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The wind picked up in the hallway making dust storms here and there. The moving air lifted Ginny’s hair and whipped it around her face. Her brown eyes had shifted into the same black color Draco had witnessed the night school started. I don’t want this. I don’t want it; I don’t want it to happen again.  Her mind screamed, but she had no control over her movements. Ginny Weasley’s hand shot out in front of her slamming Draco square in the chest. She watched helplessly as if trapped in her body as he flew across the corridor and smacked into the opposite wall. It was as if the whole thing was in slow motion, she even saw his eyes go wide before his body made contact with the stone.

Surprisingly, Draco did not lose consciousness. He stared at her in shock as he rubbed the back of his head and neck to make sure everything was still in working order. He looked dazedly across at Ginny and as if she’d finally been released from some invisible bonds, she collapsed to the floor in a flood of tears. “Look at me…” She whimpered, “look. I’m a monster and no one knows.” She returned to the way Draco had always known Ginny. Auburn hair instead of fiery red, soft brown eyes instead of cold black. He moved slowly across to her.

"I’m some disgusting beast no matter how hard I try not to be. I’m a monster. A monster." Her tears had taken over and she was no longer making any sense. She had slumped over onto the cold concrete, writhing slightly like something was eating at her from the inside. She leaned over and wretched, but again, the only thing that came up was what looked like soot.

Draco’s wide gray eyes held a look of shock at the scene before him, but they also held something else. His eyes held a look of concern. He’d never seen anything like this. He’d never even read about anything like this. What Ginny was going through was completely out of his depths. Then he did something that he hadn’t even suspected he’d do.

Draco took Ginny’s face in both of his hands and brought her eyes up to look at him. His voice was cautious and quiet when he spoke. “That… came from you?” He searched her eyes, but could have answered his own question. He knew it had. “How… What- I don’t understand.” His voice cracked slightly. He was trying to be gentle with her, afraid of what one wrong move would bring.

"NEITHER DO I!" Her face was suddenly fierce and she was crouched like a cat on edge. Something feral gleamed behind her usually kind eyes. Like an injured animal, she was ready to attack. Draco Malfoy flinched away from her slightly and this seemed to bring her back to herself. It was something he never did and it shocked her back to reality. She guessed that he thought she was some sort of dangerous beast… she thought so too.

Then he did something even more unexpected. He smoothed away the stray hairs that clung to her face, trying to calm her down. “Hey, it will be okay…” he murmured. She’d never heard him speak so softly to anyone. With that, her body collapsed against him and she cried for a good long while and he let her. All the misery and pain that Ginny had bottled up for the past couple of years came flooding forward. It was cathartic to just sit and cry without the fear of being shamed or judged.

She awoke to Draco’s voice. “Ginny, you have to get up. You have to go back to your room. We both do.” She opened her eyes to realize that he was leaned against the corridor wall and her head was cradled in his lap. She sat up slowly, still exhausted from the episode she’d had earlier. She crept back to her dorm room in a sort of fog, too tired to think, too tired to process what had happened. All she could manage to do was fall into bed and sleep until the sun went down the next day.

Trigger Warnings: Anxiety, Self Harm, Self Mutilation, Cutting.

Ginny stayed up long after her roommates had gotten into bed and fallen asleep. No matter how exhausted she was, she couldn’t seem to find a comfortable position under the red blankets. Malfoy’s pale face kept flashing before her closed eyes, that alternating with her black eyes in the window kept her from settling down. She could feel the panic welling up inside her chest. Could it have been a fluke?

Maybe this incident had been a one time thing. Maybe she’d eaten something bad? She shook her head. No, who was she trying to fool, she was a freak. She was a freak and the last person she’d ever want to share this with was the person who witnessed everything. She just knew Draco Malfoy returned to the Slytherin dorms and told everyone that Ginny Weasley was Hogwarts latest freakshow. Which is pretty difficult to be in a school full of witches and wizards.

She couldn’t take it anymore. She couldn’t stay in bed, so she slid from beneath the covers and wrapped a cardigan over her pajamas. Her little fuzzy slippers didn’t make a sound as she crept out of the dorm room and headed for the stairs to the common room. Her first urge in a situation where she was feeling panicked was usually to go for a razor. The insides of her arms and ankles were a testament to that, but she knew it just added to her freakish nature.

No, instead, she decided to walk. Maybe she could walk off the panic and fear and shame. It was a possibility that she could get caught, but she was too panicked to worry about that. When her mind was like this, she didn’t think rationally.

As she stepped through the portrait and into the corridor she saw a shape in the shadows. Upon closer inspection she found Draco Malfoy, slumped against the wall in an uneasy sleep. She backed away quickly. She wasn’t getting her walk tonight. If he woke up and saw her as she left or found her as she was coming back in, she’d be dead. Not only would her secret be spread across the school, but he would be the one to take points from her house and tell McGonagall. She couldn’t risk it.

