Sister to Hope and Charity
Disclaimer: See previous chapters.
Note: I wrote this a long time ago, so technically, the universe is pretty AU. The story originally started after the time line of the fourth book, although there are no deviations from the fifth book.
Sister to Hope and Charity
The morning sun streamed brightly through the high glass windows of the infirmary and the only sound so early in the morning was the steady clomp of Ginny’s shoes as walked down the aisle between the patient beds. Slipping through the door that separated the infirmary from the advanced medicine classroom, she opened her locker and pulled out her medical training robe, running a hand over the fine fabric before slipping it over her uniform. It was one of the few things she owned that was not bought discounted, on sale, from a second hand store or a hand-me-down from her older brothers or some relative of the Weasley clan. It had been a present, and it was beautiful and she knew that if she took care of it, it could possibly last her until she was a fully qualified medi-witch.
Relishing the feeling of contentment that settled over her she returned to the practically empty infirmary. It was, after all, the last Hogsmeade weekend before the holidays. The upper levels were getting ready to go get a butter beer at Madame Rosmerta’s or finish their holiday shopping, and those too young to go were making lists and trying to bribe an upper level to run their errands for them. Ron had complained again last night how unfair it was that Gin had to work in the infirmary in the morning instead of riding down with them in the carriages, but Ginny had just smiled. Madame Pomfrey and Professor Snape often gave her lists of potion ingredients that they would need before she was allowed to floo down to Hogsmeade and often, a few extra sickles were slipped in for a treat so Ginny never minded.
She had been pushed to the side and received hand me downs all of her life. This medical training, it was hers. She was talented and as much as her family was trying to shelter her from the war that was coming, she chose to focus on doing something to help. Still in her sixth year, she could have passed the incoming medi-witch course at Saint Mungo’s, but she had chosen to stay to finish her schooling and to keep an eye on Ron, Harry and Hermione.
Looking at Madame Pomfrey’s office, Ginny noted that the magic alert lamp was on orange. She had an emergency last night and was now resting. She would be wakened if there was any problem in the infirmary or the castle, but Ginny knew better than to disturb her. She instead checked the charts hanging by the bedside of two students who had spent the night in the infirmary. The fifth year Hufflepuff with a cold would need a dose of pepper-up and the second year Slytherin would need another dose of skele-gro when he woke.
Ginny moved to the potions cabinet, unlocked it with a flick of her wand and froze in shock. Since she started her advanced medicine classes, Ginny practically considered the medical potions cabinet hers. She brewed the potions, restocked the shelves, picked up potions ingredients and administered them with a deft hand. Not only had someone been in the cabinet, the number of potions used and the disarray that the cabinet was left in was cause for alarm. Quickly her mind scanned what were missing, two draughts of living death, four skele-gro, two blood replenishing potions, and three jars of burn ointments.
In a near panic, Ginny locked the cabinet and ran to the far end of the infirmary to the hidden wall. Tapping the appropriate bricks with her wand revealed a portrait. A whispered password had the door swinging aside. She took three steps into the room and was suddenly grabbed by the throat and slammed painfully against the wall. Her wand clattered helplessly to the floor.
“Who the hell are you?” a rough female voice asked.
“Ginny,” the girl gasped, clawing at the hand at her throat, “Ginny Weasley, Madame Pomfrey’s assistant. Let me GO!” With a move that Ginny used to unseat her much older, much heavier brothers when they pounced on her, Ginny managed to maneuver a foot to the woman’s hip and push her away. She slid to the floor grabbing her wand with one hand and gingerly touching her throat with the other. She glared at the woman who had released her, “You didn’t have to do that. No one can get in here unless authorized and Madame Pomfrey knows immediately.”
“What are you doing in here,” the dark woman growled.
“I saw the potions cabinet; I had to see if it was. . .” Ginny swallowed hard and looked to the bed. Not Harry, not her brother, Ron. Ginny sighed in relief and a tendril of guilt worked its way through her, “It’s Professor Snape.”
