Possible Spoilers/Warnings: None
Author's Note: This story is an AU of sixth year with some significant changes to the timeline. Draco fixes the vanishing cabinet much earlier than in cannon, leading to the Hogwarts invasion happening only two weeks into the school year. This also causes some smaller things to change; Quidditch tryouts are delayed, Stan Shunpike isn't arrested until later, etc. Because of memory loss, some characters may seem OOC at times.
Summary: Waking up in a field in the middle of nowhere, with no memory of who they are or how they got there, Draco and Ginny must work together to return to Hogwarts and solve the mystery of what happened to them.
She woke up.
The sky was that greyish blue shade that meant it was dusk. Or early morning. For some reason she appeared to be laying on her side on the ground outside. It was cold. There was grass against her cheek, and when she rolled her head to the side she immediately regretted it, as it sent a sharp pain up her neck. She realized that her whole body felt alternately numb and sore.
She tried moving her arm and gave a moaning cry when it didn't move. The strangled sound coming from her own throat startled her. She lay still for a moment, confused and becoming a little frightened.
Where was she? How did she get outside?
She lay still, breathing in and out. Minutes passed, or maybe she drifted back into unconsciousness, for when she came to herself again the sky was brighter. With trembling arms, she pushed herself into a sitting position.
She was in a field of dried brown grasses and weeds. In the distance were a few sparse trees. Nothing looked familiar. She tried to stand and fell head-first back to the ground. Her arms and legs felt numb and shaky, and sitting up again was harder the second time. She tried to rub some feeling back into her fingers, but it only made them start to sting unbearably, so she stopped.
She tried to rise again, more carefully this time. She managed to get to her feet and, though she wobbled a little, stay there. Carefully, she looked around again. Weeds and grasses, trees in the distance. She turned around on unsteady legs and spotted a dilapidated hut behind her. Laying in the grass between her and the hut was a body.
Taking a step towards it, she almost lost her balance. It looked like a young man, with a tuft of pale blond hair that stood out starkly against his black robes. She stumbled towards him and then dropped down by his side. With numb hands, she reached out and rolled him over.
He was breathing.
Her hand shook as she reached out to jostle his shoulder. "Hey," she called out hoarsely, then cleared her throat and tried again. "Hey, are you alright? Wake up!"
She called out again, and just as she began to fear that he wouldn't respond, he groaned and swatted weakly at her hand on his shoulder.
"Ow," he groaned, voice slurred, "what the 'ell?"
His eyes blinked open and slowly focussed on her face. "What happened? What did you do?"
"I didn't do anything," she said, a little indignantly. "You were just laying here. I thought you were dead."
"Dead? Am I dying? Where is this place... and who the hell are you?"
"I don't think you’re dying. I'm... I don't know where this is. Who are you, anyway?" The more she spoke, the steadier her voice became. However, as she tried to answer his questions the pain in her head became worse. She felt exhausted.
"I asked you first," he'd sat up and was rubbing his head with both hands when he saw something about his sleeve that made him squawk.
"Ah! My shirt's torn!" the look of dismay on his face made her snort--a regrettable move, as it set her head to pounding even worse--which drew his attention back to her. "What happened to your face? You look like you've been through a fire."
"Do I?" She rubbed absently at her face. "You don't look much better yourself, you know."
"What happened?" He asked again, sounding befuddled and helpless.
"I don't know," she said reluctantly, "I'd hoped maybe you could tell me. I woke up over there," she pointed vaguely, "I don't know where this is, or how I got here... I don't know who I am."
"What do you mean you don't know who you are? Do you expect me to believe that?"
"are you calling me a liar? For all I know, you're the one who did this!"
"Me? I don't think so, I don't just... attack strangers!"
"How do I know that?"
"I just told you!"
"And I'm to take your word for it, am I?"
He bristled. "Don't presume to question the honor of my word. I am..." He trailed off, looking pale. He clutched at his hair and said weakly, "what did you do to me?"
She snorted. "Not that again! Look we're not getting anywhere like this. Clearly something terrible has happened. Maybe for now, we'd be better off working together to try and get... I don't know. Get some answers."
So saying, she struggled up to her feet again, finding the process easier this time. "Come on, there's a hut over there. We can try and get warm, and maybe find some answers."
She had extended her hand to him as she spoke, and he sat looking at it dubiously for a moment before reaching out to clasp it. His hands felt like ice. "Okay" he said, and then levered himself up with her help, almost knocking them both to the ground it the process.
"Merlin's balls, that hurts!" He said. "Why does it hurt so much?"
She didn't have an answer for him. His litany of complaints continued as they hobbled their way over to the hut, nearly exhausting themselves on the way. She was sore and tired and freezing cold! Apparently he felt just as bad, and wasn't shy about voicing it.
Unfortunately, when they got to the hut it became apparent that it was more of a shack, and one that had seen much better days. The roof was sagging, the door falling off its hinges, and the windows were broken in places. It looked like some squirrels or something had taken up residence at some point, as there was a big animal nest of some kind in the corner. At least she hoped it was only squirrells. She didn't have the energy to investigate further though, instead she sank down on the floor to rest. Then something the boy was saying caught her attention.
"Where's my wand?" He had sunk down on the floor next to her, but apparently his exhaustion didn't affect his tongue. His head swivelled slowly from side to side as if he expected his wand to just magically appear. "I could start a fire if I had my wand."
"Is it in your pocket?" She asked and began searching her own pockets for her wand. Her wand was missing, she realized with a sudden feeling of dread. She hadn't even thought to look for it till he'd said that.
"No," he said, as he rummaged through his own pockets.
"Shit! What are we going to do?"
"Don't panic," he said, and the sudden calm in his tone made her furious for some reason. She was supposed to be the calm one--he' done nothing but whine since she'd woken him!
"They must be around here somewhere," he said, and then pushed himself off the floor. He began walking back outside, where they'd come from, and she hastily dragged herself up to follow.
He'd barely gone five steps out the door when he cried out in relief. "Ah ha! Here it is!"
He bent over and had to steady himself with his spare hand as he picked up a ten inch long wand made of some sort of pale wood. He stood up and swayed a bit, then continued walking around.
"Where are you going?" She asked.
"Looking for your wand," he said, and kept walking. She began looking too, forgetting that a moment ago she'd been angry at him. She still felt that dread though. But even that was forgotten when he called out again, some moments later, and bent down a second time, this time coming up with a somewhat longer wand made of an orangish wood.
"My wand!" She hurried over and snatched it from his hands. The moment she had it in her grasp, she felt better. It was as if a part of her which she hadn't even noticed was missing had been restored.
"Now, I want fire," he said, already heading back to the hut. She followed at a more sedate pace, and was glad for it when he almost walked into the doorway, knocking the door off its hinges for good. It fell with a rotten splintering sound amidst the boy's cursing.
