The Sugar Quill
Author: Arabella (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Hermione, Queen of Witches, Book Two  Chapter: Chapter Two
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Disclaimer: Not even a little bit mine. Except for Gwen – who actually belongs to herself.

The Secret Diary of Hermione Granger

~Year Two~

HQoW

October 17

Hi, Gwen. I’m not feeling well. My head cold is making it impossible to study, I’ve used up a box of tissues and I can’t concentrate on anything but how sick I am. Harry’s at Quidditch and Ron’s down there with him, so I’m bored, but then I saw Ginny writing in her diary and I just knew I’d feel better if I came to talk to you. It’s a glum sort of day.

I’m so glad you came to me Hermione, because I’m concerned about something. Ginny Weasley’s diary- ‘Tom’- nobody here knows him. Nobody here is in Ginny Weasley’s diary. Where did she get it?

I don’t know- Diagon Alley, I expect. Why are you concerned?

It’s an old wizarding maxim "Never trust an object that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain."

Well it could be from another shop, couldn’t it? I mean, your headquarters had brains from France and Malta, so couldn’t Ginny’s diary just be foreign?

Yes, but then she couldn’t have gotten it in Diagon Alley, and we’re the only headquarters of our kind in all of England.

Maybe her brother Charlie sent it from Romania. Should I ask her?

Well.... maybe I’m just making something out of nothing. But if anything odd happens, yes, you might ask Ginny about the diary. Just in case.

I will. Gwen, you know, I’ve never really thought about it, and please don’t be offended, but.... what are you, anyway? Where are diary brains from? What are you made up of? Were you a person? Are you a ghost?

I thought you’d ask this sooner or later, and I’m not a bit offended. Let me see—how to explain it? I’m not a person, exactly. I’m a consciousness from a diary written by a person. I am the essence of that person’s thoughts and life as it was written in the diary.

You mean you’re a brain made up of Guinevere’s diary entries? The actual Guinevere?

Yes. Guinevere—well, I wrote this diary while I was in school, and then in Camelot, at King Arthur’s court. I kept it faithfully, enchanting the pages as I went along so that they would retain my secrets and myself.

Wait! Wait! What? But Guinevere- that’s only a myth- Camelot- it’s just a legend—

Hermione, you of all people ought to know better. You used to think that magic only existed in fairy-tales, and here you are, a witch.

You..... this..... I have a diary that is the consciousness of Guinevere? Sincerely? Camelot Guinevere? All this time? Why you’re – you’re a queen – you’re a famous—goodness!

Thank you.

How did you get into this diary? Did you transfer somehow? How does it work?

This is not just any diary. It was my very own. Have you never noticed that it’s been re-bound? Dozens of times over the centuries, actually. The parchment is enchanted, as you know, so that it will never run out and can store infinite memories. Mine are here, too. And the secrets of others.

Others? You mean you’ve been someone else’s diary before you were mine?

Think how many years I have been dead. Imagine how many hands I have passed through. Someday, I may tell you whose they were. But not now.

But no, even if all this were possible, this can’t be true-- because Guinevere wasn’t a witch!

Oh, wasn’t I? My specialty happened to be Love Potions.

Wow.

You know, I’m very glad I had no idea who you were when I started writing in here. I’d have been absolutely terrified to talk to you. I mean, you’re Guinevere and I’m just some second year witch at Hogwarts who happened to make a lucky purchase in a shop. But now I know you and I’ve told you so much, and you’re just.... how can I put this?

I’m just Gwen?

Yes. I don’t feel a bit awkward about knowing who you really are.

I’m so glad! That’s how I prefer it. No fuss. Just Gwen. And by the way, you’re not just "some second year witch". You’re a very special girl, Hermione.

Oh, well. Thanks. Although I do wonder...

Yes, dear?

I’m sorry, but I don’t know how to believe – I mean, Ijust can’t imagine the real Guinevere liking Quidditch so much as you do.

And why not?!

Well, it isn’t the sort of thing I’d expect the Queen of Camelot to do – go ‘round cheering for a lot of flying brooms.

Oh! I only wish I’d been allowed! I didn’t get to cheer for Quidditch very much. I lived in a Muggle world most of my life, but I had developed a taste for Quidditch at school – it is a very old sport, you know; it was played in my time as well – and when I went to Camelot, I missed it so... I suppose a thing can become rather an obsession, if it gets taken away.

I suppose.... but I have another question.

I’ll answer one more right now, but then you’ve got to rest your head; I want you to recover from this cold.

All right. My last question is – well – I’ve read the legend, you know, and I just never imagined... well, I don’t know quite how to put this, but Gwen, you’re a little bit – sarcastic.

Am I?

There it is again. I just wouldn’t have imagined Guinevere....

What’s the matter, queens can’t have highly developed senses of humor?

Of course they can! But the story of your life doesn’t read quite that way, you know. In the story it says–

The story of my life is just that, Hermione. A story. The facts aren’t always going to match up with the legend. Sometimes, I wonder who was responsible for giving those authors their information. Of course, if anybody wanted the true account, they ought to just read me – but I’d never let that happen.

