Disclaimer: Ginny Weasley and her wonderful family belong
to J. K. Rowling. As much as I love them, I own none of these characters.
Harry Potter had stolen her thunder.
Today was Ginny’s fifth birthday. It was also Halloween, and the anniversary
of the day Harry Potter had made You-Know-Who disappear. All day long people
had been talking about Harry Potter. A tiny old man named Horatio Piccadilly
had appeared outside their door with a bottle of wine for her dad (“Harry Potter
Day, you know,” he’d said, smiling broadly and hugging everyone in sight), there
had been small wizard fireworks over some houses in Ottery St. Catchpole, and
even the WWN Children’s Hour had been all about Harry Potter. Walking home from
the apothecary with her mum, Ginny had seen that there were all sorts of parties
everywhere, but of course they weren’t birthday parties for her, they
were birthday parties for Harry Potter. Not dying parties, rather, she
thought sulkily. It wasn’t even his real birthday today. Ginny didn’t see what
all the fuss was about Harry Potter--he didn’t seem at all special, except for
that scary scar on his forehead from when You-Know-Who had put a bad spell on
him. Ginny was glad Harry Potter hadn’t died, of course, but she rather
wished he had chosen another day to not die.
Ginny’s mum had cooked a delicious birthday dinner for her tonight--roast beef
with Yorkshire pudding, her favorite. The whole family (except for Bill and
Charlie, who were at Hogwarts--oh, she was jealous!) were sitting outside in
the garden, basking in the remnants of a beautiful, unusually warm day. The
sky was tinged orange where the sun had just gone down, and enchanted candles
were floating around amid the hydrangeas. Ginny was pleasantly full and content,
and rather glad that at least this lovely moment was hers.
Of course, Ginny had to share most of the things she owned, and this moment
was no different. A particularly bright firecracker went off in the village,
and looking up at the sky Ginny could just make out a green-eyed, bespectacled
face with a shock of black hair before the colored lights blurred together.
The lulled silence around the table had been broken, and suddenly everyone was
talking at once.
“That was Harry Potter, I’ve seen his picture in books--”
“--Muggles will have seen that--”
“The poor boy, having his face shot up in the sky like that--”
“But he’s famous, Mum!”
“Makes me nervous. Looks awfully like something I once saw, above your Aunt
Ginny, glaring at the fading image in the sky, missed the dark look that passed
between her parents. Percy, however, did not.
“What did you see?”
“Never mind, dear, I’ll tell you when you’re older.”
“I’m ten years old,” said Percy importantly. “You can tell me,
at least, although I doubt the children will understand--”
Before he could finish, Percy was interrupted by a bell-like sound. Ginny’s
dad tapped his glass (one of the lovely, tall ones) with a fork and stood up.
“I would like to drink a toast,” he said, “to Harry Potter--the Boy Who Lived!”
“You can’t drink toast,” Ron pointed out, but everyone ignored him.
Their mum and dad raised their wine glasses and Percy, Fred and George raised
their mugs of butterbeer, Percy looking smug and the twins grinning. Those three
probably thought they looked very grown-up, thought Ginny. She picked up her
own butterbeer and tried to copy her brothers. At least she looked more
grown-up than Ron, who was just sitting there with his mouth open, looking like
a fish. Ginny giggled, and Ron glared at her.
She elbowed him in the ribs. “We’re toasting Harry Potter,” she said. She straightened
her back and lifted her cup up a bit higher, smiling smugly at Ron.
“We’re what?” said Ron.
“Toasting him,” she repeated. “Because today’s the day he didn’t die, remember?
You’re supposed to pick up your cup and clink it against everyone else’s.” The
rest of the family were all looking at them, and Ginny smiled to show that she
knew what was going on, even though she was a bit put out with them for
toasting someone else on her birthday.
“Oh,” said Ron. “Not like bread.”
Ginny sniggered, and Percy gave Ron a long, disdainful look. Now that Percy
had turned ten you’d think he was more important than the Minister of Magic,
from the way he acted.
Then they all clinked glasses. It was hard to remember everyone, but Ginny
did manage to reach across to George at the last minute. Afterwards she made
sure to fish out the fake tadpole he had put in her cup before she took a sip.
