Chapter 1 : Daydreams
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Dying of boredom that is!
Why am I so bored, you ask? Well it could have something to do with the fact that I have been abandoned. Deserted. Discarded and forsaken! And by whom you ask? Who would do such a horrible thing to such a sweet you girl? None other than my own flesh and blood! My own family have gone off to live their wonderfully fun and exciting lives, and I’m stuck here in this stupid house with no-one but the ghoul in the attic for company…and he’s not much company really.
Ok, so Mum is still around, and Dad’s home most nights unless he has to work or something, but aside from the occasional visitor, I am trapped here because my stupid brothers got on that stupid train and went to their stupid school!
Well… alright, I don’t really think Hogwarts is stupid. In fact all I want, more than anything else in the world, is to be at that school right now. I’ve been hearing from my brothers my whole life about Hogwarts and it sounds like heaven. I mean it’s a secret castle with hidden passages and moving staircases. Hundreds of house elves preparing magical feasts. A forbidden forest and a huge lake full of amazing, dangerous, wonderful creatures. Ghosts floating down the hall while you’re learning to perform charms and jinxes with your very own wand. Not to mention Quidditch matches in a real live Quidditch stadium! For as long as I can remember I have heard stories from my brothers about how brilliant Hogwarts is: adventures through the castle at night; weekend jaunts to Hogsmeade for joke supplies and sweets; deliciously frightening detentions with Filch in the Forbidden Forest at midnight. And of course Quidditch finals with a nail biting dive for the snitch to win the match and the house cup too! And all these years I have longed to get on that scarlet train and head off to the most wonderful place in the world, but I’ve had to wait my turn. And I was ok with that, truly I was! There was always someone around to keep me company, chase gnomes through the garden with, or practising Quidditch in the orchard (not that they ever let me play mind you. I was always score keeper). As much as I longed to go to Hogwarts, I was willing to wait it out. That was until Ron, stupid Ron who is only a year older than me (but much dumber if you ask me!) was allowed to take Bill’s old wand and head off with the others, leaving me here by myself, bored and lonely.
But stories and adventures and Ron aren’t the only reasons this year is so much harder than the rest. You see before this year, the best thing about Hogwarts was spells and games and food. But now there’s something even better…or should I say someone? You see the best thing about Hogwarts was something I got a very quick glimpse of on September 1st when that traitor Ron got on the train and left me here. The best thing about Hogwarts is a person. And like Hogwarts, I’ve heard about this person my whole life. This person is strong and brave and clever and the most amazing wizard ever, even though he’s only one year older than me! You see, the best thing about Hogwarts, is Harry Potter.
“Ginny? Ginny! Ginevra!!!” Mum’s voice came rumbling up the stairs like the sound of an approaching thunderstorm. The noise snapped me out of my reverie and I glanced down to notice I was sitting cross legged in front of an open trunk, a pair of socks in one hand and slippers in the other. I sighed heavily and threw them both in the trunk before getting to my feet and opening the door.
“Yes Mum?” I called back down the stairs.
“Ginny! What are you doing up there? Are you packed yet?” Mum’s disembodied voice was getting closer.
“Almost.” I replied, trying not to sound as grumpy as I felt.
“Almost?” Mum’s head appeared at the curve in the stairs. Her red hair was sticking out at odd ends like she had been constantly pulling at it. Her mouth was a thin line and her eyes glared at me in frustration. “Almost!” She repeated in the same exasperated tone. “Ginevra Weasley, we are leaving in exactly six minutes, and you will be packed by then or you will go to Auntie Muriel’s with nothing at all!” And with that her head disappeared back down the stairs. With another sigh I turned back to my trunk, which was almost full. I had been on the verge of finishing my packing when a most wonderful daydream had descended upon me like the snow that was falling outside my window….