Never?

Never. But that doesn’t mean I won’t tell you other things.

Oh, would you? I’d like to know the true account!

Well... one day. You know my true personality, which is more than most people could say, even when I was alive.

So you were always sarcastic, but I’m the only one who knows it?

Hmph.

I’m teasing.

I know it. Actually, come to think of it, I suppose my personality now does differ a bit from the Guinevere I once was. But that’s to be expected, isn’t it? I’ve been a diary consciousness for hundreds of years – some of my owners’ idiosyncrasies must’ve rubbed off on me a bit, along the way. For example, I’m certain that my use of language has changed. Why, I haven’t said "thee" or "thou" in absolute centuries.

Do you... think that maybe... I’ll rub off on you?

You already have, my dear.

I have?!

Oh, but yes. I imagine if I were alive again, I’d head straight to the library.

Gwen!

Just teasing.

Honestly. What’s so wrong with the library anyway?

Nothing at all. But Hermione, I really want you to rest now. We can talk more about this another time.

Well, all right... but goodness, I mean, you will let me tell Mum who you are? I mean, she’ll absolutely die.

She probably won’t believe you. But yes, of course – tell away.

Oh, Gwen. Thanks. I think I’ll write her a letter right now. See you soon.

Goodnight.

 

 

HQoW

October 24

Hello, Gwen.

It was such a nice peaceful common room until Quidditch practice let out. Fred and George Weasley must think quiet is a sin or something. Now it’s going to take half an hour before I can bring Ron back ‘round to this Potions assignment, which Harry hasn’t even started yet. But I suppose it’s not his fault; he was at practice and then Filch kept him back awhile.

Filch? Did Harry get in trouble?

For once, no. Filch is just in a rotten mood from cleaning up the halls all day, and he wanted to punish Harry for dripping mud in them. Well Gwen, it’s raining outside and there’s dirt on the Quidditch field. What does he want? But he dragged Harry into his office anyway. He had to leave him there a minute to go scream at Peeves for something, and that’s when Harry poked around on his desk and found some sort of "Kwikspell Correspondence Course in Beginner’s Magic" letter, whatever that is. I don’t know why he’d want to poke around Filch’s desk when he was already in a bad mood- it was a dumb idea. Filch came back and saw that the letter was moved, and just about had an attack. Harry said he was actually worried Filch might try and use those ankle-suspension chains he’s always threatening. But then Nearly-Headless Nick (that’s Sir Nicholas, the Gryffindor ghost,) made an enormous racket with Peeves and distracted Filch so that he got confused and forgot to punish Harry.

Lucky Harry. That was nice of Sir Nicholas.

Wasn’t it? Harry asked Nick if there was anything he could do in return, and he said yes, we could all three come down to his five-hundredth deathday party on Halloween, and Harry said we would! I imagine not many live people have ever been to a deathday party, and I’m sure it’ll be just fascinating. I wonder if Professor Lockhart’s ever been to one? I’m sure he has. I’ll just have to ask him all about it tomorrow.

Ugh, just thought of something. Hope Moaning Myrtle doesn’t come to Nick’s party. She’s this ghost who haunts a toilet in one of the girls’ bathrooms, and she’s so depressing that no one even goes in there anymore. I mean, you say one word to her and she cries like a baby. It’s ridiculous.

OH NO--- DUCK!!!!! Are they MAD? Yes, Gwen, the Weasley twins are insane! They’ve put a Filibuster firework inside a Salamander, and the poor thing is ricocheting around the room and giving off orange sparks! Fred says they "rescued" it from a Care of Magical Creatures class. Rescued it so they could torture it! Oh yes, very funny—you tell them, Percy. Of course Harry and Ron are having an absolute fit of laughter. Well that’s going to end in a moment. I’m making them do this Potions essay right now.

 

HQoW

November 1

Gwen, there’s a mystery. Something very odd happened last night. Odd and disturbing. And I’m not talking just about the deathday party, although that was certainly very strange. A roomful of ghosts and putrid food and Moaning Myrtle. Yes, Myrtle was there, and of course when we said hello she got offended and cried herself silly.

But the really odd thing happened after Nick’s party. We were leaving the dungeon when Harry started to hear that voice again- the one Professor Lockhart couldn’t hear that night when he was in detention. He was absolutely panicked about it. It was saying things like "I smell blood" and Harry was afraid it would try to kill somebody, so we tried to follow it. Well, follow him really, because we couldn’t hear anything. I guess the voice floats up, or something, because Harry took us all the way to the second floor, to the end of the last corridor. And that’s where it was, in the torchlight.

On the wall, in foot-high words, somebody had put:

"THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS HAS BEEN OPENED.

ENEMIES OF THE HEIR, BEWARE."

That is disturbing.

That’s not the only thing. Underneath the words something was hanging up on a torch bracket. It was Mrs. Norris- Filch’s cat- all stiff and glass-eyed with her tail straight up like she’d just been stuffed. It was freakish.

