Author's Note: Well, this is what I've been working on while you were all waiting for next chapter of The Prodigal Daughter. I DO apologize for the long wait on that but now that this fic is finished (and it is completely finished btw), I'll be returning to TPD with bells on. I'd like to explain just a bit about this story before you read it: First of all, it completely consumed me. It's also a different Harry and Ginny than I've ever written before. The characters are loosely based on (and I know this is silly but I couldn't help it) the characters Starbuck and Apollo on Battlestar Galactica. I don't know if anyone watches that show but I love it and so some of the scenes are from storylines on the show--of course they've been adapted to fit Harry and Ginny. In this story, Harry and Ginny become best friends who aren't afraid to fight and hurt each other because they can't hurt anyone else and they know it won't run the other off. They have been so affected by Voldemort that they reach for each other b/c no one else understands. The only people they can consistently rely on is each other and this forms a friendship that weathers many storms. They are also in love with each other but are afraid of taking that final step b/c they're afraid of loosing each other and what they have. They fight, they hurt each other, they make mistakes, they run from each other but they always come back.

Did I mention it was AU?

But it's not meant to be an epic retelling. So some of the chapters are short; some parts will go very fast and others are completely glossed over. This does not mean events didn't happen, but the reader should assume that anything that happened in the books that is not addressed in the story, still happened. I've just...tweaked it a bit.

I hope you enjoy it and as always, look forward to your thoughts. Happy reading!


An extra-special thanks to my beta Indie, who, as always, makes a diamond out of the rough.



He could not have anticipated what the results would be when he descended into the Chamber of Secrets to rescue Ginny Weasley. He didn't know he would be saving her soul—he thought he was going to rescue his best friend's little sister. He didn't know that Tom Riddle had possessed her and that by saving her soul it would forge an understood bond between their souls. It was only later, much later, that he realised it was impossible to save someone's soul without loosing a bit of your own.

Chapter 1

Harry Potter watched anxiously as Molly Weasley led her youngest daughter from Professor Dumbledore's office.

"Is she going to be all right, Professor?" Harry swung back around to find the Headmaster's blue eyes twinkling at him over the glasses perched at the edge of nose.

"With time," the Professor said gently. "I think she will get better." He pulled out his wand and conjured a china tea set complete with an already steaming teapot. He poured two cups, added a lump of sugar to each and handed one to Harry.

"Harry, do you have any thoughts as to how Tom Riddle lured Ginny into the Chamber of Secrets?"

Harry shook his head and took a sip of the tea. "No, Professor."

Dumbledore ignored his own cup of tea and sat back in his chair. He steepled his fingers together and regarded Harry with a thoughtful expression. "I believe he used the diary to possess her. He took over her mind and body and forced her to control a creature that could have easily killed her friends."

Harry put down his teacup.

"I suspect an experience like that leaves a mark, Harry."

Harry's hand went involuntarily to the scar on his forehead.

"No, not a physical mark," Dumbledore said. "Something deeper, I believe. A psychological mark of some sort. He tried to take her soul, Harry—something like leaves…different kinds of scars."

"I'm not sure I know what you're getting at, Professor," Harry said slowly.

Dumbledore reached out and grabbed a biscuit off the plate. He sat back in his chair and stared at it, turning the cookie slowly in his fingers. "I know you feel responsible for what happened to Ginny. You feel that Tom Riddle would not have used her to lure you down there if you hadn't been around. Am I right?"

Harry swallowed. The thought had occurred to him.

"So if you feel guilty for that, perhaps you can imagine how Ginny must feel knowing that Tom Riddle used her to set a Basilisk, a monster, on students. Thankfully no one died; but that will probably not make her feel better."

"How did he do it, Professor? I don't understand how he used her."

Dumbledore smiled but there was no mirth behind his eyes. "I think that is probably the worst part of everything, Harry. Voldemort was able to use Ginny—not just because she wrote in the diary, but because she poured her soul into it. She wrote about everything, told him all her hopes, fears, dreams, insecurities. She was her own worse enemy, and Tom Riddle took full advantage. "

The professor shook his head. "I can't even imagine what she must have experienced—to be so close to Voldemort like that—to be a part of him. To have the most significant experience of your life tied up with someone like that…"

His voice trailed off but a sudden understanding swept over Harry. The same thing had happened to him; he suddenly felt sick. Everything important in his very short life (with the exception of meeting Ron and Hermione) had been because of Voldemort: his parents' deaths, finding the Sorcerer's Stone last year, watching Professor Quirrell die, killing the Basilisk…

"Unfortunately, Ginny will blame herself more than is necessary. There was certainly nothing she could have done. But she won't see it that way—she won't see that Voldemort is entirely to blame."

