By Lady Lestrange
Disclaimer: The Harry Potter characters and previous situations belong to JK Rowlings. No infrigement is meant or implied. No money is made from this Fanfic. Thanks JK.
Special thanks to my beta, ennui de mort who thought of the title and who always does such a good job being my extra muse as well as proofreading, moral support and just plain fun.
Spoilers: A little of all five books. Hey, you should have read them by now! Set in Harry's seventh year.
"Leave her alone, Malfoy," Ron held his wand ready, glancing from Ginny to Draco and back again. Harry stepped up beside his friend and pulled his own wand.
"Give it to me," spat Ginny. "It's mine."
With his customary sneer, Malfoy shoved the package into Ginny's hands.
"You owe me," he spat, and then turned and headed down the narrow corridor of the Hogwarts Express.
"What was that about?" asked Harry.
"You know Malfoy," said Ginny. "He was just being a prat—took my book."
"Oh," said Harry.
The trio turned one way, and Ginny went the other with Luna, each finding separate compartments, but Harry felt Ginny's eyes burning into his back. If only she wasn't his best friend's sister, maybe she could help him forget.
The new school year was bitter sweet. With the loss of Sirius almost 15 months ago, Harry felt himself unable to concentrate. He kept telling himself that he only had to get through this one last year. He wandered the castle wanting to forget and yet unable to erase the memory of Sirius sliding through the veil. Sirius was gone. Out of reach, and yet as the weather chilled and the days grew short, Harry awoke sometimes to the feeling of something undone. He haunted the library in the day and the corridors at night. Hidden under his invisibility cloak he strolled through the hidden passages of Hogwarts where no one had traveled for decades. Nowhere was safe from his wanderings, not even the Chamber of Secrets, especially not the Chamber of Secrets.
The blood of the basilisk and ink still stained the stones there. Like a sacrificial altar it mocked him. He had saved Ginny, but he had not been able to save Cedric, or Sirius. The place in his heart that Sirius held was empty now, and he doubted anyone could understand the acute pain that caused.
He certainly couldn't talk to Dumbledore. He couldn't talk to his friends either. They had grown distant, or perhaps it was not their fault. He was the one who was unwilling to sit through another of Ron and Hermione's pointless arguments. Luna sometimes joined him in the library, saying little, but sitting quietly and studying. Occasionally Ginny came with her. They never spoke much to him, but he felt the comfort of their presence nonetheless.
On the upside, his schoolwork improved and, if he kept up at this rate, he knew he would be giving Hermione a run for top marks on their NEWTS this year. The library became his haven. There was a little circle of bookshelves that hid him from view and sometimes he sat there for hours on end, just thinking, wondering what would happen if he just refused to fight Voldemort. What if he just stayed there in the library forever? It was a silly thought.
Christmas morning came and went and Harry did not come out of his dorm room until Ron dragged him out of his room for breakfast. After all, he was hungry. After a late breakfast he retired back to his room where most had learned to leave him alone. He was Head Boy this year and it afforded him some privacy. Harry was interrupted from his studies by a tap on his door. It was Ginny.
"Where have you been?" she asked brightly.
"I've been here," said Harry. "I've been here all along."
She invited herself into the room and bounced lightly on his bed. Her hair was in auburn pigtails, as if she were still eleven and her too large skirt was a little crooked on her waist. She kicked off her shoes and let her dangling feet swing back and forth, back and forth like a grandfather clock ticking off the moments. One sock Harry noted had lost its elastic and had crumpled down around her ankle. Both were graying with age and over washing. She grinned at him, her wide mouth showing her perfectly even teeth, and she licked her lips, running her tongue along her full lips. It was a strangely seductive gesture in the midst of her pigtails and freckles and bitten fingernails.
It was only then that he realized she was holding a present. It was a small present, no larger than the palm of his hand although she clutched it with both of her hands. It was wrapped in gold foil with red poinsettias. An intricately tied bow held the box together and the card read, to Harry from Ginny. She held it out to him without saying a word.
He took the box hesitantly. "I don't have anything for you, Ginny," he said. He was honestly shocked that she had bought him a gift. She had not done so before and nothing in their relationship had led him to believe that she would do so now. They had studied together at the library a few times. That is all. Most of the time, Luna was with them. He knew that she had once had a crush on him, but he was different now. So was she.
"I didn't want to give it to you earlier, with the others," she said with a shy smile. "I didn't expect you to get me a Christmas present. It's not like I'm anything more than Ron's sister."
