Chapter 7 : Nothing but Trouble
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You gotta be somewhere
Wherever you are
I'm waiting for you.
January. Cold, blustery, miserable January. After the holidays, I had no desire to return to Hogwarts. How could I possibly focus on something as trivial as homework when I knew that my parents barely had enough money to feed themselves? Or when I had no idea if Luna was alright?
Worry and anxiety constantly bothered me. There wasn't a single minute in which I didn't think about Mum, Dad, Luna, Harry, Ron and Hermione. I tried to stop thinking about them so that my mind could be left alone in peace, but I couldn't. Sometimes, I just wanted to curl up in a ball and cry—and that is not something I usually do. Was I becoming weak? No—Ginny Weasley is not weak.
I stabbed my French toast as hard as I could, imagining that the stale, bitter toast was either Snape or Voldemort's face. Many people at the Gryffindor table stared at me, but I didn't care.
I was frustrated—why couldn't I help defeat You-Know-Who? Sure, I still had the trace on me, but Harry could have given me something to do in the castle. I just knew he was looking for something- a weapon, maybe? Whatever he was looking for had to be in the castle. After all, Hogwarts was one of the best places to hide something. Helping him would be better than sitting around Hogwarts being of no use.
"The delivery owls are here, maybe there's some news on Luna." Neville suggested.
But what if it's bad news? I thought fearfully.
Pretty soon, owls flew into the Great Hall, most of them carrying copies of the Quibbler. But why weren't the magazines disguised? The Quibbler had been banned from Hogwarts ages ago, so Mr. Lovegood had charmed the outside of the magazines to look like the Daily Prophet.
I was just about to mention this to Neville, but he nearly choked on his orange juice when he saw the front cover of the magazine.
"What is it?" I asked, grabbing it from him. I quickly examined the cover; and I wanted to rip the magazine in half. Because there, on the front page of the Quibbler, was a large picture of Harry underneath the caption "Undesirable No. 1" in bold letters.
"That bloody coward!" I said angrily, slamming the magazine onto the table.
"Well, I don't blame Mr. Lovegood completely, I think he's just desperate because Luna was taken away from him." Neville said thoughtfully.
I remained silent. In a way, Neville was right. But that didn't help my temper at all.
Whispers and murmurs erupted throughout the Great Hall over the Quibbler's sudden change in views.
"GET TO YOUR CLASSES!" Alecto roared, silencing everyone.
"Wonderful. Muggle Studies time." I muttered quietly to Neville.
"I've got Dark Arts, which isn't any better." Neville mumbled back.
I hate Mondays.
It was so strange, sitting in Muggle Studies all alone that morning. I couldn't help but glance at the empty desk next to me, hoping that Luna would appear out of thin air.
Everyone else in the classroom was talking in hushed voices, discussing the current climate and probably exchanging ridiculous rumors. (According to a group of fourth year girls, Snape was a vampire.)
"Sit down and be quiet!" Alecto barked suddenly, appearing at the doorway. The room fell silent, as usual, whenever she spoke. Alecto pointed her wand at a few lamps at the back of the room, illuminating them so that there was dim light in the classroom.
"You will each be receiving an informative pamphlet. It has all sorts of facts about muggles and their history with the magical society." she said, tapping the stack of pamphlets with her wand. They each lifted themselves up into the air, distributing themselves to the students.
The pamphlets were titled as: "Muggles: the danger they present to our peaceful society." Underneath the title was a picture of a wilted flower surrounded by what looked like weeds. There was no author listed.
"I will read chapter one aloud," Alecto said, her lips curling into a wicked smile. "Muggles are known to have tortured witches and wizards in Medieval times. Muggles have hanged them, executed them, and burned them. That is because muggles were, and always have been, cowards. They were afraid of our magical abilities, therefore they mercilessly killed innocent witches and wizards."
Come on, I learned this in my third year. A lot of those wizards weren't "innocent." They abused their magic and tortured muggles. They had a good reason to be scared of wizards.
I looked around the classroom, noticing that almost no one was paying attention. Only five minutes into the lesson and about half the class was dozing off. Even the Ravenclaws, who normally never missed a single word a teacher said, were ignoring Alecto.
Perhaps Alecto had noticed the same thing; she waved her wand, muttered a spell, and her wand made a loud banging noise, startling everyone in the room. A few people shrieked or jumped in their seat.
"Pay attention, you worthless lot!" she snarled. She glared at all of us with her dark, beady eyes, and continued. "Chapter two—muggles are known to be very violent. They use killing machines called guns to kill each other for no reason-"
"Not unlike you and your pathetic Death Eater friends who kill people for no reason!" I blurted out, before I could stop myself.
The room fell silent. All eyes were darting from me to Alecto, their breaths bated in suspense.
"You dare interrupt me, Weasley? Are you defending muggles?" Alecto said, her voice sounding very dangerous.
"Yeah, that's exactly what I'm doing," I said, ignoring everyone else's shocked expressions. I had finally lost my patience. I didn't care about what happened next; I was sick of Alecto, and sick of this stupid school as well.
"Well, it appears we have a rebel on our hands, eh? Idiot girl—Imperio!"
Sure enough, I lost all control of myself. It was hard to think properly.
