Ginny had been having nightmares for a long time now. They used to be just about confining darkness, then Tom and the Chamber of Secrets. Over time, the nightmares were formless realms of darkness, pain blossoming in her chest and the knowledge that an unspeakable evil had been done to her. Some nightmares had her clawing her way out of a fresh grave, her mind screaming that she had been buried by mistake. Bury me, bury me deep...
She didn’t mention the nightmares to her parents. They were always so bright and cheerful around the holidays, and she didn’t want to darken their spirits with talk of nightmares and betrayal.
Arthur, what have you done? What have you done?
Ginny set out the cups and plates. In a dim part of her mind, it felt as though she ought to be laying out fine silver and crystal goblets over an ebony table. She almost swayed and fell, but caught herself at the last moment. This year was special, and it wouldn’t do to have a fainting fit before the Christmas dinner even started.
This year, she was bringing someone with her.
Her parents hadn’t liked the idea of her dating Draco Malfoy during the war, but then they hadn't liked it when she went into mediwitchery. They would have preferred something safe, something that kept her hidden away. She was the baby, after all, the “darling girl” that her family felt should always be protected. But she had gotten to know Draco while he was under her care. They had started talking as his legs mended, and Ginny had liked what she had seen. Draco was more than someone that had crossed enemy lines to save his skin, he had the strength of his own convictions. Ginny had never thought about the war from the Death Eaters’ point of view, and listening to Draco explain it had made everything clear. Draco had turned his back on the Death Eater cause after a chance conversation with his father. Draco had never known that Voldemort was a halfblood, had never realized that the entire movement had been based on lies. The Malfoy clan had a code of honor all its own, and Draco had always adhered to it. Discovering he had been lied to, Draco had gone straight to Dumbledore.
“Ginny, darling, the table won’t set itself,” her mother chided.
Startled, Ginny dropped one of the knives. “Oops. Sorry, Mum, lost track of time there.”
“You haven’t been sleeping well lately,” Molly Weasley murmured. She approached her daughter tentatively, as if unsure of her welcome. She and Ginny had fought bitterly over Draco, and had only come to an uneasy truce a month ago.
“Just old nightmares,” Ginny said, brushing off the concern. It felt too close, too cloying, as though Molly was trying too hard to make Ginny a child again.
“You killed them, didn’t you?” her mind whispered. She was speaking to a Weasley, but Ginny didn’t recognize him. He was a little paunchy in the belly, and starting to bald a bit. He was drinking heavily from a crystal goblet filled with red wine.
Ginny blinked and shook her head. “It’ll go away. I’ve just been tired lately.”
“Oh,” Molly said softly. “All right then.”
Ginny wished she could tell her mother about it, just as she used to do when she was a young girl. The bad man came again, Mum... He pressed down on my face and I couldn’t breathe and then it was all dark...
But Ginny wasn’t a young girl anymore, and her nightmares weren’t filled with boogeymen stopping up a little girl's breath.
Now she was that girl's mother.
Dinner had gone amazingly smoothly. Conscious of Ginny’s worries, Draco had been a perfect gentleman, and hadn’t mentioned the cracked plates or mismatched silverware once. He let the twins pull pranks, and he let Arthur Weasley quiz him mercilessly on the Muggle artifacts he had been forced live with at the close of the war, when it was necessary to leave the Wizarding World to save his life. When Ginny had offered to wash the dishes, Draco had actually volunteered to help her.
“Nothing engraved with the Weasley name?” Draco teased, handing Ginny the used silverware. He had elected to tackle the plates.
“I don’t think we’ve ever had anything engraved with a W.”
“I remember seeing some old things at the Manor once,” Draco said, eyes far away into memory. “There were things that looked like they had a W on them. I remember asking Mum, and she said that they were part of the Malfoy legacy, that it was really an M that had been placed upside down on the silverware. My ancestor, Lucien Malfoy, had punished the designer for the mistake, and had another set made.”
The name triggered something in Ginny’s head, some memory she didn’t know she even had. Arthur grabbed the knife at his side, still dirty from slicing the ham and cheese at the table. “You’ve been nothing but trouble, Gin, not worth the effort in having you.” The knife plunged deeply into her chest, and the crackle of magic beneath her skin sprang into life. Arthur cried out from the force of it, and fell backward.