"Of course you are," he said automatically, and then he froze as he finished opening the package. His eyes met hers as he turned the rich mahogany leather bound book over in his hands.
"It's a diary," she said with a small laugh. "Don't worry. It won't write back." She paused twirling her hair around her finger as she did so often in the library when she was studying. "I thought it might help," she said softly. "About Sirius."
He nodded. "Thanks," he said softly.
"Let's go downstairs," she coaxed. "The others will be wondering what's keeping us. We don't want to miss the feast."
"You go ahead," said Harry.
He looked into the warm nutmeg brown eyes of the girl on his bed. She looked older than her sixteen years. Perhaps she was what some called an old soul, or perhaps she had just seen too many things in this life. "Why would you want to sit all alone on Christmas?" she asked.
"I was just thinking about Christmas," said Harry. "Do you know what it's about? It's about the birth of a Savior. It's not just about elves and holly and mistletoe."
"I knew that," said Ginny.
"Christmas is the date when he was born."
"Do you think his parents told him anything?" Harry asked. "Do you think they told him that he was born to die to save the world? Do you think they told him that what he wanted made no difference at all?"
"I never thought of that," said Ginny.
"I wonder sometimes if this Jesus had hopes and dreams and needs. I read about him in the library. His father was a carpenter. Did you know that? Maybe he wanted to build great things in his lifetime. Maybe he wanted to build homes for the homeless or a great structure to marvel the pyramids, but he never had the time because he had to save the world. He had a gift to speak," Harry continued. "Maybe he could have freed his people from Roman rule. Maybe he could have freed them from the oppression they were in. Maybe he didn't want to die. Shouldn't he have done those things before he died?"
"I understood that he was executed," said Ginny. "He didn't have control over the time or date of his death."
"But he should have," said Harry. "He should have had control over the time of his death."
"No one has that kind of control unless they commit suicide," said Ginny.
"I know," said Harry.
When they went downstairs, Ginny paused under the mistletoe. Eyes sparkling, she leaned over and kissed him. Her mouth was warm and pleasant on his. He had often thought of kissing her and wondered if she was too much like his sister to make it work. He kept the kiss chaste just in case.
"Enjoy the festivities with me," she whispered. "Everyone misses you. You've been so distant. Come on," she urged, "I know you're hungry."
Finally he let himself be led into the Great Hall. He walked into the Great Hall hand in hand with Ginny Weasley and everyone assumed that they were a couple. Harry didn't correct them. Neither did Ginny.
He did write in the diary. Ginny was right. It was freeing to put down on paper what he was feeling. To tell the un-accusing blank papers that he didn't want to be the Savior of the Wizarding world. To pour out his frustrations about how much of his life had been wasted with the Dursleys and finally, how much Ginny meant to him.
Harry and Ginny studied together in the library almost every night. Harry curtailed his nighttime prowling to be with her. She just seemed right somehow in a way she had never felt right before. She had not filled the spot in his heart that was reserved for Sirius, but she filled his heart in other ways. Her quiet support meant more to him than anything in the world.
Sometimes Luna studied with them. Sometimes she did not. Harry rarely studied with Ron and Hermione. They seemed to belong to another time, when he was another person. It was before Sirius had died. Before he started to question everything he had taken for granted.
Today, Harry found himself searching through his bag for parchment. "I left my parchment in the dormitory," he complained. "Do you have any I could take notes on for my potions paper, Gin? I'll replace it when we get back to the room."
"I'm sorry Harry," said Ginny. "I didn't bring any. I was just reading tonight.
"I guess I'll have to go back," said Harry, reaching for his heavy outside cloak.
"Why don't you just write your notes in your diary," said Ginny, "then you can copy to parchment when you write your final draft."
"Good idea," said Harry opening the diary and beginning to write.
"Did you know I incurred a wizard debt on the day you saved me from the Chamber?" Ginny asked out of the blue.
Harry looked at her. "You aren't in my debt," he said seriously.
"Don't be so quick to give it up," said Ginny. "You might want it someday: a life for a life."
Harry shuddered. "No. Never," he said. "I may not want to be the Savior of the Wizarding world, but I'm very glad I saved you, Ginny."
"I'm glad too, Harry." She clasped his hand in hers and he noticed something on her fingernails. At first he thought it was ink, but then re realized it was blood. "Ginny," he cried. "What have you done?"
