Twisted

By Hannah Davenport (slytherin_punk@hotmail.com)

Rating: PG

Summary: Sequel to "Bent". When Harry, Hermione, and Ron find out about the friendship between Draco and Ginny, things don't go very well. Although she tries to put up a front of anger, Ginny can't help but wonder why Draco wants to be her friend. He is the gorgeous, lovely young man at the top of his class, hanging out with the lowest specimen of the Weasley family, people he has hated for years. What does he want from her?

Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by J. K. Rowling. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. It's just fan fiction!

~

Chapter One

< >"Are you completely MAD, Ginny?"

< >"Er, I'll just go and get some drinks, shall I?" Draco asked uncomfortably as he stood. "Yes, I think I will. Have a nice chat with Potter, Granger and your brother, Ginny. I'll be back in a moment."

< >Ginny stared hopelessly after Draco, and then turned back to Harry, Ron, and Hermione. It was the Halloween Ball, and they had just seen her escort. "Yes," She replied with a smile. "I am. But I prefer the term, 'utterly demented'. It makes me feel better about myself."

< >Ron's jaw dropped, Harry's face went completely expressionless, and Hermione was almost as pale as Draco. "Ginny," Ron stammered in horror. "It's MALFOY. Draco Malfoy. Don't you remember how awful he's been to you?"

< >"To you, you mean." Ginny said quietly. "He hasn't spoken to me for five years. And I find him very nice, and an extremely good listener. He's really great once you get to know him."

< >"Once you get to know him?" Harry gasped in exasperation. "Ginny, no one wants to get to know Malfoy! It's unnatural!" His eyes were bulging slightly, and his emerald eyes were alight with confused fury.

< >Ginny simply smiled. "You wouldn't know what he's like, because you never even tried to be his friend. You just assume he's like the rest of his family, evil and merciless. Did you know he was offended when you told him you didn't want to be his friend?"

< >Harry's jaw dropped like Ron's had. "Offended?" He asked blankly.

< >"Yes - offended." Ginny replied, her smile gone and her bright, and usually happy eyes narrowed. "He's never had a real friend before. Can you imagine Crabbe and Goyle being actual friends? No, Harry. He's been lonely most of his life, and he just wants to talk to somebody."

< >She was fuming now, and she could feel the heat rising in her face. She didn't want anything to do with these people if they were going to be narrow-minded about Draco. And it was obvious that they were planning on it.

< >"Ginny," Hermione began. "Are you sure he's - your friend, as you put it?"

< >"What do you think?" Ginny asked heatedly. "Would I be defending my worst enemy? Would I be defending someone who was a completely evil mad nutter? I think not." She then stood up, and glared at the three of them. "Now, if you don't mind, I'm going to find Draco, and see if he's having fun. Which is more than I can say for any of you, because you three don't think enough to care!"

< >She then stormed away from the table, leaving the dream team to ponder what she had said. When she finally found Draco, he was a good distance away from where they had been sitting, and talking to someone that was only distinguishable as a Slytherin first year.

< >He looked up at her and smirked. "Hello Ginny," he said calmly. "Have you finished yelling at them, then?" She looked at him, completely bewildered. "I'll take that as a yes," Draco added, walking over to her. "Shall we go for a walk?"

< >"Yes." She smiled at him. "Let's shall. Someone was saying that the grounds are looking spectacular..."

< >Draco held out an arm, and she took it, smiling more broadly than she had in her life. He was smiling, too. As they exited the Great Hall, and stepped into the cavernous entrance hall, Ginny shivered. It was rather chilly. Draco held her hand, and she felt a tiny bit better. After all, he was being friendly, and that was a step up.

< >They strolled across the courtyards and around the rose bushes, staying silent all the while, until they reached a large stone bench in the middle of a circle of fountains, and sat down.

< >"So," he began quietly. "How did that go? Are they still horribly against me, or have they seen the error of their wicked ways?" He glanced at her from the corner of his pale eyes, and smiled once again.

