Warning: This chapter deals with self-mutilation. Click back if you are easily triggered.
There's something changing in you. It's getting worse… The rotting. "Spoiled rotten". That's what he said when you wouldn't listen. It's been rotting since then, festering inside your stomach, making it ache. It's surprising that nobody notices the smell; the skin should be falling off by now. You lanced all of the flesh away by fasting but it still remained. If it's in your bones it's sure to spread. Lockhart did a spell on Harry that removed his bones… could you replicate it? Could you collapse into yourself with no more bones and just stay there, rotten skin and flesh? You tried it with a knife once, cut through the skins and tried to scrape away the bone… But there was too much blood. Blood and bones and silver shining out. It tickled a bit and made you shiver, felt like you were being turned inside out but you couldn't do it, couldn't get rid of them. Bones are too strong for that.
Humans are too hardy to be whittled away.
When you were little you wanted to be a War Witch, made your mother weave bells in your hair. Your brothers wouldn't fight you, not properly so you had to make your own battles. Hitting walls, running until your legs buckled. Nobody understood that you needed to be stronger. You needed to build up your protections so nothing bad could ever happen to you. You tried to weave them into your being like a spider's web, but the thing about a web is that once you cut one strand the rest fall away.
And he cut away so many, it's barely there anymore.
You loved him more than life itself. He was a hero, just like a War Wizard and he was only a year older than you. But he didn't see you. You were young and silly and spoilt and nobody ever noticed you. And then Tom found you and said that you were his Best Friend… You had never had a Best Friend before and he said that he didn't have one either. Said that you were both special and that he needed you to do things for you because he wasn't as Brave or Clever as you. The blood washed off easily enough back then, you didn't care about it because you were doing something that nobody else could do. Something that he couldn't trust anyone else to do. But then people started noticing and you weren't all that clever really and you couldn't figure out how to hide it and he Hated you. He wasn't your friend anymore, how could anybody be friends with you? You were Small and Boring and Stupid. And he remembered that your mother had called you spoilt and he said it again "Spoilt Rotten", told you that there was a rot in you that wouldn't ever go away because you had been born wrong, and your whole body wanted to hurt itself.
He was evil, you know that. But he was right.
When everyone found out they noticed you for a while, but it wasn't wonderful like you had always thought it would be. They could see the rot on you and they were scared and disappointed. They could never love you again because he had made the rot real and they could see it in your eyes. So you shied away from them and they started to forget you again. You smiled. You had just started your game and you didn't want them to see, didn't want them to make you break the rules. Because everything was pure and white and the rot just had to stop if you were pure enough.
You were never pure enough, the rot made sure of that, poisoning everything you put inside yourself.
Nobody else has a rot, you don't think. You've never seen anyone else who looks as rotten as you, you know that for sure. For a while you thought that maybe people just hid their rot but they were too careless, never cheating or playing games. So surely it would have overwhelmed everyone else by then. If it did that you would be the purest person in the world. The most clever and funny and beautiful. Everyone would love you, because there would be no-one to hate you. You could stand at the top of the Astronomy tower and laugh into the moonlight and there would be no more whispering and listening. And then the rot would be too full of everyone else that it would never claim you and you would be able to lie down and sleep and be safe and never have to worry again.
Sleep is something that other people have.
Sometimes you look at yourself and wonder if you are mad. Wonder if everyone sees it but you. But you don't know what it's like to feel any other way than how you've always felt. If you have no points of comparison how can you analyse it? You tried to read a book about madness but it was boring and just talked about different potions to give to mad people and Potions is your worst subject. You asked your mother once if there was something different about you but she just gave you a funny look and changed the subject. Perhaps she always knew that there was something wrong with you and that's why she wouldn't let you play with your brothers. Maybe it makes her sad to look at you.
What did she do to deserve a daughter like you?
Author's Note: Just something from Ginny's perspective. I don't know how much I like this chapter but I couldn't figure out what specifically I didn't like. "War Witches" are from Lightning on the Wave's "Sacrifices" arc. A wonderful Harry Potter AU that is actually longer than the series itself. Go and read it if you haven't already. You won't regret it.