"Remember Umbridge's detentions?" she asked. "I learned something from them." A feral smile crossed her lips. "I learned that if you take the notes in blood, you never forget them. Go ahead," she said. "Try it." She tossed him the quill.
He looked at it in horror. "You've done this?" he asked. "You voluntarily use blood for your lessons."
"That's potions right?" she asked. "Do you want full marks?"
"Snape would never give me full marks," said Harry.
"Do you want full marks?" Ginny asked again, her face breaking into a strange smile that bothered him in some way that he wasn't sure he could describe. It reminded him of someone, but he couldn't think whom. "Of course, if it isn't worth a little of your blood, I understand, but wouldn't you love to see the look on Snape's face?"
With some trepidation Harry picked up the quill and began to take notes. The initial sting at the beginning of the writing was just as bad as he remembered, but after a while, his hand got numb and all he felt was the knowledge pouring into him from the potions source. He knew everything about this potion. Snape would go crazy.
Harry soon learned that taking notes in the diary caused him less pain than taking notes on parchment. "Why is that?" he wondered, but Ginny had an answer for him.
"It's because the pens are made as a punishment," said Ginny. "They are made to react with the parchment, but the diary has a spell on it.
"Ginny!" said Harry. "You told me it wasn't enchanted."
"No," said Ginny, as she leaned nonchalantly against the bookshelf. "I told you it wouldn't write back. The spell on the diary numbs pain. I thought it was a good idea. I knew you were hurting thinking of Sirius all the time. Sometimes you seemed like you didn't want to live at all. I was trying to help you, Harry. I was just trying to help you."
"If only you could," said Harry stepping close to her and stealing a kiss.
"I wish I could," said Ginny. "I wish I could take it all away, Harry. I wish we could just be two people in love."
"Me too," whispered Harry, kissing her gently, putting all the feeling in his heart into his kiss because he did love Ginny. He hadn't told her so yet, but he knew he did. He didn't want to be anywhere in the world but next to her. He tried to put all of those feelings into his kiss as he drew her even closer, molding his body to hers.
"Tell me what you feel, Harry," she said softly. "Talk to me. I love to hear the sound of your voice."
"Wonderful," he muttered against her neck. "I feel wonderful."
"Tell me your secrets. Something you've never told anyone—"
"I don't want to kill Voldemort. I don't think I can do it Ginny. I'll be the one to die."
"You're a Gryffindor," said Ginny. "Where's your bravery?" but Harry shook his head against her skin, his lips brushing against her neck.
"The Hat wanted to put me in Slytherin. It said I had a thirst to prove myself."
"Do you?" asked Ginny.
"Only for you—"
Harry felt a sharp stabbing pain in his right hand, and he sprang guiltily away from Ginny.
"What is it?" she asked.
"I had the quill," he explained. "I didn't realize I still had it in my hand."
"It does that," she said. "It's part of the enchantment of the quill. It likes to take your blood." She took the quill gently from his hand and continued to kiss him until they were both breathless.
"We have to stop," Harry said at last. "We're in the library."
"Yes," said Ginny, sitting back at the library table and smoothing her hands over the diary. "Do you love me?" she asked.
"More than life," he said, and she smiled a smile that lit up her whole being, and she grasped his bloody hand in her own.
The next day, he couldn't wait to tell Ginny that he had gotten full marks on his potions paper. It was impossible, but it was true. Potions was the only subject that he had never been able to grasp, and now it was a cinch.
The days crowded into one another, the early spring rains giving way to the warmth of late spring. Tomorrow school would be over and she would go back to the burrow and Harry would go out into the world. He couldn't imagine life without Hogwarts. He didn't want to leave.
Harry was standing beside her against one of the tall oaks that rimmed the lake. It was their special place and they often cajoled the house elves into making them a picnic to share here.
"What are you going to do when school is over?" Ginny asked lazily rolling over on the warm grass and looking at him with her searching chocolate eyes.
"I don't know," said Harry flippantly. "Kill Voldemort, eat some lemon drops—"
"You've changed," she said, looking up into his piercing green eyes. "You're taller—"
"That happens," he said softly. "That's why it's called growing up."
She giggled as he stretched out beside her, his hands searching for skin. "Take this off," he whispered, pulling at her robe.
"We're not supposed to," she said, shrugging out of the heavy robes and smoothing the pale cotton dress she was wearing underneath. "That's what cooling charms are for."
"So do you need a cooling charm, Miss Weasley?" he asked.
"You know I do."
