|SIYE Time:18:11 on 23rd March 2018|
Category: Pre-OotP, Post-OotP, Alternate Universe
Characters:Albus Dumbledore, Draco Malfoy, Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood, Minerva McGonagall, Neville Longbottom, Nymphadora Tonks, Other, Remus Lupin, Ron Weasley, Severus Snape, Sirius Black
Genres: Drama, Romance
Warnings: Dark Fiction, Death, Disturbing Imagery, Extreme Language, Intimate Sexual Situations, Mild Language, Mild Sexual Situations, Negative Alcohol Use, Sexual Situations, Violence/Physical Abuse
Summary: Sequel to Darkness Within. This story begins the night before Harry's fifth year at Hogwarts. Canon couples accurate to JKR. The romance between Harry and Ginny will develop slowly due to their ages. Please note rating and warnings.
Hitcount: Story Total: 18711; Chapter Total: 1016
Awards: View Trophy Room
Tremendous thanks to the brilliant Arnel for Beta reading this story!!! Some important notes to remember from the first book: Cedric survived the cemetery incident by Apparating to Hogsmeade. Remus is the live-in tutor at Longbottom Manor for Neville and his cousin, Anna. She is the granddaughter of Tom Riddle Jr. and hopes that no one is aware of that fact. Charlie has dreams about Anna. Ginny never dated Michael Corner. She was Neville's date for the Yule Ball and spent most of her evening dancing with Neville and Harry.
Narcissa Malfoy slowly ascended the main staircase of her home in Wiltshire, her fingers lightly trailing the solid wood banister. Turning left, she made her way along the wide corridor towards her son’s bedroom. Weak light from the setting sun filtered in through the tall window at the end of the hall, casting shadows along the walls in a strange orange hue. She paused at the closed door, knocked briefly, and eased it open.
Draco glanced up as she crossed the threshold and entered his room. “Good evening, Mother,” he said politely, before adding the books he was holding to his almost full trunk. “I believe I have everything packed and ready for the train ride tomorrow.”
She nodded and smiled. “You’re always very responsible about remembering to pack what you need for Hogwarts each year. If you do find that you need anything else, just let me know, and I’ll send it along.”
“Thank you,” he responded. Draco waited, likely expecting her to wish him a good night and exit his room. Instead, she calmly peered around the room, noticing that everything was in its proper place, except the window, which was open. The warm August air rustled the drapes. She was about to walk over to close the window when she saw the empty perch and realized his eagle owl must be out hunting. Moving towards his desk, she turned the chair to face his bed and sat down gracefully.
“Draco,” Narcissa began, smoothing out the long skirt of her dark gown, before indicating the place in front of her. “Please have a seat. I want to discuss something with you.”
He sat on the side of his bed, giving her his full attention. His face was calm, but his grey eyes were alight with curiosity.
“With you about to begin your fifth year at Hogwarts, your father and I were discussing the subject of you becoming betrothed in the near future. I realize you are still rather young, but these things can take time.” She paused for effect. “I wanted to hear your thoughts on the matter.”
Draco’s eyes were wide with surprise, as he opened his mouth, closed it, and tried again. “Well, I, um, I’m rather fond of Pansy,” he stammered. “Pansy Parkinson, that is.” He flushed slightly, looking uncharacteristically vulnerable for a moment, before carefully schooling his features.
“Yes, Draco, I know you are fond of Pansy, and she is certainly a witch worth considering,” Narcissa stated clearly. “Having said that, though Pansy is from an old, pure-blood family, her grandfather made a series of rather unfortunate financial decisions many years ago. While the Parkinsons still have enough resources to be perfectly respectable, she may inherit very little indeed.”
“I was unaware of that,” he muttered quietly.
She smiled slightly. “There is no reason for you to have been aware of it. Pansy may not be fully knowledgeable of the situation either, and lack of money, by itself, is not cause enough to exclude her as a potential match. However, I would like you to at least think about other options. Surely there are many attractive young witches in the various Houses at Hogwarts.”
“Yes,” Draco admitted. “But once you exclude the Muggle-borns and half-bloods, there are fewer than you might think.”
His mother nodded thoughtfully for a moment and stared past him out the window, at the ever-darkening night sky. She chose her words with deliberate care. “Draco, most of your friends are only children, just as you are. I have no doubt that most of the parents wished for more children, but were unable to have them. The Sacred Twenty-Eight have been intermarrying for centuries to keep the bloodlines pure. As you well know, the Blacks, Malfoys, and Parkinsons are among the Sacred Twenty-Eight. Fertility problems have become all too common among many of the old pure-blood families.”
She shifted slightly in her chair. Having this conversation with her son was proving to be more awkward than she had anticipated. Sighing quietly, Narcissa finally turned to look at her son and pressed on. “Please, just examine your options. That is all I am asking of you. When you come home for Christmas, I hope you will be able to name one or two other witches for us to consider.”
Draco’s grey eyes were unsettled, and his hands were gripped together, fidgeting and flexing between his knees. Reaching out a hand to cover both of his, she met his gaze steadily. “If in the end, your choice is still Pansy, I will support you.”
He nodded quietly, and she knew her son well enough to be certain his mind was actively contemplating everything she had implied.
“Good night, Draco,” she said softly.
“Good night, Mother,” he replied. “Thank you for explaining…” his voice trailed off. “Thank you,” he stated firmly.
She smiled with satisfaction as she rose and left his room.
Neville followed Anna into the compartment on the Hogwarts Express and peered over her shoulder at the only occupant.
“Hello,” Anna said. “May we join you?”
Startled, the girl glanced up, but nodded in agreement. She had very long blond hair, was wearing what appeared to be a necklace made of butterbeer caps, and was holding a magazine upside-down in front of her.
Neville and Anna stowed their trunks, as well as the cages for Mista and Trevor, in the luggage rack and sat down across from the girl.
“I’m Anna Henry, and this is my cousin, Neville Longbottom,” Anna explained. “We’re both fifth year Gryffindors.”
“I’m Luna Lovegood,” she replied dreamily. Her pale eyes resting upon each of them briefly before returning to her magazine.
The compartment door opened, and Ginny walked in smiling, followed by Harry. “Hi, Anna, Neville. I thought I saw you come in here. Is there space for us to sit with you? Oh, hi, Luna.”
Anna hugged Ginny, while Neville stood up to help Harry stow the trunks and Hedwig’s cage in the rack.
“How are you, Harry?” Neville asked, once they had all greeted one another and sat down.
“Fine, thanks,” he said. “Or, at least, I was a lot better once I joined the Weasleys at… um, their place.”
“We were so relieved about the outcome of the hearing,” Anna said quietly. “Remus was so upset about what happened, and Aunt Augusta has been fuming about the Ministry and the Daily Prophet all summer.”
“Yeah,” Neville agreed. “Gran finally cancelled her subscription a couple of weeks ago. She decided there was no point reading a newspaper so clearly in the pocket of the Ministry.”
“Your grandmother sounds very wise,” Luna stated serenely. “My father’s the editor of The Quibbler.” She indicated the magazine she was holding. “He has been disappointed by the lack of accurate news in the Daily Prophet for a long time.”
Harry smiled at her. “Well, I’m glad to know not everyone believes the rubbish they’re printing lately. What House are you in?”
“Ravenclaw,” Luna replied. “Wit beyond measure is man’s greatest treasure,” she continued in a singsong voice.
“Luna’s in my year,” Ginny added brightly, before turning to her. “Why are you holding the magazine upside-down?”
Luna glanced around at the others for a moment before answering. “I’m reading an article on ancient runes. By looking at them upside-down, they may reveal a spell to make your enemy’s ears turn into kumquats.”
Ginny blinked in surprise before scooting closer to Luna. “May I read it with you?”
“Well,” Luna murmured. “Yes, if you want to.” Her tentative smile disappeared behind the magazine along with Ginny’s, who was now sitting hip to hip with the other girl.
“Harry, do you want to see what my great-uncle Algie got me for my birthday?” Neville asked, as he reached in his schoolbag and pulled out the Mimbulus mimbletonia. “He brought it all the way from Assyria!”
“Neville!” Anna exclaimed.
The tone of her voice caused Luna and Ginny to look up in alarm, and Harry, who had been cautiously reaching towards the plant, backed away slightly.
“I wasn’t going to test the plant’s defensive mechanism again!” Neville promised. “Though it is amazing to witness.” He gazed happily at the plant.
“Oh, yes,” Anna retorted. “Amazing it certainly is! We were all in the garden room at the Manor when he demonstrated how well the Mimbulus mimbletonia can defend itself by poking it with a sharp quill.”
“What did it do?” Harry asked, curiously.
“It squirted out a slimy green liquid that smelled revolting and hit everything within several feet of it,” she explained, shuddering and wrinkling her nose as though she could still feel and smell it.
“First time I’ve ever been afraid of Anna,” Neville commented. “The look she gave me…” He shook his head and smirked slightly. “She pulled her wand, and I ducked. Of course, she just used cleaning spells to remove the Stinksap. Then, Gran told me to take the plant out to the greenhouse and stay there with it until it was time to dress for dinner. Remus and Tonks were laughing hysterically when I left. Tonks started shrieking with laughter the moment it happened, and Remus joined her a few seconds later.”
Anna’s lips twitched. “It was rather funny once it was over and the stench finally dissipated.”
“I didn’t know Tonks was over at the Manor,” Ginny exclaimed. “I would have sent a message with her.”
“She only came over the one time, and it was just last week,” Anna explained. “She was sharing a great deal of information with Aunt Augusta,” she nodded meaningfully. “I believe my aunt will be spending some time with your parents rather soon.”
Ginny’s eyes widened with understanding. “They will be so pleased to have her.”
“Also, their dog, Padfoot, will be able to visit the Manor and run around a bit,” Neville added.
Harry stared at Neville before exchanging a quick glance with Ginny. “Padfoot will enjoy having a bit more freedom.”
Neville nodded. “Once Remus explained the importance of the dog having more space, Gran was happy to agree to his visits. She is hesitant to do too much since she has the responsibility of the two of us, but she wants to help in any way she can. Gran has a lot of friends and acquaintances in important places as well, of course.”
“Best news I’ve heard in a while, mate,” Harry said fervently, still staring at Neville.
He grinned in response.
The compartment door slid open and the Seeker on the Ravenclaw Quidditch team, Cho Chang, came in. “Hi, Harry,” she said, glancing around at the others in the compartment.
“Oh…hi, Cho,” Harry said. “How is Cedric?”
Cho smiled briefly. “He’s doing really well considering. The Healers at St. Mungo’s were able to save his leg, but it will never heal completely.” She looked down for a moment, pressing her hands together, before meeting his eyes again. “Still, he’s walking quite well with a cane and has joined the group training to become Healers. Cedric didn’t know what he wanted to do after Hogwarts before, but now he says that becoming a Healer is his calling.”
Harry nodded. “I’m really glad things worked out as well as they did.”
“Cedric says…” she swallowed and took a breath before continuing. “Cedric says he wouldn’t be alive if he hadn’t Apparated away when he did. He thinks You-Know-Who would have had him killed.”
“I’m afraid he’s probably right,” Harry murmured, his eyes becoming suddenly unfocused. “Voldemort didn’t need Cedric, so he may very well have had him killed. Apparating away probably saved his life.”
Cho’s eyes were wide and unblinking. “I’m glad you think so, Harry. I’m glad you don’t think Cedric was a… a coward for, uh, for leaving you behind.”
“Not at all,” Harry said firmly, standing up. “It was the only thing he could do. I’m just glad he made it back to safety.” He reached out to give her arm a light comforting squeeze.
She nodded, suddenly blinking rapidly, as tears started to stream down her cheeks. “Thank you, Harry. I’m relieved you feel that way. I need to be getting back now.” Cho continued nodding as she backed out of the compartment and closed the door.
Everyone was silent for a time after she left. Ginny and Luna disappeared behind The Quibbler. Anna pulled out The Standard Book of Spells, Grade 5. Neville put his plant away before staring out the window. He took a few surreptitious glances at Harry and waited for the food trolley to come.
Pumpkin Pasties and Chocolate Frogs distracted them all until Ron and Hermione arrived. Everyone groaned upon hearing that the Slytherin prefects were Draco Malfoy and Pansy Parkinson.
“Who are the other prefects?” Harry asked.
“Ernie Macmillan and Hannah Abbott for Hufflepuff,” Ron said.
“Anthony Goldstein and Padma Patil are the Ravenclaw prefects,” Hermione added.
Ron began joking about the punishments he would like to dole out to certain Slytherins, particularly Crabbe and Goyle, causing everyone other than Hermione, who was determined to take the responsibility of prefect seriously, to laugh.
The group talked and joked good-naturedly for the rest of the journey to Hogsmeade. Hermione reminded them when it was time to change into their robes, and Harry helped Neville with the cages when they arrived at the station. They were all surprised to hear the brisk voice of Professor Grubbly-Plank instead of the gruff call of Hagrid when they arrived, but, other than that, the trip from Hogsmeade to Hogwarts was familiar and comforting.
He kissed her tenderly, his hands moving from her silvery-blonde hair to gently caress her arms. Goosebumps appeared on her skin, as he pushed the short sleeves of her blouse up further. He massaged them until they disappeared; her skin warming under his touch. The feel of her in his arms was intoxicating to his senses. He groaned as he moved slowly from her lips down to her neck, kissing, licking, sucking at her delicate skin. She moaned softly, murmuring his name, stroking his back, the nape of his neck, encouraging him to do more. He needed little encouragement, and was soon unfastening the buttons of her blouse. He stared into her blue eyes, as he slowly undid each button and was entranced by the growing heat of her gaze. Pushing the blouse off her shoulders, he let it fall to the floor, before quickly unhooking her bra, easing it away from her body. His gaze briefly lowered to her perfectly enticing breasts, and his lips returned hungrily to hers. Tentatively cupping her breasts, he felt their weight in his hands, kneading them tenderly, seeking those sensitive places that would make her respond the way he wanted her to, the way he desperately needed her to. She bit her lip and whimpered, as her head fell back.
He picked her up, holding her securely in his arms, kissing her passionately as he carried her over to the bed. Lowering her to the center, he yanked off his shirt and covered her body with his. He was slow and careful, allowing her time to refuse if she wanted to, if she needed to. She didn’t refuse. She didn’t ask him to slow down. He continued to touch her, to feel her, his body trembling with need. His kisses became desperate as he pulled off the last of her clothes, the last of his clothes. His hands caressed her everywhere, making her gasp and moan. When he knew her need matched his, he entered her slowly, groaning at the immense pleasure coursing through his body. She whimpered and clung to him. He kissed her deeply, moving slowly within her for as long as he could. He desperately wanted her to find her release before he succumbed to his own.
His hands continued to stroke, to excite, as he moved more quickly, as he kissed her more intensely. Her shuddering release drove him to move faster, harder, until he joined her in the exquisite release. Languishing in the overwhelming satisfaction of his fulfillment, he was stunned by the sudden glowing light that assaulted his senses. He felt her sudden stiffening, her attempt to pull back, as his own body tried to resist the raw power flowing through them, between them, over them. They were helpless against it, immobilized by the intense power of the energy surrounding them.
They were strolling through the exotic, yet familiar, streets of Cairo, crowded with merchants, chatting with the vendors, purchasing trinkets for friends and family. They were lying on a nearly empty beach, enjoying the heat of the mid-summer sun, a mild breeze wafting off the ocean, tantalizing their skin. They were laughing, as they sat below a heavily blossoming pear tree in the orchard, enjoying a picnic in the warmth of late spring. She was shrieking with delight, clinging to him, as he maneuvered the broom and sped through the dark night, stars twinkling overhead. They were making love on the floor of an unfamiliar room with a fire roaring in the fireplace, nearly drowning out the sounds of the nearby ocean during a mild winter storm. He was kissing her tenderly, rubbing his hand over her slightly rounded abdomen, feeling a sense of wonder, satisfaction, and pride that he would have never thought possible. They were in a kitchen slicing a chocolate cake, whispering to each other and giggling as they fed each other small bites of the rich chocolate. She was smiling wistfully at a small, wooden crib in a nursery. They were singing along to a holiday song on the wireless, decorating a Christmas tree in the corner of a cozy room. They were chasing each other through a snowy field, throwing snowballs at one another. He was standing in an open doorway, watching her suckling a newborn infant as she hummed a lullaby.
He gasped sharply as his senses returned to the present, as the visions vanished. “Are you alright?” he asked, attempting to resist the overwhelming fatigue that assaulted his body. She nodded as her eyes met his, but they were wide and clearly frightened.
“Any idea what happened?” he murmured. She shook her head and began trembling, clinging to him, pressing her face to the side of his neck, gripping his red hair tightly with one hand.
“Not a Veela thing?” he suggested desperately. Her incredulous glare was response enough.
“Sorry,” he muttered, shaking his head slightly as though attempting to clear it. “Everything will be okay. I promise you. It will be okay.” He held her tightly to him and was shocked that he could still feel raw power flowing through them, between them, over them.
“We can’t tell anyone about this,” he quickly decided. “It must be our secret. I don’t know what happened, but I don’t think it would be safe to tell anyone.”
She let out a choked sob and held him tightly. “I love you,” he whispered, gently smoothing her silvery-blonde hair back behind her ear. He felt her breathing calm, as she gained control of her emotions. “Please keep this a secret.”
She nodded in agreement, and he sighed. “We will get through this. Whatever has happened will make us stronger, I know it.”
He held her securely, rubbing her back, and felt her gradually becoming calmer. Soon, she was sleeping peacefully in his arms, and he was staring out the window into the night sky, wondering what the hell had just happened.
Author’s Notes: Disclaimer — Part of this chapter comes from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
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