Disclaimer: Ditto previous two parts. I own some of the spells used, but credit for them goes to my Beta and Latin speaker, Cyropi.
Last part is here - and the rating has to be put up. Because the muses were cruel. You'll hate me for it, so all I have to say is:
It's meant to be nasty! That's why it's Gin'n'Toxin not Gin'n'Tonic!
Breaks indicate a change of scene OR POV. POV only for the last few pages.
Thanks for reviewing: fcuking cathy, addicted..., Aliesha, Jenn, animal luvr, Q, paradox01, cashew, Yoshi-fan2003, Riddled-Slytherin, Lani x2, kittybro, and Serenity Cosmos Riddle. Loff you all, you rock
paradox01 - I never read that interview -shame- Don't worry, my Betae shouted at me extensively, and so I apologise for my idiocy.
cashew - ... somehow I doubt they'll be IC after this. Strange pairings rock. Thank you for your nice longer-than-average review :)
So... here's the rest...
The next morning came early, bringing with it more rain. Once again, Harry, Ron and Hermione were awake before the sun rose, sitting around a small table. Harry's hand was rubbing his forehead thoughtfully, residual pain from his throbbing scar tainting his face.
'Five minutes,' Ron was saying. 'Five minutes, and if she's not down, we go.' His stomach growled loudly in agreement.
'Alright,' replied Harry, his green eyes alert, but stained with tiredness and worry. Next to him, Hermione was biting her lip anxiously.
'Harry, your scar hasn't hurt for ages,' she said in a whisper for what seemed like the tenth time that morning. 'And last night, you were screaming because of it. We should go and see Dumbledore. Ginny'll understand if we don't wait for her.'
'We'll go and see him later.' Harry's tone was final. 'And since Ginny doesn't seem to want to wake up any time soon, we'll go and eat breakfast now instead of waiting.'
'Yes!' Ron punched the air, victorious, and sprinted for the portrait hole. Harry followed, laughing at Ron's antics, and Hermione sighed. Maybe it was nothing she thought, unconvinced, and walked sedately after Harry and Ron.
The Common Room was empty, with almost all of the Gryffindors in the Great Hall for breakfast. Light footsteps echoed around the tower, and Ginny Weasley made her way down the steps.
She seemed to be standing taller than usual, prouder, and much more graceful. Her hair fell around her face and shoulders, poker straight thanks to a useful charm. Her eyes, normally brown, had a darker, redder, manic tint.
'Welcome to my world, Harry Potter.'
Listening briefly to the echoes made by her deeper-than-usual voice, Ginny left the Common Room, her wand held in front of her, hissing under her breath. Inside Moaning Myrtle's bathroom, and deep inside the Chamber, an air of excitement, anticipation, recognition stirred.
'Why are we going again?' asked Ron for the hundredth time as the trio climbed a large staircase. His excuse of hunger having gone, he resorted to whining.
'To say goodbye to Myrtle,' replied Hermione in exasperation. 'After all, she has helped us a lot. With the Chamber of Secrets, and with the second TriWizard task, and last year when Dennis Creevey broke his leg on the stairs.'
'Yeah, and she's spied on us when we've been bathing,' grumbled Ron, dragging his feet as they neared Myrtle's bathroom. 'And she's wailed until our ears exploded.'
'Have your ears exploded?' asked Harry with interest. Ron glared at Harry.
'Close, mate. Close.' Ron shivered. 'All those times when she's started crying - they've almost killed my hearing.'
'Oh, don't be such a baby, Ron,' Hermione replied briskly. 'We're only going to say goodbye. Because we're leaving, Ron, that means you never have to hear her again if you don't want to.' At this, Ron cheered up.
'Well, what are we waiting for?' he asked, striding ahead to the bathroom door. 'Let's get this over and done with.' He pushed the door open and walked in with a cheery, 'Hello, Myrtle!'
A loud wailing came from the bathroom. Ron winced, and walked back out.
'See?' he mouthed desperately, clasping his hands over his ears. Hermione exchanged a worried glance with Harry, and stepped forward into the bathroom.
'Myrtle!' she called over the wailing. 'Myrtle, what's wrong?'
'Come to make fun of me again?' cried the ghost for the hundredth time since their first meeting six years ago. 'Come to make poor old Moaning Myrtle feel just, just miserable!' She sniffed and rubbed her eyes, sitting on a sink. 'Because I'm dead!' She began wailing again.
