|SIYE Time:16:55 on 23rd May 2017|
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Category: SIYE Challenges, The Burrow Secret Challenge (2016-3)
Characters:Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger, Other, Ron Weasley
Genres: Angst, Drama, General, Romance
Story is Complete
Summary: Ginny returns to The Burrow from Hogwarts following the events of her fifth year. However, her bad mood causes tension within the family, but no one knows what just is causing her to be this way.
Hitcount: Story Total: 1948
Disclaimer: Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R. Note the opinions in this story are my own and in no way represent the owners of this site. This story subject to copyright law under transformative use. No compensation is made for this work.
I was going to delay posting this, but time seems very limited right now, so better now than never.
Anyway, this is the first time I have done a challenge, so hopefully you will like how I have approached it. Yes, you will know the secret immediately, but I wanted to cover an area in the book we do not get to see and well, this is what I came up with.
A big thank you to Arnel for editing this for me and all the positive comments on my story!
Also, two words were meant to be in italics, but I can't seem to get it to work without a good bulk of it becoming italic as well!
Molly was the first to notice the change in Ginny’s demeanour. The moment her daughter stepped off the Hogwarts Express, she knew that Ginny was not the same child she had been when she had left for school in September. As her daughter approached, she could see her red, puffy eyes, no matter how hard she tried to keep her head down in the hopes that no one would notice. She truly had no idea what could have happened that caused her only daughter to seem so down. The only thing she could put it down to was the shock of the Headmaster’s death and his subsequent funeral.
Molly had no idea just how wrong she was.
Arthur was next to notice the change in his daughter. It was not that hard for him to see it when Ginny, on noticing her father, ran straight into his arms and buried her face in his chest. He was a little shocked as she had not turned to him in comfort this way for quite a few years. He felt a little confused as to why she suddenly felt the need to do this again. He wouldn’t complain about being able to hold his precious daughter though, because she had at one point told him she was too old to be held like this anymore, so it showed him that she did still need him. He could only put her need to hug him down to the events of the past week as he watched her attempt to control the tears from spilling.
Arthur had no idea just how wrong he was.
The twins were next to notice, having decided to join the family for dinner on the same night that their younger siblings had returned home from school. It was obvious to both Fred and George from the moment they walked through the door that their sister was no longer the happy and cheeky girl they adored. They watched as she pushed her dinner around her plate with her fork as they quietly discussed how they could cheer her up. Knowing there was no way the events at Hogwarts were the reason for her sullen mood, they decided to give her few days before putting into the action their small prank they felt would cheer her up.
Fred and George had no idea that a few days would not be enough.
Thanks to the fact that his fiancée had had a word with him about how his sister was behaving, Bill realised there was something wrong with his sister. Discovering that Ginny had barely paid attention to what was happening during her fitting for her bridesmaid’s dress and then had left the moment she had been able to do so had upset him. He had thought that she had become more accepting of his choice in bride, especially in light of the fact that Fleur had steadfastly remained by his side after Fenrir Greyback had attacked him. But nothing had seemed to change as he discreetly paid attention to her during the preparations for the wedding. He just couldn’t understand why his little sister was being hostile towards his bride-to- be.
Bill had no idea that his upcoming wedding to Fleur was not an issue for her anymore.
Charlie was the most clueless of the lot, having not been around at the end of the school term but instead arriving from Romania not long after. The lack of response to his homecoming he had received from his sister had shocked him, considering that Ginny was usually one of the first to greet him whenever he came home to visit. Gone was the happy and excitable sister he knew and in her place was someone who seemed sad and depressed, just like she had been the summer after her first year. He knew not being here as she grew up had not helped him understand why she was the way she was. He thought, therefore, that perhaps she was angry with him for not visiting more often and she was keeping her distance as a result.
Charlie had no idea that there was in fact someone else to blame.
Ron was not actually the last to notice as his family probably thought he was. He might have had the emotional range of a teaspoon according to Hermione, but even he had been able to see that there was a problem with Ginny. He had noticed the lack of interaction between Harry and Ginny after the funeral had ended and how Ginny had not sat with them on the train ride back to London. He had also noticed the sullen looks on both of their faces and the last look of longing they had sent each other’s way when they had to disembark the train at Kings Cross. He would be a fool not to realise that something had happened between them after he, along with the rest of the school, had watched them fall in love.
Ron just wasn’t sure at the moment what had happened between them.
Ginny knew she was being miserable and that it was only adding to the tension as the family prepared for Bill’s upcoming wedding to Fleur, but she couldn’t help how she was feeling. To be honest, she couldn’t stop feeling this way and it didn’t help that she currently had no one she could turn to, because none of the family knew, except for Ron. And with everything that was going on at the moment, she knew it was better to keep her reason for feeling the way she did a secret.
