Here I Am

Disclaimer: Let's see...looks around...am I a successful author? Nope. Do I have two kids, with a third on the way, and a great husband? Nope. Am I the creator of a series of books that have captivated the whole world? Nope. Therefore, none of this belongs to me. Got it? Great. Keep going.

Summary: Some people have the most interesting life stories in the world, and they can make entire serials about each little up or down, as if the rest of the world really CARED. Well, I don't. I'm an average teenage girl, with an average life. I don't have an interesting story. But here goes anyway.

-&-

Chapter 2: Feuding Families…or rather, Feuding Family

Oh my God. That was a classic moment. I should have one of those Muggle things Hermione's told me about; the ones that let you get moving pictures. Vide cameras? Vido cameras? Video cameras? Whatever. I should have had one, so I could have captured what just happened, and then I would have shown it at Ron and Hermione's wedding.

Then again, for there to be a wedding, Ron has to actually admit his feelings and snog her senseless, and considering the fact that he's a thick-headed, idiotic boy, I won't count on that in the near future. So much for the bet Dean and Seamus have had going since the beginning of fourth year, on when those two will get together. The last bet was for the beginning of sixth year…I REALLY doubt that, at this rate.

Anyway, to return to what I was supposed to be telling you, I am going to remember those five minutes for the rest of my life. Basically, I heard the doorbell, went down, and saw Mum yelling at Fred and George. I don't think any of them even heard the bell – we should get some sort of an explosion to sound when someone's at the door. That's the only way we'll ever hear in this house.

So I screamed over the lot of them: 'HERMIONE'S HERE!'

That stopped Ron in his tracks, but Mum just goes, 'Well open the door for her, Ginny. Where's your common sense?'

Ron glares at me for that – you can tell he was dying to be the first person to see her. So I do what I know will annoy him even more: I blink innocently and then go off to the door.

When I open it, Hermione, who looked a bit worried – maybe she thought we'd all been killed by Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes before she turned up – gives me a huge grin. She waves at her parents, who wave back and drive off, and drags her trunk in.

And then, we do what any girls do when they meet. Although, to be realistic, Hermione is one of only two people in the world that I would do it to.

We squeal.

'Ginny!'

'Hermione!'

We hug each other, and then look each other up and down. 'You've grown!' Hermione's smiling in a way that only Hermione can.

'So have you,' I return. It's true. She's managed it another inch or two, though I doubt she'll ever make it to Harry's height – and Ron's is just a distant dream. Aside from that, she does look a bit older…sort of more mature, in a pretty way. Damn her.

I take her hand. 'Come and say hello to everyone else.' Of course, I know exactly what I'm leading her into. In my mind, my face is one big evil grin. Ron is going to kill me.

So she comes to the doorway of the living room, and sees the Weasley family in all their glory: two plant pots overturned, one broken into shards, soil all over the floor, Mum with her hands on her hips, standing over the twins and Ron, who appear to be having to clear up the mess by hand.

Oh, the joys of annoying an older sibling.

'Look who's here!' I sing out.

Ron looks up, and his face – well, let's just say that I should have had a camera for that as well. 'Hermione!' he says, in a horrified voice (as if he didn't know that she was the one at the door). He stands up quickly and tries to brush the earth on his hands off onto his jeans. I think he thought he was going to shake hands with her.

Well, clearly not if Hermione has anything to say about it. Her grin gets bigger as he sees her and gives her a sort-of smile, and next thing I know, she's practically flown across the room and hugged him. 'Ron!'

Yeah, you're right if you're thinking Bet Ron didn't expect that. He looked completely panicked the minute she put her arms around him…and then you could practically see him thinking, 'Okay, she's a girl, humour her,' so he sort of looked resigned and hugged her back.

You know what I noticed, though? (Ok, you don't know, but I'm about to tell you now anyway.) He didn't hug her properly – it's like he was scared of hugging her. I mean, I know what it's like when my brothers hug me (all right, in Fred and George's case, headlock me), and that's just not how Ron normally is. Oh whatever. I sound like a complete freak, cataloguing the ways my family hug people. I should carry on.

So Hermione hugs Ron, and Fred and George's faces split into identical, evil twin grins. I swear, sometimes they're so synchronised, it even scares me, and I've grown up with them. You can tell they're thinking about the best way to blackmail Ron about his "friendship" with her.

Then Hermione steps back, and before he can stop her, picks up his arms and looks at them.

'Ron, you've still got the scars! Haven't you been putting that stuff on?' She touches them and Ron pulls his hands away.

'Of course I have, but Madam Pomfrey said it'd take a while.'

In case you're confused by this, considering the fact you're an inanimate notebook, I should explain. Last June, when we were at the Department of Mysteries, Ron decided to…wrestle with a brain – or rather, a tankful of them. Madam Pomfrey said thoughts could leave deeper scarring than anything else – and I guess this is Class A evidence.

Then Hermione turns to Mum, who hugs her and starts doing her Mum-thing. You know, clucking over how she's grown, and how pretty she is, and what a young lady she's become, blah blah blah. Then I basically dragged Hermione up here to unpack before we eat (I got another glare from Ronniekins for that).

Talk of the devil, I have to go. Hermione's finished unpacking while I've been writing this out, and wants to go down. Bye.

(Wait, why am I saying goodbye to an inanimate object? This diary thing must be growing on me. That is not good.)

-&-

Hermione's ecstatic that I'm using this notebook so much. Apparently I'm "finally talking to someone," even if it is "something that won't talk back." I haven't had the heart to tell her that part of the reason I write in this is because I get so bored. A houseful of boys all summer would be any girl's idea of fun…except for the fact that they're all my brothers. Hermione told me that sometimes I can rival Harry in my ability to avoid a subject. I'm not sure if that's a compliment or an insult.

Talking of Harry, Ron and Hermione are going spare about him. I know Ron gets annoyed with him; he writes a letter practically every other day, and he continually gets variations of the same reply: 'I'm fine.' Check out the list.

I'm fine.

I'm okay.

I'm alright.

I'm doing well.

I'm getting on.

There are more, but I can't be bothered to list them all. My guess is that Harry's using a thesaurus and carrying out an evil plan to slowly drive Ron ballistic. Maybe he things that while Ron's in a psychotic state, he'll do what he should have done years ago: give in to hormones and kiss Hermione.

They're having a nice rant to each other now, about Harry's stupidity. It's probably the one time we'll ever hear them agree on something. I'd better document it for posterity. Hermione's saying…

Oh. Hermione's saying it's no good looking at her, Harry's been writing more or less the same to her. I can't say I find that surprising. I guess I don't mean to be horrible – I know all three of them are best friends, but I'm being honest: if Harry doesn't tell Ron something, I really can't see him telling Hermione. Unless it was a matter of life or death, like Ron wasn't talking to him, or he was telling them together…or he needed Hermione's brains…or any combination of the above. I'm not thick – Hermione admitted that she had helped Harry with the first task in the Triwizard Tournament. Good thing too. At least he's still alive today, and not another notch on a Horntail's tail.

Actually, I really do feel sorry for Ron and Hermione. They're both really sick with worry over Harry – you only have to listen to them to hear that. It is a bit mean of him to keep them in the dark like this, even if it does bring Ron into a psychotic state of mind and snog Hermione.

What else? You know, I doubt most people would approve of me eavesdropping on their conversation, but really, they're only in the next room. If they didn't want me to hear, they would have closed the door. Just because I'm writing doesn't mean I don't have ears, although Ron would be stupid enough to think that. He's a boy. That says it all.

Now Ron's telling Hermione that the longest letter he got from Harry was a two-line one near the beginning of the summer, saying that since Dudley had discovered his inner "boxer," he was thinking up ways to avoid him. I wonder what boxer means? It makes me thing of a pair of boxer shorts, but I don't think Harry meant that…what would he do with a pair of boxers designed for a whale?

Ohh. Hermione's just explained it to Ron (I'm sure she doesn't mind me being an Unacknowledged Pupil Number Two. At least I'm willing. Ron's just sighing, and I bet he's rolling his eyes). Boxer means like a wrestler. That makes sense. Dudley would make a good sumo wrestler.

I can see why Harry wants to get out of the house. None of his family sound at all nice, and Mum can barely mention them without pursing her lips and looking like she can smell something really bad. I swear, sometimes, I think of Harry all alone with those Dursleys, especially with Dudley, and I feel sorry for him

Then, of course, I remember that when Harry goes back to Privet Drive next summer, he's going to be legally allowed to use magic outside school, and I feel really sorry for Dudley. He won't know what hit him (he probably wouldn't anyway – Harry once said he rivalled Crabbe and Goyle for stupidity).

Isn't this ridiculous? Hermione and Ron are in the next room, discussing Harry, and here I am, joining in their all-expenses-paid worry spree, right here in this notebook, like the sodding slowcoach that I am. I just looked up, and realised that almost this entire entry was about that idiot.

I don't mean that. He can be thick, and he isn't the easiest person to live with, but he's got plenty going for him. Even if it does mean that his best friends have to sit in a room and discuss his correspondence shortcomings.

Actually, they're not talking now – they're whispering…no, that's stopped too. There's silence. That's off. Considering that the two people in question are an outspoken girl and a boy who loves to disagree with her, this is really odd.

You know, I should check on them. I mean, I should act on behalf of Mum, and as a responsible near-adult, and make sure there's nothing…unacceptable going on. They're both sixteen – and we all know what teenage hormones are like at sixteen, of course.

And of course I am NOT acting on behalf of myself in my position as a little sister looking for blackmail opportunities.

Well, if I happen to accidentally-on-purpose drop my quill, and have to lean over just so, to pick it up, I can just about see through the doorway…

Nope, no snogging there.

Dammit.

Hermione's sitting on the rug in front of the fireplace with her knees up to her chest, looking contemplative, and Ron's leaning against the wall opposite with his legs stretched out, so it looks like he was sliding down the wall and stopped halfway. No romance whatsoever. I swear, after five years, you'd think something would give –

Oh, that's nice. Ron just came and closed the door. Clearly they now want to discuss some business that no one else is allowed to hear. Well, that's fine with me. I know when I'm not wanted. I'll go…do something. Something really interesting. Something much more fun than whatever they're doing. Something cool…

…I'll let you know when I find something that answers to all those things.

-&-

Wow.

This house has had more fights in it than I can remember in one day, than in a long while – since, well, Percy went off (bloody git that he is).

I don't suppose you could call all of them fights really. Just people losing their temper and stuff.

It's been kind of…volatile. Right now, I have pretty much nothing to do, since Ron's sulking, Hermione's trying to snap him out of it, and Mum's doing something in the kitchen that involves a lot of clattering and banging. Dad isn't home yet, and he's the only one who can calm Mum down.

I suppose I should start from when Mum told Ron and Hermione that Harry wouldn't be arriving tomorrow, as originally planned. Ron nearly had a fit when she said, 'Dumbledore has requested that Harry stay with his relatives for a while,' and I think the only reason Hermione didn't have one too was because there would have been no one to ask the questions they wanted answers to.

At any rate, Mum apparently had no other information than that he would come 'soon,' and that he was handling the postponement 'with grace' (as, she was quick to point out, should they).

"With grace"? Hah. That just means that he hasn't done himself too much damage from kicking the walls yet.

Hermione demanded to know how soon 'soon' was, but Mum couldn't answer that. Ron lost it even more.

'Forget it,' he went to Hermione. 'I'll ask Fred and George if there's anyway of us getting there to his place.'

It is a mark of how worked up Hermione was, that I actually saw her hesitate and then open her mouth to say ok.

But Mum got there first.

'Neither of you will do any such thing,' she said hotly. 'Harry will come here in his own time I'm sure he'll survive until then, and I will thank you two to stop fussing about it so much.'

I swear, Ron swelled up like a bullfrog at that one.

'MUM!' he almost shouted. Mum started when he did that, and gave him one of her Looks, the ones that are usually guaranteed to make us shut up. For a second, I thought Ron was going to do just that – look sheepish and walk off. But he didn't. He did shut his mouth, but he sort of…I don't know, drew himself up to his full height. He doesn't need to, of course – he's almost a head and a half taller than Mum already – but somehow he looked more...adult. It's one of the few times I've seen him so serious and grown-up.

'Mum,' he said, in a really controlled voice. 'Sirius died two months ago. He was his godfather. And I've been best friends with him for five years and known Sirius for two. Harry broods way too much if he's left to himself, and he's brilliant at locking up what he feels and then sulking. If we don't get to talk to him soon -'

'It's true, Mrs Weasley,' Hermione interrupted, nodding her head vigorously.

Mum just pursed her lips. 'I have every sympathy for Harry,' she said. 'And I appreciate that you two are worried. But really, all this fuss from you is unnecessary – we can't do anything until Dumbledore says it's safe.' She paused, and narrowed her eyes. 'And I would suggest that you remember, young man, that we have yet to discuss this whole business of what you do at school. Harbouring a dangerous fugitive – don't tell me Sirius isn't dangerous as a fully-trained wizard – going to visit him in mountain caves alone –'

'SIRIUS IS NOT A FUGITIVE!' Ron roared. That was plain scary. I saw Hermione try to slip her arm around his.

