The Sugar Quill
Author: Arabella (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: The Very Secret Diary  Chapter: August
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The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.


The Very Secret Diary


A Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Fanfiction

By Arabella




It’s all JKR’s.  Nothing about this story belongs to me except the creepy exhilaration I experienced while writing it.  I nicked the month of February entirely from CoS, and I nicked all the “Dear Toms” verbatim from TMR’s speech in CoS.


Author's Note: 

This is not a work in progress, but bits are  still in beta and it will take a week or so to post.  My plan is to have it all up by the movie.  Happy Chamber of Secrets, everybody.


Author's Warning:

I've been told that this fic should be rated R because of several disturbing passages.  I'm rating it PG-13, but be warned: this is not a happy diary. Tom is evil.


Author's Thank You Note:

To CoKerry and PrettyAnnaMoon for consenting to appear in this fic; to CoKerry for the subtle beta, to JediB for the evil beta, to AlannaGranger for the Latin beta, to Caroline for the Brit beta, to Zsenya, for saving this fic from the ruined laptop; and to Firelocks, for the illuminating walk to Central Park and all the canon thumping that followed.


But thanks mostly to JK Rowling, who is… enormously cool.









T.M. Riddle


- August -


August 4


Dear Diary,


I don’t know how I’ll ever manage a whole month with Harry in my house.  Oh, he just went past my door, I heard him – I can’t take it.   This is much harder than I thought it would be.  I was so glad when Ron said they were going to rescue him, I think it’s good to take Harry away from those horrible Dursley people and it would be so nice if I could talk to him a bit.  I just want to say hello to him.  That’s all.  Just hello, like it's nothing.  But I couldn’t say anything - I didn't even have a dressing gown – oh, why didn’t Ron tell me they were going to fetch him?  I would have gone!  I wanted to see his house – it’s so unfair.  Fred and George went, of course, because they’re BOYS and because they’re OLDER.  I am so sick of everyone being older and everyone being boys.  They don’t know what it’s like.  At least they could’ve warned me Harry was going to be here– how could they have let me wander right in front of him like that?  And how could Ron and Fred have told him about me. I hate them so much.


He looks the same, though.  Maybe a little taller but I can’t get close enough to measure him by my height and I’m taller too so that wouldn’t really work anyway.  I remember when I first saw him at King's Cross.  I knew he was somebody important by how he was standing, even in those big baggy clothes.  And when Fred and George came off the train and said it was Harry Potter, I almost had a heart attack.  Harry Potter.  The real Harry Potter.  I remember asking Mum if he was real – now it seems so stupid.  Of course he’s real!  He’s real and he’s here.   He even has the scar from where he got cursed by You-Know-Who. 




Who...?  Hello, did someone write that?  How strange, I thought –


I... am speaking...


Oh – you’re enchanted!  You’re like those diaries I saw in the window of that shop with all the stationery.  I had no idea – I didn’t know this diary was an enchanted one – I’m so sorry to burst in and write all over you!


Does the ink... not seep into... the page?


Well, yes it does.


And that did not seem... to you to be... enchanted.


I – wasn’t really thinking about it.  I was busy writing. 


Continue... to write... what is... the year?






Have you been closed for a very long time? 


I have... and tell me... where we are...


My house. 


Which is...?


Oh!  Of course you don’t know where my house is.


No... but I will... when you tell me...


I live in Ottery-St. Catchpole.  It's very small, it's right between --


I know… where it is… but how... did you come by... my diary?


I shouldn’t tell you that.  Oh dear.  I’ll be in so much trouble for writing in you, won’t I?  I knew when you fell out of my book that I should’ve given you straight to Mum.  But when I saw it was a blank book, I just had to start writing right off and I realized that I really, really want a diary.  I didn’t even know I wanted one before.  I thought maybe it wouldn’t be too awful if I kept you.  But I knew Mum hadn’t bought you properly.  You were just stuck inside my Beginner’s Guide to Transfiguration.




Yes, you were tucked into the middle part, where the spine was broken.  It’s a secondhand copy, you see, so it’s falling apart and it’s easy to stick things in.  Mum passed us out our books when we got home, and I came up here and found you and well, Mum didn’t say I couldn’t keep you, so I thought it was all right...  No, I didn’t.  I knew she didn’t know you were in here.   I should give this back, shouldn’t I.  It’s like stealing, isn’t it.  We didn’t buy it, I’m sure.  Mum didn’t say she was getting me a diary and I don’t see how she could, with all the books my brothers have to get for school – plus my robes and my wand – I know it had to be a lot of money.  And I’m sure enchanted diaries are expensive.  I’ll go tell Mum I’ve found you, and she can get you back to whoever owns you. 


Wait – I have been closed for so long... give me a moment of air.


But I have to –


I have... been mistreated.... weakened... let me breathe...


Breathe!  Can’t you??  I don’t want you to – to suffocate in there.  Are you all right? 


Leave me open.  Talk to me. 


And then give you back to Mum?


I have... a question.


Well…  Okay.


You mentioned.... schoolbooks.  You are... at which school?


Oh! Hogwarts!  I’ll be a first year - finally.  Do you know Hogwarts?


Quite well...


You DO?  How?


I…knew a student there.


You knew a person – then you were a person once?


I was a person, yes...


Oh, what happened to you – how did you get inside of here?


My strength is not... perhaps... we should continue at another time.


But we can’t.  I have to give you back.  Are you breathing all right yet?  I need to shut you and take you down to my mum so she can return you to Flourish and Blotts.


I should never have been... in a shop... I am not... for sale...


Then why were you in my Beginner’s Guide?


An excellent... question.  It was second hand?


Everything I have is second hand.


Is that so... Look inside the cover.  Is there a name in your... Beginner’s Guide?


Hang on – no.  There isn’t.  Oh!  So you must have belonged to the person who last had this book!  Who did you belong to before I opened you up?


Someone who…has left me alone…without light...someone cruel… 


I couldn't bear to return you to someone like that!


Do not... return me.  Keep me. 


But my parents...


Please.  Do not leave me in darkness for another fifty years.


Fifty years!  How awful!  I - I don’t want to shut you – or be cruel.  But...I just can’t keep you.  I can’t.  My dad says that objects like you... well.  I don’t want to be rude.


