CHAPTER THREE

Miles waited impatiently at the appointed Apparition coordinates where he was always met his escort to Parkinson Manor. He looked pointedly at the hedgerow that he knew the members of The Order of the Phoenix to be hiding behind. Miles knew for a fact that Ginny was there. Potter hadn't come, but Longbottom was definitely there, and one of her red-haired brothers. From this distance, he couldn't tell which one. For his part, Miles hoped it was Ron. The Death Eaters were hot headed enough to kill him, just for sport. Miles would watch them kill Ron, then let the rest of them kill each other, step in and save Ginny, and then she'd see that he was the one for her. It might take time, but Miles was nothing if not patient. She would see who he really was, much better than that putrid Death Eater scum or that poncy healer she was always whispering to. She was his. His Ginny. And he would not be put off any longer.

Finally, just about the time Miles had decided to have a fit, Draco and Blaise appeared before him; Blaise looked bored, Draco, annoyed.

"What took you so bloody long?" Miles huffed. "Where's Parkinson?" he asked, though he knew exactly where she was. Getting exactly what she deserves, the bitch.

"Shut up, Bletchley," Blaise drawled.

"Dolohov has her," Draco said through gritted teeth.

"She shouldn't let her smart mouth overload what her poor wandwork can compensate for," Miles said peevishly.

Draco stepped forward quickly and shoved his wand underneath the other man's chin. "Keep talking, you arse, and I'll make sure you end up nothing more than a pile of dust near the ruins of Bath."

Blaise looked at his fingernails absently. "Don't push him, Bletchley. He's been a bit tetchy lately."

Miles' laughter rang out, echoing off the surrounding trees in the secluded glen. "From what I hear, Malfoy, you couldn't hit the ground if you fell off your broom. Also, you'd get in trouble. I'm the first double agent to actually accomplish anything, they don't want me harmed."

Draco lowered his wand and glowered at Miles. "Yeah, that may be," he said, chuckling blithely, "but Zabini here's got no compunction about killing you, no matter what the consequences."

Blaise smiled lazily and gave a little wave, pointed his wand at Miles, and then stared icily.

From their vantage point behind the hedgerow, Ron began to move, but Ginny held him back. "Wait, Ron. Remember the plan. Stick to the plan."

"But they're going to kill him!" Ron all but shouted.

"No, they're not. They're Slytherins. It's just how they talk to one another."

"Keep quiet, you two," Neville whispered. "Don't give away our position. We have to wait for the Chimaera Stone."

While the members of the Order of the Phoenix were arguing; Draco, Blaise and Miles Apparated away. The others sprinted over to the spot that Miles' party had left, and waited.

Exactly one minute later, the Chimaera Stone appeared at Ginny's feet. She picked it up, linked arms with Ron and Neville, and pointed her wand at the stone, murmuring the incantation.

Seconds later, they stood at the front entrance of a large, rather imposing, and Gothic manor.

"Homey," Ron said sarcastically. "No wonder Parkinson was a cold-hearted bitch in school if this is where she spent her childhood," Ron mused.

"Focus, please," Neville muttered. He waved his wand at the wards and expertly disarmed them.

They opened the door and crept stealthily into the dark entryway, the shadows from the statuary casting ominous shadows on the cold marble floor.

Ron looked around. "Cheerier on the inside, though. Looks like a nice place to raise a family."

Neville shot a quelling look at Ron. "Could you quiet down, please? Before you get us caught?"

They heard a loud commotion coming from the direction of the end of the corridor and took off at a sprint, bursting into the room from which the noise had come. When the shouting stopped and the smoke cleared, there were wands pointed everywhere.

Ginny stood in the entrance of the room, wand trained on Blaise. She was flanked by Neville and Ron, their wands pointed at Pansy, who seemed to be incapacitated on the sofa, and Draco, respectively.

Ron spoke first. "Put down your wand, Malfoy. We'll not kill you if we don't have to."

"Why not?" Miles asked, smirking while leaning against the fireplace.

Draco turned slightly and glanced at Miles. "Whose side are you on?"

"The winning side, hopefully," replied.

Draco kept his wand on Neville while looking at Ron. "I can't do that, Weasley. Surely you can appreciate my position?"

Ginny spoke up. "Zabini, who is that on the floor?"

Blaise, who had his wand pointed lazily at a crumpled mess of robes next to the sofa, replied. "Antonin Dolohov. He was going to kill her," he said, indicating Pansy's prone form of the sofa.

Neville peeked around Draco. "Is he dead?"

Blaise turned and looked at Neville, not moving his wand arm. "If he's not, at the very least he's most unhappy," he said, giving Dolohov a little distasteful nudge with his toe.

