|SIYE Time:3:17 on 19th December 2018|
Memoirs of a Red Headed Witch
By My Wicked Quill
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Category: Pre-OotP, Post-OotP, Post-HBP, Post-Hogwarts, Post-DH/AB
Genres: Action/Adventure, Comedy, Humor, Romance, Songfic
Warnings: Mild Language, Mild Sexual Situations, Violence
Summary: Ginny Weasley was always overlooked. Always the youngest, always the smallest, and was never really given the chance to let her voice be heard. But sometimes the best insight comes from those who were always in the background. Her story of redemption, loyalty and love, proves that she was never just the Weasley brothers' little sister.
Hitcount: Story Total: 112481; Chapter Total: 3899
Awards: View Trophy Room
So this is the new chapter I've been promising! There are several changes coming to this story so keep coming back!
Princess Cries-a-lot and The Pink Frog
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Go on and hold her 'til the screaming is gone
Go on, believe her when she tells you nothing's wrong
But I'm the only one who'll walk across a fire for you
And I'm the only one who'll drown in my desire for you
It's only fear that makes you run
The demons that you're hiding from
When all your promises are gone, I'm the only one.
-I’m the Only One, Melissa Etheridge
“Hold your form! Hold it!”
“We’re holding, we’re holding!”
“Weasley, you’re slipping!”
“Am not!” I yelled.
“Not you, the other Weasley!” replied an irate Angelina Johnson.
“Well it would be best if you specified; there’s a lot of us Weasleys!”
“Ron, hold your form!”
“Not hard enough, obviously, tighten your grip!”
“If I tighten anymore, my masculinity will be in jeopardy!”
And that was it: a laugh erupted from my left and I watched through my peripheral vision as Jack Sloper lost his grip on his broom and fell- catching himself at the last possible second before he could drop to his death, or well, hurting himself seriously. As it was, he was dangling in mid air with a one handed grasp on the broom stick.
I, upside down as we all were, didn’t miss Angelina’s groan. “Alright, everybody get right side up, and Ginny, help Sloper before he kills himself, please.”
Assisting the poor helpless boy mount his broom 30 feet in the air, I just wished practice would end. That year, captaincy was awarded to Angelina Johnson, and she and the rest of the team showed great prospects for a Gryffindor win of the house cup. Fred and George were fantastic Beaters, Angelina, Alicia Spinnet and Katie Bell were an unstoppable Chasing team, Harry Potter was the star Seeker, and surprisingly enough, Ron had made the team as a fair Keeper.
Only, things took a turn for the worst.
“I don’t see the point to this exercise,” whined Andrew Kirke as we all began touching ground. I stayed silent because as painful as it was, I thought it was a brilliant idea to practice hanging upside down from our brooms in mid-air.
“Well, Kirke,” countered Angelina, “Not only does it test your stamina, but with this practice you’ll hopefully never fall from your broom again, no matter what the circumstance.”
There were mumbles of complaints amongst the group. “But it’s hardly likely that we will be upside down for an extended period of time-”
“I don’t want to have an argument on this. You are practicing gripping your broom with your arms and legs because your lives do depend on it. The gripping is the difference between you and a successful game, and you crashing into the ground! You’ll thank me when you are able to play Quidditch upside down, with no arms, sideways, while doing spirals around the Slytherins, not once wavering in balance or grip, and still with a firm hold on the quaffle, beater bats or, in the seeker’s case, the snitch.
“Plus! Dementors, or not, I will not have a repeat of Harry Potter in 1993!” Angelina had worked herself into a rant and had begun pacing before the rest of the team; it was hard not to feel as though we were being scolded. “Not to mention the advantages you will have when attempting to dodge a bludger! Did anyone read Quidditch Through the Ages? They had an entire section devoted to the Sloth Grip Roll!”
But we all knew Angelina was upset about more than Ron and Jack’s inability to clench their thighs tightly enough around a broomstick- oh. Now I see why Jack found humor in that…
Anyway, when she finished her tirade ten minutes later, the team felt utterly guilty and Kirke was standing with his tail between his legs.
“Alright, I believe that is enough of that, next I want Spinnet, Bell and myself to practice the Porskoff Ploy we discovered last week. Ron you’re at the posts and I want the beaters working with Ginny-”
As she was about to send us off, a thunder clapped above and faster than you can say Pumpkin Juice, a down pour began to drench us all. There was about a full 15 seconds that we all stood frozen in the rain, awaiting Angelina’s reaction, all too nervous to do anything else. She seemed about ready to explode.
Closing her eyes and collecting herself, Angelina audibly sighed and said, “Well isn’t this just fitting? You know what? Forget it. This practice has been a disaster anyway. Let’s just call it a day, everyone.”
It was saddening to see Angie so defeated. She was usually the epitome of optimism, so no one said a word against her. She was just having a terrible day- there had been many of those around that time. The team started retreating to the changing room but Angelina called me out, “Everyone but Ginny. It’s the perfect time for seeker practice.”
Alicia and Katie gave me apologetic looks as I turned and passed them on my way to the captain. “Alright then,” I replied.
“I am honestly sorry, Ginny, but I don’t want to lose this pitch time. The others, well they’ve been so bad today that making them play in the rain would be a death wish and we don’t want to lose any more players because of a practice.” She did have a point.
“Trust me, Ginny,” she continued, “You are the best new recruit replacement, but we can’t miss out on practice. The seeker is the most important player, after all. Alright, I’m letting the snitch go. Up in the air with you.”
I mounted my broom and took off, but I didn’t miss Angelina’s last words, “Alicia reckons you can give Potter a run for his money. Prove it to me.”