Once inside the meager shelter on the shack, the boy lit a small fire with his wand, and they both sat down to warm themselves by its bright blue flames. Many moments passed by in silence, and when she looked over at her companion she found him dozing, with his head bent forward, chin resting on his chest. His hair looked so fine and soft by the fire's blue light, almost ethereal, and his long eyelashes and sharp facial features made him look nearly girl-pretty. He'd be handsome if he wasn't so annoying while awake, she thought.
Then she must have dozed off herself, for she next woke to the thumping of old cupboard doors and the boy's annoyed muttering. She also might have been awoken by the gnawing hunger in her stomach.
"What time is it?" She asked.
"What are you doing?"
"Looking for something to eat in the blasted place."
"Good idea," she said, and rose to join him in the search.
It didn't take long to go through the cupboards; this had been a small cabin to begin with, and there wasn't much left of it's original furnishings. There was a little kitchen, the cupboards all bare save a few more animal nests (only one occupied, fortunately, by a family of mice). One wall was taken up by a stone fireplace with an old bottomless cauldron in the hearth. There was a tall, empty cabinet with its doors askew and a toppled chair in front of it. When she tried to set it upright, both of the chair's front legs broke off. There was also a tiny back room with the skeleton of an old metal bed frame and not much else in it. As it was, their search turned up nothing more edible than a handful of acorns which a squirrell had stashed in a pot in one of the cupboards.
"Well, can you conjure something?" She asked, once they'd both given up and returned to sit by the fire. She'd found a moldy old, moth-eaten blanket in a closet in the back room, and now sat with it wrapped around her shoulders. She'd offered to share it with the boy but he'd declined, indicating that it's smell was more offensive than the cold.
"You can't just conjure food!" he grumbled, his voice muffled from behind his arms wrapped around his knees. He looked cold.
"Oh," she said, and then, in an entirely different tone of voice, "Oh!" She reached into her pocket and pulled out a handful of sweets which she'd noticed earlier, when she'd been looking for her wand.
"We can multiply these though!" She said.
"Yeah," he said, "If you know the spell."
"I do!" And to demonstrate her knowledge, she waved her wand and with a few words there were suddenly twice as many colorfully wrapped candies in her hand. She offered her hand out to him. "I mean, I know it isn't real food, but at least it's something, right? Do you have anything edible in your pockets?"
Unfortunately he didn't, other than the stash of nuts he'd found during their earlier search. But a thorough investigation of the contents of his pockets did turn up something else of interest. In his pocket he found a crumpled note addressed to "Draco," which he figured must be him.
"That's my name!" He said to her, "It's got to be! What about you; you should see if you've got anything with your name on it."
But she wasn't quite so lucky. All she found was a handkerchief with an embroidered "G" in one of her pockets. They then toyed with the possibility of her name being Gail, Gladys, or Grace while they popped candies in their mouths, but none of those names sounded quite right to her. Nothing at all sounded right it seemed, and she quickly got frustrated with guessing.
"Fine then, keep going by 'girl' and 'hey you'! It doesn't matter to me," Draco said, equally frustrated. She glared at him but didn't reply, then looked away, sucking spitefully on a hard candy. Her headache was back.
"What about a nickname, just for now?" He suddenly said.
"Oh God!" She groaned; She could just guess the kind of unflattering nicknames he might come up with. But he surprised her.
"Hear me out! I mean, I know it's not likely to be your real name, but it starts with a 'g' and I think it might suit you. What would you think of being called Ginger? Just temporarily, I mean."
"I guess it's better than 'girl' or 'hey you'," she said. It was also better than Georgina, Griselda, or a few of the other unfortunate 'g' names she'd been thinking of. "Okay, why not. Ginger."
"Good," he said. "It's nice to meet you, Ginger."
"Nice to meet you too, Draco."
They smiled at each other across the fire. But eventually hunger got the better of them again.
"Maybe those mice you found..." Draco started to say, and trailed off.
"Oh, gross! I'm not that hungry yet," she said, but then her stomach growled loudly. "Although... do you think there're rabbits around here."
"I don't know. Why? What do you have in mind?"
In the end, Ginger stepped outside, cast a summoning charm for a rabbit, and skinned it. Draco couldn't watch, so she had him fill a pot with water using the aquamenti spell and set it to boiling above his little fire. Then they boiled the rabbit and had a thin soup for late-lunch/early-supper. They were so hungry, that even Draco, who said it was the worst soup he'd ever had (as if he had a frame of reference at the moment), ate it all.
They were exhausted, and went to bed shortly after that. Ginny cast an engorgement charm on the moldy blanket, and after a couple of scourgifies she convinced Draco to share it with her. As soon as they were huddled up underneath the still-moldy smelling blanket, they were both promptly asleep.
* * * * *
It could have been the whimpering that woke her, but more likely it was the sharp kick to the knee that did it. She sat up, still groggy, and tried to orient herself. She was in some sort of shack, and it was dark, save for the flickering whitish-blue light cast by a merrily dancing little flame nearby. There was a boy she didn’t recognize beside her who was tossing in his sleep.
After a moment of alarmed confusion, the memories of yesterday’s events returned to her in bits and pieces. The boy next to her was Draco--or so they assumed his name was--and he seemed to be stuck in some nightmare. She called his name, and reached out to him. As soon as her hand touched him, he let out a gasp and woke with a start.
“Hogwarts!” He said.
“You were having a nightmare…”
“Hogwarts,” he said, settling down, rubbing at his forehead. “Something bad…”
“Hogwarts… School of Witchcraft and Wizardry? Was that what you were dreaming about?”
“Don’t remember,” he said groggily, “but something really bad has happened… maybe will happen…”
“Like a premonition, you mean? I don’t know, it was probably just a nightmare.”
“No! It happened, or ‘s gonna… such an awful feeling… gotta, Hogwarts...”
Then, after naming the school clearly one more time, he mumbled a bit and was back asleep. She lay awake a moment, to see if he would go back to thrashing, but he only mumbled a bit and turned onto his side. Soon she drifted back to sleep herself.
* * * * *
After waking up the next morning, they broke their fast on Draco's squirrel-hoard of nuts and some stringy carrots they'd found growing in the remnants of a garden out back. Then, it was time to make a decision. Should they stay another day and wait for help, or would they be better off striking out and looking for someone?
There were several problems with the second option. Primarily, they didn't know where they were nor where to head to find assistance. If they struck out randomly they might well end up in a worse situation than they were now. But, they had no idea who, if anyone, might be looking for them. Likely, they had been in some kind of magical accident--that sort of thing was fairly common after all--but something about that theory didn't sit right with Ginny. As for Draco, after his formless nightmare the night before, Draco was determined that they should move out, and he knew just where he wanted to go.