'Harry,' whispered Ron, so that Myrtle wouldn't hear. 'D'you think she was meant to be a banshee instead of a ghost?'
'I heard that!' snapped Hermione, in unison with Myrtle. 'What's wrong, Myrtle?' added Hermione gently. Myrtle gave a melodramatic cry, and her sullen face turned towards them.
'You're just as nasty as she is!' she accused. 'You don't care about me! You just want to use my bathroom for mixing potions and hiding with your girlfriends and not to see me!'
'Myrtle!' snapped Ron, cutting off the ghost before she had a chance to begin crying again. 'What's wrong?'
'You Gryffindors, you're all the same,' said the ghost mournfully. 'None of you care about poor old Myrtle, stuck in bathrooms! You just pass straight through, insulting the poor old ghost who only told you that your hair looked like a radish!'
'Who passed through?' asked Hermione, instantly alert. Harry turned to stare at her, confused, before the ghost's words hit him. Pass straight through...
'Your sister!' shrieked Myrtle, this time with anger, at Ron. 'Your sister came through to go chase her fancy boy down in that trap!' With a trembling, translucent finger, she jabbed at the end sink.
The one with a snake carved into one tap.
The entrance to the Chamber of Secrets.
This time, the footsteps clicked on the smooth floor as a figure clad in Gryffindor robes moved about the Chamber, familiarising herself with the room once more. It had been so long since she had been here... Every now and then a delicate hand would reach out and touch one of the snake statues, or rest on the ominous figure of Salazar Slytherin at the end of the Chamber. The air seemed restless, excited, and occasionally a soothing word would be murmured. To calm herself, of course; all traces of the Basilisk had long disappeared.
After a few moments, she settled down between the feet of the large statue, resting her head - which, no matter what Moaning Myrtle said, did not resemble a radish - against Salazar's body. Five years ago, she had been left here to die, alone in the chamber, watching as a memory came to life. Now she was in control. Her sharp eyes flickered around the large room, before focusing on the large door at the opposite end.
And she waited.
The tiny carving glittered as Harry tilted his head from side to side, willing the snake to look alive.
'Harry, shouldn't we fetch Dumbledore?' asked Hermione nervously, having never been down in the Chamber before. Harry shook his head.
'That just wastes time. We've got to get to Ginny and find out what's wrong.' Harry studied the tap again, and said, 'Open.'
'English,' said both Ron and Hermione automatically. 'Try again,' encouraged Hermione.
'Yeah, otherwise we'll have all the professors breathing down our necks,' warned Ron. Hermione stared at him.
'What?' he asked defensively. 'You don't really think that Dumbledore would leave it unwatched after the first time?'
'You're right,' agreed Hermione, looking a little less nervous. 'Try again, Harry.'
Harry nodded tersely and focused on the small snake carved into the side of the tap. He thought of fighting the Basilisk in his second year, of the snake at the zoo with Dudley before he knew that Hogwarts existed, and this time when he said 'Open' a low, steady hissing came from his mouth. The tap shone brightly, spinning, sinking, and the pipe opened up before them.
'Well done mate!' said Ron, pushing past Harry to be the first to jump into the pipe. 'Come on!' he called up. 'We've got to find Ginny!'
Harry motioned for Hermione to go down, and gathering her robes around her, Hermione followed Ron down the pipe. Harry turned to stare at Moaning Myrtle, who had watched them with silent interest.
'Go and tell Dumbledore,' he said quietly before jumping after Ron and Hermione. The way down was just as dank and dark as he remembered, and at every corner he hit the wall brutally before carrying on. The myriad of pipes around him stretched out in all directions, and as the way ahead sloped even steeper, he held his breath, trying to ignore the slime that now covered his robes. And now he could see a tiny change in the light ahead. And now he could hear their voices, Hermione's worried tone slightly higher than Ron's. And now the pipe levelled out, and he hit the floor in a slimy, muddy, breathless, slightly dazed heap at their feet.
'Are you okay?' asked Hermione nervously as he got to his feet. Harry nodded briefly, and pulled out his wand.
'Lumos,' he said, and the light from his wand joined Ron's and Hermione's, illuminating part of the darkness ahead. The tunnel seemed slightly lower than he remembered - of course, he mentally chided, he'd grown a lot since his second year. The floor was muddy, with large puddles scattered along its length, and the shadows flickered menacingly on the dark, damp walls.
'Let's go,' he ordered, his voice echoing around the tunnel. 'We've got to find Ginny.'
