I wanna stand up, I wanna let go

You know, you know - no you don't, you don't

I wanna shine on in the hearts of men

I wanna meaning from the back of my broken hand

Another head aches, another heart breaks

I am so much older than I can take

And my affection, well it comes and goes

I need direction to perfection

Over and in, last call for sin

While everyone's lost, the battle is won

With all these things that I've done

All these things that I've done

-All These Things That I’ve Done by The Killers

Ginny couldn’t believe it was April already. A month had passed since she and Draco had made love, and a lot had changed. They were alone at the school now, well, as alone as you could be amongst five thousand other students. But there were six less than had enrolled in the fall, three of which had been murdered, three of which had dropped out. Those three had been Hermione, Ron, and Harry.

Of course, only Draco and Ginny knew the whereabouts of the Golden Trio. Why they had left at the end of their last year. Where they had gone. Everyone assumed they were out saving the world, but nobody else knew the exact circumstances.

It was weeks ago that, in casual conversation, Hermione had mentioned that they had not even planned on going to Hogwarts that year. She, Ron, and Harry were supposed to go out searching for the Horcruxes, but with the events of Ginny’s rape, Ron had halted their scheduled save the world gig for later, opting instead to stick around and take care of Ginny. He had sacrificed a lot for her, perhaps too much, and she was upset to discover so. So after all three of her known rapists were taken care of, Ginny and Draco invited the three to their room one night, and Ginny commanded them to do as they had originally planned.

It took a lot to convince them that she was strong and sane enough to live on her own without Ron watching out for her. Of course, Ron had grown to trust Draco, but he still did not know if the boy would be around forever, or if he was as capable as Ginny’s brother in protecting her. When Draco mentioned marriage, Ron grudgingly accepted that the boy was planning on sticking around for the long haul, but asked that they hold off on a wedding until after the war, and perhaps after Ginny had turned thirty, whichever came second. Harry, of course, was adamantly against the thought, and he stood stiffly and stonily in the corner of the room, as if expecting at any moment Draco would attack him, and refused to speak.

Finally, Ginny took him aside to speak to him alone. It was an awkward goodbye. He didn’t look at her as he asked, “Do you really love him?”

Ginny glanced at her feet, nodding her head. “Yeah, I do.”

“But why, Gin? The son of a Death Eater?” She opened her mouth to berate him, but he held up a hand. “I know what you’re going to say. But I still don’t trust him, no matter how much he may have fooled you, Hermione, and Ron.”

“Well, I’m sorry about that, Harry. I do hope that someday you two can be friends.”

“I doubt it.” Harry touched the locket around Ginny’s neck. He popped it open, reading the inscription inside. Their names were carved on one side, the other read “Fire and Ice.” His lips pursed. “That should be my name…I still love you, y’know?”

Ginny took Harry’s hand and lowered it from her neck, holding it between them. She let it drop, and it fell back to his side. “I know, Harry. But someday you’ll get over it. Someday, you’ll love another woman, and she will make you happy. You’ll get married, live in a big house, have lots of little black haired, green eyed children.” She smiled at him. “Could you imagine me doing that?”

“Yeah. I can. That’s what hurts so much.” His voice was bitter.

“Well I can’t, Harry. That’s not the kind of girl I am. Maybe in a different life, in another time, that would have been me. But not anymore. You’re the hero. You’re the guy who goes and saves the world and rescues the damsel and marries the girl in the end. That’s who you are. This,” she waved her arm around the room, then over in Draco’s direction, “This is who I am. I belong here, with him.” A long silence fell between them. Ginny hugged Harry awkwardly then stepped away. “Goodbye, Harry. I hope you will keep in touch after all of this is done with. I still want to be friends.”

He shrugged and turned, walking away without saying goodbye. Ginny said her farewells to her brother and best friend before they left. She hadn’t seen or heard from them since, their mission was very top secret, but she hoped it wouldn’t be the last.

“What’s the matter, love?” Draco asked, staring into Ginny’s eyes.

She smiled at him, shaking her head. “Nothing.”

“You sure? You had a strange look on you face. Like something was bothering you.”

“I’m fine. I was just remembering something.”

Draco leaned down, capturing Ginny’s lips in a kiss. She melted into him, wrapping her arms around his neck and returning the favor. Draco pulled away too soon with a sigh. “There’s something I have to tell you.”
She didn’t like the sound of his voice. “What? What’s wrong Draco?”

“I…I got a letter from my mother today. Lucius is sick. He’s dying.”

Her eyebrows lifted in surprise. “What?”