So you are probably wondering what happened. Why in the name of Dumbledore’s pet phoenix was I shooting through the sky of the Hogwarts Quidditch pitch as the new seeker of the Gryffindor team, when it was well known that the spot was none other than Harry Potter’s- after all, he wasn’t the youngest seeker in a century for nothing. Of course I knew that, and of course Angelina knew that too; no one could hold a candle to Harry, no matter what Alicia said and this is a completely unbiased proclamation, even now, years later as I write this; I believe Harry had a great talent as a young player.
And I suppose when you get down to it, Fred and George were right good beaters as well. Yet there was Jack Sloper and Andrew Kirke replacing the twins on the team.
You see, it all started after the first match of the year before Christmas Holiday…
............................ ........................Several Weeks Prior................................... ................
It was a great match: Gryffindors versus Slytherins, a classic. From the start, the energy was high and the stands were booming with noise. Ron had tried out at the beginning of term and was impressively given the spot of Keeper, and so thus it being his first public match, he was green with nerves.
I didn’t have a chance to wish him luck before the game, though I’m not sure it would have changed the course of the match what-so-ever.
Let’s get something straight before I continue. Harry Potter has a temper, always did always will. You can’t blame him with all he’d already been through to that point, but he had an incredible knack for restraint when the time so called for it. Of course, more often than not, Harry would lose his temper which would result in something drastically terrible, like say, blowing up his aunt into a humanized balloon, or frightening his friends away, and what happened at that match was no exception.
There were many things that Harry was able to brush off, but there were many things that he struggled with. One in particular went by the name of Draco Malfoy. Let’s get something else straightened out- something you must already know by now- I have a temper. It is a Weasley family trait, it is hereditary and it is hardly fair to be judged upon something that you have no control over- so don’t judge. When it comes to Draco Malfoy, Harry has ten times the restraint that I do, so I can’t blame him for what happened at the end of the match either.
Draco Malfoy bought his way onto the Slytherin team as a seeker in his second year at the school; he hadn’t caught a snitch to date. But that didn’t stop him from making fun of everyone else around him. I was standing and jumping and clapping and cheering along with the rest of the Gryffindors, Hermione on one side of me and Luna (who was sporting a wild Lion hat in support) on the other. The match started well enough; the bludgers were flying and the quaffle was hot, and Lee Jordan was doing a spectacular job of entertaining the crowd with his commentary.
But soon, the cheering and the commentaries were not the only sounds that flew throughout the pitch. The Slytherins had written a song. A song based on my poor brother, Ron.
Weasley is our king,
Weasley is our king,
He always lets the Quaffle in,
Weasley is our king!
“What is that?” cried Hermione.
“Seems like the snakes have decided to become lyricists,” I replied sourly.
“Well, the lyrics aren’t very good, are they?” Luna asked, “The pentameter is basic and redundant, and the rhymes aren’t that impressive.”
Luna would find a way to criticize that song rather than the singers.
“Ron! The center!” I cried, just as the Quaffle passed through his arms into the center ring.
Hermione bit her lip as I groaned in frustration, “Do you get the feeling that this isn’t going to end well, or is it just me?”
I looked over at the other Gryffindors, everyone was still cheering and very much into the game, but the faces of doubt where obvious. “It’s most definitely not just you.”
I began to watch Harry for a bit, searching for the snitch myself. As much as I loved chasing and goal scoring, I did have an eye for seeking. An upset growl came from my end of the stadium and looking towards the score board it seemed I missed my brother’s second failure to block a goal…
The game was a harsh one, and very intense, especially with that wretched song. It not only distracted and embarrassed Ron- it brought down his spirits and made him lose his confidence. In all the years that I watched my brothers play Quidditch in the back yard of the Burrow, since I was rarely ever allowed to play, I had seen Ron block almost every Quaffle thrown his way. My brother was good. Unfortunately, the Slytherins were doing everything in their power to make it seem like he wasn’t.
Soon, however, the fact that we were down by thirty points did not matter. “He’s got it,” I said with a relieved smile.
Hermione and Luna looked at me questioningly, “Who’s got what?”
I pointed over to Harry whose eyes were darting around and who was nonchalantly picking up speed right before he dived. “Harry’s spotted the snitch. It’s all over.”
Hermione looked out onto the pitch, “How could you tell?”
“Harry is always calm and collected when he catches sight of the snitch; he doesn’t want the other seeker to notice it’s been spotted until he has a sure lock on it. So you can tell by how focused he gets, he stops watching the other players, obviously, and begins focusing in one direction. Then he dives. Isn’t it obvious?”
“To you maybe…”
We both turned back to the game just as Malfoy’s hand grasped at Harry’s whose was closing over the snitch. The crowd erupted into a stupendous cheer, and Luna’s hat was roaring up a storm.
So yes, we won the match…but we lost a whole lot more.
Being up in the stands where I was with Hermione and Luna, I could only see what happened next, not hear the reason for it.
“Oh, no, what is Malfoy up to now?” asked a rhetorical Hermione.
Malfoy had walked up to the team as they were busy celebrating the win, the rest of the stadium had risen from their seats to join the team on the pitch, but Malfoy seemed to be ignoring the crowd around him. He was locked on Harry and my brothers.
“Just trying to save face, I’m sure. He’s probably just crying over the fact that his song didn’t affect the team as much as he hoped it would.”
Hermione didn’t laugh. She kept her eyes on the scene that was unfolding before us; I followed her gaze. “Oh, no,” I muttered.
Harry had George by the arms and was attempting to hold him back. Angelina, Alicia and Katie on the other hand, were all three busy holding back Fred. The only thing between Malfoy and face full of Weasley fist was the pure strength of the Gryffindor Quidditch team.
“We better get down there,” said Hermione as we simultaneously raced past several speculators towards the steps.
“Yeah, as much as I’d love to see Draco’s face get smashed in, Umbridge will have a field day with this.”
But, by the time we reached the steps, it was already too late.
