Occam's Razor, Part 1

_ It moved._

It’s probably not physically possible. It wasn’t physically possible, itcouldn’t possibly be physically possible. And yet Ginny could feel, like inthe story about The Princess And The Doxy Egg, that there were less thingsunder her bed than there were supposed to be. And like in that fable, shewould soon be set upon by doxies – or worse.

Where was Tim? Where was he? Ginny quickly tore apart the mountain of blanketsbeneath her bed, and confirmed that the box was empty. Someone had taken Timout of his box, and Ginny didn’t know where they’d put him.

Had Ginny been possessed and Obliviated recently? She didn’t know. It was themiddle of the afternoon and she was lying on her bed and she couldn’t quiteremember when she’d gotten here. Her lip wasn’t freshly wounded, but perhapsthis time she had been actively prevented from marking herself thus; simplybeing surprised with physical contact with the diary and being mentallyoverpowered to the extent that she had no control whatsoever over her bodyought to do it.

Ginny’s eyes shot to Pansy Parkinson, who was sitting on her bed adjacent toGinny’s, brushing her hair, poorly. No, the diary wasn’t anywhere nearby. Thenwhere was it?

Tim – Diary – Box – Draco?

Ginny was soon running to the boys’ dormitories, and then to Draco’s privateroom. A quick knock (the secret one Draco had shown her) opened the door, andrevealed that he was studying – but mildly, though pleasantly, confused byGinny’s presence.

“Ginny!” said Draco. “What is it?”

“Where is Tim?” said Ginny, firm punctuation after each word.

“You lost him?” said Draco, appalled.

“No, wand-shard,” said Ginny, who had no time for nonsense today. “He escapedsomehow.”

“…what?” said Draco.

“What is Tim?” said Ginny.

“He’s a book,” said Draco. “He can’t escape.”

“What is he?” said Ginny. “You know better than I do; you’re where he camefrom. Sorry, I skipped over something – he’s what was petrifying people.”

“What?” said Draco. “No, that’s – what evidence do you have?” He’d gone frombored to sweating in nothing flat.

“I began to suspect I was being Obliviated,” said Ginny, “so I began takingprecautionary measures. And then one day I wake up to discover that I’ve sentmyself a signal that I’m afraid I’m about to be Obliviated, and I don’tremember sending it. So I check in a predesignated location, and I’ve recordeda message for myself in Parseltongue that I’m about to let Tim possess me andinvestigate the Chamber. And I don’t remember recording the message and Idon’t remember being possessed. And then I find out Marietta Edgecombe’s justbeen petrified. So I get the general idea that something’s up, you know?”

Draco was just repeating “oh God” over and over again in various intonations.

“I immediately shut him in his box and pledged to myself not to open it, andthere haven’t been any attacks since,” said Ginny.

“So-” started Draco.

“So I think I was right,” said Ginny, “and now Tim’s disappeared. Someonerifled through my things and removed him, I think, and they put everythingback in order but I could feel that it had happened. I think I’ve beenObliviated again. This is a disaster. Tell me everything you know about Tim.”

“I had some idea that my father got him from the Dark Lord,” said Draco, “butI didn’t update on that once I realized that he was just out-and-out evil anddidn’t have any of our best interests in mind and wouldn’t give someone a giftjust to reward them. They always have catches! Like the silver hand he gaveFenrir Greyback!”

“Yeah, strangled him, I know,” said Ginny. “And I knew Tim came fromVoldemort. But he said he was made out of an unwilling test subject, and nowhe hated Voldemort and wanted to act against him.”

“The Dark Lord wouldn’t create a being that could turn against him,” saidDraco. “And Tim didn’t tell me anything like that; he just said he was namedTim. There wasn’t any backstory, not as far as he provided. He just listenedto me talk about my problems, and responded with support. Sometimes he gaveadvice, and sometimes he indicated that he had some basic background about thewizarding world, but he needed me to update him on any new current events thathappened. Eventually he convinced me to consent to possession, but as far as Icould tell, he only ever did things while I was possessed that I alreadywanted, so I was just thankful for it.”

“Do you have a perfect memory of being possessed?” said Ginny.

“Of course not!” said Draco. “Tim explained to me that being possessed impairsyour ability to form memories. I only remember the fadeout.”

“That’s not what he told me,” said Ginny. “In fact, he told me he had noability to make me anything less than fully aware while possessed, and he toldme in a magic way that prevented him from lying.”

“What, did he make an Unbreakable Vow to you?” said Draco.

“No, he spoke to me in Parseltongue,” said Ginny. “I’m a Parselmouth, and youcan’t lie in Parseltongue. Of course, it eventually turned out I was beingObliviated, so I guess he was twisting the truth…”

“The Dark Lord was a Parselmouth,” said Draco. “He’d use it to control his petsnake – of course, she’s long since dead, thank God; she was even moreantagonistic with the Death Eaters than he was.” Ginny and Draco stared ateach other uncomfortably.

“Could Tim be the Dark Lord in some way?” asked Ginny.

“Maybe,” said Draco. “It sounds like the kind of thing you’d find in a tome ofeldritch lore, coming back to life through your own talking diary.”

“We’re both such idiots,” said Ginny. “It’s so obvious. The conditions yourfather told you that you should open Tim under – did they sound a lot like‘once Voldemort is apparently as far as anyone can tell one hundred percentdead’?”

“No,” said Draco. “…yes.” Ginny made a vocal sound that fulfilled the samepurpose as an expletive but was not a coherent linguistic expression. “I seewhat you’re saying. It’s the only way anything makes sense; I becamesentimentally attached to Tim, but his entire existence only makes sense ifhe’s actually the Dark Lord. We’re in trouble.”

“The question is just, what does he want with the Chamber of Secrets, and whyis he attacking people?” said Ginny.

“And where is he?” said Draco.

“That’s what I was asking you!” said Ginny.

“I don’t know,” said Draco.

“You don’t know,” said Ginny, “and I don’t know, so where is he? Who elsecould possibly have him? Luna? I remember loaning Tim to Luna once, but shesaid she didn’t let him possess it. They actually didn’t get along with eachother at all, so that didn’t make sense.”

“You loaned Tim out?” said Draco.

“Yeah, I know, I’m an idiot,” said Ginny.

“To Luna?” said Draco, still indignant.

I know,” said Ginny, more indignant still.

“Don’t hiss at me,” said Draco.

“Sorry,” said Ginny, and she blushed. “Who else?

“Hmm…” said Draco.

“The Defense Professor is suspicious because he’s the Defense Professor,” saidGinny, “among other reasons, which admittedly aren’t very significant, likehow no one’s sure where he lived for a decade after the war, and how he’s somuch more skilled than everyone who knew him remembered, and now he’s actingas a mysterious old wizard for heroes-to-be - but it’s all technicallypossible for someone who went off and independently studied for a decade; he’sfrankly pretty similar to Monroe. And I can’t think of any connection he hasto Tim.”

“You’re right,” said Draco.

“Harry’s been acting weird lately,” said Ginny. “Maybe we should check him.”

“Okay,” said Draco. “What about Hermione?”

“Well, she’s been normal,” said Ginny, “but maybe that’s exactly the act she’dbe putting on if she were up to something. Good point. The Headmistress?”

“Now we’re just getting silly,” said Draco. “Everyone can’t be Tim. We need tonarrow it down to the most likely-”

A soft echo of the hard scream of a prefect, rebounded through the corridors:

“Granger’s been petrified!”


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