The Sugar Quill
Author: S. Gwendolyn (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Just Being You  Chapter: Chapter One - The Little One
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Chapter One - The Little One
Chapter One – The Little One

The blank parchment would never fill itself in time for tomorrow’s deadline; especially if she never picked up her quill.  The assignment was simple enough.  Professor Blake had said that before you could begin to understand Muggles, or compare the differences between their culture and our own, you had to understand who you were.  She had said that one of the keys to knowing who you were was to see who you were in the past.   Or you could look at who you wanted to become in the future.  Both images were important for determining who you were today.  But how do you write an essay about yourself without exposing yourself to the world’s ridicule, or worse, to its blame.  If she had only not been so foolish, or had she been a little stronger…
 
Blaming herself for the mistakes in the past still wouldn’t get the essay finished.  She glanced around the room, hoping inspiration, or at least determination would find her.  But here in her dormitory, there were too many memories; too many haunting experiences to allow creativity to find her.  She could go down to the common room, or even to the library to escape her past.  That’s it, run away, the voice in the back of her mind scoffed at her.

Reaching the bottom of the stairs, she glanced around the common room for an empty seat.  There was one next to Hermione as she sat near the fire knitting a house-elf sized sweater.  Would she never give up?  There was another seat that she should have taken by Dean, but Colin was also sitting near by.  She knew that he would ask her to explain the assignment for Charms to him for the seventh time that day.  He would then expect her to read over his final draft to make sure that he hadn’t made any mistakes.  Who did he think she was—Hermione?  It was nice that Hermione had resumed checking Ron and Harry’s papers in the middle of last year, but it was aggravating when they, or any other Gryffindor boy, expected you to do the same.  

She continued gazing around the room.  Ron had just vacated a seat at the table by the window to join Hermione by the fire.  She smiled at the awkwardness still between them as she headed for the empty seat; but paused when she saw Harry was also at the table finishing some of his homework from this first week of school.  She looked around for another seat, but even the one by Dean had been taken by Dennis now.

“Do you mind?” She asked trying not to sound silly, desperate, embarrassed, or a hundred other things that had once run through her mind when she spoke to Harry.

“No, go ahead,” he said pulling some of his books out of the way.

“Thanks.”  She sat down quickly and unrolled the blank parchment still wondering where to begin.

“Twelve inches of parchment,” Professor Blake had said earlier.  “I know that it isn’t a lot, but I want each sentence, each word to count.  Tell me who you are.  Pretend that I know nothing about you, your family, or your history.  You could write all the lies in the world about yourself—please don’t—and I wouldn’t know the difference.  But is that who you are—lies and deception?  I want this to not only be a way for me to get to know you better, but for you to get to fully understand what makes you tick—what makes you unique and different from everyone else in this room.”

She had thought that because it seemed to be such an easy assignment, that she would have time to put it off until later in the week.  But as she had completed her homework for Transfiguration, Potions, Charms, and her other classes, the essay still nagged at her to start it.  Perhaps she procrastinated because she afraid to confront herself, knowing what lurked in her darkest corners.  She glanced at the watch Ron had sent Harry for his birthday before allowing her eyes to catch of glimpse of the owner.  Harry tapped his fingers on the table, pausing to think for a moment before continuing to write.  She was momentarily envious that he could write and she still had no idea of what to do.  But, perhaps, if she just started writing whatever came to her head, she could come up with something that was acceptable to turn it.  It was worth a shot.

My name is Ginevra Molly Weasley, but everyone calls me Ginny.  I’m actually glad that no one calls me Ginevra.  It’s a name that sounds like it belongs to someone great, like a fairy tale princess or some strong woman warrior.  I don’t know where my parents found it.  I don’t think it fits me, because I’m not great.  I’m not strong.  I’m just…me.  

I come from a large family.  My parents have seven children.  I’m the youngest and the only girl.  Is it hard?  Yes, on both accounts.  My mother wants to protect me from everything, which is very annoying because I feel like I’m old enough, and have been through enough, that I should be able to be treated like an adult.  But I guess that I am not yet, because EVERYONE still treats me like a little girl.  Little Ginny.  Isn’t she the cutest thing you’ve ever seen?

