As they stepped into the dark hall, the torches on the walls jerked alive. The green torchlight was furthering the already eerie atmosphere in the creepy place.
The walls were full with carvings of serpents. “Well, I guess we are in the correct place.” Harry muttered as he traced a snake with his fingers.
“Do you hear anything? You should call out for the Basilisk, I rather have him attack us now than ambush us.” Ginny reasoned.
“Right. Ehm, how do I call a Basilisk? Should I just say ‘Hey, Basilisk please come here?”
With a cheeky smile she replied “Why not, try it.”
“Uh, if not even the Chamber of Secrets can dampen your cheek, I don’t know what will.” He then proceeded to hiss into the hall as loud as he could.
“Parseltongue is really not a language made for yelling, it feels weird in my throat…”
Further musing was interrupted as a gigantic shadow closed in from behind a pillar on the other side of the hall.
Harry shut his eyes and just as he attempted to yell the incantation to turn the debris in front of them into roosters he heard Ginny scream.
The girl lay withering and twitching on the floor, her eyes wide open. But where Harry usually gazed into chocolate brown eyes, he now stared into a pitch black abyss.
“Ginny what happened! Can you hear me?” He yelled with a rising panic.
Turning his back to the Basilisk proved to be a near fatal mistake as the serpent moved with a speed one would not have suspected such a huge beast to be capable of.
Harry managed to roll away just in time, mentally thanking Ginny for teaching him how to roll on the floor if he ever fell from a broom, and shouting ‘Lapis ut ictus`”
A nearby stone became feathered, but nothing else happened. Harry was now in a state of absolute panic, Ginny was still screaming next to him and the Basilisk was turning his head towards him. He managed to close his eyes in time once more and tried to calm himself as he sprinted away. Torn between helping Ginny and defeating the Basilisk, tears crept into his eyes. What had gone wrong? Weren`t they supposed to be stronger than everybody else?
As Harry narrowly dodged another bite from the basilisk, he took a deep breath and concentrated. He was sure that with enough concentration he could pull the spell off. Focusing solely on his spell work, he blanked out the fact that a Basilisk was trying to kill him, that Ginny was screaming in agony and that their survival depended solely on him. He aimed the wand at some debris and yelled once more: ‘Lapis ut ictus!’”
He didn`t dare to open his eyes. Shivering, he stood there for a long moment until he heard the croaking of a rooster. It was the most beautiful sound he had ever heard. He saw the basilisk withering in pain slithering away from the rooster. To Harry’s amazement the rooster was chasing after the serpent, relentlessly croaking.
Harry’s eyes found Ginny’s body and he ran over to her. She wasn`t screaming anymore, Harry didn`t blank out her screams, they ceased to exist and worse she wasn`t moving. Her chest was not rising and her eyelids were missing their usual flutter.
“No please Ginny, this can’t be happening. Talk to me!” He pressed out, a heavy lump stuck in his throat. His eyes watered and tears spilled onto Ginny’s cheek.
“What happened, what happened?”
His eyes fell onto the diary lying next to her. Of course, how could they have been so stupid? It was foolish to think one could let the darkest wizard of all time possess you and then drive him away.
He opened her eyelids and gazed into the void, confirming his suspicions.
He instantly aimed his wand at the diary and yelled ‘Incendio’ with a rage he had never felt before. It was the hottest flame Harry had ever produced, but it didn`t seem to scorch the diary in the slightest. He yelled three more times before falling onto his knees sobbing.
Just before giving up he had an idea. If Tom was assaulting her mind, he could come to her aid! He knew what kind of Occlumency shields Ginny used, he knew where her defences where, he could use them, he could strike back, he could bring her back and drive Tom out of her mind. And he would!
Aiming his wand with a shaky hand on Ginny he said: ‘Legilimens’ and was instantly caught in a battle of memories. Memories that could only be Tom’s wrapped around Ginny’s childhood, around memories of her friends, around moments of happiness.
Harry’s mind leaped into the assault and offered his own memories, every moment he spent with Ginny, every shared laughter, every shared joke, every time they learned something.
Tom tried to dig up all memories of whenever she had felt lonely, omitted by her brothers because she was a girl or received snarky comments because she was a Slytherin, but Harry held against. His own memories of comforting Ginny whenever she felt down, helping her whenever her brothers were mean, assuring her about how great she was when her mother had said she should act differently.
Tom was laughing about Harry’s attempts to safe her. “The 7th child in a magical pureblood family is always the most powerful family member. To unlock those powers the child has to cut its ties with her family. Her being sorted into Slytherin was the first step, I will make sure that she will be cast out by her family and then I shall use her body to regain greatness! I can feel her concealed power raging beneath, she will be mine, this power shall be mine and soon the very last secrets of magic will be mine!”
Harry soon lost track of time, the battle raged on and so far neither party was able to take control. Harry was getting desperate, he only knew Ginny for two years, whereas Tom could use a lifetime of memories against her.
As the time passed, Harry was starting become annoyed. Why was he trying to safe her? Wasn`t she just another tool to use? She could be replaced, nothing made her special. He should be glad about Tom getting rid of her and he should form an alliance with him. Didn`t he swear to become powerful, to become strong at all cost?
Why would he throw his oath away for a little girl? The prospect of seeing her suffer held a certain entertainment value, how long will she be able to withstand?
“I have to take a more active approach to live, killing the girl is the first step. She makes me weak, she will be my downfall. I have to strike her down, I have to destroy her very soul! “
DO IT, KILL HER, DESTROY HER! She is your enemy!
His hands wrapped mentally around Ginny’s soul and he concentrated on how he could rip it apart. The voice was right, he had to kill her. She would destroy him.
But why would she harm him? She had never done anything like this, why would she now? She was the one who made him smile, she was the one who defeated his loneliness. She gave him a constant feel of familiarity, she made him feel warm.
She made him feel loved. Harry’s mental projection started to grin. Yes, love. That was it. Love, Harry was in love.
With an agonizing scream a black mess pushed its way out of Harry’s mental throat.
“You fool, you have to kill her. Love makes you weak, kill her, destroy her, rip her apart! I haven’t waited over a decade to be banished by such an annoyance!” The mass screamed.
Harry stumbled and fell to the ground, in front of his eyes he witnessed how Ginny’s mind was assaulted by a teenager and a black cloud. Desperately he called out for her.
“Ginny please, I can`t live without you. You have to fight with me, I know you are here. Ginny please come to me, I beg you.”
“Harry? Are you here? It is so dark, I can´t see you. My life is awful, everybody hates me. I am worthless.”
“That`s not true, I would never hate you! You are amazing, you are smart and beautiful.”
“You are lying to me! I know how the world looks at me, all my life I was an outcast, and my own family hates me. I should just die, Tom was right, I should let him make me feel better.”
“Tom is lying!” Harry screamed mentally. “Please Ginny look at how much fun we had together, don’t these memories mean anything to you?”
“I only had a nice life when I was with you. I am nothing without you. I am so worthless. I am hated by the world. My brothers never let me play with them, my housemates don`t like me because of my family and my parents don’t like me either.”
“That`s not true they all like you, but do you really want to throw away the time we spend together?”
“No, but what happens if you leave me? I will be all alone.”
“I will never leave you Ginny. Never.”
“Why, how can you be sure you will always be with me when I am so useless?”
< p>“Because… Because I love you! Since the day I met you on the train station I was always thinking about you. You were my first friend and you still are my only friend. You are funny and smart, cheeky and strong, I want to always be with you.”
“< em>Strong? How can you lie to me like this? I am weak, I lost to Tom.”
“No, you haven’t lost yet. You are strong because you fought him for close to an entire year. Who else could withstand the assault of the strongest dark wizard on your mind? Only you, so please come back with me.”
“How? How can I come back. I don`t see you.”
