A/N: The readers have spoken! I've decided to try and add some back details now before I continue on. I hope this helps make the story a little more real. Onward and upward!
Ginny sat at the kitchen table, completely unaware of the twists of fate that would soon impact her young life. What she was aware of was the fact that she was totally and completely annoyed with her brother and her best girl friend, Hermione Granger. The two currently were sitting at the table with Ginny bickering over how they should "handle" Harry once he was with them at the headquarters of the Order.
"I swear, Ron," Hermione all but shrieked. "Harry will be angry and confused. We have to get him to open up to us and let it out or he will never let himself deal with what happened."
Ron grimaced and sighed as he ran his hands over his face.
"He will be angry enough as it is without us pushing him. I know Harry, I'm his best mate, we need to leave him alone," Ron concluded.
Ginny growled in the back of her throat.
Please, she thought to herself, Ron barely talked to Harry for the better part of the past year. I've been his best friend. I know him better than anyone.
Ginny let some of her anger fade as she again thought, with much guilt, about how she had distanced herself from Harry over the last part of the year.
Ginny was sitting on the couch in the common room, pretending to read a book. The reality of the situation was that she was trying to gather the courage to go to the boy's dormitory and talk with Harry. Just this evening Harry had been named a Tri-Wizard champion. Through the bond she could feel his confusion and fear. She suddenly felt anger, disappointment, and extreme sadness flood through.
That's it. I can't stand this anymore I'm going up there.
Ginny walked to the base of the stairway just as Harry came barrelling down the stairs with his head tucked under his arm. He ran into her with a resounding crash and they tumbled to the ground in a heap of arms and legs.
"Harry? Are you ok?" Ginny asked in a breathless voice. "I think you knocked the air out of me," she wheezed.
When Harry didn't respond, she began to get concerned.
Ginny realized that Harry was lying on the ground next to her, sobbing soundlessly.
"Harry! What's wrong? Are you hurt?!" Ginny began to panic, but relaxed as she realized that she couldn't feel anything physically wrong with him through the bond.
Harry rolled over and wrapped his arms around her, buried his head in her hair, and began sobbing in earnest. Ginny instinctively put her arms around him and began gently rocking him, with soft words of encouragement. She could feel his pain and would do anything to take it away from him.
"Ron… he hates me. He doesn't believe me when I told him I didn't enter the stupid bloody tournament. He just, he just turned on me, and I know Hermione will go with him. I've got no one left."
Ginny was struck at the despair and loneliness that she felt from him. She remembered how all of last year she tried to help Harry deal with Sirius and the Dementors only to be continually pushed back by her brother. True, she and Harry had still become good friends, but she couldn't help but feel that this was her chance to become more than that.
"Harry," she whispered gently pushing his hair back from his forehead. "You're not alone. You're never alone. I'm here, Harry. I'll always be here."
Harry pushed back from her a bit and looked at her face. Ginny felt… something… flash though the bond but it was gone before she had a chance to really study what it was. Harry pulled back to her as she scooted them over against the couch, still on the floor. Ginny got chills as she thought about the similarities between now and when Harry had saved her in the Chamber.
This time he needs me. I WON'T let him down. The thought resounded fiercely inside her mind.
"WHAT IN MERIN'S NAME IS GOING ON HERE!?"
Ginny slowly opened her eyes at her brother's raving antics.
"Good morning, Ron, how are you today?" she asked politely.
"Bloody hell, Ginny," Ron stormed. "You slept on top of Harry on the couch all night?"
"Ron, I'm really not in the mood right now," Ginny started but stopped as she felt Harry beginning to stir beneath her.
"He's a liar, Ginny. He's a lying, backstabbing, no friend wanker. I can't believe you slept with him. I'm going to pound his arse," Ron threatened.
"Ron, go away!" Ginny jumped up and fumbled for her wand. She finally grabbed it and pointed it at her brother. Ron began to back up, his face a strange off-colour.
"You can clearly see that we both have our clothes on. We slept down here because you're such a incredible prat that Harry needed someone to talk to last night," Ginny raged, as she gained speed and volume.
"I bet you 'talked'," Ron snorted maliciously. "I know how much you wanted to 'talk' with Harry for years."
Ginny, too angry to actually speak, shrieked as she shot a blast of something bluish-white at Ron. He managed to duck and then sprinted back up the stairs to the dorms.
As Ginny made to follow she felt a hand restrain her. She quickly turned with her wand ready to see the immensely sad eyes of Harry.
Even sad, his eyes are gorgeous. Ginny thought, then blushed.
"It's not worth it, Gin," Harry sighed to her. He then shot her a cautious smile. "You want to grab some breakfast in the hall, m'lady?"
Ginny mocked squealed. "Verily, my champion. Let us proceed forthwith."
Harry truly chuckled, and Ginny went warm inside at the true happiness she felt from him.
Maybe today won't be so bad after all, they thought virtually simultaneously.
The next morning Harry and Ginny met in the common room and went down to breakfast together. They hadn't spoken of it, or even planned it. It just seemed like the natural thing to do.
"So, Harry," Ginny started as she began piling his plate full of food before turning to her own, "what do you have planned today?"
"I'm not really sure, Gin. We still have today off before classes start again. Maybe spend some time down at the lake or even go flying. What do you want to do?" Harry asked her.
Ginny absently sucked on a lock of her hair as she considered. Harry reached forward, pulled it out, and tucked it behind her ear. Ginny stuck her tongue out at him.
"I think I would like to fly today. Is that ok?" she asked with some reservation.
"I think that's brilliant, Gin!" Harry exclaimed, causing Ginny to break out into a wide grin.
She saw Harry frowning as his gaze shifted above her shoulder. She turned to see her brother and Hermione sitting down the table a few seats from them. Hermione, seeing Harry looking at her, shrugged and mouthed, "I'm sorry", in his direction before turning back to Ron.
Harry sighed and Ginny felt the beginnings of black thoughts pull across his consciousness.
"Oi, none of that, Potter!" she exclaimed pulling his attention back to her. "We're going flying, remember?" she teased.
Harry grinned again, but this time it barely registered on his face.
"Let's go, then. I bet you I can beat you around the pitch easy," he bantered as they left the hall.
Ginny made her way down to the bleachers for the First Task with trepidation. Harry was about to face a dragon, and she was helpless to do anything about it. Fear welled up, threatening to choke her as she found her seat next to Hermione. The past weeks had been unbelievable. She and Harry had spent almost every minute outside of class together. Ginny screamed as the dragon and Harry began to battle.
"I reckon someone is trying to kill you," Ron managed to get out.
"Took you long enough," Harry bit back. He ran his hands over his scar and through his hair. "Look, Ron, it's alright. It's ok. Don't worry about it."
Ron slumped and smiled at Harry weakly. "Thanks, mate. You want to go play some chess?"
Ginny turned away from the three friends with bitter disappointment.
So it's back to the way it was before…
"Sorry, Ron," she heard Harry say. "I promised Ginny I would hang out with her this afternoon. We'll catch you two later."
Ginny laughed outright at the gobsmacked look on her brother's face as Harry linked their arms and began walking toward the lake. She couldn't believe that he had picked her over her brother. It was amazing.
Ginny looked in the mirror as she brushed her hair. It was Saturday and she was meeting Harry for breakfast before they both went their separate directions. This was the first Saturday in recent memory that they were spending time apart.
I guess it's for the best, Ginny mumbled to herself, Ron's been going barmy wanting to spend more time with him. It's not like we're going out either…
Ginny sighed again bitterly. Despite being very close to Harry and using the bond to her advantage, Harry still looked at her like as only a friend. She didn't understand it. Wasn't she always there? Didn't she always understand?
Ginny made her way to the Great Hall, knowing that Harry would be waiting for her. She went through the doors and walked towards the table, finally catching Harry in the corner of her eye. As she turned toward him, he looked up at her. Ginny stopped, breathless. The feelings she felt through the bond could not have been clearer. Nervousness, anxiety, and butterflies. She knew the symptoms because she felt it every time she looked at Harry.
He likes me! He like me! Ginny began to walk towards him in a daze, her dreams finally becoming reality. All of a sudden she noticed that Harry was looking past her. She turned slightly to see Cho Chang making cow eyes at Harry. Very quickly it all became clear. She spun and ran from the Great Hall, a weeping mess. Harry never even noticed.
Ginny made her way back to Fat Lady, sobbing all the way.
Stupid, stupid, stupid, Ginny! How could you think that? What were you thinking? STUPID.
She climbed through the hole and collapsed on the couch, crying to herself.
She sat there for about an hour trying to figure out how her plan had gone so badly wrong when the one person she didn't want to see climbed through into the room.
"GINNY!" Harry bellowed. "Oh, there you are. I waited for you for breakfast but you never… Ginny what's wrong?" Harry asked with some concern when he finally noticed her red face and puffy eyes.
"Nothing, Harry, I'm just having a bad day. Why don't you go with Ron like you planned" Ginny said as she turned away from him?"
Harry sat down and took her hand. "Ginny, I'm not going anywhere with you upset. You're my best friend. What's going on?" he asked her with concern still written all over his face.
Ginny decided to take a chance. "Boy troubles," she whispered.
Harry sat, stock still, shocked, for about thirty seconds. Ginny was unnerved by his intense stare as he bored into her eyes. Most unsettling was the fact that the bond had gone deathly quiet.
Harry finally blinked and Ginny started to feel strange waves of emotion rolling off of him. She couldn't quite understand it all. Finally he spoke in a low, angry growl.
"Tell me who and tell me what. I promise you he won't walk for a week."
Ginny managed to actually smile.
"No, Harry. Please just go have fun with Ron. I'm sure I'll see you later."
Harry finally left after several more attempts to get her to talk. Despite the fact that it was early morning, Ginny trudged back to her bed and went back to sleep, emotionally drained.
Christmas was fast approaching along with the Yule ball that had everyone in such a twitter.
Stupid ball. Stupid, stupid ball. He's going to ask that bloody strumpet to go. Stupid bloody ball. Ginny raged as she walked down for breakfast. She was supposed to meet Harry again, but she wasn't sure she could put up with much more from him as he kept staring at Chang.
Bloody Chang! she cursed again.
Without warning it happened. When it happened she knew without a doubt that Harry had asked Chang to the dance and that she had said no. The feelings from Harry were too clear.
She said no! She said no! Ginny gleefully chanted. Wait. That means he had to actually ask her.
Ginny's glee quickly washed away in disappointment.
Bloody Potter. I hope he never gets a date. Why can't he just ask me! Damn, Ginny, you're getting pathetic.
"Ginny? Are you alright?"
Ginny turned to see Neville standing slightly down the hall looking at her worriedly. She quickly plastered a smile on her face.
"I'm fine, Neville. How are you this morning?" Ginny managed to ask pleasantly.
"I'm good. Are you sure you're alright? You looked angry for a second." Neville continued to look at her.
"Merlin!" Ginny exclaimed. "I'm fine. Please just let it drop."
Neville looked down for a second and squeezed his eyes shut for a second.
"Ginny, do you think you would be willing to go to the ball with me? Assuming no one has asked you or anything. I mean, I know that I'm not the best date and it's ok if you don't want to," Neville said in a rush.
Ginny stopped, somewhat shocked.
Neville? Why not?
"Neville, I would be very glad to go with you. I think it will be great."
After the ball Harry had begun preparing for the Second Task. Ginny had continued spending most of her time with him and things went almost back to normal. It was during the Second Task when Ginny finally realized what her problem was.
I'm always going to be Ron's little sister, or the good friend Ginny. Merlin, they didn't even pick me to be his hostage. He's back to Ron being his best friend again.
As she sat waiting for the task to be finished, she analyzed her entire relationship with Harry. Her conclusions were shocking.
This entire year has been about him. I've done everything I can to be there, to understand him… Do I even know who I am away from him? How did I get so pathetic?
Ginny knew that unless she found herself again, Harry would never see her for more than what she was now.