I suppose that I have been called a lot of things besides my name like the talkative one, the girl with the “flaming” red hair, the outspoken one, the quiet one, Gryffindor’s new replacement seeker (glad that one’s over with), Michael’s girl, Dean’s girl, the invisible one, the little sister, the one who was possessed by You-Know-Who.  I HATE IT!  I hate them all!  Titles, personas, they aren’t me.  I used to be so happy when I was younger.  Now I feel like what was me is gone—stolen forever.  I used to try to forget what had happened to me, but I can’t.  I can’t go back to be the little innocent, stupidly naive girl.  I suppose that I really wouldn’t want to, because I have changed so much.  But changed into what?  I once heard that teenagers struggle to find out who they are, and that writing it down helps (is that why we’re writing this paper?)  But I can’t trust myself to write down my feelings anymore.  The evil voice in the back of my head is gone now, most of the time.  But the thought of if I’m not careful, he could come back, still frightens me.  I even get jumpy still each time I run across a black leather book.  It’s not fair!  But that’s the way it is.

So, who is Ginny Weasley?  Really…who is she?  I know who she was.  I know who she tries to pretend to be.  I know who she once dreamt of becoming.  But who is she really, right here, right now?  I don’t know.

I made a mistake when I was eleven.  And that will always be with me.  It’s become part of who I am.  I wonder still as I walk through the halls, if people aren’t whispering behind my back, speculating on how stupid I was to get mixed up in it.  But if they had been in my place instead, they would see that there really wasn’t anything I COULD have done.  They couldn’t have been stronger than I was.  Eight months—that’s a long time to hold out against the inevitable.  I suppose a few people who had gotten themselves into my predicament could have held out longer, but not many.  And I still haven’t thanked the one to finally rescue me from You-Know-Who my death my fate.

I guess one of the reasons that writing this is so hard is because I don’t necessarily know who I want to become.  Yes, I’ve dreamed about who I want to be, or at least wanted to be.  But I’ve told myself several times that it’s impossible, even ridiculous.  Besides, he still hasn’t even noticed that I exist yet.  From who I was and what I did, to this limbo that I’m in now, I just can’t see that silly dream coming true.  Not unless a miracle happens, or he gets struck by lightening.  But I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone, except perhaps a certain ferret I know.

So, who am I?  I guess I don’t know entirely.  I’m just a girl writing this essay.  A girl  trying to be grown up; trying to establish the real me—the one without personas and titles;  trying to do what is right despite all that’s happened and the evil voice that still haunts me.  Ginevra Molly Weasley may be my full name, but I’m just Ginny.

While not some of her better work, it wasn’t bad considering how late in the night it was becoming.  With a few sentences deleted, it would be acceptable for tomorrow’s class.  She leaned back in her chair stretching her arms.  The common room was practically empty.  Katie Bell was still working on something in the far corner of the room and Hermione had fallen asleep on Ron’s shoulder.  She looked at her brother.  He seemed uncomfortable and unsure of what to do with himself, but pleased to be where he was at.  Her gaze returned to Harry who was finishing up his last assignment for the night.  He had done more for her than anyone else ever could, or would.  Well, there were always her dreams that continued to come, even though she wouldn’t allow herself to believe in them anymore.  

She quickly got a fresh sheet of parchment and copied the final draft of her essay before realizing that there was still something that she still needed to do.

“Thank you, Harry.”

“For what?” He glanced up from writing his last paragraph.  “Letting you sit down?”

“No.  For just being you.”

He looked confused as she smiled, picked up her things, and headed for her dormitory.

~ * ~

A/N:    Thank you for your many kind and practical reviews.  Contrary to popular belief, my first year of teaching is actually going very well.  But thank you for the concern.  (To be honest, I did experience many of the feelings of Professor Blake, and momentarily thought of running away from the responsibility ahead of me.)

The inspiration for this story came as I sat considering my own life and a seemingly hopeless relationship.  (Good luck, Ginny!  I feel for you.)  So, her essay came first and the rest of the story and plot followed close behind.  I'm planning on writing bits and pieces of this while waiting for more inspiration for
Retrospection (Currently, chapter eight is being looked over by my unofficial beta.  Hopefully, it will be ready to post soon.)
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