It was snowing. Nobody knew where it was coming from, save but one Gryffindor with blood red hair. Her name was Ginevra Weasley, and she was nothing but a shadow. She had long ago quit going to class, and no one missed her. It was like she had passed into legend, like she wasn't real. She didn't even think she was real anymore. Her pale skin was almost transparent, and her face was sallow. The girl acted like a ghost, was a ghost. She lived with them, in the Corridor of Cadacus (meaning fallen into death). She had nighttime wanderings down to a fine art - her amber eyes that glowed in the moonlight scared even Filch away.
No one knew when the girl had faded into mere whispers, and no one knew why. But no one bothered to find out. Perhaps it was when her soul was ripped from her body first year? Or maybe when she fell in love with the thing that did it to her? Or it could've been neglect. It wasn't like her brother, once her best friend, cared anymore.
So what connection did this tragic girl have with the snow that was currently causing great distress amongst Hogwarts teachers? The snow that, Dumbledore thought was so amusing, cancelled classes? The snow that was falling inside the building, in the middle of October?
She was powerful. That skinny little girl, who no one remembered, probably had more power than the Boy-Who-Lived. More power than Voldemort, or Dumbledore combined. But she didn't know how to control it, so she practiced. The ghosts helped her, they gave her tasks to do, and the Bloody Baron had given her this one. He had told her, in his harsh voice, that she was to create snow. Snow that would not melt, snow that could not be charmed away. Snow that only she could control.
So she started out with a room. One of the abandoned ones in the ghost corridor. On her first try, the snow could be charmed away. On her second try, it melted. But on her third try, she did it. So then she worked on two rooms at once. Then the whole corridor. It had taken her two weeks, but it was completed. The Bloody Baron told her to charm the whole school. It took her two days.
The forlorn redhead was sitting behind a tapestry on the 4th floor, listening to her schoolmates running around and shrieking. Throwing snowballs at one another, or building snowmen. To them it was fun, but to her, it was just another power she had to learn to control. She thought back to her conversation with the Bloody Baron the night before.
"How long must I keep the snow?" Her voice was weak, from lack of speaking.
"Until you grow weary. Until you're blind with power, and you feel as if you are being crushed under its eternal weight. Then, and only then, must you release yourself from it's hold." His sightless eyes moved over her small form, a cold smile playing on his lips. "You are already weary, Ginevra. Pity, you Gryffindor's never had much constitution."
The girl fumed. "Of course I'm weary, you stupid git. But I will not give up. Do you hear me?"
"I know." The ghost chuckled, and floated away.
Shaking her head, Ginevra brought herself back to the present. She shivered, and wrapped her tattered cloak around her tightly. She wanted to leave from her hiding place, but that would mean facing people. Her goal in life was to avoid as many people as she could. Thankfully the house elves remembered her. They brought her meals to her everyday, cleaned her room, and kept her alive.
Ginevra sat there in silence, not thinking about anything.
Then the memories came. They always did, when her guard was down. Flash. Ron and her playing Quidditch. Flash. Fred and George letting her in on one of their pranks for Percy. Flash. Christmas. Flash. Her parents funeral. Flash. Harry and Hermione kissing. Flash. They kept coming, and tears brimmed Ginevra's eyes.
I won't cry. Those days are over, you silly little girl. Then taking a deep breath, she dashed out from behind the tapestry, and into someone's chest.
Ginevra didn't make a single noise as she fell to the ground, her butt getting soaked with snow.
"Watch where you're going," a voice snarled.
She looked up, and into the passive face of Draco Malfoy. She wasn't afraid of him like the other girls were. Ginevra had noticed how everyone flinched at the sight of the boy. She could see why he could be intimidating, but not in the least a bit frightening.
He stood at around 6 feet, his shaggy, pale silver hair fell into his face. His grey eyes were cruel and calculating, but his mouth was soft. He had very aristocratic cheekbones, and his nose ended in a point. He wore black trousers, undoubtedly made from the finest threads, and a dark green sweatshirt with black trim. His face was pink from the cold, and his hands were clasped behind his back.