'I don't know what's got into her,' said Ron miserably after a few minutes of walking. 'She's been acting funny all week.'
'Maybe I shouldn't have made her the diary,' Hermione remarked, just as dejected, as they turned a corner. 'She would have had to speak to us then.'
'She doesn't speak to us anyway. She always speaks to Loony,' complained Ron, kicking aside a rat's skull. 'It's because I'm a lousy brother-'
'Oh shut up,' said Harry finally. 'We don't even know if it was her, or if Myrtle was making it up. We don't know what's wrong, and we can't blame ourselves. So there's no point in being miserable, understand?' He stopped and faced them both, reiterating his last few words grimly. 'There's no point in being so depressed.'
Ron shuffled his feet guiltily, making an odd squelching noise, and despite the seriousness of the situation, the trio burst out laughing. Harry leant against the wall to support himself, ridding himself of his tension. After all, Ginny's not going to make any stupid mistakes, is she?
Their laugh reached her ears, even here, deep in the heart of the Chamber. A slow smirk spread across her face as she realised that they were close, coming ever closer. Her whole body was trembling with suppressed excitement, small laughs escaping her every now and then. She was close. Before, she had failed. Now, with them wandering, completely unknowingly, into her trap... Now she would win. She would stand over their broken bodies and laugh, knowing that she had done what nobody else had ever been able to do.
Her hand clenched tightly around her wand, and her other hand reached for her pocket. A corner of Tom Riddle's diary gleamed as she reached for it, bringing it out, opening the pages.
She put the quill delicately to the page, her neat writing being absorbed as she wrote taunts, threats, and received helpless pleas in response. Please let me out, please don't keep me here, I can help you, please, let me go, I love you.
And this time she couldn't control her laughter, as the sheer thrill of having the power she now held went to her head, and her high-pitched, manic laughs shook the very dust from the ceiling of the Chamber, echoed down the tunnel, and froze the Golden Trio to their bones.
'What was that?' The three spun around, wands raised, as echoes of cold, cruel laughter reached them, sending shivers down their spines.
'Dunno.' Ron's voice had a nervous tremor to it. 'You don't think it could be...?' His voice trailed off, and with a cry of 'Ginny!' he sprinted down the tunnel, followed closely by Harry and Hermione. They ran down the dark tunnel, all shadows fleeing before the light from their wand, ignoring the mud that splashed up onto their robes and faces. Taking the last corner at a sprint, they hurtled into the stone wall at the end, unable to slow down in time.
'Ginny!' Ron pounded on the wall, staring in a strange mixture of fear and anger at the large serpent statues that were carved across the wall, their large emerald eyes glinting as his wand jerked sharply with his hand.
'Open it!' he ordered as the other two straightened up, struggling for breath. Harry nodded, taking deep, gasping breaths to steady his voice. He motioned for Ron to stand behind him with Hermione, and stared the serpents in the eyes.
'Open.' A guttural hissing replaced the words, and the serpents obediently parted the wall, sliding out of their sight. The three simultaneously held their breath, and entered the Chamber of Secrets.
She jumped slightly as the entrance opened. Finally, they were here! They were here to rescue her, straight into her trap from their own idiocy and weakness.
She brushed a strand of vibrant red hair from her face, tense with excitement and anticipation, and adjusted her position to make herself more comfortable. Now she no longer had to worry. They had come, and they were hers.
Holding their wands high, the three Gryffindors made their way forward. There were serpents everywhere, entwined around the pillars that supported a ceiling that couldn't be seen. The serpents stared down, almost eagerly, hungrily, as, led by Harry, they slowly walked through the dimly lit chamber. The light had a green tint to it, and Hermione inched closer to the two boys. Harry's face was set, emotionless. It was just how he remembered it.
Their footsteps echoed around the chamber, and their nervous, ragged breaths sounded like the eerie hissing of Parseltongue in the cold air as they reached the end of the pillars. The statue of Salazar Slytherin came into view, and although Harry had seen it before, he felt a jolt in his stomach, mirrored by Hermione's gasp and Ron's whisper of 'Bloody hell' as the giant face stared blankly down the length of the chamber.
And as Harry looked towards the feet, nervousness coiling around his heart and clenching it tightly, he met the cold, amused, cruel brown eyes of Ginny Weasley.
'Hello Harry,' she said calmly, her tone mocking. 'Surprise.'
