|SIYE Time:20:18 on 22nd June 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: 105417; Chapter Total: 3658
Awards: View Trophy Room
new chapter for those who have read this story already and have come back to see what I've added, this and the previous chapters are brand new!
The Chocolaty Defeat of Cho Chang
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
“Don't tell me not to live, just sit and putter
Life's candy and the sun's a ball of butter
Don't bring around a cloud to rain on my parade
Don't tell me not to fly, I simply got to
If someone takes a spill, it's me and not you
Who told you you're allowed to rain on my parade…”
-Don’t Rain On My Parade, Barbra Streisand
I remember the first time I got my first personal glimpse inside the real Harry Potter. Not “The Great Harry Potter” but the troubled and lonely Harry James.
Not that it was the first time I ever saw past his outer shell; obviously, I’d seen him with Sirius back at Grimmuald Place and I suppose you could argue that I saw the real Harry Potter in the Chamber of Secrets as he was at the brink of death. But even then, I was scared out of my mind and he was trying hard to stay calm and be the hero he always refuses to believe he is.
No. He true first time I ever evoked a crack in the thick exterior of Harry Potter was in my fourth year. It wasn’t brought out by snake venom, nor was it due to seeing his Godfather for the first time in two years. It was all me.
As I mentioned before, the months marking the ending of the 1995-1996 school term were dark and dreary and full of animosity pain and sorrow. I didn't see much of Hermione, as she was constantly studying for her exams, and Umbridge was making the school the last place on Earth anyone wanted to be.
She was monitoring the Halls with her Inquisitorial Squad, packed with Slytherins no less. I couldn't even tell you how many times I just barely slipped out of receiving a detention. Hogwarts felt like a foreign place.
But still, we were constantly moving forward. It’s funny how things happen, one action can cause a ripple effect and cause every action after that one to fall into place. Long term cause and effect, or, as the muggles call it, the Damano effect. No idea why.
The story of Harry Potter is one that to this day people claim to know like the back of their hands. Unfortunately, they always seem to miss a few vital details that change the name of the game.
What if I told you that one of my actions began a ripple effect that changed the course of our story?
Now, the first time I was able to open up Harry Potter is interconnected with my ripple in the story. It was what led to the events of the end of the 1995-1996 school year.
Oh yes, everyone knows the story, but no one seems to regard my prominent involvement.
To get a good start, I’m going to have to begin right where I left off in the last entry.
The next quidditch game…
It was torture- pure agonizing torture to sit through a match of that shameful performance, and it was worse to take part in it.
I was sitting up on my broom scanning the pitch for the snitch, but really just watching in amazement at the ridiculous events taking place in the air.
Within the first ten minutes, there was more bloodshed than the entire season altogether! The beaters were brutal and the bludgers were flying hard and fast. I couldn't turn my head in fear that I would be blasted off my broom.
Ron wasn't saving a thing, and the chasers were just totally off their game.
It was just terrible. So I quickly realized I had no choice; to save the well being of my team and keep them alive, as well as to regain composure for our team.... I had to catch the snitch. Even though we were down by a whole lot, and there was no way our team was going to be able to make up the points we were losing by, I had to catch the snitch.
We wouldn't win, but we wouldn't have won regardless. Plus, if we still wanted a chance at the Cup, I needed to make the scores a whole lot closer.
Not to mention, I would never let the other team seeker catch the snitch while I was playing.
We might have been losing, but I was a Weasley and I still had my pride.
"I'm going to catch it, Angie!" I called as she flew past me.
She gave me a panicked, but resigned look. "Alright! Just, make it quick, I think someone is going to die out here!"
She was right; people had already been pulled off the pitch on stretchers.
And that is how 20 minutes into the match, I was desperately seeking the snitch. I tried to not make it look obvious as to not tip off the opposing seeker, but I failed at that. I caught wind of the snitch easily and the other seeker became aware of that too. He obviously knew his team had the win- no doubt about it- yet my catching of the snitch would be too profitable for Gryffindor.
I caught it. Precisely 22 minutes since the match had begun, I had the snitch grasped in my hand. The other guy sneezed and missed it by half an inch…too bad for him. It was an odd scenario, to have caught the snitch and be holding it as the other team celebrated around me.
When we reached the changing rooms, it was agreed that although we lost, we were not going to let it get us down. We passed it off just as we brushed off a bad practice.
"Good game, Ron," I told my brother when we were the last two in the room.
"I don't care what anyone says, that was not a good game. You all should hate me."
"Of course we don't hate you, don't be dramatic."
He tore his protective gear off, "I don't even know why Angelina is so determined to keep me on the team. I'm terrible."
I shrugged, "I've seen worse."
"Ron, you play so well at home, and you were amazing during your try out."
"Well maybe that's because I don't have the whole bloody school watching and waiting for me to fail so that they could sing that blasted song!"
I took a step closer to him and put a hand on his shoulder, "I'm sorry. I know it's wretched. But we'll find a way to make Malfoy pay, we always do."
Sighing, Ron finished puffin his clothes on. "I'm going for a walk. If Hermione asks, tell her I just want to be alone."
"Hermione?" I asked, highly amused, "What about Harry?"
His ears turned a bit red and he seemed to have been caught red handed, "Err... Harry too."
I began walking back to the castle by myself, wondering where my supposed boyfriend was... but not really caring anyway. I had actually started to begin wondering, as I reached the common room, where Dean Thomas was, when Harry came up beside me as I entered the common room, "Good catch," he said.
I paused. Harry Potter had just complemented my Quidditch playing in a game we lost, while I had played his position. It felt rather nice.
I could've gone on and on about how I truly wasn't that great, or I could've gleamed and said that he’d better watch out. I ended up deciding to go half way.
"I was lucky," I said, "It wasn't a very fast snitch and Summerby's got a cold, he sneezed and closed his eyes at exactly the wrong moment. Anyway, once you back on the team-"
Harry shook his head, "I've got a life ban, Ginny."
