Possible Spoilers/Warnings: N/A
Author's Note: This story almost didn't get done. Real life intervened at every step and tried to stop this from even happening. But with the help of the mods, this did get finished. I really want to thank my beta, Grace, who spent her time at work editing this instead of scanning in legal documents. Thank you so much!
Summary: Harry Potter left Ginny Weasley to deal with the aftermath of the miscarriage alone. Except Ginny isn't exactly dealing with it. More like running from it. Until Draco Malfoy and Padma plot to fix this.
Ginny was lost in her business ledger, checking the businesses finances and drafting up pay checks. She sighed and rubbed her bleary eyes. She was sick and tired of doing this, and her Scottish Fold kitten Kali seemed to sense this as she mewed pathetically, begging for attention.
Ginny smiled fondly at the kitten, picking Kali up and petting her. Ginny hadn’t planned on having a kitten, but when she’d found Kali, well… the kitten was just to cute with her short stumpy legs! Besides, it was nice to have a tiny bit of happiness in her wreck of a life.
The door to her office opened, and Padma walked in, still wearing her performance clothes, her cheeks flushed and a faint sheen of sweat on her body. Ginny felt a slight pang of envy and tried to shake it off.
“They were all asking for the fire dancer, tonight,” Padma said softly.
Ginny shrugged. “I can’t. It’s just… I’m just… I can’t feel the music and rhythm anymore,” she whispered.
“Is it because of the accident? Because that was the only time in how many years of fire dancing?” Padma said in a rush, her tone pleading.
Ginny sighed, her hands still caressing Kali. “It was, in the beginning. Then when I tried to get back into it… I just couldn’t. I can’t find it anymore.”
Ginny gave a small shrug as if to say oh well, and Padma looked sad.
“Is this about Harry? He’s an ass, Gin. He’s a piece of shit, even if he is the damn savior of the world. The pompous ass,” the other woman growled.
Ginny gave a weak smile. “Maybe. We both know in dance the mind frame is so important. Since him I haven’t been happy. How can I? He left me, Padma. He left me because I had the accident and miscarried. How am I ever supposed to be in that place where the music owns me and guides me again? Where I feel connected to the Gods?”
Padma was by her side in a flash, her arms enveloping Ginny.
If someone had told Ginny seven years ago that she would be best friends with Padma, she’d have thought them crazy. But when they both discovered their love of belly dancing, it had been a fast friendship. They both loved the magic that was involved in belly dancing. It was used by witches centuries ago for fertility rituals. The magic that crackled in the air as they danced for the Goddesses was enough to leave them breathless.
Sadly, it had been an almost forgotten part of Wizarding history. Once people could wield wands, there was no point. That marked the era that people began drifting from the Gods, and it also seemed to mark the era where dark magic began.
Padma began praying in Hindu, rocking Ginny back and forth. The words were a comfort to her, and Ginny closed her eyes, hugging her best friend back.
Padma pulled away slightly, holding Ginny’s face in her hands, and promised, “The Gods are still there, Ginny. You know as well as I that they never abandon us. You just have to find your inner fire again, and they will help you if you only ask.”
With that Padma began chanting the Gayatri mantra, and Ginny found herself joining in with Padma as they chanted for peace and happiness.
“Aum Bhur Bhuva Svah
Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi
Dhiyo Yo Naha Prachodayat.”
They repeated the mantra one hundred and eight times, as was the custom. When they finished Padma was smiling.
“When I first met you, you could barely manage the first line. Now look at you. Doesn’t that feel good?”
Ginny gave a weak smile and nodded. She did indeed feel a sense of calm.
“If it hadn’t have been for you, I would never have been so knowledgeable about the Hindu gods,” Ginny confessed.
“Given your beliefs and interest in belly dancing, it makes sense though. But, moving on, you will never guess what old friend of yours was in the audience tonight. He’s the one who started the chanting for our fire dancing goddess,” Padma smirked.
