Disclaimer: J.K Rowling owns everything Harry Potter. I just wish that I could.
A/N: I got the idea for this story after I wrote another story about how Harry, Ron and Hermione were just as close after they left Hogwarts as they were when they were there. It got me thinking as to where Ginny stood and it all eventually led to this. Hope you enjoy :)
It is always her and him.
The twins prank them while they play 'Ground Quidditch', as neither of them are old enough to ride a broom yet. He sulks and she shouts. Percy tells them to be quiet as he has his summer homework to complete and all four of them tell him to shut up.
"Gits," he mumbles while he watches the twins laughing as they head back to the house.
"Still not as bad as you though," she quips before he shoulder barges her and she shoves him back.
They always fought with each other but stood united against the rest.
As the two youngest in a litter of seven, they don't have much choice.
They talk about Quidditch and make up games where they pretend they are Muggles. These games are always just the two of them because the others are too old for such things.
It was always her and him.
When he leaves for school, she asks him to write and he promises he will.
She knows he will forget, but it is the promise that counts.
When he comes back, he talks about trolls and facing real danger and she can't relate.
Most of all he talks about him and her. The boy with the brilliant eyes and the girl with the brilliant mind.
She asks to play the old games but he says he is too old for such things.
"Can't you just play for 10 minutes?" she asks one day, when the weather is particularly nice.
"Leave me alone," he snaps as he writes another letter to his new friend, wishing he will reply this time.
She lets out a huge sigh of relief and goes to join the rest of the family. Three of her older brothers congratulate her but he is as absent as he had been on the train. She scans the table repeatedly for the rest of the feast but he has missed it.
It is as the puddings appear she sees the girl she had met in Diagon Alley and had grown to resent over the summer, looking equally as worried and biting her lower lip.
It happens again.
One minute she is writing in her diary and the next she is in a corridor she doesn't recognise and, by the look of the dark sky outside, several hours has passed.
When she hears about the latest attack, she isn't as shocked as the rest of the students, but she is twice as scared.
"Ron, can I talk to-"
"Can't you see I'm trying to concentrate here?"
He doesn't even look up from the chess board, but the girl he is playing against looks disapproving of his tone.
She knows it will be a long time before she has another chance to talk to her brother without him being there as they are inseparable. There is no way he could ever know what was happening to her, whatever it was. He probably thinks she is stupid and weird without knowing about this.
Tom will listen to her though.
She never cries. Ever. Everyone knows that.
But here she is in front of her parents, brother, Headmaster, Head of House and, worst of all, Him, crying like the silly girl she is.
He tells the adults the story of what he, her brother and their petrified friend have been up to all year and, below all of the fear and shock, she can't help but feel a bit left out of their adventures.
"Mr Potter is talking with the headmaster right now," a visibly upset Professor Flitwick tells the worried group of people it front of him. "I am told he will be moved to the hospital wing shortly."
Her mother nods and says they will wait for him there. After whatever had happened in the maze, he will surly want to see some friendly faces.
Her oldest and youngest brothers nod stiffly. The bushy haired girl sniffs as a few tears silently roll down her face.
"Bill, could you take Ginny back to Gryffindor Tower?"
"Mum! You can't be serious!"
The look she receives is more than enough to make her cower.
"You're too young."
As she follows her brother back to her dormitory, she wonders how many times she will hear those words again before she screams.
Every Monday it happens.
He leaves the common room and returns an hour or so later with a headache and the other two fuss over him but he doesn't push them away.
She wonders where he's going and, one Monday, she asks the two prefects left behind.
"Remedial potions" is the reply she gets, but she doesn't believe it for a second.
She thought with the DA this would change, but once again the three of them are up to something and nobody else can know.
Finally, she was included in one of their adventures. It took a lot of stubbornness, but they let her in for once.
She fought alongside them and therefore could be involved with the hushed conversations in the hospital wing and learn the secrets they kept so well hidden.