I’m on a broomstick high above the ground where thousands of spectators are watching. My scarlet robes flap behind me as I fly across the pitch at breakneck speed. There is a quaffle under my arm and my eyes are set on the golden hoops ahead. Other players try to stop me, take the ball from my grasp or misdirect me, but I dodge, weave and outstrip them all. I move the quaffle to my hands and, with flawless skill and grace, I propel it towards the middle ring. The crowd below me hold their breath as one in anticipation. The ball seems to move in slow motion as it arcs through the air. But everything zooms back to normal speed as a resounding bell announces that my missile has hit its target perfectly. The crowd erupts into screams and cheers, a solid wall of sound. But it fades away as another player, also dressed in scarlet, zooms over to me. The boy’s back hair is messy from the wind, revealing the end of his lightning shaped scar and his green eyes twinkle at me from behind his glasses. He grins at me and opens his mouth to speak…
“Ginny!” Mum’s voice sounds like it’s just outside my door this time. “You had better be ready young lady – ” my door swings open and there she stands, hands on hips, face glowering down at me. I hastily slam the lid down on my trunk as if to demonstrate that I am ready. I smile guiltily up at her, hoping she’s not too angry. Her expression softens as, with a flick of her wand, she causes my trunk to disappear from my room. She picks up a waiting coat from my bed and holds it out for me to put on. “I know you would rather be coming with us dear,” She says kindly, all traces of anger and frustration trickling away. “But tickets to Romania don’t come cheap and really there wouldn’t be much for you to do there, you’d be awfully bored.” I know she means to be comforting, but the absurdities of her words aren’t helping my mood. After all, my mother is suggesting that I would have more fun spending Christmas with grumpy old Aunt Muriel than at a dragon reservation! Has she lost her mind?
I still couldn’t believe this was happening. For the longest time I simply refused to believe it! Actually for the first few days I had been quite vocal about my opinion that it wasn’t going to happen. It was only when, one night as I was sneaking down stairs for some water, I heard mum sobbing to dad that she missed Charlie so dearly and wanted to see him so much, but she couldn’t leave me behind when I was so distressed about it. The next morning I agreed to go to Auntie Muriel’s while Mum and Dad spent the Christmas break in Romania.
Mum tied a green scarf around my neck and placed her arm around my shoulder as she led me down to the kitchen. “You’ll have a lovely visit Ginny,” she said with a sort of forced cheeriness. “You could ask Auntie Muriel to teach you how to knit. She’s the one who taught me.” She added, tugging gently on my scarf to illustrate her point. I forced myself to smile up at her.
“Sounds like a great idea Mum.” I replied before falling into silence again. The truth was, I really wasn’t sure how I was going to handle a whole week of Auntie Muriel. I had books to read and I supposed I could go for lots of walks if the snow wasn’t too heavy. If it got bad enough I could ask for those knitting lessons, you know as a back-up plan. Don’t forget the daydreams, I told myself as we descended the stairs.
The daydreams had started the day after my brothers left for Hogwarts, once the boredom had set in. I discovered that I could sit by my window and let whole afternoons pass as I imagined myself with them at school. At first it was just myself superimposed into the old stories my brothers had shared – me at the start-of-term feast, me sitting in a charms class learning how to make feathers fly, me sneaking with Fred and George down to the kitchen for a midnight snack. The weekly owls that had been promised to me helped these fantasies along as they shared jokes and anecdotes about school life, but Ron’s letters had started to feature a certain friend more and more. I would devour Ron’s letters the second they arrived, mum thinking it was wonderful how much I loved the correspondence from my brothers. The truth was, I was desperate to hear what he and Harry had been doing, and every time I would see that name, I would get a little shiver down my spine. It wasn’t long before the daydreams started to feature Harry, always with that crooked smile and twinkling eyes, and I found that I never bored of the same scenarios playing over and over again as long as the black haired boy was there.