"Lovely day, don't you think?" Asked Ginevra, in what she thought was a loud voice. In reality it was just above a whisper.
Draco just sneered down at her, and walked away. The poor girl just sat in the snow for a long time, staring after his retreating back, not aware that something inside of her had changed. Not registering that he was the first living person she had spoken to in a year.
Draco Malfoy was not affected by the cold. But how could he be? He had grown up cold. In a cold, uncaring home, with cold, uncaring parents. They had never wanted what was best for him, they wanted what was best for them. Still, he hated whoever made the snow fall. But Draco Malfoy hated everybody. Mostly he hated himself. For who he was, for who he wasn't.
The boy was in the library, watching students dash about like wild animals. Rolling his eyes, he stood up and contemplated terrorizing the first years. But there was no fun in that, anymore. He found fun in nothing he used to do - taunting the Boy-Who-Just-Wouldn't-Kick-The-Bucket, Weasel baiting, or making little kids cry. His destiny was sealed for him, his life planned out.
He had accepted that.
Suddenly he felt weary. Getting up from the dark corner he was sitting in, he made his way to the noisy corridor. It was like a zoo, Draco almost had to laugh. Teachers were running around, trying their best to lift the charm, whatever it was, and kids were screaming and laughing. He just didn't understand why people thought that snow of all things was so amusing. It was wet, and it hurt.
Lost in thought, Draco walked down the 4th floor corridor, ignoring everything around him. And then he heard it. Sniffling? It sounded like it was coming from behind a tapestry of a fallen angel. He moved closer to it, and then all of a sudden something small hit his chest.
"Watch where you're going," he growled.
It was then, that he saw what he hit. A girl. She sat on the floor, red hair splayed around her contrasting brightly with the snow. Her features were sunken and pale looking. He could see every vein, and her eyes had no life. Draco almost cried out in horror, he thought he stumbled upon a corpse. Until it spoke.
"Lovely day, don't you think?"
The voice was raspy, he could barely hear it. Like it hadn't been used in quite some time. He wanted to speak, to say something to it. Her. But instead he just sneered and walked away. But he could feel her eyes on him the whole time. It was then, that he almost became sick. The sight of that - that thing startled him so much, he felt for sure he'd have nightmares.
Then he became curious.
Where did she come from? Who is she?
And from then on, both of their lives would change. Two people, who's worlds were dying, had found each other.
"What is it, Ginevra dear?" Sir Nicholas came floating into Ginevra's favourite sitting room, a look of concern on his ghostly face. "The Bloody Baron told me you spoke, today."
"I speak all the time!" A curt voice replied.
"Never to the living."
"I ran into him."
"Are you feeling drained?"
"I'm not letting the snow stop, Nick. It would be weak."
"You're too tire-"
"Then I shall sleep. But I will not let it go. The Bloody Baron only wants the best."
Sir Nicholas looked at the frail girl sadly. She was curled up on a green armchair, her long fiery tresses pulled up in a bun. She was so tired, so sad. She looked like a vampire, except more tragic. The small girl did not belong to their world. Nick knew what she was, and he knew what she was capable of. He tried with all of his might to make the Bloody Baron let her go, but the bitter ghost would not.
Nick sighed. "Good night, Ginevra my love."
"Good night, Nick." She said, pulling a blanket over her small body.
Draco knocked on the Potion Masters door. It opened slowly, revealing a scowling, greasy haired man.
"What do you want, Mister Malfoy?"
"I need to ask you something."
Professor Snape opened his door wider, allowing entrance. Draco stepped in and sat down at the chair in front of his teachers desk.
"Well, Malfoy? I haven't got all day. We still need to figure out how to get rid of this bloody snow."
"Yes professor. It's just that I... a girl ran into me this afternoon."
"Oh Heaven forbid someone run into the amazing Draco Malfoy!" Snape said sarcastically.
"No! No it's nothing like that... she looked dead. Like a corpse or something. She had red hair."
"Red hair?" Snape furrowed his brow. "Red hair..."
"Yeah. Do you know who she is?"
"Weasley." It came out as a whisper, and Snape's pale face, became even more pale.
