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Harry Potter and the Whore of Slytherin Chapter 3

Ginny Weasley followed her Head of House through the halls nervously. She hadn't been told why the Headmaster wanted to see her, but she could guess easily enough. After all, she'd attacked her fellow students— even if they'd been part of the Inquisitorial Squad— and then left the school grounds. And that wasn't even getting into the whole 'breaking into the Department of Mysteries' thing.

She just hoped she wouldn't be expelled. She didn't think she would be, since there were extenuating circumstances for all of it, but she thought there was a very good chance she'd start the next year in detention.

Professor McGonagall hadn't spoken since she told Ginny to come with her, and she thought that probably wasn't a good sign. Neither was the fact that the Professor's face was even more stern than normal— obviously she didn't agree with the choices Ginny and the others had made, no matter what their reasons.

Well, that was fine. She could disapprove all she liked, but it didn't change how Ginny felt about the situation. She'd done what she'd done because it was the right thing to do, and if she was punished for it... well, the Headmaster had talked about doing what was right and what was easy in his closing speech the year before.

Hmm. Maybe she could use that to mitigate her punishment somewhat. It was right, and the Headmaster at least wouldn't argue. She wasn't sure about McGonagall, after her failure to support Harry when he was forced into those detentions... but maybe she didn't know what Umbitch was doing to him. Harry certainly wouldn't have told her, and he might have kept Hermione and Ron from doing so either.

If so— if they didn't know— then she probably had an out at least for the attack on the Inquisitorial Squad, if not the others. And maybe it could be used to protect Harry from the Ministry, as well... if Fudge somehow kept his job after all this, which she doubted. Too many people knew what had happened now, and Lucius Malfoy had been arrested as a Death Eater— and everyone knew that Malfoy was Fudge's best friend. No, there would be a shake-up in the Ministry after this, that was certain. Maybe her father could get a promotion. That would be nice.

She realized that they'd reached the Headmaster's office while she'd been lost in her thoughts, and she stepped onto the moving stairs behind McGonagall, her nervous butterflies back in full force. What if this wasn't about the school? What if there were Aurors there to arrest her? What if—

She cut herself off as Dumbledore called for them to enter, before McGonagall had had a chance to knock. Her stomach sank as she saw her mother there, looking very upset, but at least there weren't any Aurors there to arrest her.

"Lemon drop?" Dumbledore asked, and her spirits lifted as she realized he didn't seem angry, or upset. Not that he ever did, but... surely he wouldn't offer if she was in very much trouble?

"Oh, yes, please," she said, and he smiled happily.

"Do you know you are the first person to take my offer in three years?" he asked, holding out the bowl.

"No," she replied, startled, a wave of relief washing over her, followed by worry. If he was being this friendly, she wasn't in trouble, but then why was she there? Was there something wrong with Ron? Had he been injured worse than they had thought? Or—

"Harry," she said, the candy dropping from her suddenly nerveless fingers. "What's happened to him now? The— the Ministry didn't— he's not—"

"Calm yourself, Miss Weasley," McGonagall said, but the sharpness Ginny had expected given the way the Professor had looked was missing from her tone. "Mister Potter is in no immediate danger."

"Immediate," Ginny said, swallowing. "That means that he is in danger."

"I fear so," the Headmaster said. "Please, take a seat and I will explain."

Ginny sat, her eyes never leaving his, and he continued. "Earlier today, one of your schoolmates came to myself and Professor McGonagall with a concern regarding Harry," he said, and she found herself surprised that he didn't call Harry 'Mister Potter'. "She fears that should he not get the emotional support he needs over the next few weeks, he is in danger of doing himself harm."

"No—" Ginny said, the word bursting from her lips uncontrollably as her face paled. But it died there, as all the little things fell into place. His lack of appetite, his disinterest in things, his guilt....

She swallowed, looking up at the Headmaster, silently urging him to tell her that there was no danger, but he merely sighed. "I fear, Miss Weasley, that we have — as have you, if I am not mistaken — concluded that she was, in fact, correct."

Ginny sat there, staring at him, frozen. She wanted to scream, to tell him it couldn't be, to tell him it wasn't fair, not Harry, not after everything he'd suffered, but she couldn't bring herself to move, to speak, as if by not doing so she could pretend it was all a dream.

"Therefore," he continued, "We have decided, with your mother's agreement, to implement the solution your schoolmate suggested, so that Harry will in fact get the support he needs, and will not be alone with his relatives."

Ginny's jaw went slack for a moment, as she realized that Dumbledore.... "You knew!" she accused, her face reddening. "You knew how they treated him, and you sent him back anyway!"

"I did," Dumbledore replied. "There are wards surrounding Privet Drive which are powered by his mother's love, by his mother's sacrifice, and that protection extends to him elsewhere as long as he can call the place where his mother's blood dwells home."

