ANGRY GRIZZLY BEARS AND BIG BROTHERS
Disclaimer… JK owns everything.
“What in the hell just happened !?!”. I'm not sure if the screaming is just in my mind, or if I'm doing it out loud. Through a red haze, I force the bubble shield containing Harry and Teddy the hallways until we've reached our new dorm room. I growl the pass word at the door. While, at least I hope I growled it, as opposed to maybe screaming again. Regardless, the door opens, I force the bubble shield through the doorway, then follow them into the room. How dare he ! How dare Dad try to take Teddy away from me ! And Bill ! He's always been the brother that I've trusted the most. I've looked up to him. I've even turned to him for advice when I've needed help in solving a problem. And now, he's gone and agreed with Dad against me !
How could he possibly think that Fleur and he would do a better job of raising Teddy then Harry and I would. They couldn't do half as good a job with Teddy as Harry and I. Tonks and Remus knew what they were doing when they selected who they wanted to be Teddy's guardians. And they wanted us, not Bill and Fleur ! It just isn't right ! How could Dad say that we are too young ? Harry is already of age, and I will be too in just a few weeks.
I'm so mad. I've just got to scream or to break something, or else I think that I'll blow up. My eyes pause on the door . Why is it still open ? I grab it and hurl it shut with all of my might. I'm pretty sure that I do scream out loud this time, all my fury erupting in that scream and in shutting that damn door. The door closes with an impressive SLAM. I glare at it for a moment, offended that it is still on its hinge. Still, it's given me some release. I'm still seeing red, but at least I can think now.
I can't believe that I'm going to have to fight my family on this. It just isn't right. How can they say that they love me, and then do this to me? The whole lot of them still look at me like I'm a little girl. At the Battle, they didn't want me to fight, they just wanted me go home and hide. It's like they've forgotten everything I've been through this past year, and everything that I've done. Well, no, that's not quite fair. Fred and George knew what I could do, knew that I could hold my own. That's why they brought me along. And when the rest wanted to send me home, Remus thought I should stay. And Tonks was willing to fight beside me. They knew me, knew what I could do, and they trusted me with their child. I WILL NOT betray that trust.
I WILL fight them on this, and I know that I won't have to do it alone. Harry will stand beside me, and together we will....OH ! I've forgotten Harry. I turn around, and sure enough, there Harry stands, still holding Teddy, and still enclosed in my bubble shield. He's looking down at Teddy, who despite all the displays of Weasley temper, still seems to be asleep. I quickly mumble the counter charm, and the shield disappears.
“Can you believe that Dad actually did that ?” I ask my boyfriend.
He slowly raises his eyes to look at me, and I can see in his eyes how shocked and confused he is by the ordeal of the last few minutes. “No, Gin, I can't.”, he mumbles. “It's my fault. I must have done something or said something wrong. Maybe I wasn't holding Teddy right. I'm sorry.”
Oh, Merlin. He's blaming himself, I've worked so hard in the last few days to convince him that every blessed thing that happens is not his fault. He's been so self conscious with Teddy, but he was overcoming it. He was beginning to stop blaming himself for everything, and now his “supposed” family has undone all that. I can feel my rage starting to build again. The red haze is starting to close in on me again, but I take a deep breath and tamp my anger down this time. Harry needs me, and he doesn't need me breathing fire.
“Harry, it isn't anything you did.” I explain, and I'm actually proud of myself for how calm my voice sounds. “Dad thinks that I'm too young, and that we wouldn't be able to support Teddy, or give him a stable life like Bill and Fleur. We don't have jobs, we don't have a house, and...well, we're not married.”
“But I do have a house.” Harry quietly replies. HEY ! That's right ! I'd forgotten about Grimmauld Place. “Gin, I have the money to support us, and and, ever since the Battle ended, I've been planning to marry you. I had thought we would wait awhile, and then I wasn't sure whether or not that you would want me back, especially after everything that I've put you though,
He continued to ramble on about something, but I didn't hear any of it. I couldn't hear any of it. My brain had just frozen at his last words.
Did Harry just ask me to marry him? No, He couldn't have. He was just talking about Teddy and having money and a house. He doesn't really want to marry me, does he? DOES HE?
“Harry, did you just ask me to marry you ?” I hear a squeak that sounds a lot like me asking. Did I really ask that ? I couldn't have. I'm still trying to get my mind around the concept. And then Harry looks me in the eyes.