Who did it?

That’s just it. Nobody has a clue. There was just the cat, the words, and a big puddle coming from the bathroom- I’m sure Myrtle just got in the pipes again. And of course there was that voice Harry had been hearing.... not that I could really verify that. Ron said we’d better get out, because we didn’t want to be found there. I thought that was right, I mean, we didn’t look too innocent standing there in the middle of all that when we should have been down at the Halloween Feast.

But that’s right when the Feast let out. Everyone came crashing through the halls. We were surrounded by students. They stared at us, trying to read the wall and take in the whole scene. To make matters worse, Draco Malfoy stepped up. He was flushed and grinning and he said, "Enemies of the Heir, beware! You’ll be next, Mudbloods!" Then he looked at me and he was laughing as if he meant me in particular.

Filch came over next and when he saw what had happened to his cat, he went—and I mean this—insane. Turned on Harry and us and started to shriek. Lucky someone thought to call the other teachers, because Filch was about to kill Harry, no question, until Dumbledore and some other professors came up and took the five of us away- that’s us three, Mrs. Norris, and Filch- to Professor Lockhart’s office, to try and figure everything out. (May I just say that Professor Lockhart’s office is absolutely perfect? He has his awards and pictures all up on the walls- those magic pictures that wave and smile- I wonder if he’d give me one? Harry says he sends them off with his fan mail replies ,so maybe if I sent him a letter, he---)

Yes, by all means, send him a letter. His office sounds perfectly lovely. Now what happened in there?

Oh, well we found out what had happened to Mrs. Norris. Dumbledore examined her and said she’d been Petrified. She’s not dead, but she’ll need a Mandrake Restorative Draught when our Herbology ones are fully mature. Filch just kept on crying and screaming that Harry’d done it, but Dumbledore said it’s advanced Dark magic and no second year could possibly have managed it.

Then Snape said (Snape was there, too, and Professor McGonagall,) that maybe we’d just been in the wrong place at the wrong time, but why was that? So we explained about the deathday party and being down in the dungeon. But that didn’t explain why we hadn’t gone to the Halloween Feast afterwards, I mean, why had we gone without any supper? We couldn’t very well tell the truth: "We were chasing Harry, who is currently hearing a floating voice that smells blood." So Harry told them we were just off to bed early because we’re tired.

Our teachers know us a bit too well to believe that. Snape said Harry ought to be taken off the Quidditch team until he tells the truth.

No!

Calm down, Gwen, Professor McGonagall loves Quidditch almost as much as you do, and the only thing she loves more is Gryffindor. So if you think she’s going to let Snape ruin Gryffindor’s Quidditch chances then you’re crazy. Harry’s still our Seeker.

Don’t scare me like that!

Well it scared us, too, but Dumbledore says Harry’s innocent until proven guilty, and he let us all go. Once we were off the hook we got out of there as fast as we could, ducked into a classroom and started whispering. Harry asked if we thought he should have told the truth, but Ron said no, that "hearing voices no one else can hear isn’t a good thing, even in the wizarding world." I think he was thinking the same thing I was—is Harry losing it? I mean, I didn’t hear a thing, Gwen. Harry must’ve felt us thinking it, because he said, "You do believe me, don’t you?" Ron said yes, but he had to admit it was weird.

It’s weird.

It is weird. All that about a Chamber of Secrets.... the enemies of the Heir.... I guess that’s the Heir of Slytherin. I read about Salazar Slytherin in "Hogwarts, A History". He formed Slytherin House when Hogwarts was first founded. But what does that have to do with Malfoy? What does it have to do with me being a Mud—I mean, with me being Muggle-born?

Muggle-born. That’s such ROT. I mean, look at Filch, taking a Kwikspell course! We found out tonight he’s got no magic at all- he thinks that’s why Mrs. Norris was attacked- and he’s from an all-wizard family. Ron says that makes him a Squib.

A word you shouldn’t call people if you can help it; it’s unkind.

Oh, Ron says it isn’t funny ordinarily—but as it’s Filch, you know—he thinks that’s why Filch hates the students so much. He’s bitter.

Poor man.

Yes, it’s sad. If Filch were a bit nicer, I might even feel badly for him. But it just goes to show, doesn’t it, that blood doesn’t count?

Anyway, that’s the story, Gwen. Isn’t it strange? The Chamber of Secrets.... why do I remember... I know I’ve read it somewhere.... YES! That’s it! It was in "Hogwarts, A History". I have to go to the library right now, before all the copies get checked out—I wish I’d brought mine, but I couldn’t fit it in my trunk with all the Lockhart books!

 

 

HQoW

November 8

Gwen, hi—not only have all the copies of "Hogwarts, A History" been taken out of the library, but I’ve managed to have two very bad ideas in one week. I’m feeling edgy.

