Draco Malfoy Ginny Weasley
Drama Romance
Multiple Eras
Philosopher's Stone Chamber of Secrets Prizoner of Azkaban Goblet of Fire Quidditch Through the Ages Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Published: 08/16/2002
Updated: 12/01/2002
Words: 98,611
Chapters: 18
Hits: 65,644

Sea of Waking Dreams


Story Summary:
Draco Malfoy has seen his share of nightmares and now, as the war with Voldemort rages around him, it takes Ginny Weasley and a ragged band of orphans to teach him what true love and loyalty really are. Draco/Ginny, and a few brief instances of m/m kissing.

Chapter 15

Chapter Summary:
Draco Malfoy has seen his share of nightmares and now, as the war with Voldemort rages around him, it takes Ginny Weasley and a ragged band of orphans to teach him what true love and loyalty really are. Draco/Ginny, and a few brief instances of m/m kissing.

Sea of Waking Dreams

By Cinnamon

Chapter Fifteen

The bed sheets were tangled and wrapped around her as Ginny lay on her stomach, watching Draco, who sat at the table, wearing only a pair of trousers and his enchanted reading glasses. His hair was deliciously messy, and Ginny smiled slowly, her face still a little flushed. She wasn’t wearing any clothing, and Keela’s black kitten, which she had left in Ginny’s care, was beside her, chewing on some of her hair.

“Find anything yet?” she asked.

He glanced away from the book he was studying, his eyes running lazily over her. He was smirking. “You could help, you know.”

“I can’t,” she sighed, smiling a little deviously. She rolled over onto her back, scooping the kitten up and laying it on top of the sheet over her belly. “I’m rather busy.”

“With what?” he asked, rolling his eyes.

“I’m still trying to catch my breath,” she said primly, playing with the kitten.

Draco laughed, picking up one of the books he’d brought from home and tossing it onto the bed, along with a pair of glasses. “Here, make yourself useful. Look up the wizarding laws regarding child custody. I’ve looked it up in all the other law books and can’t find a single mention of any law that would even give Fudge the idea that he has the jurisdiction for this sort of thing.”

Ginny moaned a little, but she sat up, tucking the sheet up around her chest and leaning against the headboard, opening the book. She searched the index and flipped through the pages.

A few moments later, she read out loud, “A child who finds itself without parents will be given in trust to the godparents so named at the child’s birth. Should these godparents not be located, authorities may be charged with the responsibility of ensuring that proper action is taken, in the best interest of the child.” She thought for a moment. “Then we’ve just got to prove that the best interest of the children is being with us.”

“Mmm.” Draco scowled. “Not as easy as it seems. Though I am researching Memory Charms now, and they hardly seem all that reliable. There can be lasting damage, not to mention that they are virtually irreversible, especially ones of the magnitude that Fudge is planning. To make them forget the entire war… It’ll be a massive spell.”

Ginny, completely serious now, grabbed Draco’s shirt and pulled it over her head, joining him at the table. She pulled out a piece of blank parchment and grabbed a quill, chewing the end thoughtfully. “All right then. Let’s organize our argument then. There are thousands of reasons why we should get to keep the children, right?”

Draco consulted his notes. “Not quite that many. But I think we make a good argument. Memory charms are dangerous, for one. The children don’t need another family as they’ve already got us, and they want to remain with us, so it is in their best interest to do so. They’re liable to end up more damaged after the charms than before. Legal precedence states that in past cases, children have always been left alone if their environments are stable and non-threatening. We can provide such an environment.”

Ginny scribbled down all the reasons and began to put them in a logical order, getting ink splotches all over her face and working for hours without speaking, going over Draco’s notes and organizing them. Draco kept searching the books and researching, trying to think up the arguments the other side would come up with and how they would counter them.

The sun started to set when there was a knock on the door. Ginny jumped a little, startled, and Draco grabbed another shirt, pulling it on quickly, running a hand through his hair to tidy it, and opening the door. It was Percy.

“Hearing’s the day after tomorrow,” he snapped. “Don’t you think you should be trying to help us win it rather than whatever indecent things you two have been doing in here all day?”

Draco blinked, smirking in amusement. “Ginny, your brother would like to complain about our lack of dedication to the cause,” he called over his shoulder.

She cursed quietly and dashed to the bed, snatching up her trousers and pulling them on. She appeared at the door, slightly breathless, a few moments later. “We’re researching right now,” she told him. “Come in, I want to get your opinion on a few things. You can help with ideas.” She grabbed Percy’s arm and tugged him in.

“I’ll be back in a bit with something to eat,” Draco told her. He left, closing the door behind him, and Ginny ushered Percy to the table. He was looking rather stunned at having been recruited to research with them. After all, he had legal forms to fill out and really didn’t have the time. Ginny forced him to take Draco’s empty chair and shoved a handful of notes at him.

