Ginny didn't waste time breaking the diary, Tom, out.

She normally tried not to write with so many people around. It wasn't that she thought it'd look weird, exactly, but she had this terrible feeling someone would look over her shoulder and realize that Ginny's diary wasn't your usual diary. Maybe they'd look, they'd see him responding back, and they'd take him away from her where she'd never find him again.

As far as her dorm mates, her house mates, everyone in this school Ginny didn't have a diary.

Tonight though it didn't matter, keeping her privacy and protecting Tom was an after thought, because everything had changed. Everyone was up all night, terrified whispers flying around the common room as they talked about the chamber, what it might be, what some thought it was, and rumors passed down by grandparents.

Crawling onto her bed, desperately dipping her quill into a jar of ink, Ginny scribbled, "Tom, something's happened, something awful, we have to talk."

"Ginny, what—"

"In person! I need to talk to you in person!"

Tom didn't say anything, she could almost feel his wariness and confusion, but thankfully he seemed to realize that Ginny was serious and things had changed. One moment Ginny was on her bed and the next she was standing in front of him in the diary.

"Ginny?" he asked carefully, eyes wide, reaching out towards her with one of his pale and perfect hands.

Ginny looked down, staggered back, even in here Ginny's hands were covered in that blood from earlier.

She tried wiping them on her clothes again, but unlike in the Great Hall, the blood didn't go away. Instead it stained her clothes but as soon as it smeared there more blood appeared on her hands.

"Ginny, you need to calm down," Tom said slowly, still reaching out, but Ginny just stumbled backwards and shook her head.

"I don't—" she shuddered, "I don't know where it came from. There were dead roosters everywhere, someone cut their bloody heads off, and I was somehow in the great hall covered in blood that isn't even mine—"

"Ginny!" finally his hands caught hers.

For a moment she shuddered, tried to pull away, wanting to say the blood would just get on him too.

"Look, Ginny," he said, slowly turning her hands back over, there was no blood anymore. Suddenly, just like that, it was all gone. Like it'd all just been a dream.

Merlin, she wished it was just a dream.

She let out a final, shuddering, sigh, and slowly moved her way over to the sofa in front of the fireplace. She curled her legs up onto the couch, placed her head and hands on her knees, and stared into the fire.

"Something's happening," Ginny said quietly, unable to look at him, "I keep blacking out, nearly once a day now, and today… Something happened out there."

"What happened?" Tom pressed, moving a strand of hair away from her face and tucking it behind her ear.

Ginny just shook her head, "I don't know. I was talking to you and then, just like that, I wasn't. I was in the great hall, but I was covered in blood, and then I turned around and there were these dead roosters. Someone went and petrified Filch's cat even. And—"

"And?" he prompted, squeezing her shoulder in comfort.

She turned to look at him, eyes wide, fingers clenching her knees for comfort, "Tom, what's the chamber of secrets?"

For a moment he said nothing, he just stared at her, and then his expression darkened, "What happened out there Ginny?"

"Some blighter went and wrote 'The chamber of secrets has been opened. Enemies of the heir beware' on the wall in blood," Ginny said, trying to say it like it was funny, like it was some joke of Fred and George's that went a little too far for comfort, but she knew it wasn't.

Tom removed his hand from her shoulder, stared into the fire, and said, "Fifty years ago, when I was in school, just before I made this notebook someone wrote that same message using the blood of Hogwarts' roosters."

"You mean—" Ginny said slowly.

Tom didn't let her finish, "Legend has it that Salazar Slytherin left behind a parting gift in Hogwarts, a secret chamber beneath the castle, where some say he left a monster for his heir. Fifty years ago, after that message was written, muggle born students were petrified left and right for months. It was a madhouse, everyone was desperate and paranoid, thinking the monster could be anyone or anything. Then, of course, someone died."

Ginny felt herself choking on her own horror, the vision of someone's body, a student's body where Mrs. Norris had been.

"Myrtle Warren," Tom said quietly, "Muggle born, Ravenclaw, a few years younger than me."

Ginny waited for him to say more, maybe more about the girl, more about the petrifications, the chamber, something. He didn't though, just stared quietly into the fire, brooding about years and years ago.

"Did they catch him? I mean, the guy who wrote the message, the heir?" Ginny asked.

"I caught him," Tom said, lacing his hands together, a dark satisfied look crossing his beautiful features, "Rubeus Hagrid had been raising an acromantula secretly within the castle."

"Hagrid?!" Ginny asked.

"He'd always had difficulties as a student," Tom said gravely, "His grades were poor, he had no friends to speak of, and was tormented by purebloods and muggle borns alike for his mixed heritage. The staff had previously overlooked his breeding of slightly less dangerous monsters but after the petrifications, after the murder, it was clear something had to be done."

"But Hagrid—" Ginny started but Tom didn't let her finish.

"He was arrested, brought before the Wizengamot, his wand was snapped, and he was expelled from Hogwarts. Out of an abundance of pity, Dumbledore hired the boy on as a groundskeeper."

Right, he used that umbrella now, didn't he? Groundskeeper, Ginny suddenly paled, "He's still a groundskeeper…"

"Of course he is," Tom said with a small, bitter, smile, "It's not like he's going to get hired anywhere else."

Ginny opened her mouth, closed it, and then said, "But Hagrid?"

Ginny hadn't met Hagrid, at least, not beyond the man guiding her to the boats. He'd seemed so nice though, Ron said he was a real stand up guy, had a penchant for breeding dangerous pets like dragons and three headed dogs but no one who would intentionally hurt a fly.

Tom just shrugged, "After he was arrested the petrifications stopped."

"You mean you think Hagrid, as in Hagrid, is the heir of Slytherin?!" Ginny balked.

"Of course not," Tom said dismissively, "He didn't have to be though. Anyone can write that the chamber of secrets is open, claim to be Slytherin's long lost heir, that doesn't mean that he actually found and opened it. All he had to do was set loose a monster in the halls."

"But—" Ginny tried and failed to say what she wanted to, that Hagrid was so nice, that he didn't seem to hold a grudge against anybody. Finally, she said, "You don't think it's him again, do you?"

Tom shrugged, "Who knows, he's still here which is worrying. It could be a copycat though, fifty is a nice round number, and it's not like sentiment about muggle borns has changed all that much. If I were you, Ginny, I'd watch out in these coming months."

"Months?!" Ginny stood, pacing back and forth, "You can't mean we should sit back and let this happen all over again!"

"They're not going to jail Hagrid for petrifying a cat," Tom said with raised eyebrows.

"It's not Hagrid!"

"Then you'd better find out who it really is before you go pointing fingers at anyone," Tom said, throwing his hands up as if he had no idea what to do with her, "Being a book, only knowing you, I'm afraid Hagrid is my best guess."

Ginny paced back and forth, her mind all over the place. She thought about the words, what Tom had just told her, the petrified cat, the roosters, and all the blood. She felt like she needed to calm down, sit down and think, but she couldn't because everything was falling apart.

She didn't know what was happening.

Ginny stopped in place, forcing herself to breathe, to collect herself while Tom watched helplessly.

No, no she wasn't helpless, it wasn't hopeless. It was 1992 and there was one thing that gave Ginny hope in all of this mess.

"Ellie Potter," she said with certainty, "I need to talk to Ellie Potter."

She looked over at him, "You need to talk to Ellie Potter. Tell her what you told me, all of it, and she'll find out who it is and stop them!"

"Potter?!" Tom blurted, looking utterly floored and almost insulted for a moment, then held up placating hands, "Look, Ginny, we don't even know what this is yet. Maybe it's nothing, maybe someone heard some old urban legend from their grandfather and thought it'd be a great prank, probably some entitled Slytherin. There's no need to—"

"What if you're wrong?" Ginny asked, "What if it's happening again? What if—"

"You're jumping the gun," Tom insisted, and at Ginny's confused expression explained with a sigh, "Muggle idiom, sorry, what I mean to say is you're getting ahead of yourself. There's no need to involve anyone, not Dumbledore, and certainly not Ellie Potter."


"Do you really want this to be your first impression?" Tom asked.

And it would be, he knew that Ginny hadn't worked up the nerve to talk to Ellie once. Ginny would just come in out of nowhere, screaming at her, demanding Ellie talk to her magic diary. And what if Ellie took Tom away? Would Ginny be able to say no if someone like Ellie Potter wanted a diary like that for herself?

Ginny slowly sat back down on the couch.

"There's no need to panic yet," Tom said, patting her on the shoulders, "I admit that dead roosters are… distressing but we have time. Someone older and wiser than you, me, or even Ellie Potter will take care of this. Isn't that why Dumbledore's headmaster?"

"Right," Ginny said, yes, Dumbledore would figure it out, with or without Ginny.

As for Ginny, well, she'd look crazy no matter who she went to. Her brothers would never listen, wouldn't even give her the time of day, so all she could do was keep an eye out and talk with Tom.

Tom Riddle, her only friend.

"You'll be okay, Ginny," Tom said, squeezing her shoulder, "Everything will work out."

Ginny nodded slowly. She looked down at her hands, clean once again, and then back up at him.

"Hey, Tom?" she asked slowly, "Why would my hands be covered in blood?"

His mouth curled downwards, he squeezed her shoulder and looked past her into the fire, "I don't know, Ginny. I don't know."

It didn't get better though, for Ginny or for Hogwarts.

The blackouts, the blips, which used to be once a day for only a few minutes got longer. It seemed like Ginny spent more and more time being anyone but Ginny. Where before she might miss a class or two now it felt like she only startled awake here and there.

She'd suddenly find herself in the great hall eating lunch, standing in that depressing dungeon loo nobody liked, or hidden away in some broom closet or another. She'd have only enough time to take a bite, to stumble out into the hallway, and then she'd be gone again just like that.

She had no idea what day it was, what month it was, time passed erratically. Every time Ginny was aware of herself, she desperately checked for the time and the date. That was how Ginny found out that it wasn't just days but weeks passing her by without her even noticing.

A blink of an eye and it was already the end of October.

The only time that time seemed to pass regularly, that she didn't slip in and out of reality, was when she was with Tom inside the notebook.

Except Tom couldn't explain what was happening to her.

Her meetings with he fake Ellie in the notebook disappeared, after that night, almost immediately and instead it was just Tom and Ginny again. It felt like her whole life was disappearing, slipping between her fingers, and all Tom could do was look at her in pity and ask her to get rest.

And then, after a while (or maybe after no time at all) he stopped bothering at all.

"I'm so scared, Tom," she said, clutching at herself inside the Slytherin common room, it was the only thing she seemed to have left to say, "I don't know what's happening or where I am or—"

He didn't look at her.

He never did anymore, he used to, but now he stared away from her as if he couldn't even stand the sight of her. Like she was something diseased, something wrong, something that was wasting away in front of his eyes just like Ginny feared.

She wondered if she'd made the old Tom, the Tom who cared and smiled, up inside of her head. Maybe she'd been so desperate for a friend, for anyone, she'd imagined the whole thing when he'd always been this.

Except, no, he hadn't always been like this.

Something had happened.

Well, that was an understatement. Those petrifications Tom had warned about were happening all over the place. Even in and out of time like Ginny was she could pick up that much. Each time she came back to the world of the living there was news of one more body found, one more victim, and more whispers that Ellie Potter must be the one behind it for all the girl's going on about finding the heir herself. That or, perhaps, it was Hagrid just like fifty years ago.

Ginny tried to reach out to her, to find Ellie Potter herself and tell her what she knew, but every time she did the world would slip through her fingers. When she came to, Ellie was never there, always somewhere out of reach.

It wasn't just Hogwarts though; something had happened to Tom.

The notebook had changed somewhere along the way. That feeling of serenity, endless patience and comfort, was gone. The very air was electrified, the colors brighter, and you could almost taste the excitement, anticipation, nervousness, anger, all bright jagged emotions that hinted at change. Like the notebook was teetering over a knife's edge and the very parchment knew it was going to fall one way or another.

It was still the Slytherin common room, Tom's Slytherin common room, but at the same time it was anything but.

And he'd changed with it.

"Tom!" she cried out, "Please help me!"

Look at me! She wanted to scream it at the top of her lungs, shake him by his shoulders and throw him at the ground, anything so he'd say something and do something. He, of all people, couldn't pretend she wasn't there just like everyone else.

He didn't look though, didn't even glance in her direction, just kept staring at that damn fire.

Maybe, she thought, she'd slipped in and out of the notebook too the way she did in Hogwarts. Maybe Ginny wasn't really here at times and but the Ginny inside the notebook just kept moving.

Maybe Ginny had said or did something to Tom that had made him like this.

Finally, finally, he turned his head to look at her, "You should have given me a picture."


"Ellie Potter," he said slowly, as if Ginny was the one being slow, "Red hair, green eyes, looks just like her mother, that wasn't enough… No, maybe even if you'd tried, I needed to see it for myself. The great Ellie Potter, the greatest witch of her age, any age, in the flesh."

