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The Sacred 28

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 Author’s Note: So strange, but you never know when inspiration will strike. I haven’t read a Harry Potter fanfiction in years, but this story just wouldn’t leave me alone. After thinking on it for a few weeks, I decided to share it, on the off chance that some of you may enjoy it, too.

Warnings: Dark themes, mentions of torture and rape, also adult language. More in this chapter than in most others. This story is rated M for Mature.


“Oi! Mum, Ginny took my food – “

“Stop lying on me! Your pastry is in your fat face!”

Ron Weasley pointed vehemently. “Did you hear what she just said to me?” he asked around a mouthful of dinner roll. He managed to swallow enough to whine as Molly Weasley walked by, blissfully calm in the sea of chaos that was her home.

“Honestly, you two, one might think you’d be a little nicer to one another here on a holiday like this,” started their mother, before Bill, Fred and George all came crashing into the kitchen, hands diving into plates only to be swatted back by a spatula, and then more shouts sounded, happy cheers for Arthur as he stepped through the front door.

“Finally!” crowed Ron, making a face as Percy plopped into the seat next to him. “It’s about time we finally eat!” As if he hadn't been sneaking bread for the last ten minutes. 

“I’m here, I’m here, you won’t starve,” teased Arthur, dropping his briefcase, excited glimmer in his eye as he started in about something exciting he’d found at work that day. Ginny turned in her chair, small feet just a few inches too high to touch the floor, and admired them all as Charlie came last, ruffling her hair as he passed, taking a seat next to their father.

“Next year,” said Ron to Ginny, their argument forgotten, “I’ll be eating like this every day, because I’ll be at Hogwarts.”

Ginny glowered, envious. “And then I’ll be there,” she said haughtily, “and I’ll do better than you at everything. I will, you just watch.”

“Yeah, right,” he muttered, cheeks already plump with food. “I’ll probably have to protect you and stuff, because I’ll be the experienced and brilliant second year, and you’ll be like a little baby.”

Ginny flicked butter at him and it landed on his cheek. “You can’t even protect yourself from butter!” she laughed, growing louder when Fred and George joined her and their mother wiggled a finger. “I’ll be the one protecting you, Ron!”

“Nah,” disagreed Ron again, wiping casually at the butter at his face and giving her a real smile, freckled cheeks lifting. “It’ll definitely be me. No one at that school is messing with my little sister. Not while I’m around.”

Ginny rolled her eyes.

“Sure, Ron,” she said lightly, digging into her food. “Whatever you say.”

The floor was cold and wet.

Only a hint of light made its way through the cracks and crevices in the heavy door, and it wasn’t really enough to see by. A small barred window sat at the top, but it only served to show a sliver of shadow as others walked by outside, unhindered by the pitch-black air of the square squat cell.

Chatter filtered through the openings, mostly indistinguishable, but sometimes a real word here or there. It was nothing of importance, nothing comforting. Only the shifting of the shadows, a witch or wizard standing outside the door at alternating hours, gave any real indication of passing time.

They weren't in Azkaban, but thanks to the freezing cold air and heavily barred doors, it really made no difference. They may as well have been under the watch of dementors, for all the hope they had left. 

Today, as the changes in watch were made and the shadows shifted, someone opened the door, as they sometimes did. The magical wards at the front of the cell, translucent and shimmering, barely visible, warned any of the occupants against making a break for it, even when the heavy door was pulled back.

It was always the same silhouette there when the door was opened, and the same gritty voice that called out.

“Ah,” came the voice, throaty and guttural, unpleasant in every way. “Let’s see here… who’s got some time for old Nott today…”

No one in the dark square – not those huddled in the corner or others curled into tight balls on the floor – moved or reacted, save for one, who whimpered softly. It was she who caught Nott Sr's attention, and before anyone could react (not that they did, not anymore) Nott lashed out with his wand and a bright coil caught the prisoner's ankle.

There were eight of them in the cell, but he picked her the most often.

“No,” she pleaded desperately, clawing at the grimy ground, but Nott just tugged on the coil and pulled her slowly across the ground, positively jubilant in the face of the young woman’s fear. He paused, though, and looked across the cell, bringing up a lantern to shine it on the dirty faces there so he could peer thoughtfully at them.

