Chapter 1 : Cold Shadows
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Braver than Lily, more respected than Narcissa and a far better cook than Molly.
“I grew powerful, far more powerful than little Miss Weasley. Powerful enough to start feeding Miss Weasley a few of my secrets, to start pouring a little of my soul back into her.” ~Tom Riddle, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Ginny yawned loudly as she clambered up the stairs to her bedroom. Ginny’s bedroom was not like the bedrooms of most teenage girls. There was not a trace of pink (a colour she completely despised). Instead of the usual posters of famous and handsome wizards, she had a poster of the Chudley Cannons Quidditch Team, that had been forced onto her by her brother Ron, and a few photographs of her family and friends that were all falling asleep in their frames.
Then again, what would you expect from a girl with six brothers?
Ginny changed from her black robes into her pyjamas. Crawling into bed, she pulled her doona closer to her. Her fiery red hair spread over her white pillow case. She wanted nothing more than to sleep her worries away and lately there had been many things to trouble her. Ginny was not one to talk about her feelings. She had once been very open but when a person she trusted so implicitly betrayed her, she kept her fears and troubles to herself.
Ginny yawned again. She wanted to sleep so badly but she couldn’t…something was stopping her. It wasn’t Pigwidgeon in her brother’s room. The hyper-active little owl made such a racket sometimes she wondered if Ron gave him coffee. Thanks to Fred and George’s loud, midnight experiments and the family ghoul, Ginny had grown accustomed to sleeping with noise.
Come to me…
Ginny felt her eyes closing. Whatever was keeping her from sleeping was losing the fight. Her bedroom slowly dissolved into nothingness…
The first thing Ginny felt was cold. It was a horrible, bitter cold that froze her insides. It was if there was a dementor standing right in front of her. There was nothing but black. She couldn’t see anything. Ginny began breathing heavily. Her throat felt dry and her palms were sweaty. This was not a normal dream…
The voice echoed in the darkness. It seemed to be coming from all around Ginny. This voice was as cold and cruel as the atmosphere. She spun around, not knowing what to look for or what to do. Ginny stopped suddenly as the hairs on the back of her head stood on end. Someone was behind her. She could feel their breath on her neck.
“Ginny…” whispered the voice in her ear.
Ginny felt a hand touch her shoulder and shuddered. She could barely stop herself from whimpering. Something about this voice was familiar and it scared her. It scared her more than anything. She had never felt this fear. She couldn’t even move.
“Don’t be scared Ginny…it’s me.”
Slowly, Ginny forced her feet to move and slowly turned around. Her eyes widened with fear as she came face to face with the one who had haunted her for more than five years. A handsome raven haired boy stood before her. His face was barely an inch from hers and she starred into the cold, calculating eyes she knew so well. Ginny’s scream died in her throat.
“Tom,” she breathed.
Tom Riddle smiled. Ginny closed her eyes as he leant in and came even closer. One of his long, pale fingers rose up and touched her face.
“Wake up Ginny…” whispered Riddle.
Ginny sat up in her bed with a cry. Her entire body trembled as she gasped for air. Her bed was drenched with sweat and her pyjamas clung to her body. Ginny struggled to calm herself and stop her heart from racing. She cast a glance out the window. Outside, it was pitch black. The stars were nowhere in sight and it was like she still was in her nightmare. She had felt Riddle. His touch still lingered on her face. Her entire body still felt frozen like it did her nightmare. Ginny swallowed and put a hand to her forehead. It had been so real…
Ginny looked up at the door in alarm. Her mystery visitor knocked again. Ginny took another deep breath and forced herself to speak.
“W-Who is it?” she stammered finally.
“Ginny, it’s Ron,” came the voice of her youngest brother. “Can I come in?”
Ginny sighed with relief. She considered telling Ron that she did not want him to come in but then he’d pester her until she did let him in…or until she hexed him.
“Err…come in Ron,” said Ginny hesitantly.
Ron poked his head inside. He fidgeted uncomfortably in her doorway before speaking.
“I came to check up on you,” he said finally. “I you heard shouting and…no offence Ginny but…”
Ron looked at his pale, shaken sister again and grimaced. When he felt quite certain that Ginny was not going to hex him, he decided to answer truthfully.
“…you look like hell,” he finished lamely.
Ginny smiled and shook her head. Ron had an odd way of cheering her up.
“I’m fine, Ron,” said Ginny firmly. “I was just a nightmare.”
Ron leaned against the wall.
“So…You wanna talk about it?” he asked.
Ginny rolled her eyes and sighed heavily.
“Ronald, are you ever going to stop mothering me?” she said in exasperation. “I told you that I’m fine.”
Ron observed Ginny for a moment and frowned. Ron knew her too well to believe her. She looked happy but she was still as pale as she was when he walked in. He raised his eyebrows at her. In response, Ginny groaned in frustration.
