Hermione woke up later that night with a terrible headache. She opened her eyes and tried to lift herself, but stopped when her head began to twist.
“Ow…” she moaned, laying back her head on the pillow. She felt as if her head was hit by a truck. What happened?
Slowly, she got up and lit a candle. She saw her roommates sleeping in their beds. What time is it?
She looked at her clock that was standing on the nightstand; it was one o’clock in the morning. Hermione went to the bathroom and looked herself in the mirror.
Oh, God. I look horrible
. Suddenly memories started to come back to her mind: Ron and Lavender kissing, Harry mumbling something about her going too fast, Katie washing her face…
Feeling embarrassed as never before, Hermione took her clothes off, opened the curtain of the shower and placed herself inside. She felt the cold water on her face immediately. Soon she was wide awake, and her brain began to function as usual. How could I lose it like that? It’s not worth it, Hermione; he is not…
She shook her head as she stepped out of the shower and dried herself with a towel.
“Accio, pajamas” she whispered. A new set of pajamas went towards her as she opened the bathroom door. She closed it as she grabbed her clothes. After she got dressed, she brushed her hair, and decided to go downstairs, realizing that she was not sleepy at all. She went down the stairs and sat on one chair facing the chess table. She put her knees up and placed her arms around them, sighing. I’m being stupid. I don’t care what he does…is not my problem that he fancies someone else…why should I care?
She sighed again.
“What is wrong with me?” she mused, aloud.
“Nothing is wrong with you, Hermione”
Hermione jumped at the sound of Ginny’s voice. She stood up and looked around for her.
“Ginny? Where are you?”
“Over here” a weak voice answered from the fireplace. Hermione approached and saw Ginny curled on the couch, crying.
“Ginny, what are you doing here?” she asked, in a sympathetic tone. “Are you alright?”
“No” Ginny sobbed.
“Oh, Ginny, what is it? I haven’t see you cry since Harry started dating Cho last year”
“Please, don’t remind me that, Hermione” At this Hermione frowned.
“What’s going on?” Ginny stood until she was sitting, facing Hermione, sighing as she calmed down.
“You were right about Harry” she finally said. “I think he has…um feelings f-for me”
Hermione did not know whether to laugh or to apologize. So she just stared at Ginny with a skeptic expression.
“How is that bad? You’ve always had feelings for him, Ginny. You should be happy! He finally noticed you. He saw the real you
and now he fancies you!”
“I-I had to break up with Dean”
Hermione looked surprise.
Ginny nodded “It was during the party. He, um, wanted to go for a walk, so we went and…he started kissing me and I kissed him back and…I just couldn’t help start thinking about Harry and…” she paused, her cheeks slightly red as she continued, “I said Harry’s name”
Hermione’s eyes widened as she heard the last part. “Oh, God. What did Dean do?”
“What do you think he did? He thought there was something going on between me and Harry”
Hermione waited for her to continue. When she didn’t, she asked:
“Well? Is there?”
“I-I don’t know. I mean, I guess there is but-it’s just” she paused and sighed; then finally said: “I’m scared, Hermione”
“Of being wrong. I mean, what if I’m just misinterpreting things, and he’s just being a friend to me?”
“Oh, Ginny trust me, Harry is
into you. I’ve never seen him like that before. Not even when he was with Cho” Hearing this, Ginny looked up.
“Yes! I mean, he was always shy in front of Cho, and most of the time he didn’t know what to talk about when he was with her. But he has no trouble talking to you. He’s not afraid of being himself around you; and he seems to enjoy himself when he’s with you. It’s like…he glows when he’s around you”
This time Ginny gave Hermione a skeptical look.
“Now you’re just exaggerating, Hermione”
Hermione sighed. They were silent for a moment.
“So you were crying because you are scared?”
Ginny looked at Hermione, feeling a little guilty.
“I don’t know what to do, Hermione. It’s so frustrating not knowing whether…”
“It’ll be alright, Ginny” Hermione said, putting an arm around her. “I promise”
“So,” Ginny said after a while. “What did Ron do this time?”
Hermione glanced at Ginny, surprised, but then smirked. “Nothing new, really. This time I
did something stupid”
“Well, what are you waiting for?” asked Ginny “Tell me about it”
There was a cheerful mood in the Gryffindor Tower next morning. Harry could hear people talking about the match and the after-party. To him, the latter had been extremely frustrating and boring. He couldn’t keep thinking about the fact that Ginny and Dean had gone out for a romantic walk probably to celebrate Gryffindor’s victory-the thought itself made him grimace. Harry thought that after Lavender went to bed, he and Ron would finally enjoy the party that was being dedicated to them. But he just spent the rest of the party complaining about Lavender and wondering about Hermione; this did not help Harry forget about Ginny and Dean either.