The butterbeer made her feel all lovely and warm inside, as it had the only
other time she’d had it, on Ron’s fifth birthday. She almost forgot to be angry
with her family for talking about Harry Potter at her birthday dinner.
“It’s Ginny’s birthday, you know,” said Ron thickly into his cup. “I don’t
see why we’re making such a big fuss over Harry Potter. It’s not his
birthday.” Ginny beamed at Ron and reminded herself not to pester him too much
“As you know,” said their mum sharply, “it is because of Harry Potter that
we are all safe and happy right now,”--she plucked a rubber toad out of her
own glass--“despite the best efforts of a certain set of twins.” She gave Fred
and George one of her Looks. “You’d all do well to follow Harry Potter’s example.”
“Now, Molly,” said Ginny’s dad, laughing a little. “Our children--”
“Well, Percy’s very well-behaved--I have nothing to complain about there,”
said their mum, “But the twins--you should be grateful for what you
have, and not try to frighten your mother to death every other day. Harry Potter
doesn’t even have parents, the poor darling.”
“Lucky him,” muttered Fred under his breath. Ginny thought that was a rather
silly thing to say--imagine having no parents! It must be simply awful, she
thought. She almost felt sorry for Harry Potter.
“The poor boy--”
“Now, now, Molly,” Mr. Weasley said nervously. “No need to make comparisons….
You know Harry Potter is a very exceptional boy.”
Ginny stopped feeling sorry for Harry Potter. Today was her day, and
they should be talking about how special she was.
“We love you all very much, and that is why we are so grateful to Harry Potter.
He allowed us to raise you in a world where you can be happy. For that, we thank
him,” her father said gravely.
“Can I have my cake now?” said Ginny crossly.
“Right!” said her dad, looking relieved. “And today is also Ginny’s birthday,
so Mummy’s baked a beautiful cake!” he announced, beaming.
“Oh!” said Mrs. Weasley, flushing. “I have baked a cake! Just give
me one minute.” She bustled off into the kitchen and the lights went off. Ginny
felt a lovely, tingly feeling run through her the minute it went dark. This
was her favourite part of birthdays--much better than hearing about some boy
she’d never met.
When her mum came back into the dining room, she was carrying a cake that looked
about the size of Gringotts, with five whole levels and five pink candles on
top. A bunch of bouncy, twinkly things that looked like fat fairies lit up Ginny’s
mother’s smiling face as she began to sing “Happy Birthday.” Everyone joined
in, and Ginny felt all warm and lovely, even though Fred and George sang the
last bit with the words ‘you look like a banshee, and you sing like one too’
instead of the proper way. Ginny didn’t care, because she was here with her
family and everyone was smiling at her, even Fred and George.
Their mum set the cake down in front of Ginny, and she could finally see what
the twinkly things were--they were chocolate frogs wearing sparkling pink tutus.
“What’re those?” Ron asked incredulously.
Mrs. Weasley flushed a little. “The sugar plum fairies were too expensive this
year--I had to use chocolate frogs instead. I’ve given them spun-sugar tutus,
so they’ll taste just as good, and they’re enchanted to fly about the cake.
I do hope you don’t mind, Ginny dear.”
“Oh, Mum, they’re lovely!” Ginny said, positively glowing. A chocolate frog
jumped onto her plate and tried to do a pirouette, falling down on its bottom.
Ginny picked it up gingerly and popped it in her mouth. It was delicious, a
combination of chocolate frog and sugar quill.
“They’re brilliant,” she announced.
“Can I have one, then?” Ron asked eagerly. The only thing Ron loved more than
chocolate frogs was Quidditch.
“Yeah, you can each have one,” she said. Her brothers hooted with joy, and
Ginny watched a bit wistfully as the last one disappeared. She had wanted to
share them with her brothers, especially Ron, but now she rather wished she
could have another taste. It didn’t matter, though, because now there was an
enormous birthday cake sitting in front of her just begging to be eaten. She
grinned. It hadn’t been such a bad birthday, really, she thought. She had a
cake, which Harry Potter probably never got to have--after all, he had no mum
to bake him one. Ginny even had four crazy brothers to share her cake with,
and Harry Potter--well, he didn’t have any family at all.
“Make a wish!” someone shouted. Ginny smiled.
I hope Harry Potter will one day have a family like mine, she wished,
and blew out all five candles.