Disclaimer: Canon characters do not belong to me.
Chapter Eleven – C Diminished
Morning broke very late for her that day, but as Ginny’s eyes fluttered open, it felt as though she had only been asleep for an hour or so. In that one brief waking moment, Ginny laid there in blissful ignorance. She snuggled tighter into her worn patchwork afghan, but then realization surged through her. She sat up quickly and was immediately forced back down. It felt like gravity was weighing even more heavily on her than normally. Her body was almost a dead-weight to her.
Fear blanketed her, and she looked around. Jordi and Elizabeth were standing by her bed talking to one another in low voices, but they stopped and rushed into action when they noticed that Ginny was awake. Elizabeth ran to the front of the bed and lifted Ginny into a sitting position, while Jordi grabbed a vial of pale blue liquid from the desk.
Ginny tried to speak, but even her mouth seemed incapable of working properly to form words. Elizabeth opened her mouth gently, and Jordi forced the contents of the vial down Ginny’s throat. Ginny coughed and spluttered for a moment, but swallowed. After about ten minutes, she was finally able to speak again. Her body felt almost normal again.
“Where’s Draco?” she asked hoarsely, just then noticing that she was in her own room and not the hospital wing. She remembered being told to lie down next to Draco, remembered him immediately pressing against her and embracing her, remembered feeling like her body was on fire, and then nothing…
Jordi and Elizabeth exchanged worried glances, but the smile on Jordi’s face when she turned back to Ginny gave her away. “Draco is okay, Gin. Pomfrey gave him clearance to leave the hospital this morning.”
“Okay, then how did I get back here? Draco and I were practicing and then he got sick and Snape took him to the hospital wing and then…” she trailed off. So many questions were plaguing her mind, the most pressing of which was why it felt so good to have been laying next to Draco.
“Snape carried you in here at around midnight last night, Ginny. The whole Tower was in a bloody uproar about it. Charlie nearly went off his nut when he saw how limp you were. It was…it was really scary,” Elizabeth said, voice trailing off into a whisper.
“Snape brought me back here? Wait, I don’t understand. What exactly happened?” Ginny got out of the bed, but stumbled a little bit as she tried to walk toward the door. Elizabeth caught her and forced her to sit back down again.
“Snape said that you’re going to be a little weak until the potion is able to fully run through your veins.”
Ginny shot her a dirty look, but as she was really helpless to argue, she pulled herself further back onto the bed again. She motioned for Elizabeth and Jordi to join her there. They sat down, and Ginny calmly asked them, “Will you please tell me everything that happened from the time Snape brought me here until this morning?”
Jordi sighed. “Charlie came back in here at around ten o’clock. He said that you were going to join us up here in about twenty minutes so we could go over Charms or something. I got a little suspicious, but I figured you were just talking things through with Draco.”
“Suspicious about what, Jordi?” Elizabeth interrupted, but Jordi silenced her with a look.
“When you didn’t come back, we started to get a little nervous, but I told Charlie that it must just have been taking a little longer than you thought it would. But eleven o’clock rolled around, and then eleven thirty and eleven forty-five without any word from you, and Charlie started tweaking out. He assumed the worst, but I told him that I was sure you were alright. Then at about five past midnight, the portrait hole opened and Snape came in carrying you,” explained Jordi.
“You looked like a rag doll or something, Gin, it was terrifying. But, Snape had a weird smirk on his face. Charlie ran up to him and tried to grab you away from him, but Snape wouldn’t let him. So Charlie went into his suite and hasn’t come out since,” Elizabeth added.
“Snape carried you into the dorms and put you on your bed. Then he handed me the potion and told us to give it to you when you woke up in the morning. He said you’d feel really weak for about an hour while the potion worked its way through your body, but then you would be okay. But he didn’t tell us anything about what caused all this,” Jordi finished. “So would you mind explaining what the bloody hell happened to you?”