“All ready then love?” Dad was waiting for us in the kitchen, a travelling clock already draped across his shoulders. He smiled at me with the same forced cheeriness as mum. I don’t think either of them really thought the Auntie Muriel thing was a great idea, but with money so tight and Romania so far away, there didn’t seem to be another solution. Dad wrapped me up in a tight hug and whispered into my ear, “It’s only a week, it’ll be over before you know it.” He released me and I turned to mum, who was standing in front of the fire with a small pot in her hand. She held the Floo Powder out to me.
“You go first dear,” She suggested. “Arthur I’ll be back in just a moment.” She added as I tossed the glittering powder into the flames which promptly turned a dramatic shade of green.
“Bye Dad.” I said over my shoulder and stepped into the fireplace. “Auntie Muriel’s!” I said in a loud clear voice, like I had been taught to do years ago, and with one last look at Dad’s face, I started to spin.
“Knit one, pearl one.” I muttered to myself as I forced the knitting needle underneath the loop of yarn. I glanced down at the mangled mess of orange wool I had knitted and sighed. It was late in the evening on Boxing day and I had succumbed to my back-up plan of asking Auntie Muriel for knitting lessons. I had begrudgingly made the request earlier that afternoon after discovering that the boredom I had experienced at the Burrow was nothing to the last few days with my spinster Aunt as my only companion. Hours of sitting in the ornately decorated house with nothing to do, scolded if I slouched, or didn’t use proper manners, or breathed too loudly. The worst crime I could commit though, in Auntie Muriel’s eyes, was to touch or even get too close to what she called her ‘priceless heirlooms.’ These ranged from a series of portraits (showing everything from old wizened family members to dragons playing gobstones) in gaudy gilt frames to tiny little glass trinkets or bejewelled snuff boxes. If my charming hostess even thought I might be considering getting too close she would subject me to a lecture on the severity of breaking one of her priceless artefacts. If you asked me, the only reason they were priceless was because they were so ugly, no one would ever want to offer a price for them! So I spent my days tiptoeing around the house, avoiding anything that could possibly be breakable.
Christmas Day had been the best of a bad lot. Auntie Muriel had put a rather over-the-top tree up in the sitting room (although she wouldn’t let me help decorate it or even touch it for that matter) and its flickering lights now danced across the spotless sitting room. Despite it being just the two of us, Muriel had provided a pretty nice spread of food and good puddings, plus I got to open my presents. Apparently my family had felt a certain degree of guilt at leaving me with Muriel, because the gifts had all been slightly nicer this year. Even her comments that I was going to get spoiled rotten by so many packages didn’t dampen my mood when I opened the bulging bag of sweets and Zonko’s joke supplies that Fred, George and Ron had sent. Percy obviously didn’t approve of such a frivolous gift because he had instead sent a cute little purple quill and purple edged writing parchment. Bill gave me a book about the Holyhead Harpies, my favourite Quidditch team, and Charlie’s present had matched it: a giant poster of their captain Gwenog Jones (Auntie Muriel had made a tsk-ing noise and muttered something about sports being no place for respectable women when I had opened it). Mum and Dad had given me the traditional Weasley gift of a new jumper, knitted in brightly coloured stripes, although Mum obviously had decided to over compensate by knitting a matching hat, scarf and gloves. They were pretty nice, except if I wore them all together it gave the impression that I was a giant, walking box of Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans! They had all tried, in their own ways, to make my Christmas feel a little less dreary. And it did help – for a while at least.
I didn’t really like knitting, a feeling I held in part due to the fact that I was abominably horrible at it. I gave up, set the orange tangle on my lap and gazed across the room where Auntie Muriel was starting to doze off in her antique wing-backed armchair by the fire. I was considering waking her up and suggesting we both go to bed when I was startled by a loud tapping at the sitting room window. Auntie Muriel sat up with a start and we both looked over to the window where a large barn owl continued to tap quietly on the glass, obviously wanting to get in from the cold.
