|SIYE Time:9:25 on 17th August 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: 27333; Chapter Total: 910
Awards: View Trophy Room
Thanks to the wonderful Arnel for her beta work on this chapter!
Fears of Possession
Sitting up with a gasp, Ginny pulled her wand from beneath her pillow and pointed it at whoever had just touched her.
“Miss Weasley!” The voice was sharp and familiar.
She blinked a few times before lowering her wand. “Professor McGonagall…I…uh…”
“Never mind,” her Head of House said briskly. “Put on your dressing gown and follow me.”
Ginny scrambled out of her bed in Gryffindor Tower. Stepping into her slippers and yanking on her dressing gown, she hurried to keep up with the professor. In the common room, she saw Fred and George waiting impatiently, but had no opportunity to ask any questions. Their Head of House continued out of the portrait hole and moved swiftly along the dark, empty corridors.
“Professor, please,” George began. “What’s happened?”
The professor sighed without slowing her steps. “There isn’t much I can tell you, Mr. Weasley. Your father has apparently been injured,” she paused before the stone gargoyle that guarded the entrance to the Headmaster’s office and gave the password. “Mr. Potter somehow witnessed the event, and help has been summoned.”
Ginny whimpered as she imagined what kind of injury would be cause to rouse them out of their beds in the middle of the night. She felt Fred grab her arm, pulling her along up the spiral staircase. Stumbling into the Headmaster’s office, she caught sight of her brother, Ron, and Harry.
“What’s going on?” she asked, her eyes searching for an answer from Harry, who had apparently somehow witnessed what happened to her dad.
“I am sorry to have to tell you that your father has been injured,” the Headmaster explained calmly. “He is currently at St. Mungo’s Hospital. I am sending you all to Grimmauld Place by Portkey. Your mother will meet you there soon.”
Ginny felt oddly disconnected as she heard the professors talking. Fred grabbed her hand and put it on the blackened old teakettle that was their Portkey just as it began to glow. Her eyes locked briefly with Ron’s as the Portkey activated. She could see the panic in his face as they were yanked through space. The confusing whirl of wind and colored light was fortunately over quickly. She landed roughly on the cold, hard floor of the basement kitchen of Grimmauld Place.
Sirius gently lifted her up off the floor as he looked inquiringly at her brothers. “I was told Arthur has been injured,” he said.
George nodded. “We don’t really know any details,” he said, looking from Ron to Harry.
Fred cleared his throat. “Harry, the professor said you’d…well, sort of…witnessed it, or something?”
Ginny could see the fear in Harry’s eyes as he nodded quietly and seemed to be trying to gather his thoughts.
“I had this, well, I guess it was sort of a dream, but not really,” he tried to explain. Harry closed his eyes for a moment and rubbed his forehead. Slowly, painfully, he recounted seeing Dad attacked by a huge snake in the Ministry.
It was obvious to Ginny that he was leaving something out, or perhaps altering the retelling in some way. She struggled to breath normally, wondering if her father had bled to death, and Harry was too afraid to tell them. Her brothers seemed to be arguing with Sirius and she understood without hearing their words that they wanted to go directly to St. Mungo’s. Waiting for news to come about their father was physically painful. They all ended up sitting silently around the kitchen table drinking butterbeer and staring at one another. Ginny tried to catch Harry’s eyes, but he was focused morosely on his bottle of butterbeer. A brief note had come from Mum saying only that Dad was alive and she was going to the hospital. Ginny lost all track of time as the minutes and hours passed. She couldn’t think, wouldn’t think, about anything.
When the kitchen door finally swung open and Mum walked in, Ginny needed only a brief glimpse of her face to know that her father was okay. She barely heard the words coming out of her mother’s mouth that confirmed what she knew from one look at Mum’s tired smile. Rising swiftly from her chair, she caught her mother in a hug just as George wrapped his long arms around both of them.
Ginny woke from a restless sleep with a feeling of relief that she would soon be able to see her father in the hospital. She had to constantly remind herself that he was okay, that he was still alive after the vicious snake attack. The Weasley siblings and Harry ate breakfast rather quickly in the kitchen of Grimmauld Place and prepared for the journey to the hospital. They would be accompanied to St. Mungo’s not only by their mother, but also by Tonks and Mad-Eye Moody.
By the time, they arrived at the hospital, Ginny was fidgeting continually as she attempted to reign in her emotions. Her patience was not in good supply as she waited to see her father after his near-death experience. Entering the ward, she saw that her dad was one of only three patients in the “Creature-Induced Injuries” room. Seeing him propped up by several pillows and currently reading the Daily Prophet relieved her fears immensely.
