Ginny couldn't remember what the Chamber of Secrets looked like. She couldn't remember being led down there by Tom Riddle, of course, and when she'd woken up after Harry had slain the monster and defeated the evil sorcerer, after he had rescued her, all that she could remember was his eyes. The torn, ink-stained, dead diary. His eyes.
Climbing through the rubble, stumbling down the tunnel, she felt that odd, dream-like sense of having been somewhere before, somewhere you've never been. Except of course, she had been here.
The Fire Tears that Hermione had conjured turned the long, bleak tunnel a flickering blue. The rock Ginny was carrying in her other hand wasn't much of a weapon – or much of a shield either – but it was all she had. And Ginny would be damned if she was going to let Harry face Tom alone again. She was going to pay her debt.
An echoing clamor bounced up the tunnel towards her: raised voices, shrieking curses. Light sparked up from the darkness, flashes of red and green, followed by the bitter smell of ozone. Bloody hell. She wasn't going to let Harry die. There was too much she needed to tell him. There was too much she owed him.
Suddenly, the entire cavern was rocked by an enormous detonation. Thick, greasy smoke the color of rotting plants roiled its way up the top of the tunnel. Ginny ran.
As her hearing began to clear, a new sound made itself known, a high grey sound that seemed out of place so far underground.
Sprinting, Ginny came to a shattered stone wall – what had been a pair of doors. She sprinted through, panting, and for the first time was hit with the sense of true familiarity. She was in the Chamber.
The stone snake columns leered at her out of a nightmare, and the apelike face of Salazar Slytherin scowled from the far, dark end. Water was pouring from the ceiling over two robed bodies.
Ginny sloshed her way through the rapidly rising water toward the blackened, still form at the far end of the Chamber.
Towards one of the blackened, still forms at the far end of the Chamber.
"Don't be dead. Please, don't be dead," she moaned as she knelt beside Harry's blasted, wet body.
He was pale beneath the black soot that marked his face, and his arm was limp when she lifted it, but it seemed as if there might be a pulse beneath her fingers. Perhaps it was her own. Perhaps it was the tremors that were rocking the Chamber.
Tom Riddle could drown, for all she cared – though, judging by the pieces that were already missing, he'd been spared that particular fate. She tossed her rock at him just for good measure. It bounced of his chest with a hollow thud.
A deep groan overhead announced that the ceiling to the Chamber of Secrets was finally giving way, that the lake was demanding its due. Gouts of water flooded down.
"Please, Harry, don't be dead, don't die," she howled, and grabbed him beneath the arms and began dragging him towards the broken entrance.
Small as she was, Ginny had always prided herself on her strength, and with what felt like gallons of adrenaline pumping through her, she was able to haul Harry's dead weight up the tunnel and through the small passage in the rubble barrier that Ron had cleared five years before.
A wind was pushing past them, damp and fecund – the Chamber and the caves were filling up with water, pushing the air out through the only passage available, and they needed to get out of here now.
It wasn't until she reached the bottom of the chute that lead down from Moaning Myrtle's bathroom that Ginny's panicked strength began to give way. How were they going to get up? Her own wand was still buried in that horrible spider up above, and Harry's...
The stub of Harry's wand was still gripped, shattered in his scorched hand.
"Help!" she screamed up the drain, but she knew that no one but Myrtle would hear her...
Crumpled among the rat skeletons where Ginny had dumped him, Harry coughed.
In spite of herself, in spite of everything else that was happening, that needed to happen, Ginny threw herself on him. "Oh, thank Merlin, Harry! Thank Merlin!"
He began humming in her ear.
"Full fathom five thy father lies Those are pearls that were his eyes... Nothing of him but doth suffer a sea change, Into something rich and strange...."
Blinking, she looked into his eyes, brilliant green, even in the gloom. The pupils were different sizes. Great. "Harry, Harry, listen..."
Down the tunnel, she could hear the rush of the approaching flood.
"You saved me," Harry said, and his battered face broke into a smile that twisted Ginny's heart.
"Uh, yeah, about that, Harry..." She could see the first splashes of white foam flashing in the darkness of the tunnel.
"The second most beautiful thing I've ever seen," he sighed, "was when you opened your eyes in the Chamber of Secrets and I knew you weren't dead."
"Harry, listen, when you killed Voldemort, the Chamber started to flood, and we're stuck here now..."
"But the most beautiful thing I've ever seen is your face, just now. You saved me."
"Uh, yeah, thanks, um, Harry, this tunnel's filling up with water, and I'm afraid..." Water was licking at her knees, there on the bone-strewn ground, and she knew they only had a matter of minutes before this last refuge was claimed by the spreading flood.
He kissed her.
That cut through even her fear.
He pulled her ear down to his mouth and whispered, "Expecto Patronum!"
Suddenly, gently, Ginny felt herself and Harry being lifted. They were being carried up the pipe in the horns of an enormous, ghostly stag. "Harry!" she gasped. "I had no.... How did you do that?"
"No idea," said Harry, grinning daftly, as the light from the bathroom above shone brighter and brighter in his eyes. "No idea at all." And then he kissed her again.
A/N: Yes, I know the song from The Tempest is incomplete... Give Harry a break. He's suffering from a concussion. ;-)
I like the Harry/Ginny ship, but even if they don't end up together romantically, you know she's going to repay her debt to him at some point, and the Chamber of Secrets seems as likely a place to do it as any.