Categories > Books > Harry Potter > After the Fall

The Brink

by AuraSage 0 reviews

Ginny and Draco have triumphed over numerous obstacles to their relationship. Yet the war continues to exact its toll on every side of the conflict, even five years after the closure of Hogwarts. W...

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: R - Genres: Romance - Characters: Draco, Ginny - Warnings: [!!!] - Published: 2006-02-18 - Updated: 2006-02-19 - 1651 words

After the Fall

A/N: A gift for a friend on Valentine's Day. She's curiously infatuated with the Draco/Ginny ship, and I with her.

Ch.1: The Brink

Draco had always known that any girl he wanted would have tossed themselves into his arms on command. No shortage of adolescent girls flitted in and out of the halls of Hogwarts, hormones quaking at the mere mention of how his smoothly parted blonde hair complemented his dreamy silver eyes. Indeed, Malfoy had copped off with a fair share of girls in his day.

In retrospect, he was glad he'd found a girl with a little more substance.

Well, perhaps "found" wasn't le mot juste, per se. It wasn't as if she hadn't been there. In fact, she had enrolled in his second year, flitting just like the others had, year in, year out, always laughing or sighing or brushing her hair or whatever other odious things she'd do when she was in Potter's entourage. The nerve of her, really, never to have noticed when he continually snaked looks at her in the Great Hall, or-


"I'll ow you! Stupid idiot..."

"I said I was sorry, Ginny," said Draco, who rolled painfully over in his makeshift bed to face her. "Truly, I am. Look into my eyes and tell me I'm not sorry."

"You should be glad that... that thing didn't lunge for your eyes! We would've been in real trouble then, Remus hasn't taught me how to repair nerves yet, said it was a tricky business... God, I can't work in here, it's too dark! Why don't you ever listen to me when I tell you not to blindly charge in like a fool!?"

"I'll start listening when you start being right!" he shouted, annoyed. "Pray, which one of us has shared quarters with the enemy? Which one of us knows his inmost strategies? His weaknesses? Which one of has felt his breath on the nape of their necks?"

"Oh, and with all the intelligence you gathered, you figured-hold still-being reckless and rash was the best way to-quit moving your arm!"

"Surprise. The Dark Lord schemes weeks, sometimes months in advance, his machinations growing more and more intricate as time goes by, giving his insidious little cohorts ample time to hatch subplots to further their own goals. In short, whatever time is not wasted eating or sleeping is spent planning. Hence, the element of surprise is key. Lumos."

Draco's wand clattered on the floor, and the room basked in its light. Ginny remained unfazed.

"I remember the pledge, Draco, but you have to at least pause between guards before--"

"It worked on the first two."

"... The first two were golems, Draco, I wouldn't get too cocky if I were you. They were meant to look frightening, not to pose any real threat," she retorted sharply, tracing his arm with her wand, probing for the source of the wound.

"Maybe whatever damage it wreaked on your arm has radiated to your eyes, because apparently you've become too blind to realize that we're a team. I understand that by attempting to kill every guard and conquer every obstacle by yourself you intend to keep me ut of harm's way, but I knew the risks when I entered the tower, and you have to respect my decision. If we don't work together, we'll both get killed, and then nothing will be accomplished. Turn around."

"Crikey, you lecture like my mother used to," he muttered , just loud enough that she could hear it.

"Shut up," she exclaimed, secretly smiling. Until, that is, she saw what was on the other side of his arm.

"Ow. Ow."

"Quit shifting, Draco, this looks more serious than I... shit, is it... it's spiraling up your arm," she observed in terrified awe.

"What is? OW."

"Th scar, the scar, it's traveling up your arm! What the hell was that thing, to have caused the wound to spread..."

"Well, I can't feel it-/OW/-Stop jabbing my arm, it's not going to make it go away!"

"I'm not! You're the one who keeps moving! Wait, don't tell me..."

She gazed worriedly into his eyes, and Draco instantly understood. Convulsions. And he just had to be conscious for them.

"I've never heard of anything like it," confided Ginny with difficulty, the fevered pacing of her feet on the damp wooden floorboards doing nothing to soothe his nerves. "There needs to be something I can do; I don't want to find out what will happen once the scar reaches your spinal cord. Shit, I don't know what to do!"

