For my father, who hates Harry Potter, to spite him.
It was always pretty common knowledge among the families in question that Weasleys were generally tall and lanky, and Prewetts were shorter and...well, as my roommates so sophisticatedly dubbed them--'decidedly dishy'. There's nothing really remarkable about this, and no one particularly cares about how the combination of Arthur Weasley and Molly Prewett manifests itself in their children, but I for one find these things rather interesting. Now firstborn Bill, the lucky prat, got the cream of the genetic crop; he's tall and 'decidedly dishy'. But five kids and thirteen years later it was slim pickings in the gene pool. I guess and short and skinny was all that was left for me--leave it to boys to hog all the good stuff.
The general temperaments are a lot harder to judge, and even harder to fit into family stereotypes. Weasleys tend to be adventurous, intelligent, and slightly quirky, with steady emotions that rarely get the best of them. Prewetts, on the other hand, are much more dramatic by nature, the men notoriously so. Mum remembers the times before Voldemort when all her uncles would sit up and drink with her father as they laughed and swapped outrageous stories. I suppose then the best way to describe them would be as passionately volatile, joking and laughing one minute, but falling into a fit of the sad and angry sullens the next.
Character-wise, Bill is a Weasley through and through, and everyone seems intent upon the fact that he's my favorite brother, just as he is intent on the fact that we're 'kindred spirits'. Maybe we are, but Bill still isn't my favorite brother. I love him dearly, and I trust his opinions above all others, but the next time he tells me we share a 'thirst for adventure' or a 'sixth sense' about people, I'm going to scream. I'm not offended by his assumptions per se, and I won't deny the possibility that I am what he says I am, I just don't feel that he, the almighty globetrotter, has the right to say that about me. All my life he's had this vision of me as I was when I was four years old, as I was when I was his little Ginny. I was, he always said, the cutest, the smartest, and, from the time he was thirteen on, his best friend in the whole family, despite, or perhaps because of, the fact that I rarely had any idea what he was talking about.
"You're like me, Ginny, we can smell the creeps a mile away," he'd say as I sat on his lap for the traditional Bill and Ginny story time "It's a sort of sense we've got."
I used to smile when he told me that, but ever since that time when I found a trusted friend in You-Know-Who I've been a bit more skeptical of this alleged 'sense.' But Bill never mentions my possession. In part, I'm grateful--I'm glad he doesn't treat me differently just because Tom Riddle left a piece of his soul in me...
But lately I've been wondering if perhaps he's repressed the memory altogether.
I don't know how to break it to him, either, that he doesn't really know me for me. Many years ago, when Mum and I were really close, I tried to explain it to her,
"He always says we're kindred spirits!" I said as I watched her peel the potatoes for supper, "He says all these things that we have in common, and all these things about how I understand him and-"
"And this is so awful because..." she prodded, her eyes trained on the task in front of her, though I knew she was listening carefully.
"It's not!" I insisted, "I mean, I'm flattered and all, but--"
Mum nodded sagely, "But it's not who you really are."
There was a small beat,
"Well no, it is," I bit my lip and tried to remember what exactly my point was as Mum gave an exasperated sigh.
"Well, then I'm afraid I don't understand."
After that I decided to just let it rest, and let him go on favoring me and spoiling me rotten. It was Bill who taught me the Bat-Bogey Hex after my first year when we went to Egypt. He had been telling us about the curse for years, and all of us, even Percy, were dying to learn it. He gave me very specific instructions for its use.
"If anybody ever does something to make you cry," he said, "You threaten them with this. If anybody ever tries to hurt you, you use it on them,"
I nodded eagerly, still dumbstruck and amazed at my good fortune in having obtained something so coveted as the legendary Bat-Bogey Hex.
"I had a little talk with Fred and George the other night," he told me, "I don't think they'll be teasing you much anymore, but feel free to use it on them anyway, just so they don't forget who's really in charge," he punctuated this with a wink, before adding in a more serious voice, "But other than that, use it sparingly, or it'll loose it's power. Okay then, you got all that?"
He wrote me all the time with stories and cool things he'd learned, and when he visited he brought me loads of little souvenirs from all his adventures, and I was so proud that I alone knew the history behind them that the tiny wrinkle of misunderstanding in our friendship went blissfully ignored, aided by the fact that I couldn't even put my finger on the problem in the first place.
