My eternal gratitude, as ever, to Jenadamson, my beta, #1 cheerleader, and devoted Ronophile.
He stood in the doorway to study her in this rare
unguarded moment. She sat on her window ledge, one leg swinging freely
outside, the other pulled up to her lotus-style. A breeze ruffled her
hair against her cheek. Everything about her posture told him she was
relaxed and at ease with herself. Few in their family ever saw her like
this, fewer still those who didn't bear the name Weasley. He was
tempted to fetch Harry and bring him back here, to point at this
portrait of contentment and say, "How can you not see?"
floorboards creaked beneath his feet when his weight shifted and she
turned, bursting the bubble of serenity that had enveloped her. "What
d'you want?" she said.
He couldn't tell from the tone of her
voice if she was angry with him or not. She'd always been difficult to
read. Still, she had good reason to be irked at the least, even if it
was for something he had no control over.
"Can I come in?" he asked cautiously, testing the waters.
She shrugged. "It's your house too."
wavered for a moment, then took the plunge and crossed the threshold.
He hadn't been in her room since they'd got back from Hogwarts at the
end of his second year. Even then she hadn't known he was there,
because he'd crept in after everyone was asleep and kept vigil by her
bed, his splintered, useless wand clutched in his hand, determined to
never let danger cross her path again. He did that until they'd gone to
Egypt and he'd been forced to share a room with Bill and Percy and
she'd been allowed to sleep in a giant bed between Mum and Dad.
took a few careful steps into her room, just far enough to perch
himself tensely on the edge of her bed. "Are you okay?" he asked.
shifted positions, turning around completely so that her back leaned
against the opposite side of the window and she could look at him
directly. "S'pose so. Why wouldn't I be?"
He reached into his
pocket and took out the gleaming badge that had arrived with his school
letter that morning. His thumb caressed the gilt "P", then he tossed
the badge in her direction. "Because you didn't make prefect."
She snorted. "Why would that upset me?"
recognized her challenging tone all too well; he'd used the same tone
often enough on Hermione over the past few years. "'Cause everyone else
except Fred and George has made prefect. 'Cause Mum was expecting it."
"Mum expects a lot of things. Especially from me."
had him there. Though Bill had always been the golden child, as the
first girl born with the surname Weasley in many generations Ginny'd
carried a burden equal to those of all six of her older brothers
"I never really wanted to be prefect, anyway," she added. "This way I won't be just another Gryffindor Weasley."
grinned. "Can't say I blame you for wanting that. I'm tired of having
everything I do or say compared to what Bill or Charlie or any of the
others did first, and better."
"Or even Harry," she said quietly.
"Harry?" he asked. "What's he got to do with anything?"
you kidding? Did I ever show you the Howler Mum sent me when I took
over Harry's Seeker spot?" She gave a short laugh. "I don't know which
bothered her more: that I was playing Quidditch at all, or that I'd
claimed her precious Harry's position for myself."
He sighed. "I didn't know. I'm sorry she said that."
She shrugged. "What can you do about it? She's our mum, and she has her own ideas about the way things should be."
knowing what else to say to her he retrieved his badge and got up.
Through the window he could see Harry zipping around on his broom and
thought a fly might do him some good, might help clear his head.
voice stopped him. "We're two of a kind, y'know." Puzzled, he turned
back to her. She made a vague gesture toward the outside. "Me and
"What d'you mean?"
"Oh, you know.
You-Know-Who, for one. But smaller things too: neither one of us were
appointed prefects, though everyone expected it, and we've both played
A tiny flame of hope ignited in his chest. "Do you still... y'know... fancy him?"
She raised an eyebrow at him. "You never give up, do you?"
"You'd be good for him. He needs someone like you, someone to keep him grounded."
would he be good for me?" She leaned her head back against the window
frame and tilted her chin upward. "It took me a long time to get over
having You-Know-Who in my head. I don't know if I'm strong enough to go
through that again."
"You and Harry are the two strongest people I know. If you're not up to it, no one is."
"Then maybe no one is."
took a step towards her. "Don't say that, Ginny." He held his arms out
from his sides as though beseeching her to listen. "Any one of us can
be a prefect. Even Fred and George, if they'd wanted to. But you're not
like the rest of us. You're special."
"Being a girl hardly makes me special, Ron."
not just 'cause you're a girl." He chuckled. "Though I suppose it helps
where Harry's concerned." He grinned at the wry look she gave him.
he said, sitting once again on the edge of her bed and playing with his
badge, "I know bugger all about what you've been through with
You-Know-Who, and even less about what it's like to be a girl. But I know you and Harry are right for each other. If there's one thing I'm absolutely certain of, that's it."
face was turned away from him, her attention seemingly focused on the
lone figure on a broom outside, but he could see her cheek curve into a
smile. "You're hopeless," she said.
"Too right I am. I never
believed that rubbish about you giving up on him." When she tensed he
thought she'd say something, but then her shoulders relaxed. He stood
up again and pocketed his prefect's badge. "I think I'm going out for a
fly. Want to come?"
Her head shook. "Maybe later. I think I'd rather watch for now."
"Okay," he said.
she said just as he reached the threshold. He turned to see her
studying him. "I asked McGonagall not to nominate me for prefect.
Thought you ought to know."
"Like I said, I don't want to be just another Gryffindor Weasley."
smiled. "I don't reckon that should be too hard for you to come by." As
he walked out of her room he called over his shoulder, "We'll be
outside when you're ready to join in."