Against All Odds
A HariPo oneshot
Note: The Harry Potter characters belong to J.K. Rowling, not me. A Ginrius written for those sick of her time-travelling or either being drunk in order for them to be together. B/ Read, review, and enjoy!
"So that's that."
Ginny squinted hard at the boy before her. Had he really just said that? She'd offered—no, told him she'd wait for him until he was ready. And he went and pulled this?!
Harry didn't even bother mustering a smile. "Ginny, we're meant…"
She glowered at the Potter boy. "Meant to be, but we shouldn't? Stop giving me that crap."
Harry winced at her venomous tone. "Look, Ron, Hermione, and I probably won't be around here much longer, so could we at least strike a truce? The wedding's almost here."
The redhead shook her head violently, swinging her hair so that it almost slapped him in the face. "Screw you, Scar Boy. You can just settle for one of your groupies once you've won your battle single-handedly." She turned to leave but shot him another look over her shoulder. "Maybe Cho will regain those stars in her eyes." Ginny didn't wait for his reaction or reply. She stomped out of the Burrow and into the fresh summer air.
Unfortunately, that had been months ago. Bill and Fleur's wedding had gone on without a hitch—kinda. The "Golden Trio" had indeed left. Only they'd done so during the reception.
"You just had to take my brother with you, too, you bastard?" Ginny growled under her breath in the Gryffindor Common Room. It was the only place she felt safe in anymore. There were Death Eaters in Hogwarts, Death Eaters in the Ministry, and Death Eaters on the streets. She was a blood-traitor and a known ally of Harry Potter.
That bastard dragged everyone into this.
Pausing, Ginny's angered ebbed a bit. No, it wasn't entirely his fault. Plenty were against Voldemort because he'd killed too many, so many of them loved ones. And some had escaped an all-too-narrow death…
The youngest Weasley sat down on the couch and tried to read her Transfiguration book, but she couldn't concentrate. Her mind was running through the list of her own loved ones, most of whom were in constant danger.
There was, of course, her family. Then there was the Order, and her friends at Hogwarts. And also the friends who hadn't turned up this year, like Dean and Luna. She knew Dean was absent because his blood status was disputed and Voldemort's cronies had convinced the Ministry that Muggle-borns and plenty of half-bloods were evil and ought to be killed. But Luna… She gnawed on her lip. Her fellow sixth year was nowhere to be found, probably because her father's paper had supported Harry publicly when the Ministry had called him a liar.
Well, he is a liar, she groused mentally. But she never thought he had made up Voldemort's return. She and their friends were much too smart for that.
Well…if she had been smart, she wouldn't have fallen for Harry. But now… Yes, it hurt that he told her they just weren't going to happen. But had he really been anything more than a schoolgirl crush?
Now confused and a little hurt, Ginny lost herself in her book. Only the words swam before her. She wanted to go home and be with those she knew and trusted. She was thankful Christmas was soon.
"Take care, Ginny," Neville told her before he left to stay with his grandmother. He gave her a feigned peck on the cheek and whispered something in her ear under its cover: "We'll win this, somehow. Just stay strong and play along."
She hugged him. He was one of the few who still hung out with her—they were marked by Harry's friendship—and she liked that he defied the Carrows every now-and-then as she did.
"Happy Christmas, Ginny. Tell your family I said hi." Then he disappeared in a sickly plume of green smoke.
Taking a handful of Floo powder herself, she called out to her home and felt relief for the first time in months when her mother enveloped her in her arms.
"Merlin, thank heavens you're all right, Ginny, dear!" Molly Weasley squealed at the sight of her only daughter.
Ginny held her mother as though she'd never see her again, either. "I'm glad you are, too." She broke free and looked around; the Burrow was as disheveled as ever. "Where's Dad?"
Molly gave her daughter a tight smile. "They're working him to the bones at work because of his job and…well, you know."
Yes, she did. Friends of Harry were not quite few and far between.
"You look a bit peaky. Can I fix you something?" With that, her mother whirled into the kitchen, and she followed. This was the only bit of normalcy amidst the tumult.
Later that night, in bed, Ginny remained awake thinking about the current events. She and Molly had completely caught up—there was the new Potterwatch wireless show, there was Arthur's job situation, Fleur and Bill were settling into Shell Cottage, little Teddy Tonks was healthy and not a werewolf. So much was going on, so fast, Ginny found it amazing she could even comprehend it all.
