Title: Crepúsculo (1/?)

Author Name: Katja

Author Email: katja021@yahoo.com

Category: Romance/General

Keywords: Ginny 6th year

Rating: PG-13

Spoilers: mostly CoS but all books to be safe

Summary: Beneath the surface of Ginny Weasley's seemingly perfect life lurk a myriad of old problems that combine to make her sixth year a volatile accident waiting to happen.and her worst enemy controls the spark that could set it all aflame.

Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. The chapter title (Being There) comes from the movie of the same name and has absolutely nothing to do with the plot of this story.

A/N: Dedicated to Soz for the beta, and for making me laugh hysterically (what would I do without that ripe kumquat line??). One of these days we WILL find a bratwurst magnet.

Crepúsculo

Chapter 1

Being There

Molly Weasley clutched her handbag and bellowed over the din of the train, "Have a wonderful year, Harry and Hermione! As for you two, be good! Try to stay out of trouble, Ron! And Ginny...well, keep an eye on your brother!"

Ginny and Ron exchanged a look. They waved at their mother as the train whistled and pulled out of Kings Cross station. As soon as their mother faded out of sight Ron slumped down in his seat.

"Mum worries too much. Fred and George managed to graduate without getting expelled, and they got in trouble way more often than we ever have! Isn't that enough proof that I'll survive Hogwarts?" Ron's face glowed with the beginnings of a temper tantrum.

Ginny wasn't so sure, seeing as the Wonder Trio attracted trouble the way a garbage truck attracts flies, but knew better than to argue with her brother when his friends would probably take care of it for her.

Sure enough, "Except, when we caught doing something, we really get caught," Hermione pointed out.

Ron's eyes narrowed. "What do you mean by that?"

"Well, Fred and George were pranksters. Everyone expected them to get in trouble all the time. But when we get caught breaking rules we lose a lot of points."

"Oh, it's all about the points, is it? Wouldn't want to lose any points for Gryffindor, would we? And it's not like you don't win them all back for us, sucking up to all the teachers."

Everyone knew Ron had extremely little tact when angry, but-- "That was low, Ron, and it's not true either. How exactly was I supposed to win back the 200 points you and Harry lost last year when you let the Mexican Biting Gecko loose in the school? Terrorized the fourth floor for two weeks, that thing, and three students lost body parts."

"Madam Pomfrey reattached all the fingers in the end," Harry attempted to add to the conversation, to which Ron and Hermione replied in kind: "You stay out of this!"

Figuring that this situation was bound to get worse before it got better, Ginny began to inch her way towards the door. Harry eyed her jealously. Bet he wished he'd thought of this.

"How were we supposed to know Hagrid had locked it in the broom closet? I mean, of all the places to keep a Mexican Biting Gecko."

"You should have learned by now that poking around the whole school is bound to get you into some kind of trouble, Ron!" Hermione fumed. "Goodness knows you've gotten in enough detentions from it!"

"We aren't even responsible for it most of the time! We get in trouble for things, but Malfoy's always the one who--"

Ginny had reached the door, but, unfortunately, just as she reached for the handle the door burst open, squishing her behind it.

"Malfoy's always the one who what, Weasley?" said Draco Malfoy, arriving on the scene with that impeccable timing Ginny had always hated about his family. He stepped aside to let in his two cronies, or perhaps small mountains, Crabbe and Goyle, who possessed formidable intimidation skills but weren't nearly as talented when it came to the finer points of life, like conversation.

"Speak of the devil," Harry muttered, then continued in a louder voice, "What do you want, Malfoy?"

"I heard my name and I was curious as to what you had to say about me." He gave a deceptive smile.

"That doesn't explain what you were doing listening in on our conversation in the first place," Hermione retorted.

"Our private conversation," Ron enlightened.

Malfoy said something in response but Ginny didn't hear it. During the whole exchange she had been attempting escape from behind the door, but had found, to her dismay, that one of Malfoy's trolls-she thought it might be Goyle, but she'd never bothered to learn which was which-was standing directly in front of the door, blocking her exit. She tried to move out from behind the door without alerting Goyle/Crabbe of her presence, quickly realized the futility of her efforts, gulped, and pushed against the door as hard as she could, causing Goyle/Crabbe to pitch forward with all the grace of a rolling boulder. He regained his footing almost immediately, though, just in time to grab Ginny roughly by the hair and rope an arm around her neck. She would have admired his agility except that she was choking.

