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“You’re all free to go.”

Tracey opened the dungeon door and motioned for Seamus, Lavender, Susan, and Ernie to get out. They looked up at her in confusion. It had been less than half an hour since they’d been locked up. They’d barely even begun to really feel their injuries and already, they were being let go. The four of them glared at Tracey suspiciously, sure that it was somehow a trap.

“I swear,” Tracey raised both her hands. “You can go.”

She walked away without another word. The four of them found themselves stumbling up through the empty midnight corridors back to the Gryffindor common room where they could perhaps at last piece together the last hour’s mayhem. Lavender climbed through the portrait hole first. Her head was spinning from her fight with the Carrows. Behind her, Ernie helped Seamus through. He was weak still, his insides burning because of Alecto’s torture. Lavender couldn’t get his pained screams out of her head and seeing him was worse. She’d never seen her friend so broken as after that particular cruciatus curse.

She at last made it inside the common room and helped Ernie get Seamus onto the soft sofa before slumping down herself. Parvati at last stepped out of the shadows and into the firelight.

“I’m so sorry,” Parvati whispered, though her face was still in the dark.

“Why, what’s wrong?” Lavender reached for her friend, but found that she had no energy to stand. Parvati made to effort to come closer to Lavender. She stood in the corner, her back against the fire holding onto herself tightly as if she thought she’d fall apart.

“I’m so sorry,” Parvati repeated again, her voice beginning to break. “I made them do it.”

“Do what?” Lavender asked.

“Turn themselves in.” Parvati’s upper lip went stiff and she breathed in sharply. “They turned themselves in so you’d be free.”

~

Alecto Carrow grabbed Ginny’s arm and shoved her inside the small dungeon. Alecto slammed the door shut behind her with a loud thud, locking it with a distinctive click. Ginny fell across the floor when Alecto pushed her. She could only just lie across the room without touching the walls on either side of her cell. There was a small window, barely big enough for Ginny to fit her arm through, that let in some light from the outside. She jumped to her feet and took two steps towards it. Ginny had a view of the grounds from her cell. The sprawling green was illuminated by the moon and stars above. A full moon, Ginny noted.

Ginny slumped down below the window. She pursed her lips. This was unlike the Carrows – to just lock her up, no real punishment. From the torture she usually faced at their hands, solitary confinement almost seemed like a vacation. The cell was small, but not painfully so. She could walk in a small circle, she could stretch and lie down all the way, even if it was on a dirty floor. There wasn’t even a dementor guarding her outside. The Carrows had done worse to Ginny before and others for far less.

It was nearly an hour in the cell before Ginny noticed it. A small, black, leather bound book lying in the corner. The cover was blank, no title nor author. Nothing at all to denote what it might be. Ginny reached across the floor for it, her fingers slowly getting closer and closer to the soft leather. She felt a chill go through her, but ignored it as she finally touched the soft cover. Ginny pulled the book towards her, running her fingers across its spine. She pet the book as if it were a soft little creature, feeling some instinctual draw towards it.

She opened it, just the cover, and a gasp escaped from Ginny’s lips. She wanted to scream out, but something stopped her. Her breathing quickened, her heart rate sped up all the way. She could feel her head spinning, spinning. She could barely breathe. Ginny kicked the book away from her, but it could only go so far in the small room. She reached for the door and pulled at the handle violently, tugging, pulling, and kicking. She finally heard a scream escape from her lips as she yelled for somebody, anybody to let her out.

Little girl.

She could hear his voice in her head. TM Riddle. Those faint words were etched into her brain, carved into her memories. Not faint like they were in the diary, but bold. The words cut into her skin, leaving their invisible scars all over her.

Little girl.

His voice echoed through her even after all those years. She shut her eyes and she could see his looped script across the snow white pages. It was beautiful handwriting and Ginny could see it still in her head clear as day.

No one will ever love you like I do.