'Ginny!' spluttered Ron, his apprehension dissipating. 'What on earth are you doing down here? You've had us all worried sick!'
Ginny didn't move her gaze from Harry's. 'You have every right to be worried,' she said with a smirk. 'In fact, I'd prefer it.'
'Prefer it?' Bewilderment etched itself across Ron's face. 'Gin, what're you on about?'
'What's wrong, Ginny?' asked Hermione, stepping forward slightly in concern. Ginny finally tore her gaze away from Harry's confused emerald stare, and laughed. It started small, a little giggle as she met Hermione's worried face, rising to a manic crescendo as she finally fixed her gaze on Ron's baffled expression.
'Ginny?' asked Hermione carefully, stepping forward to put a hand on her shoulder. 'Ginny, are you-'
The rest of her question was lost as Ginny put her wand to Hermione's stomach and whispered in tones laced with venom: 'Crucio.'
They didn't know. They didn't suspect a thing. And toying with them was getting boring. She delighted at their confusion. So when Hermione stepped forward, close enough to choke, to see the fear in her eyes as she died, there was only one thing to do.
And for the first few seconds, as Hermione's screams of pain and horror kept rising until they were loud enough and high enough to pierce eardrums, both Harry and Ron were stunned, almost as if she had petrified them, not knowing what to do. She knew what they were thinking. But this is Ginny!
And after what seemed like an eternity to them, and to Hermione, writhing in agony on the floor, but was only a few seconds, Harry dashed forward, fury lining his face and emanating from him. And his arm swung up, quickly, furiously, and came into contact with her cheek.
And Hermione's screams died down, and the two boys gathered their in their arms, talking gently, urging Hermione to stay conscious, staring in anger and confusion as she laughed elatedly, the screams still ringing in her ears.
Harry cradled Hermione in his arms as Ron held her hands, urging her to stay awake, answering her mumbled apologies with tears in his voice. The last time she'd been this helpless was when she'd been Petrified in their second year.
'What the hell?' he snarled at Ginny, making sure his wand was aimed at her. Ginny shrugged, and giggled in the manner of schoolgirls everywhere.
'Nothing,' she said in a singsong voice that grated across his nerves. 'Nothing at all.' She skipped around them, her face lit up by her delight and excitement at seeing Hermione under the Cruciatus.
'Harry, I think she's lost her mind,' whispered Ron, gesturing at Ginny, who was now swinging around one of the large pillars, laughing. Harry shrugged, despair starting to show.
'Maybe you should take Hermione back,' he whispered, ignoring Hermione's struggled cry of 'no!' mingled with her gasps as she fought for breath, twitching with residual pain.
'No.' Ron was defiant. 'She's my sister, Harry. I want to be here. And Hermione doesn't want to leave either.'
'Fine.' Harry gave Hermione a brief hug, and stood up. 'Stay here with her. Look after her. I'm going to find out what's got into Ginny.' With Ron's worried eyes fixed on his back, he walked steadily over to the now singing redhead.
'Ginny!' he called as she walked past him, giddy from the success of her Cruciatus. 'Why are you here?'
She slowed, and spun around to face him, a cold beauty in her face as her cruel eyes fixed on Harry. 'Because it's home,' she said with glee. 'It's home, and I'm home.'
'Home?' Harry's brow wrinkled as he tried to understand her words, until he saw her drawing something from her pocket. He heard Ron's startled cry, and Hermione's demands to know what was going on, and as Ginny waved the object, his blood froze.
'She's got,' started Ron quietly, for Hermione's benefit. 'She's got Riddle's diary. And it's been fixed.'
At last they were getting somewhere! She waved the diary around, smirking at the shock that was almost tangible in the air. Now they would know to fear her. Now she was winning.
'Close,' she hissed in Parseltongue, and the entrance to the chamber slowly moved together, a slight grinding noise as they slammed shut. The light in the chamber was halved, and all she could see - all she wanted to see - of Harry's face was the horror in his famous eyes.
This time, they would not escape. Harry Potter was hers.
Harry's mind raced. Riddle's diary?! How had she got it back? Was Riddle still inside? And they most important question... what had Ginny done?
'You recognise this, don't you Harry?' asked Ginny, and only now did they notice that her voice was deeper than it had been before. 'You know what this can do.'
'Where did you get it?' he asked in hushed tones. Ginny threw it to him, and he stretched forward to catch it before it hit the floor.