“They’re not sure what’s wrong with him. Of course he paid the most expensive doctors he could find but…well, they’ve predicted him to last a month at the most.”

“And what’s this got to do with us?”

“Narcissa wants me to come home to see him before he dies. I’m leaving tomorrow.”

“Draco! You can’t be serious! After all he’s done to you! He’s nearly killed you on countless occasions!”

“I know, but…”

“And how do you know this isn’t a trap? How do you know he isn’t luring you in?”

Draco shook his head. “I know my mother’s hand writing. She wrote the note.”

“I don’t care. You can’t go, Draco. It isn’t safe.”

“I have to.” He sighed, putting a hand on her cheek.

“Why? What has he ever done to deserve you by his deathbed?”

“I’m not going for him. I’m going for my mother. She needs me right now. I will only stay a day, just to speak to her about the arrangements. I don’t care if he gives me any money or not, I don’t want it anyway. Then I will return to you and all will be well.”

“But Draco—”

He put a finger to her lips, quieting her. “Don’t fret, Ginny. I promise to return, just like last time. And I did, didn’t I?”

“Yeah, bloody and bruised!”

“Gin…” He sighed, running his hands through his hair. “He can’t hurt me. Not as dilapidated as he is now. And…I dunno. I guess I want the satisfaction of seeing him half dead. If I could kill him myself and get away with it…”

“But you can’t, Draco. We’re done killing. And besides…it’s too high profile. You’ll have aurors and Death Eaters on you if you kill him.”

“I know. I won’t…but I am going, Gin. You can’t talk me out of it.”

She bit her lip, but nodded slowly. Ginny curled up against her boyfriend’s chest, sighing in resignation.

Draco heaved a sigh, staring around the mansion’s foyer. It was exactly the same as the last time he saw it. Plush, high backed sofas, thick, soft carpet that your feet sank into it, a marble fireplace gaping like the mouth of a demon, two arching glass windows for eyes, thick curtains, a tapestry of the family crest, a white grand piano in the corner, and glaring portraits of his ancestors who turned their noses up when he walked resolutely past them, heading for his mother. She sat alone on one of the couches, staring at a picture in her lap, her eyes teary and rimmed with dark circles.

“Narcissa.” Draco murmured coldly, standing before her. She looked up at him, taking in his appearance from head to toe. Her lips turned up, thought it couldn’t be called a smile.

“Draco…” The woman swallowed back her emotion. “It’s been so long since I’ve seen you. Are you well?”

“Why didn’t you ask that six months ago when Lucius was beating me?” He felt no remorse watching her flinch.

“You know there wasn’t anything I could do against Lucius…I’m as powerless as you are when it comes to—”

“Bullshit. You’re only powerless because he bribes you with pretty things,” Draco grabbed the pearl necklace around her neck, ripping it off, “And fucks your brains out to keep you satisfied.” He threw the pearls on the ground in disgust. “Where is he? I want to get this over with.”

She closed her eyes, wiping hastily at them, and pointed to the wraparound staircase in the next room. “In his bed. He can’t get out of it. He is too weak.”

Draco spun in a flurry of robes, storming out of the room. He jogged up the stairs, hearing the sounds of his mother’s sobbing behind him, and made his way across the mansion to the other end. He paused before Lucius’s bedroom door, stealing himself for the encounter.

“Come in,” whispered a voice behind the door, before Draco even bothered to knock. Draco flinched, hearing his father’s voice, and pushed the door open, stepping inside.

Lucius lay on the bed looking as pathetic as Draco had ever seen him. His face was sunken, his body thin. Dark shadows crossed in front of his eyes, shadows of his impending death. His long hair now looked limp and scraggly, and he was propped up in bed by some pillows. A nurse at his side checked his pulse, commenting that it was weak, and asking if he would like some medicine. Lucius glared at the woman and spit out a typical biting comment, commanding her to leave. She scurried out of the room fearfully, closing the door behind her.

Draco turned to his father, his face a perfect mask. The two stared at each other for a long time, before Lucius spoke. “Come closer, son. I can’t see you.” His voice was hoarse and weak.

“I’m alright here, thanks,” Draco replied coldly.

“I said come here, Dra—”

“I don’t think you’re in any condition to be making demands, Lucius.”

The man lifted his chin, staring haughtily at Draco. He clearly was not used to being so disobeyed, nor so powerless. He turned his eyes away, to the open window. “Why are you here?”

“Narcissa asked me to come.” Draco answered. “She said you wanted to speak with me…and I wanted to see for myself if you were truly dying.”

“It could have been a trick. I could have tricked you here and now will kill you.”