Instead of heading for her bed once she returned to the dorm room, she went for the bathroom. Her usual remedy would have to do for tonight. She gritted her teeth and slid the cold blade across her arm. The metal edge bit in and left a trail of red tears behind. Good. She still bled like a human, maybe she was more normal than she thought. Ginny’s body steadily relaxed and she was tempted to just stay there until she needed to get ready for classes. The sun would be up soon anyhow. But by doing that she was taking a stupid risk at getting caught. She stood slowly, used her wand to do a quick clean up, and wrapped a bandage around her arm where the blood was still welling to the surface. She gathered her things and headed to class, ready to pretend it was another normal day.

***

All day Ginny avoided Draco. He had even looked for her at breakfast and lunch. He’d given up by dinner time and tried to think about other things. Why was it his problem anyway? He didn’t need to be thinking or, heaven forbid, worrying about a bloodtraitor like her. What did it matter to him that she had some sort of warped power and that she was now starving herself? And Draco did well to forget about her, until he happened upon her during his rounds that night.

***

Since the coast was clear when she’d stuck her head out of the portrait that evening, Ginny decided it was safe to take a walk. Her arm was still sensitive where she’d given the night before, but tonight she refused to do that to herself. She knew it wasn’t healthy. She knew that one slip in the wrong direction and things could go horribly wrong. No matter how relieving it felt. No matter how much it reminded her that she was human and that she had control over something.

She was headed down a corridor she hadn’t been to in a long time, it seemed vacant so she felt perfectly safe from getting caught. But just as the thought drifted through her head, a blond man came from around the corner ahead of her. It felt as if the floor had dropped from beneath her feet and her stomach had gone with it. He was the one person she didn’t want to see, no matter what.

"Weaslette, you’re a new one to find in such a dark, scary hallway." He teased as he strutted closer to her. He seemed back to his normal self than when she’d last seen him. "Why are you out drifting in the foyer like a little ghost? Got yourself a boyfriend to snog?"

Ginny looked at the ground. Surprisingly, it made her a bit angry that he was acting like everything was normal. He was acting like he hadn’t seen her transform like some demon in front of him. He was acting like she was just another student to taunt and then take house points from. She felt the venom rising up in her like a thermometer. “None of your damn business, Malfoy. Just because you’re Head Boy now doesn’t mean I’m going to cower at your feet.” She spoke through gritted teeth. In an instant, Draco was upon her, hand around her arm painfully. “You do not speak to me like that, just because you can do some freaky shit with your eyes doesn’t mean you can disrespect someone in charge.” He growled at her, his face inches from her own.

The fight normally would have left Ginny the moment he’d intimidated her. But this made her even more angry. She wrenched her arm away from him, ignoring the shooting pain from her semi-fresh cut. The wind picked up in the hallway making little dust tornadoes in a few places. The moving air lifted Ginny’s hair and whipped it around her face, her eyes shifted to that dark black that Draco had witnessed at the opening of school.

Heads up! Chapter 3 of A Fire Within will be coming out Wednesday, September 4th, at 5pm CST! Don’t miss what happens next! And remember, I’d love to hear from you if you’re reading.

WARNING: There are possible triggers in Chapter 3, they are Anxiety, Self Harm, & Cutting. Please keep this in mind!

Guys... I have an etsy!

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I don’t really know if I’ll be selling anything any of you are interested in, but check it out. It will make me feel good. lol There is definitely more to come, but weeding through the photos I took is time consuming. Just keep an eye out, you never know what will show up there.

I have 4 followers! Yay! It makes me feel super great. What would make me feel even greater is if you guys talked to me. Or reviewed A Fire Within. Or just talked to me. lol <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

Ginny lay on her bed in the empty dorm room staring at the red drapings. What had just happened to her? Why had it happened, and in front of Draco Malfoy of all people! Now he was probably going to go blab to everyone about what a complete freak she is. The school year was turning into a nightmare before it ever really got started. Now she’d be the school’s sideshow, which was a pretty difficult thing to become considering she was in a school full of wizards and witches. And her brother would find out and that meant she’d be getting howlers from her mother wondering what she’d done to become such a remarkable mutant… Ginny’s life was only going to get more difficult from this and it was all thanks to a certain Slytherin who had to butt his way into everyone’s business.