A confrontation about Ginny’s mood came at dinner the day Hermione had arrived at The Burrow. Hermione had been able to feel the tension the moment she had walked into the house and it only took one look at Ginny’s face to understand the reason why. Even though neither had said anything, she had figured out what had happened between Ginny and Harry and she knew that if Ginny was pushed just enough she would lose her temper.
The tension was palpable as the family ate dinner and Hermione knew it was going to break during the meal.
It started with something seemingly innocent, something that would have usually made everyone laugh: the twins somehow managing to slip Ginny a Canary Cream. With a pop, a canary suddenly appeared where Ginny had been sitting and began squawking angrily. No one laughed, not even the twins, as they all realised that she had finally been pushed too far.
Molly was in the middle of scolding Fred and George when Ginny finally shed her feathers and immediately skewered her brothers with a vicious glare.
“WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?” she roared at them.
The family was taken aback by her outburst. This was the girl who loved a good prank and who was always a good sport when anyone actually managed to prank her. Something was obviously bothering her enough for her to get upset at such a simple prank.
“Why are you acting like this?” Bill questioned her as he refused to put up with her sullen mood anymore. “Why are you in such a foul mood?”
Ginny looked at each member of her family and she could tell they all wanted answers, but she just couldn’t give them what they wanted. Though looking at Ron and Hermione, she suspected they already knew or at least suspected something about why she was behaving the way she was. She suddenly slumped in her seat as she tried to hold back the tears she could feel threatening to come.
“Ginny, dear,” Molly softly said. “Please tell us what is wrong. We’re worried about you.”
Ginny shook her head in refusal as the tears finally broke away before muttering, “I’m sorry, I can’t, I just can’t,” and took off running upstairs to her bedroom.
Hermione and Ron were both torn between following her and remaining at the table. Exchanging a look of concern, they both decided to give her some much needed space before checking on her.
“She was like this when she got off the train,” Arthur explained to his sons after both Bill and Charlie shared their concerns and opinions. “Ron, Hermione, did something happen at school that we are not aware of?”
The pair exchanged a quick look as they came to a decision to not say anything.
“I’m sorry, Mr Weasley, but it’s not our place to say,” Hermione said apologetically. She quickly excused herself from the table and headed upstairs no longer wishing to be part of the conversation.
“Ron?” his mother turned her questioning gaze on her youngest son.
He swallowed the lump in his throat before he answered. “I’m sorry, Mum, but Hermione is right, it’s not our place to tell. And if it is about what I think it is, then she has every right to keep it secret.”
None of the family failed to notice the remarkable change in Ginny’s mood and attitude the morning after Harry’s arrival, even after the losses of Hedwig and Mad-Eye Moody. However, with the wedding just a few days away, Arthur and Molly decided to drop the issue as both were just happy that their daughter was happier than she had been. Ron and Hermione, on the other hand, were also tied up with just finding time to be able to talk with Harry in order to finalise their plans for the hunt for the Horcruxes.
In amongst all of the final preparations for the wedding, the remaining four Weasley boys took turns in confronting Harry. All four were convinced that Harry had to know what was going with their baby sister and that he would succumb to telling them out of fear of what they could potentially do to him if he didn’t.
Bill was the first to find a chance to corner the dark-haired wizard while they were both in the garden. The groom-to-be made it clear that he was concerned about his sister and that he had reason to believe that Harry knew something that Ron and Hermione did not. However, when he reminded the Boy Who Lived that he was a curse-breaker and would not be afraid to use some lesser known curses
on him to get the information he needed, it did not appear to faze Harry in the slightest.
“Come back and see me when you have a curse that is worse and more painful than a Cruciatus Curse thrown by Voldemort himself,” Harry casually told the eldest Weasley sibling before immediately walking off and back into the house.
Bill stood there in shock for a few minutes before getting back to his original task. He had been there the night of the third task on the night Voldemort returned. He had seen the state Harry had been in on his arrival back from the graveyard. How could his threats even remotely compare to what Harry had been put through that night? Either way, he was certain that whatever the secret was that Ginny had, Harry knew of it too.
Charlie cornered him just minutes later as Harry climbed the stairs. The second eldest Weasley brother gave a very similar speech as Bill had before reminding The Chosen One that he was a dragon handler and that he would be happy to introduce Harry to one of the more ferocious dragons he looked after at the reserve.