“Believe it or not…” said Ginny exasperatedly, “…your little Ginnykins can handle having a bad dream.”
Ron paused for a moment before nodding.
“Alright Ginny,” said Ron. “Good night.”
Ginny smiled contently and settled back into bed. She had been so startled before that she didn’t even realise that she was still tired.
“Night Ron,” she said sleepily.
Ron made to walk out of Ginny’s bedroom but stopped in the doorway.
“Are you sure you don’t want to talk ab-”
Ginny growled and tossed a pillow at him. It hit Ron square in the face. Ron threw it back and ducked behind the door for cover.
“Don’t make me hex you, Ronald!” she called.
When Ginny heard Ron’s footsteps leading away from her room, she rolled over onto her side. She closed her eyes but, after a few seconds, opened them again. She was still very tired but the last thing in the world she wanted to do was go back to sleep.
“Don’t be an idiot Ginny,” she muttered to herself. “It was just a dream.”
After a fitful sleep, Ginny was woken up by the sound of chatter downstairs. She had an unpleasant feeling in the pit of her stomach, her back was sore and her throat was horrible and dry. She felt like that stupid muggle princess her dad told her about when she was six.
What kind of an idiot sleeps on a pea for Merlin’s sake…
Running her fingers through her red hair, she pulled herself out of bed. She stumbled into the bathroom and splashed some cold water on her face so she would at least look remotely awake. She winced when she looked in the mirror. Her eyes were red and swollen and the colour had not yet returned to face.
Come…let me rip you…
Ginny spun around. She had seen a something in the mirror. It was as if someone had been standing behind her.
But the bathroom was empty except for her. She let out the breath she had been subconsciously holding and turned around again.
“You are insane Ginny,” she muttered. “One bad dream and you’re completely off the rails.”
She quickly brushed her teeth and headed downstairs. The smell of scrambled eggs and bacon wafted towards her. She automatically felt a little better. Mrs. Weasley’s homemade meals generally had that effect on people. The bubbly feeling that had been rising up inside her completely vanished however, when she nearly walked into a dark haired, bespeckled boy in the living room.
“Hello Harry,” said Ginny quietly.
Ginny took a step away from him and forced a smile. Harry bit his lip and pushed up his glasses.
“Hello Ginny,” said Harry.
The simply looked at each other for moment, unable to find the right words…or any words at all for that matter… to say to each other. The uncomfortable silence stretched.
“Should we…go to breakfast?” mumbled Ginny finally.
Harry swallowed and nodded. After another short pause, they walked towards the kitchen together. Ginny felt her heart racing again and her shoulders tense.
“Ron said you had a nightmare,” said Harry as they got a little closer to the kitchen.
Ginny felt her heart slowly return to normal.
“You know my brother,” she said with a very slight smile. “He’s too overpro-”
Ginny stopped abruptly. Her heart seemed to stop altogether and her entire body froze up. She could see someone else in the living room. He was leaning casually against the wall and smiling at her from right behind Harry.
It was Riddle.
Harry noticed the look of pure horror on Ginny’s face and looked over his shoulder…but Riddle was gone. When he saw nothing, Harry looked back at Ginny in alarm. She had turned into the colour of chalk and her entire body shook uncontrollably with fear. She put a hand to her mouth and closed her eyes.
“What is it?” whispered Harry.
Ginny moved her hand away from her mouth and choked out a response.
“N-Nothing…I thought I-I saw …”
Ginny’s eyes snapped open when she felt Harry’s comforting hand on her shoulder. She looked into his emerald eyes and did not turn away.
“What did you see?” asked Harry softly.
Ginny shook off Harry’s hand and composed herself.
“Nothing…” she said, more to herself than to Harry. “It’s nothing…”
Before Harry could stop her, Ginny strode quickly into in kitchen. Mrs. Weasley smiled at her warmly as she entered.
“Morning Ginny dear,” she said brightly. “Have some eggs.”
Ginny took a slice of toast and a little bit of egg and sat down. There was a bushy haired girl sitting next to Ron: Hermione. Hermione gave Ginny a small smile as she passed her the butter. For reasons unfathomable, Ginny felt a stab of dislike towards her that she had never felt before.
“Good Morning Ginny,” said Hermione happily.
The word wandered into Ginny’s head from nowhere. She suddenly felt sick in her stomach. She had never said this word in her life and it never went through her mind. When Ginny did not respond to her greeting, Hermione exchanged glances with Ron.
“Ginny, are you alright?” she asked delicately.
Ginny slammed her knife and fork onto the table and glared at a very alarmed Hermione.
“You’re worse than Ron!” she snarled. “I’m perfectly fine! Just leave me alone!”
