Author's Notes: Welcome to Ginny's life, as I see it. Or choose to see it.

Disclaimer: All recognizable characters and situations come from the Harry Potter books, written by JK Rowling, and published by Scholastic, Bloomsbury, etc. No remuneration is being received for this work, and no copyright infringement is intended. I swear.

Growing Up Weasley

Chapter 1. Protectors of Virtue

Ginny Weasley was fifteen years old. "I'm fifteen!" she shouted. She didn't need her big brothers to "protect" her anymore. "Charlie Weasley, you put me down!" Nothing. "I'll tell Mum!" Still no response. Slung over Charlie's shoulder as she was, there was little she could legally do to make her six brothers listen to her - legally. Narrowing her eyes at the twins, who were following Charlie with rather serious looks on their usually conniving faces, she pulled her wand out of her sleeve and pointed it at them. "I'm going to hex you with every curse I know if you don't stop this nonsense right now!" she shrieked.

That got their attention.

Charlie put her down, but he kept a hand firmly on her arm. "If you do that, you'll be expelled from Hogwarts, Gin. Mum and Dad won't look kindly on that. You being their only daughter and all."

Back on solid ground, Ginny was much more in command of herself. Coolly, she shrugged. "So what? Hagrid was expelled, and he seems to be doing just fine. Anyway, I could transfer to Beauxbatons."

At this, Ron laughed - rather harshly. "Right. As though we'd let you go to that school all by yourself."

Ginny looked around at her six brothers: Bill, who had a bit of a grin on his face. So much older than Ginny, he'd always a bit of a mystery to her - and a little bit of a hero. He'd come home for a week before transferring to his new Gringott's post in Rome. Just in time to join the rest of her personal secret service in protecting her maidenly virtue.

And Charlie, the resident hunk. All the girls at school said so. Charlie was an outdoorsman of the first water, manhandling dragons and other beasts out in the wilds of Romania and the rest of the Continent. He was compact and brawny, and reminded Ginny of nothing so much as the American folk hero Paul Bunyan - only shorter. He annoyed Ginny the way Ron did, always thinking she was too fragile to do things like play professional Quidditch (which dream she shared with Ron) - though not too fragile, apparently, to be slung over his shoulder like a sack of feed.

Then there was Percy. Sir Percy the Pretentious, was how Ginny always thought of him. He was frowning at her with disapproval, probably for threatening to perform underage magic. Her owl from the Ministry would probably reflect poorly on Percy, who was working his way up the ladder at the Ministry of Magic and resented the fact that his family didn't seem to take his work as seriously as he did.

Ginny usually got on best with Fred and George. She appreciated the twisted way in which their minds worked, and their legendary status at Hogwarts. They never (well, rarely) treated her as something special just because she was a girl. And they let her help with their secret experiments. But that equality apparently counted for nothing when Virginia Weasley's well-protected purity was at stake. She glared at them with the full strength of her fury, and was pleased to see them fidget a bit.

And Ron. Ron! This was all his fault, Ginny was sure. Being the sixth Weasley brother meant Ron was always trying to prove himself at something. Usually it was at protecting the honor of the Weasley name (mostly by fighting Draco Malfoy and anyone else who mentioned the state of the family vault at Gringott's, and by joining Harry Potter in his many death-defying adventures) and protecting the symbol of Weasley virtue - i.e. Ginny. She was sure that this most recent ambush had something to do with the two owls she'd sent out the previous week.

"Well, what is it this time, brothers dear?" she asked with a twist of sarcasm on her pixie-ish face. "Are my robes too short? Perhaps I should wear a veil? Or have I been so unladylike," she sneered, "as to speak out of turn? What is it?"

"Did you or did you not invite both Neville Longbottom and Colin Creevey to the Burrow for the last two weeks of summer?" Percy intoned in what Ginny was sure he thought was an intimidating voice.

She just rolled her eyes.

"Answer the question, Gin," Bill urged smoothly. She glared daggers.

As much as she might have wanted to turn on her heel and walk away from her six idiot brothers, Ginny knew she was trapped here until they were satisfied that her virtue was still intact. Sometimes she wondered if her brothers had been magically transported through time and space from King Arthur's court. Chivalry was certainly not dead in the Weasley family, but it had been badly warped - at least in Ginny's opinion. Knights in shining armor protecting a lady's virtue from the evil overlords of legend were one thing. Brothers in shining ego pretending to protect what did not need protecting was something else altogether.

