ginny could have cared less about appearances. She was happy to go down to dinner without brushing her hair or tidying her dress. Of course, she had always had hand-me-down robes that were faded and worn, but Ginny made sure that she was always clean and tidy. This morning she hadn’t felt that it mattered. At breakfast she had gone down early in her pajamas and then spent the entire day in her room. Why get dressed up now for just one meal?
As she walked into the Great Hall she looked up to see the rain falling down from the ceiling above. Though the magic drizzle didn’t soak the students, by now it had dampened everyone’s spirits. She turned toward the Gryffindor table and searched for an empty seat, luckily there happened to be one near Ron, Hermione and Harry. Ginny walked over, sat down, and began eating.
“Well, the ‘monster’ has risen,” was Ron’s first remark.
“You can’t even say ‘hello’ before you tease me, you’re rotten,” she shot back at her brother as she began to eat the food that the table was laden with. “And since when have I ever resembled a monster?”
“Well, your style right now is close to it,” he replied with a smirk. “You have the worst hair I’ve ever seen.”
“It’s not that bad, is it? I couldn’t be bothered,” Ginny asked, thinking that looking in the mirror before she had left may have been a good idea after all.
“I don’t know. I’ve seen worse, but it does look like you haven’t brushed since yesturday,” Hermione kindly answered over the top of a book. “Nothing to worry about, no one really cares; it seems like most of us spent today in our common rooms anyway. This rain has to stop soon or I think we will all go mad.”
“I know! If it doesn’t improve by Quidditch time it will be a very depressing season,” replied Harry, shoveling mashed potatoes into his mouth.
“Harry, that’s a month away. If it hasn’t stopped by then, I swear I’ll throw myself from the highest tower,” Ginny groaned at the prospect of the rain continueing that long.
“And then you’ll be looking for another new chaser.”
“A new keeper, too, ’cause I’ll be the second one off that tower,” Ron added, making everyone laugh at the notion of both Weasley siblings leaving Harry to find new players for the Gryffindor Quidditch team.
Ginny stood to leave, having finished her meal in record time.
“I can’t believe you’re done already,” Hermione complained.
“Yeah, don’t you like us, sis?” Ron asked, pretending to pout.
“Of course I do! But there is a book upstairs that is calling for me to finish the last six pages. I may be down in the common room later though. If I feel like it,” Ginny then left the group behind to finish their own suppers.
She had eaten enough, but if she got hungry later she knew that Grace Jansen, her roommate, had a personal stash of goodies under her bed that she would be happy to share.
When she’d left the Great Hall, she had intended to go upstairs and continue reading. However, as she was making her way towards Gryffindor tower, she discovered that the peaceful quiet of the halls made her want to wander. So Ginny continued to stroll through the beautiful castle that was as much her home as it was her school.
While most students may have worried about getting caught wandering the halls during dinner, Ginny found it calming to know that the chances of being bothered were very slim and so she walked on.
She became lost in her own mind. At times she had stopped to look at paintings, tapestries or other school artifacts. Ginny had kindly given a few lost first years directions when she has found them enadering aimlessly in the halls. She remembered having the same problem her first year.
Hours after the feast in the Great Hall had finished, Ginny continued to wander, content being alone.She thought back to dinner, and it was surprising that everyone was so happy, especially her brother and his friends. They were all so threatened by the Dark Lord now, but at Hogwarts everyone seemed to be able to forget what might happen so soon in the future; able to forget what Harry was going to have to fight against.
Since her 3rd year when Harry had taken hold of the portkey and come back with the horrible news that he-who-must-not-be-named had returned, the Dark Lord’s power had only become more and more threatening.
He was rumored to have total control over all of the Dementors, which left the Ministry with the problem of having to guard all the prisoners in Azkaban. His group of Death Eaters had grown and become more lethal than before. They had started to kill again after the Ministry had accepted that Voldemort was alive. Few muggle born wizards were safe anymore.
In spite of this, the students at Hogwarts seemed to be oblivious to the horrors in the world around. Some even had families in hiding, but it still seemed that everyone was willing to laugh as long as they were surrounded by the comfort and safety of Hogwarts.
Even though Harry had the burden of knowing that most wizards thought he was the only one who could kill Voldemort, he was still able to relax and enjoy himself while at Hogwarts.
