Disclaimer: Okay, I always forget about these things. Listen up, this is NOT MINE! I'm just using the characters for my own twisted pleasure. Dance, puppets, dance!
Author's Notes: This may seem a bit too morbid in the beginning (god knows it did to me), but if I continue it, I’ll probably ease it up. A lot!
Huge thanks and hugs to the wonderful Jenny-kins (aka dragonsangel68) for the overdue betaing =D
"I love you, Ginny. We will be together forever, I will never leave you and I will never let you leave me…"
When Ginny first heard those words, gazing into Harry's face through many layers of tears, sweat and dirt, she could have sworn her heart exploded. It happened after the final battle against Voldemort, at the end of Ginny's sixth year at Hogwarts. A Death Eater threatened Ginny and Harry had saved her from sure demise. Then realizing how close he had been to losing her completely, Harry finally admitting his true feelings - his love for her.
Ginny was covered head-to-toe in dirt, her hair a mess, her eyes red and puffy, she had a runny nose and her face was pinched in fear and pain, stained with tears and blood. The bodies of those who didn't survive surrounded them. Cries of battle curses, charms and spells could still be heard. This wasn't at all the romantic atmosphere she pictured so many times.
As he cupped her face between his hands and gazed straight into her eyes, she forgot everything. Her body tightened and her mind numbed as he pulled her closer veiling her lips with his own. Her knees weakened and she yielded into his embrace, so soft and comforting. Her mind screamed in feverish delight as he trailed his tongue into her mouth, slowly and intoxicatingly granting her a first kiss. This was the best moment of her life and she was sure she would remember it forever.
Ginny grinned in sheer joy as Harry said the exact same sentence in his wedding vows. She clung to him as the minister pronounced them husband and wife - feeling as though she were soaring to the top of the world. Unable to withhold her laughter any longer, she giggled as they kissed and hurried from the white chapel, feeling exhilarated by the strong sense of belonging. She was the happiest woman alive - so blessed to have him. After all the years she had carried a torch for Harry Potter she felt almost unbelievably happy, light and above all, loved. He did love her - so very much…
In the first months of their marriage she found Harry's grumbling and glaring, whenever she talked to other men, endearing. She laughed at his pricks of jealousy as if he were an indignant four-year-old. She soothed him with butterfly kisses and held him closer to herself, whispering sweet nothings into his ear. "I will never leave you, you hear me?"
His face brightened up and his green eyes twinkled with affection when he replied as always, "I will never let you leave me." He would embraced her tightly, inhaling the soft scent of her tresses and smiled widely to himself. He kissed her, swept her into his arms and would lead the way to the bedroom, where they fell upon the soft white sheets, entangled in their own passion.
The first time Ginny witnessed Harry's temper was one night when she was late home from work. He was riled up, screaming and roaring spiteful things, and she found herself cringing away from him. He accused her of sleeping with everyone in her office and claimed to see her go into hotels with many men. He broke all of their dishes, a table, some chairs and a glass bookcase before she could calm him down, swearing on her life she loved him and only him and never even wanted to be with another. She cooed around him, excusing his behavior with the excessive stresses of Auror's position and healed the wounds on his hands. He said he was sorry - claimed to not know what came over him and asked her repeatedly whether she knew how much he loved her and how he would never leave nor would he ever let her leave him.
When Harry struck Ginny for the first time it was when he saw her having lunch with her editor - Tomas Brooks. He bellowed like a wild beast, breaking everything in their little house and when she tried to calm him down, to explain it was just a lunch with her editor and that they discussed her next assignment, he punched her.
Seeing the consequences of his own acts, he rushed to kneel beside her, tears pouring from his eyes as he embraced her tightly, apologies flowing out of his lips between his quick and eager kisses. He begged her to forgive his foolish mistake and promised with all his being that it would never happen again. He rocked her in his arms back and forth, while she nursed her swollen eye and wept silently, listening to him chant that sentence over and over.
By the time she realized it was enough, it nearly cost Ginny her life.
After the last incident Harry became more gentle and caring, wooing her all over again - bringing her flowers everyday. She took a couple of days away from her job for personal reasons and he couldn't have been happier. For a while everything returned to normal - it was like a second honeymoon. Everything was absolutely perfect and Ginny's eye quickly healed. Harry became brighter, he smiled more and that made Ginny smile more. He would kiss her and hold her in the middle of the living room without any apparent reason. He proclaimed his love in rhymes until she collapsed onto the couch in uncontrollable fits of giggles.
Soon the couple-of-days had turned into a week, then into two-weeks and when the date approached a month since her departure from work, she received a call from her editor saying she had to return to work or clear her desk. She told Harry she wanted to leave for work the next day and, out of the blue, he started raving again.
He shouted in rage and, when she told him she was getting tired of his outbursts, it was her life and she would leave for work the following morning whether he liked it or not, he struck her again. Only this time, he did not stop after only one punch. His fists maimed her again and again, each strike leaving big blue orbs on her legs, arms, stomach and her face, with each blow he chanted, "You won't leave me! I will not let you leave me! "
When she finally broke free, she grabbed a vase and brought it down on his head. She fled out of the house, without looking back, realizing something had snapped inside of her. As she ran through the streets, distancing herself from the man she loved so much for so long, she felt her tears drying out and a strange cold detachment engulfed her.