< >"They're still convinced that you're a bad man, but I yelled at them enough to leave you alone." She answered, patting his arm. "They'll see in the end how lovely you are, Mr Malfoy."

< >"Lovely?" he questioned, looking horrified. "I'd rather be something more masculine. Like, grand, maybe?" She giggled, and he furrowed his eyebrows. "What's so funny? Lovely isn't exactly the word I'd use for me..."

< >"Well," She sighed, tilting her head up to look at the stars. "Grand isn't exactly the word either. How about, fabulous?" She turned to look at him, and giggled once more. "You are, really," she continued. "Lovely and fabulous. You're the best friend that I've ever had. Lovely, fabulous, wonderful, and interesting Draco Malfoy. That's you."

< >"I still prefer grand," Draco said, folding his arms. "But, if I must be fabulous, then I can be fabulous. For you." He looked up at the sky too. "If not anyone else. Are you having a good time, Doctor Ginny?"

< >"Fabulous," she replied, leaning back a bit farther. And then - "Ow!" She had fallen backwards off the bench, and landed in a pile of leaves. "Well," she said exasperatedly as Draco began to laugh, "that was somewhat unexpected. Don't laugh at me like that!"

< >He was doubled up with laughter and nearly crying from it, too. She narrowed her eyes, and smirked, then grabbed his arm, pulling him into the pile with her.

< >"Hey!" Draco cried, his head hitting the leaves with a crunch. "It's not funny if I'm down here as well!" He then took a handful of leaves, and shoved them in her mouth.

< >She struggled to spit them out and then stuck her tongue out, trying to rub it clean of leaf bits. "Oh, you really are a bother," Ginny said angrily, giving him a mock glare. "You'll pay for that one, you evil boy!" She grabbed a handful of leaves, and broke them apart in his hair.

< >"My HAIR!" he yelped, grabbing Ginny's wrists and pulling her hands away from his precious, leave-strewn hair. "No one is allowed to put any substance in my hair except me," he whispered, looking extremely murderous.

< >"Aren't we the vain one?" Ginny asked with a grin, albeit a little perturbed. "I'd say you could use a bit of a make over, and then you could find out there are things worse than leaves."

< >"Don't you dare try it, Ginny," Draco continued slowly. "Because then I'd have to hurt you, and that wouldn't be pleasant." She looked into his silvery eyes, and saw that he was smiling. Not on his face, but there was a glint of humor in his eyes.

< >"I'm your doctor," Ginny replied indignantly. "And I say you should put something in your hair other than hair tonic." His jaw dropped, and she grinned again. "I'm only kidding, Draco," she said hurriedly. "Only kidding!"

< >"Now you have to pay," Draco laughed, his demeanor changing quickly. Without a warning, he pinned her to the pile of leaves, and stuffed even more of them in her mouth. "Ha! Are they tasty, Gin?" he queried, resting his elbows on his knees and watching in amusement as she gagged.

< >"-cough- Draco! You little - !" Ginny then did the first thing that came to her mind. She shoved three handfuls of leaves down the front of his robes. "There, now you're nice and warm." She giggled, beside herself with giddiness.

< >And then something happened. As Ginny watched Draco trying to get the leaves out of his robes, she vaguely wondered why he was out there with her. After all, he was the extremely good-looking, rich, suave, tactful Draco Malfoy, and she was - Ginny. Just Ginny. He looked down at her, an expression of pure exasperation on his pale face.

< >"I could use some assistance from a certain red-headed someone," he said into the sky. "If she would be so kind as to help me extract these really itchy leaves from my clothing..."

< >"Oh - right." She replied, standing up and walking over to him. "Okay, - um - here goes."

~

< >"Here are your essays," Professor Malfoy said with a smile. "And Draco, I'll let you know you did very poorly on this particular assignment."

< >Ginny swiveled in her seat to look at Draco, and saw the expression of pure venom that he was giving Rhiannon. He then looked right back at Ginny, and mouthed something barely audible: I'm not really related to her.