'Why not take a look?' she taunted as he held the diary tentatively, as if it were poison. 'Write something.' She threw a quill at his feet, and Harry picked it up.
'Write,' she said again, and this time there was an edge to her voice that made him think twice about throwing the quill back. He opened the diary slowly, and, glancing up at Ginny, he put the quill to the paper.
'There's enough ink for you to write something,' she said as he hesitated. 'Write.' Harry stared at Ginny, and wrote,
Hello. My name is Harry Potter.
Just like the first thing he'd ever written in the diary. And like then, the ink glistened, was absorbed, and fresh words appeared.
Harry! You've got to help me! It's me, it's Ginny, help me, please!
With a cry of horror, Harry threw the diary down, and leapt for the smirking girl in front of him. His wand was forgotten; he just wanted to hurt her, hurt him, hurt Tom Riddle, make him pay... He knocked Ginny to the floor, shaking her angrily, and her laughter and encouragement fuelled his anger. He kept shaking her, wanting to try and shake whatever had possessed her out, bring back Ginny, and only the strong arms around him that pulled him back and threw him away was enough to stop him.
'Harry, what the hell are you doing?' demanded Ron, standing protectively in front of Ginny. His wand was raised, ready to keep his friend away from Ginny. Harry gave an animalistic snarl and clenched his own fists.
'That's not Ginny!' he yelled, and Ron's face became blank. 'Ginny's in the diary! That's who answered me when I wrote! It's Tom, it's Tom Riddle, it must be!'
'What?' Ron spun around to face Ginny, who smiled innocently up at him. 'You- you- you're Tom Riddle?!'
'Oh dear,' said Ginny mournfully. 'You caught me out.' She picked up the diary and slipped it back into her pocket. 'But I should thank you, Ron. If you and your friends hadn't been so self-absorbed, Ginny would never have come running back to me.'
Ron backed away from Ginny, falling backwards as he slid on the quill that Harry had dropped, his face ashen. 'No, I never...' He reached out, and found Hermione's trembling but comforting hand. Clasping it tightly, he stared up at Harry for reassurance.
'It's not your fault, Ron. Some Slytherin must have forced her into it.' Harry glared at Ginny- no, Tom Riddle, wishing that he could somehow have the powers of the Basilisk, that Riddle would just drop dead and leave Ginny alone.
'Have you spoken to the Slytherins lately?' asked Ginny casually, twirling her wand idly. 'Maybe you should, Harry. Because Ginny Weasley, poor pathetic Ginny Weasley went to them, begging for me, begging to have me back. She invited me here, Potter, she gave me her body, and you can't reverse the spell.'
At this, Harry dropped to the floor, barely hearing Hermione's cry as she found her voice again. Can't reverse it? he thought desperately. No! It's a lie, we'll get her back!
This moment was all that was needed.
Three wands flew through the air, caught neatly by her hand, and she slipped them into her pocket. Harry leapt to his feet, but swiftly she pointed her wand and yelled 'Petrificus totalus!', freezing him before he could reach her. He fell to the floor, arms and legs rigid, and hatred radiating from him. Using mobilicorpus, she propped him up against a pillar, laughing as she stared into his angry eyes, which held an unspoken promise: you'll regret this.
She smirked. 'No, Harry, I will not regret this. You will regret not dying the last time we met.' And she moved slowly, in the manner of a predator circling its prey, towards Ron and Hermione, her wand drawn.
'Who wants to go first?'
And Harry could only watch helplessly as Ginny turned her wand on Ron, and whispered, with a glance at him, 'Crucio.'
Ron was curled up in a foetal position, shaking with the force of his suppressed cries, twitching and trembling as Ginny cast the Cruciatus over and over again, trying to make him scream. His face was an odd colour - red with the force of will it took him to keep quiet, and white with pain. As Ginny kicked him back, cast Cruciatus for the third time, he cracked, and his loud, hoarse yells filled Harry's ears, resounded in his head, and sparked a murderous rage to course through his veins. Ginny laughed, as she had done with Hermione, and lowered her wand.
'Pathetic,' she spat, staring at Harry. 'Do you see how pathetic they are, Potter? How they can't stand up to me? Do you see how this will end?' And of course, Harry couldn't move, only watch as second by agonising second dragged by, as Ron's body slumped, as Ginny lifted her wand again, this time to say, clearly enough for Harry to hear, 'Imperio.'
'Get to your feet,' Ginny commanded, and Ron slowly, jerkily, as if he was trying to fight, got to his feet.