Out of the corner of her eye she saw Malfoy moving purposefully towards her and that egged Ron into action. He cursed Goyle/Crabbe with a convenient Rictusempra, causing the oaf to grunt in surprise and release his death grip on Ginny's throat. She gasped in breath and massaged her aching neck, distantly aware that the compartment had erupted in sparks of blue and red as hexes and curses flew left and right.

Ginny tried to move out of the line of fire, only to have someone fall into her with enough force to knock her flat on her back. Her already choking-addled brain registered blond hair before she passed out.

When Ginny came to, Malfoy and the trolls were gone. She blinked a few times and tried to sit up.

"No, no, lie back down," came Hermione's voice from somewhere above her. "You shouldn't move just yet. You got knocked out pretty badly."

Ginny obeyed then asked groggily, "How long was I out for?"

"Not long. Five minutes maybe. Harry and I just finished dragging Malfoy off you, actually. We dumped him in the compartment next door. Harry is over there guarding him. Malfoy's still unconscious. I think Harry hit him pretty hard."

"So Harry's okay. And Ron?"

Hermione's face floated into view as the older girl sat down next to Ginny. "Ron's out cold. I think Goyle did it, or maybe it was Crabbe. I can't tell them apart. He didn't bother with his wand; just beat him upside the head with his fist."

"I don't know which is which either," Ginny admitted with a grin.

"Are you feeling okay now, Ginny?"

Ginny struggled to sit up, blithely ignoring the headache that threatened to split her head open. She flashed Hermione a grin. "I'm fine."

Hermione sucked in her breath. "Oh, Ginny, that doesn't look good."

"What?"

Hermione gingerly touched her fingertips to a spot on Ginny's jawbone just below her left ear. Even the gentle touch made Ginny wince. "Here, look," Hermione said, whipping out a small mirror.

Ginny took it from Hermione and held it up to the side of her head. The blossoming purple bruise filled the glass immediately. She shrugged. "I'll wear my hair down," she said. "Nobody will even know it's there."

"You should go to Madam Pomfrey. She can heal it for you."

"And tell her we were fighting with the Slytherins?"

"You could tell her you fell and hit your head."

Ginny rewarded that sentence with a gaze of narrow-eyed skepticism. "Right, Hermione, fell exactly so I got a fist-sized bruise beneath my ear? Great plan. Is Madam Pomfrey even on the train?"

"Oh," Hermione deflated. "Good point."

"Besides, you heard my mother. I wouldn't want to get Ron in trouble, if anyone found out we were in a fight with Malfoy and Company."

Hermione considered, favoring Ron with a look that would have turned him scarlet, had he been conscious.

"Right then," Ginny said, realizing that if she didn't leave the compartment real soon Hermione's rose-colored gaze upon her brother was going to make her violently ill. "I'm going for a walk, Hermione. I'll be back later." She tugged her hair out of its ponytail and let it fall loose about her shoulders.

Ginny reached the door. "Bye, Hermione." She didn't think Hermione was even going to respond, she was so far into her fluffy pink daydreams of frolicking on the beach with Ron, or something equally gag-inducing, but Hermione said an absent-minded, "Goodbye," without removing her eyes from their quarry.

Ginny closed the door behind her and exhaled deeply with her eyes shut. Funny how dreams change. For most of her years at Hogwarts she'd wanted nothing more than for Hermione and Ron to fall in love, so she would fall in love with Harry. They were meant for each other; it had to be true. It amazed her, now, that she had ever been so naïve. She had believed in fairy tales, once upon a time.

With no particular objective Ginny began to wonder towards the front of the train, where most of the students in her year sat. Her family had arrived at Kings Cross so late that the only available compartment was the one she'd shared with the Wonder Trio, and experience she never enjoyed. Separated from each other, she found Ron and Hermione and, yes, Harry, too, perfectly easy to talk to, but she liked being around the three of them together even less than she liked Snape's class. Chopping Siberian Death Slugs in Snape's class. They meant no harm to anyone; for all the talk of bravery Ginny had found the majority of Gryffindor House to be about as purposefully dangerous as a baby bunny; but Harry, Ron and Hermione formed such a tightly woven group that feelings of exclusion were absolutely inevitable. She imagined that the Wonder Trio's assorted ex-girlfriends and -boyfriends felt exactly the same way, and it hurt worse that they didn't mean to make anyone feel left out than it would have if they had intended to do so. They were the way they were. They didn't know any better and so couldn't possibly change it.

