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Chapter 4: You called me Marion.

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They read books all morning. Draco read three with attention, and then just skimmed through five others. He began to understand the depressed mood of the group.

‘Damn, none of these even mention a Green Torch!’ burst Draco closing the ninth volume of ‘Magical Objects: Where to find them’ and throwing it onto the table. He leaned heavily against the back of the chair, hiding a big yawn.

‘In truth, the Green Torch is mentioned in a couple of books, but only as the weapon that Harry used to destroy You-Know-Who,’ said Ginny entering the library and sitting next to Harry. He handed her a couple of books which she diligently started to leaf through.

‘Yes, we all know how well that worked out,’ Draco drawled sarcastically, getting up from the chair and approaching a wide bookcase.

Harry sighed. Ginny put a hand on his shoulder as she said, ‘At least it did for a while.’ Harry rested his right hand on hers and squeezed it.

‘But was it worth it for a few years of illusion?’

Nobody answered. Draco guessed that he asked a question nobody could answer without hurting Harry’s feelings. Hermione closed the book she was reading and stretched tiredly. Ginny frowned and suddenly all eyes turned to look at her.

‘Look here…it talks about a kind of Torch,’ she said, a little excitedly. But her excitement was short-lived. ‘Ah no…it’s only a trick for magicians!’

Five people snorted.

Hermione got up. ‘I’d better go check on the roast,’ she announced.

‘I turned it five minutes ago and switched the oven off,’ said Ginny. ‘We’ll have to wait for Ron to come back; according to the Clock, he’s still far. You know that it’s impossible to Apparate during the day, with Muggles everywhere.'

‘I told Ron that it was a bad idea to visit the Burrow. It’s true, however, that New Year’s Day was just a few days ago and that someone had to go present them with our wishes,’ said Hermione, staring at an empty chair which Draco suspected was where Ron usually sat. Then, she walked towards the door. ‘I’m going to check his position too. Maybe he got closer while we were talking.’

Draco looked at the long row of books that was spread across the wall. While his eyes were on a volume that seemed to deem some interest, he saw the contours of the bookcase start to vanish. He blinked a few times but his vision didn’t clear. Then he noticed that a shelf had been added.

‘The Ministry has found more materials for us; as if the rubbish they’ve sent us already isn’t bad enough. Useless books we’re wasting our eyesight over,’ said Harry, noticing that two other shelves had appeared.

Draco eyed him sceptically, and had a look at the new material. There were books of black magic and some volumes that he had caught a glimpse of in the Restricted Section of the library at Hogwarts.

‘Isn’t the location of this place meant to be secret?’

‘It’s top secret, in fact,’ Sirius answered. ‘Only Remus knows where to find us. He’s working at the Ministry and he's the one who's getting us these books. They are not rubbish, Harry.’

‘Perhaps they’re not rubbish, but they are useless. For two years we’ve continued to leaf through them day after day, never finding anything more than mentions of my fight against Voldemort…or some magical tricks for Muggle magicians.’ He crossed gazes with Ginny, who sighed and slumped her shoulders.

‘Maybe you’ve been looking for it in the wrong way,’ mused Draco.

‘How do you propose we do it then?’ cried Harry. Sirius gave him a strict glance. ‘I mean…what do you think we could’ve done differently?’ He reddened and lowered his eyes.

‘Nervous, huh?’ Draco sneered. This was starting to amuse him…it cost him a lot not to insult them, but it had its advantages. ‘It happens that I haven’t spent the last two years working in this place, as some of you have pointed out earlier. I don’t know what you've been doing, but I can see that there's a lot of material around here, even Forbidden volumes. You probably just haven’t tried the right sort of book yet.’

Harry stood from his chair, his eyes shooting daggers at Draco as he moved closer. He grabbed Draco’s shoulder and forced him to turn.

‘Look there,’ Harry snapped, pointing to the other side of the library and showing Draco an enormous book-case, filled with hundreds, maybe thousands of volumes. ‘They’re all the books that we’ve read over the last two years. There’s quite a few, right?’

He let go of Draco and went back to his seat. Draco massaged his shoulder and sneered at Harry, but was truly impressed. The bookcase covered the length of the wall and extended all the way up to the ceiling which was three times higher than normal.

Draco went to the other side of the big room, trying to find something more interesting to read. Eventually, he sat on the floor with his legs crossed, and looked through some books that he remembered seeing in the Restricted Section of the library at Hogwarts.

