Ginny smiled at me and took the hand I offered her, rising gracefully from her seat. As I led her out to the dance floor, I thought again of how lucky I was to have her as a friend. Not because she’s beautiful (although she is, of course), but because of who she is.
It all started in my second year at Hogwarts. Harry, Ron and I had shared a dorm the previous year, so I’d heard all about Ginny from Ron. Of course, he talked about her like big brothers tend to do; there was a lot of teasing about her feelings for Harry during that year. I’ll admit that it was hard to miss. She was painfully obvious in the way that eleven year-olds are. I knew there was more to her than that, though; I had introduced myself to her in the Common Room after the Welcoming Feast and Sorting, wanting to welcome her into Gryffindor. I remembered how nervous I’d been, meeting my housemates for the first time, so I wanted to make her feel more at home. Of course, she did have four brothers there at the time, so it probably wasn’t necessary, but I did it anyway. The fact that I wanted her to feel welcome might have had a little something to do with the fact that I thought her cute. But only a little.
That was the year that… Well. She doesn’t really like to talk about that, even now. Can’t say that I blame her, really.
In my third year, she came to my compartment on the Hogwarts Express after Ron, Harry and Hermione had told her to leave theirs. She was…well, let’s just say that I could tell her feelings had been hurt and leave it at that. That trip brought us closer for many reasons, not the least of which was the rather severe reaction both of us--and Harry, of course--had when faced with a dementor. I reckon all three of us have some horrifying things in our past.
The next year was my fourth year, her third. Big things happened that year. The Quidditch World Cup, which she told me all about once she learned that Gran hadn’t allowed me to go. The TriWizard Tournament, which should have been renamed the QuadWizard Tournament if they’d wanted to keep it accurate, and the accompanying Yule Ball. Voldemort’s rebirth...but we won’t get into that right now.
The Yule Ball is where I started to learn what a beautiful person Ginny really is.
You should have seen all the girls when they heard about that ball. I’ve never seen such excitement in my life. Even Hermione and Ginny, who don’t normally get caught up in being girlie, were all aflutter. It was amazing.
I have to laugh about it now. I always thought that Harry was so brave--and you’ll get no argument from me; he is one of the bravest men I know--but his bravery at the time apparently didn’t extend to girls. Who would have thought that the prospect of asking a girl to a dance could send Harry Potter, Boy-Who-Faced-Down-Voldemort-And-Lived-To-Tell-About-It, into a panic?
Harry was…how shall I put this? Erm...not at all enthusiastic about finding an escort to the Yule Ball? Yeah, I think that’s appropriate. Of course, at the time, Harry was fourteen, a wee bit thick, and ‘inlove’ with Cho Chang. I don’t blame him at all for dragging his feet in trying to get a date, especially after Cho turned him down. It really was amazing that he finally screwed up the courage to ask Parvati to the ball. It’s funny, really. Ginny had a lot to do with that, in a roundabout way, because she’d already agreed to go with me.
Oh, don’t worry. I have no illusions about the whole thing. I know that I…we…were not each other’s first choice for escort to the ball. Ginny and I, that is. I had asked Hermione first, after all. And Ginny…well, Ginny always had her hopes pinned on Harry.
Still, she agreed to go to the ball with me. At the time, she wished that she could go with Harry, but she knew that it probably wouldn’t happen. That’s what she told me later, in any case. She couldhave told me no in the hopes that Harry would eventually get around to asking her--lots of girls would have--but she accepted my invitation. And then later, after Ron and Harry made fools out of themselves (well, Ron did, anyway, deciding at the last minute that they could go with Ginny and Hermione before discovering whether the ladies in question already had escorts), she went up several notches in my estimation.
I mean, honestly. How many girls do you know, who, when presented with the opportunity to attend a ball--a bloody-once-in-a-lifetime-Yule-Ball--with the boy she fancied (who also just happened to be the famous Harry Potter, no less), would turn him down and keep her first commitment? It would have been different if she’d agreed to go with someone else--Oliver Wood or...Roger Davies, say. But me? I’m nobody special. When I heard that she still planned to go with me, I couldn’t believe it.
I did my best to look as good as possible that night. I couldn’t compare to her, of course, but I was okay with that. Sitting at the table, eating our dinner and talking to the other people at our table, I was struck again by what a wonderful person she was...she is. She was just so friendly to everybody there.
And then we danced.