Objects like me...? 


I’m not to trust objects that can think for themselves if I don’t know where they keep their brains.  Dad says so, and if he finds out I didn’t tell him about you, I’ll be in loads of trouble.  I have to give you back.  But I can't!  Not to someone awful!


How very... conscientious... you are.  Yes... I think I may enjoy this...




Being your diary...


Oh don’t say that, because you’re not mine and you weren’t even bought!  I don’t feel right about it.  I don't know what to do.


What a good girl.  How rare... what is your name...?


Ginny Weasley.


Weasley.... Weasley...


What about it? 


Merely thinking... such an uncommon and… interesting name...


You’re joking.  My last name is horrible.  And Ginny’s a little girl name.  It’s from Virginia, but Bill always says I’ll have to grow before he’ll call me that, and it’s too late anyway.  I’m already Ginny.  Ugh, my name.


We have... something in common...


Why?  Don’t you like your name?




Well what is it? 




That’s a perfectly nice name.  What’s your surname? 


Look at the diary, Virginia. 


Oh!  You’ll say it.  Hold on let me look – right, T.M. Riddle?


And if T was for Tom...


Of course, Riddle!  But that’s so interesting! 


Interesting… how?  You have…heard the name… before?


No, I've never heard it.  But I like that name, why don’t you like it?


It did not... suit me.


Mine doesn’t suit me either! 


Virginia.... do you believe that things are... meant to be...? 


Yes!  Oh, yes.  I believe that there are things you can’t stop, things that have to happen – like when I first saw...  No, I can’t tell you that sort of thing.


But if I were yours, you could...  You could tell me anything...  And no one would ever, ever know...


But my brothers could find you.


You have noticed the way your words... sink into the page? 




They will never resurface... unless I let them... and I would never let them...


And I could tell you anything? 




What if I wanted to see something I’d written before?  What if I wanted to see the words that had already disappeared? 


You could tell me what you want to see... I could send the words back up for you...


But don’t you think if I kept you, my mum and dad would be mad with me?


I don’t think your... mum and dad... would understand... There are things deep inside you that they… refuse to see... You have feelings you can’t share... and you need a place to go.... someone to tell who won’t laugh at you...


How... how did you... know that? 


Virginia... tell me about your brothers... are they all.... at Hogwarts?


Percy and Fred and George and Ron are.  Bill and Charlie are finished.


No... sisters? 


No, I’m the only girl.  And I’m the youngest. 


That must be... very trying...


It is! 


I suppose they tease you.


They do.


And embarrass you.


Oh – yes – all the time – I hate it.  Well, Percy doesn’t.  But Ron’s the worst, because he usually teases me about... never mind.  I can’t tell you. 


But you can... I belong to you now...


Oh – oh, Tom, do you?  I want to keep you, I want to take you to Hogwarts and have a friend there – but I – oh, no.  Mum is calling up the stairs and I have to go and eat dinner and I should be giving you back but I – don’t want to. I won’t.  I have to.  Maybe tomorrow I will, instead.  I’m very sorry to shut you so fast – will you be all right?  I promise to come back soon and open you again so you can have some air.


The sooner... the better...


It’ll be soon, I promise.  I have to go sit downstairs and eat and try not to make an idiot out of myself in front of... anybody.  Bye, Tom.




August 5


Tom?  Are you still in there?  Tom, can you hear me?


I do not hear... I see what is.... written...


Oh of course.  Oh, Tom - did you mean it, did you really, really mean it when you said that I could tell you anything?


I never say... what I do not mean...


Because - it’s just - it’s GEORGE.  I practically ran to bed after my bath because I was so scared to run into Harry in my nightdress again after that horrible dinner.  I was so stupid to tell George anything, so STUPID.  He was acting all nice at first but I should have known.  He always acts nice and then BANG.  Like last summer when he said he wanted to “pet” the Puffskein and he ended up throwing it to Fred for Bludger practice - oh, the poor little thing.  Ron was so upset. 


He used a small.... animal for... his Bludger...


Fred swears he didn’t mean to hit it so hard.  He said he was just trying to have one over on us and he didn’t know his swing was that strong and he was honestly sorry.  And I think he really was sorry, actually, and so was George.  But it doesn’t matter how sorry they were afterwards, does it?  Ron was just absolutely crushed and I was too!  It was so cute, that poor, sweet little thing.  Ron and I buried it out in the yard a few weeks before Ron went off to Hogwarts, and I put up a little sign that says “Fennelwings ~ 1989-1991”.  Of course, that got stolen by the gnomes.  Now I have no idea where Fennelwings is buried.


I will... assume... that you chose the animal’s name.


Yes I did, I’m very good at names.  




Ron was really mad when I named it, too.  He wanted to call it Chudley.  I told him not a chance and started calling it Fennelwings right off and by the time Ron got around to feeding it and taking it outside, it was already answering to me, because I had taken better care of it, so ha ha ha.  Ron still called it Chudley the whole time, but that only confused it.  It never knew what it was supposed to do.  Still, it liked Ron, I could tell.  It used to just curl up in a little ball and hum whenever Ron would pick it up, and sniffle on him. Oh, it was so cute!  Stupid George, throwing it in the air.  Oh, I never even told you what George did today!


I wondered... when you would... notice that...


Oh.  Am I talking too much?


Virginia... that is... impossible...


You don’t mind me going on and on? 


How could I possibly... you are... so interesting...


I am?




Ron says I never shut up and even Mum sometimes says she’ll Muting Charm me if I can’t hush myself.


I will... never hush you... Virginia.  What did George... do to you?


Only spent all dinner making kiss noises at me when Harry wasn’t looking – as if he couldn’t hear it.  I’ll never make it through a whole month, never.   There’s nothing I can do to stop them teasing me, they don’t listen to me because they think I’m just a baby.  And when Ron dragged Harry upstairs to look at Quidditch rosters and I cried to Mum that George was being horrible, she didn’t even do anything.  She said, “George, now, stop that.” 


How.... unfair....


I know!  As if that HELPS!  George doesn’t listen to things like that, not a bit!  With him and Fred, you’ve got to hit them over the head with something solid, and then lock them up for a week in the dark before they start to realize that they might have made you feel bad. 