Damn. I'm sure that there’s something I should remember. Why do I have this horrible feeling? he thought as he skimmed through the pages of a volume. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t lose the bad feeling. The books he was scanning talked about a completely different subject to the one that he was looking for: he put them back in their places and stood, cleaning the dust from his robe and going a bit farther.

‘I’ll go check on dinner,’ said Ginny. Harry watched her leave the room as he closed one of the books he was checking and picked up another.

‘There are also school books about how to use Tarot Cards,’ Draco said, amazed by the detail, ‘why did the Ministry think they would be important?’

‘I've no idea,’ replied Sirius and gave him a glance while skimming another volume, a Muggle one. ‘There’s only one way we can be sure…checking its content.’

Draco sighed and started to read said school book, but it didn’t mention a Torch at all.

He leafed through another two or three books, until he saw Hermione coming back to the library, tying her hair in a ponytail and approaching him to take some other books to read. She picked up another pile and went to her seat.

Every hour seemed to last an eternity. Being now used to always looking over his shoulder, Draco found that he couldn’t concentrate on reading and was quickly growing bored. At last, he heard the sound of footsteps in the hall.

‘Ron! You’re back!’ exclaimed Hermione. Throwing the book that she was reading onto the table, she stood and ran to her husband, wrapping him in a tight hug. ‘What took you so long?’ she asked, before giving him a soft peck on the lips.

‘I couldn't Apparate or I would've been back earlier,' Ron admitted. 'There were too many Muggles on the streets; I didn’t want to take the risk.’ As he returned the hug, Hermione cleaned the soot off his nose and began brushing the ashes off his cloak.

‘Fred and George are at the Burrow. Mum isn’t feeling well and she needs help,' Ron started explaining. Then his gaze met Draco's and the blond wizard saw the tall redhead straighten his back, his jaw tightening as his lips pursed. 'Oh, he’s awake,’ he said eventually.

‘Yes, he promised to clean up his act and Sirius gave him permission to stay,’ Hermione replied. She leaned in and whispered something else into Ron’s ear.

‘Malfoy,’ said Ron, as Draco finally reached them and sat down. Ron was staring at him as if he had paint splashed across his face and this annoyed him.

‘What d’you want?’ asked Draco dryly, skimming through another book.

‘I daresay that the colour of maroon suits you better than me.’

Both Harry and Hermione choked a chuckle at this.

‘Of course it does,’ Draco snapped, cocking his eyebrow at the redhead. Ron's ears turned pink. ‘I daresay that most things suit me better than you.’

‘Malfoy!’ Ron looked ready to hit Draco.

SMASH!

Sirius slammed a book onto the table and said, eyeing the newcomer sharply, ‘Ron, calm down, please. You were the one to annoy him first.’

‘I did not,’ started Ron. Then he looked at Sirius for a moment and eventually had to lower his gaze. ‘Well, maybe…maybe yes, I provoked him. But…you know, it's not something you see every day, Malfoy wearing my clothes.’

‘It was me who gave your clothes to Malfoy, Ron,’ said a voice from outside the library. Ginny came into the room, carrying a tray that held a teapot and some biscuits. ‘His Muggle clothes were far too dirty and worn out for me to fix, even with magic. Welcome back, by the way. How’s Mum?’ She hugged him with a single arm and then went back to her seat to rest the tray on the table.

‘She’s not well. She’s never recovered from Dad’s death, and I don’t think that she ever will.’ Ron sighed, and Ginny frowned at his words. ‘Fred and George are there with her. They didn’t even want to joke today…it gave me the creeps.’

‘Maybe I should go home, I could look after her,’ mused Ginny.

‘You’d just put her and the Burrow in danger,’ said Harry with a sigh. ‘Molly is more than a mother to me. I don't like the idea that she’s not well either, but we can’t go there.’

‘Bloody Death Eaters!’ Ginny swore. 'I feel so powerless…' She sniffled, hugging her arms.

***

Ginny sighed as she unbuttoned the top of her robe. As always, they'd spent all day reading and searching for information that didn't seem to be there. She was used to that; after all they'd been doing it for over two years now. However…

‘Are you all right, love?’ asked Harry, his legs slipping tiredly into his pyjamas.

She glared at him before nodding in reply. Damn, if you can’t give that word its true meaning, don’t use it! She was tired, tired of waiting. There was a time that she would’ve been happy with what she had now. She really had been happy at first…until that day, a few months ago.

‘Are you worried for Molly? I know you want to go visit her; I’d like to go, too.’

As Harry approached her from behind, her robe slid from her body and fell to the floor. He hugged her gently, leaving a soft kiss on her collarbone. She stood on her tiptoes and pushed herself against his chest. Harry’s hands ran up her body, reached her breast and cupped on it as his lips drew a line of light kisses up to her jaw.

Ginny allowed herself a little sigh when he nibbled at her right earlobe. Yes, it was just what she needed to clear her mind and think of nothing tonight. She turned to him, her hands wandering up his neck until her fingers sank deep into his jet-black hair. She saw the desire in his green eyes and smiled, deciding that, for now, it was enough.

With a gentle push, Harry made her lay on the bed, and was immediately on top of her, kissing her everywhere. She loved the weight of his body over hers; it made her feel vulnerable but also safe. The desire she read into his eyes was also reassuring, it lulled her into the illusion that she was the only subject of his thoughts. A shiver ran down her spine as he tickled the sole of her foot, and she barely hid a giggle. Then, she pushed him onto the other side of the bed, placing herself on top of him.

‘My turn tonight,’ she murmured into his ear, her lips gently brushing against his cheek.

‘Okay,’ was the last coherent thing he was able to say.

Ginny woke with the horrid feeling that something was wrong. She lazily stretched her legs and arms and looked around, trying to understand what was going on. The room was hidden in the darkness; only the light of the moon outside showed the contours of the objects, and her surroundings. Still dazed by the lack of sleep, it took her a moment to understand the origin of the bad feeling—Harry, groaning in his dreams.

‘Harry? Harry, what is it?’ she said, shaking him. It didn’t wake him up. ‘Harry? What’s wrong? Can you hear me? Wake up!’ She shook him so hard that in the end he opened his eyes, in shock. He stared at her without seeing her, as his eyes were glazed. Fighting to keep her cool, Ginny slapped him right in the face. Once…and then twice. And at her second attempt, he regained his senses with a loud gasp.

‘Huh!’ He sat up and put a hand over his reddened cheek.

‘Is that the only thing you’re able to say?’ she asked, her heart still throbbing in her ears for the shock.

‘God, you hit hard…’ he stated, as he looked for his glasses on the bedside table, and fumbled them into place on his nose. Then he gazed at her with relief and smiled. ‘Thank you, Gin. A Dementor's around and when I sleep, I can't protect myself.’

‘You scared me,’ she admitted, her heart still thudding in her chest, her breath still erratic, her hands shaking badly.

‘Sorry…I didn’t mean to.’ He hugged her tight and Ginny forgot about the cold. They plunged into bed and stayed wrapped into each other for a while. Then, she felt him shivering and reluctantly broke their hug. Getting up from her side of the bed, she looked for her dressing-gown and put it on, setting out to leave.

‘Where are you going?’

‘To the kitchen, to get some chocolate for you and a glass of water for myself.’ She stroked his arm reassuringly. ‘I’ll be back.’

She fumbled her way out of the room in the pitch dark and reached the corridor—she knew the house well by now and she didn’t need any light to find her way around. She turned left, walked down on the steps and through the hall. When she was half-way through it though, she heard a muffled noise. Someone was groaning in pain, exactly like Harry did earlier.

It took a moment for her to remember that Draco was still sleeping on the sofa, in the small room before the kitchen. Damn, the Dementors are affecting him too, she thought. She burst into the room, approached the sofa and took her wand out of the pocket of her dressing-gown.

‘Lumos!’ she said. When the end of her wand lit up, she put it on the coffee table to brighten the room. Draco was tossing and turning in his sleep, his body wet with sweat and shaken by deep shivers as he muttered incoherently.

‘Malfoy? Malfoy?’ She shook him, but it didn’t help. ‘Malfoy, wake up!’

She shook him again, even harder than she had shaken Harry; when he still didn't react, she gave him a strong slap in the face…but only succeeded in hurting her hand.

‘MALFOY! CAN YOU HEAR ME? WAKE UP!’

Draco opened his eyes. ‘Marion,’ he murmured, sitting up to hold her strongly. Ginny couldn't breathe…she had to do something, or he’d squash her.

‘MALFOY! You’re hurting me; let go of me!’ She tried to wriggle out from his grasp, but to no avail. She tried not to give in to panic. Once, some time ago, Harry had had a similar occurrence. She'd carried the signs of his hold for a full week.

‘Marion…’

‘MALFOY, I’M NOT MARION, PLEASE LET ME GO!’ she shouted into his ear, wriggling against him yet again.

Suddenly, Draco gasped and his whole body jerked, as if caught doing something forbidden. He released her from his hold and put his hands on her shoulders. His gaze darted around, his usually pale eyes now almost dark in the dim light of her wand.

‘What…’ he muttered. When his gaze reached Ginny’s face, he frowned. ‘What are you doing here, Weasley?’ He forcefully removed his hands from her shoulders, as if they burned.

‘I was going to the kitchen to grab a glass of water and a piece of chocolate.’ Massaging her arms where Draco had held her, she staggered as she stood. ‘A Dementor was nearby. Even Harry felt it; I saw you were affected and tried to wake you.’

Something very close to a blush appeared on Draco’s face. Ginny smiled knowingly.

‘Did I say anything?’ he asked. His gaze seemed a little uneasy, as if he were frightened and Ginny thought that she knew why.

‘You called me Marion,’ she said.

Draco paled, his eyes widening. He put one of his hands on his forehead and shook his head.

‘Bloody hell,’ he muttered, and then yawned. He put a hand on his mouth, trying to only look tired, but his other hand was shaking on his leg.

‘Who’s Marion?’ Ginny asked.

He turned to stare at her, as a frown wrinkled his forehead. He opened his mouth to speak, but then closed it, choosing to stay silent. Ginny kept looking at him though, so he eventually let out a big sigh.

‘It’s none of your business, Weasley,’ he said. He laid back down on the sofa and turned away from her. Ginny waited to see if he’d change his mind, but she soon understood that it was useless.

‘Nox!’ she said, picking up her wand from the coffee table and putting it back in her pocket. The light faded away and Ginny walked to the kitchen.

Damn, I must learn to control myself when a Dementor passes by. That was a close call… thought Draco. He didn’t want to show his weakness, he couldn’t do it in front of the very people he'd made fun of for years.

When he heard that Ginny had left the room, he turned around on the sofa and put an arm under his pillow, trying to find a more comfortable position and resume his sleep. It wasn’t easy, as his teeth were still chattering; but he didn’t want to go look for a piece of chocolate in a kitchen that he wasn't familiar with. Especially not when Weasley was there. He tried to calm the shivers that ran all over his body, but failed. Too wrapped in his thoughts, he didn't notice a shadow approaching; when Ginny sat on the edge of the sofa, he gasped.

‘Here.’ The young woman held something out to him—some chocolate. Draco silently thanked his lucky stars and sat up to bite into it.

‘Thank you,’ he said through a mouthful of chocolate. Ginny blinked, obviously not expecting him to be a decent human being and say just that. Draco thought a lot about what he was going to say next, as he slowly bit into his chocolate, and then looked her straight in the eye. Now used to the darkness, they could both see each other by the dim light that came into the room from the shutters. ‘And…I’m sorry…for what I did before,’ he drawled, his gaze darting away from hers. He lay down and turned his back to her.

Ginny stared at him, transfixed. Did Draco Malfoy just…apologise? That was something she'd never, ever have expected coming out of his mouth!

‘Who’s Marion?’ she asked again. Perhaps now he would be more talkative, she mused.

‘I apologised, but I still don't want to talk about it,’ he retorted, dryly. Ginny sighed and stood up, setting out to leave.

‘Weasley?’ called Draco. She froze and turned back, waiting for him to continue. ‘You…didn’t see me tonight,’ he said without turning around.

She huffed, a little grin popping on her lips. ‘Maybe,’ she said before walking back to the room she shared with Harry.

To be Continued…

Author notes:

Hello there! Here's chapter 4!

I would like to thank so much the lovely people who wrote a review for this story, and those who blessed it with a kudos, or put it in their favourites or follows. I hope you're enjoying this story and that one day you'll decide to get out of hiding and send me a comment. Comments/reviews and kudos are very much appreciated and encouraged, they're what make me keep going even when I'm feeling down!

PS: if you enjoy this story but feel shy of posting a review for it, you can join the Emerald Library Discord server at https://discord.gg/rjQhnJNh (for people on FFN or Wattpad, discord dot gg slash rjQhnJNh) and access my personal channel. I'm there all the time so if you pop around we can have a chat. I promise I won't bite ;)

I shall see you in a couple of weeks for chapter 5.

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