Disclaimer: 'Any people, objects, places and so on that you recognise belong to JK Rowling. I'm just having fun playing in her sandbox for a while.
The rest of the Dark Arts lesson went without too much incident, unless you count Amycus Carrow's lecherous glances and crude remarks and Ginny had to admit that she was quietly proud of her behaviour and control of her temper for the rest of the double lesson. However, the rest of the morning promised to be just as bad as the first ten minutes as now she had a two hour session with Amycus' sister and she had a feeling that this would be a very different Muggle Studies lesson to any she had had before.
Without too much thought, almost if she was operating under the Imperius Curse, she made her way to the first floor. In just the short distance between the two classrooms she found this to be an easier journey than before. While she had a numb feeling that was surrounding her, she found she did not need to think of what had happened in the last lesson and what was going to happen in the next. She was even able to ignore the fact that everyone seemed to be watching her movements.
She went to the back of the line with the rest of the Gryffindors and waited for the bell to go and for Alecto Carrow to appear at the door. She could tell when the female Death Eater had arrived as even in a daze she could recognise the hushed silence that had fallen and used that as a cue to enter the classroom.
Just as they were entering the classroom on the first floor, Demelza turned towards Ginny, pulling her out of her daze as she spoke directly to her and touched her shoulder. "Ginny."
"Yeah?" she muttered in reply.
"I'm begging you, whatever she says, do not react; we can't afford to lose our captain before the season has even started," Demelza flashed her a small smile, "and I really don't feel up to the job of captaining us against Slytherin." Demelza's tone changed. "But more importantly, you have already scored one detention," her voice shook, "and those detentions sound nasty."
"I won't do anything that Harry wouldn't have."
Demelza sighed. "You're going to cause trouble."
"I'm going to do what's right."
In a similar fashion to her Dark Arts lesson she headed to the back of the room and built her protective wall with her books. She reached into her bag and pulled out a piece of parchment on which she started to doodle as she let Alecto Carrow's words wash over her without effect. The Death Eater was always going to lie and say something that, not only did she not agree but which fought against her very principles.
"Forget anything that you have learnt before today in your lessons with Professor Burbage since recent Ministry investigations have found her teaching to be inaccurate. To say that Muggles and Muggle-borns have equal status with those born of noble descent is a lie at best."
"What a load of —" she found herself muttering as she turned her ink green.
"Ginny," Demelza warned.
"Fine," she said through gritted teeth and without thinking drew a pair of eyes.
Ginny gazed down at her parchment which now contained a lighting bolt as well as a pair of eyes. Carefully she turned the piece of parchment over and found herself absentmindedly drawing a heart and sketching out the letters HP. Once again she stared at the parchment.
She really needed to get a grip on herself.
If she was this upset and temperamental after Harry, Ron and Hermione being gone for barely a month, what was she going to be like if this went on for years?
What was she going to be like if they never came back?
She shuddered as she looked up and saw the Death Eater pacing at the front of the classroom as she spoke. She couldn't allow herself to think like that. Harry, Ron and Hermione were all coming back and when they did they were not going to find Hogwarts defeated. She was going to do what little she could to keep Harry's first real home as he remembered it, whether the Death Eaters were in charge of the school or not.
With a defiant gaze she looked up and saw the cool eyes and hard smile of the Death Eater looking directly at her.
"Cleaning the blood is not a new idea, Muggles and Muggle-borns have tried to remove Wizards from society since Carthage was destroyed by Rome in 149 BC by their calendar. The most recent examples have been in Germany in the 1940s, Congo in the 1960s and it is still taking place in Serbia. This has been disguised as something known as ethnic cleansing. Over the course of this year we will be looking at ways to fight back against those of inferior blood status and how Britain is in desperate need of cleaning so we can keep our fine traditions and noble history."
Ginny tightened her hold on the eight and a half inches of hazel wood fuelled by unicorn hair as she took several long, deep, controlled breaths. She could control her temper; she must control her temper.
Demelza was right, she had to be careful.
She had to keep her temper and if she could not do that for herself, she had to do it for her house and, more importantly, her mum who was under enough stress as it was.
"And what makes matters worse, some of our kind allow these Mudbloods into our noble world and then pollute the blood further by reproducing with them. Not only should witches and wizards be aware of their birthright, but we should not allow their polluted and inferior linage into society. A perfect example is shown with the noble and long standing Potter family when James Potter married a Mudblood and produced Undesirable Number One, the runt of the Wizarding world and murderer of Albus Dumbledore."
Ginny got to her feet. "This is a load of bollocks."
As she raised her wand, she could feel the heat coursing through it and see the red flecks sparking out of it. Her temper had gone far beyond being able to control it.
She was furious.