"Now, be a good girl and go to the Headmaster's office. I will join you shortly." she said, her voice triumphant.
I obeyed, but I didn't want to. It was such a strange sensation—I wanted my hands to grab my wand that moment and hex Alecto, but my feet were moving towards the door, as if in a trance. I had no control.
"Well, well, looks like we've got another troublemaker," Filch wheezed, petting Mrs. Norris in his arms.
Filch was doing the same thing he had done with Umbridge—he joined the enemy's side just to earn self-importance. Tirelessly, he roamed the corridors all day long, looking for a student breaking the rules so he could report them to Snape or the Carrows.
"Finally, I can punish students! Dumbledore was a fool. Harsh punishment is the only way students like you will ever learn!" he said.
Silently, I kept walking towards the Headmaster's office, wanting to point out to Filch that the only reason the Carrows put up with him was because he caught wrong-doing students, and that Squibs were of no value to Death Eaters. But unfortunately, I couldn't talk.
"Ginny!" a voice said, before Filch could keep talking.
It was Neville, standing just a few yards away in front of the Headmaster's office, his arms held at his back by Amycus and an unknown Death Eater.
I wanted to call back to him, but it was like my mouth was glued together.
"Can you hear me? Ginny, answer me!" Neville said loudly.
"Shut up, Longbottom!" Amycus snarled.
"Amycus, it appears you have a troublemaker on your hands as well! Wonderful, the more the merrier!" Alecto cackled, appearing from behind me.
"Emerald eyes," Amycus said to the gargoyles in front of the headmaster's office. The door opened and the spiral staircase appeared.
"In you go," Alecto demanded.
By the time me and Alecto reached the top, Neville was yelling at Amycus. "Give me my wand!" Neville shouted, attempting to grab it from Amycus.
"In your dreams, kid." he snickered.
"Now, Amycus, let's teach these kiddies what happens when they are rude with their elders. Crucio!" she said, her wand pointed at me.
I wanted to run—I wanted to fight back, but I was unable to move. No matter what, I had to take the curse.
The jet of light hit my stomach, and the pain started; it was like white-hot knives were piercing every inch of my body. Those two seconds felt like hours. Unable to resist, I screamed. I could feel the Imperius curse wearing off, but I felt as if I was going insane.
And then, it stopped. I was still shaking, and it was then I realized I was on the floor.
"My turn!" Amycus said gleefully. It was sickening that someone could enjoy torture so much.
"Crucio!" he said, this time at Neville.
Neville fell to his knees, clutching his stomach as he resisted the urge to scream.
"That's not all, Longbottom. You've caused too much trouble here, but none of our punishments so far have had any effect on you. It's time your Granny paid for the trouble that you've caused. In fact, I've already contacted a few Death Eaters to pay a little visit to her house. Shouldn't take much to finish her off." Amycus said smugly.
"No! Don't hurt her!" Neville shouted.
"It's your fault, boy! If you weren't trying to be a hero, then nothing would have happened to her!" Alecto said harshly.
"Don't—please—" he moaned.
"Stupid kid, begging won't help! Now go—you're both dismissed!" Amycus said.
"You can't—she never did anything—please—" Neville continued, ignoring the dismissal.
"HE SAID GO!" Alecto shouted, shooing us both out of the office.
Neville finally obeyed, the worry clearly shown on his face.
By the time we reached the Gryffindor common room, everyone was grabbing their things for their next class. People kept staring at me and Neville, whispering as we passed, probably about what we had done in our last classes.
I ignored them, and when I reached into my pocket to grab my wand, I felt something burning inside it—my D.A coin?
I grabbed it, examining the round side of the coin. It did not look like a date, but a random set of numbers.
"Neville, did you change something on your D.A coin?" I said, turning around to face him.
"No, I lost my D.A coin, remember?" he said.
"But then who changed it?" I asked.
Neville had a look of dawning comprehension, and didn't answer.
"Neville?" I asked.
"Luna found my D.A coin, but she never got the chance to give it back to me. Ginny, do you know what this means? Luna sent us a message!" he said excitedly.
"So each number represents a letter?" I asked, examining the edge of the coin.
The numbers were: 9-1-13-19-1-6-5.
'I' was the ninth letter of the alphabet...
"Neville—I've got it! The message is 'I am safe'!" I said.
"So she's alright? Merlin, that's good to hear!" Neville said, relieved.
Even I was pretty relieved. At least one good thing came out of a bad day.
It was nighttime now, and I was standing at the window near my bed, observing the sky outside. Owls hooted in the distance, and the stars twinkled especially bright tonight, as if to cheer me up.
I wanted this war to end. I wanted to see my friends again. I wanted to be with my family, to laugh again, to enjoy life again. But for now, that seemed impossible. As long as Voldemort was in power, life would remain hell for me.
I looked beyond the top of the Forbidden Forest, by the faraway mountains surrounded by fog, and wondered.
Harry, where are you?
Author's Note: So sorry I took forever to update! I've been really busy lately so writing time has been limited. :( Also, we're officially halfway through the story! The second half is much more exciting than the first half, I promise. (Includes the Battle of Hogwarts from Ginny's PoV!) From here is when everything gets exciting...
Please please please please review!!
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