Potions was Ginny's favorite subject. Quite apart from Snape's greasy form swooping about the dungeon like a bloated bat, she loved the pure logic of it. Put in three drops of armadillo bile, stir counter-clockwise seven times then add essence of mandrake and boomslang skin.

Do it right, and you produce a potion - to calm, to excite, to conceal, to petrify, to cure or to harm. Do it wrong, and it was worthless. Simple. Clear cut.

There were instructions and ingredients. There was a clear goal. It was an almost religious experience; to slice the root, stir the liquid, watch the multi-colored smoke slither off the top of the brew. It was ordered and predictable.

It was safe.

Michael Corner was not safe. Rather, her feelings and emotions regarding the situation were volatile. Michael, himself, wasn't really a part of the equation. She had realized that almost immediately. Dating him, snogging him, spending time with him - all that had lead her to a sort of epiphany. She was alone. And never more so than when she was with someone.

She'd drop him soon enough, probably. Whatever reason - too clingy, too distant, too whiny, too stoic - she'd find a cause to seprate herself from him. Because, as nice as Michael Corner was, as normal and real as he was, he wasn't loud enough to drown out the other voice in her head.

She had to be strong, For Ron. For Fred and George and Mom and Dad. For Bill and Charlie and Hermione.

For Harry.

So she didn't talk about that voice. The one that made her scream out in terror, the one that assaulted her nightmares. She just covered it up. For now it was with Michael. Then it'd be someone else. Another someone to mask her madness.

Ginny loved Potions. She'd concentrate on chopping, on mixing, on pouring just so. So it'd be perfect. So it would turn out right.


Disclaimer: J.K. Rowling owns the 'verse. I just play around in it.

A/N: Another angst piece about Ginny's experience with Tom Riddle. Let me know what you think.