She hated Muggles.

Hated them.

She knew it wasn't right to hate anyone, much less a group of anyones, but a lifetime of poverty she blamed on her father's bizarre obsession with people so stunted they didn't even have magic built prejudice layer by slow layer.

Really, if she was being truly honest, what she hated was being poor. But poverty was abstract and hard to fight and Muggles were there with the stories her father brought home from work and the car in the garage and his endless fascination with their trivia. It was easier to hate purloined junk and the people who made it than her parents. Easier to blame strangers.

When her mum bought her Hogwarts supplies, third-hand books and used robes and fretting about whether Percy's cauldron was still any good or did they need another one, Ginny's anger at always having to make do with less boiled over. She could feel the contempt in the eyes of the other girls who were queued up at the shops. Worse than the contempt was the pity. One girl with glossy dark hair tossed that perfect hair and turned her back on the scruffy ginger family. The message was clear. You? You with the patched robes and the hoard of loud brothers? You're not good enough for me.

Fred made a rude face, and Ron scoffed with vulgar finger wagglings at the girl's back, but that made it worse. Fred had George, and Ron had Harry, and she had… nothing. She wanted new clothes and crisp books and to wipe that look of superiority off the girl's face and instead she had a mum in a hand-knit jumper that had seen better days who was counting out coins with a tight look on her face. Ginny knew that look. It was the look of put it back, and maybe we have one at home, and I suppose I can ask around. It was the look of not having enough.

Ginny stood in the aisle as her mother counted out those coins and narrowed her eyes and asked the unspeakable question. "Why can't dad just get a job in a better department?" she demanded. "Why not something else - anything else - instead of filthy Muggles?"

That horrified her mum. Molly Weasley clasped a hand over her youngest child's mouth right there in the shop and hissed, "Don't speak that way." Molly had been a Prewett once, though. She'd grown up with more. She'd had good robes for parties now and then, and a broom of her own, and she'd never looked nervously at the cupboard and wondered if maybe there wasn't going to be enough this month until she'd married for love and had babies for love and then still more babies. She still thought of herself as a pureblood witch, more powerful than most, fallen on hard times, maybe, but not poor.

Ginny knew they were poor. She knew they were lower class, and so did all those girls in the queue, their middle class accents notwithstanding.

Lucius Malfoy, who'd never been poor, stood behind them. He smiled with the sort of perfect teeth only luck or multiple visits to a specialized Healer could get a man and Ginny waited, hiding a cringe, for the contempt or, even worse, the condescending offer to help them out. Neither appeared. Instead he said, "Don't scold the child for asking what everyone wonders, Molly."

Draco Malfoy, standing at his father's side, blond and smug and arrogant, gave Ginny a grin that was half-mean, half-conspiratorial. "Maybe you'll get sorted into Slytherin," he said. She tried not to resent the crisp fabric of his robes or the shiny new cauldron she could see he was holding on to with pleasure. It wasn't his fault he was posh. At least he was talking to her. "Ravenclaw would be okay, I guess, but I'd die if it were Hufflepuff, wouldn't you?"

Molly Weasley scowled at the pair. "She'll get into Gryffindor like all her brothers before her," she said. "Like me and Arthur."

"Or you'll what?" Lucius Malfoy asked smoothly. "Burn her from the family tapestry?" He smiled down at Ginny again. "If she does that," he said. "Narcissa and I would be delighted to take you in."

Molly Weasley slapped her money down on the counter, a miserable pile of knuts and worn sickles, and the salesgirl began to count it out. Ginny missed the way Lucius mouthed, "I'll take care of it." She just saw the girl sweep the coins in the drawer and felt relief they wouldn't have to go through the embarrassment of putting things back.

"See you at Hogwarts," Draco said. Ginny tried to give him a little wave but her mother was already dragging her out of the store, purchases heaped in the dull cauldron she had decided was necessary after all.

"I have never been so humiliated," she said, hand clamped on Ginny's upper arm so hard it hurt. "And in front of the Malfoys too." She huffed out a tired sigh and turned her attention to dinner and laundry. "Just… go to your room and think about what you've said. You'll go to Hogwarts and get into Gryffindor and everything will be fine."

"Malfoy's a prat," Ron said. He'd stretched his feet out on the worn sofa and was thumbing through one of his new books. "Stay away from him."

"Listen to your brother," her mum said. "Do you understand me?"

"Perfectly," Ginny said, wrenching her arm away.

Once in her room, sitting on her sagging bed with its patched and repatched quilt, she pulled the worn books out of her new cauldron with a sigh and began putting them into her school trunk, the one that had been Bill's. One book she didn't recognize: it was an expensive leather diary with a boy's name embossed on the front in gold lettering. A quick flip through the pages showed no one had ever written in it and, with a sullen look at her closed door, she decided not to tell her mum they seemed to have ended up with an extra book by mistake. Instead she pulled out a quill, turned to the first page and began to write.

Dear Diary. My name is Ginny Weasley. I'm eleven years old and I'm about to start Hogwarts. I hate being poor. Hate it. I don't want to be in Gryffindor and I want to be rich and I want that horrible girl with the hair to wish she'd never turned her back on me.

The ink splattered when she jabbed her quill too hard at the final period but she looked at her first entry with pleasure. There. At last she'd said it. Seeing the words written down made her feel a kind of furious, spiteful pleasure.

Then the words swirled away and she stared at the blank page in shock until new words appeared.

Hullo Ginny. My name is Tom Riddle. It's nice to meet you. I think we might have a few things in common.

. . . . . . . . . .

A/N - This is a rewrite and revision of a story I removed.