Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or any of the affiliated characters and places. All of that belongs to JKRowling and her people.
Author's note: If you do not like Ginny, do not read this story. Otherwise, have fun! Oh, and I'm still trying to figure out how to get the indents to show up.
The tiniest hint of sunlight trickled through the misted bedroom window that sat happily on the wall of the lopsided Burrow. The sunlight slinked across the floor and began to crawl over the quilt that covered the end of the single bed that occupied the room.
Ginny sat across the mattress, horizontal to the headboard on her belly and watched, transfixed as the golden light crept through her room. She watched as it flooded the wooden floorboards, devoured her bureau, her desk, and finally arrived at her bed. She wiped her eyes and yawned in a way of greeting the new day. Her eyes stung with exhaustion. Sleep had become scarce ever since the previous school year's events. The darkness reminded Ginny of him; that's why she so cherished the warmth of the light.
As the thought of him once more entered her mind she shuddered involuntarily. She hated the way it made her skin prickle, she wished she could get over it. She wanted more than anything to feel the way she claimed she felt to her parents. Every morning they would greet her with affection and tenderness as if they were handling an extremely delicate piece of glass. She would stubbornly remind them that she was over it and felt no effects of those past events. Yet her mother had become even more protective over Ginny; so much so that Mrs. Weasley would insist Ginny stay within her sight as much as humanly possible. Mr. Weasley was trying to persuade his daughter to sleep in their bedroom so as they could keep on eye on her while she dreamt. Ginny had thankfully argued her way out of that by claiming she would feel much more comfortable in her own room with her own things. They had agreed reluctantly.
Suddenly overcome with a feeling of sickness, Ginny raised herself up and crept out of her room and down the stairs towards the bathroom. She was startled when she heard her father's voice carry up the stairs from the kitchen on the floor below her.
"…He's just escaped from Azkaban only a few days ago, Molly, there's no way Black could possibly be after him already."
Her mother's voice, "I know, Arthur, but who's to say Harry is safe with those muggles? The ministry should at least have someone watching over him."
"Albus Dumbledore feels confident that he will be perfectly safe as long as he doesn't wander too far off."
"I know… I just can't help being worried about him. He's just so young."
"I understand Molly, but Harry will be fine. I do think, however, that it would be best if we told him what was going on, and about why Black would be after him-"
Mrs. Weasley cut him short, "Arthur! That would positively scare him to death. I don't think that telling him about how Black betrayed his par…"
Her voice was suddenly drowned out as Ginny heard one of her brother's scuffling down the flight of steps behind her. Wanting to avoid a confrontation so early, Ginny leapt inside the washroom just as her eldest sibling still at home, Percy, stepped onto the landing and continued his way down the stairs. Her stomach clenched and she was sharply reminded as to what brought her to the bathroom in the first place. She had become accustomed to the routine and swept her hair into a loose ponytail with her hands as she kneeled on the floor in front of the lavatory and quickly regurgitated any remains that still lingered in her stomach. She rinsed her mouth and brushed her teeth clean after recovering from the brief spell of nausea.
She looked into the mirror, and a frightened, red-haired, little girl stared back at her. Her chocolate eyes had dulled, as had her skin and hair. She scratched at her head and shrugged her shoulders, At least I still have good teeth…
Ginny trotted down the remaining steps to the kitchen, feeling better. She received the normal anxious glances from her family, as though she were about to shatter right before them. She frowned and gave the expected retort of how she was fine.
"Ginny, dear, is there anything I can do or get for you?" Mrs. Weasley asked as she ushered her daughter into a chair at the crooked kitchen table.
"No, Mum. I'm fine, I can feed myself, you know." Ginny said irritably, and regretted it immediately after seeing a look of hurt flutter across her mother's face. "But, thank you…" she added lamely in an attempt to redeem her mistake.
Mrs. Weasley nodded with a reassuring smile, "Okay honey, I understand."