“Read over these, Percy?” she asked, smiling hopefully. “Since you know so much more than me about these sorts of things, I was hoping you could go over Draco’s notes and mark what’s important and relevant? I’m organizing it all and there’s so much of it.”

Percy, chest puffing with pride that he would be asked to look over Malfoy’s work and point out the other man’s shortcomings, took the parchments gravely, picking up a quill.

They worked in silence for an hour, Draco still not returning, before Percy dropped his quill with a scowl. “It’s all relevant,” he said, frowning. “All these points will help you win the appeal, all of them are very well documented, and nothing needs to be left out or improved on. I’ve magically changed the colour of ink for each one, so they’re colour coded into what’s most important, which is purple, of mid-importance, blue, and of least importance, green. Even the least important ones are important.” He looked like he’d eaten something sour.

“Thanks, Percy!” Ginny said brightly. “What’s everyone else been doing?”

“Mum and Dad have been calling in all sorts of favors, getting friends of theirs to fly down and act as character witnesses for you, and Mrs. Malfoy’s been meeting with bankers, getting donations made in Draco’s name to various orphanages around wizarding England. She seems to think that’ll help, but I certainly don’t approve. She’s also got the president of Gringotts to agree to testify that the Malfoys are filthy rich and more than capable to provide for six children. George and Fred are doing whatever they can to drive me mad, though they claim they’re just trying to help with the case, with all their thousands of questions about law. I honestly think they’re just using this as an excuse to learn as much about the law as they can so they can use what they’ve learned to manipulate the ministry in the future. And Ron is following the Minister around like a detective, making careful notes of his every movement. He seems to think the Minister is involved in something sinister that shall discredit him.” Percy laughed as if the very idea were mad. “He’s even posted that owl Harry lent him outside the safe house with instructions to fly directly to him if anyone goes inside the building. He’s mad. The owl hasn’t shown up yet, I told him it probably flew off to hunt mice or something.”

Ginny smiled sweetly at him. “I’m glad you’re working so hard at helping us, Percy. Surely without you, this whole thing would be lost before it began.”

“Yes. At any rate, I must go finish filling out the necessary forms for this appeal. Lots of red tape, you taking on the Minister of Magic, you know.”

He left quickly, and a few minutes later, Draco returned, almost as if he’d been waiting for Percy to leave. Ginny suspected that he had.

But he’d brought food, so she didn’t complain.

They stayed up late into the night working on their case, and only fell asleep sometime just before dawn, fully clothed and tangled in each other’s arms. They finally left the room late the next morning. Draco had decided that they needed to get away from all the research and had informed her that they were going out for lunch. A date. A Real Date. Ginny, of course, had automatically flown into a flurry of getting ready and making herself presentable. It was a good thing she had, because the instant she stepped out onto Diagon Alley, holding Draco’s hand, they were attacked by a rabid swarm of reporters.

“Draco! Draco, tell us what it was like to kill your own father!”

“Miss Weasley! What’s it like, kissing a hero?”

“Mr. Malfoy! Our readers need to know! Are you single?”

“Draco Malfoy, is the Minister of Magic really stealing children? Should the public be warned?”

“Where did you get those pants, Malfoy? They’re simply stunning.”

And on, and on, and on.

Ginny stumbled to a surprised halt, cameras flashing, magical quills flying. She began to feel a little dizzy and started breathing quickly. Draco gritted his teeth grimly, flashed a smile, and said calmly, holding Ginny’s hand tightly, “It was terrible, as you can expect. I cried as I killed him. I assure you, Ginny finds kissing me a life-defining experience, I’m single in that there is only one of me, and, while I am not sure if Fudge really intends to steal every child from every wizarding family, I have heard that his great grandmother was a gypsy, and they are known for such things. Oh.” Another dazzling smile. “And these trousers are 100% dragon hide, made for me by a flobberworm farmer’s wife in Nigeria, after I saved their infant from a rabid flobberworm. She was incredibly grateful, as you might imagine. Now, if you don’t mind, Ginny and I were on our way to lunch, and if you promise not to follow us, I’ll answer more questions upon my return.” He flashed his knee-melting grin again and, as most of the reporters were female, and those who were male were not unaffected, they automatically began agreeing to anything he said.

He threaded his way through the crowd, dragging Ginny along behind him, and they hurried away. Ginny was still in shock, even as Draco guided her into the restaurant and pulled out her chair for her. She sat down heavily, feeling rather numb.

“You wanted a media circus,” he said grimly.

“That was madness,” she replied, laughing shakily.