"You —" Ginny spat out the word, "— invaded this school. You know as well as I do, considering you were firing sparks out your wand at my brother, as your own brother attacked me. Our dear new headmaster killed Dumbledore on Voldemort's orders."
The whole class had fallen into a deafening silence as Alecto Carrow glared directly at her, her hand on her own wand.
"What?" Ginny shrugged, her temper slowly coming back under control. "Did I break some type of taboo or something?"
"Lower your wand, Miss Weasley." The Death Eater aimed her own wand directly at Ginny's heart. "I would not want to have to use some of those curses that you have just claimed that I have used before." Ginny lowered her wand. "Good girl, now place it on the table and stand outside the door. I will not have lies in my classroom."
Reluctantly she placed her wand into Demelza's hand and walked down the aisle between the sets of desks to the door. Once she reached the door she slammed it as hard as she could behind her.
She paced up and down the first floor corridor outside the Muggle Studies classroom. She swore under her breath and made her footsteps as loud as she could. She had inherited the Weasley temper and it was taking over her whole body. To say that she was fuming was the understatement of the century. She knew she should regret her actions but she could not bring herself to do so. She would not allow anyone to talk about Harry like that, especially when he was not here to defend himself.
As she turned her back on the classroom, two things happened in very quick succession. A noise came from the door closing and she felt a hand press against her mouth. She took a sharp intake of breath as anger changed to shock. It wasn't until Andrew Harper spun her round and slammed her back against a wall that breath came back to her.
"I offered to teach you about your birthright and save you from your second detention of the day." Her eyes widened as she could feel her heart pounding against her chest as the reserve Slytherin Seeker spoke in a low voice.
There was no denying the fact that she was scared. This was not a duel; she was not on equal footing and she did not even have her wand. Her stomach turned as she remembered the stories that were being whispered about the treatment of blood traitor witches by Death Eaters.
"Now as long as you do as I say — everything I say — I can get you out of this."
She could feel tears welling in her eyes as, without freeing her mouth, he tore her shirt with one quick wave of his wand.
He leaned in closer and, if possible, her heart was pounding even faster. She could feel his every ragged breath on her skin. He whispered in her ear as freed her mouth, "Scream."
Normally she would have fought against being told what to do, especially if the person doing the telling was a Slytherin who she had many confrontations with in the past but she was in a very different Hogwarts now and she was going to have to learn the new rules, otherwise things would get very ugly very quickly. She could not allow herself to get hit by one of the Unforgivables, which seemed to be the new detention of choice, nor to be given Veritaserum like Umbridge had tried to use in her reign at Hogwarts.
She knew too much to let that happen.
Ginny let out a high pitched scream that echoed around the corridor which was followed by the sound of scraping chairs.
"Now go back in there, act shaken and don't tell anyone about this." She just nodded at his words, numb. "And, Ginny—" She nodded again. "—I'm not going to help you out again. You are a Gryffindor blood-traitor, no matter how hot you are."
She made her way back into the classroom in an uneasy fashion. She didn't look up as she made her way to the back row. She was in no doubt that all the eyes of her classmates were following her. She sat down quietly, thankful of her back-row choice since it was harder for people to look at her there. Still without speaking and her mind buzzing from what had just happened, she took the wand back from Demelza and fixed her shirt.
Ginny got the book out and began to pretend to read the chapter that Carrow had assigned without question. She then spent the next thirty minutes with her head down doodling on a piece of parchment, thinking up things that she would like to do to the person who had given her the Monday morning from Hell on her timetable. Needless to say, she had never been more eager for a morning to end at Hogwarts.
There was a protective guard of Demelza, Ritchie and Elizabeth as she left the classroom for the Great Hall at quarter to one. Once she reached the Great Hall, she looked up and smiled for the first time that day to see that Neville had saved her a seat.
"What lessons have you had this morning?" he asked in a worried tone.
"Dark Arts for a double and then Muggle Studies for a double," she muttered, prodding at her stew with her spoon.
Neville glanced up at the teachers' table. "And they targeted you."
Ginny followed his gaze, and saw both McGonagall and Hagrid looking down at her, concerned looks in their eyes. "I didn't help the situation." She shrugged, trying to dismiss what had just happened as only a minor incident. "One detention," she shuddered at the thought of her Muggle Studies lesson, "and one lesson on how to be a good pure-blood."
"We are going to fight back," Neville said, dropping his voice.
"I know." Her smile grew; she knew just the thing that she could do this afternoon that would give her an instant come back. Her smile grew to a grin as the pair of brown eyes interlocked. "Fancy keeping watch while I practice my handwriting on some walls?"
"Anytime," he said with a smile, picking up his own spoon and taking a large mouthful of potatoes, before turning to her. "Ginny?"
