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Ginny Potter - A Harry Potter Fanfiction Archive and Community -- Fictioneer
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HP stories following Canon but PRE-OotP >> Reborn by maria_taglioni

Simple Text - To view MORE chapters use the chapter jump box to the right.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ginny pressed her fingertips against her lips and sighed. Outside the dawn was pushing the dark sky up away from the horizon, but sadly her dark thoughts still remained. Earlier that day, Harry, Hermione, and Ron had departed to Godric’s Hollow. Ginny didn’t know exactly what they had to do, except that it was necessary and dangerous. Everything being done to thwart Voldemort was extremely necessary and dangerous.

At the thought of him, she once more became appalled that such evil could exist in the form of a human being. Granted, the Dark Lord was now nothing akin to a person, but she had known – deeply known – a younger version of him. Tom Riddle had been cruel since youth, back when his features were still handsome.

Ginny hugged herself and walked to her bed. She sat down and observed the dust motes dancing in the sunrays. When she was a child she had loved to dance among them, and although she could never grasp the particles, she enjoyed the game of reaching and never catching. Back when she was a little girl, small things like these had delighted her. She had almost lost that little girl because of Voldemort’s younger self. After being possessed by Riddle’s memory, she had lost everything but her family. Her parents had tried everything to cheer her up, but at that time it seemed that if few things could heal shame and guilt, nothing at all could purge someone of the aftermath of Riddle’s possession.

The memories she experienced brought tears to her eyes. Part of her still felt sorry for herself when she remembered that summer after the Chamber of Secrets. No friends to play with – no desire to play, anyway – and nightmares at night. When the news of the upcoming trip to Egypt was brought up by Mr. Weasley, she simply smiled weakly and went back to her room.

Little did she know that her salvation would come in Egypt at last, but it would not be in the form of Harry Potter this time.

Ginny remembered their first days in the foreign country. Bill was very happy to have them there and extremely proud of his work and knowledge about the mythology of the place. He managed to take some days off and showed them everything they could have access to. Every member of the family discovered something to be awed by. Mr. Weasley was fascinated that in ancient Egypt, Muggles had accepted magic far more willingly than they did today. Mrs. Weasley adored having Bill pose as tour guide. Percy was deeply impressed by the statues, monuments, and pyramids built to celebrate the empire's power. The twins and Ron loved the stories about warriors and mummies. Ginny....

Ginny had tagged along with her hand tucked in Mrs. Weasley’s and with her eyes that never shone, no matter how remarkable the information was that flew so effortlessly from Bill’s mouth. On the day they were presented with the story of the Book of Death, she had almost cried. Bill told the Weasleys it spoke of the judgment every man would face after his death and how a man had to deny forty-two kinds of misdeeds to Osiris, the god of life and death. The mortal would have to do the same with each deity present at the judgment in order to be allowed to live in the land of the blessed. As Bill explained the myth, Ginny could only think of the wrong things she had done, of how she had been so stupid. Never had she felt the weight of an error like she did that day. One simple and stupid act – writing in a journal – had endangered people and almost killed her and Harry.

She had looked so miserable that day that Bill had given her a gold medallion that he swore had belonged to Cleopatra herself. There was a bird with long legs etched upon its surface.

“This is a phoenix, you know.” He tapped it with his finger.

Ginny had looked at the figure and wrinkled her forehead. She had had contact with a phoenix before. “It doesn’t look like one,” she argued.

“Oh, that’s because the Egyptian phoenix is a different bird, but it has almost the same powers ours has.”

“Or,” Ginny offered, “the old Egyptians were really bad at drawing.”

“They were not bad artists, Ginny – ” started Bill.

“ – they just couldn’t paint very well as they all had a crick in the neck…” interrupted Fred.

“… from always looking sideways,” George finished while both twins imitated the paintings on the tomb walls.

Bill just rolled his eyes, and Ginny pocketed her gift. Later that night, afraid to go to sleep lest she have another nightmare, she left her family’s tent and went out to sit on the sand. There she could see the bright moon illuminating the desert like silver candlelight.

She had brought the medallion with her and looked once more at the strange bird with the long legs. Bill had said it had the same powers that phoenixes in England had. How she wished she could be a phoenix and start over from ashes. How she wished she could turn back time and be wiser and stronger. The image before her eyes became blurred and she felt her throat tighten. She was going to cry again.

A sudden peep startled Ginny. She looked to her side and her mouth fell open. Within her reach, an Egyptian phoenix stood on its long legs, peering at her with little black eyes set above a long, thin beak.

“Hello,” said Ginny uncertainly.

The bird blinked at her and took a few steps away. It stopped and turned to Ginny, lifted one claw, and blinked again.

Ginny understood the phoenix wanted her to follow it, so she stood up. The bird nodded its head, turned around, and began to run.

As she chased the bird, Ginny thanked Merlin the phoenix had decided to run and not fly, because then she would not be able to catch up with it. After many turns, they entered a small temple, lit only by a few torches. In the shifting light shed upon the walls, Ginny could discern ancient paintings. As she drew closer and examined the sequence of figures, the girl understood it was another depiction of the judgment of mortals. She could see Osiris and the deities staring down at a man huddled on the floor.

The tight knot in her throat returned. Ginny turned to the phoenix and whispered tremulously, “Please, I don’t want to be here.”

But the bird merely looked at her.

“I’m going out, okay? Mum might wake up – she’s going to have kittens if she finds out I’m not in the tent....”

“Ginevra.”

Ginny sucked in her breath. As she turned to the wall with frightened eyes, she saw that the figures in the painting were moving like the ones in the Wizarding world did. Osiris himself was looking out of the painting at her and smiling slightly as if to convince Ginny he was not going to punish her.

“My dear child, do not fear.”

His voice was soothing and Ginny smiled back tentatively.

“That is better, Ginevra. I understand you have been troubled for a very long time.”

Ginny nodded her head. She felt she ought to say something, but she could not find the words. Osiris took the matter out of her hands.

“I understand that you feel responsible for a great error, one that endangered your life and others’. You think you lacked intelligence and strength, and that provided a chance for the greatest misdeed that could have come from a witch.”

The girl nodded once again.

“And you think that your mistake condemns you to a life of misery, which you deserve for your stupidity.”

It shamed Ginny to hear from an outsider things she thought about herself, but she finally uttered a small, “Yes.”

Osiris leaned back on his throne and regarded her with eyes that were startling in their intensity, like Dumbledore’s. “My dear child, this matter is mine to decide.”

Ginny tensed and held her breath. Osiris fiddled with his beard for a moment. He seemed to be taking something into consideration. Then he fixed his eyes on Ginny and spoke.

“I will start now. Deny forty-two misdeeds.”

“I....” Ginny licked her lips and glanced nervously at the other deities and the mortal. They were waiting attentively. When her eyes came to the phoenix, it nodded its head encouragingly. However, Ginny’s apprehension would not let her form coherent thoughts, let alone speak them out loud.

Sensing her distress, Osiris interceded kindly. “As you are young in age, you will not need to deny your misdeeds to the deities. Your life has not been so long as to allow for so many opportunities of wrongdoing. I shall help you. Let me ask you questions. For instance, have you set fire to your mother’s apron while trying to charm it to make her cry every time she wore it?”

How could anyone want to see his own mother cry? Ginny asked herself, bewildered. “No,” she answered softly.

“Very well, then. Have you broken your brother’s broomstick because you wanted him to feel disfavored like you do, granted that you yourself don’t own a broomstick?”

Could someone be that mean? Ginny wondered. “No,” she announced more firmly.

As Osiris carried on with the questioning, Ginny gradually came to understand something: what mattered most was not the misdeed itself, but the motive behind it. Thus, when the god asked the one question that truly counted, she was able to answer it with a lightness of heart she had not felt for quite a while.

“Have you opened the Chamber of Secrets to empower Voldemort and to endanger your classmates?”

“No.”

Osiris smiled at her. “There, Ginevra. I find you not guilty of a heart burdened with ill feelings that would enable evil to come out into the land of men.”

Ginny smiled relieved. She felt infinitely better. She almost felt like herself. Almost.

“I see there is one more thing to settle before I go, Ginevra. You may ask the question.”

Ginny squeezed her eyes shut and gathered the courage to voice the thought which she had never mentioned to anyone. When she spoke, her voice trembled.

“Am I…like Tom Riddle? He…he said we had much in common. He said we were one.”

“Do you think you are, Ginevra? Think of the conclusion you have reached this night. Think of your heart and of what you hold dear to you. Are you like Tom Riddle?” asked Osiris in a paternal tone.

Ginny once more closed her eyes and focused on herself. She took the time to ponder her life, the motives behind every action. She remembered her family, her friends, Harry Potter. She found her answer when she discovered that there was one feeling that had been present during her whole life but absent in Riddle’s existence.

Love.

When she opened her eyes, Ginny’s face was determined and her eyes flashed with certainty.

“No. I’m not like Tom Riddle at all.”

Osiris gave her a wide smile. His eyes twinkled proudly. The phoenix opened its large wings and started to fly quickly around Ginny. A circle of fire erupted and encircled Ginny, but the flames were warm and gentle, and they tickled her. She smiled at the beauty of them, breathing in deeply. Joy came bubbling up into her throat.

Ginny laughed.

It seemed as if she was whole again. It felt as if she was reborn.

She could not tell how long she stayed engulfed in fire and happiness, but when she opened her eyes, Osiris was once again an ancient drawing on the wall. The phoenix had lingered, waiting to guide Ginny back. The girl nodded at the bird and they ran off to the Weasleys’ tent.

Upon reaching the family’s shelter, Ginny knelt down and petted the phoenix’s plumage.

“Thank you,” she murmured.

The bird rested its beak on Ginny’s shoulder for a moment, then lifted it, moved a short distance away, and flapped its wings exuberantly, flying toward the still dark horizon.

Ginny watched the phoenix until she could not see it any more. Then she turned, entered the tent, and tiptoed to her parents’ bed. She climbed in between Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, waking up her mother in the process.

Mrs. Weasley looked at her sleepily, smiling fondly at Ginny.

“Another nightmare, dear?”

Ginny snuggled up to her mother.

“No, Mum. I just want to stay close. Can I?” Ginny whispered.

“Of course, luv.”

Mrs. Weasley ran a hand through Ginny’s hair, observing her daughter through half-shut eyelids. Ginny had picked up her medallion, which drew her mother's attention.

“What’s this, honey?”

The girl brought the golden object closer to her mother’s eyes and explained, “This is a phoenix, Mum.”

“Humm…it doesn’t look like one.” Mrs. Weasley unknowingly echoed Ginny’s own words.

“Oh, that’s because the Egyptian phoenix is a different bird.”

“Oh…if you say so,” conceded Mrs. Weasley, though a note of incredulity tinted her voice. “Now, let’s sleep. Good night, dear.”

“Night,” Ginny mumbled and closed her eyes.

As she drifted off to sleep, Ginny remembered that she should caution Fred and George. Though they were not going to meet Osiris any time soon and though their intentions had been quite different, they had come entirely too close to setting Mrs. Weasley’s apron on fire.

~~~~~~~

Thanks to mamacita for great editing work.



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