Ginny woke up on a bed in a room she didn’t recognize. She jerked up, looking around, but didn’t see any doors or windows. She was alone. Her head was pounding and she closed her eyes, her hand going to her forehead as she tried to remember what had happened. She remembered walking down the street in Hogsmeade. She remembered leaving her friends to go on ahead to her brother’s shop but that was it.
She got up slowly and moved around the room, running her hands along the wall, trying to detect any sign of a concealed door. By the third time around she was completely frustrated and gave up with a huff. She didn’t want to go back to the bed, for some reason it made her nervous, and instead went to stand in the middle. For awhile she yelled out, asking if anyone could hear her and demanding that she be let out, but after awhile she gave up on that too. Finally she sank to the floor and rested her back against the wall.
Harry woke as he was being half dragged, half carried down a hallway. His head was pounding and he tried to struggle but the two wizards on either side of him held his arms. They opened a door at the end of the hall and thrust him inside. He landed hard on his hands and knees, his head still groggy from the stunning spell. One of the wizards kicked him in the stomach and he curled over with a grimace as they left and the door disappeared.
Holding his stomach with his arm, Harry sat up with a groan and looked around him. He was in what looked like a small bedroom, but there weren’t any windows and only one candle mounted on the wall. The air was stale, like the room hadn’t been used in a long time. He squinted, looking around but the only thing he could see was a bed to one side. He had just pulled himself to his feet when a movement caught his eye and a figure came towards him from the other side of the bed.
“Ginny!” He said, relief filling his voice as he pulled her to him. The panic that had filled him when she went missing ebbed away as he realized she was alive. “Are you alright love? Are you hurt?” She shook her head, wrapping her arms around him. Relief filled her momentarily as she leaned against him. She didn’t know how long she had been here and was thankful to see another person. “Where’s Beth?” He said, looking around.
Ginny pulled back and looked up. “I don’t know, I haven’t seen anyone, is she here too? What are we doing here?” The fear that had gripped her earlier flooded back; if they were all here, it couldn’t be good. Harry cupped her cheek with his hand, seeing the fear fill her eyes. “I don’t know, but I’m going to get you out of here, ok?”
She smiled slightly at this, “And how are you going to do that? I doubt they left you your wand.” Harry smiled but could tell that she was frightened. He caressed her cheek with his thumb as he looked into her eyes.
“I’ll find a way… I won’t let them hurt you… I promise.” With this he kissed her on the cheek, letting his lips linger on her skin. He pulled away but not much, hovering next to her, as if trying to decide whether to move to her lips. Ginny could feel his breath on her skin and her eyes began to water. Her hands were resting on his sides and she fiddled with the hem of his shirt, letting her eyes close at the comfort of his nearness.
She didn’t care that he was with someone else as his lips met hers. She was frightened and wanted his comfort so she kissed him back, opening her mouth to him as he pulled her face more firmly against his with his hand.
In another room, Beth was sitting against a wall, watching the scene unfold before her on the wall across from her, as if projected by an invisible source. A hooded figure was crouched next to her, whispering to her. “Get away from me,” she said harshly, trying to ignore the figure beside her. She trusted Harry and she knew he would comfort Ginny, but refused to listen to the poison the person was whispering into her ear. She dropped her head and stared at the floor when Harry kissed Ginny on the cheek. She didn’t see when he moved to her mouth. With a pop the wizard beside her disappeared and he reappeared in the room with Harry. The picture faded away and Beth was left in darkness as she tried not to cry.
“Well, isn’t this just so sweet,” a voice drawled from behind the embracing couple.
Harry spun around, thrusting Ginny behind him as he moved. “I am surprised Harry, I’m always hearing about the amazing, wonderful Harry Potter, not a bad bone in his body… but won’t Beth be upset seeing this tender scene, she has been watching this you know…” Ginny felt Harry tense with anger.