When Ginny ran into Draco for the first time since he had graduated, she never knew it would be the cause of the second major twist of Fate in the same night.
She continued running for more than an hour after she left her house, afraid Harry might have followed. She darted through the night streets, not quite knowing where she was heading. Her legs were sore and she felt she might break soon. Her lungs burned with blazing pain every time she inhaled and though she wasn't crying anymore, her vision was blurry and the threat of stumbling hovered over her, but she did not stop.
Just when she reached the brink of her strength, she bumped into someone with such force it sent her flying backwards. She landed on the cold asphalt and didn't care who it was, when she heard a swift curse escape his lips. She remained on the ground, embracing her knees and refusing to glance up. Minutes passed as she waited for the stranger to bark at her something and go away, but he didn't and she still sensed him standing beside her.
Then she saw his knees bend and he was crouching beside her; his eyes trying to search hers amidst her furious red hair. Reluctantly, she glanced at him over her knees and was about to mutter something, when she froze. Platinum blonde locks tumbled down, framing his aristocratic face; silver eyes were veiled with a thick shroud of coldness; and his lips were carved into impenetrable bleak veneer. All the features gathered up perfectly into a face she knew so well and had learned to hate.
Within only a few moments, Ginny saw his exterior change couple of times - at first, his cold features proclaimed something that resembled concern; then, upon comprehending who she was, his features shifted into a vicious sneer; and finally, when his eyes rested upon her blue bruises, swollen wounds and rolling beads of blood, his expression changed all together into something she could not determine. She saw his fingers fidget slightly and understood he was fighting the instinctive desire to wipe the blood away from the corner of her lip. He tightened his fingers into a fist and remained crouched beside her. She couldn't avert her gaze and allow him to see her weakness. He watched her wordlessly for a long while before breaking the silence.
"Gods, Weasley… you look like crap!" he proclaimed, but his voice lacked his usual mocking tone.
It seems he just stated a fact and not an insult. She also noticed he called her by her maiden name and for that she was utterly grateful. He slowly stood up and Ginny felt a relief flood through her, realizing he was leaving, but he stayed put. He reached down suddenly and his slender fingers laced around her arm, carefully bringing her up.
Ginny allowed him to lift her, but squirmed out of his hold as soon as she was secured in her stance.
He watched her for a while longer and then tilted his head, indicating for her to follow. He moved onwards, but noticing she was not beside him, he turned back to her. "Are you coming?"
Ginny gazed at him with confusion, the traces of impatience in his voice. "W-where?"
"Bloody hell, Weasley!" he rolled his eyes heavenwards, exasperatedly. "I rammed into you, the least I can do is tend to your wounds. Now come on, before regain my common sense!"
Ginny was about to decline his preposition, when sudden wind rushed down her back and she realized how cold she was. She could go to the Burrow, but the questions she would be forced to answer would be too painful. Draco had no intentions of asking those questions, because he thought the wounds were from the fall. Does he really think so? This is ridiculous! She tightened her robes around herself and followed him, keeping her eyes on the asphalt and her mind free from roaming thoughts. Harry would never think of looking for her at Malfoy Manor.
When they arrived Ginny remained standing at the threshold of Malfoy Manor. Draco stormed in, barking at the greeting house elf to bring someone named Ora. The house elf scampered away immediately; bowing so low his ears brushed the floor.
After some impatient encouragement from Draco, Ginny followed him into the enormous living room and remained quiet as he showed her to the couch. He told her to wait, while he fixed himself a drink and sat onto one of the two comfortable armchairs before the fire. Ginny sat quietly, trying to see him past the wide backrest, but managing to glimpse only the burning silhouette of his fair hair. Her attempts were stopped by another house elf hurrying into the living room, carrying a bowl of cold fresh water and few cloths. Ginny smiled at her and Ora in return gave her a quick crooked twitch of her lips, before glancing at the backrest of Draco's seat, as if he could see through it backwards. She gently cleaned her face of dried blood, and when the liquid inside the bowl became a dirty shade of red she tugged at Ginny's sleeve and squeaked at her to follow.
After glancing one last time at the backrest, Ginny followed as Ora lead her into a small and comfortable bedchamber on the first floor, where a tub filled with hot water was awaiting her. Ora helped her out of the clothes and aided Ginny in the rinsing of her whole body, being extra careful with the violet bruises. When they were finished, Ora left the chamber, promising to return soon with clean clothes. Ginny didn't say a word when the little house elf left the room, and when the elf exited the chamber, found herself alone for the first time since she'd stopped running. She braced her knees and allowed tears to spill freely down her cheeks.
When Ora returned, she was bearing a clean white robe with Malfoy family emblem on its chest. She helped Ginny's out of the tub and toweled her off, after which Ginny realized her bruises had vanished. She touched her face and only now noticed that the cuts and sore spots were gone. She thanked the house elf as she was helped her into the robe and prodded to leave the chamber.
