Ginny Weasley and the World that Could Have Been
Notes: the story has been edited, basic words may have changed and a few paragraphs added but basic storyline has not changed.
Ginny Weasley, the only female Weasley in generations, previous owner of Riddles diary, and the last remaining member of the Weasley family stood alone in front of a warded gate that led to what in better times was Hogwarts. These were not those better times so the gates primary functions were not to protect students and keep psychos out, they were in place to keep things in.
She laughed bitterly as she surveyed the grounds. It was no longer safe to be here. In fact if one wanted to find a hell hole, one would most likely be pointed in this direction. The magic that had been used by dark and light wizards alike had distorted the grounds. Wild dark creatures had made it their nesting ground; the plants that had once been safely stored in the Herbology Green Houses had happily broken out of their giant cages and were quickly and efficiently across the grounds at a remarkable rate. The plants had already infested half of what had once been the school grounds.
The whomping willow seemed to be the only remnant of the old era that remained on the grounds and was wholly intact. In fact the whomping willow appeared to be thriving in the new and hostile environment that had cropped up and was reaching new heights of dangerous everyday. Ginny could see what must have been at one time carcasses of any animal or magical creature that had the misfortune to get to close to the temper mental and somewhat blood thirsty tree. As Ginny was about to open the gate to enter the grounds, a bird that was flying overhead, perilously close to the branches of the willow, was struck out of the sky to join the animal cemetery.
"Hagrid would have loved it here," Ginny thought, with no small amount of nostalgia, he had died some three years back. Hagrid had been one of the first to go, probably because he was so vocally loyal to Dumbledore. He didn't even have a chance. Being unable to perform magic himself, he had been unable to defend himself when there was a mass attack on Hogsmead.
Ginny winced away from the thought, she had always liked Hagrid, so if she focused on the people who had been lost, if she gave into her weakness, she knew that she would collapse on the spot and be unable to answer the call.
For the past weak she had been dreaming of Hogwarts, she would be walking through the halls, sometimes as they were before, most times as she imagined they must look now, in disrepair, mirrors broken, the entire Gryffindor tower caved in, the pieces of armor dented and strewn from one part of the castle, to another. Even Peeves refused to take up residence in the castle. The dream always ended the same, she made her way to what had once been the, Headmasters office, then everything went blank and a voice whispered, "I'm waiting."
So here she was, at dawn three days later, if only to get the dreams to stop, they got rather repetitive and annoying after a while. At least when she had nightmares they came in various forms. This was the same thing, night, after night, after night. If she didn't figure out what it meant or find a way to make them stop she just might have to curse someone.
Ginny looked down at her wand and rubbed her finger across the wood with a contemplative look on her face; in fact cursing someone was starting to sound really good right now. If there was a place to curse something these days, Hogwarts was it.
If it were a different time the fact that one of the oldest schools in Europe had fallen to such disrepair would have been devastating, but because there were not enough wizards or witches left to attend the school anyways and when you take into account that one destroyed school and put it up with thousands of being killed and the whole of Europe being laid to waste the destruction of a single school pales in comparison. The English had more important things to worry about. Most of the population had been killed, the survivors were struggling to put themselves and an entire nation, both muggle and magical, back together.
Ginny shrugged aside the thought of finding a chimera or something to fight; instead she made her way cautiously across the grounds. The last thing she needed was that chimera to sneak up behind her. If she was going to fight a chimera it would be her initiating the fight.
"This shouldn't have happened," she murmured in a defeated voice. She closed her chocolate brown eyes as despair and pain washed over her, they had both been familiar companions for years, ever since the war had begun gaining speed. Now though, the pain was unbearable, now that the war was over and the last of the Dark Lord's lackeys, the Death Eater scum were hunted down. It had taken her three months to locate all of their hideouts. Voldemorts death had led to the disintegration of the Death Eater hierarchy. The remaining leading Death Eaters had spent most of the time they could have been on the offensive jockeying for power and stabbing their fellow members in the back.
In the three months since Voldemort's demise she had hunted down and gotten rid of what remained of Voldemort's men. Some had fled Europe realizing this time they had caused too much destruction to safely buy their way out of answering for their crimes. Too many people wanted vengeance for there loses, for their pain. The world had no place for murderous torturous thugs who cared not a whit for anyone but themselves.