Neville inclined his head at Pansy. "Is she dead?"

Blaise shot him a look. "I don't rightly know, Longbottom. Are you going to curse me if I go to check?"

Ron glared at Miles. "Floo Cormac. Tell him there are casualties, and that he should be on his guard." At the dirty look he received from Blaise, he said, "I'm just flooing a healer. Is that-" he looked more closely at the brunette crumpled on the couch. "Is that Parkinson?"

"Yes, it's Pansy," Draco answered, watching closely as Blaise took Pansy's pulse, heaving a sigh of relief when his friend nodded. He looked at the floor for a moment and then glanced up at Ginny. "Is this what you wanted to tell me?"

Ginny nodded.

Ron frowned. "What the hell's going on, Gin?"

Ginny rolled her eyes. "I wonder if it would be alright if we discussed this later? We have rather a situation here, and I'm sure that there are other people in this house who would love to see us dead. I feel a sense of urgency, yeah?"

Miles laughed. "Oh, I'll tell your brother, Ginny dear." He smiled mirthlessly at Ron. "Your sister has been leaving Grimmauld Place nightly, spending almost every night in the camp of the enemy, with- wait for it - Malfoy, here."

Ron's eyes bugged open and both Draco and Ginny turned to Miles and stared, open-mouthed.

Ron started forward towards the blond man. "I'm going to kill him."

Blaise moved his wand to aim at Ron's head. "No, I don't think you will. Try again."

"No one is going to kill anyone," Ginny said, sheathing her wand. She took a step towards Draco, and Blaise heaved a sigh of relief when she took her aim off of him.

"Thank Merlin,” Blaise said. “I thought I was going to have those unattractive bat things coming out of my nose."

Miles waved his hand at the couple in the middle of the room. "She's consorting with the enemy! What are you going to do about it?"

Ron glared at Miles. "I think I'll listen to what she has to say, first, if that's alright with you."

Draco sheathed his wand as well. Looking at Ginny, he tucked a piece of hair behind her ear and put a finger under her chin. "What are we going to do?" he asked softly.

Ginny gazed at him and whispered, "Let me help you."

Draco gave an imperceptible nod and Blaise took his aim from Ron.

Ginny stood in front of Draco and crossed her arms over her chest, giving her brother a hard look. "They want to change sides, Ron."

"We do?" Blaise asked.

Draco shot him a look.

"Oh, right," Blaise replied. "Yes, we do."

Miles scoffed. "They're Death Eater scum! Him!" he said, pointing at Draco. He's sleeping with your sister!"

Ron swallowed visibly and glared at Miles. "Would you please shut the hell up? I don' ever want to know about that. Ever."

Ginny continued, ignoring Miles' outburst. "The only reason Draco hasn't already is because of his friends," she said, indicating Blaise and the unconscious Pansy. "He was afraid what would happen to them if he wasn't here."

"Stupid berk," Blaise muttered.

Miles' face grew red and he stomped his foot. "I brought you here to kill him, you insufferable idiot!" he shouted at Ron. "Could you do your bloody job?"

Neville muttered, "Good grief, man. You're flippin' mad. And you're embarrassing yourself."

Blaise looked at Draco. "I guess we know what side he's on, now."

With a swiftness that no one in the room foresaw, Miles grabbed Ginny and dragged her to stand with him beside the fireplace, shoving his wand into her back. "A year. For twelve months I've been patient. I've been waiting. I'm not waiting anymore. I planned and plotted and generally kissed asses at the Order of the Phoenix; and this lot," he said gesturing around him, "you," he continued, pointing at Ron, "were supposed to kill the bad guys like you've been trained to do. And you," he said jerking his chin at Blaise and Draco, "were supposed to die." He leaned his head forward and brushed his lips on the shell of Ginny's ear. "I wanted this place for our headquarters. For you," he said tenderly, "So that maybe you'd like it. And then like me. I've waited for you, Ginny. Wanted you. And now it looks like I'm going to have you, or kill you. It's up to you, my dear. At this point it doesn't matter much to me."

"Get your hands off her," Ron and Draco said in unison.

Miles laughed. "I don't think I will. And after I kill her, I'm going to take care of all of you. Can't have everyone knowing about this little incident, can we? You'll want to lower your wands," he said, backing toward the door. "Or before I kill her, I'll show her what a real man can do for her."

Draco clenched his teeth and lowered his wand, nodding at Ron, Blaise and Neville to do the same.

"You won't know where I am, or where I'll pop up. Say goodbye to your little girlfriend, Draco, and your sister, Ron. She's going to be much, much happier with me."