“You can bet that Fudge will have his share of reporters on him as well. Are you all right?”

“Of course. A little startled, is all. I didn’t know there were that many newspapers.”

He grimaced. “Some are local papers, from Godric’s Hollow and the like. Others are reporters from Witch Weekly and more from the Prophet, hoping that their coverage of the story will beat out Rita’s for front page. Why on earth did you give her the exclusive anyway?”

“Because everyone believes what Rita Skeeter writes, she’s good with Underhanded Tactics, and she had the most to gain from this, so she would have agreed to cover the appeal story, and write to our advantage. Anything to get off the entertainment and gossip beat.”

Draco grinned ruefully. “For an amateur, you’re awfully good with this sort of thing.”

“Thank you,” she said brightly. “I’ll take that as a compliment. I’d have to be, after all, to keep up with you.”

They ate their lunch, talking about light topics, and, just as they were about to leave, George entered the restaurant. His face lit up when he saw them. “Blimey!” he cried, taking off his hooded cloak and joining them. “It’s gone mad out there, I’ve just had my picture taken for Witch Weekly, they’ve promised to list me as one of the Spiffing Single Wizards in their Post-Voldemort issue that comes out next month, if I tell them all about the torrid love affair between the two of you.” He grinned crookedly. “’Course, I had to agree.”

“Of course,” Draco said dryly. “Let me borrow your cloak.”

George looked startled. “My cloak? Sure, if you let me borrow that splendid black silk one of yours. I ‘spect I’ll look smashing in silk.”

Draco rolled his eyes, but he was smiling a little. “I’ll give you a whole black outfit if it means that much to you, you can wear it to the Sprigging Wizards photo shoot if you like, I don’t care. Just lend Ginny the cloak.”

“It’s Spiffing Wizards,” George said rather stiffly, handing Ginny his cloak.

“Good. You pull that up over your hair, Ginny, and go back before me so they won’t know it’s you. I’ll answer a few more questions, and meet you upstairs.”

“And then send my new outfit over to my room,” George said importantly. He was eyeing Draco critically. “I’ll probably have to have it taken in a bit to get it to fit.”

Draco rolled his eyes. “Yeah, I’ll send it over,” he said.

Ginny was smiling a little. “Why can’t I just go back with you?”

“You nearly fainted the first time,” Draco snapped.

“All right, all right,” she mumbled, pulling the cloak on. “But hurry up, I’ll miss you.”

She hurried out of the restaurant and George and Draco left a few minutes later, after Draco had assured George that his hair looked ‘spiffing’. The media was if anything, more rabid, but Ginny had managed to slip by unnoticed. As soon as they caught sight of Draco and George, they rushed over.

“Mr. Malfoy!” They all shouted. “What happened to Miss Weasley?” Before Draco could come up with a story, George stepped forward, raising his hands dramatically for silence. His voice very solemn, he said loudly, so everyone could hear, “I am, as you may recall, George Weasley, and Ginny Weasley is my little sister. I was with her at lunch when she was overcome with tears at the dreadful thing the Minister of Magic is trying to do. She loves those children like her own, they were never apart at the castle, and she took care of them devotedly. She simply broke into perfectly wretched tears at lunch and gracious Mr. Malfoy here was so kind as to dry her tears and give her money to go off to buy the children gifts she intends to send to them by owl, as Fudge won’t even let her in to see them. Buying them gifts is the only thing that cheers her up these days, she cries herself to sleep each night! All because Fudge is too stubborn to see that Ginny needs these children as much as they need her! And Mr. Malfoy, as well! Why, without these children, he and my sister may never have fallen in love! To lose all of that in a legal battle! It’s preposterous! It’s madness! I will not stand for it! I will —”

Draco elbowed him subtly and hissed, “Enough, Weasley!” He was trying his best to smile.

George coughed and said in summary, “So, folks, I beg you. As Ginny’s older brother, nominated Most Spiffing Single Wizard — single, make sure you get that — I implore you not to let this injustice go unpunished! Don’t let my poor, dear sister cry herself to sleep another night! Thank you, and good night!” With a dramatic bow, George cut his way through the crowd, still stunned into silence, and Draco followed with rather grudging admiration. If even half of that got out in the next morning’s papers, by afternoon, which was when the hearing was scheduled, there wouldn’t be a witch or wizard in the world who wasn’t sympathetic to Ginny’s plight.

George was beaming. “Just wait until I tell Fred,” he said excitedly. He bolted up the stairs and Draco followed more slowly, incredibly weary.

Ginny was playing with the kitten, sitting on the floor, and Draco watched her, a slight, tired smile twisting his lips. He closed the door and leaned against it, content just to study her. She kept giggling at the kitten, petting it and talking to it gently, and Draco could have been content to not say a word for hours, but she finally scooped the kitten up and smiled at him. “How was it?” she asked.

