The Sugar Quill
Author: Thistlerose  Story: Meet Ginevra  Chapter: Default
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Molly fusses, and her husband and children let her because they all know that it’s pointless to try to stop Molly when she’s de

Molly fusses, and her husband and children let her because they all know that it’s pointless to try to stop Molly when she’s determined to fuss. Only Fred objects when Ginny’s portion of dessert is significantly larger than anyone else’s, but Molly and Arthur give him reproachful looks, George, Ron, and even Percy kick his ankles under the table, and he leaves off when Ginny only stabs at her pudding morosely with her spoon.

 

After supper, Molly and Arthur announce that they are going to have a Talk, which means that all their children are to go to their bedrooms and not come back down until morning unless there is an Emergency. This they do with minimal grumbling, and before long Ginny finds herself alone in her own bedroom.

 

It’s smaller than she remembers it being, and as the youngest of seven her bedroom had been small to begin with. She turns on all the lights and sits on the edge of her bed, and clasps her hands tightly in her lap. She looks at the bare walls, the empty bookcases, and the empty wardrobe. Her posters, books, and clothes are in her Hogwarts trunk, which her father has left at the foot of her bed, but she does not move to open it and will not until tomorrow, when there’s daylight.

 

It was a small, thin book with a black leather cover that was shriveled at the corners. In faded gold leaf was the year “1942”, and on the first page, in smudged black ink, was the name “T. M. Riddle”. The other pages were blank.

 

Ginny squeezes her fingers until the tips turn purplish-red and begin to tingle.

 

She wrote, with a flourish, “Ginevra Molly Weasley”, and watched in stunned silence as the words seemed to sink into the paper and disappear, leaving it blank once more. “Umm,” she said, looking around, but she was alone in the dorm. “Um,” she said, turning back to the book. “Well, that’s odd.” As she put the tip of her quill back to the paper, words suddenly appeared in a handwriting that was very definitely not Ginny’s.

 

“Hello, Ginevra Molly Weasley. My name is Tom Riddle.”

 

Ginny jumps as someone raps softly on her door.

 

“I’m starkers!” she squeaks. “Don’t come in!”

 

“Um, all right,” says Ron, his voice muffled by the door. “Just wanted to make sure you were all right.  Are you all right?”

 

“Oh, fine,” she bubbles, and feels her cheeks burn. Tears sting her eyes, but she can’t seem to unclasp her hands to brush them away. She can pour out her heart to the most evil Dark wizard who ever lived, but she can’t tell her older, well-meaning brother anything. “I’m fine, really. I mean, I will be.”

 

She hears Ron shuffle his feet, like he’s reluctant to leave.  Thank you for coming to get me, is what she wants to say, but when she opens her mouth again, all that comes out is a wheezy sigh.

 

“All right,” Ron says at last. “I’m going to bed, now. If you want – I don’t know. Anything. Just… G’night, Gin.”

 

She hears his heavy footsteps echo along the corridor.

 

At some point she does dress for bed and crawl under the covers, though she doesn’t remember doing it. She’s feigning sleep – with the lights on – when her parents come in to check on her. She sighs and makes the requisite unconscious twitches when her mum strokes her hair and kisses her forehead.

 

 “She’ll be all right,” she hears her dad murmur, then feels his lips on her forehead. “She’s young – and she’s a Weasley. We won’t let this hurt her. Come on, love. Let her sleep. It’s the best thing for her now.”

 

But he is wrong.

 

A few hours later, still unable to sleep, Ginny throws back her covers and gets out of bed. The lights are still on, but they don’t chase away the darkness; they only turn the objects in her room into unfamiliar, shadow-steeped things. She pulls on her jeans, jumper, and trainers, and goes downstairs.

 

The Burrow is quiet except for the occasional muffled snore as she passes bedrooms, the banging of the ghoul on the pipes in the attic, and the ticking of the grandfather clock in the living room. She glances at the clock as she makes her way to the front door and notes to her relief that its hands pointed toward work (for Bill and Charlie) and home (for everyone else). Ginny wondered which her parents had noticed first, her own hand pointing toward mortal peril or Dumbledore’s summons to Hogwarts.

 

She supposed it did not matter. Most things ceased to matter when she was aloft. She walks to shed, unlocks it, and fumbles in the dark until she finds someone’s old broom; the stickers on the handle tell her it was George’s. She mounts it.

 

She’s good at flying. Madam Hooch told her she has a knack for it – and who could forget the looks on the Slytherins’ faces when she said that? But of course Ginny is good; she practiced all of last year, on her brothers’ old brooms, while they were away at school. She can keep her balance, she can kick-off smoothly, she can even control the broom with her knees so her hands are free for hitting Quaffles and catching Snitches.

 

She likes the summer air rushing up her neck and tossing back her hair. She likes holding out her hands as she rises, and flexing her fingers like they’re griffon feathers. She likes seeing the stars through her spread fingers and cupping her hand around the bright, swollen moon.

 

 There are shadows here, too, cast by the Burrow and the trees in the moonlight, but she does not fear them. They are no walls confining her, and the roaring of the wind in her ears drowns the whispering in her head.

 

I am T—

 

I am Ginny! she thinks, wants to scream.  You’re not dead, but you don’t have a body, and you can’t control me anymore!

 

She was very high, now, well above the Burrow and the trees. It all looks so small from where she poises and it occurs to her with a pang that she may never fit back into her old life. There are her parents and brothers, safe in their beds and their dreams, and here she is, clinging to a broomstick with her knobby knees and her wind-chapped hands and she can’t sleep because she is afraid of what she will dream.

 

She hovers, not realizing – she will not realize this until much later – that there is room enough in the world for everything she feels, that the stars are strewn high above her, and that she has the strength and the will to ascend.

 

11/09/04

 

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