"Do you not remember, Draco? Your second year, your father. Tom Riddle's diary?"
Comprehension dawned on the young mans face. "The Weasley girl... I, what happened to her?!"
"It's best if you forget about what you saw, Mister Malf-"
"FORGET?! I saw a girl, who looks like she's dead and you say forget?! What is this?"
"If you do not leave my office right now, Malfoy, I will take fifty house points, and give you detention for two months. It is best to take my advice and forget. What. You. Saw. Understand?"
Draco nodded his head meekly, and left the office without another word. Snape went to see the Headmaster.
Silver eyes read the inscription over the stone archway. Saepe malum petitur, saepe bonum fugitur.
"Evil is often sought, good is often shunned," Draco shivered. He'd never seen this part of the castle before. It was cold, and wind whipped about him, whispering secrets into his ear. Then there was the eerie music. A string instrument. It made him think of cemeteries, and despair. Cobwebs laced the walls and ceiling, and there was the darkness. He peered down the corridor, but saw nothing. Just black. But Draco would never admit to being scared. Just cautious. He stepped under the archway, stepped just a little bit further into the darkness, not daring to light his wand. Who knows what he could awake from the shadows?
Slowly he made his way to the source of the music. It gave him chills, it made him depressed. It was so sorrowful, and he had an idea of who was playing it. But he didn't know why he cared. He just told himself it was morbid fascination. Just another chance to see that tiny body. Just another unfortunate person to laugh at. Then Draco saw it.
The light at the end of the tunnel.
He approached it cautiously, and quietly. It wasn't a very bright light, just a single torch lit in the corner of a huge, circular room. There. In the same corner as the torch, was the girl. Weasley. She held a violin, and Draco watched in fascination as her long slender fingers plucked the strings, the bow nothing more than a blur. He stood in the dark, so she wouldn't notice his presence. He didn't know how long he stood there, half an hour? An hour? But then it stopped.
And she spoke.
"I taught myself how to play, you know."
Draco was startled, not sure if she was talking to him.
"Come out of the corridor, Malfoy. You're lucky nothing attacked you."
He gulped, and stepped closer to the light, surprised he could even hear the girl. She spoke in whispers. Then there was the matter of Draco not being able to look at her. She was so... haunting. And the candle light did nothing to help. If anything, it maximized her gaunt features. The sunken eyes. The pale face. But Draco couldn't help the thought that floated through his brain. How romantic she looked. Just like something out of a story.
"How... how did you know I was there?" He asked her, once he was closer. But not too close.
"I don't need to be a ghost to see in the dark. But why are you here?" She asked, picking up her Violin once more.
"Morbid curiosity" the boy replied, echoing his thoughts from earlier.
Ginevra laughed. Draco cringed at the noise; obviously she had not laughed in ages.
"I scare you." It wasn't a question.
"Nothing scares Draco Malfoy" he said puffing out his chest.
She ignored the foul look he gave her, and struck up another song. This one was no happier than the last. Draco felt himself getting lost in the music, it was so captivating. The whole sight was. A half-dead girl, standing in an empty ballroom with only one torch lit. Playing a violin. He desperatly wanted to know what happened to this girl, but was too nervous to ask. He would wait. She started to talk, as she continued to play. Draco had to strain and hear her over the noise.
"You want to know what happened to me."
Draco certainly was startled. How is it that she knows what I'm thinking?
"Well I'm not telling you, Malfoy. You've intruded on my world. You don't belong here. What did you think you were going to accomplish? You don't know how powerful I am. I could kill you before you could even say 'Quidditch'. I suggest you leave. I suggest you take Snape's advice and forget what you've seen. I'll make sure you're not harmed on your way back. Now go."
Draco wasn't even aware of when she stopped playing, he was so captivated by her voice. That raspy, quiet voice. What was it about her? He didn't know. He felt something pulling on his elbow. It was the girl. He shuddered and pulled away. Her hands were like ice... or worse. Like death.
"I can make it back myself," he growled out.
Ginevra watched as the darkness swallowed him back up, feeling emptier than usual.