< >As they made their way out of the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, she caught up with him, and smiled. Although this had no effect on cheering him up.

< >"Studying today?" she asked hopefully. "I have a dreadful Potions exam on Thursday,"

< >"Can't," he replied with a grimace at his Defense Against the Dark Arts marks. "Meeting with Snape, and then a meeting with Rhiannon and Snape about my grades. I'm in for a wonderfully splendid day, wouldn't you say so?"

< >"I'm sorry." She frowned, patting his arm sympathetically. "Awfully sorry. What are you talking to Snape about? Having trouble with your homework in Potions as well?"

< >He gave her a very mischievous smirk, and said, "No. I'm talking to him about girls. One girl, in particular." She made a face and he laughed. "But, I admit that I'd much rather talk to Filch than Snape. It'll be a nightmare, me trying to get him to listen about you..." Ginny's jaw dropped, and the full impact of what he had just said seemed to knock Draco senseless, because next second he was stuttering uncontrollably. "Er - I've - g-g-got t-to go. G-g-g-going t-t-t-to b-be late." And he rushed off towards the dungeons, muttering things like, "Draco, you idiot!" Under his breath all the way to Snape's office.

< >Ginny was completely flabbergasted. Why would Draco want to talk about her, anyway? I mean, sure they were friends, best friends, in fact. But talking about her? It seemed very suspicious. She confusedly headed to the library, accidentally knocking into several people as she passed them.

< >About four hours later, when she was right in the middle of an extremely nasty Transfiguration essay, a very harassed, very annoyed looking Draco came into the library as well, and sat down opposite her at her table. " 'Lo," he greeted warily, rubbing his eyes.

< >"More like, 'good gracious'!" Ginny said with an awed look on her face. "Are you alright? You look like you're under a lot of strain." He put his face in his hands, and she was left to look at the top of his platinum blonde head. "What happened?" she asked, a note of concern in her voice.

< >"Snape thinks I'm completely mental," Draco moaned in response, his voice muffled by his hands. "And Rhiannon is writing to Lu- my father. She seems to think that he needs to be notified..."

< >"About what?" She asked, feeling more bewildered by the moment. "Why would she write to your dad?"

< >Draco looked imploringly into her eyes and slammed a fist on the table, earning a very frustrated glare from Madam Pince. "Honestly, Ginny! You don't get it, do you! What is my father's opinion of your father?"

< >"The enemy?" Ginny offered, still feeling rather left in the dark.

< >"Exactly!" he growled. Draco looked very menacing and aggravated.

< >"I still have no idea what you're talking about, Draco," she said quietly.

< >"Ginny," Draco said, his indignant voice now barely a whisper. "Do you really think my father would appreciate me fraternizing with the enemy's daughter? I mean, come on. Do you remember when we first met?"

< >She swallowed hard, and looked down at her homework. Of course she remembered. How could she forget? It was quite possibly the most entertaining day of her life.

< >"Okay," Ginny said sadly. "I see your point. What was Snape getting angry over?"

< >Draco opened his mouth, and then closed it, as though resolute not to tell her. "I can't tell you yet," he said awkwardly, running a hand through his silvery hair. "But I can tell you one thing, if Rhiannon really does write to my father, he'll do everything in his power to stop us from being friends. It would be his worst nightmare, Ginny. His absolute worst."

< >This brought up a question that had been fighting to get out of her for a very long time. "Why?" she asked, looking up once more. He looked confused. "Why do you want to be my friend in the first place?" she asked, hoping that he would have an answer worth listening to. "I mean, Draco, I'm nothing special. Just Ginny Weasley. But you - you're - you're fabulous..."

< >"Er - I, well..." Draco looked rather uncomfortable. "You see, you make me want to be a better person because you're such a great one. You're a really cool girl, Ginny. And - er - you're the first person who really tried to be my friend." He gave her a hopeful smile, which she returned. "And I just explained you to Snape, and he thinks I've gone insane," he added with a rather forced laugh.