First off, I remembered what you suggested, about asking Ginny Weasley about her diary if anything odd happened. I think last weekend qualifies as odd, so I decided to ask her if the diary’s enchanted, and where she got it. And I’m not blaming you for the idea, Gwen, it’s just I have terrible timing. Ron was trying to cheer her up- she was sitting on the sofa in the common room trying not to cry any more about Mrs. Norris—the whole episode last weekend really upset her. Ron was saying things like "You haven’t really got to know Mrs. Norris. Honestly, we’re better off without her." It wasn’t helping. Especially when he said not to worry, that they’d catch the maniac who did it and expel him- he only hoped the maniac would Petrify Filch first! Ginny turned totally white and started rocking back and forth.

I think, Gwen, that Ron was actually trying to help. It’s just he doesn’t have the first clue. So I said, "Ron, go on, let me have a minute with Ginny," and moved over next to her. She said, "I’m okay, Hermione, it’s okay, I’m okay," sounding just like Neville does when he’s not okay. I told her all the things that always make me feel better: that no one can hurt us as long as Professor Dumbledore’s around, that Hogwarts is the best wizarding school in the world and that with teachers like Professor Lockhart around to ward off the Dark Arts, we’ve got no worries at all. She looked so much better after that, I thought it might be okay to ask her about ‘Tom’. So I did.

"By the way, Ginny," I said, "I have a question about your diary, if you don’t mind." Well, Gwen, that is as far as I got. The blood left her body so suddenly I thought she’d faint on the spot. Instead, she bolted.

But why? You didn’t say anything.

I just picked a bad moment, Gwen- she was so shaken up already, and diaries are so personal- maybe she thought I’d read it or something, I don’t know. I told you she’s shy. Now whenever I’m in the room, she avoids me entirely, so I definitely botched that one, and I won’t be finding out anything about where Ginny got her diary.

Hmmm.

My other bad idea is actually a really good, really smart idea, but it’s against about fifty school rules so I’m trying to pretend I haven’t thought of it because it’s so good that I might just have to do it. I’m completely torn.

Well for goodness sake, don’t keep me in such suspense!

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, Gwen, about what Malfoy said about the Heir, and about the Mudbloods being next. He seems like he knows an awful lot about what’s going on. My first thought was, what if Malfoy’s the Heir? His family’s all been in Slytherin and they’re certainly nasty enough-- and if they’re after Muggle-borns then I’m in definitely in danger, because they already hate me. But then I thought, no, this is Malfoy we’re talking about, and he’s not smart or powerful enough to Petrify anything—I don’t think he could possibly be the Heir of Slytherin.

But maybe he knows who it is. Couldn’t his father have told him? It’s possible. He’s the darling of Slytherin, if he’s not the Heir, and he just... he keeps looking at me.... Anyway, I was wishing all week that there was some way, any way, to get close to Malfoy and find out what he knows—but there isn’t. I’d rather drink Neville’s version of a Boil-Curing Draught than ask Malfoy's help with anything, and we all know he wouldn’t associate with the likes of me if his life depended on it, so there it is.

Unless. Unless. Oh, it’s too good, I might not be able to stop myself, and then I’ll be expelled and thrown back into my old life forever. But maybe I could manage it.

Hermione. Sweetheart.

Okay. Snape was lecturing us in Potions the other day, all about different recipes that can assist in Transfiguration, and he mentioned this one called a Polyjuice Potion. You add a bit of any person you want to Transfigure into- like a hair or a fingernail clipping- and one dose of the Polyjuice Potion will turn you into that person for one hour. Well I couldn’t help but think, if I were to Transfigure into one of those lousy Slytherin girls, like Pansy Parkinson or Millicent Bulstrode, then I’d have a whole hour to ask Draco Malfoy anything I want about the Chamber of Secrets, and he'd probably tell me everything. Say it isn’t brilliant.

I admit, you’ve definitely got something.

Except I’d have to get a book out of the Restricted Section of the library in order to get the potion recipe, and then if I managed that there’d probably be a ton of advanced ingredients, which I’d have to steal from Snape, but I just couldn’t let myself go that far—or could I—yes, I think I—no, Gwen, talk me out of it, please! It doesn’t matter! The Chamber of Secrets, well, I don’t even know what it is, and Malfoy’s just an idiot who said all that to scare me. There isn’t any Heir of Slytherin. Is there?

I don’t know. And even if there is, remember what I told you about legends: facts and truth don’t always line up. We should try to find out what the truth really is. I’ll ask about it for you- do you think you could wait to decide on the Polyjuice Potion until we find out what it’s all about?

I guess so. I can’t think about it anymore, I just can’t think about it, it’s driving me crazy and I have to study a thousand other things. See you.

 

 

HQoW

November 12

I came back early from dinner because I’m too bottled-up to eat anything, and I only have about a half-hour before everyone else comes back, so just excuse me while I get this all off my chest. I’m scared, Gwen. I won’t tell Harry or Ron, but Malfoy—the way he keeps looking at me in the halls—it’s not good. And once I get an idea in my head, I just can’t stop thinking about it, so this whole Chamber of Secrets thing has just been making me feel a little cracked. I had to find out what it meant.

