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Not Quite Fate by Hearts Cadence
Desperate by Hearts Cadence
A/N – I’m really sorry for the wait, but for the past week or so I could not for the life of me find time for fan fiction…or sleep, for that matter. I’ve pretty much been running on coffee. It’s been insane beyond belief. The next one shouldn’t take as long, assuming no more nasty surprises come my way. But it’s all over in two weeks anyway (well, not work, but school’s the real culprit here), so then I’ll have more time.

Thank you for your patience!

- - - - -

Chapter 29 – Desperate

Pierce finished off his drink and slammed down the glass. He strode to one end of the room, did an about-face, and paced back, fingers running through sandy-blond hair that had grown longer and shaggier than ever. He stopped at the liquor cabinet and poured himself another shot.

This was bad. This was very, very bad. In fact, it was so bad that it probably couldn’t possibly get any worse. He squeezed his eyes shut and threw back the drink. He shouldn’t have thought that. Things only ever got worse after you thought that.

But Potter was back now. Potter was back, and Draco was not, and that was a very, very bad combination.

Pierce had only one saving grace: most of the school, even most of the staff didn’t know about Harry Potter’s return. Pierce himself knew no details, actually, beyond the simple fact of it, and he only knew that much because he happened to have been discussing an unruly student with Minerva when the little brat came strutting into her office. The Headmistress wanted to minimize the threat to Potter as much as possible, and that meant keeping his arrival a secret insofar as was possible.

Oddly enough, the Weasley girl had been with the Trio. How she found them first he didn’t know (Minerva had immediately sent him away with rigid courtesy), but there Ginny had been, hanging on to her brother’s arm like he might try to Disapparate at any moment. Upon seeing Pierce, her lips had pressed into a tight, white line, narrowed eyes flashing malice at him and maybe even a little panic as she glanced between him and Potter. Curious.

He probably should report this to the Dark Lord as soon as possible. It would certainly be noteworthy information, and Voldemort might even reward him nicely for the news. The thought flitted across his mind, but soon drowned beneath a fresh wave of panic when he did a quick mental count of how many days Draco had been missing.

Oh, Merlin and all the Witches and Wizards that ever lived. This was bad, bad….

Even in the complete disaster of all this, though, Pierce had managed to find one thing amusing. He gave a grim smile as he poured another drink. Weasley had certainly been clinging to her brother for dear life…but she didn’t lay so much as a finger on Potter. The boy had his hand resting on the small of her back, but the girl showed no inclination of touching him back. Pierce at least knew the reason for that, and he knew soon it would cause some good old fashioned teenage drama. It pleased him to know that he tailored that particular mischief.

Pierce collapsed back onto the sofa with a fresh drink in hand, closing his eyes. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if the Weasley girl admitted to Potter that the reason she no longer wanted him was because she was too busy worrying over her new and currently missing flame, who just so happened to be his worst enemy, Draco Malfoy?

Pierce smiled vaguely at the thought, sipping his liquor. Potter would most likely explode, and then, of course, blame Malfoy for the catastrophe, and Potter’s next adventure could be the search to find the Missing Malfoy. Pierce wouldn’t mind. He certainly was having no luck in that particular search, so why not let the boy-hero take a whack at it?

His musings were cut off when the door abruptly crashed open and a swollen-faced Pansy Parkinson stomped into his office. Pierce couldn’t help but stare at the purple and green mottled flesh of her nose, ballooned to at least twice its normal size and more pug-like than ever.

“Professor! I need to speak with you.”

He blinked, then quickly set aside his drink and rose. “Uh…yes, of course. May I, um, ask what happened to your…?”

“It’s awful isn’t it?” Her hands flew to cover her face. “It was that horrid Weasley girl!”


Parkinson gave a fierce nod. “She got into the common room somehow, and she just punched me for absolutely no reason at all!”

By now she’d lowered her hands again, and Pierce barely managed to hold back a grimace. “I highly doubt there was no reason,” he said dryly.

“It’s true!” she wailed. “And she broke my wand, Professor!” She dug around in her pocket and thrust four pieces of splintered wood at him. “See?!”

Pierce glanced at them. “Yes, Miss Parkinson, I see. Shouldn’t you be in the Hospital Wing?”

“I was.” She pouted. “My nose was broken.”

“And Madam Pomfrey couldn’t fix it?” Pierce tried very hard not to look at the discolored blob of her nose.

