Most of the credit and/or blame for these stories rests with JK Rowling for creating characters and plotlines that have inspired me to write them. Said characters obviously belong to her, as does Hogwarts and the elements of her plot that feature in this series.
Authors Note: This is intended to be a One-Shot series. There will be five of them in total and, with luck, most of them will be posted before HBP is released. I am enormously thankful to birgit on this one. This story owes a lot to the time she put into into beta-reading it. Thank you also to prplhez8, for her comments and good humour. Finally, thanks to the many writers on the SQ who have looked at Ginny's experiences in CoS. I can't deny that they got me thinking about what she went through. Hopefully, though, I avoided stepping on any toes!
1. Flushing a Dark Lord
“Oh Potter, you rotter, oh what have you done?
You’re killing off students, you think it’s good fun –”
My numb mind hears the rhyme and tries to understand. I am hidden, in a quiet spot, behind the drapes. There’s a crowd gathering in the corridor but I don’t care… because even in this hidden place, I am not alone. There’s the voice, suddenly drowning out everything else; a voice that shouldn’t be here.
“Damn you, little girl! You and that bleeding ghost mean I still lack a death!”
“Tom! Where am I? What’s going on?”
“You will forget, little one, you will forget…”
What is it he wants me to forget? I don’t want to forget it... I won’t… It’s a memory that feels so close and yet is blocked somehow. Then, all at once, the wall falls, and the scene flashes before my eyes.
I hear myself order the monster to attack a student. But, it’s Tom… Tom is making me do this. And the only reason Justin isn’t killed, is that Nearly Headless Nick throws himself in the way. In a moment of shocked horror, I shout at the monster to go and it obeys and yet… I hurt terribly.
“No, finish him! FINISH HIM!”
“Tom! What? NO!”
I shake myself away from this memory and find myself back at the first. Peeves has started singing once more –
“Oh Potter, you rotter, oh what have you done?
You’re killing off students, you think it’s good fun –”
They all think that it’s Harry, and it isn’t… it’s me. Why has it taken me so long to figure this out? Tom is… Tom is…
But no, Tom is my friend. He is the only one who cares about me. Hasn’t he told me that often enough? Hasn’t he said that everyone else hates me?
But then why is he punishing me? Why am I huddled sobbing behind the drapes, attacked by a memory that isn’t my own? Isn’t it Tom who’s done this?
“You will forget, little one, you will forget… and next time, you will be more compliant, won’t you… you don’t want another lesson like this one…”
Tom promised me I wasn’t the one doing this... he explained that I couldn’t be…
Tom was lying.
It’s Harry who gets the blame. They all hate him. And he’s so miserable… and so brave. And it’s me; it’s me doing this… if this doesn’t stop I’m going to kill someone!
“Broken through again, have you, Ginny? You really are becoming quite tiresome. And I must say that the amount of rearranging I am doing to your poor brain may end up having lasting results.”
His voice is cold and cruel… so different from how I hear it when he writes to me. Then his voice is warm and kind. He helps me; he alone feels my frustrations and knows my fears. He alone can I trust.
But, no… must remember…
“You hurt me, Tom, why?”
His laughter smashes its way around my brain. It hurts too.
“And you hurt all the others. What did we do, Tom? What did I do?”
“You get hurt only because you fail to comply,” he answers coolly. “I really am quite fond of you, Ginerva, and it would be so much easier if you would just learn to trust me like you used to.”
I want to trust him, I really do.
“As for the others, they get hurt because they step beyond their station... we must none of us do that. Look at you, trying to stand up to a Dark Lord… far beyond your station, sweet, little Ginny.”
Suddenly, I know. I know it all. He does this each time I break through. He loves to see my horror, as I discover what I am in service to.
The echo of memory comes back:
“Tom Marvolo Riddle… I am Lord Voldemort!”
It’s him. Terror rises up and I scream as loud as I possibly can, and yet, I don’t hear a sound. I feel surrounded on all sides. Something dark is all around me.
“You really are getting better at this, Ginny… you catch on so much faster…”
He’s mocking me. I feel angry and hurt and terribly, terribly small. I cast my hands around for my wand. And yet, I lack hands to search with.
I miss my wand. I’m terribly fond of it. Tom said the willow meant that it was powerful in the right hands.
My mind feels numb again, now that I know it’s no use fighting him…
“And now you shall forget… as you always do…”
Suddenly, in frustration, I scream at him, “WHY CAN’T I FIGHT YOU?”
“Because you are asleep, dear Ginny… didn’t you know?”
I bite back a stab of anger at myself. I should have realised… I’ve been asleep all along. And if I’m asleep, that means –
“My eyes are closed.”
And I wrench them open. It hurts, but it’s a good pain. I am in my dormitory, alone, and it is early evening. I must have drifted off after I got back from lessons.