“Aw, I don’t think my companion much likes me today,” Nott taunted further. “Anyone want to take her place?”

Again, no replies, and certainly no volunteers. Nott stepped around the terrified girl and shone the light closer to her face, before a glint of flashing eyes caught his attention, and he brought the flame up to a figure in the corner.

“What about you, Weasley?”

Hands curled tightly on her upper-arms, the young witch in question shifted her gaze slowly up to meet Nott’s, hazel eyes heavy, narrowed, and severe. Nott’s thick lips curled, and if possible, his features became even more grotesque. “You’d sure be a nice one…” he commented, reaching out to touch her face, but something in her expression stopped him, and he pulled back with a snort.

“But I’ll leave you be,” Nott muttered, shifting away from her. “For now, that is.”

He said that very same thing often – fifteen times, by Ginny's count – but he never came for her, for whatever reason.

Perhaps she wasn’t his type, though from Ginny’s estimation, his only requirements so far were a beating heart and a great show of reluctance. Ginny's features, still blank, sharpened in a show of hostility, and her fingers tightened on her upper-arms where they balanced on her dirty knees.

A growl built in her throat when Nott leered too close, but he was gone in the next instant, dragging his unwilling partner with him.

When the poor girl was returned to the black hole a half-hour later, no one in the cell had moved at all.

Days later – though, how many no one in the cell could say – the door opened again, and many of the inhabitants of the cell flinched. However, the silhouette that filled the doorway was not that of Nott. Instead, it was two figures, standing in full Death-Eater regalia, masks drawn over their faces.

“Up,” one ordered.

No one moved, possibly because many had not stood on their own weight in some time, Ginny among them. However, even if she had felt as spry as she’d ever been, Ginny would have stayed rooted where she was, if for no other reason than spite.

“I said, up!” barked the first one again, and this order came with a lash of the wand. Ginny was snatched to her feet by an invisible force, and her joints protested grimly. Still, she kept quiet even as a few of the others – whose faces she had rarely seen in their time together, given the darkness of their cell – cried out in pain.

The group of eight exited the cell, and once they began moving, the spell controlling their steps was lifted and four more Death Eaters joined the first two, escorting them in tightly contained rows along a narrow stone corridor. The dank grey walls and the lack of décor made it difficult to determine their exact location, but Ginny didn’t bother to try and search for clues anyhow.

She’d woken up in that place some time ago, and she had not left it a single time since.

Now, as the group was roughly herded around corners and upstairs, Ginny’s mind wondered only vaguely where they were heading, with no real anticipation or anxiety of what was to come. Anything that could have sparked fear in her before was long part of memory. Any pain, any loss, any suffering she might encounter wherever she was going seemed inconsequential. Even the idea of conjuring up the fear felt pointless and silly. Something of a hysterical laugh bubbled in Ginny’s throat, but she quelled it.

For the first time, Ginny noted that Ernie Macmillan was up ahead of her, one of the dirty and ragged prisoners who’d been kept in the cell with her. He had a streak of blood on his face that had become so soiled, it was nearly black. His head was down and his eyes were low, like everyone else’s.

When Ginny’s blank stare led her to walk directly into the person ahead of her, she realized that the filthy girl in front of her was Lavender Brown. The two paused and made eye contact for the first time, but their expressions remained muted, and Lavender simply turned around and continued walking before one of the Death Eaters could jab her, as they’d done others, with the points of their wands.

At last, a door opened up overhead and the eight prisoners, along with their masked escorts, stepped out of the cold corridor and up a set of stairs. Something felt strange under Ginny’s bare foot, and when she cast a vague glance down, Ginny realized she was stepping on carpet for the first time in ages.

The group was led across an ornate sitting room, one lined with antique furniture and a great gaping fireplace. They passed through in silence, and more doors – these tall, white and artfully designed – loomed in front of them. Two of the Death Eaters opened them, and the crew moved through.

Eventually, they filed into yet another large room, and a few of the prisoners timidly looked to their left, where curtain-lined windows revealed it was nighttime. None of them had seen such a thing for quite a while, and a few simply stared.

