So save your breath
Lying in wait
Caught inside this tidal wave
You’re covers blown
Nowhere to go
Holding your fate
Knowing that I will walk alone
Fire your guns
Its time to run
Blow me away
I will stay unless I may
After the fall
We’ll shake it off
Show me the way
Only the strongest will survive
Lead me to heaven when we die
I have a shadow on the wall
I’ll be the one to save us all
-Blow me Away by Breaking Benjamin
The bell tolled throughout the school and the students stood, packing their bags to head for their last class. Ginny joined the masses in the corridors, making her way to Transfiguration, tuning out the whispers and stares she got from the students around her. After all, she wasn’t new to gossip being spread about her. Although it did seem escalated since the trial, she knew that some of the looks she got were of pity and sympathy. And, more than once, she locked eyes with a girl who gave her a look of understanding, as if she too had been in the same position. In fact, Ginny had been using the loo when a girl in the stall next to her suddenly spoke up. The stranger thanked her for what she’d done, claiming she too had been raped by Blaise Zabini, and that Ginny confronting him in trial had given her hope. She left before Ginny could get her name or even see her face, but it still left her feeling proud.
Not everyone sympathized with her though. Some blindly believed Skeeter’s article and the outcome of the trial, and she heard them whispering cruel words. It was the first time Ginny had received hate mail, most of it harmlessly written phrases such as “whore” and “liar” but there were hexes in a few of them. Draco advised her to let him open all of her mail from now on, as he sat undisturbed beside Ginny at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Occasionally Hermione sat with them, but Ron Weasley and Harry Potter refused to so much as glance in their direction. Draco claimed Harry still liked Ginny, but she sincerely hoped he was wrong.
Ginny was interrupted from her reminiscence when she collided with another body, sending her flying backwards. Her butt hit the ground hard, jostling her, and she knew she would have a bruise there later, but Ginny was more concerned with picking up her now scattered papers. She reached for one when a heel stomped down on it, narrowly missing her hand.
The redhead glanced up in surprise at the girl that stood before her. Her short black hair, squashed in nose, extravagant clothing that Ginny was sure broke the dress code, and Slytherin crest gave her away as Pansy Parkinson. Behind her stood Millicent Bulstrode, whom Ginny recognized because of the story Hermione had told her about mistaking her cat’s hair for Bulstrode’s when creating a Polyjuice Potion in Ginny’s first year. Next to her was another Slytherin girl Ginny didn’t recognize. Pansy twirled her wand in her hand, her arms crossed as she looked down her nose at Ginny arrogantly.
“I heard about you, Weasley. Blaise told me all about what happened.” She grinned cruelly when Ginny flinched at the name. The girl hunched down to be at Ginny’s level and lowered her voice so only they could hear. “You stupid whore! Because of you my Blaise had to go to Durmstrang and who knows when I’ll see him again? I should have known such a poor, ugly girl like you would be a prostitute. I just can’t believe Blaise would ever want to shag you. You don’t deserve him. Watch out, Weasley, because when you least expect it, I’m going to get you.”
She stood, turning on her heel and crinkling Ginny’s parchment in the process, stomping away. Shaking, Ginny picked up the papers and made her way to class. She ended up being late and getting a detention, but that was the least of her worries, really.
It didn’t take them long to find an opportunity to take out Vincent Crabbe. They had been back at school for only three weeks and just settling in. Ginny opted to continue staying with Draco in his rooms, even though her brother and friends insisted that she return to the Gryffindor commons room at night. She didn’t want to spend a moment without him near; everyone in Hogwarts had heard or read about the trial and its outcome by now, and rumors were flying as hotly as they had when she’d returned from summer break. Then Ginny told Draco that some Slytherin girls had confronted her in the hallway between classes, scaring her out of her wits. Draco promised to deal with the girls, but Ginny refused to let him, claiming he had enough on his plate. And he did.
Draco and Ginny were returning from the library late at night when the two found Ron, Fred, and George Weasley sitting in their room. Ron looked disturbed by the fact that there was only one bed, but wisely kept his mouth shut. Fred and George lounged back on one of the sofas as if they visited everyday. “How’d you two get into here?” Draco asked.
“We have our ways.” One of the twins replied.
“You don’t honestly think the biggest pranksters in the history of Hogwarts wouldn’t know the secret passages in and out of the school, do you?” the other said.
Ron held up a Daily Prophet for Draco to read, tossing it at him. The boy skimmed it over, biting his lip. “What’s it say, Draco?” Ginny asked, peering over his shoulder.
“Vincent Crabbe was accused of rape again today,” Draco told her.
“Some barmaid at the Leaky Cauldron.” Draco answered. “They don’t give her name. It says Tom heard the sounds of struggle and ran in and caught him in the act. There’s no way he could escape going to Azkaban with two eyewitnesses and no Lucius to defend him.
“How do you know Lucius won’t defend him again?” Ginny asked.
Draco shook his head. “That was a one time deal. To get back at me for being with you and to hurt your family all in the process. He couldn’t care less about Crabbe, Goyle, or Zabini.”
Ron stood and began pacing. “Don’t you see what this means, though? If Crabbe gets accused then he’ll either get the Kiss or be locked up in Azkaban. There’s no way we could touch him in there! This is horrible!”
Draco sat down on the couch, putting his finger to his lips as he though. Ginny sat on the arm of the chair, running her hands through his hair. “No…this might be exactly what we need,” Draco mused.
“What do you mean?” Fred asked, crossing one leg over the other. Or perhaps it was George. Draco could never tell them apart like Ginny could.
“Yeah, have some way of breaking into Azkaban and killing him unnoticed?” the other twin joked.
He shook his head. “No…no, he isn’t going to Azkaban.” They all gave him odd looks. “He isn’t even going to trial.”
“Why not?” Ron asked.
The boy felt a smile creep onto his face, and vaguely, in the back of his mind, he knew he shouldn’t be enjoying the idea of murder so much. He knew he shouldn’t get such a sick pleasure from the thought of clutching Crabbe’s neck until he choked to death, torturing Goyle until he died from the pain, or cutting Zabini and watching his blood flow out of him. But he ignored the slight twinge of disgust with himself, opting instead to revel in the horrible glee of murder. “Don’t you see? He’s going to jump bail. Attempt to escape before they convict him. He’ll go to…pick a country in Europe, Ginny.”
“Spain,” she blurted out.
“Yes, he’ll go to Spain,” Draco exclaimed with delight, jumping up and grabbing her hands, spinning her around. She looked frightened by the mad glint in his eye. He stopped, holding her face in his hands, and leaned down to kiss her lightly on the lips.
Her eyes widened, and he knew she was imagining with the same grotesque detail the thoughts that had just passed through his own mind. He could see the revulsion, and yet the curiosity of murder. And her awe. She was in awe of him, of his genius. “And will he escape?” she whispered, as if she were listening to a good story.
“Yes, he will. He will escape to Spain and he will never be heard or seen again in the Wizarding world.”
The twins glanced at each other with mischievous grins, and Draco knew he’d already won them over. Ron wasn’t so easy. “But how? Where will we find him? How will we get him alone? How will we kill him and hide the body so no one finds it?”
Draco held Ginny close, his chin on the top of her head, an evil hatred burning in his heart. “Just leave that up to me.”
The darkness of the streets was intermittedly broken by flickering lampposts that barely managed to burn on through the wet, slushy snow. The frigid night air filled their lungs, mist leaving their lips like a specter whenever they exhaled. Four figures in long black cloaks made their way down the street, their eyes shrouded by their hoods. Their boots crunched on broken glass and they kicked a few pieces of trash out of the way as they walked. Occasionally the man in front paused, looking both ways, before silently pointing down another alley. The words he had spoken just moments ago lingered in the silent air like a phantom. “I suggest you run.”
And run he did. A large, heavy man stumbled through the streets, pounding on doors for help, but nobody answered. No beggars or homeless were out when it was this cold, and it seemed everyone else that inhabited this corner of the world had tucked in for the night. He tried screaming for help, but his breath had left him long ago, and he had to huff and puff just to continue his slow trek through the maze of Muggle London. He turned down an alley that looked like it might be a way out but was met instead with solid brick. The man leaned his hands on his knees as he attempted to catch his breath.