"I mean it makes sense. Neither of us can be more than sixteen or seventeen; we've got to be students, or at least former students. Hogwarts is a school--I don't remember it, but I know that. It makes sense to head there. That's probably where we belong, and even if it isn't, I'm sure there'll be somebody who can help us there. Right?"
"I guess it's as good a destination as any. You're probably right; we must be students somewhere. But even so, how are we going to find Hogwarts? I haven't the faintest idea where we are, or what direction we're to go in. And even if we knew which way to go, how would we get there? Walking? I'm pretty sure I don't know how to apparate, and even if I did, I'd probably splinch myself in this condition. We don't have brooms, nor fare for the bus--"
"The bus! Why didn't I think of that!" Draco said. He was so excited that he stood up and grabbed his wand. Afraid that he would try to summon it right then and there, Ginger jumped after him and grabbed his wand arm.
"Didn't you hear me, I said we don't have money to pay the fare!"
"Nonsense! The bus is for stranded wizards in situations just like this. I'm sure they'd understand--we could go to Hogwarts or a hospital, and once we've got our memories sorted out we'd repay the fare then! I'm certain I'm good for it."
"I suppose..." Ginger said, but for some reason the whole idea made her uneasy. She'd have preferred walking, impossible as that was. But she could tell that there'd be no stopping Draco now that he'd gotten hold of this idea. And really, she didn't know of any reason why it shouldn't work.
"Come on, what could go wrong? This is it, this is our ticket to getting home, to finding out who we are!"
He was looking at her with such bright intensity, his grey eyes shining, he seemed to be imploring her to agree. If I said no, she thought, he might actually listen to me. But he was so clearly excited, more excited than she'd yet seen him, and he did have a point. This might be their chance to get some answers.
"Alright," she said, "lets do it."
"This'll work," he said, and reversed their grip so that he was squeezing her arms. He fairly burst with excitement. "Brilliant idea, Ginger!" Then, giving her arms a final squeeze , he turned and fairly skipped out the door.
"Oh no! Don't credit me," she said, following him outside. "I may have thought of the bus, but this wasn't my idea. If this blows up in our faces, I want to be the one to say 'I told you so.'"
"Deal! And when this works, I'll be the one to say 'see, I told you so.' Now, who does the honours?"
"Your idea, you do it."
"Um, right," he said, and seemed to lose some of the wind from his sails. She waited a moment, and he fidgeted somewhat with his wand, looking around.
"Oh, don't tell me! You've forgotten how to summon the Knight Bus, haven't you?"
"Yes!" He said, relieved. "Would you mind?"
"Not a problem," she said, and stuck out her wand hand. If it seemed a little odd to her that he'd forgotten how to call the bus when she had no problem remembering, she didn't say anything about it.
With a loud bang that startled them both, the Knight Bus appeared. It was an improbably tall, hideously purple monstrosity that lurched to a halt in front of them in a spray of pebbles. The door snapped back with a hiss, and a young, man with a pock marked face stepped out.
“Welcome to the Knight Bus,” he said, “emergency transport for the stranded witch or wizard. My name is Stan Shunpike and I will be your conductor this evening. How may I be of assistance?”
The conductor finished his little speech, seemed to look at his potential passengers for the first time, and started grinning at Ginger, puffing his thin chest out. She cleared her throat little self-consciously. "Um, actually, we've had a bit of an accident. We've somehow gotten ourselves stranded out here, and we need to get to Hogwarts, but I'm afraid we haven’t got any money on us at the moment."
"I'm sorry, miss. No money, no ride." Stan said, his grin fell away and he started to turn away.
"Now wait just a minute, Stan," the driver piped up. "You say you kids are from Hogwarts? How'd you get way out here, isn't it the middle of term?"
"Well--" Ginger started and was interrupted by Draco.
"We were practicing apparating and had a little accident. Somehow we wound up here, We were really lucky we didn't get splinched. As you might guess, we're not so keen on repeating the experience, but if we don't get back soon we're going to be in more trouble than we already are. Can't we come to some sort of arrangement?"
"Apparratin'?" Said the conductor, with a dubious expression,l. "Ain't choo a little young for that?"
"Ah come on, Stan. Lighten up. Weren't that long ago you was that young," Said the driver. "A'right kids, we'll give you a ride to Hogsmeade. That's 's far as we go. Gettin’ back onto school grounds'll be up to you."
"Thank you so much!" Ginny said, as she climbed onto the bus ahead of Draco. "We'll make up the fare as soon as possible. I promise!"
The inside of the Knight bus was lined with two rows of squishy arm chairs. There were several passengers on this floor of the bus already. One of then, a cross-looking, middle-aged witch in yellow robes demanded to know what the hold up was as the two teens were getting on. Ginger murmured an apology and went to settle into the first armchair with an empty seat adjoining it, when Draco grabbed her arm.
"Let's try the second level," he suggested
She didn't want to cause any more of a delay than necessary, but that witch in the yellow dress was still giving them the stink-eye, so Ginger decided not to argue. She let Draco lead her to where a wooden spiral staircase led to the second level of the bus. The second level turned out to be much like the first, only much less crowded. There were only two occupants up here. A wizard in a bright blue tophat sat near the staircase reading the Quibbler, and in the front ot the bus a balding wizard was drinking tea. Draco and Ginger sat next to each other midway between the two, and not a moment too soon. just as they took their seats the bus took off with a lurch that made the chairs lurch half a meter along the floor.
"This is rather exciting," Draco confided to her. "I don't think I've ever been on here before."
She bit back a snide inquiry into how he could tell, given their condition. He had a look of genuine wonder on his face, and something about the expression seemed to light up his features. His cool grey eyes glittered and there was a little bit of colour in his normally pale cheeks. It made him look innocent and charming. She smiled at him.
"I'm glad to see your enjoying yourself," she said. "To tell the truth, I don't know whether I've been on here before either."
"You must have, you knew how to summon it."
"I think someone taught me that..."
"Someone? Are you starting to remember?"
"No. Nothing more than before, I think. It's just a feeling I have..."
"Oh," he said, looking a little disappointed, "Too bad."
They lapsed into silence then, Draco staring with interest out the window as the bus jumped through different scenery. After a while the bus stopped and Stan, the conductor, stuck his head up the stairwell and announced their destination. The man in the blue top hat shoved the Quibble he'd been reading into his robes as he stood up and then went down the stairs, leaving them alone on this floor with the black-clad wizard.
Ginger glanced over at the other remaining passenger as the bus took off again with another lurch, and noticed with a start that he was staring at them. His eyes were large and red-rimmed underneath bushy, grey eyebrows. His lip twitched as she watched him, but he didn't look away, forcing her to break eye contact first.
"Draco," she murmured, leaning over towards her companion, "That man is staring at us."
"What?" He said, glancing at her and then looking around at the other passenger. His eyes narrowed a little and he gave the stranger a brief glare and then looked back out the window.