She got to her feet a bit shakily and moved to the side of the bed. Empty potions bottles and bandages lay on the low table next to Professor Snape. “Merlin, what happened to him?” she muttered to himself, “I’ve never seen him this bad.” She picked up the chart and read quickly through the hasty notes that Madame scribbled. “He’s going to need another skele-gro and some antiseptic on those cuts and burns.”
“She tried to take care of him,” Faith said wearily sinking into the heavy chair that was at the side of the bed. Ginny looked over to the woman in the chair and for the first time really looked at her.
“You’re exhausted. Have you been here all night?” Ginny asked, “Let’s get you something to eat. There’s a bath in the next room. I can get the house elves to bring some fresh clothes.”
The woman pressed her palms to her eyes, and then looked at her hands blankly. “Bath, a bath then food. Not that I haven’t eaten with blood on me before.”
“Come on,” Ginny said daring to touch an elbow to encourage the woman to rise and move to the bath when she suddenly pulled away.
“No, can’t leave him,” a thread of panic in her voice, “If he wakes and is alone. I don’t want him to be alone. I know what it’s like to wake alone, the craziness.”
Ginny moved beside the distraught woman and said gently, “You sit here a bit longer. I’ve got to go get his potions, they I’ll sit with him while you get cleaned up. I’ll have some food brought in. You need rest.
“Faith?” Ginny asked when the woman didn’t respond. Now dark eyes met hers and Ginny gave a small smile, “Hermione told me about you. Give me a minute, alright?”
Faith blinked at the tiny girl. She was making sense. In fact, Ginny reminded Faith of Vi, also a red-head, also the calm and logical one when tempers were frayed. “Yeah, O.k., when you get back.”
“Good,” Ginny nodded and after giving Faith one last reassuring smile, she looked to Professor Snape and began cataloging in her mind what she would need to clean and heal the cuts, bruises and burns that needed care.
She would discharge the Hufflepuff and perhaps the Slytherin. She was engrossed in her thoughts as she walked through the portrait hole that she froze in shock when she came nose to chest with a green and silver Slytherin tie.
“Gryflette,” Draco acknowledged having seen the red-head step through the portrait where they had placed Professor Snape the night before. Ginny blinked up at him startled. She had not been aware that Draco might even know the nickname that many of the older Slytherin’s had called her for the past two years. She should not have been, though, she thought, as her advanced medicine partner for the past two years had been Cassius Warrington, former captain of the Slytherin Quidditch team.
“Malfoy,” she said politely taking a step back and almost falling through the portrait hole, but with quick seeker reflexes, Malfoy managed to grab a wind-milling arm and steady her. She swallowed, “Thanks,” she said once she gained her feet. She always felt that house hostilities should be completely ignored in the infirmary.
“Drake? Is that you?” Faith asked from behind her and Ginny was surprised at the flash of emotion on Malfoy’s face as he skirted around her and through the portrait hole.
Ginny followed him back in and touched his arm lightly to get his attention, “She needs a bath and some food and rest. If you will sit with Professor Snape, I can take care of her?”
Draco nodded and turned to speak quietly to the woman beside him. Ginny moved to the fireplace to summon a house elf requesting food and some fresh clothes for Faith before leaving the two of them to take care of her duties in the infirmary.
She returned a half hour later with potions in hand, “Faith?” she asked Draco who was sitting in the large chair leaning over his knees with his hands clenched together.
Draco looked up at her, a raw look in his eyes before his expression closed and the ice cold pureblood returned, “She is in the bath,” he said coolly.
Ginny just nodded and began to set up vials along the bed stand before sweeping the used bottles into the many coats of her robe. She would take care of those later. She pulled out her wand and began to wave it about muttering healing charms over some of the larger cuts. She gently rubbed burn salve and bandaged patches on Professor Snape’s arms and chest. She looked over at the potion vials.
“How are you going to get them in him?” Draco asked, startling Ginny.
“I can directly send them to his stomach with a charm, although some of them would do more good as they passed down the throat affecting the organs around it. I can wait another half hour or so. Maybe Madame might wake up by then. She had to use very powerful magic last night and I could treat him, but it would be better if she were here.”
“You are good at that,” Draco said.
“Thank you,” she gently ran her wand against a cut on Professor Snape’s forehead now healing the very minor cuts and bruises. “I watched Mum heal up my brothers quite a bit. I guess some things you just learn.”
