Chapter 2 : The Chamber is Opened
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Ginny slunk to the floor of the Slytherin common room, silently clutching at her chest and heaving breaths. Her eyes were closed, squinting tight. She watched, though in her mind’s eye, the silhouette of a large, snake-like creature take the young boy holding a camera. He stiffened like a board, eyes wide in surprise. Ginny smiled involuntarily.
Pansy, a small girl with short black hair, ran to her side. “Hey! Are you okay Ginny? What happened?” she asked, pulling the red-haired girl to her feet.
Straightening out her blouse and skirt, Ginny shrugged off Pansy’s comforting grasp. “I’m Fine. Just some bad cramps. That’s all.” Ginny walked to the wall housing the gateway to the common room. “Let’s go to dinner. I’m starving.”
Pansy nodded, following Ginny out into the dungeons and up the marble staircase. The two girls were just about to take the left to go to the Great Hall when they heard a commotion coming from the second floor hallway. Ascending the stairs, their feet splashed through puddles of water on the floor.
“What’s going on?” Pansy asked the first person they encountered. It happened to be the Slytherin Head Boy, and one of their good friends, Blaise Zabini.
“Some sixth year Gryffindor has been petrified,” Blaise explained. “Fourth one now. But you know what’s weird?” The girls shook their heads. “All of the petrified are muggle-born. Well, all except for Filch’s cat, anyway,” he added.
Ginny looked past the small crowd that partially blocked her view. There, lying in the water with a camera to his face was the young Colin Creevey. Petrified. Shaking her head of the thought, Ginny brought attention back to her stomach and away from the boy who haunted her visions. “I’m gonna go get dinner. Gawking isn’t gonna unpetrify him.” She turned back to the staircase with a nonchalant wave to Pansy and Blaise, bounding down the stairs to the Great Hall and over to the Slytherin tables. There waiting for her was the tall, seventh year Slytherin Ginny had spent much of her schooling in the company of.
Draco Malfoy smiled up at his friend and stood to greet her. He may not be liked by everyone, but he was raised with manners. Kissing her on the cheek, Draco guided Ginny to the seat next to him. “What took you so long? Where’s Pansy and Blaise?” he asked.
“Another kid was petrified,” Ginny said unconcerned, loading her plate. “They’re gawking in the hallway. Honestly, Draco, I don’t know why the muggle-born even bother leaving their common rooms anymore. It’s not a secret that they’re being targeted by this thing.”
Draco took a bite, silent for a moment. He had suspected that was the case and was beginning to think that Ginny knew more than she was letting on, due to her cool demeanour. He would have to remember to ask her about it later tonight. That was the nice thing between them. They were so close that they could ask each other anything and get a straight answer. No bullshit. But for now he would just enjoy dinner with his housemates.
A few moments later, Ginny saw her brother, Ron, and his friends, Harry and Hermione, enter the Great Hall. They wore on their face a look of worry. She knew exactly why- Hermione was muggle-born. It would only be a matter of time before the creature took her to be petrified right along with the rest of them. The image of the bushy-haired Gryffindor lying forever frozen in a state of shock made Ginny stifle a giggle as she looked on at them, catching the gaze of her brother. He furrowed his brow, walking to the Gryffindor table a little bit faster. Ginny watched them sit down and wondered how long it would be until their precious trio became a duo.
“What are you thinking about?” Draco asked, leaning into Ginny’s shoulder. “You’re a mile away.”
“A few things,” she paused, “Draco? How long do you suppose it’ll be before people stop becoming petrified and just flat out die?” Ginny asked bluntly, but out of others’ earshot.
Draco thought for a second or two before shrugging and taking another bite of his dinner. “At this rate? Not long. Something tells me they got off easy just being petrified,” he told her. “Something also tells me that you agree.”
Ginny turned to look at the grey eyes staring right at hers. “So what?” She scoffed. “It’s not like I had anything to do with it. How could I? I was with Pansy when that Creevey kid was attacked. Why are you staring at me like that?!” She finally shouted slightly. Draco just moved a hair out of her face and went back to eating, smiling. Ginny exhaled. She knew when Draco gave her that look that a conversation was in order, and by the sound of it, it would be tonight.
‘Tonight’ happened to be right after dinner. Ginny followed Draco to the seventh floor as he paced in front of an empty wall. Of course she knew where they were going. Draco had told her about the room of hidden things on a number of occasions. It was only tonight that she would finally be able to see the inside. A small, black door appeared against the empty wall, melting into place like chocolate dripping in the sun.
Ginny entered the room before Draco and took in her surroundings. There was junk everywhere. When he had told her about the room, she had pictured things on shelves with little paths leading this way and that. Not this room. This room was packed to the brim with anything and everything she could ever think of. But on the bright side, there were small paths. Draco led her to the back of the room where there was a little corner cleared away from a slightly broken, over-sized armchair that was big enough for two to sit comfortably. He sat down and patted the seat next to him. Ginny sat and the chair groaned. It echoed off the walls. Somewhere in the distance of the room, an old phonograph played the same quiet waltz over and over again, charmed into repetition.
