Chapter Sixty-Eight: Imprisoned in Nott Castle

Ginny is a whiny brat. Apolline is no pushover.

(i) The characters and world of Harry Potter are the property of J.K. Rowling. I make no money from this. I wish I did 😊

(ii) Thank you to all the fabulous readers who have stayed with me through the writing of this tale. You folk are the best muse a girl could ask for.

(iii) I hope you are staying safe wherever you are. Big, socially distanced hugs everyone as we get ready for the fourth wave. Don't let the bastards get you down.

Ginny hated feeling in the wrong. She was a Gryffindor and a Weasley. She couldn't be wrong. Her mother had always gone on and on about how they'd always stood against everything that was wrong and bad in the world.

But even as Ginny fought against the magic that kept her restrained through the side-along apparition with Kingsley; the Minister of Magic and Theo used blood magic at the very moment of arrival to bind Ginny to the land on which Nott Castle and its vast grounds were situated. Under no circumstances could Ginny leave. Even if her life was in peril, the most she could do was reach the very edges of the woods and forest that surrounded the Norman monstrosity of the Keep. As long as the bindings were in place Ginny was stuck. And the bindings could only be removed by Kingsley, Theo and her meeting certain conditions which the dual casters did not, and would not, explain to her. The prison the Order had provided for her was a nice one, she had the freedom of the castle and its grounds, but only selected people could enter, and she could not leave. If she didn't improve and get a hold of herself, she might never leave.

Theo had understood the nature of the blood-binding that was being performed. Severus had explained in detail, the bindings being used on Ginny were those almost identical to the ones that had been used by the Lestranges, and the Aurors had never been able to break those, no matter how many attempts they'd made over the years. Theo's grandfather had offered advise too, so he knew what he was agreeing to. But the young man hoped his beloved would shake off the shackles of the taint of the Dark Lord. Hope had been rare in the dark days of his life under the Dark Lord, but now he hoped with all of his heart that the destruction of the Dark Lord would allow him the lead the life he'd always dreamt off.

Theo knew that once Ginny was free of her current state, that the imprisonment would drive her wild. She was a free spirit. However beautiful the gilded cage, it would chaff.

Ginny was lost to anything but trying to clumsily free herself of the strong magic that forced her to do Kingsley's bidding. But the Minister had not been a top-notch Auror for nothing, he knew how to restrain even the most devious of prisoners.

Ginny knew she'd left the safety of Hogwarts. But she had been drugged and was delirious. That bitch Madam Pomfrey had given her something, Ginny knew. But because of it, she'd sat without protest as Kingsley had taken her hand in his and begun the spell. A deep part of her tried to recall the words, she knew she'd heard this type of incantation before, but, no matter the Dark Lord's Whisperings, Ginny's delirium meant she missed key chunks of what was done in front of her. She completely missed what Theo did behind and around her.

Madame Apolline Delacour looked up at the Castle into whose courtyard she and her husband had been brought by portkey. The building looked imposing, and so very different from the warm, cosy château she and Louis-Philippe called home. This was built to be strong, imposing, frightening; her husband's ancestral home had been built to be gracious, inviting and a place for family entertainments.

She sighed and took the arm her husband offered. They were here. They had agreed to do what was needed. They would succeed.

Ginny Weasley, no matter her Darkness, would be no match for Apolline. The half-blood Veela had had to face down so much to marry her dear Louis-Philippe. She smiled up at her love as they walked towards the front door. She had forged her own path and her full-blooded Veela father had not been pleased. Louis-Phillippe had not been the eldest son, destined to inherit a title. He'd been a mere investment broker when she met him, but she had been strong. Together they had bought their land, worked the vineyards, even, eventually bought the ancestral home from his older brother who much preferred living in Paris. If Ginny thought having the Delacours as guardians was going to be a walk in the park, the young lady was very much mistaken.

The Hohenzollerns who had come to the French Ambassador's Ball in London had come with clear intentions to meet the celebrated heroes who had defeated the Dark Lord. It was time for their family to regain their connections in Britain's upper echelons. They'd brought their reigning beauty Johanna, knowing that the Saviour of the Wizarding World was officially unattached. The fact that Severus had broken the Dark Veela curse meant he was no-longer on the table, and yet, his partner was not known. Rumours said it was the Muggle-born Granger, so celebrated and adopted by the Malfoys, but invitations could be misleading, and besides, there was supposedly very little money in either of the Granger or Snape families.

Their desires to meet, mingle and woo the Malfoys, Potter or any, indeed, of the heroes were dashed when they learned most of the attendees were diplomats and representatives of all but the British wizarding aristocracy. Everyone they wanted to know had gone to a school reunion. How very quaint.

Only the British would put a school reunion feast above the glamour and pleasures of a true French Ambassadorial Ball.

Johanna pouted and tossed her white-gold hair. The best-looking man at the party, the Italian Count, was married. And his wife looked a formidable witch who would not permit poaching, even if the fool had had eyes for anyone but his wife. He looked delighted with his dainty and exotic wife.

Isabella watched her daughter and smiled. If she had not had her husband with her, she might have tried for the dashing Leonardo di Pietro di Giovanni herself. But married men were not to be toyed with, especially not by married Veela women who had a powerful daughter to marry.

Picking up another flute of champagne she approached her daughter. "What a wasted effort. Perhaps we should have gone to Severus' wedding instead."

Johanna shrugged her shoulders. "We'd have been lost in the crowd." She accepted the drink from her mother, "and given what we've heard about Severus' temper, we'd have been made to feel like we were trying to curry favour." Her pale blue sapphire eyes blazed at the possibility. "He's nothing but a teacher, no matter the Order of Merlin, and we've always married aristocracy."

"Indeed," smirked Isabella, her own sky-blue eyes twinkling appreciatively at the sentiment. She was so proud of her daughter. Johanna was exactly the type of child she had always known would lead their line.

A/N: Love it or hate it, please let me know what you think.