“Oh Ginevra, get that would you…” Muriel mumbled before drifting off again, her chin falling back to rest on her chest. I jumped up, grateful for a distraction. I pushed open the window, letting the owl in, and a gust of freezing air with it. I shivered as I yanked the frame closed and turned to where the owl had perched itself on the arm of my chair. I sat down again, grateful for the warmth of the fire once more, and untied the envelope from the owl’s leg. It hooted softly and then flew closer to the warmth, settling itself on the back of Muriel’s chair, just above her sleeping head. I smiled at the sight and then looked at the envelope, letting out a delighted gasp when I realised it was for me. I slipped my finger under the flap and quickly tore the envelope open, pulling out the parchment inside. It was a letter from my brothers, although it was awfully messy. Judging from the constant change in handwriting, scratched out words and occasional ink blotch, I guessed that Percy had tried to write the letter but Fred and George kept trying to take over. I grinned to myself as I started to read.
We hope this letter finds you well, having had a delightful Christmas with our Aunt.
We also hope you haven’t dropped dead yet from complete boredom, although if Muriel’s dead that would be ok!
We hope that our gifts arrived in time –
Did you get the Zonko’s stuff??? You’ll have to try out some of that Guatemalan itching powder on Muriel and tell us how it goes!!!!!
-and I look forward to receiving a letter soon on such handsome parchment. We have had a nice quiet Christmas here at school. The dinner was very good.
The food was incredible Gin! We ate sooo much! We bet Lee Jordan that he couldn’t eat more pudding than Fred, but Fred kept making it disappear with his wand instead of eating it, and then Lee was sick all over the-
Have you heard from our parents? We received our gifts from them-
Percy didn’t want to wear his jumper but as if we were going to let that happen! What colour’s yours?
But we haven’t had any other correspondence. We are assuming they arrived safely in Romania.
Yeah and hopefully they haven’t been eaten by any of Charlie’s dragons!
We must go now as it is getting late, but we hope you enjoy the rest of your holiday.
Chin up Gin! Only three days to go! And we’re serious about the itching powder, send us a full report!
Your devoted brother, Percy.
And the two gits he pretends he’s not related to, Fred and George!
P.S. We’re still working on that toilet seat.
P.P.S. Oh hang on, Ron wants to write something.
Merry Christmas! Hopefully Auntie Muriel’s not giving you too hard a time. Christmas day here is pretty good, hopefully you’ll get to be here next time. Dumbledore wore this stupid bonnet out of the Christmas cracker through the whole of lunch – it was hilarious. Anyway, I hope you’re not too bored there and we’ll see you soon. Oh, Harry says hi and Merry Christmas by the way!
My hand started to shake as I read and re-read that last line. Harry says hi… Harry Potter says ‘hi’ to me? Harry Potter knows who I am? My spine tingled and my heart started beating at a mile and minute. Harry says hi… Visions of twinkling green eyes swam across my mind. His face flashing me that crooked smile as he stands in front of a large sparkling Christmas tree…
A loud hoot sounded from the owl and I jumped in my seat, although not as much as Auntie Muriel who glanced sleepily up at the owl and let out a startled scream. “Ginevra! Where did that owl come from? Goodness me!” She exclaimed as the bird flew gently back to my chair. I explained about my brothers, folding the letter back into the envelope so she couldn’t read its contents. “Oh. Very well then. It’s getting late, give that owl some water so it can return to the school and then off to bed.” She ordered. I stood up and obeyed, refusing to let go of my precious letter. After letting the owl out the kitchen window, I returned to the sitting room to say goodnight. Then I climbed the stairs to bed, my heart soaring.
“Mum! We’re going to be late!” I moaned, looking out the train window impatiently.
“Ginny would you please calm down! There is plenty of time.” Mum assured me gently, reaching over and patting my hand. “I think it’s lovely how much you have missed your brothers and want to see them again.” She smiled. It was the last day of the Hogwarts school term, and we were going to London to pick up the boys. As much as I had missed my brothers over the last year, the truth was, I was more excited about seeing someone I wasn’t related to.
I could see the city now as the train rushed past large stone and metal buildings. Unable to curb my excitement, I turned back to my mother.