Merlin, I was horrible. I mean, imagine the absolute worst dancer you’ve ever seen, multiply that by a hundred and you might get close to the dismal state of my dancing. I’m amazed that Ginny was able to walk at all after that evening. I must have stepped on her toes a million times. And what did she do? She smiled and continued dancing while I trod on her feet like they were the floor, that’s what. I told you she was amazing, didn’t I?
I couldn’t help but notice, though, that her attention was divided between keeping her toes from being broken by my two left feet and Harry-watching. Not that there was much to watch when it came to Harry that evening. Sure, he looked nice, but we all looked nice. Well, except Ron, who had the unfortunate luck of having to wear the ugliest dress robes known to man. Anyway, she spent much of the time we were dancing watching him, the git. Much like she’s doing now, actually. At least she’s not being forced to suffer with my dancing this time. I took lessons after the ball, just in case I might ever have the opportunity to dance again. I didn’t want to have to spend more time apologising for treading on my partner’s feet than having an actual conversation with her, like I did that evening.
Harry, the great prat, danced exactly once that night, and then only because he was forced to. He spent the rest of the evening sitting with Ron and mooning after Cho. Poor Parvati. He just ignored her after that one dance. Some partner he was. At least Ginny got to dance with the boy who brought her, even if I did spend the evening stepping on her toes.
By the time the evening had ended, our friendship had solidified into something even more than it had been before. We became very comfortable around each other, and we found that we could tell each other anything. Well, almost anything. I never did tell her about my parents--she discovered that on her own. And she never really talked about her first year, although I know the basics of what happened.
In my fifth year, Ginny and I became closer still, but it was different this time. Instead of being on the outside watching the adventures of Harry, Ron and Hermione, we, along with Luna Lovegood, were included. It’s true that we had to fight to be included, but included we were. I’ll always wonder if that year was when Harry started opening his eyes to the person Ginny is.
She was the only one, out of all of us, able to get through to Harry when he was in one of those moods. Godric, he was angry. Of course, he, out of any of us, had reasons to be angry. Somehow, though, Ginny was able to draw him out and help him see more than what was right in front of his face. I was worried after the events in the Ministry that all of the progress Ginny made with Harry had been lost. I don’t know everything that happened there; I found out that Sirius was Harry’s godfather after the fact. I also don’t know everything that went on over the summer holidays. I do know, however, that Ginny was there for Harry again. By the time school started in September, Harry was filled with determination--the determination that he wasn’t going to let Voldemort beat him. Through all this and through our final year, Ginny was there for Harry again and again. Looking back, I don’t think he would have made it without her.
They finally got together near the end of our seventh year, just before the final battle with Voldemort. The row they’d had rivalled those of Ron and Hermione. He, being the typical Gryffindor he is, wanted to keep her safe. She, being the typical Gryffindor she is, refused to stay behind. One minute, they’d both had their wands out pointing at each other, and the next, they were in each other’s arms, kissing for all they were worth. That kiss... I can only hope that someday I’ll find a girl to kiss me that passionately.
"Neville?" she said softly, her voice bringing me out of my reverie.
"The music’s stopped."
"Really?" I had no idea, I’d been so caught up in memories.
"Really." She grinned at me. "Gathering wool again?"
"Just remembering. Reckon you want to go back to Harry now, eh?" I linked my arm in hers and led her over to where he was sitting with Ron, watching the girl--the woman--he fancied (as if that word came close to describing what he so obviously felt for her) dancing with another, just as he had so many years ago.
Harry got up as soon as we got to the table. He was taller, broader through the shoulders since leaving those horrid relatives. He’s still not as tall as Ron, but he’s got a couple of centimetres on me. His eyes sparkled bright green as he looked at Ginny. "Here’s your lovely bride back, Harry," I said, grinning at him as I handed her over. "Thanks for letting me borrow her."
He clapped his hand on my shoulder affectionately and shook my hand. "No problem, mate."
"Oi!" she protested. "I am not some piece of property to be borrowed and loaned."
"Yes, dear," he said, eyes twinkling.
I grinned and shook my head at their teasing; I envied their easy banter. I turned to leave but was delayed by a hand on my arm, a quick hug, and a brush of her lips across my cheek. "Thanks, Neville. For everything."
"No, Ginny," I said, smiling and giving her hand one last squeeze before turning to join the crowd, "thank you."
A/N: This was written for the June 2005 H/G fic-a-fest on Livejournal. My challenge was to write an H/G canon event from another character’s POV. I'm not entirely sure if this fit the challenge, but it's how Neville wanted the story told. And what Neville wants, Neville gets.
Many, many thanks to rdprice29, Delylah and OHGinnyfan for whipping this into shape for me.*smooches them*