As she thought, Ginny walked up to a set of doors that seemed to lead out onto a balcony. She looked through the glass at the rain that continued to fall. It seemed like it had stared to fall harder during the time she had spent discovering more of the school. It was her sixth year at Hogwarts, but Ginny knew that she had never been to this part of the castle before. If she had, she either didn’t remember any of it or it looked drastically different at night.
The rain that was falling called to her. All she wanted to do was walk out the doors and get soaked by the falling rain. "It’s so beautiful," she thought to herself, "even if it hasn’t stopped."
Slowly she put her hand onto the brass doorknob so she could walk out. As her tiny hand pushed down on the large handle, the glass door swung open. At first she just stood there in the doorframe listening to the sound of the raindrops hitting the roof and walls of the castle. The sound had been magnified when the door opened. Her next step was unsure and led her out onto the stone of the balcony. The rain hit her head, shoulders, arms, and everything else at the same time, drenching her within seconds. It ran down her forehead and cheeks. The feeling was brilliant. Ginny smiled and laughed, throwing her arms up into the air and closing her eyes to let the feeling of the rain take her over.
When she opened her eyes again she walked to a banister made of stone carved to form hearts and spirals. The balcony’s structure was breathtaking and as she looked out at the grounds of the school she released a small gasp.
The view was just as breathtaking. It was the most spectacular view she had ever seen even as the rain soaked her and the earth. She was able to see most of the castle itself as well as the lake and the forbidden forest. Hogsmeade was visible, off in the distance with the lights of the town still shining. Ginny was in awe.
She could have stood there for the rest of the night even if the rain continued or the night sky became too dark to see. Ginny didn’t know where she was exactly, but she already knew that she wanted to come back. Well, actually, she did have an idea of where she was. She could see the Gryffindor tower from where she stood looking out. She began to laugh again.
Suddenly a hand placed its weight on Ginny’s shoulder. Ginny spun around in panic and as she did, let out a small scream. Having completely turned to face whoever thought it would be funny to sneak up on her, Ginny was shocked to see the last person she would had expected.
Draco Malfoy’s hand was still on her shoulder. By instinct, Ginny had grabbed it with both of her own hands. The look on Malfoy's face scared Ginny more than she’d ever want to admit aloud. Not that it mattered really because she knew that Malfoy was well aware of the affect his appearance had made. He glared down at her and his silver gray eyes shot daggers into her heart. The rain that had seemed warm was now making her shiver.
As Malfoy looked down at the shivering and soaking form before him, a sneer came upon his face and his glare continued. It seemed to Ginny that they stood there without moving for hours, but then it couldn’t possibly have been longer than a few minutes.
When time finally started to move again, Draco pushed Ginny into the hallway and closed the door to the balcony.
“Well, Weasel, aren’t you a sight. You look like a drowned cat. How long were you standing out there, anyway?” Draco spat at her, a smile on his face told Ginny that he was enjoying this immensely.
Getting her wits back, she started to shape an answer. “I don’t really know, but why you had to sneak up behind me for no reason is beyond me, Malfoy. I wasn’t doing anything wrong.”
She didn’t know if that was completely true since she knew nothing about the balcony that she had been standing on, but she wasn’t about to give in to Malfoy, especially after he had scared her so badly.
“I snuck up on you, as you put it, Weasel, because you are out of bed past curfew and it is my duty as the Head Boy to make sure that people like you, who have such a blatant neglect of the rules, get put in detention.”
“Since when have you ever cared about the rules, Malfoy? Whoever decided that you’d be the Head Boy was seriously ill. Anyway, it can’t be that late, is it? I’ve only been wandering around since supper,” Ginny said, suddenly becoming aware of the water she was dripping onto the floor.
"It couldn’t really be past curfew that was ridiculous? If the idiot was right then she had been wandering for more than four hours.’
“That explains how you managed to get to this side of the school. Weren’t paying much attention to where you were going. Doubt then you even know where you are.”
While some may have thought that the last part of Malfoy’s speech was a question, Ginny saw it for what it really was: a statement and an insult. She knew him too well to think any differently.
For her brothers, fighting with Malfoy was reserved for drastic situations, but Ginny was unique. She fought with Malfoy for fun. It was a way to get out bottled up emotions. Little of what he actually said about her and her family hurt anymore.
