Ginny listened as Draco Malfoy walked across the ward with her brother. George, her brother, had come to see her for the first time in so very long. It was a sad day, anniversary of the war - of Fred's death - and the mood in the ward had been sombre even with the most cheerful healers.
She could feel George's uncertainty, his fear, his hope, his overwhelming hope. All of it there and mingled, and she didn't know if she could feel him so clearly because he was her brother, or just because his emotions weren't so muddled with potions and spells like the patients were. Both, maybe? Did it even matter? He was there, here, the first time in years, and he had come to see her.
Her happiness didn't show on her face, and she'd been so distracted by her brother's feelings that she hadn't seen the healer before her, until she'd felt the brush in her hair.
No, no, no, no! Her hair! Her body, her being, her limbs, her skin. It was hers! She needed it back! Give it back! Not allowed to take it! Hair, skin, nails, tears, any and all of it could be used in spells, in potions, take away her control over her body! Her hair, the long strand there on the brush! It was hers, hers, hers, hers!
She screamed her fear, hatred, disgust, every emotion, and she could already feel herself slipping away with whatever they were going to use her hair for.
Her eyes were focused solely on the brush, and she didn't even notice when Draco stepped inside. She did notice when the brush was going to be put away, and her scream increased. Suddenly, the brush was being held out to her. Looking up, she finally noticed Draco. Wary at this sudden change, she snatched the brush away before he could change his mind.
Her hair, her hair, her precious hair. It was all precious, every strand, every piece of skin, every fluid, every nail. All of it could be taken and used against her. It was hers, hers, hers.
Clutching the hair to her, she dropped the brush to the side of her, instead of on the floor or across the room. It was her way of thanks without words. Draco seemed to understand, giving her a nod before leaving.
There was some talking, but Ginny was busy hiding her hair away, away where no one would ever find it. Satisfied that it was hidden, she turned to see George, her brother George, dropping hundreds of tiny lollies and packets into a box that Draco was holding out. Then the door was semi-closed, and George was sitting on... a large hat? And they thought she was insane!
Bells jingled, as if agreeing with her, and Ginny giggled. A small noise, that both seemed to startle and surprise her brother. He grinned suddenly, moving more, the bells tinkling and jingling louder. They drowned out the noise, drowned out the sadness, the fear, every negative emotion in her brother, and she giggled some more when she felt his happiness increase. She hadn't been this happy since... oh, who cared? She was happy now, whether it was her own feelings, or her brother's, it didn't matter.
Then George, wonderful, brilliant, bright, loving George, started laughing. Ginny had to hug herself tightly at the love and happiness and everything he felt, her own giggles continuing with the sound of the bells.
So, it continued. Every time George came to visit, Draco left the brush on her dresser, and gave her five minutes alone. Ginny brushed her hair as best she could - even with the anti-knot spells on the brush, it was still difficult - taking out strand after strand and hiding them away before putting the brush back carefully. She put it back exactly where it had been placed, sat exactly where she had when Draco had entered, and pretended that nothing had happened. It was a game, but she always lost. Every time Draco nodded, knowing that she'd used the brush on seeing that her hair was becoming flatter and less-tangled.
And George, loving George, brought his jester-hat chair into her tiny room every time he visited, the bells and their laughter mingling together. He always made her feel better, even on one of her "bad days", as healers whispered when she screamed and screamed and yelled and screamed for hours.
He even brought her some new clothes to wear. Well, they weren't new, but they were better than the small and ill-fitting clothes she had. She didn't stop wearing the large Irish Quidditch team's shirt for a whole week.
As the time went by, Ginny found that George let her look into his eyes more and more often. He always looked away first, but it was long enough for her to see how his life was progressing, how her family were, all of the minutes, hours, the spells, the potions, the joke shop, all of his guilt, happiness, sadness, love - no matter what, there was always love; George was the most loving person she'd ever seen. If she had the ability to do so, she would have hugged him, taken away his guilt, shredding his sadness until it was so small he didn't even notice it. But even her brother, her loving brother, couldn't touch her, and she couldn't touch him, and so she smiled and giggled more and more to keep him happy.
In the common area, she stole paints and a piece of parchment when no one was looking. Then, late at night, when she was alone, and couldn't sleep, she painted a picture for her brother. A picture's worth a thousand words, but not one was written on it. It wasn't even a picture, really. Just an abundance colours, covering every inch of the parchment. Every colour a feeling, a memory, a piece of happiness and love, all of it swirling together in a colourful mess. Every morning, she woke up with paint on her fingers - never red, she hated the red on her fingers, even less in paint, could barely stand seeing her own hair for very long - the paint brush lying on the floor, and the colourful parchment nearby.
She'd decided to give it to him when the time was right, not just willy-nilly. It wouldn't be appreciated as much, just thought of as a mess, but if the time was right - and the timing was ever so important - then George, loving George, he would see and more importantly, even more important than the timing, he would understand.
George arrived later than usual one weekend, and Ginny had been screaming for almost an hour now, her worry and fear combining. Not even Draco could calm her down. The moment George arrived, the greeting healer all but ran him down to Ginny's room. Her screams died the moment George stepped inside, and she sat on her bed, trembling in relief. Her legs up to her chest, her arms wrapped around her knees as she stared at her brother, trying to determine if he was real, or just an illusion the healers had created to keep her quiet, calm her down, make the noise just stop.
She stared at him, her eyes rimmed red from her tears. She hurried to dry them - her precious tears, her body, her hair -and returned to look at him. Satisfied that it was actually George, she saw why he was late. Her parents. Her parents who had put her in a cell, locked her away in the white tower with no knight to save her, no one to stop the monster inside from taking the princess on the outside. George had gone to see his parents to get them to at least see Ginny. They'd refused to even listen to him, and they'd argued, loudly, too loud, the noise, the hurt, the pain, the disappointment, and still, the love. He loved them, and was hurt even more because of that love. They refused to talk about her, she was always in their minds, but pushed to the very back, their own failures as parents rising when they thought or talked about her. Ginny was hurt, a small sob escaping, but she hadn't seen her parents in so long that it didn't hurt for very long.
She pushed away the hurt, watching as George was left alone with her. Waiting until they were gone and no healers were standing at the door, Ginny scrambled back to reach behind her bed. She pulled out the parchment slowly, looking over to the door to make sure. When she was completely certain, she dropped the picture, the paint-covered parchment, the emotions, the love (no red, not a drop of red to be seen), in front of George. She offered him a tiny, tiny, minuscule, microscopic, even smaller than small smile when he looked at her.
He picked up the parchment, looking at the colours everywhere. He hadn't conjured his seat yet, and so he moved to the bed to sit down. Ginny, eyes wide, moved as far away as possible, all the way up to the top of the bed, but he didn't notice. As he stared at her picture, looked and began to understand, Ginny saw that the healers hadn't taken his wand.
His wand! Oh, to feel the magic, to make the magic flow through her again. To feel the rush of magic and rightness and everything in her body again. Her eyes glanced at him, seeing he was still distracted, and she snatched the wand from his pocket quickly.
She didn't do a spell, just held it, as if it were a long lost friend. She looked at the wood, stroking it softly, her hand, arm, body, mind, every part of her thrumming with remembrance. The magic flowed to her, through her, filling her, every part of it. Then the pain started.
It was too much, too much, there was too much of the magic, it wasn't rightness anymore, and then her mind started to whisper. Her mind whispered, excited about the magic, about the power, the remembrance, the magic, the everything. She couldn't control it, had no way of controlling it, didn't know the spells, the words, the anything to control it. She dropped the wand as fast as she had taken it, but her hand, her body, her entire being, all of it still had that uncontrollable magic in her. With a small scream, she ran from the room.
End of the fourth chapter.
Thank you for reading!