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Chapter 5 : Toilet Seats and Valentines
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The two direct quotes made by the cupid-dwarf and Malfoy (marked with an asterix) come from ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’ pg 177 & 178 (Australian paperback edition).
I had allowed myself to think, for a few fleeting minutes, that the lack of people in the Gryffindor tower might become my chance to finally get to know Harry properly but he, Ron and Hermione seemed very distracted and spent most of their time ineach other’s company. So I found myself playing a lot of games of exploding snap with the twins, which surprisingly cheered me up a bit. Occasionally, Ron would join us, Harry and even once or twice Hermione in tow. It was nice to be loud and not worry about disturbing others, although Percy was often very put out by our shouts and cheers. I almost found myself forgetting about the worried gnawing in my stomach. That was until I went to bed and, in the silence of the deserted dormitory, I was left alone with my thoughts. Every night I would lie there, trying to piece together anything from my broken memories, but all I managed was to intensify the feeling that the answer was right in front of me, just out of reach.
Christmas day came with a bang. That is, the bang of a set of red headed twins leaping on to my bed shouting seasonal greetings. “How’d you get in here?” I mumbled, remembering the sixth year boy who had tried to visit his girlfriend in my second week and had found himself sliding back down the stairs with a crash.
“C’mon now Ginny, we can’t give away all our secrets to you…yet.” George winked at me cheekily. I crawled, bleary eyed, out from under the covers and grinned at the pile of packages at the foot of my bed. Mum had sent the usual jumper, this one a pale pink with purple stars knitted in a pretty pattern. The twins were waving an oddly shaped parcel under my nose, their grins mischievous.
“Sorry it’s a little bit late Gin,” Fred said,
“It’s good to hear you laughing sis.” Fred whispered in my ear.
Christmas dinner was a lot of fun, exactly like my brothers had described. I laughed along with the others at the jokes and hats in the crackers and ate to my heart’s content. I didn’t even mind so much when I noticed Harry, Ron and Hermione slipping off early. Back in the common room, Fred and George guilted Percy into playing exploding snap with us. The one low point was when Ron and Harry returned from their mysterious activities, their faces downcast.
“Hermione’s in the hospital wing,” Harry explained, sitting on the sofa next to me. I felt tingles run up my arm but I was so worried about Hermione that I forgot to inspect the carpet and kept watching him. “She…uh…”
“Got in the way of one of her own spells.” Ron finished, giving Harry a meaningful stare.
“She’ll be ok though,” Harry added with a sort of forced brightness to his voice. “Anyone up for a game of Wizard’s Chess?”
That night, as I crawled into bed, my mind was on presents and food and wizard crackers. For the first time in many weeks, I fell straight to sleep.
A series of pictures were flashing through the darkness: Feathers, wet grass, Mrs. Norris creeping around a corner, words scribbling across a page all by themselves, Sir Nicholas with a surprised look on his face, a bathroom door, my diary…
I sat bolt upright in my bed. The Diary! That was it! Every time this happened, I had my diary out. Something about the diary was making me attack people! I suddenly knew what I had to do. I’ve got to get rid of the diary. I thought. There was a faint light at the windows; it was obviously very early in the morning. I could do it now, while they’re all asleep. I crawled to the edge of my bed and reached under the mattress. Just as my hand clasped around the book, I heard movement and mumbling from the next bed.
“Morning Ginny,” Jane Learson said sleepily as she climbed out of bed.
“Morning,” I replied as I quickly slipped the diary under my covers. Jane got up and made her way to the bathroom. I noticed movement in the other beds so I quickly jumped up, stashed the diary in my bag and slipped into the bathroom after Jane. I’ll get rid of it later.
It took me most of the day to come up with a decent hiding place for the diary. Over breakfast and throughout my classes, my mind was consumed with a good place to hide the book. I was so distracted that I accidentally walked into an empty fourth floor classroom on my way back to the common room after dinner that night. I was completely stunned, because there in the middle of the room, were two students kissing! I felt my cheeks go red and started to back out of the room when I realised that I recognised one of the people.
“Percy!” I gasped out loud before I could stop myself. The two people pulled away from each other and turned to look at me. The girl, a Ravenclaw prefect (what was her name? Prudence? Persephone? Penelope? That’s right, Penelope Clearwater!), giggled and blushed deeply, but Percy looked murderous.
