Disclaimer: I am just playing with the characters JK gave us. I'll give them back, I promise.
A/N: I've had some interest in telling the story of how Harry finally figured out he liked Ginny. Well, here it is. I wrote "The Reason" before HBP came out and will keep to my storyline. Thanks.
I will never know Myself until I do this on my own And I will never feel Anything else, until my wounds are healed I will never be anything till I break away from me I will break away I'll find myself today
I wanna heal I wanna feel What I thought was never real I want to let go of the pain I felt so long Erase all the pain till it's gone I wanna heal I wanna feel Like I'm close to something real I want to find something I've wanted all along Somewhere I belong
Somewhere I Belong by Linkin Park
Harry arrived at 12 Grimmauld Place around Midnight. Remus Lupin held open the front door and quietly placed Harry's trunk in the hall. He turned to the sullen teenager behind him and sighed inwardly. Harry had protested coming here. He had wanted to go to the Burrow instead, but Dumbledore had vetoed that idea and insisted Harry return to Order headquarters. Remus knew it would be a mistake. Harry needed normalcy, not being holed up in a falling down house with a screaming portrait and elves heads lining the wall. If it was up to Remus, Harry would be enjoying long lazy days with the Weasley family playing Quidditch. But it wasn't up to him, and Harry's safety was the important thing.
"Come in, Harry," Remus said softly. The werewolf stepped inside and held his hand out. "I'll take Hedwig for you. Go to the kitchen, Molly said she would save dinner for you."
Harry wanted to stomp through the dim hallway, but knew that behind the tattered curtain near the front door lay the portrait of Sirius' mother. Any loud noise and the portrait would spring to life screaming curses and insults to all in the vicinity. With a careful tread, Harry entered the house and handed the cage with Hedwig inside to his former professor. It wasn't fair. After watching Sirius die at the hands of Bellatrix Lestrange in the Department of Mysteries, he was now being forced to stay in the same bleak house where Sirius had felt like a prisoner.
Remus put a comforting hand on the young boy's shoulder. He knew how much Harry was hurting. He himself felt the pang of loss, knowing that all of his true friends were now gone. It was harder this time, because for so long he had believed Sirius guilty of betraying James and Lily to Voldemort. It had really been Peter Pettigrew, another school friend who had betrayed the couple and left them and their infant son to die. A wave of sadness washed over Remus. So much time lost.
Harry closed his eyes willing them to stay dry. "I'm fine, Professor, really. I'll just go to the kitchen and see Mrs. Weasley."
Remus watched Harry go with a heavy heart. There was so much he wanted to say to Harry, but now wasn't the right time. Soon he hoped to be able to share some of the happier memories with Harry about his parents and his godfather. Until then, the boy needed his friends around to help him.
Molly bustled around the kitchen. She knew Harry would arrive any moment and she wanted everything to be ready for him. She mentally checked items off her list as she set the kettle on for tea. Extra bed in Ron's room, clean sheets and towels, bathrooms cleaned (after much complaining on Ginny's part) and pantry stocked. Molly was determined to make sure Harry put on some weight while he was with them and that he gets a proper birthday party.
Harry stood silently watching Molly. He tried to muster some enthusiasm as he entered the gloomy kitchen. Molly turned from the stove and gasped in surprise.
"Harry!" She exclaimed. "How wonderful to see you. Sit down, sit down. I saved dinner for you. You must be hungry; I know you've been traveling all night."
While Molly fixed him a plate of food, Harry sat wearily in a chair at the large table. He had been picked up from the Dursleys' at 5 pm by five members of the Order. They had flown on broomsticks again and zigzagged across half of England before meeting Remus in front of 12 Grimmauld Place. Harry knew he should probably feel cold. It had been really chilly when they hit the higher elevations, but he couldn't feel the cold. He just felt numb.
Molly was chattering with a forced cheerfulness. She finished dishing up a hearty beef stew and carried it to the table. She set it in front of Harry along with a basket of hot rolls. Harry slowly picked up a spoon and started to eat. Gradually the stew began to warm his insides and he began to shake as the numbness wore off.
"Mum, I can't find the..." Ginny entered the kitchen wearing a bright yellow dressing gown and red slippers. Her long, red hair was piled in a messy bun on top of her head. Ginny stopped short when she saw Harry sitting at the kitchen table eating stew and trembling so hard his chair was moving.
"Goodness, Harry! You're absolutely frozen! Wait here while I get you a blanket. Ginny, the water for tea is ready. Please get Harry a cup." Molly hurried out the door. Ginny immediately moved toward the stove and put the tea in to steep. She pulled the milk from the cooler, sugar from the cupboard, and put both on the table. Ginny brought the kettle and the mug over as well and set about making the tea.
"Do you want milk? Sugar?" Ginny asked gently. Harry nodded gratefully and slowly began to eat again. Ginny moved to the fireplace and with a softly murmured word, flames sprang to life.
Ginny fixed his tea and set the steaming mug on the table in front of him. She brought a second mug of tea over and sat across the table from Harry. Both teens sipped the hot liquid in silence.
"If you need to talk to someone, Harry, Remus will be more than happy to sit down with you."
"What?" Harry asked, clearly startled. "Why would I need to talk to him?"
Ginny made a derisive snort. "Harry, we all know how hard it must be on you. Remus understands what you're going through. Sirius was his friend. I don't know how it feels to lose someone who was so close to me. Neither does Ron or Hermione. If for no other reason, it just might help Remus."