Unfortunately only one of them knows the full story and he is pushing the other two away. She feels terrible but she thought that maybe, if she was the one to bring him back, she could slide herself into the triangle.
By summer, however, the miniscule gap in their ranks is closed and once again she is on the outside looking in.
It starts happening again.
They weren't every Monday like they were last year, or nearly as frequent, but these 'appointments' are definitely suspicious and she wonders what he was up to. She knows it can't be Remedial Potions this time, the Half Blood Prince had seen to that.
Trouble in paradise.
She watches as her brother breaks the almost sacred bond he shares with his friends and is furious with him for his hypocrisy.
She gives words of comfort to the heartbroken girl he has left behind, but can't help the guilt that creeps up her spine as she is told her story through the tears.
She laughs with the boy left in the middle, while he desperately tries to keep the three of them connected because he knows he needs them both as much as they need each other.
Before, conversations with him were embarrassing and one-sided, but now it's the time she enjoys the most.
With her brother fighting for his life, his best friend seems to forget that she isn't part of this type of discussion, as he spouts out random theories and possible explanations as to what had happened.
It was so rare that she was involved in the heart of these matters, but she isn't enjoying it.
As the missing link sprints down the corridor and begs through tears and short gasps of breath to be told everything, she wonders how the three of them cope with these things happening so regularly around them.
"I don't know why it took us so long to do this."
"Easy. You're scared of my big brother."
She settles against his chest as they both sit by the lake and part of her wonders if this would grant her the all-access pass she has been craving since she was ten years old.
He's at another 'appointment'. She only knows this because she overheard him telling the other two.
She doesn't miss the lightning fast look they give each before she answers. Most people would have missed the silent communication they share, but she knows them too well.
"Detention with McGonagall," she says, hiding behind her book.
"Handed in his essay late or something," he adds, frowning down at the parchment he is writing on.
They're both terrible liars.
She watches him walk away and wills herself not to break.
He hasn't rejected her, so much as put her back on the shelf.
A few moments later, she sees the three of them by the lake and she knows the other two were getting no such speech.
This is when the rejection hits her.
She sits in the kitchen while her mother keeps herself from worrying by rearranging the cupboards, desperately trying to stop herself looking skyward.
A memory of her trying to swallow her jealousy at being the only Weasley left at the Burrow while the others were at school comes back to her and she nearly laughs.
While the two situations couldn't be more different, she is still filled with the same desire – to be right beside the three of them.
Wand out and alert, she looks around the marquee for his familiar shock of currently ginger hair and finally she sees it trailing a mess of brown curls, as they frantically search for the missing piece to their puzzle.
Eventually, the flaming red joins them and they disappear.
She wonders when she will see them again.
She wonders if she will see them again.
The trip back to Hogwarts feels like the longest ever.
Plans are made. Groups are reformed. Resistance is prepared.
She can't help but chuckle at the realisation that her, Neville and Luna are the new trio at the heart of all this.
They are big shoes to fill and she knows, deep down, they will struggle to do so.
A floo call from Bill and everything is turned on its head.
"They're here and they're safe," he informs them, as her father grips the mantel for support, "but he knows Ron's with Harry now. You've got to get out. Go to Muriel's."
She watches in shock as arrangements are made and Fidelius Charms are cast.
"Bill!" she calls just as he is about to leave. "What happened to them?"
Her oldest brother looks as helpless as she had spent the past nine months feeling.
"They won't tell us."
Isn't it always the way?
Stepping out of the passageway, she sees him for the first time in months and finally allows herself to breath because undeniable proof of his continued existence is right before her eyes.
For a split second he looks at her and the world stops and time itself freezes to observe the moment.
Then he turns back to his friends, his mission and the clock start ticking once more.
She approaches the other two in search of answers, but soon they follow him out of the door.
Left out in the cold again, she reunites herself with what she has dubbed 'the Back-Up Trio'.
"A teenagers gang!" *
Nine months work, the only thing that has kept her sane, summed up and mocked in two words.