The anger was still there though, but now the anger was pushed aside as she saw the world that they, Deatheater and light side alike had created. It would take generations to build up to what they had been before. They would do it though, she would not be apart of it. She had done her part, she was done. It was someone else's job to pick up the pieces and create something productive from and she wished them the best of luck.
From where she stood two years had passed since Ron, Hermione, Luna, and Neville had died. Even longer since her mother, father, and other brothers had been killed.
It had only been three painful and mind numbing months since Harry had died, it felt so much longer. Right after he had fulfilled his destiny, right after he had killed the man that used to be Tom Riddle Jr. She knew the exact moment he had died; she had felt it from halfway across the battlefield, like a dagger being impaled in her heart. After that the rest of the battle was all a blur, a spell cast here, a Death Eater going down from a cutting hex there. Being hit by the cruciatus curse, that had hurt, finally hours latter the battle had ended as suddenly as it had begun and she had come to herself disturbingly fast. That was when the pain had almost swept her away. She had fought it though, she had to finish what Harry had started, what her family and friends had died for. So she buried the pain deep, refused to let herself feel for so long, if the pain took her, she would never recover.
From were she stood two years had passed since Ron, Hermione, Luna, and Neville had died. Even longer since her mother, father, and other brothers had been killed. It had been fast, there would have been nothing she could, nothing anyone could do.
The death of her family while devastating had been survivable, but Harry, Harry dieing was torture. She had never realized before how much she needed him, wanted him, and loved him. She had known she had always loved him but felt…incomplete without him. It was almost as if Ginny reflected as she stepped into the grounds and made her way slowly to the entrance of the school that she wasn't supposed to be here, be living, without him.
She pushed that thought aside, though it did have a ring of truth to it, as she stopped before the door to the entrance hall of Hogwarts. The door wasn't locked, in fact there didn't appear to be much left of the door. The dark wood was jagged and appeared to have aged a hundred years since the last time she had seen it. She walked over the threshold into the entrance hall beyond. The stone on the walls was darker, dirtier, there were what appeared to be streaks of blood on the walls, and mud caked over the floor.
Ginny snickered slightly as she imagined filch freaking out over the state of the castle if he were here. The only thing that he liked more then implementing cruel and unusual punishments and dreaming about implementing cruel and unusual punishments was keeping a clean school.
She pointed her wand in front of her as she walked silently through the school and pushed aside a piece of red hair that had fallen in front of her eyes out of the messy ponytail she had forced herself to shove it in that morning. She stopped mid-step before she could turn down the hall that led to the headmaster's quarters. This was it, she knew that what she had waited for the last three months was about to happen. If she continued on to the headmaster's office, whatever was waiting for her there would not let here come back.
It didn't matter; she had everything she needed on her, money, tons of it actually, she had inherited the whole of the Weasley family fortune, which left her decently rich, considering she had six brothers two of which opened up a successful joke shop. On top of that she had also inherited the Potter family fortune, Harry had left it to her in a will he had drawn up before he had died. She didn't want the money, being one of the richest heiresses in what was left of wizarding Europe meant nothing to her without her family and friends.
The money was still hers though, as well as Harry's invisibility cloak, the marauders map, and the vast collection of books Hermoine had purchased before she had died.
She knew what she had to do, it didn't matter what fate awaited her when she passed through the door, it's not like life could get much worse.
"If I were the optimistic sort I would say it could only get better," she murmured as she began moving cautiously forward. Unfortunately, her optimism had been slowly and painfully beaten out of her, each time a friend had died, every time she had been injured, sometimes quite painfully. The one thing she had learned in her nineteen years is that things can always get worse, and for the most part, they did.
Ginny walked up the spiraling stairs to the office above trailing her fingers against the dusty and chipped wall as she climbed.
Ginny paused before the door at the top of the stairs. The halls had been eerily quiet as she had passed through them. There was something about the place, the whole thing in general that felt wrong, weird, as if something was missing. She couldn't put her finger on it though. The answer seemed to pass over her head, like having an ancient Egyptian text in front of you in Ancient Runes and being unable to decipher it because the key is missing.
Slowly the text unraveled and the pattern was found and the undecipherable became clear. She had been able to pass through not only the grounds but the castle undetected. That should not have happened, there were at least twenty different species of magical creature using the school as their nesting grounds, they were attracted by the magic on the grounds. She should have at least seen a thestral or two. At this point she would have been happy to face down a monster or two just so this wouldn't feel so much like a trap.