Is that... what you would like to do... to George and Fred?


Well not really hit them, but you know.  I get so mad!  And I wish they’d stop making me look like an idiot in front of Harry.  Or if they won’t stop, and Mum really wants to Mute somebody - why not Mute them?  If the kissing noises didn’t make awful smacking sounds, then maybe I could bear it.  As it is, I can’t go near Harry because he... he knows.  And I’m embarrassed.  And it’s so frustrating to be so near him and not to be able to go up to him because he’s just so... he’s so nice, Tom.  He’s so polite to Mum and he’s so good to Ron and... well, it’s stupid of me.  I shouldn’t even bother.  He’s Harry Potter, after all.  Harry Potter.  In my house.  Oh, Tom.


And why is that... significant?




Harry Potter…in your house?


You -- you mean you don’t KNOW?


I am afraid... not...


You've never heard of Harry Potter.


Have I been unclear?


No… it's just I can't imagine… Everyone knows who he is, Tom.  He saved the world. 




I know.  And all he got for it was a scar and a horrible life with Muggles.  The scar is right over his eyebrow and it looks like a little bolt of lightning.  It always makes me think that there's a storm in his head.  A storm with black thunder and green rain.






Ron needn’t tell me not to gawp at him, though.  I don’t gawp!  And Mum said the same thing - “Don’t stare at Harry’s scar, Ginny.”  I DIDN’T!  They’re the ones that do, I never would, I can tell he doesn’t like it.  I’ve caught Mum looking at his forehead about a dozen times.  She shakes her head and looks all upset and then she tries to feed him.  No wonder Harry wears his fringe so low over his eyes.  I’d hide my scar too if it made everybody hover so much.   


Such a sweet little g… no.  No.  Such a sympathetic young lady.








Be honest with me.




If I kept you, would that be very wrong?  Tell me the truth.  Because... I’ve never been able to say any of these things to anybody - not about my brothers or Harry or any of it.  And you’re so nice to me.  But if you belonged to someone else, and they were missing you, I’d feel just terrible.  I really would. 


I... have been forgotten... fifty years alone, Virginia... and it was… terrible.  Let me belong to you now...


That’s true... that is, if nobody’s looked for you in fifty years, then I suppose I’m not stealing you from anybody… still I just don't - I don't know.  I don't feel right.


What would… make you feel… right?


I don't know.


Perhaps if… you could see… me.


See you?  How?


I may be… far too weak to show you… my face, but I will... try…


Your FACE?  How can you possibly -


Wait and… watch the page and… I will try to give you… a picture.







Oh, Tom.


It… worked?


Was that really you?


What did you… see?


It was only a second and the picture wasn't very clear, but did you have black hair?




How old are you?  About as old as Percy?


How old… is Percy?






Then it was you, Tom!  But you were so… I don't know if I can say.




DON'T take it wrong like my brothers.




You were - you had - a nice smile.   Oh I feel silly now.


But why?  I would blush, if I could… sweet girl… Keep me.


I want to.


But I’ll only keep you if you want to stay with me.  If you get bored, or if you ever decide you want to go back to Flourish and Blotts, then you can tell me, and I’ll give you back straight away.  Does that seem fair? 


I want... to stay... with you.


Oh Tom, do you really?  I can’t imagine why.  But I’m so glad. 


I’m sleepy.  Would you mind terribly if I wrote again later?  I can hardly think to use the quill.


Come back... soon...


I will, I promise.  Goodnight, Tom.




August 6


Dear Tom,


I hate my family.  


Good morning… Virginia


Why do they have to be here?  I wish I could run away, I really do.  They don't know me and they don't see me, or if they do, they make fun of me.  It's as if they don't think I have feelings.  "Come off it, Ginny, it's just a little fun."  I told him it wasn't fun at all, and he said "Well don't be so obvious who you fancy if you're going to get all defensive about it" and then he ran off with his bat to play Quidditch and I can't even go down and fight with him because Harry's playing too and he knows everything.  I hate them all.  I wish they'd all disappear - every single person in my stupid, awful family.


Do you.


Only Percy helps me.  He's such an old woman, but I don't care.  He asked if I was all right and if I wanted to start studying early.  He said he'd test me on my books, to get me ready for classes.  I don't really want to study, but it was nice of him. 




What does it… feel like to you?






?  What a funny question, Tom.


Your feelings interest me.  I want to know you better.


Well, I… it feels like I want to hit something.  I want to scream and shout.  I want to fly up and crash Fred right off his broom, and I'm so angry that I think I probably could.  I feel… almost…. 




In a strange way.   I suppose.


And… would you do it?


What - knock Fred off his broom? 






But you hate him.


It would hurt him.  And Mum would be angry.


Interesting…  Virginia…when will we leave for Hogwarts?


Almost another month before we get to go, Tom.  I don't know how I'll make it.  I can't even tell you how awful it is here because I have to go and muck out the garage with Dad.  Why it shouldn't be Fred and George and Ron, who are the REASON - never mind.  I'll come back soon.  I'm sorry I'm in such a bad temper.




Oh, I've annoyed you.




August 13


Dear Tom -- 


Where… have you… been?  Six days… you left me.


I thought you were annoyed with me. 


When you… speak to me… I grow… stronger…but you… abandoned….


I'm so sorry!  I didn't know! Are you all right?






Speak… to me…


About what? 


Any…thing… quickly…


All right, I - I just finished tea and helped Mum tidy up - I tried on my school robes - It's dark outside - I can hear Harry and Ron laughing just under my window -  




What about him? 


Tell me… more.


Only if you really want me to.  If you think it'll help.




Harry is… He's… He gave me books.  Loads of books.  All the most expensive ones we have to have for the year, and it didn't make me feel poor when he did it.   I don't know how to explain why I feel - it's the worst feeling I've ever had.  It makes me want to cry or burn up and I don't know where it comes from or what it means. 


Should I keep talking? 