When he walked in the Great Hall, Harry immediately searched for Hermione, but could not find her. He saw Ron having breakfast with Lavender and instantly looked away; he didn’t want to be invited to witness Lavender’s corny manners. Giving that there was no one to sit with, Harry decided to go to Hagrid’s.
When he got to the front door of the hut, Harry raised his hand in a fist to knock, when it suddenly opened and, next thing he knew, Ginny was bumping into him. She gasped when her head hit Harry’s shoulder.
Ginny felt herself blush when she met Harry’s gaze on her, looking as surprised as she was. For a short moment, Ginny lost herself in his green eyes, trying to figure out what they said when he looked at her; trying to guess whether he cared about her the way she cared about him. Harry gulped at the sight of her: her pink cheeks, her long hair, her flowery smell and, above all, her eyes; those beautiful, chocolate eyes…
“Why, hi there, Harry!” Hagrid’s voice came behind Ginny, startling both of them. Harry had almost forgotten where he was. He looked up at him, but did not push Ginny away; she was still very close to him, and Harry wanted to enjoy her proximity as much as possible.
“Hello, Hagrid” he greeted.
“What are you doing here?”
“I just wanted to pay you a visit”
“Oh, well, I wish you would have come sooner. Ginny here brought me some excellent biscuits. She made them herself!”
“Really?” said Harry, looking back down at Ginny. She opened her mouth to say something but Hagrid got ahead of her.
“Yep. We had a wonderful chat in there. I gave her advice on some matter that’s been troubling her. I trust she’ll do the right thing, aren’t ya?”
“I, uh, yeah, Hagrid. I will” she mumbled, avoiding Harry’s curious look.
“Aren’t ya in the middle of the way, Harry?” Hagrid said “I need to go to the castle”
Blushing, Harry took several steps back.
“Well, I’ll see you later” Hagrid said “Sorry we couldn’t talk, Harry. But I’ll love to have you next week”
“It’s all right, Hagrid. I guess I’ll see you next week then”
“Take care, Hagrid” Ginny said. After he left, they began walking toward the castle.
“Is everything okay, Ginny?” Harry asked.
“Hagrid just said you’re having trouble with something”
“Oh, that” She made a dismissive hand gesture “Is nothing important”
“Are you sure?” he asked gently. When she looked down, Harry put himself in front of her, blocking her way. “Ginny” he said softly “It’s ok. You can trust me”
She looked up, smiling. “I know that, Harry” She looked around and then leaned in, whispering. “You promise you won’t tell Ron?”
Harry felt his heart race when she came closer. “I promise”
Ginny sighed. “I’ve been having nightmares recently”
Harry frowned. “About what?” Ginny’s answer came in such a low whisper that Harry couldn’t hear her.
Harry gave her a serious look. “What happens in the dream?”
“I’m stuck in the Chamber of Secrets and Riddle seems to be invisible, for he attacks me, but I can’t find him” She said all of this very quickly.
“And you told Hagrid about this?” Harry asked, skeptical.
“I told him that I was having trouble sleeping”
“And you have these dreams every night?”
“Almost every night. I don’t know why, though” There was a pause.
“I’ll tell you what” said Harry, breaking the silence. “Meet me tonight at the common room at midnight. I think I know how to help you”
Ginny raised an eyebrow questionably at him.
“You’ve served me well, Ginevra. Come to the Chamber and you will be rewarded” The cold voice of Tom Riddle echoed in Ginny’s head. She felt that there was something odd about this, something wrong; but he mentioned a reward…
“What kind of reward?” she wondered. Tom Riddle’s voice answered her immediately:
“I’ll give you what you want the most…I’ll give you Harry Potter”
“He’ll come to you. Trust me, Ginevra. He’ll come and won’t ever leave you”
As tempting as that sounded, Ginny knew it was wrong. Something inside of her tried to warn her; but there was something else even more powerful that was pushing her into accepting Tom’s invitation.
“I will go” As soon as these words came out of her mouth the image distorted and there was a new one. Ginny found herself in the Chamber of Secrets, kneeling over a bundle of clothes, crying. Tom Riddle’s laugh was louder and colder than ever.
“Oh, Harry!” Ginny sobbed.
“There’s your hero, Ginevra. The boy who lived! The famous Harry Potter is finally dead!”
“NO!” Ginny heard herself scream. “It’s your fault, you horrible serpent!”
Tom kept on laughing his terrible laugh. “My fault? I believe you are forgetting something here, Ginevra” He made a dramatic pause in which he smiled maliciously. His white teeth gave Ginny the shivers. “I didn’t kill Harry Potter” he said, still smiling.
