Sinister Charm and Deception

Chapter 9

A/N: Tom is a really deceitful person but I don't think I write out his thoughts often enough. I also decided to explain to my readers what happened in the Chamber before Harry came to rescue Ginny from Tom's clutches. Be warned, I think there are two parts in the flashback scene that should be rated a high 'T' for blood.

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Chapter Nine: Riddle's Reflection

Ginny smiled to herself as she opened her bedroom door. Everything was how she had left it. Except that her room apparently has been thoroughly cleaned and all the books and random pictures she drew were stacked into neat piles, no doubt by her mum. The small bookshelf given to her on her birthday that her father created in his experimentation of muggle tools had been dusted and its books were alphabetized.

She walked over to her small wooden closet with her suitcase and opened it. "Looks like mum has had a field day in here..." She mumbled to herself. Casting a simple spell with her wand her suitcase unlocked itself with a click. Then, as if invisible people were helping her with unpacking, her clothes magically began to hang themselves on her closet hangers. All the while Ginny sat on her bed exhausted for walking so much at the train station with her family to a secluded area away from muggles. There, her father had planted a Port Key and they were all transported back to The Burrow.

Hogwarts still seemed so close to her even though the school year is over. Ginny felt like the moment she walks out of her room she would see the Gryffindor Common room awaiting her. She wondered if all first-years felt like this as soon as they get home.

Sleepy, Ginny yawned and fell asleep right there on the covers of her bed, still in her Hogwarts robes. She wasn't even aware of the figure of Tom Riddle as he sat on the edge of her bed, looking around her room in modicum interest.

"So Ginny...this is what your room looks like..." He murmured softly curling a lock of her red hair around his index finger. He lay besides her, scrutinizing her intently with his eerie green eyes, an elbow propped up to support his head.

She looked so innocent then, those eyebrows slightly furrowed as if she were dreaming. Her rosy pink lips were curled slightly in a tiny smile. He traced them with a finger delicately, not wanting her to wake up from her nap. Suddenly, he felt eyes upon him. With stealthy reflexes, he swiftly flipped around not so much as causing the bed to dip a bit.

There on the wall was a picture of Harry smiling widely at him. Though to Riddle that generous smile was twisted in a way that seemed mocking, almost taunting him. Tom despised Harry Potter and him being so holier-than-thou in logic and sense. He never paid a wisp of attention towards Ginny. He briefly wondered where in the world she managed to get a moving picture of the Boy-Who-Lived on her wall.

Please don't tell me she stares at it for hours on end like someone possessed... Tom narrowed his eyes at the grinning figure of his greatest enemy and the epitome of his frustration. Speaking a non-verbal spell in his mind he made the picture catch flames, with the Boy Wonder still waving obliviously at him.

After the fire cleanly licked the last corner of the picture, there was nothing left in place of the previous occupant. Not a singe or a mark of any kind. Tom toyed with the thought of putting the Dark Mark in its place, but a slight stirring awoke him out of his thoughts.

"Tom?" A groggy voice called.

"Evening, Little Ginny. Did you have a peaceful rest?" He turned to look at her with a slight curve at the corners of his lips. His eyes were observing her limp form nonchalantly as she propped herself up on her bed, leaning against the headboard.

Ginny's eyes were half-closed and her mind was in a jumbled daze. She blinked at him before opening her mouth to reply something intelligent.

"Uh-huh."

Tom rolled his eyes. "Is that a yes or a no?" He asked, saying each word slowly to her as if she was too dimwitted to comprehend.

Ginny was not pleased with that. "Yes, I had a peaceful rest until I woke up and out of all the possible things I could have seen first it happened to be you glaring daggers at my bedroom wall..." She crossed her arms. "It looked decent enough to me."

She still hasn't realized that the picture is gone. Tom thought smirking.

"You look like such a fool smirking like that, Riddle..." Ginny commented wryly.

Tom glared at her. "And what about yourself? I suppose you think you must be very clever for making such a retort."

"As a matter of fact, I do." Ginny said tartly as she got off the bed and made a move that shocked her more than it shocked Riddle—she pulled out a pair of jeans and a comfortable shirt and without even flinching, began to unbutton her robe audaciously.

Tom was in a rather interesting position. He was still sitting on her bed but his eyes felt like they were permanently glued; she was practically stripping in front of him! Tom, in all the lengthy time he spent talking to Ginny through his diary had never expected her to do something so...cheeky. What in Salazar's name is she playing at? He thought outraged. This is defying all the laws of humanity!

Then the meaning behind her actions became clear to him; she was trying to get him to leave her alone by attempting to give him quite the scare. It also seemed she was trying to degrade him, the little brat. If he doesn't leave then she would most likely call him a filthy, dirty pervert. He was not a filthy, dirty pervert.

Tom had to admit, this was indeed clever of her, however unexpected. The 11 year old caught him in a state of trance as she wiggled out of her robe and shortly following after to undue her tie. However she seemed stuck on the tight knot.

