People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within. ~Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Draco shuddered in revulsion as the woman’s face blurred into clarity.

Her unruly, matted dark hair shadowed her face like twisted vines on a trellis. A pale face with sharp, gaunt angles hid beneath. However, what stood out most was her one distinguishing feature, the one sign of recognition that made Draco long to be as far away from her as possible. Under thick, heavy-lidded eyelids were eyes, black as coal, with a malignant gleam to them. Those were the eyes of a mad person, one who knew she was insane, and embraced the fullness of it.

Those were the eyes of Bellatrix Lestrange.

“Itty-bitty Draco. It’s Auntie Bellatrix! Didn’t you miss me?” she simpered in a sickeningly sweet voice. Honey tainted with poison.

“Missed you?” Draco began in a cold, caustic voice. “No, I‘m sorry, I seem to have forgotten my manners. Of course I’ve missed the loving aunt who murdered innocents, slandered our family name, and made my sixth year the worst of my entire life.”

“Oh, oh, oh! I see we are a bit touchy, aren’t we, darling?” she taunted, grinning wretchedly, showing all of her missing teeth.

Draco seethed, and he decided to play his last card. “Of course, the worst thing you did of all was possibly the most deluded: you set our family up to spend the rest of our lives slaving after that miserable snake of a man whom you so dearly cherished, one whose filthy half-blood was not enough to even polish my boots.”

Bellatrix’s nostrils flared. She whipped her wand out and drew it sharply across his face; an angry slash mark remained. Draco pulled back, an angry red slash appearing on his face.

She hissed, “Don’t ever, ever slander the Dark Lord’s name ever again. Your foul mouth shall dare not defile his glory!”

Bellatrix moved to strike Draco again, but stopped abruptly and focused her attention somewhere else. She appeared to be listening to something. After a resigned slump of her shoulders, she turned back to her nephew, and leered crookedly.

“I wish I could play with you, my pet, I really do. But your time is not now, no, not at all. Not when something bigger is in motion, the one thing that will bring us glory once again!” she cackled.

“Who is ‘we’?” Draco demanded. “Where am I? And, where the hell is Gin—my partner?” His voice grew in volume, and Bellatrix flinched back, but regained her composure the second she heard Ginny’s name.

“Oh, Draco! Don’t tell me—you haven’t been keeping company with that blood traitor? Is she a plaything of yours, perhaps? Just something on the side?” Bellatrix’s eyes took on a sadistic glint, and Draco, sickened, went pale. His eyes narrowed into slits.

“That is vile, and beneath even you. She is nothing of that sort. I have asked you once, and I will ask you once more: where is she?” Draco’s voice was soft, but deceptively treacherous.

Bellatrix pouted, apparently disappointed that he no longer wanted to play her games. Even still, she was amused enough by his anger to at least show him what he so desperately sought. Pointing to the far corner of the room with a dimly lit wand, Bellatrix showed him a levitating Ginny, spread eagle in the air. Her eyes were wide open, and she was trying to scream, turn over, do anything, anything to escape.

Draco jumped up to try and reach her. Something inside of him just snapped, and the only thing he wanted at that point was to do something, anything to get her down.

“Ah, ah, ah,” his captor admonished, “Not so fast. Incarcerous ” She flicked her wand lazily, and wrapped Draco in magical binds, which restricted him from any movement at all. Bellatrix reached over and plucked his wand out of his pocket, and laid it on the ground in front of him.

“If you really want to save this girl,” she began contemptuously, “you must pass a test, darling. I wouldn’t deny you some fun, but you cannot go ruining things for me now, can you?”

Draco gritted his teeth as Bellatrix continued. Her voice deepened, and Draco had a feeling she was about to say something important, so he listened carefully, attempting to make a mental register of every word that left the foul woman’s lips.

“Draco,” she whispered, “do you not wish for the world to be cleansed? Cleansed of the filth that are Muggles? The Dark Lord may be gone physically, but he lives on in the hearts and minds of every single one of his followers. Even yours.”

The woman was even more delusional than he had previously believed. The Dark Lord had cost him everything he held dear: his home, his mother in her true happiness, his school years, his childhood innocence. He had even been stopped from gaining what he had wanted most: a father’s pride. Thrust into a world of darkness, Draco had tried his hardest to survive, but he was different, and could not live without light.
Even still, he listened.

