Teatime In Grimmauld Place

Ginny stomped into the kitchen of number twelve Grimmauld Place and slammed the door shut. Her mother and Sirius looked up at her from the table curious as she made her way over to the cooker. She filled the kettle and plonked it down, then pulled out a chair and slumped into it. Sirius cocked an eyebrow at her, "What's wrong with you?" She gave a deep sigh and said, "Ron and Hermione."

Molly stood up and found the biscuit tin, saying, "What are they arguing about now?" Ginny shook her head, "I honestly don't know Mum. They've been at it all morning, I just couldn't take it any more." Her Mum put the tin of chocolate biscuits down in front of her, and Ginny sat up with a jolt, "Here Mum, sit down I'll get the tea." She squeezed her Mum's shoulder as she stood up. Sirius nodded at her, and Ginny smiled as she hunted for the teapot.

When she'd first arrived at Grimmauld Place there had been a rather embarrassing scene. Somehow no one had told her that Sirius Black was not actually, well, Sirius Black, as everyone knew him. Ron had explained, rather sheepishly, that he thought that Mum had told her – and her Mum thought Ron had told her. Which was all very well for them, but she was the one who'd yelled that everyone had to leave because there was mass murderer in the house when she'd first seen him. Hermione said that Sirius thought it was funny, but Ginny still cringed inside every time she thought of it.

She felt a little sorry for him though – he obviously hated being cooped up all the time, and she couldn't really blame him. He had the look of a man who would wrestle bears for fun, and instead he was forced to spend all his time clearing up Doxy droppings. Ginny was willing to bet that when in school Sirius had tumbled into trouble just as readily as her own brothers – and had taken all criticism like water off a duck's back.

Still she couldn't help but wish that he wouldn't siphon off his frustration into her Mum. They didn't get on, however polite they were to each other, and sometimes Ginny wished they'd just leave it be. Her Mum was exhausted and Sirius was frustrated, and every once in a while they'd go for each other's throats. Unfortunately her Mum tended to lose her temper very quickly, and Sirius held grudges, so life in Grimmauld Place was nothing if not dramatic.

Ginny sat down and poured out three cups of tea. She brushed her hair back off her face, "Can I stay here for a bit?"

"Ginny we need to make this place habitable..."

"I know Mum, and I have been helping, just don't send me back into the war zone yet?"

"Is it really that bad?" Sirius smiled at her, and Ginny grinned back at him.

"Well Ron knocked over a picture frame and broke the glass, and Hermione pointed out that if he'd just listened to her it wouldn't have happened, and well it just kind of exploded from there."

Molly sighed indulgently and said, "I'm sure it's not too serious Ginny." "You weren't there Mum. I honestly don't know how Harry stands it. Well no, that's not true. I do know how he stands it. He just doesn't notice!"

"Ginny!"

"It's true Mum! Harry's nearly as dense as Ron – I bet you ten galleons it's never even occurred to him."

"Ginny! What have I said about gambling?"

Ginny sighed, "It was a joke Mum. Anyway it's still true. Harry's completely oblivious to it – so is Ron for that."

Sirius leaned forward his eyes sparkling, "Ron fancies Hermione?"

"Oh he doesn't know he fancies her, but it's so obvious that he does. Except Hermione doesn't see it either, she thinks he fancies Fleur! It wasn't Fleur he was ragingly jealous of at the Yule Ball that's for sure."

Sirius let out a great guffaw, and Molly jumped in her seat at the sound, "This is wonderful, Harry never tells me this stuff."

"That's because it'd have to land in his lap before he'd notice it! Sorry Mum. I'm just tired that's all."

"I know Ginny, but Harry probably has other things on his mind, so I want you to restrain those comments when he comes all right?"

"Mum! I'd never say it to him! Oh yeah I know you saw Vol...You-Know-Who rise again this summer but could you please pay more attention to your friends' love lives? Come on, I'm not stupid." Ginny bit deep into a chocolate biscuit, irritated.

Her Mum searched through a pile of letters and handed her one, "This came for you this morning?" Ginny looked at the handwriting and squealed, "It's from Michael! Thank you, Mum!" She was about to start reading it when she noticed Sirius grinning at her, and she decided to read it in her bedroom. He was very like the twins after all. She stood and kissed her Mum on the cheek, saying, "I'm just going to read this upstairs, and then I'll go back to Ron and Hermione." As she walked out the door she asked, "But Mum, would it really be so bad if I locked them in a really small room for a few hours? Or if I got Bill to give Ron a few hints?"

Sirius snorted as Ginny went and turned to Molly who looked disapproving. He decided to change the subject, "Does she fancy Harry?" Molly dropped into her seat surprised, "How did you work that out?"

"Just little things she let drop every once in a while. She certainly didn't mean to."

Molly sighed, and Sirius saw the tightness around her eyes, "She used to – I don't know now. This Michael sounds like a nice boy though. And it'll be better for her."

"Harry never paid attention?"

"Well as Ginny put it, he's oblivious. Oh but there'll be fireworks when Ron hears about this you mark my words."

"Why?"

"He still thinks Ginny's a little girl really. He'll be quite shocked when he discovers that there's a boyfriend."

"Especially one he doesn't know."

"Exactly. Still Ginny can handle him. My girl's tough..." Molly's voice trailed off, and she paled, but eventually continued, "She's had to be tough, ever since the Chamber. She was so quiet afterwards. My poor girl."

Suddenly Molly seemed to pull herself up tall, and she turned to the cooker, "I'd better make a start on dinner. Could you go make sure those two aren't killing each other?" Sirius stood and touched her shoulder, "She'll be all right Molly, they all will. She's smart, and like you said, she's tough. They'll be all right." Her hands were shaking a little and she said, "Dinner'll be ready in two hours." She was still standing there when he left the room, and he couldn't help but think that the Weasley women really were tough.