They had practically divested each other of half of their clothing when a rustling and a voice nearby caused them both to spring guiltily apart, both diving for robes.
"Ginny?" said Ron.
"Bloody hell," she swore, wrapping her robe around herself and pushing back her disheveled hair.
"Meet me tonight," said Harry, catching her hand. "It's our last night."
"Myrtle's bathroom," she said. "11:30. Bring your diary."
He frowned, but let her go.
"You!" sneered Myrtle as Harry entered the bathroom, the soft glow from his wand casting eerie shadows on the wall. Ginny rushed to meet him.
"I'm glad you're here, Harry," she said. "I hate that ghost."
Harry wrapped his arms around Ginny and cuddled her. "You used to like me, Myrtle," said Harry. "Fickle women," he murmured into Ginny's hair and she giggled. "Why didn't you just come to my room?" asked Harry.
"Because it's our last night. I wanted something special," she said.
"Special?" Harry questioned.
"Yes." She grinned at him. "Do you have the diary?"
He nodded. "Right here. Why?"
She took it from his hands and tucked it into her robe pocket. "I want to make love where you first held me in your arms. We'll never have this chance again. I want to remember, how it all happened."
"At the foot of Salazar's statue?" Harry asked incredulous.
"Yes," she breathed.
"Kinky," said Harry.
And she laughed a hearty full laugh. "And no one will interrupt us," she said, entwining her arms around his neck and kissing him deeply. "We could stay as long as we like."
"There is that," he said, hissing at the sink to open the Chamber. They slid down the long tunnel to the stone floor at the bottom. Harry lit the torches and slipped his wand into his pocket so that he could wrap both arms around her.
"Carry me," whispered Ginny, and Harry with muscles made strong from Quiddich practice, swept her into his arms. Still kissing her, he laid her on the cold stone between Salazar's feet. He seemed to frown down on them disapprovingly and Ginny laughed.
"Two Gryffindors making love in his precious Chamber," said Ginny. "I'll bet he's just rolling in his grave."
"Who cares," muttered Harry kissing her and pushing the robe off of her shoulders, raining kisses upon her shoulders with maddening gentleness.
They were thick in their passion when midnight struck. Harry stiffened and cried out, blood suddenly dripping from his right hand. Ginny scrambled out from under him and pulled the diary she had given him from her robe pocket. She pulled her wand and touched it to Harry's hand and then to the diary murmuring an old and forgotten spell and Harry was still, all of his pain gone.
In a more leisurely fashion, she did a glamour on herself, and then took the same book and opened it. She picked up the blood quill and wrote on one of the blank pages. "It is finished." Immediately, the mahogany leather darkened into black and the cover partially melted, a hole burned clear through the middle of it. On the front it said T. M. Riddle. On the back it said Vauxhall Road.
The blood letters came back to her shakily from the damaged book. "You know what to do," and she laid the burnt black book on Harry's forehead, covering his scar. In a moment, a strange green light flared around the book and Harry's body stirred. The book fell whole and mahogany once again to the stone. On the cover it said Harry Potter. On the back it said Hogwarts Castle, but Ginny didn't touch it.
She flung herself forward onto him, kissing him madly. "It worked!" she cried. "Is it really you, Tom?"
In answer, he growled and pushed her roughly against the stone pillar that was Salazar's leg, his fingers going unerringly beneath her robe and hooking around the frail lace of her under wear. She felt the fabric tear as he kissed her wildly, a glint of red appearing in his eyes in his passion. "Virginia!"
Quite a while later, Ginny stirred, rubbing her neck where it had grown stiff laying against the cold stone. "Tom," she said, leaning up on her arm and tracing lazy circles on his bare chest. "You know you have a room. You're Head Boy and all—again."
He smirked at her. "The Chamber was good enough for you a while ago," he said.
"But we should get going. It's probably morning already. The Hogwarts Express will be here." She paused kissing him hungrily. "I will miss you."
"Yes, I know," he said. "You will be going to the Burrow."
"And where will you be going, Tom?" Ginny asked.
"Oh, probably to kill the Durleys," he answered flippantly.
She hit him, and he laughed. "Oh I know," he said. "I'm The-Boy-Who-Lived. I have to kill Voldemort. That's going to feel very strange," he said softly.
"Don't worry," he replied to her stricken look. "I'll kill Voldmort. After all, there can only be one Dark Lord to rule the world." He pulled her back into his embrace.
"I love you," she said.
"I know," he answered.