How? That was the only thought that ran through Draco's mind during his trek through the snow, to the Great Hall.
How did she manage to survive? How did she seem to know his every thought? How did he even find her? All Draco could remember from that morning was a feeling. Like he was being pulled.
But thats ridiculous he thought to himself, as he scowled at a second year Ravenclaw. The frightened girl ran away, abandoning her half-made snowman. Draco frowned as he heard music. He knew it was her.
Ginevra watched as the blonde boy disappeared the way he came. She felt something; perhaps regret? But why should she be feeling so badly? He was the one who disrupted her life. And she had watched him long enough to know that he cared for no one.
It's because you can see, she reminded herself. You feel so badly because from a crowd, you can pick out a person who's dying. A person who is already dead. Draco Malfoy does not care for himself. He's more alone than you are.
And for the first time in her long, pathetic life, Ginevra Weasley pitied Draco Malfoy.
The Head of Slytherin House watched the students milling about the Great Hall. It was a Saturday, and lunch ran longer than usual. Once the usual crowd had dispersed, few were left. He watched with great interest as his favourite student shuffled through the doors, and threw himself onto a bench. Draco laid his head in his arms, ignoring the plate of food that appeared before him.
"Three guesses as to why, the first two don't count" said Dumbledore, leaning over to talk to Snape.
"He found her."
"Well don't look so glum, Severus. Everybody needs someone."
"With all due respect sir, but do you realize how much she is capable of? Look at the snow. Not even you are able to charm it away! She's dangerous, Mr. Malfoy will do well to stay-"
"Hogwash, Severus. How do you think he even found her in the first place? Students don't often go gallivanting through that endless maze."
"Well I did wonder-"
"He was called, of course."
The Headmaster shook his head. "You'll understand one day, Severus. With love, comes power. Ginevra Weasley is not all powerful. Yet."
The Potions Master narrowed his eyes, and flicked them back and forth between the blonde boy and the crazy Headmaster. Draco? Love? Impossible. He voiced his thoughts, and Dumbledore chuckled.
"You think you know your house so well, Severus. But to truly know how they are feeling - even you are not capable of that. But she is. She can feel their every thought, their every emotion. She feeds off of it, she senses decay. Do you not think that is why she chose Draco? A boy who, from the facade he puts up, is following in his fathers footsteps? But she knows different. That is why, you must not berate him for seeing her. Let him go. If he misses class, so be it. If he never sleeps at night, let him. If he doesn't return to the common room at all, it is no concern of yours." Dumbledore lost the humourous look on his face. "She is dangerous, and that is precisely why she needs him. But he needs her, as well. He is lost, you can see it in his eyes. She will bring him back. They are dying. They are in need of companionship. They have found each other."
For once in the greasy mans life, he had nothing to say. Nothing to sneer at, nothing to talk down against. Because he knew the Headmaster was right. He knew, from the first day the forgetting had begun, that Ginevra wouldn't be so easy to erase. And he knew, from the first time he met Draco, that there was a mystery to be unraveled. But Snape never imagined in his wildest dreams that they would choose to come together. But they had.
The man stood up.
"Where are you off to in such a hurry?" Asked Dumbledore jauntily.
"To... talk to Mr. Malfoy."
"Don't. She will find him."
Snape hesitated for just a moment, then curtly nodded his head. Instead of going down to the Slytherin table as intended, he went to his office.
Ginevra stood in the deserted ballroom, unshed tears in her eyes. She didn't know why she was crying, she never did if she could help it. There was nothing to cry about anymore, the pain had passed. So why did this foul boy, affect her so badly?
He was the first person you talked to. The first person to step into your world.
She groaned. "And to think, I told him to sod off."
"Well then go get him." A chilling voice made her hair stand up, but she was too used to it by now. It was the Bloody Baron. Ginevra looked at him suspiciously, he never let her give in to simple pleasures. To things that would disrupt her training. "Don't look at me like that, my dragon." Ginevra smiled. The Bloody Baron had given her that nickname when she had come to him for the first time. He rarely used it. It meant he was pleased. "Your training is near complete. The only piece missing from the puzzle, not I, nor any other of the ghosts can help you with. Go retrieve Draco Malfoy. Spill your secrets. Seal your fate." Then he floated away. She was confused, to say the least.