“Your brother handled it. Apparently you weren’t there because you burst into tears at lunch and I sent you off to cheer yourself up buying gifts for the children.”

She wrinkled her nose. “How materialistic.”

“Oh, he finished it off with a big speech on how you’d owl the gifts to the children because you weren’t allowed to go in and see them.”

She grinned. “Better.”

“You get too much pleasure out of this. It worries me.” But he was smiling at her, and he leaned forward and kissed her very gently. “I’m sick of this whole thing. I just want to go home, with all the children, and sleep for days.”

“It’ll be over tomorrow,” she told him. “I’m really rather nervous. What if we don’t win? What if the children —”

“We will win,” he said fiercely. “We have to. Malfoys don’t lose.”

Ginny nodded, closing her eyes. She put the cat down gently and them started to cry. “But what if we don’t?” she whispered. Draco held her tightly but could not think of a thing to say to reassure her.


Seandrar Castle was so far from London that the newspapers often took a few days to arrive, and in the chaos of the world readjusting after the end of the war, the post was slower than usual. Oliver was in the dining hall, reading a grubby, crumpled newspaper he had found on the table, his mouth dropping open a little more with each word. By the time he had finished the article, his face was alarmingly pale, and he set the newspaper down carefully, the picture of Ron, Hermione, and Harry still moving on the front of it.

“Oh, Harry,” he breathed. Hoping frantically that Harry hadn’t gotten a copy of the newspaper yet and wondering if he had time to destroy every copy of it in print, Oliver left the table quickly. It was late afternoon and he hadn’t seen Harry since the broom ride the day before, and now Oliver took off at a run for Harry’s room.

He knocked on the door loudly but no one answered and, throwing the door open, Oliver hurried inside. Harry was sitting on the windowsill, gazing out at the courtyard below, apparently so lost in thought that he hadn’t heard Oliver’s knock. A discarded copy of the Daily Prophet lay on the floor.

“Harry,” Oliver called, his voice very cautious.

Harry jumped, turning quickly. “Oh! Oliver, it’s you,” he said, sliding nervously off the window. He smoothed his shirt, biting his lip, and tried to smile, though he was incredibly pale. “Sorry, I didn’t hear you.”

Oliver glanced from the newspaper to Harry again and said gently, “You all right?”

Harry laughed. It was a bitter sort of laugh that hurt to hear. “You keep asking me that.”

“I read the article.”

He nodded emphatically. “Yes. Yes, but it’s all right. Rita Skeeter… she had it in for Hermione for years, ever since fourth year.”

“Uh huh,” Oliver said soothingly, taking a few careful steps into the room. He closed the door behind him.

“So none of that is true, of course. I would never do that to Hermione. Never.”

“I know,” Oliver nodded. “You loved her.”

Again, brittle laughter. “I didn’t! That’s the funny part, Oliver. I didn’t love her like that. Oh, like a friend. I loved her like a friend. But not… not like t-that.” He swallowed heavily.

“It’s all right.”

“It’s not.”

There was silence, and Oliver was still making wary progress towards Harry. There was an almost visible tension around him, as if he were made of glass, about to shatter. “Harry,” Oliver called softly. “Sit down, you’re shaking.”

Harry shook his head, looking defiant. “I won’t,” he snapped. “Want to know why I didn’t love her like I should have, Oliver? Do you want to know?”

“If you want to tell me.” Oliver was close enough to touch him now, to catch him if he fell.

Harry’s words dripped with acid, as if he were trying to hurt someone. Probably himself. “You probably would like to know, since… since you… since yesterday. I didn’t love her because I was too busy wanting Draco Malfoy. Hermione died because I wanted Draco. Oh, I don’t even like him, but I let her go because dreaming about kissing him was so much more intense than kissing her.” He sucked in a shuddering breath and when he let it out, it sounded more like a sob. “She loved me though. She loved me, and look what I did to her. Rita Skeeter was right, I did kill her…” And then Harry finally broke, the tension that had been building inside him ever since Hermione’s death cracking him, and his knees nearly gave out from the force of grief that suddenly washed over him.

Oliver was there, wrapping his arms around Harry’s shoulders and holding him upright. Harry collapsed against him, sobbing raggedly, and Oliver winced, stroking his hair and holding on tightly so Harry would know he wasn’t alone. He didn’t speak because there was really nothing to say, and Harry just kept crying. He had twisted his hands in Oliver’s shirt, clinging to him, and Oliver would have stood there forever holding him if it would help.