At first Ginny had only fought back when he had started, but as time progressed she had begun to pick as many fights as he did. The things they said could be biting. Ginny had never really been scared of Malfoy and that was a dangerous thing. Ginny and Malfoy had a history of constantly bickering with each other. They shot remarks back and forth in the hall nearly everyday. They were also known for public verbal fights that normally drew a large crowd and got them both detentions.
When the fights were really bad things could get nasty. Once one of their ‘spectators’ had been turned on when a 3rd year had the misfortune of muttering something to his friends that neither of the combatants had liked. Both had gotten two weeks of detention that time, but usually only considerable points were deducted from their houses. They had a bizarre relationship and she would be the first to admit it.
Suddenly Ginny was snapped out of her dreamy state literally. Draco fingers were millimeters from her face snapping away as their owner drawled something about her being ‘completely incompetent’ and ‘truly listless'. At that Ginny shocked the pompous git by trying to bite the fingers he had been clicking in front of her face and to her amazement she bit down on flesh.
“What the bloody hell did you do that for, Weasel?” Draco whined the only way a Malfoy knew how to, with a sneer and a deathly look in his eyes. He quickly pulled his fingers away from the vicinity of her mouth.
“It’s your own fault for invading my personal space. Anyway you’re the one who didn’t have his guard up,” she said calmly, secretly enjoying his annoyance.
“I didn’t need to know you have sharp teeth, Weasley! You could have saved that for some other night. Anyway, you have detention for a week. With Filch if I can manage it. It would have only been one night, but then you decided that sinking your fangs into me would be fun.” All of his annoyance was suddenly gone as he revelled in her shock and anger.
“I can’t believe you. You come here and treat me like trash and then when I fight back I end up in detention for a week. It’s your own fault that there’s blood dripping off that finger of yours! You’re just extremely lucky that I didn’t take it right off. THERE IS NO WAY I AM GOING TO DETENTION FOR A WEEK BECAUSE YOU CANT KEEP YOUR FILTHY NOSE OUT OF OTHER PEOPLES’ BUSINESS AND YOU DAMN WELL THINK YOU OWN THIS BLOODY SCHOOL!!” Ginny had shocked even her. She hadn’t expected to be so affected by this turn of events. Detention was annoying, but really not that bad especially she was head of her year. Even if it was dentention with Filch!
No, it wasn’t the detention that had gotten her so angry. It was the look in his eyes when he caught her on the balcony. The way the intensity of that look had increased as he accused her of being lost and then again just now when he had told her about the detentions she had gotten for no reason. That look irked her. It was the first time she had seen it in her adversary’s eyes and it scared her; truly scared her. For the first time in her life, she was willing to admit that Draco Malfoy was more powerful then she would ever be.
Something had changed in him. She wasn’t entirely sure how she knew this from just one look, but somehow… she knew. It was a look that told her she was trapped and that he was in charge. It told her that he enjoyed seeing the pain and fear in her own eyes and above all, it told her to run. She wasn’t dealing with the same old Draco anymore.
Ginny just stood there staring into those icy eyes as the information fitted together. When she finally moved, she looked around at her surroundings trying to find a quick escape, but just walking away would not work. The evil look in his eyes told her that he would follow. If she tried to run, there was no way he wouldn’t catch her. Next she thought she could hex him, but then she remembered that her wand was in her robes and her robes happened to be hanging in her room. She had no more ideas. Well there was one, but talking herself out of this didn’t seem like the smartest idea.
As she formulated in her mind what to say, Ginny realized one last thing, Malfoy knew that she was looking for a way out and he was enjoying her struggle. She also knew that Draco hadn’t just been doing his regular Head Boy duties, he had been hunting for students to torture. Of course with her luck, Ginny had presented herself as an easy target.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Malfoy,” she started, looking to be as docile as she could manage. If anyone came around the corner now Ginny would never live it down. She was scared, but being obedient to a Malfoy was definitely her last choice of rescue. “I shouldn’t have yelled at you or tried to bite your finger. It was very rude and not very considerate. I would like you to know that I am truly apologetic.” She hoped this worked or she would be in some serious trouble with no way out of it. She had chosen to be as tactful as possible and had brought out her mental dictionary to sound as dignified as she could, but there was no way to know how he would take this sudden change of tone.
As she looked up into his face again she realized that she had truly stunned him with her words. She could all tell this from his eyes. She had learned long ago that the only place to find any emotion on a Malfoys’ face was through their eyes and as time went on she found herself constantly staring into his mesmerizing. As he realized what she was doing he blinked and all emotion that had been there disappeared.