Ginny had always been able to empathize with strong (and usually bad) women of myth and legend. Who wanted a perfectly upright and ever-chivalrous and overprotective Arthur when dangerous Lancelot could take you on the adventure of a lifetime? Given the choice between Snow White and Maid Marion, Ginny always chose Maid Marion. She knew what it was, after all, to be sheltered by half a dozen little men. And now, as she looked around at her "protectors," she tilted her chin up and crossed her arms. "Well, what if I did?" She raised her eyebrows delicately. "Ron might bring his friends home for weeks and months at a time - his girlfriend, even! - but I'm not permitted to have company of my own? How is that fair?"

"Harry and Hermione are different, Gin."

"How's that, Ron?" she shot back.

"Colin and Neville are - boys."

She practically snorted her disgust.

"And you're a girl," he continued, as if that explained everything.

"So's Hermione. And she's your girlfriend." At this, Charlie and the twins grinned. Ginny bit her lip. "Well...almost." She was pleased to see that her big brother's ears were turning bright red. While Ron sputtered, she turned to the rest of her brothers. "And for your information, no. I didn't invite Neville and Colin home. Well, to be honest, I did." At their six identical looks of absolute horror, she continued, "Of course I did! You know how awful it is for Neville at home, always reminded of his parents. And it's no better for him at Hogwarts, with Snape always scaring him. But he owled me back and said his gran was taking him to Norway."

The twins snickered, and Ginny allowed a small grin of her own. "Anyway, Colin wrote back and asked if Harry was going to be here, and -"

"Yes, and that's another difficulty, Ginny," Percy interrupted in his best Head Boy voice. "Did you give a thought to Harry's privacy?"

"Be quiet, Percy," she snapped, and all the boys took a small step back. There were times when Ginny had that don't-cross-me tone that their mother had perfected long ago. "I can think, you know. Just because you six never want to give me the chance doesn't mean I can't do it. Colin is my friend, but I didn't think anyone would enjoy two weeks of, 'All right, Harry?' Especially not Harry. So I told him Harry was going to the South Seas, and he wrote back saying his parents wanted him to stay home and help his little sister get ready for Hogwarts." She shrugged. "I don't know if that's true, or if he only wanted to come to see Harry, but I thought it worked out for the best for everyone."

She shrugged. "So you see, gentlemen, your ambush was for nothing. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go tell Mum Colin's not coming." She shouldered past them, and no one held her back.

On her way back to the house, she shook her head at her brothers. She really, really hoped they'd outgrow this white knight stage soon.

Slamming the kitchen door, she called, "Mum! Where are you?"

Molly Weasley appeared a moment later, struggling out of the pantry with jams and jars and mixes and cakes and a tower of other indistinguishable ingredients that would go into the welcome meal for Harry and Hermione tonight. "Did you call me, Ginny, dear?" she asked from behind the dry goods.

Ginny reached to relieve her mother of about half of her load, when she realized that it was all being moved magically through the air. "Just wanted to tell you, that owl that came for me this morning was Colin's. He can't come. His sister's starting Hogwarts this year, and he has to stay home with her."

Molly nodded. "Yes, of course. That would be Magnolia Creevey, wouldn't it? Young Maggie, the last of the Creevey children. Poor thing. Such a name! Her mother named her after watching some American muggle film. Well, Elaine always was a bit of a romantic." She winked at her daughter. "What? You thought I never stuck my head out of this house? I'm more aware than you think, my fair young daughter. Now, will you help me fix dinner? Ron says Harry's coming by Knight bus, so he could be here any moment. And Hermione will be here after six. Her parents are very precise when it comes to time. I think it's a muggle trait. Hand me the recipe book, won't you?"

Ginny passed her mother the old, well-worn book and watched as it opened to the page of Harry's favorite meal (though, truth be told, every meal seemed to be Harry's favorite) and began commanding the ingredients while Molly watched. Deciding that her mother was better-informed than she was, Ginny wandered out of the kitchen and decided she wanted to be like her mother one day.