Ginny furrowed her brow, trying to think of whom Padma meant.
Padma gave an exasperated sigh. “Draco Malfoy! He’s back in England apparently. I’m sure he’ll be coming to call soon.”
Ginny’s eyes widened. It had been a very long time since she’d talked to Draco.
After the war, both of them had gone back to school to finish their education, and one night Draco had caught her in the astronomy tower dancing with fire. He didn’t say anything while she danced, just watched, and afterward they’d spent hours talking about their desires.
After they’d graduated he fled. She’d received the owl or two, but Ginny had never been good at keeping in touch with people she didn’t see face to face, except for Luna and Padma.
“Why would you think he’d be coming to call?” Ginny asked cautiously.
Padma walked away from Ginny, starting the coffee machine with a wave of her wand, a smirk on her face.
“You didn’t,” Ginny gasped.
Padma’s smirk widening said it all. Ginny groaned and let her head fall onto the desk.
“You two got along so well back then! Look, he has no one right now. He’s really lonely and could use a friend. And so could you. So woman up. You’ll be fine.”
Ginny wanted to be mad at Padma, really, but her best friend always ended up doing just what Ginny needed. Draco and she had gotten along well, and Padma was right, she needed more friends. It wouldn’t be so bad seeing him.
As long as he didn’t expect her to be who she once was. That Ginny was dead and gone.
The next few days were the same as usual, and Ginny was beginning to think Draco just didn’t care to see her. It wasn’t a huge deal. Seventh year had been a lifetime ago, back when Ginny was certain she would marry the savior of the world and live happily ever after making magic through dance.
Life never turned out the way you expected. There were so many things to derail you and throw you off course, and it was sometimes impossible to get back on said course.
So when there was a knock on Ginny’s office door, she thought nothing of it. New girls were showing up all the time now to try and snag a job. Some of them were the same girls that had once sneered at her and told her it would never work. Of course once you’re on top, everyone wants to be you.
“Come in,” Ginny said, shoving her Scottish fold kitten off the parchment where she was attempting to keep track of their upcoming performances.
As the door creaked open, Ginny did not look up. She tested all the new girls this way; putting them in an awkward situation to see exactly how they would react. If they couldn’t deal with this, they sure as hell wouldn’t make it dancing half naked on stage in front of strangers.
She could hear the new comer dragging a chair towards her, and she saw black slacks on long legs out of the corner of her eye. She was slightly impressed with the ease with which this person was moving around the office.
Ginny kept writing, leafing through loose pieces of parchment on her desk. Padma was booked for a fertility ritual that evening for a high society couple. Now that belly dancing had been proven to be a great magic ritual, all the high class families looking to have children were clamoring to have the ritual done for them.
Ginny sighed and scribbled down the last name, Zabini, before tossing the loose scrap of parchment. She really needed to keep better track of everything.
“Well, Ginevra, are you just going to ignore me?” came the familiar drawl.
Ginny couldn’t help the smile that graced her face. Draco Malfoy had always had that affect on her. Their light teasing was natural and easy. Even after all this time she felt like she had a best friend in her office, not an old friend she’d lost contact with.
“Until I deem you worth my time, yes. Which will be as soon as I find the parchment with Padma’s second booking of this month on it,” she trailed off, moving everything around on her desk.
Without thinking she handed Draco her kitten so she could see if the parchment was under Kali. Draco easily took the baby cat, cradling her and scratching her chin lightly.
Sure enough, Kali had been lying right on top of what she’d needed. Ginny read through it quickly, a frown forming on her face.
The person had requested not only Padma, but Astoria Greengrass and Ginny as well, something Ginny was certain she couldn’t do. It was a private party, apparently a group of people truly interested in the magick created by the dance. But when she saw the amount of money being offered Ginny couldn’t help but almost choke.
Five thousand galleons.