“Yes, but she said I would have to stay at least another hour for the bruises to fade and the swelling to come down. I thought it was more important — my duty as a concerned student — to report this as soon as possible.”

“Your duty, Miss Parkinson?”

“Weasley is obviously mad!” Parkinson cried. “She broke into another House’s living quarters, which is strictly prohibited, and attacked someone without cause! She needs to be expelled for the safety of everyone else in this school!”

Pierce frowned. He did not need this at the moment. “Why don’t you tell me exactly what happened before we start expelling people.”

“I told you! She — ”

“Yes, yes. She broke in and attacked you unprovoked. Forgive me, but I can’t help but think there’s something you left out.”

“I’m telling the truth!” she insisted. “She needs to be expelled right away, Professor!”

“You do realize that’s not exactly in my power?”

“Yes, but you can get McGonagall to do it. She’ll listen to you over me, and you have to make her listen! Weasley’s a danger, sir, and she needs to be punished.”

Pierce massaged his temples. That’s all he needed, to have both Draco and Weasley out of reach. At least he might find some use for Weasley yet. If Draco was here, Pierce could bloody well kill Weasley and be done with it. Maybe he should kill her anyway, just for the hell of it. He was getting annoyed, and a good murder might just relieve a little stress. If he were very lucky, it would draw Draco out of hiding.

Pierce’s fingers froze at his temples. Wait, that was it. It had been right there staring him in the face the entire time: killing her would draw Draco out of hiding. After all, she was the key to this, she had always been the key all along. How could he have missed something so obvious? He could kill her, and it would nudge Draco out of his hole. The boy was bound to hear about it somehow. Or at least, Pierce was gambling he would.

“You’re right, Miss Parkinson,” Pierce said very calmly, folding his hands neatly on the desktop. “Weasley needs to be punished. Would you please go fetch her for me?”

With a triumphant grin that scrunched her nose grotesquely, Parkinson jumped up. “Of course, Professor! I’ll be right back!”

Pierce watched her dash out the door, mind working furiously. How was he going to do this, now? He needed to make it clean so it would appear an accident to McGonagall, but not too accidental so that Pierce could make Draco believe the Order murdered her…if he came out of hiding, anyway. It was a big “if,” but by this point, Pierce was willing to try almost anything.

This was probably the most delicate situation Pierce ever confronted, and he was all too aware that he was taking a gigantic gamble. At the same time, he was incredibly conscious of the fact that he was fast running out of time, and now with damned Potter here, he had to act.

But how to do it? How could he get just the right balance to satisfy appearances on both ends? He strode to the liquor cabinet and poured himself his biggest shot yet. His mind ran through all his options, but none seemed to fit just right. Nothing would click. Pierce needed a click. He was a man of instinct above all else, and acting against his gut made him queasy.

He stopped half-way through a second drink. Why did he have to kill her? Maybe that was his problem: he wasn’t considering all options. What if he just…hid her away someplace? Killing her sounded more appealing just now, sure enough, but was it really wiser? No, kidnapping might prove the answer to all his problems.

For one, if McGonagall asked after the girl, he could simply claim ignorance. McGonagall would just assume Weasley fell victim to the antics of someone like Parkinson, or that she ran off or something. But Pierce would still be able to make Draco believe the Order had killed her. It all fit. It clicked.

A timid knock sounded at the door.

“Come in,” he called, leaning against the liquor cabinet, drink in hand.

Ginny Weasley walked in, looking wary. Her eyes glanced from his face to the drink in his hand back to his face. She left the door open and stayed near the exit, poised to flee.

Pierce produced his most charming smile. “I don’t bite, Miss Weasley.” He wondered at her anxiety. Was she only afraid of expulsion?

She allowed a guarded smile. “Did I do something, Professor?”

“Why don’t you answer that for me, Miss Weasley?” He straightened and moved to his chair, noting the small step back she took. He may not where her caution came from, but he did knew he would have to get her off her guard if he was going to take her quietly, which he had to do. The last thing he needed was signs of a struggle to accuse him.

He kicked both feet up onto his desk, taking a sip of his drink. “Miss Parkinson sang an interesting song.”

Weasley kept her mouth firmly shut, face betraying nothing. She’s gotten far too good at hiding her thoughts. One adverse effect of involving her with Draco. She used to be much easier to read.

“Well?” he prompted.

“I’m sorry, sir?”

