Chapter 7 : Chapter 7
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Disclaimer: All the characters seen below belong to JKR, not me. Once again, I wish I was in charge of them, for then some things would be completely different. Ron and Hermione would already be engaged, if not already working on miniature Weasleys. (sighs) Oh well. Also, I would be filthy rich and living in a castle somewhere in the UK drinking Earl Grey tea.
* * *
Ginny Weasley had been a receptionist at the Ministry for six months. She didn’t particularly like it, but she needed the money, for she couldn’t sponge off her family forever. Of course, sponging had gotten her this job. Dad made just enough “friendly visits” and here she was.
She was experiencing another rather dreadful day of tedium when the owl arrived. At first she thought it was a mistake. The barn owl hooted softly at her and continued to nip at her hand, as if to assure her that the letter was indeed for her.
Surprise was quickly replaced with panic. Something must have happened to her family. Who would it be? Ron? He would insist on being an Auror, always trying to get himself killed, Ginny thought. She tore open the letter anxiously, not immediately recognizing the handwriting she once knew as well as her own.
I know it’s been a while, but you and I need to talk. Don’t tell anyone, especially not Ron. Meet me at the Hog’s Head in Hogsmeade tomorrow at noon. Come alone.
Ginny’s jaw dropped. Hermione? Hermione Granger? Merlin, she thinks it’s only been ‘a while?’ Don’t tell Ron, eh? No, I don’t think I will. I want to be able to spend some time with you myself. I can’t have him stealing you away from me.
Ginny signed the letter to agree to the meeting and gave it back to the owl. Now she had something to look forward to. Only twenty-four hours away.
* * *
Ginny cautiously walked into the Hog’s Head a full twenty minutes early. She had pondered covering the trademark Weasley hair with a cloak or a hat, but had decided that Hermione might well not recognize her without it. She had no idea what Hermione looked like now, so she would be the easy one to find. She ordered a firewhiskey, sad that she now relied on alcohol to calm her nerves. Of course, she wouldn’t really be worried until she could down as much as Ron could in one sitting.
She was in her own little world and did not immediately notice someone approaching her from behind. “Ginny?”
Ginny turned to face her old friend. Hermione, indeed, did look different. She had completely grown into herself. Her eyes, however, were full of the same sadness Ginny saw in her own whenever she looked in the mirror. No, Ginny corrected, they looked more like Ron’s. Not only did she lose her family, she lost the only one she’s ever loved. Nothing else could affect someone’s eyes so poignantly.
“Hey Hermione, long time no see,” Ginny said softly as Hermione sat down beside her. “What made you decide to grace me with your presence after all these years?”
Hermione looked stung at the comment. Ginny only felt a little sorry for being so vindictive. She had needed Hermione after the Harry fiasco, after all. And Hermione had run away. Not just from her, but from Ron. Her brother might be a git, but he was still her brother and, as of late, her best friend.
“I know, Ginny, I know. I’m sorry. I’ll explain, but not today. I came to show you something,” Hermione said apologetically. “Do you want to come see it?”
“That depends on what it is,” Ginny replied, suspicious and skepticism obvious in her voice.
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you. Come see,” she urged, then got up from the table and walked out of the Hog’s Head.
Ginny sighed, having no choice but to follow her. She exited the bar and nearly ran smack into the waiting Hermione. “I knew your curiosity would get the better of you. Come on.”
Hermione led Ginny straight to the Shrieking Shack, making Ginny a little nervous about a trap. What am I thinking? She could be polyjuiced or under the imperius or anything! Ginny scolded herself.
Hermione smiled, for she seemed to sense her friend’s discomfort. “Don’t worry, Ginny, it’s me. I know that you lost your virginity to Dean Thomas your fifth year, but imagined he was Harry the whole time. I also know that none of your siblings infuriate you more than Ron, but he’s the one you love the most. Do you trust me now?”
Ginny laughed. “Yeah. Sorry about that. It just seems so sudden, so strange.”
“You’ll see why in a second.” With that, Hermione opened one of the dilapidated doors and led the bemused Weasley inside.
It took Ginny’s eyes a long time to adjust to the darkness, but her jaw dropped when she finally could make out the form in front of her.
“Hey sis. How’ve you been?”
“In the flesh. You didn’t think you had gotten rid of me, did you?”
Ginny ran up to her long-lost brother and wrapped him up in a hug. “Oh Fred,” she sighed, beginning to sob softly. “We thought we’d lost you.”
“Shh,” he sighed, “I’m here now.”
“They didn’t kill you?”
“No. They kept me as bait. I just got away. The old Death Eater that was keeping me got sick. Pneumonia or something. He was weak, so I took advantage of it. I beat him into a pulp and ran out of there. I kept running for forever. Then, to my immense luck, I found Hermione.”
“Oh, Fred. I’m so glad you found her.” She then turned to Hermione. “Why didn’t you go to Harry or Ron instead?”
“Fred deserved to see family first. And I don’t want to see Ron.”
Ginny opened her mouth to argue, but Fred quickly silenced her. “I’d leave it alone if I were you. She won’t listen to it. Leave it be. I’m sure Ron would be the same way.”
Hermione smiled. “Well, I have to go. My work is done.”
“Thanks Hermione,” Fred said jovially. “Do you want me to tell Ron you said hello?”
“No! Don’t tell him I was involved. Just say you came and found Ginny, okay?” her voice was filled with panic.
“Okay, don’t have a hippogriff,” Fred laughed. “Take care of yourself, okay? And do write.”
Hermione smiled. “Okay. Take care you two.” Then she left.
Ginny looked after her, then looked back at Fred. “What do you suppose happened between the two of them. Ron won’t talk about her either, really. He owled her every day for a while. I think she was just ignoring him.”
“There’s a lot of history behind them. I think they finally got together at one point. It must not have worked out, huh?”
“No, I guess not.”
* * *
A/N: Well, there it is. Another long one, but I hope everyone was pleased with the HAPPINESS. Hope this chapter wasn’t too long. Oh, and you’ll find out more about Fred’s imprisonment and escape in the next chapter, which will finally return the story to Ron’s viewpoint. Yay!
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