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