Ginny had listened to the explanation with a stoic expression on her face. Then her eyes narrowed and she bit down on her bottom lip to quell the obscenities that threatened to burst out. She took a deep breath and began. She described how she and Charlie had found Draco in the Room of Requirement, how she had knelt by him noticing how feverish he seemed in his sleep. She told them about how Draco had embraced her when he woke and how she had felt like her body was going to explode with pleasure. She mentioned how he seemed to feel better and could even play, but then how the fever returned. She smirked a little when she told them about how Charlie had been all over her and Draco had defended her, but then she got to the part where Draco fell ill again. She told them how Snape had brought Draco to the hospital and then Pomfrey disappeared. Then she hesistated, not particularly wanting to tell the girls about what had happened next.
“Wow,” Elizabeth said breathlessly.
Jordi raised a questioning eyebrow. “And that was all? I believe something is missing.”
“You know me too well, Jordi, it’s really quite frightening,” Ginny quipped. “Well, I was sitting next to the bed, holding Draco’s hand, and Snape told me he was going to get the antidote, but that I had to get into the bed with Draco and hold him.”
Elizabeth’s mouth dropped, incredulous at how improper the suggestion was. “And did you do it?”
“It was almost like I couldn’t stop myself. I climbed into the bed and, within a second, Draco was pressed up against me with his arms around me. And I felt that same strange fiery sensation…and that’s all I can remember,” she finished, looking away from the girls.
Elizabeth couldn’t speak but to make stupid little noises. But, Jordi looked deep in thought. She started chewing furiously on her thumbnail.
“It has to be – but he would have had to – then again it makes sense…oh you are joking!” She was talking mainly to herself, but suddenly recognition flashed over her features. “I know what happened!”
Elizabeth then turned her shocked gaze on Jordi and Ginny scooted forward. “How could you possibly know what happened?” Ginny asked.
Jordi flashed her a knowing smile. “It was the Dionysus Potion.”
Ginny cocked her head, while Elizabeth, not having taken Advanced Potions, was completely lost. “Explain,” Ginny commanded.
Jordi laughed for a moment, finding the situation unbelievably comical. Jordi was a Muggle-born witch, only the second one in her entire family line, and for her to be explaining a potion to two pureblood witches almost had her in stitches. Of course, Jordi had always been a very diligent Potionsmaker, and in fact, she hoped to make her wizarding career out of it.
“Ginny, I’m surprised you didn’t figure it out yourself…this is probably going to be on the Potions N.E.W.T. But anyway, the Dionysus Potion is a very potent--”
“Binding potion,” Ginny finished for her. “I know that, but that doesn’t explain what happened.”
“You asked me to explain, Gin, so let me explain!” she exclaimed, but her tone was more of teasing than anger. Ginny huffed impatiently, but folded her arms over her chest and allowed Jordi to continue.
“The Dionysus Potion is a very potent Binding potion. The ingredients are total opposites at first, but when mixed together with the right stimulant and sealed by the phoenix tears, they fuse together and can, if an antidote isn't administered, Bind something forever.”
Ginny vaguely remembered reading all that in her Potions text. Even more so, however, she remembered the effects of the potion because it was used on Harry. They Bound Harry’s spirit inside his body, so that he could effectively kill the Dark Lord without causing damage to himself. It had worked, but Ginny couldn’t help but wonder if the potion and antidote had done some permanent damage to Harry, as evidenced by his strange behavior towards herself. But she forced herself to pay attention to Jordi’s explanation.
“However, under a specific set of circumstances, making the potion can be a very powerful…aphrodisiac,” Jordi said, mischievously winking at Ginny. “I think we can safely say that when you and Draco came together to make the potion, those circumstances were met.”
Elizabeth started giggling. Ginny just stared at Jordi, highly not amused. Jordi continued, “Gin, you described how tingly you felt while you were making it and how you randomly grabbed his hand while the phoenix was singing.”
“That would actually explain a lot,” Ginny admitted slowly. Realization was dawning inside her. “That would explain why I kissed him even though I was with Charlie and why it felt so electric every time I touched him!”
“Ginny!” Elizabeth exclaimed. “You kissed Draco Malfoy and you didn’t tell me!”
“Well if what Jordi says is true, it wasn’t my fault that I kissed him. I was under the influence of the potion. This makes me feel so much better,” Ginny said, although it actually made her feel quite worse. The sensations she felt with Draco were artificial…she didn’t like that one bit.
