A/N: These are the Weasleys at the Burrow the summer before the seventh book- this is a possible one-shot of what could have happened when the older Weasley brothers find out about Harry and Ginny's relationship after the fact. Not mentioned in cannon and with some small artistic licenses, but I see no reason it couldn't have happened in some form or other. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters, settings, or ideas of this story. They all belong to the lovely J.K. Rowling, and only to her. I own several copies of each of her books, but that's the extent of it, and not at all the same...
It was early in the morning a day in late June, and Ginny Weasley was picking vegetables from the garden for her mother to cook for dinner that night. It was the first time all summer- or at least the three weeks that had passed so far- that the Weasley boys had all been home at the same time. Well, all except for Percy, but Ron didn't count him anymore with him being a prat to them and all.
So it was natural that today would be the day that they partook in the tradition of the Weasley brothers- to check out Ginny's room and Hogwarts things, just to see if there was a perspective boy they had to keep an eye on or scare off as her big brothers. It wasn't spying per say, but watching out for her. For instance, Michael Corner a of couple years ago had been a shock to them- and they hadn't even known about Dean Thomas until Ron had told them! So it was for their own mental well beings that they checked things out for themselves.
This year it was a much-needed mission, because they heard through the grapevine (the twins had excellent connections in the school still) that it had been months since Dean and Ginny had broken off their relationship. The Weasley Boys figured there must be a new stupid boy on the horizon by now, even if Ron might be too thick to realize it while being their eyes and ears in the school (a view that the brothers shared as a whole while being thick themselves by picturing him still as the little boy that he no longer was).
Bill, being the eldest, led the way into her room with the others following excitedly in a group. All except one: Ron came last, seeming oddly reluctant. Normally he was at the head of the group, jabbering about their year and very enthusiastic as a whole. Fred and George were the ones to notice his uncharacteristic silence, walking just in front of him.
"Our dear little brother-"
"You wouldn't happen to know-"
"Just for our curiosity's sake-"
"Something you're not sharing?"
His twin brothers' way of talking often left Ron trailing behind confused, but in this instance he had already been prepared for such a question from some brother. After all, he was supposed to be the Weasley Boys' informant at Hogwarts now that he was the only one left, and he hadn't said much at all since the year ended, much less anything about Ginny. He had only hoped and prayed that Ginny had thought to hide evidence of last year- of course he had thought about warning her before this, but couldn't in the end. She had a worse temper than their mum more than half of the time, and he didn't want to be the one to inform her of their annual tradition, if she ever found out. Maybe he wasn't a fit Gryffindor after all. At least it seemed that way at times…
…Like now. "No, I don't think so," He answered the twins, pretending to think about it. "I can't think of anything- you know, it was just one long, bad year."
The pity card had worked as he had hoped, and all four of his brothers turned to give him sympathetic looks before abandoning the vein of questioning. Being the best friend of Harry Potter had never been easy, though Ron would brave it any day out of the loyalty and brotherly affection he felt for Harry, but this year had been especially hard on everyone involved. It also hadn't end happily like their earlier Hogwarts years had with the 'Golden Trio' saving the day- it had ended with tragedy once again, but on a bigger level than ever.
Ron forced himself away from that train of thought- it would only lead to more worrying about Harry, which wouldn't be doing anything productive. He and Hermione were worrying about him more than should be at all possible through owl post alone as his other best friend was still home with her parents. The years had been getting progressively worse; first Cedric dying and that damned tournament fourth year, then Sirius who was Harry's closest father figure dying the next year, and now the Headmaster, who while important to everyone and being the leader of the Light was closer to Harry on a personal level, was gone too.