"Daring Gryffindor indeed..." Tom mumbled after clearing his throat. "Where are your manners, Little Ginny?" He inquired silkily.

Ginny looked up from her progress. She hadn't expected him to still be there. "You're still here?" She said in a high-pitched tone.

"Yes, I am. And thankfully for you I'm an expert in ties. Come closer, sweetie." Tom beckoned her over with a finger his lips curling at the horror and repulsion in her eyes. The tables have been turned, my pet...

Ginny's lips trembled but she faintly obeyed. His cold hands brushed under her chin and neck as he worked on her tie. Ginny quivered in a mixture of fright and anxiety. She noticed irritably that Tom appeared to be taking his time. Oh, how long will it take for one measly tie to be undone?

"Its done, sweetie..." Tom murmured against her hair. Luckily she was shorter than him or he would've seen her red face akin to the one she had on the Express. Tom chuckled as he held on to her shoulders and turned her around so that her back was to him. Ginny robotically walked towards the mirror that hung on the door of her closet. Tom turned away as he lay on her bed feeling immensely satisfied.

"Do you need help with something else as well?" He asked in a low sultry tone. Tom saw Ginny hastily shake her red head at his question. "Alright then, I'll be leaving now. And don't be shy, Little Ginny. You may ask me if you need help in anything. After all," He smiled evilly as he turned to face her back as she had just finished putting on her new shirt, "what are friends for?"

"Ginny!"

Ginny finally found her voice. "Mum's calling me down for dinner. I better go." She spoke a bit hurriedly. Folding her robe and skirt she walked to the door and turned around to ask Tom if he was hungry. But Tom seemed engrossed in one of those books her brother Charlie had given to her. They contained detailed information of all breeds of dragons uncovered so far, but Ginny never bothered to even open that book except to glance at the moving pictures of those dragons.

"Er, Tom? Do you—"

"Run along and have dinner with your little family, Ginny. I have some studying to do." Tom responded conceitedly as he sat against her bed, half his face buried inside that book.

"Well," Huffed Ginny as she stood in the doorway, "there's no need to sound like Percy. Honestly, it would be a miracle if I am still alive by the time second year starts at this rate."

With that said, Ginny promptly shut her bedroom door soundly and her footsteps could be heard thumping crossly down the stairs.

---

After a while, Tom looked up from the book on Dragonology and stood up. He set the book down on Ginny's bookshelf as he sat on her bed, pondering on what to do. His favorite little Gryffindor has gone off to be welcomed into the embrace of her family, so what should he do in the meantime?

Harry Potter and that mud-blood girl have already left, so he couldn't kill him. And he probably won't see him until Ginny starts her second year. That is going to be a painfully long time... Tom groaned. However, even if he was presented with the golden opportunity of killing Potter at this moment, there won't be much he could do. For one, he had no wand in this world, for another, he had very minimum magic at this time. The picture of Harry that Ginny had on her wall was set into flames only because the spell required little to no magical energy.

Tom knew what the cost of the spell he used to get into the real world was. The spell lowers the user's magical energy until some time has passed in which the user's magic will increase again. Then the user's magical strength will be returned and they may resume casting spells and enchantments. Until then, however, he was as nearly non-magical as any muggle. The caster of the spell cannot perform anything very magical, but they may use magical objects such as a Portkey or a Sneakoscope.

This was another reason why the spell was to be directed into an inanimate object like the mirror. He could travel between Ginny's conscience and the present world, but he couldn't do anything beyond that. I wonder how long until I'll be able to cast spells? Tom wondered and then he thought determinably. Potter may have escaped this time, but the next time he and I meet, I WILL dispose of him.

And I'll make sure Ginevra stays out of this next time...

As Tom sat there on the bed, he glanced at the spot where he burned Ginny's little picture of the Boy-Who-Lived. The space on that wall looked so vacant and empty; it seemed a shame to leave it that way.

Ginny deserves a reward for being such good company to me...even though she is unwilling at times.

Grinning evilly Tom muttered a spell that barely required any of his magic. He smiled wickedly watching the wall that was previously bare as a picture slowly began to form piece by piece, like a puzzle.

After a few seconds, the same exact picture of Harry Potter appeared, as if it had never been burned in the first place. But Tom, in addition to bringing that picture back, also cast a small charm on it. Whoever gazed at that picture in the dark at precisely midnight would see the Boy-Who-Lived transform into the youthful and ever handsome Dark Lord. He didn't worry much about Ginny's family seeing it, as they would only see Harry, because the picture was dedicated to her.

Ginevra would be thrilled of course, as she often wrote to me about how she adores these little pictures. Tom chuckled to himself. Fred and George, as their way of 'apologizing' to Ginny after scaring her by dressing up in monster costumes gave her a picture that had the funny image of Percy's face turning into a troll. Ginny knew it was wrong of her to do so; but she couldn't help laughing at it every time she looked at the picture. It really did show a strange but astonishingly accurate guess of Percy's face 'troll-ifide"

Unfortunately, it was all fun and games until she walked in on him and Penelope canoodling. She never could quite look at Percy the same way again after that.