Suddenly, for the first time, I feel the weight of it all come crashing down. I feel myself collapse back down on to my bed. What have I done?
I think fast, desperately trying to understand. Tom can’t really be You-Know-Who, he just can’t be. He’s a sixteen-year-old boy trapped in a diary and he’s playing with me; telling me things he knows will hurt me. And I have to stop him, before he forces me to kill. He’s evil, yes, but he’s no Dark Lord…
And I’m going to beat the little prat. I think of all the horrid things that have been done to me through my life and I know that this is the absolute worst.
“You toyed with my mind, Tom.”
My soft whisper fills up the silence of the dormitory. The room is empty; there is nobody to hear. But somehow, impossibly, Tom does.
“Very impressive, Miss Weasley. Futile of course, but impressive nonetheless. It takes a fair bit of mental agility to pull out of a dream like that one.”
I feel… violated. He’s inside my head. He has been for so long and I can see it all now; taunting and torturing, before messing with my memory so that I spew my heart out to him once more.
I see the diary lying on my bedside table and I grab it and forcefully open it. I find a quill and scrawl in black ink:
I hate you, Tom.
I hear his laughter again.
I told you everything. I told you about Harry.
“Oh, yes, dear precious Harry.”
His voice is still in my head. I had desperately hoped that taking the diary would force things back to the way they had been. A part of me really wanted the old Tom back; wanted this MONSTER out of my head.
“Let me tell you a thing or two about Harry. You yourself have noted the similarities between him and I. And I quite agree; he may well be the most powerful wizard currently residing in Hogwarts, bar two. And I assure you, a wizard like that will never look twice at someone like you.”
I grab the quill once more and write furiously.
Harry is NOTHING like you. One day he’ll notice me.
As my words sink into the paper, similar handwriting appears all over the page; sentence after sentence that I had written.
He likes Hermione and I’m not as smart as her… is followed quickly by …and I’m so dull compared to the other girls… and by …everyone seems so much more confident than I am…
Then, to the sound of the sound of Tom’s cold, steady laugh, all the ink gathers in the centre of the page. A moment later, the ink darts outwards and the same words are written over and over again.
Harry, will never like me… Oh, Tom, Harry, will never like me… Harry is never going to like me, Tom…
I throw the diary away forcefully. It lands with a satisfying clump.
“These are your words, Ginny, and I have to say that, for once, I agree. Take a look in the mirror, Ginny. You are a short, startlingly boring little girl, with ugly, glaring hair. Not to mention the fact that you are so weak-willed that you’ve been possessed all year by a mere diary.”
He is right, but it doesn’t matter. I am going to stop Tom.
“I don’t care, Tom,” I whisper. “I’m going to destroy this diary and you with it.”
“You do amuse me so, Ginerva. I control you, little girl. Your will abates with every passing second.”
“Oh, but how to prove it to you? How to break the stupidly blind heart of a child? For it is that that keeps you fighting, Ginny. It idiotically denies the obvious… and believe me, it does you no favours in the end…”
“You are the one who’s blind, Tom.”
“You think so, do you?”
The boy sounds horribly amused. I find myself wishing fiercely that he had a face that I could punch.
“Do you know, I think tonight might be a night to address a few pet peeves. The first of course, is your irksome rebellion. You need breaking. The second, one that always annoyed me at school, is the full-proof sanctity of Gryffindor tower. How many times did I wish to wreak vengeance here, I wonder…?”
His voice trails off into silence. Then it comes back stronger than ever.
“Thirdly and most sweetly, that ridiculous title – The Boy Who Lived. I mean, seriously, that title is really asking someone to knock the poor boy off. Think of the headlines! ‘The Boy Who Lived… dies’. I’ve always been slightly fond of a little comic irony.”
“NO!” I shout in a manner that should be heard even as far away as the common room. Yet, it isn’t. My mouth has remained clamped shut the whole time.
I try to move my arms but they are locked down too.
“I hate you so much, Tom.”
“I know,” he answers. “Now, pick up the diary and go down to the common room.”
I feel my body obey. I get off the bed, bend down and pick up the diary, before leaving the dormitory and going down the stairs.
“I won’t let you hurt Harry, Tom.”
“I won’t be the one hurting him, you will.”
We are in the common room. The twins are off to one side, chatting away to Lee Jordan. A group of my classmates are giggling over some magazine that is spread out on the carpet by the fire. None of them notice me.
“I think you know where we’re going, Ginny.”
Not here. I can’t let Tom bring the monster here. I manage to stop my legs a moment before we reach the portrait door. Tom just laughs. I fight desperately for control of my mouth. I have to warn them.
“You’re going to kill them all, Ginny. Harry too… I’m afraid that that little fantasy wedding of yours isn’t going to happen anymore. Sad really, you did spend oh so very long planning it.”
“GET OUT OF MY HEAD!”
