Chapter 3 : Bill Weasley
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When I was little, I idolised Bill. I didnít really have a rational reason as to why I picked him out of all my brothers but I suppose it may have been because he was the oldest, the one who read me stories at bedtime, the one whose lap I would sit on while opening our Christmas presents, the one who picked me up and carried me into the house that time I fell over and scraped both knees while I was racing Ron to the pond out the back of The Burrow. When I look back on it now, it makes sense that I worshipped him. Charlie was too gruff with me, Percy too stoic. The twins spent more time trying to steal my dolls so they could add more players to their toy Quidditch teams than they did actually playing with me, and I never really thought of Ron has an older brother when I was younger, more someone to play with and steal magic crayons from. Of course, none of those reasons ever entered my head when I was younger, all I can remember is that I absolutely adored Bill. He could do no wrong in my eyes.
He always took care of us, me especially, almost to the point where I think I may have seen him as a second dad or older uncle or male relative. He didnít tease me like my other brothers, and was always careful to make sure that I was well looked after and never neglected.
I was furious with him when he gently took me aside one day and told me he was going to go to Egypt. Uncharacteristic of the way I normally treated him, I stomped on his toes, kicked him in the shins and finally succumbed to furious tears as I begged him to stay. As he grabbed my trembling body to his in a big bear hug, I could remember feeling horrible because of the sadness in his eyes. He had always been a laidback, happy person and I had hated that I was causing him so much pain, but I couldnít help it; I just wanted my big brother to stay with me.
I worked myself up into a frenzy in the weeks following his departure. It probably didnít help that Charlie, the great prat, regaled me with tales about mummies and pharaohs and pyramids. I woke up in the middle of more than one night, shaking and terrified after a nightmare where a twelve-foot tall pharaoh had come to life and taken Bill back to his grave with him.
I never forgave Charlie for telling me those stories.
I begged and pleaded with Bill to take me with him. I donít know how I rationalised it to myself, but I somehow thought that if I was with him, I would be safe. I had it all worked out in my head: I would stay with Bill for a few years, he would come back with me to get ready for Hogwarts, realise how much he missed our family, decide to stay in England and I would be able to see him every Christmas and holiday.
Bill, to the best of his ability tried to calm me down on the day that he left, but I was still being unusually weepy. I couldnít stand the thought of watching him get in the car where Dad sat, waiting to take him to the Ministry so that he could depart from the international apparition point.
ďPlease let me go with you, Bill,Ē I begged as I stood in my hand-me-down pyjamas, watching as he shut the door of the car boot. ďI can fit in your suitcase. Please.Ē
Bill sighed and knelt down so that he was my height. He tugged one of my braided pigtails, trying to get me to smile, and looked at me with guilt in his eyes.
I donít remember what he said next but all I could focus on while he hugged me one last time and slid into the front seat was the overwhelming guilt I had seen in his normally happy and carefree eyes. It wasnít a look I had seen before, and it was not a look I would see for many years to come.
Years passed and I quickly became accustomed to life without Bill. In the first few days after he left, I would sprint to the mailbox in the hope of a letter from my favourite older brother. When his first letter did come, I think I was more excited than I would be years later when my Hogwarts letter came. His letters were always full of stories about his adventures, the people he had met and, the part that always pleased me the most, how much he missed us and couldnít wait for us to visit or him to come back to England.
But over the years, something happened. I still read his many letters with enthusiasm and wrote back eagerly, but I soon had other things in my life that became important and the time where I would wake Bill up every morning by jumping on his bed soon became almost a distant memory. I still missed him, but I didnít miss him with the same heart-wrenching despair that I felt in those first few days when I stared sadly at an empty mailbox. Life took over. I began at Hogwarts, the horrible episode with Tom happened and I soon grew into a slightly awkward but self-assured teenager and, later, a young woman.
When we visited Bill that summer after my first year, he coddled me the same way he had when I was little. And to be honest, I had liked it. After a year of loneliness, confusion and terror, I had welcomed the way he babied me, taking every opportunity to hug me, always making sure my plate was full and that I was always given the most comfortable chair. I could pretend that I was five years old again, that I hadnít made the stupidest mistake of my life and embarrassed myself in front of the boy who I fancied myself in love with, that Bill was back in my life, that the last twelve months never happened.