“You seem to have forgotten that I have already faced a Hungarian Horntail, outflew it to get to what I was asked to collect and managed to live to tell the tale,” Harry said with a smirk before continuing up the stairs towards Ron’s bedroom.
Charlie could only shake his head in disbelief at the fact he forgot, especially considering he had been there. He did wonder though if anything actually fazed the boy. He realised then that Harry had walked off before he even responded to the question about Ginny, so it only reinforced the idea that Harry did know what was going on with her.
Charlie was so lost in thought that he did not notice the twins slip past him up the stairs. Fred and George followed Harry and cornered him in Ron’s bedroom. They also gave a similar speech to their brothers to the green-eyed wizard, while also reminding him that they still had their sources at Hogwarts who could and would tell them what they wanted to know if they asked.
Harry raised an eyebrow in suspicion. This was not the route he had expected the twins to take. “No blackmail? No threats of pranking me? Just straight out asking someone instead? I am actually disappointed. The thing is, though, if I am not talking and if Ginny is not talking, what makes you think anyone else who was present at Hogwarts this past year will talk?”
Fred and George’s jaws dropped in shock as they realised that Harry was correct in his suggestion. They knew they could just ask, but the problem was it did not guarantee them an answer.
Ginny could do nothing as a masked Death Eater pulled her roughly from her father’s arms so they could make an example of her in front of her family and the remaining guests who had been unable to escape the crashed wedding reception. She kept her head held high and her face looking as calm as possible even though she could feel her heart racing at the very possibility that her secret would be exposed. She could only hope now that Harry’s plan had worked, but right now, she felt that it had not.
She was thrown roughly to the floor as her family watched in horror as the Death Eater raised his wand in her direction.
Ginny screamed out as the most horrific pain she had ever felt shot through her entire body. As quick as it came though, it stopped and she collapsed panting for breath.
“The Dark Lord knows of your relationship with Potter,” the Death Eater spat. “Tell us what you know. Where is he?”
Ginny looked up defiantly and glared at Tom’s Minion. “I don’t know where he is! I don’t know anything!”
“Wrong answer, blood traitor,” the Death Eater growled angrily. “CRUCIO!”
Pain ripped through her body once again like she had a hundred knives stabbing her all at once. She hated that she couldn’t stop the scream that tore from her throat and she began to fear that she would not survive the interrogation, despite knowing she was telling them the truth. Relief came suddenly as she felt herself crumple to the floor once more as the curse stopped.
“I know you are Potter’s little whore,” the Death Eater said as he aggressively grabbed her by her hair and pulled her head up so she was forced to look at him. “Perhaps if torturing doesn’t work, I could try it on one of your brothers.”
He threw her down as he stalked over to where her family were huddled together. However, before he could grab one of her brothers, Ginny found the strength to push herself up onto her knees and call out.
“NO, no, I’ll tell you,” she called, her voice raw from her screams. Her body slumped slightly as the Death Eater turned back to look at her. She could see her family wanting to protest but she knew she needed to do this; she needed to keep them safe just like Harry was trying to do for her. “He left me, he dumped me. Said he couldn’t be with me anymore. I don’t know why, but I think that maybe I wasn’t really all that important to him, especially as he never told me anything substantial.”
She felt the tears run down her face in shame for twisting the truth in the way that she had. She reminded herself that she was doing this for him, for her family, for the future she desperately wanted with the love of her life. She knew she would have to confess the truth to her family later if she had managed to convince the Death Eater that what she had said was true. She saw him watching her, scrutinising the words she had said. Then her eyes widened in horror as he slowly raised his wand at once more. She closed her eyes in anticipation of the pain she knew would come once again.
“ENOUGH!” a familiar voice demanded.
Ginny slowly opened her eyes to see the wand lowered as another and obviously more senior Death Eater approached them.
“The girl obviously knows nothing,” the new addition stated. “The Dark Lord has said she is to be left unharmed for now. She is not needed for the time being.”
Reluctantly, the Death Eater moved away and barely seconds, the Dark Lord’s minions apparated away from the ruined wedding reception as Ginny collapsed back onto the floor and blacked out.
Ginny’s eyes fluttered open before she shut them tightly at the bright light that was flooding the room. As she became more aware, she realised she was in bed and when she finally managed to open her eyes fully, she discovered she was, in fact, in her own bedroom.
“MUM, SHE’S AWAKE!” a voice called out of the door.
Ginny carefully eased herself up so she was sat against the headboard as she heard numerous footsteps rushing at the call. She felt the bed dip slightly as Bill sat down next to her and within seconds, her mum and dad, Charlie, the twins and Fleur came rushing into the room.
“Oh, my baby,” her mother said in relief as she pulled Ginny’s into what was a relatively gentle hug for her. “How are you feeling, dear?”
Ginny tried to reply, but her mouth tasted like cotton and her throat felt red raw. Bill seemed to recognise her problem and quickly passed her glass of water which she downed in a couple of gulps.
“Tired,” she finally replied with a wan smile. “What happened?”
The family seem to exchange a look of concern between them before her father finally stepped forward.
“You blacked out, sweetheart,” he answered. “They used the Cruciatus on you twice in order to get you to tell them about Harry and where he was. They left just as you passed out so we brought you up here to sleep it off.”
She easily remembered what had happened, how she had failed Harry in revealing what had happened between them. She looked away from her family and out of the window as a lone tear slipped from her eye.
“Was it true what you said?” Charlie tentatively asked.
Ginny froze in fear at the question. She had told herself she would be honest with them, but she feared their reaction. She knew she needed to carefully answer the question so her family, especially her brothers, did not take what had happened the wrong way.
“Yes and no,” Ginny finally answered Charlie.
An uncomfortable silence hung over the room at her answer. Ginny refused turn around as she did not want to see the looks on their faces.
“We started dating after the final of the Quidditch Cup,” Ginny hauntingly told her family. “We dated for a couple of amazing months. I knew after Dumbledore died that our relationship was living on borrowed time, but he held out for as long as he could because he needed the support and comfort. Then after the funeral, he broke up with me.”
“Oh, baby,” her mother said sympathetically.
Ginny finally turned round, straight into the arms of her mother as the tears began to run down her face.
“What do you mean by yes and no,” Charlie cautiously asked.
“What I said was all true,” Ginny confessed as she found the courage to look up at her brother. Relief filled her at seeing sympathetic faces from her family, rather than looks of anger for what Harry had done. “Except for how unimportant I made myself out to be. He never told me anything, but he explained why he couldn’t and I understood that. In the same way, he explained why we couldn’t be together anymore.”
“He did it to keep you safe,” Bill whispered in awe of the young man as he received a nod of confirmation from his sister.
“So that’s the secret you have been keeping from us?” Fred asked.
“The fact that you and Harry dated?” George continued.
Ginny could only nod as she felt guilty enough about keeping it secret from the family to begin with and then behaving badly all because of how she was feeling about having to let Harry go.
“All because you were simply heartbroken and wanted to protect Harry from your idiot brothers?” Fleur correctly concluded.
Ginny couldn’t help the giggle that slipped out of her mouth. The family looked at her with disbelief at her reaction.
“I never wanted to protect Harry from my brothers,” she explained with a smile on her face. “He can do that fine all by himself as we both knew no matter what they threatened to do to him, he had experienced far worse and survived.”
Her brothers laughed at her answer.
“I have to say that is true,” Bill confirmed. “I tried my best to threaten him with some nasty curses to find out what was wrong with you. But it didn't faze him as he reminded me he had experienced You-Know-Who’s Cruciatus Curse.”
“BILL!” Molly cried indignantly.
“I threatened him with introducing him to a ferocious dragon until he reminded me of the Hungarian Horntail,” Charlie admitted,
“CHARLIE!” Molly responded in disbelief.
“Mum, it’s fine,” Ginny cried as she hugged her mum tightly. “I am sorry that I was in a foul mood when I came home. I was just heartbroken and I took it out on all of you. But you have to understand that I refused to tell you because I didn’t want you getting upset at Harry for doing what he needed to do. He has to finish off Tom and he cannot do that if he is worrying about me. So to add further protection, I chose not to tell you. You can’t let slip something if you don’t know anything.”
No one could dispute what Ginny had said, but they all now recognised that the problem was null and void as the Death Eater had made clear the night before that they knew of the relationship. Ginny could only hope that the fact they had no use for her now would continue to stay that way, but she knew there were no guarantees.
“Well, I cannot fault him if it means he wants to keep my daughter safe,” her father stated with pride for the young man he considered to be his seventh son. “I am sure he will come back to you once the war is over. You’ll just have to be patient and remain hopeful.”
Ginny smiled at her father’s response before a yawn escaped her mouth.
“Right, everyone out,” Molly declared as she shooed the family out of the bedroom.
Ginny lay back down and snuggled deep back under her covers as her mother came over and tucked in as she had done when she was a little girl.
“He must really love you if he was prepared to let you go to keep you safe,” Molly whispered as she placed a kiss to her daughter’s forehead. “And I think you must really love him if you so willingly accepted it.”
“I do, Mum, I really do,” Ginny managed to say as she fell asleep once more.
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