Why didn't anyone seem to understand that the ban was a fickle assessment? It was temporary. So I told him the same thing I told Hermione, "You're banned as long as Umbridge is in the school, there's a difference. Anyway, once you're back, I think I'll try out for chaser. Angelina and Alicia are both leaving next year and I prefer goal scoring to seeking anyway.” He didn’t argue with me, I pretty much knew he wouldn’t disagree, the “curse” was a real thing and I wasn’t the only one who believed in it.
But the truth was I wanted to be in the middle of the action of the game. Figures right?
I noticed Harry glancing in the direction of a still gloomy Ron, who had finally returned from his walk. I wondered if Harry was envious of Ron, who was still on the team, or if he felt sorry for him. The song “Weasley is our King” had become a crowd favorite.
“Angelina still wouldn’t let him resign,” I told Harry, “She says she knows he’s got it in him.”
“He does,” agreed Harry, “I’m just not sure if it’s worth the strain on him.”
Then I spent a moment realizing just what was happening around me. I took in the scene.
There I was, robbed in Gryffindor Quidditch gear after a game in which I got the snitch, but we lost anyway, having a butter dish free conversation with Harry Potter, who was not robbed in Gryffindor Quidditch gear, about my brother’s sanity.
And all I did was take a sip of my butterbeer, and nod in agreement with Harry as though nothing was out of the normal. Which I supposed at the time…nothing was.
After that Quidditch match, things went from bad to worse (if you can even imagine possible). The article Harry had been interviewed for on Valentine’s Day was finally published and printed in the Quibbler. The article was bloody brilliant, and so was the effect it had on the Wizarding society, but this only made Dolores Umbridge madder. And so it seemed that from then on out, we had passed poking the hippogriff to punching it in the gut. Repeatedly.
Her face, as she read the piece that morning in front of the entire student body, was priceless. It was a relief to have at least one piece of publication reporting the truth, and not some made-up, euphemistical garbage.
The best part of it all was the fan letters Harry began receiving only minutes later in response to the article. They were letters of support from witches and wizards from all over the country telling Harry how they had complete faith in him, and most importantly, how they believed him. That was the first time I saw Harry genuinely smile that whole year- not even during D.A. meeting did his face light up like that.
Sure Umbridge took the initiative to cut off Harry’s mail right away and created accordance 25 which stated that students were not allowed to socialize with any person involved in the press, but I knew, as did Ron and Hermione, that it was all worth it.
Even if Umbridge became even more unbearable. Everyday it seemed there was a new amendment in the law of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Dumbledore was seen less and less when I had rather hoped he’d be the one to put Umbridge in her place. McGonagall was the one who was fighting each and every battle all on her own.
Until the day Umbridge went too far; she had been evaluating teacher performances and sitting in on lessons. Basically, Umbridge was making the lives of all the teachers absolutely miserable. As fun as it was to watch her humiliate Snape, it wasn’t so fun to see her criticize say, Professor Sprout. Apparently, though I was not there, I heard that Professor Trelawney’s class did the worst with Umbridge present and the entire school was there to witness the outcome of the evaluation.
Umbridge was sacking Trelawney and effectively throwing her out as well. An impressive audience had gathered around the entrance hall where the scene was taking place. ‘This is so wrong,” I muttered to Colin who stood beside me.
“Can she even do this?” He asked.
Trelawney’s two trunks sat at her feet as the woman cried in despair. Sure she wasn’t the best teacher, and sure I didn’t believe she was a real prophet, but Dumbledore hired her to teach his students Divination on his good judgment. And though it was true that no one- not even Trelawney’s number one fan, Lavender Brown- was really learning the gift of seeing into the beyond, we all truly were learning valuable concepts of life, the universe and the significance of questioning everything. We were learning how to use our minds, how to clear them and how to open them.
And that was probably why Umbridge was cutting the course from the school’s curriculum. It promoted mental freedom, it encouraged questioning authority and it rebelled against oppression dealt by the Ministry of Magic.
“I’ve been here 16 years! H-Hogwarts is m-my h-home!” Trelawney begged.
“It was your home,” Umbridge emphasized, “Until an hour ago when the Minister of Magic signed your dismissal.”
“Can’t somebody do something?” Colin was looking over at the distraught Lavender Brown and Partavi Patil.
“There’s McGonagall now,” I pointed out as the elderly woman rushed to Sybil Trelawney’s side and attempted to comfort her. “Here comes another Umbridge-McGonagall spat-” But before the words could come out of my mouth the oak doors opened and Colin smiled.
“I’d hold that thought.”
Dumbledore finally entered the mix. “About time he showed up,” I said.
Dumbledore started by pointing out to Dolores that she in fact had every right to dismiss his teachers, “You do not, however, have the authority to send them away from the castle. I am afraid that the power to do that still resides with the Headmaster.”
Even Snape smirked at that one, and noticing Snape, I saw Harry right beside him. It was strange company until I remembered that Harry was taking Occulamency lessons with Snape to keep Voldemort out of his head.
And suddenly I didn’t see Dumbledore besting Umbridge as a big victory at all. And yet, to the oblivious that was the only thing that mattered at the moment. And that ignorance was scarier than any pink toad.
We were in the midst of an avalanche, honestly, when Dumbledore’s Army was exposed. Because Umbridge had suspected our meetings earlier on in the year, she was keeping a very close eye on us after initiating the ban of school organizations. So entering the Room of Requirement without being caught by Filtch, the Inquisitorial Squad or Umbridge herself presented a new challenge all in itself. A challenge that we had managed to overcome….until Umbridge became desperate and began questioning students for information. And unfortunately, not all of us were as strong willed as others.
I fear what it would have been like if we hadn’t been warned.
We were working on Patronuses, like I said, and there had been much improvement. Mists were beginning to sharpen and confidence was soaring, and the Patronuses of a select few were zipping around the room. Hermione and I were laughing as my horse chased her otter.
“They’re sort of nice, aren’t they?” she said.
I was about to agree when the door to the Room of Requirement opened and closed. I nearly dropped my wand when a house elf entered the room. “What in Merlin’s underpants-”
“That’s Dobby the house elf,” said Hermione in disbelief. Dobby the house elf; I had heard stories of him. Dobby was the ex-house elf of the Malfoy family, before Harry tricked Lucius Malfoy into freeing the poor little soul.
