For my Mum, as this is the sort of short piece I think she would like.
Most people make big assumptions about my relationship with my eldest brother, Bill. They just assume that because he's much older than me, we aren't close. True, Bill was almost out of Hogwarts when I was born, but that doesn't mean anything. Face it, when nine people are living in the same four-bedroom house, you're really close with everyone. But there's more to it than that when it comes down to Bill and me.
While he was at Hogwarts, he would write a weekly letter home to Mum, and when I was smaller, there would be two or three sentences in there just for me. "Tell Ginny that the squid that lives in the Great Lake almost ate Maxwell the other day…" or something like that. On special occasions, like my birthday, he would enchant the parchment to read his letter aloud in his voice. Those letters were special, because nobody but me knew what they said.
Then Bill left school. He didn't stay home long. I was four when he had to leave for Egypt. Mum had explained to me that he was going to be a curse breaker, which was very dangerous, but Bill was brave, so I figured that nothing would happen to him. Bill was my hero. But I still didn't want him to leave. I remember asking him why he had to go. He had taken my question very seriously.
"I'm not leaving you, Little One. I'll owl home once a week, just like at Hogwarts."
"Just like at Hogwarts?" I felt my eyes well up with tears. Mum had said Egypt was a long way away.
"Just like." I felt a little better.
"Promise." A few tears spilled out, but I ran to give him a hug and a kiss good-bye, just like when he left for Hogwarts.
"Just like at Hogwarts," I said triumphantly.
Time passed, slowly for me, but quickly for Bill, I suppose. As I learned to write, the sentences I would attach to the end of Mum's letters became longer, and the notes that he would write to me did too. I began to keep our correspondence in a shoe box with a large flashing label Fred and George had made for me that informed everyone that the contents were private.
When I was ten, Mum decided to teach Percy, Fred, George and Ron how to dance. I was their test dummy. Even now, when I think of those days, I feel a slight twinge in my toes. George and Percy were naturals, but Fred and Ron took much longer to learn. I wrote Bill and told him of the lessons, which he found very amusing.
"…I'll have to give you a spin myself when I get home. Waltzing with Bill Weasley is always an experience…" I wrote him back and told him that I would welcome the change in partners.
He didn't come home for a long time. Mum worried about him a lot, but I knew he was just fine. Now that I was getting older, I could write to him about almost anything, and he seemed to understand. Looking back now, I'm not quite sure how thrilled he was to be my confessor, but he always treated my letters like they were candy.
Whenever I ask him about it now, he always grins and says, "Never underestimate yourself, Virginia Weasley. I have ten years of letters to prove to anyone what an amazing person you are." That's what older brothers are for, I guess.
Anyway, he never forgot his promise to dance with me. I think that maybe he was looking forward to it, in the same way I was. Alone time with him was hard to come by. Mum always wanted to know what was going on in his life, Dad always had a question about work, Fred and George needed his advice for their pranks, Percy swapped Head Boy stories with him (much to Bill's displeasure…) and Ron needed someone to tell how awesome a Quidditch player and friend Harry Potter was.
It ended up being us that went to see Bill, and not the other way around. Winning the prize money from the Daily Prophet was a thrill, but not as big a thrill as stepping off the boat (we traveled the Muggle way, much to Dad's amusement) and seeing Bill standing there. He shouted a greeting to all of us, which I ignored, and ran to meet me halfway for a hug. I kissed him on both cheeks right there on the deck and he blushed.
"Watch it Ginny, all the boys in a three mile radius are going to be jealous if you just go around kissing random boys like that." Bill always knew what to say to make me feel pretty.
I was standing on the veranda of the hotel we were staying at, looking at the sunset when he came out to get a breath of fresh air. There was a band playing a waltz in the background. He came to stand next to me, and, crossing his arms on the railing, didn't say anything for a very long time. Suddenly I realized that he was looking at me. .
"What?" I demanded sharply. Fred and George had dyed my soup green, and I was in no mood to mess with anyone.
"You certainly have grown up since I saw you last."
"Really? Nobody else seems to think so."
"I think you're very mature for an eleven year old. Hogwarts will never be the same once you get there."
"I think so. How about a dance?"
Let me tell you this. Bill was right when he said waltzing with him was an experience. It's certainly not one I'll forget soon.
I have been told that Bill is very dashing, charming and smooth. I wouldn't know, I'm his sister, but if his dancing is any indication of what he's like when he's alone with a girl, I don't think any of my contemporaries stand a chance. He swept me around fast, and dipped me back all in perfect time with the music. None of my other brothers can do that.
I suspect Bill will dance with me on my wedding night, and I on his. There is nothing in the world that can get between us. Some things have changed, like the fact that I now keep our letters in an enchanted box that has a portrait of Bill and myself dancing on it. Or the fact that I'm in love with Harry Potter, which Bill is perfectly okay with, or that we live our lives in fear now of the Dark Lord. Bill and I, we're still dancing. We always save one dance for each other. It reminds us of what we were, what we are, and what we are going to be.