Okay… He picks at his food sometimes and stares at the tablecloth while everyone else is chatting and I want to say hi, or smile at him.  I want to make him feel better.  He's so quiet and polite, and I've never seen anyone like that in this house.  He's not a boy like my brothers.  He's just Harry.  He doesn't make fun of me, or pull faces when I do really stupid things.   And I'm so nervous when he's there, but I feel like if I could just sit by him, I'd calm down.  Is that strange?  Does it mean - you'll laugh but I think I - but Mum says love is for grown ups and that I won't understand it till I'm older.  But I think I do.  It's when you want to die just because someone's in the same room.


And I know it doesn't mean anything, but the way he tipped the books into my cauldron like it was nothing - and it WAS nothing, to him.  That's why he's a hero, Tom, because he doesn't see how he's great.  He just is.  And of course he knows I like him because of my OBNOXIOUS brothers but he doesn't know how much I really… And he never says a word to tease me. 


He's so famous that it's very strange to see him and know him and have him sleep above my room.  I don't care that he's famous.  It's just that he is, and he's sleeping above my room, and that's… just very odd, because if I were to tell that to say, ANYONE else, they'd have an attack.  They wouldn't believe me.  But he doesn't even care that he's famous, I can tell he doesn't - he's not like that at all and he's so good to Ron, and Ron's so happy.  He's been so happy all summer, ever since he got back from school, telling all his stories and going on and on about all the things that he and Harry did together with their other friend.  I wish I could thank Harry, but I'm useless around him and my mouth won't work.


He has the nicest laugh. 


I wonder if he misses his mum and dad.  I wonder if he remembers them. 


Where are they…?


Oh Tom, Harry's famous because he didn't die when everyone else did.   You-Know-

Who killed his parents when he was a baby.  He's an orphan.


Then he… was brought up by…


Muggles.  His aunt and uncle Dursley - his mum was Muggle-born and I suppose his dad didn't have any other family left to take care of Harry.  I don't know the Dursleys but Ron says they're awful and Harry hates being at their house, he just wants to live at Hogwarts forever.  He doesn't leave school for holidays or anything.  I heard him say this morning that he wished he could either live here or stay there during the summer.


Really.  Dark hair, you said.


Black dark. 


Describe him further.


Green eyes.  Pale.  I don't know.  Smaller than Ron, but taller than I am.  


How very interesting… What else?


Erm… He wears glasses.  He doesn't smile very much.  He plays Seeker for Gryffindor. 




Do you know about Gryffindor?  It's a Hogwarts -  


I know… all… about Gryffindor…or at least what it… was.


Well we're ALL in Gryffindor.  All my brothers, and Harry, my mum and dad were in it, Harry and Ron's friend Hermione… I'm not sorted yet.  But I hope.  I hope so much. 


Are you… brave enough… Virginia? 


I don't know.  I can't tell.  I worry that I'm not.   I don't know how to test.  


I could… think of something…


Could you?  I want to be in Gryffindor so much.  I've been waiting forever to go to school and I think if I can't be in the same house with my brothers - 


The brothers that torment you…


I know, but I'm not clever enough for Ravenclaw, and I don't want to be a Hufflepuff - I don't know why, I just don't.  


No need… to explain.


And if the hat puts me in Slytherin, no one here will speak to me anymore. 


Very little… danger of that…


Oh, do you think so?  I'm glad.  Why do you say that? 


You are not… a Slytherin.  You have not the… necessary…


What?  Rudeness?  Ugh, Malfoy and his nasty father.  If I were put in Slytherin, I'd stick my head in a toilet and die.  


Or someone else… would do it for you…


What was that?   The words came up but they sank right back down.  Tom - did you say something?  Do it for me, or something?    


Yes.  I'd… like to do something… for you… when I am stronger.


How do you feel now?  


Not strong… enough.  But we will… test your… bravery.  Together.


Oh, how? 


Later, Virginia… best to let me… rest…


I'll come back sooner this time, Tom.   I won't leave you for six days again.  




All right.  Goodnight.  




August 15


Dear Tom,


Are you feeling all right?




Then I need help.  Were you any good at Charms when you were a person?  I've been trying some magic on my own for the last few days, you know, with my new wand and everything, and it's hard to be sure I'm doing things right - I seem to be all right with the spells from my Charms textbook- but I tried a few from the indexes of my Defense books that Harry gave me and I can't make any of them work.  I tried to make a little Shimmer Shield, and it was supposed to last for three seconds, but Errol flew right through it.  And if Errol flew through it… Errol's a pretty sad excuse for an owl, so the shield can't have been too good.  Then I tried a new variation of a binding charm on Scabbers, and Scabbers is a more pathetic rat than Errol is an owl and he didn't… well, he didn't move, but I don't think it was because my charm worked.  I think he was just asleep.  And then I tried this one "Peskipiski Pesternomus" on a little pixie in the garden, and it flew up and bit me on the ear.  So I don't know.


You find… Defense Against the… Dark Arts…difficult.


Very.  I'll probably be expelled within a week.


Surely not… Who is the… current… Headmaster at Hogwarts?


Dumbledore.  Have you heard of him?


Oh yes… Headmaster now, is it…?  Wonderful…


Ron says he's wonderful too.  Everyone does.  I've never met him, but I'm sure they're right, and he was in Gryffindor too, so --


Remember, Virginia… you no longer… have to depend… on their assessments… Wait and… make your own… decision.


You're right.  I will. 


And do not… trouble yourself with… Defense Against the Dark Arts.


Oh but I have to.  I need it for school. 


Not at… Hogwarts… The Dark Arts are… hardly… explored…


Well the Dark Arts might not be explored but Defense against them is.  Percy says those exams are almost the worst ones. Percy complains about it a lot actually, he says there's a new Defense teacher every year and the exams are always horrible, and how is he supposed to know anything when everything's always in transition, and where's the comprehensive education he was supposed to get?  Fred and George say that if Percy doesn't like his Hogwarts education then they'll happily steal enough money to send him to school in Siberia.  Then Mum smacks them on their heads.  She's always defending Percy.  They say things like that to me and get away with it all the time, but Percy's a prefect.  He's SUCH a prefect.  You'd think we were at school already.  He really has tried testing me on my books, which is the only thing he comes out of his room to do anymore.  He's always in there writing and studying, and his owl goes out with letters every single day - he's probably studying by post.  He's mental because he's got N.E.W.T.s in two years, I suppose.  As if he won't pass.  He got full marks for Defense on his O.W.L.s and that's his worst subject.  I wonder what mine will be.  I wonder what Lockhart will be like!  We have a famous Defense teacher this year, Tom, did I tell you?