“Gin?” Draco asked, voice full of concern.
Ginny snapped out of her trance and picked up a spoon. “Sorry. Just tired. I wonder what it would look like.”
“What? Having Weasley on everything?”
“I guess. I’ve never really thought about it.” Ginny was studiously putting away the freshly washed spoon, and didn’t meet Draco’s gaze.
“You haven’t told your parents yet, have you?”
Ginny was startled enough to drop the knife she was washing. “Er... no?”
Draco rolled his eyes. “When will you? On the day itself? When you apply to change your name? C’mon. It wasn’t bad tonight.”
Ginny sighed. “I’m a little scared, you know? I’m afraid they’ll think it was too fast.”
“It was fast. But we’re sure, like we’ve always known it was right.”
Ginny smiled up at him, and he relaxed. “I know. And I’m not changing my mind. Not now, not ever. I can’t wait to be Ginevra Malfoy.”
That night, Ginny had another nightmare.
“What have you done?” Ginny was wailing. She was someone else, in another place, another time. “You killed them, didn’t you?”
The strange redhead with her father’s name but a crueler face laughed at her dream self. He poured himself another glass of deep red wine. “Those whimpering things? Those creatures that died in their sleep?”
Ginny woke up with a start, pain in her chest and a deep, heavy ache in her heart. She felt like her heart was breaking, like an integral part of herself had been ripped away. She found herself crying, though she didn’t know why, and she wished she could have her mother with her, even if it was for just a moment. Her mother could have banished the nightmares, she was sure. That was the sort of thing that mothers did. They took away the boogeymen, they took away the fears, they helped you stop dreaming of blood and death.
My darling girls, her mind sobbed. My bright and beautiful babies...
Ginny wondered if she was going mad.
Ginny found her brother Bill and his wife Fleur at the Burrow. They were staying until Twelfth Night, and then they were going back to Egypt. “Bill? I was wondering if you could help me with something?” Fleur looked at Bill for a moment, then went off in search of her mother-in-law to give them some privacy.
“What is it, Gin?”
Ginny had the oddest feeling that she had known Bill as a young child, and pushed it away. That was silly. Bill was the eldest, and Ginny was the youngest. She had never known Bill as a child, and had always looked to him for protection.
“I was wondering if we had any family heirlooms,” Ginny said, sitting down next to Bill. “Draco mentioned having all sorts of stuff at the Manor passed down for hundreds of years. Do we have something like that?”
Bill shrugged. “Before Gramma died, there was a scroll with a poem on it that she said was important. I think it’s in the attic. It was in a stone container, that’s all I remember. Mum said it was rubbish, and we would’ve been better off with something other than stories as an inheritance.” Bill looked at Ginny closely. “Is there something you want to tell us, Gin?”
“Maybe. But if I do... I feel like everyone’s going to be awfully disappointed in me.”
“Marrying a Malfoy, you mean?” Bill smiled at Ginny’s gasp of shock. “Oh come on now, you don’t think I know what that ring on your necklace is? You think Mum and Dad don’t know? I don’t think you’re giving them enough credit.”
Ginny felt her throat constrict painfully. “But what if they hate me for it?”
Bill gathered up Ginny into a great bear hug. “Gin, you’re the baby. The only girl. They’re just protective of you. I don’t think we really ever knew what to do with a girl, you know. There hasn’t been one in the family in four hundred years.”
Ginny snorted. “Feels like a curse.”
Bill only laughed. “Well then, find out who cast it. I’m a curse breaker, I’ll tell you how to do it. And then you’ll be happy as Ginevra Malfoy, and once there’s a dozen little babies in the picture Mum will never leave you alone. How’s that?”
Ginny’s heart gave a painful squeeze. She managed to still smile at Bill. “Sounds good. You and Draco are right. I should tell them.”
Bill gave her a squeeze. “You can do it, Gin. You’re not as bad off as you think.”
Ginny thought of her nightmares. “Girls are trouble, girls aren’t worth the effort. I did you a favor.... I’ll give you strong sons,” Arthur snapped. “They’re the only things worth anything.”
“If you say so,” she murmured.
