Author's Notes: Well, at least you kept reading. That's something, right? This chapter has to be dedicated to my cousin, Dan, who will never read this anyway, but who unknowingly gave me some great inspiration, to James Bow (who doesn't even know this chapter is dedicated to him), and whose fic, "Letters in the Summer After the Fall of Voldemort" pulled me out of depression and made me write again, and, of course, to Amy, who's been a wonderful beyond wonderful beta, and is making me wonder why I haven't dedicated anything to her yet.
Harry quickly finished brushing his teeth and came back to his bed. Getting warm under the covers, he picked up the book he had been dying to finish reading all day long, and hadn't got the chance. Me by Ginny Weasley.
Actually, when Ginny announced she was writing a book, Harry was a little surprised. She had never seemed to him like ‘the writing type.' He hadn't ever seen her going around filling up notebooks with interesting things, and he had never seen her with a quill behind her ear.
Ginny seemed far more suited to what she did already – she was an Auror, and one of the most successful female Aurors, at that. She had started out in the profession quite low – no better than a secretary, really.
‘And look at her now!' he thought to himself. One of the top Aurors in her rank, she was invaluable to the whole wizarding community.
It seemed – and everyone Harry knew agreed – that there could not be a better position for Ginny. She was good at what she did and she liked it. To be in that position was the experience of a lifetime.
Harry had never thought of her as someone who wrote things down. In fact, once, Ginny had confided in Harry that no one should ever write anything down that they would be ashamed or embarrassed to have anyone read.
‘Sound advice,' Harry thought. He had never been much of a journalist himself, though he knew that Ron had a whole stack of diaries (‘JOURNALS!').
Ron, however, would never think of writing a book. In fact, only Hermione, being his wife, had been allowed to see a few of the ever-so-secret entries on occasion.
‘It's mostly just Ron rambling,' she'd confided in him. ‘There's no point at all, just him writing what comes into his head.'
As far as he knew, Ginny had never even kept a diary, apart from the horrible experience with Tom Riddle.
So what had driven Ginny to write this?
He knew that her parents had suggested she write down her memoirs, but he couldn't recall if they had actually suggested getting a book published. Curious, he made a mental note to owl Ron, and see exactly how Ginny had got the idea into her head.
Quite honestly, it didn't seem like a very Ginny-ish thing to do.
He knew it had been pure hell for her to write the book – an ordeal he was sure she would not like to repeat. So what had kept her going? What had driven her to finish the book when she so easily could have put it down and left it?
She had made herself vulnerable to her readers, and that was certainly not something Ginny would normally do. Ginny never liked anyone to see her when she was anything but strong.
Harry mulled over this as he picked up the evergreen book, and flipped to where he had placed a bookmark earlier.
"My brothers often got annoyed with me. In fact, I was quite the little devil as a child, and perhaps, even now.
I had a problem with anyone telling me what to do. I believed I could think for myself, and that was that. My mother says it is because I've always had so many people dictating what I should do that I simply went crazy to assert my independence.
My brothers usually had the hardest time with me. Of course, my parents did take an active role in raising me, but I was usually with one of my brothers when I was young. Either they were told to watch me, they did it of their own accord (which didn't happen very often), or I just simply tagged along and wouldn't leave.
I loved to follow my brothers. Anywhere and everywhere they went, I wanted to go. I wanted to cut my hair short, to look more like them (though, when Bill began to grow out his hair, my arguments were cut short). I wanted to play sports. I wanted to be just like my brothers. They were my idols.
Growing up, I had a horrible fear of one of my brothers getting hurt. I don't know where it stemmed from – Mum says Bill had a friend who was killed that I knew, and I was afraid they were going to leave me like Bill's friend. I don't recall this, but I suppose Mother knows best.
There was a period when I hated to leave the house, for I feared they wouldn't be there when I returned. In the middle of the night, I'd get up, wearing my little white cotton nightie, and tiptoe around to each of my brothers' rooms to make sure they were still safe in their beds.
I don't recall having any such fear about my parents. My father says, however, that I did come into their bed in the middle of the night a few times, claiming I had dreams that they were dead.
I don't know if these are normal fears for a young child, but I was terrified. I would want to know where all my brothers were at all times. The first time I can remember seeing Charlie and Bill off to Hogwarts, I was terrified.
‘Will you come back?' I remember asking, feeling more scared than I ever had felt.
‘Always,' Bill promised as he boarded the Hogwarts Express with his friends. And he's kept that promise. To this day, he's always come home."
Harry smiled as he pictured a young Ginny, with short hair and big brown eyes. He imagined her padding from room to room, checking on her brothers, and gave a faint half smile as he imagined her curling up in her parents bed.
‘She must have been an adorable child,' he thought to himself. He had seen few pictures of Ginny as a child, but somehow, he had no trouble imagining her as one. Chocolate eyes that were just a tad too big for her face, and a complexion that freckled, not tanned. Red hair that, as she grew older, darkened to a deep shade of auburn that fell to her shoulders. Eyes that lit up when she was excited, and a button nose. A petite frame that gave off the impression that she was fragile, but a bundle of energy inside that reversed that opinion.
He wondered what her child would be like one day – probably a lot like her.
‘What am I doing?' Harry caught himself. ‘Why in the world am I thinking about Ginny's future children?'
Harry shook his head, and continued to read.
"There were certain things I loved to do with each of my brothers. For Ron, of course, it was playing. I spent much of my childhood with Ron, playing in our imaginary castles, or playing ‘Hogwarts.' For some reason, Ron always got to be the professor, and I was always the student, having to scrawl away on a spare piece of parchment for hours while Ron ate candy that he said was ‘strictly for professors.'