"How would you feel about getting an honorary big brother?" he asked, slightly nervously, rubbing the back of his neck. "You know, since Ron couldn't make it back."
She wrapped her hand round his neck and hugged him. Just a few months ago, she would have told anyone that she didn't need another brother, that six was more than enough but things had changed.
"I'd really like that, Neville."
Neville smiled. "Well, for my first role as big brother, I'm going to say that if you want to show off your fine handwriting skills," he glanced down at her uneaten meal, frowning, "I'm going to make you eat something first."
Ginny grinned at him as she swallowed a spoonful of her stew. "Better?"
The pair of Gryffindors disappeared out of the Great Hall, checking that both Carrows were still at the staff table, now engaged with a conversation with Snape. As they left the dining room, Ginny was positive that she saw Snape look up, although just as quickly she thought that she must have been mistaken as he drew both Carrows into a deeper conversation.
Neville stayed at the end of the first floor Muggle Studies classroom. He had already explained that she could do the first act of defiance as she had done on the morning from Hell; she had suffered much more than he had recently and was in greater need of an act of revenge. Besides, he had said that he was sure that she would do the same for him later in the week when he had his own axe to grind and, of course, he was right.
She paused as she looked at the wall.
There was so much that she wanted to say that she couldn't. There were things that could wait and she knew that short slogans or phrases were always more effective. With a small smile Ginny reached into her bag and grabbed a permanent marker that Fred had given her the night before she had returned to Hogwarts, just in case she needed it.
Ginny stood back and admired her handwork, the bright yellow writing flashed red every couple of minutes. She reread it, happy with the message:
'Support Harry Potter – Dumbledore's Army reformed.'
It was simple, to the point and would get the right people to ask the right questions. She hoped the meaning was clear — even if it was not possible to get back to talk to all the others, they might be able to get a meeting together.
"What do you think?" she asked Neville.
Neville turned to look for the first time, breaking guard duty. "Brilliant." He came closer and ran his hand across the writing thoughtfully. "But you know, it's obvious it's your handwriting. We should write in capitals next time."
"Let them do their worst." She shrugged; she doubted the Carrows had enough common sense to put that together. Not that it mattered if the pair of Death Eaters did; they couldn't hurt her any more than she was already hurting today. "They can't take much more from me than what's already been taken and they really can't hurt me more."
Neville looked directly at her, making sure that he was holding her gaze before he spoke. "Don't give up already, Ginny. They wouldn't want that and I'm pretty sure that they want you back in one piece." Ginny looked down at the floor but Neville put his hand under her chin so that she was forced to look at him and spoke with such belief and confidence that it was hard not to believe him. "They will come back."
"I wish I had your confidence," she said in barely a whisper before quickly changing the subject. "Can you pass on the message about meeting tonight?"
"Sure, I've got a free period now and have yet to get homework."
Ginny forced a smile. "I'll trade you your Monday for mine. The Carrows have both given essays," she let out another sigh, "and I've still got a double of potions for Slughorn before the day is over."
Double Potions in the afternoon was fairly uneventful compared to the morning and not very hard. Slughorn showed them the four potions that they would be learning in the next two years: Amortentina, Felix Felicis, Polyjuice Potion and Veritaserum, before setting them the task of making a decent attempt at the Draught of Living Death with the prize of a bottle of Felix Felicis.
A renewed energy filled her body as she focused for the first time that day. She was very keen on winning that little bottle since it had come in so handy when Harry had won it. However, although Slughorn made positive comments about her potion, the little bottle went to the Ravenclaw, Gerry Kennedy.
She took herself straight to the Room of Requirement after dinner and was happy to find the same room that they had used two years ago. It was good to know that despite everything some things would stay the same. Even if it was the room that she had first learnt to fight Death Eaters in and that she had not entered it in two years, it was oddly comforting.
It only took Neville and Luna ten minutes to arrive and to join her in the room. As the three of them settled down on the large cushions used for Stunning and waited to see which of the others would arrive, Luna passed them her old DA coin before taking Ginny's and Neville's. The two Gryffindors sat in amazement as Luna corrected the Protean Charm on their coins.
"Wow, Luna," Ginny muttered, "I guess I was right about getting a Ravenclaw on the case."
"And Luna's not just your average Ravenclaw," Neville said with a smile.
"So anyone can send messages on these coins to each other now?" Ginny double checked.
Luna nodded. "I did consider using the free period to write to Hermione Granger but since she is currently unavailable and was not certain where to dispatch the owl to," Luna started conversationally, "I thought that it would be rather useful to be able to communicate with those here at Hogwarts."
Ginny smiled; despite everything that was happening and everything that had already been stacked against them, they still had some things that could work in their favour. "We could really make this work. We could really fight them."