A door opened and Faith came out of the bath. Ginny blinked at the woman. She was dressed in leather, leather boots, pants and vest tied like a corset. Her hair was still wet, but she had scrubbed her face clean and there were dark circles under her eyes and where earlier her lips had been lipstick red, they were pale. The exhausted waif looked very in contrast to the biker chick.
“That can’t be comfortable,” Draco muttered.
Faith shot an amused look at the gaping teens, “The Georges picked it out.”
“Georges?” Ginny asked.
“Misses Faith’s breakfast,” a house elf appeared with a pop and set a large tray covered with food on a side table. Subserviently, the little creature approached Faith, “If we may be so bold, Misses, the house elves are worried about you and the Professor.”
“Thank you, George,” Faith said with an affectionate cuff to the elf’s head, “Next time, could you not dress me like a street walker?”
“It was all we could find clean, Miss.”
Faith smirked before leaning to kiss him on the top of the head, “Is that a hint that you want to do my laundry?”
“We will take the best care of Misses Faith’s things,” the house elf said bowing.
“You just don’t want me doing it myself,” she grumbled before sitting and starting her breakfast.
“George?” Ginny mouthed. Draco shrugged and moved to have some toast with Faith. Ginny finished cleaning up the bed side table leaving it clean except for the potions that would need to be administered soon. She turned to take the used bandages and vials away when a pained hiss came from the patient on the bed.
Ginny turned back in alarm. Professor Snape began to thrash about on the bed. Madame Pomfrey appeared in the doorway. “Again,” she muttered moving into action, “Ginny, I may need you.”
Ginny quickly dropped what was in her hands in a corner of the room and returned to the bed. Madame Pomfrey was waving her wand and muttering enchantments. Professor Snape was tossing and moaning in pain. He was shaking and red blossomed under bandages as his wounds reopened. “The sleeping draught, intravenous,” Madame muttered and Ginny recited a spell quickly sending the potion directly coursing through Professor Snape’s system. “Muscle relaxant, next.”
“What is it, Madame?”
Draco had come up behind her, his eyes flat. “The mark, it’s burning. It happened twice last night. He almost died.”
Ginny looked to the furiously working medi-witch and Professor Snape in pain. “I can stop this,” Ginny whispered, her mind working furiously, “I think I can stop this.
“Madame!” Ginny caught the medi-witch’s attention. “I’m going to let him out. He can stop this. I need you to get my brother, Bill. If something goes wrong, he can take care of it.” She grabbed Malfoy next, slapping her wand into his hands, “Whatever happens, don’t give me back that wand. Don’t let me get a hand on any wand until Professor Dumbledore tells you to.”
“What are you doing, Weasley?”
“Ginny, what are you thinking?”
Ginny looked straight into Draco’s eyes, “If I try to leave, if I try to hurt anyone, you stop me. Do you understand? You stop me.”
Ginny closed her eyes, took a deep breath and slipped into her mind.
“Pretty little Ginny Weasley, not so little anymore,” a voice whispered in her head and she opened her eyes.
“Tom,” she breathed looking at the handsome young man before her. Her heart stuttered and the left side of her mouth twitched into a half smile, “You haven’t changed.”
“How long, Ginny? How long since you have been here, even in your dreams?” It was a small sitting room with comfortable chairs and a fireplace. The spirit of Tom Marvolo Riddle that had been in the diary, that had taken control of a young, scared, impressionable girl sat indolently with his feet upon a hassock looking impassively at the girl whose mind he inhabited.
“Two years, Tom.”
“Because I have to have control of me. You took control, Tom. You used me. You hurt me. You tried to take my soul and my life and you haven’t ever completely gone.”
“No,” he spat, “Why are you here, now?”
Ginny grit her teeth, “You owe me, Tom.”
“I owe you nothing.”
“Bill is coming. You do as I ask and you disappear back into my mind and I let you continue to exist. If not, he breaks the curse binding us and you disappear forever.”
Tom stood lazily and sauntered over to Ginny towering over her, “You think I want to be in your mind? You think I enjoy watching your little friends scurry about to try and save the world? You think I want to share your pathetic little life?”