Harry was smaller than Oliver, but not by much. It was easy to guide him to his bed, however, and nudge him gently until he was sitting on the edge of it. Harry’s crying had started to ebb, and Oliver took his glasses off, which were spotted with tears. He wiped Harry’s face with his sleeve gently, the lightning bolt scar on his forehead drawing Oliver’s gaze briefly. When he finished, he carefully put Harry’s glasses back on.

“You didn’t kill her, Harry,” Oliver said calmly. “You can’t help how you feel anymore than I can. If life has taught me anything, it’s that there are people we should love and people we can’t help but love. You can’t argue with it, your mind doesn’t make the decision, your heart does, and it can be a remarkably stupid thing, really. That’s why we have brains to think with, because hearts are too busy turning into sodding messes at the least provocation.” He smiled gently, teasingly, and Harry grinned wearily back.

“But it makes no sense,” he said with a sigh.

“That’s the point. Love never does. Hermione loved you when she probably shouldn’t have, if only because you couldn’t love her back. But you didn’t ask her to love you, just as she couldn’t ask you to love her, not when you couldn’t. It wasn’t your fault, Harry. You did the best you could.”

“But it was the first time my best wasn’t enough,” Harry whispered.

“What about that Quidditch game we lost in my seventh year? You did your best then, and it wasn’t enough.”

Harry scowled. “That was different. It wasn’t my fault, it was those Dementors.”

“And how did they make you lose?”

“They made me afraid and I fell.”

“You did your best and fear kept you from winning?” There was a strange glimmer in Oliver’s eyes. He leaned really close, straightening the collar on Harry’s shirt and then very briefly touching Harry’s lower lip with his fingertip. “Don’t let fear rule your heart, Harry,” he said, standing up. “Give it your best, laugh till it hurts, even when it hurts to laugh, just live and do your best and never, ever make emotional decisions based on fear. There’s no logic behind fear, just like there is no logic behind love. You’ve had fear for years now, don’t you think it’s time to get over that and have love? Trust me, I figured it out for myself a long time ago.” He smiled rather distractedly, ran one hand through his hair, and left quickly.

Harry watched him go, looking vaguely troubled.


The appeal was to take place before a committee of seven witches and wizards in the Ministry of Magic’s building. It took the form of a rather informal court hearing, with the committee sitting in a row at the front of the room, Draco and Ginny to their left, Fudge and his lawyer, as the representatives of the Ministry, to the right. The back of the room was set up with benches for the spectators and members of the press. The various witnesses sat on long benches on the sides, and Ginny inspected them carefully before the court was called into session.

The children were there, looking nervous. Narcissa was there, as well as a few others, friends of her family all come as character witnesses. Remus Lupin was there, as were Pomfrey and Dumbledore. The president of Gringotts was there as well.

Fudge had no witnesses, which made Ginny inexplicably wary.

Court was called into session, and the head member of the committee called the representatives for each side to come forward and make their opening arguments.

Fudge’s lawyer, a man named Gevot, was a solemn, small man with a dark complexion and carefully groomed hair. He glided rather than walked, his every movement graceful and smooth. “War is a terrible thing,” he said. “So many are made victims, through death, injury, or losing loved ones. None pay a higher price than the innocent. Should these children, who have lost everything already, be forced to pay a still higher price? It is the intention of our good Minister to purge their minds of the evils they have seen. Surely the selfish wishes of two who are barely more than children themselves can be overlooked for the greater good here. Surely we have not become so uncivilized that we will allow children to suffer?” He took his seat, and Draco stood.

He paid no attention to the committee. Instead, he walked directly to the children, all of whom looked as though they were about to cry. “Are you all right?” he asked softly. The cameras held by the press started flashing, especially when he gently wiped away a tear that had slipped from Belle’s eye. He and Ginny hadn’t been allowed to see the children until the court appearance, and he was worried about them. After assuring himself that they were well, he finally began his argument. “It is a proven fact that a child who has undergone a tremendous shock, such as being the survivor of a war, thrives best when given care and understanding, and a stable environment in which to live. Remove these memories and you run the risk of damaging the already fragile mind of the child. The children are happy together, and happy with Miss Weasley and myself. I simply cannot understand why they will not be allowed to remain in our care. I intend to prove, beyond a doubt, that not only are Ginny and I capable guardians for these children, but that leaving them with us is what best suits their needs.”

He took his seat, and the arguments began. Gevot’s case was simple. He explained very calmly that the Ministry wanted to remove the children’s memories, and place them in homes of witches and wizards who had lost children in the war and would offer them love and support that two young adults were incapable of giving. He quoted various laws. “‘The law states that the Ministry may remove from guardianship any child who is deemed to exist in an unstable environment, and act accordingly in the best interests of that child’. Surely forgetting the tragic events of the last years is the best course for these poor children.” He took his seat.

“Begin your appeal,” the head of the committee commanded.

Draco stood up. “There is a law,” he began, glancing at his notes, “that states that after a certain number of months in the singular care of an adult of good social standing and repute, that adult may be named guardian of said child should the parents be found incapable of retaining guardianship, or perish. These children are all parentless, and have been under Ginny’s care for months. By dint of this law, they are hers already.”

The committee considered this for a moment, and then snapped to Gevot, “Reply.”

“Your supreme honors,” said Gevot with an easy shrug. “It was wartime, there just wasn’t enough time to locate an acceptable guardian, and Miss Weasley was given the task in what was clearly a temporary arrangement.”

Draco compressed his lips in annoyance but didn’t speak. The committee turned to him for his next argument. “In past cases such as these, the ministry has always ruled in favor of leaving the child in the present environment, provided there was nothing there that would harm them. The children, I assure you, are quite safe with me. In past cases, when a child has been moved and parts of their past concealed, just as in the case of Harry Potter, the child most certainly did not benefit from the deception.”

The committee again ordered Gevot to reply. “Harry Potter has become one of the strongest wizards of this age,” he said coldly. “How, pray tell, was keeping his parentage from him until he was old enough to understand, a drawback in his development?”

Draco’s next argument was delivered in a tone laced with steel. “It was stated earlier by Minister Fudge that we would be unable to provide for the children financially. Mr. Gurlen Hevilkin, Present of Gringotts Bank, will prove without a doubt that this is false.”

Hevilkin stepped up to the podium and read a long list of Malfoy assets that even had Fudge looking impressed. Gevot, however, was not convinced. “Sure, they can provide for the children in a monetary sense, but really, what about morally? Since when has the welfare of a child been entrusted to the care of the man with the biggest wallet? Especially when the money that fills that wallet was earned by a Death Eater and the man bearing that wallet living in a morally corrupt environment with a woman whose morals do not object to such a role.”

There was instant outrage in the courtroom, the media going wild, Ginny’s family shouting in a combined wave of fury, the children screaming angrily, though they did not even know what he had meant. Ginny sat stiffly, her face pale and her eyes dark with shock. Draco snarled softly, taking her hand under the table and stroking the back of it with his thumb until she had relaxed. By then, the committee had managed to get order restored, and Draco was asked to continue with his argument.

He did, though his stance was rigid with fury. “The children have lost everything that they ever cared for and it would be cruel to take from them the only family they’ve got left, which is myself, Ginny, and each other. As many of our witnesses can attest, the children are happiest when they are with us and we would never harm them.” He then proceeded to call up a long list of character witnesses, all whom had lived at Seandrar Castle with them or had known them before the war, who gave glowing accounts of their care of the children. Gevot’s reply was to call Fudge up onto the stand

“They’re not very stable,” he said solemnly, shaking his head sadly. “Why, the red haired girl, Miss Weasley — lovely old family, the Weasleys— has fits sometimes, a nasty temper. I saw her destroy Dumbledore’s office myself, she’s prone to destructive fits of madness. I simply would not be able to live with myself if I left the children in such an environment. As for Mr. Malfoy… I cannot stand the idea of leaving innocent children under the guardianship of a Death Eater, even one who switched sides as Voldemort’s forces weakened.”

“It only weakened because you left it,” Ginny hissed. Draco didn’t even glance at her. He was grinding his teeth in fury.

“Memory charms are dangerous,” he snapped after Fudge had taken his seat. “There is as much a chance that they will backfire and destroy the children’s minds as anything, and I would hope the Ministry would be above taking such an unnecessary risk.”

“Minister Fudge has kindly offered to perform the charms himself, there would be no danger,” Gevot said smoothly.

“Following the charms, the children would not remember anything; practically their whole lives have been touched with war and you cannot simply cause the war not to have happened for them, because it did, and it made them who they are. Wonderful, perfect children. Destroying that in some perverted attempt to assuage your own guilt for having let this happen, through your stupid inability to understand what Harry Potter and his friends swore to you had happened after the Triwizard Tournament, is mad.” Draco was seething with anger. “They are adjusting well and would rather remain with us, as they will tell you themselves.”

Miles was the first to step forward, looking wide-eyed and terrified. He seemed to have trouble forming a single complete thought, even with Draco questioning him very gently. The only thing he was able to answer was whether or not he wanted to stay with Ginny.

He nodded emphatically. “Oh, yes. Ginny’s the only one I’d want to stay with. Well, besides Draco of course.” Then Gevot stood up and Miles was speechless again.

Iniko was next, and it was much the same, and then Keela and Lucky, and finally Belle.

