The Sugar Quill
Author: rocky (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Thank God I'm a Girl  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

special thanks to Lallybroch for beta-ing


Ron watches me closely as I try to figure out which piece to move now. I hate it when he does this. Itís extremely unnerving. He just peers at you with those blue eyes, knowing that his chess knowledge is superior to yours. I can almost see his eyes laughing with merriment.

I move a pawn forward one space. A safe move. Ron scowls. He hates safe moves. I try to hold in my laughter. I know just how to irk my brothers.

But of course, why shouldnít I? Iíve known them my whole life. Iíve had to share living quarters with them my whole life. And trust me, sharing a washroom with six boys is not a pleasant experience. I get shivers just thinking about it.

"Come on, Ginny, you going to move?" I jump slightly as Ron startles me out of my daze. Apparently, heís moved. I canít tell where. I never have quite enough attention for chess.

I make my move, and Ron grins triumphantly. "Checkmate," he says, moving his bishop. His pieces start a victory dance on the board.

"Good game, Gin. Maybe one of these days youíll get me." He really does have a devious grin.

"You just wait, Ron," I say, with a grin matching his own.

Ron opens his mouth, Iím sure about ready to make some witty comeback, when Mumís voice rips through the air.

"Ron! Ginny! Dinner!"

Ron jumps up as if springs were attached to his feet. Heís out the door before Iím even up. I will never understand boysí obsessions with food. I hurry down the stairs, knowing if I donít get down there quickly I will get no food at all. Six brothers teach you to fend for yourself.

Iím practically bowled over as two identical blurs whiz past me. "Out of the way, Gin!" one of them shouts. I roll my eyes. Boys.

Summer holidays are almost over. Only two more weeks to go. It makes me excited but sad at the same time. As annoying as a large family can be, I love them to pieces.

"Gin!" I look up as I enter the kitchen. "Got a seat for ya right here." Bill smiles up at me. I smile back. He and Charlie always try to come back at the same time during the holidays. This year, they succeeded. One big happy family again. One big squished family again.

I sit down in the chair Bill offers me. Bill and I have never really had a brother/sister relationship. Itís more of an uncle/niece relationship. After all, he is thirteen years older than me. He was a third year at Hogwarts when I was born. He couldíve cast spells on me if he wanted to. Levitated me, or turned me into a bug, or something. He was a smart kid.

But I know Bill would never do anything like that. Bill has always been kind to me. Ever since I can remember. He used to come back from Hogwarts for the Christmas holidays, and he would bring me candy from Hogsmeade. Mum never liked like that. So he always told me to hide it from her. It felt good, having a secret with my oldest brother.

I think Bill feels guilty or something, because he never spent time with me when I was little. Well, not like that was his fault of anything. He was off at school. Not like he could Apparate home or anything. Iíve never blamed him for anything. I wish he wouldnít. Still though, the guilt trip is sometimes nice. He always brings me back exotic things from Egypt.

"Ron," Mum says, sitting down at the table across from Percy, "when are we picking up Harry?"

"Two days, Mum. He said the Muggles will be to London on Sunday."

Harry. My heart skips a beat at the very mention of his name. Pathetic, I know. I canít help it. I suppose it used to be just a school girl crush. But now, four years after I first saw him, it seems something more. Still though, not like Harry would ever notice. Weíve become better friends over the years, butÖfrankly, that boy can be a little thick in the head sometimes. I suppose all boys are. Besides, if a boy ever touched me I think Ron would maul him. Even if that boy were his best friend. Ron can be a little protective of his baby sister.

"Oh, thatís lovely, dear," Mum says. I grin at her. I know Mum wouldnít mind if Harry noticed me in that way.

"Hermioneís coming then, too," Ron adds, his ears turning a brilliant shade of pink as he shovels potatos into his mouth. I hide a smile. Dear, sweet, thick-headed Ron. I think heís finally catching on.

"Father." I look over at Percy. Heís puffing his chest out. Thatís always a bad sign. "Youíll be happy to hear that Jacobson and I were able to get together those reports on Fizzing Whizbees today. According to our theory, the Levitating device used in them could cause harmful side effects in children under the age of three, andó"

"Like what?" George says, spinning his fork on the table.

This throws Percy off. "Wellóthat hasnít been made clear yet, but we know tható"

"Oh, shove it, Weatherby," Fred mumbles. Everyone stifles a giggle except for Mum and Percy.

Poor Percy. The twins tease him mercilessly. But he just takes it in stride. I think he knows that heís more than that. Because he is. Percy has always been the really ambitious one in the family. Whether it was building blocks or a report on cauldron bottoms, Percy goes into things head on. He focuses solely on them until theyíre done. Which is great for Percy. Heíll go far in life like that. But it does make relationships with family a little strained.

I glance over at him. Percyís always been good to me. Perhaps too good, if thatís possible. He was five when I was born, and heís watched over me like a hawk ever since. Always checking up on me, always making sure I was all right. I think at first he did it because he was sure the twins would get at me. Now itís just instinct. Itís nice, I suppose. But one does need breathing space.