"On second thought," Ginny thought quickly, just as she heard a mad cackle from three floors up. "Boring is fine, more than fine actually, it's peachy, just peachy."
"It's not like anyone has ever died of boredom," Ginny reasoned, "maybe if Harry had had a boring life he would still be alive."
She flinched away from the thought unable to think of Harry yet; she had one last thing to do before she could succumb to her pain, as fun and entertaining as that idea sounded.
When she entered the room, she felt herself go through a barrier that seemed to pass over her skin like warm water, enveloping her, cleansing her, and finally leaving her skin, her body, her soul intact and whole. She had not felt so at peace for such a long time, for a moment all the pain and sorrow that she had been carrying with her for years had been washed away.
At that moment came the knowledge that Harry was not supposed to have been separated from her. Something had gone wrong, because she had been separated from him, not by a country or years, but by death. The distance from one destination to another can be crossed and time can be painfully endured in hope of being reacquainted for the rest ones days and beyond. Death on the other hand, could not, it was so final, the walls between life in death to solid and precise.
She took in a shaky breath and closed her eyes in relief as she took in this information. Where ever he was she would find him, not even the gods could separate them when she did. Death would be preferable to painfully holding on to a life she did not wish to live.
Yet, just as she knew that she could not be separated for long, she felt that it was not her time to pass the veil to death yet. She had something else to accomplish before she could move on, something important; she just wished she knew what it was.
"Well you can ask," said a deep and mesmerizing voice.
Ginny spun around and pointed her wand at a tall muscular man with flowing golden hair that seemed to shine and twinkle as he glided over to where she was standing, which surprisingly was in, the middle of a lush green meadow, with tall dark trees artistically arranged and standing tall, stretching like giants towards a periwinkle sky, which was only interrupted by lazily gliding clouds. The man dark green robes draped over his shoulders and moved with a life of there own as he came to a stop in front of her.
"Humans," the man said his forest green eyes twinkling down at her, "They never can seem to speak straight, yet they wish to know all things." The man leaned down slightly and whispered confidentially, "Even the gods aren't all knowing, you know."
Before Ginny could answer or even comprehend what he was saying to her, he put out his arm for her to take. Ginny hesitated for a fraction of a moment but he did not seem overly dangerous and he even seemed to give off a feeling of innate goodness, as if he couldn't be evil if he tried, so she rested her arm on his as he began escorting her across the meadow.
It was the most breathtaking sight she had ever seen. To the right, beyond the last tree, the land sloped up to form quaint hills, each one larger then the last. On either side of her, flowers of all kinds sprouted from the ground, bigger and more fragrant then any flowers she had ever laid eyes on.
"Who are you?" Ginny asked dragging her eyes away from the meadow, which seemed too bright, too crisp, and too good, to be human.
"Names, young one, do not matter, I may be Drolk one day or Mejot the next. No, what matters is what you do with yourself when you are under these names."
"Drolk then, what are we doing today?"
"That's not the right question either," he teased his deep green eyes twinkling with mischief as they passed by a lake that sparkled like jewels in the sunlight.
Ginny smiled reluctantly and said dryly, "You're being deliberately difficult."
"Me? Never, I am as straight forward as a gambler," he said while clutching at his heart in pain. "You wound me fair lady."
Ginny rolled her eyes and mumbled, "Where am I?"
Drolk straightened up and nodded smartly, "quite right fair lady, business before play, unless it's the second Wednesday before a Monday..."
As Drolk trailed off he stopped as he came to a crystal clear river that flowed across the land and then continued on as far as the eye could see. The land across the river was indistinct, it seemed to shift and change every second to form new colors, shapes and impressions. It didn't seem to want to choose what picture it wished to view or what direction it wished to go, so it went everywhere and was all of them.
"This," he said sweeping out his arms to point out to the far end of the meadow and to the river and beyond, "this is the resting place between the worlds."
Ginny frowned slightly and said questioningly, "You mean the place before death. Am I moving on now?" The idea didn't seem too bad really, not to Ginny, not now that she didn't have anything to live for but review all of the events of the war in disconcerting and upsetting nightmares.
Drolk looked down at her seriously and said solemnly, "If that is what you wish."
Ginny looked away from him as she blinked back tears and said thickly, "I want Harry."
"And you shall have him, one way or another."