She pleads with her parents and finds no support from her brothers, so she finally turns to him.
His words, or lack of, were final and they sting more than anything he has ever done before.
Within minutes, he is asking for the other two because apparently he trusts them enough to leave his sight.
"It'll be all right, Ginny," whispers her mother in a voice so broken she doubts it will ever become whole again. "We'll be all right."
In her head, she disagrees. Fred isn't all right. He never will be.
Across the hall she sees two of them make their way out towards the Entrance Hall, but she knows that the third is there, hidden.
He hasn't spoken to her yet. She is yet to hear the explanations she so craves.
"Where have you been?"
"What have you been doing?"
"How did you come back from the dead?"
She knows she will get her answers one day. She knows the others will get them first.
First night back at the Burrow, she wakes up while the moon is still the only thing illuminating her room.
War has made her a light sleeper.
She looks over and sees the other bed in her room is empty and decides to investigate.
It is no great surprise when she finds her roommate in the first place she looks – fast asleep on the floor of the room her brother and his best friend share, with nothing but a thin blanket and a pillow.
"I just can't sleep without them in the same room," she explains quietly the next morning when asked about it. "I have to know they're okay. You understand?"
She nods, but she doesn't. After all, she has spent nine months sleeping without knowing where they were or if they were alive.
What difference does a couple of floors make in comparison?
It is one of those sunny days where the loss of her brother is present but not eating at her. It's almost like being happy.
She looks out of the kitchen window and sees her youngest brother stood behind his girlfriend out by the pond, his long, still slightly sunburnt, arms wrapped around her waist. He leans forward and kisses the place on her neck that she knows is home to a thin scar, than glows white against her own recently acquired tan.
"How did Hermione get that scar on her neck?" she asks her own boyfriend out loud.
She feels him stiffen next to her and sees his eyes glaze over.
"That's her story to tell."
The same has been said for the scar on her brother's arm.
He has discussed the new scars on his forearm ("a snake bite and the worst Christmas present I've had ever received," he had joked), but the oval shape that marks his chest has yet to be satisfactorily explained.
She hopes one day it will be.
The Daily Prophet ran an article about the now world famous 'Golden Trio' that describes 'The Man who Conquered' and his two best friends in, what they believe, is great depth.
Their likes and dislikes.
Their strengths and weaknesses.
Their story from classroom to battlefield in full, with never before seen photos and anecdotes from those close to them.
"Since when did Zacharias Smith consider us 'close friends who he'd been able to confide in throughout the years'?"
"Since The Prophet started paying top galleon for anything with our names attached to it."
The section on the 'Trio's unique dynamic' is the funniest. The love triangle and constant power struggle had threatened to rip them apart many times. Apparently.
They all laugh at the inaccuracies and the omissions together, but she somehow still feels left out of the joke.
Normality has almost returned to Hogwarts. Gone are the lessons in torture, sadistic professors and the desperate need to fight. Back is the homework, Quidditch training and laughter in the hallways.
Gone are her boyfriend and brother. Back is the newly appointed Head Girl, who sits next to her as the owl post arrives one morning.
No longer is it those three and her, but the boys and the girls.
The boys are completing auror training and living at Grimmauld Place, where they promised the Head Girl they weren't becoming dependent on the house elf.
The girls are completing their qualifications and living at the rebuilt castle, where they promised the older of them isn't working too hard and the younger one isn't procrastinating too much.
"Hermione?" she inquires hesitantly, watching her friend's eyes grow wider as they race across the parchment in her hands.
"I… I think Ron just asked me to move in with him," she replies weakly. "And Harry, of course."
Both of them are too shocked to speak until the hyperactive owl that delivered the letter knocks over the milk jug.
"What are you going to say?"
The shy but pleased grin lighting up Head Girls face says it all. She is going to re-join her original side.
Sitting at the kitchen table in the house the three of them now live in, she watches as they all make each other's breakfast without speaking a word or making eye contact.
One makes toast in three different ways, adding jam to two of them and leaving only butter on the third.