“Actually, that’s not entirely accurate,” Jordi said quietly. Ginny and Elizabeth focused their attention on Jordi once again. “I said you had to satisfy the circumstances…and the circumstances dictate that in fact you and Draco are…well…” she trailed off.
“What? You can’t just leave it there,” Elizabeth cried. She was now as thoroughly interested as she had been in Matthew Davies earlier that week.
“When two people work on the Dionysus potion together, they are often creating a bond as strong as the one in the cauldron between them. But when the two people making it are of certain dispositions, that is when the aphrodisiac kicks in. They are two people, as unlike each other as night and day, who share one common element and a very deep-seated passion for it and…each other.”
“Oh.” It was all Ginny could say.
“Wait, I’m confused, does this mean that…oh.” Elizabeth looked back and forth between Ginny and Jordi. “This is like a bleeding soap opera. We just need Ginny’s long lost twin sister to walk in the door.”
As if on cue, the door to the girls dorm opened, but it was not Ginny’s long lost twin sister, but Professor Snape. He walked into the room and, seeing Ginny was awake, smirked. He was twisting another vial of the blue liquid in his long fingers.
“Glad to see that you survived the night, Miss Weasley. I had hoped that you would wake earlier, but then again, he Bound himself to you pretty tightly.”
“So Draco did test the potion, eh Professor?” Jordi asked.
“So it would seem, Miss Walsh,” he answered. “Incidentally, you are the only one who got full marks on your paper and potion sample. Are you as in-depth on all your other assignments?”
“Afraid not, sir. Potions capture my fancy much more than anything else.”
“Excuse me,” Ginny cut in, “but did you say that Draco Bound himself to me?”
“I hadn’t gotten that far yet, Professor. I had just finished explaining about the…side effects of creating the potion,” Jordi said, rolling her eyes. “Oi, Lizzie, maybe we’d better go see if Charlie has stopped sulking yet.”
“No, I want to know what happens!” Elizabeth said. Jordi dragged the poor girl off the bed and shooed her out into the hallway. “We’ll be back in a tic, Gin.”
Snape handed Ginny the vial and took a seat at a desk chair. Ginny stared him down beadily. “So, are you going to tell me what happened, or am I going to have to guess?”
“Easy, Miss Weasley, wouldn’t want to upset your fragile nerves.”
“Oh for Merlin’s sake, will you stop beating around the bush? How did he Bind himself to me?”
Snape raised an eyebrow, but began explaining. “It appears that after you left the dungeon after your detention, the desire you had created by brewing the potion together was at a fever-pitch. Draco was drawn to the potion, and likewise you would have been if he had left first, and he drank some without another thought. And, since his thoughts were overwhelmed with you, he was Bound to you.”
“And that is what made him sick? Not being able to be near me?”
“Not being able to touch you. Did you not notice how his fever and headache dissipated when you touched? Draco knew it as well; that is why when you woke him, he hugged you.”
“How do you know about that?”
“He told me so this morning, after I had admonished him properly for expressly going against my orders.”
Snape smirked. “I forbade him from making the potion with you. I should have known he would disobey me. I know him a lot better than he knows himself.”
Ginny contemplated that for a moment and then dismissed it with an airy wave of her hand. “Get back to the Binding. So when he hugged me, it made him feel better. I can only assume that’s why you made me lay with him in the hospital wing.”
“Very good, Miss Weasley. If only you caught on this quickly in class,” he said, sarcastically. “That also explains why you are so drained this morning. Draco drew a lot out of you in a small amount of time. The potion I gave you will last you until the end of the day. Take the other one tomorrow, and you should be fully back to normal.” Snape got up then and made for the door.
“Wait, are we still…or is he still…”
“I gave him the antidote last night before I brought you back here. He is no longer Bound to you.”
Ginny nodded slowly. Then why did she still feel so tingly at the mere thought of Draco? She decided that she had to see him again to find out exactly what was going on.
Snape opened the door to the dorm and Elizabeth fell in against him. She looked up as he caught her with a look of mild amusement on his face. She reddened in utter embarrassment and straightened herself. “So you’re through talking then?”
He stared pointedly at her, and then swept past her out the door. She bounded into the room and jumped back onto the bed. Jordi followed a few seconds later.