Harry shuddered. He could almost feel the weight of Voldemort's tyranny in the room. Even though he wasn't even fully formed, the dark wizard still ruined everything he touched. And now Ginny would never be the same. Her life had been changed as irrevocably as Harry's had been the night the killing curse had rebounded from him and struck Voldemort instead.

"What is it that you expect me to do?" Harry was unsure but determined.

"I simply mean that perhaps Miss Weasley could use a friend. Her family will try to help her of course, but it will be difficult for them to understand exactly what she has been through. It would be helpful if she had a friend who knew what it was like to be marked by Voldemort. Someone who also shared a kind of connection with Tom Riddle."

"You-you think Ginny shares a connection with Tom Riddle now?" Harry pushed his teacup away. Although his mouth was suddenly dry he was not thirsty.

Dumbledore looked at him sadly. "I do not know, Harry. I know that he tried to use her soul for his own purposes and even though you rescued her in time, there is no telling what he left inside of her."

Harry let the Headmaster's words sink in. Dumbledore had already explained that when Voldemort had tried to kill him as a baby that he had left a mark in Harry. It was why he could speak parseltongue and it was why his scar hurt sometimes. Because—although Voldemort did not have a physical body—he was still out there somewhere.

"What-what can I do, Professor?" Harry wanted to help but he wasn't sure how he could do that. He'd rescued Ginny purely through luck. He really had no idea how to help her. And he barely knew her. She was Ron's sister who had a crush on him that seemed to embarrass her. They'd never even had a conversation.

"I think you can start by trying to be her friend," his Professor replied. "If I'm right, she will need friends."

Harry nodded. His eyes rested on the sword he'd used to kill the Basilisk. It was still bloody. The image of Ginny lying pale and motionless on the floor of the Chamber of Secrets flashed across his brain. He twitched.

"You know, Ginny must be an exceptionally powerful witch to have fought Tom Riddle's possession for nearly a year," Dumbledore remarked. "Yet another thing you have in common."

"What is that, Professor?"

Dumbledore took a sip of his now tepid tea. "Voldemort has made you both stronger. Not just because he may have left a bit of his magic inside you but because you both survived."

There was a knock at the door. "Ah, that will be Lucius Malfoy, I believe."

Harry tossed and turned in his bed trying to find a comfortable position. Dumbledore's words from the other night kept running through his head. Tom Riddle had possessed Ginny. And what's worse, he'd been doing it on and off all year. How could Harry have been so blind? He should have known there was something funny about that memory Tom Riddle showed him.

Throwing back the covers, Harry got out of bed and grabbed his invisibility cloak. He made his way silently down the stairs leading to the common room. Someone was already there. The fire was already going and a small figure was huddled on the rug in front of it. A figure with long red hair.

"Ginny?" Harry stepped off the last step and walked over to the armchair closest to the fire. "Are you okay?"

She gave a sharp laugh but remained staring at the fire. "Yeah. I'm fine, Harry. Just great. Never better."

Harry supposed it had been a stupid question. "Right. Sorry. Bad question."

She didn't respond and they sat in silence for awhile. Then: "I should thank you, Harry—for saving me."

He tried to smile but it didn't seem like one of those moments. "You're welcome. I-I'm sorry…you know, about everything."

She smiled faintly at him. "Thanks. What you and Ron did—that was very brave. I'm sorry that I almost got you killed. I've been so stupid—writing in that diary and everything."

"Ginny, it wasn't your fault. It was Voldemort."

"Still, people almost died and it was because of me." She said the last word softly as if she still couldn't believe it.

"Everyone is going to be fine. Dumbledore said the mandrake juice is almost ready. And it wasn't your fault."

"Would you feel that way?" She turned wide eyes that were filled with tears on him. "If it had been you, would you feel like it wasn't your fault?"

Harry looked into her brown eyes and found he couldn't lie. "No," he said, honestly. "I would blame myself. Just like you are."

She nodded and looked back at the fire. Harry wondered what he should say next. He wasn't very good at comforting people, let alone girls. And she didn't really seem to be asking for anything. Still, he felt like he should do something

He slid off the armchair and sat down next to her on the rug. He pulled his arms around his knees, mimicking her position. And he sat with her without speaking until the sun came up and the fire died.