Another makes a bowl of porridge, fries bacon and adds excessive amounts of milk to a bowl of cereal.
The other pours a glass of pumpkin juice, makes a strong coffee and prepares a milky tea with three sugars.
"What?" they say in unison, as she fails to hold back the giggles.
Gathered in the family sitting room, her brother stands up in front of the majority of the family and announces, through a glowing smile, that he is now engaged to the witch of his dreams, who has an equal look of delight written across her face.
Immediately the room is filled with cheers and a few tears.
Shocked and grinning, she turns to gage her boyfriend's reaction to find he doesn't look surprised in the slightest.
"They told me last week, but they wanted me to keep it to myself so they could tell the family themselves," he explains later on as they arrive back at the flat they live in.
Really, she thought she'd be past this by now, but apparently not.
The all too familiar hurt stings again.
A journalist with Quidditch Today asks her what it is like to marry into the Golden Trio, like they're their own separate family. Doesn't it matter that she is already related to one of them by blood and another by marriage?
It is then she realises that no, it doesn't. What the three of them share is deeper than genetics and binding ceremonies. She was foolish to think she could ever really be a part of it.
A raid gone wrong.
An informant withholding information.
A team of aurors sent in woefully outnumbered.
An explosion and another Weasley caught in the firing line of the debris.
They had been naïve to think that they could go seven years in the job without something like this happening to one of them.
She watches as her brother's wife stares blankly at him in the hospital bed. He is out of the danger zone, but still hasn't woken up and visiting hours are now over. It is only when she is asked to leave, that she tears her eyes away from her husband.
"But- I-I couldn't possibly-" her sister-in-law stammers, tears starting to flood her eyes once more.
Her own husband looks her in the eye and holds out his hand. This gesture alone calms her. She bends down to kiss the patient on the mouth, whispers something the rest of the room can't hear before taking his hand and leaving without further complaint.
It is not discussed but she is staying at their house. Her sister-in-law can't be alone tonight and her husband needs her.
It's how they've always coped.
The three of them sit in silence around the kitchen table. Little James is staying at Neville's for the night so all they have to distract themselves are their thoughts.
She can't help but notice the way the usually alert woman sat across from her looks completely lost and keeps holding her hand over her stomach.
Her husband catches her eye and comprehension washes over the two of you.
They continue sitting in silence, that synthetic hospital smell still clinging to their robes.
She can hear her crying in the spare room next door. After five minutes of this, her husband plants a kiss on her temple before quietly getting out of bed and going to comfort his best friend.
Some would see this as an insult, after all it is her brother in hospital, but he knows that she is strong and she knows that her sister-in-law needs him more right now than she does.
She loves him more for understanding her need for space and independence than if he had tried to get her to talk her way through it.
The next morning, she awakes to find herself alone in bed. She quietly pads to the next bedroom down the hall and pokes her head around the door.
Her husband is awake in bed with her sister-in-law's head resting in the crook of his shoulder and her hand curled up into a fist on his chest.
On paper this looks bad.
Witch Weekly would pay thousands for a picture of this scene.
Chosen One caught in bed with best friend's wife.
In reality, it is totally different.
He sees her watching him and gives her a small smile that she returns.
For any other couple, it would be disastrous. To be fair, if it had been any other woman in that bed it would've resulted in much hexing and more than enough swearing, but it isn't. There is no suspicion or jealousy because the woman next to him is his sister in every way but blood.
"She's not long fallen asleep," he whispers, as he gently pushes her hair out of his face.
They both watch as the sleeping woman stirs and her forehead creases in worry.
She sighs as she leaves them in bed and goes to make a cup of tea.
She may have his name. She may have had his child. She may have his heart. But she will never have the bond they have and she has long since stopped being envious of it.
They are her best friend, her brother and the love of her life and they mean the world to each other.
She could never be one of them, but she is as close to them as anybody ever could be and she means the world to them.
That was fine with her.
*Line from Deathly Hallows, Chapter 31