There was no way Ginny could turn it down. Business was a bit tight, as many of the performers came and went. It seemed to be a passing fancy for most of the girls. The only two she counted on were Padma and Astoria. Everyone else was expendable.
“It seems someone got your scrawny knickers in a twist,” Draco remarked casually and Ginny rolled her eyes.
“Who said I was even wearing any knickers?” Ginny replied offhandedly, still staring at the paper in hand.
She had to do it. There was really no other choice. This would keep the business afloat for two years, minimum. The girls could have more intricate costumes, and the shows could involve even more theatrics.
Ginny looked over at Draco who was still scratching her cat’s chin, and she smirked.
“Well apparently my favorite Death Eater has a soft spot for kittens. Was Voldemort a cat lover as well?”
Had it been anyone else calling Draco Malfoy a Death Eater, there would have been problems. But this was familiar for the two.
“No, he was more into snakes, had one for a pet, made her eat people on command, and cuddled her during the long nights. Real swell guy.”
Ginny gave a hollow laugh that sounded too high pitched to her own ears. If Draco thought so as well, he said nothing.
“What are you doing back in London? I thought you wanted nothing more than to travel the world, experience the different cultures, and open your mind and pants to the women.”
Draco sniggered for a moment before responding, “I did. Seven years worth of traveling. I built a foreign affairs company from the ground up after immersing myself in every culture I could find. Now my business has picked up.”
Ginny surveyed him for a moment, remembering the ambitious young man she’d spent a year getting to know. Draco had changed, aged in seven years. His face was thinner and, his cheek bones more prominent. His hair was worn falling over his eyes carelessly for once. A gorgeous emerald cloak over a nice dress shirt and his infamous Slytherin crest ring adorning his hand. His style sure hadn’t changed. But the faint age that graced his face spoke of a man, not a child.
“What type of foreign affairs?” Ginny forced out.
Draco drummed his fingers on his leg as he spoke. “I help those in different countries who are seeking to flee for whatever reason. They are taught the customs here, sometimes the language if need be. They are given training, help to find a job, and we help set them up with a furnished flat. Many of the families coming over are bringing children. If we can make sure the children will be provided for, we can pave their future and make sure it’s one where the children give back to society.”
She arched her eyebrows, very much impressed. She knew in other countries gay witches and wizards were being persecuted, many fleeing to America and England to start a new life. England was ranked as the most accepting Wizarding country, something Ginny was very proud of. After all, her best friend was a lesbian, and she backed Padma completely. Hell, if she was interested in women, she’d have chosen Padma.
“That’s amazing, Draco. I can also see how profitable it is for our economy to make sure the witches and wizards get a good, steady job. But how much do they pay? Surely these families don’t have much?”
Draco lightly rubbed the head of the sleeping kitten, whose stubby legs were going straight up in the air as if she were playing dead. Ginny rolled her eyes. Kali was an attention whore, obviously.
“We ask for nothing. Of course, I’ve already had a family who ended up working as much needed translators donate a significant amount of money. But we ask for nothing. I’ve seen what’s being done to them, and this is the right thing to do,” he said with conviction.
Suddenly there was the eighteen year old Ginny had known. The boy who had made all the wrong choices and was determined to make up for it by saving the world out of guilt.
Ginny gave a small smile and nodded. “It is definitely the right thing to do, Draco. It sounds amazing, changing all those lives. I can’t think of anyone else with connections to actually pull it off. So are you staying in England then? You’re home for good?”
Draco met her gaze with an intensity Ginny hadn’t been expecting, and he gave a small shrug.
Ginny arched a brow, but Draco didn’t care to explain.
“Well how long do you know that you’re staying for certainty?”
Draco tilted his head which meant he was doing mental math before saying, “a month.”
“So are you catching up with all your old friends then?”
Draco snorted, a bemused expression crossing his face. “Padma and you are the only friends I really had after… well after everything. So yes, I will be catching up with the both of you. I’m actually having lunch with Padma tomorrow.”
