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SIYE Time:9:40 on 20th June 2018


Darkness Within II
By MollyandArthur

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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
Rating: R
Reviews: 215
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: 25361; Chapter Total: 621
Awards: View Trophy Room




Author's Notes:
With thanks to my beta, Arnel. Hope everyone has a Happy New Year!!!




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Chapter 23

Favorite Lady

The owl tucked her head and fell into an almost immediate slumber. Her flight had been too long, and she was clearly in need of rest. Charlie broke the seal of the envelope and opened the letter.

Charlie,

I have some definite reservations about this, but Nicolas approved your request. The lads and I will meet you at the designated location with your favorite lady on Saturday evening at 6. Do not let it go too far, or I will Stun you and her. See you soon.

Robbie


He smiled as he folded the letter and slid it into his pocket. He could hardly wait to see his favorite lady.

xxxx

Draco had a permanent scowl etched across his face as he stalked along the dirt path. His mother hadn’t let up all summer. First, he had faced her anger -- a bitter anger stoked with a touch of fear. She had ranted about his ignorance, his thoughtlessness, and his disregard for proper pureblood tradition. It hadn’t taken long for Draco to admit to himself that his behavior towards Anna in that empty classroom in Hogwarts had been far from ideal. He had meant to seduce her, to entice her into agreeing to the betrothal. Her less than eager response had hurt his ego and frustrated him. Draco had attempted to explain his actions to his mother, to make her understand that he had tried to follow her and father’s wishes for the betrothal by forcing Anna’s compliance.

“Compliance?” she had hissed dangerously. “Do you honestly believe forcing a woman sexually is the best way to gain her? You think that is a proper foundation for a betrothal? For a marriage? I raised you better than that, Draco Malfoy!”

Thus began something worse than his mother’s anger. He had quickly been subjected to her complete and utter disappointment. She had felt the need to reeducate him on every manner of proper behavior and respect towards witches. Endless hours of lectures had ensued, as well as some of the most openly honest conversations he had ever had with either of his parents. It had been embarrassing and, though he would never admit it, also rather enlightening.

Draco had also been subjected to daily lessons in Occlumency from his mother. When he tried to ask her why it was necessary for him to bury the event behind an impenetrable wall in his mind, she glared at him.

“You may not realize how incredibly fortunate you are that Anna did not choose to press charges against you, but I can assure you that had she reported the incident officially to the Aurors you would now be in Azkaban, if not worse!” He had cringed at the pain in her voice. “It is vital to your future that no one ever know what you did. Therefore, you will learn to protect your mind.”

One result of her tutelage was a persistent, throbbing ache in his head. Fortunately, he had learned to effectively block her efforts to see into his mind, but not until after she had seen far more than he would wish. Learning Occlumency was the only success he had enjoyed over this exceptionally long, dull summer. The fact that they were currently residing in the most boring place he had ever had the misfortune to experience did not help matters.

Draco and his mother were living in a cabin along the Kostonjoki River north of Taivalkoski in Finland. That place couldn’t even properly be called a town with less than 5,000 inhabitants. They ventured into Taivalkoski only once a week to purchase provisions and have a meal at the only decent restaurant. The surrounding area was an endless vista of forests, barren grassland, and small ponds. His mother had declared the cabin perfectly comfortable on their first day there so many weeks ago. His opinion differed somewhat. It was as different from Malfoy Manor as a place could possibly be with the exception of how he envisioned the hovel the Weasley family called a home. The cabin was a heavy log structure, with thick solid walls and rather small windows. True the place was a two-story dwelling with four bedrooms and two bathrooms, but it was a far cry from the kind of accommodations he was accustomed to.

To further confound him, he was not adjusting well to the lack of a proper night. How on earth was he supposed to sleep restfully when the sun shone almost continually? Why had his mother brought him to a place where darkness lasted only a few hours per night? When he had asked her that question, she had arched a delicate eyebrow and reminded him that come winter he would only see daylight for a brief time and be surrounded by endless night. Draco had not been certain of her intentions until that moment, but he knew now that he would likely never be a student at Hogwarts again. He was enrolled to begin at Durmstrang and would be leaving for school in just a couple of days. As a child, his father had been very positive in his comments concerning the school. Draco had at one time wished to complete his education there. Now that he was actually going, he was less sure.