Draco was rather pale by this time, but he still said carefully, “Belle, do you want to leave Ginny and I?”

She was shaking like a leaf, far more violently than any of the others, which alarmed Draco. Usually she was the most together. “No,” she whispered.

“Do you want to leave the other children?”

She cleared her throat, her eyes flying to the other children. She shook her head slowly. “No,” she said in a strong voice. “I’d do anything for them. I help Ginny take care of them.”

Draco smiled reassuringly. “Would you like to leave Ginny and I if it meant you never had to remember all the bad things you’ve seen?”

And this time, Belle looked directly at Fudge, which disconcerted Draco. “No,” she said in a low growl. “No. I’d rather remember everything over and over in every nightmare I ever had if it meant I could still wake up to find Ginny there telling me everything was all right and giving me hot chocolate. I wouldn’t want to forget a thing.”

Gevot rose to his feet and smiled patronizingly at Belle. “Did you see Draco chop up that bad man?”

Belle shuddered. “Yes.”

“How did he do it?”

Looking rather perplexed, Belle said softly, “He went mad and chopped him to bits. But the man deserved it. He hurt me. He…he…” she glanced back at Fudge and fell silent, starting to cry.

“He went mad? Did he scream?”

“Yes, I think. I don’t really know. He was all bloody. Everyone was all bloody.”

“Did he cut off his father’s hand? Did you see that part?”

Belle looked annoyed. “No. No, we had our eyes closed, all of us. We didn’t want to see any of that. It was icky.”

“Didn’t want to see it. I bet you’d forget the entire thing if you could, wouldn’t you, dear?”

“I’m not your dear,” she snarled, a fury twisting her face like neither Ginny nor Draco had ever seen before in the gentle girl. “You can’t touch me, Ginny won’t let you. She’ll be so mad if you touch me, she’ll rip you apart.”

Ginny, looking stricken, stood up suddenly. “This is insane, make him stop,” she cried.

The committee chair glanced at her coldly and then nodded. “Leave the child alone.”

Belle hurried back to her chair and Gevot said coldly, “Those children are terrified, meek little things, memory charms will cure them of that.” With a sneer, he returned to his table, and Draco, for the second time in his life, couldn’t think of a single thing to say.


It was strange, Ginny thought, stepping out of the courthouse. The media, for the first time, was not crowding around her, trying to ask her a thousand questions. They all looked rather furious, and were talking softly among themselves. Ginny was grateful.

The committee had called a recess while they deliberated their verdict on the appeal, and Draco had taken Ginny by the hand and led her out of the silent courtroom and out onto the large front steps.

“Are you all right? Ginny, are you all right?” he kept asking, stroking her face, her shoulders, her arms, trying to make her look at him. She was feeling rather stunned.

Finally, she pushed him away gently. “I- I need to think,” she said quietly, her voice husky. “Please, I’ll be right back.” She tried to smile but it ended up being more of a grimace of pain, and she stumbled down a few steps, sitting heavily beside a huge stone pillar and leaning wearily against it, burying her face in her arms. Draco ran a trembling hand through his hair and turned away.

“Malfoy.” Charlie was standing behind him, looking grim.

“Spare me the lecture,” Draco snapped. “I know it’s not looking good and I didn’t do well enough.”

“You did the best you could. You can’t control the verdict, only how well you present your case, and you presented yours well enough. I was impressed.” Charlie smiled, his typical, lopsided grin.

“Thanks,” Draco said miserably. His shoulders slumped. “But I don’t think it was enough.”

“It could be,” Charlie said with a shrug. “But that’s not all I wanted to say. I mean, I know I’ve been… well, somewhat of a git lately, and I just wanted to say that I didn’t think you were serious before, about Ginny or the children or any of it. I knew about Hadley.”

“You thought I was going to do to her what he did.”

Charlie shrugged. “Of course I did, it’s my job, as the protective older brother and all. I had reason to be suspicious. You used to be a Death Eater, you were never kind to her in school. But you proved me wrong today, and I just… wanted to say, take care of my little sister. She’s going to need someone after the verdict, because it doesn’t look likely that she’ll get to keep them. Fudge chose the committee, after all.”

Draco swallowed thickly. “Yeah. Thanks. For not hating me anymore, I mean.”

Charlie smiled gently. “Just don’t hurt her and make me have to change my mind again.”


Ginny buried her face in her arms and forced herself to breathe deeply. She felt like she was going to be sick.

“Gin?” It was Ron. She glanced up at him. He was holding the squirming black kitten. “I brought the cat, like you asked me to.”

She smiled shakily and took the kitten. “I wanted Keela to hold her one last time before… In case….” She trailed off.