Harry stared at the dancing flames. "Ginny, you're not allowed to do magic. How did you get the fire started?" He was avoiding the topic; he knew it and couldn't help himself.
"The Ministry can't tell the difference between me doing magic or my mum. It's easier for them to detect when the child lives in a Muggle household. Like you," Ginny said with an amused look.
"Here we are! Harry, put this around your shoulders." Molly draped a brightly patterned quilt over Harry. "Ginny, thank you for starting a fire. It was getting a bit chilly in here. Now Harry, you finish eating and then I'll take you up to Ron's room."
Ginny rose from the table and put her mug in the sink. Harry watched her and was fascinated by the way the flames played over her bright red hair. She was extremely graceful. Why hadn't he seen that before? He also never really realized how small she was. Her head barely reached his shoulder. He suddenly felt so big and clumsy. He didn't know why he was watching her. It was just Ginny, Ron's younger sister, but she didn't seem so young anymore.
"Mum, I couldn't find the salve. Is it in your room?" Ginny questioned.
"Hmmm? The salve is in the library. I don't know why they left it there," Molly replied absently as she fussed around Harry.
"They?" Harry asked curiously.
"The twins," Ginny explained. "They managed to blow up their room here and suffered some nasty burns. Madam Pomfrey left a salve for them, but Fred and George constantly leave it lying around. The stupid prats."
Ginny left the kitchen and Harry felt as if a bit of the warmth left the room with her. He didn't understand exactly what he was feeling. Whenever he had seen Cho, he had felt a funny swooping in his stomach. With Ginny, it was like a herd of hippogriffs were flying through his stomach. It was completely different.
"Harry, you must be exhausted. I'll take you upstairs and get you settled." Molly levitated Harry's dishes to the sink and set them to wash. They both left the kitchen and walked up the narrow stairs to the main level. Harry saw that his trunk and Hedwig's cage was not in the hall, so Remus must have taken both upstairs. Molly led the way up the staircase to the second floor. With a whispered "good night" she left Harry at the door to his and Ron's room.
He quietly opened the door and immediately heard Ron's snores. The room was dark and Harry stumbled in the direction his bed was located. He felt around the end of his bed and found his pajamas. He quickly donned them and slid under the covers. Within moments he was asleep.
Over the next few weeks, Harry found himself watching Ginny more and more. He tried to be discreet about it, but he was sure Hermione had caught him staring a few times at the petite redhead. She never said a word, but would give him a knowing smirk. Ron was of course oblivious, unless it was him staring at Hermione and then Harry would have his own smirk.
Harry took Ginny's advice and talked to Remus, about Sirius and about his parents. Remus brought out more photographs for Harry to look at and recounted the days the friends spent at Hogwarts. Also Remus had started teaching Harry breathing techniques to calm himself and focus on his magic. Harry found himself becoming more in control.
Sometimes, he would find himself awoken by nightmares of the night Sirius died or when Voldemort was resurrected. When this happened he would go to the drawing room and stare for hours at the tapestry with the Black family tree. Harry would run his finger over the burn hole that used to be Sirius' name sadly wishing that his godfather was still with him.
He found reasons to smile too. He, Ginny, Ron, Hermione and the twins would hide themselves and try to listen in on the Order meetings with the Extendable Ears. Unfortunately for the teens, Molly had put the Imperturbable Charm on the door to the kitchen. Once the meetings ended, Order members streamed out and left the house. Many times Ginny would do an excellent impersonation of Snape sweeping around the landing and flipping her long hair over her shoulder. She also imitated Goyle and Crabbe; pointing, grunting and scratching herself to the delight of Fred and George. Harry found himself laughing along with the others, enjoying himself immensely.
There were also the times he would sit in the kitchen with the Weasleys and feel like he belonged to this wonderful and boisterous family. This family who took him under their care without a second thought and treated him like a son or a brother. Sometimes the feeling was fleeting, but it was real. Of course, at those times, he was fervently glad that he was not related to the Weasleys.
The more he saw of Ginny, the more fascinated he became. She was such a mix of all of the Weasleys. She had Mr. Weasley's love for all things Muggle and his gift of chess. She had Mrs. Weasley's formidable temper and cooking skills. She also had a love of adventure like Bill, a delight in animals like her brother Charlie, a fierce competitive spirit for Quidditch like Ron and a streak of mischievousness that she inherited from Fred and George. Harry also grudgingly admitted that she was extremely clever like her older git of a brother, Percy. It was amazing to him that such a small person could be bigger than life.
He didn't plan for it to happen, but it had. He was thinking of Ginny all the time. Her glorious mane of red hair. Her brilliant smile and infectious laughter.
He and Ginny were together. Walking hand in hand with an approving Weasley family and Hermione next to them. Sunlight was warm on their faces and they were by the pond at the Burrow. Ginny was laughing at the twins' antics when she turned and faced him. Her bright brown eyes were lit with mirth and a rosy glow was on her cheeks. Harry leaned in to kiss her. And it wasn't an awkward kiss like with Cho, but a real kiss. He felt it all the way down to his toes and when he pulled away, Ginny was breathless.
"Oh Harry," she whispered as she reached for him to pull him into another kiss. "You are the perfect boyfriend and we're having breakfast so you should get up."
"Huh?" Harry asked confused.
"Harry! Get up! Mum is making breakfast!" Ron's voice loudly cut through Harry's wonderful dream, rudely awakening him.
'It was only a dream,' Harry thought sadly. He sighed loudly and got up to get dressed and eat breakfast.