“Hi, Dad,” she murmured just as her father was telling her mum that Bill had only recently left to go to work. Ginny leaned in carefully to give her father a gentle hug.
“I’m perfectly fine,” he said as he patted her back. “Once they can get these bandages off me, I’ll be able to come home.”
She leaned back and smiled, forcing away the tears that were threatening to gather in her eyes.
“Why can’t they get the bandages off now?” Fred asked.
Dad sighed. “I start bleeding rather badly every time they try to remove them,” he admitted. “But, don’t worry, I’m sure they’ll figure out a solution to the problem quite soon. In the meantime, I just have to drink a large amount of Blood-Replenishing Potion. Nasty stuff,” he added quietly with a slight shudder.
Ginny stared at her father forcing a confident smile as Mum continued the conversation. She wasn’t listening so she was unaware of what the twins had said to cause them all to be cast out into the hallway, but when George offered her an Extendable Ear, she accepted it.
The conversation between her parents, Tonks, and Moody was somewhat confusing until Mad-Eye suggested that Harry may have been possessed by Voldemort at the time of her father’s attack. She watched Harry yank out his Extendable Ear, his eyes widening with fear.
They left the hospital soon thereafter and spent a quiet day at home. Harry completely ignored any efforts she or Ron made towards talking about the situation. He seemed to be hiding in various rooms throughout the large house, moving at regular intervals and not even bothering to appear for meals. Ginny had tried to approach him several times, but he always managed to slip away. By the time Hermione arrived in the late afternoon of Christmas Eve, Ginny was determined to make him listen to reason or hex him if need be.
Fortunately, Hermione was equally prepared to do whatever it took to reach Harry, and they ended up having a confrontation in Ron’s room.
“Harry, we need to talk about what happened!” Hermione insisted.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” he snapped, leaping off the bed and pacing the room. “I don’t want to even think about it!”
“Why not?” Ginny demanded.
“Because I think Moody was right, and I may have been possessed by Voldemort!” Harry yelled, gripping his hair in both hands as he paused to glare at her.
“And, worrying about that, it didn’t dawn on you to talk to the one person in this house who’s actually been possessed by Voldemort,” Ginny said angrily.
Harry stared at her quietly for a moment before responding. “I should have asked you about it,” he murmured, rubbing his face tiredly. “I’m sorry. You’re right. That was stupid of me. It’s just…” He sighed. “You’re not that Ginny.”
She opened her mouth in shock before taking a deep breath and trying to respond calmly. “What do you mean, I’m not that Ginny?”
Harry shrugged in obvious bewilderment. “You’re not the same Ginny who was in the Chamber of Secrets. That was Ron’s little sister. I don’t think of you that way…” his voice trailed off.
Ginny’s hand pressed hard against her chest as she gazed at him, not sure how to respond or what to say. Trying to focus on the matter at hand, she formed a question. “Harry, do you think Voldemort was possessing you?”
“Yes…no…I don’t know,” Harry gasped. “It felt like I was the snake. It felt like I was attacking your father!” His body shook slightly at the admission, his hands fisting by his sides.
Ginny closed her eyes for a moment as she took a slow breath. Opening them, she looked directly at Harry. “Do you remember everything that has happened over the past few days?”
He nodded cautiously.
“Are there any big blank spots? Times when you don’t remember where you were, or what you were doing?” she asked.
Harry shook his head slowly.
“Tom hasn’t been possessing you,” Ginny said softly. “If he had, you would have big empty places in your memory. You would know that you were missing time, that something was wrong.”
“You’re sure?” he pleaded, taking a step towards her.
“I’m very sure, Harry,” she stated. “I hope the next time you have doubts about Voldemort, you’ll come to me.”
He nodded grimly, his clenched fists relaxing before reaching out to her and pulling her into a tight hug. Ginny was surprised, but held him securely, enjoying the feeling of being in his arms, of offering him comfort.
Anna sat still in the small chair before the vanity while Litty slid a few more pins into her hair. The house-elf had managed an elegant twisted chignon low on the back of her head. She was now carefully putting on the vintage screw back earrings that had belonged to her grandmother, Katherine. The emeralds sparkled in the light as Anna turned her head to check her appearance.