"Percy, dear," says Mum, trying to bring the dinner conversation back to a nice comfort level, "howís Penelope?"

I see my brothers hiding grins. We all know what Mumís hinting at. Sheís been hinting at it for months now. She would just love to have another daughter in the family.

Percyís the only one who doesnít seem to be taking the hint. "Sheís fine, Mother. She just accepted a job at the Ministry."

"You twoíll be working on cauldron bottoms in your office then, will you?" Fred mutters under his breath. George nearly chokes on his milk.

"Fred," hisses Charlie, with a side glance at me.

I feel my Weasley temper flash momentarily before I stuff it back down. Bloody Charlie. He refuses to think of me as anything but a little girl in pigtails with skinned knees and frilly socks. Of course, I was six years old when he went off to Romania. And he hasnít exactly spent a lot of time at home after that. But still, canít he see Iím not a little girl anymore?

Charlie always spent time with me when I was little. Heíd play games with me, read books to me, even change my diapers if Mum asked. He adored me. That adoration has never worn off. But it hasnít grown either. He doesnít think of me as a fourth year girl. Heíd probably go into cardiac arrest if I told him I wear a bra.

"Why do we put up with them, eh, Ginny?" Charlie nods at the twins and grins at me.

I smile back as I feel my anger melt away. No one can stay mad at Charlie for long. I think it has to do with the Weasley grin. He means well. I know he does. All my brothers do. I try to keep that in mind. After all, itís not their fault theyíre bloody boys.

"Because weíre the entertainment around here, thatís why!" says George, stabbing his meat viciously.

"Right." Fred nods in agreement. "If it werenít for us youíd have to sit around and hear Percy talk about cauldron bottoms."

The twins. Fred Ďn George, George Ďn Fred. Or Forge and Gred, as they so often jokingly refer to themselves as. The smiles never seem to fade from their identical freckled faces. I look at them from across the table, Fred attempting to stuff a carrot up Georgeís nose before Mum finds out. They really are identical. Even the freckles splattering their faces are the same. Mum gets them mixed up, for Merlinís sake.

But I can always tell the difference. Fred has always been the more exuberant of the two, if thatís possible. He was the one who told me there was gold down a garden gnome hole when we were little. Fredís the one who comes up with a zany plan; he doesnít think of the consequences. George, although just as extroverted as Fred, is more thoughtful. He was the one who pulled my head out of the garden gnome hole. Heís the one who thinks about the consequences of a prank, then quickly dismisses them.

Fred and George have always been the stereotypical brothers for me. Theyíre always there, willing to tease, pester, and heckle me. Always there when I need cheering up. Theyíve grown up with me. They were the ones putting bugs in my diapers when they were three years old. They realize Iím not a child anymore. And normally, they donít treat me as one. But of course, even the twins have their protective moments. They are still my brothers.

Fred gives up with sticking the carrot up Georgeís nose and chucks it at Ron instead. It whizzes right past his ear.

"FRED!" Mum barks. "What do you think youíre doing?"

"Testing the aerodynamics of our dinner, Mum."

"Itís for a school project," George chimes in.

Mum eyes the two of them suspiciously and then turns towards Ron, smiling sweetly. "You all right, dear?"

Ron rolls his eyes. "Fine, Mum." I catch his eye and we share a smile.

Ron has never really been a brother. Heís been a friend. I mean, sure, we have our squabbles. We annoy each other. But friends do that to each other, too.

Thereís only a years difference between Ron and me. Thatís made us close. Whenever he wanted someone to fly on his toy broomstick with him, I was there. Whenever I wanted someone to play house with me, he was there. Of course, Ron would skin me alive if I ever told anyone he played house. Ron can be a little self-conscious at times.

Thereís only one problem with my relationship with Ron. Since weíre so close, heís extremely protective of me. More so than the rest of my brothers combined. The look on his face when I told him I was going to the Yule Ball with NevilleÖI had to assure him later on that we were only going as friends. Yes, thatís right, Ron. F-R-I-E-N-D-S. Like you and Hermione. Oh, wait, thatís not right?Öpoor Ron, itís so easy to tease him.

Charlieís loud squawk interrupts my thoughts. Turning towards him, I discover a giant canary in his place.

"FRED! GEORGE!" Mum roars as Charlie begins to molt back. Bill and Ron are laughing uproariously, and Percy and Dad are trying to hide smiles from Mum. Knowing I wonít be able to hide my smile for long, I quickly excuse myself and hurry upstairs.

Two blurs go zooming past me, quickly followed by a shouting Charlie whoís still pulling yellow feathers out of his hair. Iím pushed to the side of the stairwell as Bill and Ron rush after him, both probably eager to see the fate of the twins. Downstairs I can hear Percy finally succumbing to laughter.

I shake my head, grinning. My brothers. I love them all. But thank God Iím a girl.

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