“Where is she? If you hurt her…”
“Oh, what will you do Harry? Kill me?” Harry narrowed his eyes and focused his energy. He raised his arm expecting his wandless magic to thrust the figure back but nothing happened. He tried again, focusing harder but still nothing happened. The figure laughed as he moved forward. “Do you want to know a secret Harry?” Harry backed up as the figure approached, moving Ginny with him. “While you were unconscious I bound your powers, so alas, they won’t work in my house.”
Harry felt dread fill him as he heard the words. “What do you want?” he ground out.
“All in good time Harry, but right now I would like to have a word with Ginny.” Ginny felt Harry’s grip on her tighten and he backup up again but the figure flicked his wand and Harry disappeared with a small pop. Ginny gave a startled cry and backed up quickly until she ran into the wall behind her. The figure flicked his wand again and chains appeared, binding her wrists. She pulled against them but they didn’t move.
A picture came into view on the wall in front of her and the figure moved aside so that she could see. She saw Beth sitting against a wall crying and Harry appeared suddenly in front of her, landing in a heap on the floor.
“Harry!” Beth sobbed out as he appeared. She moved towards him and grabbed him as he pulled her close to him.
“Beth! You’re alright… it’s ok baby, don’t cry,” he said softly as he held her. She raised her head and kissed him. He pulled her closer as he kissed her back, trying to soothe her.
“I’m so scared,” she said against his lips, and he kissed her again, rubbing her back.
“I know,” he said as he broke away, looking at her, “I’m going to get you out of here.”
“What do you think is happening to Ginny?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” Harry replied worriedly. “Did you look for a door?” he asked as he pulled her up, beginning to examine their surroundings.
Back in the bedroom Ginny watched the scene silently, determined not to betray any emotions. The wizard waved his wand at the wall and the picture dissolved while Harry and Beth were still embracing on the floor. She tensed as he approached. When he got close he pulled his hood back and she gasped. “Hello Ginny.”
This can’t be right, she thought as she looked at the young man before her. He was around 23 and he was handsome, with dark hair and dark eyes. He looks like… like Tom Riddle… from the diary.
“Who are you?” she asked, her voice shaking. He smiled at her and leaned in.
“It seems you recognize me…”
She opened her mouth but no sound came out at first so she shut it before tying again. “You… you look like…” She blinked, thinking maybe it wasn’t real. “It’s not possible…”
“I think…” he said, pausing dramatically, enjoying her reaction, “that you are mistaking me for my father.”
Ginny’s eyes bulged… “Your… but… Voldemort didn’t have any children.” His face became hard as she said Voldemort’s name and he narrowed his eyes.
“And how would you know that?”
Ginny didn’t respond, suddenly realizing he was right, she didn’t have any reason to think that. “I always knew I was special,” he said, leaning in. “My mother groomed me to be his heir, protected me. And when I was old enough I set out to find him, to join him… and just when I do… guess what… Harry Fucking Potter comes along and kills him… We were supposed to rule together… he was teaching me…”
Ginny began to feel sick as she listened, dread filling her. “Now I am going to do what my father wanted, I am going to kill Harry.”
“If that’s what you want, why am I here? Why is Beth here?” Ginny asked, narrowing her eyes and he began to smile. Ginny couldn’t help noticing that it seemed to make him look more evil than happy.
“That’s what I love about you Ginny, always thinking,” he said, trailing a finger down her cheek. She jerked her head away from his touch.
“Harry took someone from me, so I am going to take someone from him… but it is up to him to decide who,” he said as he rested his arm on the wall beside her and leaned in. She suddenly began to feel claustrophobic. “And just my luck, Harry seems to have the misfortune of loving two people, and I get to help him decide who he loves more… I have Darco Malfoy to thank for that delicious twist.”
Ginny’s heart stopped and she felt faint. “Malfoy?” she breathed…
Riddle’s smile became wider as he watched her reaction. “Oh that’s right, you didn’t know who it was… well the idiot spent months working that stupid scheme out, determined to tear you two apart… intercepting letters, writing letters, it was bloody annoying really. He had some crazy idea that it would help my father, and then just – when - it worked he got himself captured during a fight with some aurors and thrown into Azkaban. He didn’t even get to gloat…” Ginny’s vision blurred and she bit her lip, the answer to the question that had haunted her finally answered.
Riddle was almost giddy now, gesturing as he spoke. “And you guys… oh it was classic!” He moved a little closer and rested his free hand on her stomach. “You guys fell for it with flying colors didn’t you… not that it ended up helping my father at all… until now.” He leaned his face in until it was inches from hers and dropped his eyes to her lips.
“I’ve been watching all of you for awhile now, waiting for the perfect moment, and personally Gin… I would have to pick you over the ice princess,” Ginny turned her head to the side, shutting her eyes. Revulsion flooded through her when she felt his lips touch her neck.
“Get away from me,” she whispered coldly, but he just kissed her neck more forcefully.
“Oh come on Gin, you saw him, he isn’t going to choose you…”
Ginny had the sudden urge to throw up and brought her knee up between his legs as he added his teeth. He jerked away from her as he doubled over in pain. “You disgust me,” she said harshly.
He rose up and smacked her hard across the face with the back of his hand. She gritted her teeth against the pain and turned her face back to his, glaring at him. “You are a sick, pathetic wizard, just like your father,” she spat at him. He struck her again and her vision spun as she struggled to remain standing. Her cheek was aching and when she pulled her head back up she saw him looking at his hand. He was wearing a ring and she realized it must have cut her because he wiped a little blood off of the green stone in the middle. He broke into a hard mirthless smile as he raised his wand.
“My father was the greatest wizard in the world,” he reminded her coldly and she doubled over, pain from the cruciatus curse shooting through her body. She sank to her knees as she cried out.
He left her shaking on the floor, a bruise forming on her cut cheek.
“You’ve got quite a little hellion there Harry, no wonder you broke up,” Riddle said as he appeared in the other room. Harry began to jerk Beth behind him when he froze, staring at the face of the man before him.
“Riddle,” he said in disbelief.
“Tom Riddle the third to be exact Harry,” Riddle said as he flicked his wand, sending Beth flying into the wall where she sank to the floor in a heap. “But we can talk about this more later.” He flicked his wand again, sending Harry into darkness.
“Harry…” Someone was calling him. He opened his eyes slowly, his head pounding. “Harry!” He was lying on his stomach and tried to roll over, but couldn’t. His hands seemed to be stuck. He struggled to his knees and sat up, looking around him. He tried to move his arms but they wouldn’t work. It was like they were chained to the ground on either side of him with magic. As his eyes focused his heart dropped. Ginny and Beth were across from him, both sitting against the wall. Beth looked horrified and Ginny had a bruise forming on her cheek. Was that blood?
“Are you ok?” he asked. Beth said yes, while Ginny merely nodded, staring at him.
He looked around the room quickly. He didn’t recognize it but it seemed to be some kind of study. There was a large mahogany desk to his left and a large bookcase behind that. To his right there was a fireplace with a couple of large chairs facing it. He could only assume there was a door behind him. He looked back to Beth and Ginny. “Can you move?” he asked but they shook their heads. He could see a new fear in Ginny’s eyes that hadn’t been there in the other room. “What’s wrong?” he asked her. “What’s going on, what did he say?” Beth looked over at Ginny, waiting for her answer.
“He’s, he’s Voldemort’s son,” she said, her chin wobbling a little. “He said he’s going to -”
“Now Gin! Don’t ruin my big entrance,” a voice called from behind Harry, cutting Ginny off. Harry tried to turn around but whatever was binding him held him in place as Riddle walked to the middle of the room, standing in front of Harry.
“Well, now that we’re all here and all acquainted we can get down to business. I believe you knew my father Harry... before you killed him.”
Harry narrowed his eyes but didn’t respond. His gaze flicked to Ginny, wishing he knew what she did.
“Why so quiet Harry? You killed the great Lord Voldemort!” Riddle exclaimed, throwing his hands up. “You should be shouting it from the rooftops!”
“Everyone else is,” he added in disgust. Harry knew he was trying to provoke him so he remained silent, but this only seemed to make Riddle angry. He came toward Harry and punched him in the face. Beth gasped and Ginny tensed, watching from their place on the wall.
Harry shook his head to clear it and looked up, his eyes flashing, but he remained silent. “Come on Harry, what do you have to say?” Riddle said. He kicked Harry in the stomach and he doubled over, trying to suppress a groan. Riddle grabbed a fist full of Harry’s hair and jerked his head back so that he was looking at him. “Nothing to say Harry?”
“What do you want me to say? That I did it? That I killed him? Yes, after he spent the first 19 years of my life trying to kill me and anyone I cared about, I killed him. Happy?” Riddle hit him again and Harry doubled over, this time spitting blood on the floor before wrenching his head back up. “Does this make you feel strong? Hitting someone who is tied to the ground? Either let me up Riddle, or tell me what you want so we can get on with it because if you just wanted to kill me you could have done that already.”
“Such attitude Harry,” Riddle said in a silky voice, “you really should work on that… But you’re right, I do want something. You killed my father and I want revenge. Simple I know, but that’s what I want. And I’m sure you are just dying to know how I intend to get it,” Riddle said as he leaned down. “So I guess I’ll tell you.”
He brought his mouth close to Harry’s ear and lowered his voice so that only Harry could hear his words. “I’m going to kill you like the scum you are Harry, but first, I’m going to kill one of them. You are going to choose for me, choose the one I kill, and then I’m going to make you watch as I do it before you die.”
Ginny watched Harry’s eyes as Riddle whispered to him. She knew what he was telling him and she saw his eyes widen. His gaze shot to her and she could see his panic as he began to shake his head and she fought the tears that rushed to her eyes.
“I… I can’t do that… I won’t do that,” Harry said as he shook his head. He was going to be sick. He pulled on his bonds in vain. Riddle only laughed and stood back up.
“You don’t get a choice Harry,” he said patting Harry on the head but he jerked away. Riddle chuckled softly and turned around. “Beth!” he called and she tensed, dragging her eyes away from Harry’s suddenly pale face. “I don’t want you to feel left out, you see I told Ginny about our game earlier, and you can see how eager Harry is to play.” Beth looked back at Harry and his gaze locked with hers. She could see the fear in them.
“You see princess; I’m going to kill Harry. But not before he chooses which one of you two…” Riddle said flicking his wand lazily between her and Ginny, causing a force to drag them up from the ground and away from the wall until they were standing in the center of the room facing Harry, “is going to die.”
Beth felt her heart drop. Oh my God, she thought, looking at Harry and then at Ginny. He’s insane.
Riddle smiled harshly at her expression and turned back to Harry. “So, which one do you choose Harry? Because one of them is going to die today.”
Harry glared at him, hatred pulsing through him. “I won’t choose – you can’t make me choose. I save them both.”
“Now Harry that is certainly not a choice…”
“I save them both,” he repeated, his mind racing. I can’t do this, this can’t be happening. He felt like he had fallen into one of his nightmares, except worse.
“If you won’t choose Harry, then they both die.”
Riddle only leered at him, enjoying the fear and tension surrounding him. It made him feel powerful that he was causing it. “Look at them Harry. Both beautiful, which one do you love? Which one do you save?” Riddle moved to Beth, stroking her hair as she tried to move away. “She’s lovely. Blonde, elegant… any man’s desire; and she certainly loves you… don’t you dear?” Harry looked at Beth, trying to will her to be strong as she started crying, choking out his name. This isn’t happening, he thought frantically.
“But what about this one?” Riddle asked, drawing Harry’s attention back to him as he thrust Beth away and moved to Ginny. “She is fire where the other is ice… I have to say I prefer her spirit.” Harry’s eyes narrowed as he watched Riddle pull Ginny against him. She glared at him as he continued. “You know Harry, she is a pure blood after all; I may just keep her for myself… I’m going to need an heir and I do love a fighter.”
At this Ginny began to push at him but he grabbed her hair and crushed her face to his, kissing her roughly as she struggled. Harry tried to jerk up as rage flooded through him at the sight of Riddle moving his hand over her body. After a minute Riddle raised his head, and threw Ginny to the floor.
“If you touch her again I’ll kill you,” Harry said in a low voice. Riddle laughed at this.
“And how do you plan to do that?” He reached down and grabbed Ginny’s hair, jerking her up onto her knees as she cried out. He twisted her hair, holding her in place as he kneeled beside her and ran the back of his hand down her cheek. She felt sick as he touched her but kept her eyes on Harry. “What do you think Gin? Do you think he’ll choose you?” He looked at Harry before he leaned in and kissed her neck.
“I think you make me sick,” she spat, her skin crawling. He only laughed as he stood up, throwing her back to the floor.
“Come on Harry… who do you choose?” Riddle pointed his wand at Beth and she screamed, collapsing to the floor in pain.
“STOP IT!” Harry yelled at him.
“You can stop it Harry,” Riddle said, pointing his wand at Ginny, causing her screams to mix with Beth’s. “Well, at least for one of them I suppose.”
Harry pulled desperately at the invisible bonds that held him as Riddle continued... “Have no doubt Harry, I am going to kill you, but one of them gets to walk out of here alive.”
When Harry didn’t respond Riddle tapped his wand to his cheek, pretending to think really hard. This guy is completely mental Harry thought as he watched him, we have to get our hands free.
“You know what may help Harry? How about a taste?” Ginny tensed at this and glanced at Beth, who looked as startled at the suggestion as she felt. A second later she was drawn forward again until she and Beth were standing close together in front of Harry. Riddle moved to Harry’s side and yanked him up, his bonds stretching to allow him to rise, but not move his arms.
“You’re sick,” Beth said softly. It was the first thing she had said and everyone looked at her, a little surprised that she had spoken.
“Well well, maybe the ice princess has some fire in her after all,” Riddle said as he pulled Harry in front of her. “Come on Harry… you know what they say about love… it’s all in the kiss.” Harry glared at him.
“I am not participating in your sick idea of fun Riddle.”
“Harry, I am trying to help you make an important decision here… you should really be thanking me…” Harry felt himself pushed closer to Beth, until they were practically touching. “Now, I don’t want any of this wimpy pecking either – that would be cheating… Kiss them both and decide who means more to you…”
“Harry…” Beth whimpered, her eyes swimming with tears…
“Shh… it’s ok baby… everything will be fine,” Harry said to her. He closed the gap between them and kissed her slowly. Harry tasted her tears as he moved his mouth over hers. He was trying to be strong but inwardly he was beginning to panic.
“Isn’t this exciting?” Riddle whispered in Ginny’s ear as Harry and Beth kissed, “you can cut the tension with a knife can’t you?” Ginny glared at him and he turned her face back to the couple, making her watch. How are we going to get out of this she thought desperately, trying to ignore the panic rising in her stomach, we have to get our hands free…
Harry and Beth broke apart, their faces still close. “I love you,” Beth whispered as Harry was pulled away from her and pushed in front of Ginny. He kept his eyes on Beth’s as he was moved, but looked down when he felt Ginny lace her fingers into his. They were just close enough to reach. He felt a comforting warmth begin to spread up his arm at her touch. He raised his head and studied her face, seeing the bruise and the dried blood on her cheek again.
“Are you ok?” he asked softly. He could see the fear in her eyes, and the panic that was beginning to rise. How am I going to get us out of this? “I’m so sorry Gin,” he said and she gave him a small smile.
“This isn’t your fault Harry.” He leaned closer and his breath mingled with hers and he smiled back at her a little.
“You always say that and you’re always wrong.” With that he caught her lower lip with his and kissed her softly. Ginny ached as she kissed him back. She could feel his fear and she was overcome by the fact that this could literally be the last time they touched, and she suddenly couldn’t hold back her tears.
Riddle moved behind Beth as Harry and Ginny kissed. “Are you nervous dear?” He asked while he watched them. “I mean, you’re with him now, but you have to admit there is a connection between them.” Beth just stared at the couple, trying to stop her tears.
After a minute, Riddle had had enough. With a flick of his wand Ginny went flying away from Harry, landing in a heap across the room where she had been originally as Riddle said, “OK, let’s not get carried away here, you’re making me jealous Harry. Now who do you choose?” Harry glared at him, trying to think of something, anything, that he could say to buy time but he just couldn’t think...
“I… I won’t choose… let them both go. You don’t have to be like your father.”
Riddle’s eyes narrowed to slits, “My father was the greatest wizard in the world Harry!”
“Your father was a psycho and I killed him.”
Harry regretted the words as soon as they left his mouth. Riddle didn’t appreciate them either and he punched Harry hard in the jaw. Harry doubled over, spitting blood onto the floor as Riddle raged, pointing between Beth and Ginny.
“YOU KILLED HIM SO I KILL ONE OF THEM! AND AFTER YOU WATCH I’M GOING TO KILL YOU TOO!” When Harry looked up Riddle hit him again before moving towards Beth. “Reminding me of what you did certainly doesn’t help your cause.”
“COME ON HARRY! MAKE YOUR CHOICE! WHO DO YOU SAVE?”
Harry shook his head, trying to clear it as panic gripped his stomach, his jaw throbbing. Ginny watched from her place on the floor as Riddle grabbed Beth, thrusting his wand against her throat. “WHO DO YOU SAVE?”
“DON’T TOUCH HER! I SAVE BOTH OF THEM YOU BASTARD!” Harry screamed at him. “I WILL NOT CHOOSE!”
“THEN THEY BOTH DIE HARRY!” Riddle grabbed Beth’s neck and squeezed.
“STOP IT!” Harry cried desperately. Beth clawed at Riddle’s hands frantically, unable to breathe as he turned around, pointing his wand at Ginny.
She didn’t take his eyes off Harry as he snapped his head to hers, catching her gaze in his. For a split second they stared at each other. At that moment it was as if Harry could see her soul in her eyes and he knew his heart. “AVADA - ”
“I’LL CHOOSE! OK! STOP!!”
Harry sank down on his heals, his shoulders slumped and his head hanging in defeat. “Just, just stop…”
Riddle shoved Beth away and walked over to Harry and leaned down. “Who do you choose?”
“Please don’t do this,” Harry said, his face pale and his voice shaking. He could hear Beth coughing. “Just kill me. That’s what you want. Let them go, there is no reason to kill them.” Riddle backhanded him across the face.
“You took my father from me Harry,” he spat. “And I am going to take someone from you now STOP STALLING! Now is not the time for begging. You are the great Harry Potter!” Harry fought the tears that were trying to get out, shaking his head.
“Fuck you,” he said lowly but Riddle only smiled.
“Be a man and tell me who you choose or I kill them both… you said you would choose, so choose.” Harry looked from Beth to Ginny, taking in their fear before dropping his eyes. “I’m sorry,” he said, barely loud enough for them to hear.
His voice was hollow and Ginny’s heart broke when she heard it. She knew this was his worst nightmare – that he would be responsible for the death of another person he loved, but she doubted that he had ever imagined it would happen like this. Despite her fear she couldn’t help the pain that rose in her heart for him. Across the room Harry said the name of his choice so softly that only Riddle could hear it.
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