A/N: This story has been simmering for a while in my head, and I’ve been excited to get it started. Having said that, I am still not sure that the beginning is the way I want it. Because of that, I’ve decided to post a shorter version of Chapter 1 in order to get some feedback from you, the most esteemed readers. Thanks again for the encouragement (and editing J ) from Arnel and others.
The beginning description is based off of the start of Chapter 17 of The Chamber of Secrets.*
Harry craned his neck to look at the giant face above him. He noticed its monkeyish appearance and large feet. Between them lay a black-robed figure with red hair.
“Ginny!” Harry yelled as he ran to her side.
“Ginny, don’t be dead, please don’t be dead,” he pleaded as he flung his wand aside and turned her towards him.
As Harry pulled Ginny towards him, he pleaded with every God he knew for her to be okay. Suddenly he felt a warm rush and heard a loud bang. He felt very light-headed, his scar throbbing painfully, as he fell back away from her. He didn’t notice the figure behind him flinch at the exact moment. Ginny moaned softly and her eyes fluttered. Harry staggered to his feet and pulled himself back to her side.
“Ginny,” he pleaded.
“She won’t wake, you know,” a voice sounded from behind him and Harry spun towards the source.
The rest of the battle was a blur for Harry as he fought the Basilisk and young Tom Riddle. Nothing seemed real to him. As he carried the weeping Ginny out of the chamber Harry realized that his memories of the last half hour were jagged and fuzzy. He was feeling very protective of Ginny. He understood on a very deep level how much coming to Hogwarts had meant to her and how this episode was on the verge of destroying her.
“I won’t let it happen. I WON’T,” he thought fiercely to himself, as he felt a massive wave of a need to protect her course through him.
Ginny looked up suddenly, her eyes wide. Her tears had stopped abruptly. She remained quiet, but her arms tightened noticeably around his neck. Harry didn’t know why she had stopped crying, but he was glad and he gave her a tight smile as they ascended back to bathroom.
The meeting in Dumbledore’s office was another surreal moment for Harry. He talked and talked until he was hoarse, trying his best to protect Ginny. He still felt light-headed, and he knew that he wasn’t making sense in everything he was saying. Ginny kept her eyes on him the entire time he was speaking. By the time he was finished she actually had a small smile on her face.
Dumbledore was slowly moving his gaze between the youngsters as Harry recounted what happened. While Harry was wrapping up, Dumbledore smiled mysteriously and glanced at Ginny, who blushed for apparently no reason. Harry was too tired to make sense of it all.
After the meeting broke up Harry and Ron went down to the feast that Dumbledore had ordered. Dumbledore called out to Mr. and Mrs. Weasley as they left.
“Molly, Arthur, may I have a word with you and young Ginevra for a moment?” he asked politely.
He settled back behind his desk as they moved back into the room.
“Miss Weasley,” he started, addressing Ginny directly.
“I must say you handled that very well. You were calm the entire time and not near as distraught as I might have imagined.”
Ginny blushed again as he spoke.
“You also seemed very much aware of Mr. Potter during our meeting. Did something happen in the Chamber that you wish to share with us?”
Ginny was now bright red. She glanced hesitantly at her mother as she nodded.
“Down in the Chamber, I don’t remember much, but when I woke up….I could feel Harry,” Ginny said quietly.
Mr. Weasley looked at his daughter sharply, while Mrs. Weasley looked confused.
“What do you mean dear? You could feel him?” she asked.
“It’s hard to explain, Mum. It’s like Harry is tucked into the back of my head. I know what he is feeling, I know if he is happy or in pain, I know where he is. I think I could close my eyes and point to him right now, actually. That’s why I wasn’t upset. I could feel him, and I knew he wouldn’t let anything bad happen to me,” Ginny said with some embarrassment.
Mr. Weasley turned his attention to the wizard in front of him.
“What does it mean, Dumbledore?” he asked with some concern.
“I’m not entirely positive, Arthur. It seems to fit the pattern of a Salvation Bond but not quite.” Dumbledore noticed the confused looks on the faces in front of him.
“Ahh, you are not familiar with the bond. This type of bond can be created between two people when one intervenes in a potentially deadly situation,” Dumbledore said, his voice taking on the familiar lecturing tones of his teaching days.
“It is not quite understood why, but when one would gladly give their life to save the other, their magic can become connected. Sometimes the connection is just a feeling, other times it manifests as shared thoughts or emotions.”
Dumbledore paused at Mrs. Weasley’s gasp. Arthur gripped the sides of his chair and nodded at the Headmaster to continue.
“It happens the most often with wizards and witches. However, this doesn’t fit that completely as normally both parties share the familiar bond. In this case, it seems only young Ginevra here has been affected.”
“I need to look into this further. In the meantime, I think it best we keep this to ourselves,” he said sagely as Mr. and Mrs. Weasley nodded in agreement while looking worriedly at their only daughter.