Ginny had a fleeting thought of just how little her mother really did know before seating herself across from Percy at the wooden table.
Ginny remained in the kitchen for a while and listened to the rather dull conversations between her parents and Percy. After becoming bored of her father talking about the muggle device called a stapler, she quietly excused herself and took refuge in the nearby living room nook. She settled down with a wizarding magazine (Witch Weekly) and propped it open against her knees. It was only when she realized that she had reread one of the articles' first paragraph several times over without taking in a word of it did she finally give up trying to take her mind off more important matters.
Sirius Black was a name that most magical children around her age grew up knowing. He was an infamous murderer that killed twelve muggles and one wizard with a single curse. But what did he have to do with Harry? Ginny vaguely wished she knew more, and was tempted to ask her parents about it, but they would only claim that she was too young to understand.
She sat on the old patched couch pondering about Harry for a while longer, desperately hoping to see him soon. Ginny had always been fond of Harry Potter, ever since the first day she saw him at Kings Cross Station, in London. She had spent the last two years thinking constantly about him, and it had become obvious to everyone that she liked him. And after saving her life a little over two weeks ago, she had grown to like him even more. If it hadn't been for Harry, Tom- no- You-Know-Who would have surely killed me, she thought. I would have been gone forever, and no one would have found me, and soon they all would have forgotten about me.
Ginny sighed, she knew she shouldn't think of her family that way, but she couldn't help feeling that she had always been the one overlooked. She had six, amazing older brothers that almost everyone adored. Bill was the oldest and was smart and cunning; he worked for Gringotts as a curse breaker. Charlie, the second born son, was dashing and tough, yet friendly to almost anyone; he also had a challenging job that included working with dragons. Then there was perfect Percy, who was intelligent and ambitious, who had been Prefect, and who was likely to become the second head boy of the family. Fred and George may not seem to be brilliant at school, but they were funny and great at making novelty items, amazing beaters on the Quidditch team, and were the two most popular people in the entire house. And finally there was Ron, who was Harry Potter's first real friend. Ron, who had helped Harry fight You-Know-Who for two years in a row, and who was known for his skill in Chess.
Ginny was none of those. She was the tagalong, naïve, little girl who had put her trust in a mysterious diary and almost helped revive the memory of Lord Voldemort, one of the most feared wizards of all time. She was just a shadow in her family that nobody noticed because they truly wanted to. She was noticed because she was the only girl and people were afraid for her. That was all.
"Hey dad," Ron's loud voice coming from the kitchen snapped Ginny out of her trance, "Is the fellyphone ready yet?"
"Oh yes, it's right over there." Ginny heard her father say, "In the Living room, on the table."
Ron's loud footsteps came walking into the living room. Ginny smiled and bid him a good morning. "Sleep well last night?"
"What? Oh, oh yea. It was fine," Ron said without really looking at her, he added as an afterthought, "Want to watch me?"
Ginny snorted at the stupid question, but answered sweetly, "Of course, sure."
Ron smiled and pulled out a small crumpled piece of paper as he leaned down to sit next to the wooden coffee table in front of the couch. He stared at the paper as if reading directions, then laid it flat on the surface of the wood. He fixed his eyes on the strange device before him. Ron picked up the receiver, and looked at the number pad then dialed a series of numbers.
Ginny's excitement began to grow, not because of Ron using a muggle device, but because Ron was going to talk to Harry. She was considering asking Ron if she could talk to Harry when―
"HELLO? HELLO? CAN YOU HEAR ME? I – WANT – TO – TALK – TO – HARRY – POTTER!" Ginny frowned and covered her ears as her brother roared into the mouth piece with an increasingly red face, "RON – WEASLEY! I'M – A – FRIEND – OF – HARRY'S – FROM – SCHOOL!"