"Just ignore him," he said quietly. "He's probably just some sort of creep. I'm sure he won't bother either of us as long as it's clear we're here together."
"I'm sure you're right," she said with more confidence than she felt. "I hope we get to Hogsmeade soon, though."
She kept an eye on the stranger out of the corner of her eye, occasionally glancing at Draco. After more time than she was comfortable, the bald wizard finally looked away, allowing her to relax marginally. The whole thing had made her unreasonably nervous, and she found herself wishing that the wizard in the top hat had left his copy of the Quibbler when he departed so she could have had something to distract herself with.
After a few more stops, Stan finally came up the stairs again and called not for them, but for the other wizard.
"Mr. Blande," he said, "Your stop."
"Ah, Mr Shunpike," he said, in a surprisingly nasally voice, "Could you help me with my bag?"
Stan came the rest of the way onto their level and approached the black-clad, balcony wizard. Mr. Blande only had the one bag, but he seemed to be busy fussing with something in his pocket. Blande murmured his thanks, and the two shuffled down the aisle. As they were passing between Ginger and Draco, the balding wizard seemed to trip, and grabbed onto Draco's arm to steady himself. Stan was suddenly in front of Ginger with his wand clenched in his free hand pointed at her, his acne scarred face blank of emotion.
"Give me you wands," demanded the stranger, mr. Blande. Like the conductor, he had his wand out and was jamming it into Draco's side. "Now, or you're both dead!"
Ginger, thinking fast, reached into the pocket where her wand was. Stan didn't seem to be paying very close attention, maybe she could... But even as she was thinking that, Draco pulled out his wand, a spell ready on his lips, when the stranger froze him in his seat with a full body binding jinx. Stan's hand, fast as a striking snake, clamped onto her wrist with bruising force. The bag he'd been holding fell to the floor with a thump.
"Bad idea. This is a warning, next time's the real thing!" The wizard said, prying Draco's wand out of his stiff fingers. "Crucio!"
Draco, still frozen, tremorred in his chair, his face first losing all colour then becoming blotchy. Before Ginger could do more then draw in a breath, ready to scream, it stopped.
Stan pulled her hand from her pocket, released her wrist, and plucked her wand from fingers gone suddenly numb. His face was still eerily impassive as he handed the wand to Mr. Blande, then picked up the dropped bag. His wand remained leveled on her the whole time.
"Now I'm going to release you from the bind," Blande said, as he pocketed their wands. "You're both going to get up, and you're not going to scream or try anything else. In fact you're not going to say a single word, got it? We're going to go downstairs and get off this bus. Remember, not a single word, or I'll curse you both dead, and everyone else on this bus too!"
Blande grabbed Draco's upper arm and dug his wand into the blond's side. Only then did he release the body bind. Daco sagged in his chair, supported by Blande's grip, and shuddered.
"Get up!" Blande ordered. "Both of you."
At the same time, Stan jabbed his wand at her and purple sparks shot out, stinging her where they landed on her skin. She stood up with a small yelp.
"Stop-!" Draco cut off with a grunt as Mr. Blande jabbed him again with his wand and levered him out of his chair with surprising strength.
"Not a word! You'll come down the stairs with me and Stan here, and say not one word to no one. Got it?"
Draco nodded with a wince, Ginger following suit.
"Good," he said and began leading Draco down the stairs. Stan jerked his head after them, and Ginger followed, with Stan behind her and his wand pointed at her back.
"Ah, kids," Erni called out as they came onto the first level and headed towards the exit, "Are you gettin’ off here?"
"Oh, we had some good fortune upstairs, bumping into each other," said Mr Blande, his nasally voice sounding jovial. "This is my nephew and his friend. Didn't expect to see them on the bus today; they're supposed to be at Hogwarts after all! The little scamps sneaked out it seems. His mum would be real cross if she knew, so it's a good thing they ran into me and not her. I'm taking them out to lunch to get the full tale of it from them, then I'll send 'em back to Hogsmeade by floo."
"Well that is a lucky break," Erni said, "You gonna pay their fare for 'em too?"
"What? I guess you forgot to mention that upstairs," he said to Draco with a smile that looked like a grimace to Ginger's eye. Draco shrugged. "Nevermind, of course I'll pay for my nephew and his friend. How much do I owe you?"
Mr. Blande handed the money over with more supposed good cheer, then clamped his hand heartily on Draco shoulder.
"Get the bag, would you, sport."
Stan held the bag out to Draco. The hand on his shoulder tightened painfully till he reached out and took the bag.
"Alright, we'd better hurry now if we're to get lunch and get you back to Hogwarts on time. Don't want to be late!"
They exited the bus, Draco first, with Mr Blande frog-marching him along, and Ginny left to follow behind with Stan's vaguely focused eyes on her back till the bus doors slid shut behind her. The bus popped away, and with it's departure Ginger had a giddy moment of realization. The odds had just shifted in her favor.
Mr. Blande had his back to her, and his attention was on Draco, who had started giving a token resistance by way of sagging his weight, and forcing Blande to adjust his grip so he was leveraging him up. Blande's bag made a clunk against the pavement as it slipped from Draco's slackened grasp. Blande then jabbed his wand into Draco's side with a muttered curse, causing him to yelp in pain.
"Pick it up!" He hissed.
Ginger scampered to obey, snatched the bag off the ground, then, turning as if to retreat, she lifted it up high and swung around in a circle, bringing the bag down hard on Blande’s head as she completed her pirouette. He grunted and lost his grip on Draco, who stumbled away. Ginger, following up her attack, grappled with Blande till she was facing him, then gave him a good hard knee to the groin. He collapsed to the ground, wheezing, and she kicked him right in the face. His head whipped back with the force of it, nose making a sickening crunch, and he stopped moving.
"Holy shit, Ginger!" Draco said, gaping at her as he staggered to the side.
She tossed her red hair back from her face. Her cheeks were flushed, and her eyes glittered dangerously. She glanced at Draco then looked back at their would-be captor. Seeing his chest rise and fall, making a wet sputtering sound as air escaped through his smashed nose, Ginger drew back her foot and gave him one more good kick, this time to the ribs. Then, she crouched over Blande and started searching through his pockets for their wands.
"Holy shit," Draco repeated, in a tone of bewildered admiration.
"Well don't just stand there," she said, pulling out her and Draco's wands. She tossed him his, which he caught with minimal fumbling, and used her own to cast stupify on the already somnolent man. "See if he has anything useful in his bag."
Without really questioning her direction, Draco found himself obeying her. If he'd had to describe her just then, the only word he could have used was "wild." Or maybe "beautiful." He hadn't been expecting rescue. If anything, he'd been desperately trying to think of a way to get them out of the situation himself. The sudden change in circumstances was giving him vertigo.