Ginny smirked and narrowed her eyes, “I know you do,” she retorted refusing to be intimidated as she had so many years ago, “I can feel you, Tom, watching the world through my eyes. I let you watch. I can’t hear what you say or what you think, but sometimes I imagine what you would say.”
“Throwing the dog a scrap?”
“You helped make my first year bearable. You forced me to be strong. You taught me to fight, to learn control, to be more powerful than most witches my age,” her eyes softened slightly as she looked up into his, “I miss you sometimes. Sometimes I wished I wasn’t so afraid of you. We could have found a way to co-exist, I think. We could have been friends.”
“What do you need?”
“Voldemort brands his followers. The mark is tied to him. When he summons, the mark burns, when ignored, it becomes and instrument of torture. I let you out, you declare the call satisfied. You remain useful, you stay. If not, Bill breaks the curse.”
“You need me. I get to negotiate.”
“No, I don’t need you. There must be another way. But there is an emergency now and you are the most expedient way. I thought I would ask.”
Tom’s eyes narrowed, “How long has Bill been able to break the curse?”
“He wrote me a letter last week. It’s taken five years of research, but he can banish you.”
“Let me out.”
“You will do what I ask?”
“Pretty Ginny, all grown up, heart of a lion, to ease another’s suffering, you will make a deal with the serpent. You will let me watch the girls in the Quidditch showers.”
“No showers, but I will let you out to fly.”
“Let me out.” Ginny closed her eyes and slipped into her mind.
* * * * *
“What did she mean? What’s going on? Why is she just standing there?” Draco was getting frantic. Madame Pomfrey had run from the room and Professor Snape’s agitation was getting worse. Faith was trying to restrain the professor, trying to soothe him.
Then, Ginny opened her eyes. She moved to the side of the bed and pulled the sheets back from Professor’s Snape’s side exposing the arm with the dark mark. “God, that’s ugly,” she muttered before placing her hand on the mark, “I, Tom Marvolo Riddle, discharge the summons; this man has satisfied the call.”
Almost instantly, Professor Snape calmed. His body relaxed into the state of a calm slumber. “Snape, she let me out to aid Severus Snape,” with a shake of her red head, she muttered, “Too noble, Ginny. He may have helped you at some time but he is still a mean bastard.”
Brown eyes scanned to room and met steel grey ones, “Draco Malfoy, son of Lucius,” she tilted her head to the side, “She thinks you are a prat.” A wand appeared in her face and she stepped back with a smirk, “Is that because I called you a prat? Didn’t she tell you to keep wands away from me?”
“You’re not Weasley,” Draco growled.
Ginny stood with hands up in a defenseless position, “You hex me, you actually are hexing her. As a sign of good faith, I am not even going to try and take your wand.” She sat elegantly on the chair next to the bed, “It is so nice to be in control after so long. This sixteen year old body is much more interesting than the eleven year old one.”
Faith tore her eyes from the now calm Severus and growled, “Who are you?”
“Who are you?”
“Sister to Hope and Charity?”
“Is that supposed to be funny?” Draco asked stepping between the form of Ginny and Faith and Snape.
“Look, Ginny’s just letting me. . .out until the cavalry arrives. I am not going to do anything to her, anything to you.”
“You are not Ginny. Who are you?” Draco again demanded.
“Tom Marvolo Riddle. You remember the Chamber of Secrets, the Heir of Slytherin., the Future Lord Voldemort. Your father gave Ginny the diary. They never fully got rid of me. She likes me. She says I can stay.”
“How did you stop the mark from burning?” Faith demanded.
“I created the curse, I can satisfy the call. Apparently there exists enough of me in this manifestation that the curse recognizes my presence.”
Suddenly the infirmary doors burst open to reveal Dumbledore leading Madame Pomfrey and Bill Weasley. They strode through the portrait door, wands drawn and a forceful gleam in their eyes.
“Ginny!” Bill said looking in alarm at his only sister.
“Bill, you can’t banish him, he needs to stay.”
Draco and Faith turned back to the girl who was now sitting in the chair very differently from the careless sprawl from a moment before. She was holding a hand to her temple and had her eyes closed.