What would her reaction be like seeing him in place of Harry Potter? Upset? Surprised? Outraged? Or would it bring up a memory? Tom lay down on the bed as he thought his mind adrift above the clinking noises as forks were tapping against dishes downstairs...

---

Jerk. Ginny thought angrily as she stomped down the stairs to dinner. Just when I try to be nice to him, he acts like a jerk! I guess we can NEVER get along in peace. She walked over to her seat at the table and watched her brothers silently. Ron was talking about his second year using animated hand gestures. Percy was having a talk with mum and Fred and George were—

"Hey there, ickle Ginny-kins! Finally made it just in time for dinner, eh?"

"Why're you red in the face, Gin?"

Ginny stared at her brothers Fred and George as they grinned back at her. "Not thinkin' about Harry again, are yah?" Fred asked smirking as he sat next to Ginny while George sat on Ginny's other side. Ginny dazedly shook her head, retreating into that numb shell. This was how she always was around her family.

Ginny never told Dumbledore or anyone, but Tom's possession over her had caused her to shy away from others even more than she had when she was at school. Right now as Ginny tried to ignore her twin brothers' laughing and jokes, she felt like she wanted to run upstairs and into Tom's embrace, and be comforted by him, but that probably wouldn't help her like it used to because now she knew Riddle's true horrific side...

-Flashback-

"Write it down," He said coldly. The fire that lit the corridor frantically burned yet the walls still looked as if there were no light source. Time seemed to have slowed dramatically as the air turned frigid around them.

Ginny's breathing was irregular as she stood a few feet in front of him. Her beseeching eyes were only met with non-responsive ones as they seemed to burn to right through her. She tried to swallow that lump in her throat as she shakily turned around and faced the wall that had the bloody message daubed on it.

THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS HAS BEEN OPENED.

ENEMIES OF THE HEIR, BEWARE...

This is wrong... She thought biting her lips to stop them from trembling. She couldn't remember how the first message got there. Trying one more time, Ginny turned around and shook her head defiantly at him. She felt so choked up at him making her actually do this.

He gently tilted her chin up as he leaned in closely. "A rebellious one, aren't you?" He said softly. He cocked his head, a smirk forming on his lips. "I enjoy your spunk, Little Ginny, really I do. But now is not the time to fool around. Now write our little friends a farewell..."

"But I—"

"Or I'll make you do it. And trust me, Ginny; you will not like the manner in which I do so." His eyes narrowed. Ginny frightfully noticed that his eyes seemed to bear an unsettling resemblance toward a serpent's when he is angry. His icy tone seemed to have frozen whatever last objections she might have had.

Ginny numbly turned back towards the wall obediently.

Tom smiled again at her compliant action. "Good. Now I want you to write 'Her skeleton will lie in the Chamber forever'. Write it under the first one. I trust that you won't make any grammatical errors."

"But I don't have a paintbrush to paint it on there..." Ginny said quietly, her face in a melancholy frown. Her knees were trembling uncontrollably and she just wished that he would leave her alone after his betrayal. Ginny only stole his diary back because she was afraid that he would tell Harry about her crush, and who was really behind those attacks. She didn't even want to talk to him anymore, but he materialized from his diary and forced her to write while he stood back and leeringly watched.

This was not the same Tom she met when he first appeared from his diary. He was so kind and loving towards her and her alone. She couldn't comprehend how her Tom had somehow morphed into this cruel monster that stood behind her.

Tom sneered and gripped her shoulders painfully as he knelt so they were at the same height. Ginny's heart rapidly beat against her ribs at the sudden movement. She could feel his chilling breath on her neck as he spoke. "Well then, we'll just have to get you one, now won't we?" He grinned evilly, but Ginny's back was pressed against him so she could see.

Ginny was about to ask where when she felt something cut into her index and pointer finger. She tearfully screamed in agony but Tom swiftly covered her mouth so her voice was muffled. "Now, now Ginny, let's not attracted any unwanted attention yet, shall we?" He hissed in her ear. "Besides, you now have your new paintbrush at hand..."

Ginny tearfully looked down at her right hand fingers. They were dripping with fresh blood that was the color of deep dark red. As more slowly oozed out of her cut, teardrops started cascading down her rosy cheeks. What should I do? Tom doesn't really believe that I'll paint with my own blood, does he? He is insane!

Ginny tried to stop the bleeding with her robes, but he angrily grabbed her hand and yanked them away. "Ginny, we'd better hurry. You're running out of blood and I'm running out of patience." He jeered maliciously.

"B-but I can't paint with my blood on there!" Ginny cried out. Her throat felt sore and the pain in her fingers was growing more piercing by the minute. Tom merely looked at her tear-soaked face emotionlessly before putting her hand to the wall and moving the fingers so that only her bloody fingers were touching the solid wall. Ginny winced but didn't dare move a muscle.