Others, like Ginny, simply stared straight ahead as the Death Eaters moved in sync with one another to form a line in front of them. Others were already there, and now Ginny noted with disinterest that a maskless Death Eater – Avery, perhaps, she wasn’t sure – stood at the center with a scroll in hand. His disgust at the appearance of the neglected prisoners was visible, but it was almost certainly because they were treading dirt and filth into an otherwise clean room filled with expensive furniture, rather than because he was disgruntled at their treatment.

Clearing his throat a bit, Avery unfurled the scroll. Without indicating anything noteworthy to the prisoners, he glanced instead to the Death Eaters, all of whom stood with rigid and rapt attention.

“Dolohov,” he read from the parchment, and one of the masked villains stepped forward. Avery – or whoever – glanced at the prisoners. “You’re taking Prewitt,” he noted without sympathy.

A young witch at the end of the line flinched, but Dolohov moved forward and yanked her to him with a flick of his wand. Once he had a good grip on her arm, the two disappeared with a crack. Avery went on dully, even as some of the other prisoners glanced at one another, eyes wide.

“Carrow,” he said to the Death Eaters, and a witch in a mask stepped forward. “You have Macmillan.”

Ernie stiffened next to Ginny, but he said nothing as the Death Eater grabbed his arm, prodding his chest with her wand in an unmistakable taunting motion before they, too, vanished into thin air. Ginny’s eyes flickered to the spot where Ernie had been only moments ago, and for the first time, a spark of animosity burned in her chest.

Still, her face remained impassive as names were called, and one by one, the prisoners were dispersed. “Nott,” called out Avery, and Ginny felt her jaw tighten. The mask was in place, but the unseemly gait was unmistakable. Her fingers clenched at her sides. Fury burned pleasantly in her chest.

Let Nott come for her. She would mark him from the inside out.

“You’ve got Brown,” said Avery at last, and Nott shifted in the direction of Lavender, who immediately whimpered and backed away. Nott caught her with a glowing rope at the end of his wand and snatched her close, and Ginny forced herself to look at the ground as Lavender screamed and struggled. The shrill noises and desperate cries were unceremoniously cut off when Nott and Lavender both disappeared.

Without reacting, Avery turned back to his list. “Malfoy.”

Ginny slowly lifted her gaze as the tall figure moved ahead of the others, and she felt her features twist into a dark grimace. The lighting in the room was low, subdued, but it seemed to grow darker in that moment, shrouding those who remained there. Avery glanced up and scanned the remaining prisoners.

“You have Weasley,” he said.

Ginny shifted her hostile gaze up at the skeletal mask, and it was anyone’s guess who had the more frightening stare. The hooded figure hesitated for only a moment, and Ginny felt herself sneer.

The great Lucius Malfoy, cautious of her.

Still, he took her arm in his grip, and in just a moment, they were both upturned, vanishing from the stately room and reappearing outside in mere seconds. The sensation of a breeze caught Ginny off-guard, and she blinked against the wind in her eyes. It was enough of a pause to allow Malfoy to reach over and bind her wrists with a quick spell.

Making a guttural noise of disapproval, Ginny snatched her arms, trying to move them away, but he took advantage of her delayed reflexes and hauled her forward. It was then that Ginny took a look up, and she saw they stood in front of an elaborate manor, more beautiful and stately a home than any she'd ever seen. Manicured gardens, strangely desolate and solitary against the night sky, lingered in the distance, while other more dense gardens sat in front of the home. Some foliage decorated the ground sparsely, looking out of place and lonely.

A few of the peaked windows appeared warm with lights, but many others were dark, without a hint of movement to be seen.

A magical barrier shimmered around the pair as they passed through, and in moments, the unsightly pair stood in front of large doors which opened without assistance. Ginny stumbled forward, and when she moved to jerk back, a short but powerful hex hit her spine and she yelped, body clenching around the pain for a moment before she regained her breath.

“Move,” ordered the voice behind the mask.

