Where I End And You Begin
by Judy

Tom was every boy her brother warned her away from, the epitome of all those characteristics put together. When her tears fell on the seemingly blank page, she saw the words appear but couldn't quite believe it. Later on, she was affected by the same sense of confusion when Tom stepped out of his hidden world to show his face. He was a devastatingly handsome young man, all ice and unbroken lines, features carved in sensual cruelty. She had willingly allowed him to take her, to blend her mind with his by means of a diary.

I hear what you hear.
I see what you see.

And Ginny was never alone.


The others were unable to notice the change in the petite girl, except for one -- but he was too caught up in the affairs of his mudblood and half-born to see the truth. That Ginny sometimes felt like she was dying inside, trapped in a glass cage with her too small, wilting wings, while everything she ever wanted was spread out before her, ready for the taking.

Tom whispered the secrets in her ears, gave validation for her anger. He was that insistent, ever pressing force, who drew out of her emotions she did not know existed. She hated being poor, hated how the others could afford to buy nice books, nice robes, while hers were handed down and worn. She hated how her brothers had the ability to do what they wanted, while she, the youngest, was protected and sheltered. She wanted power, the power to control her own life, and Tom offered her that. He offered her love and beauty and a grasp on her life, but as all good things, it came with a price.

He wooed her like any proper seduction contained. He draped her in glamour, and led her into a world of frost and crystal palaces. He would dress her in a pale blue gown embroidered with white roses, hand her diamond earrings in shape of teardrops, and fix a tiara in her hair. He would talk about her hair in extravagant terms, hair like fire, like burnished copper. He waved a hand in the air until their reflection appeared. And Ginny would sit there, marvelling at the translucence of her skin, while Tom murmured promises in her ear, about far off places and the ways they would conquer them. She was as much seduced by him as she was by that power, and she loved his hands, those long fingered hands that he offered to her, palm up, beckoning. He would lead her to a ballroom to dance until she was dizzy, until she could not tell night from day.

Sometimes he would lead her into the jungle. They crept amongst the trees that were always a rich, dark green, amongst snakes and predators, but fear was part of the old Ginny. The new Ginny hissed like a snake and could look muggle creatures in the eyes, tigers and lions and bears that lurked there in the shadows. And Tom would always be there, his cuffs unbuttoned, palms spread in the dirt, crouched beside her. They would grin each other, show rows of teeth, and she wouldn't mind running around with her hair in riotous curls, clothes in rags.

The magic of the diary was endless. One side of the world was cold, breaths frozen once it escaped your lips. There was a forest that was a sea of green, a castle that was their home, and a dark, thorny place containing his memories. He used to balk at her entering his memories, but he realized they were so much alike, so much under the bondage of the human realm. Ginny would banish those bad memories away with a brush of her hand against the coldness of the tendrils of the past, and they would return to lie under a spread of stars, a grassy knoll behind them. It was partially Ginny's creation, partially his. And Tom would cup her face in his hands and kissed her eyes, her cheeks, her nose. Ginny felt her dream self blossom under his care, those days, months, years she spent growing older in the diary while her real self stayed young, the same eleven she had been forever.

I hear what you hear.
I see what you see.

She saw herself living on the substance of their adventures, walking around in dreamy anticipation. She grew more slender, wasted, unable to eat solid food. Sometimes the two lives would blur, the old Ginny and the new Ginny, and she could be confused about which one she wanted, because as harsh as the old life was, it contained sources of happiness.

And there was that boy. Her brother, Ron, fire to Tom's ice. Ron, who swept in with anger on his face, ready to destroy whoever hurt his baby sister. Ginny found that in spite of all of their careful plans, she could not hurt her closest brother. She could only watch as they attacked the man she cared about, torn between the bonds of blood and the agony of second love. And as the Boy Who Lived plunged a sliver of poison into Tom's heart, hidden within his diary, she felt she lost some essential part of herself as well. Tom, her Tom, had forgiven her in the end, and left with a hushed I'll see you later.

Ron led her out of there with his grip crushing her hand, his face determined, the stubbornness that spoke of how much alike they were, how proud. They had all left the Chamber years grown, Ron, Ginny, and that other green-eyed boy, as if a span of several decades had passed instead of a few hours. When they had a moment's quiet, the first opportunity to be alone together, he kissed her so hard that it left her shaking. Yet she could not cast off the thought of comparing his kisses to Tom's, since those days in the diary she had forgotten what it was like to kiss like a child. She slowly shed the rumours that she liked the green-eyed boy, the gawky, awkward boy who everybody doted upon. It had always been Ron she was watching, Ron she had eyes for, but it was better, she supposed, for others to presume that she adored the boy who was glued to his side. She stopped that then, stopped to play with the other boys, allowed them to put their arms around her thin shoulders. She brightened at his jealousy, delightful yet painful because it caused him pain.

The summer right after, the summer of in between, when they did not dare to ask the necessary questions, only to hold each other because they were running out of time. And time never used to be a factor for both of them, but Ginny was kept awake by thoughts of a young man with hard yet soft eyes, who used to give her everything. And she wondered if Ron thought about long legged blondes two years ahead, that if her own thoughts drifted, if one day he would leave her for another. She called that year the year of promises because of the things Tom told her that didn't come true, and the way Ron muttered empty promises under his breath about how one day they would be together. Ginny ended up calling him a silly git, then told him to hold her a little tighter because she was cold.

Gradually, they weren't as close as before. Gone were the tummy rubs that he would give her while she moaned about a stomach-ache, and exchange significant looks with nobody around them any wiser. The adults gave a sighs of relief as the two who still held hands even though they were much too old, finally gave up the habit. And adolescence finally got in their way, as Ginny had a taste of freedom and needed more than Ron could ever give her. So at the end of that summer, they each knew it was a goodbye of some sorts, although they could not bring themselves to utter it out loud.

Sometimes in the night Ron held her close, looked down on her impish face and too large eyes. He would dare, for the moment, to think back to that time in the Chamber, when Ginny came out too pale and different in a way he could not explain. The change in his flame haired girleen had driven a chasm between them that were impossible to cross. He noted, as one who loved her could, the wild light in her face, the fierceness of her grin, and the feral gleam in her gaze that reflected back starshine. And it excited him even though it shouldn't have, because the new Ginny was an entirely different temptation.

I hear what you hear.
I see what you see.

While in her dreams, Tom Riddle whispered -- and called her name.


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