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Fear Motivates the Desperate, Too

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The moment someone finally—finally!—put quill to the pages of the diary for the first time, Tom fully intended to drain them dry, reclaim his inheritance as well as his body, and continue on with his plans. His true self hadn’t bothered to update the diary since its creation, but he’d decided upon realizing his Slytherin heritage that there was only one place for him in Wizarding Britain.

If Muggle Britain can have a Queen, Wizarding Britain can have a King.

Being perpetually sixteen is irritating enough. To be sixteen and having things be dull as shite for decades is intolerable.

Then things change. Her name is Ginevra Weasley. Ginny.

It’s a bit of surprise to know that there are any Weasleys left. He always thought the family rather weak, and that was aside from their politically poor classification as Blood Traitors. Instead, there are seven Weasley children and their parents, a Weasley married to a Prewett. There are a number of Prewetts lurking about still, as well.

Odd. The weak should have been the first to fall. Tom has been planning his reign for a long time, after all.

Tom does use the diary’s magic to claim her consciousness once, and it is absolutely glorious to move again, to see the school, to greet the ancient basilisk once more. His friend. His only friend. It’s difficult to get the proper sibilance of Parseltongue from the lips of one who wasn’t born to speak it, but he does quite well. Her lips and tongue are ideal for it, not yet molded by school and age into thinking of words as things limited to only specific types of sounds.

He pretends to be kind when this eleven-year-old child writes of girlish nonsense. The concerns of the young and the innocent. Tom has never been innocent. He was never allowed to be.

Then Ginny writes a single line one day before book and quill are both abandoned.

Tom, I’m afraid.

That is all. Three words.


Tom knows what it’s like to fear. He fears Albus Dumbledore, who came to him and terrorized him before telling Tom that he was a wizard. Dumbledore, who never trusted him, who always looked at Tom as if he’d created all the mischief in the world. Tom had done nothing those first few years to deserve that. Nothing! He came to the bloody school resolved to be great, and discovered that to be great meant to be scolded, to be frowned upon for wishing to learn beyond the set limits of classes. He feared those who were older and more powerful than himself until he’d learned to become more powerful than they.

Tom gathers up the ink she used for those three words and leaves Ginny a message: Why?

It’s quite a while before Ginny answers him. There are rumors that the last time this ruddy Chamber was opened, they were on the verge of shutting down the school until they caught the one responsible. I don’t want to go home. I hate it there.

Oh, that is definitely interesting. What is so terrible about home? Tom asks while thinking, At least you had one.

I’m just “Baby Ginny” there. I’m not a person. I’m the little sister, the youngest daughter, the baby of the family. No one wants to talk about what I like, even if it’s bloody Quidditch—and the gits all like Quidditch! But no, the baby girl can’t discuss the big grown-up game with the big boys.

I hate it, Ginny continues. I hate that my mother looks at me and sees fragile, precious, and female, but nothing else unless it’s a marriage commodity. I think Mum is already plotting to marry me off to Harry! I hate that my father is just so absent, that he has more interest in Muggle things than in me. I’m only eleven, but I’m not stupid! I deserve to exist as a person.

Don’t I?

That is when Tom makes a dreadful, terrible blunder.

He doesn’t just write the expected and typical platitudes and reassurances. He speaks to her.

Everyone deserves to exist. I’m rather fond of it, myself.

There is a long pause. You’re not just a diary, are you?

Tom feels…is that pleasure? Is there depth to this girl that he was ignoring in favor of his other goals? Depth that he can use?

I’m a magical recording of Tom Riddle, a real person who attended this school in the 1940s. I would have graduated in 1945. I believe I am considered dead now.

That’s a terrible shame, Ginny writes. I’d hate to be aware of my own death like that. Has Hogwarts changed overly much since you were made, Tom?

Dumbledore, Tom replies in the most scathing handwriting he can form. It literally drips down the page.

Not so much, then. I think you’d like Professor McGonagall. She is never ridiculous.

Perhaps, Tom agrees. We went to school together. She isn’t the way you’ve written of her now, but no, she was never ridiculous. Minerva had never turned her nose up at him, either.

He hasn’t thought on that in a long time. He only remembered the hatred. The fear. The desire to become himself again.

Besides. I am a Slytherin.

Oh, Ginny writes back at once. There is amusement in her writing. Then Professor Snape would definitely like you. He can’t stand the rest of us, but he treats his Slytherins like gold.

Not like Slughorn, then? Tom asks curiously.

Who the bloody hell is Slughorn?


Tom would dance if he could. Slughorn might have taught him how to make himself, how to store these lovely copies and set them aside if they are needed, but that man was an utter fool. What idiot tells a fifteen-year-old student how to craft a bit of magic made from murder? Someone looking to curry favor and unable to look beyond the bridge of his bulbous nose, that’s who. Fucking idiot.

That was quite the rant, Ginny writes. Tom catches himself and realizes every single bit of those thoughts revealed themselves on his pages. Shit.

Magic made from murder, Ginny keeps writing. Sounds unpleasant. I know murder is a powerful vehicle for magic, but not what sorts.

Tom makes his second blunder. He falls completely in love with a pragmatic, intelligent, vicious fucking Gryffindor named Ginevra Weasley.