“The wheels have been set in motion. Our revenge will be exacted from those who oppressed us. The ones among us who were truly faithful will be rewarded again, for a new leader has stepped out of the shadows. He is to carry on my Lord’s philosophy, which is one of true power that stems from true blood. Will you not join us? This is a test of your faith, Draco.”

His deranged aunt’s voice grew reverent as she continued.

“Imagine the possibilities! Traitors will be recast as the filth they actually are—traitors like Snape .”

The mention of his father figure’s name made Draco’s blood boil. He temporarily forgot to feign interest in her twisted plan due to his anger.

“Where is he?” Draco hissed, and Bellatrix watched his eyes grow dangerously dark.

Bellatrix’s ecstatic smile faltered.

“I-I am not aware of his location.”

Draco took this opportunity to fully humiliate Bellatrix; he reasoned that the more hurt her ego was, the easier she would be to break.

“So, you mean to tell me that you do not know? Has your ‘savior’, the one whom you serve with such loyalty, denied this information from his most unwavering servant?”

Bellatrix’s nostrils flared with anger. She yelled, “It matters not! Vengeance will be ours, and those who are too weak to follow, namely yourself, will be crushed along with everyone else!” Inches away from Draco, she stared him down as he writhed, bound still by her magical ropes.

“Sorry to interrupt your dramatic little schemes, but your plan will not be taking place today,” said a loud, defiant voice from behind her.

Bellatrix whirled around to see who had spoken.

Ginny Weasley stood her ground as she glared at Bellatrix, her jaw tight with determination. She was holding a blade and a tangle of ropes. Bellatrix laughed at her.

“Dear me, it seems that the littlest Weasel has escaped! I must have been distracted while I was having a chat with my nephew over here. How very clever of you,” she derided.

Without a word, the stone-faced redhead whipped out her wand and wielded it like a sword. Mockingly, Bellatrix followed.

“Is the little girl going to hurt me? Or will poor baby Weasley go the same way as Freddie?” jeered Bellatrix.

Ginny fairly growled, and lashed out spell after spell at Bellatrix, who waved them away carelessly, like they were pieces of parchment.

“To duel, you really need to know how to mean it, my dear!’ she taunted, louder this time. Bellatrix shot a black plume directly at Ginny’s head, no doubt a trick she learned from her master.

Doubling over, Ginny crumpled, and Draco yelled in rage, tugging on to the powerful binds that held him.

However, she recovered quickly, and fired off some of her deadliest spells, the ones that could put people in hospital beds for weeks.

A tremendous fight ensued, and the air was so thick with glowing beams of light and fire that Draco found it hard to discern who was emerging victorious.

Unfortunately, once the smoke cleared, it showed a weakened redhead. No matter how much feeling Ginny put into her curses, Bellatrix was the more experienced witch.

Bellatrix grinned ferally at Ginny. Her eyes shone, and Ginny realized what she was about to do a split second before she did it.

Crucio! ” roared Bella. Twisting and squirming, Ginny fell to the ground, screaming.
Draco’s eyes went blank, and he nearly lost control. He shook with anger.

“You won’t last another second, will you, darling? Just think, soon you will be reunited with your brother.” She laughed, but lost control of the spell.

While she was distracted momentarily, Ginny, riled with fury at the witch’s words, stumbled to her feet.

Furnunculus! Sectumsempra!

The raven-haired lady’s face swelled with welts and boils, and before she could take a breath, the latter curse slashed a side of her bony face.

Bellatrix shrieked in response, and clutched at her face. She shot jets of green light directly at her opponent, but the redhead jumped out of the way just in time. In response, Ginny shot flames that seared through Bella’s clothes and fried her matted hair. She stepped back, took a breath, and aimed a few deathly curses at her now weakened adversary.

“And that’s what you get when you try to take advantage of me.” Ginny stared down her prey, her wand in the air. Draco was truly amazed. Ginny had managed to literally abominate Bellatrix with just a few spells. None of them were fancy, or complicated. Just hard-hitting, formidable, and incredibly blunt. How fitting.

Her wrath blazed with the intensity of the sun and the stars, and flamed like her fiery hair.

