I know he’s my brother, but sometimes he really, really tries my patience.
Like the time he gave his permission for Harry and I to be a couple. I mean, how arrogant can you get? As if we were back in the days of Godric Gryffindor and men wielded absolute power over women! I should have hexed him – but I was too busy laughing at his Pygmy Puff.
Or my third year? ‘Ginny, you can go with Harry –’ What an idiot. I wanted to bash him over the head with the Ancient Runes dictionary lying on the table behind me. Surprised that I remember exactly what book it was? Yeah, me too – but you need a little perspective on it. It was the day that, instead of ending up as Harry’s date for the ball, I discovered he didn’t even consider me a last resort.
I suppose Ron’s not a bad sort, as blokes go, but there’s room for improvement even now. His teaspoon of emotional range has expanded to at least a tablespoon – and, oh, the amazement, now actually approaches the dessertspoon stage! I sound sarcastic, but I’m deadly serious. That boy has been coming along in drips and drops.
Sorry, sorry, that man. But let’s be realistic here! He’s forty-one (don’t tell him I told you!) and still persists in talking with his mouth full, raving about the Cannons with his unwavering hope that they’ll drag their performance up from rock-bottom, and bickering with Hermione – which, for the record, is NOT her fault. Okay, maybe a little – but we girls have to stick together!
Oops, went a bit off topic there. But you get the idea. My brother is an idiot; it’s as plain as the freckles on his face.
What? Oh, right, the story.
‘You prat! You forgot again, didn’t you?’
Yep. My brother, twit extraordinaire, forgot their anniversary. Not just any anniversary, either – their thirtieth.
It gets worse.
Ronald Bilius Weasley made arrangements to go to a party on the day he was supposed to be commemorating thirty years of their relationship.
The moment Harry mentioned this in a would-be-casual voice a few hours ago, I immediately became Task Mistress. I made hot chocolate, briefed Hermione, and sat down around a roaring fire with the two of them to talk it over.
‘I can’t believe he forgot!’ seethed Hermione, cross-legged on the rug. ‘Thirty years, and he blows all that off for a fancy-dress party!’
Harry, poor thing, cupped his hands around his mug and blew steam from the surface. ‘He didn’t blow it off, Hermione, he only forgot.’
But we could tell it was bothering him. He just didn’t want to start an infamous bickering match. He didn’t need that, not now.
‘Still! A fancy-dress party! Of all the ridiculous, insensitive things he could do to you…’
Harry looked miserably into his hot chocolate.
I wrapped my arm around his shoulders. ‘Come on, Harry. You don’t need Ron, you’ve got us!’
Stupid thing to say. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
‘But he’s Ron!’ Harry burst out.
[Wait – why are you leaving? Stop! Don’t you dare walk out in the middle of my tale! You – you thought what? Ugh! Absolutely not! Sit back down and let me finish, for goodness’ sake. Ahem.]
Hermione snatched the mug from his hands to save it from spilling, leaving Harry free to gesticulate wildly.
‘Ron’s always been there! The good, the bad, the bloody, he’s always stuck around.’ He thumped his knee with a fist to emphasise his point. Hermione, her face less than a foot from said knee, jumped, but rubbed his arm soothingly.
‘And this is the bad, and he’s not here, he’s planning his silly costume. You don’t need him. Come to a pub with me, have fun, forget about him for a night.’
Harry sighs. ‘Sorry, Hermione. It’s your day, too.’
‘That’s quite all right,’ she said, handing him his hot chocolate now that Harry appeared to be a marginally safer environment for it.
I stood up. ‘I’ll go and talk to him,’ I told them. ‘He’s just being a forgetful idiot. I’ll sort him out.’
‘Ginny, you don’t have to –’ Harry began.
‘No, let me go. He needs to learn.’
And with that, I scooped some Floo powder from its jar on mantle piece, tossed it into the flames, and whisked off to Ron and Hermione’s house.
And here we are. Joy.
‘You prat! You forgot again, didn’t you?’
‘Forgot what?’ Ron demands, glancing up from a large pile of deep purple material.
‘Ron, you’re going to a Halloween party tomorrow!’ I snap.
I stamp my foot. ‘Ron, Halloween! The troll, the rescue, the whole ‘Now we’re all friends’ thing? Is this ringing any bells?’
After Harry defeated Voldemort, he really started to live life. He repaired school friendships, met new people, joined a Quidditch team. Oh – and he married me. That’s the one I’m particularly pleased about.
It was wonderful to see him so happy, so carefree. But the Halloween before he got rid of Tom for good, he, Ron and Hermione had an encounter with a massive troll. They defeated it resoundingly.
That night, he began to talk. He reminisced about the tale of their first encounter with a troll, and Hermione said afterwards that he really came alive for the first time in months. He had them in stitches, doing all the voices and describing their actions. Then he finished with, ‘And here we are, six years on, still battling mountain trolls, still winning – and a lot more than five points for Gryffindor this time. So here’s to us.’ And they toasted each other.
They’ve done it every year ever since: sat down together, eaten a nice meal, remembered the formation of the friendship between all three of them and toasted each other. Ron sometimes forgets, of course, but normally all Hermione has to do is make sure he’s there.
A look of concentration spreads across my brother’s face. It takes a while, so I go over to look at the fabric which I assume will become his costume. He seems to be cutting out moons and stars from a spangled silver cloth.
‘What in the world are you planning to go as? The night sky?’
‘Halloween?’ He looks at me blankly.
I stare. ‘Yes, Ron. Halloween.’
‘The troll.’ Comprehension begins to dawn.
I blink expectantly at him. This was taking a rather long time to get through. ‘Yes, Ron. The troll.’
‘Our anniversary!’ His eyes now wide with horror.
Finally! ‘Yes, Ron. Your thirtieth anniversary.’
The horror gives way to panic. ‘Ginny! You’ve got to help me!’
You see, this is the thing with brothers. They patronise you, they over-protect you and they treat you like you’re incapable of making sensible decisions on your own. Then they screw up, turn around, and expect you to make it all better. I should make him sort it out himself, I suppose, but I’m going to be nice for Harry and Hermione’s sake.
‘Ron, you idiot, just don’t go to the Halloween party!’
In case you hadn’t noticed by now – actually, who am I kidding? You’re not Ron – these little anniversary parties fall on Halloween every single year.
I, of course, am not allowed in. I’m fine with that, it’s their celebration.
Wow! Mum, how does she do that?
In fact, while they’re having all their fun –
– eating great food, drinking fine wine –
That’s brilliant! Do it again!
– and telling their story all over again –
– I’m adored by groups of cleverly costumed children who think the way I give out sweets is ‘magical’. The head of the Improper Use of Magic Office is out celebrating with her oldest friends – I can get away with almost anything when Hermione’s in a great mood!