“Follow my voice, follow it. Yes I feel you getting stronger, warmer, just keep on running towards me. Yes, you are almost there, you are amazing. I love you. Come to me, I am close. Just a couple of more steps, yes I can almost smell you. YES!”
A golden light spread out in Ginny’s mind and Harry felt as if he was being sucked into it. All the traces from Tom’s memory altering were vanishing but Tom and the black mass were fighting against it. Throwing all their hate towards the light they managed to keep it at bay.
The light closed in on them but the evil duo held their ground, in a desperate move to break out, Tom sucked in the cloud. He immediately screamed out in pain but it soon turned into laughter. “Yes, yes. My knowledge finally has a stronger soul. I am immortal, I am the greatest wizard alive. I am Lord Voldemort!”
The children couldn`t do anything but stand in the light watching in fear how the grossly deformed teenager was fighting against the light.
“Harry we have to stop him! We have to fight him.”
“I know, but how?”
Bo th concentrated on the light, tried to fuel it, willing it to destroy their enemy but Voldemort was standing his ground. No matter the assault, he blocked it. No matter the tactic, he knew it. No matter the taunts they threw at him, he remained concentrated. It dawned on the kids why he was considered the Darkest Wizard of history, if a mere Shadow was able to overpower them in their own mind, how did anybody ever think you could win against him?
The battle was relentless, but despite Voldemort’s invincible defence, he was not able to make any further assaults on Ginny`s mind. He was trapped.
“That’s it.” Harry yelled out. “We can’t drive him out, but we can trap him. Like with Occlumency, we usually kept people out, now we will keep someone in.”
“I don`t want him to be inside of me! I want him out, I don’t want to ever see his face again.”
“But it`s not working, we can`t win this.”
“But how can we be sure that he will remain imprisoned?”
“We will use the golden light. We can control it together, let’s form a wall around him with it.”
The kids concentrated once more on the light. It filled them with warmth and love, a deep understanding of each other flooded through them. Harry knew why she hated Tom so much, if there is anything she valued about herself it was her free will. She was an independent and free spirited woman, Tom took that away.
And Ginny understood why Harry was not too concerned about imprisoning Voldemort, at least temporarily, he suspected that the black mass in him had been a part of Voldemort. She knew that Harry was deeply troubled at having lived with it for such a long time and he wondered if Daniel had a part of Voldemort in him too.
With a final push, they closed the wall of light around Voldemort and sacked down in relief. They had done it, they had won the fight. Not the battle, but the fight.
For the first time since the battle started Harry and Ginny looked around and took in their environment.
They had never expected that the mind of a human would be this… spacious. It was a room, or a world, maybe a city, full of pictures, sounds and emotions. Looking to their right, they were seeing the burrow and a younger looking Mrs. Weasley yelling for Ginny because Dinner was ready. Both smiled at the normalcy of the memory.
But to their shock they saw some else’s memories on the right side. A small wall was separating those memories, but close to the golden light their seemed to be an entrance. Cautiously they made their way over and pried in. They saw how a young Harry was blaming his brother for the scrambled eggs he had accidentally burned.
Both chuckled at that, until it dawned on them that they should be in Ginny`s mind.
The looked at each other shocked and then woke up with a start.
Both bodies bolted upright into a sitting position eyes wide open, their hands clutched tightly. They took in a synchronic sharp breath. Harry stared into her eyes and to his relief their colour was back. A weak smile formed on her lips and she whispered: “I love you too.” They leaned towards each other and kissed. A warmth engulfed their entire body and if they had opened their eyes they would see the most beautiful arrangement of golden lights around them. As they were busy exploring the sensation of kissing they did not realise any of this but felt how right it all was just in this very moment. They kissed until they were suddenly overcome by the exhaustion of their previous battle and they fell asleep hugging each other tightly.
“Good morning, firebug.”
“Morning” she yawned. “How long have we been asleep?”
“I don`t know, but sleeping with you felt amazing.”
“Yes, it was the best night of sleep I ever had.”
Their eyes fell back onto the Diary. “I want to destroy, I don’t want to use it ever again.” Ginny whispered weakly and Harry nodded. Both got up, still clutching hands, and scooped the diary up.
“I tried to burn it, it didn’t even get scorched.”
“Oh, we really were stupid for using the diary, huh?
“Yes we were. I thought I lost you.”
“I would have been lost if not for you, you were my light in the darkness. I felt your warmth and when you said you loved me…. It was so wonderful, I felt whole.”
“I know what you mean, just now when you said you love me, it`s like my heart changed its beat. I feel like I am not just me, like I am you.”
“That`s exactly how I feel, oh I love him so much.”
“Uh, Ginny did you say something?”
“Huh? I said I would be lost without you.”
“No afterwards, did you say that’s how you feel too?”
She gaped at him open mouthed: “Yes, can you read my mind?”
Harry concentrated on her mind and tried to say “Yes” mentally.
“Oh I can hear you, how are you doing it?”
“Just concentrate on me, and then will your speech to me without moving your mouth. It`s surprisingly easy, like you can just do it.”
“Can you hear me?”
“Yes, I can.”
“Wow, that`s awesome. And your voice sounds even more soothing mentally than normal.”
Ginny blushed. “Yes, you always make me comfortable and calm me down. I love your voice and the way you talk. And the rest too.”
Ha rry hugged her tightly and the diary slipped out of his hands. “Let’s deal with this first, we can talk about us after.”
“Well, you can`t run away from me. My voice is haunting you forever now! At least I hope it`s forever, just imagine how much fun classes will be.”
“We will be able to pull the best pranks the world has ever seen.”
“And our Chaser game will be unstoppable.
“But I really want to get rid of the diary first.”
“Right, fire didn’t work. What else can we try?”
Ha rry picked up a sharp rock and slammed it vigorously onto the diary, it didn’t even leave a scratch.
Suddenly they heard a loud rooster croaking and they were reminded of the gigantic serpent lingering in the hall. “Do you, do you think it`s dead? Did the rooster really kill it? I don`t trust our own plans right now.” Ginny said.
“Me neither… hey remember basilisk poison? It’s said to be able to destroy everything, if it can`t destroy the diary nothing can.”
“Good idea, let’s hope it really is dead.”
“We should hurry, I don`t know how long the poison takes until it stops working.”
The kids jogged along the chamber towards the croaking rooster. Soon they stood in front of a gigantic serpent with a rooster standing proudly on top.
Ginny burst out giggling and said: “I want to keep the rooster, can we? Please.”
“You want a rooster as pet? Ah well, it did safe our lives, so why not. But he will sleep in your dormitories!”
Harry’s heart made a leap as she said it and judging by Ginny’s smile it didn`t go unnoticed.
“I felt that! I felt your joy!”
“Did you really feel it, my beautiful girlfriend who I love…. Oh yes I felt it too. Amazing.”
“Did you just say that to test me?!”
“No, well yes. But I really think you are beautiful and I love you.”
Th ey walked over to the serpent’s mouth and placed the diary on top of a fang.
“Let´s push it down on three. One… two… THREE!”
An agonizing scream left the diary and a phantom figure of a handsome school boy left it, the boy tried to runaway but slipped and fell on the floor. He lay there twitching and screaming in pain. “You did this to me! How dare you after all I taught you, you betrayed me, you killed me!” A last gurgle was heard and then he faded away.
“This was not really Voldemort, was it?”
“No, probably just a tiny leftover of him. The rest is in our prison.
“But didn`t Ron say they defeated Voldemort last year too?”
“Right, three times is the charm, right? Once killed by my brother as a baby, once last year and once imprisoned by us just now.”
“Now let’s get out of here, we can come back and explore some other time, I want to shower I feel filthy and I am starving.”
“I think we have to bring the diary to Dumbledore. I don`t like him too much, but he really knows a lot and maybe he can find out why Tom was inside the diary and keep it from happening again.” Harry reasoned.