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Chapter 7 : Six Years to Go
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Am I dead? The question seemed to just hang in the darkness that surrounded me. I must be dead. How could I be alive? I tried to make sense of where I was and what was happening, but it was all so confusing. I had been in that horrible chamber, and Tom was there and he was talking about Harry and….the monster! Oh I’m definitely dead. The last thing I had seen was that creature and then I fell and…Ow! My head was throbbing where it had hit the ground.
Hang on…if I’m dead, how can I feel my sore head?
As soon as I realised I could feel my head, it was like a message had been sent to other parts of my body. I could feel my arms, one resting on the floor at an awkward angle. Then my legs regained feeling, they were cold from where the bare skin below my knees rested on the stone floor. My back hurt from falling, and I was sure there were going to be ugly bruises. My other senses were starting to return too. I could feel the cold air of the underground tunnel, and hear a scuffling noise nearby. I wonder if I can see too. I opened my eyes and a dull green light flooded my vision, startling me after the darkness.
“Owwww.” I moaned, closing my eyes again. Little flash bulbs of light burst behind my eyelids. I waited a moment and then opened them again, this time only slightly so the light was diffused by my eye lashes. I moved my hands so they were flat on the floor and pushed upwards. Managing to sit up, I opened my eyes a little further and looked around. I was definitely still in the chamber. So I’m not dead then? I was still so confused. I heard the scuffling again and looked towards the source of the noise, hoping against hope it wasn’t the monster. It was. I held my breath as I saw the huge form of a snake-like monster lying nearby. But I quickly realised it wasn’t moving. Something else was though.
What I saw coming towards me was so surprising that I forgot about the light and let my eyes open wide in disbelief. Running towards me, cut, bruised and bloody, holding a sword in one hand and what looked like a mangled version of Tom’s diary in the other, was Harry Potter. I blinked several times quickly, as though to check if he were real. He looked like he’d been in some great battle, and judging by the dead monster and destroyed diary, it looked as though he’d won. But then I looked up into his face, his eyes. Those green eyes weren’t twinkling the way they always did in my daydreams. Rather, they were staring at me intensely, with a look that could be described as nothing other than concern and fear. Having Harry Potter look at me that way, for him to actually see me, was too much. The floodgates opened and the tears began to pour down my cheeks.
“Harry!” I heard myself sobbing. “I…I’m sorry! I tried to tell you…” Through the torrent of tears I tried to explain, tried to say everything I had been holding in all year. Somewhere in the back of my mind I noticed that I no longer seemed to have a problem talking in front of Harry. He smiled sadly at me and placed a hand on my arm. I felt warm tingles.
“It’s ok. Riddle’s gone. C’mon, let’s get out of here. Ron’s waiting for us.” He added. I nodded, unable to stop looking at him. Harry stood and offered me his arm. With his help I clumsily stumbled to my feet and we made our way, wearily out of the chamber.
“Ginny!” I heard mum’s cry before I saw her. Then, in a flash of colour and movement, I was engulfed in a tight, warm embrace. I buried my face in Mum’s cloak, tears once more flowing. I vaguely wondered how many more tears I could possibly have…surely I’d run out soon? Mum and Dad sat down again, holding me firmly, as though they never wanted to let me go. Everyone was staring at me like I had been returned from the dead. I hadn’t felt so un-invisible all year! Then, Harry began to tell his story. I rested my head on Mum’s shoulder, glad to be safe again, and listened to Harry’s tale.
He explained about hearing the basilisk (that’s what he said the monster was called) and Hermione working it all out just before she was attacked. He said something about spiders in the forest (I noticed Ron shiver involuntarily at this part of the story) and then he described going down into the chamber. He told how Dumbledore’s bird had brought him the sorting hat and he’d pulled the sword from it and he’d fought the basilisk and killed it, although it had bitten him. He paused and looked at me warily, like there was something he wasn’t sure he should say. He glanced at the diary, sitting on professor McGonagall’s desk and I realised something. Harry hadn’t said a word about me hurting all of those people, despite the fact that I’d confessed it all to him about half an hour ago down in the chamber. Will he say something? Will they believe I’m innocent? My heart began to beat rapidly. Harry glanced at me again and then looked at Dumbledore, but not before I caught a glimpse of his expression. It was unmistakable. Harry wasn’t sure if he should say anything because he wanted to protect me. A small smile played against my lips, but then Dumbledore spoke and the smile faded from my lips as quickly as it had appeared.
*“What interests me most, is how Lord Voldemort managed to enchant Ginny, when my sources tell me he is currently hiding in the forests of Albania.” At these words, my heart jumped into my throat. At Mum’s gasps of horror, Dumbledore explained it all, that Tom was really You-Know-Who and he had enchanted me to do his bidding. Mum looked so shocked and for the second time that night, I burst into tears and came out with the whole horrible story. After some light scolding from Dad and more hugs from both of my parents, Dumbledore suggested I go up to the Hospital wing. I went gladly, ready for that nice warm bed.
“And then they brought me here to the hospital wing.” I finished. I had just regaled the whole debacle to Hermione, trying to remember Harry’s bits to help fill in the gaps. By this stage I was curled up in one of the hospital wing beds, wearing warm pyjamas that Madam Pomfrey had conjured up for me and nursing a mug of steaming hot chocolate between my hands.
“They figured it out! I can’t believe it!” Hermione beamed. “Oh Ginny, I’m so sorry you had to go through all that, how perfectly horrible.” I smiled at her, things didn’t seem so bad now that I was in the bright warm castle again. Mum and Dad moved away from my bed to talk to Madam Pomfrey and Hermione ducked her head towards me. “And Ginny, please don’t ever keep those things in again. If you need to confide in someone, come and talk to me, ok? It’s safer than a diary.” I laughed at her joke and took a sip from my mug. Mum and Dad came back then, with Madam Pomfrey.
“Professor Dumbledore has organised a midnight feast for everyone to attend, even yourself Miss Ginevra.” She said this as though a midnight feast was the worst idea imaginable. “However, your parents have consented to you going, as long as you take it easy.” I grinned at Hermione.
“Maybe just for a little while,” I said. “Then I think I’ll be ready for a nice long sleep.”
My first train ride home from Hogwarts couldn’t have been more different from the ride to the school. Harry, Ron, Hermione, the twins and myself all got our own compartment and whiled away the hours playing exploding snap and practising spells. It was the Hogwarts Express journey I had always imagined. The last few weeks at school had been the same. Finally Hogwarts was feeling like that place I had dreamed about for so many years. In fact, I was sort of sad to be going home for holidays, now that I had just settled in.
Don’t worry too much. The voice in my head reassured me. I looked up from my hand of cards and caught Harry’s eye. He smiled at me, his green eyes twinkling. You’ve got another six years to go yet. And it was with that happy thought that, a little while later, I stepped off the train and through the barrier.
AN: Yay! I made it to the end of Chamber of Secrets! The next two books will be interesting since Ginny doesn't feature heavily, although that does make for more fun and freedom for me as a writer. Hope you enjoyed this chapter.
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