Malfoy turned to Harry for a moment and then began laughing as he walked away. No less than one comment later, both Harry and George were tearing their way towards the ferret.
“No!” we cried at the same time that Harry’s fist made contact with Draco’s stomach.
He went down with Harry and George right on top of him.
I’d never seen Harry hit anyone before; I’d never seen him so violently angry before. If I was truly honest, it was rather scary.
Hermione and I made it to the chaos that was the Gryffindor team as Madam Hooch arrived at the scene.
“Harry! STOP!” cried Angelina as she began to pull at the boys, “GEORGE!”
It took a curse from Hooch’s wand to blast Harry off of the Slytherin, but I knew, as did the lot of Gryffindor and every other witness, that the harm was already done. I looked back to the last place I had seen the pink toad that was Dolores Umbridge. Sure enough she was still standing proudly in her professor’s box, with a nasty smirk on her face.
A Quidditch life ban. That was the punishment (thanks to Educational Degree Number Twenty-Five, giving Umbridge the right to discipline as she pleased) dealt to Harry and George, as well as Fred because it was assumed that if the girls hadn’t been holding him back he would have acted as well. Of course, this was true, but how evil would you have to be to punish someone who hadn’t even thrown a punch?
At least, that was Angelina’s position on the whole debacle as we all sat by the fire in the common room a bit later. Hermione and I were sitting on either side of Harry for moral support and Fred and George were at my feet wearing the gloomiest expressions to ever come across their faces. And the cause to all this- I found out later- Malfoy had been, as usual, insulting my home, family and parents. But Harry lost it when Malfoy mentioned his mother.
I glanced to the side a bit, enough to make out Harry’s profile from where I was sitting. He was looking into the fire with the natural far off look in his green orbs. I couldn’t help but wonder what else was going to go wrong for him that year.
So now we return to the current Quidditch practice I was telling you about before, I took up the job of seeker and Harry was seated on the sidelines.
“Nicely done,” said a soaking wet Angelina as I dropped the freshly caught snitch in her hand, a few minutes later
“Thank you,” I replied with a tired smile. “What time is it?”
“A quarter to three, why?”
My heart nearly dropped to my toes, “I’m late for class!” I called behind my shoulder, for I had already started running.
Angelina caught up to me quickly, “Oh, I’m sorry, I had no idea! Why don’t I walk you to class- I’m sure I can explain, who do you have now? It’s not Snape is it?”
“Worse, it’s Umbridge.”
Angelina stumbled over her feet. “I’ll get Hermione to get your books while you change! And then I’ll come back to dry your hair!”
You’ve got to love friends, don’t you?
Soon enough, I was dressed and dry and sprinting into the entrance hall, and had exactly two minutes to get to the Defense Against the Dark Arts room.
“Quidditch is going to be the end of all three of you, I swear it!” said Hermione coming up beside me and matching my brisk pace. She shoved my text books into my arms and hung my bag across my shoulder.
“It’s all part of the fun, Hermione.”
“Fun? You call falling 150 feet to your death, being ridiculed and humiliated in front of an entire school body, and practicing at ungodly hours in a bloody storm for so long that you jeopardize running into class late with a teacher as vile as a death eater, fun?”
Yes, not only did I find it fun, but it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Mum would have kittens, but I wanted to become a professional Quidditch Player. I loved the Holy Head Harpies, see I have never been a fan of the Cannons like Ron is. The idea of an all girl team, girls who are strong in their own right and don’t need boys to fight their battles or over shadow them was something I aspired to be a part of. I wanted to be fierce like the Harpies.
Going about getting there was a different story entirely. I, of course, would have to get on the Gryffindor team for starters; not only to get noticed, but for real fundamental practice and experience, a team like the Harpies didn’t just take anyone. So when Angelina began recruiting for replacements, I was the first to approach her. And since there was no way someone as little as I was could even pass for a fair beater, seeker was exactly where I needed to be.
There were a few reasons for my choice of action. Of course, there was the whole “I want to be a professional and I must start looking towards my future” thing. Then there was the fact that Gryffindor needed to win the House Cup for the sole purpose now of rubbing it in not only the Slytherins’ faces but Umbridge’s as well. And also, there was my love for flying and my chance to prove to my brothers that I was good enough, and that they under estimated me. And lastly…Harry.
Harry was the rightful Gryffindor seeker, I would have never dreamed of taken that title away from him, but that didn’t mean that everyone felt the same way I did. Especially that particular year with all the animosity directed at him. Had it not been me to temporarily claim the title, someone else would have, and most likely would have made it a hassle to give the position back to Harry when the time came. I would, when the time came, give it right back to him. By that point, having made a name for myself in Quidditch, I would gain a rightfully earned spot on the team as a chaser the following year after Angelina and Alicia graduated.
I had it all planned out. When I explained my plan to Hermione as we rushed across that castle, she had more than a few objections, “But, Ginny, Harry has been given a life ban do you not know what that implies? It means he will never be able to play Quidditch at Hogwarts ever again.”
I rolled my eyes, “Honestly, Hermione? Who issued the punishment?”
“Right, so when she’s gone so is the stupid sentence. I mean, I doubt McGonagall is going to enforce it the moment after the door hits Umbridge on the way out. By the sound of it, McGonagall is just as horrified as Fred, George and Harry are.”
“Wait, wait, when Umbridge is gone?”
“What, you don’t honestly think she’s going to be sticking around forever, do you?”
“Well I don’t know-“
“Not only will she want to go back to the Ministry to be with her beloved Minister, but Umbridge is the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. By the end of the year, she’ll either snuff it, get sacked, lose her memory, or resign. Everyone knows it’s cursed, Hermione.”
Hermione seemed shocked at my boldness, “You don’t honestly believe in that curse do you, Ginny?”
I shrugged, “I believe in coincidences from time to time, but you have to admit the track record is ridiculously consistent. It surpasses sheer coincidence.”
