Disclaimer: I don't own the Harry Potter universe or anything in it, J.K. Rowling does. I just play around with it for a bit of amusement. Had I owned it, books 6 and 7 would've been radically different.
A/N: I don't do Harry/Ginny! That's just not my thing. However, my wife has threatened me with dishonour, divorce and dismemberment if I didn't write one – and canon-compliant too - and as we all know, positive reinforcement almost always produces results.
The scene is set in mid-August 1998, just over 3 months after the Battle of Hogwarts:
I Thought You Cared
Newly promoted Head of Muggles Relations Office, Arthur Weasley, jumped in shock when his door was flung open. Standing in the doorway, looking anything but amused, was his only daughter.
"Ginny! Don't be so timid, come in." Arthur's little joke fell flat.
"I'm really not in the mood, Dad," Ginny stated flatly. "I need a favour or two from you."
"Oh... kay," Arthur said. This was a Ginny he didn't really know. Except for the horrid year they'd all just had, she was always the bright and cheerful one, even more so after Harry had finally started to respond to the ridiculous number of hours she and the rest of his family put into getting him out of his guilty funk following the Battle of Hogwarts. Now she was curt, her voice was strained and her eyes blazed with barely suppressed anger. "What do you need, Pumpkin?"
"Make that 3 favours: I need you to stop calling me that ridiculous nickname; I need a cup of tea and I need a meeting with the Minister."
"'The Minister'? Not 'Kingsley'?" Arthur teased.
"For this he's definitely 'the Minister'!" Ginny growled, then reached into her bag and pulled out a letter. "Did you know about this?" she asked.
"Y-yes," Arthur stammered, "b-but it was supposed to be cleared with you and H-hermione. I didn't know they'd gone ahead with it," Arthur defended himself.
"Right," Ginny growled again. "I need to see him within an hour or I'll go up there and blow his door in! I also need to know why we weren't told about this, and why you haven't seen fit to tell them straight out that it's not going to happen." Ginny was looking positively threatening now.
Arthur called his secretary. "Miss Wallis, I need a cup of tea for my daughter, and then I need a meeting with the Minister within the hour. Don't take 'no' for an answer." After the tea had been served he gulped audibly and looked at Ginny. "I didn't tell anyone about it because it wasn't supposed be this soon. It was a long term thing, and the plan was for it to take place sometime around Christmas," he sighed. "Everybody were so upbeat about it, I didn't have the heart to burst it for them. That's why I said they'd have to clear it with you girls – as a failsafe if you will." Arthur was acutely aware of just how lame it sounded.
"Failsafe!" Ginny all but shrieked. "Yeah, it's definitely safe to say you failed!" she snarled. "Mum isn't going to forgive you any time soon you know, and neither are Fleur or Hermione. I'll forgive you when Harry does."
Kingsley Shacklebolt was feeling quite satisfied with himself today. The Goblins had finally come to see reason in the Lestrange-vault-case; two of the most prominent Death Eaters left had been brought in this morning, and the grand scheme to finally acknowledge the deeds done and the debts owed had been set in motion. Oh yes, it was good to be the Minister! Now he just hoped that whatever Arthur had to say wouldn't rock his peaceful world. Just then, there was a knock on the door.
"Enter," Kingsley called. "Come on in, Arthur." ... "Oh, a Weasley at least," he said sheepishly. "What can I do for you, miss Weasley?" Kingsley asked, feeling somewhat nervous about the blazing eyes of the girl before him. After all, everybody knew that Ginny Weasley in a temper was not to be trifled with.
"You can explain this," Ginny snarled, shoving the letter into his hands. "Just what in the nine levels of Hell were you thinking?" she hissed.
Somewhat taken aback, Kingsley rallied quickly. "I'd say that's obvious, miss Weasley. I'm making sure those who saved all of us are getting the recognition they deserve," he said in a curt tone.
"Deserve!" Ginny was livid. "A 'Grand Ball in Harry's honour', an Order of bloody Merlin, rabid journalists and hours of meaningless speeches. Is that what you think he deserves? He hates that kind of overstuffed pompousness with a passion, and he definitely doesn't want it!" She tried to collect herself. "For just over 3 months all members of my family have spent nearly every free minute trying to heal Harry. We've tried to get rid of his undeserved feeling of guilt; tried to make him see that he did a good thing; tried to make him see that he can have a normal life now. For the last couple of weeks he's finally been somewhat responsive, we've actually seen him smile on one or two occasions. We even got him to agree to take his seventh year at Hogwarts, and then you go and do this." Ginny took a couple of deep breaths to try and calm herself. "How could you? I thought you knew him, that you were a friend!" Abruptly running out of steam, she slumped back in a chair with a defeated look. "I thought you cared," she whispered.
Kingsley was floored! "I am a friend, and I do care, Ginny. Don't you see, that's why I've pushed this forward. I saw him 2 days ago, and I'm impressed with what you've all done for him, so I thought I'd give him a little push of my own to help out."
"Push!" Ginny snorted. "Yeah, you've definitely pushed him... Right back to the bottom of the hole he was in after Hogwarts! You've effectively destroyed over 3 months of non-stop work and pushed him right back to the Hell he was in back then." She fiercely wiped away the tears that were running down her cheeks by now. "You really don't know him at all, do you?" she asked rhetorically. "He feels guilty about everyone who died over the last year, and especially those who died at Hogwarts, blaming himself for not being strong enough, not ending it quickly enough, and you try to honour him for it! You've all but destroyed him!" Ginny's eyes were blazing again. "If you'd known him, you'd have known that he'd never ever accept an Order of Merlin under any circumstances – that kind of things doesn't do anything at all for him. You'd also know that he'll never accept anything but a small birthday party being held in his honour, no matter who's arranging it. If you really wanted to make him happy then ban those ridiculous nicknames of his." She stopped to catch her breath.
"My Dad told me he'd said to you to clear this with Hermione and me. You should have listened, you know. That would've spared you a lot of embarrassment and expenses, now that you'll have to explain either why the 'Grand Ball' is being cancelled, or why the guest of honour isn't present and why he isn't receiving an Order. I'll also leave it to you to explain to Headmistress McGonagall why Harry and I aren't attending Hogwarts this year after all. I can't both study and heal Harry at the same time you know, and healing him is the more important option." Ginny was breathing hard after her diatribe. "A few words of advice to finish, Minister: Do not ever try to do anything in Harry's honour; do not try to award him an automatic Order of Merlin – or any other award for that matter; don't ever refer to him as holding the Order he's not going to accept at the Ball he's not going to attend, and from this day forward listen to people who know more about the subject than you do." With that Ginny rose, heading for the door.
Kingsley was gobsmacked. "I'll... I'll keep that in mind, miss Weasley. Give Harry and your family my best."
Just as Ginny reached the door, she spun and dug into her bag. "I almost forgot," she said. "I promised Mum, Fleur and Hermione I'd give these to you." A positively evil smirk crossed her face as she placed 3 smouldering, red envelopes on the desk in front of him. "Enjoy your day, Minister," she said, leaving the door open for everyone within range to listen in when the magnified voices of 3 very irate witches told a stricken Kingsley just what they thought about him and his 'brilliant' idea.