“Ginevra! What are you doing sneaking around spying on me?”
“I…I wasn’t…” I gasped, torn between the desire to run away and the desire to burst out laughing. I racked my brain for an excuse, “I was looking for the toilet and I got lost…” My voice drifted away as a sudden idea came to me. I turned, without any other explanation and bolted down the hallway.
“Ginny! Don’t you dare tell anyone!” I could hear Percy’s cries following me out of the room, but I didn’t stop. The toilets, of course! I flew down two flights of stairs to the second floor and along several corridors until I found the one I wanted. There, near the end of the hallway was a girl’s toilet. It had a permanent “out of order” sign on it, because it was haunted by a ghost called Moaning Myrtle. I stopped outside the door. It’s perfect! Nobody ever comes in here! Checking to make sure I wasn’t being followed, I eased the door open and tiptoed into the bathroom. The only noise was a soft dripping from one of the taps. I ignored it and walked to one of the cubicles. I pulled the diary out of my bag and stood in front of the toilet for a moment, contemplating what I was about to do. The book felt like it was vibrating gently in my hands, as though it were scared to be thrown in a toilet. Don’t be stupid, books can’t be scared. I tossed the book into the bowl, pulled down on the chain as hard as I could and ran, as fast as my legs would carry me, all the way back to the Gryffindor tower. I gasped the password to the fat lady and clambered through, into the warm light. I slipped upstairs, dropped my bag and sat on my bed, my heart still racing, but my shoulders feeling lighter than they had since Christmas.
For the next month, things began to get increasingly better. It was a little while before I stopped checking the clock every five minutes to make sure I wasn’t losing time, but eventually, I began to relax and actually enjoy being at Hogwarts. Because, finally, Hogwarts was becoming the place I had dreamed about for so many years. Now that I wasn’t carrying this huge secret around, I found that I was much more like my old self. I was making more and more friends with people in my own year, and even though I still couldn’t talk to him, I wasn’t falling to pieces around Harry quite so much. I even managed to smile back at him once when he said good morning. Everything was starting to look up.
And then, on Valentine’s Day, everything came crashing back down. Professor Lockhart had decided that everyone needed a pick-me-up, so he organised decorations for the day. The great hall was full of pink flowers, and confetti floated down onto the tables. Lockhart had also organised dwarves (dressed like little grumpy cupids) to deliver valentines to people.
“Let the one you care about know how you really feel!” Lockhart beamed to everyone at breakfast. I glanced down the Gryffindor table where Harry was talking to Ron and a very giggly Hermione. Just then I got an idea. Swallowing my last bite of toast, I jumped up and ran out of the room as Lockhart blabbered on about asking Professor Snape to brew a love potion. I giggled as an image flashed across my mind of Snape, in powder pink robes, dancing through the potions dungeon tossing rose petals about. I got up to the common room and started scribbling ideas on to a piece of paper. If I can’t talk to Harry, I’ll get someone else to do it for me. I finished my note, found a cupid-dwarf to give it to and got to Transfiguration with only seconds to spare. I felt pretty pleased with myself at my excellent brainwave. But as the day progressed, I became less and less confident in my idea and by the time I headed to History of Magic that afternoon, I was positively convinced I had made the biggest mistake of my life. As I joined the queue outside the classroom I heard a gruff voice shouting down the corridor.
*”Oy you, ‘Arry Potter!” It was the dwarf I had given my valentine to earlier that day. The whole world seemed to slow down then, as the disaster I had caused unfolded before my eyes. Harry tried to get away but the cupid-dwarf tackled him to the ground, his books going everywhere. Then Draco Malfoy appeared and Percy! I watched in horror as the dwarf pulled out his little harp. Oh please no! For the love of Merlin, please don’t do it! I was screaming inside my head, willing the dwarf to hear me, but he simply plucked a few strings and began to sing. It was hard to tell who was more horrified by the song: Me or Harry. I think I won though, because I was not only disturbed by the terrible song I had written, but also completely crushed by the look of utter humiliation on Harry’s face as he tried to laugh it off with everyone. The sound of laugher ringing in my ears was nothing though, as I saw Draco Malfoy reach over and pull from Harry’s mess of possessions on the floor an unmistakeable thin, brown book. My Diary. I froze in fear. How did he get it? Oh no, how on earth… but my thoughts were cut off as Harry pointed his wand, yelled and disarmed Malfoy. Taking advantage of the commotion, I tried to slip into the classroom, but not before Malfoy spat at me,
*“I don’t think Potter liked your valentine much!” My face burned red. Covering it with my hands, I dashed into the classroom and sat at a desk in the corner. My mind jumping from the humiliation I had felt in the corridor, to the fear racing through my heart at the sight of the diary.
