Chapter 58 // Realization
‘Harry,’ I squatted next to him, taking his hand for support as he got up.
‘Ginny,’ he muttered. I nodded, made sure he could stand on his own and ran to her side. A faint moan came from her mouth. I grabbed her chin and felt the warmth return to her face. Then she opened her eyes, her bemused eyes travelled from the huge form of the dead basilisk, to me, smiling a weak smile, over to Harry, in his blood-soaked robes, then to the diary in his hand. She drew a great, shuddering gasp and tears began to pour down her face.
‘Katherine — oh, Harry — I tried to tell you at b-breakfast, but I c-couldn’t say it in front of Percy — it was me — but I — Katherine, I s-swear I d-didn’t mean to — R-Riddle made me, he t-took me over — and — how did you guys kill that — that thing? W-where’s Riddle? The last thing I remember is him coming out of the diary —’
‘ It’s all right,’ said Harry, holding up the diary, and showing Ginny the fang hole, ‘Riddle’s finished. Look! Him and the basilisk. C’mon, Ginny, let’s get out of here —’
‘I’m going to be expelled!’ Ginny wept as I helped her to her feet. ‘I’ve looked forward to coming to Hogwarts ever since B-Bill came and n-now I’ll have to leave and — what’ll Mum and Dad say?’
‘You’ll be fine, Ginny,’ I threw my arm around her shoulders and guided her through the room. Fawkes was waiting for us, hovering in the Chamber entrance. Harry urged Ginny forward; we stepped over the motionless coils of the dead basilisk, through the echoing gloom, and back into the tunnel. I heard the stone doors close behind us with a soft hiss. After a few minutes’ progress up the dark tunnel, a distant sound of slowly shifting rock reached us.
‘Ron!’ Harry yelled, speeding up. ‘Ginny’s okay! We’ve got her!’
I heard Ron give a strangled cheer, and we turned the next bend to see his eager face staring through the sizable gap he had managed to make in the rock fall.
‘Ginny!’ Ron thrust an arm through the gap in the rock to pull her through first. ‘You’re alive! I don’t believe it! What happened? How — what — where did that bird come from?’
Fawkes had swooped through the gap after Ginny.
‘He’s Dumbledore’s,’ said Harry, squeezing through himself. I turned around one last time, staring through the dark corridor. This was my birth right, my inheritance. And I hated it. Tears filled my eyes as I climbed through the hole.