So, of course, when two feet of snow covered the ground the next morning, everything was sealed as surreal.
"Coming just in time for Christmas," Arthur commented at breakfast. He sighed with some real happiness. "It makes this seem normal."
"Shyeah," Ginny mumbled. "Six brothers—one with his new wife, one missing, one at the Ministry in danger, two as fugitives running the wireless show, and one on a suicide mission. And then there's me, who returns home for the holidays like every other year."
Arthur frowned and Molly gave her a look. "It's important for us to be here, Ginny," her mother stated while she served them breakfast.
"Why?" she asked, not in defiance; she said it rather deflated-ly.
"Because we give them a place to come home."
She looked up at her father and saw the worry in his eyes following his words. She would shut up; they didn't need her commentary on things.
"So I'm still thinking of having the Christmas party. Of course everyone will stay here as usual. Bill and Fleur will come, and so will Remus, Tonks, and little Teddy." Molly paused before sipping her water as she sat down and the other two ate quietly. "I can't think to endanger Fred and George, though, with their show. Yes, they use codenames, but those are their voices on the cast…"
Arthur put his fork down and took his wife's hand. "They know when Christmas is, dear. I don't think they'd miss it for the world."
Molly nodded and then went on, as if she hadn't gotten sidetracked. "Charlie's Merlin-knows-where, as you pointed out, Ginny. There aren't many others to invite." Ginny noted her mother didn't mention Percy. "Oh! Well…"
"What?" Ginny asked, clearly puzzled by her mother's outburst.
"I'd almost forgotten he's been hiding away since that close call with the veil and the Ministry still blaming him for the Azkaban outbreak that loosed Bellatrix…"
"Siri—?" Ginny caught herself. She looked at her dad, who nodded that it was okay to use the man's name. "Sirius?"
Molly nodded. "Why not? Harry's not here, but I'm sure he'd be relieved to spend the holiday with friends. Though that means you'll have to help me arrange the rooms for everyone." She stood and started making a mental list of all the preparations. "You can stay in your room, of course, Ginny, but Sirius will need his own room, and we should set Remus and Tonks up in a room next to Teddy so they can have some privacy as well as the convenience of quickly getting to the baby, and Bill and Fleur will need a room, too…" Molly disappeared upstairs to think out her ideas more.
"Where's he been?" Ginny asked her father, who half-shrugged.
"Here and there. Mainly as a dog." Arthur stood and finished his coffee. "It will probably be strange for him to be a man again after all that time…" He kissed his daughter on the forehead, leaving his breakfast half-finished. "I'll see you later, Ginny. Don't let your mother go too wild, hear me?" The Weasley father smiled and grabbed his coat and hat and left for work.
Amazed that this could only get more surprising, Ginny cleaned up the kitchen table and went to go help her mother.
The next three days were full of cleaning, rearranging, and inviting. Sirius had been the first to arrive, followed by Remus. Tonks would later bring Teddy and apparently her mother, Andromeda, would join them since Tonks' father was still on the lam. Bill and Fleur would be coming last.
Upon first seeing the house, Sirius had to slow down and just stare at it for a minute. Ginny supposed he had to get used to the idea of being welcome anywhere again. She watched the canine from the window as he took in the Burrow, and she could have sworn she saw his black lips curl up in a wistful smile.
Since she was the one downstairs, she entered the living room, doing so at the exact same time when he scratched at the door. Now she smiled. Opening the door, a blur of black fur whizzed past her and happily barked up and down the length of the house. Ginny found herself laughing at the sight.
Shutting the door, Ginny entered the living room where Sirius stood on all fours, wagging his tail and semi-familiar things took a hold of his memory. "You can change back, you know," she told him.
Sirius turned around and looked at her as though she'd said something completely mindboggling. He even did that cute dog thing where he cocked his head to one side. A tiny bit of apprehension seized her.
"Um…you do remember how to change back, right?"
That mischievous smile was playing at his lips again. Just as quickly as he'd entered the house, he transformed back into a man. Surprisingly, though his Animagus form looked old and mutt-like, Sirius looked exactly as he'd been when she'd last seen him more than two years ago. And the mischievous smile from a second ago was still on his lips. Sirius strode right up to her, grabbed her by the shoulders, and locked lips with her. When he broke away, his smile was still there. "It's good to be back."
