A/N: Written for the summer fest at hg_silverlining, as a fill for the following prompt:The Weasley brothers have a good talk with Harry and set rules for him about dating their sister. Or set some tests for him to prove whether or not he really does deserve her
Many thanks to sherylyn, ohginnyfan, rose_starr and Arnel for looking this over for me.
I warned them. I just want to state that up front. I warned them and told them it would be a bad idea (a really, really bad idea), but of course they didn't listen to me. Why would they? I'm just ickle Ronnikins. What do I know?
In my not-so-humble opinion, they deserved everything they got, the wankers.
That'll teach them to ignore me.
Not that I think they learned their lesson or anything. We Weasleys are too stubborn for our own good sometimes. But one can hope, yeah?
For the record, George didn't have anything to do with it. He likes Harry, and I know he hasn't got a problem with Harry and Ginny seeing each other in 'that way.' Which explains why he didn't… Well, I'll get to that later.
Bill, I think, was just being overprotective of her—he's always been that way, but since Ginny's first year, it's become even more obvious. Honestly, now I think it's just become a habit for him. Drives her mental when he treats her like a child, but she mostly puts up with it because she knows he's doing it because he loves her.
Charlie had a bit of that overprotective thing going on, too (he kept muttering about protecting Ginny's virtue, which is more than just a little bit hypocritical, coming from him), but I reckon there was also a bit of vengeance. You know, an eye for an eye or something equally idiotic. Because Harry had hurt Ginny. We all knew it. Some of us knew how to be intelligent and let the two of them work it out on their own, though. Well, mostly. I had to help a little, but that's just because Harry and Ginny are two of the most thick-headed people I've ever met. But Charlie… He was dead set on showing Harry what's what when it comes to our little sister.
Didn't help that Fred had died fighting for Harry, either. Not that Charlie blames Harry for that—he knows where the blame belongs. But I think it's always kind of there, niggling in the back of his mind, you know?
Who knows why Percy went along with it? He's never been an easy one to read, and ever since Fred's death, it's got even harder. Except… I think it might've partially been a misguided sense of duty, like he was trying to make up for abandoning the family in favour of the Ministry and just generally being an arse for the better part of two years.
Mental, right? But I never said it made any sense. These are Weasleys we're talking about.
Me? I followed along to make sure nobody got hurt too badly. Not that I was worried about what the gits would do to my best mate.
More like the other way around.
I've seen Harry fight, remember? I know what he can do.
I mean, yes, they outnumbered him three-to-one (four-to-one if you count George, which I don't, at least not in this case), but really? They never stood a chance.
See, Harry and Ginny had come home to The Burrow for one of Mum's command performance Sunday dinners, and since it was a 'command performance,' everyone had come. Mum had asked the girls—Hermione, Fleur, and Ginny—to help in the kitchen and shooed the rest of us (in other words, the men), out into the garden to set up tables and chairs. (Which, really, Mum needs to stop doing that, because now I'm going to have to listen to Hermione rant at me about witches' rights and how witches are just as capable of setting up tables as wizards are. Like I don't already know she can do anything she sets her mind to. Merlin’s pants.)
I'll give them one thing: the gits showed a little bit of intelligence and waited until they were away from the kitchen window and out of the line of sight before they did it. Because I'm pretty sure Mum loves Harry as if he were her own flesh and blood, and she's got very strict ideas about how you treat family… and the way they were treating Harry? She wouldn't have approved.
And if Ginny had seen what they were doing?
I don't want to think about it.
The now-infamous Bat-Bogey Hex is not the only spell in her arsenal. It's also not the most painful.
And yes, I know this from experience.
So there we were, out in the back garden, and we had the tables set and everything looked like it would pass Mum's inspection. Well, Harry and I, we started walking back to the house so we could help in the kitchen.
What? Look, I just wanted to have a conversation with Hermione that didn't involve any complaints about my mother. And if helping in the kitchen for a few minutes would distract Hermione from Mum's horribly sexist ideas, well…
But we didn't get very far, because all of a sudden, our path was blocked by the prats. They're my brothers, and I love them, but I don't know what else to call them. Well, that's not true. I've got some ideas for some better, more descriptive words, but Hermione wouldn't approve, so prats it is. Anyway, we had the tables and George behind us, and Bill, Charlie, and Percy were in front of us, and there was nowhere for us to go.
It made me nervous. I'm not afraid to admit it. Harry on the other hand… he just looked amused. He crossed his arms and leaned against one of the tables and didn't look anything like a bloke who was about to take on four (well, really three because, as I said before, George wasn't a part of this and I'm already firmly on Harry's side in this matter) of his girlfriend's older brothers.
"And… here we go," Harry said. "I'd wondered how long it was going to take." He looked like he was having a hard time keeping himself from rolling his eyes. "What can I do for you gentlemen?"
"Potter," Bill said, and he looked pretty menacing. I mean, I know Bill's a nice bloke and all, but since Greyback attacked him? He can look right terrifying if he wants to.
"Yes, Bill?" Harry said mildly, a smirk on his face. It would've looked out of place on the old Harry—the Harry I went to school with and grew up with. But on this new, more mature Harry? It didn't look out of place at all. He just looked…confident…and completely unsurprised.
"We need to talk," Charlie said, crossing his arms and glaring at Harry.
"All right," Harry agreed. "What about?"
"You know what this is about," Percy said.
Funny… he didn't look nearly as scary as Bill or Charlie did.
"Why don't you tell me anyway?" Harry said, "Just so I don't get confused."
"Ginny," Percy said, scowling.
Nope. Percy still didn't look as scary as either Bill or Charlie, even with the scowl. Interesting.
"What about her?"
Oh, he's good, Harry is.
"Look, Potter," Bill said, taking control of the conversation, "we like you."
"Got a funny way of showing it," I said under my breath. I heard George snort behind me—obviously, he agreed with me.
"It's all right, Ron," Harry said. "Let him have his say."
Bill barrelled on like neither of us had even said a word. "You need to know you can't just trifle with Ginny's feelings like this."
"Like what?" Harry asked.
"Like you can't make up your mind whether or not you want her," Bill said.
"Oh. Well, you've nothing to worry about then," Harry said. He tilted his head to the side a bit and gave Bill a considering look. "I've made up my mind."
"For now," Bill said. "What happens when you change it again?"
"Honestly, Bill? It's none of your concern. My relationship with Ginny—"
"So you admit there's a relationship?" Percy interrupted.
Harry looked over at me, and I just shrugged. What else could I do? It's not my fault I'm related to idiots.
"Yes, of course there's a relationship," Harry said, sounding exasperated, "but I don't know why you think it involves you lot."
"It involves us because she's our baby sister," Bill said.
By this time in the conversation, George had sidled over next to me. "She won't like that," he whispered, "being called a baby."
I just shook my head and watched the confrontation going on in front of me. Harry still looked relaxed, but Bill's fists were starting to clench. I took a step forward, just to kind of calm things down, but Harry shook his head at me so I stopped.
"Look," Bill said, taking a step towards Harry, "you need to stay away from her."
"Or what?" Harry asked. He still sounded remarkably calm, at least to my ears.
"Or I'll lock you in the bowels of Gringotts. The goblins still aren't very happy with you."
Harry raised his eyebrow. "Are you threatening me?"
"Just stating the facts."
"Ah. The facts. Right." Harry nodded. "So, did the fact that I not only escaped from Gringotts but also stole something from there slip your mind, Bill?" He shook his head and gave Bill a condescending look. "I expected better from you, really." Then Harry did something that was either really brave or really stupid and turned his back on Bill, leaving him sputtering while he tried to find something to say.
"Where do you think you're going?"
That was Charlie. If I had any Galleons on me, I'd bet he was going to mention dragons. Although… no one here would take that wager, now that I think about it. It'd be a sucker bet, for sure.
But it didn't matter anyway, because Harry beat him to it.
Harry raised his eyebrow at him, still looking incredibly relaxed. "Wait, wait! Let me guess," he said, his tone mocking. "If I don't promise to stay away from your sister, you're going to feed me to your dragons, right? You'll find a particularly nasty one, a nesting female or a male that wants to defend his territory, and you'll just fly me up there and push me off my broom? Or maybe you'll give me a Portkey that lands me in a colony at feeding time?" Harry's grin was a bit frightening. "Am I right?"
When Charlie didn't answer, Harry continued, "Did you forget that I beat the Hungarian Horntail when I was fourteen? Or that, when I broke out of Gringotts, I was on the back of another dragon, one that had been abused and mistreated for decades? Your dragons don't scare me, Charlie."
You could just see the wind go out of Charlie's sails, what with Harry beating him to the punch like that, but Charlie… he doesn't really know when to quit.
"They would if you were smart," Charlie muttered. He looked annoyed that his threats didn't even seem to faze Harry.
Harry shrugged. "Never claimed to be smart. Gutsy, maybe, or shrewd, but smart? Nah. That's what we have Hermione for."
Ha. Can't argue with that logic. They don't call her the brightest witch of our age for nothing.
"Are we done here?" Harry asked, pushing himself off the table and looking expectantly at Charlie. "I promised Ginny we'd take a walk before dinner."
"A walk? Is that what you're calling it now?" George asked with a grin, winking at Harry, who just smirked and took a step towards the house.
"No, we're not done," Percy said, glaring at George and me. "And you two aren't helping the situation."
"Why would we want to help a right bunch of wankers like you lot?" George asked. "Especially with this daft idea?"
Harry flashed him an appreciative grin.
"She's your sister," Percy protested.
George shrugged and looked like he wondered what that had to do with the price of butterbeer in China, and Harry sighed and leaned back against the table, crossing his arms over his chest again. "Go on, then, Percy. It's only fair that you get your chance, too."
I frantically shook my head at Harry, but it was too late. Bugger. The twins had always said it was best to stop Mum before she'd hit her stride, but Percy was ten times worse than she was.
Damn. We're never going to get to eat now.
I'd tell you what Percy said to Harry, but honestly? I've no clue. All I heard was a lot of 'Blah, blah, blah, bury you in paperwork, blah, blah, blah, the Minister, blah, blah, blah, Azkaban….'
I had to roll my eyes at that. Like anyone would—or could—throw Harry Potter, The Boy Who Lived, The Chosen One, The Defeater of He Who Must Not Be Named, etc., etc., etc., into Azkaban.
"You're taking the mickey, right?" George asked, echoing my thoughts. We'd been doing that—thinking along the same wavelength, I mean—a lot more lately, ever since we've been working more closely together trying to come up with more products for the shop.
Percy drew himself up to his full height, looking like he was trying to look imposing. "I'm completely serious, George, and you would be too, if you knew what was good for Ginevra."
"Have you even watched Harry and Ginny together?" George asked.
"Really watched them?" I asked, continuing George's thought. Harry shifted uncomfortably beside me, but I kept going. "Because if you had, you'd know that Harry is arse over elbows in love with her."
"And you'd know that Ginny is mad for him," George finished.
"I don't see what that has to do with anything," Percy retorted.
"It has to everything to do with it," I said. "You're being ridiculous."
Percy sputtered, his ears turning red.
Charlie took a step forwards. "Look, Harry," he said, "we know you care about Ginny. We just don't want her getting hurt again."
"Who says she's going to get hurt?" Harry asked.
"It won't be the first time you hurt her," Bill said.
Harry shrugged. "And we've talked and worked out our differences. Still," he said, "it's none of your concern."
Fragile? Ginny? I know Percy's a bit out of touch with things, but even he should've known better than to call her fragile.
"Have you gone completely mad?" I blurted it out before I could stop myself. The conversation had gone from mildly amusing to mildly annoying to completely mental. "This is Ginny we're talking about, right? About so tall—" I held my hand up to the top of my shoulder—"red hair and freckles? Plays Quidditch for the Harpies? Took that bloke from the Falcons completely out of the match last week? That Ginny?"
"Well, of course, physically, she can hold her own," Percy said, "but emotionally, she's as fragile as—"
"She's not," Harry interrupted flatly. "She's as far from fragile as you can get, and if you think otherwise, then you haven't taken the time to get to know the brilliant woman she's become. She's not a child. She can make her own choices, and right now, she chooses me."
"Just because she chooses you doesn't mean it's the right choice," Percy said. "She—"
"What's all this, then?"
I almost laughed out loud to see five heads turn in unison towards the place where Ginny had suddenly appeared. What was funnier than watching the choreographed head-turning was watching the expressions flit across their faces. Harry's, naturally, showed delight. George was clearly amused by the happenings. Bill and Charlie looked wary. Percy looked…terrified.
I don't know if you realize this, but Ginny is very perceptive. She knows things, and she obviously knew something was going on. Not like it was hard for her to know the gits were up to something this time. You could almost smell the guilt, just oozing off them like the grease from Snape's hair.
'Course, the way they all mumbled, "Nothing," and started looking around for an escape route might've given them away, too.
"Harry?" she said, her question clear in just that one little word.
"We were just talking, Ginny," he said, smiling at her.
She pursed her lips. If they'd had any sense at all, they'd have run, but, as I've already mentioned, sense is a rare commodity with my brothers.
"Talking? Really?" She looked sceptical. "What about?"
