Previously posted elsewhere, this story now includes canon up to and
including Half-Blood Prince. Thanks to Aggiebell for the beta.)
red-headed blur erupted from inside the kitchen and Bill Weasley,
freshly arrived home from his fourth year at Hogwarts, whuffed out a
huge breath as the blur slammed into his stomach at high speed.
"Hey, Red," he wheezed.
miss you," his little sister squealed, her arms clutched tightly around
his waist. Bill smiled as he looked down at his sister, not yet four
years old, her feet dangling inches above the floor as she held tight
to him. Reaching down, he lifted her up so that he could hug her
"I missed you too, Red. But I'm back now. We've got the whole summer together."
Ginny smiled, but then looked sad.
"You'll go away again," she said.
"Yeah, I will," Bill admitted. "But I have to go to school, Red," he added, ruffling her hair. She giggled.
"Will you come back after?"
"Of course. I love Hogwarts, but I love you even more, little'un."
"I'm NOT little," she pouted. "I'm three foot one inches."
"You're over three foot now?" Bill asked. "You're getting big, Red. You'll be taller than any of us soon."
"Yeah!" she grinned. Then a thought struck the young girl. "If I get big enough, can I come with you to school?"
Red, you know you can't come to Hogwarts yet," Bill said. He always
felt slightly sad that he'd miss out on his younger siblings time at
Hogwarts. He'd be at Hogwarts with Charlie and Percy, but he would have
liked to have the twins, Ron and Ginny there with him as well.
"When can I go, then?" she asked persistently.
going the year after Ron does," Bill said. It had become the standard
answer, as they didn't want Ginny thinking too much about the seven
years before she could go to school. It was bad enough that Percy was
already counting the days, and he still had two years left to
go. Bill felt slightly bad for Charlie as well, who'd have to spend a
year alone at school without any of his brothers and sister around.
Bill had fit in well enough during his first two years, but it was only
when Charlie had come to school at the start of Bill's third year that
he felt really at home at Hogwarts.
I started in nineteen eighty-one, Bill thought. Ginny
won't finish there until nineteen ninety-nine. Nearly twenty years of
Weasleys. Old McGonagall should be ready to retire after that. If she
isn't in the mental ward at St Mungo's first.
Looking down at his sister, who was still held in his arms, Bill grinned.
"Want to hear about Hogwarts, Red?"
"Yeah! Tell me e'ryfing, Bill."
he said. He carried Ginny all the way up the stairs to the room he
shared with Charlie, and made sure that his bag was on the good bed.
When Charlie returned from his friend's house in a few days, he wanted
there to be no doubt who was sleeping where. He shifted Ginny onto his
back, which she loved, and stuck his head around the door of Percy and
Ron's room, but neither of his brothers were there. In fact, the whole
house was quiet.
"Where is everyone, Red?"
"Fred and George are in trouble," Ginny answered. "Mummy made them chuck the gernomes cos they made Ron cry."
Bill grinned in spite of himself.
"What'd they do this time?"
"They made his teddy turn into a spider again," Ginny sighed. "They silly."
"Mum must have gone bananas."
"Yeah. She went to town with Ron."
"Okay. Well, let's get a drink and I'll tell you all about Hogwarts."
carried his sister all the way down to the kitchen where they poured
themselves big glasses of milk and raided Molly's biscuit jar.
"Hogwarts is great, Red," he said. "Every year you learn new spells. They teach you all kinds of things."
"Well, this year I learned how to turn a chair into a dog," he said.
"What's the magic word?" Bill grinned.
enough," Bill laughed. Waving his wand at one of the spare chairs, he
turned it into a black Labrador that licked Ginny's face and made her
"Slobbery doggy," she said, patting it. She looked sad when it turned back into a chair.
"Nice?" Bill asked.
"That's the sort of thing that we do at Hogwarts."
"I want to go!"
"I know, Red. I was the same as you when I was your age. You'll be there before you know it."
"Okay," she said. "Tell me more, Bill!"
"Okay, Red. What do you want to know?"
"Tell me bout the teachers. Are they as nice as my teachers?"
"Some of them are," he said. "Some are horrible. Professor Snape teaches us Potions. He's not very nice."
"I don't know. I don't think he was hugged enough as a child," Bill grinned.
very silly, Bill," Ginny giggled, before turning serious. "Do I get
hugged enough? I don't want to be horrible when I grow up."
there's always room for another hug," Bill said, holding his arms out.
Ginny jumped off her chair and wrapped her arms around her brother's
"You're nice, Bill. You musta got lots of hugs."
"Well, if you ever think you're running low on hugs, I'm always happy to help," Bill smiled.
"Yeah! Then when I go to Hogwarts I be really nice to evvyone."
"I'm sure of it," Bill said. "You're going to love Hogwarts, Red. Absolutely love it."
"Hey Ginny," Ron said, hunting under his bed for a missing pair of socks. What's up?"
Ron came up from under his bed. "Really?"
don't want you to go, she said. "I'll be all alone. Bill's gone and
Charlie's moved out to Romania. Percy's at Hogwarts, Fred and George
are there. And now you're going."
Ron sat down on his bed and patted the spot next to him. "Come here," he said. She sat down obediently next to him.
know it's only for a year," he said. "This time next year you'll be
hanging out with all of us. There'll be five Weasleys at Hogwarts, can
"Yeah. I still wish I were going this year," she sighed. "You're only just over a year older than me, Ron. It's not fair."
come on," Ron said. He put an arm around his sister's shoulders.
"You're not even ten yet. You know it has to be this way."
I've known since I was two and Charlie and Bill went off and I missed
them a lot. It just seems like I keep losing more and more people, and
now you're going as well."
write you all the time, Ginny," Ron said. "It's okay. Once you come
it'll be great, and you won't have to worry about settling in, cos
you'll already know everything about it."
"Yeah. If you want, I'll find you a boyfriend and every-"
"Ron!" she squealed. She slapped him on the arm. "As if I want a boyfriend."
"Not unless it's Harry Potter, right?"
Potter wouldn't look at me," she said, with a ferocious blush that the
Weasley boys loved to provoke. "He must be really famous and handsome
and he'll have loads of friends."
dunno," Ron said. "You know he has to live with Muggles. They probably
don't even know he's famous where he lives. You heard what Mum said,
though, he's the same age as us. He's probably going to start at school
this year or next year. I wonder what house he'll be in?"
"I bet he's in Ravenclaw," Ginny said. "I bet he's really smart."
"Won't be there with me then," Ron said gloomily. "Have you seen my wand?"
He held up the battered looking object. Unicorn hair was poking out of the end.
"I'd kill for a new one. They work better if they're your own."
"I bet you're in Gryffindor," Ginny said, suddenly.
"Well, you beat up Fred last night, didn't you?"
"Yeah, but Fred's an idiot. He knows I hate spiders, but he still does that stupid trick. I hope he gets suspended next time."
"Maybe when I come next year we can get him back?" Ginny said.
"Yeah, that sounds good. It's a deal, Ginny. I'll find out all about the place, and then we can go mad when you come."
Ginny grinned. "Yeah. It's a deal.
I haven't written for a few weeks, but things have been mad here. Me
and Harry fought a troll on Halloween. We saved this girl called
Hermione, who's a real bossy type. She thinks Percy is great, so that's
all you need to know about her. Still, she does help us with work, so I
guess she's not too bad.
just wanted to say to you that the plan's still on. Fred and George are
being pretty quiet for a change. I think Fred fancies one of the girls
on the Quidditch team. Can't tell which one, though. They're all much
try and write soon. Harry needs help with his Potions, so we're going
to try and find Hermione. She's probably in the library. I reckon you'd
probably like her, she reads a lot, same as you.
Oh, Harry says he isn't expecting anything for Christmas. D'you reckon Mum could send him something?
I'll write soon,
Ron looked up from his Charms essay. Hermione had already sent him an owl asking how he was doing with his work.
"Tell me about Harry Potter."
Ron sighed. "I already told you, Ginny, he's a nice bloke."
"But what's he like?"
an idiot, okay? He does stupid things because he thinks they're the
right things. He nearly got killed at the end of the year. He'd better
not do that again. I don't want a dead best mate."
"He doesn't seem too bad," Ginny said. "He was very polite."
Ron gave up on the essay. "Yeah, he is polite," he said. "Except when he's talking about Snape."
"He's the Potions teacher, isn't he? Charlie and Bill told me about him."
"Yeah. And he's a git."
"Ron, Mum would kill you-"
"Well don't tell her then," Ron grinned. "Really, he's a nasty bloke, always picking on the Gryffindors."
"Even on Harry?"
on Harry. Harry said that his dad and Snape didn't get on when they
were at school, and now Harry's dad's dead, Snape picks on him instead."
Ginny looked at the carpet for a moment.
"Does Harry talk about his parents often?"
shook his head. "No. He never knew them. I know he misses them, well,
misses having a real family, but he doesn't say much. He's pretty
sighed. "It'd be nice if we could be his family. You're his best
friend, and if he's a nice person, he deserves someone to love him, not
being stuck with those horrible Muggles."
smiled tightly. "Yeah, you're right. We're trying to get him to come
stay here this summer. I haven't heard from him since we left school.
He's got this great owl, really big and white, but nothing yet. Maybe
the Muggles are being nice to him. It'd be good if they were."
"Do you think he'd like it here?"
I dunno. He says he lives in a proper house with the Muggles, not a rickety old heap like this. I hope he'd like it, though."
"Is he really brave?"
"Yeah. Brave, honest, loyal. Typical Gryffindor. Just like me, really."
Ginny slapped Ron on the arm. "Idiot."
fell quiet. "Do... Do you think I'll make it into Gryffindor? I don't
want to be in Slytherin, I don't think I'm smart enough for
Ravenclaw..." she tailed off.
who do I go to when I need help with the twins? It's always you, even
if they are three years older than you. You're the bravest person I
know, well, you and Harry."
Ginny brightened immediately. "You really think I'm as brave as Harry Potter?"
"Yeah, really," Ron grinned. "You'll be in Gryffindor, just like everyone else."
Ginny hugged her brother.
looked up from the letter he was writing. The ghost of a smile
flickered across Ginny's face as she realised she'd caught him writing
another letter to Penelope Clearwater, his girlfriend.
"Ginny? What... What are you doing up? It's after three in the morning."
"I had a nightmare and I couldn't sleep. Why are you awake?"
"I... I couldn't sleep either. I thought I'd write to Penny."
"At three in the morning? Won't she be mad when Hermes shows up with your letter."
er, using Errol, not Hermes," Percy said. He looked very uncomfortable.
"This way it should get to her tomorrow afternoon."
Ginny looked at her brother critically. "Percy, do you know that your ears go red when you're lying?"
"It's the middle of the night! You can't see my- Blast," Percy said, realising that his little sister had caught him out.
"Right then. Why are you writing to Penny in the middle of the night?"
stood up from the kitchen table and made his way into the front room,
his letter lying forgotten on the table. Ginny followed him.
was siting on the sofa, his head in his hands. His posture, normally so
confident and upright, spoke of a world of worries on his shoulders.
"Percy, what's wrong?" Ginny asked.
didn't reply for a long time. It slowly dawned on Ginny that Percy, the
calm, rational, least Weasleyish member of her family, was crying.
she said. He raised his head and looked at her, an infinity of sadness
tracking across his face like cloud obscuring the sun.
"Ginny, I was so scared," he said. "I thought we'd lost you, I really did."
Ginny knew what was happening, Percy had wrapped his little sister in a
bone-crushing hug. She gasped for air, but didn't say anything.
Finally, Percy released her. He dabbed at his eyes with a handkerchief.
Despite the emotion of the moment, Ginny couldn't help but smile. Percy
was the only person she knew who actually kept a handkerchief in his
I heard that you'd been taken," he began, returning her to the moment
at hand. "When I thought you were dead..." his face screwed up again as
he fought back tears.
God, I was so scared. I felt like I should have been doing something,
but there was nothing I could do. For all my intelligence, for all my
pride in being a prefect, I was unable to do anything. I couldn't help
you; I couldn't fight for you; I just had to sit there and wait.
honestly thought that I'd been looking out for you. I thought you were
ill, so I took you to Madam Pomfrey. I chased off Fred and George when
they were trying to make you laugh, and then I ignored you when you
were trying to tell us something was wrong. And then, when you were
taken, I thought I'd never again see you smile, never hear you laugh,
never see you hexing Fred and George when Mother's back is turned."
He laughed. It came out as a choke.
everything I did, despite every example I tried to set, it was Ron and
Harry who saved you. A pair of second years who broke every single rule
in the book, and probably lots more that aren't in the book, while I sat in the common room with no idea what I could do for you.
thank Merlin for Ron and Harry. I don't know what I'd do if you weren't
here, Ginny. I really am very fond of you, you know that?"
do now," she said, tears sliding down her cheeks. She wrapped her arms
around her brother's neck and hugged him tightly. The bad dream that
had caused her to awaken was already fading from her memory.
held each other for a long time, until the sun was peeking over the
horizon and the birds were beginning to awaken. Percy released his grip
"I should finish that letter to Penny," he said.
"Why were you writing at three in the morning anyway?" she asked.
"Mother and father suggested we not be too, well, that we not be..."
"They thought I'd need you walking on eggshells around me?" she asked. Percy laughed, and nodded.
"I shall tell them that it isn't necessary," he said. "By midday Fred and George will be blowing their room up once more."
"Well, maybe don't tell them first thing," Ginny suggested. "I'd quite like to get some sleep.
Percy smiled. "I'll talk to them after lunch tomorrow."
"Thanks, Perce," she said. He stood up and straightened his pyjamas.
"I think I'll finish that letter to Penny before I go up," he said. "It has a happier ending now."
"I'm glad," Ginny said. "I think my dreams will be happier now, too."
Percy took her hand and gave it a squeeze.
"I'm glad. Glad for everything. Truly."
"Me too, Percy, me too."
brother had burst into her room --something he'd generally avoided
doing since she'd, as he put it "started growing up on us"- and waved a
handful of parchment slips at her.
"Dad got the tickets! Dad got the tickets! We're going to the World Cup!"
Ginny grinned madly. They were going to the World Cup! Hermione would be coming to stay! Harry would be coming to stay!
"D'you want your ticket now, or shall I keep it with the rest of them?" George asked.
best hold on to it," she said. "I'll only lose it. I'm not Ron; I won't
keep it locked in a safe deposit box in my school trunk."
George grinned. "You are looking forward to the match though, right?"
"Of course. You know I love Quidditch."
"Yeah, but you like it best when Harry's playing, right?"
He ducked under the pillow that Ginny threw at him, and emerged grinning from behind her chair.
"Be honest, Ginny."
sighed. Of all her brothers, Percy and George were the only ones who
didn't tease her about Harry. Instead, George had decided that Ron
liked Hermione, and was teasing his younger brother about that instead.
"So, come on, own up and I'll give you some juicy gossip that you can't tell anyone."
"Really?" Ginny looked sceptical.
George replied, his face deadly serious. He looked around the room,
shut the door and pulled the curtains closed. Sitting on Ginny's bed,
he turned to her and whispered: "It's so secret I can't even tell Fred."
"That's pretty secret," Ginny admitted.
"Too right," George said. "Listen, you know when me and Fred went to Lee's for Katie's birthday party?"
"Of course. The house was quiet all day. It was very nice."
George smiled ruefully at having been caught by such an easy line. "Yes, well, apart from that, guess what happened?"
"Well... I don't know."
"Angelina got drunk," George said. "Fred spiked her Butterbeer with firewhisky for a joke, and she got absolutely plastered."
"That's not very nice, George. And it's not exactly a secret if Fred did it, is it?"
"That's not the secret. And I know it's not very nice. Katie had a right go at him for doing it."
"What's the secret, then?" Ginny asked, beginning to wonder if George was pulling her leg.
"Angelina kissed me," he said. He smiled a little anxiously.
"She kissed me. That's why I can't tell Fred. You know how crazy he is about her."
"Of course. Everyone does. It's so silly."
"Yes, well, you're a fine one to talk."
"Never mind that now. What are you going to do about Angelina?"
She thought I was Fred when she kissed me, and she didn't say anything
the next morning so I don't think she remembers."
"Yeah, I hope. Maybe she's just embarrassed."
"Why not write to Alicia or Katie and ask them?"
a bad idea, little sister mine," George said thoughtfully. "Might be
better if I wait to see them face to face. I don't think Angelina would
appreciate there being a permanent record of, well, of that."