"So... in order to protect him from Death Eaters, you allowed him to be abused by— by— by those— those arseholes?" Ginny demanded.

"Miss Weasley!" McGonagall said, reprovingly. "No matter what may have happened to Mister Potter, it is not your place to question the Headmaster! Certainly not in such language!"

Ginny swung around to McGonagall. "You're wrong. I have every right to question somebody who has condemned someone I love to pain and hatred and abuse! Not that you have any right to speak, since you did the same thing to him!"

McGonagall's eyes narrowed, and Ginny saw her mother stiffen out of the corner of her eye. A chill ran down her back as she realized that she had gone one step too far.

"And precisely what, Miss Weasley, do you mean by that statement?" McGonagall asked, her voice so cold that Ginny fancied she could see fog forming from the words.

Well, in for a penny, in for a pound, she thought. "I mean you sent him back to those detentions with Umbridge, even though she was making him use a Blood Quill!"

She'd never seen McGonagall look quite like that before. "A— but surely she wouldn't have— surely he would have come to me—"

"He did," she interrupted sharply. "You told him to keep his head down and not argue with her."

McGonagall paled further. "I— I did," she whispered, her voice shaking. "I simply did not wish to see him give her ammunition, but— I swear, Albus, I had no idea. He didn't tell me!"

Dumbledore looked grim. "Nor did he have the chance to tell me, thanks to my errors in judgement. Miss Weasley— Ginevra, thank you for bringing this to our attention. Had we known...." He shook his head sadly. "But we did not, and so Harry has been pushed to, and quite possibly beyond, his limits. But I do not intend to repeat my mistakes, and I intend to ensure that Harry has all the support he needs. Would you be willing to spend the summer at Privet Drive with him? I fear you would not be able to leave, once there; the security situation is far too precarious to risk drawing attention to the location."

Ginny stared at him, and then at her mother. "You— you're all right with this?"

Her mother smiled weakly. "Did you mean it when you said you loved him?"

Ginny flushed. "I— I mean— Yes," she said, simply. "I've tried, but... they aren't him. They don't measure up."

Her mother nodded. "Then yes, I'm okay with it. But I insist you visit Madame Pomfrey before you leave."

"Madame Pomfrey?" Ginny asked, puzzled. "Why would I need—" She broke off, turning red. "Mother!"

"What Molly is alluding to is related to a fact I have not yet disclosed to you, Ginevra," the Headmaster said. "Should you agree, you will not be going to Privet Drive alone. The young lady who brought this to our attention will be with you, and will also be staying the summer. While I am sure you will be reluctant to trust her, I assure you that she has my trust in this matter. Indeed, she requested that I question her under the influence of Veritaserum, so that there would be no doubt."

Ginny frowned, puzzled. She couldn't imagine who he could be referring to, unless... Cho? She didn't trust the scheming little bitch as far as she could throw her, true, and if her mother wasn't going to object, damned straight she'd sleep with Harry to keep him out of that harpy's clutches, if she had the chance!

"Is it Cho Chang?" she asked.

Dumbledore gave her a gentle smile. "No, Ginevra, it is not. In point of fact, it is Miss Parkinson."

Ginny stared at him for a moment, replaying the words in her mind to make sure she hadn't misheard, then snapped, "Are you out of your bloody mind? There is no bloody way in hell I'm going to allow the bloody Whore of Slytherin to get her claws in Harry! She'd take him to the nearest Death Eater the first chance she got!" She stood, walking over to Dumbledore's desk and staring the most powerful wizard in the world straight in the eye without flinching. "Absolutely not!"

Dumbledore stared back at her, power beginning to palpably radiate from him, but she didn't flinch. Her mother and McGonagall remained silent, perhaps too shocked at the confrontation to chastise her, but she wouldn't have cared if they were screaming at the top of their lungs at her.

Two could play at that game, she thought, and reached down, finding her magic and somehow forcing it to the surface. The room took on a strange tint, and she heard both her mother and McGonagall gasp, but she didn't waver, pushing her magic against Dumbledore's in a way she couldn't have explained. He was stronger than she was, vastly so, and she knew it, but she didn't care. He could either overwhelm her by force, or he could concede the contest, because she wasn't going to give up until she won or lost, one way or the other.

And, just like that, he did, his power wavering and vanishing like a mirage in the hot summer sun.

She staggered back, shocked, not actually having expected to win, and sank back into her seat, distantly aware of the stunned looks on the faces of the other two people in the room.

"Ginevra," the Headmaster said, smiling happily, "If I had any doubts about the course of action I have proposed, what you did just now dispelled them most thoroughly. Miss Parkinson will go with you, but I assure you, she is not, nor has she ever been, a Death Eater. Nor is she sympathetic to their beliefs. She simply did what she must to survive, and that includes the activities which earned her the title you referred to just now."