The children suddenly streamed out of the courtyard, and it was a media circus suddenly, people hurrying forward to take pictures as some of the children ran to Draco, the others to Ginny. She handed Keela her kitten and hugged them all.

“Fudge tried to keep us inside a room all alone,” Iniko said with a scowl, so Lucky hit him with a blast of fear and we ran as fast was we could.”

“I’m so glad,” Ginny said, smiling though her eyes shone with tears. She hugged him tightly. “You know I love you, more than anything?”

The children nodded, and cameras snapped. Ginny didn’t notice. Only Belle was hanging back, on top of the stairs near the door. She was sobbing, and Ginny hurried towards her, pulling the crying girl into her arms. “It’s all right, darling, I promise it’s all right,” Ginny promised, even as she started to cry herself.

“Ginny, Ginny, I have to tell you,” Belle sobbed, pushing away. “I’ve been bad, I’ve been a horrible girl, I should have told you, but he said he’d hurt—”

Fudge was there then, grabbing Belle roughly and jerking her away. “Get back inside, stupid girl,” he snarled, pushing her so hard that Belle fell to her kneels and lay there sobbing. Cameras whirled.

“Don’t you dare touch her,” Ginny hissed, her hands curling into claws. “Don’t let me ever see you touch her again.”

Fudge was livid, and his rage made him careless. He grabbed Ginny by the arm, his nails digging into her skin hard enough to make her cry out as he pulled her really close. “They’re just orphans, you stupid, ignorant girl. No one cares what’s done to them!” He raised one hand to slap her, and suddenly Draco was there, pushing Fudge so hard that the portly man nearly fell.

“If you ever touch any of them again,” Draco said in his silkiest, most dangerous tone. “I’ll kill you.”

Cameras flashed.

Ginny had crawled over to Belle, stroking her hair. They were both crying. “Go back inside now,” Ginny said gently. “I’ll see you after the verdict, all right? And then we’ll all go home together, and you’ll see how perfect everything will be. The house is so huge, I’m sure Draco will let you have your very own room. And we can decorate it however you like. I promise.”

Belle got to her knees, hugged Ginny one last time, and then led the rest of the children back inside. Keela was still clutching her kitten, and Fudge, with one furious look at the press, gathered around and still taking pictures, snapped, “They’re ready to deliver the verdict now.”

Draco crouched down beside Ginny, ignoring him. “Are you all right?” he said quietly.

She fell against him, burying her face in the side of his neck and sobbing. The next day’s newspaper would be full of pictures of them like that, while the Minister stood in the background, watching with a scowl.

The committee’s faces were dark when they finally filtered back into the courtroom. The head member said in a cold voice, “We have considered both sides of the matter carefully, and have decided that there is no merit in the argument to rule against the Minister’s decision to alter the memories of the orphans. The charm will be performed this afternoon by the Minister himself and this matter is closed.”

Ginny, who had remained standing beside Draco while the verdict was declared, jerked only the tiniest bit, so only Draco was aware she had reacted at all. He grabbed her roughly by the wrist and forced her to face him. Her eyes were glazed and her face very pale.

“Listen to me,” he said furiously, ignoring the chaos in the room. Fudge and Gevot were laughing, the press was screaming in outrage, Ginny’s family was panicking, and the children had all started to cry. “Are you listening? This doesn’t mean a thing, we’ll still get them back. We’ll appeal this.”

“Draco,” she said in a strange, toneless voice. “That was our appeal. They’ll take them away and destroy them.” She started shaking. “No, no, Draco, don’t let them take them. We should have… we should have stolen them away, we should have!” She was shaking her head and mumbling incoherently now and Draco swallowed heavily, not knowing what to say.

Court officials were trying to take the children away, and Belle suddenly started to scream. “No, no, Ginny, I’m sorry, I’ll be good, I’ll tell the truth, please don’t let them take me away, I’ll tell the truth!”

Ginny suddenly pushed passed Draco, trying to go to her, her eyes wild and feral, but Draco held her tightly. She screamed and fought against him, even as he tried to calm her. “Ginny, you can’t— Ginny, don’t. Stop, please, Ginny, we can’t take them now,” he was whispering, but Ginny didn’t care. Her throat was hoarse from screaming. It was only when she realized that Draco was trying desperately not to cry as well that she calmed down, turning to him, her hands stroking his face.

“Don’t let them take them,” she begged. “Draco, please, please. Why is he doing this? Only to these children, there are hundreds of other war orphans, why is he only doing this to me? Why? Does he hate me? Did I do something? He must hate me.”

Draco didn’t reply. He only pressed his face into the side of her neck, breathing deeply and trying to calm the panic he was feeling.

Ginny collapsed a moment later, unconscious in a dead faint.