I went right ahead and interrupted Professor Binns in the middle of History of Magic today, and demanded that he inform us of the legend of the Chamber. I don’t think anyone’s ever raised a question in there before- probably because no one’s ever been awake in there before- but that woke everybody right up. Professor Binns told us everything. Salazar Slytherin, who formed Slytherin House, did not believe that students should be admitted to Hogwarts unless they were of pure-blood descent. Godric Gryffindor disagreed with him, and eventually drove him out of the school with the help of Helga Hufflepuff and Rowena Ravenclaw, all of whom believed that any child who showed magical capabilities should be given a wizarding education, Muggle-born or not.

So Slytherin was forced to leave the school. But before he did, the story goes that he built a chamber that none of the others knew about, deep in the castle, that could only be opened by his own descendants. And in the chamber he concealed a monster that, when unleashed, would fulfill his dreams of purging Hogwarts of all the Muggle-born students. Basically, there’s a mythological monster here who wants to kill everyone who doesn’t have pure-blood. And that means me.

Now, Professor Binns says that it’s just a story, a legend—but so is Guinevere and so are witches— so I say that legends are true around here. Who Petrified the cat? What is this voice Harry’s been hearing? Who put those words on the wall? It’s extremely unsettling, and I’m frightened. I’ve got to know what Malfoy knows- he must know something- he just gives me these awful stares, and mouths "You’re next."

That’s it. I have to do it. The Polyjuice Potion. I’ll tell Ron and Harry. Oh, Ron’s such a.... he wanted to copy my composition today after we had ten days to do it, and I’m feeling extremely snappish what with all this Heir of Slytherin madness, so I bickered with him hard.

"I only need another two inches, come on—"

"Forget it, Ron. We have to go to class."

"Just tell me one thing, come ON, Hermione,"

"Too late, next time think ahead."

"You’re such a know-it-all, I swear."

"And you’re lazy."

"As if! At least I get outside and do things- who’s the one always cooped up in the library?"

"Fine, tell that to Professor Binns, say ‘Professor, I haven’t got my homework assignment, but I did get in some lovely Quidditch,’ and see what he thinks."

"Sometimes I really want to kill you—"

"Good, you can help Malfoy. That’s top on his list, too."

He felt sorry after that and tried to make it up to me, but no thank you, I am in a BAD MOOD. The least he can do is try to understand why I have such a short temper right now, but he and Harry don’t have anything to worry about because they’re pure-blood.

At least I got to laugh at him a bit later when we were going to drop off our books before dinner. We passed by the place where we found Mrs. Norris-- that foul writing’s still on the wall, it won’t scrub off-- and decided to look ‘round a bit for clues. We found scorch marks of some kind, and then I saw a row of spiders marching in a line on the windowsill, dropping down a thread like little soldiers. Really, it was so bizarre! I said to Harry, "Have you ever seen spiders act like that?" And Harry said, "No, have you, Ron?"

Ron was frozen back against the wall, looking like he was trying very hard not to run. Apparently, spiders are not his favorite things. He never told me he was scared of them! He doesn’t like the way they move or something, just because when he was three, Fred changed his teddy-bear into a great big one. I tried not to giggle but you should have seen his face, and the spiders were just babies. I wonder what he’d do if he saw a tarantula! I should take one out of the cabinet next time we’re in Potions, and see.

That’s really it for clues, though. We’re no closer to finding out who the Heir is. Oh, and that flood of water was mopped up, but when Harry reminded us of it, sure enough it must’ve led to Myrtle’s toilet. (Harry and Ron both looked really uncomfortable being in the girls’ bathroom, which I also thought was funny.) We tried to say hi to Myrtle and ask her if she’d seen anything, but of course she just threw a big fit of self-pity because she’s dead, and dived down into the pipes again. So we left the bathroom and ran straight into Percy.

That might have been the funniest bit, come to think of it- listening to Percy tell Ron off for lurking around in the girls’ room- or at least it would have been funny if they hadn’t gotten into a fight. Percy said if Ron had any feelings he might think of Ginny, because she’s scared we’re all going to get expelled over what happened to Mrs. Norris, and so we oughtn’t to hang around the scene of the crime. Ron said Percy doesn’t care about Ginny, he’s only worried about us ruining his chances to be Head Boy next year. Percy got mad and took five points from Gryffindor.

Oh great, everyone’s back from dinner, and now I have to try and concentrate on Charms when all I can think about is "Enemies of the Heir, beware." I’ve been wrestling with this Polyjuice Potion for a week and now I’ve got to make a decision. Do I try it? Why does everything have to be so difficult, Gwen?

I don’t know, dear. See you soon.

 

HQoW

November 13

My mood is hardly improved, but at least it is decided. We’re doing it. The Polyjuice Potion. I almost didn’t tell Harry and Ron because they are getting on my nerves so badly, but we’re doing it and that’s it. Here’s the plan: I get Professor Lockhart to sign a library note saying I can take "Moste Potente Potions" out of the Restricted Section so that we’ll have the recipe. We’ll think about getting the ingredients later. What do you think?

Your plan is.... rather thin.

Have you got a better one?