The telling hadn’t gone as badly as Ginny feared. Arthur and Molly had taken it stoically, and Arthur had shaken Draco’s hand and welcomed him into the family. Molly had smiled stiffly, and nodded at Draco. “You two will do well,” she said, her voice barely above a whisper. “You’re not little children anymore, you can make your own decisions.”
Arthur looked at Molly, almost angry, and Ginny had the oddest sense of seeing that expression before. “You thought yourself a queen, you lowborn bitch, but you’re no better than the sand beneath my feet!”
But her father said no such thing. “Molly, it’ll be all right.”
Molly left the room. Really, there was nothing left to say.
“We’ll be all right,” Draco murmured into Ginny’s ear. He pulled on her earlobe with his teeth. “We’ll get married at the Manor, we’ll have lots of guests, and your family will see how well off you are.”
“I’m not worried about money,” Ginny murmured, gasping when Draco’s hand closed over her breast. “I’m worried about how they’ll be.”
“If they can’t be civil, they just won’t come. But you’d think they’d want to see you happy, even if it’s getting married to their mortal enemies.”
“Oh, your family aren’t our mortal enemies,” Ginny said, grinning as she unbuttoned his shirt. “You think I’d even date you if you were?”
“My father always said that our families hated each other for generations. It must’ve have been what? Four or five hundred years now? We’re the first generation that hasn’t outright tried to kill each other.”
“I don’t know... You and Ron came awful close a lot of times.”
“How is the Weasel?” Draco murmured, his lips an inch from Ginny’s exposed breast.
“He and Hermione are very happy, you know that. They’re off with her family in Spain for the holidays this year. They’ll be with us for Easter.” Ginny arched up into Draco, and he obligingly took her nipple into his mouth. “Oh!”
Draco’s fingers slid between her thighs, and Ginny gasped again. “I love it when you sound like that,” Draco crooned against her skin. His voice sounded hauntingly familiar, as though someone had said something similar to her. She couldn’t place it, and none of her previous boyfriends had ever been vocal during sex.
Pale hair, pale eyes, pale skin. She used to see it in the mirror every day, and she had known it to be a bad sign when suddenly her beloved husband was as pale as she. She knew what it must mean, that the fever had come closer than they thought...
Ginny trembled beneath Draco’s hands, reality and faint dreams merging into one. “Yes, that’s it,” Draco murmured, kissing his way down her torso. “Come for me, Gin, let me hear you, let me feel you...”
Ginny felt as though she were coming undone, as though she were falling apart at the seams. She was being buried alive under layers of dreams and memories and shades of emotion she didn’t know the source to. Come for me, love.... My love... Love of my life, my shining angel, my Ginevra....
She was shattering, falling, breaking apart.
She had to find the source of these dreams.
The attic was cold and dusty, and Ginny had nothing more than the vaguest of descriptions from Bill. An old stone box, something engraved with runes. He had seen it once in a trunk as it was hauled up into the attic. Their mother had never really liked Gramma Weasley, hadn’t liked the old tales she used to tell the children. Molly had felt that they were terrible tales, too full of blood and misery and treachery. Gramma Weasley had claimed her stories were all true, the tales handed down within the Weasley family. Her side of the family hadn’t had any interesting tales, so she had learned all of the Weasley ones.
Ginny couldn’t remember Gramma Weasley, who had died when she was two. It had been Gramma Weasley’s suggestion to name her Ginevra, and Molly had liked the sound of the name. It was probably the only thing from Gramma Weasley that Molly had liked.
Ginny coughed as dust clouds flew up to meet her. The attic was dusty, full of things that Molly and Arthur had put away and never used. Things had gone well with her father that morning. Draco had kissed her goodbye when she left her flat that morning, and he had Apparated back to Malfoy Manor. Ginny had decided to talk to her parents again, to see if maybe, just maybe, they could find it in their hearts to be proud of her.
Her father had been home, and Molly had been out in the village shopping. Ginny had sat down at the kitchen table with her father, hands clasped about a mug of tea. “I was wondering, Dad, if we had any old things about. Like heirlooms.”
Arthur Weasley looked at his daughter. “Like what?”
“I don’t know. Just... You know Draco’s family has things passed down from a long time ago. I was wondering if we had anything like that.”