< >"Perhaps you have," Ginny said airily, placing her quill behind her ear. "I mean, I only accept insane people as friends. And so far," she paused, and smiled once more, "you're the first I've met. But how would Snape recognize you're mental-ness? He's too crazy to know what's normal..."

< >"I told you," He said, nervously fidgeting with a thick silver, black and green ring on his right hand ring-finger. "I can't tell you that yet. You'd think I was mental too if I told you just now. You'd probably laugh..."

< >"You're right," Ginny said, giggling at his anxious behavior. "I laugh at everything, don't I?"

< >"You do, and that's another thing I like about you," he replied, still turning his ring around on his finger. "You can laugh at anything. Anything at all, and you're not afraid of what might happen if you laugh during - oh - you're Potions exam. You'd still laugh if you had reason to." He stared determinedly at his ring, and then looked up at her. "And for some odd reason, I remember somewhere we can meet in private, when we don't want to be overheard, say," he added, pushing a piece of parchment across the table at her. "I have to go. See you." With another one of his knee-weakening smiles, he stood, and left the library.

< >Ginny, who was feeling very intrigued, unfolded the parchment, and smiled at what was written there.

Doctor Ginny -

< >There is an empty classroom in the South Tower where we can meet. It's just three doors to the right of Professor Sinistra's office. Meet me there at midnight.

Your patient,
Draco

~

< >"Harry, can I borrow your Invisibility Cloak tonight?" Ginny asked tentatively, her fingers crossed behind her back.

< >"Queen to H-3," Harry said to his chessmen, then turning to look at Ginny, asked, "Why? What are you up to, Ginny?"

< >Her stomach lurched, but she took a deep breath, steadying herself. "I have a really nasty Potions exam Thursday," she started hopefully, "and I need to get some extra studying done so that I won't fail, because I would hate to have to repeat Potions."

< >"I suppose," he answered, thoughtfully biting his lip. She mentally congratulated herself. "Yeah, sure. I understand how you must feel, Snape barring down on you... Go ahead."

< >Relief flooded throughout her body as she graciously thanked Harry, and went to grab the cloak, when - "Ginny, could I come with you? I need to study as well..."

< >Ginny turned around, to see Hermione, a book opened in her lap. For a moment, she didn't know what to do. There was absolutely nothing she could say that would convince Hermione (At least, not really) that she really was going to study, but wanted to be left alone. It wasn't really the truth... and Hermione was looking at her expectantly... "Yeah, sure." Ginny said, mentally kicking herself for saying that she had to study. Of course that would attract Hermione!

< >"Thanks, Gin," Hermione said with a smile. "I'll just run and get my things,"

< >"Blast," Ginny muttered under her breath. "Blast, blast, and more blasted blasts!"

~

< >"Okay, don't get what you mean, Ginny." Hermione said quietly as she and Ginny roamed the halls, completely obscured by Harry's cloak.

< >"How can you not get it?" Ginny demanded, feeling more than a bit frustrated. "I told you everything, alright? I need to go up there, and you, well, you're just going to have to come with me."

< >"Me? Come with you?" Hermione asked, sounding appalled at the most. "No, not if you two want to talk. I can just stay in the library --"

< >"Not without the cloak," Ginny replied tersely. "And I need that to get up to the South Tower. So you have to come. If there were another way, I would chose that as well. I really don't know what that boy wants to talk about. But, if it gets to something you don't want to hear, just plug your ears. He might want to talk to me about his father..."

< >"His father?"

< >"Yes. Now, we have to hurry. It's almost midnight."

< >They hurried up several staircases, and made their way through several, not-quite-deserted corridors, nearly running into Peeves once as they hurried to get to their destination. He was bouncing off the walls, laughing at something he had apparently wrecked, toppled, or defaced.

< >When they finally got there, the room was completely empty. Draco was nowhere to be found, but a piece of parchment was folded up on the windowsill. Ginny picked it up, and read something in silver writing on the front: For the eyes of Doctor Ginny, ONLY!