She was panicking. This situation had gotten out of control and the first school day hadn’t even been completed yet. Her chest rose and fell in swift movements, hyperventilating from the mere thought of having to face other students, even her own dorm mates. It felt like hot lava had replaced whatever was in her stomach and it was surging its way to the surface. No… it didn’t just feel like it, that’s what was happening. Ginny leaned over the edge of the bed just in time to retch onto the floor. But as she rubbed a shaky hand across her mouth, bile isn’t what had made an appearance. It wasn’t even the measly dinner she’d forced down. Ginny was staring at a pile of what looked like wet ashes. It was as if someone had cleaned the fireplace grate and dumped a pail of water on it. When she looked at her hand, the sooty mixture was there too, from where she’d rubbed at her mouth. What was happening to her?

Ginny didn’t take long to ponder the oddities of life just yet. She knew the feast would be over soon and the common room and dorms would be swarming with excited schoolmates. She had to get rid of the evidence. She sprang out of bed, no longer feeling the boiling sensation in her stomach, and snatched up her wand. She looked around for a place to dispose of the mess and her eyes landed on the window. With a few flicks of her wrist the window was thrown open and the pile of soggy ashes was tossed out into the wind. As she heard footsteps up the stairs, Ginny flipped the window closed and nearly dove into her trunk; she hadn’t had time to clean herself up. She wiped her mouth with a spare robe as the door opened and girls piled into the room chattering noisily about their expectations for the new school year. And rubbing tears from her eyes, Ginny Weasley turned to face her roommates with her fragile smile perfectly in place.

* * * * *

Draco sat on the edge of a couch in the Slytherin common room staring into the fire. He’d not had the stomach to return to the Hall for dessert and so had moved directly on to his dorm after his encounter with the youngest Weasley sibling. With his chin in his hands he barely noticed the procession of other Slytherin students filing into the common room after the feast had let out. He barely noticed anyone until Pansy Parkinson hopped onto the couch next to him and began breathing in his ear. Usually this would have been a perfect opportunity for them to escape to a dark corner and snog for a bit, but Draco wasn’t in the mood. He was too perplexed and, could it be true… worried, to deal with Parkinson’s clingy habits. He elbowed her roughly to the other end of the couch and stood, not taking his eyes from the flames in the fireplace or saying a word. Flames like Ginny Weasley’s hair. Flames that gave off heat like her sizzling skin when he’d placed his hands on her shoulders.

What had happened in that hallway? What was the youngest Weasley hiding? He had to find out. He vaguely heard Pansy speak as he made his way toward the common room exit. “Draco! Where are you going?” Her voice was grating to his nerves. “Not that I need to answer you; I’m going to do my Head Boy rounds. I have responsibilities now.” He didn’t even face her as he spoke, still heading for the exit. He could almost see her pouting. “Well, what’s got you in a twist…” But he was already stepping into the dungeon hallway. He was utterly preoccupied.

He marched directly up the stairs toward the Gryffindor tower. Sure, he wasn’t allowed in, even if he was Head Boy, but maybe she was the type that broke curfew when she needed to think. He watched students wander in from his place in the shadows. Most of them were scurrying to make it before Filch and the other professors would be on watch for students out of bed. Draco’s blond hair stuck to his neck and temples, what was it about this situation that made him cautious to tell others. Usually he would have had a few could laughs about the freak show he’d witnessed, but tonight it was different. Something was wrong with Ginny. He’d noticed in during their carriage ride, something in her had changed dramatically and he wanted to find out what it was.

Draco watched as Hermione Granger left for her rounds and the halls became silent. He slid down the wall into a sitting position, determined not to miss the redhead if she were to sneak out. Had she known she had the abilities to change her appearance like that? Had she done it purposely? She certainly looked surprised when he’d shown her the reflection in the window. Ginny didn’t seem to realize that change had occurred until he pointed it out. No, something was going on with Ginny that even she didn’t seem to understand.

Light crept through the tower windows as a Draco raised his head. He’d been there all night waiting and must have dozed off. He hoped he hadn’t missed the Weaslette, but he also didn’t know how long he’d been out. He stood painfully, cramping from the long hours spent in his awkward pose. He decided to send her an owl later; he had to get back to the Slytherin common room before someone realized that he’d never returned the night before.

Just a heads up, folks! Chapter 2 of A Fire Within will be coming out Wednesday, August 28th, at 5pm CST! Don’t miss what happens next! And remember, I’d love to hear from you if you’re reading.

Let me know: good, bad, terrible? Your feedback will help shape the story!

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Ginny ‘s sixth year at Hogwarts was starting out just as every other year had started out: tragic. Ever since she had kissed Harry last year things had gotten weird. She was somehow on the outside of the famous Trio. Of course, she’d always been on the outside but now she actually felt it. Ron’s love life was going perfectly, so he hadn’t noticed the change that had taken place in his younger sister. Hermoine was the other half of that perfect love life and too consumed in Ginny’s older brother notice anything amiss. If Harry Potter hadn’t been so thorough in avoiding her, Ginny’s… condition may have been caught earlier. But no one had noticed, except for a certain blond Slytherin, but I digress. I’m getting ahead of myself.

At sixteen, Ginny was slender with fiery red hair and bright brown eyes. She was still much shorter than most of her classmates, but that never seemed of much consequence to her. After her fourth year, she’d started slacking off in the friendship department, devoting all her time to Harry and his endeavors. Now she was rather alone and utterly miserable. She had no particular reason to be so miserable, she just was. It was as if she didn’t feel right in her own skin. It was as if something dark, blistering, and dangerous were growing in her mind and for her fifth year of school, she’d succeeded in tamping it down inside of her. But over the summer, Harry had started dating Cho Chang and Ginny’s emotions were getting difficult for her to handle.

It started on the carriage ride to Hogwarts at the start of her sixth year. Nearly last to get off the train, she was stuck in a carriage with what she considered to be her last choice in companions: Draco Malfoy, Pansy Parkinson, Crabbe and Goyle, as well as Blaise Zabini. It was just her luck to be saddled with the most moronic group of Slytherins. Pansy was drooling all over Malfoy since he’d received the Head Boy badge over the summer. Who on earth thought it was a good idea to give Malfoy such power? She wondered as she looked at the shiny badge pinned neatly to his black robes. “Like power do you, Weaselette?” Malfoy sneered at her. She couldn’t help feeling the ice from Pansy’s glare as well. She felt the need to retort but somehow she just didn’t have the heart to come out with a really good jab. “Just staring at the giant smudge your greasy girlfriend has made, that’s all.” She replied half heartedly and turned to look out at the Forbidden Forest as it passed by.

Pansy squealed as she nearly toppled out of the carriage when Draco shoved her away from him and started meticulously glossing up his badge. The icy glare got sharper since Pansy was banished to the other side of the carriage for the rest of the ride. Draco’s curious glances didn’t escape the dark haired girl’s notice either. It wasn’t like Ginny to come back with such a weak retort to Malfoy’s teasing and it seemed he had taken notice. Ginny on the other hand was oblivious to everything, just wishing to get through the feast and onto bed where she could dissolve into unconsciousness, at least for a small time. She certainly wasn’t looking forward to sitting at the table and watching the other Gryffindors laugh and catch up. She knew that she’d just feel more alone.

And it was true. The Feast was a dismal and gray experience for Ginny. It was as if everyone around her was in fast forward and she was sitting on pause. Everyone was congratulating Hermoine Granger for her Head Girl honor. It was so obvious that ‘Moine was going to be the one to get Head Girl, but still they carried on as if it were such a surprise. Ginny barely touched the food and rarely made eye contact with anyone unless completely necessary. And when it was necessary, her smiles and words seemed fake and brittle, as if the slightest jar would bring her shattering to the ground. Sitting by herself at the very end of the Gryffindor table, she could feel eyes against her back as if she were being watched. Every time she looked up though, she found all the others consumed in their own business. It was very likely that no one noticed when the youngest Weasley left the feast early. Everyone was preoccupied, except Draco Malfoy, his stormy gray eyes followed the redhead as she slipped out the Great Hall doors and into the hallway.

"You know, you’re not supposed to be out in the hall until the Feast is over." Malfoy’s voice was syrupy and slow. Ginny’s whole body seemed to stiffen, to be antagonized by Draco Malfoy was just what she wanted to top off her exhausting night. But she was on guard and she turned slowly to face him, her hand automatically sliding her wand from her robes. "Now, now, no need for-" he started, but never finished. It was as if someone had sucked the air from him. Draco was staring amazed at Ginny and her grip tightened on the handle of her wand. "What are you playing at?" she asked cautiously. Draco closed the space between them in two steps and had her by the shoulders in a matter of seconds. She was too shocked to do anything as he turned her to face a darkened window.

Instead seeing an auburn-haired, tired looking girl and a tall golden boy in the reflection of the window, Ginny saw a slight girl with blazing fire-like hair that lifted slightly as if by a nonexistent wind with giant dark eyes that were as black as the sky beyond the glass. The stark contrast between her strange appearance and the light reflection of Draco was shocking. Ginny took a step back, bumping into the tall Slytherin who still had his hands on her shoulders. “A-ah, I-” Ginny stuttered, horrified at her reflection, but her eyes stayed glued to the glass. It was as if someone had morphed her appearance into a strange monster from a storybook. And as she watched, the reflection faded: the fire returning to auburn, black fading to light brown. The ordinary reflection in the glass was now shaking violently. Ginny jerked out of Malfoy’s grip and turned to face him, the shock still etched in her features almost matching his own confused look. Without a word she took a step backward and turned to race down the corridor toward the Gryffindor tower leaving Draco to wonder what had just happened.

THEME ©