Flowers in a Time of War
It was 1997. The war had been raging for months now – not all-out battles with declarations of intent and enmity, but a quiet war, fought fiercely in relative secrecy as the Ministry of Magic did its best to cover up any evidence of the Resistance.
Far more demoralising than the skirmishes were the disappearances. Nobody could ever be sure whether the disappeared were dead or still alive, captive somewhere.
Take Luna for example. She had been snatches off the Hogwarts Express as she had been going home for Christmas. She could be dead, but Ginny didn’t think she was. Luna was more useful to the Death Eaters as a tool to keep her father in line.
Ever since Luna’s disappearance, Xenophilius Lovegood had given up the revolutionary writing in favour of Harry and against the ministry and was instead publishing whatever he thought might make the Death Eaters give him back his daughter.
No, on balance, Ginny didn’t think that her friend was dead. But that didn’t mean she wasn’t being tortured. She had been one of the leaders of Dumbledore’s Army after all. Ginny knew she was tough, but the thought of ethereal Luna in that situation plagued her every waking moment and haunted her nightmares every time she closed her eyes and went to sleep.
Of course she knew that there were countless others who had lost loved ones to Voldemort’s Death Eaters, but they didn’t seem quite as real as Luna to Ginny, trapped as she was in the monotone safety of Aunt Muriel’s house.
Ginny paced the house like a caged tiger, brooding on her dark thoughts, chafing to do something, anything. The inaction was slowly wearing her down, discouraging her more and more.
She would much rather be at Hogwarts, leading the DA together with Neville, revolting against Snape and the Carrows... Or working with Fred, George and the others on Potterwatch... Or fighting in the Order along with Bill.
Anything to make herself feel that she was doing something useful and was not just a burden coddled by her mother, forced to stay out of the fight.
Ginny also, although she wasn’t quite willing to admit it, wanted to find something to do that would distract her from thinking about Harry. She was worried about him. She hadn’t seen him (or Ron and Hermione) since the wedding. She was worried sick about them.
Ginny fiercely believed that Harry was still alive, that he was still free. If Voldemort had actually caught his greatest enemy, he would have wanted the whole Wizarding World to know.
And yet, nobody had seen him since August, since the day of Bill and Fleur’s wedding. She thought back to that last summer. Despite the looming threat of Voldemort, they had been blissfully happy.
She remembered when she had kissed him on his birthday... Trust Ron to come barging in in typical big-brother fashion and ruin their good-bye kiss. She scowled at the frustrating memory.
Suddenly, there was a loud noise, jolting her out of her reverie. She was immediately on the alert and drew her wand, scanning her surroundings for potential threats.
She relaxed as she saw that it was just Fred and George, banging the door on their way into the house.
Ginny saw that they both sported huge grins and that Fred was hiding something behind his back. Immediately she was wary: a lifetime of being pranked by the twins would make anyone cautious.
“Our most dearest and beloved sister,” said George.
“Oh inestimable Ginny,” Fred continued, “It has come to our attention that we have committed a most grievous oversight.”
“And what is that?” asked Ginny warily.
“Well, you remember when Ron became a prefect,” started one,
“and mum said that that was everyone in the family.” continued the other,
“It has come to our attention”
“that not only are we not prefects,”
“you aren’t, either!”
“And to think we never celebrated that glorious fact...”
“Congratulations, Ginny!” they finished in unison.
Fred pulled out a huge, colourful, slightly dishevelled bouquet from behind his back.
“We picked them from Auntie Muriel’s garden,” George explained. “Do you think she will appreciate our horticultural improvements?”
Ginny burst into laughter. Trust Fred and George to cheer her up even in times like this.
“You know, somehow I don’t think she will,” she told them. Then she added, in a conspiratorial whisper, “But I will certainly appreciate her reaction.”
Fred again presented the flowers to her and Ginny took them, needing both hands to wrap around the many stems.
As she did so, she was shocked.
Not shocked by her brothers’ actions or words, but literally electrically shocked.
She could feel her hair stand on end as the charge ran through her. Immediately she dropped the flowers.
“You gits!” she shouted. “What did you do?”
The twins were holding on to each other, they were laughing so hard.
“What was that?” she asked. “Did someone teach you that charm or jinx or whatever it was? Because I’m going to murder them, right after I murder you!”
Fred and George were still laughing.
“It’s not a jinx,” they told her, “it’s a Muggle toy.”
“You know we’ve been broadcasting Potterwatch from all over the place. Well, we were passing through this Muggle town, and there it was: a joke shop.” George said.
“And most of the Muggle jokes are rubbish, sadly,” Fred went on, “but we found this little gem and just knew we had to get it for our most favouritest little sister.“
“I am really so very grateful” said Ginny sarcastically. “I don’t know what I would do without brothers who shock me.”
“Oh no,” explained Fred. “It’s for you to keep. That was just a little demonstration of the mechanism. You need more fun in your life, stuck here with only Muriel for company.”
“And just think,” added George, “you can use it on a certain Boy Who Lived when he gets back. That will teach him not to go running off again. I bet you can get him to fall for it more than twice. He just isn’t prepared for your deviousness; you’re too good at the innocent act.”
The thought made Ginny feel much more hopeful. The twins obviously believed that Harry would be coming back, and that the world would be in a state in which she could prank him free of cares.
She freed the buzzer from the stems of the flowers and slid it onto her middle finger so that it rested on her palm.
A smile slowly spread across her features. This was going to be fun.
Just then, an enraged shriek could be heard from the direction of the garden.
Fred, George and Ginny started laughing.