“Do you think what Ron said is true Mum? About that stone and the big chess game and Harry fighting You-know-who?” I whispered the last name with a slight shudder.
“Well Ron didn’t use the word fight dear.” Mum answered, “But the owl from Dumbledore seemed to indicate as much as Ron’s so I should say it’s true.” About a week ago, Mum and Dad had received an owl from Dumbledore himself, the headmaster of Hogwarts, explaining that Ron had been in an accident of some sort but that he was ok. Another owl soon came from Ron explaining a similar story. There was some sort of magical obstacle course Ron, Harry and their friend, a girl called Hermione, had got into and it was hiding a special stone. You-Know-Who himself was also there and Harry faced him.
“I think it’s amazing!” I exclaimed. “I mean Harry’s only a year older than me and he’s already fought You-Know-Who twice and beat him both times! He’s so brave! And I mean he must be pretty clever if he got through all those spells!” We entered a tunnel and the train began to slow. I was already on my feet before we had stopped, pulling mum towards the doors. The second they swung open, I leapt on to the platform, ready to start running.
“Their train isn’t due for another ten minutes dear. You really must calm down!” Mum grabbed hold of my hand to slow me down. We walked, at far too slow a pace, towards platforms 9 and 10. Up ahead I could see the barrier between the two platforms.
“There it is Mum!” I squealed, but when mum shot me a frantic look, I stopped myself from pointing, remembering we weren’t supposed to draw attention to anything magic while there were muggles around. Just to be safe I bit my tongue and kept quiet as we sat on a bench to wait for the boys. Soon enough, we began to notice students slipping out through the barrier in pairs or groups of three. Unable to sit still any longer, I stood and bounced up and down on my toes, my eyes looking for that scruffy black hair and those green eyes. Then I saw them: Ron, a girl with bushy brown hair and… *“There he is Mum, there he is, look!” I pointed excitedly, forgetting to keep my voice down. *“Harry Potter! Look Mum! I can see -”
*“Be quiet Ginny, and it’s rude to point.” Mum scolded me.
I stopped talking, but not because of mum’s warning. I couldn’t believe that I was finally looking at Harry Potter himself. He was exactly as he looked in my imagination, messy hair, lightning scar, those green eyes that were…looking straight at us! Suddenly I felt completely embarrassed as I realised he had probably heard my cries, because all three of them had turned and were walking towards mum and myself. I felt my face grow hot and I quickly looked down at my shoes, suddenly too frightened to look up at the boy I had been dying to see all year. *“Busy year?” I heard mum say.
*“Very.” Harry replied. I still couldn’t bring myself to look up at him, so I settled for glancing at the toes of his sneakers. *“Thanks for the jumper and fudge, Mrs Weasley.”
*“Oh it was nothing dear.” Mum said, and I knew from her tone of voice that she was beaming at him. Harry’s family came over then, funny looking muggles who seemed to speak quite rudely to him. I couldn’t believe anyone would want to speak like that to someone as wonderful and clever as Harry. I was so surprised in fact, that I forgot my embarrassment long enough to look up as they left, although I couldn’t quite work up the nerve to wave.
Suddenly, I was swept up in a great big hug that lifted me off my feet.
“Heeeey little sis!” Fred cried, swinging me up in the air and around to George who grabbed my shoulders to stop me falling over as my feet found the ground again.
“Sorry about the toilet seat.” George said.
“Yeah we did get one, but we tried to send it to Harry in the hospital wing.” Fred added.
“And Madam Pomfrey took it away!” They chimed together.
“Seemed to think it was unhygienic or something.” Ron grinned at us as mum released him from a hug. I couldn’t help but giggle, it was pretty funny after all.
I glanced over my shoulder as mum and the boys started loading trunks onto trolleys. I could just make out Harry in the distance, loading his owl cage into a car. He looked over and raised his hand in a short wave. Mustering all my courage, I waved back. Bye Harry Potter. I thought to myself. I’ll see you in September.