< >She smiled. Of course he would suspect someone would follow her. It was in his nature to be suspicious. She giggled and stuffed the letter inside her nightdress pocket.

< >"Why isn't he here?" Hermione asked nervously. "I don't want to be found here by Filch, or Snape, or anyone else, for that matter. Can we get out of here?"

< >"Yes, we can." Ginny said with another smile. "Let's go to the library, like we had planned on."

~

< >Ginny found a table in a corner, and sat down, feeling very nervous. If Draco couldn't say something to her in person, it had to be either terribly important, or terrible. Either one was not very welcome in her mind at that moment. So, with fumbling fingers, she opened his letter to her, and gasped with happiness. It read:

Dear Doctor Ginny - November 13
< >HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Hah! I fooled you at last! I bet you were rather nervous, eh? Thought so. So, anyway, I got you a present, too, but I decided to give it to you at a decent hour, and also, when I could be there, and give it to you in person. So, you'll just have to be the patient, good-tempered little girl that I know you are.
< >Seventeen. Wow. You sure are old. Almost as old as Dumbledore! Only another hundred or so years until you catch up with the geezer. Except, he'll probably be gone by then. If not, he'll be a modern miracle!
< >Okay, now, off the topic of your oldness, and your birthday, and Dumbledore's croaking -- I'm going home for Christmas. Yes, I know. Dreadful for me to be leaving you. But, I just wanted to tell you, no matter what condition I come back in, no matter what kind of mental state I inhabit, DON'T DO ANYTHING RASH!

< >I don't want you getting in trouble for the - interesting ideas of my father's. Do you understand, good Doctor? Alright. Well, have a grand birthday, Ginny. And a happy New Year! Love,
Draco Malfoy

< >She giggled, rather loudly, and stuffed her fist into her mouth. She couldn't really afford to make noise at this exact time, so she settled for shaking with excitement. No one had ever given her a birthday card before. Not since her grandparents had died, anyway. Her parents usually just got her presents, along with her brothers. And, come to think of it, she had completely and totally forgotten her birthday was coming up, let alone that it was that very night/day.

< >Smiling brightly, she walked back over to Hermione, still shaking with her suppressed giddiness. And all the while she sat working on her Potions assignment, she wondered what Draco had in store for her. Little did she know her socks would be knocked off when she received the gift.

~

< >Ginny awoke to someone saying her name repeatedly, and when she groggily opened her eyes, she saw the blurry outline of Ron.

< >"Ginny, get up!" He said, pulling her covers off of her. "You'll miss breakfast entirely if you don't! And you still have that Potions class this morning! I don't know how you could have slept in! We've all been calling for you for the past twenty minutes..."

< >Ginny sat bolt upright, and put her glasses on, making the blurry Ron come into clear focus. "Oh," She said quietly. "Oh - Oh blast!"

< >She clambered out of bed, and grabbed her clothes as Ron made his way out of the 6th year girls dormitories as well. Dressing as quickly as possible, she braided her hair, put on her shoes, and ran down the stairs into the common room. It was nearly empty, except for Harry, Ron, and Hermione.

< >"Ginny," Ron said with a smile. "It's Saturday."

< >"Right," She replied, feeling extremely stupid. "Right. Of course it is. I have to go and meet someone now, so, goodbye." She said hurriedly, walking as calmly as possible out through the portrait hole.

< >Fuming to herself about ignorant and obnoxious brothers, she ran straight into the person she was looking for. Her face hit his chest, and she stumbled backwards.

< >"Oh, there you are!" Draco said with a smirk. "I was wondering if you had died last night. Anyway, happy birthday."

< >He helped her to steady herself, and handed her a small box wrapped in purple paper. There were silver ribbons on it, and a minute card taped to the top. "Oh, you really didn't have to," She began. But he held up a silencing hand.

< >"I did," Draco said with a smile. "Because now I can expect you to get me a present for my birthday." He gave her a very satisfied look. "Go on, then." he commanded, indicating the box.