There was silence in the room for a split second before he was hit in the head with a jet of red light and fell backwards, crumpling to the ground.

The entire group in the room turned to look behind them.

"Someone had to shut the bastard up," Pansy said from her recumbent position on the sofa. "He was giving me a bloody headache."

A voice spoke up from the fireplace. "My god, I do love her," Cormac McLaggen murmured, smiling at Miles' prone form, having stepped from the Floo moments before. "What do we have here, then?"

"Get in here," Neville growled.

Ron and Draco crossed to Ginny. "Are you alright?" Draco asked, enfolding her into his arms.

"Yes," she nodded gratefully, her attention on the brunette on the sofa. "Cormac? It appears that Miss Parkinson is hurt."

Cormac walked purposefully over to the sofa, giving a cursory glance to the man on the floor. "Hello, love," he said, waving his wand over Pansy in diagnosis. "Feeling alright?"

"I've actually been better," she replied weakly. "But even at my worst, I'm better than most. And things are starting to look up," she replied, appraising him.

"I thought you were brilliant," he said, winking at her and taking her hand, pointing his wand at her wrist. "Now, tell me. What happened?"

"Dolohov was using me to perfect his curses." Pansy sighed. "Blaise stopped him," she said, looking gratefully at her friend that stood behind the sofa.

Blaise sniffed. "Yes, well, he had it coming."

Neville walked over to the group surrounding the sofa and Draco led Ginny to an armchair. "Are you alright? Really?"

"Yes." She pressed her palm to his face lightly.

Ron crossed his arms over his chest. "I hate to break up the party, but Gin? Neville? We seem to have some extra Death Eaters lying about. What do you think we should do with them?"

"Actually," Pansy said, sitting up with Cormac's help, "The others should be back soon. You need to go."

Cormac toed the man on the floor. "I don't suppose there'll be any use in helping him." He looked at Ron. "She needs medical attention," he said, jerking his head toward Pansy, "or she'll have permanent spell damage."

Draco turned to Ginny. "We don't have any decent healers left."

Ginny looked pleadingly at Ron. "I can vouch for them," she assured him.

Ron frowned. "It sounds like you can vouch for him," he said, nodding his head at Draco. "What about the others, though?"

Neville sat on the arm of the sofa that Pansy was on, and watched Cormac bind her wounds and perform counter curses. "She doesn't look like she'll be much trouble."

"That's where you're wrong," Blaise said under his breath.

"Actually," Neville continued, "I think I'm on her side after that," he said, throwing a cushion from the sofa rather forcefully at Miles' head.

Pansy looked up at him. "Aren't you sweet?"

Cormac winked at her. "Forgotten me already, love?"

Pansy's lips curved into a smile and she looked at Blaise and then Draco in succession. "Can I keep them?" she asked sweetly. "Please?"

Ron cleared his throat. "I could use a little focus, please."

Neville exhaled heavily. "They'll still be prisoners of war 'til we get it all sorted out, but we can take them with us. We explain to the Order. They didn't kill us when they had the chance, so perhaps everything will be fine, in time. Zabini took out Dolohov, who has been a thorn in our side for years, Malfoy and Gin are," he swallowed visibly, "together, and Parkinson here has my vote."

"You can call me Pansy if you like," she said gazing at him through her lashes.

"What can I call you love?" Cormac asked, sitting next to her.

"Whatever you like, darling," she replied, smirking.

Ron shook his head. "Fine. You're explaining this to Harry, though, he said with a pointed look at Ginny. "I'm not sure that I understand it all, myself."

Ginny smiled up at Draco. "I finally get my way, then eh?" she asked cheekily.

Draco smirked, offering her a good natured roll of his eyes. "When do you not?"

*************************************



EPILOGUE

Banks of fragrantly scented flowers spilled from ancient stone urns in the gardens of the stately manor. Children dressed in white laughed and played, tossing rose petals along the curved earthen pathways. A strange assortment of witches and wizards sat on either side of a long aisle that ended with a strikingly beautiful young woman staring adoringly up at her soon to be husband.

At the back of the crowd, Draco leaned over to Ginny. "She looks happy, doesn't she?"

Ginny nodded. "And very beautiful. Who wouldv'e thought? Pansy Parkinson actually marrying a former Gryffindor?"

Draco shrugged and looked at her. "I don't think it's all that strange, actually." he passed her a small, grey, velvet box and looked at her expectantly, a smile hovering on the corner of his mouth. "I want one as well." Leaning over to her, his lips brushing the shell of her ear, he whispered, "I want to make you happy, Ginny."

Ginny turned to him and pressed her lips against his in a teasing kiss. "You already do."
The End.
Persephone33 is the author of 16 other stories.
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