Ron sighed deeply, coming to from depressing memories just in time to see his brothers abandon Ginny's desk drawers and figure out how to unlock her school trunk. He knew those were good locking spells in place- put on by their father a few years ago- but they were made with schoolgirls in mind to keep people out for Ginny's privacy, not to keep out professional curse breakers like Bill. Ron swore silently in his head as Bill succeeded. Hopefully Ginny didn't keep anything in there…
But it looked as if she hadn't unpacked from the last term yet, so anything that had been safe in there upon leaving school would now be fair game to the brothers. Ron moved over closer as the others began to systematically sort through clothes and books and other school stuff while trying to leave things just as they had been before as to save them from their sister's suspicion.
While he knew that his brothers would eventually notice that he wasn't participating like in the past, Ron was a bit bothered at the thought of invading Ginny's privacy like this. In fact, opposed to other years he found that now he wanted to be close in case he needed to step in at any point- he'd defend Ginny any day anyway, but he didn't think it was Ginny this time that would need defending. Well, he'd do that as well, even if it went against the brother code they had!
"Hey," Bill stopped everyone short with his whisper, "I may have something!"
Ron looked over at that, completely dismayed at what was in his oldest brother's hand. It was a pretty wooden box that Harry and Ginny had found in a discount antique store in Hogsmede the one weekend they had been able to go together. It was an old-looking yet delicately beautiful rosewood, and had wonderful carvings on the lid. The center design was of a stag and it's doe standing in the middle of a field with flowers all around.
Ron swallowed nervously- if there was any information that his brothers would object to, it'd be in that box. But that wasn't even what was really bothering Ron, even if that though was enough- for the first time he felt wrong, dirty, for doing this. He felt like they were betraying their sister's privacy and secrets. Maybe it was because he knew the secret this time that made it different. Or maybe it was seeing the box that just the action of it being given had seemed like a private, special moment. It actually was that moment that Ron had realized his sister wasn't just acting on a little girl's crush, but was serious about this boy. It had been the moment that Ron had realized the boy was serious about her as well. He had finally realized that being a prat about their relationship would only push those he loved and cared about away from him.
It had been a pretty day in Hogsmede, but it was dampened a bit as Ron and the others clearly remembered last time they had been there. It had only been the Trio that time, and it was the day that Katie Bell had been cursed; so not a fun one for anyone. Today was the first outing since then as the teachers had arranged it so that they chaperoned third and fourth years one weekend, fifth and sixth years the next, and seventh the one after. They felt- rightly- that the students were feeling cooped up, and that tended to lead to the Fred and George wannabees acting up. That was something all the teachers wanted to avoid.
After wandering around a while, the four decided to go to the Three Broomsticks for a drink of Butterbeer, so they headed back down the street. However, Harry and Ginny's eyes seemed to be drawn to a small, creaky-looking shop to one side and down a bit on the street. Harry looked at Ginny and raised an eyebrow.
"Let's go," Ginny said in reply, and dragged him by the hand she'd been holding towards the store. Ron and Hermione laughed and followed the young couple, though Ron was inwardly as amazed as always by the bond those two seemed to have. So often in the past couple of days he'd seen them communicate with only looks, expressions, and sometimes with just their eyes. That behavior scared him because Ginny was his little sister, but he also knew that no one could or would care for her like Harry was. And he smiled every time he saw Harry happy with her- with so much pain and suffering in his life, Harry deserved every little happiness he could get now.
By the time he and Hermione entered the store Harry and Ginny were at the counter, Ginny seemingly listening to Harry as he softly told her a story. As Ron approached them, he had heard enough to know that Harry was telling her the story of their third year at school- one that was slightly painful for his best friend since Sirius's death in their fifth. But Ginny hadn't known all the stories before this year; just the pieces Ron had been forced to tell his parents about after injuries or the like. Understandably, he kept as much as possible from them to prevent them from worrying too much or punishing him for all the rule breaking the Trio had partaken in. So they had slowly began to tell Ginny about their adventures each year in pieces as the subject came up.
Ron wondered how this one was relevant now as he peered over Ginny's shoulder.
There on the counter in front of his best mate and little sister, was a beautifully carved wooden box, with silver hinges to make the lid flip open. It was some sort of reddish wood, and the scene depicted on the front was perfect for Harry- a stag was his father's animagus form, and the Trio had heard from Sirius that Lily Potter's patronus was a doe.
