All the smiles you've had to fake
And all the shit you've had to take
Just to lead us here again
I never have the things to say
To make it all just go away
To make it all just disappear
Believe in me
I know you’ve waited for so long
Believe in me
Sometimes the weak become the strong
Believe in me
This life's not always what it seems
Believe in me
Cause I was made for chasing dreams
-Believe by Staind
Draco watched Ginny’s eyelids flutter, her lashes brushing her cheeks. He stroked the hair out of her face, smiling when the sun streamed in through the window and highlighted her red hair and soft, pale skin. She blinked once, twice, turning away from the light and burrowing her head in his shoulder.
“Ginny,” he whispered in her ear, stroking her cheek. She murmured again sleepily and finally her eyes focused on him. The redhead smiled at him.
“Draco.” She yawned widely. “Good morning.”
“Did you sleep well?”
“It’s odd. I forgot to take that potion last night. But I didn’t have any nightmares…Maybe you have healing powers.” She squinted, touching his eyebrows. “What’s wrong? You seem…troubled.”
He sat up, looking away from her. He had hoped his emotions hadn’t shown on his face. Usually Draco had a perfect, apathetic mask, but around Ginny, it tended to slip. “Ever since the ball something’s been bothering me.”
“What is it?”
He stood, going to the window, not caring that the stone was cold beneath his bare feet. Outside, frozen dew covered the ground. Frost glistened on the window in a spider web pattern. The clouds were dark and heavy, looking like they might release snow at any moment. He sighed, his breath forming a puffy cloud on the glass.
“I’m not quite sure how to ask it. It’s a difficult question.”
Her red eyebrows scrunched up in confusion. “Well, just try.”
“I…” He turned to her, biting his lower lip. “It’s about what happened this summer.”
Understanding dawned in her eyes. She looked away from him this time. “Draco, I don’t want to talk about—”
“But maybe you need to talk about it,” he interrupted, sitting on the edge of the bed and resting his hand on hers. “Maybe it would help.”
“I can’t.” She refused.
“Ginny…if you could tell me what happened that night, if you could describe those men to me, maybe I could figure out who raped you.” She winced at the word rape, but he continued speaking as if he hadn’t noticed. “We could take them to court and see them put in Azkaban for what they did to you.”
Ginny shook her head. “I’ve already told the authorities what happened. Lots of times. They took notes and everything.”
“Yes, but they’re aurors Ginny. They haven’t been on the inside of the Death Eater action. They don’t know the Death Eaters backwards and forwards like I do. I could easily figure out who they were.”
“Draco, I just ca—”
He took her face into his hands, staring deep into her dark brown eyes. “Ginny, please. I want to help you. I want to see those men punished for hurting you. Don’t you?”
“Of course I do,” she whispered.
“Then tell me,” he demanded.
Her eyes filled with tears and her lips quivered. He felt bad for making her cry, but he couldn’t back away now. “It’s not easy.”
“Just start from the beginning.” When she gave no indication that she was going to speak, he decided to start asking questions. “How many of them were there?”
Her lips continued to quiver, but Ginny managed to clear her throat and whisper, “Four.”
It was Draco’s turn to wince. Four men? Four men against one helpless woman? He pushed down the anger stirring in his gut and kept his voice gentle. “Can you describe them to me?”
It took her awhile. She had to close her eyes and breathe deeply, in and out, pushing back the tears. Finally, she whispered, “They wore masks.”
“Just tell me what you saw.”
“Two of them…they looked a lot alike. I couldn’t tell them apart really.”
“We’ll start with them, then.”
Ginny nodded. “They were very fat men. Like giants really. They didn’t talk much. I…I don’t think I could tell you much more about them.”
“How about their skin, eye, hair color?”
“They were white. I remember seeing their hands. I couldn’t see their hair under the hoods…I don’t remember their eyes.”
He nodded. “And the other two?”
“They were more…memorable.” She looked close to crying again.
“What do you remember about them?” Draco asked gently.
“The other three were white, but I remember one had dark brown skin. He…” She shook her head. “I can’t do it. I can’t say anymore.” Ginny buried her head in his shirt, her body shaking, her chest heaving with silent, dry sobs. Draco was surprised that she had managed to speak for that long without crying.
Draco held her close, rocking her from side to side and rubbing her back. “I know this is hard, Ginny. Believe me, I understand. But you have to tell me. Please. Please tell me.” He was practically begging now, but he didn’t care. He didn’t have pride anymore to care.
“I don’t want to remember.” Her voice was muffled by his clothes, but he managed to make out her words.
“It’s alright. Nobody’s going to hurt you. Nobody’s going to find out, I swear. It’s just you and me, and after this, I won’t ask you tell me anymore. But you have to now. You have to tell me everything you can remember about them.”