Then she heard another voice coming from the other end of the receiver that Ron was now holding at arms length away from his head, "THERE IS NO HARRY POTTER HERE!" – A quick pause – "I DON'T KNOW WHAT SCHOOL YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT! NEVER CONTACT ME AGAIN! DON'T YOU COME NEAR MY FAMILY!" There was a short click and all sound was suddenly cut off.
"What'd you reckon happened?" Ron looked at her, clearly puzzled.
"Probably shouldn't have yelled!" Mr. Weasley called laughingly from the kitchen.
Ron sighed, and seemed to sag with disappointment; "I hope I didn't get him in trouble. I probably shouldn't try that again…"
Ginny's mouth hung open for at least a minute before what her father had said sunk in. Mr. Weasley had won the Ministry of Magic's annual Galleon drawing grand prize of seven thousand gold galleons.
The thought of new robes and clothes spun around her head. She might be able to get her own wand, instead of having to use Bill's old one from his years at Hogwarts. She even thought that she would be able to get her own owl, until―
"We're going to spend most of the money on a trip to Egypt to see Bill," Mr. Weasley exclaimed happily to all the present Weasley family members. Ginny's eyebrows drooped in disappointment. She looked around and saw that Ron must have been thinking along the same lines since his smile had faltered. He must have been thinking that he could have gotten his wand replaced (the one he had used for his first year at school had been broken when he and Harry had crashed Mr. Weasley's flying car into the Whomping Willow when they had attempted to land it at Hogwarts the summer before their second year had started. Needless to say, Ron ran into some complicated issues after trying to use it). She saw him force a wider grin, and she followed his example.
"That sounds great, Dad," Ginny said quietly, "But, wouldn't it be better if we used it for –well– other things."
Mr. Weasley's hair sagged, he had obviously thought everyone would have been just as excited as he, "I – I, oh, well. Well, I thought you would all be very happy about seeing your oldest brother."
"No! I didn't mean it like–" Ginny's voice was cut off by Fred.
"Don't listen to Gin, Dad, she's just being a prat about this."
George piped in as well, "Yea, I support your decision completely!" His voice lowered to a whisper so that only Fred and Ginny, who were closest him could hear, "I can't wait to lock Percy up in a tomb." She giggled at the thought.
Ginny combed her hair through one more time before sweeping it up into and simple bun, admiring it in the mirror as she twirled in her pale yellow summer dress. She put in her favorite earrings next, silver flowers that she had inherited from her grandmother. Then a silver necklace that was fairly plain except for the pendant. The pendant was not one of her grandmother's; it was something Tom had given her. She didn't know why she kept it. She didn't even know how Tom gave it to her, but she just knew he had. It was a silver serpent coiled about a sword. It was about half the size of her thumb, and beautiful. She liked how it shone brightly, even in the shadows. Ginny hoped Harry would notice it when she saw him today in Diagon Alley.
She looked at herself one more time in the mirror, then stepped out of the bathroom and hopped down the stairs into the kitchen where the rest of the family was assembled. Ginny smiled as she approached them, expecting someone to compliment her.
"Oh, Ginny, dearest, there you are!" Her mother hugged her as if Ginny had just returned from a long vacation. "We're going by Floo Powder today, so I'll go first, then you can follow me."
Ginny's smile faltered. Not only did she not receive a compliment, but now she had to get her best outfit dirty by traveling through fireplaces too. She grimaced at the thought of Harry seeing her and saying "Gosh, Ginny, you could have at least cleaned up before you came to see me!" But Harry wasn't like that, she told herself firmly.
"Diagon Alley!" Mrs. Weasley said from inside the fireplace as emerald flames enveloped her and she disappeared.
As soon as she had gone her father extended a hand and gently pushed Ginny towards the fireplace. "Are you sure you can do this, honey?"
She rolled her eyes, "Dad. I have done this before! Why do you always have to baby me? I'm not some fragile, moronic, doll!" She glared rebelliously at him as she scooped up some powder and threw it into the flames. She stepped in and made sure to look her father straight in the eye as she pronounced clearly through the soot, "Diagon Alley."