The morning after the task she went down to for breakfast and sat next to her dorm mates. They all gave her strange looks, and Ginny realized she hadn't eaten with them for the entire year.
She looked down the table and saw Harry sitting by himself with an empty chair next to him. "Aren't you going to sit with me?"
Ginny smiled pleasantly at him. "Not today, Harry. I've been neglecting my other friends terribly and I think I need to spend some time with them."
Susan, one of the girls in her year, gave her a strange look, but didn't say anything.
"Oh… alright, I guess. I'll see you later today right?" Harry asked.
Ginny's heart went out to him; he looked almost like a lost puppy.
Be strong, girl.
"Maybe, Harry. I'm not sure what I'm doing. I'm sure I'll see you around."
His eyes were wide with confusion as she turned around and began talking to the girl next to her.
Ginny managed to avoid Harry for the rest of the day. She mostly stayed with her dorm mates. Ginny realized that she didn't really know them all that well, but she really enjoyed talking with them.
The next morning Ginny got up early and went to down to breakfast before Harry had got up. She saw him look for her when he came into the hall, and caught his disappointed expression when he saw her sitting with her dorm mates again. She carefully kept from looking at him and instead paid close attention to what Sarah, the girl who slept next to her, was saying. She finally turned and watched his back as he crept dejectedly from the hall. Feeling his emotions through the Bond made it even harder to stay in her seat and not run to him.
Ginny carefully followed the same routine every morning and eventually Harry stopped looking for her when he sat down. She noticed that she hadn't seen Ron or Hermione around him much lately, but she decided that perhaps she just wasn't paying close attention.
She found herself looking at him when he wasn't aware quite often though.
He looks so sad. Am I doing the right thing?
Internally she steeled herself to seeing the course through.
Stay tough, Ginny, you've got to find your own place before you can find one with Harry. Besides, he has Ron and Hermione, how bad can it be?
Ginny winced as a particularly strong feeling of loneliness came through. She managed to convince herself that this was for the best and turned back to her friends.
"Hey, Ginny! Ginny, wait up!" Harry called as he hurried down the corridor.
"Hey ,Harry, how have you been?" she asked as he neared her.
"Oh, now you care?" Harry asked, his tone sharp.
"What?" Ginny was taken aback.
Harry sighed and tossed his satchel over his right shoulder.
"Nothing. Sorry. It's been a long day and I haven't seen you in ages," Harry answered.
"I know and I'm sorry. I've been spending time with some of the girls in my year. I'm really making some great friends." Ginny smiled at him.
"Great. Brilliant. I'm so glad for you," Harry said. His words were right, but they felt off, wrong for some reason.
"Speaking of friends, how are Ron and Hermione? It's been awhile since I talked to them as well," she asked him.
"How should I know? They've been spending all their time together snogging in broom cupboards!" Harry spat out. The sharp tone had returned.
"They WHAT?!" Ginny exclaimed. "I didn't even know they were going out? How did I miss that?"
"Yeah, well you've missed a lot lately, Ginny. Never mind... I've got to go. The Third Task starts today." Harry turned from her and began making his way in the other direction.
"Harry, wait!" Ginny called. He stopped but didn't turn around.
"If you haven't been hanging out with Ron and Hermione, then whom have you been around?" Ginny dreaded the answer. If the feelings from the bond that she had been ignoring for over a month now were any indication, she didn't want to know.
"No one, Ginny. I've mostly just been by myself."
Harry turned and looked at her with sad eyes. "You told me you would always be there, that I wouldn't be alone again. I… forget it. I've got to go."
Ginny stood, stunned, as he turned and left, actually wiping tears from his eyes.
Great, Ginny girl. You found yourself, but you lost Harry. Now what?
She jerked at the sound of her brother yelling in her ear.
"Merlin, Ron! I'm sitting right here," she yelled back and she shook the ringing from her head.
"Well, wake up. I've been trying to get your attention. Mum just Floo called, Harry is coming to headquarters tonight!"
Ginny sighed to herself. She still didn't have a plan. All she knew was that after the Third Task and what happened she had to tell Harry how she felt. She couldn't hide it, or anything else, from him anymore.