He smiled knowingly. “Miss Weasley, why don’t you take a seat?” He indicated the chair opposite his side of the desk.

She glanced at the door, hesitated a moment, then started dragging her feet towards the desk.

“And close the door,” he added, watching her obvious discomfort while he took another swallow of his drink. Her wariness was bothering him. She must know she was in trouble, yes, but her anxiety seemed to go beyond that.

She balanced on the very edge of her seat and spilled out, “Pansy’s just got a grudge against me. You know that, don’t you?”

He studied her a moment and inclined his head. “It seems that way. Nevertheless, if what she said was true….” He set down his empty glass and swung his feet to the floor. Weasley tensed, but he pretended not to notice as he stood and walked around the desk. Her shoulders went rigid, but she managed to stay in her seat.

She was so nervous. She couldn’t have guessed what he had planned, could she? She still believed he was the good guy, the atypical guardian. What cause would she have to think otherwise? He shook the thought away; it wasn’t important right now.

“I don’t mean to spoil today for you, Miss Weasley. I understand you must want to celebrate the safe return of your brother and your friends. That was a welcome surprise, wasn’t it?”

“Yes,” she whispered.

He had moved around behind her now, but she stayed facing stubbornly forward. “Like I said, I hate to ruin that for you. But I really can’t ignore this. Attacking another student?”

Weasley finally twisted around in the chair, eyes flashing. “You don’t know what she did!”

Pierce raised his eyebrows. “So you admit it, then?”

She glowered. “Yes. But I had a right.”

Pierce’s mind was only half on the conversation. It was just buying him time while he tried to figure out how to maneuver her towards the fireplace. He couldn’t very well apparate with her, not with the school’s wards, so that just left the Floo. “How do you figure that?”

“You wouldn’t believe me even if I told you,” the girl muttered, slouching.

Pierce’s eyes fell on the bookshelf near the hearth and he got an idea. Gently, he asked, “Miss Weasley, may I ask you something? Is this…about Draco?”

She went stiff all over. “Draco? What does he have to — ?”

“Frustration,” Pierce interrupted. “I can’t imagine how distressed you must be, not knowing where he is.”

She hesitated. “I suppose….”

“So it’s only natural that you should lash out at Miss Parkinson, wouldn’t you agree?”

“That’s not what it was about.”

“Come here, Miss Weasley.” He walked over to the bookshelf and pulled out a random but impressive looking tome.

She glanced back but didn’t move. “What is it?”

“I want to show you something. A passage you may find comforting in your situation.” He lifted up the book for her to see. “This will only take a moment.” Only a second, if I’m quick enough.

She made a face. “That’s all right. I mean thank you, but I’m fine.”

He smiled disarmingly. “I wasn’t really asking, Miss Weasley.”

Her eyes met his for a beat, flicked over his face and the patient smile he still wore. Cautiously, she rose to her feet and took baby steps towards him. “What’s it say?”

“If I was just going to read it to you, I wouldn’t have made you come over. This is a brilliant writer, and I would only make a muss of his words. I want you to read them for yourself.” He walked directly in front of the fireplace, his hand inches from the pot of Floo powder, and held out the book.

Glancing at his face once more, she took one more step forward and accepted the heavy tome. Her forehead scrunched up as she read. “This doesn’t have anything to do with me. It’s all Defense magic reference…”

Pierce gave his broadest, most winning smile yet. “I know, Miss Weasley. I know.”

Then in one swift motion he wrapped his arm around her neck, clamped his hand across her mouth to stifle her screams, and with his free hand tossed a fistful of Floo powder into the hearth. When the flames turned emerald, Pierce called out the home of the first person he could reasonably trust.

- - - - -

A stack of kindling sat in the corner. It used to be chairs. Now Draco had to sit on the bed if he wanted to sit anywhere, but he couldn’t really be annoyed about that. He was the one that had destroyed his perfectly good furniture.


The name flitted through his mind like a curse, a dark ugly smear that he wanted to wipe off the face of the planet. No wonder Voldemort had it in for the git so bad. He was bloody obnoxious. Draco had been so close with Ginny…

But now she was Potter’s again. It took her all of three seconds after seeing him to go charging out to welcome him back with a kiss. The hero had returned, and just like any respectable fairy tale, the hero got the girl. And Draco was left with a shack.