Bellatrix lay on the floor, ragged. Ginny levitated her to the far corner of the room, and with a quick flick of her wand, dumped her unceremoniously on the stone floor. She slashed through Draco’s binds, and he got to his feet, muttering a quick thanks.

“Well done. You have, for now, defeated one of my most, shall I say, motivated servants.”

The pair looked about wildly, for the booming voice that spoke to them had literally resounded from out of nowhere.

“Who the hell is that?” Ginny wondered aloud, but Draco silenced her with a glare, rolling his eyes at how crude she was.

“Ah, Ginevra Weasley. What a pleasure.” The voice, amused, went on.

“We were speaking of Bellatrix, were we not? She is, after all, a mere pawn in this game, as young Malfoy here has already understood. She looks at this game as a simple one of revenge, but I assure you, it is much more than that. We shall see each other soon, I daresay, in time for the solstice. But first, I wish to give you a little gift. Ginevra, this is for you.”

Suddenly, Ginny fell limp, shaking and twisting. She seemed to be seeing something in her head that Draco could not. It must have been a terrible, horrible vision, for when it ended, she opened her eyes, covered in a feverish sweat, and collapsed in his arms. Draco easily caught her, but he was worried now for her health and their safety.

Draco grabbed onto Ginny’s arm and tried to Apparate home as fast as he could, spinning on the spot. Whoever that voice was, he had a feeling it was coming for them incredibly soon.


They landed with a thud on the rough stone pavement in front of the doorstep. Dara appeared at the doorstep in no time, and with one look at Ginny’s crumpled form, raced back inside to the kitchens, undoubtedly to get some healing potions.

Draco stepped through the open door, Ginny still in his arms, and the door swung closed. He looked around for a place to put her down, and decided to lay her on one of the embroidered golden poufs in the grand foyer.

Dara rushed back over and saw Ginny sprawled across the divan—which was entirely too small for two people to sit on, let alone for a person to lie comfortably on—scowled at Draco. Her expression reminded Draco so much of a disapproving Narcissa that he involuntarily took a step back.

She is only a house-elf, for Merlin’s sake! Why is she looking at me like that? What is stuck up that elf’s arse? All I did was set Gin—I mean, Weasley on the divan.

Dara finally spoke. “Master Draco,” she began in a firm voice, as if scolding a naughty child, “Mistress must be put in a proper bed.”

Draco drew himself to his full height and stared down the unwavering elf. His face was smoothly blank, but his steely grey eyes were importunate—an expression that usually brought terrified coworkers cowering to their knees.

The house-elf raised one eyebrow at him and with her long batlike snout up in the air, scurried away to the kitchens.

Draco stood, flabbergasted by the elf’s total lack of regard. However, he was too tired to argue the standards of the Malfoy house’s hierarchy, so he decided to comply with Dara’s request. He slipped his hands under Ginny’s warm body, lifted her into his arms, and hauled her up the stairs. Once in her room, he set her down gently on the crimson sheets and waited for Dara to bring her some soothing potions.

Downstairs, Dara ladled a piping hot remedy into a silver teapot and set it on a tray with some crumpets. Remembering Narcissa’s previous advice from a week ago, she added a bit of ginseng and peppermint, and poured melted chocolate on top of the crumpets. A fresh vanilla bean was crushed, scooped out, and dumped into the mix.

Smiling to herself, the faithful servant went along her way, humming happily.


Draco was starting to get tired. He perched on a velvet chaise next to Ginny’s bed, watching her intently. He definitely needed rest, but his mind rattled with of questions.

Who was that voice underground? What did he truly do to Ginny? What did she see? When did she go from Weasley to Ginny in my mind? What is Bellatrix’s demented plan? Where is Severus and what is she planning on doing to him?

The last question bothered him the most and was completely beyond his control. The matter of Ginny/Weasley was going to have to wait for now. He was still very worried for her, and he kept watching for any signs of her consciousness. Unfortunately, she remained a silent tomb; the only sign that she was alive was the steady up-and-down motion of her chest.

Slumped over in his seat, Draco looked defeated, something most uncharacteristic for any true Malfoy. The large window showed a murky grey sky, blotted with thick iron clouds. A dark shadow fell over the room, casting both of the people inside in darkness.