“He…he beat me, Draco. He…he enjoyed it. He enjoyed it more than…than that. He just liked me to be in pain.” She shuddered in his arms, and Draco had to bite his lip and close his eyes to force the tears back. He held her tightly, feeling a mixture of hatred towards these men and pity for Ginny. “He…he licked…the blood off of me.”
“Can you remember anything else about him?”
He felt her head shake against his chest. That left one more. The man Ginny had seen at the ball. He knew, from her reaction, that he would be the hardest one for her to talk about. “We’re almost done, Ginny. I just need you to tell me about the last one.”
Long minutes stretched by when she didn’t say anything, just cried against his shirt, soaking it through to his skin. He let her take as long as she needed. He wished he could stop her tears, he wished he didn’t have to put her through this pain, but it was the only way. The only way he could ever get these bastards back for raping Ginny.
“The leader…” she choked out, her voice thick. “He…he was the worst.”
“What did he do?”
“He…talked a lot. Whispered in my ear. Disgusting.” Her voice broke.
“What did he look like? Tell me anything you can remember.”
“His eyes. I remember his eyes. They were blue.” She shook her head. “That was all I could see of his face.”
Blue eyes weren’t much to go on. Hell, people could even say Draco’s eyes were a bluish-grey. “Any distinguishing features? Anything that would set him apart from the other blue-eyed males at Hogwarts? A tattoo, a scar, a piercing?”
She gasped, and Draco knew he had sparked something. Some memory. He pried Ginny off of him and stared into her face, keeping eye contact. “Hey, stay with me, okay?” He didn’t want her to have another nervous breakdown.
The agony in her face as she gazed up at him made his heart break. The physical pain in his chest was so intense he thought he would collapse from the weight of it. But Draco had to be strong for Ginny, so he pushed his own pain aside. He knew it was nothing compared to what she was feeling right now. “Yes,” she whispered.
“Tell me,” he commanded.
“He…he had…a piercing.”
“What?” Draco asked.
“A…a hook. A spike on a hook.” Ginny shuddered.
She shook her head, unable to answer. “Th-there.”
“There? Where is there, Ginny?” he pressed.
Her eyes dropped down to his groin. Draco’s own eyes widened in shock and disgust, and not for the first time he thought he might puke. He felt his hands clench into fists as he tried to imagine, and then wished he hadn’t, the horrible agony that must have been for Ginny to feel. Not only had he forced himself onto her and into her, quite roughly Draco was sure, not only had the man stolen her of her innocence, which Draco had heard was painful the first time no matter how gentle a guy was, but he had torn and cut her up on the inside as well as the outside. The anger in Draco’s gut reached its peak, and he vowed to himself, then and there, that if he ever came across that man, Draco would put him through as much pain as he had put Ginny through.
The blonde boy pulled Ginny tight against his body, wishing he could do more to help her. Wishing somehow he could undo what had happened. But he knew he couldn’t. All he could do was stay true to his word and, going on what little information she had given him, find out who the men were that had raped her.
Ginny surprised him by speaking again. He had thought, after that, she wouldn’t be able to say another word. “Draco?”
“He told me…he told me it was my fault.” Her voice was small, broken.
“What?” he hissed.
“He said it was my fault they raped me. Because I was too pretty. I was a whore. They said I deserved it.”
“Ginny…” Draco shook his head in disbelief.
“Were they right, Draco? Is it my fault?” She looked at him with such a pathetic, pitiful expression, Draco knew she believed it. But she wanted him to convince her otherwise, and that was at least something.
“Ginny.” Draco looked into her eyes with his most intense expression. “What happened to you was not your fault.” He stressed each word, hoping somehow it would get into her head, somehow she would believe it. “Those men raped you. They stole your virginity from you. You are never to blame yourself for that. Do you understand me?”
“Ginny, they will never hurt you again. I swear to you, on my life. I swear, if I have to hunt for the rest of my life, I will find out who they were and I will make them pay. You can trust me on that.”
“You don’t think I’m a whore, do you Draco?” she asked.
Draco shook his head, pressing his forehead against hers. “No, Ginny. I think you’re just a victim of a terrible crime. But not a whore. Never a whore.”
“Why are you doing this? Why do you care so much?”
He stroked her cheek, a single tear spilling out of his eyes. “Because I’m so helplessly in love with you.”
“Why? I’m used goods, remember?”
“No, Ginny. No you’re not. You…you are the most beautiful, amazing, incredible creature on the earth. And I am the luckiest bastard in the world to be your friend.”
“Draco. I…I don’t want to remember them anymore. I want to move on. I want to live my life again. I…want to be happy.” His heart soared to hear her say that.
Draco smiled, stroking her hair. “You will. I promise. I will make sure of that.”
She laid her head against his chest, curling up in his arms. “Thank you, Draco. Thank you so much.”
No. He thought to himself, as he stared down at the broken beauty in his arms. She was an angel. A fallen angel amongst pathetic humans like him who could never be as awe-inspiring and amazing as her. Thank you.