Dobby was rather fond of Harry, and Harry had a soft spot for him too.
Harry seemed bewildered at the sight of Dobby at his feet, and though I couldn’t hear what the elf was telling harry, I could easily see that the creature was terrified and shaking from nerves. The room fell silent as people began taking steps closer.
“Who’s ‘she’ Dobby?”
Dobby was too frightened to speak, but Harry seemed to put things together on his own, “Umbridge?” questioned a horrified Harry. Dobby nodded. “Is she coming?”
A collective gasp raced about the room, and Dobby finally caught his voice, “Yes, Harry Potter, yes!”
It didn’t take long to discover the next logical step in our situation, “What are you waiting for?” asked Harry turning to us, “RUN!”
And we did, oh boy did we run. I made sure to get as many people out before me as I could until Ron took me by the wrist and dragged me along with him. “Ron! What about Harry and Hermione?”
“I thought she was with you!” He called stopping his break-neck speed very abruptly, but as he did, Hermione rushed past us.
“I’m right here, come on!”
We continued running, “Where’s Harry?” I called, panting and extremely frazzled.
“He was getting Dobby out of the way, he’ll be along right away, I’m sure.”
Without another word the three of us raced down the corridor, intending on making it to the common room, before we heard a contented yell of victory.
Someone had caught Harry.
“No!” I stopped dead in my tracks.
“Ginny, come on!”
“We can’t just leave him, Ron! We can’t let him go down for this alone; it was our fault as much as his!”
“Look, Harry can take care of himself, you are my first priority.”
“Where is your sense of loyalty?” I asked my brother, astonished at his attitude, “You sound like a Slytherin more than a Gryffindor!”
“We need to do something other than just stand here,” whispered a nervous Hermione, “They are going to come looking for us especially.”
“We have to go back.”
“Harry’s my best friend, alright? But I know he is going to be fine, and you know that he wouldn’t want us to go back if we had a chance to get away. There is no point in all of us getting mixed up in that right now, if we are going to get in trouble at some point anyway.”
“I’m not going to let you get hurt again!” he abruptly said, shocking me into silence. “I know we’ve had our issues, but I will not let anything happen to you if I can help it, not again. I don’t care about anything else right now, and I don’t bloody care if you don’t want me to protect you, and I can promise you that Harry would agree. Keep moving.”
“I’m not some sort of doll that you can control! I’m not going to let you think you need to protect me!” If he thought that would be his way to atone for what happened my first year he was surely mistaken.
“You didn’t see yourself coming out of the Chamber!” Ron stressed. Hermione looked down at her feet, “I did. And Harry did. This isn’t about making up for what I did; it’s about wanting to do the best thing for you, even when you don’t know what that is. You were broken, and I don’t give a damn if you deny it.”
He looked so determined, and suddenly I remembered the hurt in his blue eyes during our argument at the pyramid in Egypt the summer after the Chamber. This was grown up Ron now still holding that hurt in the back of heart, and I could see it. I felt instantly guilty. And as much as it went against what I stood for, I let Ron have that one. Just once would he take care of me and Merlin help him if he tried it again.
“We need to go, I hear someone coming this way.”
I supposed Harry would be fine, he always was. So we left and were in the common room in no time, welcomed into the midst of Gryffindors asking questions.
“All we know,” replied an exasperated Ron, “Is that someone got Harry.”
There were many solemn and remorsefully regretful looks. “So what are we supposed to do now?” Someone in the crowd asked.
The whole lot of us began pacing; back and forth pacing in opposite directions. Those who were not involved with the D.A., which was mainly the younger students, seemed frightened and not sure what to do. The cat was out of the bag, so to speak, but we weren’t about to discuss the D.A. in front of them.
“We are done for. Not only are we going to get it, but we will never be able to re-group this thing,” complained Seamus.
Ron turned to face him, “As if you ever cared all that much, Finnigan, you’ve been against this until just recently.”
“I’ve paid me dues, I have. I said I was wrong, and I was sorry. Dumbeldore’s Army if the best thing we’ve got, in’t it?”
Everyone was worried about our fates with the club, but I was more anxious about what Umbridge was doing with Harry. What a surprise.
“What is taking so long?” asked Hermione.
It was a while before we heard anything and the time was going slowly.
“What do you think is happening?” asked a curious Dean Thomas as he joined me by the window.
I sighed, “Umbridge is probably creating a way to make this seems like a conspiracy.”
“That’s exactly what she’s doing!” called Ron from his seat beside Hermione.
“I just hope he’s okay,” I said.
“Who, Harry? I’m sure he’ll be fine.”
Dean’s words weren’t comforting- even if they were the ones I had been repeating in my head, because suddenly the image of Harry dying from Basilisk venom at twelve years old, flashed in my head, followed by the image of Wormtail slitting his arm too deep in the graveyard and dying of blood loss.
“Yeah, I suppose he is.”
But Dean wasn’t an idiot, he noticed my preoccupation. “So Ginny, how are things with Michael?”
He was immediately perplexed, “Michael…your boyfriend…?”
“Oh, yes!” I jumped, completely embarrassed with what he must have thought of me. “Michael, of course, sorry I wasn’t paying attention.”
Dean chuckled, “Obviously.”
“Um…things are alright, I guess. Why do you ask?”
He shrugged bashfully, “I just…never see you two together, and I wasn’t sure if you had broken up, and if maybe you had…moved on to someone else.”
He meant Harry; of course I knew he meant Harry, he had seen it all over my face. But he was wrong. I was only worried about Harry because he was a close friend of the family, and I would even dare say he was my friend too- even though that was a far cry since the argument we had at Christmas.
“No, no, I’m still with Michael.”
“Dean’s face dimmed a bit, and it was because of that look that the butterflies in my stomach kicked me to say, “But I honestly don’t think it’s going to last much longer.”
It was terrible for me to say such a thing, but I didn’t regret it, not after the smile I was rewarded with. The smile was infectious, so I smiled too…I really liked Dean’s smile.
“Well, then, when you are single…owl me.”
I was pleasantly surprised with his forwardness and was amused to see he was too.
“Wow, I can’t believe I used that line,” he said.
I laughed, “It’s okay…it was sweet.” And just liked that, I realized that Dean Thomas was succeeding at distracting me from the mess; I was going to have to end it with Michael, I knew it. We never got on well in the first place, and I was starting to have feelings for the boy before me.
“Harry!” cried Hermione, causing everyone’s attention to snap towards the door.
He was climbing into the common room with a very dark expression in his eyes.
“What happened, mate?” asked Finnigan.
“I…you are not going to believe this.”
“Let him sit! Oi- out of the way!” ordered Ron, pulling Harry toward the couch.
“Alright, Harry, tell us what happened.”
The boy in question stared into the fire as the whole of Gryffindor gathered around. “She accused us of being the weapon that the Ministry believes Dumbledore is hiding,” he said after some time.
“She accused Dumbledore of rounding us up and training us to fight against the Ministry.”
“She can’t seriously believe-”
“Dumbledore took the blame.”
The common room was dead silent; you could hear a feather drop.
“Why would he do that?” I asked, breaking the shock.
“To protect me, to protect all of us!”
“But, he had nothing to do with this!”
Harry shook his head, “He kept insisting that since it was his name, Dumbledore’s Army was all his doing.”
That name was my idea. Dumbledore was blamed because I gave the stupid idea that we were fighting behind Dumbledore, not against the Ministry but against Voldemort. And now Dumbledore was going to be punished for my doing. I felt so guilty that I couldn’t help but ask, “What did they do to him?”
“As much as Umbridge hates me, she hates Dumbledore even more. She believed it, like it was exactly the response she was searching for. Kingsley Shacklebot was there and even Cornelius Fudge.”
Now that was huge news. Kingsley Shacklebot was and Auror (magical law enforcer) for the Ministry of Magic and also was a guard of the Minister and Muggle Prime Minister. Also, and more importantly, he was a double agent for the Order of the Phoenix. He was a lead wizard in the secret society who was a passionate believer of Dumbledore and supporter of Harry. He was part of the guard that collected Harry from the Dursley house before term, and he was the one thwarting the Ministry’s attempts to find Sirius Black by constantly leading them in wrong directions.
And Cornelius Fudge, of course, was the Minister of Magic at the time- in case I haven’t mentioned that already.
“The Minster of Magic, here at Hogwarts?” asked Lavender Brown.
“Shh! Let him finish!”
Harry ran a hand through his hair and stood up. “This was a bad idea; we never should have done this-”
“Harry,” interrupted a guilty looking Hermione, (seems like there was a lot of guilt to go around) “It was worth it. We all agree that this club was worth any amount of detention.”
“This is about more than detention, Hermione!”
Dean took a step closer, “What happened then, Harry, finish your story.”
Poor Harry seemed at a loss for words. He couldn’t even look us in the eyes, and I knew it was going to be really bad.
“They were going to arrest him and send him to Azkaban.”
Pandemonium broke out. Dumbledore in Azkaban- it was a ridiculous thought and we all knew it.
“No! We can’t let him take the blame!”
“Dumbledore can’t go!”
The common room had never been so noisy, “He didn’t do anything wrong.”
Harry spoke again, “They made it seem like Dumbledore was plotting a violent rebellion against the Ministry and it’s because they know people will follow him.”
“We have to do something,” Seamus said.
“It’s too late.”
At this, the Gryffindors quieted. “What do you mean it’s too late, they’ve already taken him?”
“Oh no, I never said that, Dumbledore would never let himself be taken to Azkaban.”
“I don’t understand, Harry. Where is Dumbledore now?” asked Ron.
He shrugged, “I have no idea, but he knows how to make an exit.”
I zoned out after that and returned to my window. Dumbledore was gone and already the school felt unsafe. Everyone was listening to Harry’s description of Dumbledore’s departure, but I was preoccupied with my own thoughts.
The last time Dumbledore left the school…I was taken into the Chamber of Secrets.
The story of Dumbledore’s wicked exit on the tail of his pet phoenix was the main bit of gossip in the underground rumor mill for the following week.
Underground because we had a new headmaster- or shall I say, headmistress.
Or better yet, ruthless dictator. Little did we know that that wouldn’t be the last time Hogwarts was run by tyrants.
As for the D.A., well what did you expect? Detention. I had noticed the peculiar scar on the back of Harry’s hand but I never questioned it. I know Hermione was hounding him about telling a professor about Umbridge’s less than orthodox punishment, but he never did. And now we were all subjected to face the same punishment he did.
We wrote lines with blood quills; instead of ink the quills wrote with our blood. The parchment was red and so were the back of our hands where the inscriptions were forming to display what we were writing. The blood source was our hands and the cuts that carved the words into our skin got deeper each time we started a new line as they were retraced. We didn’t scar thankfully. But due to Harry’s repeated cut opening…he did.
Something. Had. To. Be. Done.
The D.A. culprit was caught of course. It was none other than Cho’s darling friend Marietta Edgecombe who turned us in to Umbridge and the Inquisitorial Squad. But at least we did have our own revenge; to be completely honest, Hermione had only informed Ron, Harry and myself that she had jinxed the registration list for Dumbledore’s Army so that anyone who sold us out would gain a face completely full of pimples and the word SNEAK written across their forehead. She told us because she knew that the three of us were the ones who would die before ratting out the club. And that is no exaggeration.
Then again we didn’t think anyone else would do it either, but we were proven wrong, and Marietta was being treated in the hospital wing. As far as Cho Chang went, it seemed that the situation with her best friend put a heavier strain on her relationship with Harry. I watched them argue in the corridor one day and rolled my eyes when I saw that she was walking away with tears in her eyes. Although I had no idea what had transpired, I couldn’t keep my mouth shut when she stormed by, “Harry has a lot more pressing matters to deal with, I don’t think that Marrieta qualifies. Cho, if you want to keep him, I suggest you actually listen to him and his problems for a change.”
She turned and gave me the hardest glare I had ever seen. “Excuse me?”