“What?” said Ginny, hope rising inside of her “He’s not-
“Oh, he is dead, dear. I’m just saying that I didn’t do it” He grinned at her. Confused and paining Ginny opened her mouth to reply when she suddenly understood what he had just said. Her eyes widened in horror.
“No” she said, tears coming to her eyes. “No! I don’t believe you! There is no way I would ever hurt Harry, let alone…” she choked and started crying again.
“But you did, Ginevra. You might have been under my trance, but he was killed by you”
“Shut up! It’s not true!”
“And now I will kill you, Ginevra”
Raging, Ginny picked up her wand and pointed at Tom, but he was faster, and before she knew it, Voldemort’s cold voice came loud and clear:
“AVADA KEDAVRA!” Suddenly, a different voice came from nowhere:
“You said you trust me, right?” he asked. Ginny smiled and nodded. “I’ll see you tonight then”
“No!” Ginny screamed, at the same time she opened her eyes. She looked around, breathing heavily. It took her a moment to remember where she was. She was in the common room, lying down on a sofa. Ginny felt herself trembling and sweating while sitting up. It was just a nightmare
, she thought; another terrible…
She gasped loudly when she felt a hand on her shoulder. Ginny jumped off the sofa and turned quickly, at the same time she looked for her wand. Nevertheless she barely touched it, for she recognized the boy standing in front of her. Black hair, emerald eyes, round glasses…
“Harry” Ginny whispered. He had a concerned look on his face, but before he could say anything, Ginny ran toward him and wrapped her arms around his neck. Surprised at the tightening of the hug, Harry placed one arm awkwardly on her back, rubbing it up and down.
“What is it, Ginny?” he asked gently in her ear.
“It-it was awful” she stammered. “It felt so-so real, Harry, I tho-thought you were g-gone. Riddle was torturing me and I-I did a terrible thing” she started sobbing. Understanding the situation, Harry placed his other hand on the back of her head.
“It was just a nightmare, Ginny. You’re ok”
“I don’t want to go back there, Harry”
“Shhh” he hushed her gently. “You won’t. I promise. Everything is all right, Ginny. I’m here”
The last words came as a whisper.
“I just feel so stupid” she said “for being scared only because of a bad dream”
Harry smiled at this and pulled her back a bit so he could face her. He noticed that she had shed a few tears and was trying to hide them from him. But Harry just wiped them away with his thumb softly. “Don’t worry” he said “I’ve been there one too many times. It’s ok to be afraid of our nightmares. These are our worst fears after all” He stared at her intently for a short moment before continuing. “You are the bravest person I know” At this Ginny raised her eyebrows but Harry didn’t seem to notice; he was completely absorbed in her eyes. “But even the bravest can feel the slightest fear. And that’s ok”
Ginny stared at him as he released his hand from her hair and began to search in his pockets for something. She did not overlook the fact that Harry still had his hand on her back.
Harry finally found what he was looking for and took it out. Ginny frowned at the sight of a familiar, small, red box that Harry held on the palm of his hand.
“This was supposed to be your Christmas present” he explained, noticing her confusion. “We were interrupted so I couldn’t give it to you properly, and after that I never got another opportunity…until now” He opened the box, and Ginny’s eyes widened in shock at the same time her heart skipped a beat.
“Harry, it’s-so beautiful…I don’t know what to say. I mean, you really shouldn’t have taken the trouble” Ginny grabbed the bracelet and held it up to admire it. It was made of pure gold, and the word “courage” was engraved in it. This must have cost him a fortune.
Realizing this, she extended her arm towards Harry. “I can’t accept this, Harry. I’m sorry, but this surely cost you a fortune and I don’t want you to spend your money on me”
Harry just ignored her; instead, he grabbed the bracelet and before Ginny knew it she had it on. It fit her perfectly. “I would like you to wear this. Just to remind yourself when you’re scared that you can get through anything; that there is no stronger force or magic than your own will, and that you can do anything” Harry said all of this without releasing Ginny’s hand. He was looking her straight in the eyes. “Will you please wear it?” he asked sweetly. Ginny could barely nod.
After a moment of silence (in which they moved to the couch and sat down), Ginny finally spoke up:
“Harry, you said this was my Christmas present”
“Yet this seems perfect for tonight…for reassuring me from my nightmare. How did you know…?”
“You told me once” he cut her “last Christmas, remember? I was being an idiot, isolating myself from everyone because I thought that I was being possessed by Voldemort. Then you reassured me by telling me about the time you were really possessed by him, and how you’ve never been able to forget that”
“I can’t believe you remember that” Ginny said softly. Harry stared back at her, giving her an intense look which made her blush.
“I pay more attention than you think, Ginny” he said, before blushing and looking back at the fire.