If there’s a tale to be told in our family, it’s usually Dad who tells it. Dad, sadly, wasn’t around to see this tale unfold. He was at The Burrow when the initial stages took place, and then at work when my master plan came to fruit.
This is the tale of how Ginny Weasley, youngest child and only girl of Arthur and Molly Weasley of Ottery St. Catchpole, came to finally, finally, snag her man. As told by me, her favourite brother.
And at the risk of sounding like Percy, I have the right to tell it as it all came down to me.
I was sitting at Harry’s kitchen table, trying to read the Daily Prophet while munching on my toast. My thoughts had turned to my job prospects, with Hermione’s nagging voice ringing through my head about career decisions, when a bleary-eyed Harry entered the kitchen, rubbing his stomach and looking very much the worst for wear.
I know that blokes don’t say this, but I love my best mate. Not only did he choose me and my family over the Malfoys way back when, but he has since proved himself worthy of being an honorary Weasley time and time again. I owe him my life, I’d give him my life. Not to mention the fact that he rescued my sister.
And he got himself a flat straight out of Hogwarts and doesn’t care that I’ve been here every day since then.
It was in our fifth year at Hogwarts that I realised what that love meant. It was the summer between our fifth and sixth years that I decided that Harry deserved some happiness, and that that happiness could be found with my sister. I’ve been working on this master plan ever since.
So yeah, I love Harry. Just not in the I-want-to-kiss-you-madly-to-shut-you-up-and-run-my-fingers-through-your-curly-brown-hair kinda way. Ahem.
Another issue entirely.
Harry shuffled around his kitchen, his eyes darting from left to right and back again and it all set my Harry-Radar off. Harry was never outwardly this nervous. So, being armed with the supposed emotional range of a teaspoon, I decided to get to the heart of the matter.
“What’s wrong with you?” My voice is not well suited to sensitivity at 10 o’clock in the morning. Harry startled before making his way towards the table.
“Nothing,” he mumbled insolently, before plonking himself down across from me.
I know I’ve said I love Harry, but that doesn’t mean he’s not – on occasion – an obstinate git. This was obviously going to be one of those occasions. Using my amazing people skills, I decided again to get to the heart of the matter.
“Is it Ginny?”
If he hadn’t have sighed and looked heartbroken and forlorn before lying to me and saying no, I might have been able to let it go. I know Harry, though, and he had most certainly just lied. When he’s being obstinate, the only option one has as his best friend is to be obstinate back.
“What’d she do this time?”
“Nothing, that’s the problem.” Ah ha. Told you. Harry looked like he wanted to swallow his tongue and I couldn’t help but feel a surge of triumph. This was as close as Harry had ever come to admitting he had any kind of more-than-friends feelings towards my sister. I wasn’t about to let this go.
“Harry, just ask her out.”
He blinked and made me think that perhaps he had been spending far too much time with Hedwig.
“What?” He sounded completely astounded at the very idea. I know he’s been dreaming about it for at least a year, being a master at reading people.
“Ask her out. She’ll be in Diagon Alley today, we could go and ‘bump into her’ if you like. You could flirt, then I could disappear somewhere, and you can ask her out.”
“Flirt? Disappear? What?”
Oh! If only the Wizarding World knew how eloquent our saviour can be.
“Maybe it’s best if you just follow my lead.”
Harry was still doing his Hedwig impersonation as I headed off to have a shower, a million different conversations and possible scenarios and strategies unravelling in my head.
Four hours later, on the 19th of August, mind, at approximately two thirty in the afternoon, I was practically dragging Harry through Diagon Alley, searching madly for any sign of my family’s hair. I used to hate our hair, but it comes in dead handy in a crowd!
Mum had told me her and Ginny were going into Diagon Alley. It was just past lunch time by this stage and as I wondered where my ickle midget of a sister could be, I realised that of course she’d be at Fortescue’s, having just finished lunch and in the middle of her “away from shopping-mad Mum” time.
I made a beeline for the colourful umbrellas, shining brightly in the daunting heat of the summer sun. Poetic, aren’t I? I caught sight of Ginny just before Harry did. I saw him stiffen, stare and spit. Okay, he didn’t spit but it started with “s” and seemed to fit the sentence.
Back to the tale.
Harry, at the sight of my sister, straightened his shoulders and morphed – from Hedwig to something even more predatory – in the space of a few seconds. I started to wonder if the two years I’d invested into this moment hadn’t actually been a waste of time, and whether or not I should grab my best friend and back away slowly from my sister.
With a shock I realised it was too late. I had planted the seed, and Harry was going to go ahead regardless. It was best that I went along to ensure that nothing untoward happened. We sat across from Ginny, and I tried not to laugh at the chocolate smeared at the corner of her mouth.
We exchanged pleasantries and made small talk for about ten minutes before a blonde woman with legs a mile long happened to wander by our table. Being of the male variety, mine and Harry’s eyes automatically watched her pass. I was just thinking about how much I prefer brunettes when Harry said, out of the corner of his mouth, “Here we go.”
I was puzzled for a moment. But only a moment, because Harry finally decided to move his Rook.
“I don’t think blondes are really my style, you know?”
I had casually turned back to my ice cream at this point and caught Ginny look at Harry with a blank expression. If imitation is the highest form of flattery, between these two, Hedwig must have the biggest ego of any owl in history.
Remembering our playing along rule set out by me this morning, I replied with a mumbled, “Mine either.” I watched my sister closely, waiting for her to clue into what was actually happening here. However, I was watching her covertly, so that she didn’t know something was happening here.
