The day had not started badly. On the contrary: they had won their Quidditch match against Slytherin. Ron had made some quite spectacular saves, she had to admit as much, while she herself had scored the majority of their goals and Harry had caught the Snitch. She had even made Zacharias Smith pay for his derogatory comments. Now, a party was in full swing in the common room downstairs. Everything should have been brilliant.
Ginny jumped up from her bed and began pacing the dormitory room. Everybody was down at the party and she was alone.
Well, almost everybody was down there.
Hermione was not there, and neither was Harry.
Something had gone terribly wrong, and thinking back, Ginny thought that it must have started even on the Quidditch pitch.
Ginny sat down on her bed, pulled her feet under herself, and sighed.
Their victory over Slytherin had made them forget all prior arguments and problems for a moment. Or so it seemed. Harry had hugged her, and it had felt good. Harry's hugs were a rare commodity and had to be enjoyed while they lasted. This one, however, had been short, very short, indeed. Harry had not even been able to look at her.
It had made her stomach drop. All the euphoria of victory had disappeared in a great gaping black hole in the wink of an eye - or rather, because there had not been a wink at all. Dean had dragged her and Demelza back to the castle with him, but she had felt no desire to celebrate anymore.
Ginny crumpled the blanket on her bed between her clenched hands.
The fight with her brother had been followed by an enormous outburst of prattiness on Ron's side, which led to further quarrelling during Quidditch practice. Finally, a furious Harry had intervened, and she had a strong suspicion that Harry had told his best mate off afterwards. She knew he would do it if necessary, but she also knew it would make him miserable.
She could only suspect how that influenced his opinion of her. Her brother, their fight ... herself kissing Dean like there was no tomorrow in front of Harry. Oh, Merlin.
She jumped up and stared at herself in the mirror.
That one abrupt hug down on the pitch and Harry's obvious embarrassment had confirmed her worst fears on that point. A temperamental, uncontrolled wench, a flirtatious girl of easy virtue, that's what she had to be in his eyes. Somebody he'd rather not hug.
She had wanted to bury herself in bed, but she had not been able to escape the celebrations, so she had joined in with practised enthusiasm. She knew how to put on a mask, after all. Then Ron had come back from the pitch in a towering temper, and before they knew what was going on, he was snogging Lavender Brown as if his life depended on it.
Ginny ground her teeth. She had watched Ron with a queer mixture of self-righteous satisfaction that her behaviour was not unusual, and repugnance at his shamelessness with a girl he did not care twopence about.
However, any sensation of triumph had died in her the moment Harry had entered the common room. He had been alone, Hermione had been conspicuously absent, and Ginny had guessed that she and Ron had had a fight. By the looks of it, Harry had been on the battlefield, and he had looked like the survivor of a catastrophe that had caught him totally unawares.
Ginny turned on her heel and looked for calm in the spectacular view from one of the tower's windows.
Harry had looked even less keen on celebrating than she had felt herself. People had almost crushed each other in their eagerness to congratulate him, the Creevy brothers as always among the first and in enthusiastic competition with about half of the female Gryffindors. Damn them all! Had nobody been able to see what was so plain to her: that Harry didn't want their attention? But Ginny had resisted going over and trying to relieve him, afraid to be rejected.
Something clenched in her stomach when she remembered how Romilda Vane's eyes had sparkled at Harry, how she had tried to catch his attention; how it had made herself more stubborn. When Harry had finally got rid of the little ... fourth-year, Ginny had accidentally crossed his path.
Angrily, Ginny turned her back on the outside world and returned to looking at herself in the mirror.
She had pointed Ron out to Harry. She smirked at her reflection. She did not look nice smirking. - Who would? She had smirked at Harry, she had abused Ron, she had made fun of his "technique".
Ginny turned away from herself and threw herself on her bed.
She moaned in despair. She had presented Harry with all the ugliness inside of her. Did kissing somebody else really mean so little to her? After her fight with Ron, she had said it was simply something that everybody did, and this time she had reduced it to a question of "technique". But if it was true what she had found out by careful inquieries, Harry's own experiences in the snogging department were sparse. In spite of what she had imagined in her defiance, the relationship between Harry and Cho Chang even seemed to have been characterised by a distinct lack of snogging.
What must he be thinking? What?
Thinking about having been caught with Dean by Harry, Ginny couldn't remember having felt such a sensation of embarrassment ever before.
And now Ron! When Ginny had accused him of lacking the human quality of appreciating a good snog, she'd never expected him to go off and kiss Lavender Brown. And she was still ready to bet the little money she had that he'd like nothing better than to kiss Hermione, but coward that he was he'd found it easier to snog a girl he didn't care about.
She hated Ron for his cowardice and she hated herself for incensing him so much that he would do something that was certain to reduce Harry's appreciation for her even further.
She had seen Hermione leave the Common room in a hurry, and Harry had followed her, always thinking of his friends more than himself. He had returned after a short while, looking stern and worried, and had withdrawn to his dormitory. Not much later, she had seen an angry Ron, looking as if the chicken at the Burrow had had a go at him, and an indignant Lavender returning to the party. Ginny could only guess that they had come across Hermione and had found out what an incensed bookworm was capable of with a wand.
Ginny rolled over on her back as she felt a heavy weight of guilt settling in her stomach. She knew that Ron and Hermione had been on the brink of going out together and that Hermione had been insanely happy … before Ron and Ginny had fought. And had she not made it painfully clear to her brother that it was ok to snog around? Great, Harry despised her and Hermione would hate her.
What must it look like to Harry, seeing Ron abandoning Hermione just because she might have kissed Viktor Krum two years ago? What would he assume why she herself was going out with Dean? Because she cared for him, or because she didn't want to be left without a good snog like her oaf of a brother?
Ginny stiffled a moan in her pillow.
She had been defiant towards Harry down there, she had pretended that it didn't matter, that Ron was just a hypocrite. She'd tried to play it cool and pay Harry a compliment and pat him on the arm in passing. She still felt absolutely mortified about that moment. She had been so … condescending, and he was many years her senior on the team and her captain.
But then: She didn't know why or how, and it was killing her, but there had been a reaction she had never expected from Harry. Just for a moment it had seemed that he had felt his stomach somersault in a way that was reserved for … well, the boy-girl thing.
Was that at all possible?
She had filled out quite nicely, even if she said so herself, so he might have seen something that had pushed his mind into the gutter. Or …?
Or could Harry, indeed, like her?
No. That was ….
There had been something.
Ginny stood up on her bed, took her pillow and kicked with all her frustration straight through the whole room onto the cupboard of her room mate, Sally, where it was knocked back by the usual pile of Witch Weekly.
Dean would have been proud of her, she thought. The poor boy was still more of a football fan than a Quidditch fan. He was on the team, because there was no football at Hogwarts besides the fact that it was pretty cool to be on the team. They were on the team together; they liked to be together.
Which reminded her that Dean was her boyfriend; and she would not follow the example of her brother Ron who made appointments with one girl and snogged another. Just because Harry might find something attractive about her, she was not going to revert to her former self.
No, she had wasted years pining over Harry and she was not going to repeat that mistake.
Oh, Merlin! The way Harry's eyes had lit up for a second there. Harry Potter! Looking at her that way.
Ginny collapsed on her bed. She definitely wasn't in a good mood.
(A/N: Thanks a lot to Wolf’s Scream and Jenadamson for their help. This series is my attempt to make sense of Ginny’s behaviour in HBP. Tell me what you think!)