Disclaimer: Harry Potter, Ginny Weasley, and the twins all belong to JKR. I do, however, claim Ginny's pillow. So there. Nyah.
Author's Notes: Beta'd by the awesome DWS, with whom I'm writing a chapter story under the penname Zombie Spuds. Check it out, yo.
Ginny Weasley and the Pillow of Doom
Ginny hugged her knees to her chest and stared blankly out of her bedroom window. It was nearly noon, but she was still in her nightdress, sitting atop her bed. She felt too tired (tired, old, thin, stretched, worn) to get up and go downstairs and face her family.
Bill and Fleur had left on their honeymoon two days before, and Harry, Ron, and Hermione had taken off soon after. They'd left a note, addressed to the entire Order of the Phoenix, saying that Dumbledore had given them an assignment they needed to fulfill.
They'd left nothing for her. They hadn't even mentioned her in their stupid little note. Not a single goodbye from any of them – not from her brother or her best friend or her boyfriend.
No. Ex-boyfriend. She kept forgetting…
Ginny let out a startled shriek and hit her head against the window pane as she tried to grope for her wand, which she'd taken to keeping under her pillow.
"Easy there, Ginny," the intruder said, sounding amused, and Ginny finally righted herself enough to see that her bedroom had been invaded not by Death Eaters, as she'd irrationally assumed, but by Fred and George. Which wasn't necessarily any better, all things considered.
The two of them stood framed in her doorway, wearing identical grins.
If you didn't look at their eyes, Ginny thought, you'd almost think they weren't completely and utterly evil.
"What do you want?" she said angrily, rubbing her head where it had hit the window. "I was-"
"Strangling," George said, sounding irritatingly smug.
"I wasn't strangling anything!"
"Not yet," Fred said, and he stepped in and sprawled beside her on her blankets. George eyed the small bed dubiously, then dropped gracelessly to her floor to lounge on her threadbare old rug.
"See, we're trying to figure out how you're going to greet Harry when the triumphant hero eventually, well…triumphs." Both twins seemed to think this made perfect sense.
"I'm not going to strangle him," Ginny said shortly, though now that she thought about it, the idea did hold a strange – if slightly morbid – appeal.
"Told you!" Fred gloated to George. "I said for sure that you'd go with decapitation. And then you could hang his head off your broom, like the warriors of old." He said the last in a deep, dramatic voice, as if exulting in the gruesome vision.
Ginny's lips twitched. "It'd weigh my broom down too much," she told them, a little regretfully. "I'd still like to play Quidditch, you know, and a bloody, mangled cranium might get in the way of that."
"She has a point, Fred."
"Indeed she does, George. Are you pondering what I'm pondering?"
"Yes, but the thumbscrews might be a bit over the top. Just stick with the evisceration, I'm thinking."
Ginny couldn't help it – she giggled.
No. Not giggled – she chuckled. Giggling was for blushing eleven year old girls who stuck their elbows in the butter when stupid bespectacled morons so much as glanced in their general direction.
"By George, George, I think evisceration's a winner!" Fred announced with an exaggerated look of pleasure. He flung an arm about Ginny's shoulders and pulled her enthusiastically towards him.
Ginny, expecting a hug, shouted in surprise when he rapped her sharply on the head with his knuckles.
She jerked away, glowering. "You really shouldn't have done that," she informed them haughtily, reaching behind herself to grope for a weapon.
"Oooh, she's getting her pillow, brother mine," George said in a stage whisper.
Fred's eyes widened comically. "She keeps her wand under there!" he cried, right before she brandished her weapon of choice. He scrambled hastily away before he even saw what she was holding, only to fall off the bed and onto his twin.
Ginny stared at them for a long moment as they started bickering with each other about who was going to move first, then began to laugh.
It wasn't just a giggl…chuckle this time. For the first time in what felt like months, she really and truly laughed. The twins looked absurdly pleased with themselves, though Fred went a bit red when he noticed that she was, in fact, holding her pillow rather than her wand. George snickered, which prompted another round of tussling on her floor.
Ginny rolled her eyes and leaned over to whack Fred in the head with the pillow. Fortunately, they took that as a sign that their wrestling was not welcome in her room, which did have its share of easily-breakable objects.
"Evisceration has your approval then?" George asked, once Fred climbed off of him. The poor boy sounded winded – his twin's elbow had struck him right in the gut. Fred had the beginnings of a nasty bruise on one arm, though, so she figured they'd come out even in the end.
"Nah," Ginny said, ducking her head to hide her grin. "I'm thinking I'll just threaten him with my pillow. Since it's so scary and all."
Fred flushed and George laughed uproariously.
