Disclaimer: I don't own the Harry Potter world (much to my dismay), hence writing on a fanfiction site.
Author's Note: I've decided to write a Ginny and Remus story because I find that there aren't NEARLY enough and I would like to read more of them (hint, hint fellow authors). So I hope that since you're reading this, you are ALSO a fan of the pairing or if not, hopefully you will become one! Enjoy!
"Ginevra Weasley, get down here this minute!" I knew I couldn't ignore her any longer (as I had tactfully been doing these last five minutes); mum never calls me by my full name unless she's annoyed. So, with a large sigh for my own personal benefit, I closed my book for probably the tenth time already that day. Swinging my legs of the side of my loudly creaking bed, I made my way out of my room and down to the source of my mother's summoning voice.
This was my family's second summer staying at 12 Grimmauld, and frankly I'd had more than enough. You would think that being housed in the Order of the Phoenix's headquarters would provide enough excitement to spin one's head what with the war so close approaching and Voldemort's new rise to power, but not when you're the only female under the age of thirty five. Even being the only underage daughter of the leading family of supporters doesn't increase my chances of being included into anything. Especially as I am not best friends with the wizarding world's saviour, unlike a certain other underage member of my family. As Harry is the Boy Who Lived there is really no questioning his inclusion in Order proceedings (much to the displeasure of my overly fond mother) but Ron is simply allowed in because Harry is just going to tell Ron and Hermione everything anyways. Not fair, I would say.
It wasn't only my being ostracized from the group of people trying to fight against an evil madman that I wanted destroyed as much as the next witch, but I was constantly having my days of forlorn lethargy being disrupted. There was nowhere in the entire gloomy house that I could sit for more than twenty minutes before being asked to leave whilst the adults talk "Order business". I've gotten more than one telling off from my father for asking if it were so difficult to find a room that I was not in. If it wasn't that, it my mother wanting me to help her get ready for another member's arrival. This usually consisted of heavy amounts of dusting and cooking which apparently male members of the family are incapable of comprehending. With Kreacher gone (Dumbledore had employed him at Hogwarts as he had too much knowledge of the Order to be given clothes and his betrayal last summer made it too difficult to keep him around those of us who had cared for his Master) I became the resident House Elf, thought without the job satisfaction. So when I was called down, I naturally assumed the worst.
Funny enough, I was right.
I hadn't even fully stepped into the kitchen before she was already berating me from above a boiling cauldron. "Did you not hear me calling? I've been at it for five minutes!" she scowled angrily and continued (oh trust me, I heard her), "Remus Lupin is coming tonight; he'll be staying here for the last two weeks of the summer. I would like you to get Sirius' room ready for him." Before I even had the chance to open my mouth, Mum's whole posture suddenly grew extremely tired and weary and I felt my own displeasure melt away. Sirius and her never fully saw eye to eye where Harry was concerned. Some not-so-nice words were exchanged on both sides and more than one's feelings were bruised. For someone so motherly and loving, it absolutely crushed her that she would now never get the chance to make amends.
Sirius' room hadn't been touched since the end of the last school year. It had become a sort of taboo or off limits zone. Until now, apparently. "Mum, I don't think it's right that I should be the one―
"Ginny, it needs to be done," all trace of annoyance gone. "It's been over a month. Dumbledore took Harry at the start of the summer to take all the personal things he'd like to keep. Likewise, Remus came last month during an Order meeting. We haven't any more beds to spare with the twins staying. Someone's got to do it, dear."
"Mum, but what about Ron or―
Her momentary lapse into regret slowly fading. "Ginny, the last time I asked your brother to clean up and sort through anything, I spent two hours repairing the disaster he created. I'm not going to ask you again." And that was that. She turned around to move a pot of hot water onto the stove and I stopped arguing because once she flipped the cooking switch you had little chance of being heard. Grumbling to myself about how predictably unfair my mother was and how inept all my brothers proved to be, I turned out of the kitchen.
