Chapter 12- Nighttime Confessions
Ginny allowed herself to be pulled out of the Slytherin common room and into the dark dungeons, where an eerie light reflected dimly against the stone. Once they were halfway up the corridor leading from the dormitories, Draco spoke. His words sent apprehension through her, and a chill ran down her spine.
“Ginny, I have something to tell you, and I want you to promise to just listen until I’m finished.”
Ginny tilted her head warily, but nodded. “Alright.”
“Earlier this year I got a letter from my father. He told me that it is the Dark Lord’s wish that I join the Death Eaters soon. This wasn’t a problem, as I’ve always known I would join someday. I was quite pleased, actually, that He considered my service so valuable.
“However, also enclosed was a letter from my mother. She told me that it was my parents’ wish that, by the time I graduate Hogwarts, I am married. Father suggested Pansy Parkinson.”
Ginny grimaced deeply, and Draco gave a shadow of a smile.
“Pansy is one of my best friends, Ginny, but you’re right; I don’t want to marry her.” He smirked at Ginny’s smug expression. “It’s not because she has a pug face, or whatever it is that’s running through your mind right now. Anyway, I shared this letter with Pansy, and with Blaise Zabini. We began brainstorming possible purebloods, and didn’t come up with many. After all, there aren’t many purebloods left.”
Ginny’s eyes narrowed dangerously, her gaze darkening considerably. “If you’re telling me that-”
“You promised you wouldn’t interrupt.”
Ginny glared, but stopped talking at once.
“Thank you. Now, as I was saying, there aren’t many purebloods left. We- meaning Pansy, Blaise, and I- began working down a list and decided that you were to be my aim. Now, of course, some work had to be done. You wouldn’t come to the Dark Lord’s side easily, and I couldn’t marry someone who’s against him. So, we set to work trying to turn you evil.
“Now, obviously, that plan wasn’t going to get very far. When we somehow ended up in this time- well, that simplified things for me quite a bit. After all, without your brothers, Granger, and precious Potter, you’d be a much more susceptible young woman. You became, unknowingly, more and more attached to me as time went on. I could bend you more easily to my will, and that was quite agreeable to all concerned.
“I think that, by this point, you’ll find that you’ve become quite attached to me. One might even say you’ve fallen in love. You can’t help but want to please me, and that means Slytherin ways will seep into you, and you won’t be able to stop them. Even with you only being in this house a couple days, you’ll find it much harder to resist the temptation to do evil. That’s what I was going for when I started this whole thing.”
Ginny spun on her heel and began to stalk away, seething, but Draco’s hand shot out and caught her elbow. She struggled to break free, but couldn’t.
“I- I was wrong.” Draco bowed his head and swallowed hard; the words didn't come so easily anymore. “I don’t know what to say other than that. I can’t justify what I did beyond what I’ve already said, and I-” Draco pulled a deep, shaking breath in through his nose. “I’m sorry.”
Ginny had remained silent through almost the entire monologue, and now she looked into Draco’s face. Her green eyes burned holes in him, but he was sure they’d softened a bit in the last few moments. When she spoke, her voice was very quiet, very controlled.
“Are you quite finished?”
Draco only nodded, suddenly unable to speak past the fear in his throat; he was going to lose her.
Ginny turned and walked away without a word, back stiff, chin high and proud. Draco, despite the fact that he was truly sorry, couldn’t help but think that the plan had succeeded as he watched the bouncing black hair disappear; she’d gone straight back to the Slytherin common room.
Ginny sat curled in a ball beside the lake, cradling her aching head in one hand. ‘What do I do now? This whole stupid thing has been some sort of game to him, a con. I can’t just pretend that everything’s fine, not and keep my self-respect. Merlin, I don’t know how to handle this.’ She bit her lip and squeezed her eyes shut, forcing the sudden rush of tears back down. ‘I need help.’
Ginny jumped, and looked up into the incredibly handsome face of Sirius Black. Merlin, she hadn’t even heard him walk up!
“Are you okay?”
Ginny raised an eyebrow and forced herself to adopt a Slytherin-like attitude, though every bone in her body was screaming for her to tell Sirius the truth.
“That is none of your business, blood traitor. Go back to your wormhole, or wherever it is that you Gryffindors sleep.”
Sirius didn’t move away. Instead, he sat down slowly on the grass beside her, looking out over the lake. When he said nothing, Ginny relaxed, grateful beyond words to have a friend with her. After a few minutes, Sirius spoke.
“I caught the last bit of what Erik said to you. Is. . . is there anything you want to talk about?”
Ginny shook her head, blinking furiously again. ‘Merlin, I can’t handle someone being so nice right now!’
“I think you’ll find that I’m a pretty good listener.”
Ginny glanced at Sirius’s serious gray eyes. She put her head on her knees and closed her eyes against the sudden wave of pain that shot through her.
“I’m so tired, Sirius. I’m tired of pretending, I’m tired of missing the people I know. . .” She sucked in a deep breath. “I’m tired of trusting and being hurt.”
Sirius wordlessly reached out and pulled Ginny into a hug, wrapping his arms around her small frame. They sat like that for a long time, Sirius just holding Ginny while she desperately tried to sort out her thoughts.
After a while- neither one knew how long- Ginny stirred and pulled away, running a hand through her thick hair. “I should get back to the Common Room; Narcissa and Bellatrix will be looking for me.”
Sirius looked his tentative friend in the eyes, searching for a sign of weakness. “Are you okay to go back there? Will you be able to handle it?”
Ginny nodded, rolling her neck as she stood up and began walking toward the castle. “I’ll make it because I have to. See you around, Sirius.”
“Isendre! Merlin, we’ve been so worried! Where have you been?”
Ginny winced and put a hand to her head at the shouts that erupted when she entered the common room. Narcissa Black ran to her, a look of genuine concern on her stunning face.
“You look horrible!” Narcissa leaned close, her sharp eyes catching the deadened look in Ginny’s eyes. “Are you alright? You came charging in here last night, then ran back out as soon as Erik came in. Did you two have a fight?”
Ginny nodded slowly, thinking the wording over carefully. “I suppose you could call it that.”
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