She felt her entire body spinning and bumping into stone walls before finally landing unsteadily on her feet. She inhaled a nice amount of fresh air as she stepped out of the fireplace to join her mother who stood waiting for her a couple off feet to the right.
As she stood waiting for the rest of her family, brushing off some soot here and there, her thoughts began to drift. I wonder if Harry likes girls with red hair… Maybe he likes Hermione… she is pretty and smart. Ron seems to like her a lot. Harry probably likes her too. I wish I were more like her. Or Padma Patil, she's gorgeous. Why am I so scrawny? I hope I don't grow taller than him. That would be so embarrassing!
"Ow, George!" Ginny exclaimed as her brother tousled her hair playfully.
"Oh, so cute! Ickle Ginny is wistfully thinking of her shining knight, Harry!"
"I am not, you big git!" her flaring cheeks betrayed Ginny as she turned her back and huffed off into the alley, wanting nothing more than to get away from her prying siblings.
Ginny hadn't gotten far before Ron caught up to her and wrapped an unyielding grip on her forearm. "Mum and Dad don't want you wondering off, Gin." He gave her an apologetic smile.
"Why don't they understand, Ron? I don't need their babying. I'm fine. I made a mistake and learned from it. That's all." she glanced at her brother's foot to hide her growing insecurity. "Just because of --last year–- doesn't mean I shouldn't be able to grow up."
"Look, Gin, I know what you're trying to say, but they just want to protect you—"
"Well, I don't need it!" she snapped as she yanked her arm free from Ron and made a break for the nearest store, Quality Quidditch Supplies. She stormed through a group of onlookers at the window front and slammed through the door –straight into the elder Malfoy, followed by the younger.
Ginny bounced off the man's chest and landed quite unceremoniously on her bottom. She groaned as she made a move to stand.
"Stay on the dirty ground where you belong you filthy, little girl." Lucius Malfoy sneered as he jabbed Ginny in the gut with his cane.
"You bas―" Ginny's words were cut short as Draco Malfoy pretended to stumble over her feet, purposely kicking her the shin as he passed, his long cloak fluttering over her knees.
Ginny crawled to her knees and glared at the retreating backs of the Malfoy's, unaware of the questioning looks she was getting from other shoppers. He brother Ron arrived shortly after, a smaller figure with bushy brown hair trailing him.
"Hey Gin, I just found Herm― Gin, what happened?" Ron's cheerful expression faltered as he noticed the slightly flustered Ginny glaring down the alley. "You OK?"
Ginny straightened her clothes, dusted her dress and composedly told him that she was fine. She greeted Hermione with a short hug, the other girl very pleased to see Ginny. Hermione's skin was tanned and her hair slightly bleached from the sun, she was wearing a simple tee and skirt and casual sandals.
"We're going to go get ice cream, will you come? And I'm just so happy to see you! I'm so glad you're alright!" Hermione said as she excitedly let go of the youngest Weasley.
Ginny was immediately on guard, "Why wouldn't I be?"
Hermione looked instantly taken aback, "Oh ―Gin, no, I'm so sorry―"
"Ya know, I think I will go back with Mum. You two go ahead and get ice cream, and I'll meet up with you later at the Leaky Cauldron." Ginny gave a slight smile and left her brother and his best friend standing in front of Quality Quidditch Supplies.
As she waded her way through the thick crowds of Diagon Alley, Ginny saw a few of her classmates from Gryffindor and bid them hello's. She was grateful to note that none of them seemed to realize her connection with the diary. They were all just happy to see that she was recovering well from the Chamber incident. Ginny remained polite, if distant from her fellow students. After saying good-bye to Fides Winslow, it wasn't long until Ginny met up with her mother, the twins, and Percy in Flourish and Blotts.