'Come on, Ron,' she almost pleaded. 'Let's go and -'

But Ron pulled his arm away (I think I saw Hermione look hurt, for a moment.) 'I WAS THERE, MUM!' he yelled. 'WE FOUND OUT THE TRUTH! YOU CAN ASK HARRY, HERMIONE, REMUS – SIRIUS IS INNOCENT! HE WAS FRAMED FOR THOSE MURDERS, AND THE REAL DEATH EATER ESCAPED!' He took a deep breath. 'HE SPENT TWELVE DAMN YEARS IN AZKABAN FOR CRIMES HE DIDN'T COMMIT, AND HE DIDN'T EVEN GET A BLOODY TRIAL! DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND?'

Yeah, I think we all get the impression this is stuff he's wanted to say to Mum for a while now.

'Language!' Hermione hissed.

I almost expected Mum to threaten him with a walloping with her broomstick, but she looked kind of weird for a moment. It was freaky – I'm used to seeing Mum hopping mad if we do stupid things, not wearing un-Mum-ish expressions.

Eventually, after a few seconds, the normal anger that I know and love (or rather, fear) came back, and she stared hard at Ron.

'Ronald Weasley, go to your room right now! You can calm down there and start thinking about improving your choice of words.'

Ron looked absolutely furious as Hermione dragged him off, which is odd – I've never seem him look so rattled before.

Even odder was what Mum was like after. Normally, she's just a bit moody, but when she watched Ron go off, and turned round to see me in the doorway, I could have sworn she had tears in her eyes. 'Oh Ginny,' she said quietly. 'What am I going to do with them? They're growing up too fast.' She stopped. 'You're all growing up too fast.'

I did the only thing I could, really. I gave her a hug and then left her, feeling rather guilty – which is stupid, because I know she hates crying in front of anyone, and I didn't do anything wrong.

I don't know why she still has this misconception of Sirius either. I got the full story from Ron on one of our cleaning expeditions in twelve Grimmauld Place, back when Hermione hadn't arrived yet, and it was just the two of us (Fred and George, thanks to their Apparition ability, managed to bunk off far too much). Dumbledore certified his innocence too, when he told us to move there, but I don't think Mum ever found out exactly what happened, both on the night Harry's parents were killed, and the night that they first met Sirius. It's strange really. Normally, she takes Dumbledore's word as law, but I have a funny feeling she still blamed Sirius for the fact that Harry has no parents. Either that, or she knows what happened, but refuses to believe it, though I can't see why she would do that. It's not like her to be so heartless about someone who's died, and God knows she loves Harry like one of us (probably because he's the only one of us who bothers to try and clean up after himself when he's here). I don't know…maybe she was just taking out her own frustrations or something? One thing's for sure, she certainly saw my youngest older brother in a new light today.

The only other consolation? The brief look of admiration I saw on Hermione's face when Ron fought back and held his own –

Oops. Dinner. Gotta go.

-&-

Ok, I'm now stocked up with food enough to carry on. Actually, I think I was the only person who even ate much. Mum sort of tried to keep up a conversation with me and Hermione, but her voice was all thick – you could tell she'd been crying. Ron mostly just pushed food around on his plate, looking moody, and he didn't open his mouth once – wait, yes he did. When he finished (first time I've seen him not take second and third servings), he scraped his chair back and goes, 'I'll be in my room when you've finished,' specifically to Hermione. At any other time, Mum would probably have said something about the two of them being in a bedroom alone together, but I think that even she realised that the likelihood of them doing anything of that sort was below zero at that point.

So then it was just me, Hermione and Mum left. The twins were here, but left for their flat to escape Mum's wrath at dinner (I'll explain that later). And without Ron around, Hermione stopped trying to control herself for his sake. She sort of went into silence, so all of us just sat there quietly. Eventually, she excused herself, and I helped Mum wash up before coming back up here. Crookshanks is sitting next to me, curled up against my side. He's so comforting sometimes.

The house is creeping me out now. Usually the Burrow's so noisy and warm and lit-up…and now it seems all cold and quiet – I can't hear a sound from Ron and Hermione, and Mum…well, I'll leave her alone for now.

Ohh. I'm so tired, but I want to get this down, otherwise I won't be able to sleep. In comparison to the blow-up of Ron-versus-Mum, I don't suppose the other fight was quite as big. All that mainly happened was that Fred and George had turned up to ask me the scariest thing ever – whether I'd like to work in their shop.

I know. I'll give you time to digest it. Fred and George, doing something as considerate as letting

their little sister earn some much-needed cash?

And yes, I know what you're thinking: Bet they just want to test things on her so she comes home with purple spots all over her face. I thought that too. In fact, my first response, on hearing what they had to say, was to laugh. Loudly.

But they seriously promised me that nothing of a…dangerous or testing sort would happen to me. Of course, this is a Weasley twin promise, so I don't know how far I should trust it, but at any rate…it would be a way of getting out of the house.

Whatever. Anyway, I agreed to it, and then happened to mention it briefly to Mum, so I could get her approval. I was going to just wander out of the house and conveniently forget to tell her, but in the long run, that would be VERY bad for my freedom.

So, I asked Mum, and she…didn't take it too well. To be precise, she argued that I was being "foolhardy" and "putting myself into danger" because "who knew what kind of people turned up in Diagon Alley?"

Actually, the answer to that last one is rather obvious. WIZARDS turn up in Diagon Alley. I didn't think it was wise to point this out, though.

I don't think either, on hindsight, that it was wise of me to do what I did next. Well…you know what the Weasley temper is like, don't you?

Yeah, ok. I argued back.

I pointed out that I needed some chances to get out of the house, and seeing as I was working for my older brothers, nothing too bad was going to happen, and they would fight tooth-and-nail to protect me if anything did (I shot Fred and George an accusing glare when I said this and they both started nodding eagerly). Then I pointed out that I had done most of my holiday homework (ok, so that was a teeny little white lie) and that I needed a break from the house to get out and have new experiences (can you tell I was going a bit overboard here?) and this was the safest way to get it.

Well…seeing as I can't be bothered to write the whole argument down, and I'm too tired to, anyway, I'll leave it at the point where Mum huffed and said that she would "leave it to Dad." I think that means that I'm going. If Mum refers it to Dad, that means she's considering it, but she wants back-up, and Dad usually gives back-up. Unless, you know, we wanted to rob a bank or something (although why we would tell THEM that is beyond me).

The long and short of it (that's such a weird phrase) is that hopefully, I'll get to start at Weasleys' Wizarding Wheezes sometime this week. Hopefully. Apparently Angelina and Alicia are putting in a few hours as well, and Lee Jordan's working there full-time until he find out whether he's got a place on the Ministry's Committee of Experimental Charms. Or something like that. You know that it's going to suit him, whatever it is.

What the - ?

Oh. Whoops. That's Annette's owl – as I should explain, she's a close friend of mine at school. It's about time – she's taken two bloody weeks to write to me. Maybe I should just not open the letter for two weeks…

Nah, I'm too nice. I'll let the poor bird in – it's dive-bombing my window right now…I think it thinks it's some kind of kamikaze pilot and that the window will let it through it if it hits it hard enough.

Ok, now it's looking cross-eyed. See you later. I have a bird rescue mission to attend to.

-&-&-&-&-&-&-&-&-&-&-&-&-&-&-&-&-&-&-&-&-&-&-&-&-&-&-&-&-&-&-&-&-&

A/N: Chapter 2 over. It's taken me a while, but I got there! By the way, I highly recommend that you don't expect an update of this soon. I know exactly what happens, but I want to update another chapter of TTOTH first, and then deal with this, and considering the amount of work I have, that could take a while. Rest assured that even if I ever managed to forget that there were people trying to murder me for my slow updates, Danz would never let me forget. She's good at blackmail.

A massive thank-you to ALL the people who reviewed this – I would thank each and every one of you who bothered to waste your time on this, but I kind of lost all your review alerts because they got confused with the ones for TTOTH…but every single person's review was read, appreciated, and blushed at by me. You are all TOO nice, and I don't deserve so many! A huge, ginormous thank-you also goes out to Danz, for always being there for me, both to inspire me, and threaten me when I suggested not carrying on with the story, or not updating for about another six months. Danz, you rock. Every thank-you I get deserves to go straight to you!

Anyway, how about a leetle review now? Just to pass the time? (hint hint!)