“Well, yeah, I did... but I mean, no....I mean, well, yeah, but...” Harry stammers. Merlin, but he's cute when he's confused. He stops and closes his eyes, then takes a deep breath to gather himself. He opens his eyes, and I'm lost in those emerald depths. “Yes. I do want to marry you, Gin. This isn't the way that I'd really planned to ask you. I was going to wait until we were a little older, but you said your Dad thought that Bill was better able to raise Teddy because of all that, but then I realized that we have all that stuff too. The only thing that Bill and Fleur have that we don't is the marriage. So, yeah, I do want to marry you, Ginevra Weasley. I did want to ask you properly, but I'm not asking you just because of what happened with your Dad. I really do want to marry you. I understand if you don't want to. I mean, I've only just come back after abandoning you...”
I'm pretty sure that Harry kept talking, but my brain was frozen again. He wanted to marry me. Harry “The Boy-Who-Lived-And-Saved-Me-From-The-Chamber” Potter wanted to marry ME! I can't believe it. I was so mad a few minutes ago that I wanted to break everything in sight, and now I'm so happy, I could sing. This is all I've dreamed of since I was a little girl and Mum first told me the bedtime story about him. Oh, my dream wavered some after I had started Hogwarts, and he became Ron's best friend, but I never really gave up on it.
I never gave up on him, my brother's best friend or not. And then last year we got together, and those few months were wonderful. Then he was gone, off being noble and saving the world. But I knew he would be back. I knew he would defeat Voldemort, and then come back to me. Ever since he went on the run from Bill's wedding, all I could do was dream every night of him saying those four little words to me. It was horrible to wake up every morning and know that he wasn't there, but it was the only way that I could get through the days. I could always depend on Harry to be there in my dreams. He was my light at the end of the tunnel, and I knew, I just KNEW, that one day he'd be back for me.
Suddenly, I realize that Harry has stopped talking, and that he's silently searching my eyes. I can see the fear and confusion in his eyes because of my silence. Then I see him relax as I smile at him. He knows my answer even before I say it, but I say it anyway. “YES! Of course I'll marry you, my love. You came back to me. You promised never to leave me again. No more running off on noble quests without me. No more getting yourself killed. Right!?” Even though I ask it as a question, I know that Harry is fully aware that it is a demand. Maybe even a command. Smart boy that he is, he nods in agreement.
“Why would you think that I wouldn't marry you? But,” I sigh, “you are right. We should wait. Besides, I want to give you the chance to ask me the way you want to.” I give him my best, most promising grin, and then pull him into a deep kiss.
Even as I'm losing myself in Harry, somewhere in the very back of mind I hear a small voice saying “Weren't you angry a few minutes ago? Maybe the angriest you've ever been? Now, here you are. Wrapped up in Harry's arms, snuggled up against his chest, and watching your godson sleep. Except for seeing Harry alive, you've never been happier. How is that possible?”
Then I hear another small voice answering the first. “Because I've got Harry. I'm going to marry this man. And I've got Teddy. And NOTHING else matters as long as we have each other. Everything else will be fine.”
I felt Harry move slightly against me. “Yes, love?” I mumble, as my thoughts return to the present. I turn to face Harry, and am surprised to see him looking nervous. Suddenly, my focus is back from my dreams.
“I can't believe that I walked past you that night.”
“What are you talking about?” I answer him, and I can feel my eyes narrow as I pull back to watch him.
“The night of the Battle. I saw you before I went into the forest. I walked right past you.”
I pull away from him a little farther. Almost involuntarily, I start to raise my wand. “I remember you mentioning that you saw me then. I don't remember you saying anything about walking right past me, Potter. When? Where was I?” My voice seems to be caught somewhere between a whisper and a growl.
“As I left the castle to go into the forest. You were on the grounds, helping a young girl, and I walked right past you.” Harry says, and he's almost whispering himself. At his words, my mind goes back to that night. Me, helping a young girl? It must have been Emily. She was a third year that I had sort of taken under my wing. Like Colin and some of the others, she had slipped back in to join the fight. Unlike Colin, I had been able to save her. She came out with just a broken arm and some scratches. She was lucky.
“I thought you saw me from a distance. If you were that close, why didn't you stop ?” I whisper, my mind reeling.
“Gin, I wanted to. You have no idea how hard it was for me to keep going. I just couldn't stop, I couldn't let myself say good bye to you. You don't know how bad I wanted to stop, to hold you, to kiss you one last time. But I couldn't allow myself to stop. I knew that if I did, I'd never leave you to do what I had to do, or else you would have insisted on coming along with me. So I kept going. I thought that if I finished it, you would have the chance to move on and to be happy again. I saw an image of you in a beautiful white dress, marrying some other guy, and I hated it. I wanted it to be me that you were marrying, but I knew that it would be okay, because you were getting your chance to be happy. I tried to stop thinking about you then, so that if something went wrong, he wouldn't be able to find you and hurt you. I couldn't do it, though. As soon as he cast the killing curse at me, my last thought was of you and the first kiss that we shared.”
I see the red haze again for a second, and hear a resounding SLAP. My haze disappears with the sound. Did I just slap Harry?!? Merlin, I must have. My hand is stinging from the force of the blow. I look at Harry. He's standing there in complete shock, the bright red imprint of my hand on his check. Even as I stare, stunned, I hear the little voice in my head. “I’m not sorry. I know that I promised myself that I would never hurt him again after I saw the bruises I left on his chest, but he DESERVED this!”
“Bloody hell, Gin. That HURT! I thought that you had given up beating on your boyfriend!”, Harry blurts out, as his free hand rubs his cheek gingerly.
“That's for being stupid and letting yourself be killed.” I growl at him.
“But you already knew about that, love.” Harry says, stating the obvious.
I take a deep breath and say “Fine. Then it's for being a git and walking right past me. And this”, I say as I kiss him, “is for thinking of me.” I kiss him again, and finish “ and not quidditch.” And then I'm kissing him again, and it's better than our first kiss, better than his birthday kiss, better than all of our other kisses combined. He's come back to me, he loves me, he's going to marry me, and I'm the happiest girl in the world.
And then there's a knock at the door. I grump about the lousy timing, and Harry looks over to call “Who is it ?”
I suddenly find that I can't make a sound. “NO !”, I franticly mouth to Harry. Harry looks at me for second, and then chuckles at my look of desperation. The prat, he's actually laughing at me.
“Gin, she doesn't want to take Teddy away from us.” he says, as he turns to go let her in.
My sister-in-law almost bounces into the room.
“Ginny, ma cherie, 'ow can I apologise ? I do not know w'at 'as come over Bill. I 'ad no idea zat dey were planning zat. You know zat I would never agree wiv zat ! You are so good wiv little Teddy. 'E makes you and 'Arry 'appy. I would never take zat away from you ! If you ever need any 'elp or a babysitter, zat is something else, and I would be 'appy to 'elp you. Zat is what sisters are for, oui ?” Fleur explained, then sighed. “Zat is, if we are still sisters after what zat 'usband of mine has tried to pull. 'E will 'ave a lot of 'splaining to do this time.”
I didn't much like Fleur when we first met. In my defense, when she first came to Hogwarts, she was SO French, and made it so clear that she thought we were beneath her notice. Then she had the audacity to kiss my Harry, and then start a relationship with Bill. On top of that, she has a little sister that would just love to be more than friends with Harry. I really went out of my way to be nasty to her. She's still SO French, but as I got to know her, I realized that she really wasn't that bad of a person. I even felt bad for how I treated her, and we became friends. As she smiles hopefully at me, I remember how much I love her and why. She's the only person, besides me, of course, who can boss Bill around and make him act like he's a first year in school again.
She was the one there for me when they crucio'd me after the wedding. Oh, sure the twins were there, but Fleur was the one who kept a level head, silencio'd the twins, and put a cushioning charm underneath me, so that she could heal me as quickly as possible when they were done torturing me. She never told anyone about it, either. She kept my secret. As a result, she became the person that I'd pour my heart out to when everything got to be too much, especially if Tonks wasn't there, and sometimes, even if she was. She's also saved me from going to Aunt Muriel's on countless. I can't believe that, after everything she's done for me, that I would so quickly believe that she wanted to take Teddy from me, and that I turned to being so nasty to her again.
I smile back at her, and then I'm rushing into her arms. As we hug, I whisper to her, “I'm so sorry, Fleur. Please forgive me.”
I know that my eyes are damp, and Fleur looks on the verge of tears also. She quietly says, “Zere is nozing to be sorry for, nor is zere anyzing to forgive. Remember, I am part Veela, so I understand zee temper. I am very proud of you, Ginny.”
Now, we're really are both on the verge of tears. Naturally, just as we are having our moment, there is another knock at the door.