Ginny was dumbfounded at what he'd just done, but she quickly recovered from it since it hadn't fazed him. "W-Welcome back."
Sirius had dogged her heels the rest of the day and the next before Remus arrived. For him, this was tantamount to waking from a nightmare. He was curious about everything and concerned for everyone.
"That's how it is, huh?" he'd said when she'd caught him up as they did chores together. "Well, Harry will do fine. I know he will. I know him."
Ginny grumbled at that comment. "Um, yeah, right." It had been under her breath, but Sirius' hearing was now attuned to low decibels, like his canine self, so he unfortunately caught it.
"What does that mean?" he asked, a bit offended himself at the utterance.
She sighed. "Harry's a hero and an arse, Sirius."
He reddened. "Ginny, that's—"
"Let me explain." So she did. In the end, Sirius agreed that she shouldn't have been treated as such, but he still maintained his defense of his godson.
"He's got the weight of the world on him, Ginny," the wizard said softly.
She tossed a folded-up bedsheet at him. "And that gives him the right to treat me like trash?"
He caught it and unfolded it, smoothing it out on the bed he'd be using temporarily. "You two are meant to be, so he'll come around."
That only made her anger peak. "Why does everyone insist he and I have to be together?! Why the hell should Fate have a damn say?!" She stomped her foot like a temperamental child. She really hated hearing this again. "Why can't two people just be together because they lo—like each other?!" Although, she wondered why she'd changed "love" to "like."
"It can hurt either way, Ginny," Sirius said, his voice soft again, and he walked out of the room before she could snap back.
She cursed under her breath before going downstairs to greet Remus.
The next few days were torturous. The entire time, Ginny was surrounded by couples. Bill and Fleur, Remus and Tonks, her parents—well, there was Sirius, but she was still a bit upset with him for what he'd said.
So that left cute, little, wouldn't-talk-back-yet Teddy.
When not helping her mother, Ginny babysat the tyke, something she found pretty enjoyable. Teddy would change his hair colors like his mum and he laughed a lot, but he wasn't much trouble. Unlike certain other males she could mention.
Despite that tension between her and Sirius, though, she in no way wanted to return to school and the Carrows' watchful eyes. So she tried to make the best of her winter break. When not playing with Teddy or laughing with her brother and new sister-in-law, she did her homework and helped around the house. This kept Sirius from saying anything else to her while he still had his foot in his mouth.
At one point, he'd tried asking her to forgive him, that he wanted that companionship they'd shared before at Grimmauld Place. Though her mind did draw up those kind memories, she'd told him to give her space. Her anger had almost completely gone, but she couldn't shake the feeling of uneasiness she had around him.
On Christmas Eve, she was still pondering what bothered her. She was putting Teddy to bed, but tonight was the one night the kid was restless. He kept staring up at her with his big brown eyes and goofy smile. "You wouldn't happen to know what's wrong, do you?" she asked the baby, half-crazed.
Teddy looked up at her, smacked her lips with his hand and his measly baby strength, and sat back down in his crib. "Baah!" he cooed happily.
Ginny quirked an eyebrow. "'Baah' to you, too." She tucked him in, which did the trick: The kid was snoring softly within the minute.
"So something's wrong?" came his quiet voice from the doorway.
She internally groaned. Yep. Fate was at it again, making him the one to come find her. Ginny acted calm and collected. "Nothing's wrong, Sirius." Teddy's room was dark, so when she turned around to face Sirius and found him strongly backlit, she couldn't meet his eyes. Instead, her eyes zeroed in on his lips.
And then she remembered what had happened almost a week ago when he'd first arrived. Damn that toddler for pointing it out!
She had forgotten it, though. Was it what truly bothered her?
She didn't realize she had cocked her head to one side, lost in thought, until Sirius had coughed.
Ginny sighed. She was tired of the runaround. "Yes…. Sirius, truce. Tomorrow's Christmas anyway, so I'm not angry at you anymore." She even mustered a smile that emitted a bit of warmth.
Sirius pursed his lips, staring at her, for a moment before taking her word. "You're very good with him, by the way."
She was glad the tension was gone. The witch looked at Teddy, asleep in his crib. "Yeah, I guess so. I've never babysat before, but he's also a really good kid. Remus and Tonks are great parents."
Sirius grinned. "They thank you for the break, also." He closed the door after she exited. "Well… Seeing as the others are caught up in themselves, want to watch the stars come out?"
"Sirius, it's freezing outside, you numbskull!"
"Ginny, we're magic folk, you twit!"
She laughed at their banter, not even realizing that he had led her downstairs and outside anyway.
"May I borrow your wand?" he asked after pulling the front door shut behind them.
She placed the warm wood in his hand, and he cursed under his breath something she couldn't decipher.
"Let's see… I think it was… Ah!" He grinned his trademark grin and performed two quick swishes in front of them. He gave her back her wand and eased a little in his stance. "There. Much better."
"What did you…" Ginny trailed off as warmth flooded her. She looked at the ground around their feet and saw the snow was melting. His infectious smile was now playing at her own lips. "Heat Charm. Nice."
"No jackets required," he stated, not removing his eyes from the sky. Then he glanced at her slightly shaking from the cold in her long-sleeved top and tsk'd, shaking his head. "But that won't help you." He shrugged out of his jacket and draped it around her shoulders.
The witch was sort of speechless. "Ahm, th-thank you, Sirius…" She stole a peek at him and caught his profile. He was back to staring at the stars. She smiled and watched several more celestial gems sparkle into life. "The stars are very pretty tonight."
"Yes. The stars…are very pretty."
Christmas morning was spectacular, given its backdrop. Molly had made sweaters for everyone, as usual, and the food was perfect. Even Andromeda looked a little relaxed, though they still had no word from her husband.
Ginny appreciated her gifts: the sweater, a morphing jewelry set from the Lupins, and (finally Fleur had gotten something right) a lovely long-sleeved, knee-length Robin's egg blue kimono dress. The detail in describing that last one? It was her favorite. Should anyone tell Fleur, though, and Ginny was sure to kill the person.
She knew not to expect anything from Sirius. Him being with them was more for him anyway. Merlin knew where he'd end up next. The thought made her sad; she knew he couldn't stay with them. But she had to wonder where he would go. She didn't ruin the mood by broaching the topic, though. So she kept her mind on other things.
"You know, I'm getting old," Molly stated nonchalantly when all the presents were unwrapped. "A very nice Christmas gift next year would be my first grandchild."
Bill turned as red as his Weasley hair while everyone laughed at his expense. "I know, I agree zat eez a vair naice Christmas gift," Fleur said, and Ginny laughed harder. For her mother and Fleur to agree, Bill must have been getting this pressure for a while now.
"Ooh, ooh!" Tonks exclaimed, bouncing in her seat with Teddy in her arms. "Have a little girl, would you?"
"I thought we stopped arranged marriages a long time ago," Sirius quipped.
"Are you up to it, Bill?" Ginny teased. "I can only imagine what wrath you might incur if you mess up and have a boy. Besides, you don't want Teddy to be too much older than her, so you better hurry up." More peals of laughter from everyone ensued. And Ginny liked this. This was how it was supposed to be: light, gay, and familiar.
Later that day, the guests milled about, doing whatever they pleased. Ginny, breathing a sigh of relief that Teddy didn't want all of her attention today, wrapped herself up in her new sweater and a coat and headed outside. She hadn't had much time to herself, so greeting the sunshine on her face was a welcome change.
She walked for a while before coming to the small pond near their house. She smiled. Yes, it was thoroughly frozen over. The redhead sat down at the edge and pressed her palm flat against the adamantine-like barrier. If only…
There was a rustle behind her, and she turned. She didn't see anything except…except a canary.
Ginny's heart jumped into her throat. Though she felt the tears pricking the backs of her eyes, she was happy. Christmas was now complete. Hermione had said she'd let her know they were okay; the canary conjured from Hermione's Avis spell was proof of that. She blinked a few times, and the cold sapped the sudden heat from her cheeks.
A truly perfect Christmas indeed.
"Ah, there you are."
And, at the sound of his voice, her smile widened. Yes, a perfect Christmas.
She dropped her gaze to Sirius as the canary flew away. He approached her cautiously—and something occurred to her. Ginny hopped up in a panic, pushing him under the cover of the trees. "What?" he inquired, not bothered at all by the manhandling.
"What if someone sees you?" she hissed, but she was more worried than angry.
He raised an eyebrow.
Ginny sighed. "Someone who's an Animagus. With Dad… They're keeping a close eye on him and the house. Oh! What if you were seen on Christmas Eve?" She kicked herself for not thinking of it then.
Sirius rested his hands on her shoulders. "Ginny, I'm fine. So's your family. When I scampered this way as Padfoot, I didn't see anything out of the ordinary. Except—"
"Except?" She couldn't help that her breath hitched. He had to see the fright in her eyes, on her face.
"Except one extraordinarily beautiful Gryffindor Chaser," his said with his Sirius grin. "Now may I present my Christmas gift to you?"
"I, uh, wha…?" Ginny stumbled over her words, tongue-tied. This had… They'd gone from terror to flattery to confusion in one point six seconds.
He led her back to the pond edge and produced his new (well, used) wand—a hand-me-down her parents had given him for Christmas since he'd lost his a long time ago. Sirius motioned her to sit down and stretch out her legs. She muffled a squeak when his strong hands held her calf. She was glad she wore jeans, because she was pretty sure her whole body was red. She calmed down, though, as he magically altered her boots into ice-skates.
"Ice-skates?" she thought aloud.
Sirius sweetly smiled, altering her other boot. "Yes, ice-skates." He said nothing more as he stood and morphed his own black shoes and stepped onto the ice. He held a hand out for her and motioned her to join him.
Ginny had never done this before, so she struggled to get up. She kind of crawled onto the ice. She looked up when his skates skidded to a stop before her. The witch gave him a silly grin. "I'll need a little help."
He shook his head at her, trying to hide his laugh. In one swift motion, he picked her up under her arms and righted her feet. The wizard had her lean on him until she had both sets of grooves firmly planted in the ice. He gave her a hopeful look and let go.
"Ah! No, why did you let go?!" Ginny squealed as she slid forward unsteadily.
Sirius rolled his eyes and came back, lifting her head by her chin. "This is supposed to be an ice-skating lesson. I have to let go at some point, Gin."
"But I don't know the first thing about this! I—!" She shut up when he put his thumb to her lips.
"Shut up and watch me for a bit. I'll help you along the way." With that, he skated off, moving as deftly as a pro. He didn't do anything fancy. He simply glided along the perimeter, shifting his weight on the skates, gaining and losing speed alternately. After a couple of minutes, he returned. "Now stand up straight and pretend you're walking. You're walking, but your feet can't leave the ground, so you glide forward. Can you do that?"
Ginny tried. She took a few, tentative baby steps and almost fell when she thought she understood it. Sirius easily caught her. She was blazingly aware of his hand at the small of her back and her hand—how much smaller it looked in comparison—in his. But she tried to stay focused. After a couple of more tries, she was able to move along at a slightly stiff pace, but she did it without his help. "I'm doing it! Sirius! Look! I'm actually moving!" She looked up to find him several yards away, and she wobbled a bit. "What?" she asked when he rolled his eyes.
He came back in the blink of an eye and tugged her to him. "Ginny—just be quiet and let the music fill you."
"Music? What music? There's—" She closed her mouth at his annoyed look. "Oh. Sorry."
Sirius sighed, and the expression left his face. It was replaced with a relaxed one. He drew her very close to him and they danced across the ice flawlessly. Ginny was surprised she could keep up with him, but it felt more natural to skate with him than to do so on her own.
Soon, she felt his music, too.
After a while and many laughs and secretive smiles, Sirius and Ginny stopped and sat down on the hibernating grass.
"Not that bad a gift, eh?" he teased as he undid the blade magic.
Ginny shook her head. "It was wonderful, Sirius. I don't think I've ever had that much fun."
"I'm glad." There was something in his voice that drew her attention away from the landscape and to his face. He looked very serene as he watched her.
"W-what?" she asked, wondering why she was getting so much attention.
He sighed. "I'm a right fool for telling you that."
"Telling me—oh." Ginny gulped. "That."
"Hey, don't get sucked into a black hole of despair now," he said, turning her back to him. "I meant that I was an idiot for even thinking it."
