Disclaimer: Don't own it. Not mine.
When the letter came that morning, Ginny had been sitting at the table reading her paper and sipping on her tea. She should have expected the letter to arrive today, she should have remembered that the one thing she feared was rapidly approaching and there was no stopping it. But she didn't.
The owl landed outside the kitchen window and give a disgruntled hoot at the closed window it found. Ginny's head snapped up and she gaped at the owl, the realization of what it held made her sick to her stomach. She got up quickly and strode over to the window in three easy steps. As she unlatched the hook and threw the windows open, the warm summer heat slowly trickled into the kitchen.
"Give me that," Ginny snapped, a bit disgruntled as she snatched the letter off the angry owl's leg. He gave an angry screech and took off, his wings billowing out on the sides of him as he slowly became a small spec in the horizon. "What," Ginny muttered to herself, "am I going to do with you?"
She thought about throwing the letter away. She thought about tearing it into a million pieces and tossing them right back out the window. She thought about writing a polite yet firm letter to Headmistress McGonagall telling her thanks but no thanks. Finally, she thought about just telling her. Telling her daughter that her Hogwarts letter arrived, she was going to school.
"Mum?" Ginny's daughter called from up the stairs. "Have you seen my pink skirt? The one with the sequins along the bottom?"
"Check your third drawer," Ginny called back, her voice staying calm despite her nerves that began to rattle with every minute the letter sat in her hand.
"Got it! Thanks, mum!"
"When you're done up there, I need to talk to you for a minute," Ginny called, sitting back down at the table and trying desperately to put a speech together.
In the three minutes that it took Ginny's daughter to make it down the stairs, Ginny had turned from the cool, calm and collected person that she usually managed to stay, to a mess who had began biting her nails again. Suddenly footsteps began to echo as a young girl of eleven emerged from the top floor.
After the war Harry Potter needed to find himself. He returned home briefly, two maybe three days. Then he left again, an act that rattled Ginny to her core. It was in that minute when he failed to return that she realized their relationship was actually over and that it maybe should have never begun. She trained herself to forget their little fling back in fifth year never happened. Harder to forget was the life growing within her, the one that she failed to tell Harry. The one she kept a secret.
Harry didn't know she had his child and she quite liked it that way. Hermione told her she was crazy to keep something like this from him, it was his baby, didn't she know that? It was hard to explain, but this baby saved Ginny. It kept her going, kept her busy. She was able to survive Harry's constant rejection and look forward. Without the baby, who knows what she would have done.
Harry was easy to avoid after he finally returned to England. He took a teaching position at Hogwarts and become the new D.A.D.A. teacher. If he visited the Burrow, her mother gave her good enough warning and she stayed put. No one, save for Hermione, knew who the father really was. She had told them that shortly after Harry left, she had dated a wizard in the city and it didn't work out and she decided to keep the baby.
She was actually quite surprised that no one had pieced it together. When Annie was born, she was sure that everyone would take one look at the baby and see only Harry in her. Annie had long, silky black hair that came down just past her shoulder blades. Her eyes weren't quite Ginny's, having too many emerald green speckles in them. She had Harry's nose, Ginny saw it immediately. She had Harry's personality and his laugh. The way she fell asleep any where with her mouth slightly open was Harry. She was left handed like Harry was. Of course, she was also a Weasley. There were a spatter of freckles on the bridge of her nose that you could only see if you got close enough. Her sense of humor was that of the twins and she was loud and very friendly, not brought up to be shy. She was the perfect combination of daughter where she wasn't totally annoying, yet Ginny was glad to have her around as a friend.
"Mum?" Ginny looked up from the letter to see her daughter standing in front of her, one hand crossed across her chest and holding onto the other arm. "You wanted to see me?" Ginny sighed and slid the letter across the table towards her daughter.
"Sit down," Ginny offered, gesturing the chair across from her. "We need to talk."
"Did something happen to grandma and grandpa?" Annie asked quickly.
"No, sweetie, nothing's wrong," Ginny said, managing a small smile, "just sit down." The chair scraped across the wood of the floor as Annie lowered herself into the chair across from her mother. She was staring at the letter in innocent curiosity. "This is a letter informing you that you've been accepted into Hogwarts-" Annie let out a squeal and picked up the envelope. Despite her clenching fear, Ginny felt herself smiling at her daughter's excitement. Annie glanced down at it and sighed with happiness. It read:
Miss Annie ElizabethWeasley
929 Willow Ct.
The Room Above the Garden
Annie glanced up at her mother in excitement. "They even know where my room is!" she said and tore the letter open, unfolding the thick pages and skimming through it.
"Read it to me," Ginny said, holding up her head in one hand as the elbow rested on the table.
"Mum," Annie said, rolling her eyes, "you already know what it says!"
"Humor me," Ginny replied. Annie smiled over at her mother, cleared her throat and began to read from the letter.
"'Dear Miss Weasley, we are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Enclosed is a list of supplies needed for your first year. Term start September 1st and we await your reply no later than July 31st. Sincerely, Professor Lupin, Deputy Headmaster.'" Annie looked up at her mother, wide eyed. "I'm really going to Hogwarts." Ginny managed a nod. "We await your reply no later than July 31st…but that's tomorrow!"
"Then we'd better hurry and reply," Ginny said, taking the paper Annie had handed over to her. She glanced down and signed her name to the page saying that as mother and or legal guardian over her daughter she was going to allow her to attend the school.
"When can we go and get my supplies?" Annie asked anxiously. Ginny glanced up and sighed again.
"Yes!" Annie said and hopped up. "I'm going to write to Mia."
"Alright," Ginny said and watched her daughter skip away towards the backyard where her owl was sleeping peacefully in her covered pen. She rubbed her hands on her jeans nervously and wondered if Harry would piece it together. Would he be able to spot all the little things they shared?
A pop to Ginny's left made her jump and spill her tea on the floor.
"Hermione!" she cried, placing a hand on her hear and walking over to the sink, dumping the plate into the sink.
"Oh, Ginny! Did you get the letter? I can only imagine what you're feeling!" Hermione cried, bending down to mop up the mess she had made. "Is that it?" she asked, standing up straight and pointing onto the table.
"Yup," Ginny said, staring at it too. "It came fifteen minutes ago."
"What did you do?" Hermione asked.
"Gave it to her, of course!" Ginny said, tossing the soggy napkin into the trash. "I didn't have a choice. She couldn't very well go around her entire life thinking she was a squib and she would have known when the letter was coming…I just worry-"
"Don't," Hermione said. "Your family doesn't even know."
"You know," Ginny reminded her.
"Oh, come on, Ginny! I had to scrape it out of you!" Hermione said, sitting down across the table from Ginny. "Of course, I suspected it. That girl looks so much like her father it's remarkable." Hermione was silent again as Ginny gazed out the window, lost in her thoughts.
"We're going into Diagon Alley tomorrow to get her things…" Ginny commented in an off hand voice.
"Would you like us to go with you?" Hermione asked, playing into Ginny's plan.
"Oh, would you?" Ginny asked, brightening up.
"Of course!" Hermione said, nodding eagerly. Over the years, Ron and Harry and Hermione never lost contact. They got together all the same, they were always at the Burrow at the same time as each other. Although their jobs were both very time consuming and kept them away from each other, they always managed to make it work. For Ginny it was easy to avoid him. He was away at Hogwarts for nine out of twelve months. He had stopped coming home for Christmas a while back, content at staying at Hogwarts and supervising the students. Harry had actually only seen Annie once when she was a baby and he came back. Ginny had passed her off as an ex-boyfriend's child and he asked no more questions.
"I just-" Ginny began and let out a shaky sigh. "I feel as if I did something wrong, sometimes." There was silence from Hermione. "I feel as though I should have told Harry that it was his baby and he could be as involved as possible."
"Ginny, you did the right thing," Hermione said, leaning over and grasping her arm. "We both knew that when Harry came back he was different and wouldn't be able to be there for you in the way you deserved. I think it was better that you kept it from him, I really do. I mean, it isn't as though it's hurting Annie any."
What Hermione and Ginny didn't know was that Annie was desperately hurting. She never understood why her mother would keep such a large secret from her. It wasn't as though she had no right to know, these were half of her genes floating around. Her cousin Mia said that maybe her father was a muggle and maybe her mother was embarrassed. Annie didn't believe that. She didn't believe her father was a muggle. She knew he had to be a wizard, just who she had no idea. Sometimes she became so frustrated with her mother because it was such an annoying and embarrassing thing not to even know who your own father is. Everyone else she knew knew who their father's were. But, NOOO not her.
When Annie was born and Ginny was lying in bed, nursing her, Hermione had come in with a giant basket of fruit and chocolate. She looked down at the baby and gasped, too shocked to speak. Ginny didn't even fight it and just nodded as Hermione desperately fought for words.
"When?" Hermione finally managed, looking down at the baby's giant green/brown eyes.
"I think about two days before he left he was just so scared and so sad that I felt bad for him and I…well, you know," Ginny said, looking down at the baby with a painful sense of love. "Then he left and I found out I was pregnant. I pieced it together and realized it must have been him seeing as he was the only one I ever slept with."
"But are you going to tell him?" Hermione asked, placing a hand on her own rapidly expanding belly.
"No," Ginny replied and Hermione's eyes widened with anger.
"Ginny! This is his baby!" Hermione cried.
"And where is he?" Ginny shouted, tears pricking her eyes. "Did he write to me? Did he ever come back to me? No! I am not going to barge back into his life and tell him that on his already expanding list of shit he has to do, he also has a child to worry about. He's better off not knowing that he has a baby and I don't care if he has a 'right to know' or not. This is mine and only mine to worry about. I will do what I think is best and right at the moment I think keeping and raising the baby on my own is what I want to do."
"Ok," Hermione said, after a long pause. "Ok, I'll keep your little secret."
"Thank you," Ginny said, peering down at the baby. "What should I name her?"
Now, eleven years later Ginny was faced with another tug of fear. She had always worried someone in her family would look over at Annie and see it. See Harry's smile, or his laugh. See the way he held himself in the way Annie did. Maybe they had found out and everyone decided not to say anything. Maybe everyone was just as good of a secret keeper as Ginny was herself.
A/N Please read and review.