“So was I right? Did he Bind himself to you?”
“Yes,” Ginny answered distantly. Elizabeth squealed next to her and hugged Ginny sideways.
“That is the most weirdly romantic thing I have ever heard.”
“What are you going to do, Gin?” Jordi asked.
Ginny knew exactly to what Jordi was referring. The answer was so blatantly obvious, but Ginny was engaged in an absolute war in her mind. In the end, she came to the conclusion that there was no need for her to be questioning herself. Her heart may have led her in the wrong direction before, but she had grown up. And this time, somehow she knew that she was not wrong.
“I’m going to undo something,” she replied, determination evident. Elizabeth looked confused again, but Jordi just smiled and nodded her encouragement. Ginny returned the smile, got up quickly and, after a brief unsteady moment, left the room walking straight-backed and proud.
Charlie was pacing up and down the length of the common room. Since a few moments before when Jordi and Elizabeth had practically knocked down his door, telling him that Ginny was awake, and more importantly okay, he had shoved himself into some clothing and then ran out into the common area. He had wanted to run straight up to Ginny’s room, but he knew the staircase would melt away from him. So he contented himself with his pacing, waiting for Ginny to finally emerge. He would hold her, kiss her, and make sure that she never scared him like that ever again.
After what felt like an eternity, she came down the stairs walking sedately. Her face was oddly devoid of emotion, and it took all Charlie had in him to keep from rushing up the stairs and grabbing her right there.
“Ginny!” he called, when the wait seemed like it wanted to rip him apart inside. “Ginny, thank Merlin you’re all right! I was so worried!” He dashed over to her as soon as she was at the bottom of the stairs. Ginny put up a hand, however, to keep him from touching her.
“I have to talk to you,” she said seriously. She brushed past him and looked around the common room. Lunch had just ended, so most of the students were enjoying their Sunday somewhere on the castle grounds. The weather outside was positively gorgeous. Ginny was glad of it; the common room was empty except for the two of them.
“Talk indeed,” Charlie said, jokingly. “When Snape dragged you in here last night, I was so scared for you. Will you tell me what happened?”
Ginny took a seat on the large stuffed couch in front of the fireplace. She drew her knees up to her chest and rested her chin there. Charlie came and sat down next to her, turning her body to face him, but she looked purposefully away. “I guess we can start there,” she said quietly.
“Ginny, what’s the matter?” Charlie’s tone grew serious. “Will you please tell me what happened to you last night?”
Ginny ran a slightly shaking hand through her long red hair. She gripped tightly behind her head. “It starts with my detention two days ago.” Charlie reached out to take her hand from behind her head, but she shook it free. “Please don’t touch me right now.”
Charlie furrowed his brow, but let his hands drop into his lap. Ginny turned finally to look at him. “Gin, what - ”
Ginny cut him off by placing a hand in front of his mouth. “I don’t want to be with you anymore. I don’t think I ever did.” Charlie took her hand and roughly cast it aside.
“What are you talking about?”
Ginny sighed. An odd thought crossed her mind – why was she not crying? It seemed like an occasion for crying. But she could not. She could find no reason to cry. “We have to end this,” she said matter-of-factly.
Charlie pushed himself off the couch wildly and shouted, tone reaching hysterics, “Where did this come from? We were fine yesterday! We were totally fine! And today after some weird thing that you won’t tell me about you’re breaking up with me! Does this have to do with…” and here he spoke very quietly, “what happened with Malfoy last night, Ginny?”
Ginny had only reacted inwardly to Charlie’s outburst. She wasn’t afraid; she knew Charlie would never hurt her no matter how angry he was. First and foremost, Charlie was her friend. She took a deep breath and when she spoke, it was in a dull, flat voice devoid of any emotion whatsoever.
She described to Charlie everything that had happened that weekend, leaving nothing out. She told him about brewing the Dionysus potion at her detention, about kissing Draco afterwards, about healing him with her touch, and about the Binding. When she had finished, she looked straight up and Charlie. He sat down lifelessly next to her.
“So let me get this straight, Ginny, let me see if I have it all down pat. Because you were bewitched by a potion that you put together with Malfoy, now you fancy yourself in love with him. Do I have it?”
