Don't Look Back by LadyRhiyana
Summary: "Go!" he shouted. "No matter what happens, don't look back. I'll come for you, I swear it..."
Categories: Completed Short Stories Characters: D/G Offspring, Draco Malfoy, Ginny Weasley
Compliant with: HBP and below
Era: Post-Hogwarts
Genres: Drama, Romance
Warnings: None
Challenges:
Series: None
Chapters: 2 Completed: Yes Word count: 2626 Read: 10132 Published: Oct 27, 2006 Updated: Oct 27, 2006

1. Chapter 1 by LadyRhiyana

2. Chapter 2 by LadyRhiyana

Chapter 1 by LadyRhiyana
Author's Notes:
This was originally posted under an experimental pseudonym last year. Rummaging around in some old files, I hauled it out and dusted it off.
The young Auror watched her over the top of his newspaper, his eyes following her every movement as she played with her son in the park. His first impression, a surprising one, was that she was not beautiful. The second impression, following upon the heels of the first, was that she had something more than conventional beauty –

“You see it too?” Shacklebolt asked, sitting down heavily beside him on the park bench. “Some fools don’t.”

“I’ve always wanted to meet her,” he admitted. “She must be extremely brave.”

Shacklebolt grunted. “Ginny Malfoy. Yes, an extremely brave, faithful woman – it’s been four years, and she’s still waiting for his return.”

Four years since her husband Draco had disappeared, dragged down as he fought the unknown attackers sent to kill him, his wife and two-year old son. He’d bought them time to escape, to make the sanctuary of the Burrow, but had never made it to safety himself…


***********


Ginny hugged her son close, breathing in his soft, warm baby scent, feeling his thick, white-fair hair tickle her nose. Narcissa had told her that Julian was the image of Draco at the same age – looking at her baby’s clear grey eyes, and the features that would one day be sharp and elegant, Ginny could see echoes of the father in the son.

Four years.

Four long, terrible years as she had round the clock Auror bodyguards. She was afraid to sleep, lest the attackers come back while she was off guard, and when she did sleep, she slept alone, aching for the warmth and comfort of Draco’s body –

And every time she dreamed, she relived that terrible, terrible night.

“Run, Gin – quick, take the baby and get out. I’ll hold them off.”

“Draco, no! Come with us –”

“You know I can’t. You can’t move quickly, not with Julian. I’ll delay them, and meet you at the Burrow later.”

She clutched his robes, pulled him close, hugging him as tightly as she could. “Just come back to me alive, Draco; swear that you’ll come back to me…”

She felt his familiar, warm strength, the feel and taste of his skin as she pressed a last, hasty kiss to his neck. His pulse was racing frantically, but his voice had been very, very calm as he whispered softly in her ear. “I swear it. No matter what it takes, I’ll always come back to you – but Gin, you have to leave now, and don’t look back. No matter what happens, no matter what you hear, don’t look back…”

He pressed one last kiss to her lips, one last kiss on Julian’s head – and then he released her, and turned away. The attackers forcing their way in through the shattered wards, sheer press of numbers breaking down the last of their defenses –

“Go!” he shouted, drawing his wand, jumping down into the massed enemy.


Don’t look back, he'd said.

She’d gone. She hadn’t looked back.

But he never returned…


*************


“Mama,” Julian’s soft whisper woke her out of an uneasy sleep, and she rolled over to see his face white, drawn, his eyes dark and frightened. “I had the dream again…”

She held out her hands, and he clambered up onto the bed, burrowing into her embrace.

“It was horrible. There was shouting, and screaming, and I was so afraid. And Papa was there; I could hear his voice, smell him, but I couldn’t remember what he looked like.” His face crumpled, and he almost wailed in his distress. “I can’t remember what Papa looked like…”

Ginny hugged him tightly, crooning under her breath, rocking back and forward as she tried to comfort him. There were very, very few pictures of Draco Malfoy after the age of seventeen, when he had fled Hogwarts after Dumbledore’s death. So very, very little was known about the time between then and his secret offer of support to Harry Potter – and after Harry’s death, the last shred of evidence that he had ever turned away from Voldemort was gone.

Ginny had only her memories to remind her of the man she had known, so different from his public persona. Only her memories, and Julian, her beautiful boy, who was growing up so quickly that it scared her.

But she could show him one of her memories; show him his father’s true face, as only she had seen. “Come on, Julian,” she said quietly, “let me show you something.”

She picked him up, amazed at his growing weight, and carried him over to the spell-locked cabinet where she kept her most treasured belongings. Julian’s first lock of hair, and the white, lacy robe that all Malfoy wore at their naming ceremonies. A number of photographs of herself, Julian, her family, and Harry and Hermione. Souvenirs of her Hogwarts days, and of the happier days of the war.

