Chapter 2 : Arthur Weasley
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When you grow up in a house like mine, itís hard to avoid stories of your childhood. Most girls would love this. The average girl would love hearing about how she would charm everyone around her and hold tea parties for her dolls and teddy bears.
My stories are different. Itís not that I particularly regret dumping the bucket of sand on Ron that day in the park or stealing Charlieís wand and refusing to give it back until he took me flying on his broomstick, but I could really do without the knowing glances that are exchanged once people hear the stories of how I chose to spend my childhood. Fair enough, I was a bit stroppy as a child and was the first to fly into a fit of rage if ever compared to one of my brothers, but I can never understand why people find my childhood a strange one. Sure, I spent more times playing in the creek than I did snooping around Mumís closet for clothes to dress up in, but I hardly think that made me a strange child. I might have started out a bit weedy and, yes, stubborn but I think I turned out all right. Not perfect, a bit rough around the edges, but I donít think my childhood is a pure reflection of the woman I am today. Iím not embarrassed by the younger Ginny Weasley, itís more that Iím fed up with the all the implications that come with her, based on just a few stories that my parents and the occasional brother tell whoever will lend an ear to them.
There is, however, one story that I will never tire of hearing. The story of how Dad learned that I was a girl.
The story itself is hardly an exciting one. Mum gave birth and the attending healer told my parents that I was a girl. End of story. But itís the way that Dad tells it that strikes a chord within me, every time.
He always wanted a girl. He might not make a huge show of it, but I can tell he always did. Though I was never there, I can just imagine the sad tug Dadís heart gave every time he found out the newest Weasley before me was a boy. Donít get me wrong, Dad would walk to the end of the Earth for every single one of us and would be the last to ever play favourites, but there is just something in the way that Dadís eyes light up when he speaks about my birth that lets me know my birth was different.
His eyes light up with hope.
I can remember him telling me about the night I was born one night shortly after the twins left for Hogwarts. Still to this day, I remember lying in bed and paying very little attention to what Dad was saying, I was far more fascinated with how his kind eyes softened and brightened in a way I had never seen before.
And it thrilled me. It thrilled me that I could be the reason for that hope in my Dadís eyes. I never thought of myself as particularly special while growing up, it was hard to when I was the smallest of seven and always left out of the more exciting things that my brothers did, but knowing that I was the reason why my Dadís eyes could be so hopeful, so loving, made me feel special.
Itís also the reason why I hate myself for what happened in the Chamber.
I still dream about the Chamber. I hate it, but I do. During the day, I find it difficult to remember even the smallest details of the Chamber but that all changes the dead of the night. The dreams donít come often, but when they do, I wake up with in a fit of sweat and tears. I donít let Harry see me cry very often, but there is something about the darkness of the night that brings about a vulnerability and the dreams always leave me feeling like a scared eleven year old, and not even the warm comfort of Harryís arms around me and his soothing whispers can take away the fear.
The one thing that I can never forgive myself for is just how goddamn stupid I had been. Granted, no girl at age eleven knows the first thing about themselves so it made sense that I would have loved the attention Tom lavished upon me. And Mum is right every time she points out that girls at that age are impressionable and easily manipulated. But, Merlin, if Lily ever managed to get herself into a similar situation, leaving aside all the worry and anguish, I can readily admit that I would want to throttle her for being so foolish.
It was the first time I truly saw my father disappointed me. I had had my fair share of stern reprimands over the years. It was hard not to when I was a clumsy and awkward girl who always acted first and never even thought of thinking about my actions until I was sitting opposite my father with a grave look on his face. But the sheer disappointment in my Dadís eyes was something I had never seen before.
Whatever joy I had felt all those years ago in my small bedroom, listening to the soft tones of my father, vanished with just one look from my father. His eyes, once so full of hope and wonder, had been replaced with nothing but disappointment and sadness. And knowing that I was the cause of that was one of the hardest things to deal with in the aftermath of the Chamber.
Every child faces their parentsí disappointment at some point in their life. And the feeling is up there with guilt and fear as one of the most gut-wrenching things you can possibly ever feel or want to feel. I thought I had seen my Dadís disappointment in my earlier years, but the disappointment he had shown when I had spilt milk all over his work briefcase didnít hold a candle to the disappointment he had shown upon learning that his daughter had all but given her soul to one of the most dangerous wizards to ever live.
It was a few hours after Harry had rescued me from the Chamber. I now look back fondly at the girl who was mortified that the boy she fancied was now her saviour, but waking up in the Hospital Wing with no Harry in sight was one of the very few happy things that happened to me that day. I didnít want to deal with my green-eyed knight, I just wanted to go home and fall asleep in my parentís bed like I had done when I was little.
Mum was nowhere in sight but Dad was standing near my bed, staring off into the distance. Though the light was dim, I couldnít help but marvel at the quiet strength that just radiated from every strand of his being. Lying amongst scratchy sheets, slightly drowsy from the potions that I could only just remember swallowing, I remember thinking that my Dad was the strongest man in the whole world.
I didnít want to interrupt the peaceful setting. I could have lain there and watched my Dad forever, but I wanted acknowledgement from him. A smile, a cuddle, anything to let me know that I was not to blame.
ďDaddy?Ē I asked, my voice small and timid in the air.
He continued to stare and at first I thought he had not heard me so I repeated his name. This time he turned and the second his eyes met mine, I burst into tears. Dadís eyes were quick to soften into fatherly concern as he rushed to my bed and drew me into a hug, but his loving arms were no comfort for the harsh disappointment I had just seen in his eyes.
His eyes have always been soft. Kind. Loving. They have always been representative of that inward beauty in him that I have always admired. But in that split second, I had seen a side of my Dad that I had never seen before. His eyes had cut through me, straight into my heart. They were accusing, they were furious, they were full of hurt. The last thing I had ever wanted to do was to hurt anyone close to me and knowing that I had hurt my Dad, that he had lost faith in the person who had once given him so much hope, just about killed me.
More than letting the memory of a manipulative sixteen year old slowly consume me, more than setting the basilisk loose on innocent people, I had caused something to break between me and Dad. He will never admit to it and if I wish hard enough, I can almost convince myself that I had imagined the look in his eyes, that it was just my mind toying with me after the terrible ordeal I had gone through.
But I will never be fully convinced. I have never been very good at lying to myself and I know, I know that I had caused Dad unimaginable pain.
And I will never forgive myself for that.
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