"Was there ever any doubt?" Neville's smile grew to a broad grin. "I have two of the most talented and beautiful sixth-years working with me."
Ginny felt herself blush. "Let's just make sure that this school is here for Harry, Ron and Hermione to come back to."
"Those who love us never leave us." Luna spoke in her soft tones. "You have found your soul mate and soul mates are still there after the rain has washed away the blood of battle."
Neville took Ginny's hand in his. "Let's start spilling that blood." He softly squeezed it as he reassured her for the second time that day. "Hermione is not going to miss taking her NEWTs. Ron — he's as stubborn as anything I've ever known and he won't let the Death Eaters get the better of him. And Harry. Well, if you ask me, and I know nothing about the opposite sex in this field, but I reckon that he loves you."
Apart from the Carrow and Snape bashing, the first meeting of the reopened DA went like many of those of the Order of the Phoenix. They discussed meeting times, how they could get messages across and the tactics they could use against the Hogwarts' Death Eaters. There was less practising of spells and more of the development of guerrilla warfare.
They had grown up in the last two years and had adapted to the more dangerous climate.
The next morning she went to breakfast in a much better mood, despite the detention that she would have that evening. The first DA meeting of the year had given her hope that Hogwarts would not be as bad as she had thought it would be yesterday lunchtime and, even if it was, they were going to fight. She was not the only one that did not believe a word the Ministry of Magic said and knew that both the Ministry and Hogwarts itself was being indirectly run by Voldemort through his Death Eaters.
While she may have been forced to go to these lessons, she would cause as much trouble as she could. After all, it was the only part that she could play and she would do it well.
As the post owls swooped into the Great Hall, she picked up a piece of toast and poured a mug of coffee. She looked up automatically as the owls circled the hall looking for their owner. Taking a gulp of the coffee, she took a second look at the owls; she was sure it was not just her imagination that there were many more owls arriving than normal. She looked up in surprise as Errol landed next to her. It was not at all like her mum to send the elderly owl on such a long trip after one day's worth of lessons.
Eagerly she ripped off the message, neglecting to pay attention to Errol and pulled open the letter as the elderly owl hooted indignantly and pecked at her toast.
Hope your first couple of days have gone well and you have not been given any detentions yet. Just because you did not become a prefect, does not mean there's any reason to get the same number of detentions as you did last year.
Nothing new has happened here except that your dad has been over to Bill and Fleur's cottage to help set up their garden. Fred and George came home for dinner last night, claiming they needed extra food due to the demands of work at the moment. You know what your brothers are like over food. Fred also said that he plans to send you a letter about Quidditch tactics for the first match. He said he knew how to beat Slytherins well.
Speaking of Quidditch, while I am still delighted that you were made captain, you need to remember to stay careful. Quidditch is still a dangerous sport and as such an important figure that you have now become, you will be a target. I'm sure there will be many more Bludgers aimed at you that you will need to dodge this year. It is really not worth those extra nights in the hospital wing and I'm sure that Madam Pomfrey has lots of injuries to treat this year.
Also remember you are studying for your NEWTs this year and you are talented enough to do very well in them. That would mean that you should not be joining anymore extracurricular clubs; Quidditch takes up enough time as it is.
There is still no change with Ron. We just have to hope that no news is good news because it means that he is still hanging in there. I will let you know if anything changes.
We all miss you already and everyone sends their love. We are already looking forward to getting you back home for Christmas. Look after yourself.
All my love, Mum
Guilt surfaced inside her. She understood the hidden meanings in the letter perfectly and she was already going against everything that had been asked of her and she had no intention to change that.
Her guilt stayed with her throughout the morning, and although her double lessons of Herbology and Charms were less emotionally taxing than Monday morning, her lack of awareness took its toll and she struggled, earning reprimands from both Sprout and Flitwick. By the afternoon her guilt had started to ease, only to be replaced by fear in her free period as she prepared for her detention.
Breaking her promise to Neville, she left the common room before he had returned from his Charms lesson and went straight to her detention without going to the Great Hall first. When she arrived at Carrow's office, she found a single table set aside with a long piece of parchment and a familiar looking black quill.
"Welcome, Miss Weasley," said the wheezy voice, "please make yourself comfortable; I know I will be doing so."
Ginny felt as shiver run down her spine as she took the seat by the small desk without talking or even looking up at the Death Eater.
"Unfortunately, you earned your detention so quickly that none of the other students are ready to practise the Cruciatus Curse." Ginny glanced up to see him grinning. "However, Madam Under Secretary Umbridge has very kindly lent me this wonderful quill and suggested I reminded you of your blood status. I wish you to write the word 'pureblood' until I tell you to stop."
Ginny picked up the quill and scribbled the word in her own blood: