A/N: This was written as an homage of sorts to one of my favourite ‘80’s movie of all time – Sixteen Candles, starring another feisty redhead – Molly Ringwald. However, it only loosely follows the plot, so for those of you who are old enough to remember the movie, sorry, there’s no Long Duc Dong!
This was co-written with my good friend, Athea.
Thanks to Chreechree, as always, and to Sherylyn.
When Ginny Weasley opened her eyes that Monday morning, she was immediately struck by the nagging feeling that something important was supposed to happen today.
She stretched languidly, feeling the satisfying click as her spine realigned itself. Judging from the hazy pink light filtering through the filmy white cotton curtains of her bedroom window, tinting the cream-painted walls with a muted rosy glow, she absently deduced that it was still quite early in the morning.
Ginny let her gaze wander lazily around her room. Her desk was piled haphazardly with her school books, quills, several different colours of parchment, and empty boxes of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans. Her red and gold Gryffindor scarf was draped carelessly around the doorknob, along with her sun hat. She could see that the book she had been reading – a trashy Muggle romance novel that Hermione had lent her – was lying open on the window seat where she had spent the better part of the evening reading and rolling her eyes at the absurd situations the raven-haired heroine of the book had got herself into, all for the sake of winning the heart of the dashing redheaded hero.
The Burrow was unusually quiet. Normally the old rooster would be making a racket by now (unless the garden gnomes had been raiding the henhouse again), and since Fred and George had moved into their own flat above their shop at Diagon Alley, no more mysterious sounds and bangs could be heard emanating from their bedroom located one floor below hers. Ginny spent a few minutes enjoying the silence and contemplated whether or not she should go back to sleep. She was already about to doze off when she suddenly remembered why she had awoken so early on this lazy summer day.
It was not everyday that a girl turned sixteen years old.
Ginny smiled excitedly to herself. If she knew her mother, Molly Weasley was probably already downstairs cooking up a special breakfast like she always did on Ginny’s birthday. Although the past few weeks had been quite busy, with her parents’ involvement in the Order of the Phoenix and the war effort, her mother had been as excited as Ginny that her sixteenth birthday was approaching.
Ginny threw back her quilted blanket and swung her body out of bed. She shuffled her way to her small vanity mirror and peered at her reflection.
She was disappointed to see that she certainly did not look any different. She had secretly thought that when she turned sixteen, her freckles – which she hated with the fire of a thousand suns – would miraculously disappear, her orangey-red hair would darken to a more glamorous auburn shade and that she would look – well – more mature, more attractive, more… womanly.
At the very least, she had hoped that her breasts would be bigger – bigger than the tiny bumps that were masquerading as her bosom anyway. Ginny thought enviously of her dorm mate, Caitlin Parker-Windsor – whose cup-size had magically tripled during the past summer. If the admiring glances of the male population of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry were anything to go by, an impressive décolletage was apparently one sure-fire way to become popular.
Ginny sighed deeply. Maybe if she had a bigger chest…
A certain black-haired, green-eyed boy would finally get around to noticing you? a snide little voice inside her head taunted her.
Ginny frowned and shook her head. Bugger that. She was not going to go back to thinking about Harry Potter again. Sure, they had spent a lot of time during the past term talking to each other; she even ate most of her meals with him, Hermione and Ron instead of her classmates, but she knew that he just saw her as Ron’s little sister. Besides, she did not think that Harry was the type of bloke who would be bowled over by remarkable physical assets. At least, she hoped not.
She stuck her tongue out at her reflection, which gave a cheeky smile and made a face back at her. Ginny threw on her faded blue dressing gown and made her way to the bathroom. To her surprise (considering the early hour), her brother Ron was standing by the open bathroom door in his too-short maroon pyjamas, fanning the air with his long arms and yawning widely.
“I wouldn’t go in there if I were you,” Ron warned her, still making wide sweeping motions with his hands.
“Why?” Ginny asked curiously.
Ron was forever hogging the bathroom, which Ginny found quite annoying. Ron, after all, was a boy and simply could not need all that time to fix his hair, as he claimed. Ginny suspected that he was doing something else, but she really did not want to ponder what her brother was up to when he was alone in the bathroom. It had already been quite traumatic to discover why Fred had also spent long hours in the loo, and she did not want to have a repeat of the uproar her mum had made when Ginny accidentally discovered the twins’ choice of reading material behind the water closet.
“Great-Uncle Bertram’s just got out of the loo. He was in there for hours.” Ron’s long pointed nose wrinkled in disgust.
Ginny stared at him, puzzled. “Uncle Bertie? What’s he doing in The Burrow?” Her eyes widened in alarm. “Oh no. Does that mean that Aunt Tessie’s here too?”
Before Ron could open his mouth to answer, a voice boomed out from behind her. “Ginger pie!”
To Ginny’s dismay, a pair of arms spun her around and enveloped her in a bone-crushing hug. She smelled tuna fish and stale cigar smoke and looked up into the grizzled face of her father’s mother’s second cousin twice removed, or something like that. Ginny was hazy on the details as to how exactly she was related to him.
Great-Uncle Bertram – or Uncle Bertie – had fading red hair with a bald patch the size of a Galleon exactly in the centre of his pate, and striking light-blue eyes. He was dressed in a maroon smoking jacket and held an unlit cigar in his right hand. He was trying to stop smoking the foul things but insisted on carrying an unlit cigar all the time. He claimed that it soothed him. He lived in Somerset together with his wife, Great-Aunt Teresa (Aunt Tessie) and their four budgerigars – Henry, Charles, William and Dodo, who was not really a budgerigar but a rather strange hybrid of a Diricawl and a large purple parakeet.