Too weary and filled with suffering to notice much of her surroundings, Ginny dragged her tired body along yet more lavish hallways until they came to one which ended at a pair of double-doors. It was here Malfoy led her, opening the doors, shoving her roughly inside, and then stepping in behind her, slamming the doors shut behind him.

Ginny faltered but remained standing, and when she managed a long, deep breath, she used it to push herself to a upright position and turn the full power of her glare in the direction of Malfoy. A blistering curse rose on her tongue, but when the Death Eater turned and removed his mask with a wave of his hand, it died in her throat.

Draco Malfoy, not Lucius, stood in front of her, pointed features narrowed.

Ginny’s expression twisted into a furious growl. “You.”

It was the first thing she’d said aloud in ages, and it was low, hoarse, and borderline demonic. So alarming was it, in fact, that Draco Malfoy – much taller than her and the only one with a wand – took a step back.

“Bloody hell, Weasley,” he scoffed. His calm disdain was almost too much for her. “You look even worse than usual."  The words were barely out of his mouth before Ginny flew at him, stumbling and crashing into the door when he leaped out of the way. The furious redhead rounded on Draco with a wordless yell. 

“Calm down, you lunatic!” snapped Draco, snatching out his wand and pointing it at her, which arrested Ginny in her spot but did nothing to diminish the hatred-fueled glare. “For the love of Merlin,” he groused, wand still raised. His usual haughtiness quickly replaced his brief panic. “I knew you were raised in a hovel. I didn’t realize that meant you were practically a wild animal, too.”

Shut up,” hissed Ginny, hazel eyes deeply narrowed, fingers clenched at the joints in claw-like positions.

Scowling heavily, Draco crossed the room, which Ginny only just now understood was a very large bedroom, complete with a four-poster bed, a dresser, a desk and many more pieces of ornate furniture. 

With one hand, Draco reached up and unclasped his cloak. The simple motion made Ginny react with a jerk, and she pressed her back against the doors, instantly defensive. Draco paused, eyes flickering over to her, brows furrowed.

“What in the hell is your problem?” he asked, carelessly tossing the cloak aside.

“Do not touch me,” growled Ginny in reply, and comprehension dawned on the older wizard. An expression of disgust crossed Draco's features.

“Nott been up to his usual tricks?” asked Draco casually, turning away from her as he continued to make himself more comfortable in his surroundings, unfurling his sleeves and tugging at his collar. “Don’t worry, Weasley,” he said with a shrug. “Unlike Nott, I know plenty of witches who would sleep with me willingly. No need for all that business.”

“Good,” seethed Ginny, her voice returning, fierce. “Saves me the trouble of having to rip you apart with my bare hands.”

At this, Draco turned to face her with a glare, fingers pausing at his sleeves before dropping. He observed her silently for a long moment before he scowled, features turning annoyed. “Look here, Weasley,” Draco turned to her and approached very suddenly, ignoring the way she darted against the wall again. In that moment, Draco’s features turned very severe, and Ginny hated how he looked so much like Lucius. “We’re going to establish a few things right now,” said Draco, wand held tightly in hand.

He brought it up to point at her, the tip hovering very near her throat. Ginny’s eyes flickered at it, but she remained still. All Malfoy would have to do is overpower her, and it would all be over.

“You are here,” he told her gravely, venom lacing his tones, “because you are a pureblood. The reason you are even graced with the ability to breathe air – the reason you are so fortunate as to stand in my home at this very moment – is because your wretched family happens to be one of the very few remaining pureblood families left in Great Britain.”

Ginny blinked, making every effort to force her body through the very real physical barrier of the door.

“Now,” continued Draco sharply, “personally, I think the world would be far better off without your genetics polluting the bloodline, but the Dark Lord feels differently. So guess what, Weasley? You’ve been blessed with a second chance. You – “ here, he touched her throat with the tip of his wand, and Ginny flinched, “ – are now my responsibility. It is through my gracious mercy and expert guidance that you will, one day, transition into the Dark Lord’s new world as a functioning member of the pureblood society.”

He backed away from her, lips curled in a sneer.