"I can see it now," the latter twin said, gasping for breath. "Harry Potter, Slayer of Voldemort, meets his untimely end at the hands of his angry girlfriend and her lumpy Pillow of Doom."
Fred grinned, apparently forgetting his own embarrassment. "Smothering!"
"Suffocation!" George chimed in gleefully.
"A good whack upside the head," Ginny countered wryly, "which is what you two are going to get if you don't stop being such complete idiots."
"We're male," Fred said seriously. "We can't help it."
"And I suppose natural male idiocy is why Harry broke up with me?" Ginny drawled.
"No, he broke up with you because he's afraid," George said lightly, propping himself up on his elbows.
She blinked. "…what?"
"Oh, come on," Fred said with an expressive roll of his eyes. "You must have seen how he tries to protect people." He flopped over onto his stomach, resting his head on his folded arms. His nose twitched as it came in contact with the old rug, and he sneezed.
Ginny ignored the fact that his boogers were migrating to her floor and setting up camp on her rug. "What d'you mean?" she demanded suspiciously.
"Like I said, he's afraid," George said, head lolling back as Fred pulled himself up into a sitting position, nose far away from the sneeze-inducing mat. "Haven't you noticed how he always has to keep everyone safe? He's terrified that someone might get hurt because of him."
"And how exactly did you come to have this stunning insight?" Ginny asked sharply, brow furrowed. She couldn't imagine Harry actually being afraid – not like George was describing. He always seemed to know what he was doing.
Then again…how much of that was Harry, and how much was the Boy Who Lived?
"He gave us a letter for you," Fred said, looking just a little guilty. "We may have taken a peek at it."
Ginny glared, outraged. "He gave you – you read my – give it to me right now!"
Fred edged away from her, though he was well out of his sister's range – at least, as long as she stuck to using her pillow as a weapon, rather than her wand. "You have it, Forge?"
"'Course, Gred," George said, shifting all of his weight onto one arm as he dug around in his pocket for a rather crumpled bit of parchment. He tossed it to Ginny, who caught it easily despite her suddenly shaky hands.
She stared at the letter, then slowly unfolded it and smoothed out the creases.
I know you said you understood why I have to go, but I'm not sure you get why I'm leaving you behind.
The thing is, I care about you. I mean, a lot. And if you're with us, then I'll be concentrating on you, not on what I have to do. I know you can take care of yourself, but I can't help worrying about the people I…about people.
It's me I doubt, you see? Not you.
She stared wordlessly at the letter for a long moment, then looked up, feeling lost, to seek answers from her brothers. They were gone, though, and they'd closed her door behind them. She hadn't even noticed them leaving.
Escaping her wrath, no doubt. Except she didn't feel particularly angry now. Just…empty. Empty and sad and frustrated that the war had put her and Harry into this position.
Swallowing, she ran a finger across Harry's scrawled name, suddenly missing him fiercely. She'd been furious before, furious and bitter. And she'd felt guilty, as well, for being so selfish in wanting Harry for herself when the rest of the world needed him so much more than she did.
Now she just…now she just missed the way he smiled at her, the way he looked at her like she was some sort of pubescent queen amid a giggling gaggle of girls.
Tears stung at her eyes, and she wiped angrily at them with the sleeve of her nightgown. Sniffling, she carefully laid the short letter on her bedside table, not wanting to get it all wet and splotchy.
The door creaked open a few minutes later, and two identical redheads peeked in. She offered them a watery smile.
"So," Fred said slowly, "no thumbscrews?"
She shook her head.
"The dead, bloated look doesn't really do it for me," she said with a sort of gasped, sobbing laugh. She scrubbed at her eyes again, and her now-runny nose.
"I'd like the face I kiss to be attached to a body, thanks," she retorted.
George and Fred glanced at each other and sighed simultaneously, looking rather disappointed. "You're no fun anymore," Fred pouted.
She snorted. "If it'll make you feel better," she said, her smile growing less watery and rather wicked, "I'll still whack him with the Pillow of Doom and Death and Destruction and other words beginning with D that have negative connotations."
"We've taught her well, Fred," George said proudly.
"Yes, you have," Ginny agreed. "Which is why I'm giving you a five second head start before I turn you into toads for reading my mail."
Her brothers went pale.
"Run," she suggested. Fred and George stared at her, then glanced at each other.
"I think she's serious."
"I think you're right."
"I think I'm getting my wand," Ginny said pointedly.
"Going, going, and we're gone!" George announced, and both of them disappeared. She heard them thumping down the stairs, calling for Mum to protect them from their evil little sister.
"Boys," she said, and smiled as her gaze strayed to Harry's letter. "Such idiots."
But in all honesty, she wouldn't have them any other way.