"You can and you will... I'll demonstrate for you." He held his hand above her own and gently pressed guiding her fingers vertically then horizontally and then vertically again forming an 'H'.

Ginny cringed as her fingers stung from the friction of her cut against the rocky and rough wall. But nonetheless the letter stood out shinier than the first message alone. She wondered why. Did Tom have darker blood color than her?

Tom, as if sensing her question, smiled darkly and replied, "No...I possessed you and made you paint with chicken blood for the first message." Ginny gasped disgusted and tried wiping her finger on her robe hoping to get the blood to stop. Unfortunately it didn't work. Tom Riddle seized her hand again as he continued to guide her fingers for the 'E'. After they've daubed the words 'Her Skeleton', he promptly dropped her hand and said, "You know the rest, Ginny. Hurry up. I don't like waiting." He stepped back as he held his hands behind him and watched her progress.

Ginny's fingers shook without him covering her own but she finally managed to daub his desired message.

HER SKELETON WILL LIE IN THE CHAMBER FOREVER...

"Nice penmanship." He praised clapping his hands mockingly at her. However Ginny was too tired to even say a retort. Lose of blood is dangerous, her mother once told her when she accidentally scraped her knee while running one time.

"Now that you've written your little farewell, we may head down to the Chamber. Follow me, sweetie." He said walking away.

Ginny stood where she was, gazing up at her 'work of art' in pure dread. "What have I done?" She whispered to herself in shame. When Tom saw this he rolled his eyes and tenderly took her uninjured hand in his as he slightly had to pull her down the hallway towards the Girl's bathroom.

Ginny made small noises of protest but she felt her energy slowly dwindling as the Girl's bathroom got larger in view. Looking down at his hand Ginny gasped when she saw his thumb dripping with red blood. So that's how he cut me... She finally realized but then she tripped causing her to land on her knees and right palm. Ginny sucked in her breath feeling her cut stinging again.

Tom was in a rather interesting position. At first he nearly fell when she tripped, but now he regained his poise and was kneeling on one knee looking at her annoyed and angry. Ginny's eyes widened at this and she quickly formed an apology in her head but Tom beat her to speaking first. Ginny thought that he was about to yell at her for slowing him down but all he said was, "Seriously Ginny, do I have to carry you so you would shut up and stop fighting?"

Ginny looked down and shook her head. She knew she was going to die. But she couldn't help procrastinating. No body wants to die when they're only eleven. She wanted to savor the last few minutes of life before everything goes black. Ginny squeaked when she felt his arms wrap around her knee to her waist and around her back to her shoulder. He is treating me like I'm a baby! Ginny thought repulsed. She tried kicking him but he only gripped tighter.

"What, Ginny? Does a silly little girl like you not enjoy being carried around like a child?" He cooed derisively smirking at her look of discomfort as she tried to push him hard enough so he'll drop her. "You most certainly act like one, you know." He added as he walked down the corridor not minding her weight the least bit. She was very light and struggling only made him smile broader.

"Stop it Tom! Let me go this instant!" Ginny cried. Her squirming has turned into full-on thrashing yet he gripped her so tightly that his fingernails left marks in her skin despite the fabric of clothing between them. Tom tsked at her, "I don't know Ginny. You might try to flee and besides we're already at the Girl's bathroom."

"So let me go!"

Tom sighed and dropped her earning a nothing more than an 'I hate you!' He didn't even have to look to grab the back of her shirt collar when she tried to run away. "Always the disobedient one...of all the possible hostages in this pathetic school, why did I have to get you?"

"Well, I don't know how I ended up with you but I'm not staying with you anymore!" Ginny shot back looking over her shoulder.

"I'm hurt sweetie!" Tom mocked grinning at her. "What about that extraordinary bond we shared?"

"There was no bond! You tricked me into helping you! But I'm not letting you win! I'll scream for help!" Ginny exclaimed angrily.

Tom clamped a hand over her mouth. "Let's hear you scream for help now. Go on; scream for me, Ginny..." He hissed his eyes narrowing. A malicious smirk was present on his face.

Ginny tried to scream, but her voice was muffled by the coldness of Tom's hand. She abruptly gave up as she began clawing at his hand. He cursed and forced her against the wall, one hand still covering her mouth while the other was gripping Ginny's thin wrists.

The cruel smile was gone as a frown came over. He could feel her energy seep through her skin into him; nourishing him and giving him strength as he grew stronger by the minute. Tom cocked his head as he bended so he was close to Ginny's level. "I don't need you anymore, Little Ginny...you have served your purpose. Your energy is almost gone and there isn't much use for a silly little girl anymore..."

"Then let me go!" Ginny's croaked.

"But in my long wait for Potter to come down here, I could sure use some company...and however unlikely, you are the best candidate. You're a very interesting little girl, Ginny Weasley..."