He had told her that again and again and again. His voice, she’d only heard it inside that chamber as she drifted away, towards death she thought. That chamber where he sucked the life right out of her. Ginny shook and screamed as she pulled on the door, kicking it, knocking loudly. She pulled so hard she thought her arms would fall right off.

Just a boggart, just a boggart, Ginny told herself. But she could not stop the nightmares from coming to her. It had been five years, but still he haunted her. He had marched through her dreams for months and months, she had relied on potions to sleep and spells to calm her down in the middle of the night when she’d wake up screaming. Ginny remembered her mother and father holding her, sleeping in their bed for the whole summer.

And then thrown back. Back into the school, back into the castle where she couldn’t even draw the curtains on her bed without being reminded of the darkness he had plunged her into for that first year at school that was meant to be so happy. The school she’d once been so excited to attend had become the stuff of nightmares, each corridor reminding her of those midnight possessions, each corner filled with the fear of him. She could barely look at a book without being tossed back into her world of nightmares.

And then it had stopped. Ginny didn’t remember when, she didn’t remember how. But one day, she woke up and the sight of her bed curtains no longer made her want to scream. She’d pushed him out of her mind and had not allowed him back in.

“Ginny,” a purring voice called to her from behind. She shut her eyes and pushed her face into the corner, but the hairs on the back of her neck stood up straight. She could feel his presence behind her. The diary had become him, his almost corporeal form. Tall, dashing, handsome. He was supposed to be her white knight.

“Ginny,” he cooed in that velvet voice. She wanted to turn around, to reach out for him, but Ginny didn’t move, she didn’t run to him like before. Run to him, loved him as her saviour. Because he had picked her up and listened to her heart when no one else did. He said he loved her as her only friend and she had believed him with all her heart.

“Little girl, don’t ignore me,” he called to her again so deceptively soothing. “I know you miss me. Your only true friend.”

“Not real, not real, not real,” Ginny muttered over and over again as she sank to her knees. She kept her eyes firmly shut, not daring to open them and at last gaze once again at his beautiful face. She had wanted him then, but not anymore. He couldn’t take her again.

“Just a boggart, just a boggart, just a boggart,” she repeated to herself. Ginny rocked back and forth on the spot, folded into herself as if she were trying desperately to disappear into the stonework. His voice dripped like thick honey over her, coating her, freezing her like a bug in amber. It was easy for him to paralyze her once again, somehow, he still had her whole soul.

~

Neville found himself shoved inside in a small, dark room. He tripped over his feet as Amycus Carrow pushed him inside. Neville stared up at the dark ceiling, it seemed to move, swirl around him. Finally, Neville stood and peered around his little prison. The room was no bigger than a closet, but long enough for him to lie down in. It was empty, except for one curious object floating in the corner.

The gold disk almost glowed, though there was no light in the room. It had a kind of pulsating magical energy about it. Neville immediately got his feet and felt himself pulled towards it.

Neville, a familiar voice seemed to call to him from the gold disk. He couldn’t place it, but the voice warmed him up inside, it was comforting, like he’d known this voice forever. Neville ran his fingers over the edge of the gold plate. It was perfectly smooth and sharp. The metal was cold, but he didn’t flinch away from it. Inside the plate was a swirl of white and silver liquid. No, not quite liquid, almost a gas. Too wispy, not real enough to be considered a liquid.

Neville slowly reached his hand inside the plate. The closer he got, the louder the voice inside his head became. Neville, the voice called. It was soft, feminine, it felt like a warm summer breeze. Neville, come to me.

“Mum?” Neville’s eyes shot open as he finally placed the voice. His mother never sounded soft like that anymore. He plunged his hand inside the gold dish. Instead of hitting the shallow bottom, Neville’s hand kept going, then his arm, and then he found his whole body plunging into the dish. Neville free fell as the silver and white swirled around him. But his fall was slow, as if he were gliding through the air, light as a feather, instead of plunging down towards the earth.