“Ginnikins, please drop the wand. We come in peace, and we'd just as soon not be in pieces.” I recognize George's voice, not to mention his nickname for me.
I look at Harry, and pout “Would you please let them in, love ?” I'm just not quite ready to let go of Fleur yet. Harry gives me a grin, and goes to open the door. Sure enough, in comes George, with Ron and Hermione right behind him.
George looks at me for a second, then walks over to me. I let go of Fleur, and let George pull me into a hug. “You think you're a clever little witch, don't you ?” he teases me, and then starts to tickle me. I start to giggle uncontrollably, as I'm begging him to stop. George just grins wickedly, and continues his attack, until my limbs start flying in every direction. At that point, he stops and withdraws with what he calls “dignity”. You know, head held high and hands held low.
He learned, rather painfully, I might add, that I can't control exactly what direction my legs may kick when I get tickled.
Now that he's stopped, I finally catch my breath. I perk an eyebrow at him. “So you unsilenced you, big brother ?” Then I stick my tongue out at him.
“Non verbal spells, little sis.”, he replies with a chuckle. I snort, as he smiles at me. George can do a non verbal spell about as well as I can pee standing up. Last time I looked in the mirror, I definitely wasn't a bloke. I grin to myself at the thought that even Harry might have noticed THAT. Maybe even RON. So who? Then my eyes fall on Hermione.
“It couldn't possibly have been the smartest little witch of the century that helped you out, could it, Georgie ?” I ask.
“The only one who was quick enough to produce a bloody shield charm.” Ron snorts, sounding resentful. I notice that he is covered in the remains of some of my little batty friends. “You'd think she might have included her boyfriend in that protection.”
“I thought you were capable of getting your own shield up.” Hermione retorts. “Charlie certainly was able to.”
“The bloody wanker !” I growl.
George laughs. “Now, now, little Ginnikins, it's not nice to be so hostile. The Chosen One might not be so keen for you then.”
“Please, George,” Harry begs, “don't wind her up again. She takes it out on me, too.” Harry turns his face so that they can see the now pink handprint on his face. I start to blush as they look at it, then look at me.
George just shakes his head. “Mate, it's your own fault. I tried to warn you. She can be scary as hell on a good day, even more irritable in the morning, and then there's...”
I notice Harry franticly gesturing at George to stop, and then he trials off, leaving his thought uncompleted. My eyes narrow. “Warned ?”, I question them, and I notice that they both look uncomfortable, Ron looks uncomprehending, and Hermione just grins madly. I'm ready to press the issue, when there's another knock at the bloody door.
“Oh, who is it ?!” I growl loudly.
“Your now only favorite big brother,” I hear Charlie laugh through the door.
“Git !”, I respond.
“AWW, is somebody cranky about the shield charm ? Ginners, you just aren't quick enough for the dragon slayer.”
“Teddy isn't going to be impressed by a dragon slayer,” Ron grumped.
“Shut it, Ron ! I will not only be his favorite uncle, but I will be Ginner's favorite big brother as well.”
“And exactly HOW are you going to manage that, when you're out there, and I'm in here?”, I ask.
“Simple. I've got cake.”
Uh-oh. Charlie knows me way too well. I glare at the door, and I swear that I can see the grin plastered on his face THROUGH the door. Trying to hold on to a shred of dignity, or at least control, I ask “Type ?”
Damn. I give a deep sigh, and surrender. “Someone let him in, please.”
Hermione steps over and opens the door. Charlie steps in, carrying two big chocolate cakes, and, sure enough, that stupid grin plastered all over his face. He walks over and bows before me, as he places the cakes on the nearest table. I glare at him. “YOU only know how to buy my forgiveness.”
“I know, Ginners, but whatever works.” He bends down and gives me a hug. “You'll be a great mama, too,” he whispers into my ear.
My grin matches Charlie's, as I realize that I've done it. I've won. If Dad and Bill won't back down, I've still got the support of the others. Mum will back me, because she will be happy with the option of us all staying together. Fleur supports me, and will probably be able to force Bill into getting in line. Percy isn't allowed an opinion. He's just come back to the family, and has no right to pass judgment on me. I've got the support of the rest of my brothers, I've got got Harry and Teddy, my own little family, AND I've got cake. Speaking of which, `
“Touch any of my cake and you die,” I growl. I turn around, and, sure enough, there stands Ron, frozen with his finger out, caught in the very act of trying to steal some icing.