I squared my shoulders, I was completely sick of her attitude, and the way she’d been treating Harry and Hermione. “You heard me, Cho. Harry is a great guy and he deserves better than a girl who always walks away mad.”
Given I had walked away furious with him before, but I wasn’t his…girlfriend? Significant other? I never understood how to define that relationship.
She sniffed and wiped her eyes, “You seem to think you know a lot about Harry and his needs. Are you fighting for his affections too? You and Granger are pathetic.”
“Excuse me? Who the bloody hell are you to-”
“I’m sure Michael would like to hear about your little crush on Harry Potter,” she sneered, “Or well, from what I understand, the crush that never really went away.”
Cho stormed off before I could hex her, which was pure luck on her part, because my reflexes were getting better with each D.A. meeting. It just so happened she took me that completely off guard. Oh she had it coming. Threatening me? When I was only trying to help? Perhaps my execution was edgy, but it was good advice none the less. Oh no, no, no, she had it coming.
Cho Chang was thoroughly mistaken if she thought I was going to let her get away with her holier than thou attitude.
If one thing was definite it was that when the Gryffindor vs. Ravenclaw match came around I was going to annihilate her.
She was the Ravenclaw seeker, and I was going to catch that snitch.
In no time, yet another tragically horrible Quidditch practice was upon us, but don’t worry, I won’t have you sit through yet another one. I will spare you from the details and myself from having to relive it. Basically Angelina called it quits once Ron left to carry Sloper off to the Hospital Wing. There were only theories to what had really happened.
Anyhow, I went for a walk to burn off my leftover adrenaline and I wound up in the Owlrey. Since the Easter holiday was upon us, I figured mum would be sending a care package at any moment. And as I suspected, there was a box in the cleared postal area.
No doubt Umbridge and Filtch personally went through each piece of mail. I was sure Fred and George were driving them insane with the ordered items from Zonko's joke shop in Hogsmeade.
I couldn't exactly wait to see what was inside, however. So I opened the package, noting the red lettering on the cover reading, 'Inspected and passed by the Hogwarts High Inquisitor.'
Inside were several delicious looking chocolate eggs, each one decorated differently, personalized for each person. Mine was obviously the pink one with rainbows and flowers. Not surprising, I was mommy's little girl after all. So I just rolled my eyes and took it out taking a bite and savoring the taste. I must admit, I did consider keeping them all for myself; maybe no one would notice if I never mentioned them. That's when I realized, however, that there were more than just four eggs.
My brother's were easy to decipher; Ron's was the orange one with quaffles and broomsticks, Fred's was the blue one that sported fireworks and a large F that made it distinctly different from George's nearly identical one, except his had a large G.
Then there were two left, two that I had not been expecting. One was embellished with small books and quills with ink, while the last one had golden snitches flying around a tiny lightning bolt.
It was rather obvious that these were for Harry and Hermione.
So I quickly ate my egg and decided to deliver the rest. On my way, I found Fred and George. They seemed to be plotting something so I left them to it and didn't linger around. Then, not sure where the Trio was, I asked around and it seemed Hermione had locked herself up in her dorm room revising and Ron was showering from practice after leaving the hospital wing. Harry was said to have been seen near the library.
And so, I headed off to the library, feeling somewhat like the Easter bunny. I found him sitting by himself off to the side of the library.
The sight nearly broke my heart. He just looks so… sad. I hated seeing him like that and, unfortunately, I had much too often that year.
I knew I looked a fright. I was still post- practice looking. But then again, what did I care how I looked in front of Harry?
Not allowing myself to think about it anymore, I walked over to Harry. “Studying hard, or hardly studying?” I asked.
His eyes remained gazing at his paper, giving me no indication that his mind was anywhere in that library. His hair was as frazzled as ever; he’d obviously been tearing at it with his hands. There were deep and prominent shadows under his eyes, and a wicked scar on his hand (just one to add to his collection). This, my friends, was the Great Harry Potter. And he still hadn’t looked up.
“Harry, I’m talking to you, can you hear me?” I knew he probably just hadn’t been paying attention to anything around him.
He blinked and focused on me; his green eyes were open and vulnerable. “Oh, hi,” he said as he took a second to recognize me. “How come you’re not at practice?”
“It’s over,” I said, “Ron had to take Jack Sloper to the hospital wing.”
“Well, we’re not sure but we think he knocked himself out with his own bat.” Sloper was a lethal weapon of mass destruction. “Anyway, a package just arrived; it’s only just got through Umbridge’s new screening process.” He took the package and curiously began to unwrap what I had haphazardly rewrapped. “It’s Easter Eggs from mum,” I told him as I picked out the one I knew to be his, “There’s one for you,” and passed it to him, “There you go.”
He stared at it and several emotions passed through his face. There was appreciation and gratitude. Wonder. Surprise. Then it finally settled on just plain sadness. I didn’t want to pry…but I had promised Sirius I would look after Harry and help him in any way I could.
Besides, this was probably about Cho, and though Sirius actually liked the idea of a different romantic arrangement, I still owed it to him to be there for Harry. And what was Harry supposed to do? Talk to Ron?
“Are you okay, Harry?”
“Yeah, I’m fine,” he replied with a gruff. I refrained from rolling my eyes; Harry was always ‘fine’.
“You seem down lately,” I plunged on, “You know, I’m sure if you just talked to Cho-”
“It’s not Cho I want to talk to,” he admitted, throwing me for a spin. I didn’t say a word, as to not distract him from letting his thoughts out. I just hoped he trusted me.
And he did.
“I wish I could talk to Sirius,” this confession was not easy for him; I could tell by the way he lowered his voice and his head. I couldn’t help but think that this was the first time he’d said those words out loud. “But I know I can’t.” His eyes were so tortured that I was afraid he was going to cry.
He took a piece of his chocolate as he awaited my reply. In the meantime I was trying to think of something that would console his desperate need to see Sirius. The only thing I could think of was for him to actually see Sirius. And why not? We’d done crazier things.
“Well,” I finally said taking a piece of his chocolate, (it looked delicious and I had eaten all of mine) “If you really want to talk to Sirius, I expect we could think of a way to do it.”
