Chapter 1 : A Strike Of Lightning
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He had been ill for some time now, with one of those illnesses that old people always seem to get. One of those illnesses that always seems to kill people.
She remembered that, as a child, how she had bounded into this room thoughtlessly, carelessly - jumped between her parents on the bed, separating them, and calling, "Daddy, Daddy, I want breakfast!" She remembered the glance her parents would share; now, this look was personally familiar, a glance she and Harry had exchanged thousands of times. She remembered how sometimes they would send her back to bed, but more often Arthur Weasley would get up to feed his daughter.
"Ginny, what are you just standing there for?" her father asked, now, from his resting place.
"Oh, nothing," she said, walking forward into the dim room.
He was smiling. "Bah, I don't believe that for a second. You're always up to something."
Ginny had no response. His statement was true.
"Sit down. I want to tell you something," he said.
She walked forward and sat next to his frail body. He feebly took her hand and Ginny had to bite back a sob. "Don't - don't you do this," she said forcefully. "Don't you sit me down like -"
"Like I'm on my deathbed?" he asked knowingly.
Ginny looked away.
"There are certain things a father must tell his daughter. And I'm going to tell them to you now." He paused, searching for the place to begin. "Be generous."
This surprised her so much, she turned back to look at him.
"With your money, with your time, with you love. Always. Nothing in this world is more important than what you can give to other people." He paused and laughed. "Now, princess, you've already given a lot of people an awful lot, and probably more to your mother and I than anyone else in the world."
Ginny bowed her head. "I seem to remember also being a pain an awful lot of the time, too."
Arthur shrugged. "Yeah, well - women."
Ginny slapped his arm playfully. "Oh, that's nice."
"You are a woman," he said, suddenly serious again, and his face broke into an admiring smile. "You broke the curse. I told your mother it would take a strike of lightning after seven generations of Weasley men had failed to produce a daughter, the perfect set of circumstances, and now we have you, and your brothers have daughters."
"The perfect circumstances?" Ginny asked.
"Do you know that we had stopped trying, princess? Stopped trying to get pregnant?" Ginny shook her head. "Your mother and I wanted so badly to have a girl, and we love your brothers will all our hearts, but after Ron, well - we just didn't want to take our chances again and end up with yet another bouncing boy. Six was enough. Beautifully enough. And the fact that we had had a set of twins somewhat helped your mother get over the deaths of her brothers." Arthur sucked in some breath and breathed out a sigh. "We still wished we had a girl.
"And then there came a night, one night that took the entire the world by surprise. A night where your mother and I only cared about being together, and damn the consequences. A night of grief, but much more joy in many more ways, at least for us. Fate is a fickle friend, sweetheart."
Ginny removed her hand, having a sudden premonition.
"It was a haunting Halloween night."
"What? No," Ginny said weakly, almost whining.
"Ginny - Ginny -" he started.
"Don't tell me that," she complained.
"We heard the news through the grapevine - first one owl, and then we were bombarded by them as the news spread," he went on. "They brought the news that Voldemort had been defeated first, and the news that Lily and James Potter had been killed later."
"Dad?" Ginny said softly.
"And last, in whispers, came the news that their son had survived." Arthur had tears in his eyes now, too. "Never," he whispered, "could your mother and I have imagined that that night would personally change our lives as much as it has, even though we knew it had changed everything in the Wizarding World. That night gave us a daughter. It gave us a son."
"It robbed him of his parents!" Ginny shouted, standing up and walking a few feet away from the bed. "The man I love, whom I've dedicated my life to, the father of my children, grew up alone because of that damn night!"
"You even shout at dying people?" her father said, trying to lighten the mood. Ginny was not amused. "Don't think of it as a trade," he said. "But if you must, I think he got the better end of the bargain. He's better off than he ever could have been without you being born.
"Do you remember what he was like, Ginny? That little boy who came to stay with us summer break? I still remember meeting him for the first time. Such a humble, unassuming, skinny child. A child who distinctly bore the signs of absolute neglect and chronic unhappiness."
"He wouldn't have been that way if his parents weren't DEAD."
"And he wouldn't be as happy as he is now if you hadn't been born."
"You don't know that. He might have found someone else."
"I find that highly unlikely," Arthur said. "The two of you are as meant for each other as your mother and I, if not more so."
"I love you," Ginny said, softening somewhat. Her expression was still guarded, but she came closer to the bed again and sat down.
"I cannot explain how much I love you, how much your mother and I both love you," Arthur said. Ginny was glad his hair had never turned gray. "Not in words, not in gestures, not in grand acts, princess. It's incomprehensible and unexplainable."
"I know how you feel," Ginny said, and she thought of silly Jamie, and mysterious Al, and her daring darling Lulu.*
"You're such a gift," Arthur said, and lifted his hand to touch her face. "Don't ever stop giving."
"Right," Ginny said. "My money, my time, and my love."
"Right," Daddy said. "I need some rest now, princess. I'm old." He gave a yawn.
"Okay," said Ginny, and she removed her father's glasses and set them on the bedise table. He closed his eyes and Ginny retreated from the room, shutting the door quietly behind her.
She leaned her forehead against the closed door, trying not to cry or scream.
"Gin? How is he?" Harry stood at the end of the hall. Ginny walked toward him and placed her hands in his; a simple sign of complete love.
"He's tired," she responded.
A/N: I'm pretty sure the whole premise of the story is plausible. Ron was born in March of the year Harry was born; Lily and James died when Harry was a year old; Ginny turned 16 on the August 11 after Harry turned 17; and there's just about nine months between October 31 and August 11. Even if she wasn't conceived the night Harry's parents died, she was definitely a product of the high spirits after Voldemort's first fall. I also think it's easy to argue that Arthur and Molly had given up on having a girl considering they already had six boys in rapid succession. In addition, when Ron destroys the locket in the seventh book, it taunts him about being "least loved, always, by a mother who craved a daughter" (that's a PARAPHRASE, but it's definitely there). So, consider this piece in accordance with the canon.
*Well, in my head, since Lily Potter II's full name is Lily Luna Potter, I think a cute nickname would be Lulu.
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