A long shadow passed across his face and he looked up in shock and fear at the four figures. The one in the center stepped forward, removing his hood. Draco grinned as he pulled out his wand from his robes, Fred, George, and Ron Weasley following suit. “Well, isn’t this just appropriate? Four men against one helpless victim trapped in a dead end alley. Nowhere to run or hide, completely at our mercy.” He stroked his chin thoughtfully. “Only this time, we won’t fail to kill you.”
A green aura stretched from the ground up the walls and formed an iridescent roof over their heads. Draco waited until Fred and George were finished soundproofing the alley before he spoke again. “Does this bring back memories, Crabbe?” He leaned down next to the quivering, fat boy. “Why, just six months ago you were in our position. An innocent, helpless girl at your feet, your friends at your back. Did you enjoy it, Crabbe? Did you enjoy raping her of her innocence? Murdering her?” Draco asked.
He shook his head fearfully, backing away from Draco. “I didn’t kill her! I didn’t-”
“Oh, but you did. You killed her that night, Crabbe.” Draco replied. “You killed her innocence. And now, I must avenge her.”
“No! I…I’m sorry! Tell her I’m sorry!” He began to cry, the tears rolling down his chubby face.
Draco glared, grabbing him by the shirt and lifting him up. “What about Ginny?! She begged you for mercy, didn’t she?! She asked you to stop, to spare her. But did you?!” Draco stood, throwing the pathetic boy away from him. He pointed his wand at the groveling figure, narrowing his eyes. Hatred filled his heart, consuming him with a burning emotion that could be beaten only by the love he felt when he was kissing Ginny. “It’s too late for sorry.” In one swift movement he used the spell he had been taught by his father, but never before performed. The sound of screaming filled the alley as Crabbe writhed on the ground. Draco had never tortured before, and he had underestimated how powerful it made him feel. He could almost understand, could almost sympathize, with the Death Eaters that tortured and killed for a living. He held the boy under the spell for thirty long seconds before lifting it.
Crabbe attempted to sit up, gasping for air, but Draco’s boot pushed him back to the ground. “They’ll…they’ll know. They’ll find my body. And then you’ll go to Azkaban.”
Draco chuckled, shaking his head. “You underestimate me, Crabbe. There won’t be a body left for them to find.” He glanced over at Ginny’s three brothers. “Who’s next?”
Fred stepped forward, lifting his wand. “I am.”
Ginny sat on the couch, her legs pulled up to her chest, her arms wrapped around her knees, and stared mindlessly into the flames. Draco had been gone for four hours now. How he and her brothers had managed to come up with a plan in less than a week to get Crabbe alone in Muggle London she would never know, but it was only six days since they’d been given the news about the rape accusations, and they were already out committing the deed. Draco had told Ginny everything, where he’d be, what they’d do, how they would kill him. She knew she should have fought harder, perhaps told him not to go so soon, with so little planning, but she couldn’t find it in her heart. She wanted them dead just as badly as Draco did.
Was it wrong to wish he died suffering as much pain as possible? Perhaps. But she could not deny that she wanted his death to be long and excruciating. Was she going to hell now for her actions? Maybe. Who cared? Not Ginny. After the rape she had stopped believing in all of that. Stopped believing in such places as hell. Stopped believing in omnipotent beings that other people worshiped. After all, if they really existed, any of them, they wouldn’t have let her suffer so much that night.
And should she be worried about her soul? About Draco’s? She was an accomplice to murder. Even worse, she was the reason Draco was out there tonight. He had already told her he would not kill them if she asked him not to. But she could not ask such a thing, and that was just the same as commanding him to murder in her name. Shouldn’t she have any regrets? But she didn’t. She had none.
The door opened, and Ginny glanced up. Draco stood alone in the doorway, staring at the floor and rocking slightly from side to side. His hair was wet but his clothes were dry, and she recognized them as belonging to the twins. He must have gone back to their apartment above the shop and showered and changed before coming back. Ginny stood, walking over to him. “Are you okay, love? What happened?”
“It is done.” His voice sounded empty. Devoid of any emotion. “He’s dead.”
“And the body?”
He shook his head. “No body. I made sure of that.”
He swallowed hard, hiding his face from her. “Remember that spell I taught you?” Draco whispered hoarsely.
She gasped, touching her hand to her lips in shock. “But…doesn’t that leave a big…mess?”
“Nothing a simple Scourgify can’t clean up.”