Er- no.

I finally presented the idea to Harry and Ron because they were talking about how they think Malfoy really is the HeirHHHHHH HeirH. I disagreed, but I said that if we really want to know, then what we need to do is go over to Slytherin and ask Malfoy a few questions without him knowing it’s us. Harry didn’t see how that was possible, and Ron just laughed at me- he obviously doesn’t see how upset I am over this because he is trying my nerves every second and he has a sarcastic remark for everything. He and Harry didn’t even remember Snape telling us about the Polyjuice Potion. Where would they be if I weren’t always thinking for them?

I think I’d better shut up for awhile, because I’m being lousy. I’m just tied up in knots, that’s all- I’m sorry I’m so cross, Gwen. I think I’ll go to bed.

That’s all right. I hope you wake up feeling better.

Thanks, I hope so too. Goodnight.

 

HQoW

November 21

We’ve got the recipe! I told Professor Lockhart that I just wanted "Moste Potente Potions" as a bit of background reading to help me understand "Gadding with Ghouls", and do you know what he said? "I’m sure no one will mind me giving the best student of the year a little extra help"!!! And then he signed my library note with his special peacock quill that he only uses for book signings! He’s just wonderful. And did you know he also plays Quidditch? He told Harry he’d give him some pointers, which I thought was very generous, but Harry looked at him like he was insane. Then, when we were out of earshot, Ron called Professor Lockhart a "brainless git"! He is not a brainless git! And I didn’t want Madam Pince to take that library note he’d signed for me, I wanted to keep it, but Ron wrenched it away. What is wrong with him?

We’re using Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom as our base of operations, because nobody in their right mind goes in there. We took the book into a stall and went through the recipe. I felt calm for the first time in days. Finally we were going to do something, not just sit around waiting for some monster to come and kill me. Just having that recipe in front of me made me feel a million times better.

And that’s when the boys started to complain. Harry’s worried because we have to steal so many of the ingredients. Ron’s mad because he thinks it’s sick to drink a potion that contains actual bits of Slytherin. "I’m drinking nothing with Crabbe’s toenails in it." Neither of them gave one single thought to me- to the fact I’m Muggle-born and have to do something about this— it wasjust "What about this, Hermione, what about that, Hermione, what a bad idea, Hermione" on and on and on. Finally I just let loose and yelled.

"If you two are going to chicken out, fine. I don’t want to break rules, you know. I think threatening Muggle-borns is far worse than brewing up a difficult potion. But if you don’t want to find out if it’s Malfoy, I’ll go straight to Madam Pince now and hand the book back in!"

That shut them up, for once. Even Myrtle stopped crying in the end stall. Ron said, "I never thought I’d see the day when you’d be persuading us to break rules," and it was the first time in two weeks that his tone of voice was friendly to me. But then Harry made the mistake of asking how long the potion will take, and when I said it takes a month, Ron was off again. "A month? Malfoy could have attacked half the Muggle-borns in the school by that time!" Well thank you, Ron. I hadn’t thought of that. I am just sick of all the whining. I will do this by myself if I have to.

I’m going up to bed because I’ve been cranky for two weeks and it’s making me tired early. I want to stay up and study, but what’s the point if I’m just going to be killed. Harry and Ron are just leaving for bed, too. There they go, up to their dormitory, laughing about something. They don’t know how scared I am, and they don’t care. How they can think about Quidditch? Well, Harry’s first match is tomorrow so I suppose— and yes, Gwen, I’ll tell you all about it first thing. Goodnight.

Wait a minute, hold on— they’re not talking about Quidditch—they’re talking about me.

Well, I wasn’t meant to hear that! I guess they figured I was out of earshot.

What were they saying?

First they were talking about the match, and then Ron was saying-

"Seriously, Harry, just knock Malfoy off his broom tomorrow. I’m sick of seeing her like this."

"I know, she’s tense, isn’t she?"

"’Course she is. She’s scared because she’s Muggle-born. I’m worried about her, too."

"Right. Yeah, I’ll knock that git off his broom, don’t worry."

I feel better.

 

HQoW

November 22

Ah, Quidditch. The joy. The agony. Where to begin? Maybe it’s better if I don’t tell you, after all, the suspense could be unhealthy—and of course there was that enchanted Bludger—but you wouldn’t want to hear about all that, I mean, I wouldn’t want to bore you—

I’m. On. Edge.

You’re too easy, Gwen. Okay, let me set the scene. Ron and I left Harry with our best wishes, and climbed into the stands. It was a heavy late-autumn day, and there was thunder in the air, and we were going up against the most hated house in all of Hogwarts. Gryffindors, Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws all cheered when our team soared out above the pitch in their red cloaks, looking ready to fight! They were followed by Slytherin in slime-green, each riding his own shining new Nimbus Two Thousand and One. Both teams hovered as Madam Hooch unleashed the game balls—she blew the whistle—and the game was underway!