Ginny nodded and forced a smile. “That’ll be great for her. She works too hard sometimes. It worries me.”
“Speaking of which,” he drawled. “Would you be free day after tomorrow?”
“Friday? Um, yeah, sure,” Ginny said with a shrug. She wasn’t really keen on going out in public, but she knew between Padma and Draco there was no way she could side step it completely. One time out in public wouldn’t kill her, after all.
“Gin!” Padma shrieked as she entered the office Friday afternoon.
Ginny looked up in confusion, wondering if something had happened to one of the dancers. That was the last thing she needed to be dealing with, as all her dancers were booked right now.
“Why are you dressed like that? You’re supposed to be going out to dinner,” Padma’s voice was strained.
Ginny arched a brow. “You would think just going would be enough. Now it matters how I look?” she grumbled.
Padma closed her eyes and took a deep breath, clearly trying to calm herself. Really, she didn’t need to exaggerate so much.
“It’s fine, I brought you something to wear just in case, since you’re not the best at regular dress,” Padma explained as she showed Ginny the bag.
The black dress was a halter, with a big jewel like thing in the center. It wasn’t obscene, but it wasn’t Ginny’s scene. Not anymore at least. Two years ago and she would have been rocking this. But now? From not dancing she’d gained weight. Where there had once been abs there was a bit of flab. Where once she’d had muscular arms, they just were. Her strong thighs were now your normal thunderthighs. And it broke her heart to realize this had all occurred in a year.
“I can’t, Padma. That would look awful on my body shape,” Ginny said softly.
Padma rolled her eyes. “No, it won’t. You have the same body as most women now, and it would look great on any random woman on the street. Look, Draco has a business proposition you will want to hear. So dress how I say, let me do your hair and makeup, and then you can go have a nice time.”
Padma’s voice was stern and heated, as though she was ready for an argument. Ginny just nodded, not wanting to give her the satisfaction of launching into a rant at Ginny’s expense. That never ended well.
Besides, Ginny was truly interested in this business proposition. Since her accident, the company was no longer booming. It was still doing well, but they were no longer living in the lap of luxury like they’d once been.
Of course if Ginny accepted the proposed show where she would perform, all that could change. But the mere thought had her chewing her bottom lip with anxiety.
That dress Padma had for Ginny was a lovely cream colored dress with chiffon sleeves, but Ginny was worried about the length. It was short.
Back in the day, Ginny and Padma had been the first to wear short dresses. They were busting their asses every day; they deserved to be able to show off their hard work! But now? Ginny knew she wasn’t fat, but her thighs were no longer just muscle, and the thought made her want to cry, like so much did lately.
“No,” Padma said sternly, her sixth sense kicking in, “crying isn’t allowed. You. Are. Beautiful. Try the dress on, and if it’s too short, I have a backup dress.”
Of course this meant Padma started pulling Ginny’s robes off her, not trusting Ginny to do it herself. Maybe she was right not to. She’d retreated since the miscarriage, become a recluse. If she hadn’t once been so close to Draco she might have hated the thought of having to go somewhere with him. As it was, she was only mildly anxious.
The dress wasn’t at all obscene, and Ginny was forced back into her chair while Padma did her makeup. For a moment Ginny could pretend they’d been transported back, over a year ago, back to when Ginny took care of making the outfits, tailoring them to fit their bodies just so, and Padma would do their makeup, being sure to get it just right so that when the fire dancing began, the shadows had a perfect effect with the makeup. It was a hard job, and Ginny had never been able to do it right. They’d joked that it was why she kept Padma around.
Nostalgia is a pesky creature. She creeps up when you least expect, at the absolute worst moment, and then whispers in your ear like a lover, seductive and wanton. At least that’s what she was doing to Ginny Weasley at the moment, and it was why she blurted out the next bit without thinking.