But now I've grown up quite a bit, and my perspective on everything has changed. I don't know how or when it happened, but it did. The truth is that I am a lot like Bill, and our brains and our hearts run the same way. Even he has always had enough sense to know that there are a few key differences, of course, but for the most part his assumptions about me were correct. The problem is that it seems he decided all this very early on and has taken it for granted ever since. The fact that he was right is entirely irrelevant.
People change, and what if I had? Bill wouldn't have known the difference, because he never took off his rose colored glasses to see who I was. Not that he had any choice; I feel confidant that if Bill had lived here, with me, all my life, he would have taken the opportunity to get to know me without any conclusions formed in his mind. But he didn't live with me. Bill was never home if he had the choice. Even before he left Hogwarts, he never passed up an invitation to spend the holidays somewhere else, and as soon as he graduated he moved out and practically ran to Egypt on foot. I remember the day he left.
"Are you leaving now?" I asked as I stood in the doorway, drinking my Pumpkin juice.
"Yeah," he said, giving me a half-apologetic smile as he emptied the last few items from his bureau. "I'm sorry kid, but I've got to go raid some tombs,"
"I want to go too!" I said, knowing he'd say no.
But instead of saying no, he brightened at this, "Oh yeah? Come here--my trunk's almost full but let's see if you'll fit in the suitcase,"
For one wild moment I thought that maybe he was serious, and I was a bit apprehensive at the thought of leaving the country in a piece of luggage, but then I realized that he was joking, so I set my glass down on the writing desk and crawled easily into the suitcase as Bill zipped it shut. And as I lay nestled in the dark, crammed in there with all his t-shirts as he carried me down the stairs, calling to Mum that he was all ready, I got a rush of adrenaline at the thought of what it would be like in Egypt. I indulged in the fantasy as he said his good-byes to everyone in the kitchen and then headed out to the entryway. The idea of running away with him was just beginning to grow on me when he set me down and unzipped the suitcase.
"Come on Bill, let's go!" I said with a wide grin.
"Are you sure?" he asked, looking at me like a seventeen-year-old often looks at a four-year-old, even if they're not meaning to be condescending, and I felt my heart begin to drop involuntarily, "You sure you won't miss Mum?"
I shook my head, but even I knew that my heart wasn't in it. He took a deep breath,
"Come on Ginny, you've got to stay here."
Knowing the game was over, I nodded mutely and clambered out as I felt that aching in the back of the roof of my mouth. As he re-zipped the suitcase and straightened, I stared at his shoes and my jaw began to tremble with the effort of keeping the tears at bay. I wondered why he wasn't saying anything, and I looked up. Seeing that the reason for his silence was that he himself was trying not to cry, I lost it completely.
"I hate being left behind!" I sobbed as he picked me up effortlessly; for once in my life I was glad that I was small for my age. I sobbed so forcefully that I got that feeling where your muscles seize up and you can't breath even though your mouth is wide open. I sat there shaking in his arms for several moments as I tried to open my throat, and all the while half-baked thoughts ran rampant through my head as I felt my time left with him dwindling down to nothing, yet there I was, wasting it all in a fit. When my paralysis had passed, I took a deep breath and I felt him do the same.
"I'm gonna miss you so much," he said quietly, which only succeeded in making me cry harder, "But I've got to go now."
I took the hint and loosened my grip around his neck as he put me down. He gave me a fake glare as I dried my eyes and sniffed, "Don't you dare tell anyone I cried."
I let out a small breath of laughter and smiled, blinking furiously.
"Bill dear, are you ready?" Mum was bustling into the living room and looking rather frantic, "The train will be leaving soon,"
"Yeah," he said, and he picked up his trunk and suitcase as the rest of the boys began to gather round to see him off.
"Alright, Ginny, I'm just going to drive him to the station, and then I'm coming right home. Listen to Charlie, I'll be back soon," she bent down and kissed the top of my head, before straightening and grabbing a few extra things of Bill's.
"Goodbye everybody!" Bill gave a general nod of his head and turned and opened the door and headed out to the car.
Looking back on that day I feel like crying. Crying for the way we used to be, and for the way things changed and made us grow apart. I wonder if this is what people mean when they say that growing up is painful. A part of me hopes that Bill will never find out that I don't actually have his 'sixth sense', and that he sort of missed out on my childhood. Not only will he be deeply saddened, but he'll feel guilty that he was never around to realize it before. For someone who's spent a good chunk of her life feeling guilty, I can say that it's a feeling I wouldn't wish on Draco Malfoy.
I don't ever want Bill to think that he wasn't there for me; he was there- to tell me a story, or to tell me I was cute, or to tell me not to worry, or to make me laugh. Bill was always there.