Arrival At Grimmauld Place

Ginny staggered through the front door of the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix, dragging her trunk behind her. The youngest Weasley, along with her father, mother and three of her older brothers, stood for a moment in the musty hall before a female voice called from the other end."Wotcher!"

George dropped his trunk in surprise and it emitted several loud bangs. Immediately the most dreadful shrieking filled the air. Ginny looked around, trying to find the source of the awful noise, and discovered that it came from a portrait more hideously realistic than anything she had ever imagined.

She heard her mother gasp, "What on earth?" but was distracted when she saw a slim woman come stumbling up the hall. She had bright blue hair and was busy stunning all the other portraits, which had started to yowl as well. Finally she reached them, tripping over Ginny's trunk in the process. She seized one side of the curtains that hung beside the portrait of the screaming and cursing witch and tugged as hard as she could. Ginny's father seemed to get the idea before the rest of them, and he seized the other curtain, attempting to help. After several minutes of outraged shouting from the painting they managed to get the curtains fully closed, and the woman in the portrait subsided into silence.

"Who was that?" Ginny's mum asked, leaning against her own trunk for support. The young woman turned and grinned. "The Matriarch Of The House." The Weasleys could hear the captials as she spoke. "She makes all that noise every time she wakes up, so we've all to go quietly in the hall."


Ginny could tell that her mother was distinctly not impressed with the condition of the house, though she was, of course, far too polite to say so. The young woman came forward and smiled at them all, saying, "I'm Tonks." Fred and George grinned and nudged each other – obviously they liked the woman. "Sorry there weren't more people out to meet you – Shacklebolt's on guard duty, and that friend of yours is still settling in upstairs."

Ron's face brightened immediately. "Hermione's here?"

"Got here half an hour ago. She was about to start a fight about Kreacher so I got her to go upstairs and start unpacking. One of you's sharing a room with her."

At this Tonks craned her head at Ginny, and said, "Are you the youngest then? I like your hair." At that she screwed up her face for a moment, and suddenly she had a cap of shining red hair.

"Cool," breathed Fred, standing behind Ginny, who was staring at the woman in amazement.

"You're a metamorphmagus, aren't you?" Ginny asked.

Tonks looked surprised."How'd you know that? Almost no one knows what a metamorphmagus is."

"Bill told me," Ginny said, still bowled over by the woman's hair colour. Surely her own didn't look like that!

She heard Ron snicker behind her and he said, "Do you remember every thing that Bill tells you?"

"I listen, Ron. You might try it some time."

"Oh, shut it, Percy."

Fortunately Ron was interrupted as her dad said, "Right then. Why don't we all get our bags upstairs?"

"Can I go chat with Hermione for a bit, Dad?" Arthur sighed as he flicked his wand and all the trunks rose gently into the air. "All right then, Ron. Tonks, you'd better show me who's going where."

Ron bounded up the stairs, and Ginny saw the twins saunter off for a look around. She was about to go see Hermione herself when her mum said, "Ginny, could you go make tea? I think the kitchen is down that way. I'm going to help your Dad sort out the rooms."

As much as Ginny wanted to argue, she saw the strained look in her mother's eyes and nodded instead. Slowly she made her way down the hall, picking her steps carefully – she didn't want to think about what might be on the floor. Eventually she reached the kitchen, which, while still dark, was a lot nicer. A figure was sitting quietly in the darkness, and Ginny peered closely at it before recognition struck. "Professor Lupin!" she exclaimed in surprise.

He was sitting at the table cradling a bottle of butterbeer. There were another two chairs pulled out, and two other bottles on the table. "Ginny Weasley," he said."It's good to see you again. How are you?"

"Oh, I'm fine. My arms are a bit sore from dragging that blasted trunk, though." She grinned at him, thinking that he looked very old for someone who was younger than her dad.

"Have you all arrived then?" he said.

"Yeah. We're all here." A thought hit her suddenly and she said, "Actually, Percy isn't with us."

Lupin furrowed his brow and said, "Why not?"

"Can I tell you later? It's just Mum wants a cup of tea and I don't want to talk about Percy when she could come through that door at any time. Mum gets upset when she hears his name."

"Tea?" asked Lupin. "Is that why you're down here?"


"Well, let me help you."

"No, I'm fine really. If there's one thing Mum taught me, it's how to find my way around a kitchen."

He smiled at her and said, "Well then, I'll go say hello to your Dad and the others."

He left the room and Ginny turned to the cooker. She had filled the kettle, set it to boil, and was in the process of searching for the tea when the back door sudddenly opened, allowing aburst of unseasonably cold air into the room. She heard an unfamiliar voice call out, "Remus?" and turned to greet whomever it was.

She dropped the teacup she held in her hand and it shattered at her feet. She knew that face, having seen it on dozens of Ministry 'Wanted' posters that had been scattered everywhere during Ginny's second year at Hogwarts. Immediately she reached for her wand. She was completely terrified, but determined to put up at least some kind of defence. He had been grinning at her, but the grin dropped from his face when he saw her lift her wand. She backed away from him, and as he called out, "Wait!" she slipped out through the door, dashing back into the hall.

She raced back up the hall, desperately trying to understand how Sirius Black could have found his way into the Headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix. Dumbledore was its Secret Keeper – how was it possible that Voldemort's right-hand man could have found out the secret?