"What are you talking about?!" Ginny asked.

He stared into her eyes, but they weren't his eyes, they couldn't be. Gone was the sympathetic earnestness, that wry and patient humor, replaced by a dull contempt, "Oh Ginny, haven't you figured it out yet?"

Ginny felt her heart speed up, watched as, like a misplaced jungle cat, he stalked towards the sofa and threw himself down on it with a satisfied smile. As if everything, finally, was turning up Tom.

"Haven't I figured what out?" Ginny asked quietly.

"You'd think you'd have put it together by now," Tom said, "Of course, no one asked for an eleven year old girl to be anything but slow."

"What are you talking about?!" Ginny repeated, stepping unsteadily towards him, her legs shaking as if they knew what he was going to say before he did.

"The blackouts, the blood," he flashed Ginny a grin, not bothering to move from the sofa, "Our dear Ellie Potter is looking for you, Ginny, the heir of Slytherin."

Ginny stumbled backwards, there was nothing to catch her though, nothing to separate her from that shark-like grin on his face, "What?"

"You, Ginny, are my vessel," he said with a laugh, "The heir of the Slytherin in the flesh, well ink and parchment as it were, but we take what we can get."

Ginny opened her mouth, closed it, and barely caught herself as she fell onto the carpet.

"Oh, are you really so surprised?" Tom asked, "Did you really never suspect? Not even after the blood? You certainly didn't think it was Hagrid."

"I didn't—" Ginny said, she hadn't, not even after that night when everything had started changing.

"But you didn't think it could be you, could be me, either?" he asked, and flung himself off the couch, and then crouched in front of her. He tilted her chin up with a smile, "After all, I was nothing more than a clever enchantment, just a book."


"I'm tired of being a book, Ginny," he said with that charming, terrible, smile, "You've done me a great favor, laying your fears, your very soul, bare to me. I will be eternally grateful."

"What have you done to me?"

"Nothing much," he said dismissively, as if he really meant that, "You offered your life to me, I'm simply taking what's due."

"I didn't—"

"Oh, yes you did," he insisted with that smile, "What else is friendship, true friendship, but life itself? Didn't you want to keep me for yourself? Didn't you tell me all your secrets? Didn't you ever think, for a moment, that I deserved a world outside this notebook?"

He cupped her face almost gently, with the softest of touches, ignoring how Ginny quaked beneath him, "Ginny Weasley will disappear, that fiend the heir of Slytherin blamed, and I will take her place and walk in the sun once again."

Ginny gritted her teeth, a thousand words, a thousand curses, held behind them. Finally, eyes burning, she hissed out, "Ellie Potter will stop you!"

She expected him to laugh in contempt, to dismiss Ellie Potter as he always did, but he just grinned, "Oh, I hope she does."

"You think you can beat her?" Ginny asked, "You really think you're worse than You Know Who?"

"Oh, honestly," Tom said, rolling his eyes skyward, "You need me to spell that one out too?"

He gave her a meaningful, oh so contemptuous, look, "Ginny, name a parselmouth, the first that comes to mind."

Ginny's mouth fell open into a horrified oh, but she didn't need to say it, didn't need to finish that thought for him. The heir of Slytherin, a parselmouth, You Know Who was a parselmouth, he'd once been a boy just like anybody else…

"But you're right," he said, "I do think I'm worse than him, or at least, a little cleverer. After all, I know I wouldn't win against her in a fair fight. I remember that she's more than a worthy opponent, no matter how young she seems."

He stood, wiped off his hands on his pants, "Which, of course, is why I will do anything but fight fair."

Ginny scrambled after him, "What are you going to do to her?!"

He paused, looked over his shoulder at her, and then quietly admitted, "I don't know."

"No!" Ginny shouted, "What are you going to do to her?!"

"Sometimes, being here is enough," he said quietly, "Seeing her again, after all these years, living up to all those distant memories is enough. Just talking to her again, even in this thin, patchwork disguise…"

His expression turned contemptuous, sneering, again, "But then, I want to meet her face to face. Then I remember she left me for this. For this place she can't even stand, for the likes of you, who she's never even met."

He threw his hands out, tilting his head back, and seemed to forget Ginny was there at all, "And I remember that if she'd had any decency, if she had stayed, then maybe I would never be in this blasted notebook to begin with. Maybe, just maybe, we could have had a life together!"

"Yes," he said gravely, "Ellie Potter and I have much left to discuss."

