Ginny Weasley had always believed that she was a coward for not fighting the Sorting Hat placing her into Gryffindor. She felt that her first instinct toward self preservation was utter cowardice, and that she had to pretend to be a selfless lioness to stay in keeping with the expectations of others.
Her family didn't understand why she gravitated toward green and silver after graduation. At first her mother tried to say it was merely to offset the color of her hair and her fair complexion. Her brothers thought she was simply trying to wind up her parents, to distract from the losses that her family had suffered.
"This is who I am," she told them. "I was in the wrong house the entire time I was at school."
It was almost insulting to see them invalidate her feelings and point out all of her prior actions during the war, how amazing she had been at Quidditch or her classes. They didn't seem to understand that personal glory had been the driving interest in honing her skills, not bravery for bravery's sake. She wasn't interested in their rationalizations. It was enough that she knew the truth of it.
Things came to a head while visiting George at the shop one day. She was talking while helping him stock goods in the back, and neither heard the two men enter the shop and start stunning all of the patrons present. As soon as George went into the main area from the back room, he was stunned as well. The thieves tried to get into the cash box to seal the money there, shouting at each other all the while when it wouldn't open.
Ginny carefully crept out of the stockroom, keeping low to the ground. It was the coward's way out, but she wasn't about to simply barge in and become stunned herself. Once the thieves' backs were turned and they were occupied with stealing from their stunned victims, Ginny moved. She fired off hex after hex, one after the other without giving them a chance to act. They were frozen in place, tied and marked for Aurors to process within minutes, and then she set about freeing everyone in the store. She couldn't accept the comments about how brave she was, not even from George. "Anyone would've done what I did," she kept repeating, holding onto the green and silver robes she was wearing. It was a lie, just as her entire life to this point had been a lie.
"You think it's cowardly to wait for an opportune moment, don't you?" George asked her afterward, voice soft in the empty store.
"Isn't it? Gryffindors are supposed to charge in ahead and get the job done. What do I do? Wait and watch them stun you and steal from everyone."
"What's more cowardly? Waiting until you can act or turning around and running away."
"Running away," Ginny said instantly, looking at her brother as if he was stupid. "Everyone knows that."
"Yes, it is. And you didn't run away, Ginny. You stayed and fought them."
"It wasn't really a fight."
George waved off the clarification. "You still stayed to help. You didn't run away without looking back."
"That wouldn't be right. I couldn't just leave them to rob the store."
He nodded and took one of her hands in his. "It's not cowardice, Gin. It's being smart. Just because you don't rush headlong into things doesn't mean you're a coward. It means you're smarter than the lot of us." He grinned at his sister and then pulled her into a hug. "You're still brave, sister mine. You're still everything we thought you were."
"And what's that?"
"A Weasley," George replied with a grin. "And a true Gryffindor, not to worry."
Ginny smiled back and nodded. She might not have been comfortable with his definition, but it still made a certain kind of sense. Self preservation didn't preclude fighting for what was right, even if she made sure to stack the fight in her favor. She would defend friends and family with whatever she could reasonably do, and especially if she could be sneaky about it.
She could accept that she had some Gryffindor traits after all, though she still strongly identified with Slytherin. Ginny didn't envy the Sorting Hat and the decisions it had to make for hundreds of children. It couldn't put her in both houses after all.