We were reaching the Defense Hallway now, and I was already late one full minute. It was like walking down towards my own funeral. “And if it doesn’t work? If this so-called curse doesn’t get rid of Umbridge?”
I gave Hermione an evil little smirk, “Then I have my ways. I’m not Fred and George’s sister for nothing, you know.”
She laughed that time. Just as I made it to the door, I hesitated- I was going to DIE. “One last thing, how did you get so good at Quidditch?”
“I’ve been sneaking into the broom shed behind the Burrow since I was six to practice. I think my dad knows what I’ve been doing, but he’s never said anything. I ride early in the mornings, even before my mum gets up. When I see her light turn on, I lock up the broom again and sneak upstairs. It’s gotten me pretty far don’t you think? And what’s best is my brothers don’t even know half of what I can do on a broom. Now, any more questions or shall I continue on to my immediate destruction?”
“You are something else, Ginny Weasley.”
I smiled, “So I’ve been told.”
Opening the door ever so quietly, I figured it would only take a miracle to not be called out. How hard was capturing a miracle anyway? But surprisingly enough, when I did enter I was only met with the sounds of scratching quills and page turning in an otherwise silent classroom. I was awarded with nervous glances from my classmates when I slipped inside. In fear of attracting too much attention to themselves, they only lifted their eyeballs.
As I’m sure you’re wondering, Umbridge was nowhere to be seen; she was not at her typical place at her desk in the front of the class, nor was she anywhere in sight after a quick once over. So then, why did everyone seem so edgy?
I quietly claimed my usual seat beside my roommate Demelza Robbins, holding back the questions I so desperately wanted to ask. Still eager for an explanation regarding a missing teacher, I pulled out my books and materials. When I couldn’t take it anymore, I turned to the girl beside me and was about to whisper when her eyes widened and gestured upward.
I scrunched my eyebrows, what was she doing?
More urgently now, she motioned upward with her eyes once again.
Th at sound. Those two little syllables were enough to send shivers of resentment and repulsion down your back. My blood ran cold, because in that situation, that circumstance, I knew she had all the power, so yes, I was rather….nervous. Not scared. No. Never scared of Umbridge….
The pink toad was standing in the doorway of her personal office on the balcony that overlooked the class. “I was hoping you’d join us Miss. Weasley. I had just gone to send a search party or you.”
Now, I, of course, didn’t want to her to see how nervous she made me, so I squared my shoulders and met her gaze straight on. “Search party, Professor? It’s only been three minutes.”
Umbridge began to descend the steps, “Well, Miss. Weasley, considering your family history, three minutes is enough to, how shall I put this…wreck havoc? Yes. Tardiness is more than just unacceptable, it is prohibited,” her voice was, as usual, dripping in sugar.
But, honestly, prohibited? And insinuating that my “family history” was one of only wrecking havoc? Sure my family included Fred and George, but what of it?
“I was at Quidditch practice,” I replied dryly.
“Ahh, you see, your family has already influenced you. I was right to worry. You’ve literally taken your brothers’ place. I also do hope you realize that nothing, especially Quidditch, is a legitimate excuse for tardiness.”
The students were trying hard to look busy at work, but I knew that all the focus was on what Umbridge would do next.
Resisting the urge to make a sarcastic remark, I calmly nodded, "Yes, Professor, it won't happen again."
When she reached my desk, she smiled down at me. "Oh, we'll make sure of that, won't we?" she said. I wasn't sure what she meant by that, nor what she was even going to do; ever since she had entered Hogwarts and became the High Inquisitor, it seemed nothing was off limits.
"As High Inquisitor, I am in control of all punishment and discipline, I am sure you are aware of that?"
"Yes, I am aware."
"So you do realize I cannot let such tardiness go without fair judgment?"
"So… what? Are you going to ban me for life from Quidditch too?"
I hadn’t meant to say that out loud- honestly-but I did, and with a sarcastic tone that did not go unnoticed.
Umbridge, for her part, resembled Malfoy a bit; her dark, beady little eyes sparkled with fire. She had been looking for a fight. As adults said to never poke a sleeping hippogriff with your wand, Umbridge was not the hippogriff, she was the bloody woman with the bloody wand! I could see it in her eyes. Any excuse to get me to lose my calm and give her the perfect incentive to have me shipped off to detention, or even worse, home, was an excuse she was going to take.
But, oh no. I was not going to play her game. I was going to keep calm. My prior reaction was exactly what she had been fishing for.
"You, Miss. Weasley, seemed to be opposed to my choice of sentencing."
I gathered my wits about me. By that point, the students had given up feigning being hard at work and were now openly staring. I had two options spread out before me; I could either save myself the trouble by telling her the ban was just and that she was right, or... I could stand up and oppose.
In the end, I figured that Harry shouldn’t have been the only person standing up to Umbridge. He needed support. “Well, now that you mention it, Professor,” I said in a light tone- that could in no way be construed as insulting- to her retreating back, “I do think that was an unfair call. Yes.”
She had not been expecting that response; she probably had not been expecting a response at all. We were playing a card game, she had been expecting me to fold and cower in defeat, or even hoping I would throw my cards at her so that she would have the perfect chance to reprimand me. She got neither. She got the card that had been hiding under my sleeve; (we were studying muggle pastimes and game terminology in muggle studies) I had a Royal Flush.
“Well that isn’t surprising isn’t it?” she said, saving face, “Considering your family’s lack of manners and discipline.”
That almost did me in- almost. But Demelza, quick on the uptake, ever so subtly stepped on my foot below the table.
“If you were there, Professor, you would have seen that Draco Malfoy-”
“Draco Malfoy was only expressing himself and his disappointment in an unfortunate loss in a healthy and un-violent manner.”
