A.N/Hey guys! At last, I managed to complete the sixth chapter! I am really sorry it took so long, but, oh well, I had a lot of things going on the last few weeks…
Anyway, I want to sort out a few things about this chapter; this takes place at the beginning of the fourth book, when Ginny is about to start her third year at Hogwarts… I know, I know, I have left a quite long time zone uncovered (pretty much the whole third book -Ginny's second year-), but, there were not any important events during that year, apart from a few things that will probably be presented through simple mentions, or maybe even flashbacks. As you have probably figured out, I'm trying to kinda speed things up to Voldemort's return and his reuniting with Bella (and Nattie, of course).
Also… I want to remind you that the members of the Weasley family who know about Ginny being Natalya are Arthur and Molly, of course, along with Fred, George, and Bill. No one else. And the fact that the twins know about this will be explained later...
Also also… I want to thank everyone who had added this story to their favorites! You really make me feel so loved! :) Special thanks to the people who reviewed, as well! Reviews are pretty much the best gift an ff author can be given :)
Well, I'm actually tiring you out right now, so I'll just stop the Author's Note here… Enjoy!
"Honey, are you alright?"
Ginny raised her eyes to meet her mother's, who was now looking at her with a worried expression crossing her features.
"Yeah… Why?" she asked, trying to sound indifferent.
"Nothing… You just seemed a little…"
"I'm just tired, that's all," Ginny cut off Molly and quickly stood up from the chair.
"Where are you going?" Arthur asked, worried as well.
"To bed," Ginny replied simply.
"Ginny, you have to wait until we all finish dinner, it's not appropriate-" Molly began to say, but was cut off by her husband.
"Come on, Molly, Ginny needs some sleep… It won't do any bad if she goes to bed a little earlier tonight!"
Ginny silently thanked Merlin for her father's words. She didn't feel tired at all, but she needed to stay alone for a while; for the last couple of months, being in the presence of her whole family made her feel really uncomfortable, even though she had no idea why.
"Thanks, dad," she said with a smile, and then turned around to her brothers. "'night, guys," she exclaimed.
"'night, Gin," Ron replied and the twins nodded to her with a smile.
As soon as Ginny had left the kitchen, Molly gave a meaningful look to Arthur, which didn't go unnoticed by Percy.
"What happened?" he asked, his voice worried.
"Oh, nothing, dear, I'm just afraid that Ginny might have gotten sick or something," Molly answered casually, and took a sip of her drink.
Percy, however, wasn't convinced, and turned his gaze to his father.
"Father, is there something wrong?" he insisted.
"Percy," Arthur replied calmly, "everything is fine. Stop being so suspicious about every single thing."
George glanced over at Fred, who was sitting next to him.
"I'm not being suspicious about anything!" Percy said angrily. "I'm simply stating the obvious! You," he turned to Molly "and dad are hiding something! I don't know what it is, but you do!"
Molly sighed. "Percy, dear, we're not hiding anything. Please, just-"
"Oh, you do hide something, but I have no idea what this is!" Percy cut her off angrily, making Arthur glare at him, but he didn't seem to care. "Come on," he continued, when he saw that his mother was about to talk, "you think I'm such a fool? It's been almost a year and you're acting completely strangely every time Ginny is around, and then, when she leaves, you keep exchanging these annoying looks!"
Molly looked shocked, but Percy wouldn't stop. "Please, mother," he said in a serious tone. "If there is anything wrong with Ginny, just tell us! Is she sick or anything?" he asked.
Molly looked over at Arthur, whose face remained calm and serious, and then to the twins and Ron. Fred and George had some sort of a guilty expression crossing their faces, and Ron seemed completely confused.
"Umm… Mom…" Ron said suddenly, and everyone's head turned to face him. "Look… I've noticed that, too…" he continued, seeming very unsure about what he was saying. "After… After her first year… I don't know, she's not being the Ginny she used to be," he finally said, looking over to his mother and father.
"Exactly! It's been over a year now, and she is acting really weird! A year, mother, a year! And yet, you pretend to have realized nothing!" Percy snapped. "She's constantly tired, her performance at school last year wasn't good, she avoids talking to us and she seems lost in her thoughts the whole time! That's not the Ginny we know!"
The twins remained silent, but Ron was ready to talk once again, before Molly cut him off. "Look, Percy," she started. "Every girl goes through this… phase of her life… It's called 'being introduced to teenhood', you know," she said with a smile, obviously trying to lighten up the atmosphere.
Arthur nodded. "Yes, Percy, Ginny is just becoming a teen," he said, and then took his glasses off and looked straight into his son's eyes. "Look, everything is all right. There's nothing wrong, and you don't have to worry that much about the simplest of things, okay?"
Percy didn't seem convinced, but he simply nodded, wanting to avoid his father.
"I'm going to bed," he said and stood up after a few seconds, and went upstairs without saying goodnight.
Only when Ron had left as well, did Molly stood up and glared at Arthur. "They're having suspicions, Arthur!" she snapped, as if it was her husband's fault.
"Mom, calm down," George said suddenly.
"Yeah," Fred added. "It's not dad's fault that Gin is acting strangely."
"And it's not Gin's fault, as well! It's because of that stupid diary!"
"Yes! She came close to You-Know-Who through that thing, and now she might have suspicions about her true-"
"Hush!" Molly exclaimed. "We have agreed not to talk about this! What if Ginny hears you?"
"Well, she will find out some day, sooner or later!" Fred snapped.
"No, she won't!" Molly said back. "She won't, we will make sure of that!"
"She's not a testing subject, mom!" George said angrily, which surprised both Molly and Arthur. The twins rarely lost their cheerful mood.
"Yeah! She's our sister!" Fred added.
"Maybe not biological,"
"But she is our sister! We love her, and we can't watch her suffer like that!"
"And what can we do?" Arthur asked. "We cannot tell her. It will break her completely!
"Your father is right!" Molly said angrily. "Having… you-know-who as your… father," she said the last words with fear obvious across her face, "isn't the most pleasant thing that can happen to you!" she added, and then Arthur and the twins saw her collapse out of nothing on one of the chairs. She hid her face in her hands and started crying.
"I just… can't… Just thinking of this…"
Arthur rushed to her side and put his arms around her. "Come on, Molly, come on…" he said, trying to calm her down.
"This is irrational!" Molly sobbed. "Knowing this… Knowing that she is his daughter….And loving her so much… And that she… she…" she wasn't able to finish her sentence.
"Come on, mom," Fred said desperately, unable to keep watching his mother crying like that.
"Arthur…" Molly said between her tears, "if anything happens to her…"
"Nothing will happen to her, Molly!" Arthur whispered to her. "That's why we're raising her as our own child, that's why we're protecting her… Because we love her, Molly, and we will never let anyone harm her…"
Fred and George, not wanting to stay there any longer, backed away slowly and soon, they were in their bedroom.
"What do you think will happen? How is this going to turn out?"
"I have no idea… But this is so bloody messed up…"
"Look, I love Gin…"
"Me too, George… Me too…"
"Natalya, where are you?"
"Where are you? Why aren't you here, with us?"
"I don't know what you're talking about!" Ginny screamed and tried to run, but she realized she couldn't move. "I don't know who Natalya is, please!" she said desperately, wanting to get out of there, wanting to run away from the darkness that surrounded her…
"Why are you doing this to us, Natalya? Why are you denying us like that?"
"I'm not denying you! I don't know who Natalya is, I've never heard of her, please, leave me alone!" Ginny screamed, feeling the tears running a familiar path down her face.
"Why, Natalya, why? They took you away, why did they take you? Please, come back where you belong…"
"Please! Leave me alone! I don't know you, please, go away!" Ginny cried and fell on her knees. "Please…" she whimpered, and started shaking, feeling waves of terror and desperation going through her.
"Natalya, you don't belong here! Come back, come back!"
"Leave me alone… I don't know who Natalya is, leave me alone!"
And then, suddenly, Ginny wasn't surrounded by darkness anymore. It was like someone had switched on a light; she found herself in a huge room, that looked like it could be the room of a princess. There was a thick, green carpet on the floor, a huge stone fireplace, a four poster bed with velvet sheets, a huge wardrobe and a mirror hanging on one of the walls.
She walked closer to the mirror, glancing carefully around her, and when she was reassured that she wasn't in danger, she started observing the mirror. It looked quite old, and it had silver snakes sculptured around its frame. It is beautiful, she thought. And then, she screamed. She looked into the mirror, but she didn't see her reflection; there was another girl looking her from inside the mirror, a girl that looked like her, but was very different at the same time. She had long, silky black hair and black eyes, and her skin looked very pale. Ginny backed away, terrified, and screamed to the girl: "Who are you?" The girl however didn't answer. She only backed away, the same way Ginny did, and screamed "Who are you?" to Ginny.
Ginny's jaw dropped. "I'm Natalya," she heard herself say. No! What had she just said? She wasn't Natalya! She was Ginny! Ginny Weasley!
"Nattie… You finally returned…" she heard a voice say. "I've been searching for so long… But you're finally here… Please, don't leave again… Please…"
"NO!" Ginny screamed. "I'm not Natalya! I don't even know her" she cried, and then looked down. She realized that she was wearing a heavy pendant with a silver chain and an extremely valuable black stone with a green snake sculptured around it. She took the pendant off and held it in her hand.
"See?" she heard the voice say. "It is you, Nattie, we've finally found you!"
"NO!" she screamed again and threw the pendant to the mirror, which instantly broke down to pieces. A few of those pieces flew to Ginny's now free hand, leaving open cuts where they had torn her. Ginny simply stood there, observing the blood which was now dripping from her wrist, and then she heard the voice again.
"Why did you do that? Why?"
"No!" Ginny opened her eyes only to see the wooden ceiling of her bedroom. She quickly sat up, panting, still terrified of the dream she had just seen. The same dream, the same dream she had been seeing in her sleep for almost a year now. She realized that her pajamas were soaked from her sweat, so she stood up and took them off, before wearing another pair.
"Oh, Merlin," she whispered. Those dreams had nearly driven her insane. Who the hell was that Natalya, and what was the meaning of that dream? Every time, the same dream… Someone calling for Natalya, then the girl in the mirror, then the pendant…
She grabbed her forehead and looked up to the ceiling for a few seconds, trying to calm down. When she looked down again, she grabbed her mouth to stop her scream. She nearly fell over when she saw the small snake that was lying in the corner of the room, next to her bed. A snake, in her bedroom!
She decided to go downstairs and tell mother, but she remained there instead, observing the small snake, which was now hissing softly. Before realizing what she was doing, she took a few steps closer and kneeled down, so close to it that she could have touched it. She thought that it was quite beautiful; so thin and flexible, curling around its own body, its piercing golden eyes looking straight through hers… And then, it was gone. Just like that.
Ginny stood up, trying to figure out what had just happened. There had been a snake in her bedroom, only a few moments ago, and it had simply disappeared, out of nothing!
"What the hell is going on?" Ginny whispered desperately, before falling unconscious on the floor.