She crashed into Hermione in the front hallway, yelling out, "Dad! Dad!" as the older girl said, "Ginny, I was just coming to find...what's wrong? You're all white." Ginny ignored her and continued shouting."Dad! Professor Lupin! Somebody get down here now!"

The portrait behind her started yelling again."Blood traitor, abomination, shame of my flesh!" Ginny turned to face the end of the hall, to see Sirius Black making his way towards them slowly. She grabbed Hermione and pushed the older girl behind her, all the while pointing her wand at the man. Desperately, she wished that someone - anyone! - else was there.

Hermione said, "Ginny, what on earth...?"

"Dad! Mum! Sirius Black! Sirius Black is in the house! Get out!"

Sirius Black actually flinched when she spoke, and Ginny stared at him, now completely confused as she heard her mother saying, "Ginevra Molly Weasley! What do you think you are doing, making such a racket?"

Ginny stared up at her mother, who stood with her hands planted on her hips and her face a picture of outrage. "Well, young lady?"

"But Mum – it's Sirius Black!" Ginny exclaimed as the dark-haired man fought with the curtains around the screaming portrait.


"Sirius Black!"

Her mum's face softened suddenly and she said, "Ginny, it's fine."

"What do you mean, it's fine? He's a murderer! You told me!"

Ginny saw Sirius glance suddenly from Ginny to her mother, who chuckled, before calling out, "Ronald!" They all knew that tone of voice, and it came as no surprise to Ginny that they immediately heard Ron thumping down the stairs above them.

Hermione put her hand on Ginny's wrist and said calmly, "Ginny, I think you can put your wand down now."

Ginny looked around her, completey and utterly bewildered, as she heard Ron say in an aggrieved tone of voice, "What was all that racket?"

"Ronald Weasley! Did you forget to tell your sister about Sirius?"

"What do you mean did I forget – I thought you'd told her!"

"No, Ron – you were supposed to tell Ginny. I didn't have the time, I told you."

Feeling as though her ears were ringing, Ginny said softly, "What was Ron supposed to tell me?"

"It's absolutely unacceptable that you forgot, Ron – your sister thought there was a mass murderer in the house, and probably got the fright of her life!"

Ginny stared at her mother for a moment and said, "Mum! I'm fine. Really. But what is it exactly that I'm supposed to know?"

"Ginny dear, Sirius isn't a mass murderer. He's innocent."

Ginny felt as though she wanted the floor to open up and swallow her right there, but she said, "And everyone knew."


"Except me."

"Yes. Your brother was supposed to mention it to you before we got here."

"And I ran screaming through the house? For no reason at all?"


"Is there anything else I should know?"

Sirius came forward, sweeping his dark hair out of his eyes, and said, "Yes. I'm also Harry's godfather."

Ginny took this new information in without a flicker of surprise – she had gone beyond it – and said, "Does he know?"

Sirius looked at her and said, "Yes."

"Sorry for the, well, the running and shrieking in fear."

"You ran! And shrieked! Nice one, Sirius."

"Shut up, Ron! This is all your fault!" Ginny said as a blush of embarrassment crept up her face.

Fortunately for Ginny the tea kettle, abandoned in the kitchen, began to whistle, and she said, "Well, looks like the kettle's boiling. Who wants tea?" She started to make her way back to the kitchen, thinking that she might put the butcher knife to good use and just kill herself right there. Just before she closed the door she distinctly heard the sound of laughter.

Later that night Ginny was doing the washing up in the kitchen, thinking that she would truly be glad when her week was finished and George would have to do it. She heard a voice say, "Can I give you a hand with that?" She turned to see Sirius looking at her from the door, and smiled in acceptance.

For a while they didn't speak – Ginny was so wrapped up in her own embarassment that it was hard to – but eventually the silence became awkward. "I'm sorry about before."

"Don't worry about it. Not the first time it's happened."

"Still – it can't have been nice. So, I am sorry. I promise not to do that again." Inwardly she kicked herself for sounding like a twelve year old; he made her nervous.

He grinned at her suddenly and said, "You have to admit it was pretty funny."

"No, I don't. It's bad enough as it is. Fred and George are going to tease about this for months."

"Why do you think that?"

"You'll see. It'll be all, 'Ickle Ginnykins saw her friend's big bad godfather and ran screaming for Daddy.' and, 'Watch out, Gin - Sirius Black's right behind you!' Okay," she admitted as Sirius lifted an expressive eyebrow. "I suppose it was funny."

Sirius laughed and Ginny giggled along with him as she stacked a pile of plates. He looked at her and said, "Still, I was rather impressed, you know."

"By what – my impressive ability to run like a madwoman?"

"No. When you saw me you didn't panic – you were completely calm, and your wand arm was steady. Most people in your situation would have either lost it completely or started cursing me immediately. How old are you?"


"Well, your reactions were very good, no matter what your age."

"Trust me, living with Fred and George, one develops skills."

"Really? What kind of skills?"

"Well, I have a mean Bat-Bogey Hex."

He looked at her, completely disgusted, and said, "I don't even know where you would learn that."

"Like I said – I have six older brothers..."

He interrupted her. "I see. One develops...skills." Sirius winked at her.

Ginny smiled at him, thinking that, on the whole, she rather liked Sirius Black.