He’d battled dragons. Ron, Fred and George flew a car to Surrey to retrieve Harry in the middle of the night. Hermione took Harry back in time. Ron had beaten a life size chess board. I unlocked a monster from behind the sink in the girl’s bathroom.
What was this situation compared to our history?
“Come on,” he sighed, “With Umbridge policing the fires and reading our mail?”
This was Harry Potter-the boy who had defeated Voldemort at the age of 1 and bested him at the age of 11, 12 and14. He obviously was in need of a reminder.
And I suppose we all did.
“The thing about living with Fred and George, is that you sort of start thinking anything is possible if you’ve got enough nerve.”
And right then, Harry and I linked eyes. I felt it down to my toes. He just seemed more hopeful and his eyes brightened-
“WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING?”
“Oh damn,” I whispered feeling my heart fall into my throat. “I forgot!” I jumped up as Madam Pince, the irate librarian marched her way toward us.
“Chocolate in the library! Out-out-OUT!”
And so we ran, chuckling and stumbling as she charmed our belongings to hit us repeatedly as we retreated.
“Close call, huh?” I laughed as the door to the library closed behind us and we collected our things.
“Yeah,” replied a short-breathed Harry.
We began walking in the direction of the common room out of habit rather than actually thinking about it. We were quiet, as I really didn’t know what to say, and Harry was lost in thought.
It wasn’t an awkward silence, really, it was calm and comfortable- for me at least- but since Harry wasn’t fidgeting, or running a hand through his hair (the tell-tale signs that he is uncomfortable) I understood that he was fine with the silence too.
It was a nice, new feeling. Calming. I could be alone with Harry without tripping over my words or myself for that matter.
“You know, Ginny,” commented Harry, tearing me out of my thoughts. “You-I…no, I guess-…well…” he sighed, a very resigned sigh.
I almost laughed, “Cat caught your tongue, Harry?”
He blushed and I was pleasantly surprised- no- I was thrilled. Don’t judge me.
He looked away, “I suppose…” Harry admitted, proving that he really was having trouble getting out what was obviously bothering him. I didn’t particularly care to see him so down, and though I hated the girl for him, I cursed Cho for leaving him alone after he was willing to open his hear to her- to someone.
“I guess the shoe is on the other foot now, isn’t it?” I said hoping to lighten the mood.
My face was burning when he turned to me with questioning eyes. I continued looking straight forward gauging his reaction through my peripheral vision. At first, he was confused, that is, until he saw my flush of embarrassment; then he took in my meaning and smiled softly. I was glad I said it. Hey, what’s a jab at my expense when it could make him feel the least bit better? I was never able to string three words together when I was in front of him. I could allow him this.
“You see? That’s what I mean. Ginny, you always know that right thing to say, and when to say it.”
And thus the truth emerged. I looked at him for a moment, forgetting my previous embarrassment, totally bewildered. Me? The right thing to say? “That’s not true.”
“Yes it is.”
“Harry, if that was true, I would have said ‘Hello’ to you that first day at the Burrow instead of running away like a nutcase.”
“If that were true, I wouldn’t have told Tom anything in that blasted diary.”
“Hey,” Harry sharply pulled back and grabbed my elbow forcing me to stop. But then like an electric shock, he pulled his hand away.
I stared at my elbow.
“You were young, he took advantage of you. It was a mistake.”
“A big one.”
“Yes, but we learn from it, move on and accept that it’s a part of you.”
I looked into his eyes, “Have you been telling yourself that too?”
He didn’t reply; I didn’t expect him to.
We kept walking.
“What I’m trying to say here…I never apologized for what I said…back at Christmas.”
“No. I…really stuck my foot in my mouth, I was just…angry.”
“It’s fine, Harry, really-”
“No. Not it’s not, Ginny.”
His conviction was so strong, I had no choice but to stop and listen.
“I was insensitive. I haven’t forgotten about the Chamber, Ginny. I promise, how could I?
But… I didn’t really give much thought to how it affected you and what you had gone through… and what you had to go through to get over something like that…after.”
He was so ashamed of himself, I could easily see that. Yes it hurt, that he could just walk away and never look back when I was still fighting off the demons, but what did my feelings matter in the big scheme of things? Harry didn’t need another thing to fret about; I was a big girl I could handle it. Besides I couldn’t stay mad at Harry Potter for long.
“I understand, Harry, I honestly do. You’ve had enough on your mind the past few years to worry about your best friend’s little sister.”
Harry grimaced, “See? That proves it. I mean, Ginny you’re more than just my best friend’s little sister, you’re my friend too. I should have made sure you knew that instead of disregarding it.”
I couldn’t help it, I smiled. I was finally more than just the little sister, tag along. I was my own person in Harry’s eyes.
“You’re my friend too, Harry.”
He smiled just as wide. “Good.”
We walked some more, nearing our destination before he said something that changed the course of my story forever.
“You know, I think…that perhaps I never thought too much about how you were dealing with it…because you were so strong. You never let it show that it got to you. You held your head up every day after the Chamber. You did become your own, like I said, you seemed to move on from it. How could I think of you as the little girl who was fooled by Voldemort, when you were off being so good at being… Ginny?”
I tried to control my blush. “What do you mean by ‘being Ginny’?”
He half smiled shyly, “I mean aside from, the few…er…embarrassing incidents,” I knew exactly what he was referring to, butter dishes and get well cards flashed before my head. “You’re smart and funny, and a great Quidditch player.”
I honestly thought I was going to die. “Not as good as you-”
“You can out chase me any day.”
“You can’t mean that.”
I was flushing, almost drowning in melting, girlish goo. I had to do something to save face. So I said the first thing that popped into my head, “You better be careful, you don’t want Cho hearing you talk like that.”
He seemed puzzled. Boys. They could compliment girls and say things without realizing that it holds a completely different meaning for girls. It's that boy/girl translation. It can be very misleading.
I knew that Harry and Cho were not together, but against what I wished, he wasn't going to be able to talk like this to other girls if he wanted a second chance with her.
"Cho? Why should I care what she hears me say?"