She frowned. "Sirius—just drop it. Really. It's okay."
The Animagus shook his head. "No, it's not." He made sure their eyes met as he continued, "Why can't two people just be together because they love each other?"
"'Like.' I said 'like,'" she corrected. She dismissed him with a wave of her hand. "Besides, I'm not even sure how strong my feelings were for Harry."
Sirius clammed up. "For Harry."
Ginny's gut kicked her, and she now understood the tension that had started with his return. He grimaced, and she felt the blood rush to her cheeks. "Sirius—" Her hand touched his chest on its own, but she didn't remove it. "No, no, you're right about Fate. I mean, your amended view on it and Harry. Agh! I mean to say— Fate's a bitch and—"
Sirius stood and helped her to her feet. His smile was long gone. "Happy Christmas, Gin." He headed back without her.
Why did you let go? she mentally pleaded with him. She frowned and headed home long after he had disappeared from her line of vision.
A ruddy Christmas, indeed.
Ginny didn't physically feel well when she returned home. Her parents had given her looks of concern, but she'd told them she just needed some rest. Which was true. After what Sirius had said, and her jumbled, fumbled way of handling it… She felt as though she wanted to go to sleep and not wake up for a thousand years.
So everyone let her retire early. She didn't eat anything; she lacked an appetite. She barely had the energy to change out of her clothes, but she did anyway otherwise she would've stifled. But when she went to put her coat in the closet, stopped. Instead, she hugged it to her in bed, wondering how she could have been so stupid.
Her jacket smelled of Sirius. And she wanted it to always smell of Sirius.
At some point, Ginny must have cried herself to sleep, because she awoke the next morning with dried tear tracks on her freckled cheeks. She groused about that. As if her freckles weren't bad enough—the tear tracks only emphasized their existence.
She showered, dressed, and went downstairs. Her mother was in the kitchen with her father. Molly and Arthur were talking about something until Ginny entered. Then Molly smiled and ushered her daughter to the table. "How are you feeling, dear?"
"Okay… Can I have some eggs?"
That was what her mother wanted to hear. It was a sign she wasn't sick, that she wanted food, so Molly set about readying Ginny's breakfast.
"Only a couple of more days before I have to return," Ginny stated gloomily. She twiddled her fingers and drew her lips down in a frown.
"I can't believe how much has changed," Arthur remarked. "We don't want to really stick you there where our enemies outnumber us."
"It's not that they outnumber us," Molly corrected from the stove. "It's that our enemies rule by fear. And fear is one of the most powerful things."
"Professor Dumbledore would've said it was right up there with love, power-wise," Ginny muttered, and the three of them quieted at the departed's name.
Molly finished cooking breakfast, and the three of them ate in silence. One-by-one, the others joined them. Ginny was the first done, so she helped clear the table afterwards. Then she went to check on Teddy.
"Ginny, can we talk?" Bill stopped her at the foot of the staircase.
Not knowing how to avoid it, she followed Bill into the living room since the others were all still in the kitchen. She hoped it wasn't about Sirius, but Bill was her oldest brother. And big brothers always watched over their baby sisters.
"You and Sirius… He said something that upset you yesterday, didn't he?"
Ginny inwardly groaned. Nailed it in one, just as she'd predicted. "He's just…Sirius."
Bill frowned, annoyed. "Things don't usually get to you, Ginny." He crossed his arms in front of his chest. "Care to tell me what really happened?"
"I just said something stupid," she answered. "Really stupid, and it hurt both of us."
The look on her brother's face was wary. "Ginny…what were you guys talking about?"
Ginny had a bad feeling she knew where his mind was venturing. "We were just talking about some idea I stated the other day, kind of…like a philosophy. At first, Sirius disagreed with me." She fidgeted. "Then he agreed with me and I made a stupid remark." She met Bill's eyes. "I'm sixteen, Bill. I can handle things like a grown-up."
"But you're not a grown-up."
"I know. But I am responsible for my own actions." As she said it, she knew it to be true. "So don't go tearing him limb-from-limb, okay?"
Bill grinned. "That's right. It's easier to do that now that I have a little bit of wolf in me. Funny—I hadn't thought of any pros for being scratched."
Ginny looked at his crooked smile, marred from the scars that raked his face. "Don't you have a baby to start on?"
He spluttered." G-Ginny! You're my little sister! Don't talk to me about things like that!" he practically shrieked, his cheeks burning a dark crimson.
She smiled. "Have fun!" And she disappeared upstairs.
The next few days were a blur. The Lupins left, much to Ginny's chagrin. She offered to babysit for Remus and Tonks in the future, though. Bill and Fleur returned to Shell Cottage, and Ginny had at last gotten used to the idea of hugging Fleur farewell and thinking of her as her sister.
That left her with her parents and Sirius. It was one of the more uncomfortable situations she'd been in. And, being a Weasley, she'd had her fair share.
In no time at all, Ginny was packing her bags and preparing for departure. She ran a checklist of things in her head: her uniform pieces, undergarments, outside clothes, her books, parchment, homework, inks, and quills, as well as her personal toiletries. She crammed her Christmas gifts in there, too.
Upon seeing her Weird Sisters CD in her trunk, the word "music" came to mind. Ginny stared at it, shut her trunk, and left her room.
In the living room, her mother gave her a few goodies to take back and share with Neville and some of her friends. "You lot need to hang on. I have a feeling something will happen this year, so be safe, you hear me?" she asked her daughter before kissing her cheeks.
Ginny nodded and then gave her father a hug. She looked around when she saw the house looked awfully empty. Concerned, she asked, "Where's Sirius?"
Arthur pursed his lips. "I'm not sure. He ghosted in and out of the kitchen this morning for breakfast. Actually, your mother and I wanted to talk to you. We've been thinking of where Sirius could live."
Though she hated it… "But he can't stay here. How many times have Ministry officials been by to check and see if Ron still has Splattergroit?"
Arthur nodded. "I know, I know… But, maybe we could build a magical basement or something."
"He's much too thin for a man his height or age," Molly added.
Ginny half-smiled. "Mum, you just want someone to feed."
"And the problem with that is?"
Ginny squidged her eyes shut and then they flew open. She knew it was now or probably never. "Mum, Dad, I'll be right back, okay?" Before her parents said anything, Ginny ran out of the room and rounded the corner. She headed out the back door and—
Yes, she ran right into him. He managed to catch her from the stair below, but they still clonked heads. "Oww," she groaned.
"Same here…," Sirius grumbled. But he didn't put her down. "Don't you have to go?"
"Don't say that in that disinterested tone," she chided.
"I'll say it however I want," he calmly snapped, her brow furrowing.
"If you're getting huffy with me, then why aren't I on the ground?"
"I—" He blinked. "I can't answer that."
Ginny rolled her eyes. "Look, you imbecile, you need to learn to be a bloke and be blunt with your feelings." She grabbed his face in her hands and kissed him passionately, as if she were sucking out his soul—or giving him a bit of hers. "Newsflash: Girls aren't mind readers, either."
Sirius held her, his mouth agape. He blinked several times in rapid succession, obviously trying to grasp what had just happened.
The witch hugged him around the neck and squeezed slightly, doing her best not to choke him. "I don't want you to let go."
His arms tightened around her, too. "I… I had kind of meant to kiss you when I first got here, so I did. And I want to kiss you again and again."
"But… We both know I can't stay." He held her even tighter, and he buried his nose in her hair. "Gin, the only place for me is on the run until the battle's won."
"Stay. For me."
"You'll be at school."
"But I want to see you when I come back," she retorted. Shit, her tears were going to surface any moment now…
"So that'll be what, Easter?" He sighed. "Ginny, I—"
She pulled back and looked him straight in the eye. "No. Enough with the excuses. Stay here. Work with my parents to create that magical basement they were talking about. You can sail under the radar here. The last place anyone will think to look for you is the one place they think they know inside and out. Screw Fate, screw Harry, and screw anyone who tries to keep your grubby little paws off me."
He raised an eyebrow. "Wouldn't that be your grubby little paws off me, judging by how you've latched onto me here?"
Ginny smirked. "Does it matter?" She turned serious. "Stay. Please?"
He exhaled with a pained expression on his face. "…all right. I never was good standing up to a pretty girl."
"YES!" Ginny kissed his cheek and hugged him again.
"So you'll have a hard time standing up to me then?" Molly called from the doorway back into the house. Arthur was right beside her.
"And I'd like to have a say about those paws," Arthur remarked gruffly.
Sirius paled and Ginny laughed. "Happy Christmas, Sirius."
"Ha-Happy Christmas, luv…ooh, boy."
"Oh, and Merry New Year, while we're at it. Heh."
A couple of moments later, her parents and Sirius saw her off at the fireplace. She hated parting with Sirius, but it relieved her that he'd be there. She just hoped he could stay out of trouble.
As for her…
"Miss Weasley! Late! Five points from Gryffindor!" Alecto Carrow spat in her face.
As Ginny walked away, Alecto screamed about the bat bogies flying out of her nose…
Oh yes, a very merry New Year.
Okay, so when I wrote that scene towards the end when she convinced him to stay, my stupid MP3 player randomly (it was on shuffle) chose to play "Death of Sirius." That's cruel. Too cruel. ;_; Anyway, I mainly wrote this fic in protest of all of the Ginrius fanfics where the author feels the need to make her time-travel and be the same age as him or he's drunk and they have a fling/one-night stand or both. I looked up stories just for the pairing and MORE THAN HALF OF THOSE STORIES POSTED ARE LIKE THAT. Now, I'm sure some of those stories are good—hell, I even stopped to browse one or two myself. But it's overdone, people! There are Mary Sues, and then there are the Mary Sue storylines. But…I've calmed down now that I've written this. And, yes, I rearranged things regarding Teddy, but that was more to give Ginny something else to do (babysit) while she was on break. Plus, I love Teddy.
Thanks for reading, and please review!
2016 note: Six years removed from this story, and I'm a little surprised by it. I still enjoy Ginrius a lot, but I wonder if perhaps I rushed things here…or maybe my tastes have changed, since I know I love slow build stories the most. -w- Alas. An author is her own worst critic. c:
P.S.—Here's an extra bit so you know where Sirius' mind is heading…:
"So what's this I hear about a magical basement?" Sirius asked after Ginny had left.
"What's that we saw between you and our daughter?" Arthur shot back.
"Boys, behave! Ginny's back in unsafe hands now! Can't we just focus on what's important?" Molly groaned.
Arthur mumbled something about the "age gap" being very important, but they pushed those matters aside. If Sirius was going to live here, they would have to create a new, hidden room for him.
"If it helps, I could try to stay in dog form as much as I can manage. So think of me as a pet, instead," he said with a grin.
Molly rolled her eyes. "You're not a pet, Sirius Black. You are our friend and you will be treated as so," she said as she left the room. "By both of us," she hollered back at the same time Arthur went to open his mouth.
The Weasley father frowned, but he let it go. The two wizards followed the witch into the back of the house. "I'll help out here as much as I can," Sirius added. "I won't be a dead weight for you two. I won't allow it."
"Then that will be your rent payment," Molly stated. "Let's see now… The storage down here… Well, we could place a Charm on it to expand it, couldn't we, Arthur?"
He nodded. "It shouldn't be a problem. Let me go get my wand, though. We should get this done as soon as possible." Arthur left and Molly disappeared down the storage room, leaving Sirius alone in the corridor between the kitchen and the back of the house.
I can't believe I let myself get roped into this, the Animagus told himself as he surveyed his surroundings. Moony would wonder what the hell's wrong with me. If James and Lily were still around… Lily would rip me a new one and James would tease me to no ends.
But Ginny's the first woman whose presence I've ever yearned for…
"All right, Sirius, come on down here!"
He snapped out of his thoughts and descended into the storage room. Maybe he could do something else to help out instead of just helping Molly and Arthur. Maybe he could fight, too… After all, that was why Harry, Ron, and Hermione were absent, wasn't that right?
He paused at the last ladder rung and took out his wand. "Avis!" he whispered, and a stunning jay with bright plumage flew out of the house to go and greet the canary he'd seen near the pond before. He'd fight, too.
Last note: The Avis spell doesn't say if the bird conjured changes from person-to-person, but I made it that way, so it's similar to an Animagus or Patronus form. I've used this headcanon before in my Lavender/Draco story, Lavender Brown's Requiem, so read that if you're interested in the spell's capabilities. It's kinda central to the story… Anyway, thanks again for reading! :3