Ginny still hears wisps of Tom in her mind. Ginny discovers a coping method by the third week of “you are a pureblood, sweetheart; these wretched blood traitors shouldn’t treat you like that. You deserve silk and gold, my dear” that self harming sends him away, and so it begins - cuts in her stomach, easily hidden by clothes; burn marks in her thighs and nipping the skin of her fingers. Ginny thinks it fair - she deserves this pain as payback for what she did. She complied, and now she paid back with interest. As far as coping methods go, it is not the best one, but she learns to enjoy it, deriving pleasure from where should be none.
By third year it doesn’t anymore, and one Daphne Greengrass finds her skinning part of her hand alive. Daphne smirks, fox-like and mysterious, and sits by her side, picking her skinned hand and crushing it between hers.
“You need this, don’t you?”, Daphne hums, and Ginny barely bites back a moan of pain, feeling Tom recede away. Daphne simply smiles, as if she could read her mind.
It escalates, as it should. Daphne chokes and punches and kicks Ginny, and Ginny has never been more grateful. Tom has never been so far away, and to both of their surprises, Daphne one day takes to kissing her, and Ginny welcomes Daphne, the other girl’s teeth biting her lower lip until blood welled up, drinking it up as if she was a vampire, one hand going underneath her shirt. Daphne uses her body as she well pleases, but Ginny doesn’t mind; what is her body, if not a receptacle for pain? What else she deserves, but this sort of treatment?
Ginny accepts what Daphne gives her, fingers and tongue and bruises, pleasure mixed with pain, and Tom has never been so hidden, so away. She loves Daphne like Tom would have never loved her, like Tom pretended to love her, but real. Love, Daphne teaches Ginny, is pain and pleasure by the touch of her graceful fingers, and Ginny welcomes it whole.
It’s how she gets to know weepy Cho Chang, crying for a dead boy. Cho Chang is soft and quiet, and Ginny wishes she could absorb her pain into herself, for it sounds like the most delicious sort of pain one could taste. The pain of grief seemed like it overpowered all other sorts of pain,and how she wishes to be able to taste it on her tongue. Ginny fell in love, but then, what was love, anyway, for someone so wretched as Ginny? Falling in love with Daphne smells of iron and burnt skin.
Daphne had taught her what love was, but her current definition did not match Cho’s soft sobs and quiet smiles in a tear-stained face. Love, Cho teaches Ginny, is soft smiles and quietly holding hands while one sobs and the other says soft nothings into the weeping girl’s soft, jet black hair. Love os quietness and silence punctuated by sobbing sounds and laughter where should be none, disheveled hair and runny noses. Falling in love with Cho smells like vanilla and warmth.
Ginny can pretend to be normal until she can’t - her heart suddenly split into two different directions.
Daphne was beautiful, fair hair and blue eyes, long limbs and graceful. Cho was beautiful, dark hair and warm brown eyes permanently stained red. Ginny tells Daphne as much, almost gushing lovely words as she receives small burns in her stomach, and Daphne smiles like a fox, once more, digging her fingers into Ginny’s scalp, saying she will work it out, and Ginny trusts her.