"Because she was angry enough when you suggested meeting Hermione, imagine how upset she'll be when she hears you complimenting you're best friend's sister. That would definitely diminish any chance you have left." The jealous wrench.
Harry and I were reaching the portrait hole when he stopped. "Chance? I don't want another chance, we didn't work out, and we probably never would."
I stopped too, "Really?"
"Oh good, Harry cause she's awful. I heard what happened on Valentine's Day, but was afraid you still had feelings for her."
Harry shrugged, obviously uncomfortable with the turn the conversation had taken, "No."
"You deserve better."
"Thanks. She was rather...temperamental. I mean, yes, Cedric...but... I don't know. Maybe I'm just being insensitive again."
"No. Any girl who tries to make a guy feel jealous by bringing up past relationships and goes beserk because said guy has a female best friend can't be worth it. Especially for you."
Harry smiled widely. "Yes, I guess I need someone...stronger." With that he walked through the portrait hole, smirking and throwing a last, "Thanks for the chocolate, Gin!" over his shoulder.
And I stood there, utterly paralyzed in shock, for Harry Potter had, not only actually flirted smoothly with the opposite sex, but he has flirted with me. It couldn't believe it. He was...perfect, nothing embarrassing, and not tripping on his words.
And then I took what he said into consideration. And was baffled again. If someone would have told me that morning that the day would wind up like that... I would have laughed in his or her face and told them to stay out of Snape's potions.
I knew he meant the underlining message. I saw it in his eyes. Not that he meant it to go anywhere, but it was a boost to my ego and I appreciated it. No. I loved it. And I hadn't seen Harry in such a light hearted mood since the Quidditch World Cup the year before.
Then from around the corner came my boyfriend, Michael, and I fell right back into reality.
I had promised to talk to Fred and George, and that was a promise I intended to keep. Talking to my brothers would be the easy part, all I had to do was mention an idea and it would automatically beginning a tennis match between their heads (Tennis —according to muggle studies, a sport played one on one or at times two on two in which each player hits a yellow ball to back and forth over a net to each other using a racquet. Racquet- according to muggle studies, a sport’s implement, usually consisting of a handle and an oval frame with a tightly interlaced network of strings, used to strike a ball) and the rest would fall into place. Like I said, Damino Effect. The hard part was making them think it was their idea the whole time.
Because they would take the mickey out of me if I suggested we help Harry.
“Trying to earn some appreciation, Gin-Gin?” they would say.
“Or are you still after that close and personal thank you?”
Oh they would still help Harry- they would move heaven and Earth to help- but I would lose my sanity, dignity and pride in the process.
So I did what I had to do.
Trick Fred and George.
Easier said than done.
“Look, the only reason I asked for your help is because you two actually appreciate this and agree to it.”
“Wait,” said George as he and his twin followed close behind me.
“What exactly is this book about again?”
“I told you,” I whispered as we entered the library, “I found this book just recently: a prank book.”
“A book that pranks you?”
“Or a book full of ideas for pranks?”
“We are not stupid dear sister-”
“You can’t put the wool over ours eyes.”
I wasn’t facing them so they couldn’t see my smirk, “A book about pranks.”
“And why do you need us?”
“Not that we aren’t flattered that you would share this secret with us.”
“Are you both hard of hearing?” I asked leading them through the shelves, “I just went over this! I need someone 17 or older. It has an age restriction and it won’t let you open it up if you are underage.”
I wasn’t lying; there really was such a book. The only thing I wasn’t being truthful about was the fact that I had truly found it my second year and was saving it for my last year when I turned 17. I had never told a soul about it- save for Sirius and he seemed to know exactly the book I meant. What shocked me was the Fred and George hadn’t discovered that particular Hogwarts secret in all their time at the school. I knew that showing them would ruin it but Harry was more important, as was my sanity. The book was the best bait I could think of.
“I must admit, Gin-Bug-”
“I am most intrigued.”
We reached the back and I searched for the shelf with the engraving, “Here,” I said when my fingers grazed the etching. I took my wand out and noticed my brothers’ eyebrows rising.
“There are no books on pranking here.”
“Really?” I waved my wand over the shelf and muttered, “I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.” Just as quickly, a compartment popped open from under the wood holding the books. I heard two collective gasps. “The Marauders created this compartment. Apparently each generation must hide it in their own form for the next trouble makers to come across it.”
“Wicked,” they said together. The book was called Mischievous Minds and I knew they couldn’t resist.
“Go on, take it. There’s an age barrier that won’t let me touch it.”
I watched them grab it and hide it within their robes, and I won’t tell you how, it is a trade mark Weasley secret.
“I have to say-”
“This is most impressive.”
“And we are most proud.”
I’m sure they were; I’m sure they were grinning like cats on the inside, “Yeah, yeah, let’s just get out of here so we can take a look about what’s on the inside.” I then began to lead them out a different way from the one we used to get in, and just as I figured, they didn’t notice.
“You know, Forge, I don’t think we should let her read this at all.”
Now, that I had been expecting too. My brothers could be gits. “What?!” I said, playing my part while I was really searching for a specific head of black hair that was spotted soon enough. Perfect.
“You’re absolutely right, Gred. She isn’t 17 yet-” George stopped talking and I knew exactly why.
It was like clockwork.
Harry was seated just where I had left him the day before. Though he seemed in better spirits then he was when I first saw him, (I hoped the change had to do with our chat) he still didn’t look anyway nears okay.
And Fred and George obviously saw that. See, if I had been straight forward with them they would have thought I was over reacting and accused me of being too much like mom because I was in love with Harry. They would have helped, but wouldn’t have taken it as seriously just because I had been the one to ask. They could never understand the fact that I had moved on from Harry and was happy with someone else (well, mostly over Harry, and well, mostly happy- but I would never admit it).
Here, they saw it for themselves with no prior bias or persuasion. “What’s wrong with him?”
“He looks like death.”
“Have you forgotten?” I asked, “He’s kind of been having a rough year. Come on, let’s leave him to it; you know how he gets when people fuss.”
“But something more specific must be bothering him today-”
“Bigger than the toad-”
“If that is even possible.”