Suddenly, a small fist rapped on the door. Draco permitted admittance, and Dara shuffled inside, carrying an ornate silver tea service. She set the tray on a small coffee table, bowed deeply, and left.


When Dara returned to the kitchen, her face wore a toothy grin when she saw how Master looked at Miss Wheezy. Mistress would be so pleased. With this happy thought in mind, the elf merrily went on to clean the dishes.

Draco eyed the steaming teapot cautiously. Unsure of what he was supposed to do, he poured some of the hot liquid into a silver spoon. He gently pushed apart Ginny’s lips, feeling the warmth of her body as he did so. Then, as carefully as he could, Draco took the spoon and emptied the whole thing in her mouth. He quickly took it right out and waited.

In a matter of seconds, Ginny’s eyelids fluttered open, and she stared directly at Draco before erupting into a coughing fit.


When Ginny awoke, the first thing she saw was Draco Malfoy’s mesmerizing grey eyes burning holes in her face. Astounded, she wanted to touch him, certain that he was a mirage or a hallucination. Then her throat started to burn. Air left her lungs, replaced with a stinging sensation like a blazing fire. She burst into a hacking cough, attempting to restore lost breath.

Draco lifted her up into a sitting position and did the only thing he could: whacked her on the back until the cough went away.

She sputtered for the last time, and shot a mutinous glare at Draco. He was taken aback at her irritated expression.

What could I have possibly done this time? I did stop her from nearly choking to death, didn’t I?

“Why,” she gasped, eyes watering, “did you just hit me?”

“Itswatmamumusdtado,” he muttered abashedly.


“I said, ‘It’s what my mum used to do.’ Whenever I had a cold,” Draco said uncomfortably. Ginny saw a fleeting innocence in his eyes as he remembered the tenderness of his mother’s love in his childhood. She did wonder what had about brought his sudden desire to help her; she could not remember what had happened to her in the first place.

He attempted to restore his lost dignity by adding in a pompous voice, “And you were the one coughing all over me, so I was just being noble by trying to help. That is sort of the Gryffindor ideology, is it not? To assist a damsel in distress?”

“Draco Malfoy, you utter arse! I am positive your mother didn’t apply half as much force. I may be strong, but I’m not some kind of solid object that doesn’t feel pain! And a damsel in distress? Who the hell do you think you are?” she roared at him, and he shrunk back, before drawing himself up to his full height.

“Well, excuse me. As I seem to recall, you went completely limp and started shaking. Then you refused to wake up. What would you have wanted me to do?” Draco shot back.

She widened her eyes at him.

“Wait—completely limp? What happened?”

“Do you mean to tell me that you don’t recall at all what took place not two hours ago?”

She shook her head.

“How much do you remember?”

“Well, I do remember Bellatrix. And Sna—I mean, the reason we came to the cave. Then there was this horrible voice, and I remember something absolutely awful happened. Something I saw that was inherently familiar, but more terrifying then anything else.” She shuddered.

“And?” Draco pressed on, intrigued.

“See, there lies the problem. It’s like my mind was wiped clean of everything.”

Draco ran his hand through his hair in frustration. Ginny noticed he looked even better, if possible, with his hair tousled just so.

Stop it. Right now.

His pained expression mirrored his words as he said, “Why doesn’t a single thing that happens ever go exactly right? You just about lost your mind, literally, and I just, just—“

Ginny’s eyes widened, in one part amusement and two parts incredulity.

“Did you, the Slytherin Sex God, the Puppy-Drowning Human Ferret, the Incredibly Irritating, Persnickety, and Iron-Fisted-yet-Undeniably-Attractive—“

“I’m sorry, what was that last one?”

“Just something I heard from that pug-faced cow Pansy last week at Gladrag’s, but that’s beside the point. What I really want to know is, Malfoy, did you just show compassion? Were you actually worried about me?”

The sweet smell of vanilla filled the air, punctuated by peppermint and ginseng. As Ginny looked into his eyes, she realized that the implication of her joking words was much deeper than she had previously thought.

Author notes: Side Note: Vanilla, ginseng, and peppermint are all romantic/seductive herbs and scents in history and literature.. just thought you should know ;)

Again, please review, and I hope you enjoyed this chapter!!!

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