“A new order has been established, Weasley,” he told her, and then he turned his back on her and his attention shifted to a fine wooden cabinet. He pulled out a bottle of Firewhiskey and a glass. “And fortunately for you, you have the opportunity to be a part of it. Mostly for lack of better option.”

Understanding crept up Ginny’s spine and settled darkly in her mind. Ernie Macmillan. Lavender Brown. The other prisoners she had seen. They’d all been purebloods.

Ginny’s hostile glare moved up to Draco’s face again, even as her first real tendril of fear took hold. “A new order,” she repeated lowly, hoarsely. Merlin, that would mean… Her chest hurt deeply as she asked the question clawing at her chest.

“How long was I in there?”

Draco took a sip from an expensive looking glass engraved with his initials. He paused before answering. “About ten months,” he told her, tone quiet and unaffected. Ginny closed her eyes, body trembling. Ten months. She’d been locked in that cell that whole time, and now she had been re-birthed into literal hell. 

Draco seemed content to let these thoughts hover over her like an unwelcome cloud, his efforts mostly focused on his drink and the fireplace nearby, which he observed with a dull look of irritation. Ginny’s teeth grinded unpleasantly against each other, and she remained frozen in her spot.

If Voldemort had kept her and a few other chosen purebloods alive in those cells for that long, only to force them into close quarters with known Death Eaters, what did that mean for the rest of the British magical population? Could he really have been so desperate for purebloods that he was willing to hold onto – rather than kill or torture into insanity – known allies of Harry Potter?

A cold sensation burst into Ginny’s chest at a sudden realization, and she whirled to face Draco, stepping away from the door. He looked up at her, wand tight and tense in his hand.

“The Muggle-borns,” she gasped out. “What did he do with them?”

Draco swirled his drink in the glass a bit. “What do you think he did with them, Weasley?” he asked darkly. While he didn’t seem to take delight in the words, he also made no motion or indication of sympathy. He simply watched her, features drawn and uncaring.

Ginny swallowed tightly, and it hurt her throat. “He can’t – he can’t have killed all of them…”

“And why not?” asked Draco, moving forward and draining the last of his glass, leaning close to her.

“You don’t get it, Weasley,” he told her in a harsh, low whisper. “He is in complete control now. The Ministry of Magic, the school. It’s all his.”

The young witch stepped back away from Draco and clenched one hand into a fist. Her body hurt, and she hadn’t been fed properly in days. Nothing in or on her body felt right. And yet none of that mattered in that moment. 

“SHUT UP!” she screamed, eyes flashing, and she whirled to face him, one hand lashing out. “Go on, then, Malfoy,” her voice shifted suddenly to low, quiet tones, each word more heated than the last. “Try and make me into a puppet for your society. See how well I do for you.”

Draco scowled, standing back away from her. “For the love of Merlin, Weasley, you don’t really expect to fight this, do you?”

At this, Ginny’s lips quirked, though it only served to make her look more manic.

“Oh, I will fight it, Malfoy,” she told him, approaching slowly. “I will best you at every turn. I will get a hold of a wand and I will hex you until you are a thousand different particles, floating back to the ground. And I swear to Merlin, I will choke to death on a thousand razorblades before I join Voldemort’s sick society.”

“So then, what?” countered Draco, waving his glass mockingly. “You’d rather return to that rat-infested hole, eh? Better than what you grew up in, was it?”

Ginny hissed between her teeth. “I will burn your house to the ground,” she said slowly, deliberately, eyes locked on him, “with all your family inside before I follow a single command of yours.”

Draco balked. “You are deranged, Weasley. Positively insane.” Then he shook his head, scowling heavily. “Why in the hell the Dark Lord assigned you to me, I have no idea – “

“Probably hoping I would kill you,” interrupted Ginny. “You’re his least favorite, and everyone knows it.”

The older wizard glared and refilled his drink. “Well, that’s still a hell of a lot more than you can say,” he quipped, turning to face her again. “You’re on trial for your life, Weasley. Fail this, and you’re dead.”

For a moment, Ginny fell quiet. Then she slinked forward, though the strange movements of her body might’ve been the result of being cramped up for so long. "Do you think that frightens me, Malfoy?”