My nights once again became sleepless, this time as I worried fretfully about Harry and the diary. What if he figures it out? What if he talks to Riddle and then Harry starts attacking people. What if Riddle tells Harry all the things I said about him… the same thoughts circled round and round in my head. Every day I waited with bated breath to see if someone else would be attacked, but everything seemed as normal as it had been since Christmas. Still, I couldn’t stop worrying. Easter came, and with it a new plan. I decided that I simply had to get the diary back. There was no other way around it. I would break into the boys dormitory and steal back Tom Riddle’s Diary.
I waited until dinner time one night. I knew Harry had Quidditch practice and wouldn’t be back for a while, but there were others to think about too. I decided the safest time would be when everyone was in the great hall eating the evening meal. I hid in my dormitory until I was sure the last of the Gryffindor’s had left and then I slipped up the stairs to the room where the second year boys slept. I raced over to Harry’s bed and began tearing through his things. Any embarrassment I might normally have felt at going through Harry’s personal possessions was eclipsed by the adrenaline and fear coursing through my veins. I ripped through Harry’s books, desperate to find the diary, and then I saw it, tucked at the bottom of his trunk under a pile of clean socks. I snatched it up, flew back to the girl’s dormitory and tucked the diary back in its old spot, under my mattress.
I didn’t sleep a wink that night.
I was convinced the diary knew I had stolen it and it felt like it was calling to me, begging me to open it and write in it again. I’m losing my mind, I thought, over and over again, but still I couldn’t completely lose the urge to write in the diary. Saturday morning, I dressed in red and gold to support Gryffindor at the Quidditch match, but I couldn’t bring myself to go down with the others. As the dormitories emptied, I pulled out the diary and quill and opened, with a sense of foreboding, to the first blank page. My hand was shaking as I lowered the quill to the paper.
Dear Tom, I am sorry I haven’t written to you in a while, I lost the diary and it’s taken me all this time to find it again.
Ginny? Is that you? My dear, I had wondered what had happened!
I’m very sorry Tom, also I’ve been very busy with my homework and school and, and…everything.
I finished pathetically, not knowing what to tell him.
Oh I understand Ginny, really I do…
“Ginny? What are you doing? Come on now, we really do need to get back to the common room.” Percy’s voice cut through the fog in my head. I looked around dazedly. How did I get in the entrance… my thoughts drifted off as understanding hit me like a ton of bricks. I was writing in the diary and then…oh no! No, no, no, no! Percy stopped ushering students past him and grabbed me by the arm. “Ginny? Really, are you alright?” He asked. I looked up at him.
“Yes, um sorry Perce, got a bit distracted there for a minute,” I mumbled.
“Well come on then, McGonagall says we have to get back to our common rooms and as a prefect I can’t be seen to be dawdling.” He puffed his chest out and proceeded to drag me back to Gryffindor tower. Once there, I joined the massive crowd of people waiting nervously. I perched myself on the arm of the sofa Fred and George were sitting on and waited, unable to speak or barely breathe properly.
After what seemed like an eternity, the portrait hole opened and in climbed Harry and Ron, followed by a grim looking Professor McGonagall. The boys came and stood by us, looking completely devastated. Professor McGonagall stood by the entrance to the room and looked out at the sea of students, still dressed in red and gold from the Quidditch match.
“There have been two more attacks on students.” She announced. A ripple of gasps and muffled shrieks spread through the room. My heart began to pound and I grabbed the back of the sofa for support as my legs began to shake.
“Professor?” Percy dared to ask, his voice not quite so confident. “Who was attacked?” McGonagall sighed,
“Penelope Clearwater, from Ravenclaw house,” I noticed Percy’s shoulders fall and his head drop sadly. McGonagall took a deep breath as though trying to brace herself to do something very difficult, “and…Hermione Granger.”
AN: Sorry this update's been a little slow, I've been focussing on my other WIP a lot lately, but I promise I haven't deserted Ginny! I hope you liked this chapter, please review!
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