Ginny moved into the next car and peered into the first compartment. Five faces met her gaze, two boys and three girls, all of them familiar.

"Ginny!" squealed a pretty brown-haired girl and propelled herself across the compartment to envelop Ginny in a tight hug.

"Hi, Cora," Ginny said with a smile.

Cora Delera stepped back, grasping Ginny's upper arms in her slender little hands. "That's all I get after not seeing you for an entire summer?" She attempted an injured expression, failed miserably, and continued, "Anyway, Ginny, it's so good to see you," her pale eyes sparkling.

"You too, Cor." Ginny redirected her smile at the remaining four occupants of the compartment.

Maggie Hanahan, a Gryffindor 6th year like Ginny and Cora, said hello, as did her 6th year Ravenclaw boyfriend, Mike Martin. Mike's arm was wrapped around Maggie's shoulders and both of them were completely at ease in that position around their friends.

Laraby Wilkinson, the third girl in the group, was also in Ginny's dorm. "So, Ginny," she began with an encouraging wink, "what did you do this summer?" Ginny knew that sugarcoated voice meant she'd love a little juicy gossip.

Ginny flashed her a grin but didn't even attempt to hide the annoyance in her eyes. "Well, Lara"-Laraby hated the nickname; Ginny used it as often as she could-"maybe I spent most of my summer at a certain castle in Ireland."

Laraby sucked in her breath. "You don't mean.with Seamus Finnegan?"

"Maybe," Ginny said in a confiding tone. "And maybe you're looking at his girlfriend."

Maybe. Or maybe not. Behind the blonde girl's back Ginny saw Cora stiffling her sniggers.

"I thought you two broke up before the end of school." Laraby's voice was confident, but her blue eyes revealed a mixed bag of disbelief that she could possibly be behind in gossip and hope that Ginny would share something with her that nobody else knew. Laraby liked getting the inside scoop on things; she'd make a wonderful, if annoying, reporter.

"Is that what you thought?" Ginny replied quizzically. Cora was trying so hard not to laugh out loud that she was turning purple from exertion. Laraby really would swallow anything Ginny fed her.

Laraby's eyes grew huge. "I've got to go talk to Lavender," she said, sounding somewhat awestruck. She scooted out of the compartment.

The second Laraby closed the door behind her, the last person in the compartment made his presence known. "Really, Ginny," he said, "you shouldn't bait Laraby like that. It's too cruel." But from his dancing green eyes and mocking tone Ginny knew that he would do the same. And did, of course. There weren't many things Jeremy Hayden enjoyed more.

"Oh, but it's such fun," Ginny whined.

"Honestly, you two should just get married already," Cora put in with a roll of her eyes. "It'd make teasing each other that much more convenient."

Jeremy and Ginny looked at Cora, looked at each other, and smile mischievously. Without warning Jeremy dropped to one knee and grasped Ginny's hands. With an overdone, earnest smile, he began, "Virginia Anne Weasley, I've loved you since the moment I met you. No other woman had ever come close to meaning what you mean to me. If you let me I will treat you like the princess you are for the rest of your life. Ginny, will you be my wife?"

Ginny exhaled a blissful sigh. "Oh, Jeremy, of course I will!"

He dipped her and kissed her in a display of mock passion.

Cora burst into a round of applause. Maggie and Mike, however, hadn't even noticed the comedy. They were having far too much fun snogging each other senseless.

Jeremy wrinkled his nose. "Somebody should pry those two apart. They're missing out on my comedic genius."

Cora smirked, an expression that seemed drastically out of place on her pretty face. "You know they'd be back at it in a few minutes anyway."

"Have you been at the shop recently, Jeremy?" Ginny asked, referring to the twins' joke shop, Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes. "You sound like you've been taking lessons from the pros."

He affected a pained expression. "I'm hurt, Gin, that you'd accuse me of copying your brothers. My humor is entirely my own."

Ginny rolled her eyes and took the seat beside Cora.