"Please let me stay here… I don't want to go out there," pleaded Ginny, but the stubborn elf gently declined her attempts.
Ginny huffed miserably and walked out. For a moment she considered fleeing the Manor at once, but realizing she had no clothes on bar the robe, she decided against it. Ginny headed back to the living room to find Draco was still in his armchair, holding a brandy glass. She walked over and sat slowly on the armchair beside him, half-waiting for him to snarl at her to stay away. But he did no such thing.
Ginny made herself more comfortable and glanced at him. His eyes were glazed with shroud of twinkling flames, he was engaged in a staring competition with the blaze in the fireplace. He twirled the liquor in his glass slowly, his eyes not leaving the flames, not even when yet another terrified house elf hurried into the room, carrying a mug of steaming hot tea, which was placed carefully on the small table between the two armchairs. Ginny watched silently as the elf bowed his way out of the room and then glanced at the tea. Hot white fumes were rising sluggishly from the dark amber liquid inside the cup, and the scent of sugar filled her nostrils. Deciding the tea was for Draco, she looked at him and then at the fire again.
"The tea is for you," he said suddenly, not tearing his eyes from the fire, as if in reply to her thoughts.
She looked at him for a while, expecting him to turn and return the stare, but he stayed in his enchanted state with the fire. Ginny reached out and laced her fingers around the mug. A cooling charm had been placed upon it, to keep it from getting hot from the tea. The corners of her lips curved up slightly as she remembered her mother putting exactly the same charm on the cups and mugs at the Burrow. Burrow… oh my god! What am I going to tell my parents? How will I explain my sudden leave? Will they be worried about me? Of course they would, what am I talking about? Harry is probably there right now, looking for me. God, I hope he doesn't hurt anyone else. Oh Harry… what has happened to you?
She was silent, allowing the thoughts, the questions and the disclaimers run through her mind. She brought her knees towards her, perching her feet upon the soft green cushions on the chair; both her hands were wrapped around the mug as she held it beneath her nostrils, inhaling the sweet fumes, absolutely forgetting about drinking it; her eyes caught up in flames, much like Draco's.
About a half an hour after his first visit, the house elf returned to the living room. He froze stone cold beside her, his eyes widen in unspeakable horror when he saw her holding the still full mug. He gulped audibly, squeaking to get her attention, "Is the tea not to your liking, Miss?"
Ginny stirred from her haze and gazed at the elf, dreamily. "What? Oh, umm…" She stumbled for words, realizing she hadn't even tasted it yet.
"She didn't drink it," came a sudden cold drawl from her left.
She glared at Draco, his eyes were still mesmerized by the fire but he smirked slightly. She suddenly heard a quiet fumbling and she turned to watch the elf place the other mug securely on the floor, walk over to the wall and starting banging his head over and over again upon the cold stone. Ginny yelped in surprise, set down her own mug and hurried to the elf's side.
"Oh, no, no, no… please don't do that!" She tried to stop him, by holding him back but he squirmed out of her grip easily. "No, wait. No, don't do that! Come on, no! Stop it!" She finally slapped her hand upon his forehead, forcing him back. She gripped his little figure firmly so he won't break free. Heaving a satisfied breath, she spoke to the self-mutilating house elf. "Now listen… the tea was a little too hot for me, but!" she added fiercely when the elf started wailing pitifully. "But… I like it that way..." this seemed to calm him down. "Now… will you please stop hurting yourself?"
The elf jerked his gaze to Draco, who waved at him dismissively, allowing him to hurry from the room.
Ginny returned to her chair and glared coldly at Draco. "That was uncalled for," she muttered angrily at his provoke of the elf's guilt. "Are all your house elves trained to beat themselves half to death if something is not to your liking?" she asked fiercely, picking up the mug again.
Draco smirked in reply, leisurely breaking his gaze from the fire and staring at her intensely. Ginny cringed under his gaze, but didn't let it show. She stared back at him. Now that she was clean and her body didn't ache anymore, she could face anyone. Even him.
"I sent Potter an owl, informing him of your well being and whereabouts. I told him he can come now, to pick you up," he said abruptly. His silver eyes twinkled with something she did not like.
The sound of shattering china pierced the living room as she lost her hold on the mug, spilling its contents to the polished floor. Her mouth became dry in an instant and her eyes widened in horror, as she comprehended his words. She tried to speak, but fear clawed its way out of the deepest recesses of her mind and took control over her body. She felt her stomach lurch and her heart sink to her feet. She remained silent, knowing that if she tried to speak, she'd fall apart.
Draco's smirk widened, but his eyes lacked glee or malice. "That's what I thought…" He quickly downed his drink and stood up. Averting his gaze to the fire he spoke again, before leaving the living room "You can stay in the chamber Ora showed you. If you need anything don't hesitate to call her."
Ginny stared in shock as he disappeared around the corner, leaving her absolutely dumbstruck. He tricked me! Her mind shrieked in fury. He tricked ME! She growled, agitated with herself that she had fallen for his bluff. She stomped into the small chamber, where the tub had already been taken away and a clean nightgown had been placed carefully on the pillows.