“Sure, if you call that healthy-”
“Enough. Another word out of you, and you will be banned from the team. Or, better yet, at the rate this seems to be going I will dismember the Gryffindor Quidditch team altogether,” she said with a smile when she heard the various audible gasps from around the room. She turned and began walking back to the head of the classroom. “Is that clear, Miss. Weasley?”
Obviously, that was a rhetorical question, for I had been ordered not to speak. But I was seeing red…and I had inherited my mother’s temper, as you well know. There she was, threatening my team, insulting my family, and getting away with it, all the while defending Draco Malfoy.
So I couldn’t help it.
Even as Demelza was shaking her head and mouthing a distinct warning, I couldn’t help it.
“Well, in all honesty, Professor, you did ask for my opinion. After all, you don’t want any of us telling lies.”
When she turned around, the silence was like a fog- practically visible. Every person was tensed and did not even want to move an inch to pretend to be “working” again.
Harry Potter was the only other person who had ever openly defied Umbridge, or at least, gone against her and he had scares on the back of his hand to prove it. Looking back, I’m glad I had said what I did. Even as she glared at me from across the classroom, I would have done it again and again.
“That is correct, Miss. Weasley. And just to make sure that the idea is cemented into your head, I want you to write lines for me, every night for the next two weeks. My office- 6 p.m. Do. Not. Be. Late.”
“I already promised that I wouldn’t be again, didn’t I?”
“Better make that three.”
“I heard a rumor-”
“A deliciously delectable rumor,”
“A rumor so fantastic-”
“I could cry for joy.”
“And what rumor would you be speaking of?” I asked.
“Well, it seems that…”
“The fourth years are all buzzing,”
“About a new hero.”
I looked up from my book, “Okay, you two, out with it.”
Fred gave me a wicked smirk and George winked one very blue eye. “Apparently some red head decided to give Umbridge just what she dished out.”
“And it wasn’t Ron.”
“And it wasn’t him,” said George as he pointed to Fred.
“And it wasn’t him,” said Fred as he pointed to George.
“And especially considering not one of us is a little fourth year…”
“That leaves you.”
I was seated in my typical corner spot of the common room finishing my transfiguration work before my first night of a very long sentencing. The room wasn’t particularly loud, but I wouldn’t say it was quiet either; thankfully no one was paying any attention to us. Of course I knew that the “rumor” had spread like wild fire, as everything at Hogwarts did, but I didn’t want my brothers encouraging it like it was some circus act. It was serious and symbolized a point. I didn’t even need my name attached to the story because that was not the point. I hadn’t done it for attention, nor for a reputation. I mean, I had several friends at school by the time I was fourteen; I was what you could call…popular- but I wasn’t getting a big head over it.
“Well, I honestly have no idea what you are talking about,” I replied as I began to collect my things. “Haven’t you learned anything? You can’t believe everything you hear.”
“Oh, I see,” said George.
“She’s right,” said Fred.
“You can’t believe everything you hear.”
“Look at what happened to Sirius Black.”
“Look at what happened to our own Harry.”
I nodded, “Precisely.” I had fifteen minutes to get to detention and needed to get a move on.
“I’m leaving, I’ll see you later.”
“Where are you going?” they asked.
Just then, the portrait hole opened and Harry stepped in with a curious look. Spotting me and the twins, Harry came over to us. “Hey.”
“Hey,” I replied. “I was just leaving.”
“No, wait. You guys might know-”
“I heard that some fourth year ripped Umbridge a new one. Any idea who?” I rolled my eyes and hitched my bag over my shoulder. As much as I wanted Harry to know I was willing to stand up beside him, I did not “rip Umbridge a new one” whatever that meant. I merely responded with wit. Damn rumors. Now if I didn’t retreat, Fred and George were going to take this prime advantage to humiliate me to a new level.
“We heard that too, didn’t we Fred?”
“We sure did, and we have a hunch about it too,” agreed Fred, sneaking a look at me.
“I really do have to go-”
“Why so interested, Harry?”
“So, I’m just going to head out,” No one was really listening to me. Not very unusual.
Harry shrugged, “Well, if there is someone else standing up to the toad, I’d like to thank them personally.”
I just walked away- seriously. I was heading off to detention, I wasn’t in the mood to hang around and let Fred and George hassle me. If I sneaked out without them noticing-
“Oh, Ginny!” chimed the twins.
I was going to ignore them…but in the end I figured it was better to deal with it sooner rather than later; I turned around.
“You never told us where you were going?”
I knew the answer would confirm what Fred and George already knew. It wouldn’t be all too painful. I only wished Harry wasn’t there.
“I have detention…with Umbridge.”
The twins smiled like two alley cats.
“With Umbridge?” asked Harry, “What did you do?”
The twins’ smirks grew more pronounced. “Yes, dear little sister-”
“What did you do?”
“Well I guess, I kinda, ‘ripped her a new one,’” I replied dryly.
Harry’s eyes widened, “It was you?”
“You seem oh, so shocked, Harry.”
“Well, I- I mean-”
“Look, I’ve had a long day and I really am going to be late, so if you three old women are done gossiping...” I didn’t know why I was in such a mood. But I didn’t want to hang around.
“No wait, Harry, what were you saying you were going to do when you found out who this person was?”
“Yeah, something about thanking them…”
“Personally?” they finished together.
That’s when I really left. I was not going to stand and take it. I had taken enough ridicule and banter earlier in the day.
But Harry caught me just outside the portrait hole. “Look, I really did just want to say thanks.”
I sighed, “Your welcome. I’m sorry it’s just…hasn’t been my day.”
“Hasn’t been my day in a while either.”
I instantly felt terrible, Harry had it so much worse than I did and there I was complaining to him. Hadn’t I stood up to Umbridge to show Harry he wasn’t fighting alone? Or did I really just do it for me?
I supposed it was a little of both.
“I have to go,” I said a bit reluctantly.