Ron looks at me, his eyes wide. “But I...your back was turned...How did you...bloody hell,” he stammers. Hermione starts to laugh as Ron continues to gape, and the others soon join in.
We hear the sound of the door starting to open, and everyone turns to watch in shock. Charlie must not have shut it completely when he came in. No one else has attempted to enter our room without my permission to this point, so naturally, everyone then turns their nervous eyes to me, trying to judge my reaction and determine if it's time to try to raise a quick shield charm. I roll my eyes as they look at me. Honestly. I am NOT that bad. Besides, I know who it is. There is only one person in the whole family that has balls enough, or else is clueless enough, to underestimate me. Sure enough, Percy stumbles through the open door.
“Oh, er, sorry. I would have been here sooner, but none of you gave me directions as to where you were going.” I roll my eyes again. Gee, what a surprise. “Luckily, I ran into Minister Shacklebolt, and he seemed to know where you all were. Ah, it is okay to come in, isn't it ?” Percy finishes, as he suddenly gets a nervous look on his face.
I decide to let him off the hook. “It's all right, Perc. You haven't missed much.” He gives a visible sigh of relief, gives me a weak smile, and scurries over to sit beside Charlie. I turn to talk to Harry, to tell him that we've won. Naturally, before I can say a word, there's another knock at the door. I turn back to the door, which I see is still open from Percy's entrance. Bill is waiting outside in the hallway. At least the git had sense enough to not just walk into the room.
“GinGin ? Fleur ? Can I come in ? We need to talk.
“NO !” we answer together.
“Aw, c'mon. I'm sorry. I really am. Please let me in.”
“NO !”, and again, Fleur and I are in perfect harmony.
“Why not ?” Bill says, sounding almost ready to cry.
“Why ? You were a complete idiot...”, Fleur says, as she turns to look at me.
“... And a total prat !”, I finish.
“I'm sorry,” he whines. “I don't know what I was thinking. I should never have listened to Dad.”
“Bill, you will not blame your actions on your papa. You 'ave your own mind, I 'ope.”, Fleur tells him.
“Okay, okay. I'm still sorry.”
“Fine, fine. We all agree that you are pretty sorry,” I say. I notice Fleur sneak a look at me, trying to hide her laugh. “But what, exactly, do you have to show for yourself ?”
Bill looks at me, and his look of confusion would do Ron proud. “What ?”
“Charlie at least brought cake to show how sorry he was.”, I tell him.
“Yeah, you prat. And that's why I am now Ginners favorite big brother. You should know better than to show up sorry AND empty handed, Bill. I mean, this is our little sister that we're talking about,” Charlie calls to him from across the room.
“Mate, you're really lucky that you used to be her favorite, or there's no way that you'd still be standing. My advice is for you to stop underestimating our resident fire breather, and run while you still can. And if you come back, don't let it be empty handed.” George adds.
“And bring back some for the rest of us. You have three very unhappy brothers who got bat bogied because of your stupid mistake, Bill.”, Ron chimes in.
“So go !” Fleur finishes.
“Fine, fine. I'm going already. But I WILL be back.” I hear Bill scurrying away. I can tell that he's irritated by fact that not only have our brothers taken my side, but that his wife has also.
I look around at my family. As much as my brothers irritate me, and as much as I complain about their over protectiveness, it's nice to know that they will always be there for me, even if it means standing against Daddy, or one of their own. And as much as Fleur got on my nerves at first, she's now just as much my sister as Hermione. I clear my throat, “Thanks. I love...”
Of course, there's now another commotion at the door. Mum comes running into the room, and I see Dad slinking in behind her. Mum's eyes find me, and then she runs right at me. I can tell that she's been crying. I'm sorry to be the cause of her tears, but, then again, I didn't start this.
Mum pulls me into one of her patented, bone crushing hugs, and starts crying again. “Oh, my baby. Ginny, dear, I thought you'd left me. Oh, I'm so happy that you're safe. Where are Harry and Teddy ?” I'd love to be able to tell her, but apparently that requires air.
“We're here, Mrs. Weasley.” Thank Merlin, Harry. I knew I loved you for a reason. Mum releases me, and runs to Harry and Teddy. Hermione and Fleur steady me, as I realize how good it feels to be able to breath again. You'd think that I would have gotten use to those hugs by now, but they leave me breathless and reeling, every single time.
Mum has wrapped them in a hug. Thankfully, it's not as tight, since Harry is still holding Teddy. Lucky prat. Merlin, those hugs make my ribs hurt.
“Harry! You didn't leave me. Thank you, thank you. I don't know what I would have done if you had left me too. I'm sorry about Arthur. He's doing the best he can, and he THOUGHT that this was a good plan.” She looks at Dad, and I can almost see the daggers shooting at him.
“However, if he had consulted me, he would have known that you and Ginny are the best persons for Teddy right now.”
“Mum, I think Harry would appreciate it more if he heard that from Daddy. I know I would.” Yep, fire breather. That's me. My breath's back, and so, once more, into the breach.
Suddenly, Harry is at my side, slipping an arm around my waist. “I want to saw something first.” He makes eye contact with each of my parents, then plunges ahead. “Mrs. Weasley, Mr. Weasley, you know I respect you both so much. I can never repay you for accepting me into your home and into your family. But I don't understand why you don't want me to raise my godson, Mr. Weasley. I know what it's like to grow up without your parents, and I want to be the godfather that Sirius couldn't be for me.
I know that I'm not familiar with dealing with a baby, and everything that comes with that responsibility, but I am working at it. So is Ginny. And, to be honest, before tonight, we never really expected that we would be raising Teddy alone. We expected that Teddy would have his uncles,” and at this, Harry turned to my brothers, who all gave him a cheer, INCLUDING Percy, of all things. “We also expect to have help from Andromeda, when she's ready, and his two aunts.” Harry gestured to Hermione and Fleur, both of whom beamed at him.
His attention turned back to my parents. “We had hoped that we would have you, too, but I'm beginning to think that we might have been expecting too much. Mr. Weasley, you said that Bill and Fleur would be better equipped to raise a child then we were. Tell me, exactly what do Bill and Fleur have that Gin and I don't. The fact that they're married ? Because that is the ONLY thing that they have that we don't.”
“And we could change that !”, I broke in. I could see the shocked faces around the room, and then heard something breaking behind us. Harry and I both spun around, wands ready, to find Bill standing there. He had returned with two trays of food, once of which he had just dropped. It was lying face down, on a layer of what appeared to be smashed plate and smushed eclairs.
“That's a bit extreme, don't you think ?”, he said, setting the other tray down in front of our brothers, who, I note, for once in their lives are ignoring food that's been placed right in front of them, and are instead hanging on every word of the conversation. Even RON.
“No, I don't, actually.” I respond, then add, “Besides, I don't recall anyone giving you permission to come in.”
“Ginevra, do not speak to your brother like that.”, Mum interrupts.
“Mum, I'm sorry, but under these circumstances, I will.” I turn my attention back to Bill. “ And getting back to your question, no, I don't think it is the least bit extreme. It's the only thing that you have that we don't. We have a house, and we have enough galleons to support ourselves and Teddy.”
“Ginny, that is Harry's house and money. You can not speak on his behalf.”, Dad interjects.
Harry is right back at my side. “Actually, she can. See, we've already discussed this. If you continue to insist that Bill is more capable of raising Teddy simply because he has those things, then I'll have a job by the morning. Let me go talk to Kingsley, and I can probably have one within the hour.”
“And while we're talking to Kingsley, I'm sure we could get him to marry us right now, if you insist.”, I add. I reach out and take Harry's hand. He smiles down at me. Have I dreamed of a fancy wedding ? Sure I have. But I will happily get Kingsley to marry us this instant. Who needs a big, fancy, white wedding anyway, when your heart is finally whole, instead of one broken half ?
Ron stands up, and walks up to us. He's quickly joined by Charlie and George. A moment later, Hermione and Fleur are with us. “Dad, Bill. If you are going to insist on acting like this, then you should leave,” Ron says quietly.
“You're both out of line, and you've taken this way too far.”, Charlie adds. “You are not going to deprive Ginny of a proper wedding, just because you both woke up and decided that today was your day to be stupid.”
“I'm disgusted with the both of you, and I know that Fred would be disgusted with you, too. How dare you ! Harry and Ginny are family. It's time you remember that, and start treating them like it. For that matter, little Teddy is family now, too. None of them have done anything to deserve this kind of treatment from you, so either sit down and shut it, or else get out !”, George threatens them.