His next words came with scorn and anger. “If you think that will get you out detention, weasel, you’re sadly mistaken.” He slowly started to advance on her position as he continued. Though he got closer he had not yet started to invade her space. “If anything it will get you more for not having any backbone. There’s only one thing a Slytherin hates more then a Gryffindor and that’s a Gryffindor with no gumption.” He had finally gotten too close, but Ginny wasn’t about to move. She stood her ground, continuing to look into the eyes that would tell her when it was time for a new plan or when time was simply up and she had no escape.
Ginny didn’t know how to answer, but she was going to try anyway. “Draco, I really am sorry. The detentions are fine, they aren’t a problem, and I really shouldn’t have been out this late.” She added to herself, ‘for my own safety.’
“I’ll even do them with Filch if you think that’s best. Just let me go back to my common room, please. Please, Draco, please let me go. Don’t hurt me.” She had started to plead with him as the final words escape her mouth. She had no more pride left, all she wanted was leave and do it fast. Draco had changed since last year; something about him was…she didn’t know what, but then in the back of her mind Ginny put things together as Draco answered her pleas.
“Look at you plead, you’re pathetic. If only there was someone to witness this brilliant display of docility. I can’t wait to tell all the Slytherins about a Weasley begging a Malfoy for sympathy. It’s too good to be true, but… you may go, Weasley, you’ve provided enough entertainment.” He said, as if he was commanding his family’s house-elf, but Ginny didn’t really notice.
She had been given permission to leave, but as she started to connect the dots she barely noticed. He was still towering over her directly in front of her chest, but it no longer bothered Ginny. Draco’s father was Lucius Malfoy, and he was Lord Voldemort’s right hand man. Ginny now knew what to call the look that haunted Draco’s eyes now. It was a look of pure evil and guilt. Draco had done something that even Ginny had thought was beyond his capabilities. Draco was mean, nasty, annoying, and extremely egotistical, but never to the point that she had thought he would do this. There was only one way for Ginny to prove her theory and she wasn’t leaving until she had.
Quickly Ginny grabbed Malfoy's left arm, lifting it high enough for her to be able to push back the sleeve of his white shirt. She moved as quickly as possible so that he wouldn’t have time to stop her. It seemed like time stopped as she pushed the fabric with her shaking fingers. She wasn’t sure why she cared about what she would discover, but she did, and she knew that it would be something very important.
She gasped as she looked at the hideous dark mark on his arm. Thinking that he would retaliate when she found out, she braced herself, but nothing came. She couldn’t stand to look up, but just stared at his arm, realizing the gravity of the situation. During the summer Draco had become a death eater just like his father, he worked for Voldemort now and somehow that changed Ginny. She was dazed and what she did next she never understood.
“Oh, Draco, you could have been a great wizard.” She whispered without thinking through her words. Slowly she bent down slightly and brushed her lips again the black ink that stained his otherwise perfect arm.
Finally he spoke softly and without much malice, “You figured it out fast, much faster then I thought you would, but you’re in trouble now, Weasley. I trust you won’t tell anyone about this encounter, now will you? Well, that’s a good girl.” His voice was silk, but Ginny had again looked up at his eyes and she knew the truth. Her actions had startled him and even though she knew his words were true, they were also superficial. He knew Ginny wouldn’t tell anyone because she knew if she did, life would be over.
Ginny turned and ran down the hall, tears steaming down her face for no apparent reason as she headed to the safety of her bed.
After that night, Ginny hadn’t known what to think. She had felt so much in those short minutes, but confusion was all there was now. She had thought it over most of the week, but there was still no answer to the simple question: why?
Why had she felt that he had disappointed her? Why had she cried? Why had she so tenderly kissed the mark on his arm? The biggest question, though, was: why hadn’t she told anyone about Malfoy’s obvious allegiance to the Dark Lord?
She had started small and began answering all the questions that swarmed in her head. Did she like Draco romantically? No, but something had formed between them because she was surprised to find that he had hurt her. It was like her innocence had been taken away. She would never be able to bicker with Malfoy again without the feeling that it all meant more. It made the threat to her safety and family a reality. He had become that threat.
Why had she been triggered by this event? He had always been an enemy. Why was it strange that the selfish prat would shock her into the reality around her? Why had it not been Harry fighting with Voldemort or her family’s involvement in the Order? Why had it been what she had expected from Malfoy, son of a death eater?