Ginny suppressed the urge to groan and plastered a smile on her face. Uncle Bertie was actually quite all right, really, except for the fact that he treated her like she was still six years old. And he smelled of tuna fish. All the time. This was some sort of olfactory mystery since Ginny had never actually seen Uncle Bertie eat tuna fish.
“Hullo, Uncle Bertie,” she said faintly as he released her, ruffling her hair affectionately. She stumbled backward and glared at Ron when he smirked at her.
“My, my, you’re all grown up, aren’t you, Ginger pie?” Uncle Bertie beamed at her. “Tessie!” he shouted at the top of his voice, scaring the ghoul in the attic, who began rattling his chain in agitation. “Come and have a look at who’s here!”
The door to Percy’s room opened, and a tiny witch came out. Her robes were a deep mauve colour, which offset her lavender-tinted hair and pale white skin beautifully. She clapped her delicate hands delightedly when she caught sight of Ginny and Ron. She grabbed Ron and hauled him down to her level to plant a noisy kiss on his cheek.
Ginny stuffed her knuckles into her mouth to hide her giggles at her brother’s horrified face, but her own expression became wary when Aunt Tessie turned to her and flung her bird-like arms around Ginny. For such a small woman, she was surprisingly strong; Ginny could feel the air rush out of her lungs as her aunt squeezed her lovingly.
Unlike Uncle Bertie, Aunt Tessie smelled of violet-water, which was actually quite pleasant, if you ignored the fact that she sprayed it on so heavily that you could smell her coming from several miles away. Mr. Weasley often joked that Aunt Tessie was proof that, when Apparating, witches and wizards travelled slower than the speed of smell as the overpowering scent of violet-water made everyone’s eyes water profusely before her body actually materialized.
“My dear, you’ve grown into a beautiful young lady! Hasn’t she, Bertram?” Aunt Tessie chirped, holding Ginny at arm’s length and running an appraising eye over her. Ginny tried not to breathe too deeply as her aunt’s perfume assaulted her senses of smell and taste. Her vision was already blurring.
Aunt Tessie smiled fondly at her. “And look, Bertram, she’s gone and got herself breasts.”
Mortified, Ginny’s face flamed crimson as Ron gave a strangled laugh. Uncle Bertie nodded wisely.
“Perky ones, at that,” agreed Uncle Bertie. Out of the corner of her eye, Ginny saw Ron leaning weakly against the wall, holding on to his stomach as he practically cried with laughter.
Her cheeks positively burning now, Ginny smiled sweetly at her aunt and uncle then unobtrusively extended her leg backwards and kicked Ron hard on the shin. He gave a loud yelp of surprise and pain which Ginny coolly ignored.
“To what do we owe the pleasure of your company, Uncle Bertie?” Ginny asked, trying to steer the conversation towards topics which did not include any part of her anatomy, perky or otherwise.
Behind her, Ron grumbled under his breath and rubbed his shin gingerly, a pained expression on his face.
Aunt Tessie shivered dramatically. “Death Eaters, my dear,” she answered for her husband.
Ginny and Ron exchanged alarmed glances. “Death Eaters?” Ron repeated, askance.
“Yes, Death Eaters,” Uncle Bertie confirmed solemnly. “We were given warning that they were going to launch an attack in Somerset and some other nearby places. We were told to evacuate immediately. Since we have no other relatives living nearby and since The Burrow was deemed to be a safe house, I contacted your father. He was kind enough to offer your house as a temporary hiding place until we’re allowed to go back home.”
“I don’t mind, really,” Aunt Tessie interjected. “Even though Dodo was terribly bothered when we travelled by Floo. He made such a racket, and the poor dear has a heart condition, mind you.”
Uncle Bertie waved his hand impatiently. “He’ll get over it, Teresa.”
“I know, but he’s still such a baby when it comes to many things,” Aunt Tessie sighed. Ginny looked down at her feet to keep from laughing out loud. Her aunt and uncle had no children of their own and pampered their pets outrageously.
“Anyway,” Aunt Tessie continued brightly, “at least we’ll be able to catch up with what’s been going on with your family.” She reached out and pinched Ron’s cheek. “It’s always so wonderful to share in precious family moments. I remember, Ronald, when you were six, and you had to be brought to St Mungo’s because of that unfortunate incident when that garden gnome wouldn’t let go of your wil–”
Ron coughed loudly, the tips of his ears reddening. “Erm, yeah. I don’t reckon I could forget something like that,” he hastily muttered as a large grin formed on Ginny’s face. She remembered that accident vividly.
Ron had got the bright idea (from the twins of course) that it would be fun to pour treacle sauce down the holes of the gnomes to force them out so they could be chucked out of the garden. In retaliation, one particularly vicious gnome had launched himself at Ron and had latched onto the front of his trousers. Mrs. Weasley had rushed out when Ron started screaming horribly while the twins, Charlie and Bill were rolling on the ground laughing fit to burst. Percy was attempting to pin Ron to the ground in order to get rid of the gnome.
Ginny, being five at that time, had no idea what had just happened, except to note that Mrs. Weasley appeared to be having a frantic game of "It" around the orchard with a squealing and shrieking Ron. She, of course, had been more than delighted to join in running madly after her increasingly purple-faced brother, who eventually collapsed on the ground from sheer exhaustion, a cackling gnome still firmly attached to his trousers.
In the end, it took a team of specialists and the Pest Advisory Board to finally get rid of the gnome’s death grip. Even now, that story was something the twins held over Ron’s head. The tenacious gnome was prime blackmail material which assured Ron’s cooperation in serving as the test subject of some of their nastier products for Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes.