It didn't matter that the walls were white, and the only bars were on the windows. It didn't matter that she was dressed daily, bathed regularly, and fed three times a day. She was still inside a cell, the hospital ward her prison. And parents she had thought loved her had put her there.
Apparently the love wasn't enough. They still feared her, she terrified them with her whispers, with her noise, with her silence, with her screams. All because Voldemort still lurked behind her eyes, her mind twisted and broken with blood and torture and screams and the splitting of his soul from hers. Their souls had been twining together for an entire year, and a fang in a diary was only enough to stop the soul melding from its' completion. When Harry had plunged the basilisk fang into the worn book, he'd stopped Voldemort all right. But Voldemort took her sanity as he disappeared from her body, his soul scattering like dust and ashes. She'd woken up in the freezing Chamber, Harry's bloodied and bruised face above hers, and she'd screamed. She'd screamed, screamed, and screamed. She hit and bit and punched and kicked when he tried to touch her, tried to help her stand. He'd left her there, going with Fawkes to find Ron and Lockhart, and she'd stayed down there screaming until Dumbledore himself came down into the Chamber.
A Stunning spell, numerous potions and spells later, Ginny woke to find herself in Hogwarts hospital ward, surrounded by healers from St. Mungo's. She was poked and prodded with wands, more potions stuffed down her throat, her hands clenched tightly around her wand when any of them came too close. They'd deemed her insane and took her away. Her parents had only watched, clinging to each other, but not moving once to her.
A healer looked into the room, her face obscured slightly by the white bars on the window of the door. Seeing that the Weasley girl was sitting on her bed, she opened the door and walked inside, careful to keep her wand in her sleeve securely. The last time the Weasley girl had got a hold of it the door itself had exploded. She didn't try to touch her - that only encouraged the Weasley girl to scream - but checked over her vitals from a distance, the tray in her hands filling with the various potions that her patient would need to take. She left the room without a word, closing the door behind her. Talking to the Weasley girl was worse than talking to a brick wall. At least the brick walls didn't stare in that creepy way she did, as if she could see into her mind, and dredge up every single thought and memory within. Shuddering slightly, the healer continued down the ward to the Longbottom's. At least she could be around them without feeling so uncomfortable.
Ginny continued to sit on the bed, her mind swirling with everything Voldemort had taken and left behind. Spells that a sixteen-year-old Slytherin boy knew, but an eleven-year-old Gryffindor girl had no idea about. He'd stolen her sanity, but sanity was a fleeting thing anyway. Not one person here had a semblance of it, especially not the healers. All of them pretending to be normal, covered in white and yet what she saw about them was that they were all afraid. Terrified of their own sanity, as if this ward was contagious, their own normalcy slipping when they began to agree with their patients.
Days, weeks, months, years went by. She no longer saw her family, their visits becoming fewer and far between as their lives went on beyond their crazy daughter, beyond their silent sister. Inside the ward, the routine never differed, and no one talked to her. She would scream if any of them tried, and they soon gave up, even the nicest healers they had were more than frustrated at her ability to shut down any attempt of conversation. She had her reasons, not that one ever knew that, not that she'd tell them. Words had power. Spoken, written, mumbled, thought, any type of word; they all wove their power around those who heard them. Power to be good or evil, but even words that were intended to be good had the potential to be evil. Words to make a friend turned against her, turned to take her soul, take her sanity, take everything she'd offered, and then some more. Too much power to have over one person.
Then one day, the routine became very different. There was a new healer on the ward. Draco Malfoy, she heard the women whisper and giggle. Ginny knew his relation to Lucius, to the diary, to Tom and Voldemort, but she didn't bother with anything other than recognition. She didn't care. Voldemort was long gone, the war over, the Heroes of the Light subsequently rewarded with money and positions in the newly formed Ministry. Just because she didn't talk, didn't mean that Ginny was stupid or didn't understand what was happening. Quite the opposite, she knew too much, knew that with just a glance, she could have the entire person's life in her head. Very handy to learn new spells, but they'd taken her wand away long ago.
So, for most of the day, she continued to sit on her bed and listen and be brought her potions and eat her food. Usual routine stuff, and then it happened. Draco Malfoy came into her room. He was with another healer - a woman who fancied him and was too flustered to do much else than throw out Ginny's name - but he didn't look overly interested in what she was saying. The woman, attempting to impress Draco, moved closer to Ginny and touched her. Actually touched her. She put her hand on Ginny's shoulder and she touched her. Ginny screamed, all of it tumbling out of her mouth in a loud scream to get her away. The healer did, jerking her entire body away from Ginny's quickly, her face a bright beet red as Draco moved closer. He moved so he was squatting directly in front of Ginny.
"You don't like to be touched?"
Before he'd even finished his sentence, she'd covered her ears, blocking him out effectively. She stared at him, her eyes wide, but her hands not moving, even when he stopped talking. She didn't like words. Stay silent, stay safe, don't talk, don't listen, don't let the words take over; don't let them have power over you. Quiet, quiet, let it stay forever silent and quiet and there would be peace.
She stared at him in the way that made the healer uncomfortable, seeing every memory, every minute, hour, day, week, month, and year of his life. She saw the war as none but him had seen it, saw the fall of Voldemort, saw the death and destruction, even saw her own family - the first time in years - and found out that Fred had died in the war. Saw Harry's marriage to Cho, saw Snape's death and redemption afterwards, and saw Draco's decisions and choices that had led him to become a healer in the mental ward.
"We have to go now, there's the rest of the patients to be attended to," the healer said, frowning down at Draco and the Weasley girl.
Ginny continued to stare at him, surprised. Usually people looked away long before now, her stare making them uncomfortable. Not with Draco. It almost seemed like he wanted her to see it all, to see everything that he'd done and been and was now becoming. Satisfied that everything was silent once more, she uncovered her ears.
With a tiny nod, Draco stood up and left with the healer, the white door closing behind them.
End of the first chapter.
Thank you for reading!