“Ginny!” Bill strode past Dumbledore and knelt in front of his sister, “Gin?”
Ginny smiled at her brother and tapped him on the nose with her index finger, “It’s me, Bill. I let him out to help me. Now he’s back in the little place we made for him all those years ago. It’s not too bad. He’s not going to be happy, I did a little redecorating, lots of red and gold.”
“Professor Snape was hurting. You know we can’t do anything about the dark mark and a summons, but Tom, he could.”
“Miss Weasley, may I?” Professor Dumbledore stepped forward looking at her gently. At her nod, she intoned, “Legilimens.” After a long moment of quiet, Dumbledore stepped back.
“I gave Mr. Malfoy my wand. Would you let him know I can have it back, please?”
“Mr. Malfoy,” Dumbledore looked at the young man and nodded. Ginny held out her hand and Draco placed her wand in it.
“Poppy?” Dumbledore asked.
The exhausted medi-witch looked up at Dumbledore, “I have him settled. He reopened some wounds, but he’s stable now.” Madame Pomfrey then narrowed her gaze at Ginny, “That, young lady, was foolish and dangerous.”
“It was necessary and she was right.” Support for her actions came from an unexpected corner. All eyes swung to Draco, “Right now the Dark Lord thinks Professor Snape is dead. Faith took care of the vampires sent after him. He did not answer the summons and even if it was tuned specifically to Snape, after Weasley discharged the summons, you-know-who might think he died. The only way to keep him safe now is to have Weasley on hand to discharge any summons that happens. Can you do that?”
Ginny blinked at Draco, “As long as Tom stays reasonable. As long as Bill can be on hand if things get out of control to completely banish him if necessary. Someone who can do legilimency needs to check regularly to make sure who is in control over long periods. I can share, but I may need help.”
“I can do it,” Draco stated, “Lucius taught me legilimency.”
“There needs to be a way for me to get to Professor Snape immediately if a summons occurs, and for Bill to come if there is a problem.”
“Done,” Dumbledore said.
“Gin,” Bill said squeezing her hands, forcing her to look at him, “Are you sure you want to do this? I can get rid of him right now.”
“I made a deal, Bill,” Ginny said with a small smile and she could have sworn Malfoy started muttering about crazy honorable stupid Gryffindors, “I can help, Bill.”
“I can arrange special port keys,” Dumbledore said, “We will all have one with the ability to call on one if necessary.”
“I can write my father that Professor Snape has seemingly disappeared. If the summons is not answered, it will lend more credibility to his death,” Draco offered.
“Do it,” Faith stated.
“It may take more assistance than that, Mr. Malfoy,” Professor Dumbledore stated looking carefully at the young man before him.
Faith watched Draco struggle with himself. She knew that battle. Sometimes she had won, sometimes she had lost, most of the time, she had been alone. Faith laid a hand on his shoulder. No matter the choice, he would not be alone.
Draco raised his chin, “I already said I would help Weasley.”
“And we appreciate that, Mr. Malfoy.”
“Don’t,” Faith said, “Don’t pressure him to make a choice he may not be ready to fully make. He’ll help Ms. Weasley, he’ll write his dad. Anything else, time will tell. He chooses on his own. I trust Drake.”
“I trust him, too,” said coming to her feet to stand beside Draco and Faith.
Bill rolled his eyes before railing at his sister, “You would trust the young incarnation of you-know-who and this Slytherin? Clearly we as older brothers have not instilled in you any sense of caution and self-preservation. You, young lady, have not a leg to stand on when you call us overprotective. Clearly someone needs to protect you. . .from yourself!”
Wide innocent eyes swung to meet her brothers, “Bill.”
Bill threw his hands up in the air before running a hand through his hair, “I don’t know why we even try. You!” a finger was pointed at Ginny, “had better be careful! And you,” the finger swung to Malfoy, “if anything at all happens to her. . .”
“Nothing will happen to her,” Faith said stepping in front of the two students, “Drake can take care of her. We will all take care of her.”
“And you are?” Bill asked the strangely dressed woman coldly.
“Faith, a slayer,” she extended a hand, “Sister to hope and charity.”