Neither Dad or Bill moves toward the door. Bill does come over to try to talk to Fleur, but she just glares at him, and quickly moves in between Charlie and George. They move in close to her, and their glares soon match hers, as they dare Bill to try coming any closer. Dad moves over next to Mum. She's crying silent tears, but shrugs off Dad's arm when he tries to put it around her to comfort her. Percy finally does something useful, and gets up to go over and comfort Mum.
The tension in the room has reached an uncomfortable level. No one is speaking; they are either glaring at each other or staring at the floor. I know things are going to break soon, but I'm not really worried. I know that I am going to win this battle of wills. They have much more to lose than I do. I've got my family, even if Dad and Bill decide that they no longer want to be a part of it. I snuggle into the crook of Harry's arm, which relaxes me, and after a few moments of watching our Teddy sleep, I'm calm and smiling.
Bill cracks first. He had slumped into a chair. As he slowly rises to his feet, I see Charlie shoving three galleons into George's open hand. George, seeing me looking, gives me a big wink. I roll my eyes. Of course they had made bets on this. My attention returns to Bill as he stops before us, his head down.
“GinGin, Harry, I'm so sorry. I've acted like the world's biggest git, and I'm sorry. It's been a hard week for all of us. I'm tired, I'm hurt, and I've been an idiot. GinGin, you know I love you, but I just can't help but see you as my baby sister. I know you've grown up, but I'll always see you as that little girl who used to follow me around, all wide eyed and innocent. I thought that I was helping you, but I was wrong.
I've actually known it since the first time I was here. It's just I finally found those eclairs like you love, and I came back here, and you're talking about a wedding. To be honest, I just lost it. I'm truly sorry. I know that there is nobody better to raise Teddy than you. Tonks and Remus knew what they were doing. I see that now. And Fleur, my sweet, I'm sorry for how I acted to you and the pain that I've caused you. I will never again open my mouth without consulting you first. I promise.”
I turn to look at Fleur. She's eying her brother in laws with revulsion. I try not to snicker. My dear brothers have suddenly been reminded of the eclairs, and are having their typical reaction to food. Disgusting, of course. Then I realize that I've stolen a quick glance at my cakes, just to be sure that the gits aren't making any moves towards them. I look back at Fleur, and our eyes meet. She's looking for my approval, and I give her a quick nod. Bill's been though enough.
She smiles. “And vere are the gifts ? You were told not to return empty 'anded.”
Bill conjures two of the most extravagant, beautiful bouquets that I have ever seen. Fleur runs to him, pausing to smell her flowers. He hands the other bouquet to me.” I am truly sorry, little sis.”
I smile at him. “Keep this up, and I just might forgive you.” I watch as he turns to Fleur, and they both collapse back into his chair, with her perched on his lap and in his arms.
I'm surprised when Harry slips away from my side, but then I feel a hand on my shoulder. I look up into my Dad's eyes, and realize that Harry has moved away in order to let us have a little privacy. I swear, I love him more with everything he does.
Dad's eyes are filling with tears. “I'm so sorry too, Ginnybear,” I hear him whisper.
I'm starting to tear up too, as I pull him into a hug, burying my face against his chest. “I'm sorry, too, Daddybear.”, I whisper back.
He strokes my hair, like he did to comfort me when I was little, then kisses me on the head. “My babybear is all grown up,” he whispers sadly, and I start to feel guilty for the whole argument. He's using names that he hasn't called me since I four, and loved him reading “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” to me at bedtime. I realize now that he simply hasn't been able to cope with everything that has happened over the last few days.
Taking care of me has always been his coping method, as I was his only baby girl. I hadn't understood how hard it had hit him to find out that his baby girl had grown up way to fast, and now had her own babybear to look after.
I look up at him. “Daddy, it's okay. I'm fine, and you're going to be fine. I promise that I will always be your baby girl, but you have to understand that I have grown up. Harry loves me, and I love him. We have to take care of each other now, just like you and Mum have always taken care of each other.” I raise up on my tiptoes, and kiss him on the cheek.”Now, go. Be sure Mum's okay and cheer her up.”
I look in his eyes again, and I see his love for me shining there. I can also see how proud he is of me. He reaches up and musses my hair again. He then turns, and walks over to Mum. As he goes, Harry moves close to me again, and I snuggle up against him. As I feel the love in the embrace from Harry, and watch Mum and Dad comfort each other, I know that it's true. After everything that's happened, we WILL be okay. I sigh, and close my eyes for a moment. Only a few more hurdles to jump, and then we can all relax and celebrate the new, safe wizarding world.