"I'm not interesting and I am not little!" Ginny glared at him.

Tom only smirked. "And so feisty! Then it is settled...you will be entertaining me as I wait for Potter to arrive. Maybe if you're a well-behaved little brat I'll even let you see him before you die..."

Ginny couldn't think of any other thing she could do so she cried. "N-no... I d-don't want to die..."

"Too late for that my dear." Tom smirked as he pushed her in front of him, still grasping her shaking wrists.

He opened his mouth and hissed 'Open' in Parseltongue. Immediately the secret sink lowered itself and the other sinks parted forming a secret entrance.

No! Thought Ginny in desperate panic. But it was indeed too late. Not a minute later they were sliding down the pipes that led into the Chamber.

Ginny felt herself thrown into a strange chamber. She got up wincing at how sore her wrists were from being brutally gripped. As she stepped around Ginny heard a sickening crunch beneath her feet. She screamed when she saw the corpses of various mice and rats lie on the ground. Her stomach twisted and lurched as the stench of the Chamber drifted to her nostrils.

"Isn't it beautiful, sweetie?" A light voice softly spoke up.

Ginny spun around and saw Tom Riddle observing the dark walls and various holes around the chamber. He was hissing in a foreign language Ginny knew nothing of. Suddenly the chamber they were in shifted and Ginny thought that they would be caved in. But then a hole appeared from out of nowhere in front of them. She looked at him questionably.

"Just a shortcut, Little Ginny..." He said as he walked over to the hole. "You may stay here if you wish, but I believe it is fair to warn you that the Basilisk can smell human other then me in the Chamber."

"And," He added smirking at her trembling knees, "it won't listen to me when it is famished. So you can decide whether to die peacefully in the magnificent architecture of my ancestor or in the hungry jaws of my snake... The choice is yours..."

"You're despicable!" Ginny clenched her chattering teeth. The chamber was terribly cold and she could see her own breath. Ginny could hear faint dripping noises but she didn't care much for that now.

He merely smiled charmingly at her and turned around to walk through the passage, his cape gracefully sweeping the air around him.

If I stay here, I won't have to deal with his taunts... though I'll probably be devoured by that snake... But if I follow him, he'll probably continue to make jeers at me... but I won't be alone by myself... Ginny sighed and pulled her robes closer to her body, tracing his footsteps with her own.

As the inner Chamber came into view, Ginny gaped at it. There was water everywhere, and statues of snakes. Their eyes seem to follow her every movement as the water dripped down their fangs. There in the front, was the statue of an elderly man with a long beard. He had a wise and all-knowing aura around him. Ginny saw that he too was surrounded by a large puddle of water. Where is the Basilisk? Ginny wondered nervously looking around.

Tom was observing her quietly from where he stood, his arms crossed as he slightly leaned against a pillar. She must be so scared... He inwardly smirked. But she wasn't looking at him. No; she was now huddling in a corner to the left of Salazar's statue. Probably crying her little eyes out... Tom thought dryly as he finally stood.

Ginny shivered as she began wiping her tears away. I have to stop that... I can't cry right now. Harry wouldn't cry... Oh, Harry, it is all my fault! I should've never trusted him! Mum, dad, I love you, but I don't think you can hear my thoughts from here. If only you know where I am. If only I never touched that wretched diary. If only—

"Ginny, have you forgotten something?"

She looked up and met his eyes and his frigid smirk. She turned away from him, wishing with all her remaining strength that she was somewhere else. He gently touched her forehead before speaking. "You must be very cold, Gin."

She nodded slightly, not even understanding why she is choosing to talk to him. He stood up from her level and started circling around her like a snake that circles its prey before striking. Ginny tensed when she lost sight of him. Feeling uncomfortable, she looked to her right and left, but she couldn't see him. "Tom?"

"Shhh...I'm here, Ginny, Tom's here." He cooed as he looped his arms around her shoulders. "S-stop it, I'm not a child anymore!" Ginny gritted her teeth but she didn't struggle. The way Tom acted right now, so caring and older-brotherly, reminded her of Charlie when he held her during thunderstorms. But he wasn't Charlie. Charlie would never treat her by lying. Then, from out of nowhere, a question popped into her head.

"Tom, who are you?"

Tom, who had been leaning his chin on her head humming, looked at her thoughtfully.

"Well, you probably already know of me, but not as the me right now. The real me is someone whom you've only heard about, but have never met. Actually, now that you mention it, I never fully explained my origins to you before, have I?"

Ginny shook her head. "No, I don't recall."

"It's hard to explain to you who I truly am, but there is another way..." He trailed off stroking his chin thoughtfully. "I will need a wand though..." He remarked looking at her expectantly.

Ginny reached into her robes and took out her wand. Never considering how he could use it against her she handed it to him. It wasn't until he started writing his name in thin air did she realize the huge error she just made by giving him her wand. Ginny hoped that he wouldn't think up of any other uses for her wand when he was finished as she watched Tom write his full name.