"Draco, come look at this."
Again, he found himself yielding to her instruction, as he came to see what had caught her attention. Ginger had lifted up the man's sleeve on his left arm, revealing a dark tattoo of a skull with a snake protruding from its mouth.
"The dark mark." She said.
"I don't understand. Why would a death eater want to capture us? That doesn't make any sense."
"Doesn't it? Kidnapping, torture, murder; that's what Death eaters do."
"But it doesn't make any sense. We're just a couple of Hogwarts students."
"For all we know. Anyway, weren't you the one who had the premonition of something bad happening at Hogwarts? Maybe this is related. Did you find any clues in that bag?"
"No," he said, "nothing."
They debated then whether or not to summon the aurors. Ultimately they decided against it; after all, look at what happened when they did even so ordinary a thing as taking the Knight Bus. But that still left them stranded they didn't know where, and with no means of getting to anyplace familiar, wherever that might be.
They’d begun to wander, just for something to do, and Ginger had started up a debate, arguing that they should try and use some muggle device to seek help, since they appeared to be lost in some muggle city. She didn’t honestly think it would accomplish anything, but as the adrenalin from earlier wore off she found herself desperate to do something, even if it meant babbling. Then suddenly Draco interrupted her.
“Wait a minute,” he said, stopping in his tracks. “I think I recognize this place.”
“You do?” she asked, taken aback by the abrupt declaration.
“Yes! I’ve been here before!” he said, getting excited. He began walking again, picking up speed quickly, and she had to hurry to keep up. “This is… I think--yes, we must be in London! There’s a back entrance to Diagon Alley around here!”
“A back entrance? There’s no such thing! The only entrance is through the Leaky Cauldron.”
“You’re wrong. This way, I’ll show you!”
He led her to a seedy-looking establishment. It was a small building, squeezed between its neighbors, with a faded, cracked sign that read "corner shop". She followed him inside with no little misgivings. Inside was not as cramped as she was expecting, but it was just as dusty and grimy as the exterior had led her to believe it would be. Draco led her to the counter, past shelves lined with dusty candles, soaps, and various other sundries. At the counter was a tall, thickset witch with a mole between her eyebrows who was smoking a pipe.
"What do ye want?" She asked in a surprisingly deep voice.
"We'd like to use the loo," Draco said with authority. Actually, that didn't sound like a bad idea; Ginger hadn't had a chance to relieve herself since they're left the hut this morning, but it did seem like a bit of an odd moment to bring it up.
"That'll be six sickles," the woman at the counter said.
"What!?" Ginger protested, but Draco shushed her, and then drew six silver coins out of his pocket.
That silenced her more than his shushing did. Where did he get that money? The woman at the counter took the coins and handed over a key with a bit of wood attached by a knotted hemp cord. Draco took the key and began leading Ginger down a dimly lit hallway beside the counter.
"Where did you get that money?" She hissed at him.
"I got it from Blake's bag. You had me go through it, remember?"
"I thought you didn't find anything!"
"I didn't. Nothing important anyways."
They'd reached a door with a moon and star symbol on it, and Draco stopped and inserted the key in the lock. He opened the door and entered, so Ginger stopped, but he gestured impatiently for her to follow. Baffled, she complied.
Inside, it appeared to be a typical, if a little dirty, loo, with a sink, a urinal, and a stall. Draco shut the door behind him, then turned what to her looked like a deadbolt lock. Next he opened the door again, and she followed him out, still confused. What had been the point of all that?
They returned down the short hallway, and Draco turned and dropped the key back on the counter. That's when Ginny realized that they were no longer in the same store. Though the dusty merchandise on the shelves appeared much the same, the person at the counter was not the same woman who had been there when they entered the store. Instead, a stout bald man with a tattoo of a bat on the side of his scalp was manning the counter. He took the key with barely a glance at the two of them and put it somewhere out of sight under the counter.
Another noticeable change was that this shop had other customers in it. There was a man leafing through some magazines who looked up as they walked past. Catching Ginger's gaze, he did a double take.
"Ginny?" The stranger said.
Ginger stopped and stared at the man. He was short, and a little bedraggled, with straggly ginger hair. She didn't recognize him at all, but it seemed he recognized her.
"You recognize me?" She asked.
"Of course I recognize you," he said, glancing uneasily around. "But what are you doing here? Does your mother know you're here Ginny?"
"Hey," said Draco, "Hey, do you know who I am?"
The man gave Draco a funny look and opened his mouth, then, his eyes shifted a little and went suddenly wide.
"Who're you friends here, Mundungus?" A new stranger had walked up behind Draco. He was tall and heavily muscled, with a short, thick neck and long arms. He grabbed a magazine off the shelf, glanced at it then tossed it on the floor, and leered at the short guy who knew Ginger. "Aren't you going to introduce us?"
"A-ah, that's okay, They were just leaving. In fact, so was I!"
"Leaving so soon? Don't tell me this is about that money you owe me? What, didn't want your nice young friends to know about what a cheap bastard you are?"
"No! I-I've got your money! Actually, I-I was meaning to come find you--!"
"Too late, Dung," the new stranger said, fake-friendly veneer vanishing. "The due date came and went. You'll still pay me, but first I'll--"
Suddenly, Mundungus darted to the side, making a break for it. Instantly, the big guy had his wand out and started blasting curses. Mundungus darted behind a shelf and started firing back. Draco grabbed Ginger by the arm and pulled her down and away. They started running as more customers joined in the firefight, and curses began flying every which way through the shop. As the made the door, a glass jar of pickled somethings exploded on a shelf next to Ginger's head.
Draco ran into the door, slamming it open, and kept running onto the street. He nearly bumped into a witch in orange-brown robes, and had to release Ginger's arm to keep his balance.
“Don’t stop," he said, slowing down to a fast walk. "Keep your head down.”
“Wasn’t planning on stopping,” she hissed, under her breath. She glanced over her shoulder, and to the sides, trying to spot if they were being pursued.
“Stop looking around so obviously, you look like a mark.”
She glared at him. “Just shut up and get us out of here, already.”
“I’m trying,” he said he looked pale. Suddenly, Ginger/Ginny wondered if he had remembered something. Or maybe he just knew more than he was telling her. Now wasn’t the time to grill him about it, but just as soon as they were somewhere safer she’d get him to tell her what he knew.
They hurried, heads down, along the lane.
“Slow down a bit,” Ginny said, and grabbed Draco’s arm. She tucked her elbow around his. He glanced down at her--he was just a few inches taller than her--and raised an eyebrow. “you don’t want to look suspicious. Nobody else is sprinting down the street.”
Indeed, no one else was running down the street, but everyone did seem to be moving quickly. In fact, people on this street were all noticeably avoiding eye-contact, and seemed very intent on minding their own business. There was a nervous air to the street, although maybe that was just Ginny’s imagination, after the firefight in the shop. Then suddenly she realized what was wrong.