"How do you feel about it?" Ginny asked, eyeing her brother shrewdly.
George laughed heartily, but Ginny could tell he wasn't as happy as he
made out. "Hey, have you seen Angelina? She's drop dead gorgeous. I
"Until she called you Fred," Ginny said, struggling to keep the grin from her face.
"Yeah," George admitted, with a laugh. "Bit of a downer, that. Not quite how I imagined my first kiss-"
"Your first kiss?!?" Ginny gasped.
okay, no need to make such a big deal of it," George said, making
shushing motions with his hands. "Besides, I was saving myself for the
"Yeah, Alicia," Ginny said, without thinking.
George's face fell. "Is it that obvious?"
kind of," she said. "Listen, I'll do you a deal. You lay off Ron about
Hermione, get Fred to shut up about me and Harry, and I won't say
anything about you, Angelina and Alicia."
George's eyes narrowed. "And to think I was going to be all caring and understanding about you and Harry."
"You can still do that," Ginny said, with a wicked grin. "Do we have a deal?"
deal," George said, slumping backwards on her bed. "When did you grow
up again? I don't remember you being so evil and cunning last year."
"I was taking special lessons from Professor Snape," she said.
"That would explain it. Now, you were saying about Harry?"
"We don't need to talk about that now," Ginny said, blushing suddenly. George sat up, sensing weakness.
yes we do. You've just got me to give up half the fun I've been having
this summer. You can give me something to make it up to me."
Ginny sighed. "Okay, I'll tell," she said. "I mean, it's not like it's a secret how I feel about Harry."
not, but I've never heard you say it out loud," George said. He had
turned around so that he was sitting close to his sister, his body
language mirroring hers sympathetically.
just..." she began, before shrugging. "I want to help him, George. Not
just me, but all of us. He should be here, not with those horrible
Muggle she has to live with. It's ridiculous.
"Sometimes..." Ginny paused and thought for a moment. "Do you remember when we first met Harry?"
"Sure, his first year at Hogwarts, we bumped into him at Kings Cross."
was so shy. I couldn't believe that was Harry Potter. The Boy Who
Lived, I thought he'd be famous, but he was there on his own. Everyone
else had their family with him, and I thought Harry would have had
someone with him."
"Well, Hagrid went with him for all his school stuff, but those Muggles he lives with dropped him off at the station."
seemed so alone, George," she sighed. "He's so quiet, so withdrawn.
Sometimes he's sitting in the common room and you can see him just go
away. It's like, I don't know, like somehow he can see what his life should be like, what it would be like if he still had his family, and sometimes it just swallows him up.
when he plays Quidditch, it's the only time he's free of that. The way
his face lights up when he's flying... That's how he should be all the
time. He shouldn't have to worry about the way the Muggles he lives
with treat him, or about You Know Who or saving people's lives."
Ginny shrugged. "I just wish I could help him feel better about himself."
nodded. "I know. Harry's quiet, and I think you're right, he does go
away sometimes. You can see it when Ron and Hermione start arguing, or
when he's in the common room on his own. Sometimes I think there's a
lot we'll never know about him. He's a great guy, and a good friend,
but he keeps himself closed down to almost everyone. He's been hurt
"You think he's been hurt so bad that he's scared of being cared for?"
"Everyone who loved him is dead, Ginny," George said soberly. "He's got us, though."
He gave Ginny a quick hug, and stood up. "Anyway, Fred's whipping up the next batch of Canary Creams. I'd better go help him."
He opened the door, and slipped out, before sticking his head back into the room.
"By the way, I take it that it's okay for Fred to tease Ron and me to tease you? You didn't say that it wasn't, after all..."
This time the pillow caught him directly in the face.
"I'll take that as a maybe', then?" he grinned before vanishing.
Ginny laughed as she lay back on her pillowless bed. She stared at the ceiling for a long time.
"Not everyone," she said at last.
Ginny's older brother turned and put his finger to his lips. She tiptoed closer to him and put her head alongside his.
"Anything?" she mouthed. He shook his head.
charmed the door again," he said, standing upright. "We can't hear
anything that's going on in there. On the plus side, they can't hear
anything that's going on out here."
Ginny grinned. "Is everyone in there?"
"Yeah, pretty much. Tonks is wandering around somewhere, but she's safe."
Ginny nodded. "I like Tonks."
"Yeah, well, just cause she taught you the Bat Bogey hex..."
"Not just that. Besides, it's nice to have someone to talk to about stuff."
an older sister?" Fred asked. Ginny nodded, surprised that Fred had
picked up on the way her relationship with Tonks had evolved.
he said. "I know everyone thinks I'm about as mature as, well, as the
day I was born, but I'm not a complete idiot. Not all of the time.
Ginny grinned. "Yeah, I know."
just wanted you to know, if you need to talk about stuff, you can come
to me. I know that you used to talk to Charlie and Bill a lot, and you
and Ron were as close as me and George when you were kids, but..."
"I love all of you," she said. "Really I do."
we love you, Ginny," Fred said seriously. "It's just, with Percy being
an idiot, and things being so serious, I'd hate you to think that we
don't have time to talk about stuff."
Ginny grinned. "Even about growing-up, female stuff?"
you really, really need to," Fred said, a pained expression passing
across his face. "I was thinking more something like the war, or
school, or whatever."
looped her arm through her brother's and led him towards the kitchen,
where Sirius had been making a start on dinner before Professor
McGonagall's sudden arrival.
"I just think sometimes that George and I have been pretty horrible to you, winding you up about Harry and stuff."
used to it," Ginny said. "Really. Besides, I got to see you running to
the toilet every five minutes before meeting Angelina for the Yule Ball
last year. That made up for a lot of it."
Fred scowled. "You said you weren't going to say anything about that anymore."
"And you promised not to mention Harry anymore, not since I started seeing Michael, anyway."
not even allowed to mention this Corner bloke in front of Ron, Ginny,"
Fred said. "You're not leaving us a lot to play with."
look at what it's done for you," Ginny smiled. "You're all grown up
now. Look, we're having a proper conversation and everything."
well, having You-Know-Who back kind of does that for you," Fred smiled
sadly. "You learn that there's a time and a place for joking around."
"I know. I didn't feel much like laughing for a long time after my first year," Ginny said.
"He won't come after you again," Fred said, looking earnestly at his little sister.
"I know," she said. "He'll go after Harry again. And again. Until he gets what he wants."
"You still care for him, don't you?"
always will," Ginny sighed. "I know I don't feel the way about Michael
that I do about Harry, but what can I do? I need to try to move on, I
need something in my life that means I don't worry about him coming
back all the time, coming for me again. Michael does that. He makes me
"Not Harry's strong point, I'll admit," Fred said. "Nice kid and all, but a bit quiet. Not many great one-liners."
Ginny slapped his arm with a laugh. "I think I prefer funnyman Fred," she said.
laughed. "Me too," he replied, before turning serious again. "So long
as you know that whatever Fred I am, I'm always here for you. We all
are. If we don't stick together, we're screwed."
know," Ginny said. She gave Fred a quick hug. "And I'm grateful. You're
right. We do need to stick together. I'm glad I've got such nice
brothers to stick together with."
looked up from the table where dozens huge rolls of parchment were laid
out, each detailing a different part of Fleur's plans for the ceremony.
He waved his wand, and they rolled themselves up neatly.
"Hey kid," he said wearily.
"Is this a bad time? I can come back."
"No, you're good," he said. "I always have time to spend with my sister."
"Glad to hear it," she said. "Who else is going to keep me out of trouble?"
"Isn't that Ron's job?"
has other things on his mind these days," she said. She looked around
the kitchen, and sighed. "It feels wrong to be celebrating when I know
what's going to happen, the day after tomorrow," she said.
"Yeah. I know," Charlie said. "But you know that they won't wait, not for anything."
"I want to go with them," Ginny scowled. Charlie looked at her, enlightenment dawning on his features.
"Ron and Hermione will look after him, Ginny," he said. "They'll make sure he's okay."
"I know. And I know that I'll be better off at Hogwarts. If I hadn't had that swig of Felix..."
know. I reckon Ron and Hermione'll be okay, you know. Besides, they've
got Harry to look after them," he added, risking a little humour.