"You won't get away with it," Ginny hissed.

"Oh, Ginny," he said, almost fondly, "I already have."

Ginny lost track of what she did to the diary.

Most of the time, Tom stopped her before she could even try. Tom was the one wearing Ginny's face most of the time these days. Because that Ginny who went about her business when Ginny wasn't there, that was Tom.

Tom doing her homework, Tom chatting with her housemates, brothers, Ellie Potter…

Ginny herself, she'd be a stranger to them, someone they might have glimpsed a few days. She'd wasted so much time squirreling herself away, talking to Tom who ate at her soul, when she should have been making an impression on anybody and everybody.

Tom could replace her entirely and nobody would even know.

She threw the diary into the lake, flushed it down the toilet, threw it into the common room's fire, tried to cut it in half…

Every time she found herself suddenly somewhere else, the diary clutched in her hands or else tucked away in her trunk safe and sound, and when she found herself dragged back into Tom's world he'd just throw his head back and laugh at her insolence and stupidity.

Eventually, Ginny knew she'd stop trying, she'd disappear meekly just like he wanted. She'd go into that black void, that memoryless world she'd grown accustomed to, and there'd only be Tom Riddle left out there.

"You try so hard," he said to her once, "I have to admit, I find it almost admirable, your fighting spirit. Though I do wish you'd stop trying to get rid of me like that."

"Eat shit," Ginny spat back at him, like she always did these days, but he never minded.

"Ginny, it's not that easy," he chided, "Do you think I didn't enchant it? Do you really think I'd leave it so unprotected? Water damage and fire isn't going to cut it."

"Do you think I care what you think?" Ginny spat back.

"You once did," he mused, "Not so long ago."

"Yeah well, not my greatest decision," Ginny said uncomfortably, desperate to look anywhere but at him, but the common room just kept getting smaller and smaller.

"It's worked out marvelously for me," he responded with a smile, "I really am grateful."

"Grateful," Ginny said with a small contemptuous laugh, "Right, I'll bet your grateful."

"If it makes you feel better," he said after a moment, "I won't waste what you've given me. Not this time, this time I'll embrace life fully."

"And what, become a dark lord again?"

"Perhaps," he said with a shrug and a distant smile, like he was just picturing his life unfurling before him, "The world's my oyster now, it's bigger than Voldemort ever was, I could pick up where he left off or could do anything at all. Whatever I do, it'll be worth all of this."

"And whatever that is involves Ellie Potter?" Ginny asked.

Because that, between trying to destroy him, trying desperately to save herself, that she'd noticed.

"Of course," he said in response.

"What happened to her being overrated?" Ginny asked, glaring over at him, wishing she could do something against him in here (she'd tried once only to remember that this was his world and his turf), "What happened to being so pissed she blew you up?"

"Can I help that the other Tom Riddle grew up to be a fool?" he asked drily, then waived his hand in dismissal, utterly unconcerned by what Voldemort had gotten up to in his absence, "I got over it, I realized you were more right than you could ever imagine. Eleanor Lily Potter is one in billions and billions, Ginny, and I can't imagine a world or life without her in it."

"Why not?"

He sighed, "You wouldn't understand."

"Try me."

He eyed her for a moment, his mouth curling in amusement, "You think you know her, love her, but you have no idea what she's capable of. You're in love with a piece of propaganda, that thing the wizarding world sold to you without her consent, you have no idea how powerful and terrifying she truly is. Trust me when I say that you wouldn't understand. This fight with Voldemort, for her, that's only the beginning."

He then grinned at her, a crazed look in his eye, "If you had any idea of what she was capable of, really capable of, you'd be running from her in terror."

"You're wrong," Ginny said simply but he didn't say anything back.

Instead he snapped his fingers, the fake Ellie Potter appearing again, smiling sweetly and demurely, "Here, Ginny, have the Ellie Potter you can handle. Take a crack at the girl you've been just dying to meet."

Ginny was glad that she didn't get the chance, as she turned away from them both, she managed to claw her way out of the diary altogether.

If only for a moment, anyway.

And just like that, there Ellie was.

Ginny was in the great hall once again, like it was any ordinary day and Ginny was any ordinary girl. Like she'd never picked up a notebook named Tom Riddle, like her biggest concerns were her grades, quidditch matches, and working up the nerve to tell Ellie Potter anything let alone how she felt.

But Ginny was wasting away and nobody cared to notice. Her brothers didn't notice, Ron didn't even look at her in this one moment, maybe the last moment he ever would have a chance to. Percy walked over and above them all. Fred and George entertained themselves. And soon Ginny wouldn't be here at all and none of them would notice or care.

No one, except, somehow, Ellie Potter.

Ginny never did have a chance to talk to her but even so the girl was staring straight at her, eyes seeming to see through her, to Ginny's soul held captive by Tom's chains.

She was standing on the Default table. Behind her, on the wall and ceiling, someone had painted a monstrosity in blood. Who was Ginny kidding, it was probably Ginny herself, Tom whistling through the night while he worked with her hands. Beautiful faces from beautiful paintings Ginny didn't recognize, static and muggle, stared down at them.

But Ginny could barely see it, all she could see was Ellie Potter standing on that table, looking down at them all.

Then, still looking at Ginny, she spoke.

"I know you're listening out there somewhere," Once again, just like on the train, her voice was commanding and captivating, even as her eyes moved past Ginny and roved over the entire great hall.

Ginny hung on every word for dear life.

"I know you don't expect me to ever find you, hiding behind the one place I never would look, wherever that might be," Ellie continued, looking everything and nothing like what Ginny pictured, somehow bigger than her body should allow her to be, "And perhaps, if we were playing your game, this might be enough. But, my old friend, we are not playing your game."

Ellie Potter motioned to all of them, her captive audience.

"This is not a play about chivalrous knights and powerful dragons," she slowly walked across Default's table, keeping her eye on every last one of them, "This is not a play about an unseen monster lurking in the dark waiting for the hero to descend into the depths and confront him. This has never been a play about Eleanor Lily Potter. This is my game, this is my play, and I say it's high time we stop these needless dramatics and collateral damage."

She pointed out at the audience, "You wish to challenge me, fine. I accept your challenge and we'll see if you really understand what it means to accept mine! Because you know very well that I don't play nice and I don't play fair and I will ruin you if I must just as you will ruin me. And we will play this never-ending game of whack-a-mole as we see fit."

She shoved her hands back into her pockets, leaned back, and surveyed her audience with a cool detachment, "I will play the prisoner's dilemma until the sun expands and beyond! So, your excellency, I will make my move as your moves have dictated and we will see what you make of yours."

Fred and George stood, looked at each other, and then began clapping. Ron shot up, then Neville, then Ginny herself. Soon the whole school was on their feet clapping. Ellie seemed to realize she was still on the table, looked down awkwardly at her feet and the ruined dishes beneath them.

Ginny pushed away from the table, wobbling as she did so, but that didn't matter. She didn't watch as Ellie Potter sat back down, as the room continued to cheer, as Dumbledore said something or another.

No, Ginny couldn't wait any longer, she knew that now.

Ellie was prepared to fight for her, had issued her challenge to the heir directly, and Ginny knew that the bastard had heard every word. He'd probably be waiting for her, had set up some trap for the girl who lived outside of Ginny's sight.

He'd forgotten about Ginny though, forgot that she'd never let him get that far.

Ginny had to fight the battle for her soul, and she had to win it on her own.

Ginny made her way out into the hallway, stumbled into a closet, then brought her wand up to her wrist. Ginny squeezed her eyes shut, gritted her teeth, and she could almost imagine Tom screaming in her head.

Wait, think about this Ginny, there's still time, he'd say. You don't have to do this to either of us. You imagine this will do anything more than slow me down? You think it'll go any differently than flushing the diary down the loo? You think actions don't have consequences?

"Shut up," Ginny hissed.

"I may not be able to get rid of you," she said to thin air, "But I can get rid of me. I can take your hands, can't I?"

Ginny could ensure that just as she never got her hands on Ellie Potter he never did either. They'd go down together, her and Tom, and they could find them buried together in Ginny's dead body.

Without Ginny, there was no more chamber, there was no showdown with Ellie Potter, without Ginny there was nothing. That was the great secret, what he'd never let her stumble on, what he'd never even admitted to himself.

He could hate her all he wanted, look down at her and laugh, but he needed her.

And Ginny could take that right out from under him.

With a scream, knowing that no one could hear her (no one ever heard her), she cast the cutting charm against her wrist. Only, before she could cast the spell, the world went black.

And then, of course, Ginny woke up right as rain in her dorm room.

Author's Note: Here comes the angst train, choo choo.

Thanks to readers and reviewers, reviews are much appreciated.

Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter