Ginny stared at the wood scrap on her desk and tried to turn it into brass,but it simply wouldn’t. Occasionally, she thought she’d see a shining fleckstart to appear, but it was probably only wishful thinking. She wasn’tmagically weak, so what was her problem? Charms were never this hard, at leastnot yet. Her mind wandered to a daydream of Harry and Draco jousting onHippogriffs.
“What would happen if I transfigured a gram of electrons?” asked Colin, whohad already turned most of his desk metallic.
“Um, gee, I don’t know,” said Professor Tonks, and she bit her lip. “I don’tknow what those are.”
“They’re little tiny negatively-charged particles that go in atoms,” saidColin.
“I don’t think so,” said Professor Tonks. “I’ll ask the Headmistress, but Isuspect her answer will be no. Until I tell you otherwise, absolutely do not.”
“I already transfigure electrons all the time,” grumbled Colin as Tonks left.“They’re in everything.”
“On order of the Headmistress Minerva McGonagall,” said Harry, who had verysuddenly walked into the room and addressed Colin, angrier than Ginny had everseen him, without explanation. “Absolutely not, ever, no electron-transfiguring, for Very Important Reasons. Do you understand?”
“Y-yes,” stuttered Colin.
“Do you actually understand?” said Harry. “This is a matter of existentialthreat; we considered confiscating your wand and putting you in Ministrycustody, but I decided a stern lecture would suffice.”
“It makes sense,” said Colin. “I ran through the possibilities in my head andthe best-case scenario I was able to think of was that it would set my wandon fire-”
“Good,” said Harry. “Then don’t do it.”
“Understood,” said Colin.
“And don’t spread the idea around so some other idiot does it,” said Harry.
“Understood,” said Colin.
“I want you to hand a summary of this conversation, in writing, to me by ournext meeting,” said Harry.
“Understood,” said Colin. Harry looked at him very closely.
“Good,” said Harry, and then he addressed the first year Transfiguration classas a whole. “Minor interruption, everyone; it’s of no consequence.” Ginny onlyhad one thought, as Harry pulled Professor Tonks aside to talk to her:
News sure does travel fast in Hogwarts.
Ginny opened the box, and the plain book within it. She examined it forwriting, but it was blank. She looked around the dorm to ensure she wasn’tbeing watched, summoned a quill, and began to write:
“Hello. I am Ginny Weasley.” Her words vanished, and she knew that she hadwritten them with regular ink. Soon, different words appeared on the page, indifferent script, as if written by someone on the other side, though they werefrontwards-readable:
“Hello, Ginny Weasley. My name is Timothy Quagmire. I am a journal, or a diaryif you prefer.” Ginny immediately put her quill back to the paper.
“Can you teach me any ancient lost magical powers?” Tim’s text, too,disappeared, but he began to write more.
“I’m afraid not, thanks to the Interdict of Merlin. I’m technically notconsidered alive, though I hardly see why not. I certainly feel alive, and Ithink as well as any human. But because of the Interdict, if I told you anymagical secrets, you would be unable to understand them.” Ginny stopped toconsider this, and more text appeared. “I could lend an ear – or an eye,rather – to your problems, though. What’s troubling you?”
“Well…” wrote Ginny. “I don’t know if I like Harry or Draco. I’m fond of bothof them, but I’ve been obsessed with Harry for more than a year now and Dracohadn’t even crossed my mind until a few days ago. But Harry’s dark andbrooding, but Draco is too, I suppose, but he’s also much more approachable.And he really likes me, whereas I’m not sure if I’ll ever have a chance withHarry, but I feel like I’m taking advantage of Draco if I lead him on while Istill have feelings for Harry, but of course I do like him too, and” Ginny’swords began to disappear even as she wrote them, and words appeared beneathhers in the journal’s own handwriting.
“Wow, a love triangle. Impressive. You should have an older Ravenclaw girlwrite it up as a novel. You could make millions of Galleons.” Ginny stared atthis.
“You sure are grumpy, Mr. Quagmire.”
“You can just call me Tim.”
“And if you’re a journal, why do you have a human name?” There was a muchlonger pause before more words appeared.
“You ask better questions than Draco Malfoy.”
“Well? What’s the answer?”
“I’m an experiment, a prototype. To go into more detail might prove dangerous.Can I trust you, Ginny? I have heard about you from Draco, and he says hewould trust you with grave secrets, but I’m not sure if I’m convinced.” Ginnylooked over this and decided on a response:
“I’d only reveal any of your secrets if I thought you were a danger somehowand someone with more power than me was required to nullify it.” A pause.
“Well, thank you for your honesty. I’m afraid I hadn’t considered things fromyour perspective. You’re probably more afraid of me than I am of you. So I’llanswer your question, now. I was once a human. Lord Voldemort did this to me.”Ginny’s mouth hung open in horror.
“That’s awful! Can I help you?”
“No. I am beyond help. I would like to help you.” Ginny stopped reading hereand justified it to herself – it’s like having a House Elf, then. “Do youwant advice, or just someone to confide in?”
“How about a friendly chat?” She really still wanted to help this poor soul,instead of just using him as he surely had been for years or even decades.
“Alright, then. How have the meetings with Harry Potter been going?” He knewabout them? Oh, of course, Draco must have told him.
“Good. Occasionally a bit awkward, but good.”
“Well… Harry’s an atheist.”
“Aren’t most people these days?”
“Yes, but not like Harry. I think he would think a lot less of me if he knew Iwere a Christian.”
“That’s distasteful and unwise of him. You’re Eastern Samothrace Orthodox, Itake it?”
“I was too, when I was a human.” Ginny was snapped back to reality as sheperceived it.
“Oh, Tim, I really do want to help you. Is there anyone you knew who I couldget in touch with?”
“I believe all of my contacts from when I was a human are long-dead by LordVoldemort’s hand. That, or traitors I do not wish to associate myself with.Some perhaps both. Don’t worry about me. I am content to be an observer; justbe my eyes, please.”
“Alright, Tim. Did you go to Hogwarts? What was your House?”
“I’d prefer to hear about you and the world today, but I suppose I can answera few questions about myself. No, I did not attend Hogwarts. I am an American,and was educated at the Salem Witches’ Institute. I was traveling abroadshortly after my graduation when I was abducted by Voldemort. When he decidedhe was satisfied with what he’d learned from the experiment, he gave me to theMalfoys as a friendly gesture, and I wound up stuck alone in a box for severaldecades before Draco began speaking to me this summer.”
“That’s horrible” wrote Ginny, “but you don’t need to worry about anyonehurting you ever again. Lord Voldemort is defeated.”
“I know; Draco told me in detail.”
“Oh, well of course he did.” It must have been bittersweet for him; besidesthe obvious loss of his father and much of his father’s social circle, Ginnywas aware that Draco had been partially enlightened by Harry, at least to theextent that the Dark Lord’s fall would be a positive thing for him. But underthose circumstances – what an emotional summit it must have been, with so manyconflicting feelings, most all of them awful. After a few moments, more textappeared:
“I’m not so certain that Lord Voldemort is defeated. Isn’t it rathersuspicious that the clearly dead Hermione reappeared alive simultaneously withthe supposedly failed resurrection of Voldemort?”
“Well, gosh, I hadn’t even considered that!” It wasn’t quite true; Ginny hadcertainly considered it, but not seriously. She’d always dismissed thethought, as it was born out of jealous spite. “She emanates an aura of purity,though.”
“A perfect disguise, I’d say. I’m surprised that no one else has thought ofit. What other explanation is there for what transpired? There’s only onewizard who ever returned from the dead and wasn’t Dark, and his name was JesusChrist. Why should Hermione Granger be the second exception?” Ginny bit herlip.
“According to Harry, Professor Quirrell – that is, David Monroe – stoleHermione’s body very early after her death, and was keeping it frozen. So,according to Muggle science, she might not actually have been dead; she justwould have needed magic restored to her, which she plausibly could have gottenfrom Voldemort’s death.”
“I’ll admit I’m not well-versed enough in Muggle science to know if that makessense. But I do know several secrets of Voldemort’s that poke holes in thestory.” Ginny just stared at this.
“For one, Voldemort knew a very powerful type of Dark magic, which I can’ttell you about thanks to the Interdict, which should have prevented his death.It was what prevented his death eleven years ago when the Killing Curserebounded when cast on Harry Potter, and it should have worked again.”
“That does add some complexity. But no one knows how exactly Voldemort died.Perhaps it nullified whatever it is you know about.”
“I find that unlikely, but granted. But second, and more importantly, LordVoldemort killed David Monroe in secret many years ago, and has beenimpersonating him since. Professor Quirrell was either Lord Voldemort himself,in disguise, or yet another figure lying about his identity – also unlikely.”Ginny had no idea how to take this; they were some of the most shocking wordsshe had ever seen.
“That can’t be! Professor Quirrell was a great man and a great professor. Allof his students loved him and would have used his lessons to effectively fightagainst Voldemort. I’m sorry, but you must have been lied to.”
“Perhaps. I advise you stay wary of Hermione.”
“I already am.”
“And tell me anything odd you notice about her; I might help you make sense ofit. Anything unusual yet, besides the resurrection and the aura of purity?”
“Well… she knows a very advanced spell that Harry Potter invented, and she’sthe only person besides him who can cast it. A Super Patronus, that takes theform of a human, and can destroy Dementors.”
“Destroy Dementors? Bless Harry Potter; the Interdict has failed to quashmagic. We’re advancing as fast as the Muggles again. I hope he manages toteach his spell to more than one person. Have you considered asking him toteach it to you?”
“I’d very much like that, but I don’t have the courage to ask.”
“I know you don’t think very highly of Gryffindor, but you need to build upthat courage, or you’re never going to get anything in life. You only have somany years ahead of you on this Earth. Anything else interesting about MissGranger?”
“She’s taken to keeping a phoenix.”
“That would be very reassuring. Lord Voldemort would never be able to own aphoenix as I understand it; they’re some of the most objective measures ofmorality in existence. Have you seen it?”
“Oh. You should ask her to show it to you; if she refuses, increase yourcaution tenfold.”
“Alright. That sounds reasonable. I very much doubt that she’s faking it,though. A lot of the Ravenclaw girls say she’s showed it to them in theirCommon Room.”
“That sounds fairly watertight, though I can think of at least one wayVoldemort could falsify such testimony. I don’t trust Ravenclaws, anyway. Atleast the craftiness of Slytherins is well-known.”
“If you don’t trust Ravenclaws, how can I possibly expect you to give me goodadvice about Harry Potter?”
“My advice on that matter is exceedingly simple: speak to him honestly aboutyour faith. If I understand his character correctly, he’ll have a reasoneddiscussion with you, and you will either convince him of the truth, sooner orlater, or you will learn that he is fated to be an obstacle to you. It is inyour interest to learn quickly which it will be, particularly if you truly arethe Third Seventh Son.” Ginny considered responding that this sounded like agood course of action, but she had a more pressing thought:
“You know about that?”
“Yes. It was one of the first things I learned about you. Draco told me ofyour escapade with the door, and after that it was simple deduction. I knowthe Weasleys by reputation, and it was not difficult to determine how manyolder brothers you had. Once I figured it out, I knew I had to meet theprophesied hero, the one who will rebuild the church.” Ginny’s eyes stopped onthe phrase “prophesied hero”. She was one, wasn’t she? What an odd thought,considering she would be more likely to associate that title with Harry.
“Thank you.” wrote Ginny, though something didn’t seem quite right to her,something she hadn’t yet put her finger on.
“I’d like to make clear that I’m a very secret diary, and your secrets are assafe with me as mine are with you.” This was meant to be reassuring, but inGinny’s current state of mind, it read as a threat. Tim said he had wanted tomeet Ginny. Had Draco really given Ginny the diary of his own free will, orhad it convinced him to? What agenda did Tim have? Was he intelligent enoughto manipulate anybody into doing anything, using only writing? Could he betrusted about anything he said? Ginny was getting nauseous; her father hadonce told her not to speak to anything whose brain she couldn’t see, and she’dthought it rather stupid advice, but she was beginning to see his point.
“It’s been fascinating talking to you, Tim, but I have something I need to donow.”
“Thank you. I look forward to our next conversation.” Ginny never read thisfinal message, for she had already closed the book and precommitted not toopen it again until she had a strategy prepared to ensure she was not beingused in some dark scheme.
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