Her heart hammers against her ribcage and her legs ache something fierce as she runs and she tries to catch up to Ron and the Twins. She bursts with laughter as she tackles Ron to the ground right at the edge of the lake near their home, his whole face is turning a bright shade of crimson as two identical redheads cackled at him for being caught by a girl.
She says they should play another game because tag is getting boring. It isn't really, of course, but Ron is never any fun when he gets upset and she wants to play. She watches Fred's slow smile spreading across his thin lips as he looks out to the middle of the lake. There's a dock floating there, giving her brother wicked ideas about how to scare her off. She sees George's mouth now holds a matching grin as the two turn back to their younger siblings and say at the once, "How about a race?"
She gets a funny feeling in her tummy, but still catches the slow, secret smile that's now made its way onto Ron's lips as well. She knows they are trying to get rid of her. It isn't going to work, though. She isn't a 'fraidy cat, she can race them to the middle of the lake just fine. She pushes the strange feeling in her tummy aside, smiles her own smile, and gives them a nod of her head. "Let's do it."
The boys are surprised, to say the least, but try their best to hide it (she still sees, she always sees). They don't want to hurt their kid sister's feelings, she knows. They never mean to, but that never makes the pain lessen, not even a little bit. She's tired of being pushed away and kicked out of their 'boys only' group. She sets her mouth in a determined line and strides to the water's edge, pulling off her trainers and socks as she goes. Glancing back over her shoulder at the three redheaded boys, she raises her brows and motions for them to follow her. "C'mon!"
They're all poised at the edge of the shore, up to their ankles in cool, blue water when Fred does his count and gives the word and suddenly there are three redheads bounding into the depths of the lake, laughing uncontrollably all the way. She dives in as soon as the water is deep enough and soon she's carrying herself closer and closer and oh so very much closer to the dock. She doesn't want to look at her brothers, to see how close or far they are. She just wants to beat one, just one, of them to the dock. She wants to belong for once. But when she looks up as she touches the edge of the dock and sees three grinning redheads, out of breath and full of smug satisfaction, she feels that sick feeling knot back up in her tummy.
Of course they beat her. Of course. Because she's so small and so slow and so weak and so... so stupid to think that she could ever fit in with them. She's a girl. She's not built to play Qudditch and swim across lakes and climb and tumble and wrestle and she knows Ron tripped and let her catch him and she's... done. She's just done. Done with their stupid games and stupid rules and stupid... boy things.
She pushes the tears back and pushes off from the dock and pushes herself to make it back to the shore without stopping. She doesn't even want to be a part of their stupid club. She can find her own friends and have her own club and have friends that -
There's a tug on her ankle, a sharp pull, and it sends every bitter thought flying from her head. She's stopped swimming, frozen in fear, and now she can hear her brothers calling for her to come back to the dock. They're sorry, they want her to come back, they didn't mean to hurt her feelings... She wishes she had heard them before. She feels the little creature's claws still in the flesh of her calf as she turns and waves her arms at them, trying not to upset what she's sure is a Grindylow attached to her. They don't get her signal (of course, because they're idiot boys) and they wave - they wave back at her, grinning again. She doesn't know if they're still grinning when the creature jerks her under the water and down, down, down into the dark depths.
She doesn't know how long she's been under. She doesn't know where all the air has gone. She doesn't know anything but the fact that she's six-years-old and she's probably not going to get any older. This is then end and she hasn't even kissed a boy. Hasn't seen Hogwarts firsthand. Hasn't been sorted into Gryffindor. Hasn't proved her brothers wrong on any and every misconception they had about ther little sister.
Because they aren't wrong.
Because she's going to die, right now.
Because she's the weakest, smallest, dumbest Weasley, and she's going to be drown to death by a Grindylow.
Stop it, she thinks, stop that! She's done with her thoughts. She wants to live. She wants to get away and live and prove to her brothers that she can to anything they can. She grunts and a stream of bubbles float to the surface as she jerks her leg up and away from the grubby little thing tugging at her. It doesn't work on the first pull, but by the fourth she's loosed his hold and even kicked him in the face for good measure. She's kicking and lunging and striving for the surface, for the blazing orange sun and brilliant blue skies.
She gasps for air as her head breaks through the surface of the water again and it's blessed relief to feel the air rushing into her lungs. Suddenly there are arms around her and she sees two identical facesto either side of her as they tow her back to the shore.
"You're lucky we saved you, Ginny, that could've been really bad," they lecture her, checking her over as Ron hovers worriedly. "You're too little to go out by yourself."
Ginny nods her head silently, agreeing and thankful for them being there, but there is a great fire building in her chest. She was so tired of being underestimated. She'd show them. She'd show them all one day. They wouldn't be around to "save" her forever, and once she had the chance, she'd prove that she didn't need them to. She was a Weasley, too, darn it, and she could do just as much as every last one of her brothers.
She'd show them.