'Ron!' Hermione cried, frightened of what Ginny was going to do. 'Ron, fight it, throw it off!'
Ron's vacant stare passed over Hermione, and if Harry had been able to, he would have shuddered. Instead a cold weight settled in his chest. What is Tom going to do?
Ginny flicked her wand towards Hermione, and with the same jerky movements, slowing every time he tried to throw it off, Ron moved towards Hermione. Harry watched his friend scramble backwards, calling, begging, pleading for Ron to throw it off. But they all knew the after-effects of Cruciatus, and knew that it was useless...
Her back was against a pillar. She was effectively cornered, and an internal yell shook Harry's petrified frame as Ron's sluggish form grasped her shoulders, picked her up, and threw her back to the floor, violently, a loud crack sounding as Hermione twisted, falling on her wrist. Ron moved forward again, more purposefully, and Harry knew that Ginny had gained total control of him.
'Ron,' commanded Ginny as Ron pinned Hermione down. With a cold, heartless look to Harry, she smiled, knowing what would break him.
'Fight it off!' screamed Hermione as Ginny uttered her next command. 'Fight it off, Ron, throw off the Imperius, stop, don't hurt me!' His blank face covered hers, and his lips were pressed harshly against hers, forcing her head back, hitting the floor until she was dizzy. 'Ron, stop! Don't listen to her!' He grabbed her robes, and a loud tearing sound filled the air. Ginny started laughing.
'No! Don't! Please, Ron, don't do this, don't hurt me!' Harry's eyes were agonized, murderous, heartbroken. 'Get off me!' She was pushing him away, a shooting pain in her wrist, and he met her gaze as he brutally forced her arm back, and another loud crack was heard. 'Please! No!' She felt the cold, damp air against her skin, and then Ron's face obscured her vision, and then her tears flooded her eyes. 'Please! Stop!' Ginny was closer, and Ron's lips were against her skin, obeying Tom Riddle's every command. Pain was shooting through her, from her head; now bleeding from where it had been hit so much, to - 'No! Ron!' - down her arms, most definitely broken by the struggle, and straight through to her core as Ginny's whispered orders grew more rapid and - 'Hurt her, Ron, make her scream, make her beg for death' - cruel, and Harry's eyes, that she knew were sharing her pain and - 'Stop!' - more, were blocked from view, and all she could see was - 'Please!' - Ron's empty blue eyes, that she knew would hold so much remorse once the curse was removed.
And now she had no more words, and the pain was intense, and she began to scream.
The blissful fog that had enveloped his mind started to clear. He was sitting on the floor. Someone was crying. Someone else was laughing...
Ginny. No, Tom. Tom Riddle was laughing. Who was crying?
'Well done, Ronniekins,' teased Ginny- no, he amended quickly, Riddle. Not his sister. 'I couldn't have done it better myself.'
And now the fog had completely cleared, and his mind was frantically trying to figure out what had happened. The last thing he remembered was being put under the Cruciatus, and screaming, screaming enough to bring down the walls of Hogwarts...
Screaming... Someone had been screaming.
He opened his eyes, and a sobbing, bruised and battered Hermione came into vision. She was struggling to hide her torn and dishevelled clothes with her robes... how had they got that way?
And then he was allowed to remember, and the force of what he had done jolted an explosion of nonsensical curses and apologies from his mouth, coupled with threats, remorse, hatred of Tom Riddle, of Ginny, of himself, his weakness, unable to fight his own sister.
Where had Ginny gone?
He reached forward tentatively, trying to put his hand on Hermione's shoulder, noticing the blood that matted her hair - but she jerked back, still sobbing, trembling as she tried to remain conscious.
'Don't touch me!'
'Hermione,' he whispered, filled with horror and self-loathing, but she whimpered as he tried to hug her, and a defeated look came into her eyes. He watched as she closed her eyes, her body shuddering as it gave up its struggle, and leapt to his feet as Hermione fell into unconsciousness, her bushy hair sticking to her face and leaving streaks of blood across it.
'Hermione...' Tears came to his eyes, and he closed his eyes tightly to hold them back. Not now. He had to get revenge, he had to hurt Tom Riddle, Tom who had stolen his sister and petrified his best friend and made him rape his other best friend damn it 'I'm not going to stand for it!' he hissed, getting to his feet. 'I'm not going to let you do this! I'll kill you!'