"Draco!" She hissed, "This isn't Diagon Alley; it's Knockturn Alley!"
Indeed, all one had to do was look at the shops lining the narrow thoroughfare, and it was obvious that this part of town had a distinctly nastier bent than Diagon Alley did.
“Diagon Alley, Knockter Alley, what’s the difference?”
“What’s the difference? Draco, we could be killed here--we almost were!”
“Well look, we’re out of it now,” he said, and indeed, they had just made the turn onto Diagon Alley, although to tell the truth things didn’t look much better here.
There weren’t many people about, and those that were out kept their heads down and walked briskly about their business. The shops were dark in the gloomy mid-morning light, and there were even a few boarded up . It felt wrong, like she’d been expecting a much busier, happier place.
“Where should we go now?” She asked.
“I don’t know, I thought you had a plan.”
“You’re the one who led us here!” she said, “Wait, that’s the Leaky Cauldron.”
“You remember it?”
“There’s a sign. Hey, do have any more money?”
“A little. Why, what were you thinking?”
They headed into the Leaky Cauldron for lunch. They entered and sat down at an out of the way table in the back. Then the barkeep came over to take their order.
“You two look like Hogwarts students,” he commented, peering at them suspiciously.
Draco and Ginny traded glances. “Actually,” she said, “we are, but we got a little lost--we had an apparating accident.”
“You don’t happen to have any recommendation for getting back do you?”
“Well, easiest thing to do would be to floo to the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade and then walk to the school from there. Here, let me take your orders and then we’ll see about getting you two back to school once you’ve had lunch.”
They ordered lunch, which arrived quick as a whistle, and then discussed their options as they ate.
“I can’t believe it’s only noon,” Ginny said, between spoonfuls of chowder. “It seems like too much time has passed for it to be only noon!”
“Mm,” Draco made a noise of agreement, busy spooning up his own soup, “It does. But what of this Tom fellow, do you suppose he’s trustworthy?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, we don’t know him, do we? And we haven’t been having much luck with strangers today.” he leaned in close to whisper to her, “What if he’s another Death Eater?”
Ginny hadn’t thought about that. As they were finishing up their meal, Tom, the barkeep, came over to take their plates.
“I sent out an owl to the Headmaster, to let him know that the two of you would be going to the Three Broomsticks. Things have been a little dangerous lately, I think he might want to send someone to pick you up. Why don’t you two wait here awhile for a reply. If you’d like, I can let you use a back room to rest while you wait. Looks like you two could use a good rest.”
“Um, no, that’s all right,” said Ginny, “We’ll just wait out here. How much do we owe you for lunch?”
Draco pulled out the necessary coins from his pocket and paid for them. Once Tom had left them to themselves again, Draco leaned over.
“See? He may have sent out a letter, but to whom?”
“I don’t know, he could be telling the truth,” she said noncommittally, “But then, we have had some rather bad luck today.”
“I don’t know about you, but I don’t think it’s such a good idea to wait around and find out whether he’s honest or not. If he contacted someone other than the Hogwarts Headmaster, we could be in for a real nasty surprise.”
“It is a little suspicious that he wants us to wait… what did you think we should do?”
“Well, it looks like there’s a pot of floo powder over there by the fire. What’s to stop us from just flooing to the Three Broomsticks now?”
“Nothing, I suppose,” said Ginny, looking where he indicated. There was indeed a small green-glazed pot sitting on the mantlepiece.
With a glance around the pub to see that no one was paying them any attention, and that Tom was momentarily out of sight, the two got up and headed to the fireplace. Draco went first, grabbing a pinch of floo powder, tossing it in a calling out his destination. Ginny followed suit as soon as he’d disappeared from view.
She shut her eyes and held her breath, while the green flames rose around her and various fire grates rushed past. When the world around her finally seemed to have stopped spinning, she opened her eyes and stepped out into a brightly lit pub, very different from the one she’d just left. It was cleaner, and much more cheerful, and there was Draco, standing to the side, brushing himself off as best he could.
“Here,” she said, walking over to him, “let me help.”
“Thank you,” he said as she began to help knock the soot off his clothes. when she was satisfied he offered to help her as well, brushing off her back while she got her front. Fortunately they were both wearing black, so any stains didn’t show up too badly. Not that either of them was looking at their best right now, after two days without a shower.
Once clean to their satisfaction, Ginny cast a quick vanishing charm on the soot and ashes they’d tracked out of the fireplace, and they were ready to go. Fortunately there hadn’t been many people about at the pub, and they felt confident that they were unobserved as they left.
Outside of the Three Broomsticks was a quaint little village. The streets here were even less busy that Diagon Alley had been, in fact they were just about the only two out at the moment. They didn’t want to press their luck, so they hurried down the street toward the village's edge where a well worn path began.
They headed down the path without a second thought. It led into a dense forest that blocked the light, leaving them walking in gloom despite the day’s hour, which did little to lighten their mood. Once they were a sufficient ways from the village they did, however, begin to relax marginally.
"I'm sick of being attacked and not knowing who to trust!” Ginny eventually said, breaking the silence. “I mean, we were in two entirely unrelated firefights in the span of an hour; what are the odds? Now we daren’t trust anyone least we get more of the same. Does one of us have 'helpless victim' tattooed on their forehead or something?" She gestured angrily towards her forehead.
"No," Draco said, squinting at her, "but you do have something on your nose."
"I do?" Her hand automatically reached to touch her nose.
"Yeah," he said, leaning towards her, as if to get a better look. "Looks like some flecks of dirt, or... oh nevermind, it's just some freckles." His eyes were crinkled with humor as he leaned back out of her space.
"You're a jerk, you know that," she said, whacking him in the shoulder.
"Yes, I'm a jerk, whoever I am. And you, whoever you are, are someone who enjoys pointing out people's flaws."
"Oh, stop it."
"And you're pig-headed, and stubborn, and you have a rather nasty violent streak."
"Seriously," she said, "you do not want me to start listing your flaws!"
"I never said those were flaws."
"Oh," she said, blushing a little, "well, thanks, I guess."
"Never said they weren't, either."
"Jerk!" She said, flicking out her hand to swat at him again, but this time he skipped out of reach. He was smirking, and she found her lips twitching up in response. "you've got a terrible sense of humor, did you know that?"
"Well took your mind off things didn't it?"
"Oh, is that what you were trying to do? And here I thought you were just trying to pick a fight."
"No, if I were trying to start a fight I'd--"
"Enough, I get it! You're a funny guy. I'm just worried that when we get to Hogwarts it will be more of the same of what this morning was like. What if we don't find help here? What if we don't get our memories back?"
"Well, we'll still have eachother. To tell the truth, I can't think of anyone I'd rather be stuck in this situation with than you."