He ought to feel bitter towards Ginny. That would be the logical thing after she played with his feelings for so long — unintentionally, true, but nevertheless — and then abandoned him in the blink of an eye for another bloke just when he was beginning to think there might be some hope. But he didn’t feel that way. Of all things, he was bloody afraid for her.

His food was dangerously low, down to a heel of bread and a few sweets. Ginny rarely let his supply dwindle this much, and he couldn’t fathom her just outright abandoning him, even with Potter’s return. She may have chosen the scar-headed git over him, but he knew her: she wasn’t the type to just forget him. She would feel guilty and want to “stay friends” and all that rot.

He watched the light filter through drawn curtains, fingers tapping out a tuneless rhythm on his thigh. He didn’t owe her anything, and knowing his luck, she was just fine, probably laughing in Potter’s bloody arms. But if she wasn’t…if something happened….

He couldn’t get the dementor incident out of his head. Pansy was anything if not persistent, and if she was that serious, it spelled real trouble for Ginny. The morning she’d run out to Potter he had already been brainstorming ways that she could avoid going back to the castle, but now he had no way of knowing if she was okay, and all he could do was wait for something to happen.

A knock, sharp and concise, suddenly sounded at the door. He exhaled all at once and let his head fall back against the wall, eyes closed. Thank Merlin. She must have been nervous about coming back after the Potter incident. She just waited until the last minute to return because of it, that was all.

He swung his legs off the bed and strode over to the door, and as he flung it open he said, “For goodness sake, Ginny, I thought — ” The rest of his words stuck in his throat.

Theodore Nott’s mouth turned in a way that wasn’t quite a smile. “Sorry, our darling Weasley couldn’t make it.” He held out a bag. “But I imagine you’ll be wanting this.”

Draco could feel his pulse pounding in his ears, his lungs constricting oddly. For the first time in a long while he felt grateful to Lucius—only sheer instinct wrought by years of his father’s merciless training kept his face a mask now. “Nott.” It was the only thing he could think to say.

The other boy smiled just a fraction more. “I’m touched you remember. It’s been some time.” He craned his head around Draco and raised his eyebrows. “Not exactly Malfoy Manor, is it?”

Draco swallowed down his shock, tried to force his thoughts into some resemblance of logic. “What…how did you know?”

Nott dropped the previously offered sack to the ground and slipped his hands into his pockets, making a show of studying what he could see of the shack with mild interest. “That you were hiding here?” He shrugged. “Your girlfriend. Granted, she tried very hard to be careful. You should actually be quite proud of her. Took me almost a week to follow her all the way here and put the pieces together.”

Draco felt his fingers curling into fists. “What did you do with her? I swear, if you hurt her — ”

Nott rolled his eyes. “I didn’t touch her.” He smirked then, just barely. “And I must say, it’s refreshing, you not denying her being your girlfriend.”

Draco’s jaw tightened. “She’s not.”

Nott sighed. “Well, there, now you’ve ruined it. Are you planning on inviting me in anytime soon? It’s really not too intelligent to keep me standing around out here, you know. Rather conspicuous and all that.”

Draco ignored him. “Where’s Ginny?”

“Again, not very intelligent to be discussing these things right out in the open.”

Draco’s heart spiked a little. “But you know?”

Nott shrugged. “To a degree.”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

Nott only raised one eyebrow, just slightly. Draco’s mouth pressed tight with fury, then with an incredible force of will, he took a deep breath and stepped aside.

“Get in.”

Nott’s half-smile flickered over his face as he inclined his head, and he bent down, swung the sack onto his back, and strolled into the hut where he plopped it down again on the table. “Charming little hovel,” he remarked.

Draco shut the door very slowly, then just as slowly, turned back to Nott. “If you hurt her, I swear — ”

“I told you I never touched your girl,” Nott cut him off, sounding bored.

“Then who? Pansy? Pierce? Why should I believe anything you say? You’re the one that’s been harassing her!”

Nott glanced around for a chair, frowned when he found none, then simply leaned against the table. “As for the first three: I don’t know, possibly, and possibly. As for the last, you should believe me because despite what you and our darling Weasley may have assumed, I was not harassing her.”

“What else do you call it when someone stalks you to play with your head?” Draco’s felt his skin heat up and tried to force his heart to slow. “She’s not one of us, as you damn well know. She wasn’t used to the bloody games!”