Ginny took his hands in hers, staring down at them. Finally, she whispered, “And…did he…”
“He suffered. He screamed, and begged for mercy. And we showed him none.”
She closed her eyes, taking a shaky breath. “Thank you, Draco. Thank you.” When he didn’t answer, Ginny glanced up at his face. Her eyes widened in surprise to see tears leaking out of his. “Draco? Draco, what’s the matter?”
And that was all it took. He broke down, collapsing to his knees. The boy wrapped his arms around her waist, burying his head in her hips. “I’m so sorry, Ginny. I’m so sorry.”
“About what? What are you sorry about, Draco?” He was beginning to frighten her the way he was acting.
He lifted his face to her, his eyes bloodshot from crying, his hair a mess. She could see the agony in his eyes. “Ginny…when I…when I killed him…” Draco began to tremble. “I enjoyed it so much. Listening to him scream. And I…I suddenly understood Death Eaters. Why they enjoy torturing and killing.” He bit his lip so hard she was afraid it might bleed. “I’m just like them, Ginny. I’m just like my father. I always tried to deny it, but it’s in my blood. Can’t you see? No matter what I do, I can’t escape it. I said I wanted to avenge you, but I really just wanted to kill. I just wanted to murder. I’m just a…a murderer.”
Ginny lowered to her knees, lifting his face. “No, Draco. You are not a murderer. You are not your father.” She held his face in her hands gently, whispering soothing words to him. “Death Eaters rape and torture and murder innocents. They do it for fun.” She lay his head on her chest, stroking his hair. “He was no innocent. You killed him because it was the right thing to do, because not killing him would mean he got away with what he did to me. He deserved it, and you can’t blame yourself for enjoying it.”
Draco lifted his head, staring at her in wonder. “Ginny…make me forget. Please, I just want to forget.”
Suddenly he crushed his lips against hers, knocking her to the floor. The boy’s hands began roaming her body in a rushed frenzy, as if he couldn’t control himself. His eyes were squeezed tight against the tears, against reality, and his mouth locked onto hers as if his life depended on her lips. The skill with which his tongue explored her mouth sent a thrill shooting up her spine. Ginny’s hands locked in his hair and she kissed him back as one of his hands reached under her shirt to press against her back, the chill of his touch causing her to arch into his chest. His other hand planted itself firmly on her hip, his fingertips digging into her skin.
Draco’s lips found their way to her throat. At first he sucked gently on the soft skin there, but then he suddenly sank his teeth in. It wasn’t enough to break the skin, but it did make her gasp in surprise and discomfort. Draco froze at the sound of her pain, pulling his mouth away from her skin slowly and sitting up. He stared at her in astonishment, his eyes roaming over her swollen lips, disheveled hair, and bare stomach exposed by her bunched up sweater. He held a hand to his lips as if he might retch, backing away from her. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry, Ginny…What have I done?”
Ginny sat up, shaking her head and pulling him into an embrace. He struggled at first, but then let her hold him. “What’s wrong now, Draco?”
“I…I shouldn’t have done that. I shouldn’t have kissed you without your permission. I definitely shouldn’t have touched you under your shirt. I bit you. I’m so sorry I bit you.”
Ginny began to giggle. “Draco, you don’t have to have my permission to kiss me. And I don’t mind if you touch me. The biting did surprise me a bit, but it wasn’t bad, really. You just need to be gentler.”
“I shouldn’t have done it at all.”
“Why not?” she asked. “What are you so worried about?”
He licked his lips, the agony returned to his eyes. “You’re so fragile. After what you’ve been through…I don’t have any right to touch you like that. And I certainly can’t be rough with you…I have to control myself better.”
Ginny kissed him gently on the lips, but he refused to return it. “Draco,” she smiled, “you don’t have to control yourself around me just because I was raped. I’m a woman…” His eyes widened in surprise at her next words. “I’m not without needs, you know. And I’m certainly not made of glass.”
“You mean…you want me to…”
She bit her lip shyly, shrugging. “Yeah…someday.”
His mouth dropped in shock. “Wow…wait, when is someday?”
Ginny stood, pulling him up. “I dunno. When the time is right.” She lifted an eyebrow, smirking at him. “So you better be ready, and not freak out on me like that when I am ready.”
His eyebrows lifted and he stared at her in wonder. “Yes, ma’am.”