Chapter 3 : Dear Diary
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“Now don’t worry Ginny dear, we’ll find them and sort everything out. I’m sure the boys are fine.” Mum’s words were confident and assuring, but the look in her eyes and the slight tremble of her voice told me otherwise. “Now, Hermione here will look after you and Fred and George will be…and Percy…” Mum’s voice drifted off as she glanced over her shoulder to where Dad was talking to a guard by the entrance to platform 9 ¾.
“We’ll be fine Mrs Weasley.” Hermione said gently from where she was sitting in the compartment. At the sound of her name, Mum looked back at us.
“Sorry? Oh, yes, right, of course.” She mumbled. I shot Hermione a worried look, and her eyes seemed to reflect my concern and confusion. With a sudden jolt, the train began to move slowly forward. Dad came rushing over and gave me a quick kiss before the carriage slipped away.
“Enjoy yourself Gin. And don’t make yourself anxious. Everything’s fine love, just fine.” He called as we picked up speed. I almost believed Dad, but the concerned look he gave Mum as the train curved away from the station made me suspicious. I watched as Kings Cross grew smaller and smaller, not turning away until it was a little speck in the distance. This was not how I had imagined my very first departure for Hogwarts. I sat down opposite Hermione who was watching me with that same confused look.
“What do you think happened?” I asked. She shrugged.
“Hard to tell.” She replied. Could be a malfunctioning illusion charm, or a muggle repelling security jinx was activated, or…” She shrugged again. “I’m not sure Ginny.” She sounded sincere, but a fleeting glint in her eyes made me wonder if there was something she wasn’t telling me. I blinked and when I looked up at Hermione again, the glint was gone. Despite her slightly bossy manner, I had really liked Hermione from the first day I ‘properly’ met her in Diagon Alley. She might know something I didn’t, but I trusted her all the same. “Look I’m sure it’ll be sorted and they’ll probably get to Hogwarts before us.” She said, “although it would have been fun to have them on the train.”
“Yeah.” I almost whispered, gazing back out the window. Truth be told, for as worried as I was about Ron and Harry getting through the gate, I was just as disappointed about not having the train ride with Harry. Oh right! Because you’ve been getting along so well with him, taunted a small voice in my head. As much as I hated it, the voice had a point. Harry had stayed with us for three weeks and I’d barely been able to string three words together or avoid knocking something over in his presence. I squirmed as I remembered upsetting bowls of porridge, tripping over Ron’s broomstick, or even nearly dropping a book into the fire, just because Harry had appeared or looked at me. The first time he had spoken directly to me was in the kitchen, when he had asked me something about Hogwarts. Unable to speak, I’d nodded, blushed and stuck my elbow in the butter dish! I felt my cheeks go pink just remembering it. No-one but Harry had seen though and, unlike my brothers, he’d been kind enough not to say anything. That doesn’t mean he won’t still think you’re a clumsy little kid. The voice piped up. “Shut up.” I murmured to myself.
“Sorry?” Hermione asked. I looked up, realising I’d spoken out loud.
“Nothing.” I blushed. Just then, a movement in the corridor caught my eye. Three boys were passing our compartment, but they had paused when the smallest one looked through the window. He was a seedy looking second year with a pale pointed face and white blonde hair. He smirked at us like he knew some great joke we didn’t, and then continued slouching down the corridor.
“Malfoy.” Hermione muttered to herself, having looked up at the door too. That wasn’t the first time I’d met Draco Malfoy. Our first encounter had been two weeks ago in Flourish and Blotts, the bookstore. Harry had just escaped the clutches of that idiot Lockhart, and came and dropped a whole lot of books in my cauldron.
He’d mumbled something to me about having the books before Malfoy came along and started teasing Harry about loving the fame and wanting lots of attention. I don’t really know what happened, but it was like all of my frustration at not being able to do anything properly combined with my anger at Malfoy for saying those things to Harry and I lost it.
*“Leave him alone, he didn’t want all that!” I had snapped. My brothers, who were used to me holding my own in an argument, wouldn’t have even blinked at such an outburst from me. But Harry, who had only ever known me as clumsy and mute was probably wondering just how odd I truly was. I didn’t have long to consider that though, because Malfoy said the worst possible thing ever:
*”Potter, you’ve got yourself a girlfriend!”
My face got so hot, so fast that it felt like someone had turned a burner on under my skin. I wanted to run, as fast as I could, and never ever ever look at Harry Potter again! Then Dad and Mr. Malfoy had gotten into a fight, which was very strange but at least it took the focus off me. Even so, it was days before I stopped staring at my shoes whenever Harry was around.
I looked back out the window at the landscape racing past. I wanted to start crying but having grown up with six brothers, blinking back the tears wasn’t too difficult. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. I thought to myself. My first time on the Hogwarts Express! This is where my life is supposed to begin, where I get to be more than the youngest Weasley who isn’t allowed to do anything because she’s a girl. This is supposed to be the time when Harry and I actually get to know each other and become best friends and… I let my thoughts drift off into angry confusion and disappointment.
I felt the sudden urge to write in my diary. I had never kept a diary until recently, I’d never really needed to before: normally I just talked about how I was feeling. My diary had turned up at the perfect moment. Things were getting really bad with Harry around the house and me not being able to string two words together when he was nearby. Then, in the evening of the day we went to Diagon Alley, I was sitting in my room looking through my school things. Most of my books were second hand, except of course the gaudy Lockhart books Harry had given me. I reached into my cauldron and pulled out my worn copy of The Standard Book of Spells, Grade 1. It felt oddly bulky and I discovered why when, as I turned it on its side, a worn, thin, brown book fell into my lap. I picked it up and realised it was a diary that someone must have forgotten about. The year on the front told me it was fifty years old. I quickly began to flick through the pages, expecting to find rows upon of rows of ancient writing, but there was nothing...except for the name on the front page: T. M. Riddle.
I don’t really know why, maybe the frustration of not being able to talk about what I felt finally reached breaking point, but I suddenly found myself diving across the room to pull a quill and some ink out of my desk. I sat down on the whitewashed wooden rocking-chair by my window and began to write furiously on the empty page: Dear Diary… I can’t believe how stupid I am! It’s just so awf – My quill stopped mid-word. My jaw fell open in astonishment whilst the words faded away into the paper as though they had never been written. I stared at the page for a good minute, not moving from my position in the rocker. Then, with a small shriek, I dropped the book into my lap. Where I had been writing only a minute before, more words were re-appearing. Different Words!
Hello there dear writer. Things do not sound well with you.
The words scribbled across the page, as if they were being written by an invisible hand. Then, they too began to fade. I stared at the diary for another minute before my curiosity got the better of me. I retrieved the quill from where it had fallen on the floor and wrote:
Hello. Who are you? I felt a little bit silly, but I couldn’t think of anything better to write. I waited nervously as the letters faded. Then, once again, words began to scrawl across the page.
My name is Tom Riddle, and this is my diary. Who are you, may I ask? And how did you come by my diary?
I hesitated before writing my name. Did I dare? My parents had always told me not to talk to strangers, but could a person in a diary really be considered a stranger? What damage could come of it really? It’s just a harmless book. I told myself. Taking a deep breath, I dipped my quill in ink and wrote quickly.
My name is Ginevra Weasley, but everyone calls me Ginny. I found your diary in an old school book.
The responding words came quickly this time.
It is a pleasure to meet you Ginny. I enjoy having someone to communicate with, it has been ever so long. But you do seem to be upset by something. Can I help in any way?
I didn’t consider hesitating this time, after all, I finally had someone to share my problems with. I began to write frantically, telling Tom about Harry and Malfoy and being the youngest Weasley and being poor and being left behind and …
“Have you done much studying yet?” Hermione’s voice came floating through the fog of my mind like the lights of a slowly approaching ship… I glanced up at her blankly as my personal musings began to dissolve.
“Umm…” I replied stupidly, still trying to form a coherent thought.
“I think I read through all of my text books before the first day of term last year.” She continued brightly, “But that’s just me. I just can’t shake the feeling that I’m going to be underprepared, I mean what if a professor asked a question on the first day and I couldn’t answer it! How awful!” I smiled at Hermione in a way that I hoped passed as understanding. Ron had been right about her, she was intense. But I was grateful to her for the change in topic.
“I’ve read a bit.” I replied, my voice coming back to me now. “What are the professors like?”
My first week at Hogwarts passed in a sort of blur. Some days would race past and I would feel dizzy with everything I was supposed to take in, while other days seemed to drag on forever. My sorting and the feast on the first night were overshadowed by the fact that Harry and Ron flew Dad’s car all the way to Hogwarts where they promptly crashed into a tree that fights back! They call it the Walloping Willow lor something like that. So right from the first night I was known as ‘the sister of that kid who flew a car to school with Harry Potter.’ I was understandably annoyed that my dream of not being known as ‘so-and-so’s little sister’ was dashed to pieces on the first night of term.
