The Sugar Quill
Author: Firebolt909 (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Dear Tom  Chapter: Chapter Two: Diagon Alley
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Chapter Two: Diagon Alley

Breakfast was its usual affair at the Burrow. Ginny woke before the rest of her brothers, kissed her parents good morning, and sat down to porridge, which Ginny proceeded to scrunch her nose up at. She swirled the foul stuff around in her bowl, wishing that she would someday learn enough magic to change it into eggs or bacon or anything but porridge. As she was busy contemplating how much fun it would be to transform all the things you didn’t like into things you liked, a brown owl swooped down through the kitchen window and dropped a handful of letters in the center of the table. Ginny immediately looked up, knowing exactly what those letters were, praying that one for her would be in there. She quickly grabbed the bundle of letters before her dad could, listen to him chuckle at her, her mother scold that it was rude to snatch things, and thumbed through the stack until the Miss Ginny Weasley, The Burrow appeared in green ink. She ripped into it like wildfire. She read the contents of the letter, and re-read them just to make sure. But yes, there was a letter from Professor M. McGonagall, Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts telling her that she was ready to start school and enclosed was the list of books she would need. She looked up at her parents, both of their eyes were watery, and shining with pride.

"Well, pumpkin? Are you ready to be a witch?" Her father beamed at her while patting her mum on the back in comfort.

"Yes!" Ginny exclaimed and even ate all her porridge in her happiness.

It was a good thing she did eat her porridge because a few minutes later, Harry and Ron came downstairs, closely followed by the twins. They took their places at the table. Ginny, in her excitement, knocked over her bowl and it clattered to the floor loudly. She rolled her eyes as she dived under the table to fetch it. This was rapidly becoming a habit for her whenever Harry would so much even come near her. She would knock things over, stumble, trip, anything to embarrass herself unintentionally. Fred had called her a living disaster.

Her face was now as red as her bright hair, which was the brightest color in the family and just another thing for her to get teased about. Harry, of course, pretended he didn’t notice this, which was one of the many things Ginny had come to admire about him. He never noticed her, which was sort of bad, but when stuff like this happened, it was very good indeed.

Her mum handed her brothers and Harry their letters and they all read them in silence. Ginny wasn’t paying attention anymore as she hoped that George and Fred hadn’t seen her knock the bowl off the table or notice her flushed face. They were too immersed in their own letters to bother with her. She focused back on the conversation taking place to hear her mum say, **"I expect we’ll be able to pick up a lot of Ginny’s things second-hand."**

A pair of green eyes turned to Ginny, **"Oh, are you starting Hogwarts this year?"** Harry asked Ginny. Ginny, torn between embarrassment that her mum had mentioned all her things were going to be purchased second-hand to Harry and the fact that Harry had actually spoken to her, could only nod as she blushed and tried to place her elbow on the table, to mock how her dad was sitting. Unfortunately, the butter dish was in the way. Once again, Harry pretended not to notice and everyone else’s attention was taken up by Percy, who just came in, Prefect badge pinned to his chest.

Ginny thought it best to quit while she was ahead, so she left the table and went back up to her room, now her only safe haven. Fred and George, spurred on by the fact that company was with them, had become merciless in their teasing, calling her "carrot top" (which she hated) and joking on how red her face could get. It was safer for everyone around if Ginny just kept quiet and stayed in her room; she did not want to have to kill her brothers in front of Harry Potter. And Harry was another reason she kept to her room when she could. She could watch him unnoticed outside her bedroom window, without anyone knowing a thing. He so fascinated her. He was so short and skinny, yet he had managed to defeat the Dark Lord when he was only a baby. He also terrified her a bit, as she would constantly wonder how he had managed to do that, and what sort of powers he had. He had to be very powerful indeed to have defeated You-know-Who. He also was a very nice person, why he never laughed when her brothers picked on her, no matter what they did. Her parents seemed to treat him as one of their own, despite the fact that he wasn’t, and he in turn seemed to really like them as well. She was going to have to eventually say something to him, but for right now, speech was impossible. Ron, being Ron, would tell her to leave them alone if she so much as looked like she might want to join them in whatever they were doing, and since Harry was constantly with Ron, Ginny hadn’t been able to say anything. So, Ginny kept to herself during the first week Harry was there.

One Wednesday morning, Ginny woke up bright and early. Today she was going to Diagon Alley to pick up her school things and she would finally be able to see all the neat stores that her brothers had described to her. This was going to be such a good day. She ran downstairs, had a quick breakfast of bacon sandwiches, and waited for her turn to use Floo powder. Harry had never used Floo powder before! She could tell he was a bit nervous using it, but she knew he’d be ok, he’s Harry Potter!

"Arthur, you take Ginny’s hand," her mum ordered. "And I’ll follow you."

Ginny felt her dad take her tiny hand in is large one and pull her towards the flame. "Diagon Alley!" he shouted into the fire. Ginny felt a slight tickling sensation and poof! They were coming out of the grate.

"Where’s Harry?" her dad asked.

"Dunno, dad," said Ron, looking around. "He might have gotten lost."

Ginny’s mum came out behind them. "Where’s Harry?"

"He’s not here, Molly." Her dad, seeing the worried, panic stricken look on his wife’s face, tried his best to assure her, "Now don’t worry Molly. You know Diagon Alley has several grates. He could have gotten off at on of the others. Why he could be in one of the shops or something. Why don’t you and Ginny go look for him in some of the shops while the boys and I search the streets?"

Ginny felt her mother start to argue, but then she just nodded and jerked Ginny after her. Ginny was a bit worried herself, although she knew Harry was safe. They roamed in a few of the stores, her mother craning her neck to see if she could find Harry among the patrons, all the while muttering under her breath, "What will his family thing of me? I’ve lost their nephew! Oh, dear Heavens!"

After about half an hour, her mum was starting to become really frantic. She pulled Ginny along after her, swinging her handbag around like a weapon.

"Molly!" her dad called out. "We’ve found him! Over here!" Ginny turned to see where her dad’s voice was coming from.

"Thank God, Arthur!" her mum nearly fainted in relief. Ginny was dragged over to where there was there was another man standing with Harry. Her eyes nearly popped from their sockets as she looked up at him. He was huge! Nearly twelve feet tall at least! Her father knew him as he was conversing with him like an old friend. Harry must have known the man as well since the man’s dust bin sized hand was resting on his shoulder. She heard her father call him Hagrid. She gazed at him awestruck, her neck hurting as she had to lean back so far to see his face. He had very kind eyes, beetle black set into a very bristly, wooly face. His voice was gruff, yet it was almost gentle sounding, at odds with the rest of his countenance. Her instincts told her he was a very nice man.

**"Oh, Harry—oh, my dear—you could have been anywhere—"** Ginny tried not to laugh as her mother panted up to him, pulled out a clothes brush from her handbag and started brushing soot off of Harry, while her father fixed his glasses. Ginny then turned her attention towards a tiny man who seemed to be juggling several balls and one mouse in the center of the square. A small crowd stood around him, clapping, a few of them dropping coins into a small chest he had before him. She frowned, not liking how the mouse would squeak periodically while being juggled. Poor thing, it was so scared, and the mean man wouldn’t stop. She thought about going over there to make the tiny man stop, but her mother grabbed her hand again and pulled her towards Gringotts.

The ride inside Gringotts to their vault was so much fun! Ginny screamed with delight as they went faster and faster through the underground tunnels. They stopped at their vault and Ginny turned her face to study the water trickling down the stone walls as her mother goes in to get what little money is left in there. Ginny didn’t want to see Harry’s expression, didn’t want to know herself how little money they had left. It was better not knowing, sometimes. The journey to Harry’s own vault was deeper underground and no one could miss the bright gleam of gold and silver shining through the small crack that Harry had left in the door, just enough for him to squeeze through. It must be sad, Ginny thought. To have all that money, and yet have no one to spend it on but yourself. She looked around the cart at her large family and back to the vault that Harry was now exiting, hurriedly tucking a bag filled with coins inside his pockets. She hated being poor, hated having to buy everything used and having to use things previously owned by her family, but when it came right down to it, she’d take the worn robes, the fraying books, the already played with toys if being rich meant you had to give up your family. Ginny suddenly felt very, very sorry for Harry Potter.

Back up at the surface, Ginny and her mum went off shopping for her things while the rest of her family split up. Her father, upon meeting Ron and Harry’s friend Hermione Granger’s Muggle parents, immediately offered to buy them a drink at the Leaky Cauldron. Ginny and her mum spent most of the hour trying on various robes of different sizes, at the used robes shop. It was a bit embarrassing, since most of the robes there were either too short or too long. She ended up choosing the ones that were a bit long, with the assurance from her mother that she could magically hem them to the correct length. At least the ones she needed were all black, although they did appear to be a bit lighter black than the new robes in the other half of the store. Once the robes were selected, the next stop was Ollivanders: Maker of Fine Wands since 382 B.C. At least she would be able to get a new wand.

The tinkling of the bell announced their entry into the store. The store was tiny, with boxes upon boxes stacked up to the ceiling. A man suddenly appeared.

"Ah! Another Weasley!" the man said, noting her flaming hair and freckles.

"Hello, Mr. Ollivander," said her mum.

"Molly Stevens! Twelve inches, willow, nice and swishy, with the tail hair of a unicorn." The man bowed before them.

Ginny’s mum smiled. "That’s the one."

The man’s pale eyes stared directly into Ginny’s. "Now, come with me and let’s see what wand picks you."

A tape measure appeared out of nowhere and started to measure Ginny. Between her eyes, her nose, her fingers, besides all the usual places. "Which is your wand arm?" He asked her. Ginny, too overwhelmed to say anything, held out her left arm. Mr. Ollivander began scuttling about, giving her the history of his wand shop and what it meant to own an Ollivander wand. The tape measure fell to the ground with a snap.

"Try this, birch and unicorn tail. Eight inches." Ginny held the wand in her hand, and the wand was suddenly snatched out.

"No, no. Here, try this one. Willow and dragon heartstring." That too, was quickly snatched before Ginny’s fingers could close around it.

This went on for about ten or so more wands, until finally: "Ah, maple and phoenix feather. Ten inches, very whippy." The wand barely touched Ginny’s hand before her arm tingled and a warm feeling rushed to her finger tips. Before she could even think, her arm brought the wand over her head and came down with a swish, blue and purple sparks flying from it.

"Hooray!" said Mr. Ollivander, beaming. "A nice wand for transfiguration! Very good Miss Weasley."

Ginny left the store, wanting to hold her wand in her hands. "No, Ginny. You have to wait until you learn how to use it!" her mother said. "Goodness, me! We need to be meeting the others at Flourish and Blotts."

Flourish and Blotts was practically filled to bursting with hundreds of people. Women, to be more exact. They were all standing in a line, wrapped around the store.

"Ooooh!" her mum tittered, taking out her mirror and checking her appearance. "Gilderoy Lockhart is here!"

Ginny looked over at the swarms of pictures posted all around the shop, a man grinning in them. He had perfectly groomed golden hair, a bright smile, beautiful blue eyes, and was very handsome. Ginny stared at him for a second. He was handsome, however, Ginny suddenly realized that she didn’t like golden hair or blue eyes. She preferred dark hair that stuck out crazily with deep green eyes and glasses. She frowned at her thoughts. Where did that come from?

As if on que, the object of her thoughts joined her and her mum, closely followed by the rest of her family and the Grangers. They were all now waiting for Lockhart to make an appearance. He grinned to much, was Ginny’s first impression. He also seemed to be too perfect, if there was such a thing. His voice was too jovial, too perky, like he constantly practiced talking to himself in the mirror.

Ginny had had enough of being pushed towards the front of the store by all of these witches who were the age of her mum, giggling and applying lipstick. She moved her things over to an unoccupied corner of the store. She was so lost in her thoughts that she nearly jumped out of her skin when Lockhart shouted, **"It can’t be Harry Potter!"** Poor Harry looked like he wanted to die right there. Her heart went out to him as Lockhart grabbed him and pulled him to the front of the store, asking the photographer to make sure he took lots of pictures of them and they would surely make front page of the Daily Prophet after this. Harry dashed away as quick as he could, running back to her family, his arms weighted down with stacks of Lockhart’s books. But, no! He passed her family and was coming straight towards her! Ginny didn’t know what to do, Harry had never approached her before! Before she could think of what to say to him, speak her first words, the Lockhart novels were dumped into her cauldron.

**"You can have these," he mumbled. "I’ll buy my own—"** Ginny was flabbergasted and just as she was about to speak, a pale skinned, sharp faced boy was standing right behind Harry. He looked very mean.

**"Bet you loved that didn’t you, Potter?" he said. "Famous Harry Potter. Can’t even go into a book shop without making the front page."** The boy sneered at Harry, an evil grin on his face.

**"Leave him alone, he didn’t want all that!"** Ginny heard herself say, her eyes spitting fire at the boy. She was shocked at her own daring.

**"Potter, you’ve got yourself a girlfriend,"** the boy drawled. Ginny felt her cheeks heat up like wildfire, either from embarrassment at being called Harry’s girlfriend or from the extreme anger—she couldn’t tell which. She was so furious, she couldn’t even think, so mad that a red haze fogged her vision. She never noticed that Ron and Hermione had joined them, or that her father came over to get them all.

**"Well, well, well—Arthur Weasley,"** said a man looking very much like the mean boy. They both had the same features, the same evil sneer. This had to be the boy’s father.

**"Lucius,"** said her father, very coldly.

Ginny watched, almost terrified, as the man said some rather mean things to her father and reached in her cauldron, taking out one of her battered books. Her father was absolutely livid; she had never, ever, seen him that angry, even with the twins at their worst. The man made a nasty comment about her father’s job and then one about the Grangers, who were waiting with her mother. A loud crash sent her cauldron flying as Ginny’s father attacked the man, knocking him back into bookshelves. She was so scared! She plastered herself against the wall, trying to get out of the way as the two men exchanged punches, her father hitting him across the face with a book. Her father was so nice, so even tempered, so soft-hearted that he never even so much as raised a hand at any of his seven children, and yet here he was, pummeling the mean man. If she hadn’t been so frozen with fear, she probably would have joined in Fred and George’s shouts of encouragement to her father. "Get him, Dad!"

they cried.

Hagrid tore them apart. The mean man thrust her book back at her, snarling, **"Here, girl—take your book—it’s the best your father can give you—"** She never moved, was too scared and angry to do so, and the man threw it at her feet.

"Ginny?" Hermione asked her. "Are you alright?" Ginny looked into the worried face of Ron and Harry’s friend. She was very nice and very smart, according to Ron. Ginny nodded.

"Here, let me help you with those books." Ginny looked down, seeing all the contents of her cauldron spilled out on the floor. Together, they replaced everything and Fred and George carried her cauldron out of the shop. The trip back to the Burrow was uncomfortable. Her mother scolded her father all the way back and the rest of them didn’t say a word.


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