Arthur looked at his daughter, a sad expression on his face. “Your mother will come around eventually, you know.”
Ginny looked up sharply. “But...”
“It takes a long time. She’s very set in her ways, your mother is. And she doesn’t like being wrong. She’s wrong about Draco, you know. The boy isn’t anything like his father, isn’t anything like we were afraid he would be.”
Ginny watched her father sip his tea, and felt a sense of hopelessness wash over her. “I don’t know what to do to make it better.”
Arthur put down his mug carefully, and traced the painted edge of the porcelain. “Do you remember when you made this down at the village?”
“Yes. I thought I was going to break it on the way home.”
“But you didn’t. You were careful, and went slow. It’s the same with your mother. Just take it slow. Don’t try talking to her all at once.”
Ginny smiled sadly. “How did this happen? When did I become so afraid of what she thought of me? When did I have to hold back?”
“Gin, I don’t think she ever knew what to do with you. A house full of boys... We all thought you were going to be another boy, you know. You were going to be Gerald Alexander, did you know that?”
Ginny wrinkled her nose. “Ew.”
“If not for your Gramma Weasley, you would’ve become Geraldine Alexandra.”
Ginny laughed out loud. “I don’t remember Gramma Weasley.”
“You were a little thing,” Arthur said fondly. “Just two, just after your birthday. You weren’t ready for a big girl bed, and you wailed about it. You could speak then, already, little sentences, and you wanted a big bed, you didn’t like the crib. Your Gramma would come in and tell you a story and then you quiet down to sleep.”
“I always had nightmares about cribs,” Ginny murmured.
“Hm.... Maybe that was it,” Arthur mused. “But your Gramma was full of Weasley stories. There’s always one in the family that remembers.”
“So do you remember the stories?” Ginny asked eagerly.
“Oh goodness no. But your Gramma, she had some old books that got put up in the attic,” Arthur said. He took a sip of his tea. “You know, those would be your heirlooms. The books are certainly old enough, I think.”
So now Ginny was sneezing her way across the attic, looking for a stone container, a poem, or books of some kind. She didn’t know what she was looking for exactly, but felt certain that she would recognize it when she found it.
After nearly an hour of searching, Ginny came across a trunk with the name Halina Aiava embossed on the lid. Frowning, she gently opened it, hoping a dust cloud wouldn’t rise in the lid’s wake. It did anyway, and once the coughing fit subsided, she peered into the trunk.
A magical photo of Gramma Weasley holding a baby Ginny stared up at her.
Ginny settled down in front of the trunk and began to dig. This was it, she could feel it, this was where her mother had put all of Gramma Weasley’s things. There was a small ebony box that contained a shrunken and preserved wedding dress. There was a photo of Grampa Weasley before he went off to fight and die in the war against Grindelwald. There were locks of hair from every one of Gramma Weasley’s four children, though Arthur was the only one still alive. His brothers had died of childhood diseases or accidents. Ginny found two old diaries spelled shut, a book of fairy tales and a large blank book with a fancy gold W embossed on the cover. It lay directly over a small stone box, its top covered in runes.
Ginny’s heart constricted. That W looked familiar somehow, and she could see herself polishing a silver fork until it shone. That same W stared up at her, and she found herself looking across the table at one of the servants. She had always liked polishing her own silver. It was a chore that occupied a troubled mind, and it let her surreptitiously count the pieces. It was a bad habit she had picked up while living with her cousins. Lucien was paranoid, sure that he was going to have something stolen from him. He was a hoarder by nature, and didn’t forgive easily, if at all. He was famous for having another wizard ruined after a silly remark had been made about the color of Lucien’s coat.
Ginny looked up into the attic again, her head spinning. Something was happening to her, she was almost dizzy.
Elizabeth, I know Lucien thinks Arthur isn’t worthy of me, but he promised to be good to my girls. I want to do right by them. They need a father, and his sons are a joy. I think it might actually be a good match.
Oh Ginny, if you say so. You know how Lucien is, though. If Arthur ever steps out of line, he’ll be there to make him suffer for it.
I know, I know. But you know the way stories are. And Arthur doesn’t seem like it at all.