Ginny jumped to her feet and abandoned her breakfast. She ran into Harry’s shoulder and continued on without an apology, leaving her astounded mother, brother and friends in the kitchen.
Ginny climbed up the stairs and ran into her bedroom. She slammed the door behind her loudly and slumped down to the floor. She hit her head with a clenched fist.
“Get out of my head,” breathed Ginny. “Get out.”
Ginny leaned back against her door and wiped her eyes with the back of her hand. She closed her eyes and tried to calm herself…
Ginny opened her eyes and saw black. The horribly familiar cold sensation sunk into her bones.
Ginny jumped to her feet. The tears were flowing freely now. Her chest rose and fell rapidly as the panic set in once more.
“What do you want from me?” she screamed into cold, black nothingness. “LEAVE ME ALONE!”
“And why would I do that?” asked a voice from behind her.
Ginny slowly turned around. There stood the boy of her nightmares. He still smiled intently at her…as though he had a secret that only he knew.
“Who do you think I am?” sneered Riddle. “Harry?”
Riddle walked calmly up to Ginny. She fought the overwhelming urge to fall to her knees and just curl up into a ball.
“I can’t leave you,”’ said Riddle softly.
Riddle’s smile widened and he lifted a hand to stroke her hair.
“You’re special now Ginny…you’re a part of me.”
With cry of revulsion, Ginny hit his hand away. He seemed surprise at this show of strength… and maybe a little amused. His smiled played upon his lips and his dark eyes glinted.
“I’m not a part of you!” spat Ginny. “I’m nothing like you!”
Riddle chuckled at the furious red head who was glaring at him.
“Is that really such a bad thing?” he asked.
Ginny cried out in disgust.
“How…how can you say that?” she demanded. “You made me hurt all those people!”
Riddle threw back his head and laughed. The high cruel laugh echoed in the darkness and came back to Ginny a hundred times louder.
“Made you?” he cried. “My dear Ginny, what an accusation! I never made you do anything!”
Ginny’s face lost its anger. It was relaced to mingled shock and horror.
“It was all you…” continued Riddle. “I merely gave you a little gift to let out your darker side.”
“Gift?” breathed Ginny. “What gift?”
Riddle turned his back to her and gestured to the darkness around them.
“A little bit of me of course!” he sneered.
Ginny shook her head in disbelief. She closed her eyes and when she opened them, they flash with resolve. She took a menacing step towards Riddle. She was not a little girl anymore…she was not going to fall to pieces for Riddle’s amusement…
“It’s a good thing Harry destroyed that diary and he’ll destroy you too!” she snarled.
Ginny’s hands balled themselves into fists.
“You’ll never hurt anyone again,” she hissed.
Riddle laughed again and this time his laugh was even louder and even more insane.
“Ginny, Ginny, Ginny…where’s Harry now?”
Riddle walked back towards her.
“Is your precious Chosen One so amazing that he can even rescue you from the depths of your own mind?” he whispered. “He must be extraordinary then.”
Ginny’s newfound resolve began to wane.
“H-He...” she stammered. “He always does.”
Riddle smiled at her like one would smile at a foolish child.
“Poor little Ginny…” he said mockingly. “You’re a fragment of my soul…a horcrux. Even if he could…Harry wouldn’t want to save you.”
Ginny knew he wasn’t lying. She could feel Riddle’s happiness…his pleasure at her suffering. He would only be this happy if there was no hope. Ginny buried her face in her hands and lost the fight to keep standing. She crumbled and fell to her knees.
This can’t be happening…
Ginny felt Riddle kneel down in front of her. His long fingers wrapped themselves around Ginny’s trembling hands and held them away from her face. His other hand forced her chin up so she had to look into his cold, dark eyes.
“Now Ginny…” said Riddle with a grin, “…I think it’s time for me to take over.”
Harry walked up to Ginny’s bedroom door. He stopped as though debating with himself if he should go in or not. When he finally got a grip on himself, he knocked at the door.
“Ginny, it’s me…Harry,” he called.
There was no response. Harry leaned back against the door. Taking a deep breath, he spoke up, hoping that Ginny would hear.
“Look,” he said loudly. “I know things have been hard on you lately and I know…that I haven’t really been helping. I just want to talk to you.”
Again there was silence.
“Come on Ginny…” pleaded Harry. “Let me in.”
When there was no response again, Harry glanced at the doorknob. Very hesitantly, he turned it and walked inside. To his surprise, it was empty. Ginny’s bed was unmade and all the people in her photographs had vanished. Harry frowned. The people in pictures didn’t usually all leave at once. This is odd…
“Ginny?” he whispered.
The bedroom door slammed shut and Harry jumped. He spun around abruptly and came face to face with Ginny. She was smiling at him but it wasn’t the same smile she had worn at Hogwarts. There was something sinister behind it…something evil. She was gazing intently at him… with deep crimson eyes.