“Now for the pendant, Miss Anna,” Litty said, slowly putting the heavy chain around her neck and securing the clasp. The emerald and white gold pendant rested on her chest just above the sweetheart neckline of her gown. The pieces of jewelry were not Anna’s favorite, but they complemented the dark green gown she wore quite nicely.
Standing up, she moved in front of the full-length mirror in her bedroom, looking at herself critically. “Well, Litty, what do you think?” Anna asked, as she turned on her heels in a quick circle, causing the full skirt of the dress to flare out and swirl around her.
“You look lovely, Miss Anna,” the little house-elf replied, a proud smile on her lips.
“Thank you for your help, Litty,” she said fondly as she applied a thin layer of gloss to her lips. Aunt Augusta had informed them the day they arrived home for the Christmas holidays that they would be attending the Christmas Eve ball at the Macmillan residence. Neither she nor her cousin, Neville, were looking forward to the formal event. Augusta had spent the past few days offering gentle reminders of the proper rules of etiquette.
A perfunctory knock heralded the arrival of her cousin into the room. “Are you ready, Anna?” Neville asked, quickly glancing at her before offering his arm. “You know how Gran gets when we’re not on time for things.”
She nodded, taking his arm, as they left the room and descended the stairs.
“You look beautiful, by the way,” he complimented.
“Thank you, Neville. You look quite dashing yourself,” Anna responded lightly. “How long do you think we will stay at the party?”
“A couple of hours, I imagine,” he replied with a sigh. “At least Ernie will be there. We can spend some of the evening talking with him.”
She nodded. Ernie was in Hufflepuff House at Hogwarts and the grandson of their hosts for the evening, John and Emily Macmillan.
“Oh, good. You’re right on time,” Augusta said as she surveyed her grandson and great niece. “You both look very well indeed. I knew that color green would look lovely on you, Anna.” Augusta herself was wearing a long flowing gown of deep red with a pearl choker. Neville was in pure black dress robes for the occasion. “Now remember what I said about staying together.”
Both teens nodded agreeably, and soon they were off.
The Macmillan residence was a stately manor with a grand entrance hall and an extraordinary ballroom. Anna’s grip on Neville’s arm tightened slightly as she took a calming breath and smiled politely. They followed Aunt Augusta towards their hosts, John and Emily. The adults greeted each other warmly with hugs and kisses on cheeks. John pointed out to his wife how much Neville had grown since they last saw him at a summer party a few years prior. Anna was introduced and welcomed formally to their home. She began to relax once the ladies had completed the obligatory admiration of each other’s gowns and jewelry, as well as commenting on the splendor of the house and the holiday decorations. The teens were able to slip away to the ballroom fairly quickly.
“Well, we survived the receiving line,” Neville murmured as he took two glasses of white wine from a passing tray and handed one to Anna.
“Most people enjoy fancy holiday parties like this,” Anna observed softly, taking a sip of her wine. Several small tables were arranged along the walls of the huge room for those who wanted to sit and talk. Waiters moved smoothly throughout the space with trays of hors d’oeuvres and drinks. Several couples were dancing in the middle of the room. There was soft laughter and the moderate hum of multiple conversations coming from every direction. “Everyone seems to be having a rather nice time.”
“Most adults enjoy formal parties,” he agreed glancing around. “Personally, I’d rather be at home. Do you see Ernie or anyone else our age here?”
Anna scanned the ballroom. “No. Do you want to go claim a table?”
Neville shook his head and smiled down at her. “Let’s dance for a while.” He swallowed the last of his wine and waited while she quickly finished hers. Depositing the empty glasses on a tray, he led her out to the dance floor.
Dancing with Neville was fun and relaxing. Since they had taken dancing lessons together for the past two summers with Madam Jones, they knew the steps and could maintain a conversation as they moved to the music. Neville murmured the names of those witches and wizards he recognized and what he knew of their families and occupations. Anna laughed as she listened to his commentary and occasionally asked a question or made an observation.
They were sitting at a table drinking wine and enjoying a few canapes when Ernie joined them. They soon entered a spirited, though softly spoken discussion about the many faults of Dolores Umbridge, the chances of each of the four teams winning the Inter-House Quidditch Cup, and the O.W.L. examinations they would be taking at the end of the school year.
As a waiter stopped at their table to clear away the empty glasses and plates, Ernie asked Anna to dance. Smiling, she agreed, and they were soon twirling about the ballroom. “So, what do you think of the old place?” he inquired.
“I think the ‘old place’ is perfectly lovely,” she replied with a giggle. “Did you grow up here?”