Classes, however, were living up to my expectations. Potions lessons in the dungeons were hideous, but years of anecdotes from my brothers had at least prepared me for that. Snape had picked me out right from the first lesson.
“Hmmm….another Weasley I suppose.” He had said, flapping around the room like an overgrown bat. He stopped and gave me a cold, piercing stare. I tried to hold myself still and show him I wasn’t scared. “Well…let’s hope you’re not as abominable as your brother Ronald when it comes to the fine art of Potions.” He hissed and then flapped away to pick on someone else. I kept my head down and stayed quiet in potions and I usually got away with being almost invisible.
I enjoyed most of my other lessons though, Charms with Professor Flitwick was always good fun and Herbology was alright once you got used to the smell of dragon dung fertiliser. Care of Magical Creatures was very interesting and even Transfiguration was good. Although Professor McGonagall was very strict, she was fair and a good teacher. Overall, I liked most of my classes and I loved the castle. It was everything I had dreamed, from the hundreds of paintings to the staircases (which seemed to change their minds a lot), to the Great Hall and its enchanted ceiling, and especially the Gryffindor tower. I was so happy to be in Gryffindor, although I suppose I hadn’t really doubted it. The sorting hat took all of about three seconds before sorting me into the same house as every other member of my family.
And I was making friends…sort of. I was talking to people in my classes and Hermione often smiled at me or stopped to chat if she saw me in the common room. My brothers were their usual annoying selves, although Percy was developing a new habit of being irritatingly overprotective. Things were working out as well as could be expected. There was just one main problem: Harry.
I still hadn’t worked up the nerve to talk to him properly, not that I had a lot of opportunities these days. He, Ron and Hermione were always off together, visiting Hagrid or down at the Quidditch pitch and I soon realised that my dreams of being accepted into their group with open arms was not going to happen. Still, Harry would usually smile at me in the corridor or say ‘Good Morning’ at the Gryffindor table over breakfast (which usually resulted in me dropping something) although this was the only attention he paid me. Truth be told, Harry hardly knew I existed and my visions of us being such good friends were nothing but hopeless fantasies.
My one confidant was Tom, and the old diary that I kept tucked underneath my mattress in the girls dormitory. Tom was incredible, and the most wonderful listener…if you could call it that. I would write pages upon pages to him and he never seemed to bore of our conversations. He was comforting and helpful…
Oh Tom, today was just horrible!
Goodness Ginny! Whatever happened?
Well it started out Ok, but straight after breakfast I was walking through the transfiguration corridor and I passed Malfoy and he started teasing me about wearing hand-me-down robes! Then after lunch Percy forced me to drink Madam Pomfrey’s Pepperup Potion because he said I looked like I was getting sick and it made my ears steam and Fred and George kept teasing me about it! Then, Colin Creevy kept following me around talking non-stop about Harry and then I think Harry overheard us and he probably thinks I’m just like Colin and a complete moron!
Oh dear, it really has been quite a day hasn’t it?
Oh Tom, what am I going to do? Hogwarts was supposed to be the best time of my life and it’s all wrong!
Dear, dear Ginny. You mustn’t fret like this. Changes like this are always a bit tricky. But you’re a clever your witch and things will get better. You’ll see, just give it some time.
Thankyou Tom, you’re right. You’re the only one who understands me! I’m so glad I’ve got this diary to confide in.
And I was. It was like having a secret best friend that I could slip into my school bag and nobody need ever know about it. I told Tom all about Harry and how he never noticed me and probably never would, and Tom responded with his kind, sage advice. And Tom was right, changes are always hard. Things will get better. I told myself, they will get better.
And then things got worse. Much, much worse.
AN: Ok...there it is, chapter 3! What do you think? Please review - they are such motivators! I'm particularly concerned about the characterisation of ginny. The storyline Takes care of itself since I'm following JK's original timeline, but does Ginny sound like Ginny to you? I'd love to know what you think.
Thankyou to everyone who is actually reading this story, virtual cookies, cupcakes and sherbert lemons to you all - and a big huggle too!
(P.S. Sorry if there's any spelling/grammar errors. I edit like crazy but always seem to miss one or two, so please let me know if you spot any. Thanks!)
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