“We’ve gotten an offer to do a show. You and I. And it’s for a lot of money Padma.”
Ginny knew her voice was slightly frantic, but her eyes were closed and she couldn’t see Padma’s reaction.
“How do you feel about this?”
Padma asked as she began the trickiest part, the eye makeup.
“I don’t know. I mean… it’s a lot of money, and we need it. Badly. I’m not sure I can refuse, but I’m not there yet.”
There was a pause, Ginny felt it in the way Padma’s hand was stayed on her face, not moving at all for a moment, and then she resumed her work.
“I think you could at the very least try, Gin. We’ll get started with practicing, and you will tell them you demand half up front, like we used to do. We could bring a bouncer with to take the money and bring it back here. So no matter how the show goes, we have that. How much money are we talking?”
“Five thousand. Galleons. They want Astoria as well,” she whispered.
“Bloody hell. And of course they want the trio. The three Pureblood Witches who can do the magick like no other. We will figure this all out, Gin. Tomorrow. Tonight, you are going to spend time with Draco and have fun. Okay?”
Ginny whispered yes, and Padma declared her presentable. When Ginny looked into her small mirror she was floored. She was gorgeous, with just enough of a smoke-y eye to make them pop. Where once there had been a tan face, she was now almost translucent, and it was oddly fitting.
“Close your eyes so I can do the hairspray trick,” Padma demanded and Ginny consented.
Hairspray was misting over her face to make the makeup stick. Sadly, the charms to make it stay often ended badly. They were complicated, as saying it even slightly wrong, drawing out even one letter, over or under enunciating, and a number of other things, could cause the makeup to be stuck permanently. They’d discovered early on that this worked, easily, and washed off even easier. Thankfully it kept the makeup from smearing even when it was facing sweat and tears.
“Is it even time for him to come pick me up?” Ginny grumbled, trying to cover the fact that she’d been about to cry. It had been a long time since she’d even remotely thought she was near attractive.
Padma raised her wand, quickly making Ginny’s natural curls separate pefectly, and giving her hair a once over with hairspray as well.
“Actually, he’s already here. I told him to be here early in case you flaked out. Now, here is a clutch to use instead of your wallet,” Padma said handing her a simple black clutch. “Also, I know we have the phones for our Muggle customers to reach us, but take yours so if you need me you can call me. And please, please, please try and have fun. You deserve it!” Padma sounded sad, exasperated, and exhausted all in one.
Ginny gave a soft smile and nodded. “Promise, Padma. He’s an old friend, I’m sure it’ll be nice.”
Ginny gave her best friend a smile, and although it was a bit forced, it was an effort, and that seemed to be all Padma wanted, as she gave Ginny a tight hug before shooing her out into the lobby, and Ginny began her night.
The place Draco was taking her to was half bar, half restaurant. He had reserved a table for them towards the back, and Ginny was grateful for it. Draco held out the chair for her like a gentleman, commenting on how stunning she looked, and offered to order her his favorite liquor to start them out.
Ginny sipped the vanilla and cinammon whiskey, holding it in her mouth before swallowing. It was absolutely delicious, and Ginny found herself in love with it.
“I discovered that in America. This amazing Squib who was using her family’s resources to help the refugees bought me a bottle, and we ended up drinking it and sharing life stories. She taught me quite a bit about the human condition,” Draco remarked as he browsed his menu.
The restaurant wasn’t too high scale, and it was over on the Muggle side of London, a small little place with a homey atmosphere. Ginny was taken by it.
“So you met a lot of people in your travels then?” she asked offhandedly.
Draco nodded, his leg shaking under the table. “For me to do what I do, I had to get out of my comfort zone. It was hard for me, at first. I didn’t want to do it. I kept saying I couldn’t. But the more I did, the more I realized that these people needed help. So now I’m constantly leaving my comfort zone, if only to learn about who I am.”