Kicking a large stone from the dirt path into the nearby river, he wondered when he would see his father again. He’d been sent to Azkaban after the incident in the Department of Mysteries in the Ministry. Draco had been shocked when his mother told him, but had also been convinced his father would be freed quickly. After all, his Aunt Bellatrix and several other inmates had escaped the prison several months ago. As the weeks passed, he had realized his father would not be joining them in Finland anytime soon. Perhaps the Dark Lord did not intend to have more prisoners released. Perhaps his father was being left there to punish him for his failure.

Draco sank onto a fallen log overlooking the river. How had it all gone wrong so quickly for his family? His mother had abandoned Britain in fear and anger. His father was a prisoner in Azkaban, a known Death Eater to the Ministry, but one currently lacking his Lord’s favorable regard. A few short months ago, his life had been so much better. As head of the Inquisitorial Squad at Hogwarts, he had enjoyed power and prestige. As the son of one of the Dark Lord’s Inner Circle of Death Eaters, he had felt invincible. He had even been close to securing the witch his parents desired in a betrothal. One night had changed everything, for himself and for his father.

He sighed as he made to rise. A brief flash of light caught his peripheral vision as the world went black.

xxxx

The Hogwarts Express was waiting for them at the platform as they hurried through the barrier. After a flurry of goodbyes and promises to write soon, Harry grabbed Ginny by the hand and led her to the last compartment. Ron and Hermione hurried off to their prefect meeting, while Neville and Anna made sure the animals were all properly secured and safely stowed.

“Would you like us to go for a walk or something and give you a few minutes of privacy?” Neville asked.

Harry flushed. “Oh, you don’t have to…”

“Yes!” Ginny interrupted.

Anna grinned. “We’ll just go see if we can find Luna.” The pair left the compartment, closing the door behind them.

Ginny smiled at Harry as he pulled her onto his lap. “I’ve missed you.” She ran her hand through his messy black hair.

“Ten days is definitely too long to be apart.” He captured her mouth in a teasing kiss, sucking gently on her lower lip as he shifted her body to straddle him on the seat. His hands roamed freely from the back of her neck to just below the dip of her lower back. He had not yet dared to allow himself to caress her bottom, but he was sorely tempted to learn her every curve. She was everything that was soft and warm, and he yearned to stroke her freely.

“This feels so good.” He placed gentle kisses along her neck before sucking harder at the juncture of her neck and shoulder. She whimpered softly, clinging to him desperately as her breath became more labored.

He tangled both hands in the fiery length of her hair -- holding her securely and returning to her lips. He felt as though he could not bring her close enough to satisfy his need for her. His tongue stroked the slight opening between her lips tentatively for a brief moment before she opened her mouth completely to his exploration. The sweet response made his control snap and he pushed his tongue into her mouth roughly. She made a soft gasping noise that had him pulling back and staring into the chocolate depths of her eyes.

“Merlin, Ginny.” His mouth descended upon hers again with more force than he intended. They were both kissing aggressively now, sucking and biting at each other’s lips. Her sudden hiss of pain caused his eyes to pop open. He drew back in astonishment as he realized he had bit down on her bottom lip hard enough to hurt her.

“I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to…” He swallowed hard as he examined her face with concern, cupping her cheeks gently. “Are you okay?”

She pressed her fingers to her mouth in silent surprise for a moment. Then, her giggling caused her whole body to shake.

He sighed and dropped his forehead to her shoulder. He took slow steady breaths trying to regain control of himself and calm the uncomfortable tightness in his trousers.

“I’m fine, Harry,” Ginny murmured into his ear once her giggles ceased. “I rather like the fact that I can make you that wild.”

Lifting his head from her shoulder, he focused on her lovely face. Her lips were swollen, but at least she wasn’t bleeding. He couldn’t even see any teeth marks. He smiled as he stroked her cheek gently with one thumb.

A thorough rattling of the door, before it slowly opened to reveal Neville, gave Ginny enough warning to shift quickly off Harry’s lap and settle on the seat beside him.

“We found Luna!” he exclaimed heartily before ushering the blonde into the compartment.

xxxxx

“Awake, now?”

Draco groaned as he rolled over. The ground felt hard beneath him, even with the patches of grass and smattering of pine needles. His body tingled uncomfortably with another’s magic. It was a familiar enough feeling that he suspected he had likely been Stunned and Revived.

“What the hell?” Draco muttered as he tried to sit up. Glancing around in an effort to orient himself, he saw that he was no longer by the Kostonjoki River, but in a sparsely wooded area. He had learned the landscape of this part of Finland well enough in the last couple of months that he was reasonably sure he was still close to Taivalkoski.

