Summary: A time travel snippet I wrote years ago. Ginny writes a letter…

Rating: K

Disclaimer: None of this is mine.

James was grinning from ear to ear. His attention was completely captivated by the whirring object in front of him: his favorite toy, a Golden Snitch, which at present was hovering inches from his face. The impossibly fast pattern or motion had him hypnotized, so that nothing could distract him, not even the antics of his friends, Sirius and Remus, only meters away from where he sat.

"Oi! What's up, Ginny?" he heard Sirius call.

James's attention was momentarily captured by a blur of red. He snatched the Snitch out of thin air, pausing only to grin to himself at his skill. Even though he was actually a chaser, he still felt powerful every time he closed his fingers around the winged ball. Nothing could stop him.

But right now, something in Sirius's tone, and the way Ginny - the transfer student the Marauders had recently befriended - had come streaking into the room, had caught his attention.

Now that he was looking at her, James found he had cause to forget the Snitch altogether. Ginny was panting slightly, one hand resting on her knee to support the upper half of her body. Her eyes were locked on Remus, who had risen half out of his chair in concern.

"Ginny?" James frowned. "What's wrong?"

She shook her head frantically, then drew a deep breath before straightening and turning to look at him. She shook her head again. "Can't. No time."

"What do you mean?: asked Sirius, moving to stand closer to her. James stood as well. Something was definitely not right.

"I have to go," Ginny answered Sirius. She glanced back at James. Her expression scared him. Her face was set, determined, but she also looked as if she was about to cry.

"Now?" Sirius was asking. "Why? Detention? Blow it off."

It wasn't detention. James knew that even before Ginny shook her head a third time.

"It's not detention. I don't have time to explain. I really have to go. I just-"

But Sirius cut her off. "Well, we can talk about it when you get back."

"No."

The finality of the word, and the tone in which she said it, left them momentarily stunned. Before James could even think to understand her odd behavior, Ginny had returned her attention to Remus. The determination was back. Whatever it was she was going to do, she was set in it.

"I won't be back," she stated firmly, addressing them all but still staring fixedly at Remus. "Don't look for me. Don't wait for me." She seemed to hesitate a moment, then she took two steps forward, seized Remus's hand, and shoved a handful of crumpled parchment into it. "If you read this," she said, still holding his gaze as if all their lives depended on it, "I have no idea what will happen. The consequences could be unbelievable. But," she paused to breathe deeply, "I can't just do nothing. I will never forgive myself if I don't at least try. So do whatever you want with this letter. Burn it or shred it or forget about it. Or read it. But know you do so at great risk. I don't know what will happen." Her voice shook on the last sentence.

She stepped away, giving them all one last look. "Goodbye," she said, quietly and with conviction, and then she turned and was gone.

The three friends watched the portrait door wing shut after her, then looked at each other, flabbergasted.

"What...?" James began, but ended up wavering off into nothing.

Sirius looked at Remus. "You gonna open it?"

Remus turned the parchment over in his hands. "I don't know if I should. She made it sound like it was a bad idea."

"What could possibly be in that letter that could do any harm?" James asked, quirking an eyebrow at the offending object warily.

"She said she couldn't just do nothing..." Sirius mused. "Maybe not opening it is worse. Mate, I'd do it."

"Why?" Remus asked, his voice indicating he expected a serious answer.

"Because you can't call yourself a Marauder and deny your curiosity like that."

James grinned. "He's right, Moony. Besides, it's just us here, no one else will know."

The common room was, at that point, quite empty, James, Sirius, Remus, and Ginny being a few of the only students who'd opted to remain at Hogwarts for the Christmas holidays. Even Peter had gone home.

Carefully, Remus ran his thumb through the sealed fold of the parchment. As he opened it, the three of them took seats. Remus didn't read it aloud at once. Instead, James and Sirius watched his reaction with interest and, eventually, alarm. Remus's eyes widened in astonishment almost at the first, but then his face turned very pale, then red with anger, and then pale again. His eyes, usually the calmest of their little band, were now obviously frightened, and looked to be a bit wet. Upon coming to the end of the last page, he looked up at them.

They waited.

Remus opened his mouth to speak, but nothing came out.

He looked down at the page again, as though hoping it would give him support. He took a long breath, as Ginny had done not ten minutes before, and then began to read aloud:

Dear Remus,

I'm afraid when the time comes I'll have to leave very quickly, and without any time for explanations or goodbyes, so I'm taking the time now to write this letter. I don't know if I'll actually give it to you. I don't know if I should. But at least this way, when the time comes, I'll have the option.

I'm leaving this entirely in your hands, but if you decide to tell Sirius and James as well, that's fine. Just understand that if you continue to read you will be changing everything, and I can't guarantee it'll be for the better.

But enough warnings. I'm sick of them. We're Gryffindors, aren't we? We're supposed to be courageous. So I'm bravely doing exactly what I was told over and over again not to do. I already know how things turn out without the letter, and it's hard for me to believe they could get any worse with it.

So, my story. My real name is Ginny Weasley. I was born in the year 1981, and I'm the youngest child and only daughter of Arthur and Molly Weasley, whom you may have heard of.

Yes, that's right. I said 1981. I've come back in time on a mission for the Order of the Phoenix, the secret society Dumbledore formed to fight You-Know-Who.

The year I was born was a very important one. Every person in the wizarding world knows the date October 31st, 1981, because it was the night You-Who-Who was finally beaten, and the first war ended.

It was also the night Lily and James Potter were killed...

Remus voice broke, and there was a stunned silence following. Then he cleared his throat and went bravely on. For they three knew, without discussion, that there would be no going back.