Draco caught her gaze, and Ginny was floored by him. The boy who’d been her best friend was replaced by a man, but she could see it, how he’d progressed, and how he kept the old him with him at all times. It was beautiful, she thought, to have grown so much, and to always remember why you wanted to grow, but to not be tied down by it.
“Padma told me what happened to you. She made me swear not to tell, but.. I always did like you better,” Draco gave her a roguish wink and she chuckled in response. “But, Ginevra… it’s been a year. What’s holding you back? Really? Not just the surface reason, the real reason?”
Ginny froze, not sure what to think or feel for a moment. But this was Draco, the guy she taught to kiss because he had a crush on some girl and was scared he would be horrid. This was the boy that understood her worst nightmares when no one else did, and didn’t belittle her for them. He had never judged her before, and she doubted he would now. So it all came tumbling out.
“You know what the magick and dance mean, but… how can I perform a ritual meant for fertility and empowerment of women, when it was that ritual that made me lose my baby? I am over Harry leaving. He was a bloody asshole, that’s fine. But… I do this ritual, this magick… I worshiped these goddesses daily, believing that they would make every woman’s dream come true… and they betrayed me,” she hissed, tears spilling over her eyes.
“How am I supposed to come back from that? How can I ever feel the magick again when I know it’s all a lie? Because I don’t,” she choked up, “I don’t think I can, Draco.”
Draco wordlessly passed her a handkerchief, and then held her hand across the table, making a shooing motion to a waiter that was trying to approach.
“Oh, Ginevra,” he said sadly, his thumb rubbing circles into the back of her hand. It was so familiar, and for a moment Ginny could almost feel him holding her like he used to when neither of them could sleep, plagued by the ghost of their past; Voldemort.
“I understand your resentment. Giving them what you did daily, of course you would feel betrayed. But you know, deep down, that the gods were not betraying you. They cannot prevent every accident. They can only provide a light at the tunnel to help you deal with what man creates. After all,” he gave a hollow chuckle, “that’s what you taught me, and it’s what I carried with me all over the world.”
“But I want to be angry,” she whispered as they stared into each other’s eyes.
“I know… and you are. But you’ve been angry for a year. An entire year of your life, wasted on anger. And you can never get it back. Is that really what you want to do for another year?”
Draco’s voice was soft, yet it held weight. It was like his voice was trying to bridge a distance and reach her very soul.
Suddenly Ginny couldn’t breathe. She just stared down at the table, her mind completely blank for a moment. Then she had only one thought. Three hundred and sixty-five days I’ve spent angry.
She wasn’t sure if she voiced it aloud or not, but Draco was holding both her hands in his as panic started to well in her. A year of her life was gone, wasted on anger, and she’d never get it back. A year that she could have been spent doing what she loved, actually going out with her best friend; just doing something.
Yet here she was, afraid to even go out in public because of the reporters who still questioned why her and Harry weren’t together. The old Ginny would never have let them scare her off. She’d have laughed in their faces as she walked with her head held high and her best friend on her arm.
The old Ginny. She’d never be that exact person again, and after spending so much time being angry and depressed, she was left with only one, terrifying thought that made her gut wrench.
“What if I’ve been angry so long, I won’t be able to ever be happy again?” she whispered.
Draco’s eyes never left hers as he answered, “You can, and I swear I’ll help you find out how to be happy again. I won’t leave until you are.”
To say Ginny wasn’t okay with this idea would have been the biggest understatement of the century. She was so far removed from okay that she felt like she was on the verge of a break down. This somehow signaled to both Draco and Padma that their plan was a brilliant idea.
Obviously Ginny disagreed.
It had been Draco’s idea that they have a funeral for the unborn baby boy she had lost. It was an idea that scared Ginny. She’d never even gotten to name the child; Harry had fought her all the way as far as the names went. She also wasn’t sure she deserved the “closure” they were saying this would give her. She was the reason her child was gone; her carelessness. Couldn’t they see that?