Now Ron understood the hushed and slightly reverent tone of voice that Harry was using- it was the exact one he often used when speaking of his parents.
Ron wasn't surprised at all when Harry bought the box before leaving the shop, but he was surprised when that evening, after only the four of them were left in the common room, he had given it to Ginny. She took it, looking confused.
"I want you to have it, Gin." Harry told her firmly.
She looked up at him, shocked. "No, Harry! You love it, and it has a depiction that matches your parents! It's like it was made for you, and you looked so thrilled when you saw it. You have to have it!"
But Harry was shaking his head slowly, with a thoughtful look on his face. "No; no, I don't think so. I don't really have a use for it, and I have other things that remind me of my parents along with lots of pictures. I was excited when I saw it because I wanted you to have it. Use it to hold pictures, letters, whatever you want, and think of me whenever you see it if I can't be there with you. My patronus looks just like that stag, after all."
He had finished speaking in a low voice that Ron had to strain to hear, but that had caused amazement when he did. Who had known that Harry could be so deep? Ron sure hadn't. But by Hermione's smug and slightly proud look as she gazed at their best friend, she had. Ron then realized the depth of Harry's affection, and maybe even love, for his sister. That was probably love shinning out of Ginny's eyes- she's never looked at any of her other boyfriends the way she's looking at Harry now, Ron mused.
Ginny looked up at Harry with suspiciously wet eyes. "Oh, Harry. Thank you. Really." They hadn't started snogging at this point, or doing anything else that would've given Ron an excuse to groan and complain. Instead, Harry had simply taken Ginny into his arms and hugged her, burying his face in her hair. The two stayed like that for some time, seeming to forget there was anyone else in the world, let alone the room.
It was so personal; it seemed so much more intimate than snogging did, somehow. So Ron and Hermione said their own goodnights, and went to their individual staircases. Soon after, dressed in pajamas and ready for bed, Ron went to peek downstairs to see if Harry was on his way up yet. He was just in time to see Harry pull away from a reluctant Ginny and kiss the top of her head on her hair, before giving her a chaste kiss on the mouth- the kiss that even a brother couldn't complain about. But that kiss held so much emotion in their faces that Ron could hardly bear it. He went quickly to his bed and pretended to be asleep when Harry came in, sparing either of them conversation that neither of them wanted.
As he thought back on that night, Ron wondered how much of the outcome of the year Harry had expected, and if his friend had guessed right… maybe that's why his breathing hadn't evened out into sleep until the wee hours of the morning…
Ron snapped back to reality in time to say sharply but quietly to his brothers, "Don't touch that!"
It must have really been a surprise to them either because they hadn't expected Ron to stand against them, or because they hadn't expected to hear such a hard, sharp command from their little brother (but Ron had learned from watching Harry with the DA, after all), because after that they all looked sharply over at him and actually obeyed what he had said.
Bill immediately put the box back into the trunk, and turned to look at Ron curiously. Ron gulped nervously; he hadn't planned what he would be doing next, he just knew he didn't want any of his brother's grimy hands touching Ginny's box.
"Ron," Bill began slowly, using his big-brother persona to calmly speak to him, as if Ron was still very young and in trouble for pulling Ginny's braids, "What do you know? And no bullshit this time; we want the truth."
The others let Bill take charge, as he was the oldest, and turned to look at Ron questioningly as well. Ron didn't know what to do; there were no accusing looks, yet, and he didn't want to put any on their faces. But, he remembered suddenly, he was more concerned with defending his best mate than worrying about his brother's disapproval.
Harry had taught him more than DADA- Harry inspired loyalty in Ron, and had taught him confidence. Through being a prat more than once, he had discovered that even if other people only thought of him as the best friend of the 'Chosen One', it didn't matter. Only his friends', family's, and his own opinions mattered. Harry had nothing for Ron to be jealous of: a target on his forehead (literally and figuratively), orphaned at a young age, relatives who hate the thought of him, people that he cares about dying every year, the students constantly worshiping and hating him by turn depending on the press, and never getting to be a normal student with a normal death-and-risk-free year with a loving family.