Tom Marvolo Riddle

"Does your mother call you Thomas?" She asked curiously watching the letters of his name burn through the air.

"No. She only lived to name me before she died..." Tom said carelessly. With a flourish, he waved her wand at his name and the letters started rearranging themselves to form another name. Ginny's eyes widened and her mouth was slightly agape at what she saw.

I Am Lord Voldemort

Ginny was at a lost for words. It's him, the Dark Lord. The monster who murdered Harry's parents! "It's you..." She managed out. Her throat felt strangely dry. What would her mum and dad think when they discover that she was associated with him?

"Yes, Little Ginny. Does it scare you whom you've been best friends with this whole year was actually the murderer of your beloved Harry's parents?" Tom sneered.

"No wonder you were so determined to learn about Harry and what his life was like!" Ginny choked out, backing away from him.

Tom grinned at her sinisterly. "And what better way to learn about The Boy Who Lived than to befriend his best friend's foolish little sister?" He chuckled.

Ginny swallowed that lump in her throat yet she didn't flinch. "You won't win. Harry will defeat you." She pointed out, trying to sound more confident than she felt. But she knew that her reassurance was as void as his compassion towards her.

Tom's eyes turned red as they narrowed at her words. "How can you be certain?" He spoke icily at her, yet he smiled derisively at her false hope.

"He defeated you last year. I'm not positive of what exactly happened, but from what I've heard you were after some Stone and Harry conquered you. You may be stronger than me in energy but you're still see-through and how can you kill him when you're transparent?" She explained keeping a steady eye on Riddle as he began pacing around the statue of Salazar. There was a sardonic smirk of disdain on his lips as he walked back and forth, his cape flowing elegantly as it was guided by an unknown breeze.

Suddenly, he stopped pacing when he directly in front of Ginny. She didn't have that inner strength to look him in the eye. But when did she ever, really?

"Mr. Potter and I may both be gifted in speaking Parseltongue, but I can assure you, the basilisk will only listen to me. I am the true Heir of Salazar and his ancient blood still flows through my veins today. Do you honestly believe that the Boy-Who-Lived can defeat Slytherin's descendant not to mention a more youthful version of the Dark Lord?" Tom derided at her, twirling her wand between his spider-like fingers. "And I didn't think that I needed to remind you of the Basilisk..." He added when he saw that she was about to open her mouth again.

"You're a monster..." She hissed through her fingers as she covered her face. Ginny shivered as if a chilly wind was summoned by him as punishment for her forward accusation. But Tom was right; Harry had no idea what was lying at the bottom of the Chamber for him. The farthest that he knew could be that there was a snake down here that would devour him. Harry had no idea of what he would really be up against, not a mindless killing machine but something cold, calculating and cunning, a frighteningly human monster.

"I'm not the monster, Little Ginny. The Basilisk is. It is very hungry too and before I preserved myself into my diary I promised it the flesh of a student at this school." Tom chuckled darkly seeing her cheeks pale on his little Gryffindor's face. "Oh, don't worry, love. Of course it won't eat you," Tom added grinning. Ginny inwardly let out a sigh of relief.

"—because you're already feeding me the energy I need, Little Ginny. As you grow weaker, I grow stronger..." Riddle's voice bounced off the damp walls of the Chamber in a haunting echo.

Ginny was beginning to feel the grey haze of sleep coming on; she blinked and saw Riddle's outline the clearest it had been so far. His edges were sharp and gradually becoming clearer as the seconds tick by.

Ginny fought to stay conscious until Harry arrived, but the spell of sleep was slowly descending upon her. Her body started tilting dangerously to the right due to the lost of energy. Ginny felt Tom knelt beside her as he began weaving his fingers through her thin hair in a relaxing pattern. He wants me to go to sleep... She could see from the corners of her eyes that he had a warm, glowing smile on his face and even his eyes seemed doting enough to be trusted.

But Ginny knew that this was not the real Tom. The 16 yr. old boy sitting besides her gently leaning her head to rest on his chest while whispering words of comfort and sweet nothings that floated through her ear was not Tom Riddle. This was all a feigned act of tenderness and his own, sick twisted way of "thanking" her.

I'm not falling for it again. If I die I will die putting up a good fight and wiping that fake smile of his off his face! Ginny thought determinably. She started to struggle in Riddle's embrace as she tried pushing his arms which were circled around her shoulders away. Tom tilted his head getting a better profile of her face. His tone was in satirical curiosity as he softly inquired, "What's wrong, Little Ginny? I'm not hurting you, am I?"

"You did when you forced me to write down that bloody farewell on the wall." Ginny stated briskly succeeding in getting Tom to let go. Or was it him who chose to let go? Ginny was too weary to care.

Tom let a gentle frown show on his face, as he wasn't positive on how he should feel at her spiteful remark. Tom hated it when he wasn't surely accurate on something. He was the brightest student in Hogwarts during his school years and his reputation as the mysterious head boy who was quiet but astoundingly intelligent and persuasive earned him the respect he deserved, as well the fear of him from his least preferred peers.