All right. I know how hard it is to change your mind...
Of course. I have that famous Malfoy stubbornness, too.
Ginny shook her head to clear it. She was definitely feeling faint now. She took the small stone box out and shut her grandmother’s chest. Now that she knew where it was, she could always come back for it later.
Hide me, find me; rage, cry and weep for the time we shall meet.
“Do you know what it means?” Draco asked. He was holding the scrap of parchment that had been inside the stone box, lying across Ginny’s bed. She was curled up next to him, her head on his chest, listening to his heart beat.
“Not a clue. It sounds like there’s some sort of secret in the family.”
Draco snorted. “Your family doesn’t have any secrets. Mine is the one that’s full of darkness and Dark Arts and misery.”
Ginny looked up and dropped a quick kiss on his chin. “Then what’s this all about?”
“I don’t know. But I can look up the script on the box if you like. I think I’ve seen it before in one of Father’s books.”
“Thank you,” Ginny murmured, rolling over so that she was lying half on top of Draco. “You don’t think I’m being silly about all this?”
Draco dropped a kiss onto her forehead. “If it makes the nightmares stop, it’s not silly.”
Ginny smiled at him, and snuggled in closer. Draco put the parchment away and wrapped his arms around her. “Dad thinks Mum should come around eventually.”
“Well, at least my mother likes you.”
Ginny laughed. “It’s the name, I think. It can’t help but sound more regal if you introduce me as Ginevra.”
“We’ve had Ginevras in the family before, too. That helped.”
Ginny pushed herself up onto her elbows to look at Draco. “Really? I thought it was a pretty rare name.”
“Oh, I’ve had a great-great-great-great-aunt Ginevra on the family tree. Ask my mother sometime, it’s in the Manor somewhere. You know, you might like it. Since you like history and all that boring kind of stuff.”
Ginny laughed and kissed Draco’s chin. “I think I will. Now that I’m starting to look into it, I think our families are more interesting than I thought they were.”
Draco laughed and gave Ginny a squeeze. “If you say so. I never thought about it before.”
Ginny settled into the embrace and kissed Draco. “I want to be able to tell our children all sorts of stories, you know. Like my Gramma did for us when we were little. Dad said I used to have nightmares all the time, and Gramma calmed me down with stories.”
“Well then, next time you go into her trunk, get that book of stories.”
“Next time I go, I’m opening some windows. It gets too stuffy in there.”
“Isn’t that what attics do?”
Ginny laughed as Draco rolled his eyes. “Maybe. I haven’t been into ours before.”
“Well if you like yours so much, ask my mother about the Manor’s attics. There’s at least three of them, maybe four, plus two basement levels. You can use your entire month off and not go through all of them.”
“I don’t think I want to get that dusty.”
“But cleaning you up is half the fun,” Draco leered playfully.
Ginny laughed and kissed him. “I’ll keep it in mind.”
That night, Ginny dreamed again.
I curse you, Arthur Reginald Weasley, you and all your children, until a Ginevra Weasley is born that will become Ginevra Malfoy.
“I’m going crazy, that’s all,” Ginny said simply, cutting into her baked chicken. She and Hermione were sitting in one of their favorite Muggle restaurants in London. Hermione was scheduled to go back to work in the Department of Mysteries the next day, so they had decided to have a shopping trip before Hermione was caught up in work again. The Grangers and Weasleys had a wonderful Spanish vacation, and Ginny couldn’t help but spill out her own miseries afterward. It had been too stark a contrast.
“I wonder about that, considering all the dreams you had that echo your Gramma’s things. There’s stranger things in the Wizarding World, you know.”
“So what do I do about it?”
“Well, you think there’s a link to a Ginevra Malfoy, right? So go to Malfoy Manor and see if you can find out about her.”
“Do you think it’s a smart thing to do?”
“Ginny, you’re not going to be happy until you know what’s going on. And right now, the clues are pointing to Malfoy Manor.”
Ginny sighed and ate a bite of chicken. “If you say so.”
“Of course I do,” Hermione teased. “Now why don’t we take your mind off of the whole thing for a little bit? I don’t think you’ve had anything new since you graduated three years ago. It’s time to get something new.”
“I wear scrubs all day at work. I don’t need any new clothes.”
