Virginia Weasley's head snapped up, the blood draining from her face.
The voice had come from behind her, but she couldn't bring herself to
turn around. She didn't have to. It didn't matter that she hadn't heard
his voice in two years - she knew exactly who it was.
She couldn't seem to move or speak.
"Ginny…?" He spoke her name again, a little more uncertainly
Suddenly she felt anger flare, and the heat helped to melt the numbness
that had gripped her. He damn well should be uncertain! Two years, it
had been now! How dare he just go off and leave her? Leave all of them?
Without a single goodbye, no explanation, just one pathetic note to say
'I'm safe, don't worry about me'… Don't worry!?
With her fists clenched at her sides, she took a deep breath and spun
to face him.
He read her expression instantly, and at least had the decency to look
"Hey, Gin," he said, a strange half-smile quirking the corner
of his mouth, "I thought it was you. You've grown."
He spoke much more softly that she remembered him speaking, and he seemed
both older and paler, the skin drawn more tightly over the bones of his
face. All at once a wave of aching pity welled inside her. She had missed
him so much… But she fought the feelings down again, reminding herself
of her own pain at the way he had treated her. The way he had treated
all of them.
'So,' she thought incredulously, fanning her own anger, 'That's it, is
it? After two years, and all that's happened, that's all he can say to
"Yes, it's me." She was astonished by the steady coolness of
her tone. She had expected her voice to tremble and break, the way her
heart was trembling and breaking somewhere inside, buried deep beneath
the anger and pain which had been accumulating for so long now.
He couldn't miss the chill in her words, and seemed to wince slightly.
"Ginny, I know you're angry with me, and I probably deserve it, but
"Probably?" Ginny interrupted, her voice laced with bitter
sarcasm, "I don't know about probably. You only disappeared without
a trace for two years. Perfectly understandable. I can't imagine
why you think I'd be angry with you."
She was so furious she was shaking. She took a step forward and pushed
him hard in the chest. Her voice was no longer steady as she ground out,
"Do you have any idea what we've been through? Do you?
Damn you, I've been tearing myself apart with worry! We didn't
know if you were alive or if you were - if you were - oh - just - "
Overcome with frustration and conflicting emotions, she gave into her
two strongest instincts. Without giving any warning, she punched him hard
in the stomach, then with a muffled sob, threw her arms around his neck
and clung to him like she was never going to let go.
Her punch winded him, and the hug startled him. But his expression of
surprise faded quickly, and was replaced by a small smile that dawned
slowly into a grin, altering his originally sombre expression beyond recognition.
He put his arms around her, closed his eyes, and returned her hug fiercely.
"It's good to be back, Gin," he told her softly.
Ginny stepped back to look into his face.
"You just can't know how good it is to see you again," she
whispered. "You know, I just couldn't bear it if you… I mean, after
what happened to Harry - " her voice was still unsteady, and when
she spoke Harry's name it threatened to break up entirely.
"Shh, I know. I know." He hesitated, then asked, "How
is he, Ginny?"
She shrugged and turned her face away. "Much the same as when you
left," she told him shakily. "Sometimes when I visit he calls
me by my name, but I think it's just co-incidence. I can't delude myself
anymore that he actually recognises me. He doesn't recognise anyone. It's
so awful, Ron. Every morning I wonder how I'm going to make it through
the day. Sometimes I barely do."
She turned back to him, the pain in her eyes masked by anger again. "And
it didn't bloody help that we lost you as well, not even a day after the
Curse was placed. I know it was hard, Ron, but it was hard for all of
us! I can't believe you left us… left him. What if he'd woken up?"
Ron's face hardened abruptly. "People don't just 'wake up' from
a total Obliviate Curse, Ginny. Hovering by his bedside and just hoping
wasn't going to help. And if I had spent just one more minute in that
damn hospital corridor I know I would have lost my mind."
"So you ran away, instead!"
He winced visibly. "No! I didn't run away, Gin, I - Look never mind.
I'll explain everything. Just… later, OK? When everyone's together. How
is everyone Gin? Mum, Dad, the twins? Bill and Charlie? Percy? They're
"I - they're as well as can be expected," Ginny answered carefully.
Her anger had subsided, but her voice still felt choked by the tears that
threatened to spill over at any moment. She met his gaze seriously. "You
really did hurt people when you left so suddenly, you know."
Again, that brief flash of pain. "Yeah. Yeah I know. But I didn't
have a choice, Gin. It was something I had to do."
His expression cleared a little, and his tone strengthened. "But
I'm back now, and there's a lot I want to do. The very first thing, the
thing I want more than anything else in the world right at this moment,
is just to see our family again."
He held out his hand to her. "Stand by me, Gin?" He asked.
Ginny smiled a slightly watery smile, and took her brother's hand in
"OK Ron," she said quietly, "Let's go home."