"Although they are geniuses," Jeremy added as he sat down, just in time to be hit in the arm by a flailing limb that belonged to either Mike or Maggie, Ginny couldn't tell which. Ginny, Cora and Jeremy stared at the writhing mass, which finally came up for air and separated into two separate people once again.

"Did we miss something?" Mike asked, upon noticing the expectant silence.

Cora, Jeremy and Ginny looked at each other and laughed till tears ran down their cheeks.

"What's so funny?" Maggie looked puzzled.

Howling with laughter, Ginny finally got out, "You two need to spend a little time apart or you'll merge into one person entirely. MaggieandMike."

From the glance that passed between the two of them it seemed that Maggie and Mike wouldn't view such a development as a bad thing.

"You're hopeless," Cora intoned, and Ginny nodded her agreement.

"I'd better head back to my compartment," Ginny said. "We're almost there."

Jeremy jumped up and said, "I'll walk you back." He stood by the door expectantly and Ginny got up, feeling Cora's eyes on her back. From her gaze Ginny knew Cora had wanted to walk her back so that they could talk by themselves, but Jeremy had beaten her to it. Cora wouldn't tell Jeremy she'd been waiting all afternoon to talk to Ginny, though Ginny could tell from the intensity of Cora's eyes that she had obviously been waiting for just that. Cora, however, was nothing if not graceful.

Later, Cora, Ginny promised silently. We'll have plenty of time to talk tonight.

She followed Jeremy out of the compartment and into the hall. Once out of eyesight from the compartment, Jeremy turned to face Ginny and said, "I've been waiting to get you alone all afternoon."

Ginny gaped. "Why?" she asked, genuine surprise coloring her voice.

"So I could do this," he replied, and kissed her hard on the mouth. After a moment he stepped back and she muttered something unintelligible, feeling more than slightly shell-shocked. She stared at him, bug-eyed, stared at him a little more, and finally managed to gasp, "What was that for?"

A second later she regretted her choice of words. That made it sound like she hadn't been expecting the kiss, which she quite frankly hadn't, but also that she hadn't liked it. She had liked it, had liked it a lot, but she really did need more warning than that. Their kiss earlier had been part of the act, an overly slopping thing meant to enhance the comedic effect, but this kiss just now had felt very sincere. Her confusion stemmed mainly from the fact that, last time she'd checked, her relationship with Jeremy was well into the platonic range of the feelings meter. Sure, the needle had pointed to "friends-with-benefits" frequently in the past, and even to "actually dating" when the mood struck them, but when the needle made a rapid 180-degree turn from "just friends" to "kissing you like I love you," Ginny preferred to know it was coming.

Her poor addled brain, already confused by near-suffocation and a large bump to the jawbone, really didn't need the additional effort of pondering her.friendship? friends-with-benefits-ship? relationship? with Jeremy Hayden right now. She could barely handle all the confusion before Jeremy had kissed her. But now.

It took Ginny's brain, the poor thing, a good deal longer than it should have to realize two details: first, that, far from being hurt or surprised at Ginny's reaction to his kiss, Jeremy hadn't actually responded at all; and, second, that Jeremy was, in fact, staring with great interest at an unknown object on the hallway floor.

Oh.

Ginny looked at the floor, got dizzy, and plopped down against the wall. "What are you looking at, Jer?"

Her use of his nickname ordinarily would have merited her a grin but Jeremy instead looked up with a puzzled countenance. "Have you ever seen this necklace before, Ginny?" He held up said necklace for her to examine, its fine silver chain entwined around his fingers. From the chain hung a polished ellipse of an unfamiliar stone, hazy periwinkle in color with hints of silver and gray flickering within it, set against a subtle, elegant silver back. It seemed very expensive.

Ginny stared at it, transfixed. "No, I've never seen it before.why?"

"Well, for one thing, it fell out of your pocket."

"My rich Irish boyfriend could have slipped it into my robes when I wasn't looking." Ginny suggested.

"Right. Because dating him for a week is definitely long enough for him to give you big surprise presents."

"Oh, shut up."

"So you have no idea how it came to be in your robes."

Ginny wanted to say something sarcastic but couldn't come up with anything. "Not a clue."

"Okay. Then what do you make of this?"

Jeremy turned the necklace so that the silver backing faced towards Ginny. She leaned forward to examine it more closely, and sucked in a deep breath. Engraved on the back of the necklace in delicate script was the name Virginia Anne Weasley.