Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Fear of Falling


by Faeline 2 reviews

The descent and the serpent. T/G. (2 of 3) Slight Movie canon. Does not take into account The Order of the Phoenix or HBP.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: R - Genres: Angst, Drama, Fantasy, Romance - Characters: Ginny, Tom Riddle - Warnings: [!] [?] [X] [Y] - Published: 2006-01-02 - Updated: 2006-01-02 - 1150 words

Foreign tongues in familiar places
Surrender the thrills to the very core
Forever young and blessed with nameless graces
A love that kills and promises more

Tonight, she heard the walls whispering in strange sibilants, in voices she knew but could not place. Still, she followed their whispers into the dark, away from the torchlight that illuminated the inhabitable portions of the castle dungeons.

Inside the walls the voices moved, coiling over masonry and withered pipes, ushering her along with their invisible presence, around corners, down corridors, over and below winding stairways until, finally, they culminated behind stone. She fancied them glittering serpents, twining their sinuous bodies together, each devouring the tails of the other in an endless cycle.

Their tone changed then, no longer urgent and ushering but suggestive...persuasive.

Speak the words/, they said and she understood them. /Speak the words and we will let you pass; you will be worthy. Speak the words, you are expected.

Ginny's brow furrowed and, for a moment, she wondered how she came to be in this dark place and why she wasn't turning back toward the light and the warmth of the Tower. Then she brushed the craggy stone with her fingertips and knew. That same distant longing that curled insider her skull like a silver fog, and made her belly cavernous and aching, rolled over her stronger than ever when she brushed the spot behind which the voices hovered.

She opened her mouth and a voice that was her own, yet not, cascaded from her lips, flowing like sea foam onto the line of a beach, cold, and silky, and strangely inviting. The words were torrid and beautiful, reviling and seductive, and she knew them, even though the language was parseltongue and she had never conversed with a serpent.

The wall shuddered and groaned, dust and dirt fell from the crevices, and the stones shivered. The masonry cracked along its seams, splitting in half, leaving a yawning blackness that she stepped into with only the slightest hesitation.

The passage was in the blackest depths of the castle and it curved and curled like some ancient labyrinth, spiraling downward before abruptly leveling out and causing her to stumble against the damp walls.

Up ahead the darkness thinned, interrupted by pale, flickering light. She moved steadily forward and found herself in a dimly lit antechamber that smelled of stale air, old water, and burning wood.

Ash on the carpet and dust on the mirror
Chasing the shadows and the dreaming comes clearer
Gasping for color this perfect heart

It was a room graced with antiquity and long unused as indicated by the amount of dust that transferred itself to her fingers when she ran them over the curved back of an oak chair.

In the grate to her left, a fire that burned green instead of yellow, a green as bright as the dark mark lighting the sky above assaulted homes. Shadows trembled over wing chairs and once glossy end tables and shimmered faintly on the threads of the oriental rugs lying all across the floor.

This was a sitting room, a part of someone's private chambers.

She swirled the tips of her thumb and forefinger together, ridding them of the dust, and called out, "Hello," half expecting her own voice to echo back at her.

There was nothing but the silence, the faint crackling of the fire in its grate, and-wait, somewhere to her right, a soft, dry noise, like autumn leaves rushing over stone. She waited, watching, listening. It seemed to come from an area of blackest shadow, and moving closer she found the deep darkness was, in fact, a door.

Its rusted hinges protested loudly as she pushed against the wood. The door opened only halfway, allowing green light to slip through behind her, half illuminating the blackness of the room, showing her the outline of a bed against the room's center wall, the hulking shape of an armoire on the other side, and across from the bed, a dresser, complete with an old mirror rising over it. It caught the green of the firelight and reflected the soft glow, eerily illuminating everything within its reflection.

She stepped into the room and moved toward the mirror, catching the image of her own face in it.

Screaming howl and the children play
Serpents kiss for the words you pray
Whiskey and the devil and the witching hour
Serpents kiss on that untouched flower

Backlit by the green light, she looked almost unearthly. Her hair, grown darker over this last summer, stood out nearly black in the glow, though subtle movements of light gave her locks the tint of blood. Her eyes were huge and dark, the shadows beneath them giving her an appearance of exhaustion, much like she'd had years before when she'd first been beguiled into the dungeons of Hogwarts.

She touched her face in the mirror, half expecting her fingers to sink through the glass as though it were water. Her nails clicked against the mirror's surface, scratching her reflection's cheek.

She sighed.

Why had she come? What was she expecting to find? Some silvery ghost with black hair and blacker eyes, arms open to welcome her?

What a silly girl she was, to be so obsessed with memories. She gave her reflection a wry grin and made to turn when around her legs she felt the unmistakable sensation of coils. Closing her eyes, she recalled stumbling backward into the thick body of the basilisk five years before, as she stood in the depths of the Chamber of Secrets, her hand over her eyes, listening to Tom's hissed commands.

Now, she looked into the dust-laced mirror and watched as a lithe, shining body wound around her legs, her hips, slithered up between her breasts. It was a tiny thing, this one, it couldn't be fully grown, but that didn't mean it couldn't kill...

Her lips parted slightly as the triangular head rose and hovered at her line of sight. She watched the patterned back in the mirror as the head dipped forward as though to strike, but all she felt was the brush of lightning quick air across her lips where the forked tongue had grazed her.

The basilisk slid over her shoulder, came around the other side of her head.

They watched one another through the mirror. Woman-child and serpent, brown eyes and sulfur yellow.

Then, just for the briefest of moments, she saw it. The yellow flickered to blue-black in the firelight, gleamed like the oil slicks that Hermione had once shown her pictures of, hovering on the surface of the sea. The snake reared, mouth stretched wide, lunged, and pain seared her throat as the small fangs sank into flesh. Pain, heat, and the strangest sensation of swirling in the depths of her body that eclipsed all other senses and sent her tumbling into darkness.
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