The question came as a soft whisper, seething with barely contained fury. Draco finally met her gaze, and his grey eyes flickered at her proximity. In that moment, Ginny looked like she’d crawled directly from an earthy grave, filthy from head to toe, hair strewn and features twisted. He regarded her carefully.

“Harry Potter is dead,” she said slowly.

When Draco didn’t respond, Ginny’s teeth clicked together harshly, painfully. “My brother Ron is dead. Hermione Granger is dead. Albus bloody fucking Dumbledore – is DEAD!”

The last word was a sudden, jarring shout, but to his credit, Draco didn’t flinch.

Ire burned inside of Ginny like it hadn’t in months, and the hardened apathy that had enfolded her during her time in the cell – time which Voldemort had apparently spent shaping his illustrious pureblood utopia – melted away under a pyre of uncontained agony.

“The only thing that has kept me alive all this time, Malfoy,” continued Ginny heatedly as she stalked forward, eyes now wide and furious, “is the knowledge that someone in my family – even a single bloody fucking person – might still be alive. But if all you’re going to do is make me into your dirty puppet so you can finally get off your knees and return to your former glory - ”

“Well, how about this, Weasley,” cut in Draco, advancing on her with his wand drawn, “How about I take you to Nott instead, if you’re so upset at being here, huh? You want to get tossed in with him and Lavender Brown, getting raped senseless – “


“Your life,” he seethed, “is over. And now you can suck it up and become part of the world again, or you can curl up into your pathetic little ball and die. I. don’t. care.”

“Like I believe that,” growled Ginny, twisting her head at him. “If Voldemort is desperate enough to keep me and the others alive, it has to be because he’s realized how small the magical population is without Muggle-borns, isn’t it?”

At Draco’s cutting glare, Ginny let out a bitter laugh. “You think I don’t know about the Sacred Twenty-Eight, Malfoy? Before the war, there were only twenty-eight pureblooded families left in Great Britain. Of course I know that!” She tossed out an arm in a wild swing. “I’m magical too, Malfoy! I know our bloody history! So don’t think to fool me, because I know – I know what this little project must mean, and how important it is!”

“You don’t know the half of it,” whispered Draco lowly. “You’ve been asleep, Weasley. And it’s time for your rude awakening.”

“Big talk coming from someone lording a wand over a defenseless little witch,” murmured Ginny darkly in reply. Her eyes flickered at his wand. “Give me one – any wand, any at all. And then we can see how high you stand and how far you fall.”

“Do you think I’m stupid?” asked Draco.

“A bit of an unfair question,” replied Ginny. “I think we both know the answer to that.”

The taller boy shifted and glared down at her. Then he laughed bitterly, shaking his head at her. “You know, I don’t remember much about you from school – other than you were hot for Potter and you spent most of your spare time on your back, ready and willing for anyone who’d take the time.”

Ginny’s heated stare trembled furiously.

“But you know,” said Draco languidly, grey eyes fixed on her, absent sympathy. “I look forward to getting to know you. Because,” he leaned close, “when you finally succumb to the inevitable realization that you are without friends, family and allies to return you to your wholesome, unrealistic universe, I will be so, so very glad to watch…” he paused.

“Especially knowing that Harry Potter’s last romp is just another cog in the pureblood aristocracy. Just as she was always meant to be.”

Just before Ginny’s fury could take hold, Draco snatched her arm, dragged her struggling body across the room, and hurled her into an open doorway. Ginny’s hip hit something hard, and she gripped it with a gasp of pain, only dimly registering that it was a porcelain tub.

“Now bathe,” he ordered, nodding to a pile of robes folded neatly nearby. “I don’t want you further contaminating my house.” With that, he slammed the door shut just as Ginny launched herself against it, and she hit the wood with a heavy, hard thud.

Draco Malfoy turned away from the door, now alone in his room. He stopped when a furious howl sounded on the other side, a high-pitched wail that erupted for only a second before every bit of glass in Draco's room burst with magical energy.

Draco jumped, eyes wide as he looked up around the room at the broken bits and then back at the bathroom door, where Ginny Weasley continued to howl in rage.

“Bloody hell,” he muttered, before he began looking for another drinking glass.