Chapter 11 – The Only One
After Fred left the group, they were all quiet for a few minutes. The story of the other Hermione assassinating Draco Malfoy made Hermione think of something. "I wonder if Draco Malfoy from another universe could be the Dark Lord," said Hermione thoughtfully.
"No," said Cedric. "We’ve seen a Draco Malfoy here. Whoever the Dark Lord is, the Draco Malfoy we saw, by all accounts, is his most trusted adviser and friend, though. The Draco in our universe didn’t have any friends, other than Crabbe and Goyle."
"Could the Dark Lord be Crabbe or Goyle?" asked Ron. As soon as it was out of his mouth he knew he’d said something stupid. "Wait, forget I said that. In any universe, those two aren’t smart enough to spell their own names, let alone do anything like this Dark Lord has done."
"Well, we can assume he’s a Slytherin," said Hermione. "If he’s Draco’s friend, he would almost have to be."
"There was a Slytherin crest on the Dark Lord’s cloak," said Sirius.
"The Gryffindor crest was in the thrown room, too," said Cedric. "That would make the Queen a Gryffindor. Was there any clue who she was?"
"She had long blond hair," said Ron. "That and that she’s one mean piece of work is really all I know about her. I thought I was going to die after she choked me."
"I’m curious as to why they let us keep our wands," said Hermione, changing the subject. After hearing that Ron died in another universe, she really couldn’t think about Ron nearly dying.
"Logic dictates, that if they allowed you to keep your wands, and us to keep our tricorders and phasers, they must not consider them a threat," said Spock.
"Yes," said Sirius. "Our wands did us no good when we tried to attack the guards. Fortunately we have had them. Albus required quite a bit of healing. We’ve been trying to figure a way out of here, but we can’t."
"They even allowed the big guy to keep his weapons," said Cedric.
"Big guy?" said Ron questioningly. "Who is that?"
"Come on, I’ll introduce you," said Cedric.
They followed Cedric over to the bars of the cell. Ron and Hermione could clearly see that there was another cell with a much higher ceiling across the hall. It was very dark inside the cell.
"Hey, Prime, we have someone for you to meet," called Cedric.
They heard the sound of metal on metal, and the floor seemed to vibrate with the sound. Then a large shape walked out of the darkness. It appeared to be some kind of robot. It was about thirty feet tall, with blue legs and a red body and arms.
"Prime, this is Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger," said Cedric.
"Hello, my name is Optimus Prime," replied the robot. "It is nice to meet you, though I wish it were under better circumstances."
"Um…hello," said Ron dumbly. "Are you from…up there." Ron pointed up, not really able to say the words. He was still toying with the idea that he had in fact lost his mind.
"Yes," said Prime.
"Well, at least that was a simple answer," muttered Ron.
"It’s nice to meet you," said Hermione, fascinated by the giant robot. "I don’t mean to be rude…but what exactly are you?"
Optimus Prime explained that he was the leader of a race of robots from the planet Cybertron. Hermione had to grab onto Ron who looked like he was going to faint. Optimus Prime had been abducted less than a week ago and brought here.
"They left my weapons active, yet I am unable to do any damage to the cell or the guards," said Prime. "I agree with Spock’s assessment. They must not consider our weapons a threat. I have tried everything I can think of to get out, and nothing works."
"Did you arrive alone?" asked Hermione curiously.
"No," said Prime gravely. "I arrived with Megatron. I do not know what they have done with him, but he is one of the most ruthless and powerful beings in the universe. We were locked in combat when we were taken. Our war has raged for many millions of years. I wonder if the Dark Lord knew what he was getting himself into with Megatron. If anyone has the power to escape, it’s Megatron."
Just then, they heard a door open, and two guards carried a man toward the cell.
"Prisoners, back away from the door," said one of the guards.
Ron, Hermione, and the others moved away from the cell door. He was wearing blue with a number four on his chest. The guards brought the man in and dropped him on the floor, locking the door as they left.
"Are you all right, Reed," asked Spock, as he helped the man into a sitting position. He was trying to catch his breath.
"I think so," panted Reed. "That machine she uses really does a number on me, Spock."
"Reed, this is Ron and Hermione," said Cedric. "They have just arrived."
"Nice to meet you," said Reed, as he looked up at Ron and Hermione. "My name is Reed Richards. I’m also known as Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic Four."
"A bit full of himself, if you ask me," Ron whispered to Hermione, who elbowed him in the ribs.
Suddenly, Reed extended his hand toward them. His arm began to stretch, until his hand was right in front of Hermione who was about ten feet from where Reed sat on the floor.
"Well…I can’t wait to hear this explanation," muttered Ron.
Ginny stood in the Dark Lord’s quarters. She was looking out the windows. The black sea churned below her. The moons in the sky seemed to stare at her. She had never seen a place so devoid of warmth and happiness. Living here had to be like living with a Dementor.
She had looked around the dimly lit room for something to use to escape, but she had found nothing. Draco had locked the door when he left. There were weapons displayed like trophies on the wall, but they would not come loose, even when she used her wand. There was really nothing left for her to do but wait.
She wasn’t sure how long she had been there now. She almost wished Draco would return so at least she would have someone to talk to. She was worried about Ron and Hermione. She was desperate to know that her brother and best friend were all right. She had to admit, what she really wanted was for the door to open and Harry to rush in and take her in his arms.
If Ginny thought for a moment she could do something, anything to fight back, she would. She wasn’t afraid to die for something she believed in. She was willing to fight and die if necessary in the battle against Voldemort. This was different. The only thing to fight for was her freedom, and if what Draco said was true, her magic was no match for the Dark Lord. It would be suicide to do anything. She was completely helpless, and she hated that. Being killed trying to escape would not accomplish anything. If she did something stupid, Harry might never have a chance to rescue her. She was sure that wherever, or for that matter, whenever Harry was, he would move heaven, earth, and time itself to get to her. She had to do whatever she could to hold out for that.
She wasn’t really sure why, but she believed Draco. More than that, she trusted him, and she was sure that this Draco would not lie to her. Really, how could she not trust him? The haunted look in his eyes when he looked at her was not something that could be faked. He must have really loved the Ginny Weasley of his universe. She still wasn’t used to the idea that there were other Ginny Weasleys living their lives in other universes, to say nothing of how another her could have fallen in love with Draco Malfoy of all people. She tried not to think about that. It was just too weird.
Ginny heard the door open, and turned away from the window. Silhouetted by the light of the hallway stood a cloaked figure.
He stepped into the room and the door closed behind him. The lights became brighter, but the room was still not well lit. The hood of his cloak hid his face.
"My apologies for your treatment," said her host as he walked slowly towards her. "General Lestrange is unnecessarily brutal. I trust Draco healed your injuries?"
Ginny decided that false bravado would gain her nothing. As long as he was going to be nice, she would play along.
"Yes, thank you," said Ginny with a slight smile. "For a while, I thought…General Lestrange was going to kill me."
"She has her uses," said the Dark Lord evenly. "Unfortunately, knowing when force is not necessary is not one of them. Is there anything I can get you? Something to eat or drink perhaps?"
It was only now that he mentioned food that Ginny realized that she was very hungry. "Yes, that would be nice," said Ginny appreciatively.
The Dark Lord waved his hand. A small round table appeared with a chair on either side. A moment later, the door opened, and two old women came in. Both bowed as they past him. One set down a pitcher of lemonade and the other a plate of sandwiches. Both quickly left.
"Please, sit," said the Dark Lord, gesturing toward the table. A plate and a glass appeared on the table.
"Thank you," said Ginny with a nod before she sat down. She poured a glass of lemonade and took a sandwich. The Dark Lord sat down opposite her and was quiet while she ate. She could tell he was staring at her even though she couldn’t see his face.
"Did Draco explain to you where you are," he asked, breaking the silences that had fallen over the room.
"Yes," said Ginny, before taking another sip of lemonade. "I didn’t completely understand it, but I think I get the general idea. Have you met…many of…me?"
The Dark Lord laughed, amused. "Nothing like getting right to the point," he said. "To answer your question…no, I’ve never met another Ginny Weasley besides yourself and the one from my own universe."
Ginny wasn’t sure what that meant. Draco made it sound like there were many universes in which there was a Ginny Weasley. She wasn’t sure she wanted to know, but she just had to ask.
"What does that mean?" asked Ginny.
"Before I answer…I have another question for you," asked the Dark Lord. "How old are you?"
"I turned seventeen last week," said Ginny curiously. She wasn’t sure why that would matter.
The Dark Lord sat forward slightly in his chair. For a moment, Ginny thought she might see his face, but it remained hidden beneath his hood.
"You are seventeen years old?" asked the Dark Lord as if he wanted to make sure he had heard her right.
"Yes," said Ginny. "Does that mean something?"
"Does that mean something?" he repeated with a laugh. "It may in fact mean everything. There is a reason that I wished to interrogate you myself. Normally, Draco and Bellatrix handle interrogations. When I saw you, I knew I had to conduct this interview myself."
"Why…what makes me so special?" asked Ginny confusedly.
"You see Ginny…I have encountered countless parallel earths, more than you could ever believe," said the Dark Lord. "Many of them evolved along similar lines as our own worlds. I have encountered many versions of your brothers. I’ve even encountered brothers of yours who didn’t exist in your world. But I am only aware of three Ginny Weasleys who survived her first year at school. Statistically, in a random selection of any number of parallel earths, I would expect a single event to happen about half the time, yet it seems that the death of Ginny Weasley violates all laws of probability across the Multiverse."
"I don’t understand what that means?" asked Ginny softy. She was fighting a panic rising in her throat. Could it be that all of this was happening because of her? No, she knew if Harry said that that she and Hermione would yell at him. She couldn’t think like that.
"What it means is this," said the Dark Lord, an edge of excitement to his voice. "I recently encountered a universe where Ginny Weasley survived her first year, only to die at the end of her third year, when Voldemort killed Harry Potter and began his conquest of the entire world. In my own universe, Ginny Weasley died the day I came to power. She very nearly ended my reign before it began. She had me, though I’m not sure how she managed to. It was…dumb luck. She was in the right place at the right time. She was casting the spell, and I had dropped my wand as I had defeated Dumbledore. She had me dead to rights, but before she could kill me, she was herself killed. You asked why it is important that you are seventeen years old. You are in fact the only Ginny Weasley I have ever found who has lived to the age of seventeen."
Ginny was stunned. If this were true, then in countless universe she had died in the Chamber of Secrets. What could that possibly mean?
"I need you to tell me something…in your world, what happened to Voldemort?" asked the Dark Lord. "Was he defeated?"
"Yes, he was defeated," said Ginny softly. She was tempted to lie to him, but she was sure he could use Legilimency against her anytime he wanted.
"Who defeated him?" asked the Dark Lord, his voice low, resembling more of a snake’s hiss than a man’s voice.
"Harry Potter," whispered Ginny fearfully. Ginny could hear the Dark Lord’s breathing become faster.
"And does Harry Potter…still live," asked the Dark Lord.
Ginny had panic welling within her. "No," breathed Ginny, praying this was not a mistake. "He died when Voldemort did."
"Liar!" bellowed the Dark Lord in a voice so loud the room shook.
The Dark Lord leapt to his feet and waved his hand toward her. Ginny screamed as her mind caught fire. She screamed unconsciously as he read her memories like a book. After several moments, he canceled the spell. Ginny fell from the chair, clutching her head. The pain was excruciating. Tears began to fall from her eyes.
The Dark Lord turned and strode purposefully toward the door. "After all these years," said the Dark Lord as the door opened. "I’ve found him."
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