Just as Ron opened his mouth to say something (anything) to his brothers, it seemed Charlie had lost his patience as the most short-tempered of the bunch. He turned sharply around with his back to Ron. "We don't have time for this!" he snapped, as he grabbed the box back from the trunk and opened it quickly, before Ron could react. The second oldest brother inhaled sharply as he saw the contents.
At his quick breath the others immediately gathered around and little gasps and swears were heard. Ron stayed back alone, unable to believe what they were doing, and sick with the knowledge that once he would've been looking and angry as well.
He didn't know how to stop them, and he really didn't want to see anything from that box- Harry and Ginny had used Hedwig to send letters between their dorms late at night on numerous occasions, and he knew those had probably ended up in there along with all their pictures and mementos; private things and memories that were precious to Ginny.
Ron didn't have much of a choice, though, when Charlie pushed the box roughly under his nose.
"Nothing to say, Ron?" he mocked, his tone unusually sharp with his surprise, "Is this a surprise to you too, then?"
Ron looked down involuntarily, and fought the urge to throw up. Now it wasn't even because of the privacy they were invading, but because of the picture in front of him.
Harry and Ginny were standing in front of the Great Lake, on one of the first nice days of spring. They had their arms around each other as they smiled at the camera. The photographer, Ron knew, had been Hermione that day. Harry leaned down slightly to place a loving kiss on Ginny's red curls, and she turned to smile up adoringly at him. Before he could kiss her, though, Ron barreled into the picture and pushed them both into the lake, where all three surfaced and laughed a moment later, no animosity. That much his brothers must have noticed.
But as the picture reset and started over, Ron though back to that day on the grounds. They had continued playing in the water for almost an hour, splashing and having a great time and even pulling Hermione in soon after. It was one of the last of it's kind, so soon before and Harry and Dumbledore's failed mission and the consequences of it. The looks on the couple's faces, the happiness, took his breath away.
That was the first time Ginny had looked that free and happy since before the damn chamber incident, and it had only been when she was with Harry. Ron hadn't seen her look like that again since just days after the day in the picture. Harry was the only one who fully understood what she had gone through, the depth of the evil they had both experienced, and the nightmares that they shared. Somehow he erased the weight on her shoulders, and she had seemed so carefree and content.
And Harry, well Ron had never seen Harry this light and happy, and he worried that he never would again. This war and the weight on his shoulders were draining his best friend, but when with Ginny, he had seemed so young and so free. The darkness was gone from both of their eyes.
His brothers were still silently waiting for him to say something, but he didn't right away, just reached out pulled the box roughly from Charlie's still outstretched hands.
"You know," he said in a low, dangerous voice that he'd only heard come from Harry before in one of their dangerous situations, "I'm disgusted by all of you, and I can't believe that as the youngest, I had to be the first to grow up and act mature." He noticed his brothers backing a few steps away from him with surprise and slight fear, but couldn't find it in him to care. He took the box tenderly in his hands and closed the lid gently, setting in back in the trunk before rounding on his brothers.
"I always followed all of you, you all being older, and wiser. I thought for sure we were doing the right thing. Tell me, Charlie," he suddenly demanded, causing Charlie to look sharply at him, "When you were fifteen or sixteen, did you let Bill, or Mum or Dad look at your private school things? Your pictures? Your journal? Did you?" he demanded looking at Bill, "or you two?" turning toward the twins. "I know I don't want anyone going through my stuff, and Ginny's a hell of a lot stronger than any of us give her credit for, or than I think any of you even know. She needs support from us, not protection. She can make her own decisions by now, and we're invading her privacy. Frankly, this makes me sick."
Fred and George both actually looked ashamed at the end of Ron's speech, though they were the last ones Ron would've thought would be swayed about this. They came to stand near him and for once didn't use twin-speak, letting Fred talk for them both.
"You know, you're right Ron. The youngest brother, mature before all of us. It's terrible what this war has done to you. You're right- it's none of our business if she didn't tell us. And I know that if she is with Harry, then George and I will be staying out of it. It doesn't concern us unless she asks for our help or is hurt in some way, and we really like and respect Harry, so we would approve of them. We trust and owe him."
They moved to stand behind Ron, but the last part of their statement confused the older two brothers. "Respect and owe?" Bill asked, "What's a sixteen-year-old done to get that from you two?" Bill knew Harry, but not nearly as well as Ron, or even the twins.
"It's not pranking respect," George snapped out at Charlie, seeing the assumed answer in his brother's face, "It was watching him his first year as he led Ron and Hermione to save the school from Voldemort; it was watching his second as he saved Ginny's life, killed a sixty foot basilisk with a sword, and defeated Voldemort again; it was hearing the story of his third year, about them saving Sirius and Buckbeak's innocent lives; it was seeing him forced to compete in a tournament he was entered in for his eventual death, against three opponents three years older; it was seeing him come through each task with unbeatable scores, come ahead, disappear from that maze, and then arrive back at the Quidditch pitch with a dead Cedric Diggory as he cried into Dumbledore's shoulder."
Fred took over the speech to his now shell-shocked brothers, "It was watching him face all the hurt and rejection of people accusing him of being a liar his fifth year, and having to deal with that cow Umbridge when she was coming down on him worse than anyone else. It was watching him teach an illegal defense club just so students would be able to survive Voldemort and his death eaters despite the Ministry's stupidity, even when most of the students were his age or older, including the two of us. It was learning from him that there's nothing to fear from a name alone. It was from Harry Potter caring about others more than himself when he ran to the Ministry to save his godfather only to fail, or when he threw a thousand galleons at the two of us without a second thought because he wanted us to provide laughs for the fighting ahead."
George finished softly, "It's for believing in us when everyone else thought we were just jokesters without a care in the world, and giving us the means to start our dream. That's why we like, respect, trust, and support Harry Potter. That's why not just we, but the world, owe him."
Ron stared at his prankster twin brothers with amazement, not knowing where that had come from, but knowing that he agreed with them one hundred percent. He clapped them both on the shoulders in thanks.
Charlie didn't seem to know when to quit though, although in his defense, he didn't know Harry as well as the others did.
"But why didn't you tell us Ron? If there was nothing to hide?"
"Because I didn't want any of you coming to threaten Harry. He had enough to deal with, between the war, the fighting, Snape teaching DADA, his lessons with Dumble-" he stopped abruptly, something his brothers noticed, but there was no way he'd allow himself to get flustered enough to give away one of Harry's secrets. "I'd never seen either of them so happy." He continued instead, softly, "The darkness from Ginny's eyes from her first year was gone with him, and he was the only one to ever understand completely or even be able to compare. Both were touched by evil that none of us could comprehend, though after the last few years I think I can get close."
"And Harry," he sighed, "I'd never seen him so happy, in the last six years of knowing him. His life is the saddest and hardest one I could imagine, but the age and burden left his eyes and shoulders when he was with her. He looked like a teenager, actually his age, prepared to have fun. Not the general leading a war. Not a boy with a man's responsibility on his shoulders, a responsibility originally put there by busybody reporters making stories for the public. He had never been so happy, and I wanted them to be left in peace."
As he finished talking he desperately hoped that his brothers would understand and leave it at that. He didn't want to delve deeper into feelings he wasn't ready to examine about the events at the end of the year.
Luckily, even if he didn't agree, Charlie kept quiet. Bill looked curiously to the box sitting in the still open trunk, then to Ron's face. A face, he noted, that he hadn't even seen the changes in. Ron was no boy either. He had matured far too early for his years, and Bill felt ashamed for his younger brother having to teach him maturity.
"I'm sorry, Ron. You're right, and far more of a man than I could hope to be right now." He could see the pride on his younger brother's face, as Ron felt the warmth of the first compliment of that kind from one of his older brothers. But then Bill asked a question Ron didn't want to answer. "Where did Gin get this box?"
Ron froze as Fred and George both got interested looks on their faces and leaned in close to the trunk to see the box. "A stag," one whispered, remembering the patronus lessons from Harry in the DA.
Ron nodded, and explained to the other two confused brothers, "Harry's patronus is a stag, and he got the box. Let's leave it at that. That's too private for me to want to remember: leave her stuff alone."
One word seemed to make Charlie gasp, though, "A patronus? At his age? For Fred and George to have seen it would've made him fifteen-" luckily they got interrupted, for Ron didn't really want to discuss his best friend's talents right now on top of everything else.
But the form of the distraction was a bit unfortunate. Ginny had finished her chores, and had come up to her room.
"WHAT is going on here?" she demanded, hands on hips as she glared at her brothers. All except Ron took a sheepish step back from her anger. Ron, however, knew that he deserved whatever she gave.
It seemed they wouldn't get a chance to try to explain, though, because when Charlie moved back Ginny got a clear view of the open trunk and the box on top of her jumpers. For a minute the boys held their breaths, waiting for the explosion. Ron, though, could see the hurt and betrayal battling with the anger, and was only slightly prepared when she turned the betrayed gaze on him. He was, after all, the only one who knew. The only one likely to understand, who she thought had understood.
"Ron?" she asked softly. He gulped.
"Gin," he replied, just as softly, as the others watched silently. They could tell this was something between the two of them. "I didn't mean-"
"I though you, at least, understood," she whispered, "I thought you knew, that you-"
But then he had grabbed and hugged her, and the other brothers were astonished to hear her crying. Obviously there was more to the story than they had thought, because Ginny never cried.
"It's okay, Gin, it'll be okay." He murmured, trying to calm her. But of course, it just fueled her temper. Ron sighed with slight relief as she jerked away from him. Angry Ginny was the Ginny he knew and could deal with, not sobbing, depressed Ginny.
"'It'll be okay?'" she mocked angrily, "What, exactly, will be okay? Voldemort trying to take over the world? Dumbledore being dead and him," Ron could tell she didn't want to say the name, "blaming himself for the death, even though there was nothing he could do? Or is it okay that I'll be getting on the Hogwarts Express alone in September while you three go off on whatever mission was left to you, leaving me to wonder if I'll even see you alive again?"
When she was done he could hear the gasps from his brothers, but decided to deal with one problem at a time. "Ginny, you know we don't have a choice, and it's not like you can come with us." When she opened her mouth the protest, and stopped her, "NOT because we don't think you're capable. He taught you himself, that would be questioning his own abilities. No, we saw you in our fifth year in the Department of Mysteries. But Gin, you're underage. Meaning Mum and Dad could stop you, and as much as they wish they could, they can't stop us. Plus, you have the Trace on you for another year. It would be a liability to have you with us and not have you capable of doing magic. Do you really think he'd save himself in a fight if it came between his life and yours? We can't risk it Gin, though I know he's wished a thousand times that we could."
Ginny seemed thoughtful for a moment before she sighed gustily. "I guess I always knew that, and I had expected the end of the year for some time leading up to it. I'm just too stubborn to give in."
Ron moved to hug her again. "I know, and I'm sorry Gin. I really am. I'm also sorry about this," he waved to include her room and their brothers. "We always like to know what's going on in your life, and sadly that means that we'd peek once a year. This year, however, it seems that I'm more mature than the rest of these bozos. Maybe it's because I was there, but I tried to stop them, I really did Gin. And I didn't let them look through the box," he finished softly, and Ginny's eyes immediately flew to the spot where the box was sitting innocently, as if she had forgotten about it when talking to Ron.
She started breathing quickly. "Did they touch, or see-"
"No," Ron interrupted smoothly, causing her to relax again, "Just the picture on top, the one of us in the lake."
Unfortunately, the reminder of better times was not what she needed. Tears began to gather in her brown eyes.
This prompted the others to speak, no doubt foolishly thinking it safe now. "Did he hurt you?" Charlie demanded, confused as to why else his sister would be crying. "If he did, not even the support he has from Fred and George will stop me from going and breaking his neck."
Ginny first looked surprised at the mention of the twins, but decided it made sense with how the twins had always viewed and gotten along with Harry. The next part, though, caused her to look with anger in her sharp gaze. "If you dare-" was as far as she got before Ron interrupted, even more furious than before and even more dangerous looking than Ginny. His blue eyes were blazing; his mouth was set in a hard, straight, line.
"Charlie, you make have forgotten that the twins, Ginny, and I are all on his side, and you wouldn't be able to get near him. Besides, keep talking that way and I'll have to label you a traitor. Harry's our one chance at winning this war, and he's not doing it for himself, but for his parents, Sirius, Cedric, Dumbledore, all the others who have died, our family who he loves as his own, all the Muggleborn students at the school, anyone who wants a shot at a happy future, and for Ginny. So keep your mouth shut, Charlie, unless you need me to do it." He pulled out his wand for emphasis, now that he was of age and could legally use it. "Harry taught me in the DA as well," he reminded his brother softly, and Charlie gulped at the low, dangerous tone of Ron's voice and the serious look in his eyes.
The dragon tamer then turned to Ginny. "I'm sorry, Gin, I just wanted to know why you looked like you were on the verge of tears."
"We broke up," was her quiet response, "because he's a noble prat who didn't want me to have any connection to him that Voldemort would use to hurt me. I was already used my first year, and he knows Voldemort is now desperate for any of Harry's weaknesses. He doesn't want me to get hurt because of him." She turned and walked over to pick up the box, setting on her lap as she sat on the edge of her bed. "Please, just leave."
The brothers, except for Ron, looked at each other in shock, and silently decided that maybe it would be a good idea to finish discussing this outside. They all glanced guiltily at their sister, and saw what Ron had been seeing for weeks- the happy, content face during the day was a mask, hiding the anguish and worry she felt.
They turned and silently filed out the door.
But as the door shut quietly, Ginny could feel someone else in the room with her. "Yes, Ron?" she asked.
He took a deep breath, "This is a little hard for me, you being my sister, and him my best friend. I won't abandon him, Ginny, not when he needs me. I love you so much, but I need to go with him next year, even though you can't come."
She looked up at him with eyes only a little wet, keeping herself well under control. "I know, and I really do understand. Just, do me a favor?"
"Of course," he nodded, "anything."
"Just watch out for him, and try your hardest to get him back safe." Both of them knew the word she was avoiding- alive. But Ron stayed silent about it and nodded yes to both requests.
"Of course I will. You know I care about him too."
"Thanks," she sent him a small smile, "I'll feel so much better knowing that he has you and Hermione with him. You know he'll want to convince you to stay: make sure he doesn't sneak off without you. He's so concerned with keeping everyone else safe that he tends to forget how he needs you guys."
"I know, and I know Hermione does too."
And with that she turned to the box in her lap as Ron left the room, softly shutting the door behind him. He didn't want to intrude, and he was sure his brothers had lots of questions in the meantime. Not the least of which was the little detail Ginny didn't realize she had let slip of the trio's trip this upcoming year. But he couldn't blame her- like them all, she had a lot on her mind.
A/N: Thank you so much for reading! I hoped you enjoyed this little piece. It was just a little something that had been floating in my mind for some time that I finally got the time and energy to write down, in between working on some longer stories.
Please review this one-shot, even if it's just a word or two telling me what you thought. Oh, and check out my profile and the poll there, about what stories I have in my mind right now to work on. I'm working on the Father's Love currently, but I'm still open to people's opinions on the matter!