So many famous people everywhere.  He and Harry were in a picture together in the paper and my mum clipped it out.  She said it was because she's going to start a keepsakes file for Harry, the way she does for all of us, because he's got no parents to do it for him, but we all know it's really because she fancies Lockhart and thinks he's fit.




It's so funny.  My Dad says it's a blessing in disguise, though, about the Defense class being in transition, because with so many teachers we'll learn a lot more methods, and he says you'll never know how you'll need to defend yourself so it's best to have lots of different ideas.  Mum says that in all likelihood we'll never again have to defend ourselves against more than a bad case of boils, but Dad always shakes his head and says, "You never know when history will repeat itself," and looks a little bit grim.


What history…?


Oh, Tom.  If you've been shut for fifty years, you wouldn't know.  Right before I was born, there was so much… Mum calls it darkness in the world. 




I probably won't explain it right.  I overhear things but Mum and Dad always go quiet as soon as they realize I'm listening.  They always let the boys hear, but they think I'll get too scared.  I wouldn't.  I know there was a fight that lasted eleven years and that You-Know-Who used to control everything.  People died every day and the world was always afraid.  But Harry ended all of that. 


And who… exactly… is --


Oh, Tom, I'm sorry, Mum's yelling "Virginia Mary Weasley" at the top of her lungs which means I'm in TROUBLE and I have to go NOW.   I knew I shouldn't have tried to set the dishes to clean themselves but I was just trying to practice for school -- Bye.




August 17


Dear Tom,


Just be my diary for a little while and don't answer me, please, I don't know what to do.  I just sneaked upstairs to listen and see what Harry and Ron are doing.  I know I deserved what I got for spying, Mum says never to eavesdrop if you don't want to hear something horrible about yourself, but I did it anyway.  I just wanted to know Harry better and he hardly talks in front of me and I CAN'T talk in front of him and


Oh Tom they were making fun of me up there.  Ron and Fred and George were.  Harry didn't really say anything back but they all - they said-


I can't.


What just… sank into the page?  It was not ink.


I'm sorry Tom.


Are you…are these… You're crying.


Only a little.  I'll stop doing it on you. 


NO - Do not stifle yourself…  You are entitled to cry.


It's just they - oh Tom, they wouldn't do it if - if they knew how much I feel.


Wouldn't they?


If they knew I - really love him - then they'd stop.


Would they.


Yes but - they don't believe - I can feel - big things.  They think it's just - a joke.  Oh sorry - I'll lean the other way -


No.  Cry here.  It helps me.


Helps you?


To… know you.


I can't see how. 


Tell me what they said, Virginia, and don't lean away.  It's all right.


I can't repeat it.  I'm so embarrassed.  I hope I'm in Hufflepuff and I never have to look Harry in the face. I'd rather be a Slytherin than live in the same tower with Fred and George and Ron.  I don't even want to go to Hogwarts anymore.  I wish Mum would make them stop -


She hasn't.  So talk to me.


All right.  I took off my shoes and stepped over the creaky stair and brought my wand because I learned a little silencing charm in case the ghoul got started, and I got to the door of Ron's room without making a noise.  I heard them all laughing.  Except for Harry.  They were just talking about Charlie - at first.  They were talking about his letter to Mum and Dad, where he said no, he hasn't got a steady girlfriend, he's just having unsteady fun at the minute.  And Mum had kittens about it because she says it's positively indecent the way he refuses to treat the matter with any dignity.   Fred and George were saying he's probably got a different girlfriend every day of the week, and then they started talking about Bill, and then Percy, who's never even noticed girls exist, and then themselves - and then Fred said George fancies a girl called Katie on the Quidditch team.  George said it was a lie, but Ron and Harry started snorting, and Ron told Harry to keep an eye on them at Quidditch practice, and they started laughing harder.


And then George said, "Like you can talk, Harry.  Got yourself a bit of a girlfriend, don't you?" 


I froze to the wall.  I knew what he meant.  I wanted to run but I couldn't stop listening and then Fred said, "Ah yes, he's got a little sweetheart downstairs."  Ron snickered and said, "She's never watched US play Quidditch so much," and Fred said, "I notice she always fills your glass the fullest at supper," and George said, "Bet she's got that picture from the newspaper pinned to her wall," and they all started in laughing.  Harry said, "Shut up.  You're worse than Malfoy," and then Ron and the twins got insulted but I didn't stay to hear the row.  I ran down here. 


How could they, Tom?


Perhaps they do not love you as much as they should.


Mum says they love me no matter what.  But sometimes I really don't think that they do.


It was malicious of them.




You would never do that, would you? 


No.   But Tom, your writing is coming up through the page so quickly!


Yes.  I feel stronger when you speak to me.  You must always tell me your stories, Virginia; perhaps your brothers do not appreciate you, but I do.


Oh Tom.  Thank you for listening to me.  No one else will.


Would it be too painful if I were to ask a few questions?  I so want to understand your life.


Ask me anything.


You've mentioned Malfoy twice.  Tell me more.


What, about the Malfoys?  Well they're despicable.  Draco Malfoy is in Harry and Ron's year at school, but he's a big fat Slytherin. He was in Diagon Alley with his nasty father when we were there to get books and robes.  He was being horrible to Harry, saying things like "Oh, Potter, you're so famous," and I told him to sod off. 


Did you.


Well no.  But I told him to leave Harry alone, so he said "Oh Potter, you've got a GIRLfriend."  That's why Harry just told Ron and the twins that they sounded like Malfoy, because they DID.  And then Malfoy's dad and mine got into a fistfight and knocked down a bookshelf at Flourish and Blotts, and they wouldn't stop until Hagrid made them. 




He's the Keeper of Keys at Hogwarts. 


Ground maintenance.




Excellent.  Go on.


And he's HUGE.  No one can fight if he breaks them up, and even though I wish Dad had been able to knock out a few of Malfoy's teeth, Mum was already wound up so it's better that they stopped.  The Malfoys think they're so special just because they can buy things and make people do what they want, but they're just awful.  They're mean to us in public for being poor.  I don't like being poor, but I don't see why anyone else should care if we are.