Harry smiled, “Yeah, one on one time with Umbridge, you don’t want to be late for that.”
“No, I definitely don’t.”
Harry turned around, gave the password and walked back into the common room, while I watched him.
Just so you know…I was late to detention…
Valentine's Day was fast approaching and there were subtle signs of it all get the castle. No one seemed even remotely concerned that the Dark Lord was alive and running amuck- no. Ignorant bliss swam about the school. And for once, it was fine with me. I needed a break from disasters. My father was home and healing, thankfully, and this was the first Valentine's that actually meant something to me. I had a boyfriend, and he was... great.
That was the year that Ron and Hermione were getting closer, and so naturally they were avoiding any evidence of the day like a fleet of dementors.
Harry on the other hand, had Cho. Since their kiss at Christmas, I wasn't really sure where they stood. I saw them walking the halls from time to time- not that I was watching or anything.
But any who, I assumed Harry would at least summon the minor amount of courage to ask the girl on a proper date.
And I definitely wasn’t thinking about how I wished it was me. No. I was listening to Hermione’s advice. I was not jealous or bitter. I had a great guy and I really liked Michael.
“So,” I said casually looking up from my Muggle Studies homework. “There’s a Hogsmeade trip coming up.” Why Michael hadn’t mentioned the date yet…I still have no idea. Now, I wasn’t one of those hopelessly gooey romantics. Sure I’d only ever been really interested in one guy. A guy that I’d wished for…for while, (plus that was all in the past) but I didn’t demand attention all the time. I didn’t expect flowers, and I didn’t want to go to Madam Puddifoots’s restaurant and get showered in flowers or little hearts and cupid arrows. It sounded disgusting really. But, however un-clichéd I might be, I did at least expect my boyfriend to acknowledge Valentine’s Day, or a Hogsmeade trip!
“Yeah,” he replied looking up from his text book.
I nodded, the tiniest peaked that I wasn’t getting anything else out of him. I sat back again. The winter breeze was refreshing and I loved being outside on a beautiful day after being cooped up inside for so long. I pulled my scarf tighter.
And just when I thought that nothing would catch my boyfriend’s attention away from his school work, he seemed to notice my preoccupation with my scarf. “Are you cold?”
I smiled, I didn’t like being smothered, which was one of the things I liked about Michael, but I wouldn’t mind if he was going to offer me his arm, or his scarf or jacket-
“You should go get a sweater.”
“Yeah, I’ll wait here. How about I check your work while you’re gone?” Without waiting for a response, Michael took my work from me and began revising it.
The smile that had began forming disappeared, and I blew my hair out of my face in defeat. The disappointment didn’t really sting with hurt, but annoyance, “Yeah, I think I’m going to do just that.”
Not bothering for a response I grabbed my bag, and because I felt I should, I swooped down and pecked his cheek. I mean, he was revising my essay, and Hermione was busy with her O.W.L.s which meant she was busy with Ron and Harry’s as well.
I walked into school, pulling off layers as I went. So what? I had a boyfriend who didn’t really act as a boyfriend?
I’m sure Valentine’s Day just slipped his mind.
“Hey, Angie. How are you?”
Angelina fell into step beside me. “I’m about to be dead by the end of the day.”
“Oh, really? Why?”
“I’m scheduling a practice next weekend, and I’m going around informing the team.”
I stopped walking, “On a Hogsmeade weekend?”
“On Valentine’s Day?”
“Angelina!” I whined, “This place is already like a prison with Umbridge running around as high inquisitor! We need fresh air.”
She gave me an apologetic look and I knew that there was nothing I could say to change her mind. I also knew that she wasn’t going to spend any more time arguing since she really had no support other than we sucked. So I just went on my way. It seemed I just kept taking things in stride. But it didn’t matter since Valentine’s Day wasn’t even a consideration any more. Michael was off the hook.
“Are you okay?”
“You don’t look okay.”
“Hermione, it’s just been one of those days.” Boy was I sounding like- as the muggles said- a broken record.
She put her hand on my shoulder comfortingly, “Why don’t we go down to the kitchens and get some hot cocoa?”
I slumped down into the couch in the common room, “Don’t you have studying to do?”
“I’m sure, but I feel like I haven’t seen you in weeks. We need some girl time.”
I laughed, “Sounds good to me, let me just drop my things up in my room.”
When I returned, Hermione was ready to go. “Girl time: that sounds fantastic,” I said, “I’ve just about had it with the male species.”
“And just in time for Valentine’s too.”
“I’m not sure Valentine’s Day is in the cards for me this year. Michael seems to have forgotten.”
She frowned, “Oh, I’m sorry.”
I shrugged, “It doesn’t matter anyway; Angelina set a practice for that day.” “Are you kidding? Wow. I’m sure the team won’t take that well.” Hermione tilted her head, “But, I actually think this will be the first time Harry can be grateful he is no longer on the team.”
We had begun down the stairs, “How do you figure?”
She smirked, “Well he finally asked Cho to Hogsmeade.”
My stomach churned a bit but my only physical reaction was quickening my pace.
“Ginny,” Hermione chuckled, trying to keep up, “What’s the hurry?”
“Suddenly I need that hot chocolate a whole lot more.”
The word luck held no meaning for me in the weeks that followed. One morning I woke up to the Daily Prophet announcing terrible information that changed the future of all of us.
When the post arrived that morning, most of the school was already eating breakfast. I was beside Demelza and few other friends, and saw Hermione a few people down with Harry and my brother. On the other side a few ways down were Fred and George with the rest of the Quidditch team. Neville, Dean and Seamus Finnigan were across from me and my friends.
Seamus was, as always, flirting with my friend Tabitha, as his best friend, Dean, was talking to me. He was a sweet guy, an artist he said. Neville was a quiet one and was currently reading the paper, but he joined in our conversation a few times; he and I were good friends ever since attending the Yule Ball together.
