*The following fanfiction was written by Stacey Lannigan and can also be read on AO3, as well as Wattpad*
During her second year at Hogwarts, Ginny Weasley comes across a peculiar individual in the school library…
The summer following Ginny Weasley’s first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry had been the longest summer Ginny had ever experienced, even in comparison to the long summers she had spent alone and without her siblings prior to her being old enough to finally attend the school of magic alongside them. She had spent the majority of the summer holidays hidden away in her room and out of sight of her family, with the exception of most meals and when someone, usually her Mother, came to check up on her or Fred and George attempted to cheer her up or lure her from her room with jokes and tricks. Her days had been spent living with the guilt of what she had done in her first year at Hogwarts, the relief that she would be allowed to return and the reassuring words spoken by her Mother and Father that she was not to blame – though those were only but a small comfort to her. The nights that followed those days were even worse and consisted either of her endless suffering because of the nightmares which plagued her sleep or the fear that consumed her the moment she lay down in her bed, keeping her from closing her eyes and prompting her to try and stay awake.
At first she had thought about asking her Mother to obliviate the memories from her, to rid her of the memories of the tall, dark haired boy she had opened up her heart and soul to… Literally. But the day she had tried to ask she had opened her mouth only to fall silent. Having the memories taken from her seemed too easy, almost cowardly, and Ginny had decided then that she would rather live with what she had done and what she had allowed to happen than take such an escape route as cowardly as that. If there was one thing which Ginny was sure of it was that she was not a coward. She was a Gryffindor. Even the Sorting Hat had said so and the Sorting Hat, as her Mother had pointed out before Ginny’s first year had begun, was rarely if not ever wrong. From that moment Ginny had “came out of her shell” as her Father had put it, trying harder to get back to her own self and engage more with her family. Fred, George and Ron had even allowed her to play Quidditch with them in the garden one afternoon. The news was later broken over breakfast that her Father had won seven hundred Galleons in the Daily Prophet Grand Prize Galleon Draw. This had allowed them the opportunity to travel on the first family holiday – the other only holiday Ginny had been on was that of travelling to Romania once when she was ten alongside her parents to visit her other brother, Charlie. It had been more than enjoyable, even with the exception of her Mother being overly protective of times and not allowing her to enter some of the pyramids or tomb or go on one exhibition. Overall, Ginny had slowly become more cheerful towards the end of the summer and had even finally begun to look forward to returning to Hogwarts.
Her chirpy attitude would have remained had it not been for the Dementor…
The minute the air had grown cold, Ginny had felt the shivers run down her spine and sitting in the darkness listening to Ron, Harry, Hermione and Neville’s voices had been fine until they had been drowned out by the mocking tone of a familiar voice which Ginny had never expected, or hoped, to hear again. The cold, sneering, voice of Tom Riddle… Suddenly the happiness she had felt over the last few remaining weeks of the summer was gone, as though it had been drained from her completely leaving nothing but the fear and guilt which she had felt before. The darkness closed in around her and she’d let out a sob which she had been sure at the time that no one would be able to hear… She felt so alone that she had forgotten completely about the presence of the others in the train compartment with her. Even after the Dementor had gone and Ginny had taken some of the chocolate which the Professor had offered to her she still felt cold and even with Hermione’s arm around her shoulders and the girls other hand rubbing her arm comfortingly Ginny could not stop herself from shaking. Her cheeks had turned a bright red that almost matched the colour of her hair, embarrassed by how she had most likely seemed to the others and underneath that her concern for Harry peaked. He too had not reacted well to the Dementors presence but whilst on the train she had been unable to think of anything much aside from the imaginary torments which Tom had delivered in her head whilst she had sat huddled in the corner.
From then on Ginny had once again reverted back into the persona of the shy girl she had turned into during her first year or whenever Harry was around. She purposely tried not to bring any attention to herself both in her classes or socially and it worked exactly how she wanted it too. Ginny focused on her classes during lessons and afterwards she would slip off to find a quiet spot in the library or somewhere on the castle grounds that wasn’t crowded by the other students. The third month into the school year Ginny had begun to realize just how irrational she was being in trying to avoid the other students. No one knew that she had been responsible… however directly or indirectly… for the attacks which had occurred one year previous and thus no one blamed her, giving her no cause but her own personal guilt to avoid them. However regardless of this, she still found herself unable to break away from the routine which she had created and so Ginny Weasley had remained just another face in the sea of faces which the mass of students at Hogwarts created.
It was one Saturday in which Ginny had retreated to the library to find additional books which would help her with her Potions homework that she came across a student who seemed to purposely want to stand out from the others who inhibited Hogwarts castle… The girl looked the same age as Ginny, standing only a few inches shorter than herself with long blond hair which was curled up in a messy bun. It looked more as though the girl had simply forgotten or not bothered to brush her hair that morning rather than the hairstyle to be one that was intentionally a tangled mess as though for some kind of fashion statement.
“Oh, hello!” The girl said cheerfully, noticing that Ginny was looking at her and Ginny dropped her gaze quickly, only now realizing that she had been staring at the odd girl.
“Hello.” Ginny said finally, meeting the girls pale blue eyes again. They were piercing and Ginny felt as though they were staring straight through her although they were wrinkled slightly as the girl continued to smile at her, making it somewhat difficult for Ginny to feel uneasy.
“You haven’t seen any Nargles, have you?” She asked suddenly, jumping up to try and catch a glimpse of the shelf above the one eye level to them both. Ginny paused to stare at her, a cease forming between her brows and she tilted her head curiously.
“A what ?” She asked, following the girl’s eyes to try and look on the shelf as well but all she could see was the books on the shelf.
“A Nargle.” The blonde girl repeated and Ginny was about to ask just what a ‘Nargle’ was when she opened her mouth again to speak. “They’re much like Nifflers, they like to steal too. I’m sure one of them has stolen my Quick-Quotes Quill… I thought I saw one come in here just now when I was passing.” Whilst the girl continued to search between the shelves, Ginny watched her closely unsure of what to say. She had never heard of a Nargle despite having looked into subject of magical creatures before even coming to Hogwarts, fascinated by them from a young age when she had found a Bowtruckle in her garden.
“No, I haven’t…” Ginny said slowly when the girl straightened back up to look at her again. “Are you sure that it came in here…? Perhaps we should say something to Madam Pince.” She added, looking over in the direction where Madam Pince, the librarian, was sitting at her desk, looming over a pile of books.
“I did warn her but she doesn’t believe that they exist.” The girl said matter-of-factly and for a moment Ginny was sure she heard a hint of sadness in her voice towards the end of her sentence. When Ginny didn’t reply, the girl continued. “A lot of people don’t believe that they exist actually but they’re clever creatures, Nargles, very mischievous. They’re rarely spotted or caught and they’re so rare people just don’t realize, you see?”
For a moment Ginny couldn’t help but be skeptical but until last year she would never have guessed that a book would be able to communicate with her in turn or act as a pathway for her to be possessed by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named of all people… She therefore tried her best not to be so quick to judge or disbelieve the girl in front of her now.
“I could help you look for your Quick-Quotes Quill if you like.” Ginny offered after a moment, offering the blonde girl a friendly smile which was immediately returned.
“Would you? It was a present from my Dad. He works as an editor for the Quibbler.” The blonde girl said proudly and Ginny recognized the ‘Quibbler’ as a magazine which her Father often indulged in reading especially when they published an article concerning Muggles which her Father was highly interested in studying.
“My name is Ginny, by the way.” Ginny stated after a while as she helped the other girl search the shelves and library floor for any signs of her missing Quill or the Nargle who had supposedly stolen it.
“That’s nice.” The girl replied somewhat offhandedly. “Mine’s is Luna. Luna Lovegood.” Ginny allowed herself a small smile then, watching the other girl in silence for a moment and contemplating the possibility of perhaps getting to know the Luna Lovegood girl a little more…