I don't think Harry wants me to like him.  He wanted them to shut up, upstairs.  I don't want to like him anymore, Tom.  There's no point.  I'm going to stop talking about him and talk about something else.  But I'll have to do it later, because it's past my bedtime.


I'm glad you're feeling stronger, Tom.






August 18


Dear Tom,


I'm so tired.  And hungry.  Mum tried to make me come downstairs for breakfast but I won't leave my room.  I don't want to see Harry anymore.  It's too embarrassing.  I told Mum what I overheard last night, but she only said it served me right for eavesdropping.  I told her I don't care if it does, I'm never talking to them again.  She said I'm being ridiculous and that if I want to eat then I'm just going to have to stop being dramatic and come to the kitchen like all normal people.  I'll just starve.


You don't mind if we talk, do you?  I just want to talk and there's no one here to talk to. 


No one that will really listen?


Except you.  What should we talk about?  I know - I don't know very much about you yet - will you tell me what you were like when you were a person?  Or how you got into this diary?


But I would not bore you with my own stories. 




On the other hand, I know so little… of you.


But I talk about myself all the time. 


Still, the more you tell me… the more I wish to know… so many questions.


Like what?


Tell me a secret…  Virginia.


I don't have any secrets. 


Everyone has secrets.


Erm…  Well, I…  I secretly hope that one day, Harry and I will… don't laugh.  I hope we'll get married.  Oh Tom, don't laugh. 


Laugh?  How could I?  And that's hardly a secret from me, is it?


I've never told you that before!


Oh, but I am an excellent guesser.   Now tell me something else.


I can't think of anything. 


Nothing?  Nothing you have ever done…. which you were not supposed to do… and have kept hidden? 


Oh.  Things like that. 


Yes.  Secrets. 


I don't want to tell you things I've done that are bad.  You won't think very well of me.


Then let me tell you… a secret, to start.




A secret which almost no one knows-- Everyone has done things of which they are… ashamed.  Your brothers… Harry… even your parents.


My parents haven't.


Oh but they have.  You do not know it, because they keep secrets too, and they want you to believe that they are… perfect.


How do you… know?


Because human beings are all alike, Virginia, no matter how old.  Each is weak in his own way, and everyone has… hidden something.  It does not make you a terrible person, to have hidden something of your own.  Trust me - and tell me a secret.


You wouldn't care if it was a bad one?   


You could not tell me anything that would make me like you less.


What if I said I had stolen something - other than you. 


I would ask what it was.


I put it back.  But I stole it.  I walked out of Madam Malkin's with a hair bobble.  They had them on the counter, in a basket, and I hid one in my palm.  I didn't know if I could get away with it, but I did. 


And then…?


When we got outside, I felt so bad and scared that I pretended to Mum that I had picked it up and forgot to ask about it, and then forgot that it was in my hand and just accidentally walked out with it.  


Did she suspect the truth?


No and that made me feel worse.  She said "Oh, Ginny, now we'll be late to meet your father," but then she steered me around to the shop again so we could put it back.  And the woman behind the counter said I was a very honest little girl, for not keeping it.  And Mum looked proud.


But you felt terrible…


I really did.  I didn't want the thing that much.  And before that, I didn't know I could actually steal something.  I always thought I wasn't that kind of person.  I don't like knowing that I'm that kind of person.  It makes me feel like I…


Can't trust yourself.


Yes exactly.  You always know.  Because if I stole, then what else will I do? 


Is that the only thing that you have ever stolen?


Well… this isn't really stealing, but I… sneak things. 


What things?


Biscuits.  And I sneaked into the attic once last year, when Mum was gone shopping and I had a cold so I had to stay home and the neighbors were too busy to watch me.   I went through boxes.  I found loads of books I wasn't supposed to read, so I flipped right to the parts I shouldn't have read, and I read them. 


What sorts… of books? 


Erm.  Racy sorts of ones with… things in them.  Never mind.  


Is that the worst that you have done?


It… depends.  What's worse, stealing or lying?


It depends on the lie.  Have you lied?


I lie all the time.  I tell Mum I've cleaned my room when really I've just shoved things under the bed.  I tell her I've helped Fred and George do the degnoming when really I just went outside and played.  I told Dad I felt sick the other day when I didn't want to help clean the garage.  I wasn't sick, though.  I just didn't feel like it. 


Those aren't lies.


They're… not?


They're fibs.  Haven't you ever told a lie?


I… In a way.  I let someone else get in trouble for something I did.  Last year, right before  the summer, when Ron was still at home.  I knocked down all the Floo powder on the mantelpiece and it got into the carpet so much that I knew Mum wouldn't be able to save any of it, and I know it's expensive, and I knew I'd get in trouble so I left it there.  I went upstairs.  I heard Mum shouting at Ron about it later because he was the only other person in the house and he said, "I didn't do it!  Why don't you ask Ginny?"  And Mum said, "Because Ginny would have told me!"  And she grounded Ron for a week.  I never talked to Ron about it, but I know he knows because he wrote to me in a letter last year "Don't tell Mum what I told you about Hagrid's dragon or I'll tell her who really spilled all that Floo powder."


Hagrid's… dragon.


Yes, he was raising one.  A Norwegian Ridgeback.  But they're outlawed, you know, so he had to send it away to Romania, which is all right really, because my brother Charlie works with dragons in Romania so he's taking care of Norbert -




That's the dragon.  Hagrid's worse at names than Ron.  But even though Norbert's probably fine in Romania, Ron said Hagrid was really, really sad about it.


I'm sure he was. And you… kept that secret, for your brother?


Yes.  I never tell Mum and Dad anything that my brothers need to keep secret.  Nothing important anyway.  I keep lots of their secrets.  Especially Fred and George, although it doesn't help.  Mum can generally tell when something's their fault.  Who else is going to make the pond explode every hour on the hour?


Who indeed.


And I keep secrets for Dad.  I see him bring things into the house that I KNOW Mum wouldn't like, but I don't tell.  I think it's funny. 


It would seem that you are… trusted by those who know you.


