Disclaimer: I am not, do not own, and am not affiliated with J.K. Rowling, and all characters referred to from the Harry Potter book series belong to her. Nor do I have any connection to Warner Bros., Scholastic Publishing, Christopher Little Publishing, and various other publishing houses that have copyrighted Harry Potter and characters. In short - it's not mine.
Author's Note: This chapter was a piece of hell to write. The story simply would not go the way I wanted it to. Adding to that, it was started more than a month ago, but any desire to finish it was buried under school related obligations. Sometimes, I wonder why I'm an author…
This chapter is dedicated to Berklee, who is my friend, and who I might be able to get to read this by baiting her with the fact that a chapter is dedicated to her. Also, of course, to Amy, whose beta-ing (is that a word?) and general friendliness has been invaluable.
Harry stretched as light filtered into his room. He blinked, the sun's rays hitting his eyes. Groping for his glasses, he looked at his clock.
‘Two hours until I have to leave.' He made a mental note to himself, hoping he would be out of the house on time, though promptness didn't seem to be one of his virtues.
His eyes fell on the dark green book again, and suddenly he remembered where he had left off. With the excitement of a young child on Christmas Day, he eagerly picked up the slim volume, and thumbed for his place.
"I gagged as I swallowed more and more water rapidly and felt myself drifting downstream. I tried again to scream for Bill, but couldn't open my mouth long enough to shout without swallowing more water.
I gasped for air as my head went underwater again, almost choking on the gallon of water I swallowed.
I didn't know what I was going to do. I couldn't scream for Bill. I couldn't swim. The river was carrying me downwards. I knew I was going to drown."
Harry felt himself get caught up in the story, wondering nervously if she would survive.
‘Of course she'll survive, you idiot!' his mind yelled. ‘She wrote the book, didn't she?'
"'God?' I prayed. ‘If there is a God? Don't let me die in here. Please? I'll say all my prayers, and be a good girl, really, God. Just keep me alive.'
You know how some people say that before you die, your whole life flashes in front of you?
Well, if my almost-drowning is to be considered a near-death experience, then those people lied.
As I floated downstream, I didn't see my past. Instead, I saw something else. I saw my future.
I am not saying that I am a Seer, because I can assure you that I am not. I nearly failed Divination at Hogwarts, and the professor told me I was ‘insensitive to vibes and auras, my dear'. I have no quarrel with this, in fact, I completely agree.
But I am still convinced on that day, I saw my future. Or, a possibility in my future, I suppose. Now, I do not have proof that I was correct, for what I saw hasn't happened. But I am still young, and there is still time in my life for it to happen.
What I saw was myself, but not my young, four-year-old self. I saw the woman I was to become. I saw myself as a mother, holding a baby, and looking into the eyes of my future husband –
Harry gasped. What? That was impossible! There was no way he and Ginny could…could…
He had never thought of her like…like that. Ginny was practically his sister.
He turned red at the very thought.
‘She published this?' he thought to himself. He groaned as he thought of all the people who would read it.
"I can't explain how I knew it was him, but I knew for sure.
The next thing I remember is seeing Bill swimming with strong strokes up next to me, and grabbing my arm. He pulled me back to shore, and I lay on the sand, gasping for breath, while he yelled at me.
And so began my real fascination with the Boy Who Lived. I had been intrigued, and curious when Percy had read me the book, but now I was sure.
Harry Potter was the one I was going to marry."
‘Good lord,' Harry thought, knowing his face was tomato-red.He turned the page.
From Nursery School to Hogwarts
When I was five, Mum thought it necessary that I attend the local Muggle school, to learn the basics – as she put it, reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic.
On the first day of school, I was given strict instructions from Mum, Dad, Bill, Charlie, and Percy: "Pretend to be Muggle."
Fred and George had quite a different idea.
"What you could do," nine-year-old Fred told me, "is take a Dungbomb – they have no idea what they are – and throw it at some annoying git who won't leave you alone."
"Last week, we were going to bring our toy broomsticks to school," his twin confided in me. "But Mum caught us and took them away," he added, mournfully.
I pity the Muggle children in my older twin brothers' class. Fred and George weren't playing tricks on them to be mean, and certainly not because they were Muggles. They treated the family, and family friends, the same way.
Joking is just a part of Fred and George's nature, and for that I am glad.
It's a wonder, however, that none of the Muggle children ever realised they were wizards.
All of us were ostracised in school – simply because we weren't quite sure how to behave like Muggles. There was a local wizarding nursery school, but the fees were quite high, so Mum and Dad couldn't afford to send all of us there.
Percy had got in by scholarship, but with the limit of one per family, none of the rest of us stood a chance. Not that we would have, anyway; we were far too wild for the prim and proper, snobby little school.
My first day of nursery school was a mess. Without realising what I was doing, I accidentally set fire to Erica Grant's hair. Wondering what had happened, I was sent to the ‘Time Out Chair'.
I had never experienced such a punishment. In fact, I was hardly ever punished as a child – after all, there were six other children to be blamed for what went wrong. I was also the baby, and no one is ever inclined to blame the baby.
When I was punished, it wasn't anything like this ‘Time Out' business. I'd get a sharp smack to my rear, and that would send me racing to do what I was told. Never had I been told to sit in a big ‘grown-up' green chair for a prescribed amount of time.
It seemed like I sat in that chair forever that day, though in reality, it was probably only ten or fifteen minutes. I got up once, to get a book to read, but my cross teacher told me to sit my little rear end back in that seat, young lady. Confused, I did what I was told.
Was I not allowed to read during this punishment? What was I to do? Just sit there?
It didn't seem like a very productive way to spend time, that was for sure.
Sighing, I looked at the floor, and began to count the tiles."
Harry smiled, in spite of himself. He'd been determined to feel angry with Ginny for printing…what she had about him…but he couldn't help but grin at his mental picture.
He could imagine exactly what it was like – an irritated Muggle woman in a crisp dress, her finger pointing at the Time Out Chair, and a confused looking little girl, with red swinging braids.
"When I got home, I found the teacher had called Mum about it. She wasn't angry, to my surprise. She said such things often happened to young magical children, and I must be very careful in the future not to let them.
Relieved at escaping punishment, I agreed, nodding my small head quickly.
Ron was in the class ahead of me.
‘I'm in grade one,' he informed me, later that day. ‘We do much more interesting things. We actually learn stuff, not like that baby nursery school.'
‘We learn things!' I cried, defending the nursery school, in spite of my mixed feelings about it.
‘We were reading books today,' said Ron importantly. ‘And I can't talk to you anymore. I have homework to do.'
Ron flounced off importantly, and I found myself wishing that I too had ‘homework' to do.
It was probably the only time in my life that I have seen my brother Ron eager to do his homework – flaunting the fact that he had homework."
Harry laughed aloud. Ron? Excited about homework?
Wait until Hermione read this.
"My time at nursery school came and went, as did my time in grades one and two. I was a quick learner, and the things that the school taught were not hard to understand.
I never really connected with the children there. I just felt, in a way, that I was different. And Muggle children wanted nothing to do with my family. I overheard one girl say to another that ‘the Weasley family makes strange things happen'.
I didn't mind my social life, or lack thereof, at school, because at home I had an endless supply of playmates, especially during the summer months while Bill and Charlie were at home.
By the time I reached grade three, Bill and Charlie had already left Hogwarts, and Percy had just finished his first year. For me, when Bill and Charlie left school, it had barely any impact at all – they were still gone most of the year, and came back during the summer.
But suddenly, Percy was gone. I no longer had someone to read to me at night. By now, of course, I could read for myself, but I treasured those nightly reading sessions with Percy.
Percy spent the summer before I reached grade three holed up in his room, working on his homework to a perfection. He was quite studious, and I have never seen Mum so proud.
‘Not even Bill was that conscientious,' she remarked to me, one day.
However, I was able to get some time to talk with him. When I asked him what Hogwarts was like, he said it was the, ‘most brilliant place on Earth.'
When I asked him to elaborate, he said, ‘I can't really explain it. You'll just have to wait and see.'
And wait I did. I couldn't wait to follow my brothers to Hogwarts, and time seemed an endless, never-ceasing continuum. A year later, I saw Fred and George off to Hogwarts, the place I longed to be.
‘We're going to have loads of fun,' George told me one day. ‘We'll be the biggest troublemakers Hogwarts has ever seen!'
Of course, they hadn't counted on the Marauders, nor on Peeves the poltergeist.
After Fred and George left, Ron and I grew closer. We did everything together. The house seemed quite empty with only the two of us around, and we made as much noise as possible to fill the silence.
But, two years later, the time I had been dreading finally came.
It was Ron's turn to go to Hogwarts.
‘Don't worry, Gin,' he consoled me. ‘I'll owl you every day – every single day, you hear me? – and I'll be back at Christmas. And next year, you'll come to Hogwarts, and things will be like they always were.'
But I couldn't stop the pain and anxiety growing in my heart. My best friend was leaving – just going away and leaving me. What if he made a lot of friends and forgot all about me?
I accompanied my brothers to the train station, as I had every year since before I could remember.
We were standing outside the barrier, and Ron and Fred were having an argument about something or another. Mum chided them, and started sending us through the barrier. Ron looked a bit pale. Percy looked quite purposeful, and Fred and George looked mischievous, as usual.
Mum sent them all through, until only Ron and I were left.
A black haired boy, with large glasses and big green eyes came up to us.
‘Excuse me,' he said, nervously. My heart gave a sudden leap, and I looked at him in surprise.
My mother was perfectly calm. ‘Hello, dear. First time at Hogwarts? Ron's new, too.'
Ron acknowledged the black haired boy.
‘Yes,' he said. ‘The thing is – the thing is, I don't know how to—'
And in that moment I knew. This was Harry Potter."
Harry blushed down to the roots of his hair. Did she have to write this for everyone in the bloody world to read?
"We got Ron and Harry on the train, and I begged Mum to let me get a closer look, but she refused.
We left the platform that day, both saddened. Mum, because her youngest son was off to school for the first time, and I, not only because my permanent playmate was gone, but also that I had missed a chance at closely examining my future husband."
‘Must she keep referring to me like that?' Harry thought, blushing even more.
He remembered that day – the day he first went to Hogwarts. How nervous he had been! And how wonderfully his seven year experience there turned out.
‘Look at the time, Harry,' said his mirror, lazily.
He looked at his watch, which read, ‘Ten Seconds Away From Being Inexcusably Late'.
‘Damn,' Harry thought, as he Apparated to work, taking Me with him. ‘Why won't anyone give me a chance to finish?'