These two buffoons must be blind, Ginny thought, anger tingeing the sentiment.
They were at The Burrow, far enough away that her parents need not she was here. It was right by the stream, so it was incredibly peaceful, even with the rain that was starting to come down.
“What’s even better,” Padma has said when pitching the idea, “is that when you want to visit the grave, you can do so discreetly, without worrying about Harry or reporters. This is your own private grave that not even your parents need to know about.”
Sure, that sounded great in theory, but hearing the word grave thrown around so casually in reference to the child she’d carried for six months was a bit harsh. She had to remind herself that Padma was her best friend, and the woman should be lucky for that. If this had been anyone else, Ginny knew she would have hexed them into Oblivion and back.
And really, no one could have said that was wrong.
So here she was, out in the bloody rain with her two closest friends from Hogwarts- or period, really- trying to get some “closure.”
Which she really didn’t need; thank you very much.
“Hey,” Padma’s voice cut through her thoughts, “Gin. It’s going to be okay.”
Padma looked utterly wrecked. Ginny had never thought about what her best friend had gone through when Ginny lost the baby. One moment the two of them were celebrating, shopping together, both of them using the phrase ‘Auntie Paddy!’ then suddenly… nothing. The child Padma had been excited to meet was gone, her best friend broken, and the man who knocked her up not even man enough to try and hold Ginny through the nights.
Sometimes Ginny forgot that it had been Padma who’d held her every night when she woke up screaming. Padma was the one who opened her house to Ginny, always smiling and trying to stay sunny. It was Padma that had been the one who ran their business when Ginny couldn’t even get out of bed for the first month. Padma had done everything that Harry was supposed to have done. She’d stayed when everyone else couldn’t understand, and she’d yet to kick Ginny out of her house.
Actually, Padma was pretty adamant that Ginny stay.
Actually, Padma was fifty shades of amazing.
But not today. Today Padma was just as wrecked as Ginny, and this caused Ginny’s anger to hesitate long enough for her to have one single, selfless thought. Even if this wouldn’t bring Ginny closure, it could be all of the things Padma had mentioned… for Padma. And maybe the woman needed that. Maybe she really needed to be able to grieve alone, without being crowded over.
Padma had lost her nephew, after all.
So Ginny forced a weak smile and gave the closest thing to a nod that she could manage, which was a jerk of the head. But this seemed to be enough for Padma. Thank Goddess.
Draco himself couldn’t even manage a smirk. His presence was a huge comfort to Ginny, and over the past two weeks she grown accustomed to seeing him at least once a day. Draco walked, for once not sauntered, over to Ginny, reaching easily for her hand and guiding her slowly to the spot they’d picked out, Padma walking alongside Ginny, one arm around her shoulders.
When they passed through a small growth of bushes to come to the beautiful plaque nailed to the tree, a picture of Gaia pregnant with the Earth on it, Ginny felt like she couldn’t breathe. She wanted to claw her heart out of her chest and fling it to the ground. Let the gods take it. She didn’t want it anymore. She didn’t need it. It was as dead as her baby.
She read the plaque. Aiden Frederick Weasley. Aiden. The name she’d wanted to use. The name Harry had been so against. She’d told Padma one night that if it was all up to her, her son would be named Aiden Frederick Weasley. After Draco and Fred.
“Why after Draco?” Padma had quipped, eyebrows raised in confusion.
“Well, because. He was the boy faced with all these choices. But in the end, he chose family. Maybe it was screwed up, but he was a child from privilege, and he still chose family. Besides, I guess he kinda saved me, afterwards,” Ginny had said with a shrug.
“To family,” Padma had said, raising her apple cider.
“To family!” Ginny had echoed with a smile.
Ginny had always thought it cliché when she read that someone heard a crying or a screaming, and then they’d realize it was themselves.
But that’s exactly what was happening. It all sounded distant at first. Then she knew it was herself screaming like that, her anger and rage being literally ripped away by the gods and thrown out into the open. It had to be. She certainly wasn’t making these noises of her own free will.