Nott snorted softly. “You can say that again. Bloody annoying chit to have to baby-sit. Absolutely clueless…”

Draco’s eyes narrowed. “Baby-sit?”

Nott folded his arms over his chest. “Use your head, Draco. First I tried to warn her off you, and then when that didn’t work, I watched her. Saved her ungrateful life twice, I might add. From Pansy and a dementor, of all things.”

Draco’s head was swimming. He managed somehow to get to the bed and sat heavily. “Wait, the dementor? But…”

Nott’s mouth twisted into a sour kind of smile. “She didn’t tell you I was there? Well, now that’s rude. She was just sitting on her cute little arse with her mouth hanging open like the village idiot while the thing came right at her. Had to practically throw her to get her moving so I could take care of it.”

Draco put a hand to his head, closing his eyes. If Nott was telling the truth, why hadn’t Ginny mentioned him? But how else would he know? Then again, Nott had an uncanny habit of knowing all sorts of things he shouldn’t. Draco slowly shook his head. He was concentrating on the trivial part anyway. He needed to focus.

“So you’re trying to tell me you were protecting her all along?” Draco demanded, not bothering to mask his skepticism.

Nott rooted in the sack and pulled out an apple. He bit in with a loud crunch and delicately wiped the juice from his chin. “Mmm.”

“You’ll forgive me if that sounds a bit far-fetched from where I’m sitting, of course,” Draco drawled wryly.

Nott shrugged. “Understandable.” He took another bite of apple.

Draco exhaled slowly, closing his eyes for a count of three before looking at Nott again. “You said you tried to warn her off me.”

“Well, you’re quite dangerous to be around, if you hadn’t noticed. Would’ve made my job so much simpler if she just begged off like I told her. Stubborn brat wouldn’t, though.”

A crazy idea jumped into Draco’s head. “Are you working for the Order?”

Nott actually laughed, tossing back his head. It was the biggest show of mirth Draco had ever seen the boy allow. “The Order? As in, of the Phoenix?” Nott chuckled. “Hardly.”

“Then why, damn it! And if you wanted her away from me so badly, why did you bloody well play matchmaker with me? Telling me to swallow my pride and make the first move and all that rot!”

“Well, obviously that was after.”

Draco mightily forced down his temper. “After…?”

“After I realized the two of you were so smitten there was no helping it. I figured if you had to be together, you might as well be together. A united front is a strong front, isn’t that what the Dark Lord is always so fond of preaching to us in his little sermons about brotherhood?” Nott finished off his apple, chewing thoughtfully, then swallowed with a faint smirk. “Those are always so entertaining…I guess how many people are planning to stab the bloke next to him in the back while he’s nodding along with all that rubbish the Dark Lord’s spewing right then…”

Draco swallowed his impatience. “You still haven’t explained why you were ‘protecting’ her in the first place.”

Nott sighed, tossing the apple core over his shoulder. “Guilt is a terrible thing to live with, Malfoy.”

Draco blinked. “What?”

“Guilt. You know, that feeling you get when you do something and then regret it. You wouldn’t know — it comes with having a conscience, you see.”

Draco glared. “I’m familiar with the concept.” Lord knows Ginny dealt with it enough…. “I meant, what do you have to feel guilty over? And since when do you have a conscience? You’re as Slytherin as me.”

Nott rolled his eyes. “Prerequisites for the House are clever, sneaky, determined. Despite popular belief, evil isn’t on the list. You of all people should know that.”

Draco shook his head. “But you’ve always been...”

“Quiet,” Nott finished. “I’ve always been quiet and uninvolved. Do you disagree?”

Draco frowned, remembering his thoughts from not too long ago that he had barely noticed Theodore Nott until now. Grudgingly, he shook his head.

Nott nodded. “So people just assumed I was evil in that silently brooding sort of way, which worked quite to my benefit, really.”

“But you’re trying to tell me that it’s not true.”

Nott smiled wryly. “Glad you could finally catch up. Yes, sorry to disappoint you, but torturing Muggles and kicking puppies aren’t my idea of a party.”

“But you’re a Death Eater!”

Nott’s smile was bitterer this time. “We aren’t all privileged enough to have choices. You’re a Malfoy. You could refuse and survive. You’re too important, too promising, Lucius’s only heir.” Nott shrugged. “Me, I’m next to nobody. If I said no, the Dark Lord would have had me killed in a heartbeat. And I’ll wager Father Dearest would have done the honors without a smidgen of remorse.”