Ginny narrowed her eyes at him. “No, you’ve managed to completely skewer it. Did you even listen to anything I just said?” she said evenly.
“Did you think it was funny? Dangling me on a string like that while you dallied about with Malfoy? I’ll bet you two had a good laugh after I left last night.”
“I never meant to string you along. I was just confused and misguided and I’m sorry for that, but everything is clear now. And I should never have gotten involved with you when my feelings so clearly lay elsewhere.”
“Ginevra Weasley, you are nothing but a conniving bitch!” he spat, standing up and starting to walk away.
Ginny was momentarily stunned by his cruel words, but she shook it off. “Charlie! I am trying to make this right, but I can’t do that if you walk away. You need to understand. Hell, I need to understand it myself. But I can’t fix it if you don’t hear me out.”
Charlie turned around again, angry tears shining in his eyes. “What is there to say? You don’t want me, and you want that stupid shit instead. Why did you even let this begin if you wanted him all along? Well, why don’t you run off to Malfoy, eh? I bet he just can’t wait for my leftovers,” he said meanly.
“Don’t you dare speak of him that way! He’s been nothing but a gentleman throughout this whole sorry affair.”
“A gentleman?” he said, reaching a hand up to brush away a lock of hair from in front of Ginny’s eyes, but she backed away. He laughed. “A real gentleman – snogging a girl what’s already taken – that’s nothing but bad form, Ginny. Hardly gentleman-like.”
“I’m so – no, no I’m through apologizing. There’s no point. You’re going to think what you want, and that is just fine with me. But we are finished, and if I were you, I would stay away for a while.” With that, Ginny turned on her heel and left the common room. She paused briefly in the hall, waiting to see if Charlie would follow her. When he didn’t, she found herself laughing. She sank down against the wall, laughing hysterically for about a minute. Then, she got up and walked down the hallway to look for Draco.
She felt free. A huge grin kept springing to her lips and her cheeks kept growing hot as she blushed. She asked randomly passing people if they’d seen Draco, and finally a fourth year Ravenclaw mentioned having seen him out near Hagrid’s hut. With a spring in her step, Ginny began to make her way out onto the grounds.
Draco was working in Hagrid’s garden. He languidly moved his wand through the air blasting out the weeds. It was good, cathartic work. His energy had grown exponentially since that morning when Severus had administered the last of the antidote to the Dionysus. But Draco did not want to think about that. He felt like a fool. He had always excelled at Potions in school, so how could he have ignored the warning signs? He had known that Ginny and himself could possibly satisfy the conditions, but he had argued fiercely against it. He might have felt something for Ginny, and it might be considered passionate, but Ginny was with Lovett – therefore she could hardly be passionate about Draco.
He ran an agitated hand through his gelled hair, effectively mussing it. He rolled his eyes, and then continued working in the garden. He didn’t notice Ginny standing behind him until she placed a hand on his shoulder. He jumped at her touch as sparks of electricity crackled inside him. He turned around abruptly to face her.
“We need to talk,” she said quietly.
“You know perfectly well what,” she answered. She took him by the hand and led him out of the garden. They reached a small grove of trees that afforded them a little privacy. Ginny took a moment to realize just how beautiful the early-spring weather was. The sun was just barely starting its descent, and many of the students were still running around the grounds or making their way over to the Quidditch pitch. Ginny smiled as she sat down in the shade of the trees. Draco remained standing, so Ginny sighed and stood back up again.
A sudden attack of shyness overtook her just then, and she blushed, not exactly knowing where to begin.
“If you haven’t anything to say, I have work to do,” he said, but showed no sign of wanting to leave. His fingers itched; he wanted to take her right there and kiss her, or even just hold her close and never let her go. He shook his head trying to rid his betraying body of its desires and just focus on the clear thoughts running through his head. She was still with that bloody tosser; he would not allow himself to follow her like a lovesick puppy for the rest of his days.
“You know what happened with that potion, and what happened when we made it.”
“Yes,” he answered quietly.
“Why did you help me make it then?” she asked, stepping closer to him.