Draco shot her a look from across the compact bedroom, and his shadow cast one doubly hard.
Pull yourself together, woman!
Ginny reminded herself of the pledge they'd made upon entering th threshold of the Horcrux-show no fear of death, no greed to exploit, and above all, no panic in the face of adversity, for all were weapons the Tower would surely employ to spurn them away.

The room itself was dreary and wet and cold and replete with signs of decay. A shattered lamp swayed ominously overhead, providing minimal light but adding a touch of eerie foreboding to an operation that sorely didn't want it.

"If only I saw what bit you," she conjectured, firmly securing the knot to a bandage tied around the mouth of the gash near his elbow, "I could begin to know how to treat you."

"Treat me with only the auster'st perseverance. I should hate to have a kind man kiss my wounds where a brutal man could suture them."

"Traveler's Tales, by Henry Dow," she replied at once.


"The Eighth."

"Damn," he said, propping his hands under his head. "I though for sure I had you there. Not once have I been able to stump you."

"It's entirely possible I'm even more literate than you are," she chided.
"Holis muscolus."
A brief purple beam flickered over Draco's bandage and vanished. "Damn."
"Holis ossex."
Another beam, more powerful than the first, shone over his arm. Draco thought he heard her sigh with relief.
"Thank God it's not your bones. I can mend bones... well, partially... but I don't know how to drive curses from them. I wish the problem was located in your muscles; they're much easier to purify with magic."

"Think outside the box," he suggested.

Draco saw her eyes roll as she checked to see whether the bandage was blocking her spells. "Your advice remains as brilliant as ever."

"Death Eaters are a crafty lot," he shrugged. "They'll have made their guards inflict untraceable wounds."

"You're supposed to be the expert on the Dark Arts, give me something better to work with!"

"Well, as for whatever bit me, it felt like a wraith."
What am I talking about? A wraith's never bitten me before.

"What are you talking about? A wraith's never bitten you before!"

Draco ran his good hand over his forehead. Cold sweat.
"I hope I'm imagining this sudden wooziness; it may just be general exhaustion," he attempted to rationalize, not meaning to say it aloud.

Great, one more symptom to add to the list: anemia.

"Turn over. Now!" Ginny rushed to his side and examined the scar. It had crept its way over and around his shoulder blade, making a beeline of fissured flesh straight for his heart. Even as she gasped her hand replaced Draco's own on his forehead. "Your wits are slowing."

"Hey, I resent that," he tried to say, but the words didn't pop out of his mouth as admirably as they were supposed to.

Ginny ran another hand down his chin (which Draco would have found enjoyable under different circumstances). "Say something. Anything."

His mouth opened to spout off some reassuring witticism, but before he knew it the harsh outlines of the boards on the walls seemed to bleed into his enormous shadow and the room was dissolving before him. The ceiling lamp swung lamely like a fledgling pendulum overhead and quickly vanished.

Ginny was distraught; she'd healed people, but none of her previous patients had been her true love, or on the brink of death at that. She fumbled frantically for his pulse; the hand twitched limply in her grasp but the flow of blood remained sure and swift as ever. She was out of her league, and there was only one logical thing left to do: to find th beast and kill it, so that its curse may expire with it. Loath as she was to leave him, she could spare precious few seconds before dashing for the doorknob and out into the perilous passage that lied in wait. Time was of the essence.

"Don't die on me," she stated simply. "Just don't die."
The words reverberated, rattled, trembled as they flew purposefully and meaninglessly through the void. Streaks of nothingness drifted lazily overhead, forming an amorphous tapestry of empty voices.

Most people believed death was a bright light at the end of a tunnel. Draco's father told him that death was a towering, monstrous gate, crashing and shuffling and moaning hungrily, patiently biding its time till it could creak open its savage maw and engulf him from behind.

Death, in reality, was many things. It was an infinite, never-ending veil that billowed in the wind of time and fluttered to the beat of space. It was the flipside of life, the end of everything and of nothing. But above all, death was nothing to be afraid of. Malfoy chose to admire death, to respect its place in the natural order and its inevitability. Sure, he could have died on better terms, but it wasn't as bad as it could have ben. Had he chosen to stay with them, to remain corrupt and shallow... Yes, that would have been much, much worse.

For there was one adage that held true. Life does flash before one's eyes... quite literally.
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