Draco dropped his eyes, turned towards the wall. “But…Ginny…”

“Made me feel better,” Nott answered matter-of-factly. “I felt guilty about the Mark and the things it made me have to do, so when I saw her in danger,” Nott shrugged, “it helped my conscience to help her. Sort of balanced it all out, I s’pose.”

Draco lied back on the bed, pressing the heels of his hands into his eyes. “I don’t believe it.”


Draco dropped his hands to his sides, staring up at the ceiling. “You hardly talk, and when you do it’s only in riddles. You’re the most damnably secretive person I’ve met in my life, and now suddenly you just show up at my door — that you shouldn’t know about in the first place — and tell it all plain as day, no tricks, no mind games, no obnoxious hints to work out? And then you expect me to believe it?”

Nott gave a heavy sigh. “Malfoy, there are times for half-truths and veiled clues, and then there are times when things just have to be said. True, I’ve never had occasion to try the latter before now, but there you have it.”

Draco closed his eyes, feeling exhaustion creep over him. “And what occasion would that be?” he asked in monotone.

“How quickly he forgets,” Nott scolded mockingly. “There’s a reason I’m here with a bag of food instead of darling Weasley.”

Draco sat up, feeling his muscles bunch. “Is she hurt?”

Nott shrugged, for all the world looking only vaguely interested in the conversation. “I don’t know.”

“What the hell do you mean, you don’t know?”

“I mean,” Nott reiterated slowly, “I, don’t, know. She’s missing.”

Draco jumped to his feet. “Missing? Since when? How?”

“I don’t know how. All I know is no one’s caught a glimpse of that vivid red head of hers in several days. There’s rumors going around, of course. The most popular is that she ran off to find her beloved Potter because the separation was just too much.”

Draco glanced up in surprise, then quickly turned his face away to hide it. The school didn’t know Potter was back? Did he even go to the castle, or was McGonagall just keeping him hidden? Interesting, though. Draco knew something Nott didn’t. It was rather refreshing.

“She didn’t run off,” was all Draco said.

Nott’s half-smile surfaced. “I didn’t think you’d like that theory.”

“It had to have been Pansy,” Draco muttered, thinking out loud as he paced. “If she was desperate enough to bring a dementor on the grounds, she would be desperate enough for this.”

Nott started cleaning his fingernails. “It’s conceivable. But what about who you mentioned earlier?”

Draco frowned. “Pierce?” His guard suddenly slammed up, and he stopped pacing. “What do you know about him?”

A corner of Nott’s mouth lifted, though his eyes stayed down on his nails. “Don’t sound so surprised. I knew before you; I pay closer attention.”

Draco stayed tense. “That didn’t answer my question.”

Nott dropped his hands to the table impatiently. “I know about as much as you, I assume. He’s really a Death Eater, and given his apparent interest in you and the events of last summer, he’s most likely here to draw you back to the Dark Lord.”

“And you’ve know this for a long time.”

“Like I said, probably long before you.”

“And you didn’t see fit to tell me? What, your conscience doesn’t reach quite that far?”

Nott rolled his eyes. “I couldn’t very well show my whole hand. It was too dangerous to let anyone know where I really stood, and that would have made it painfully obvious. I may have a conscience, but I’m still a Slytherin. Self-preservation above all else.”

“But now all of a sudden it’s safe?” Draco asked sarcastically.

“Of course it isn’t, but as you can see, the circumstances have changed just a bit too.”

Draco spun around, taking up his pacing again. “Fine, whatever. So you think it’s Pierce?”

“I don’t think it’s anyone. I told you, I don’t know.”

Draco whirled on him. “So what bloody use are you?!”

Nott remained totally calm in the face of Draco’s fury. “I might not know the answers, but I do know how you can find them. I think.”

Draco regarded him suspiciously. “How?”

“Well, that’s the trouble. It requires you getting inside the castle. You would have to come back to the world of the living, my friend.”

Draco frowned. “No. Pansy can’t see me. She would have too many questions, probably figure it out, and kill Ginny out of spite.”

“Assuming Pansy has our darling Weasley at all,” Nott pointed out.

Draco assented grudgingly, rubbing a hand at the back of his head. Suddenly he stopped, his eyes darting to the trunk by his bed. He smiled grimly. “I think I just thought of another way.”

This story archived at http://www.dracoandginny.com/viewstory.php?sid=4529