Ron and I had a secret place – a place I'm hesitant to reveal, even now. We went there every day to be out of the way, lest Mum decide there was work to be done. Oh, how we passed the times away there! We'd do everything – discuss, plan, play. We developed elaborate imagined houses, and wondered what it would be like to have a million Galleons. We climbed trees, and ran around, and had the energy only children can possess. We were there from dawn ‘til dusk nearly every day, and it's a wonder no one ever found us.
Sometimes, I could get Ron to play ‘my' games, like House and Tea Party. He did so rarely, and usually grumbled, but I expect he had as much fun at those as I did playing Pirate Ship."
Harry stifled a laugh at the thought of Ron playing Tea Party, and wondered what Ginny had used to blackmail Ron into letting her use that choice tidbit in the book.
"But Ron wasn't the only one I played with. George and Fred were active playmates as well. Their favourite games to play were quite characteristic of them – tickle wars.
Even though I was often the target of Gred and Forge's jokes, I never hesitated to help them pull a joke on Percy, or Charlie, or Bill. At Ron, I put my foot down, and had a little conscience.
My brother Percy was always the one who read to me at night. He'd read me stories, and I'd be captivated, gone, in different lands, where princesses lived in high castles with towers and turrets, and princely knights sought to rescue them from evil, fire breathing dragons. He transported me to lands where fairies with names like Tinkerbell tiptoed through forests sprinkling fairy dust on everyone.
Most children hated bedtime. I loved it. Bedtime was a time when Percy got to read to me, and I could be anywhere, doing anything and everything.
I remember one day, Percy pulled a book from my shelf that I hadn't noticed there before. I looked curiously at it, trying to figure out what all of the funny symbols dotting the cover meant. I would later learn that these symbols, which had confused me all of my short life, were letters, coming together to form hundreds of millions of words.
‘The Boy Who Lived,' Percy read aloud from the book, and my gaze travelled to the cover art. There was a picture of a baby on the cover, with jet black hair, and a lighting bolt shaped scar down the middle of his forehead.
Percy went on to read me the story that all of us have come to know so well, the story of Harry Potter. I was fascinated – this Harry Potter, he was still alive! He was only a bit older than me!
I might get to meet him, I realised. I was filled with joy. Meeting a hero – a real hero! Why, my life might be different forever after that!
And it was, but that's another story, for another time.
I did things with Bill and Charlie as well – those two were always together, and I was often placed under their care. Both of them babied me ridiculously – and I can't say that I hated it as a child."
Harry knew she never hated her brothers' protection of her. Resented it at times, sure. But hated it? No, he was always sure that even when she was annoyed, or felt overprotected, she didn't hate it.
He knew if he was in her place, he would feel nothing but happiness to be safe, and loved.
He and Ginny had once had a long talk. They had been trapped together in the woods during their fight against Voldemort, and were stuck in a small Muggle child's tree house all night.
Ginny had hugged her knees and talked. Talked as if she had been longing to say these things her entire life, and had never had the chance. She talked about everything – her family, her friends, Hogwarts, Voldemort.
‘All I've ever wanted,' she'd confided in him, ‘is to be safe for just one night.'
That night, during all the rumbles underneath that sounding like Death Eaters, Harry had seen Ginny cry from fear and exhaustion. Overcome by a feeling of brotherly love, he had gone over to her, and enveloped her in a hug.
‘I promise you,' he whispered to her, as he held her gently. ‘You'll be safe tonight.'
Harry felt a lump rise in his throat, and blinked in rapid succession as he turned the page.
"Under their watchful eyes, I'd splash happily in the streams, rarely heeding their warnings not to go out too far. I'd usually end up holding onto a rock for dear life, watching the current sweep by me, while Bill or Charlie stood at the shore, screaming for me to get back now.
I was never a strong swimmer when I was young, but I did love the water. Not ocean water – no, I loathed that. Salty liquid that stung my eyes and tasted horrible and left little grains all over me. But fresh water, why that was another story.
I could never get enough of playing in pools and jumping in streams as a child. I loved to splash and duck my head under. I was a terrible swimmer, and I still am, so my love for water is really quite dangerous. Every chance I got, I'd be out in the creek behind our house."
Harry had never known about this. Ginny had never seemed to go swimming when he was there in the summer, and had never brought it up.
He wondered why she never mentioned it. Never having been a swimmer himself, he didn't understand why she wouldn't. ‘Was it something personal?' he asked himself.
‘Perhaps,' he thought, and wondered if he might ask Ginny about it later. He planned to owl her the next day, anyway.
"There was a strong current in that creek, and Bill ordered me never to go out past one large rock. Feeling very independent one day, I decided I was a ‘big girl' and could do whatever I wanted, thank you very much.
I dog paddled out to the rock, and grabbed onto it, turning around to see if Bill was watching me. He was maybe seventeen at the time. He wasn't. His head was buried in the newest Quality Quidditch Supplies magazine.
Nervously, I looked out at the quick water sweeping by me. Could I do it?
With a sudden burst of adrenaline, I let go of the rock, and dog paddled out a little further.
I struggled to keep forward against the strong current pushing me back. Water splashed up into my eyes and mouth and nose, and I coughed, violently. My head bobbed in and out of the water as I battled to keep afloat.
I tried to scream for Bill's help, but each time I opened my mouth, it was filled with cold creek water. I flailed my arms frantically as I moved further and further downstream."
‘Go to sleep,' his mirror wheezed. ‘You have work tomorrow.'
Harry took a quick look at the clock, which was now pointing to ‘Far Too Late To Be Up.'
‘Five more minutes,' he promised the mirror, who gave a sigh as if in great suffering. ‘Alright, alright,' he complained, putting his bookmark back in, and shutting off the lights.
That night, he dreamt, for the first time in a while, about Ginny.