“Well, at least let’s go try something on. At the very least, you’ll feel distracted enough that you can think straight.”
Narcissa Malfoy was rail thin and pale as paper, which had always made Ginny feel so riotously uncouth. She was used to noise and color and action, whereas Narcissa had grown accustomed to the silence of a large manor that was mostly empty.
“Here’s the tapestry,” Narcissa said, opening the door to a parlor that had apparently not been used in decades. Ginny thought there was something familiar about it, but couldn’t place it. “There’s three or four Ginevra Malfoys. It was rather startling to know that your full name was Ginevra. I didn’t think it was a Weasley name.”
“There hasn’t been a girl Weasley born in about four hundred years,” Ginny replied, stepping close to the tapestry. “My grandmother had suggested the name.”
“That was Halina Availa, you said?”
“Aiava,” Ginny corrected. She smiled gently at Narcissa and inspected the tapestry. “I had no idea there were this many Malfoys.”
“Lucius was an only child, and so was his father. But past Malfoys used to have at least two children.” Narcissa pointed to the top of the tapestry. “This was created by Lucien Malfoy over four hundred years ago. Here are his parents, there’s his sister Elizabeth, her family branching off that way....” Narcissa’s voice trailed off. “Oh. Aiava, you said? Look, one of Elizabeth’s descendants married into the Aiava family.”
Ginny took a closer look at that part of the tapestry, at the tiny gold threads. Sure enough, a Malfoy married an Aiava nearly two hundred years ago. “It doesn’t continue?”
“Oh, it just keeps track of direct Malfoy descendants. Mostly from Lucien.”
“This little bit at the top is mostly unraveled,” Ginny pointed out.
“Oh?” Narcissa peered closer at the tapestry. “Ah. That means the poor soul there was killed. Natural deaths are indicated by the line through the name. There’s a lot of violent death in the old days,” Narcissa added with a shrug.
“It looks like the name is Ginevra,” Ginny murmured, voice catching.
“Lucien did have a cousin Ginevra. She married well, if I recall correctly.”
“And she had twin girls.”
Narcissa looked at Ginny sharply. “She did. How did you guess? Their names are unraveled as well.”
Ginny gave Narcissa a tremulous smile. “I had a feeling.”
Narcissa brushed off the chill that was threatening to move down her spine. “Well, this Manor was built long before then. I dare say there’s all sorts of other things here from that time period, if you’d like to see them.”
Ginny was peering at the tapestry. “It looks like she married twice?”
Narcissa nodded. “Yes. After her death, her cousin Lucien inherited all her possessions, including this Manor.”
“You know an awful lot about Malfoy history,” Ginny murmured.
Narcissa smiled, the first truly warm one Ginny had seen all day. “I had always enjoyed history and genealogies. It looks like you do, too.”
Ginny found herself smiling. “I like the stories you uncover as you go. It’s the best kind of buried treasure there is.”
Narcissa cocked her head to the side. “I never thought of it that way. In that case, you’ll love this kind of buried treasure.”
They went down into the lower level of the basement in the main part of the Manor. It was the oldest part of the house, over seven hundred years old. It had been old even when Lucien had inherited it from his cousin’s untimely death. Narcissa unlocked the rusty iron door with an iron key, and lit her wand. Ginny quickly did the same, and followed Narcissa into the old storeroom. They were surrounded by household goods, finely wrought in silver, crystal and bone china. Ginny felt her breath catch.
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” Narcissa said, seeing Ginny’s appreciation. She recognized it not as awe for casual wealth but awe for the sense of history sitting before them. Narcissa approved of such a reaction; it wouldn’t do to be so obvious in the acquisition of wealth. “There’s the story that most of this had been made in error, that the monogram hadn’t been done correctly.”
“Draco mentioned that. Lucien had been angry with it all, and locked it all away.”
“Yes. Beautiful craftsmanship, from the time of the Muggle King Henry VIII.” Narcissa moved to a rosewood chest and lifted the lid. “Look, this is what I was talking about.”
Ginny moved over to the chest, and felt her heart stop.
Every piece of silver had the same embellished W as the book in Gramma Weasley’s trunk.
“Are you all right?” Narcissa asked, seeing Ginny turn ashen. “Ginevra?”
Ginny heard her voice from far away, and felt as if she were falling.
And then she didn’t feel anything. She was too busy remembering.
“You killed them, didn’t you?”
She had waited patiently until he was deep into his cups, when his tongue was most likely loosened. She was in only her night rail, and looked almost like a wraith standing there at the edge of the doorway. Her pale blonde hair was flowing long and loose down her back, as if she were still a maiden to be tempted into indiscretion.
He smiled at her, but the smile was far from kind. “Those pale things? The mealy-mouthed wailing things in the cradle?”
She didn’t show him any outward emotion. “They were far from the cradle, Arthur.”
“Those things were pale, frail creatures. They would have sucked me dry of every knut, feeding them and paying for their dowries. I told you I wouldn’t have it.”
“And I told you, if you wanted me as a bride, my girls came with me.”
“They came with you, did they not?” Arthur sneered. “Pale, sickly things. Not at all like my boys. My boys were hale and hearty from birth, large and healthy. Those things you called girls were nothing but wisps of hair and skin.”
Her hands were hidden in the folds of her night rail, and they clenched into fists. Her beautiful darling girls haunted her; only two, their twin smiles had been shining in the dark as they were last tucked into bed. It was her last memory of them, her girls, her darling girls, her only children by her beloved husband. He had been carried along with the fever that decimated the Muggles, the healing spells unable to save him. Arthur had come along soon after, his own wife long since dead, and had offered for her. Their combined families would be whole, their combined wealth would be phenomenal, enough to dower her girls and provide for all the children. She had believed him, despite the cries of her cousins, despite the stories of drinking and debauchery, that his last wife had died under mysterious circumstances.
And now she knew, and it was far, far too late.
“What did you do?” she asked, voice deceptively calm. “They were in perfect health.”
“Ha. Those things? Pale and sickly, pale and sickly. No ruddy cheeks of health, none. Not like my boys, not healthy at all. Must have had fever. Had to get rid of it, else it would infect one of my boys.”
She honestly liked Arthur’s sons. The four of them were healthy indeed, riding across the estates every day, training up to be good pages at court. She had enjoyed their company when they had scrambled over each other to give her gifts from the gardens, or to tell her stories they had heard in the village. They even were courteous to her girls, calling them their dear sisters and saying they would slay dragons for them. They resembled their departed mother in temperament, their father in looks. They were fine boys, and she wished she could hate them for their father’s perfidy.
“My girls were well. You remember them, before the wedding. You promised–”
“They would have bled me dry!” Arthur bellowed, standing. He was angry, and his face was mottled by rage and wine. She almost couldn’t tell where his hair began. “They have the look of you about them, they would have demanded a fair price. I won’t have it! I won’t give away a portion of this wealth over sickly girls no matter what we agreed upon!”
“You value Galleons over their lives?” she cried, incredulous.
Arthur sneered at her and drank deeply from his goblet. “What would they have done, other than waste the goods spent? Can’t even arrange a good enough match, there’s no one wealthier in the province, and I won’t have anyone carrying my name marrying any Muggle trash. Look at the Boleyns! Their girl Anne, carrying on about a Muggle King, and what does he do? Kill their girl child, claim it stillborn and chop off the girl’s head. Girls are trouble, girls aren’t worth the effort. I did you a favor.”
Her blood was seething. “They were my children.”
“I’ll give you strong sons,” Arthur snapped. “They’re the only things worth anything.”
“You have four sons, and you begrudge me my two girls.”
“Witches get hanged,” Arthur said sourly. He drank deeply again. “I did you a favor.”
“So do wizards,” she said, her voice soft and menacing. She could feel her power rising within her, the ancient blood waking. There were tales in her family that there had been a Seer amongst their ancestors, Dark Magicians of untold power and a direct line of descent from Guinevere, the great King Arthur’s bride. She had laughed when Arthur first started courting her, when he said he would rename their home Avalon.
Her heart was breaking. Her bright and shining girls, dead to salvage male pride and greed, dead because they couldn’t bring in more wealth.