He landed lightly on his feet and stared around the scene he was just dropped into. It was dark, the moon shone overhead. Just a sliver in the sky. Strange, Neville thought. He remembered seeing the full moon earlier that night. He felt grass underfoot, Neville looked down and saw that he was standing on an immaculate green lawn. Even in the dim moonlight, he could tell how well taken care of it was.

A few feet in front of him, Neville noticed four figures. Three of them hooded, the fourth in a long dress, her wild, curly hair waving in the wind wild around her face. Neville froze when he saw her. That unmistakable curly mane, her looping gait, the way she swaggered around, circling two hooded figures tied and on their knees like a vulture.

Neville reached into his pocket to pull out his wand, but of course, it wasn’t there. The Carrows had stripped him of it before they’d locked him away. He was defenseless and she was right there, about to hurt those two people with the other monsters around her.

Bellatrix Lestrange danced her macabre ballet around her victims, her wand poised, ready to strike at any minute. Neville realized he was standing right in the open, nowhere to hide, he could only run. Behind him was an opulent manor, one of those grand old pureblood homes. It was tall and imposing against the night sky, like some kind of fortress. He couldn’t run in there. On either side of him, the manor’s well-groomed grounds seemed to stretch on forever. All bright green grass, fountains, and manicured hedges. Neville could barely believe that such an atrocity was about to occur in the beautiful garden.

He ducked behind a hedge just as Bellatrix circled around to where she could have seen him. Neville stared at her, it was the same familiar face as he had seen in the Ministry of Magic, but there was something distinctively different about her. Her hair somehow less wild, it was almost groomed. Combed so that her curls were deliberately styled, not tangled and knotted. Her face too was different. Still sullen, still sharp, those cold eyes still piercingly dark. But instead of the sallow circles around her eyes, instead of the lines and wrinkles across her age worn and Azkaban beat face, Neville saw youthful beauty. Bellatrix was radiant, more radiant than he’d ever seen her before.

She looked right at his hiding spot, he could have sworn that she saw him, but she did nothing. Instead, Neville watched as she circled closer to her victim. Her long, pale fingers reached for the hood over the first one’s face.

“MUM!” Neville shouted as he saw her dark pixie hair. Bellatrix yanked Alice’s face up by the hair and spat in it. They somehow ignored Neville’s shouts and his sprint towards them. He jumped for Bellatrix, but instead of hitting her cold body, Neville went right through her.

“Crucio!” Bellatrix cried. A jet of bright red hit Alice in her heart and she screamed out in pain. Bellatrix still held her up by her hair, but Alice squirmed and shook and screamed under her grasp.

“Mum!” Neville screamed again. He tried to grab her, but once again, he went right through her. She was nothing more than empty air, but her screams pierced through him sounding so, so real. The figure beside her screamed out too, fell down trying to reach for her with his bound hands and legs. His father, Neville realized. The other hooded figures, they each raised their wands and pointed them towards Alice until four simultaneous jets of blood red light raced towards her heart, she screamed, she cried, thrashed under the weight of four cruciatus curses.

“No, no, no!” Neville cried, he felt real hot tears streaming down his face, but he could not do anything for her, he couldn’t help his mother. He wanted to grab her, to grab her and his father and take off, run away, change what that he knew was to come, but no matter how hard he tried, every time he grabbed his mother’s arm or lashed out at Bellatrix and the other Death Eaters, Neville’s hands met nothing more than empty air.

~

They put her inside a hole. A tiny little box. Just tall enough for her to stand up and just wide enough for her to sit curled in a ball with her back against the dirty stone wall. It was a vertical coffin. There was simply no other way to describe it. Luna found herself settled into a small divot in the ground. It was so dark, she couldn’t see two inches in front of her face. She couldn’t hear anything, not the students upstairs, not the others locked in the dungeon with her. She was completely alone.

And then came a deep chill. Luna shut her eyes, though it made no difference in the darkness and waited for it to come. In her mind she played out memories, happy ones. Sitting by the creek behind her house with her mother and father in her happy childhood, practicing spells in the Room of Requirement with the only friends she ever had at her side, laughing with them, smiling. She waved an invisible wand in her hand and muttered the spell, but of course, nothing happened.