“So,” Draco began, “are you going to tell me what’s bothering you?” He leaned against the back of the chair, arm stretched behind Ginny’s head, playing with renegade strands of hair that had made their way off her shoulders. She tilted her head into his hand and sighed, looking at him.
“It’s more than just written contact. It’s not just the diary,” she began, “I’m getting his visions now. Some kind of visions.” Draco waited for her to continue. “I saw that Colin Creevey kid get petrified, Draco. Right before Pansy and I left the common room, I got this pain in my gut and I saw him and the snake creature in my head.” Ginny looked Draco straight in the eye. She wore a matter-of-fact look, rather than one of concern. “I think he’s going to use me for something.”
“What do you mean by ‘use you’?” Draco asked, sitting up straight in the chair. “Do you even know who this guy is? He could be anyone.”
Ginny nodded. “His name is Tom Riddle, or at least that was his name at some point.”
Draco looked confused. “Was? What do you mean was?” He scratched the back of his neck before finally understanding. “Wait a minute, Ginny. You don’t mean...”
She only nodded.
“But how is this possible?” Draco wondered out loud. “He’s controlling the Death Eaters as we speak. He hasn’t been known by another name in-“
“-fifty years or so. I know,” Ginny finished for him. “Look, I don’t know how he’s doing it, but something is going on. Can you find out if your dad knows anything?” She raised her eyebrows, knowing full well Draco would never say no to this look.
He nodded. “I’ll have plenty of time. I have to go home for Christmas holiday this weekend.”
“Why?” Ginny pouted, “You’re just gonna leave me here by myself? Blaise and Pansy will both be home, too,” she explained. Ginny never went home for holidays anymore. After many years of fights with her mother and isolation in her room, she just found it easier to stay at Hogwarts over the break. Ron didn’t even bother to ask her if she’d be joining him on the train, although she could tell he really wanted to. He was the peacemaker of the family and would do anything to make things right between everyone. But Molly Weasley was just too stubborn to make amends and Ginny was much like her mother in that way. She would never break. Plus, she had a different life style than her parents would expect of her.
Draco sat forward on the chair, his head in his hands. “My father wishes me to come home for an ‘important stepping stone of life’- or so he calls it.”
Ginny let her head fall up then back down. She knew exactly what this “stepping stone” was that Lucius referred to. Draco was to receive the mark over holiday. They both knew it was coming but Lucius look at it as more of a rite of passage than an initiation.
The two Slytherins were quiet for a while. Ginny finally rose from the chair and held out her hand for Draco to take. She pulled him from the seat he occupied and began to walk to the little black door on the opposite end of the room when Draco tugged her hand lightly, stopping her trajectory. His voice was low. Though no one knew how to get into this room, as Ginny understood it, Draco obviously didn’t want anyone else to hear what he had to say. “If something is going on, I will find out this weekend from my father and send you an owl. I just wish you were doing this with me. It would make things so much easier.”
“I know, Draco,” Ginny began, “but you were chosen for this. Not me. I’ll be fine. Maybe there’s a bigger plan for me in some strange parallel universe.” She winked at him and touched his arm. “It’ll be okay, I promise. You’re a strong wizard and there is no one better for the job.”
Draco took her small freckled hand in his, pulling her closer to him. He kissed Ginny lightly on the forhead before letting her go. “I’ll see you back in the common room. I have to send a message,” he said, nodding to a large oak cabinet across the room. He had told her what it was, so it came as no surprise when he talked about it as though he were speaking of an owl.
Giving Draco one last smile, she turned and left the Room of Hidden Things. Ginny walked down the hallway briskly turning a corner with a little more gusto than originally meant, and barrelled into none other than Hermione Granger, sending the brunette to the floor and Ginny glaring down at her. “Watch where you’re going, Granger.”
“I’m sorry,” Hermione began, slowly getting up off the floor, “but you were the one who ran me over.”
Ginny, taking out her wand, unnoticed, scoffed at Hermione. “Please. And besides, shouldn’t you be in your common room by now, Ms. Perfect? Wouldn’t want to be out at the wrong time and wind up petrified like the other mudbloods, would we?” Ginny walked past the Gryffindor, sending a jelly legs jinx behind her as she headed down the stairs and toward the dungeons.
Draco exited the Room of Hidden things and turned the corner to find Hermione wobbling all over the floor. He laughed, passing the girl without so much as hinting toward helping her. 'That ginger is one nasty piece of work,' he thought to himself, smiling.
Ginny awoke the next morning to Pansy shaking her furiously. Slowly her eyes adjusted while she rubbed at them with tired hands. “What is it Pansy?” Ginny asked, looking over at the clock on the wall. “It’s eight in the morning and classes don’t start until nine.”
“Ginny, another person has been petrified,” Pansy explained as Ginny rolled back over, digging her face into her pillow. “Ginny! It was that Granger girl from Gryffindor your brother is snogging!”
Ginny sat up. “You’re joking!”
“They found her this morning in the seventh floor corridor, soaking wet,” Pansy said.
Ginny sat in bed for a few more moments before getting up and slipping her Slytherin robe on. “Wait. If this happened last night, how did you already find out about it?” She asked, raising an accusing eyebrow.