He was pathetic, pitiful, and he was trying to challenge him? Tom laughed, and Ginny laughed too, her voice echoing.
'How can you duel me with no wand?' she asked mockingly, her voice filtering through the cloud of rage that had descended on Ron's mind and having no effect as Ron rushed forward, knocking her over, fighting to reach his wand....
... and yelling in pain as a series of snaps came from his hand, and it dangled uselessly, every bone broken, and he lifted his other hand and raged forward again-
- 'Poplitem succido!' -
- and he was collapsing, sharp pains in his legs, feeling the muscles tearing, left useless.
'Seca.' And now a large slash appeared across his arm, blood spurting from the cut, and she couldn't stop saying spells. 'Incendio!' and his robes were on fire, his back was burning and he was screaming hoarsely, and 'Crucio!' the final spell, and he was rolling around, his injured limbs hindering more than helping, the fire extinguished on the cold floor, the screams reaching fever pitch-
and he was unconscious, broken.
Ginny smiled. Only one left.
The very second that Ginny removed the curse, Harry jumped forward, fully intent on strangling her. Wands? He didn't need them, he was going to kill Tom, he was going to kill him for hurting Ron and Hermione so, for taking over Ginny, for all the hurt and pain and torture and suffering and he was going to pay and his hands were around her neck and her eyes met his and for a moment he saw Ginny, not Tom, and he let go...
'What are you doing, Potter? Too cowardly to kill me?' rasped Ginny, rubbing her throat. 'I should have known.'
'Give me my wand,' ordered Harry in a low voice, anger and hatred and power radiating from him, a biting edge to his voice, and not even Tom Riddle dared disobey. The wands were thrown high into the air, and Harry rolled sideways, avoiding the whispered curse thrown by Ginny, and he caught his wand. The other two wands fell to the floor some distance away, and rolling again, this time to dodge the Cruciatus intended for him and get to his feet, he managed to cast a shield around him before Ginny's cry of 'Seca!' sounded.
'Very good, Potter,' said Ginny, and Harry's mind heard the frantic noises in the bathroom above them, and he prayed that someone was coming to help. He knew that if no one came... he'd have to fight to the death.
Please don't let it come to that.
'Furnunculus!' he yelled, reluctant to use stronger spells, for this was still Ginny's body, possessed by Tom- and as a green light skimmed past him, barely missing him, and Ginny yelled 'Avada Kedavra!' for the second time, his anger took control.
'Crucio!' he roared, and this time it wasn't the failed curse of his fifth year: it was a jet of light, it was hitting Ginny, and she was on the floor, screaming in agony, and he wanted to hurt her, he wanted to kill her-
-his desperate mind heard footsteps pounding down the tunnel, and he knew what he had to do to prevent Tom Riddle ever coming back-
-and he whispered 'Avada Kedavra.'
The green light shot forward, straight and true, hitting her in the chest. She fell backwards, her wand falling from suddenly lifeless fingers, her face forever frozen in shock-
-and the door exploded, and he could hear the staff running across the chamber-
-and the diary fell from her pocket, and he picked it up and held it to him before it burst into flames-
-and there were cries as the stench of blood and violence and anguish and tears assaulted their senses-
-and he cradled Ginny's body in his arms, wishing Ron and Hermione were awake, wishing he knew what to do, wishing his life would end now, before he killed again, before he took the life of another friend-
-and Ginny's shocked, open eyes stared at the ceiling, not noticing when Harry started to cry, his tears falling onto her pale cheeks; not knowing when the professors took her body gently away, drifting after the stretchers carrying Ron and Hermione, not caring when her parents came to Hogwarts, cried over her body, clutched her to them with desperate pleas and questions and why, Ginny, why did you do it?
And Ginny's own diary, the small red book that had been her only confidante, lay hidden in the Gryffindor tower, holding all the answers to all of their questions and prayers and pitiful cries as they remembered her and wondered why: forgotten.
Metacarpae frango means, roughly, 'break metacarpals' (those little bones in the hand.) Poplitem succido is a spell to hamstring someone (yeesh, poor Ron) and Seca is a much used spell in my ficcies (hee) meaning 'to cut.'
Don't hate me! runs for the hills I know it's nasty and horrible to the characters, but there may be a follow-up. Seriously. Which is less nasty. And if you kill me for being so horrible and nasty to the characters, you'll never know what happens next. And you want to know. Don't you?
-shouts back- I'll still be able to read all your reviews, so let me know what you think!