First thing, a Bludger hurtled at Harry’s head- he ducked and it barely missed him- and it was beaten off by George Weasley. Harry shot upwards, and started scanning for the Snitch. That’s when we heard Malfoy yell, "All right there, scarhead?" Ron jumped up next to me and hollered up, "What a waste, Malfoy, a flier like you on a broom like that!" Malfoy couldn’t hear him, but everyone in our section applauded and Lee Jordan announced, "Yes, a sad waste- couldn’t have put that any better myself! And Gryffindor Chaser Katie Bell has the Quaffle and she—ah, there’s a Bludger in her way, no score—and it’s back already to Gryffindor—Alicia Spinnet nears the hoop and she’s going to—no, there’s another Bludger—what’s going on up there, where are our Beaters? Oi, Weasleys, get in the game!"

But our Beaters were busy. The other Bludger, which had flown at Harry first thing, was continuing to fly at him with a vengeance. When batted away, it would stop in midair, turn, and zoom straight for Harry again! George and Fred took turns whacking at it, but no matter where they aimed, it would change direction and come for Harry like it was magnetized. Bludgers are supposed to tackle everybody, but this one had a mind of its own and there was nothing for the Weasley twins to do but each take a side of Harry and try to keep the rogue Bludger from breaking his jaw.

With both our Beaters and our Seeker stuck in a clump, Gryffindor could hardly survive. It left Slytherin free to control the other Bludger entirely, and they slung it at our Chasers again and again, making them miss every possible shot. They also used it to keep our Keeper occupied—Oliver Wood was shunted to the side by the Bludger and then Marcus Flint put the Quaffle through once—twice—and it was sixty points to zero for Slytherin before you could blink.

Finally when they managed to smack the Bludger into Angelina Johnson’s stomach, throwing her backwards, making her double up, and losing us another goal-shot, Wood called a time out.

We couldn’t hear from the stands what was happening in the huddle, but I knew one thing. That Bludger had obviously been fixed. Ron said "I just don’t see how, though." I said I thought Malfoy had done it, but Ron just laughed and said he’d be surprised if Malfoy could tell a Bludger from a hole in the ground, let alone be able to curse one. But I said, "No, Ron, really, think about it, why else would it keep going for our Seeker and never for himself? He knew there was only one way to beat Harry—he’d have to cheat—and somehow he’s done it!" Ron looked like he really wanted to believe me, just to have one more reason to hate Malfoy.

Time out was over. The game began again and the storm had begun by this time—rain was falling and the Bludger was still going for Harry a hundred percent. Fred and George, however, had returned to protecting our Chasers so we could catch up our score. Harry was now doing his best to out-fly the rogue Bludger on his own, in the rain.

What a sight, Gwen, I mean it. Harry dodged, he swooped, he spun to avoid being smashed in mid-air. Malfoy yelled, "Training for the ballet, Potter?" I yelled back, "Shut up, you sorry excuse for a Seeker!" and Lee Jordan whistled and announced, "Another on-the-spot comment from the stands! Did you hear that, Malfoy? It was ‘Sorry excuse for a See—‘" but Professor McGonagall had clapped a hand over his mouth.

And then it happened.

BAM!! The rogue Bludger slammed into Harry’s arm and the crunch was audible. There was a sickening gasp from three quarters of the stands but of course, the Slytherins cheered. Then, to our shock, Harry lurched downward, pivoted, and flew straight at Malfoy like a bullet! We all thought he was going to attack him and suddenly three quarters of the stands erupted in cries of "GET HIM, POTTER!" But we were wrong, Harry wasn’t attacking Malfoy—better than that, Harry had seen—

The SNITCH???

Oh, still hanging on tight, are you, Gwen? Good! Yes, it was the Snitch- it was right above Malfoy’s ear and the idiot didn’t even see it! Harry’s broken arm was hanging off him at a crazy angle, but even that didn’t stop him- he picked up his good hand from the broom, reached out, snatched the Snitch, tumbled to the ground—and fainted. The crowd went wild! People were cheering, Slytherin was hissing, Professor McGonagall and Lee Jordan were exchanging heated words with Madam Hooch- probably about that Bludger- and all in all it was a victory for Gryffindor! Tell everyone at Miss Vauclain’s.

You know I will! Oh, Hermione! But Harry’s arm- the Bludger- will he be all right? Was it Malfoy’s fault?

Well, about Harry’s arm. Ron and I ran down to where Harry had fainted, and Professor Lockhart was trying to help him. He was going to mend his arm- heal the bones. Well, anyone can make a mistake, Gwen. I mean, the point really is that he stopped Harry being in pain, isn’t it? It’s not that off target to do what he did.

What did Lockhart do to Harry’s arm?

Well he... he de-boned it. Instead of fixing the bones, he removed them. An honest mistake! He was the only one trying to help and I’m sure all that noise either distracted him, or somebody bumped him, I mean, it was a very tight crowd all ‘round Harry. Harry looked like he was going to pass out again when he saw his arm, but Ron and I just took him right up to the hospital wing and Madam Pomfrey’s re-growing his bones right now, so there’s no actual harm done. I had to sit around outside the bed-curtain while Ron got him into his pajamas, all the time yelling at me, "How can you stick up for Lockhart now, Hermione, eh?" What Ron’s got against Professor Lockhart I’ll never know. I still say it’s jealousy.