I watched Ginny lean ever so slightly forward n her chair. And inexplicably, my mind turned to a certain bushy-haired girl and my mouth opened before I could stop and Harry didn’t even look at me strangely when I said, “I don’t mind brunettes.”
Ginny speared a cherry with her fork, now looking determined not to pay either of us any mind. My heart started beating rapidly, now that I knew what Harry was up to, and my mind was working quickly to formulate an appropriate response while not focussing on the fact that it had been days since we’d seen Hermione.
And the Rook moved in to take the Queen when Harry said, “I think that red is more my colour.”
Well cut of my legs and call me shorty! Our boy did it! Now, it was my turn. Ginny had seemed to have gone into a bit of a daze and she kept staring at Harry and blinking, looking as if someone had just shoved her into a parallel universe. So I thought I’d better make it clear, just in case.
“I think he’s hitting on you, Ginny.” Before I could laugh in her face, I turned back to my ice cream. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Harry reach over and scoop some out of Ginny’s ice cream out of her bowl.
Flirt. Disappear. What?
Harry’s voice rang clearly in my head, and I made small talk with him while I finished my dessert. It was a good day.
Without bothering to scrape the melted ice cream from the bottom of the bowl – as I generally tend to do as it’s the best bit – I stood from the table, sent Harry a proud, fatherly grin and Ginny a mischievous wink and left them alone.
Having a whole day in front of me, I decided to pay my brothers a visit before casually stopping by the Ministry and pretending to run into Hermione by accident. I was soaking up the sun; I was a free man. I was on my way to take on the world. First, though, I needed me some Wheezes.
I entered the door of the shop and was blasted with the sound of a much-loved voice. I love it when Hermione’s giving it to the twins. She sounds like a Banshee. Only scarier.
“You two have quite a lot to answer for! Last year, a group of second years nearly blew up the Restricted Section, and now that I’m going to be assisting Madam Pince, I want you to promise me you won’t sell to anyone under fourth year.”
“You’re going to be working at Hogwarts?” They weren’t the first words I meant to say to her. As words tend to get away from me when I’m faced with a raging Hermione, I wasn’t surprised at all that I’d blurted something ridiculous.
She swung towards me and raised her chin defiantly, her eyes were blazing and I had to bite down very hard on the inside of my cheek, before I could say something even more ridiculous. Like, “I love you so much my toes hurt,” which would indeed be ridiculous.
“No-nothing. Just surprised I didn’t know about it, that’s all.”
Yeah, that’s me. Cool under pressure. Did my voice squeak on that stutter? Of course it didn’t. I tried not to stare at Hermione, I tried not to notice how lovely she looked when she was on a rampage.
Since I didn’t even notice that the twins had moved away from us to the window, I’d say I was doing pretty well.
“How are you, Ron?” Hermione asked softly, her voice as sweet as chocolate syrup, as she stepped towards me. The look in her eyes slammed into me, right into my gut. My heart sped up, there was no way I could misread her expression.
Before I could reply, Fred and George let out simultaneous exclaims of indignation and delight that had Hermione and I rushing to the window. She stood in front of me, being short, and we had to crouch a bit around the twins to see what was going on.
I saw Harry lean in towards Ginny and didn’t realise that my body had moved forwards, too. Suddenly, my nostrils were immersed in Hermione’s coconut shampoo, and the smell that was uniquely Hermione.
I felt my eyes shut and my chest expand as I breathed her in. I heard a small squeal of excitement, just seconds before a very hard, very clever head connected with the bridge of my nose.
“Oh Ron, I’m sorry!”
I could hardly hear her as my head exploded. I refused to cry even as I felt tears sting my eyes. Blood rushed in my head. So much for being Mr Suave. I stumbled and bit the inside of my cheek to keep from swearing bloody murder.
I felt Hermione’s gentle touch on my face and as I opened my eyes, I looked down into her concerned gaze.
“Are you okay?” Her voice was soft and light, and worked as a balm to my poor, poor nose. I tried not to take advantage of her concern.
“Will you have dinner with me?”
Woops. Bugger. Oh no. Crap. Crap. Crap. Panic filled my stomach and I wrenched my head away. Knowing I couldn’t back away now, I could only stand there dumbly and brace myself for disappointment.
“As in, a dinner. Alone. Just you and me?”
She didn’t sound disgusted and whatever it was that was in her voice gave me cause to look at her more closely. Maybe this hadn’t been such a bad idea.
Now, I’m tweaking my hair repeatedly, trying to get it to spike up a bit, like I’d seen in Harry’s Wizard Weekly. With a growl of frustration, I look at my clock and realise I’m going to be late if I don’t hurry.
I don’t know what tonight with Hermione will bring. I know we’ve been “accidentally” bumping into each other around Hogsmeade a lot since school started back. I know she’s come over to Harry’s a lot with Ginny since he’d taken her out four weeks ago, just because. I know I took too long organising tonight out of fear of what it might bring.
Silly to be scared of her really, since we’d taken down Voldemort.
Maybe tonight will see us finally move forward into something. Maybe, I think as I run through my hair nervously – messing up all my hard work – maybe Ginny and Harry won’t be the only ones finding the path to each other.
Desperately, I Apparate away to The Three Broomsticks. To Hermione.
A/N: I highly recommend reading Cera’s “The Tale of a Kiss” if you haven’t already. I want to thank my dear friend Cera for her support, not only with this story in her universe, but in life in general, really. Thank you also to Tari, for laughing in all the right places and having such a lovely Beta hat. Thanks, angels.