“I considered that. But like I said. You’re not in any condition, Lucius.”

Lucius began to chuckle darkly. “Do you like seeing me like this, then, Draco? Half-dead? At your mercy?”

“Yes. It is quite satisfying.”

Lucius’s lips turned up. “I heard about the murders. However did you manage them? So clean, so well thought out.” Lucius smirked at him. “You really would have made a good Death Eater.”

“No. You kill for pleasure. I kill for justice.”

“Justice?! Don’t make me laugh.” Lucius grinned. “You kill for vengeance. Admit it. You enjoyed it. Hearing them scream. Watching them bleed. You took satisfaction in it.”

“I di—”

“Don’t lie to me son. I can always see through your lies.”

Draco gritted his teeth but held his tongue, staring at the far wall stonily. “Yes, I enjoyed killing them. Just as I enjoy watching you die.”

Lucius chuckled darkly. “Proof that you are my son.”

Draco shook his head. “No. I am not your son. And, besides the satisfaction of seeing you as an invalid, I am only here to ask you one simple question.”

The man’s lips twitched. “I knew you would come to me eventually. Go ahead. Ask if I know who he is.”

“Who is Ginny’s last rapist?”

Lucius leaned closely, as if he were going to tell Draco a secret, and his voice dropped. “I don’t know.” He began to laugh quietly, but it quickly escalated to a manic giggle. “You don’t find the situation as humorous as I do, son?”

“No.” Draco pulled out his wand, and in a flash, he was at Lucius’s bedside, the end of it stuck in the man’s throat. “Now stop lying and tell me who he is.”

“Would I lie to you? My own son?” Draco dug the wand in further, glaring at his father. “That is what is so humorous. Those boys were not Death Eaters. They were merely Death Eaters’ sons. Stole their masks and robes and went to town wreaking havoc, raping and stealing and killing. It was quite humorous, of course, and I’d hoped you would join in your peers’ pastimes, but of course you refused. But I tell you honestly, I do not know who the other one was. I did not meet him myself, though if I did, I would certainly shake his hand.” Draco twitched, lifting a hand to strike the man. “Go ahead. Hit me son. I know you want to. After all the beatings I’ve given you. Do it. Hit me. Curse me. Kill me.”

Draco paused, his eyebrows furrowing in confusion. The last taunt sounded almost like a request, no, a plea. His father had slipped up, and in his slip, Draco had heard him beg for the first time in his life. He was begging Draco to kill him, and it made sense. Voldemort’s right hand man, one of the most notorious Death Eaters in Wizarding London, in all of the Wizarding World. He couldn’t stand to be bedridden like this. It was worse than a death sentence. Worse than any physical torture. At the mercy of a poor half-blood nurse and his annoying, narcissistic wife. His son for once free of his torture, out living his life happily, in the prime of his youth. And Lucius, stuck here, dying slowly.

Draco smirked, pulling the wand away from his father and pocketing it. He fixed his clothes meticulously, lifting his chin at his father. “No. That’s just what you want. To die quickly and painlessly.” The boy shook his blonde head shamefully. “I bet it just kills you to be bedridden, doesn’t it Lucius? I bet you’re just waiting to die. Well I’m not going to give you the pleasure of a quick death, Lucius. No no no. I’m going to let you suffer slowly, until the very last breath leaves your body.” Draco turned towards the door, and without looking back, said, “The next time we meet, Lucius, it will be in hell.”

“Yes. In the level for murderers like us.” Lucius spat after him. Draco snorted and left the room, closing the door behind him.

Draco didn’t remember much of the trip back home. He vaguely remembered walking past his crying mother. His father calling out his name as he stepped into the fireplace, staring at the foyer for the last time through the green flames. Then the spinning sensation as he took to the air. It wasn’t until he was back in his room that he finally got his bearings and could focus his mind on one thing, and that one thing was Ginny. He needed her, and he needed her now, to take away the painful memories of his father, the conversation that reeled through his mind over and over again, the meticulous calculation and reading into of everything that had been said and hadn’t been said, and the wish that he could do it over, as he wished after every encounter with his father, and be stronger, bolder, more demanding. Draco needed Ginny to make him forget.

But she wasn’t in the room. It was after dark, so she wouldn’t be outside, and dinner was already over. He could check the library and see if she was studying, or perhaps she was in the Gryffindor commons room.

But Draco had the oddest feeling that she was in none of these places. He quickly realized why. Draco’s ring finger had rapidly grown numb. He glanced down at it, wondering why it, and not the rest of his hand, was freezing cold. His mood ring was jet black and ice cold with Ginny’s fear.

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