Chapter 1 : A Bedtime Story.
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Molly Weasley gave a last flick of her wand towards the dishes. They were all clean and dried now – the last thing to do before it was time for bed.
Ordinarily she would have to chase one of her sons to bed, scolding them for fighting, for being noisy or for generally getting themselves to trouble. She would spend the half an hour she would like to allocate to her own relaxation to chasing the boys around the house instead.
But no more. Bill was in Egypt – she would have hoped her son, who had wanted to work for Gringotts, would have taken a desk job in London instead of the dangerous occupation as a code breaker he held now. Charlie had always dreamed of training dragons - and he was living this dream in Romania, far from her watchful eye, constantly in danger too.
Proud, pompous Percy. Molly smiled now. Despite the way he had been ridiculed for his anticipation of his new position of Prefect, they were all so very proud of him. Fred and George were next in the family; just thinking of them made her both grin and grimace. She didn’t know what do with them half the time, and didn’t know what she would do without them the rest of the time. Hopefully they would look after little Ron. Hopefully they would help him find his way, like the rest of them had begun to do.
Arthur had laughed last night, relieved the boys would be all at school at last, giving them some peace. They would all now be arriving at school; for Ron for the first time.
But what about Ginny? Where did she fit in in his view of his large, boisterous family of red-headed boys?
Ginny, at this moment of time, was being searched for by the father who had overlooked her in this picture. An hour or two earlier, she had slipped out to get some fresh air. Though Arthur loved his daughter without question, as much as he loved his many sons, he loved Ginny in a different way. She was to be his little Ginny, Princess Ginerva he had spoken into existence during the stories he used to tell her when she was younger. He didn’t seem to realise that the tales of Princess Ginerva were not snippets of the life Ginny may want to dream about.
Molly Weasley knew where Ginny was. Ginny was flying, high above the orchard, high above her life at the Burrow, as the only daughter of the Weasley family. It was dangerous for her to do this, yet Molly had watched her do this for years.
She had scolded her of course, just like she had her sons when they did something reckless. Yet, each time Molly saw her daughter fly, she felt her daughter’s freedom. She felt along with her, the small frame battling against the wind, against all that stood in her way, the flaming hair whipping around the face infused by joy, the eyes blazing with determination.
Molly stood by the window. Arthur had just caught sight of the young girl, and was summoning another broom to catch her, to bring her back down to earth.
Ginny missed her brothers, and Molly knew that feeling well. When she had gone to Hogwarts, and left her brothers at home, she had worried about them constantly. Unlike Ginny, she was the elder sister and so mothered Fabian and Gideon endlessly – it was in her nature. Having said this, Molly Weasley sensed this was not all that was bothering Ginny.
Molly had always been content in her role as dutiful daughter, delighted when she got the chance to learn how to cook with her mother, both the muggle and normal methods. She looked after her brothers, gaining so much enjoyment from it. Her father too, had told her stories about a princess, Princess Molly who would find her Prince and become Queen of a castle.
And yet, she thought, biting her lip, she was not her daughter. She hoped someday Ginny would find someone too, to make her happy. She wanted Ginny to have children of her own, knowing Ginny could be maternal in her way. And yet, Ginny should have a very different type of happy ending.
Ginny trooped in behind her father, giving him an apologetic smile before she turned away. Her smile fell as she walked away to her room, thinking no one could see her loneliness.
Molly’s heart went out to her daughter, not knowing what to say to her.
Arthur pecked her on the cheek goodnight. “It’s lovely and quiet, isn’t it?” he smiled at her.
Yes, it was. She returned his smile.
It wasn’t his fault, he didn’t know. How quickly he forgot though, how boisterous Ginny could be too. He let his little girl off with the trouble she sometimes liked to cause, fondly blaming her older brothers’ bad influence. He presumed she would one day grow out of her “tom-boy-ish” behavior.
But what if, Molly wondered, making her way to her daughter’s bedroom, she wanted to be a tom boy? Or just a girlie-girl? Or something quite different? Should they not be listening out for their young child growing up, struggling to be her own person?
She paused at the door of the bright room. The walls were an almost blinding yellow. Friends of the family had suggested her only daughter’s room should have been painted pink. But no – yellow was the colour Molly saw in Ginny, her vibrant, bright, sun-filled daughter.
Molly knocked quietly before entering. The small girl sat cross legged on her bed, gazing out the window at the sky above, completely undisturbed by the intrusion. She seemed at once an intrinsic part of the stars and also far, far removed from them.
The mother crossed over to the daughter, seating herself gently on the bed.
Ginny turned her head slightly, her huge brown eyes meeting those of the mother’s that she had inherited. “Are they in bed now too, Mum?”
“I would think so love”, Molly smiled knowing that Ginny was referring to her brothers. “I think it’s bedtime for everyone”, she added, hinting gently.
“Why can’t I go too Mum?” Ginny whispered sadly.
Molly knew Ginny already knew the obvious answer to this. They were older; she would get to go next year. She was asking something very different. Molly brushed a strand of hair away from the little face questioning her, before speaking with a tenderness that concealed an accompanying fierceness.
“There is no where you cannot go, Ginny Weasley. No one can ever stop you from doing you what you want.”
