Ginevra Molly Weasley, known to her friends and family as Ginny always knew she was special. The seventh child, the only girl born in the Weasley family in seven generations made her aware of that fact.
It was known by her parents that she was strong magically almost from the day she was born, having turned all her brothers blue when they had awoken her from a sound sleep. They all learned quickly not to mess with her or they'd suffer her wrath.
Not only was she strong magically, she also had another talent. One that her mother, Molly, discovered one day shortly after her darling daughter had turned three, not that she believed it at the time.
Molly had just entered the parlour, having gotten dinner started, to check on her brood. She was surprised at how quiet things were and she smiled as she glanced around the room.
Her two oldest, Bill and Charlie were off at Hogwarts, leaving just her five other children still at home.
Percy, who had just turned eight this past August, was curled up on the couch, his glasses hanging precariously off his nose, a book in his lap as he napped peacefully.
Across the room she saw the twins, Fred and George, normally so rambunctious, playing quietly with a set of muggle blocks, something their father had brought home, just as enthralled with them as the twins.
With them was their brother, Ron, the youngest son. He had fallen asleep, obviously while playing with the twins, having several of the blocks clutched in his hands.
Her eyes swept the rest of the room, looking for her youngest, Ginny. Her heart leapt into her throat when she finally spotted her. She had climbed up onto the couch and was standing on the back, reaching up as far as her dainty little arms could, toward the bookcase.
Before she could move or voice any concern, Ginny over-reached, grabbing a huge old tome, lost her balance and tumbled back onto the couch.
Molly expected to hear her cry out from her fall, but to her surprise, Ginny giggled as she sat up and crawled the length of the couch, grabbing the book that had fallen with her.
The Weasley matriarch watched in fascination as her daughter began to page through the book like she knew what she was looking for, finally stopping and staring at the book like she was actually reading it.
Her curiosity getting the better of her, she silently padded her way across the room to see what her daughter was looking at, not believing that she could be reading the ancient script because she herself had a hard time making it out.
Her curiosity turned to shock when she got close enough to see Ginny's eyes scanning the page as if she was reading the tome without the slightest bit of difficulty.
"What are you doing?" she cooed when she saw Ginny look up at her with a toothy grin.
"Fo 'Arry," Ginny replied happily, her face glowing with a beautiful smile.
"Harry? Harry who dear?" she asked in confusion.
"My 'Arry," her daughter replied, her smile growing, acting like she thought her mum should know who she was talking about. With that, she turned her attention back to the book.
Molly leaned closer, to see what her daughter was looking at. Her eyes widened in surprise when she read the heading on the page, Rituals of Protection.
When she involuntarily let out a small gasp, Ginny looked up at her, looking quite serious. "Me gonna help 'Arry. He live with bad peoples, they hurt him," she said with an angry scowl.
Molly gave her daughter an indulgent smile. "Don't you think that's a bit much for you to do?" she asked pleasantly.
Ginny eyed her mother darkly. "I can do it," she stated forcefully, her eyes blazing with determination.
"Whatever you say, Sweet Pea," Molly replied, once more giving her daughter an indulgent smile.
Ginny huffed and went back to reading the book. She didn't care that her mum didn't believe that she could perform the magic required, she knew that she could and she wouldn't let anything stop her. Harry needed her help even if he didn't know it.
Molly shook her head and headed back into the kitchen to make sure everything was okay with their dinner. Money was always tight with so many mouths to feed and she didn't want to take a chance that any would be ruined.
As she stirred the gravy she let her thoughts drift back to her daughter. While she was rather precocious, she couldn't believe that at age three she had really been reading the old book and understanding any of it.
Giving a small smile, she was sure that Ginny was acting like Percy had at five, pretending to read books well past his ability to understand.
Well as long as it kept her occupied and out of trouble, she would indulge her baby girl.
Ginny sat studying the ritual that she had chosen, memorizing the flowers and herbs she would need. That was another fact that none of her family was aware of, her memory was almost photographic.
Fortunately there where a wide variety of plants that could be used and the more of them included the stronger the protection would be.
Satisfied that she knew what she needed and how to perform the ritual she closed the book and set it aside. Now what she needed to do was decide on when she could get away long enough so she carry through with her plan.
She knew she'd probably get in trouble if she was missing for any length of time but that was a price she was willing to pay to help her Harry.
What she hoped was that she'd be able to sneak out on the night of the full moon. A ritual of protection cast under its light would be the most powerful that it could be and her Harry needed all the protection he could get.
Over the course of the week Ginny spent as much time out in the back garden as possible, scouting out where the plants and flowers she needed were located. The day before the full moon she carried out the first part of her plan, gathering the flowers and herbs she'd need for the ritual. At first she had fretted on how'd she keep them secret but then in a flash of brilliance, she figured out what to do.
Molly watched as her daughter came in from out back, holding hands with her oldest brother that was still at home, Percy. The eight year old boy gave his mother a somewhat pained smile. Though he loved his little sister, spending the last hour with her out in the back garden had drove him round the twist.
While normally watching her wasn't a problem, this afternoon had been a rare exception. It had started off pleasantly enough and things were going swimmingly until Ginny had wanted to pick flowers to take in for the table.
What Percy had thought would be an easy way to pass the time quickly turned into one of the most frustrating hours he had ever spent with his sister, with him finally just giving up and letting her have her way.
Percy was still shaking his head in frustration when he had finally brought Ginny back inside. The one thing he had learned that afternoon was just how stubborn his sister could be.
Ginny had started to pick flowers and gather a bouquet to take in and Percy figured since it was his responsibility to watch her that afternoon that he'd help.
When he had gone to add a red carnation to the white ones she had chosen, she had thrown it away, frowning at him. Not understanding her action, Percy had picked up the red flower and tried to add it back into the handful of flowers Ginny was holding, patiently explaining "The red will look so nice with the white ones."
However, his gentle explanation was met with hostility, with Ginny throwing the red carnation on the ground and stomping on it, smashing it completely, all the while yelling at him, "Not red. No want red," while giving him the evil eye.
The young man was so taken aback by the way she had forcefully obliterated the offending flower that he hadn't even tried to reprimand her for her behaviour.
Things did go a bit better for a while after that as Ginny gathers some larkspur, alyssum, bergamot and coneflowers. Things did get a little tense when she picked some foxglove as it was one of the flowers that their mum had warned him about as it could be poisonous. But since Ginny only picked one flowering stalk, he figured it would be okay.
He had learned his lesson with the incident with the red carnation so he only tried once to stop her from adding some of the herbs from the kitchen garden to the bunch.
When Ginny had glared at him he had quickly backed down, figuring it wasn't worth arguing over, so when she added some tarragon, dill, basil, sage, marjoram, rosemary, thyme and parsley, he just let it go.
He had chuckled softly and shook his head when on the way back toward the house she had plucked and added some juniper, white heather (ignoring the purple), peonies, mullein, holly and some knotweed of all things, he had held his tongue, figuring their mum wouldn't care even if the bouquet looked rather strange and lopsided.
Sure enough, their mum just smiled at Ginny and placed the bouquet in a vase on the table.
Ginny hid her smug smile, her mother doing exactly what she wanted her to do. All she needed to do then was successfully sneak down into the kitchen to retrieve the bouquet and she'd have everything she needed. And the best part, it was "hiding" in plain sight, right on the kitchen table.
She was certain that things would go well as it seemed even Fate was on her side. She had "borrowed" her mother's copy of the Wizarding Almanac so she could find out when the next full moon was.
To her delight the next full moon fell on October 10th starting precisely at midnight. All the previous full moons started at times when she'd definitely be noticed if she was missing.
With the tenth being Wednesday, that meant everyone would be in bed by ten o'clock as her father would be going into work as always and her mum would be up early to make his breakfast for him.
That meant Ginny could wait at least an hour or a little more before she'd head down, gather what she needed and still have plenty of time to set everything up before midnight.
One of the other things no one was aware of was the she had learned how to make things quiet so she could sneak down without the stairs creaking and she'd be able to open the door without anyone hearing.
Just like usual, Ginny let her mother put her to bed at eight o'clock and after her father read her a bedtime story, she rolled over and feigned going to sleep.
After her father left the room, she set her internal alarm to wake her at eleven in case she fell asleep. Not that she thought she was going to, she was so excited about helping her Harry that she was wide awake.
It seemed to take forever for the rest of the family to settle down, even through Ron was put to bed right after she was, with the twins following soon after. With Percy being now being eight he was allowed to stay up till nine before he was made to go to bed.
Finally at ten she heard her parents enter their bedroom and close the door. In the stillness of the late hour, Ginny heard them moving around for a short time before the bed springs squeaked as they climbed in.
It took a little time for her mum and dad to settle down, the bed making small little squeaks as one of them turned over or moved but then after a while all the sounds of movement ceased and Ginny heard the soft snores of her mother join the louder and deeper snores of her father.
Ginny had to force herself to remain calm as the minutes ticked by. Part of her wanted to get going immediately but she didn't want to take a chance at getting caught, so she forced herself to wait until the Grandfather's Clock in the parlour struck out eleven o'clock.
As the last chime died away, Ginny listened carefully to see if she could hear any movement. When she was able to determine that nothing seemed to be moving she slowly climbed out of her bed and put on her slippers.
She made sure that her door didn't squeak when she opened it just enough for her to slip out before shutting it behind her.
She paused for a moment, listening hard to make sure everyone was still asleep. Once she was satisfied that everyone was, she began to creep down the stairs.
She halted, her heart in her throat when she heard the bed squeak in her parent's room but then the noise ceased and she figured either her mother or father had turned over in their sleep as nothing else was heard.
Sighing in relief, she continued her way down and into the kitchen. She smiled as she crawled up in Percy's chair to get her bouquet as his was the closest to the centre of the table on that side.
She grabbed the flowers, almost knocking over the crystal vase but she was able to grab it and keep it from falling. With her heart racing, she quickly got down, glad she had avoided that disaster.
She had to concentrate really hard to get the back door to open and she scolded herself for forgetting to tell it to be quiet before she started. Luckily it only made a small squeak before she stopped it from opening any more.
Once she had told it to be quiet she finished opening the door. After she slipped outside, she gently closed the door until it just touched the frame, leaving it unlatched so it would be easier to get back inside.
With the moon shining brightly as it approached fullness, she had no difficulty seeing where she was going. She headed down toward the back garden but turned right just before it, heading for the paddock where her brothers played Quidditch.
She briefly thought about her plans to start sneaking out to learn how to fly but quickly pushed it from her mind as she had other serious business to attend to.
She passed through the paddock and on into the the orchard, now bare as all the apples had been picked. Not that she was thinking about eating any at the moment.
Half way through the orchard, she swung down to the left and into the woods. She had to weave her way through the trees but it wasn't that difficult as the trees weren't that thick, at least here near the edge.
Fortunately with the moon so bright, she was able to find her way to the small glade she had discovered and where she planned to perform the ritual.
By the time she reached it, it was already half past eleven and while she had a half an hour, Ginny had a bit still to do.
She quickly cleared a circle of about six feet, removing everything down the the ground. After she marked out the cardinal points, she closed her eyes and concentrated on Harry. Once she had located the proper direction, she oriented everything so that she'd be facing in his direction.
She wished she had been able to set some of this up beforehand but she had been afraid that one of her brothers might stumble across it and mention it to their mother.
She went around the edge of the glade and gathered as much dead wood as she could, making a small pile in the centre of the circle.
Pausing to concentrate on the time, she found it was almost five till. Taking a deep breath, she took off her nightgown and kicked off her slippers. She really hoped that no one would spot her.
Serious Rituals needed to be performed starkers and she didn't want to be found in the middle of the night running around in the woods nude.
She grabbed the bouquet and sat facing toward Harry, slightly north of east north east.
It was now two minutes till midnight and Ginny knew it was time to start. She closed her eyes, concentrating on the small pile of wood before her and she smiled when she felt the heat from the flames she had started.
Just as she heard the church clock start to toll out the hour, Ginny began to toss her collection of herb and flowers onto the flames. As she did so she began to recite the ritual she had memorized.
"I ask the ancient ones who watch over us to please help me tonight. Someone who is dear to me needs protection from those who would hurt him."
"I offer these talismans so that you may use the magic within them to infuse it into him so that he will be free from hurt and pain."
"He is but a child and should not have to suffer at the hands of those who watch over him."
She tossed the fern into the flames. "With this fern, I ask that you invoke your magic."
It was followed by the white heather. "Use this heather to protect him."
Next came the alyssum, "Use this alyssum to add to his protection."
Then came the foxglove. "With this folk's-glove, may the Fairies watch and protect him."
She tossed the larkspur. "Please increase his protection with this larkspur."
The coneflower quickly followed. "Add to his protection with this coneflower."
On and on she went, adding the flowers and herbs one by one, asking for the ancient ones to use the power they contained to help protect, strengthen and heal her Harry.
She added the juniper, peonies, mullein, holly and some knotweed, the bergamot, tarragon, dill, basil, sage, marjoram, rosemary, thyme and parsley, until they all had entered the sacred flames, burning completely to ash, their smoke drifting high into the sky.
Ginny smiled as she saw the tendrils of smoke twist and form into the telling figures that let her know that she had invoked the magic correctly.
She gasped when the smoke swirled some more and slowly a face began to form. Her eyes widened in shock when the face stared down at her, mouthing "Thank you".
As it did it continued to form until she could make out the details quite clearly. It was a young boy about her age, at the most a year older. Over his right eye, just visible sticking out of his fringe, was a zigzag lightening bolt shaped scar and even though he was made out of smoke, Ginny could tell his eyes were a bright green.
The eyes held her under an gaze so intense, it sent thrills down the youngest Weasley's spine.
She knew in an instant who's face she was seeing and with tears starting to trickle from the corners of her eyes, she whispered, "I love you, My Harry."
Her smile widened when the face smiled at her and nodded its head, though there was a sense of sadness she could detect.
Then slowly, as the flames died back, the face slowly drifted apart until she could no longer make out any features. As the fire began to flicker and go out, Ginny found herself extremely tired, more tired than she ever felt in her life.
She grabbed her things and slowly made her way back into the house and she silently crept her way back up into her bed. She was so exhausted she didn't even realize she hadn't put her night clothes back on or that she had smudges of wood ash on her face and body.
All she could manage was to crawl into bed and fall asleep immediately. Though if anyone had been there to see, they would have noticed the small smile that enveloped her face.
The next morning, far away in Surrey, a small boy woke up in the cupboard under the stairs with a smile on his face for the first time since he had come to live with his relatives.
Though he had often felt like someone had loved him, it was the first time he could put a face to that person, a small red haired little girl's with chocolate brown eyes and freckles that covered her one cheek, flowed up over her nose and covered her other cheek.
To him, she was the prettiest girl he had ever seen.
He lay there quite still with his eyes closed as he studied her face. For some reason he couldn't explain the name Ginny popped into his mind and he just knew that it was the little red haired girl's name.
He also noticed that he felt better than he ever had. He didn't hurt anywhere. It seemed all the spots where he had been struck, punched or hit no longer bothered him in the slightest.
He also felt stronger than ever, something that amazed him.
Before long the sound he dreaded was heard as his aunt came down the stairs. The footsteps paused outside the door to his cupboard and the sound of the latch could be heard as it slid free.
"Get up, you freak," his aunt screeched. "You have five minutes to get into the kitchen and begin breakfast."
Harry sighed, the smile slipping from his face as he crawled out of his threadbare blanket and exited his cupboard, heading for the loo so he could get to the kitchen in time if he didn't want to be punished.
Fortunately he just beat his cousin into the loo or he knew that the boy would have delayed long enough to cause him to be late.
Harry hurried to the kitchen and pulled out the little step-stool that he used to reach the cooker.
In no time at all he had the bacon cooking and he was whisking the eggs so that they would be ready when it was time to add them to the frying pan.
He could see his aunt scowling at him but so far he hadn't done anything to warrant a beating.
Soon the other two denizens of the house arrived for breakfast. His uncle eyed him maliciously and gruffly mumbled something as he began reading the morning paper.
His cousin was barely awake as he sat down, his eyes drifting shut as he fought to stay awake.
Harry could feel his aunt's eyes boring into him as he continued to cook their breakfast. He heard his stomach grumble as the wonderful aromas of the food he was cooking infiltrated his brain.
How he wished that he would be able to share what he was cooking but he knew that was a foolish wish as he'd never been allowed to eat such wonderful foods in the past.
He'd have to settle for his couple of pieces of dry toast and a glass of water.
Just as he was finishing getting the food cooked and started to place it on the table, his cousin slipped his foot out and tripped him, causing the platter filled with the eggs to go flying. It crashed to the floor, the platter shattering and the eggs splattering across the room.
Harry caught a glimpse of his cousin's smirk as he slowly started to rise.
"What have you done?" his aunt shrieked angrily.
Harry knew that explaining that Dudley had tripped him was useless and would only increase his punishment.
"Boy, you're in for it now," his uncle grumbled as he rose from his chair.
Harry cringed and screwed his eyes shut, waiting for the blow to land.
Instead of the expected pain, he heard his uncle cry out and opening his eyes he found his uncle holding his hand that was turning a dark, angry red.
"How dare you use your freakishness against your betters," his aunt yelled. "I'll teach you to hurt your uncle," she added as she grabbed the frying pan and swung it hard at his head.
Harry was caught totally unawares and knew he'd never be able to duck fast enough to avoid the blow.
His eyes bugged out as he saw the frying pan stop inches from his head, clanging loudly.
His aunt, shrieked and dropped the pan, cradling her hand to her chest.
Dudley stood, outraged that his parents were both hurt. He swung his fist at Harry who stood there in shock.
As with both his aunt and uncle, Dudley's fist hit something inches from Harry's face. There was a sickening sound as his fist deformed, looking like he had broken most of the bones in his hand.
He howled in pain, crumpling to the floor, holding his injured hand.
His uncle tried to grab Harry with his uninjured hand but screamed in pain as his hand blistered as if he had stuck it in a fire.
Standing there shaking, he shook his head in disbelief. "To – to your cup-cupboard," he stammered, holding his injured hands out in front of him.
Harry scurried from the room and crawled into his cupboard, bewildered about what had just happened. Instead of him being punished and suffering in pain, his relatives had all injured themselves while trying to hit him.
Far away in Ottery – Saint Catchpole, Ginny Weasley smiled contentedly, knowing that her Harry was safe.
A/N: Thanks StephanieO for your fabulous Beta work. Superb as always