< >Fumbling slightly, she opened the box, and drew a deep, shuddering breath. It was a necklace. But not just any necklace, it was a Keeper's Charm. It was a transparent, silvery cube that hung on a thin, silver chain. And inside the Charm, she saw something hat made her heart race. A lock of silver-blonde hair was suspended in the center of it. She looked up into Draco's eyes.

< >"Wow," she said, feeling completely awed. Ginny realized sort of what it meant. "Oh, thank you!" she cried, hugging him around the middle. She felt him recoil slightly, but in the end, he started to laugh.

< >"I don't think I've ever been hugged by a girl before," Draco chuckled, smiling a very happy smile. "But, oh well. I'm glad it's you."

< >She let go of him, and slowly lifted the charm out of it's box, and fastened it around her neck. She smiled as well. "I can't believe you trust me with this," Ginny told him timidly. "With your whole being... This is the best gift that I've ever - Oh thank you!"

< >He laughed once again. "I can trust you with it," Draco smiled, patting her on the head. "Because of what you did for the on the train. I know you wouldn't be careless with it, because it isn't in your nature. You're the sweetest, calmest, most charming, prettiest girl in all of Hogwarts."

< >She felt herself blush, and quickly looked down at the Charm, which was now hanging atop her robes, glistening up at her. Smiling broadly, and tears in her eyes, she hugged Draco once more.

< >"Thank you. It's wonderful," she whispered. Before he could reply, she dissolved into a fit of crying hysteria, and ran to the girl's bathroom, where she could be left in peace. That only left him to stare after her, wondering why it was that girls cried when they were happy.

~

< >That night, as Ginny settled herself into bed, there was an odd sense throughout her mind. Something was going to happen. She stared deftly around the room, and took in the shadows of her birthday presents. Her Mum and Dad had gotten her a new set of violet dress-robes, which was her favorite color, and an assortment of nail-polish and hair trinkets. Fred and George had gotten her a set of solid-gold Gobstones, and a rather large bag of Honeydukes chocolate.

< >Percy had given her a book called: What to Do When You Don't Know What to Do About Your Life. Bill had given her about 30 Galleons from Gringotts. And Charlie had given her a bouquet of flowers, a Wizards Chess set (with violet and emerald players), and a photograph of a dragon he was working with at the moment. Meanwhile, Harry and Ron had completely forgotten her birthday, Hermione had given her a charm bracelet, and Draco - Draco had given her his life.

< >The way a Keepers Charm worked was fairly simple. The destruction of it, meant the death of the person whose essence the Charm contained. It also worked as a tracking device, and a mental connection. The people who were connected by this simple piece of jewelry could communicate telepathically.

< >Then she felt something in the back of her head. She knew what was about to happen, but had no possible way to protect herself from it. Soon she was in a deep sleep, and a boy her age appeared. A boy with jet black hair, and a very pale face. This time, however, he wasn't smiling. This time, he looked dead serious. This time, he looked concerned, a concept Ginny thought was inconceivable for Tom Riddle.

< >"What are you doing this to me for?" she asked sharply, feeling her head pulse with a sudden pain.

< >"I don't know," he said lazily, inspecting his fingernails. "I suppose it's all just for my own sick pleasure... I like watching you going insane."

< >"I'm not going insane..." she whispered indignantly. "Why don't you go away?"

< >"Because I have some things to tell you," he whispered with a twisted smile. "Some very important things . . . that pertain to that Malfoy kid as well."

< >"What?" she asked, sounding very scared. After all, if Tom knew something about Draco, it wasn't good.

< >"Oh, just that he's --

~

< >The first week of December brought a torrent of snow that was knee-deep to the Hogwarts grounds. During most of this horrible weather, Ginny was in the castle, trying to keep up on the tremendous workload the Professors had decided to dish out in their last weeks before the Christmas holidays. The rest of the time, she was airborne, training as hard as Harry could get her to for their upcoming Quidditch match: Gryffindor vs. Ravenclaw. Draco was also shouldering these immense burdens, on top of studying hard for the N. E. W. T.'s, which were stealthily (and rapidly) drawing nearer, much to his frustration.

< >One Saturday, when the gale had stopped, and things were peaceful-looking outside, Draco and Ginny had gone for a nice little walk in the mountains of snow.

< >"So," Draco said slowly, stuffing his hands into the pockets of a warm-looking cloak. "Where exactly are we going?"

< >"I really don't know," Ginny replied with a grin. "But I guess I will once we get there, now won't I? What do you want to do in the meantime?"

< >He looked thoughtful for a moment, before replying, "Tag. Yes, tag most definitely."

< >"All right then." She grinned. "You're it!" And she ran as fast as she could away from him, hearing him shout in confusion, and bolt after her.

< >She felt the frigid air whip her face as she ran across the grounds, barely out of Draco's reach. She felt the snow slowly seeping into her shoes, heard the snow crunching beneath her feet, and felt his hands on her shoulders as he pushed her forward into the snow. She landed in it, face first, with Draco, laughing like a mad-man, behind her.

< >She spit out a mouthful of snow. "I demand an explanation!" she cried as she struggled to get to her feet. "That was not at all friendly, Draco! And I don't want to have to hex you..."

< >"Here's your explanation..." Draco panted. "HAH! There you go. I've needed a good laugh for a long time now. And it's also payback for Halloween, when you pulled me off the bench..."

< >He held out a hand to help her up, which she took. When she was finally erect, she looked up at him. He smiled, and did something totally unexpected. He kissed her.

< >She pulled back, and looked determinedly down at her shoes. "Oh, no..." was all she could think of to say.

< >"What's wrong?" Draco asked, looking daunted by his own daring. "I'm sorry if I offended you in any -"

< >"Draco," she stammered, staring more intentionally at her shoes. "It's - it's not that I don't like you. It's not that at all. It's just you're --"

< >"- Not Potter," he finished for her.

< >"What?" she said incredulously, looking up at his now expressionless face.

< >"I'm not Potter," He explained, staring deeply at her. "And that's who --"

< >"Draco! It's not that either!" she exclaimed, tears sneaking their way down her cheeks. "Just let me explain - try and understand..."

< >"I understand perfectly, Ginny," he replied shortly, quickly turning his head to look around. "It's really fine. Just splendid." He started to walk away.

< >"Draco Malfoy...!" she cried with pure exasperation. He turned around, and gave her a very poisonous look. "Look, it's fine," he growled, sounding as though he were on the verge of going mad. "Everything is perfectly all right with me. But just remember something, will you?" He looked at her imploringly. "When I'm in Azkaban, send me a birthday card. Somehow, I doubt the dementors will care much."

< >He then turned, and walked briskly up to the castle, leaving Ginny to stare behind him in horror at his last statement.

~

< >"Shut up, Tom," Ginny ordered tersely, glaring at the happy boy that was the younger Lord Voldemort.

< >"I told you, didn't I?" he asked, an amused glint in his black/red eyes. "I told you he fancied you. That's exactly what I said. But why should one listen to the man that took over her body? Wouldn't that be just horrendously stupid? Of course it would. But I was right, wasn't I?"

< >"Shut up," Ginny repeated. "I don't appreciate you're mocking me."

< >"And do you know why he was so upset?" Tom continued, completely ignoring Ginny's attempts to quiet him. "Because you like Potter more. Everyone likes Potter more than him. It makes him very, very angry..."

< >"Tom!" Ginny spat, outrage coursing through her veins. "I said be quiet."

< >"I don't have to listen to you," he taunted like a child, his face distorted with another twisted and psychotic grin. "Because you can't do anything to stop me talking. And by the way," he continued, sheer delight reverberating off of his voice. "He will be going to Azkaban."

< >Ginny sat bolt upright, the sun streaking through the mullioned windows of the 6th year girls dorms. Panting, she wiped her forehead, to fid cold-sweat lingering on her brow. She swallowed hard, and mentally repeated the words that made her shiver. Both from Draco, and Tom.

< >"When I'm in Azkaban, send me a birthday card." And also: He will be going to Azkaban.

< >As it was a Sunday, she got up, and pulled on a white, button-up shirt, a violet sweater-vest, and a denim skirt. She simply combed her hair this morning, and let it fall in tight spiral ringlets about her face. She then put in a denim headband, and went down to breakfast. She was one of two people there. The other was Professor Snape.

< >"Good morning, Professor Snape," Ginny said emptily as she walked past the Staff Table. "Isn't it a lovely morning?"

< >Snape looked completely baffled at her courteous behavior, that he actually let his jaw drop as she set forward to the Gryffindor table.

< >"Yes, I quite agree," Ginny continued, staring with her eyes unfocused at the spot where Draco usually sat. "And I must say, that is a very nice set of robes you're wearing. They go perfectly with your eyes..."

< >"Miss Weasley," Snape said slowly, trying to keep the ever growing presence of concern from his voice. "Are you alright?"

< >"I'm doing just fabulously, thank you, Professor." She replied in the same, flat tone.

< >"What color is the sky this morning?" he asked, clearly thinking she had gone bonkers.

< >Ginny lazily lifted her head to stare up at the ceiling, before replying. "Blue. It's always blue. Silvery blue when silhouetted against th clouds..."

< >This seemed to make Snape see the point, as the sky was still a pinkish-orange. "Miss Weasley," he announced firmly, approaching her very slowly, as though she might be mad. "I'm going to take you up to the hospital wing."

< >"Okay," she said, sounding as though she had been drinking a bit too much. "Okay. Andthencan wegotoyour office? I've neverseenitbefore..." she said, slurring most of her words together. And then, with a rather loud plunk, Ginny's head fell forward, and landed on the wooden table in front of her.

< >Reluctantly, Snape picked her up (to which she put her arms around his neck, rather frightening him), and carried her out of the Great Hall, and up the three sets of stairs to the infirmary.

~

< >Draco walked into Malfoy Manor, a bad feeling creeping up on him as he did so. "Hello?" He called, shivering when his voice echoed off the walls. "Father? Mother? Are you home? It's me, Draco. I'm home for Christma -"

< >But just as he was about to finish his sentence, someone tapped him on the shoulder. He turned to see Lucius, standing there with a very long metal pole in his hands. "Hello, Draco." Lucius said, a nasty smile curling his mouth. "I'm glad you're home. You're cousin has been in contact with me..."

< >"About that," Draco said, his voice sounding very business-like. "I've seen exactly what you were talking about, and I'm really ready for the privilege to become a faithful servant, like you."

< >Lucius still gave Draco that very creepy smile, and lightly smacked the pole against the palm of one of his long-fingered, pale, spindly hands. "I'm very glad you're here, Draco." He repeated. "There is still the matter of your punishment to deal with, and then there is someone who wants to talk to you."

< >In his head, Draco was saying a very urgent prayer. Please help me... I know what's coming, and I deserve it for wavering even in the slightest, but please... If you're up there, don't let him -

< >Thwack!

< >The metal pole had made contact with Draco's jaw, and he fell to the floor. "I am doing this to help you gain strength, Draco." Lucius said in a highly false voice. "It's for your own bloody good."

< >Crack!

< >His head this time. Thump! His face. Smack! His back. Whoosh! His stomach. He looked up at his father from the ground, slowly fading into blackness....

< >"You can't do that," He added with a smirk. "There's someone who wants to speak with you immediately. And then you have to tell me all about Hogwarts, because I'm absolutely dying to hear about your little friend..."

< >Draco was pulled to his feet, and limply dragged in the general direction of the drawing room. Please don't let it be him. He thought desperately. Please don't let it be - But it was. And as Draco was pushed into the room, and fell to his knees to kiss the hems of Lord Voldemort's robes, he had one fleeting, wild, unacceptable thought. What on earth do I think I'm doing?


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