"Oh that's high praise, that is! only, tell me, can you think of anyone other than me who hasn't tried to hex you since the start of this mess, what was it, yesterday morning?"
"Well there was Ernie, but he kind of let us get kidnapped, then there was Tom, and you're a sight prettier than him, and... Now that you mention it, the world has been a little short on non-hostile people recently."
"Gee, thanks. Good to know you hold me in higher regard than a man who let someone nab us on his watch, and another who may or may not have been betraying us," she said, her voice laced with sarcasm.
"Oh come on now, aren't you going to admit how glad you are to be accompanied by my scintillating conversation and first class sense of humor?"
"Oh, I'm sorry, were you fishing for a compliment there?" She said, giving him her best wide-eyed look of faux-innocence.
"Hey," he said, in a suddenly less flippant tone of voice, "when this is all over and we get our memories sorted out, we should do something together."
"Why Draco Malfoy, are you asking me out on a date?"
It took her a few moments to realize that Draco was no longer walking beside her. When she finally noticed, she stopped and turned to see what he'd stopped for. He was standing frozen in the middle of the path, staring at her with odd crinkled between his brows and his mouth agape.
"what?" She asked.
"You just said 'Draco Malfoy'."
"So, that's your name?"
"So..." he said, with a funny sort of drawl, "You remember my name."
"Oh," she said, and then "Oh! You're right! I remembered your name!" She was so excited that she started bouncing on her heels.
"Is that it," he asked, taking a step toward her. "Do you remember anything else?"
"I don't know, I didn't even realize I had remembered your name! Do you know what this means?" She asked, grabbing him by the arms, still bouncing a little.
"It means we're actually going to get our memories back!" She said, before he could answer. Then she spun him around in a circle, and squeezed him close before releasing him to jump around some more. Both of them were grinning like fools. "We're going to get our memories back!"
"Do you realize what else this means?" Draco said once she'd finally stopped jumping around. "Think about it; you know my name. That must mean that we knew each other."
"Well, we did end up in that field together somehow. It only makes sense that we would know each other, right? Plus, if we're Hogwarts students, then we go to school together. Of course we must know each other."
"Yes, but this proves it! And I'm positive that we are Hogwarts students."
"Do you remember," she asked, looking like she might grab him again.
"Nothing specific, but don't you feel how familiar this place is? I just know I've been here before. It's like it's just out of reach!"
"Do you think that's why I remembered your name? Because we're back in familiar settings?"
"Who knows? It could be. Maybe when we get to the castle more will come back to us!"
As they resumed their journey, the nagging feeling of familiarity grew within Draco. When they finally turned a bend in the trail and emerged from the woods to walk along the edge of a lake, where they got their first good view of the castle, Draco was unsurprised to find that he recognised the shape of the castle. With the recognition also came a wave of mixed emotions: excitement, nostalgia, home-sickness, and a small worm of nervous fear that wriggled through his gut.
Ginny laughed and smiled at him, her brown eyes sparkling in the afternoon light. Draco returned the smile, but his eyes betrayed his unease. She sobered in response, and grabbed his hand, giving it a squeeze. They walked the rest of the way to the castle hand-in-hand.
When they reached the double-doored entrance to the castle it was closed. Ginny stepped forward, releasing Draco's hand, the palm of which had grown sweaty, and with a glance back to her companion, she knocked on the doors.
At first nothing happened. Ginny was considering opening a door and just walking in, when it opened by itself to reveal a tall, sallow-looking man, with dark hair framing a face set in a scowl.
"You!" Ginny exclaimed in recognition. She knew this man, his name was on the tip of her tongue...
"You two!" He said, seemingly in as great a shock, or greater than Ginny. His shock only lasted a moment though, and then his stunned expression morphed into one of restrained fury. "Do either of you have any idea of what you've put your parents and this staff through in the last forty-eight hours?"
He reached out as if to grab Ginny by the arm, but froze as Draco leveled his wand at him. "Don't," Draco said.
"Do not," the man said, enunciating clearly, "presume to point your wand at me, Mr. Malfoy."
"You'll forgive me if I don't allow you to complete that motion. It has been a trying day for us, and I don't know what your motives are." Draco feared for a moment that he'd miscalculated, as the man's dark eyes glittered with some unknowable emotion. But then the man straightened, his face neutral, even as his eyes betrayed him.
"Very well," he said. "You are to accompany me to the headmaster's office immediately. If," he sneered, "that is alright with you, Mister Malfoy."
Draco hesitated. For some reason, he did not trust this man, but he also felt that they were finally close to some answers.
"After you," he said, putting his wand away in its holster. He felt like he was taking a dangerous risk here, but what choice did he have?
The man's jaw visibly clenched, perhaps biting back snide words or reigning in his temper, and turned on his heel. His robes billowed out behind him as he led the way without a glance back to see if they followed. Ginny leaned in close to Draco as they entered the castle.
"That man's a professor!" She whispered.
"I know," he replied at the same volume.
"If you knew, what were you thinking? You drew your wand on a professor!" He didn't answer her. Instead they walked the rest of the way in near silence. At one point as they were ascending a staircase, one of several, Ginny let out a cry.
"Snape!" She said. The professor they were following looked back at her with a raised brow. Draco was looking at her too. "Sorry," she muttered, her face going red with embarrassment. She gestured that they should continue.
Eventually, after several staircases and long stone corridors, they arrived at an alcove with a stone gargoyle. Professor Snape murmured the password, and the gargoyle leapt aside to reveal a narrow, twisting staircase. As they stepped onto the stairs, the steps began to move upwards on their own, carrying the three up with them. The stairs stopped at the top in front of a door. Snape knocked once and then entered before waiting for permission.
"Severus!" A voice from within the office began, "I've just had word--" He cut off as Draco and Ginny entered behind the professor. The man sitting at the wooden desk with a letter in one hand had half-moon spectacles, a long white beard, and lime green robes trimmed in yellow. His eyebrows arched in surprise.
"Ah, well, it seems my news is a little out of date," he said with a smile as he set down the paper he'd been holding and folded his hands. "Miss Weasley, Mister Malfoy, what a relief it is to see the two of you in my office and in one piece. Please, have a seat. Severus, would you fetch Madam Pomfrey for us?"
"Sir," Ginny began, sitting, "Am I correct that you're the headmaster?"
"Indeed," he said, his eyebrows up again. "Does this mean that you've suffered some sort of memory loss?" Ginny nodded. "And you as well, Mister Malfoy?" Draco, still standing, begrudgingly nodded as well.
"I see," the Headmaster continued, "Well, in that case, let me introduce myself. My name is Albus Dumbledore. As you have surmised, I am headmaster of Hogwarts, School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The man who just left was the potions master here, Prof--"
"Professor Snape!" Ginny said.
