Chapter Two: Nightmares
The next morning, Draco looked around for Blaise, but couldn’t find him to tell him the good news. He sat staring moodily at his breakfast, stabbing it with a fork. By the time owl post arrived, Draco was ready to leave since it was painfully obvious that Blaise wasn’t showing up. As he rose from his seat, a letter fell on the remains of his toast. He snatched it up and read it on his way out, recognizing Blaise’s elegant script.
I planned to have a bit of a lie in with Daphne this morning. I’ll see you in classes later. Don’t worry; I know what happened with your girl. I was watching, and not in the creepy way. Congratulations on step one.
Be seeing you,
P.S. When she’s quiet, ask her what’s wrong.
Draco tucked the letter in his robes’ pocket. He wasn’t sure he would be able to use that piece of advice from Blaise anytime soon. Ginny was laughing and smiling all through breakfast with Granger. Nothing seemed to ever be wrong with the girl unless she was fighting with someone. He smirked and simply stored the advice in his brain for later. With her temper she was sure to fight with someone, and he would try to comfort her when that happened.
Ginny decided to skip lunch that day. She needed a break from faking smiles and laughter. She’d been having nightmares about the Chamber of Secrets. She hadn’t had those since last year. They always seemed to come back when she was here at Hogwarts. She supposed it was only that way because the castle was where those terrible things had happened; where she had done those terrible things. Hermione, Ron, and Harry would never understand because they had never done something so evil.
She sighed and headed down to the fountain. Soon in would be turned off, but for now the sound of the bubbling water tended to relax her. She had to figure out if she could learn how to brew a Dreamless Sleeping Draught on her own. Professor Snape would ask too many questions, everyone would. She sat quietly on the edge of the fountain and yanked out her Potions text book, scrolling through until she found what she was looking for.
Draco looked around for her at lunch. She wasn’t there. He wondered why. He would’ve asked The Wonder Trio, but that would arouse suspicions. He doubted they would tell him anyway. He heard someone clear their throat to his left. Glancing up he saw Blaise.
“Did you know,” Blaise said with a smirk, “that the fountain is lovely. You should go look at it before they shut the water off tomorrow.”
For a moment, Draco looked at Blaise as if he were mad. Then he caught on and gathered his things, standing to leave. Blaise wrapped two sandwiches in a napkin and shoved them into Draco’s hands. Draco smiled a real smile at his best friend and left.
When he got to the fountain, Ginny was staring into space, book open on her lap and a small frown on her face. She tugged at a strand of her hair and looked as if she was trying not to cry. How does Blaise know that something is up with her before everyone else? Draco shrugged the thought off. Blaise had been that way since they were children. He approached Ginny as if approaching a wounded animal. He didn’t want to frighten her. He sat next to her, watching her for a moment.
Her eyes flickered over to him, but that was the only indication that she had registered his presence. She tucked the ever errant strand of hair behind her ear again and put her book back in her bag. He noticed briefly that it was her potions text.
“Care to talk about what’s bothering you?” he asked quietly.
Her face scrunched up in irritation. “How would you know something was bothering me?”
“You wear your heart on your sleeve,” he said shrugging. “It’s fairly obvious that you’re not happy. What’s wrong?”
“If it’s so obvious,” she snapped at him, “then why can’t my brother tell? Or Hermione and Harry for that matter?”
He snorted inelegantly. “They are a close knit little bunch. They don’t really see anything outside of themselves. Besides,” he added, “you hide it well when you’re around them.”
“It’s not fair!” she shouted suddenly, jumping to her feet. “Why should you see? Why should you know something’s wrong with me when two days ago you hated my guts? They are supposed to love and care about me and they see absolutely nothing! And I-” she said the last part so quietly that he almost didn’t hear it, “I am beginning to hate them for it.” Tears began to flow freely down her cheeks.
He stared at her for a moment in horror. He hadn’t had much experience with crying women in his life. He gathered himself though and stood, gathering her in a hug and patting her back as he had seen Blaise do when Daphne was upset.
“Sometimes,” he whispered to the top her head, “the ones we love can hurt us the most. And the worst part is that they don’t even know they’re doing it.” This brought back memories of his father, pushing his mother away emotionally and physically before each mission he went on for the Dark Lord. He would pick fights with her on purpose just so she wouldn’t miss him when he left, just in case he never came back.
“It’s nightmares,” she said, her voice muffled by his chest. “I have nightmares every night, memories really. I can’t stop them without a Dreamless Sleep potion. My supply is out and I can’t exactly ask Professor Snape. He would ask too many questions.” She shuddered before she spoke. “I won’t go back to St. Mungo’s Insanity Ward. I won’t!” she shouted, shoving him away, suddenly very angry. “I won’t, and no one will make me. That’s exactly what will happen if they find out!”
He stared at her in shock. She had been institutionalized? He had never known that, but then there were probably a lot of things they didn’t know about each other. He snapped out of his shock, grabbed her by her shoulders and gave her a little shake to quiet her.
“It’s all right, Weasley,” he said calmly. “I won’t tell anyone. No one will do anything to hurt you anymore. I will get you the ingredients for the potion and help you brew it. No one will do anything you don’t want them to do. Now tell me about your nightmares.”
She put a hand to her mouth, her tears refreshing themselves. “Thank you,” she whispered. “Thank you, Malfoy. I can’t thank you enough, but - but I’m just not ready to tell anyone yet. I couldn’t bear it if you were to look at me as disgusting and tainted again. I feel like you’re the only one here for me right now. I couldn’t stand to lose my only friend.”
His eyebrows shot up when she said that. He was about to reply when the tolling bells from the castle signified that lunch was over and classes were to begin again. He let her go, and she gathered up her things.
“I have to go,” she muttered without looking at him. She shocked him again by grabbing his hand and giving it a tight squeeze before rushing off to class. He stared after her in amazement. She had called him friend. No one except Blaise had ever called him that.
Author notes: Please review and I'm so sorry this took so long. I have started college and my teachers are cruel in the amount of work they assign.
To Be Continued.
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