"You should continue your education," said Ginny's father over breakfast the next day. "You don't want to fall behind in your studies."
"Who'll teach me?" Ginny took a bite of egg and raised her eyebrows at her father.
"I'm happy to," said Aunt Muriel. Ginny stifled a grimace. "I earned 7 NEWTs, and got wonderful marks in history, you know. Young people just don't try as hard anymore."
"I'm sure they don't," said Arthur, before winking at Ginny.
"It's settled then," said Muriel, pursing her lips. "I'll teach History, and Astronomy, and -"
"And I'll teach Charms and Defense," interrupted Arthur. "That's all you need, really. No use for anything else for the time being. Is that all okay with you, Molly?"
"It sounds like a good plan," said Molly, buttering her toast.
"Learning to cook would also be a good plan," said Aunt Muriel, pointing her fork at Ginny. "Young ladies were brilliant cooks in my day. Could cook anything they turned their minds to. What can you cook?"
"Umm ... Scrambled eggs? Toast?"
"I suppose it's because you don't have to do any cooking at that school of yours, do you," said Muriel loudly. "All the House Elves do it for you. Well, it's handy, but it means you miss out on a skill that you'll likely miss when you get married."
"When I get married?"
"Now Ginny," said her mother, correctly recognising the mischievous twitch around Ginny's mouth. "You can't cook well, and it's been something I've been meaning to teach you, so you might as well learn."
Ginny took a sip of tea from one of her aunt's pink porcelain teacups. "I'd rather learn to apparate, to be honest."
"And you shall," said her father, interrupting Muriel mid-gasp. "It's an important skill to have, and you'll probably need it."
"Very well," sniffed Aunt Muriel, shaking her head. "But nothing good will come of it, I promise you. But I suppose as long as you know how to embroider, it doesn't really matter whether you can apparate or not."
"You can't embroider? We will start straight after breakfast!" cried Aunt Muriel.
Ginny groaned and drained her tea in one big gulp.
"Small sips, Ginevra, small sips!" cried Muriel. "What will your husband think!"
"I don't particularly care!" said Ginny offhandedly, which received a great gasp from her aunt and a sigh from her mother.
Fred and George were visiting for the day, needing somewhere to stay after their other headquarters had been found. Ginny showed them how she could apparate all around the garden, thanks to her father's painstaking teaching.
"Good job Gin!" laughed Fred.
"Next thing you know you'll be married and have five kids!"
"As long as you name one after me, I don't mind." Fred patted Ginny on the head condescendingly, even though she was only three inches shorter than him.
"Don't you start talking about marriage," grumbled Ginny. "It's all I've been hearing from Muriel for the past week."
"Hey, you don't have to get married."
"Not unless you want to be lonely forever," winked Fred.
"As long as you invite us to the wedding!"
"And have a big table of food." Fred patted his sister on the back. "But if you don't get married - at least you'll get to come to mine."
"And who will you be getting married to?" returned Ginny, slipping her arm into Fred's.
"I don't know yet," said Fred. "Not until this blasted war is over, anyway."
"I suppose I'll never get married," said Ginny, and she sighed.
"Nonsense," said George, and took hold of her other arm. "Harry will defeat You-Know-Who soon, and then we'll be all fine! And you can get back together again."
"And I'll design the wedding invitations," said Fred. "bright red with green spots, I think!"
Ginny smiled a little, then laughed. "I'll design my own wedding invitations, thank you very much!"
"We'll see about that," said George, and both of them nodded to each other and lifted Ginny off the ground between them. She shrieked, and Fred laughed so hard he dropped her.
And the three of them lay on the grass, laughing at themselves and at the Dark Lord and at homemade wedding invitations, and at the general stupidity of life.
The sunset is golden.
Night falls -
And I am ready.
It's going to be a long night.
Ginny pushed through the door with her brothers, Lee, and Cho Chang. The Room was larger than she'd remembered, filled with hammocks and targets and bookshelves - and the D.A.
And there was Ron - and Hermione - and Harry! And Harry was turning, and saying hello, and Neville was hugging her, and Ron was hugging her, and Hermione was hugging her, and Luna was hugging her, and Harry -
He was looking at her, and gave a smile.
Then he turned back to the crowd.
Ginny was too confused to say anything, but her brothers were saying how they'd come to help fight.
"I need to get to the Ravenclaw Common Room," said Harry.
"I'll take you," said Cho, leaping out of nowhere.
Everything swirled up in Ginny, and she cried "No!"
Cho glared at her, but Ginny ignored it. "Luna can take you," she suggested. "Is that okay, Luna?"
"I'd love to," said Luna simply, and held out her hand. "Come on Harry."
Harry smiled at Luna, and then at Ginny, and left the Room.
The D.A. looked at each other.
"What now?" said someone.
"We get ready," said Neville, his fists tight. "And then we fight."
A cheer rose up, and Ginny whispered - "And we will win."
No more tears.
Ginny stalked the room, seething internally. She hated how she couldn't fight! She wanted to fight; she had to fight!
Tonks and Neville's grandmother were sitting in the corner, bandaging a cut on Tonks' arm. Tonks was bouncing up and down, muttering to herself, clearly desperate to fight.
They probably wouldn't notice if she left.
Ginny's hand found its way towards the Door, and she hesitated for a moment - then touched the doorknob ...
And jumped back as it opened all by itself.
On the other side were Harry, Ron, and Hermione.
"I need you to leave," said Harry. "I have to use the Room for something." His hair was wild and his glasses were crooked, and Ginny brushed his shoulder as she left the room behind Tonks and Neville's grandmother.
"Ginny - come back here, won't you?" said Harry weakly, as Ron shut the door.
"I will," lied Ginny. She gave Harry a dry smile.
Harry shook his head at her, then squeezed her hand. Butterflies flew up Ginny's spine. She bit her lip.
Harry looked like he was going to say something, but then he shook his head and let go of her hand. "Come on!" Ron was crying. "What about the House elves?"
"Ginny, come on," Tonks was saying. "I need you to go to the Potions Classroom and grab me some Dittany for wounds, as much as you can find. I'll be in the Hall, bring it to me, okay? And then it's straight back to the Room."
Ginny nodded, and then began sprinting down the corridors.
Let's kill some death eater, she thought, pushing her legs faster and faster, further and further towards the Potions Classroom.
Let's do this.
This chapter was written listening to the Lala Land soundtrack, which you should all watch if you haven't already!
As always thanks for reading, and I'm sorry this was a little shorter – things'll pick up next chapter!