Ginny looked down in the river and saw herself truly for the first time in months, her hair was thrown into a sloppy ponytail, she hadn't bothered with makeup in years so the bags beneath her eyes stood out in stark contrast to her milky skin, her clothes no longer fit instead they swallowed her skinny frame. She was a mess, she could admit it now, barely living, forcing herself to get through each new day. Like Drolk said one way or another she would find Harry, she had to, she couldn't survive without him.
She forced her eyes away from her reflection only after a frog jumped out of the water sending ripples and imperfections through her picture. She frowned as she picked at her faded black robe, "My other options?"
"You were brought here to make a decision."
"So what does this decision entail?"
"Beyond the river is a portal, to other worlds, alternate universes."
"What does this have to do with me?"
"Your second choice is a second chance…"
"I can go back?" Ginny asked excited for the first time in a long time. A chance to try again, to fix all of her previous mistakes, and save her friends and family.
Drolk was already shaking his head sadly, "No what is done, can not be changed. We, as gatekeepers can not alter the course of time after it happens, we can influence before or during an event we can never go back."
Ginny closed her eyes in pain and took in a ragged breath that seemed to tear through her. As the pressure seemed to build she whispered hoarsely, "then what? You can't get my hopes up like that and then squash them. It's not right." The tears that she had been holding back for months crashed against her defenses and this time she could not hold them back.
With the tears came the pain that she had kept dammed up for so long. She doubled over, dropped down to the ground and then buried her head in her knees with her arms wrapped around them trying to stay grounded to reality, to not lose herself completely.
Drolk dropped down beside her and didn't say a word; instead he focused on the portal across the river and watched the flashes of the different worlds pass by.
After a few moments he said, "What you're feeling, mostly, at least, is the pain from being separated from your soul mate. Now that the pain has set in we don't have much time, you don't have much time. A decision must be made."
As Ginny began to calm down she forced herself to control raging emotions as he continued to speak, "I can't let you go back, but I can let you start over in another world, any one of the worlds that fill the criteria."
Ginny felt the first blossoming of hope, just a seed but it was enough and as she spoke she reached for it like a drowning person would a life rope. "I can start over," she whispered with disbelief.
"Yes, you can if you wish, but you can only go to worlds that are threatened by Voldemort and worlds were the previous Ginny Weasley has died, preferably recently."
"Why must Voldemort be involved? I'm sick of fighting, I want peace, I want to be able to grow old and not always be afraid some psycho is trying to hunt me down."
Drolk looked at her. his face serious and sad, "I wish I did not have to ask this of you but Voldemort is pestilence that has been infecting and infesting all the worlds under my jurisdiction, some have survived intact and in others the Boy Who Lived, Harry or Neville, who ever was chosen, has failed and when that happens the world falls to darkness."
He looked suddenly older, wiser then he was before, his hair didn't grey, wrinkles didn't begin to form, it was all in the eyes, they looked tired and as if they housed an old soul. He took her hand in his and held it carefully, lovingly before continuing, "What I can do for you, if you choose the second choice is to send you to a world that has the strongest chance of the light triumphing in the end."
Ginny took a deep breath and asked, "So, this previous Ginny has died and if I don't go to this world Harry will die as well?"
He nodded before saying, "Even in the worlds were you choose to align yourself with the dark, you are still alive and thus Harry can still live, but in the worlds were you die, The Boy Who Lived suddenly up and dies and no one has any idea why. Soul bonds, while powerful and highly magical can be devastating to the outcome of things in the long run if the wrong choices are made."
"What exactly will happen to me if I choose to go? What if I take this other Ginny's place?"
"You would take over were the other Ginny left off. Have her memories as well as your own. In the end both your memories and personalities would gradually fuse together."
"You see," he said shifting around so that he faced her, "the Ginny from the world that has died is either not strong enough or too young to survive alone. You are. The diary, the war, they have all prepared you for this moment."
"So, I will not be booting her out of her body and taking over," like Tom had she left unsaid but they both knew what she meant. She shivered at the thought of taking over someone else's body forcefully. It has been horrible and terrifying when he had done it to her. She could never and would never force it on anyone else, even her worst enemies.
Guessing why she had suddenly tensed up Drolk said, "Tom stole what he had no right to, trespassed where he was uninvited. You are being offered a gift," after a few moments he continued in a softer voice, "It is not a choice many are given."