So she started to wander.
The quiet was deafening. Ginevra sat in an abandoned classroom, watching the snow - her snow - fall. Enchanted by the way the gentle flakes landed on her, never melting. Never ending. She was weary, close to breaking. She didn't know if she could hold onto the conscious world much longer. Then the room swam before her eyes, colors blended together. And all was black.
Sir Nicholas was looking for Ginevra, after hearing what the Bloody Baron had said to her. He knew the girl would be frightened. But he hadn't seen her at all, which was highly unusual. If she was not training, she could be found playing her violin. But not today. The ghost floated through empty classrooms, searching. And then he saw it.
A bright flash of red amongst the shocking white of snow. Nick blanched (if ghosts can, that is) and hurried forward.
She wasn't breathing. Frantically, Nick called out for help. But he knew it would do no good. So he fled.
Opening her amber eyes slowly, the world came back into focus. Sun shone down on her face, and birds were singing merrily.
Instinctively, the girl reached for her wand. She was frightened.
Where am I?
Her surroundings were that of a clearing in a forest. Not a forest like the Forbidden one, but a cheery forest. Ginevra felt sick. Happiness radiated out of each blade of grass, of each ray of sun. A slight breeze blew her hair, and she could her a babbling brook.
Babbling brook? She snorted. Next thing I know, I'll be talking to bunnies, and making friends with deer!
She stood up, and started to explore. There wasn't anything interesting, as far as she could tell. And the sunlight was making her pale skin burn. But then she saw something. In the distance, a cloud. It seemed to be moving, getting closer. She was curious, she had never seen a cloud act that way. And then she realized. It wasn't a cloud, it was birds.
If you could call them that.
They were horrible looking creatures, scaley like lizards, but with beaks like Eagle's. They were at least more than six feet long. Their wings were like leather, and their eyes glowed red. Ginevra cried out in alarm when one opened their mouths, letting out an ear piercing shriek. They had teeth. Fangs, horrible fangs. Then the land grew dark. Ginevra felt danger, not just from the flying beasts, but the once gentle wind now lashed out dangerously, the 'babbling brook' roared in fury. The sun was no longer shining, and it started to rain.
A happy place that stood there just moments before, became a nightmare. One Ginevra couldn't wake up from. So she ran. Trees whipped at her face, tearing her clothes and clawing at her body. Something was gaining on her, but she didn't turn to look back. Her legs were giving out, and her breathing was labored. Then something snapped in her brain, and she could see nothing.
"You just left her? If you weren't already dead-"
"I know, I know. Azkaban. I was scared! I thought that she was gone. You were too hard on her, she's exhausted!"
"Don't blame this on me. Do you hear? It was my instruction. She is a good student, and she knows that she can lift the spell when she is feeling strained."
"She felt it a day after she cast it! But she did not remove it, to please you!"
"I understand. But it is a part of the learning process."
"And what is this about the boy?"
"Don't you know?"
"Quiet! She's coming to."
Ginevra blinked. She was staring into the faces of a concerned Sir Nicholas, and an angry Baron. She opened her mouth to speak, but was quickly cut off.
"Don't talk." It was the Bloody Baron. His tone was harsh.
I've failed him.
He seemed to know what she was thinking, because he said, "my dragon, tell me what happened."
"I-I took a walk. I was confused on what you said to me about Malfoy, so I came to a classroom. I was watching the snow fall, and then I just sort of... left."
"Yessir, I... the room went dark. I woke up, and I was in a forest."
She described what had happened, noticing the look of shock, then happiness, and back to shock, light the Baron's face. Nick just floated above the bed someone had moved her to, muttering. Once she was done relating the story, the Slytherin ghost turned to leave.
"Wait!" Ginevra called.
"Not now you silly girl. I have to speak with the Headmaster."
Once he was gone, Ginevra called to Nick. "Who... who moved me to my room?"
She turned, surprised to see who had stepped out of the shadows.