“Rather unsettling, isn’t it?”

Draco turned his head towards the disembodied voice. A man with distinctive red hair stood several feet from him. He wasn’t much taller than Draco but was broader and thickly muscled.

“Are you a Weasley?” he asked, rising a bit unsteadily to his feet and glancing around cautiously.

The man nodded. “I’m Charlie Weasley.”

Draco frowned. He had attended school with several members of the Weasley family, but he felt certain he had never met this Weasley brother. “Are you the one that works with dragons?”

“Yes, but before we discuss my career, we need to talk about Anna.” His voice was calm, dispassionate.

The oddly remote demeanor of the man before him made Draco uncomfortable. “What about her?”

“Anna is my betrothed. My fiancé.” Charlie folded his arms across his chest. “You’ll not touch her again.”

Draco’s mouth dropped open in shock as his eyes widened. “She chose you? A Weasley? Anna could have been my wife and presided over Malfoy Manor, and she chose you!” Bitter disappointment overwhelmed him as he rapidly sized up the man who had succeeded where he had failed.

His jaw twitched before he exhaled slowly. “It’s sad how shocked you are that a witch would chose a man who has treated her with kindness and respect rather than a simpering boy who attacked her in an empty classroom.”

“I didn’t mean for that to happen!” Draco seethed. The past weeks of listening to his mother’s endless rants made his frustration boil quickly to the surface.

Charlie nodded steadily. “Perhaps you simply don’t understand the consequences of your actions.”

“Of course, I understand,” he sneered. “I lost her! She chose you! Now I’m stuck in this miserable country and have to attend a new school.” The injustice of it all had Draco grinding his teeth in impotent rage.

“I don’t believe you, and I fully admit there is probably no way for me to ever really make you understand.” He paused and tilted his head as he lowered his arms, his hands gripping into tight fists at his sides. “But I’m going to try anyway.” The menace in his voice was suddenly clear as he slowly enunciated every word.

Draco felt a tendril of fear slither down his spine. Backing away slowly, he bumped into the trunk of a tree. He reached for his wand as a spell hit him. The hex pinned his hands above his head. His eyes widened as he saw that Charlie gripped a wand in each hand. He held up Draco’s hawthorn wand for a moment in his left hand before placing it on the ground several feet from where he was now bound.

“Disconcerting, isn’t it?” the red-head remarked. “Not having your wand. Being restrained.” With another silent flick of his wand, Draco’s clothes Vanished leaving him in only his boxers. “A vulnerable feeling to be nearly naked and at the mercy of someone else.”

Draco ground his teeth together as he tried to force his hands away from the tree trunk. Both wrists were affixed to the rough surface and no amount of twisting and pulling enabled him to break free of the curse. “What do you want?” he spat.

“I said it once, but it seems you weren’t paying attention,” Charlie said. “You will never touch Anna again.” The man’s voice was almost toneless in its self-control. “My hope is that you will never attempt to force yourself on any woman in the future.”

The complete lack of emotion unnerved Draco. Panic quickly set in as he realized he was in the middle of nowhere with a potentially insane Weasley. “Fine! Whatever!” he snarled. “Let me go, you stupid blood traitor!”

Weasley raised an eyebrow and simply stared at him. Draco was about to demand that the other man release him when he felt the sharp probing pain of a Legilimency attack. Fortifying his shields quickly, he winced against the intrusion.

“You’re a well-trained Occlumens.” He drawled with apparent approval. “That’s quite helpful. You’ll be able to bury this experience deep. No one will ever need to know.”

“What are you talking about?” Draco spat. “You’ve attacked me! Kidnapped me! If you think I’m not pressing charges against you, you’re deluding yourself!”

He shrugged. “Well, if I can’t count on you to keep this quiet, it’s really best for me to just kill you. Since I promised my friends I wouldn’t take things quite that far, let’s just agree that you’re about to learn a valuable lesson.”

Draco’s eyes widened as he sputtered and glanced around desperately for some way to escape. He could see no one. There was nothing but trees scattered on the still and silent terrain. No sound would carry to anyone. They were clearly too far away from town or from any of the isolated dwellings that dotted the landscape.

He yelped in surprise as a mild hex hit his arm. It hadn’t been truly painful, but was certainly uncomfortable. A red mark marred his skin where the spell struck. He was about to yell in annoyance when another hex hit him, then another.

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” Draco exclaimed.