Why wouldn't she look at him? Tom knew that Ginny was currently disliking and terrified of him, and he derived some pleasure from that. She was firmly against him, it would seem, but he was also aware of the fact of how moldable her young mind can be. And he can use that against her.

"It was an urgent measure, Ginny. Personally paint doesn't have that 'effect' compared to blood. You had earlier refused to use chicken blood so I had no option except to make you to use your own blood." He stared at her, awaiting her reaction.

"My family raised chickens, Tom..." Ginny spoke shakily still not looking at him, much to his hidden disappointment. Expecting him to reply back, Ginny stiffened when she felt his fingers running through her hair, decidedly more solid than they had ever been, long and bone white and sifting through thick layers of silky scarlet locks. In spite of the maximum distance between them, he was still close enough to touch her, which bothered her so.

Ginny turned around so that she was facing Riddle and scuttled further away from him in disgust against the wall. If she wasn't loosing her consciousness at a steady rate she would've had enough energy to slap him for being such a jerk to her and then acting like a friend again. But she barely had any strength left to speak let alone do anything physical.

"You won't be so defiant towards me for long, my pet." She heard Tom whisper in her ear. You're growing very tired, aren't you Little Ginny?"

Ginny weakly shook her head in disagreement at his assumption. The colors of the Chamber started blending together. The floor appeared to be tilting in a manner akin what one would see if one had spun in circles endlessly. Am I sinking or is the sky falling down? Ginny wondered tiredly, her eyes blinking slowly as everything in her vision grew to various shades of dark and light.

A soft thud echoed throughout the Chamber as a small figure of red collapsed against kneeling figure of silver and green.

"Oh, I believe you are, my chèri..."Tom's smirk touched her hand as he kissed it in a way of parting, like the dripping bloody message left on the wall. Ginny shut her eyes, and then let them flutter open again, and then closed them in a way that made things seem just final. When Tom let go of her hand, he saw that her bloody fingers were still bleeding that luscious red fluid of life she used to write her goodbye.

Fascinated by the red, Tom brought her cold hand towards his lips and cautiously licked the blood clean off her fingers. As the taste of metal reached his tongue, that demonic monster in him roared in victory. A moment later, he let her hand lay across her chest as he stood up and carried her to the front statue of his ancestor. Tom took the diary from her robe pocket and arranged her arms to hug it against her chest. Then he slipped her wand in place of the diary into her pocket. She has served her purpose in feeding him the remainder of her energy, and now she was nothing but ice-cold bait for Harry Potter.

Tom could hear the front gate of the Chamber open, and he swiftly hid in the shadows awaiting the prey whom he has been strategically tracking down all this year wander in completely unsuspecting of the true horror within the Chamber of Secrets.

-End Flashback-

"Ginny dear? Are you feeling alright?" Mrs. Weasley asked as she put a hand over Ginny's forehead. Ginny was quickly answered a faint "yes" before sitting up straighter.

"Are you sure? You looked like you were in a trance or something." Ron pointed out from across the table. Percy looked up from a letter he was reading and observed her quietly. Mr. Weasley was watching Ginny cautiously as well.

"Ginny, if you are feeling a bit under the weather, I'll go make you some soup." Her mother replied, a worried frown on her face. She was rubbing her daughter's back soothingly trying to get a response from her, yet Ginny remained insensitive as she was before.

"Don't worry mum. She is just heart-sick over you-know-who." George informed. Ginny nearly fell out of her chair at the mention of his name. She knew George meant to say Harry, but now every time she hears that three worded phrase a picture of Tom would come up in her head, not his future monstrous form. Instead of striking fear into her heart when she hears that phrase, it struck a cord in Ginny's heart as it reminded her of Tom's betrayal.

"George, don't you ever say that again, do you hear me? And look what you made your sister do!" Mrs. Weasley scolded as she bent to pick up the fork Ginny accidentally knocked over the table. George put on his best 'I'm innocent' smile and said, "Sorry!"

"I'll deal with you later, young man!" Mrs. Weasley huffed before she took out her wand and food and additional dining ware appeared on the table. The smell of the food was so good it brought Ginny a little bit out of her transfixed state. "Thanks mum, I'm starved!" Ron said as he chewed on his chicken leg. "Don't talk with your mouth full, Ron." Mrs. Weasley glared at her youngest son. Fred and George snickered while Percy just ignored them and ate as he read the letter.

Ginny ate slower than everyone else, as her head was still in a daze from the flashback. How can he be so cruel and kind at the same time? She thought drinking some of her pumpkin juice. I wonder what he is doing right now...

After they have finished eating, Ginny watched the chickens outside in the backyard. They clucked and walked around, pecking at any small thing they see move on the ground. Tom made me strangle those roosters... Ginny thought bitterly watching one chicken being chased by another when it found a worm.