Ginny stared back at him in disbelief. He was happy she'd challenged him like that? And he believed Pansy?

"Yes," he said, as if reading her mind, and she realized suddenly that he might be doing just that, "I'm quite happy you challenged me as you did, particularly in that you refused to back down, presenting me with the choice to either concede, or overwhelm you, possibly injuring you severely. Harry needs someone he can trust to stand up to anyone for him, someone he can trust to place his interests first." Dumbledore sighed sadly. "I fear he can no longer trust that I shall do so, though I promise you, Ginevra, I have always done so, even when it seems otherwise."

"Then how can you even consider letting that... that bitch near him?" she demanded. "How can you trust her?"

"I did tell you that I questioned her under Veritaserum," he said, mildly. "Further, you know I have some small skill in Legilimency. While Veritaserum can be defeated by someone skilled in Occlumency, very few people can manage to deflect Legilimency at the same time, and I do not believe that anyone could do so without the effort being obvious to the Legilimens."

Ginny gritted her teeth. She couldn't believe Pansy was telling the truth, but Dumbledore did, and he even explained why. It wasn't like with Snape, where Dumbledore refused to tell anyone why he trusted the git.

It came down to whether she trusted the Headmaster, she finally decided. And, reluctantly, she had to admit that while he had made mistakes, in this case, he was giving her his reasons for trusting Pansy, and she didn't have any reason to argue with him. She just couldn't bring herself to trust Pansy after four years of watching her suck up to everyone with power in Slytherin, watching her hang all over Malfoy like he was the greatest thing since self-slicing bread....

"All right," she said, surprising herself with her calmness. "If you can swear on your magic that you trust her, that you don't think this is some kind of plot, then I'll trust you. I can't trust her, and I don't, but I'll give her a chance, because you say so."

Dumbledore gave her a smile. "I would be pleased," he said, and raised his wand. "I swear on my magic that I believe that Pansy Parkinson has told me the truth, that I believe she is sincere in her desire to help Harry, and that I do not believe this is a plot."

There was a muted flash of light, and he lowered his wand. "And thank you, Ginevra, for your trust. I know it cannot be easy to trust someone you have seen as an enemy for your entire time at Hogwarts."

She managed a small smile. "I just hope you're right," she said. "I just can't see how she could have done what she did, if she wasn't just like them."

"For that, I'm afraid, you'll have to ask Miss Parkinson," the Headmaster said, a hint of sadness in his voice. "It is... rather personal. I suspect, however, that she will tell you if you do. There is one more thing I must explain to you. Miss Parkinson has informed us that, should she feel it necessary for Harry's health, she intends to become intimate with him. I must insist that you do not attempt to dissuade her, or to discourage Harry from doing so, should he wish to. He simply cannot deal with the stress which would be caused by the two of you contending for his affections. You will simply have to... come to some form of agreement with her, if necessary."

Ginny stared at him, her face red, and wondered if he'd forgotten her mother was in the room. She glanced over, waiting for the expected explosion, only to see a pained smile on her mother's face.

"Ginny... you know I wouldn't normally approve," her mother said, slowly, and Ginny nodded. "But in this case... I can't bear the thought of losing him, or worse... so, if it's what he needs, then...."

Ginny swallowed. "Is— is that why you said I should visit Madame Pomfrey?"

Her mother nodded. "Yes. I can't... I can't believe I'm saying this, but... I know you love him, Ginny. And I can't see you... not... helping him... as much as she will, if you have any choice in the matter. And... I'd rather you waited, love, but... if you aren't... if you're going to... then I want you to be protected." Her mother swallowed, and looked her in the eye. "I want you to wait, love. I really think you should. But he needs you, and I haven't raised seven children without learning a few things. I won't ever ask you what you did or didn't do, and you don't ever have to tell me. But if you... if you have questions, or need advice, you can ask me, and I won't think less of you for it, I promise." She managed a small smile. "You probably shouldn't tell your father, though. If... anything happens that means he needs to know, let me tell him."

Ginny stared at her mother in shock. She would never, in a million years, have expected her mother to react this way. Why she wasn't ranting about scarlet women, and threatening to lock her in her room for the summer, she couldn't understand.

It must be because it's Harry, she finally decided. She trusts him not to hurt me, and if it might save his life....

"Thank you," she whispered, blinking back tears. "Thank you so much, mum. I can't tell you...."

"I understand," her mother said, giving her a tremulous smile. "I really do. Just promise me you'll be smart about things, all right? Don't think you have to do anything because... anyone else is. Do it because you think it's the right thing to do."

Ginny nodded. "I will. I promise, I will."

"That's all I need, love. That's all I need."