So basically when the news broke, I had a visual on all my closest friends and family.
The article was front page.
And the headline read:
Mass Breakout From Azkaban
Ministry Fears Black is “Rallying Point” For Old Death Eaters
Not only had an impressive amount of Death Eaters just escaped from incarceration, but they were blaming Sirius. Would nightmares ever end? I longed to see the day when Sirius would be proven innocent man. But until that time, we had to deal with several notorious Death Eaters running about.
And the Prophet singled one out specifically.
Bellatrix Lestrange. Not only was she Sirius’ cousin, one of the several reasons why it was believed that he was the one behind the breakout, but this was a woman who tortured Neville’s parents. Who I recently discovered were passing their days away at St. Mungo’s, forever incapacitated due to Lestrange’s curses.
The Great Hall was not proving to be a place of somber and worried anxiety. How everyone could just not be moved by what was happening outside the castle walls flummoxed me. But when I looked up, Neville’s face had become a mask of fierce determination and anger. He stood and walked out of the room and I wished I could help somehow. I had only just learned about Neville’s parents, and I was sure there was still things for me to learn, but I knew for sure this was the woman to blame for it. Dean was confused as to why his friend had left so abruptly. I pushed the paper towards him and watch his eyes grow wider and wider.
Turning over to Harry Ron and Hermione, I could see that their reactions were a bit more horrified and shocked. After all, they had every right to exercise those reactions, I was feeling them myself. I watched as they began whispering fiercely amongst each other, and I wished I could hear what they were saying.
At the head table, Umbridge was looking, shall I say, a bit smug. Not a comforting thing at all.
If that wasn’t a clear indication that the Dark Lord had returned, then I don’t know what other kind of proof the Wizarding World needed.
“This is bad, isn’t it?”
“Most definitely. Dean…you do realize this is all the Dark Lords doing, don’t you?”
He nodded, “I believe Harry. I believe Dumbledore. You-Know-Who is back, and Sirius Black is probably helping him recruit his old followers.”
I nearly choked on my pumpkin juice. “Err- well-”
“And Bellatrix Lestrange- I wasn’t raised in the Wizarding World so I don’t know much about past wizards and witches- but even though I don’t know much about her, I have heard a few things that would horrify anyone.”
I also didn’t know much of Bellatrix Lestrange- however- I would, in time, have my fair share of meetings with the miserable woman.
I just hated seeing Sirius portrayed in such bad light; if only everyone would know him how I did, or how amazing the man truly was. It was hardly fair.
Losing my appetite, I bid farewell to Dean and walked out of the Great Hall hoping to find a few moments of mental peace before I had to go to class.
And also, in hopes of keeping my breakfast down.
Before we knew it, Valentine's Day was upon us and the mood was tarnished- more for some than for others. Umbridge was making it a point to squash any reminders of the day. Paper hearts strung up by the house elves? Disintegrated. Any cupids charmed by the Hufflepuffs? Shot down.
And then there was the “No Signs of Affection” debacle that was driving everyone nuts. Sure it's acceptable to establish a rule making it illegal to completely plunder each other's mouths in the hallway between classes, but if Umbridge saw any handholding as well, you'd be blasted on either side of the hall.
All in all, everyone was itching to go to Hogsmeade; she couldn't do anything to us there. Not to mention, the day was absolutely perfect, just cool enough to enjoy a nice warm pumpkin cider at the three broomsticks —
"Okay, everyone, right side up!"
That's right- I wasn't allowed to enjoy the freedom of Hogsmeade I was at practice.
"So, Ginny, what do you and the boyfriend have planned for today?"
I stretched out my arm as I answered, "Nothing."
"What do you mean nothing, it's Valentine's Day."
"Well, he's just not a fan of the day."
"Oh. Well you should at least spend the day together, where is he now? Watching practice?"
"He's at Hogsmeade with some friends."
She was silent and I pretended that I was oblivious to all that was wrong with the situation. Besides, Michael could do what he wanted, I wasn't his keeper.
Ron was in the air and was continuously getting hit by the Quaffle in ways that looked most painful.
"Well...at least he is stopping them," I told Katie.
Katie didn't respond, but she gave me a dubious look. I spoke too soon- Ron got hit by the bludger that he should've dodged and let two scores in.
"I just think you deserve better than that."
"He's my boyfriend."
"So you like it because he's your boyfriend? He's not your boyfriend because you like him?"
"Is there a difference?"
"A big one."
Although I should have, I didn't think much about what she said. I was searching for the snitch actually thinking about why Dean Thomas was sitting in the stands watching us, when he should've been at Hogsmeade with everyone else. I caught his eyes and he smiled, and I found myself smiling back too.
"Ginny, watch out!!" Was all I heard before a hard bludger knocked into my shoulder. I almost fell, but managed to regain my balance at the very last second.
"Are you okay?"
"Didn't you see that coming?"
"Sloper! I didn't tell you to knock one at her! I meant the other Weasley!"
My arm and shoulder were sore, but okay, I was shaking it off as people swarmed about me.
Jeez... I wasn't some China doll. I looked back to see Dean's expression, I suddenly felt embarrassed and then confused as to why I should feel embarrassed because of Dean.
I saw him standing up trying to get an angle and what it happened. Only when I waved a casual hand did he seem to relax again.
I wasn’t a china doll or anything…but, it was nice to know someone cared. Where was Michael? Having fun without me on Valentine's Day. Perhaps Katie had a point.
As I began to think into it, I was quickly distracted by the sight of Cho Chang running up the steps to the main entrance of the castle grounds. Even though I was far away and high in the air, it wasn't hard to see that she was crying.
Cho Chang shouldn't have been crying if she was on a date with Harry Potter.
And then again… It was Cho Chang the human hose pipe.