"Oh Ginny darling, there you are!" Mrs. Weasley greeted her daughter with a hug and directed Ginny to the second-hand books she had collected as they both began to look for other materials needed. Ginny had a fleeting image of her parents going through each text book to make sure there were no unwanted items hidden within them. Her mouth twitched in a sad smile.
Later in the evening when they had all finished their shopping, they headed back to the Leaky Cauldron for the night.
Ginny sulked into the building behind her brother Percy, and was about ready to skip dinner when her eyes fell on Harry Potter.
She felt her cheeks warm against her will, and she was suddenly caught in an upsurge of butterflies. She was trying to think of something intelligent and very conversational to say when, again, against her better judgment, she blurted out a shy-sounding "hello" while she was looking in the general direction of her feet.
Feeling heartily ashamed at her poor performance in front of Harry, Ginny vowed to make up for it. She was plotting her next course of action when she heard her brother George exclaim, "What do we want to be prefect's for… it'd take all the fun out of life!" Ginny laughed at that and immediately lightened up. She needn't worry right away about Harry, she just needed to relax and gradually get him to notice her. She sat down at the table where her mother had deposited the shopping bags for a while before excusing herself to go up stairs and prepare for dinner.
Morning had arrived, and Ginny had already been up for nearly an hour when Hermione yawned and leaned out of bed. Her brown hair was frizzier than ever as she walked to her dresser to brush it out. She smiled into her mirror at Ginny. Hermione was still acting a bit odd after their meeting yesterday.
Ginny felt a little guilty about how she had acted towards the older girl and wanted to put it past them, Hermione was too nice of a person to be treated like that. "Hermione," she began quietly, "I didn't mean to snap at you yesterday. I'm sorry. You were just trying to be nice to me, and I nearly bit your head off…"
Hermione turned around, a real smile now playing across her lips. "It's OK, I should have been a bit more careful I suppose. I just want us to be friends. I mean, Ron and Harry are great and all, but it would be nice to have a true girl-friend to talk to."
"Boy," Ginny giggled, "do I know what you mean!"
She continued to talk to her roommate as Hermione finished getting dressed and they headed down to breakfast where they found Mrs. Weasley.
Mrs. Weasley eyed the two fits of laughter as the walked into the dining area. She smiled, happy to see that Ginny was starting to act normal again. "Girls, now just what is so funny?"
Hermione blushed as Ginny giggled out "Boys!"
Mrs. Weasley's smile grew slightly sneaky and eager as she began to talk about a love potion she had once made while at Hogwarts. Ginny and Hermione both leaned in for the story, all seeming very happy and giddy at the conversation topic.
Just then, Harry entered the room with Ron. He glanced towards Hermione, and then continued on his way. Ginny felt a blush creep up her neck, he was just so cute. Too bad he would never notice her. She heaved a sigh and let her mother's words fade out while Ginny once again turned her thoughts to the past. To the only person who had noticed her, and also who had so dearly betrayed her, hurt her.
A person who she thought she had known, who had deep black hair and mysterious thick-lashed blue eyes, and a sly smile that sparkled malevolently in the dark. He had long, articulate fingers, a lean frame, and a cold touch that seemed to burn ones skin…
Ginny shivered at her memories and before arousing suspicion of her mother, made an excuse that she had forgotten a book in her bedroom. She practically leapt from the table and had a slight skip in her step as she went for the stairs. She took two steps at a time and was soon at the second floor landing, where she went left for the loo instead of towards her bedroom to the right.
She entered the small room and gently shut the door behind her. Ginny leaned against the doorframe and sank to her knees as she released a small sob. She tucked her knees into her chest and wrapped her arms about herself protectively. Her frizzed bangs stuck to her face as she let tears flow slowly down the side of her face. She hiccupped.
"I'm such an emotional wreck!" She reprimanded herself aloud, "You keep telling everyone to treat you like you're fine, but you're not." You're just a stupid little girl who cries alone in the dark.
And Ginny did. She wept silently in the shadowy bathroom, not understanding why she couldn't stop.