By the time the end of term had rolled around, Ginny had almost managed to forget that she had Harry with her wherever she went. She had learned to interpret Harry’s strange feelings and she understood him on a level she had never thought was possible. Ginny couldn’t actually read his mind, but with his emotions so clearly coming through, it wasn’t very hard to figure him out. She felt bad for keeping it from him, but she had promised her parents that she wouldn’t say anything about it for now.
She was also disappointed. Her crush on Harry had grown exponentially since he had come to her rescue. Now, with the stark reality of the bond, she knew that he didn’t return her feelings in the slightest. She still got warm inside at the feelings Harry had when he looked at her, but they were grounded in a need to protect her, similar to what she imagined her brothers felt.
The first time the bond intruded into Ginny’s actual life was as her family returned from the trip to Egypt that they had taken using the Daily Prophet prize money. Since Ginny and Ron couldn’t Apparate, the family was taking a series of Portkeys back to Britain. During a layover in Italy, Ginny felt the bond forced to the forefront of her mind. Harry was angry, VERY angry.
“Ohhh,” Ginny managed as she slumped down in her seat. The rage she felt engulfing Harry continued, followed by fear and panic. She forced the feelings to the back of her mind and managed to focus her on her mother.
“Mum… something’s wrong with Harry.”
That was all she could mange before she slumped back down, and unconsciousness took her.
Ginny awoke the next morning in her room in the Burrow. She barely remembered the previous night, but what she did remember worried her. She jumped out of bed and tore down the stairs.
“Mum! Mum!” she called.
“Yes, dear?” Molly asked when Ginny skidded into the kitchen.
“Harry, is he okay?”
Molly sighed with a worried expression on her face.
“Yes, dear, he is. Apparently he lost control of his magic and blew up his aunt. He is fine now, and staying at Diagon Alley. We will all be able to go see him soon.”
Molly Weasley smiled at the relieved expression on her daughter’s face. Deep inside though, she was conflicted. This bond business worried her greatly, as did her daughter’s growing connection with Harry. In the end she knew there wasn’t much she could do and decided to watch the situation carefully.
As Ginny’s second year started, she found herself in a strange situation. Despite having completed her first year, she really didn’t remember much. It was like she was taking her first year over again, trying to establish connections with her classmates and learn where she fit. Ginny tried her best to ignore the flashes she got from Harry, but it came to a head when Harry found out the truth concerning Sirius Black and his parents. The sheer pain she felt from Harry, and her own still-lingering crush, was enough that she vowed that she would become best friends with him. Who else was better suited to help him through the emotional turmoil he was clearly feeling?
And so Ginny set out on a mission. She hung around Harry, Ron, and Hermione more, even neglecting her own newfound friends. She was somewhat ashamed to admit it, but she also used her secret window into Harry’s emotions to be able to provide him support when he needed it. Despite Ron’s growing irritation at her, by the time the Gryffindor team won the Quidditch Cup, Harry and Ginny were almost inseparable. Ginny had also realized that her feelings for Harry had transformed. She was only twelve, but she already knew that she was in love with the Boy-Who-Lived.
It was just chance that Ginny had decided to spend the day with her friend Luna and let Harry, Ron, and Hermione go down to Hagrid’s by themselves. She wasn’t with them when Sirius dragged Ron into the hidden tunnel under the willow. She knew something was up by the raging emotions and distress she felt coming through her bond. She knew approximately where Harry was, and she tried to find him. She had managed to track him to the hospital wing (the bond wasn’t exact when it came to his location; it was more of a feeling). As she approached the door to the infirmary she felt Harry disappear. It was almost a physical blow and she staggered into the wall. After a year of having him in the back of her mind, it was unbearably silent. Suddenly he winked back into existence. She reached for the doors just as Professor Snape, Dumbledore and the Minister himself came sprinting up to the door.
“POTTER! You can’t Apparate inside Hogwarts grounds. I don’t know how but it’s POTTER!” Snape yelled. The man was virtually frothing at the mouth, he was so incensed.
“Excuse me, Miss Weasley, but we need to see Mr. Potter,” Dumbledore calmly said as he unlocked the door.
“As you can see, Minister, Mr. Potter has been in the infirmary the entire time. I locked him in myself…”
Ginny waited until the voices of the adults faded into the background before she turned her attention to Harry.
“What the bloody hell did you do, Potter?” she hissed. “And don’t tell me nothing, I KNOW you did something.”
She knew that in light of the fact that he had no clue about her bond with him, she probably wasn’t making sense. She didn’t really care. Ginny had been badly shaken by his disappearance from her mind.
“Ginny, it’s alright. See…everyone is okay,” Harry said with a reassuring smile, glancing nervously at Hermione.
“Harry, you don’t understand, you were GONE. Where did you go?” she yelled as her self control broke and she couldn’t contain her volume any longer. She moved herself inches from his face.
Harry gave another confused glance at Ron and Hermione, before turning back to Ginny.
“I can’t talk about it now, but really everything is fine…” He cut off as she suddenly threw herself into him and buried her head in his chest. His arms reflexively wrapped around her as she cried on his shoulder.
Ron looked at his weeping sister, and then caught Harry’s eye above her head.
“Mental, that one is. Crazy as a loon,” he said, and then ducked as Ginny turned and sent an errant fist into the space Ron’s face had previously been occupying.
Harry didn’t really understand why Ginny was upset, but he knew that somehow he was the cause. He also didn’t understand why, but he hated it when Ginny cried. So he did the only thing he knew to do. He held her until she stopped crying. When she finally pulled her head up, she gave him a glare that should have flayed the skin right off the bone.
“Don’t do that again, Harry, I’m serious,” she said throatily.
“I won’t, Ginny, I promise,” Harry replied, wishing he had a clue what he was promising not to do.
Ginny sat in her room at the start of her third year and pondered how life was never quite what you expected it to be. She and Harry had had loads of fun at the World Cup until those bloody tossers had to go and wreck everything. When the attack started Harry had grabbed her and forced her into the woods. She was a little put out about it; after all, she wasn’t some weak-willed milksop that had to be protected all the time. On the other hand, her knees still went weak when she thought about what she had felt from Harry during those brief moments. It still wasn’t what she wanted it to be, but the intensity of his devotion, no matter how chaste, warmed her to her core.
She still hadn’t told Harry, or anyone else for that matter, about the bond. By now, it was a fact of life that it was there. It was a part of her, and it seemed to her that it had always been there. Sometimes, she would sit in the common room and wonder what Harry would think if he knew she had kept it from him for this long, but she never dwelt on it long.
She was thirteen now, and boys had just started to notice her. She did not notice them in return. As far as she was concerned, there was only one boy for her, she just had to make him understand that. She was becoming disturbed by what she felt from him when he looked at Cho Chang. Ginny wasn’t quite sure what was going on there, but it bore close examination. Chang was all wrong for him, and what kind of friend would she be if she didn’t look out for his well-being?
Ginny felt his shock and dismay at being selected as Hogwarts champion. She was the only one who stood by him, even when her own brother didn’t believe him. It served to drive them even closer. In the time between the selection and the first task, they spent most of their free time talking or walking the grounds, and she felt something in Harry that was different towards her. She wondered about it as she made her way to the stands to watch the first task. What was it? Curiosity? Interest? She wasn’t sure, but it was something she hadn’t felt before. She didn’t think on it long because she was worried out her mind while Harry was facing off against his dragon. A BLOODY DRAGON. Ginny finally hid her eyes in Hermione’s robes, and waited for it to be over.
Christmas was approaching and Ginny was becoming more nervous by the day. The Yule Ball was quickly approaching and she knew that Harry was going to ask that strumpet Chang to the ball. His feelings every time he saw her were getting clearer and stronger, and Ginny wasn’t sure how much more of it she could take. She knew the instant that it happened. She was in the Great Hall with some of her dorm mates when she felt a great rush of nervousness followed by deep disappointment from Harry. She knew what had happened. Her own discouragement was like a physical blow. At just that moment, Neville leaned across the table and asked her to the Ball. She said yes without hesitation. She realized that Harry saw her as his best friend, but not more than that. She was someone he relied on, she always seemed to know what he was feeling. It was a shock for her to realize that she wasn’t sure who she was any longer, apart from trying to keep Harry happy. So Ginny pushed Harry away. She was friendly, but distant. She no longer made it her goal to make sure he was happy.
For his part, Harry was confused, and she could tell he was hurt by her apparent abandonment. She stuck to it though, and was happy to say that by the end of term she was carving out her own place at Hogwarts, apart from Harry. Her plan was working fine until the end of the Triwizard tournament. As soon as Harry touched the cup, she knew something was wrong. She could sense his confusion and she knew he was no longer on the Hogwarts grounds. Ginny screamed out his name before succumbing to the overwhelming turmoil in her mind. The last thing she thought about was that she would never forgive herself if he died without knowing how she really felt.
Dumbledore sat in his office brooding, something that the wizard rarely did. He personally felt that brooding solved nothing, and yet in this instance he couldn’t help himself. His thoughts drifted to the end of the Triwizard Tournament and the tragic loss of young Cedric. However, as awful as that was, Dumbledore knew that even more dreadful things happened that fateful day.
How did I miss the warning signs about Moody?
He sighed again and contemplated the Pensive in front of him. He had reviewed the memories multiple times and had come to the same conclusion in each instance. He plunged back into the swirling lights and again found himself watching the final task.
He watch closely as Ginny Weasley pitched forward. He was certain this was the moment that Voldemort had regained his body. Stepping back out, he mentally reviewed the many notes from the infirmary about the number of strange headaches that Miss Weasley had been treated for lately.
Dumbledore sighed again. He realized that all his carefully laid plans and schemes must now be changed due to one moment two years ago.
How do I tell Arthur and Molly? How do I explain that I now believe that Ginevra is a vessel for a piece of Tom Riddle’s soul and that she took it from Harry? How do I tell her parents that their only daughter must die for the good of the world?
Dumbledore’s mind quieted, he sat and started out the window. He sat, silent, for a long time before finally stirring to action. There were things to be done. The Order still had to be reformed and Harry needed to be protected and Ginny…
Dumbledore would deal with the Weasley girl when the time was right.