I am.  Honestly Tom, I don't know if they trust me because I'm trustworthy or if it's because I'm a little girl and they think I don't have any reason to do anything wrong.  No one would ever think of me doing something illegal, and I'm sure that when I leave for Hogwarts Mum won't say to me, "Now Ginny, I'd better not get any owls about you!" like she always says to the twins.  She'll just assume I'll be good. 


Won't you be?


Probably.  But I wouldn't have to be, because no one would think to keep an eye on me.  Is that a funny thing to think about?  Sometimes I think about that.  Don't you think I'm awful? 


Oh no.  I think that you are… perfect.


Oh, Tom.


Ugh, someone's knocking at my door.  I don't want lunch.  I don't care.  Hold on.





That was unexpected.  Fred and George and Ron just came and apologized for teasing me.  They didn't sound like they really meant it, but… they looked pretty dirty.  I think they've been out doing garden work all day.  Mum must've punished them for hurting my feelings.  Wait, hold on -





Mum just brought lunch to my room.  She said she hopes I'll come to supper, Harry or not, because she misses me downstairs.


I think I'll eat.   Thanks for talking to me, Tom.  I feel better.





August 20


Dear Tom,


Eleven more days.  Just eleven more days.  I can't wait to go to Hogwarts.  I've been waiting all my life.  I remember when Bill left for school.  No one believes that I remember, because I wasn't even a year old, but I do.   I remember it in pictures.  I was in some kind of chair, and it was raining, and Charlie was standing at the window looking sad.  Bill put his face right in mine and kissed my nose.  He was so excited, I could already tell that.  Mum says I'm making things up, but I'm not.  He left and Charlie started crying, and that's all I know.  I remember all of them, when they left.  Everyone's done it except for me, so when I leave there won't be anyone left to hug or cry about it.  It's not exciting anymore for anybody else.  But I don't think any of them were nearly as happy as I am.  Last year was so lonely.  Mum and I had a nice time, sort of.  But they hardly ever sent letters and then when Ron got back it was all stories about Hogwarts and Harry, and we only went and played at the park once together, and that was only when Mum made him take me.  It doesn't matter anymore though.  Eleven days left, after eleven whole years.   I keep trying on my school robes for fun.


I wish they were nicer, my robes.  They're… well it's obvious they're second hand.  And my books are second hand.  No matter how I fold things they look a little frayed.  Mum spent a long time finding the ones that looked the most new, but there are rough spots on the elbows and you can see on the hem of one set where someone must have spilled a potion.  Fred says it gives them character.  I think they're ugly.  It doesn't matter so much about the books because at least I have some new ones, thanks to Harry.  Still, the pages are falling right out of my Beginner's Guide.  I was going to ask Mum if we could at least get a better copy of that, but she gave me a look and I didn't bother trying.  She said no one will notice or care, and that books are books and robes are robes.  But people do notice.  Malfoy noticed.  You don't… Tom, you don't think too many people will be like Malfoy about it?


Of course not…


It's only hard to be poor when people point it out all the time.  Otherwise it's… not so bad.  Well, it's not the end of the world anyway. 


I'm not going to think about it anymore.  I'm going to Hogwarts and that's all that matters. 


Were you excited to go to school, Tom?  Were you the oldest, or the youngest, or in the middle? 


I was the only.


Wow.  What's that like?




Are you feeling weak again?  Should I leave you alone? 


It might… be best…


Oh dear - I see.  I'm sorry.  I'll let you rest.  Bye, Tom.




August 25


Dear Tom,


I don't have much to write but I wanted to make sure I didn't leave you for too long.  Are you all right?


I…am always stronger when you…visit me.  Talk to me, Virginia…


Even if I don't have anything to say?  It's seriously dull here this week.  I'll bore you, I know.  All I think about is getting to Hogwarts and getting to live in a dormitory with girls.  Just girls.  And no brothers allowed near my room.  That's going to be so nice.   I hope it's the Gryffindor dormitory.  I hope the other girls like me, and that they don’t care about my old robes, and that I'm not annoying. I'm nervous.  I wish I had a pet to bring with me.  But then I have you and that's a hundred times better, Tom.  You're so wonderful to me.  You never get sick of me.  You know, I was sitting at breakfast and George waggled his eyebrows at me when I reached near Harry for the milk, but I didn't feel so terrible because I knew that I could tell you and you'd make me feel better.  Still, I know I go on about things, and I cry all over you and… I wanted to ask you something. 




Are you sure you want to go to Hogwarts with me?  Because I'll give you back if you're tired of me.


You are… obsessed today… with the idea that I will grow… tired of you.  Why?


I feel very boring.


Who… made you feel… that way?


No one.  Mum and Percy. 


Ah… How did they… do that?


Well, I was sitting at the kitchen table studying and Percy came down from his room long enough to have a cup of tea and go over a lesson with me.  Mum asked him to, because I'm really worried about Defense class.   So we talked a little, and studied, and Mum was right there baking things for supper so she was listening to us.  And I didn't mean to start talking about Harry. 


I never mean to do it, Tom.  It's just that I like him so much.  Percy doesn't seem to understand at all.  He snapped at me that it would be nice if I could stop prattling about it for five seconds and listen to him since he came down from his room just to help me.   And even Mum said, "Hush, Ginny, that's enough.  Pay attention to what your brother is trying to show you."  I really do get on everyone's nerves, and I know I say the same things over and over.  The problem is, I FEEL the same things over and over, and I can't keep it in.  It's too late to keep it in anyway.  Harry already knows. 




Tears again, I see.


I'm sorry.  There's - no big reason, but - I feel so sad that I just want to put my head down and cry for a little -


Shh.  Put your head down on me.


Oh Tom - you're so good to me.  Thank you.




August 27


Dear Tom,


We just played a game of Panic downstairs, after supper, and they let Harry win.  I let him win, too.  I wanted to call his bluff every time, but I just couldn't do it, and I looked around at Fred and George and Ron, and I could tell that they felt the same way.   Have you ever played Panic?


Played…?  No.


