Disclaimer: J.K. Rowling owns Harry Potter; I am in no way claiming to.
A/N: Thanks for the reviews! SLIGHT H/G at the start, BUT this is a T/G fic, and it's not like Ginny would choose Harry over Tom, or at least in this fic. Oh, yes, and this disregards the epilogue by the way (takes place before it anyway). Enjoy!
Ginevra Weasley sits up and squints at her boyfriend through the darkness. She can barely see him, and she knows it is not just the amount of light that obscures her vision. It is the distance between them.
Harry is covered in darkness, even after Voldemort's defeat; she fancies that even though the Dark Lord's soul has been vanquished, Harry still feels its residue seeping into his bloodstream, his heart, creeping through his body like a parasite. Perhaps her own selfishness is keeping him alive, or maybe she is the one in darkness, maybe she is keeping Harry from happiness.
Yet she cannot feel regret about what she is doing… about what she is hiding. Because she'd never really do it, would she?
Questioning yourself Ginevra? Surely you should be a little more confident, a voice at the back of her mind scoffs.
She knows it is only her imagination, that Tom is long gone from the world unless she chooses otherwise, but she replies, as she always does.
I am perfectly confident, Tom, as I know I won't give in. Your confidence, however, is a bit unfounded, no?
A chuckle is his only acknowledgement, but he knows she is right. She is more and more right these days.
Don't delude yourself my dear. I only wait for you to betray everyone. I feel as if it would be better for you if – pardon, when – you do so of your own accord.
She scowls, knowing that his arrogance is only partly ridiculous. She is already betraying them, after all. I can rip you to pieces, she warns and gets out of bed, her feet padding lightly on the cold stone floor as she makes her way to the bathroom, knowing she will not sleep again that night. Watching Harry sleep is too painful; she has to move.
Then do so! Tom laughs. She ignores him, as she inevitably ends up doing after each of their "conversations". His mirth echoes in her head. Tonight, it seems, she will not be able to shake him off.
'Ginny!' a friendly voice called from the adjacent cubicle, and she looked up, a smile automatically lighting up her face. Inside, she felt disgust: how could this man who had lost so much be so chirpy? So carefree, when she herself was still in mourning for everything she had lost – and gained?
Working in the Department for Magical Games and Sports meant that she had to coalesce with happy people on an almost daily basis, and though she liked her job this particular aspect of it was not something she considered a perk. Still, Ted Lupin was an old family friend.
'Yes, Teddy?' she asked, trying to sound enthusiastic. This outward vigour was her shell, her protection; of course she had recovered from every single set-back in her entire life, of that she toiled to convince everyone. She had been the one to bring her family back together as much as possible after Fred's death, and she would damn well attempt to seem as composed as the other survivors of the war she knew who had lost, even while inside her grief took control.
'Did you get the Gob stones report I sent out?'
'Yes, I did,' Ginny said patiently. Ted was very sincere, but he had an awful memory and was just as clumsy as his mother.
'Thank goodness!' Ted said lightly. 'I was afraid Marie had eaten another of my files,' he added, causing a small chuckle to rise up in Ginny's throat, one of the few genuine laughs she had made for a long time. Marie was Ted's dog, a loveable puppy with the tendency to destroy important documents.
'Well, bye! Good luck with the Quidditch Cup preparations, I've heard it's a real toughie, thank the gods this business with the Quadpot came up and I was put on it,' Ted smiled, disappearing back into his own cubicle, leaving Ginny to brood once more.
It was true that she had an enormous amount of work to do – the Quidditch World Cup was once again coming to Britain, and she was one of the many employees put to work with helping everything go smoothly – but she was not ready to face this. Since the night before, Tom had been speaking a lot more often than usual. She had been feeling lonely recently – too lonely – and she was afraid she might actually do something she would regret.
She sifted through some papers dejectedly, listening to Tom's plans for World Domination with her by his side, stifling a laugh as they became more ridiculous by the moment.
The problem was, no matter how outrageous, all of these plots were possible. And her determination, her love for those around her, was wavering. Her sentiments weren't exactly what one would expect from a girl like her, one who had fought the Dark Lord and his minions with complete conviction, especially a Weasley. But, realising this, all she could think about was how that was the way it should be.
All of her life, she has been cognisant of the constant smothering she was being subjected to by her family. Even now, they were all so protective of her that their endeavours to shelter her were pointless; they were doomed from the start. She was loath to even glance at them or let them hug her, as if their embrace could make any difference.
But she did. She put up with it. Just as Tom put up with her silence.
It was not abhorrence Ginny felt whenever she was with Harry. No, it was simply acceptance. It was natural for her to suppress her feelings and desires, to accept the irrevocable effect her experience with Tom, Fred's death, continued rejection from Harry until it suited him, had had on her. She could not love her friends and family as she once had.
But neither could she forget her suffering in the Chamber of Secrets, her suffering while she was possessed with Lord Voldemort's younger self; a man who had been so kind to her, a man who had stolen her heart, only manipulating her so that he may drain her life away and use her spirit to return to the living once more. Yet she could forgive this enigma, for at least he made her feel that she was not worthless, that she had some use. She had struggled; as anyone should when faced with the knowledge of their death, but it was a half-hearted, pointless battle. She struggled because she was a brave, noble, foolish Gryffindor. No other reason.
It was due to this rationale that she was now sitting at her desk across from the two most precious possessions she owned. Two crumpled pieces of parchment which she had torn out of Tom's diary years ago. Now, the reason for this had worn away with the pages, but she had still kept them.
She had used them once, when her need to contact Tom had been overpowering. It was the time that Harry had first kissed her. A part of her had been happy, another unsure, and one other part still that hated the ground Mr Potter walked on. It was the last two that had prompted her to talk to her old friend, and now, with similar feelings, she stared at the parchment before her. Her hand hovered near the quill, battling with her conscience.
It was harder than she thought it would be to make the decision. Harder than in her sixth year. Then it had been easy; she'd had every idea what she wanted to do. Ginny was euphoric that she had achieved what she set out to, but appalled that she would even consider getting involved with Harry Potter, Tom Riddle's enemy.
But now… Why was it so difficult? All she needed was a quill, some ink and those torn out pages. It would only be a conversation, and Tom wasn't strong enough to return through those small bits of parchment.
'Why am I so scared?'
Because you know the temptation would be too intense. Because you know the spell to resurrect me, and you've practised it. No matter how many times you want to forget, or tell yourself "Never again", you practise it every night. Because this is the time that you need me the most. Because this time there is no Harry Potter to save the day, and only you and me and the darkness. Because that's all you've ever wanted, Tom whispers in her ear, and she can almost see him out of the corner of her eye.
But when she looks he's not there, and she feels a pang of longing for the man she could spill her secrets to, to the man who had ended her loneliness.
It's wrong, it's wrong, it's wrong, completely and utterly wrong, she chants inwardly, trying to convince herself. But her body has already reacted to Tom's words and the parchment is sitting on the desk before her, along with a bottle of ink. The quill is now in her hand, which is slowly dipping into the inkwell. She knows it is too late.
But then her hand stops moving.
Last chance, Gin. You could tear me apart and throw me in the bin, or banish me to the other side, or burn me or destroy me. You'd lose me forever. Or you could bring me to life, bring your friend and confidant into the world where you can touch me and finally know that you are not alone.
And her hand keeps moving.
Dipping into the inkwell.
He'll kill them all!
Poised above the parchment.
What about Harry?
It's not as if it matters anymore.
Scratching words onto the parchment.
A few seconds of silence, and then a few more seconds.
But… The spell? Nothing's happening!
Obviously it hadn't worked: apart from the slight pain in her chest, there was no sign of the side-effects she had been warned about in the book she had found Advocis Evoco in. She sighed in relief, at the same time letting tears of sorrow fall down her cheeks. All of her hope had gone. The parchment was unmoving. Even the words of the spell had not soaked in.
The ticking of the clock startled her from her reverie and she sighed in resignation, slowly entering into work mode, ready to deal with the massive pile of work she needed to get through that day. She stood up, not even bothering to hide the worthless parchment. Turning to go, her mind already on her job, she started toward the door.
Only to see Tom leaning against the frame.
"Hello, Ginevra. It's been such a long time, hasn't it? My little Ginevra, all grown up. So much has changed… I don't know what I expected, but I assumed you would have taken better care of your appearance. You look as if you've seen a ghost."
Ginny leaned against Tom, wincing as another wave of pain washed over her. She was weak from the spell, which not only required some sort of emotional link between the caster and recipient, but also a part of the caster's soul, among other things. This weakness and pain could carry on for hours – days, even – but Ginny could only think, It was worth it, as Tom's arm snaked around her waist protectively.
'Thank you, Ginevra,' he said. He had never called her Ginny, as everyone else did. Perhaps she would be weak forever now, but that simple thanks, that simple name, were enough to chase away her fear. Tom was there. There was nothing that could go wrong now.
She would never be lonely again.
'That's okay, Tom,' she whispered. 'Now what was that you were saying earlier?'
'I was saying… you do realise that I won't turn nice all of a sudden? I still want to purge the world of Mudbloods and Harry Potter – not even you can stop that. But I really would prefer your support in this matter.'
'Can't this wait?' Ginny said quietly, her face white from the pain. Tom, meanwhile, was getting stronger. He could leave her right then and there, but he was staying by her side.
He knew he would feel the need to atone if he left her. If he killed her.
'No,' he said coldly.
'Tom…' she muttered wearily. 'If I didn't recognise this, I wouldn't have brought your soul out of those pages again.'
'Again?' Tom whispered, confused.
'You still don't remember what you did to me? I suppose I must have ripped those pages out before that, then.'
Tom wanted to ask, but understood that she did not want him to.
He's more innocent than I thought. This Tom hasn't tried to kill me yet. I suppose I got him just before I threw the diary away – yes, that's probably it. I still couldn't bear letting him go then. I can't now either.
She clung to him. 'Do what you will,' she said decisively. There was no going back. The spell dictated that they would be joined forever by this bond; both their minds and bodies were connected and they could not separate.
He kissed the top of her head, but she hesitated before lifting her mouth to his.
'What's the matter?' he asked, amused. 'Don't tell me you regret me?'
Ginny laughed and responded by kissing him quickly. It was short and sweet, but now there was definitely no going back.
'Or perhaps you regret that you didn't do all this sooner, my Dark Princess?' he said, half-mockingly, half-seriously.
'In your dreams,' she muttered and snuggled up against him. She fell asleep quickly, but Tom was kept awake by his racing thoughts.
Together, he thought, they would be indestructible.