Ginny smiled. "He doesn't deserve it, Charlie," she said at last.
he doesn't. He's a good person, and no one should have to go through
the things he's had to go through. I don't know why exactly he feels he
has to go off and hunt for Voldemort, but I'm smart enough to read
between the lines. Whatever his motivation, he won't rest until
Voldemort is dead. And if he thinks that Ron and Hermione are the ones
who'll help him do that, well, I don't think we're in any position to
I..." Ginny dropped into a chair. Charlie, I can't bear the thought of
him being hurt. Not if I could be there and stop it.
Then imagine how he would feel, with you in the same position, Charlie said gently.
That's what Harry said, Ginny replied, forcing a laugh.
he's right. I wish I could have all of you out in Romania, but it's
dangerous work that I do, and I wouldn't want any of you facing the
risks that I do.
"I just wish that I was good enough."
stay in school. Get more practise. Who knows how long it'll take to do
what Harry thinks he has to. Maybe it'll only take a week.
Maybe it'll take years.
And in that case you can join him when you're qualified, Charlie said.
How come they get to go now?
They're of age. You've got another year yet, Charlie said. The twins had to wait to join the Order, remember?
no better in a fight than me, though, Ginny objected. Suddenly, it was
as though a wall had broken inside her, and everything flooded out.
she's smart, and Ron could probably take anyone else in the family in a
fight now, have you noticed? Charlie said, laying one hand on his
I'm smart, Ginny said, her fury subsiding almost as quickly as it had come.
good with your wand too, Charlie said, with a nod of his head. And
just think how much use you'll be in another year or so.
I just... Charlie, I think I love him.
I know. I'm not blind, Ginny. I don't think anyone can not
know that. And I think that even Harry knows that -- if he knows what
being loved feels like. Believe me, it'll keep him going, when the
darkness falls. And that's why he can't take you with him. He needs you
to be safe, Ginny, at least for now.
So I have to be locked away in an ivory tower?
now, Charlie said, so flatly that Ginny, who had reared up again,
stopped short. Ginny, I'm not saying that Harry's choice makes sense
-- he's taking Hermione and Ron with him, so why not you? But
it's his choice to make. He's not going to Hogsmeade -- he's going to
war, and if he feels most secure with the two of them, we have to
I know, Ginny said, in a small voice. I understand, I do.
But it doesn't make it any easier.
still have two days, Ginny. Two days to remind him what he's fighting
for. Charlie smiled, a small, quirky smile as he advised the young
woman who would forever be his baby sister on her love life. You
shouldn't be wasting your time in here with me.
You're good for him, Ginny. I don't think anyone but you can make him really relax.
don't think many people understand Harry," she said quietly. "How can
someone who's been treated so badly be so determined to do the right
thing? How does someone who's been treated so badly turn out so good?"
knows?" Charlie said. "Maybe when his mother died to save him, maybe
that much love, that much goodness, well, it did more than save his
life, it shaped who he'd grow up to be."
"Do you really think so?" Ginny asked.
don't know," Charlie said, running a finger over a burn on his arm.
"It's hard to believe that he turned out alright the way he's been
treated, but he's not perfect is he?"
"No," she smiled. "He's got a filthy temper, he's impatient, and he can be arrogant and self-centred, but-"
"He's a boy?"
Ginny laughed, and nodded.
people are good," Charlie said. "I reckon Harry turned out that way
because it was the only way he could spite those Muggles he lives with.
No matter what they do to him, he's always a step ahead. He'll be okay,
I reckon. He's got power, anyone can tell that, but he's got more than
that. He's loved by a lot of people, even if he doesn't realise it. Not
just because of what he did, but because of who he is. He's arrogant,
impatient, bad tempered self-centred-"
"-kind, loving, loyal and brave," Ginny finished.
He's had a lot to deal with in his life, Ginny, but he's strong enough
to survive. Even if the worst comes to the worst, he'll have the
Weasleys beside him. We can never pay him back for saving you, or Dad,
or Ron, but we'll spend our life trying."
"If it helps, even a little, then it was worth all I went through," Ginny said quietly.
"That's why Harry will be okay," Charlie said, hugging his sister. "Because he has people who love him. And because he has you."
Ginny returned the hug, and for the first time since returning from Hogwarts that summer, she felt relaxed.