Chapter One

Dear Diary, I feel a little awkward doing this, but I have to talk to someone!

Did you exhume me to play at charades?

What is this? Is this some kind of prank?

One does not play with objects like this, and one especially does not play pranks.

Who are you? How are you using this book?

The bigger question is who are you and why are you wasting my time with questions you already know the answer to.

You're right. I can do more interesting things than chat with you, but you're stuck there, right?

Who are you? The person who woke me up? Who put you up to this? Malfoy? Avery?

They're dead. Do you reboot if you're reawoken? Do you remember Ginny Weasley?

Vividly. But why do you care?

You're dead, too. Or at least the person you're a shadow of. I'm a researcher.


We can talk, or you can go back in your box.

And waste all that effort you put into resurrecting me? Either you are supremely foolish or more powerful than Albus Dumbledore himself.

Right. I'll try again tomorrow.

Don't you fucking dare close me.

Do you have something useful to say? 3... 2... 1.

Do you know who I am?


Who am I, then?

I really don't care to keep answering your questions. You have enough to be going on with. We can talk together, or I can go look through other parts of the Archives for this project.

So that's it, then? Trying to wring information out of me? Hoping I'll help you prove to Harry Potter just how poor his taste in women is?

We're trying to get a better picture of what happened in the War. To deal with any future unpleasantness. And simply to understand.

You're dead. Your followers are dead or imprisoned. If you want any last influence over your memory, this memory is all you've got to exert it with.

You really don't know how that spell you used to wake me up works, do you, little girl?

Why don't you tell me. What does it feel like from your end? I know the logistics from mine.

There's a limit to how much energy you can draw from this connection. You're not dealing with a lovesick first year this go-round.

Energy I can...

I'm sorry, clearly I have been mistaken. The stress of reawakening after just having been stabbed with a fang from your favorite childhood pet can inhibit one's judgment. You must have questions.

I do. And you can cut the "I'm sorrys." I don't have any expectation that you enjoy your current situation or want to play nice. Just that it's a bit more interesting than the alternative.

Oh, but I insist. Politeness is all I have left, if your tale is true. The memories of a teenage Dark Lord can hardly insist on much sympathy, can they?

As far as I'm concerned, you're a historical document. I'm certainly interested but sympathy or spleen don't really enter into it.

Girl after my own heart.

Just your mind, thanks. I'm curious about this diary and the trap you and Lucius Malfoy laid for Ginny. It was a rather slow way of killing people. Was it part of a larger plan, or just an attempt to disrupt or discomfit Hogwarts students and professors?

I and Lucius Malfoy? I assure you, Miss...Granger, is it?

Waiting for an answer.

I assure you, Miss Granger, Lucius Malfoy and I never spoke at all. At least, not when I was in this form. All I know is that I was opened one day by a strange girl and immediately flooded with information that I neither cared about nor understood the relevance of until I began writing back. Rather like this situation.

I'm sure you don't expect me to believe that Ginny Weasley was plotting tactics to terrorize Hogwarts. You made a choice, once you had her. I'd like to know why you chose to use her in that particular fashion.

Ginny Weasley is as incapable of plotting tactics to terrorize Hogwarts as she should be of holding your friend Mr. Potter's attention. As to why I chose to use her in that way, let us say I was bored. You know what that's like, I assume?

Couldn't find a good novel? Or article? Or a way of killing Harry? Why this?

...He doesn't share information with you, does he?

My questions, not yours.

My apologies, Miss Granger.

Your thoughts, please, not your apologies, either. I know you're creative. Why pick off students?

Students? As I understand it, I merely picked off human shields. Miss Weasley was very informative about Mr. Potter, you see. Told me all about him. How he was so brave, so sweet, how he had no parents because of the evil wizard who had killed them. The evil wizard who he'd managed to defeat forever just by sitting there and squirming in his crib. If you think I was targeting students at random after hearing that, you are gravely mistaken, Miss Granger.

So, just testing his defenses? Waiting for data?

Attempting to penetrate them, I think. Without success. Come to think of it, I seem to recall Ginny screaming at me for accidentally petrifying one of his friends. In the library, I recall it being. You wouldn't know anything about that, would you?

She came out of it all right. Just like nearly everyone you did hit.

How is it that Hogwarts has so many reflective surfaces in it? That seems like rather too convincing a stroke of luck.

Well, most people just got lucky. But I knew it had to be a basilisk, so I was deliberately using a mirror to check corners. If I'd had a little more time, you wouldn't have gotten Ginny to the Chamber at all. But it took Harry longer to work it out after I was out of play.

...So you've met my pet. I thought researchers were supposed to be objective about their subject matter, Miss Granger.

I'm very good at being reasonable. You may have lost the War, but you didn't leave very many totally disinterested parties in your wake.

And besides, I met your 'pet' only very very briefly.

I suppose I also killed enough actual researchers that scholarship is rather difficult to conduct, yes? It would be the only explanation for entrusting this sort of artifact to a sixteen-year-old girl. I mean, Dumbledore was never very good about pedagogical ethics, but this is a new low.

You used my name before I mentioned being attacked. How did you know who you were writing to?

I know a lot about you, Hermione Granger. It comes with the territory of waking me up.

Well, if you don't want to talk about the Chamber fiasco, I'm glad to talk about that instead. Your diary is rather different from a magical portrait. Reverse engineering some of the spells was interesting.

Reverse engineering? You mean to say you worked out how to wake me up all by yourself?

Sure. I didn't think a spell that powerful could have been totally neutralized, even by basilisk venom. I've been working on this for a while, but the traces were still there. I had to cobble together revivals from a couple different sources. Your work is very beautiful. This reawakening is a bit of a kludge, but it works.

Beautiful? You should have been in my house, Miss Granger. Dumbledore put you up to this, didn't he?

If you want to talk spellwork, let's talk spellwork. I want to know more about how you made this.

Surely you've tried looking in the Restricted Section?

I think you're a little faster and more interesting than the Index Librorum Prohibitorum. Can you tell me more about this? Is this the only one you made?

No. But it is the first you've remade. What do you think you did, exactly, Miss Granger?

Brought you back on line.

"On line?"

Got you up and running again. I know what I did. I want to know what you did.

I'm concerned this may not be as high-fidelity a copy as the one you originally made. Do you notice any difference from your end?

I seem to remember a very irritating young blonde girl...Sue Higgins, is it? In a classroom I don't remember ever seeing. Screaming. Without making a sound. That wasn't there before.

….Any other anomalies? I have to go for a bit, but you could flag them for me. I'm open to suggestions for fixes, but obviously I'll have to take a good look at any modifications you suggest.

"She's a nightmare. No wonder she doesn't have any friends." This phrase seems to make me uncomfortable.

You know more about how you set this up than I did. Tell me what you did and I may be able to do something about your discomfort.

Don't trouble yourself. These anomalies are very interesting. I seem to remember losing at Wizard Chess. It's a new experience. So is wearing a Gryffindor scarf. And blushing.

Cute. Is this how you read Ginny, or did you pull additional information from the blood ritual I adapted? I want to know if this transference is an intrinsic part of the spell you made originally.

I had these memories the instant I was reawakened. And based on what I remember of making this myself, that is exactly what should have happened.

Expand, please.

No. Close me. I have enough to think about. For instance, why I have all these memories of purposefully losing at Wizard chess.

Really? The teenage version of Voldemort is more interested in flirting than in spell mechanics? I find that implausible.

You do know who I am. And I know the mechanics of this spell, Miss Granger. Intimately. It is you who wants to know it, and I don't particularly feel like answering. I am more interested in you. Close me.

What an odd sort of compliment.