“Well, uh, you see...” Pansy started, embarrassed. “Blaise and I were at the astronomy tower and on our way back to the common room, we heard a few professors talking from around the corner. We listened in. I guess Filch found her,” she quickly changed the subject.
“Uh huh...” Ginny breathed. “Well I’m not surprised. Like Blaise said, all the petrified were muggleborn. It was only a matter of time before Granger was included in the lot.”
Picking up her robes, Ginny slipped into their bathroom to change. After a few quick beauty spells, she and Pansy headed out for their last day of classes before Christmas holiday set out in the next week. Her first class was double potions with the Gryffindors. She would be sure to run into her brother there. No doubt he already knew about his girlfriend’s fate.
Just as she imagined it, Ron came stumbling into the dungeon classroom with Harry Potter, golden boy, at his side. “Well, you two look like you’ve just seen the Grim. What’s wrong? Cannons lose again?” Ginny joked as they passed, knowing full well why they looked so downtrodden.
Ron stopped and turned to his sister, eyes heavy with hidden tears. “Hermione’s been petrified. Not that you would care or anything. So just leave me alone,” he said, continuing on to his normal seat.
Ginny didn’t reply, seeing the hurt behind her brother’s eyes. Although she didn’t really care for the Granger girl, she had nothing against her brother besides his choice in friends and his obsession with getting her to come home and make peace with the family.
Draco silently approached the red head and ushered her to their seats. Professor Snape always deducted house points to anyone who was out of their seat when he walked into the room. “Ginny, are you okay?”
“Yeah. Granger was petrified last night,” she responded coolly. “I guess I feel kind of responsible. I put a jinx on her outside of the Room of Hidden Things when I left. I figured it would wear off quite quickly, but she must have gotten petrified right after.”
Draco nodded. “I saw your handy work when I left.” He sighed, “Well, there’s nothing we can do now. Try not to think about it.”
Just then, Professor Snape strode into the room, closing the door loudly. “Wolfsbane Potion....”
Ginny didn’t hear the rest. In her mind she was listening to a voice say “Soon, Ginevra, Soon,” and it didn’t scare her, but intrigue her. Class was over far sooner than it would have been if she was paying attention. Draco nudged her back into consciousness.
They met up with Pansy outside the classroom and ascended the stairs to the Great Hall for lunch then headed again for the stairs where Ginny had Defense against the Dark Arts with the other sixth year Slytherins. “Well I’ll see you guys after holiday,” Pansy explained, breaking away from the couple, “I have two free periods today so I’m going to go to Hogsmead early. Have a good break. Don’t get too bored, Ginny.”
Draco and Ginny waved to their friend and made their way up the staircase. Draco left her for Charms and Ginny headed up to the Defense classroom. This was another class that would be flown through by a racing mind. She had barely realized that the room was almost empty when she came to.
The Slytherin common room was bare when Ginny returned after her classes. Almost everyone was packed and getting their luggage to Filch to be sent to the train station at Hogsmead. Draco lugged his trunk up the boys’ staircase as he set eyes on Ginny. She smiled at him.
“So this is it huh?” Ginny asked, “Big day coming up.”
“Yeah, big day.” Draco nodded. “Listen Ginny, everything will be fine. I’ll owl you as soon as it’s done and you can tell me about how boring your week is,” He joked, seeing the boredom in her eyes, thinking about the coming week.
Ginny nodded again. She did that a lot when she didn’t know what to say.
Draco set his trunk down and engulfed the freckled girl into an embrace, her head buried in his chest. Kissing the top of her head, he reassured her. “Keep me updated if anything else happens around here, okay?”
“See you in a week, then,” Ginny finally said, looking up at him.
“One week. That’s all,” Draco echoed. He waved his wand and his trunk followed him out of the Slytherin dungeons, up the stairs, and out of Hogwarts Castle leaving Ginny alone and utterly bored for the week.
It passed slowly. Much more slowly than she would have liked. Ginny passed the time catching up on her homework, taking trips to Hogsmead, and reading a few Quidditch magazines over and over. Finally it was Friday morning and the Hogwarts Express would be bringing everyone back within a few hours. Ginny plopped down on the couch in front of the fireplace as it crackled and popped. She must have fallen asleep, because she was startled awake by a voice in front of her whispering “Ginevra.” No one calls her that but her mother, and that’s only when she’s very angry with her. This wasn’t a malicious voice. This voice called to her as if she were lost in a maze and it was trying to find her.
“Ginevra,” the voice called again, this time a little clearer. It seemed to be coming deep within the fire. “Ginevra, come. Come.”
Ginny got up off the couch and walked to the fire, slowly. The voice became louder as she approached. In an instant, the fireplace exploded into green flames and Ginny was pulled into it, leaving the common room empty, inhabited only by ghosts and shadows.
Across the castle, written on the wall... “The Chamber of Secrets has been opened. Enemies of the Heir... Beware.”*
Author's Note: Reviews and constructive criticism welcomed and encouraged :D I hope you like the first chapter of my story!
* from page 138 US edition of Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets
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