“I couldn’t help it,” he said, voice even softer than before. Then he said in his normal tone, “It doesn’t matter what happened. Obviously you were bewitched and that is that. Now hadn’t you better be getting along to your boyfriend? I’m sure he’s worried sick over you.” He turned to go, but Ginny ran around and stood in front of him.
“Why does everyone run away from me when I try to talk seriously with them? Draco, Charlie and I are through. I broke it off,” she said defiantly.
Draco raised his eyebrows, considering this for a moment. Then narrowed his eyes at her and said, “So you run right off to me for a rebound snog, is that it?” Even as he said the words, his insides twisted in protest. That was not how he felt and his body, his heart, knew it. But he was too proud, much too proud. He would not let her affect him like that.
Ginny shook her head, frustrated at his restraint. All she wanted to do was touch him, claim him for her own, but he was making excuses. “That isn’t right and you know it. Draco, this,” she gestured between them, “doesn’t happen everyday. Why can’t you just give in? I can see it in your eyes. What is so wrong?”
He looked her up and down for a moment and then burst out, “In case I haven’t already made it impossibly clear, let me spell it out for you. I’m attracted to you, Ginny. I want you more than I have ever wanted anything. And it isn’t only your talent. It’s your spark and your sincerity and the way you just wouldn’t leave me alone and the way…the way you draw out something in me that I didn’t even know was there until you came along.”
“Why can’t we be together? It’s because of what I just told you – I want you. And I can’t want you.”
“And why not? Is it because I’m a Weasley? I had thought we were past all that. Your family pitched you out, Draco, how can you still hang onto those ridiculous pureblooded notions of yours!”
Draco turned away from her. “People don’t change, Ginny,” he said quietly. Inside, Draco wanted to drop down on his knees right there and latch onto her legs, holding her there with him forever. But his pride had taken a severe hit. He wouldn’t allow himself to confess his true reason for not wanting to be with her. He considered it childish and ridiculous, what he was feeling, so it was better for her to think him a cold-hearted pureblood racist than to know the truth.
Ginny walked up behind him and wrapped her small arms around his waist. “I refuse to accept that, Draco,” she said simply into his back. He allowed her to remain there for a moment, before he disentangled himself from her grip. He turned around to face her, mask of indifference firmly in place.
“Must you continue to throw yourself at me, Weasel? It’s highly unbecoming,” he said, voice dripping with disdain.
Ginny looked intently at him for a moment. Then she slapped him across his face. “Why do you have to pretend? Why does it matter? I know I’ve been stupid, latching myself on Charlie the way I did, but I only did it because I was afraid of you. Well I’m no longer afraid, Draco…I suggest you stop being afraid of me.” Ginny felt very empowered. She smiled as Draco’s hand flew up to his cheek, his mouth dropping in a highly un-Malfoy-like gesture.
Ginny seized that moment to draw him against her and kiss him swiftly. She smiled against his mouth as the electricity she had attributed to the potion was still there. That meant it was true – there was passion between them. She shivered slightly, and Draco wrapped her in his work robes, pressing her tightly against him. He continued to kiss her, and she lightly separated his lips with her tongue.
But this time, it was Draco who stopped the kiss. He let go of her and stepped backward until he was leaning casually against a tree. He crossed his arms over his chest. “Don’t think that changed anything, Ginny. I’m not about to jump into anything with some little girl who can’t make up her mind.”
“I’m not a little girl, Draco, so don’t patronize me.” She walked up so she was standing close to him again. “And don’t even pretend that you didn’t feel it. It’s electric, what we have between us, how can you ignore it?”
Draco took a deep breath – she was standing much too close. “Just forget it, Ginny, it’s over. Just forget it.” With that, he brushed past her, took his wand out of his pocket, and began blasting apart the weeds again.
Ginny shook her head sadly. She started back toward the castle, but she paused for a moment. “When are you going to stop fighting, Draco? The war is over…it’s time for peace,” she said.
When he didn’t answer, Ginny continued walking back to the castle. Draco waited until she had disappeared through the doors before angrily throwing his wand to the ground. He stepped out of the garden and laid down in the grass beneath a large tree. He stared up at the clouds. When am I going to stop fighting? he thought.
Note: “His fingers itched” is from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet which very obviously does not belong to me.
Leave a Review