"Oi, Ginny! You want to help us de-gnome the garden? Those pesky little bliters are back and guess what George and I secretly cooked up for them?" Fred grinned as he help up a potion with a bubbly pink liquid in it.

"What is that?" Ginny asked as she walked towards her brother. She reached for the potion but Fred held it higher, grinning wider. "Ah, ah, ah, ickle Ginny-kins," He wagged a finger at her disapprovingly," you have to help us de-gnome the garden to see what it does."

"But mum said that you, George and Ron are supposed to do it. I can't help you." She mumbled, frowning.

"Yes, but mum just went to Diagon Alley for something. And dad won't care anyway. He is with Percy so no one will know you helped us." Ron replied coming out from behind a wall.

"But couldn't you just tell me?" Ginny complained crossing her arms. She hated it when her brothers are getting her to 'help' them. They would always use her natural curiosity to their advantage by coming up with crazy potions and then convincing her to aid them by describing the potion's magical effect in a way that is irresistible. Ginny knew that this was all their way of decreasing their work time by getting her to work for them, yet she couldn't help it.

"Fine..." She sighed, giving in. The twins and Ron grinned before grabbing her arms and pulling her after them as they ran outside. "Ow, George! Stop pulling so hard!" She struggled. When they were outside, the sun was still up shining brightly. White clouds scatter across the sky as clumps of grass are littered on the ground.

"What are you doing with that gnome?" Cried Ginny in alarm when she saw her brother Fred holding a gnome by the legs high in the air. The gnome squeaked, "Geroff me!", before swinging its head to bite it's attacker's arm.

"Ginny, you've seen de-gnoming before, haven't you?" Ron asked as he handed George the pink potion. Ginny nodded. "Well, here is a trick that will make them leave permanently." He replied. Ginny's lips trembled. "Dad won't like it if you made them go away forever..." She warned looking at Fred, who was busy trying to swing the gnome's head the other way to prevent it from biting him.

"Alright, George, give me the potion!" Fred said winking at the pale Ginny. In Ginny's eyes, this looked like some horrible experiment. "No wait, stop it! Don't hurt the—"

"We're not going to hurt the little bliter, Gin. We're just going to have a little fun. And besides, it won't permanently make the gnomes go away." Fred said grinning at the furious gnome. "Oi, we've got a vicious one here!" He said before uncorking the potion and setting the gnome down, grabbing it by the scruff of its neck. Ginny watched in horror as her brother dumped the pink liquid down the poor gnome's throat.

"I think we got it..." Ron muttered as he inched closer to the wheezing gnome.

"You guys are horrible! How could you do such a disgusting, vile—" Ginny spoke as she cradled the coughing gnome in her arms like a baby. "-OUCH!" She cried as she dropped the gnome as if it was on fire.

"Never a good idea to hold a gnome, dear sister." Fred admonished gravely.

"Are you okay, Gin?" Ron asked as he reached for his sister's bitten arm. Ginny whimpered as the pain stung. It didn't hurt that much, but the spot where she got bitten felt sore. VERY sore. "I'm going to tell mum—" She started but George covered her mouth. "Gin, you made a promise before. Here is the antidote, the sore won't last long, I promise." He assured.

"Look at that! Bubbles!" Ron said. Ginny took the small vile and pocketed it. Then she looked up to see what Ron was pointing at.

The gnome that had bitten her earlier was foaming around the mouth and it began hiccupping. Every time it hiccupped, several pink bubbles would float out of its mouth.

Gaping in horror, Ginny asked, "Is that dad's soap?!"

"Well, there is a little bit." Fred confessed. Then seeing the look of incredulity on his sister's face, he hastily added, "What other use did we have for the muggle soap dad gave us? We don't have to use that for cleaning when we've got Madam Clair's All-Purpose Cleaning and Sanitizing Magic Gel!" Chorused Fred and George while Ron was still watching the gnome blow pink bubbles.

"I'm going back in. Clearly this isn't a de-gnoming but a mad experiment that you three planned in which I have no interest in participating." Ginny stood and walked towards the door. Behind her, the twins and Ron were shouting.

"Wait, Ginny! You're not telling mum, are you? She'll never let us do magic if she finds out!"

"Blimey, that's a big one!"

"Oy! It's floating away!"

Ginny closed the door and sat near the window. Outside, her brothers were running after the gnome, who apparently had blown an extra large bubble and was gradually floating away and out of her view. She sighed and thought Oh well, back to being just ordinary Ginny. The Ginny whom no one ever notices... She watched her brothers for half an hour before finally deciding to head to bed very early, as she couldn't find anything to do.Walking away from her seat near the window, the last thing she heard before walking up the stairs were the cries of her brothers as they managed to capture another gnome.

"Alright! Can't wait to see what we can do with this lil' fat one!"

"He won't be able to get away by blowing bubbles!"

"Oy, George, where'd you put that Hair-Growth potion you brewed over Christmas?!"