Over the years, however, I grew up and stopped idolising everything that Bill did. Even if I had wanted to still idolise him and wanted to everything he did, it would have been difficult. He simply wasnít here. Oh, we saw him over the years, during the holidays and at Hogwarts and then when he came over and began to help Fleur with her Ďeen-glishí lessons and he helped with the war, but he didnít take such prominence in my life anymore. Somewhere along the line, I had demoted him to the same level as my other brothers.
The problem was that Bill didnít see it that way. I canít say it was because he was stupid, far from it Ė he had always done exceptionally well in everything he did and I think Percy made it his life goal to beat Bill at everything he did the day that Billís O.W.L. results came in the mail Ė but perhaps he was simply oblivious to the fact that, with time, I had matured and become my own person. Even now, even after I have had three children of my own, I donít think Bill has ever been able to see me as anything other than his Ďbaby sisterí.
The worst was during the final battle. I canít pretend like I knew everything I was doing when I was seventeen, but, Merlin, I had been heading Dumbledoreís Army for an entire year and had already stunned two men twice my size, one right in front of Bill. He had looked at the blond-haired man at my feet in shock and I remember feeling a bit of pride at the awed look on my older brotherís face. I was no longer that eleven-year-old girl who wanted to be coddled, I could handle myself.
That was why I had exploded with fury at his next words.
ďYou want me to go back?Ē I had stared at him with incredulity when he suggested that perhaps I would be safer back in the Room of Requirement. ďYou canít be... you canít be serious! My whole family is-Ē
ďGinny, donít argue with me. Youíre not even of age. Youíre too young,Ē he had said, a stern look on his face. That stern face might have worked when he was ordering me to bed when I was six, but this was ridiculous.
ďIím too young?Ē I shouted. ďI canít believe you... How do you know if Iím too young or not?Ē
Bill had stood there, not saying anything, if at all a little bit scared at my outburst. His silence had enraged me further.
ďWhere were you during my childhood? Huh? You were never there when I needed you, so donít pretend like you can come in here and tell me what to do,Ē I told him, my voice become slightly choked as, to my horror, tears had welled in my eyes. ďYou donít know who I am and you canít decide what I can and canít do. You lost that right when you left for Egypt and never bothered with me.Ē I all but screamed the last part at him.
Bill continued to be silent but his eyes were filled with a familiar guilt, one I had not seen in almost ten years. Not wanting to give him the chance to say anything in defence and no longer being able to stand the sight of his guilt-ridden eyes and knowing I was, once again, the cause of that guilt, I had turned on my heel and run down the corridor, wiping away my tears as I ran.
The next time I had seen him had been in the Great Hall, surrounded by bodies of loved ones. He looked so tired, so old, and I just wanted to run to him and give him a huge hug, one like I hadnít given him since I decided that I was too old for such childish things. I had just been about to apologise to him but Percy had entered the Great Hall in tears and I quickly forgot about what I wanted to say to Bill as I listened to Percy tell us about what had happened with Fred.
The next few seconds were a blur. I remember screaming and falling to the ground but someone caught me before I hit the ground. The embrace was familiar and the familiar scent was all it took for me to cry like I hadnít cried in years in the arms of my oldest brother.
Bill had not left my side for the next little while, his arm around me the whole time, occasionally squeezing my hand as the two of us tried to comprehend what had happened. I remember trying to apologise to him but he was having none of it. He said that what I had said was in the heat of the moment, that we had more important things to worry about and that there was nothing to forgive.
I still sometimes feel guilty about what I said to him. Of all my memories from that horrible night, the look on his eyes as I all but said that I hated him for wanting to pursue a childhood dream of going to Egypt is one that stands out clearly. We have never brought it up again and I know that Bill would still brush off any sort of apology I would offer.
I am glad that he didnít take my words to heart, though. Though the words arenít entirely false, that is the seven-year-old in me talking, the little girl who is still mad at her brother for leaving her behind. The bigger, more mature part of me is glad that he did because if he had not gone to Egypt, he would not be the person that he is today.
He still treats me like a little girl sometimes. He still offers to carry heavy things if he sees me struggling, still offers to hex Harry if he is ever being a git and always checked up on more than anyone else when Harry was out on Auror missions, but I donít hate him for it. Rather, I love him for it. He is still the older brother that took care of me when I just a little girl, small enough to be blown away with a gush of wind, and I know it is just as big a part of him as the three freckles on the very tip of his nose.
And, for that, I am thankful.
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