“Your wealth is in your sons,” she said, voice firm and resonating throughout the hall. “And so sons are all you will have. The monies you crave will fall from your fingers like water, your sons, and all their sons, will have the same luck, a hundred years for every son you valued over my daughters. Only when there is a girl child, one to carry my name and bring it back to the name of my birth, only then will the curse be lifted. My kin will be the one to rise up your line, Weasley, and only when a girl child becomes Ginevra Malfoy again will your line ever recover.”
Arthur Weasley purpled, and threw his goblet at his wife. “You thought yourself a queen, you lowborn bitch, but you’re no better than the sand beneath my feet!”
The red wine ran down the front of Ginevra’s night rail, and she could feel the crackle and static of high magic around them. “I curse you, Arthur Reginald Weasley, you and all your children, until a Ginevra Weasley is born that will become Ginevra Malfoy.”
Arthur grabbed the knife at his side, still dirty from slicing the ham and cheese at the table. “You’ve been nothing but trouble, Gin, not worth the effort in having you.”
The knife plunged deeply into her chest, and the crackle of magic beneath her skin sprang into life. Arthur cried out from the force of it, and fell backward. The magic within Ginevra spread out between them, marking them both. Anyone skilled in casting curses would be able to learn exactly what happened, what Ginevra had done.
When his sons arrived, they found their stepmother dead with their father’s dinner knife still in her chest. Their father was found in the attic, swinging from the rafters. The Malfoy cousins swept into the home soon after, their faces stony. They tallied up the goods, the fine silver and crystal goblets, the linens and foodstuffs in the kitchens. The eldest Weasley child boldly approached. “Please, what’s to become of us? Both our mothers are dead now.”
The famous Malfoy sneer was leveled at the boy. “What do you think? Your father died unshriven, and a murderer besides. Three lives he took that night, and he will pay the price out of your inheritance.”
“But my brothers and I? What’s to become of us?”
Ginevra’s other cousin came closer. “Lucien, don’t be so hard on them. They’re children, they don’t know. They weren’t part of the madness.”
“They’re his blood, Elizabeth,” Lucien Malfoy hissed. “The stink of it is on them.”
“Let them foster out, then. But they’re orphans now, be a little kinder.”
“Your kindness let our Ginevra die!”
The eldest Weasley boy touched Elizabeth’s sleeve. “Please, can’t we see her once more before the funeral? She was our Mum, too...”
Lucien slapped the boy, jaw tightening in fury. “Begone, all of you! Be thankful I don’t ask for three of your lives instead!”
Elizabeth sighed and waited until the Weasley boys ran from the hall. “She cursed the bastard, Lucien. That’s revenge enough. You don’t need to visit your wrath on the innocent.”
“They’re not innocent. They’re Weasleys. From this day until the end of time, every Weasley is filth to me.”
Ginny found herself waking in Draco’s bed. She looked around in confusion, thinking the walls should have pale silk wallpaper instead of dark green. Then her memories dropped into place, and she looked around. Draco was sitting beside her, looking worried. “Draco? What happened?”
“You fainted,” he murmured, stroking her hair.
“Oh. I don’t remember that. I was in the basement with your mother.”
“You know, she thought you were pregnant. She had a mediwitch come look at you.”
Draco grinned madly. “You are.”
Ginny found herself laughing. “And here I thought it was all those dreams of Ginevra Malfoy.”
Draco grew serious. “Did you find what you were looking for?”
Ginny sat up. “Oh yes. I have such a story to tell you...”
Elizabeth had whispered over the headstone, feeling her own powers wake. Someday, things would be put to rights. Someday. In the meantime, she fiercely missed her cousin’s bright smile, and the laughter of her nieces. But it wasn’t fair to blame the innocents, it wasn’t right to visit the crimes of the father upon the sons.
She took out a slip of parchment and swiftly wrote the poem she had composed. Later, she would find the eldest Weasley son, the bravest and strongest of the four boys. He and his line would definitely last the years of Ginevra’s curse. Elizabeth would whisper to him that there was hope, that one day far in the future, another Ginevra would be born, and she could end the curse. Until then, Ginevra’s tombstone would serve as the only clue for future generations.
Bury me, bury me deep, where earth is soft and sweet. Hide me, find me; rage, cry and weep for the time we shall meet. Bury me, bury me deep, and all secrets I keep.
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