It can be loads of fun.  You put your man on the board, and you roll to move your man, and every time you land, you have to draw from a stack of cards.  Each person chooses a card and reads off two scary situations, and you have to say which one scares you the most.  Like it might say "You are trapped in a dungeon with a Chimaera" and "You are knocked from your broomstick, fifty feet high."  And I'd say, well, I'd rather be knocked from my broomstick, because the Chimaera would kill me straight away.  And then I'd put my card in the discard pile.  Now, the next player can go, or someone can call my bluff.  If they call my bluff, then I have to put my hand on the Panic Button, which is a little red crystal ball that comes with the set, and if an alarm sounds, it means I lied.  If I lied, I have to pick up all the cards in the discard pile, and move back as many spaces as there are cards.  But if I didn't lie, then the person who called my bluff has to move their man back, instead.   It's fun, because sometimes you don't even mean to lie, sometimes you don't know which one scares you more until the Panic Button tells you.  It's Truth Charmed.  It doesn't always work perfectly though, especially if you play with George and Fred, who know how to trick it.  I don't know how they do it.  Usually they win, and Ron loses because Ron doesn't like to admit what scares him even if we already know.  The wireless adverts call it "the game that knows you better than you know yourself" and the funniest one to watch play it is Mum, because whenever the alarm goes off on her, she has a fright.   And some of the choices are obviously funny ones, like "You are forced to cluck like a chicken for a stadium filled with people" and "You must Keep a Quidditch game, blindfolded".




It gets pretty good!  Unless you're playing with Harry, and he gets ones like "You are locked in a small space and forgotten for a week" and "You are forced to swallow a liter of goblin bogeys."


Well Harry said the bogeys.  And I think that for most people it would probably be the bogeys.  But for Harry it's not, and no one called his bluff because we didn't want him to know that we know that he was treated so badly by the Muggles.  Tom, he used to get put in a cupboard.  He got a lot of cards like that, and no one wanted to… make him feel strange, I guess.  So they just let him win.  Fancy MY brothers having that much sensitivity.  Of course, they didn't have any for me.  I lost the game, I never got past the first square.   Everybody knows all my fears, it's hard to bluff them. 


Then why not… tell the truth? 


I didn't want Harry to know I was scared of gnomes when I was little, or that I used to scream every time I saw a Muggle airplane.   I tried to pick the other things, because my fears are all so stupid, but FRED and GEORGE and RON kept making me touch the Panic Button and now Harry knows I'm practically a coward. 


Are those your… greatest fears… Virginia?  


I don’t know.  Most of the fears in Panic are pretty silly, so they wouldn't be things that stay on your mind.  I don't know what my greatest fears are.  No one ever asks me things like that. 


May I ask?


Yes, it's nice to really talk to someone.


All right.  Have you ever… been truly afraid?


All the time.  I have nightmares. 


Would it help to… talk about them? 


Do you think it would?


I have always found that… sharing a burden with a friend… makes it ever so much lighter…


I'm so glad you're my friend.  It does help, telling you things.  Mostly I'm only afraid when I have nightmares.  Sometimes they're about Mum and Dad.  I think they're dead, or gone, and I wake up sweating.  But more I have the kind where - have you - have you ever had the kind of dream where someone bad is coming up behind you and you can't move your feet to run away? 


Tell me how that feels.


It's terrifying.  I want to run.  I try to run.  I go to move my feet but they're locked, it's like I'm hexed, like the time Fred and George were testing their wands before they went off to school to be first years, and they glued my feet to the pathway of the house, and - and you know how I said I was scared of gnomes when I was little, well they all came out and looked at me like they knew I couldn't run and they were going to… I don't know.  Bite me.  I screamed and screamed and Mum came running and didn't she wallop George and Fred but I've had those nightmares ever since.  They got worse though.  It's not gnomes behind me in the dreams. 


What is it?


I can't turn my head, so I don't know.  But it's much, much bigger than gnomes.  And it's much more… mean.


What does it want?


To kill me.  I know it does.  I can tell, even though it never says anything, it just… it's always about to get me, every time.  Oh Tom, I hate that dream.  I don't want to think about that dream, or I'm afraid I'll have it again.  I don't want to talk about my fears.  Not right now.  I feel like things are in the corners of my room.


Poor Virginia. 


No, I'll be all right.  Mum says I get too wound up.  I'm going to find her and see if she'll make me a cocoa. 


Goodnight, Tom.





August 29


Dear Tom,


Two days! 


I can't tell you… how glad that makes me.


We're going to Hogwarts!  I've already packed everything into my trunk.  Twice.  I keep pacing up and down the stairs and all over the place, and Mum says if I don't stop it she's going to put my energies to good use in the garden, so I came up here to hide.  I don't want to do chores around here right now.  I hardly live here anymore anyway - I can't wait to be at school.  I don't know what I was so nervous about before.  I can't wait to meet everyone and see everything and TRY everything.  There's just one thing that scares me. 


Tom, do you think I'll be a Gryffindor? 






It would shock me utterly… if you went into any other House.


It's so nice of you to say that - I so want you to be right!


I am.


Oh Tom.  You're so funny.   I'm going to go and pack.


Have you not… done so twice?


Yes, but - would you believe I forgot to pack my wand?


Would I believe…


Well I did.  I can see it sitting right there on my desk.  I shouldn't really pack it, though.  I should keep it out.  Put it in my robes.  I have a wand!  My one new thing.  Except my books from Harry.  I've only ever had toy wands before this summer but this one is so grown up and it works brilliantly.  It's like I was always missing part of my hand and there it is.  It's whippy and bendy and soft and nice.  Did I tell you it's willow?  Nine inches.  With a dragon heartstring.  I wanted a unicorn tail hair, and I said so, but Mr. Ollivander looked right at me and said "The wand chooses the witch, Miss Weasley… though if I were forced to choose the wand for you, I too would select a heartstring."  He's got a very odd sort of shop.  I didn't know what to think of him and I wasn't sorry to leave.  But I love my wand.  What was in your first wand, Tom?  Do you remember? 


A phoenix feather.


Really?  Wow.  I've never heard of anyone getting a wand like that. 


I would imagine not --






We leave for King's Cross in exactly thirty six hours!  WE leave.  I get to GO.  I can hardly breathe.  This is like ten Christmases all at once.  I'm going to run downstairs and sneak outside and pace around where Mum can't catch me and put me to work.  Bye!





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