I’ll agree with that.

Thank you, Gwen. You always understand.

Well, that’s really it. We don’t know what happened with the Bludger. I know it was Malfoy’s fault. That’s just one more question we’ll have to ask him when we take that Polyjuice Potion. Ooooh, what if we’re all sitting there, Transfigured, and he admits that he did it! I imagine we’ll all three try and strangle him at once. Wouldn’t he be shocked if Bulstrode, Crabbe and Goyle were suddenly attacking him? Oh, that’s funny.

Harry was tremendous though, Gwen. You would have loved it. He flew so well that Gryffindor’s in the lead for the House Cup, because Harry got fifty points for sticking to it even with that broken arm. Nobody’s rich father can buy them what Harry’s got—courage and talent—no, Malfoy will never be anything to Harry Potter, no matter what kind of broom he’s riding.

 

 

HQoW

November 23

For one day I felt better, but that was yesterday and now I’m terrified again, and don’t tell me to calm down because Colin Creevey’s been Petrified. Just like Mrs. Norris. Ron and I heard Professor McGonagall telling Professor Flitwick about it this morning at breakfast. And Colin’s Muggle-born, too- a tiny little first year- I felt sick just thinking about him and I must’ve looked sick, too, because Ron said, "You okay, Hermione?" and then offered to come back up here to Gryffindor with me. But I don’t want to sit around here. I want to start that Polyjuice Potion. We’re going down to get whatever ingredients we can out of the student store-cupboard—I’m just waiting on Ron, he’s upstairs borrowing somebody’s old cauldron. It’s taking him long enough. I told him to go on and get Harry from the hospital wing, and meet me in the bathroom- I’d get started on the potion myself. But he doesn’t think it’s a good idea, me wandering the halls alone. Honestly, as if he’s going to protect me- what can Ron Weasley do to the monster of Slytherin that I can’t?

Except maybe make it die laughing. Oh, Gwen, he’s wearing his galoshes and he says he’s got an umbrella in case Moaning Myrtle tries to flood us out with one of her crying fits. He is funny. Got to go.

HQoW

Gwen, tell me something, please.

Yes?

How am I supposed to survive seven years of this?

I’m not sure I understand.

Ron and I were in the toilet stall starting the potion. We threw in the ingredients we managed to get our hands on, and I guess I was looking serious again because Ron said, "You sure you’re all right?" I told him, "I’m fine, I’ll just feel better if we can get some answers. And I wish Malfoy would stop looking at me like that." "What d’you mean," he demanded, "how does Malfoy look at you?" I tried to describe it, the way he leers and points, and whispers with his horrid friends as if he’s saying what’s going to happen to me.

Then Harry came bursting in with his bones all back together, to tell us how Colin got brought up to the hospital wing last night. I told him we already knew about it, and Ron threw the lacewing flies into the potion and practically snarled "The sooner we get a confession out of Malfoy, the better." But there’s one thing Malfoy won’t be confessing to, Gwen. Harry found some things out last night. Malfoy didn’t fix that Bludger. It was Dobby.

Dobby—the house-elf? The one who was stopping Harry’s mail over the summer?

Yes. He visited Harry in the hospital wing in the middle of the night- Harry woke up and Dobby was sitting on him, sponging off his face. Almost frightened him to death. It seems he’s tried everything to get Harry to stay away from Hogwarts—first stopping his mail so he’d think he had no friends, then he sealed up the barrier at platform nine and three-quarters so Harry and Ron couldn’t get on the Hogwarts Express—

Which is why they flew the car to school!

Exactly, and it’s why they nearly got killed by that Whomping Willow. Finally he fixed that Bludger. He hoped Harry’d get injured just enough to get sent home. Ron said if Dobby doesn’t quit trying to save Harry’s life, he’ll probably kill him.

But how is Harry at risk? He’s pure-blood.

Dobby wouldn’t say- or couldn’t. I guess house-elves don’t have very much freedom. Harry said something about "the house-elf’s enslavement" which did not sound very nice. But Dobby did accidentally let something important slip—he told Harry that the Chamber of Secrets has been opened before! It’s real, Gwen! It’s real, it’s been opened, and it’s open now. Harry asked who opened it, but Dobby was too frightened to say. That’s when Colin Creevey got brought up, and in the chaos, Dobby vanished.

So I ask you again, Gwen, how exactly am I supposed to survive this place? There’s a monster. It got Colin. It could get me.

I’ll tell you one thing, though. Knowing for sure that the Chamber exists, I somehow feel better. I’d rather know. And we’re doing everything we can, what with the Polyjuice Potion, to figure out how to stop it. There’s nothing I can do except wait, which gives me loads of time to study. I really need to catch up on everything, but suddenly I just got exhausted all over. One good night of sleep, and I think I’ll be myself again. Goodnight, Gwen.

Goodnight, Dear.

//
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