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…”

Leave a Review
You must login (register) to review.