It is all the distraction Tom needs to start me walking once more. We are soon outside the common room and moving steadily towards Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom. There are students here and there, bustling past or standing talking, but there is nothing I can do to tell them.
“I was laughing at you the whole time. You know that now, don’t you?”
“You think that’s something to boast about? You’re nothing but an evil, little boy. You’re pathetic!”
I feel a world of darkness, as Tom reacts angrily. He is inside me so thoroughly now that I can sense every change in his emotions.
“You’ll regret saying that.”
He drags me into a corner that is hidden behind a statue of several huddled witches. And then he does it. He pulls me into his memory, just as he had after his monster attacked Justin.
I am kneeling at the feet of a grizzled man, with horrible light blue eyes. He has a strange black symbol etched on his red robes. His wand is levelled squarely at me.
I collapse against a wall, my whole body shaking in pain. It’s enough to knock every other thought from my head. All I want is for the pain to the stop.
“Pleasant, isn’t it. And it’s my memory. I can vary the intensity of how you feel it. This is but a love bite compared to the full force.”
And the pain is gone.
“I won’t beg…”
Without the pain, this thought is all I have.
“…I won’t let you win.”
“Much the pity, for your sake. Do you know, I think we’re wasting time. I have a feeling that killing dear Harry will cause you more pain than any mere curse.”
My body is pulling itself to its feet once more.
“Think of the disgrace when they find out it was you. You’ll be sent to Azkaban. Nasty place is Azkaban – have you heard of Dementors? Let’s just say that even if they separate us, Ginny, I will still stay with you in memories.”
I think of Mum and Dad. They would be so ashamed.
We are once more moving towards the girls’ bathroom. We are almost there. I’m fighting as hard as I can, but I’m distracted by the echoes of pain that still hang over my body.
A boy hurries over to me. I look up to see the round, concerned face of Neville Longbottom.
“Ginny, are you okay?” He is mumbling. He seems to have lost confidence after shouting out across the corridor. “You look... I mean… you don’t look well.”
I feel a rush of affection for the second-year Gryffindor. He is always nervously friendly whenever he had sees me; even when I am trying desperately to avoid people.
“I’m fine,” answers my mouth rudely.
I can feel Tom laughing at Neville. His hate is so strong… And yet, there is something more. Tom seems somehow weakened by this brief exchange.
Then, Neville reaches out and places a reassuring hand on my shoulder. He removes it a moment later, as if he is suddenly scared that I will react angrily.
“I know first year is tough… and uhm, it can get to you, being away from home and you know, feeling a bit lost… and if you wanted someone to talk to… well, ah, I’m usually around somewhere…”
Neville looks terribly nervous.
I nod and smile weakly. He bobs his head a few times and then hurries away. I bring my hand up to where he has touched my shoulder. The sweet gesture really means something.
“Stupid fool!” says Tom. “I always thought you Gryffindors at least had standards and a small modicum of style. That great lump just sunk that theory.”
I remain quiet.
“Hurry up, Ginny. All your little Gryffindor friends will be awaiting our arrival; I just hope we get to kill that Longbottom first.”
I feel him order me into the bathroom. I obey.
“Now, dear Ginny. I think it’s time to call our friend. Don’t you?”
“No,” I say. “I don’t, Tom.”
The diary is in my hand, and finally, I have control.
“You’re no Dark Lord. You’re just a frightened little bully.”
“What? Stop this, now!”
His voice is an odd mixture of arrogance and panic.
My legs shake for a horribly long moment and I wonder if I have already lost that brief power over my own body. Then, with desperate mental effort, I force my legs to move. I run to the stall and throw the diary down the toilet with all my strength.
Then I run, as hard as I possibly can. I still feel the echo of him in my mind, but the further I get away, the weaker it becomes.
Finally, after nearly knocking over a group of third-year boys, I reach a quiet, narrow staircase that doesn’t seem to go anywhere. I can still hear sounds on the corridor running past, but it is blocked from sight.
Slowly, my breathing returns to normal. I can’t believe what’s happened. I have been a fool for so long; I listened to Tom and his empty, long words. He explained away the paint and the feathers and the missing hours. But now… now that I know… what am I going to do?
I feel silent tears begin to run down my cheeks. If people knew, I would be expelled. There is no doubt about it. And I have wanted, for so long, to be here.
I want to tell, I really do.
But the very idea scares me to death. I can see them all staring at me with horror. Neville wouldn’t be kind to me if he knew the truth. Percy would disown me. Mum and Dad would probably never want to look at me again. And Bill and Charlie, and the twins, and Ron…
I hear the sound of a far-off Filch hollering about something. It reminds me that Hogwarts is still happening, that life hasn’t stopped. If I don’t keep living, Tom wins.
And I think of Harry. The thought of him hating me is worst of all.
I can’t tell. I just can’t.