An Ugly Pink Dress
Notes: A generic Ginny-conquers-her-fear-of-Tom story. I was just intrigued by the backbone Ginny seems to grow in the time in between COS and when she becomes a major character again in the books. Thought I'd explore it a bit. Enjoy.
Ginny Weasley had been dreading this day since the beginning of her third year. She had known it would come because Ron had gone on for ages about his boggart – the way he had made the legs pop off that giant spider. It wasn't much help to her. Ginny was fine with spiders and popping the legs off her boggart would hardly help.
She held back a shiver as she followed the rest of her class into an empty classroom where Moody had contained the boggart. He explained briefly the way a boggart could be exterminated and demonstrated the riddikulus charm, which they practiced until Moody was satisfied with them. Ginny tried to take her place at the end of the line, but ended up somewhere near the middle. It seemed some other people were wary of facing their boggarts also.
Once the lesson had gotten underway and Ginny was nearing the front of the line, she waved Moody over. He glanced back at Colin, who was dealing well with some sort of giant vampire, and stomped over to Ginny.
"Proffessor, I can't do this," Ginny said quietly. "I know what my boggart is going to be and there's nothing I can do against him– it."
"Nonsense," Moody answered gruffly. "Everyone has to learn to deal with boggarts – JAMES ALLEN, BACK OF THE LINE!" Ginny watched her professor thunder to the front of the line and shove the next student forward before half the room burnt down.
Ginny bit her lip as the line moved forward. She didn't want to do this; she REALLY didn't want to do this. She did not want to face—
And then suddenly she found herself at the front of the line and the boggart turned on her. With a whip-like crack, there stood the smiling figure of Tom Riddle.
"Hello Ginny," he said quietly, a small smirk rising to his lips.
Ginny's breath caught in her throat and her fingers twisted tighter around her wand, which was still hanging uselessly at her side. She could barely hear the confused whispers behind her – "Why was Ginny's boggart a handsome young man?"
"Riddikulus!" Moody reminded, urging her to act.
After a few moments it seemed only natural to reply. "Hello Tom."
"It's a pleasure to see you again Ginny," Tom answered, stepping towards her. Ginny felt his dark eyes boring into her, but she could not move. "So tell me, how does it feel to know that Tom Riddle – no, Lord Voldemort – is living on, in part, through you?"
More than a few girls let out small screams and Ginny stiffened more. Moody had moved to take over when Ginny had failed to even lift her wand, but he had abruptly stopped short and hobbled back a few feet.
"It hadn't occurred to you?" Tom asked, letting the smirk widen. "It may only be a boggart, but its projecting me isn't it? The way I'm preserved in your memories and in your fears…" He paused, close enough now to tap a long slender finger sharply against her temple. "After all this time, I'm still a part of you."
When she did nothing he turned his back to her and walked away again. "After all this time, I'd expected you to grow a backbone."
He was right, Ginny realized, startled out of her thoughtless state. How would she ever get Harry to notice her if she couldn't even stand up to a boggart? But then… maybe this shouldn't even be about Harry.
Squaring her shoulders, Ginny set the back of Tom's head in a glare. "Tom Riddle, you listen here!" she said, surprised by the strength in her own voice. She purposefully used the name by which she had known him her first year, because she wouldn't be able to do this if she considered him as…him.
Tom turned and shocked her with an equally powerful glare.
But she was determined not to falter. "I may be afraid of you for the rest of my life," she said slowly, clutching her wand in white knuckles as she raised it. "But every time I come across a boggart I will have the distinct pleasure of seeing you in the ugliest pink dress I can imagine."
The boggart-Tom narrowed its eyes at her. "Let's find out if clothing is enough to make you forget," he sneered.