I walked all the way back upstairs to the fourth floor and stood awkwardly in front of the only closed door. I hadn't been in since last Christmas. Actually, I'd only ever been in last Christmas. You see, I never really got as close to him as Harry, Ron and Hermione did. Then again, I hadn't saved his life and helped him escape from right under the Ministry's nose in my third year. I had always wanted to get to know him better but in a way, our similarities did give us a sort or connection. It was an often occurrence for the two of us to be found downstairs with a book after everyone else had gone to bed. Words were never really shared, but the silence was comfortable and the company appreciated. It was the night before we were going back to school under the new rule of the Defence Against Nothing sociopath, Umbridge. Our holidays, though perhaps beginning with a rough start were going to be sorely missed and not just by us returning students. I decided to go say goodnight to Sirius (something I had never really felt compelled to officially do before). It was something in the way he smiled and laughed all evening. There was a desperation in it, like he didn't want anyone to see the sadness in him. I could understand his pain though; being locked in this house every hour of every day... I couldn't believe he was still capable of keeping it all internalized. Especially after twelve years in Azkaban, freed only to be contained in another sort of prison. I felt horrible.
I knocked on his door and he let me in. Too exhausted to fake cheerfulness, he didn't say much at first, busying himself with feeding Buckbeak from a bucket of rats while I forced myself not to think about where he'd gotten them all from. He offered me a seat at the end of his bed while he sat at his desk to scratch Buckbeak's head on his lap. Not caring that we'd never really spoken alone to one another except the one time he apologized for the lovely Mrs. Black calling me a traitorous filthy whore (she was always so charming), I told him that I didn't think it was fair for him to have to be locked in a house that obviously brought nothing but bad memories back to him. He tried to feebly tell me that it was for the best, and how Dumbledore knew what needed to be done, but somehow something in him stopped being able to pretend and he let it all just poured out of him. First he talked about how he much he wished he could help, to make up for the pain inside him at having made the Potters choose Peter as their Secret Keeper. He spoke of his inability to perform the only duty left to him by James and Lily: taking care of their son as his godfather. It dawned on me that I was probably the first person he'd opened up to about these feelings of his. Or maybe I was just the first person who was really there to listen. Whatever it was, in a matter of minutes we connected deeper than the whole year I'd known him. At last he spoke of how lonely he felt in his old home with only ghost memories to keep him company. How he'd missed his whole life and had nothing to show for it, nothing to make his suffering seem worth it. Somehow, I cried as if his pain were my own.
Since I was too upset to be of much comfort to him (well done, Ginny), he changed the subject and started telling stories from his days at Hogwarts to cheer me up. Although I guiltily felt that that was very backwards, in the end, looking back at the richness of his life at school, his spirits rose too. I will never forget the tears of laughter in his eyes when he recounted a particularly elaborate incident involving him and James dressing in drag to sneak down into the Slytherin common room to pull a prank on their house during O.W.L.s week. He had to wipe a few stray tears as he informed me that Lupin had forewarned them all as punishment for him and James not taking their exams seriously and causing him no amount of distraction. By the next morning, posters of them in full make-up were posted on every notice board in the school. He was adamant that McGonagall must still have a framed copy somewhere hidden in her office. Finally as it got incredibly late, after we exchanged yawns I said my intended goodnight and gave him as big a hug as I could manage (something I wouldn't have potentially been comfortable doing hours earlier).
That was the last time I ever spoke to him.
Standing there at his door, it was almost too easy to forget that he was actually gone. That he couldn't be on the other side. That I wouldn't push open the door and see the remains of Buckbeak's last snack. I blinked away the tears that were threatening to form and then I turned the handle and pushed it open. The air was slightly stale as no one had been in for so long, but other than that, nothing suggested that its previous owner was never coming back.
I pulled out my wand, looked down the hall to make sure no one was around, and walked in, doing a quick spell to remove the light layer of dusting on everything in the room. I didn't need to worry about underage magic because the entire house was filled with witches and wizards, it would be impossible to pinpoint who had done which piece of magic (something I picked up from Gred and Forge, my most favourite, helpful twin brothers). Something I did have to worry about was the thorough scolding I would get if either of my parents caught me. I was doubly pleased by my rebellious act because nearly immediately the air smelt cleaner (something else I had learned from the twins' experiences).
Definitely not a slob like my aforementioned siblings, but I wouldn't go so far as calling him Supreme Clean, either. Looking around at all the bits and ends I'd have to organize and put away, I decided to start easy. The bed was made, but the sheets had certainly not been changed since he last slept here, and I was certain Lupin would prefer a fresh set; I honestly would. I made a plan of attack and stripped all the old sheets off and put them in a hamper. Next I had to go downstairs and bring up a fresh set to remake the bed. Getting into the swing of things, I started humming (and sometimes singing, I'll admit) the last few lines of the school anthem that just wouldn't get out of my head, "...just do your best, we'll do the rest, and learn until our brains all rot." I suppose I must have been louder than I thought because Ron popped his head out the door to see what I was doing and then he promptly went back into his room to finish writing a letter to Hermione, I assumed. This action so strongly reminded me of Percy the summer when he started dating Penelope Clearwater that I couldn't help but grin and shake my head. Ron would never forgive me saying so, especially not since Percy was still working diligently at being the world's leading prat.
Back in Sirius' room, the bed was made and I looked around to plan my next joyful task: the desk. Rolls upon rolls of parchment were piled on one side with a quill and bottle of midnight blue ink resting on a fresh page as if waiting for its owner to scratch his wetted quill across the blank surface. I put both the quill and ink inside the desk where other unused ones were kept. I took the pieces of parchment and sat on the bed to sort through them. I felt a little uneasy, as if I were prying through someone's personal things without telling them, but as mum said, someone's got to do it. And as mum also said, that someone was me.
The main bulk were letters he'd received, mostly from Dumbledore, Harry and Lupin. He had some newspaper clippings: a lot regarding the Ministry's efforts in catching him, even an article from the Quibbler saying that Sirius Black was actually a muggle musician (I had fond memories laughing about it with Harry and Ron). There were many about Umbridge's new post at Hogwarts and the Ministry's appointment of her as Headmistress after Dumbledore went AWOL near the end of term. He had a copy of the interview Harry gave Rita Skeeter about the truth of Voldemort's return (having been possessed by his spirit from before he became Voldemort makes saying his name much less of a big deal) and some from even farther back when Rita was obsessed with discrediting Harry and even Hermione in their fourth year during the Triwizard Tournament. Oh Rita, you foul, foul woman.
When it came to actually throwing anything away, I couldn't bring myself do it. Not only did I feel I had no right, I mean, these were things Sirius obviously wanted to keep, so who was I to dismiss that? Alright, so I may have been being a tad ridiculous, and I'm sure that wherever he is he's quite likely not stressing over some old newspaper clippings, but for the love of magic, I hateto throw anything out! Mum always enjoys reminding me that the hoarding gene did not come from the Prewett side of the family. Instead, I searched for some sort of place to keep all of them and came upon a most convenient solution: a box full of old letters underneath his bed. Glancing through them it was easy to see they were from long ago, before he had gone to Azkaban, before that fateful Halloween sixteen years ago, before his life, and many others were taken away. I couldn't help myself and gave a quivering sigh. I did not see any from James or Lily, as I'm sure Harry must have taken them when he'd been in with Dumbledore, but I couldn't help from thinking that another one of them was now gone. I put everything in this box including the swell of tragic thoughts that swam out in the first place and set it on the now organized desk. I thought to myself that maybe Lupin would like to go through it all when he got there. If anyone had claim to it, he was the one.
Next came the wardrobe. I'd been dreading this task because clothes just seemed something so personal, and it felt like something you shouldn't be going through after someone had recently passed. Almost as if they might contain the last little bit of his once living essence. I was already feeling a little hesitant, so when I opened the door, my heart nearly stopped mid beat. There was something inside. A ghostly pale hand reached out and gripped the side, pulling the rest of the body out behind it. Someone was coming out.
I leapt back, nearly paralyzed with shock and fear. 'This can't be happening! He can't be here!' I thought wildly, too alarmed to act reasonable. Coming out of the wardrobe was my walking nightmare: black hair, icy blue eyes and that chillingly charming grin.
"Tom." I couldn't move. I couldn't even reach behind me to pull my wand out of my back pocket I was too stunned. I couldn't even hold onto a strain of the many thoughts swimming through my head. How is this possible? How did he come back? What is he going to do? Is this a dream? Am I dreaming?
He took a step closer, smiling that sickeningly familiar smile. Every image of every nightmare I'd ever had fused together with the images of all my actual memories as he continued towards me. All ability to reason through this situation left me as I squeezed my eyes shut. Just like a child...
"Riddikulus!" My eyes snapped opened. The room wavered and as suddenly as Tom had appeared, he turned into a balloon shaped version of himself and popped. There was a long silence where I didn't say anything as my brain picked up the slack and figured out what I should have the moment I opened the wardrobe.
"Ginevra?" a deeply concerned voice pulled me out of my inner turmoil and back into the moment. There was a long delay in my even registering that the voice which cast the charm must belong to a body and that this body was now standing in the doorway. It didn't take any time at all though for me to realize that it wasn't anybody I was expecting... at least not yet.
Author's note: there you have it folks, hope you enjoyed it! Please leave a review, it'd be greatly appreciated!