And, as cleverly concealed as she could make it, protected by the best curses and anti-tampering charms she knew, was her Pensieve. Drawing aside the covering cloth, she showed a wide-eyed Julian the shimmering, silver liquid and put it down on the floor so that they could both see.

*****

Swirling impressions.

A pale, beautiful face, radiant with laughter as he smiled –

Laughing, exasperated as she pounded him with a pillow and he put up his arms, begging for mercy, please, spare me great queen – I yield! I yield!

Fingers trailing through white, white hair and clenching tight, gasping, rising up against him as he moved in her, his eyes fixed, so intently, on hers –

The absolute awe on his face as he’d held his son for the first time, and the love in his eyes as he pressed a kiss to her brow –

Shouts, screams, sickly green light illuminating the night sky as she ran, and ran, her heart almost bursting with fear, for herself, for her baby, but most of all for him…


And then:

A lazy, perfect summer afternoon, a cool breeze and a shady tree throwing dappled shadows on the ground, where the river lapped at the grassy, mossy banks –

“Well, really, Malfoy. Can you call up this kind of weather whenever you want? Summer days are never this perfect, not even in halcyon romances.”

They sat with their backs against the tree, the remains of their picnic strewn around them. Draco, in only a thin shirt and trousers, was laughing. “Come on, Ginny. This is Malfoy land. It wouldn’t dare to be anything less than perfect, when I bring my future wife to visit–”

“Wife?” she’d said, startled.

He’d raised an eyebrow. “Of course, wife. What did you think this was leading to?”

“But I thought we agreed to keep this secret.”

He sighed. “Keeping it secret doesn’t mean that we can’t make it legitimate, Gin –”

“But I love you, Draco, and you love me. Isn’t that enough?”

“No. If something should happen, I want you to have the full protection of the Malfoy name.”

She’d laughed. “The Malfoy name? I thought you didn’t believe in that pureblood supremacy stuff.”

“I don’t.” His eyes were serious, now. “But I am a Malfoy, Gin, and the Malfoy are the first and most powerful of the pureblood families – even now, that means something still. I would give it to you, as well.”

He reached out to her, and, despite her misgivings, she took his hand in her own…



****


Ginny drew herself out of the memory. Julian looked up, his awed, joyous smile such an open, uninhibited reflection of his father’s more cautious reactions that it almost broke her heart.

“That was your father, Julian,” she said quietly. “And that land was his estate – you were born there, six years ago. One day, you’ll go back and claim it for your own.”

“But Papa will come back, won’t he? And then we can all go together.”

Ginny only smiled.

“One day, Julian. One day…”


****
Chapter 2 by LadyRhiyana
Author's Notes:
Disclaimer - I don't own HP, any of the canon characters, settings or situations. Don't sue.
Draco Malfoy’s memory was exquisitely, almost painfully exact. It had always been a particular curse – all too often, he found that the perpetual vividness of his worst, most painful recollections haunted him, denying him peace or forgiveness –

But there were times when it proved a blessing. He remembered Ginny – even in the darkest, most terrifying hours, he remembered Ginny.

He remembered her smile, her laugh, her taste, and he remembered Julian, his son, his hope for a new generation.

It had been such a very, very long time since he’d seen them, since he’d held them close, breathing softly, peacefully, safe and trusting in his arms. But now he was on his way home, back to his family, where he could see them again, hold them again in truth, rather than in his dreams…

He stepped off the ship’s boarding plank, shrugging his collar up and drawing his cloak closer about him. He’d forgotten how cold it was in England –

“I-d-dentification please, sir,” a young, pale, pinch-faced Ministry guard stood on the docks, shivering wretchedly in the cold, winter wind.

Draco sighed. “Here.” He handed over his fake passport and documents. The shivering guard peered at him, frowning.

“Aren’t you…?”

Draco flicked him a long, cool, dangerous look. Though he had chosen to reject his father’s path, he still knew very well how to intimidate and manipulate other, lesser men; under the icy lash of his cold, grey gaze, the na´ve guard dropped his eyes and gave in.

“Thank you,” he said dryly, took back his documents, and pushed past the guard onto English soil.


**********


“Mistress Ginny!” Libby, the housekeeper of the Malfoy townhouse, sidled up to Ginny nervously, bowing and wringing her hands. “Mistress Ginny, Libby has a message for you…”

Ginny raised her eyes from the cat’s cradle she was building with Julian. They were sitting in the park once again, taking advantage of the rare winter sunshine.

“What is it?” she asked, surprised that the dignified house elf would actually leave her house and venture so far in search of her. Surely, it could have waited until she returned.

Libby looked left and right, leaning in in an exaggerated manner as she whispered in Ginny’s ear. “Remember halcyon romance…”

Ginny froze. “What?”

Libby dipped her fingers into the small, grubby apron and held out an old, battered ring-brooch that Ginny hadn’t seen for four years. It was the only portkey in existence keyed to the magical wards of Malfoy Manor. Draco had hidden it, on that last, horrible night…

“What is it, Mama?” Julian asked, alarmed. Ginny wiped her hands over her cheeks, dashing away the tears, and smiled bravely at her son. Merlin, his eyes were so much like Draco’s…

“Look, Julian,” she said, drawing his attention to the brooch in Libby’s hands. “Your father has returned.”


************


“What’s she saying?” Shacklebolt asked, sitting up straight and staring at the house elf. Swearing, he fumbled for his magical binoculars, magnifying the zoom so that he could see their mouths move – but all he saw was Ginny Malfoy’s face as she stood up, took the boy’s hand, and walked over to them.

Uncomfortable, more than a little embarrassed at being so caught out, Shacklebolt dropped the binoculars, cleared his throat, and stood up as his mother had taught him.

“Mrs. Malfoy,” he said, not recognizing the look in her eyes. “What’s wrong? Is there another threat?”

“Kingsley,” she said, laughing, “He’s back.” She whirled Julian up off the ground and spun in a circle, whooping with laughter and joy. “He’s back!”

Before he could say anything else, she reached out and grabbed hold of the house elf’s hand, there was a dizzying pull, and then they were gone.


***********


They landed on a hill overlooking the estate.

It was as beautiful as she remembered – but so very different. Six years ago, Malfoy Manor had been a tall, proud mansion surrounded by lush, sweeping lawns and beautifully cultivated gardens; now, the gardens had grown wild and overgrown and the forest had encroached on the lawns. Where before it had been picture perfect, now it was wild, like Sleeping Beauty’s maze –

Julian looked about him with awe. As they walked down the hill towards the stream, she put him down and showed him the estate that would one day be his – it was stretched out before him, lush and fertile, and he laughed, already showing signs of Malfoy acquisitiveness.

And then, as they entered the small wood, she caught a flash of white.


************


He saw her coming, the boy trailing along after her, and moved out from behind the tree. They were, of course, at the very same spot where he had proposed to her, under the dappled canopy along the banks of the stream.

“Draco,” she said, when they finally came face to face. As if it were the most natural thing in the world. She was exactly as he remembered her, the red hair, and the dark, expressive eyes – but there was something else. More shadows, more pain, more doubt…

“Hello, Gin,” he said with a wry smile. The smile tugged at the taut, slick new scar, where one of the bastards had cut him with a whip –

Her eyes darkened, and her breath rushed out in shock. Her hands flew up to his face, to the scar, and he could see the frantic speculation – where else was he hurt? What had happened to him? What price had he paid, for their safety?

“No,” he whispered, gently taking her hand away. “No, it’s nothing. As long as you and Julian are safe, it was nothing.”

“Draco,” she said once again. Her voice caught. “Draco, you idiot.” She clenched her fist and punched him, hard. He took a step back in surprise. “You fool!” She punched him again. “Since when have you ever played the gallant Gryffindor? Don’t you ever do anything like that, ever again!”

He caught her fist before she could hit him again. She fell forward onto his chest, and began to shake. “Ginny…? What?”

She lifted her head and scowled at him, but her eyes were dark with tears. “I thought you, of all people, could be counted on to survive and come back.”

He grinned, and hugged her tightly. “I came back, didn’t I?”

“Four years late!” She glared at him furiously.

He laughed. “Would you rather I wait a while longer –”

“No.” She wrapped her arms round his waist and squeezed. He pretended to gasp for air, and she slackened her grip, hugging him. “You’re not going anywhere.”

“Papa!”

Draco blinked. Over her shoulder, he could see Julian running towards them, his small face alight with joy and anticipation and…uncertainty. Releasing Ginny, he knelt down so that he was almost at eye-level with the boy. They watched each other, father and son, and Draco could not believe how much he had grown in four years –

Nor could he believe the power of his protective instinct as he saw the clenched, trembling fists, and the tight jaw as his son struggled not to cry.

“Hello Julian,” he said. Ginny knelt down beside him and put a hand on his shoulder.

Julian looked at them both, his lower lip quivering. Ginny nudged Draco with an elbow. Hastily, he opened his arms, and Julian rushed into them, throwing his arms tightly around his neck.

Draco picked him up, put an arm around his wife, and together they went back up the hill towards the Manor.


******************

FIN

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