Immediately, I like Ginny's humorous thoughts about her combined anxiety and her early arrival at the office. The Whispering Pixie sounds absolutely dreadful. How horrible that Rita Skeeter was lucky enough to piece her career back together after the war! The injustice!
I'm not too sure about Bree here. I don't know if her comment was an attempt to become familiar with her client, or a genuine slip, or something more sinister. I'm always looking for the sinister things around the corner, but that's just me. :)
I know that a journal is a normal part of therapy, but in this case, I think that's cutting it a bit too close for Ginny. I wonder how she will handle that. The symbolism seems too connected, especially for her character. There's gotta be a backlash from that in the future.
Oh, yes you did it. That was an excellent setup for the last part of the scene. I think you nailed the creepiness, so great job there! It felt like one of those moments in the horror movie where the deep dark bad is about to show its face. Lovely!
I do have some reservations though. In your last paragraph, you switch to Harry's pov (which is fine, I didn't have an issue with the switch). The only thing I wonder is how Harry's thoughts are so rational here. Why would he automatically think that Ginny's reaction is from stress? I'd like to believe that given his personal experiences and his job, that he'd suspect something darker is afoot than just his wife's sleep deprivation. I was expecting him to question everything from all angles, looking for the source of her hysteria. I guess his reaction was too "normal" for me. She might have been hiding her stress from him, and he might have noticed anyway, but still. He's trained to look for threats and dark things, and I believe he'd have made the connection to the diary faster than a blink of an eye. But he doesn't even think it. He, of all people, should have understood the implications here, even if they are disconnected as a couple.
Okay, so besides that last paragraph, I was into the rest of the chapter. I imagine that first therapy sessions might be a bit slow, and there's this "getting to know you" warm up period, I guess. The hour definitely didn't feel like an hour, it kind of flew by, and because this is fiction, I was sort of hoping that something more significant (or a hint of something significant) might happen in that scene. Maybe it did, and it was cleverly disguised and I missed it. Besides the journal suggestion. That was pretty big, but in the scene, I could tell that Ginny was putting all her energy into not reacting to it, trying hard to mask her uncomfortableness (making up words here) of the idea from the therapist, which fits with the characterization you've given her so far.
I still want to know what's going to happen next. I'll be back soon!
Author's Response: Have you ever heard the saying that after the apocalypse, only the cockroaches and Madonna will still be around? I think that applies to Rita as well. She's a slippery sort of person who I think will always find a niche, however slimy it has to be.
I'm always interested in how people react to Bree. What she said was completely unprofessional, but I think it's unrealistic to assume that it wouldn't be hard to see a celebrity in a therapeutic setting, with their problems plastered all over the magazine covers. I would never let on if I had suspicions about a famous client, of course, but Bree definitely got a little too starstruck and made a mistake there.
I've got to defend my Harry a little bit. A lot of his characterization is built off that moment in canon where Ginny had to remind him that he'd completely forgotten the trauma they shared, of their minds being invaded by Tom Riddle. I think he became quite inwardly-focused the deeper he got in with Voldemort (and understandably so) and was forced to kind of tune out what was going on with everyone else. Perhaps he would have learned his lesson by this point, but I still think a primary instinct for him would be putting everything right and trying to make Ginny feel better. I will take your thoughts into consideration as I plan out the rest of the story, though, because I agree that he's got a bit of sleuth in him.
I tried to keep the therapy session realistic; the first session can be a bit boring, but the hour can also go by quickly. The early chapters were spent trying to establish Ginny in her adult life, since I know many people have gone into the story with preconceived notions and opinions about her and I wanted to share my vision.
Thanks for another lovely review!