This didn’t console Ginny. Her voice grew stronger. “But everyone stops me all the time! They say I’m too young or… That I’m a girl.”
“I know I’m a girl!” she exclaimed. “It’s not fair! I’m able to fly just as well as the boys, but they won’t let me play. They say I’m too weak!”
She looked ready to cry now; something that was relatively rare for her. This had obviously been building for some time. Molly stayed silent.
“I’m not a Princess, Mum. Why does Dad always call me that?”
Molly wanted to hit her husband. Her loving, caring husband who treasured his only daughter and wanted to treat her like a doll that must be looked after. It was not his fault, but she wanted to blame him.
“How about a different story then?” she heard herself saying, not really knowing what story she would tell.
Ginny giggled a little. “I think I’m too old for stories. I’m ten, remember?”
Molly laughed too. “No one is ever too old for stories, especially a little writer like you!”
The mother and daughter shared a little hug, remembering the numerous stories a younger Ginny had scrawled on bits of parchment, about goblins, dragons and whatever else she heard about. Another part of Ginny that Molly hoped would never be left behind.
Molly looked out the window briefly, before speaking. “Have I ever told you about The Roofwalker, Ginny?”
Ginny smiled, looking at her mother in silent curiosity.
“The Roofwalker has been around for years you know. There were many other Roofwalkers like them, but none quite as special, if you ask me”.
Ginny, smiling still, rested her head on her mother’s shoulder. She seemed to be starting to enjoy the pretense of being little again; despite her simultaneous desire to be grown up.
“Is the Roofwalker a boy or a girl Mum?”
Molly looked down at her daughter, hoping her words would be the right ones. “Does it matter?”
She knew immediately her answer had had the right effect – Ginny seemed lost in thought.
After a moment Molly decided to go on.
“Will we say, for the sake of argument, that this particular Roofwalker is a girl?”
Ginny nodded in agreement, getting back into the playful way they had been talking. “Let me guess – is the Roofwalker a princess?”
Molly paused for a moment.
“The Roofwalker was not a princess. Her father was not the King of the land; her mother was not a Queen. Despite the fact that the Roofwalker wasn’t of royal blood, it didn’t mean she wasn’t loved. In fact, people admired the Roofwalker because of this. Roofwalkers are not born special, what they do and the way they behave is what does this.
“The Roofwalkers are a very special kind of people – they run across the tops of houses through the night. They are high above the people who live in the houses they tread on. The people who live in the houses under the roofs don’t think of looking out their windows to see what the noise is.
“The noise the Roofwalker makes, my love, is of change.
“You see, the Roofwalker, and those like her change the world, even if it’s only by little bit. She might change the world in a big way – she might become a leader of others, or someone that other people can call a role model – other people that may, because of this influence, become a kind of Roofwalker themselves.
“Being a Roofwalker isn’t always nice though –some of the people they fly above don’t think she should run over the roofs. Sometimes the people climb up to the roofs just to bring the Roofwalker down. They don’t want her to succeed; they say mean things about her. They’re jealous sometimes, mostly they just understand. They don’t like change.
“But yet, she does what she does because that’s who she is. She is different. She runs through the night heralding change, because this is what the Roofwalkers always have done and always will do.
“This particular Roofwalker didn’t always know who she was – sometimes people said she couldn’t do what she wanted, because she was too young or a girl. But she did it anyway, regardless of what people said to her. She did it anyway because it made her happy, and her happiness lifted everyone around her. She would continue to do so until it was her time to stop”.
Molly grew quiet for a moment, wondering if the words she made up on the spot were having any affect. Ginny looked entranced.
“And how does her story end? Does she get married and have children?”
“Maybe,” Molly whispered softly, tenderly brushing the bright red hair out of her daughter’s eyes. “Maybe she meets someone; another Roofwalker, just as special as her. Maybe the other Roofwalker will join her, and they will run together, changing the world side by side. But that’s not where the story ends – the story ends when the Roofwalker is finished walking on the roofs, not when someone else tells them that they are finished.”
They sat in silence again, before Molly started to leave to go to her own bed. She tucked Ginny in, like she had when the girl was much younger. She kissed her lightly on the forehead, before moving towards the door, extinguishing the light on the way. She stopped in the doorway, as her daughter called out for her.
“Mum?” Ginny asked tentatively, barely loud enough for her mother to hear. “Do you think I could be like the Roofwalker someday?”
Ginny seemed embarrassed for asking what she obviously thought was such a silly question, biting her lip slightly.
“Yes love”, Molly answered; glad she was far enough away so that the tears springing to her eyes wouldn’t be visible. “I think you can be whoever you want to be”.
Even through the dark, Molly could sense her daughter changing. Right before her eyes, Ginny was awakening, as if from some kind of slumber. She bid her daughter goodnight, moving towards her own bedroom, tears threatening to spill from her eyes now.
The connection between mother and daughter is a sacred one – the first nurturing the second, so she may do the same for the next generation. They pass on a knowledge that helps them see the world, and the strength to live in it. The daughter doesn’t know how the mother, too, grows from this connection; not until she has a daughter of her own. Not until their daughter looks at them, after receiving in turn this message, with a kind of blazing wonder and awakening and, for a moment, everything is in its right place.