"Correct. So you do have some memory then?"
"Some," Ginny admitted. Draco was content to let her do the talking. "I've just started getting some of it back. There are still a lot of gaps though."
"Tell me, what do you remember of what happened two nights ago?" Dumbledore
asked, steepling his fingers and leaning forward to rest his elbows on his desk.
"Nothing, I'm afraid. I woke up in a field early yesterday morning. Draco was there--though I didn't know that was his name at the time. He had a note on him that was addressed to him, that's how we figured out his name. We spent last night in a hut that was nearby. It was the only trace of human presence that we could find. We thought maybe that that was where we'd come from--I don't know. And then this morning we didn't know what to do, so we summoned the Knight Bus, but that didn't go so well."
"We were attacked," Draco said, contributing to the conversation for the first time. "By a Death Eater."
"Exactly. On the bus. He forced us off at wand point. It must have been someplace in London, because we found a back entrance into Diagon Alley, well, Knockturn Alley to be precise. There was a bit of a scuffle between someone named Mundungus and some shady wizards who may have been Death Eaters as well. We got out of that, fortunately, and found our way to the Leaky Cauldron. By the way, do you know the proprietor, Tom? Is he aboveboard?"
At Dumbledore's nod, Ginny said "I told you so!" And poked Draco in the side.
"Anyway, he gave us a meal and promised us help, but we didn't know if we could trust him or not--I mean, we'd nearly been killed twice already! So we decided to head to Hogwarts on our own. We flooed to the Three Broomsticks and then walked to Hogwarts, and, well, here we are."
"A harrowing adventure, it sounds like. I'm very glad the two of you made it back here safely. Please allow me to fill in some of the gaps for you. You see, this past Friday night, on September thirteenth, Hogwarts was attacked. Seven Death Eaters gained entry to the castle with the help of a student," his eyes swung over to Draco as he said this, and the boy’s pale complexion blanched further.
"The two of you disappeared during the attack. You, Miss Weasley, were last seen somewhere on the seventh floor, while your whereabouts, Mister Malfoy, were unaccounted for during the attack. As you can imagine, we've been quite worried about you both. Once Madam Pomfrey gets here, I would like to contact your parents to let them know you are alright--Ah, speaking of Madam Pomfrey!"
The door to the office had opened again, admitting Professor Snape and a stern-looking matron carrying a medical bag. She headed straight for the two of them and, setting her bag on an end table, began waving her wand over Ginny. Draco tensed up momentarily, but relaxed as the scratch on Ginny’s cheek vanished. Then she tutted, frowned, and turned to wave her wand over Draco as well, making more tutting sounds as she did.
As the matron was making her inspection, Dumbledore stood and went to the fireplace, where he pulled some floo powder from a jar and threw it into the fire. In a moments time, he withdrew his head, and suddenly a plump redheaded woman and then a tall, bespeckled man stepped out of the fireplace. The woman cried out and ran over to Ginny, enveloping her in a hug.
“Ah,” Ginny said, tears springing to her eyes, “mom!”
Then both of them were crying, wrapped in eachothers arms. Draco looked on awkwardly, but then Dumbledore was pulling his head from the fine again, and another woman walked out of the green-tinged flames, this time a dignified-looking blonde. She glanced around, spotted Draco, and the stiff look on her face changed to one of profound relief. She marched over to him, ran her hand over his hair, and began visually inspecting him for harm.
“My baby,” she said, “I was so worried.”
“Mother,” he said, pushing her hand away and glancing at Ginny. He appeared to her to be simultaneously embarrassed and confused. She probably looked no better, and with a blotchier complexion from crying to boot.
The tears had stopped now, and her mother, with one hand still on Ginny’s shoulder, pulled out several handkerchiefs. Passing one to Ginny, she mopped at her eyes with another then loudly blew her nose. Dumbledore, who’d been momentarily forgotten in the rush of family reunion, cleared his throat for attention.
“Well then,” he said, “Now that we’re all here, how about we go over the story one more time, hm?”
“Before that,” Madam Pomfrey said, turning to her medical bag and withdrawing two vials, which she handed one each to Draco and Ginny, “I’d like you two two drink a Pepper-Up potion. Oh for goodness sakes, Mister Malfoy, it's just a Pepper-Up; don't make that face!”
After they’d downed the potions, they began their tale one more time, perhaps a little more coherently, while their parents listened and exclaimed at all of the dangerous points. Eventually, when the tale wound down, Poppy drew her wand, and began casting more diagnostic spells.
“Physically,” she said, “there’s nothing wrong with you two, aside from a little exhaustion and exposure. But you do have some lingering spell damage… I’m fairly certain it’s not Obliviate, which is both good and bad. A poorly performed Obliviate charm can, in rare cases, be irreversible. However, Obliviate is fairly common, and treatment methods are well known and easily applied. Without knowing what spell--or combination of spells--were used, treatment will be more difficult.”
“Since your memories seem to be coming back on their own, it’s possible that further treatment may not be necessary. There’s a friend of mine, an expert on mind-injuries from St Mungos, who I would like to consult. I’ll send an owl out tonight. And I want to have you both spend the night in the infirmary for observation, just to be safe.”
After that things began to wind down. Ginny’s mother and father hugged her one more time before saying their goodbyes. Draco’s mother pressed a kiss to her son’s cheek and whispered to him.
“Always remember that I love you,” she said, “Before anything else, my loyalty is to my family. Before anything else!”
She then nodded stiffly to Snape and Dumbledore before following Ginny’s parents through the floo. Dumbledore then sent a message to Ginny’s head of house, telling her that the two of them had been found.
“I imagine also that your brother will be relieved to hear that you are well,” said Dumbledore to Ginny, “Likely he will wish to visit with you before the night is out. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him stop by before dinner. Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding tonight!”
Finally they were ushered out of the office and led to the infirmary by Madam Pomfrey. She sent for their robes to be fetched from their dormitories so that they could freshen up and change into clean clothes. That done, they were then settled into bed with orders to rest.
Briefly describe what you'd like to receive in your fic: Far from home, Draco and Ginny wake up with no memory of their family background. (So they still remember basic things like the fact that they're wizards etc., just not who they are exactly). They recognize each other but have no idea what relation they are to each other
The tone/mood of the fic: Up to the writer, though I do love humor mixed in with some gravity
An element/line of dialogue/object you would specifically like in your fic:
Preferred rating of the fic you want: Any
More canon, or more AU? Canon (w/o the epilogue)
Deal Breakers (anything you don't want?): OOC-ness, non-con, Draco and Ginny being in a relationship with each other prior to the memory loss.
Are you willing to receive art instead of a fic? Yes if needed, but I'd prefer a fic for this prompt.
If yes, what kind of artwork would you like to receive? Any
Is there anything you specifically don't want? Not that I can think of