And that was my cue, “Well, I did talk to Hermione just the other day and she brought up Harry, and mentioned that he was really missing Sirius and wished there was a way he could talk to him.”
“Talk to Sirius?”
“Is that all?”
“Yeah,” I sighed a perfectly crafted sigh, “But it’s impossible. Umbridge has blocked all the floos and is checking all the mail.”
The twins shook their heads and led me out of the library, “What have we always taught you, dear sister?”
“Nothing is impossible-”
“But not impossible.”
“Are you thinking what I’m thinking Fred?” asked George looking down to the book in his hands.
Fred smiled, “That would be a safe bet, George.”
Check and mate.
Turns out that Fred and George took advice from the book I so graciously sacrificed; which I found surprising because, when had Fred and George ever needed help creating a ruckus? But I suppose they read something that was much too tempting to pass up. They wanted to help Harry, and so that is precisely what they did…and of course, they didn’t do anything the easy way.
“Ginny, I don’t like this at all. He’s going to get caught and he has gotten into enough trouble this year as is,” fretted Hermione the morning of said “plan.” She had overheard the twins’ idea and ever since had been a down-right nag, but what could I do? I had nothing to do with it.
“Hermione,” I said anyway, “What is the worst that can happen? Harry get’s sent home? I’d rather be anywhere than here.”
She gave me a serious look, but it was out of my hands. I had left it all up to Fred and George, and if they were planning some sort of surprise I was not going to be blamed for it. “Brilliant role model you are, Ginny Weasley.”
As you could have expected, the plan worked magnificently. Fred and George managed to turn one of the school corridors into a disgusting swamp. It was one of the funniest things I’d ever seen, only to be topped by Umbridge’s face when she saw it. It was just enough to distract the whole school and I made sure to notice Harry rush in the opposite direction towards Umbridge’s office.
The only thing I hadn’t planned on was the final result. I talked with Harry, which led me to plant the idea in the twins’ head, that caused me to give them the book that they took the idea from, which resulted in Harry running to talk to Sirius and that was my plan all along, though I never cared to admit it. However, to my surprise, Fred and George were not planning on staying and serving whatever punishment befell them. Fred and George bid adieu to the school with a grand exit, a bow, a wave and flew from the premises un-graduated after seven years.
Mum was going to have a fit.
And I could not be blamed for a thing.
It was fantastic!
Harry, soon after, joined the fray that had erupted outside just as it had when Trelawney was sacked, and I could already see the change in his eyes, some of the darkness was gone and he seemed a bit more at ease.
I inconspicuously made me way over, not that anyone was watching while they were busy watching my brothers fade away into the horizon on their broomsticks.
“How was your chat?” I murmured.
Harry looked down, once again surprised to see me. “Just what I needed actually.”
I smiled, “I told you. When it comes to Fred and George, nothing is impossible.”
Harry shrugged, “I don’t know, I’m starting to think they aren’t the only Weasley’s with that trait.”
So… he saw right through me. “You have no idea, Potter, no idea.”
When the last match of the yer arrived, I was so green with nerves I almost lost my breakfast in the changing rooms.
“I don’t know how we did it,” said Angelina as she delivered the traditional pre-game pep talk, “But we’ve made it to the Quidditch final and we are playing for the cup. We can win this thing. We’ve made it this far why not go further?” Cheers and hollers erupted and I stayed silent holding my stomach.
“Wouldn’t that be a way to end the year? Proving to Umbridge that she can’t stop the Gryffindor team no matter what she does? That cup is ours and not even that pudgy frog can take it away from us!”
More cheers rang out and that time I smiled. It would have been the greatest end; my mood had been so bad that entire year that a turn of events would be delicious.
We were playing well; the demanding practice seemed to be paying off and the crowd definitely noticed. Ron was saving most of what came his way and Katie, Angie and Alicia were hitting the mark. The only thing I was worried about was catching the snitch since everyone else was doing their part so well. When it came down to it, I knew was a better player than Cho. She was too keenly influenced by her emotions and that made her flighty and erratic. I always remained in check and the only emotion I let show was my competitive streak.
So when she approached me in the air, I wasn’t disappointed by my reaction.
“I would care less about Harry and more about Michael if I were you, Weasley,” she called, “It doesn’t seem like Michael is too happy with you at the moment.”
“Oh, really? And how would you know that?” Sure, they were in the same house, but I hadn’t realized that they were so well acquainted.
“It’s not my fault he felt so neglected he searched for attention elsewhere,” she said in one breath; the moment the words left her mouth I nearly jumped off my broom and attacked her. But that would have been a disaster because she was already gone. She’d done it again! Run her mouth and said something so vile I wanted to strangle her, then leave in a flash!
Cho had seen the snitch and attempted in distracting me so that she could reach it first. It was a mean trick, but she didn’t know that it wouldn’t work on me.
Not only was my relationship with Michael pretty much over to begin with (we had yet another disagreement when he bumped into me right after I spoke with Harry) but her comment only made me angry and even more determined. I would beat her to the snitch and then into the ground. So I was only about 3 seconds behind her.
How dare she have the audacity to dangle my boyfriend’s loyalty in front of me when at
the same time her loyalty lied with Harry! Two wrongs did not make a right.
She didn’t deserve him and I would say it until I had no voice. She did not deserve Cedric, and she most certainly did not deserve the snitch. So I caught it.
“Maybe,” I said once we touched ground, “You should focus more on Quidditch than the love lives of younger boys. What is it? No one in your year have the time to dry your tears?”
“We did it!”
“The CUP! We WON!”
My team had reached me and it didn’t give Cho the chance to respond. Not that she could have anyway, since she was sobbing so hard. With a frustrated cry, she threw her broom to the ground like a spoiled little princess.
I know I seemed harsh, I know that her boyfriend had been murdered not a year before, but that did not give her any right to be so crude! She was not honoring Cedric’s memory by implementing that attitude. She could no longer use the pity excuse. She was mean, and shallow, and I couldn’t help but stand up to her.
And even though she was the one to capture Harry’s heart (though not anymore, apparently, he still had feelings for her) and I envied that she did what I never could, in that moment I felt at least a little bit superior to Cho Chang.
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