But I didn't see Harry anywhere. Had she just up and left him?
Was he hurt? Is that what she was crying? Something terrible had happened and she was running for help?
That didn't make any sense. Hogsmeade was flooded with people that could help. So many possibilities flashed in my head even after Cho passed my line of vision.
I was going to tell someone but practice was already going so terribly… Again. I let everything faster in my mind until I began to go crazy. I nearly touched ground a few times to run off and see what was going on.
"Sloper! Kirke! Just put down the bats! That's it- LAPS. NOW!"
"This is a disaster," murmured Katie, appearing beside me once again.
"How much longer is she going to keep this up?"
"What, are you that eager to see your boyfriend?" she replied sarcastically.
I elbowed her, which is no easy feat when you're 40 feet in the air.
"Ginny, Katie! Stop it!"
We both froze, surprised at the outburst, "Is no one listening to me?! Does everyone just want to fail?"
"Sorry, Angie," said Katie, as she then began to console her friend.
I wasn't listening because students were shuffling into the gate and I noticed Michael with a group of his friends. And soon after, Harry walking in with Hermione. I zoomed my goggles in a little more. (Goggles that adjusted to your wish that could make you see as far as the horizon if you wanted. They were handy at keeping the snow and rain out of your eyes.)
Harry seemed just fine, if not a little frazzled.
"You know what? That's enough for today," called a defeated Angelina, "everyone just head out."
No one have to tell me twice. Once I knew Harry was okay, I wasn't worried anymore. But I was still curious to know what happened.
Before I knew it, I was walking into the Great Hall with Ron at my tail.
I made it a point to head straight to the empty seat beside Hermione who was seated across from Harry. I wasn’t sure how I was going to bring up the Cho Chang incident, but I was damn sure I was going to find out precisely what happened somehow. When I made it to the table, however, it seemed Harry and Hermione had just about wrapped the conversation about the topic up. She was telling him to try and understand how Cho was feeling, and by the way Harry was watching the girl in question leave the room, I could see that it was not my place, nor was it a good time to ask anything. Just my luck.
Harry turned the conversation to quidditch in no time, “So how was Quidditch practice?”
“It was a nightmare,” said Ron.
“Oh come on,” Hermione replied in a chipper voice, “I’m sure it wasn’t-”
“It was appalling,” I said, “Angelina was almost in tears by the end of it.”
I ate the rest of my dinner in moody silence. Harry ate in a depressed state. Ron only ate half the amount he usually did in an utterly distraught demeanor. And Hermione sat there picking at her food, worried about her three best friends. What a fine group we made.
When I finished, I decided that I needed a shower, so bidding everyone a somber farewell, I fled the scene.
“Hey, Ginny!” called Michael as I passed the Ravenclaw table.
That was the first time I had seen my boyfriend on Valentine’s Day. “Oh, hey,” I replied lamely.
He smiled, “I almost forgot,” and there came the hope that he remembered it was in fact Valentine’s Day, “You left your essay with me. I finished revising it,” he said, handing over the folder holding my report. “I wrote some side notes in there; your thesis was good, but the execution was a little weak-”
“Thank you, Michael,” I curtly interrupted. “I’ll see you later.”
I left without letting him respond, and then, just when I thought the day couldn’t get any worse, I heard a conversation that I could have gone without hearing.
But I eavesdropped on it anyway.
Cho was outside the Great Hall speaking with her gaggle of giggling girlfriends, so before they could spot me I dashed behind the Great Entrance Tapestry.
“So then he was sitting there, as though he wasn’t even remotely interested in me at all!” whined Cho.
“Well, that can’t be right. Every guy at this school would kill to have been in his place today, Cho! Besides, he took you to Madam Puddifoot’s- it is a clear sign that he does like you.”
“Although, honestly, I wouldn’t even bother,” came the voice of Cho’s snobby best friend, Marietta Edgecombe. “It’s Harry Potter, you can do so much better than him, have you heard at all what the papers are saying?”
“The papers have lied about him before…” argued Cho.
I had to admit, I commended her for sticking up for Harry. But then I heard the rest of the conversation.
“Oh, please! The last time Harry Potter was in the papers was when there was speculation about his more than platonic relationship with Hermione Granger.”
At that, Cho burst into tears again.
“What happened next, Cho?”
“We ordered our food and he told me that he had to meet Hermione Granger at the Three Broomsticks afterwards!”
That was right, Hermione had told me she had scheduled a meeting with Rita Skeeter, the snotty reported that loved dragging Harry’s name through the mud, at the Three Broomsticks to discuss Harry. Naturally she told Harry to be there. I figured that Harry would have taken Cho…
“You are much prettier than that Granger!”
“He’s not even worth it!”
Oh! So she had taken offence that Harry had planned meeting another girl on Valentine’s Day! Well. That would make sense. But hadn’t Harry explained?
I knew Harry wasn’t the smoothest when it came to women…but I didn’t think he could mess that up so much.
“Did he tell you why?”
“No! I left him before he could give me some ridiculous excuse!”
Oh. That. Was. It! she left him before he could explain the crucial reason for the meeting? Didn’t she understand that there were much more important things than herself going on at the time? There was a bloody war on!
Sure it made sense that she would be upset. Harry was stupid for bringing it up like that, but if she didn’t realize that Hermione was a major part in his life…then she was not worth it.
Cho Chang was a vile witch if she didn’t see that Harry Potter was worth everything. Nothing would ever happen between Harry and Hermione, and he needed a girl that understood and respected that.
She left poor Harry standing in the middle of the street according to what she told her friends. But I didn’t even care to hear anymore. I carefully sneaked away, mad and bitter.
Harry deserved better.
And thinking about Michael, I decided that I too deserved better.
Fred and George were probably right. Michael and I and Harry and Cho, were two couples that didn’t match.
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