Ahhh, dear readers, here it is. My first attempt at a serious fanfic. Yes, yes, I know you're thinking "FFF, what in blue blazes are you thinking!" but please bear with me and give it a chance. Just a little one-shot I scribbled up today in tribute of the new Harry Potter movie. Enjoy (I hope):


Ginny sat, curled up on the dusty sofa in the basement of Grimmauld Place, which, despite, the efforts of the Order, continued to shudder every few minutes with unpleasant groans. She had been rather afraid it'd belch out something dangerous, but fear had lost against comfort and so here she lay, watching the fire.

Comfort. It was ironic, really, that with a family of six brothers and so many friends, Ginny had no place to go for comfort. She'd had a cat once, an old patched-looking thing (like everything in the Burrow) named Muttons that would let her stroke it when she got upset, but Charlie had transfigured it into a Quaffle for a game of Quidditch, chucked it past the trees, and lost it. That had been the end of comfort, but not the end of her love for cats.

She must have been the first student in the history of Hogwarts to befriend Mrs. Norris. Ginny grinned at the thought, and then had to suppress a sob as memories of her first year, what she'd done to Mrs. Norris, to those victims, everything, everything resurfaced.

It'd been floating around her mind already, from seeing Professor Lockhart again, and that was why she was here on this couch, trying to grasp some sort of safety from brittle thread and stiff fluff. Of course, when the others had seen Lockhart in the Spell Damage Ward that day, they were only a bit shocked and guilty, and anyway it'd been driven out of their minds by the sight of Neville's parents.

But to her…oh, to her it brought once again the cool dampness of the Chamber floor, warm blood on her fingers as she woke from possession, the cold touch of Riddle's words in her mind. The feeling had been intensifying during break, first with Harry's "possession", and now Lockhart…she almost felt like a first year again.

She was surrounded by so many loving people, but that love wasn't really hers. Ron and Hermione were probably off squabbling, her mum was most likely yelling at Mundungus or Sirius, and Harry…off mooning over Cho Chang, she guessed bitterly. She couldn't help but begrudge the girl, for being so pretty and talented and having Harry. And then she scolded herself for thinking such things, when she had Michael and Harry had Cho… but… she didn't like Michael all that much, really.

She decided to let go of these complex thoughts and instead gazed in awe at the fire, amazed by its power to chase away the most loathsome of creatures, the worst of her nightmares…

"Ginny!" It was Fred's voice. "Dinner!"

She yawned. "Coming," she called sleepily, but didn't stir, gazing again at the fire. It can chase away snakes and damp and cold, she thought in a bit of a stupor.

And then it was Harry's voice, coming from the lowest basement step. Harry. The thought of him in her head was fierce and inspiring and warm, whereas Tom had been cool and soothing. And she'd become addicted to both of them.

"Ginny?" he asked a bit nervously, coming to sit beside her on the couch. And it suddenly lurched about with disturbing groans again. Harry jumped a bit and moved closer to her.

"It won't eat you," Ginny murmured dazedly.

Harry grinned nervously. "Always good to know about a couch." He paused. "Are you coming to dinner?"

But her mind was still on the couch. In these few hours of becoming so acquainted with it, she'd become rather fond of the old thing. But then, said a voice in her head that sounded strangely boyish and older, you have a knack for getting along with dark and possibly dangerous things, don't you, Ginny? She could see Tom's smirk, and shuddered.

Harry saw this and put a hand on her arm. "All right?" he asked. "Is it about Neville?"

She shook her head. But the mention of Neville was just another example to prove that the world outside was dark, and that there would never be enough fire to light up the whole lot of it.

Harry's hand was burning her arm. Instinctively, she leaned her head up against his chest. "It's just…Lockhart. You know. Just being—silly."

Harry nodded awkwardly and pulled her into his lap, arms around her, loose but warm. "Are you remembering Riddle?" he asked.

Ginny nodded. "Yeah. It just seems so hopeless now that he's back. It doesn't seem as if we've got a chance against—You-Know-Who," she finished lamely.

"Voldemort," Harry said fiercely.

"Voldemort," she said softly. She looked up at him, and his eyes seemed more fervent and manic than she'd ever seen them. "How do you bear it?" she murmured.

Harry shrugged. "You just go on like always. I mean, I s'pose there's always going to be foul people like Voldemort and Snape and Umbridge in this world"—Harry stopped as Ginny took his scarred and damaged hand in her own and squeezed it. "I know", she said.

He continued to gaze at her, and she looked up at him. And it was like the fire had leapt from the fireplace and was radiating between their eyes.

And Ginny broke the moment with a sob. "I'm sorry, Harry."

"Sorry?" He looked stricken.

"I shouldn't have let him get to me. You fought him, you fought him in your first year, he never got you to do anything like I did, and he offered you power and your parents back, and I fell for it just for companionship"—

"Ginny!" Harry exclaimed.

She blubbered on. "I wish I could be strong like you, I try, I really do, but I'm nothing compared to Tom and I never will be"—

"Anything Voldemort's done has never been his victims' faults!" Harry retorted. "You threw away that diary once, Ginny, you stood up to him when people thrice older than you just gave up!"

Ah, yes, the toilet incident. Irony once again, that Tom Riddle, harbinger of the cold and the damp, should end up underwater, if only for a little while. Yes, that had been her best moment, her victory. Trust Harry to remember. Ginny sniffled and gave a watery smile. "Should've chucked it into the lake," she whispered.

"What, you'd rather have the giant squid roaming the school and setting loose basilisks?" Harry grinned slowly. Ginny laughed. And then—

"Ginevra Weasly, DINNER!" Mrs. Weasley's voice came from upstairs. "You too, Harry dear!" Fred's voice said something incomprehensible, but Ginny was sure it'd been a joke about Harry and her and activities she'd approve of heartily (snogging, mainly), as it was followed by a bout of laughter and a roar from Ron.

Harry chuckled and disentangled himself from Ginny. "C'mon," he said, standing up and pulling her up with him. And then he did something she'd never suspect of the shying, nervous Harry, and kissed her on the cheek.

Before she followed him up the stairs, she took a last glance at the hearth. He'll do it, she said to herself firmly. And the world that rises from Tom's ashes, it'll be just as much our world as it used to be.

After all, the cold and the damp could only keep out the fire for so long. Ginny steeled herself and leapt up the stairs after Harry.