The chill came. It froze Luna to her core. She remembered it from before, she’d felt that same chill in the Department of Mysteries, but she could not fight it. Dementors swooped around just outside her hole. They’d never let the dementors inside, a dead student was too much even for the Carrows and they didn’t want to waste Luna’s magical blood. But even with the concrete wall separating her from them, the dementors’ pull was inescapable.

She shivered and wrapped her arms tightly around her thin body. The thick jumper of her school uniform and the robes wrapped around her did nothing to warm her up. The dementors’ chill came from the inside out. They first froze your heart, then crept into your blood, reaching every single part of you soon enough.

“Mummy,” a little girl’s high pitched voice rang through Luna’s head. It was her own voice from ten years ago when Luna still wore the dresses her mother made for her out of fabric she found at a discount in the muggle shop in town.

Luna tried to shove the memory out of her mind, but the dementor’s pull brought it back to the forefront. It played for her, clear as day. Little Luna, her light blonde hair in curly pigtails, wearing a dress made of the pink floral fabric her mother bought for just a pound and sewed only the night before. She skipped into the room, her basket full of plimpies for soup and flowers for their hair. Luna remembered kneeling on the floor beside her mother. Shaking her, petting her soft hair that was just two shades darker than her own.

“Wake up mummy, let’s go play,” little Luna said in her sing-song voice. “Let’s go play, let’s go play…”

Pandora never woke up. Luna begged her again and again, but Pandora laid on the floor still as ever with the remnants of her last experiment plastered onto the walls and floor around her. Luna laid next to her, just six-years-old, curled up into her unbreathing mother’s side surrounded by the shattered glass left by the explosion and she waited and she waited and she waited.

In the present day, Luna could feel the wetness on her cheek. The hole didn’t prevent her from feeling. Her head was spinning too, a bruise forming on her forehead, right in the centre where she had hit her head against the wall again and again and again. Luna was certain there was a forehead shaped divot in that wall. Anything to make her feel numb though. The spinning was better than the cold, anything was better than the cold. Luna tried to draw blood too, but no matter how hard she tried, there was no pain that numbed the cold. No pain was worse than the cold.

“Mum,” Luna whispered, her voice echoing around the hole. Her mother’s dead body haunted her. She shut her eyes and it was all she could see. Beautiful, young Pandora Lovegood, her blonde hair splayed around her as she laid face down in her own beloved home. Luna could hear nothing but her own screams as the memory of her father finding them and pulling his little girl away from his dead wife’s side played on in her mind, vividly as if it were happening right in front of her. Luna opened her mouth to scream again, but the hole had a way of silencing her. She opened her mouth and nothing came out. It was like the dementors had frozen her voice too. They took everything away from her. She couldn’t scream, she couldn’t move. They left her frozen in her memories.

“Mummy!” the little girl in Luna’s head cried out as her father scooped her up into his arms. Xenophilius cradled his little daughter, tried to calm her down, but he was shaking himself as he turned his wife’s body over to find that telling trickle of blood coming from her mouth.

“Mummy!” the voice was a shriek. It rang through Luna’s ears, ringing, ringing, ringing. It never stopped, not when she got out of the hole, not ever. She was always fighting the ringing.

“No,” Luna whispered to herself. “I’m okay, I’m okay, I’m okay.”

But the screaming inside her head, her little girl cries, drowned it all out.  







A/N: Didn't I say? Didn't I promise that the next chapter would be up really soon? I finished this one months ago, so I'm quite excited to share it with you now. I've begun working on the next chapter already, but I can't say when I'll be finished. Hopefully soon as well!

The title of this chapter, Room 101, comes from "1984" by George Orwell. In the book, Room 101 is the torture chamber in the Ministry of Love where people are exposed to their worst nightmares to break down their rebellious spirits. That's pretty much exactly what's happening to Ginny, Neville, and Luna here. 

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