The red-head paused to raise an eyebrow and glare coldly. “I’m showing you what it’s like to be hurt slowly. Those marks will be bruises tomorrow. They’ll cover your skin and remind you that you were helpless. Powerless. That you were at the mercy of someone just a bit stronger than you.”

Draco pressed his lips together, glaring at the man as he was struck repeatedly. He refused to scream, refused to give the bastard the satisfaction of knowing he was afraid. He hated this feeling -- knowing he was unable to escape; knowing he would have red welts and small bruises all over his body angered him more than he cared to admit. He refused to even consider the exact message Weasley was sending with this relentless form of torture. He hadn’t meant to actually hurt Anna!

The spells stopped as suddenly as they had begun. Draco stared at the man standing in front of him. He hated the cold calculation of that gaze. Not wanting to hope that it might be over, that Weasley might walk away, he waited.

The lack of sound, lack of movement, lack of anything made his body twitch in anxious anticipation. He was trying to think of something to say to help him escape this mess when a sharp guttural cry filled the air. Focusing his eyes on his tormentor, Draco realized the eerie sound emanated from the other man’s throat.

A moment of tense silence followed before the sound was repeated from a great distance that echoed through the surrounding landscape. His eyes darted about frantically as he tried to see the source of that horrific noise.

A flash of dark green was suddenly visible between two large trees. Draco’s eyes widened in horror as he tried to deny the sight before him. Enormous wings flapped slowly as the creature lowered itself to the earth. Scales of dark green covered the beast, glittering menacingly in the bright sunlight. Two long golden horns protruded from the top of its head. The creature landed only a dozen yards away and moved quickly towards them to close that distance.

“Beautiful girl, isn’t she?” the man mused as he approached the dragon. “She’s a Romanian Longhorn.” He reached out one hand to stroke the beast’s neck in a gentle caress. “Only thirty-five feet long. Rather short for a Longhorn, but still my favorite lady.”

Draco felt his jaw opening and closing slightly, as he stood in mute fear, pulling helplessly to free his hands. A soft whine escaped his throat as he stared in terror at the dragon, who was currently rubbing its neck against the man’s entire arm the way a dog might rub against its master. They weren’t more than ten feet away from where he was pinned to the tree.

“I understand Care of Magical Creatures isn’t one of your best subjects, Draco.” His eyes were focused on the dragon as he continued to pet her. “Had a bit of an issue with a hippogriff if I remember the story Ron told me correctly. Of course, hippogriffs are rather easily offended, so if you were foolish enough to insult one, I can’t say I’m entirely surprised you suffered the consequences. I sincerely hope you learned something from that experience, just as I hope you will learn something from this.”

He felt tears sliding down his face as he shook his head hopelessly. Fear coursed through his body strongly enough to have him trembling uncontrollably. A hollow rushing filled his ears and his vision began to swim.

“Please, don’t!” He begged. A desperation he had never felt before flooded his mind as his voice cracked. “Please, let me go!”

The man regarded him coldly as he continued to caress the enormous beast. “Did Anna beg you to let her go? Did she plead with you to stop?”

Draco shook his head violently. “I didn’t mean to hurt her! I wasn’t trying to…it…it wasn’t supposed to happen like that!”

“Actions speak louder than words, Malfoy.” Charlie stalked slowly towards him, the dragon obediently walking along.

A frightened whimper escaped Draco’s trembling form as the dragon stopped directly in front of him. One long glittering golden horn was on either side of his body. The dragon’s snout was so close he could feel its breath on him. His mind went blank as his body lost all functional control. Numbly, he realized he was wet, cold, shaking uncontrollably. He closed his eyes in a desperate attempt to block out the dragon, the man standing in front of him, and the smell of his own urine and feces.

“You can open your eyes now, Draco. I sent my lovely lady on her way.”

He clenched his jaw tight enough to hurt as he opened his eyes slightly, searching for the dragon. He almost sighed with relief that the beast was gone. Sagging to his knees, he suddenly realized he was no longer restrained.

“I imagine it must have been pretty humiliating for Anna to walk half naked through the corridors of Hogwarts to seek medical attention from Madam Pomfrey after you attacked her. Keep that in mind as you make your way home.” Charlie spoke quietly. “It’s about three miles directly behind you. Your wand is in plain sight a few hundred feet along the way.”

Draco heard the soft pop of Apparition as the red-head disappeared. Wiping at his face with both hands, he turned in the direction he had been directed and began stumbling toward his home.
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