With her fears pushed aside, an excitement began to creep through her, energizing her, making her come alive fully for the first time in years. The grass she sat on seemed softer, the colors around her brighter, and the smell of the flowers in the meadow purer. She could do this, if it meant seeing Harry alive and well again she would do this.
Even if this was not what she wanted, she new that she would have done it anyways, these people did not deserve to die, they deserved a chance to live, to grow, to survive. She could not condemn a whole world to death on a selfish whim. Thankfully this was what she wanted, and she wasn't one to throw out a gift when presented to her.
Harry, he was the most important thing in the equation, she wouldn't have even bothered doing this if not for him, but for Harry she would go to the ends of the earth. Her happiness wasn't required, his was, he deserved better.
Drolk stood and rubbed his hands together his eyes shining with excitement and his green robes flowing around him, he nodded, and then turned towards the portal, raised his hands and began to make complicated gestures, sweeping his hands first right, then left, bringing them together, then tearing them apart before pausing. Then he began chanting, a soft lyrical sound that soothed, and then fast one that sent molten fire through the veins, off and on, never staying the same for long. Slowly his motions and chanting became slower and shorter until his voice faded and his motions stilled. As the last notes died, the portal began to be less erratic, instead of hundreds of separate pictures fighting for dominance, only a couple flashed by every second.
He turned to her solemnly, "the final choice must be made, is there anything else you wish?"
Ginny watched the portal for a few moments before replying, "Harry deserves to be happy. That's all that matters really, I'll-,"She took a deep breath and closed her eyes for a second before pushing aside her doubts and continuing in a stronger voice, "I can handle any life I am given as long as Harry is happy."
Drolk smiled in approval and then raised his arms to the heavens and saying in a powerful magic laden voice, "As she has said, so it shall be."
The moment the phrase was uttered everything stilled around them; the water stopped flowing, the wind died down, and finally the portal stopped flitting between worlds.
Drolk turned to her and gave her the final instructions, "Everything that was left for you, everything that had fallen to your name money and items will be entered under your name at the Gringotts in the world you will enter into." He paused and looked down at her thoughtfully, as if he were deciding whether to continue or not. Finally he shrugged and said, "You are not required to tell anyone who you actually are, if I were you I would tell only the people I absolutely trusted."
Ginny smiled up at him and then threw herself in his arms. When she pulled back she laughed and whipped a few stray tears from her eyes, "Thank you, I'll never be able to repay you for this."
"Get rid of Voldy for me that will do."
"I can do that," she said and turned away from him and stepped out confidently into the river.
Instead of stepping waist deep into water, the path before her feet dried and became a stone path paved with gold and inlayed with opals, sapphires, topaz, and diamonds. With each step the portal become clearer, until finally she saw clearly on the other side of it a dark dingy street, which smelled of refuse and garbage. It didn't seem too promising for a new beginning, but when accepting a gift, even one dubious in nature, one couldn't really be all that picky.
So she only allowed herself the luxury of pausing and doubting her decision of fighting for another chance, instead she reached out her hand experimentally and rested her hand on the portal. The portal felt warm, soothing, and with the gentlest of touch her hand passed through.
She cast one last glance back at Drolk, who was standing at the other side of the river with an encouraging smile on his face. That was the last time she would ever see him she knew, at least in her lifetime. Maybe one day, after she had lived her mortal life, which hopefully would be a long time down the road, she would meet him again. Until then a last look would have to do, she had important things to accomplish, for herself and for Harry.
Before any doubts could creep into her mind, she followed her hand through the portal, and was quickly enveloped into a warm cocoon, temporarily safe, on her way to a new life. Then just as quickly, she felt her body begin to fade, it seemed to become less distinct, it was as if all the things that made up her nonphysical self, her memories and her soul, were being moved out of her body to stand on their own.
For a time that was all there was, all the physical sensations had faded away with her body. All that was left was the knowledge that, for the first time in a long time everything would be all right.
Then she was moving, speeding towards another place, another body, another time.
A/N- I do not owner Harry Potter, any characters or ideas not found in the Harry Potter book, I created myself.
Three cheers, for my new editor, we'll call him Odin, and yes he does have both his eyes. Any who he has graciously decided to edit my writing, I didn't even have to hold him at gun point, and has made it readable to the general populace, especially the perfectionists out there, so you, my dear readers, do not feel like pulling your eyes out after reading.