'I have seen your heart, and it is mine.' – Lord Voldemort
She was sitting on the front step, crying.
He was her favouritest person in the world except for Daddy...and Mummy...and Father Christmas...and the Tooth Fairy...
"Go 'way Ronnie," she said with a pout.
"But you're crying," Ron said as he worried his lip between his teeth and took a hesitant step forward.
Ginny rubbed at her leaking eyes and Ron sat down beside her on the step. He leaned into her side and gave a light nudge.
"Ninny, why're you crying?"
Ginny swung out her arm and slapped Ron on the leg.
"Don't call me Ninny!"
"Sorry," Ron mumbled into his chest, "want me to get Mum?"
She sniffed and shook her head.
"Want me to get you a biccie?" Ron asked with a hopeful smile.
"Go back to Fred and George and lea'me alone!" Ginny huffed, stamping her foot, angrily.
Ron stood up and looked down at her, finger wriggling inside a hole in his trouser leg and feet shuffling, awkwardly.
"But you're still cryi-"
"They won't let me play with them because I'm a girl!" Ginny screeched and then blubbed.
Ron crouched down and looked at her with another one of his hopeful smiles.
"They won't let me play with them because they think I'm a baby," he offered by way of consolation.
"But they...they sometimes do...if you," she sniffed and got to her feet, Ron rising with her, "they play with you and make you pick on me!"
Ron looked so ashamed of himself he was on the verge of tears.
"No they don't," Ron said, meekly.
"They do!" Ginny stomped her foot, "It's their fault you call me Ninny and they made you tell me I couldn't come up the tree with you."
"They only wanted me up that tree to push me out of it," Ron sulked.
"But they let you do fun things sometimes too. They show off to you and they tell you secrets and they shut the door on me because girls aren't allowed an...and..."
"Hey Ronniekins," Fred called out from the front gate, George standing a little way behind him and struggling to conceal something in his coat pocket, "why are you hanging around with Ninny? We've got something really cool to show you."
Ron looked from George's bulging pocket to Fred and then behind him to Ginny and seemed torn.
"Can Ginny come?" he asked, knowing the answer already.
"No!" both twins barked.
"She tells on us all the time," Fred said with a scowl, "Ginny-Ninny, Mummy's girl."
Ginny stooped and picked up a clod of earth to throw at Fred but he lunged at Ron and pulled him in front of him like a human shield. The dirt hit Ron in the back and Fred laughed.
"See what Ninny thinks of you Ronniekins?" Fred said with a wicked sparkle in his eyes, "I think we should go to the den and plot something to get her back."
Ron took a step backwards and stood at Ginny's side.
"Can't Ginny come with us just this once?" he asked, doubtfully.
Fred looked disgusted.
"No girls Ronniekins!"
"Yeah," George called over, "you know the rules."
"Unless you're a little girl too," Fred said as he stepped closer to his little brother, "maybe we shouldn't let you come to the den anymore."
Ron's fists balled up at his sides and his face went red.
"I'm not a girl."
"But you are a baby, Mummy's baby boy!" George taunted from afar.
"I am not!" Ron shouted, furiously.
Fred folded his arms and smirked.
"Prove it. Come with us and get Ninny back for hitting you with that dirt."
"Or stay here on the baby girl step and play with your dollies," George said with a girlish tone of voice.
Ron looked at Ginny, who was huffing and looking away, and then back at Fred.
"So what's it going to be Ronniekins?"
Ron reached out and took Ginny's hand. She gasped and squeezed it back, tightly.
"Ginny always wants to play with me," Ron said, "and you only want me to play when there's something smelly or dirty or bite-y that you don't want to touch."
Fred rolled his eyes and turned to George.
"Looks like we've got two sisters after all George: Ninny and Sissy!"
"Go away or I'll tell Mummy," Ginny growled, tightening her hold on Ron's hand and tears squeezing from her eyes.
"And she's off, the tell tale twit," George snapped.
"Stop it, she's crying!" Ron shouted, angrily.
"Why don't you join her ickle baby, put on one of Ninny's dresses and run crying to Mummy?" Fred taunted.
"Drop dead Fred!" Ron bellowed.
Her eyes flew open and Ginny sat bolt upright in her bed, panting, her eyes streaming with tears.
She was shaking all over at the memory of her childhood, her memory of Fred picking on her and Ron, and of Ron telling Fred to...
She shuddered and threw back the bed sheets. Her bare feet slapped down onto the floorboards and she felt around on the floor for her slippers.
It had been so vivid. Not only that but she had felt Ron's emotions radiating from him, she had felt his need to be included and his shame at wanting to leave his sister crying and make Fred like him, she had even felt his blush.
She opened her bedroom door and crept along the landing towards the stairs. As she made her way down she tried to shake off the feeling of unease that had forced her awake. Hearing Ron wishing Fred dead in his impetuous, childish way, could have been enough to unsettle her but she was sure it was more than that. She was sure that it had been the feeling that she was really there with Ron, Ron was really holding her hand and squeezing it so tightly.
Reaching the bottom of the stairs she turned to head towards the kitchen so she could make herself a drink and realised that there were lights flickering against the walls. The lamps were all lit.
"Ron?" she gasped as she peered in through the door and saw her brother sitting at the table, head in his hands and hands massaging his temples.
Ron's head shot up and he gaped at her in shock.
"What are you doing down here?" he blurted.
"I had a bad dream," Ginny said, still amazed that Ron would suddenly appear at the very moment she had dreamt about him as a little boy making the choice that would lead to him being the twins' target rather than their accomplice.
"Oh right," Ron said as he winced again and rubbed his thumb in tight circles at the side of his head.
"Are you alright?" she asked as she pulled out a chair and sat down across from him.
"Yeah, just a headache."
Ginny leaned over the table and took Ron's hand in hers, giving it a squeeze.
Ron's eyes widened and he stared at her in apprehensive awe.
"I didn't..." Ron began, voice cracking.
"I miss him too," Ginny said, eyes stinging with tears she couldn't let herself shed.
Fred hated it when she cried.