She had avoided him all week, much to his annoyance. She was always with someone and he was never able to approach her. She changed her route to classes each day so that she wouldn’t have a regular schedule. She knew that he wanted to talk to her… or really, she knew that he wanted to threaten her, which made her desire to stay away from him even stronger.
He seemed to be around every corner she turned, but so far he hadn’t caught her. She was becoming completely paranoid about where she went and whom she was with, but no one else seemed to have noticed that Ginny had become quite the socialite the past week.
She knew that she’d have to let him talk to her eventually because it was driving her insane avoiding him constantly, but she had just needed some time to think or he would get the better of her. She would give into whatever he wanted just to get him off her back.
Looking up from her lunch, Ginny was very aware that behind her, Malfoy’s eyes were drilling into her back. She didn’t need to turn around to know that he had been watching her. In fact, she had noticed that he – and a few of his fellow Slytherins – had been observing her intently for the last few days. It was time to give Malfoy his chance or he would start getting angry soon.
As she got up from her seat and walked out of the great hall she made it a point to show her shadow across the room that she was going to be alone. She also quickly told her brother exactly where she was planning on going and that she would be back in the common room in about an hour. Then she exited the doors, wondering if Malfoy would take the opportunity that she had so graciously given him.
Slowly she walked up the stairs without any apparent care. She was headed somewhere specific. She had discovered that the balcony from the previous weekend was very close to the Gryffindor common room, which would be good for her if things turned sour. She hoped that Draco wouldn’t bring any friends along, because if he did, she had just made a very poor decision.
When she reached her destination, Ginny opened the doors, stood on the balcony and waited. She had decided on the way up that if he didn’t come within ten minutes he would lose his chance and she would be gone.
The rain had stopped on Wednesday and the view from the balcony was only more beautiful. The sun shone on everything in her view and the chill in the air from the upcoming fall weather was barely noticeable. She smiled as she watched the silhouette of Hagrid walk from his hut up to the castle. She could also see other students on the grounds talking with friends and working on homework. Nothing had changed for them, they were all still happy.
Ginny found it hard to laugh now. The situation was the same, people were still in trouble; death would soon come if defenses weren’t built. Ginny finally saw that. She saw the situation with new eyes. She finally understood what others still hadn’t realized – serious changes would have to be made if they were going to remain safe.
Again, a hand placed itself on her right shoulder as it had the last time she had stood on the balcony. This time, she didn’t jump or scream, she had been expecting it.
“What have you wanted to tell me, Draco?” Ginny asked calmly, acknowledging the person standing behind her.
“Nothing, Weasley. Just wanted to see how you’ve been feeling.” He replied from behind her. He had made sure there was no emotion in his voice.
Ginny laughed sarcastically at his lie. “I’ve been fine. I managed to avoid you all week though it has been quite the feat. I’ve been dodging behind corners and inviting myself along on other people’s outings. Makes you very tired, really. So stop being polite and tell me what you want. I don’t have the energy to be nice.”
“Alright, I’ll gladly be direct. Who have you told?” Draco spat, still standing out of view.
“You expect me to believe that, weasel.” He was getting irritated and that wasn’t good. Just like she had told someone where she was going, he most likely had also done so, but unlike her, he had a way of calling his 'associates' from a distance. Not good.
“My name is Ginny or… Ginevra, if you really must. I’m telling you the truth. Why wouldn’t I?” she was determined to be calm and for some reason to convince him of the truth.
“Why should you? You’re the daughter of a Weasley. You are my enemy. It would be to your advantage to tell all of those whom are protecting you.” He still had his hand on her shoulder, and was standing behind her, but he had calmed down it seemed and was no longer worried about being jumped by an auror or something to that effect.
“True, but I know that they already consider the Slytherins a threat. I wouldn’t be informing them of anything. We already know that most of your parents are death eaters and that you are informants and possible future death eaters yourselves. It wouldn’t be big news,” she had also truly calmed down. He hadn’t brought anybody else along to gang up on her.
“Still not a good enough reason, Ginny.” He had finally lifted his hand from her shoulder, but he continued to stand behind her.
“Then tell me what I have to do to convince you, because I really can’t stand you being my shadow,” she turned around after she noticed that he had actually used her name. When she had completely turned she found that she was looking into his gray eyes once again. “Why did you think I’d know? You said that night that it had taken me less time than you expected. What did you mean?”
She had caught him off guard again by changing the topic, and even though he didn’t show it externally, she knew because it was all in those damn eyes. Anything he didn’t want to say out loud was put into those eyes. While most people didn’t pay enough attention, Ginny seemed to be pulled toward those eyes, which let her know so much more about him. As she continued to stare, she realized that underneath the shock of her words was the same evil that had been there Saturday night, but it was no longer as evident, not as potent.
“I just knew,” he stated. “You have the annoying habit of knowing too much for your own good. I’ve also noticed that you are able to see things that most people don’t want you to recognize. I don’t know if that is a magical gift you possess or just an ordinary social talent, but this summer it was apparent to me that if I was able to keep you from finding out then I would easily fool everyone else. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened so the two of us will just have to work this out.”
“It’s your eyes, you know. You’re good at hiding any physical reaction, but if anyone else took the time to look in your eyes they’d know everything you hide, feel, want, care for and a great deal more.”
“What are you talking about? None of this matters anyway. You ask what you can do to convince me of the truth and I have an answer for you, weasel.” He had returned to using that insulting name, but it didn’t bother her much right now. She wanted to know what he had in mind.
“Alright, what is it then?”
“If you would not interrupt me, I would happily tell you. It is as much a deal as it is a solution, dear.” Ginny was surprised. Where the heck had that come from? Dear? Now that was just wrong. “We’ll start with me believing you when you say you’ve told no one this week, but from now on you’ll wear this.” He pulled a delicate necklace out of his robes and held it up for her to see. A solid silver heart hung on a chain of silver. The chain wasn’t that long and seemed that it would only drop down about where her chest met her neck. It was so beautiful. He continued as she admired the jewelry.
“Now I know it’s a bit too rich for your taste, Weasley, but it was the cheapest I could purchase without tarnishing the Malfoy name. It is enchanted and you will wear it at all times. If you are to tell someone your little secret, the charm will transform and will not change back whatever you may try. If you are not wearing the necklace whenever I see you during the day, I will naturally assume that you are hiding it from me. And if you think that you can get away with telling someone if you’re not wearing when you inform someone, you are mistaken. After you touch it for the first time, it is connected to you, and it will still transform. The last thing you need to know is that the necklace is not enchanted with dark magic, but a very common and very useful charm called Allineare Onesta. If you’re extremely curious about how it works you will find information on it very easily in the library. Now good night, Miss Weasley, I’ll be watching you.” He placed the necklace down onto the nearby ledge of a stone pot, leaving it there for her. Then he turned on his heel and walked away silently.
“You’re an arrogant prat. Managed not to give me any choice didn’t you, Draco?” She was talking to thin air.
She looked down at the heart and chain. At least he had some taste, or there would have been no way she would have worn it. It was silver, almost. There was a glow about it that made it shimmer in the light, though that could have been the particular charm he had used. It was actually quite striking, and she knew that she would never have seen or – let alone bought it – if it weren’t for Malfoy. Which, of course, was something she would never admit to him, though.
At that, she reached down to pick up the necklace to wrap around her neck where it would lay most of the time from now on. Before her fingers touched it she realized something strange. Draco had said that as soon as she touched the silver accessory, she would be connected to it. However, instead of handing it to her or putting it on her neck, Draco had placed it on the stone so that she would have to pick it up of her own free will. Draco had given her a choice. It wasn’t obvious and if she hadn’t noticed it wouldn’t have mattered, but it was still a choice. She could leave and never put it on. It was her decision. She could just walk away and leave it right there, yet she knew that Draco would be very angry and her only chance would vanish.
This wasn’t what she wanted. She would do anything not to have to make this choice, but he had put it on her shoulders. As she thought, she realized that her only other choice was death, which wasn’t acceptable.
With a wavering hand, she reached out and touched the necklace and it was done. Slowly she picked it up and opened the clasp. She reached around her neck and closed the deal, so to speak. She wasn’t about to lose the heart so she put a sealing charm on the tiny metal parts so it wouldn’t open accidentally.
Looking once more at the horizon and the happy students, Ginny turned and walked off the balcony and closed the door. A part of her freedom was gone now, but only a little piece. She could still be happy and be loved. It was true, Malfoy would keep a close watch on her, but then again, she would be watching right back.
Ginny walked back to the common room clutching the new piece of jewelry with her hand and sub-consciously playing with the heart.
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