“No,” Ernie shook his head chuckling. “My mum and grandmother get along well enough, but they both need to be the mistress of their own homes. Mum and Dad live in a cottage here on the property. It’s a nice, rather large, place, and Mum never had to worry much about me making a mess as a kid or accidentally breaking some precious heirloom.”
Anna nodded in understanding. “The house I grew up in was smaller and less formal than this place, a bit smaller than Longbottom Manor as well.”
“Do you miss it?” he asked quietly. “It was in Virginia, right?”
She smiled slightly. “Yes, I miss it. Not so much the house exactly, although it was a lovely, sprawling place. I miss my grandmother,” she swallowed and took a shallow breath. “I miss the ocean, the smell of the salt air and the sound of the pounding waves. We used to walk along the beach collecting shells and sharks’ teeth and watch the dolphins leap in the air. My grandmother didn’t like to swim, but I would swim and float for hours,” Anna sighed as her voice trailed off. “I even miss the sweltering heat of an August afternoon and the sudden thunderstorms rolling in.”
Ernie smiled. “It sounds like you have a lot of great memories.”
The song ended. He was about to ask her if she wanted to continue dancing or get another glass of wine when someone tapped his shoulder.
“May I have the next dance with Miss Henry?” Draco Malfoy asked politely.
Ernie glanced at Anna as he slowly forced a smile. “Of course,” he agreed. “Neville Longbottom is her escort for the evening,” he informed him.
“Then I shall return Miss Henry to Mr. Longbottom when the dance is over,” Draco replied smoothly.
Ernie nodded curtly as he handed Anna over to Draco, turned, and walked away.
Draco took Anna firmly into his arms and began the dance. “Are you enjoying the party?”
“Yes,” she said with a slight nod. “It’s lovely. Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves.”
He spun her and pulled her back tightly against him. “Your gown is quite becoming,” he complimented looking down at her. “Your dressmaker should be commended on a job well done.”
“Thank you, Mr. Malfoy,” Anna murmured, suddenly feeling a bit too warm, as she resisted the urge to back away.
“Really, Anna,” he drawled. “You must call me Draco. We are well enough acquainted after all, though I would like to get to know you even better.”
She blinked and wondered if perhaps she had consumed a bit too much wine. Her mind raced to come up with an appropriate topic of conversation. “So…um, Draco,” she murmured. “Are you having a pleasant holiday at home?”
“I’m having an excellent holiday,” Draco admitted, pulling her even closer against him. “My mother feels the need to rather spoil me when I’m home,” he whispered against her ear. “Malfoy Manor is quite the most beautiful property in all of England. I would enjoy showing you around the grounds sometime.”
“Aunt Augusta doesn’t allow me to leave Longbottom Manor very often,” Anna replied.
“Quite understandable, of course,” Draco said, pleasantly. “As your guardian, it is her responsibility to safeguard your reputation and make decisions for you.”
Anna nodded uncertainly. She wished the dance would end. Dancing with Ernie had felt comfortable. The way Draco was looking at her and talking was quite different, and he was holding her too firmly.
“Your emerald pendant is quite exquisite,” he murmured. “I don’t believe I’ve ever seen anything so lovely against such beautifully white skin.”
The dance finally came to an end, and Anna tried to back away slightly. Draco’s grip did not relax, however. He held her tightly with his left arm. The forefinger of his right hand traced her skin around the pendant he had been admiring. A strange burning sensation followed the progress of his finger as he touched the skin of her chest. She gasped, and he released her suddenly.
“It really is a perfect emerald,” he commented. “May I escort you back to your cousin?” he inquired politely, offering his arm.
Anna squeezed her eyes shut for a second. “Yes, thank you,” she managed as she took his arm. She felt oddly unsteady walking back towards Neville.
“Mr. Longbottom,” Draco spoke formally as they approached. “I hope you are enjoying your evening. Anna,” he murmured, kissing her hand and bowing slightly. “Thank you for the dance.”
As he turned and walked away, Anna gripped Neville’s arm. “Do you think we can go home now?” she asked.
“Yes, we’ve been here almost three hours,” Neville replied. “Are you okay? I lost sight of you for a moment. Did Malfoy do something?”
“No, not really,” Anna said uncertainly. “I think I’m just tired.”
He nodded and led her to Aunt Augusta, who was talking to Emily Macmillan and another witch he did not recognize. After a quiet discussion, they thanked their hosts and left the party.
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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