Well, it seems that everything has been forgiven. I'm sure that anyone looking in would only see one big, happy family. No evidence here that there was a big rift between the family members only a few moments ago. No evidence at all that this family has lost one vital piece that can never be replaced. Look at them. Fred's gone, and yet everybody seems so happy. Why do I feel that it's wrong?
Look at them. William and Fleur have made up so easily. There they are, all cuddled up in a chair and engaged in 'couple activities.' Then there's my remaining brothers, who are having an argument over who will be the little orphan's favorite uncle. They certainly seem to be enjoying themselves. What about me ? Do I get to be his uncle too ? Do I even deserve that privilege ? I shouldn't even be here. I should have died, not Fred. I'm the one who abandoned his family, not Fred. No, Fred was always there for them. For all of them, even Harry and Hermione. Merlin, he even welcomed me back with open arms.
And I've been the world's biggest prat. A horrible brother AND a horrible son. Fred said it best. I've been 'Ministry loving, family disowning, power hungry moron.' That about sums me up, and they are words that I can never forget, because the one who said them is no longer here. I don't deserve to be with this family when Fred isn't. It's horrible to see Mother so distraught. She's like a mother hen, watching over everyone, and making sure that all of her babies are okay. She won't say it, but I know how bad I've hurt her. How can I have been such a self-centered jerk, leaving my family for the sake of a stupid promotion ?
I've had so much time to think about this over the past year, what with the war and all. I know now that Fudge only offered me that promotion so he could use me as a spy. And I've done horrible things. I've called Father an idiot AND a traitor. My brothers called Harry one of them, and treated him as such. I called him 'an attention seeking teen', and tried to turn everyone against him.
Look at him now. He's currently got an arm draped around my baby sister. I watch her chat animatedly with Hermione, but every few moments her gaze strays back to Harry, watching him levitate a teddy bear for the baby's amusement. I can see how much she loves Harry every time she looks at him.
I'm amazed at how empty I feel as I watch them. I want what they have, what William and Fleur have. I want someone to love, someone to have a family with, somewhere that I fit in. I've never fit in here, not really. Oh sure, I'm tall, I've got the freckles, I've got the required red hair. That all makes me look like I fit in, but I never have. Not like Harry and Hermione do, and they didn't even need red hair.
Even growing up, I never fit in. I was either too bossy, too boring, or both. I was too young for William and Charles. They already had each other, and were not only brothers, but best friends as well. Then there were Fred and George. I thought that I was too clever for them, and they were okay with that. They had each other, and didn't really need anybody else. I shake my head and snort. They didn't need anybody else, except as a test subject for one of their jokes. I loved the rules too much for them anyway, but they had hours of entertainment trying to make an ass out of me. Who know that I'd wind up doing a better job of that than they ever could ?
I never made time for Ronald or Ginevra. They were too immature, and I was too important. They are the ones whose respect I will never win, and that will never forgive me for leaving the family. I may be able to win back the respect of my other siblings, but it will never happen with those two.
I feel so awkward, just even being in the same room with my family, and it's my own fault. Mother loves me deeply, of course, and she was delighted that I returned to the family. Father is proud that I came to fight, and finally stood up for the family. But I still don't fit in. Fred could walk in right now, three days dead, and fit in better than I do alive. I shake my head at the thought. It's morbid, but I'm sure that Fred, at least, would appreciate the joke. But he should be here. He should be the one making his case for being the favorite uncle. I should be the one dead. I was his big brother. I was there, I should have been able to save him.
That's what big brothers do. I remember the night Ginevra was born. William sat us all down at the table to remind us of the big brother code: To always be there for those younger, to always stick up for them no matter what, and to do whatever it took to protect them. That was it. It all seemed so easy then. How could I have failed so miserably ? I could have done more. I SHOULD have done more. If I had, Fred would be here right now, with George, with all of them.
I look toward the heavens, and in my mind, I see Fred looking back at me. I'm so sorry, Fred. I failed, and you paid the price for it. But I promise you this, and if you never believed me before, believe me now. I will do more. I will do everything in my power to make it up to them, to protect them, to help them, and to just love them. I owe to them, and I owe it to you. And then, I'm going to find someone. I will find someone to love, to have a family with where I will fit in, and where I won't make these mistakes.
Author's note: Well, what did you think ? Please review!! So sorry about Fleur's French/English. Please be nice and review. And a huge thanks to DougA my new beta.
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