She was barely aware of Draco supporting her weight, his arms wrapped around her as he guided her down to the ground, and still Ginny’s eyes remained fixed on the plaque in front of her.
She remembered lunch with her family, as she’d told them all. There’d been so much happiness in the room she’d almost managed to overlook the fact that Harry was absent.
Then she remembered shopping for clothes with Padma. The exciting new maternity wear had her reeling as they giggled about everything. There had been such a surplus of happiness.
Then when Harry proposed at their favorite restaurant. It had been easy to pass off the deep set furrows for anxiety that she might say no. It was also easy to pass of the jitters as she said yes to the fact that this was a huge deal and she was excited.
She remembered the first noticeable belly bump. She’d spent hours staring in the mirror, caressing her stomach, a small smile on her face. She’d spent even more time talking to her baby, crooning softly. Sometimes reading aloud, other times singing. She just wanted to know that when her child was born, he or she would know Ginny’s voice.
She remembered belly dancing becoming awkward. She couldn’t move her stomach easily. But she was in such high demand. A pregnant woman doing the dance for fertility with fire? And she was so happy, giving thanks with her body this way. Her baby hadn’t been expected, but he was wanted. And a boy. She just knew it, even if the healers wanted to wait before determining.
She remembered all the happiness, stretching out, Harry barely there. She remembered it all so vividly; her child had been such a huge part of her life from day one.
And then gone. The fire and the pain and then nothing. When she woke up, they had told her she was okay. She’d smiled, reached down to rub her belly, and it was flatter. Too flat. And then she’d screamed. They had to stun her, Ginny had gone wild on them.
And again Harry had been absent. It was a miracle he was even there for the process of making the baby.
“I-” Ginny tried to choke out, “I want my son back.”
“Oh Ginevra,” Draco whispered softly, his hand in her hair, cradling her against his chest.
“Why did they have to take him away? They took everything. I thought I might get this one thing! Harry… Harry was gone long before then. But there was my son, and he was going to be amazing. He was going to be beautiful. And gods I was so stupid to think fire dancing was smart. But I was so healthy and so was Aiden! I, I, I didn’t,” Ginny cried, unable to go on.
“It’s no one’s fault, Ginny,” Padma said in a wavering voice. “It-it happened. And I froze, I couldn’t even react at first. And then… I did. And the healers were there almost right away. But I blamed myself. If I’d been faster. I should have. I should have reacted right away. Not been frozen in place.”
And Padma was crying with Ginny, as much guilt in her voice as Ginny felt.
“I don’t blame you, Padma. Gods, how could I? It wasn’t your fault!”
“Just as it wasn’t yours,” Draco said softly.
Ginny didn’t want to feel anymore. Her chest felt like it was being crushed. She couldn’t breathe and there was so much pain, but it wasn’t even physical. How was she supposed to deal with a pain she couldn’t see? It wasn’t like a cramp. This was so deep inside her that it reverberated through every bone of her body, through every organ and muscle. There didn’t exist a part of her that the pain didn’t also exist. Deeper even than the pain, was the sadness that laced it; the utter loss of something that she’d never have again.
“I’d rather be dead and have him here,” Ginny bit out through the tears.
“I know, Gin, I know. But we can’t make that happen. I wish I could. I’d trade spots for him. For you,” Padma cried.
“His own father wouldn’t even do that,” Ginny found herself saying.
“Well we would,” Draco whispered simply.
And with that it was quiet besides the sound of two women sobbing. Had Ginny not turned her head, she wouldn’t have even known that Draco Malfoy was crying.
The sky was dark and the rain had already drenched them by the time Ginny was done letting it all out. She felt empty now, not numb like before. She felt the sadness, but the anger wasn’t there anymore. She felt different.
And Ginny wasn’t sure what different meant anymore.