"It's nothing, Ginny, really," Bill said. You could almost see him begging Harry not to say anything.
"Yeah, right. It's nothing," Charlie agreed hastily.
I snorted, which, of course, directed Ginny's attention towards me. I gave her my best 'I've no idea what you're talking about' look and tried to act stupid.
Yes, it was an act, thank you very much. You don't really think I'm as thick as everyone says, do you?
Ha. That shows you how good I am, then. It's a pretty effective tactic, actually; you'd be surprised at how much I learn by acting dumb.
See, I'd decided I didn't want to completely rat out my brothers, especially since Harry'd already taken care of them. Besides, their hearts were in the right place; they just didn't think before they acted (stereotypical Gryffindors that they are). There was no reason to bring Ginny into the mix, too, yeah?
Except apparently George didn't agree with me, because as soon as Ginny looked at him, he burst into laughter and started pointing fingers. It was pretty incoherent, but it was enough for Ginny to get the gist of it, judging by what happened next. Because faster than I could blink, Ginny's wand was out and pointed at Bill, Charlie, and Percy.
Saying that she was not happy would be the understatement of the century.
Remember that spell I told you about earlier? The one that's worse than her Bat-Bogey Hex?
Let's just say that Bill, Charlie, and Percy became very familiar with its effects. And that was before they found themselves hanging upside down, dressed in eye-watering green, red, purple, orange, and hot-pink, with striped hair and what looked to be permanently attached clown noses.
I winced and George shuddered beside me as we watched the three of them struggle and try to get free.
Try being the operative word here, especially since Ginny was stuffing their wands in her back pocket.
She stood there, looking exactly like one of those Amazon warrior witches Hermione made me learn about, every bit as strong and fierce and powerful as Harry had said she was. And then she spoke, her voice crisp when she said, "All right, boys. Now that I have your attention, we're going to have a little discussion. In this discussion, I'm going to talk, and you're going to listen, and that's how it's going to be. Everyone got that?" She glared at them until they all nodded. "Good."
I had to bite back a laugh when they tried to nod upside down.
She took a couple of steps towards Harry. "Do you see this man here?" she asked, pointing at him. She waited until they nodded again. "I love him. He loves me. We're a couple. That's all you need to know. "
"Not one word, Percy Weasley. I'm the one talking here, remember?" He nodded, his eyes wide with fear, and she continued, "There will be no threats. There will be no rules for him to follow. I know I don't need to say this because he's obviously perfectly capable of defending himself against you lot, but I want to make this clear. You will leave us alone. You will let me make my own decisions, and if those decisions turn out to be mistakes, you will let me live with the consequences. Is that clear?" She tapped her wand against her leg and glared at them again. "I said, 'Is that clear?'"
Bill, Charlie, and Percy nodded again, looking dazed after Ginny's haranguing. George and I just stared at her in awe.
"All right, then," she said, holding a hand out to Harry. "Are you ready, love? You promised me a walk, remember?"
"But what about—" Harry was staring at the lurid display in front of him.
"What about them?"
He gave them a considering look. "Point taken." He grabbed her hand and the two of them headed down the path away from The Burrow, the prats' wands still sticking out of Ginny's back pocket. I couldn’t contain my smile when I remembered old Mad-Eye and his admonitions about storing our wands there.
"Well?" Bill demanded after they'd left. "Aren't you going to get us down from here?"
I looked at George, who was smirking. "What do you think, Georgie? Do they deserve to be set free?"
George snorted. "That lot? Have you gone mental, too? Maybe the fumes from that last product we were working on have gone to your head. No way I'm letting them down until Gin-Gin and Harrykins tell me I can." He shuddered theatrically. "I don't want to end up like them, do you?"
I looked at them again, considering. "You have a point, my dear man, you have a point. Let's just leave them. Maybe Harry will take pity on them before dinner and get them down from there."
"Or maybe not."
I shrugged. "Or maybe not. Not my concern, you know?" I turned to go back to The Burrow. I was hoping that I had enough time to help Hermione so she wouldn't feel the need to nag at me about my mum.
"Wait!" Charlie said. "You can't leave us here."
"I don't know why not," I said. "Do you, George?"
"No. No reason I can see. Let's go help Mum and the girls. Maybe we can sneak some bread before dinner. Or a biscuit."
I cocked my head, considering. "A biscuit sounds brilliant. There is one more thing, though," I said, turning back to the hanging trio. "I didn't want to have to say it, but, well, I can't let an opportunity like this pass me by."