A/N: Thanks to Smith for all the help, and to Aibhinn for the fabulous beta job and the encouragement.
"I'm off to the toilet," said Harry. I look up as he leaves. He's been so sad and withdrawn ever since Sirius died. I really want to talk to him, but I don't feel like I'm close enough, even after everything that happened this year. Somehow I feel like I'll always be Ron's little sister first, Ginny second. I fight the urge to sigh heavily and tragically—that's not something that's bothered me in a while.
Neville nudges my foot and gives me a sympathetic smile, as if he's reading my mind. Damn him, sometimes he is too perceptive.
The real reason I haven't approached Harry is not because I'm afraid of him brushing me off or snapping at me. I can handle that. The truth is, I understand why he wants to keep it to himself. Something like that happens—something terrible—and you don't want to share it, because no one else can really understand. The twins would laugh and make it into some joke, Ron would brush it off as nothing compared to his latest big adventure, Mum would just go into hyperactive worry mode…
But I'm thinking about Harry, I remind myself. That's new, too; usually I'm reminding myself not to think about Harry. Maybe if you have someone you can really trust and talk to, it wouldn't matter that they might not know exactly what you've been through, because they know you, and that's enough.
I look at Ron and Hermione. She's telling him all about something in the Daily Prophet. Harry's got them; he's fine. I'm sure he'll open up to them eventually, though I don't expect to hear anything about it. Hermione's good at keeping secrets (eep, thank goodness!!).
I begin to dig through my bag, looking for something to distract me, but all I come up with is the copy of The Quibbler that Luna gave me before we left. She's a great girl, but sometimes… I have to laugh.
I leaf through the magazine. Oh goodie, a quiz! "Determine your romantic type." This should be interesting.
Your ideal date would be:
a. A candlelit dinner for two. (I fight the urge to gag.)
b.A game of Quidditch followed by a day exploring a new place. (Ooh! That sounds fun!)
c.A visit to the beach or a day shopping. (Hmm, well, I guess that wouldn't be too bad…)
I mark my answer and move onto the next question.
Communication to you means:
a. Sharing all of your feelings with your significant other, from your smallest annoyances to your deepest fears. (Can you say… oppressive?)
b. Discussing every aspect of your relationship that may cause problems. (For Merlin's sake, all you'd do is discuss!)
c. Opening up when you have gained each other's trust. (Yeah, that's more like it.)
I guess that's one of the things that clued me into the fact that my "relationship" with Michael was going nowhere. He always wanted me to talk about it! "Ginny, you can't keep it all inside." Oh I can't, can I? "You have to discuss your feelings." Yeah, I'll show you discussing feelings.
And then the idiot, the fool, the git has the nerve to go and insinuate—things…
The food trolley arrives and at the same time there is a loud commotion in the hallway.
"I'd better go—" Hermione begins, but Ron interrupts her.
"No, you stay here, you're reading. I'll go check it out." Sometimes he can be really sweet. Sometimes.
Then I notice Hermione buying lots of extra chocolate frogs. I have to wonder, how long until…
Neville catches my eye and we exchange a knowing glance. Ok, sometimes it is nice to have someone to share moments like these with. It's nice to have someone who also notices the little things. I just wish he wouldn't notice the little things about me.
Neville asks me if I want anything, but I lie and say I'm not hungry, then return my stare to the quiz page. My mind keeps drifting back to the argument I had with Michael after the Quidditch match.
Just because we won—that's what started it all. What am I supposed to do, lose? To make him happy? "I bet you made Potter proud, that's all that matters, isn't it?" No, you prick, you're my boyfriend! You're supposed to be proud of me!
For catching the Snitch from under that floozy's nose—I got it from right in front of her eyes! Who else could have made a catch like that?
Most important physical trait:
a. Hair: has to look good! (Oh, give me a break!)
b. Eyes: the window to the soul. (I've always thought there was something to that saying.)
c. Body: needs no explanation. (There's a point. A good body is nice. But—not really the most important… I've always liked eyes best.)
Well, maybe Harry could have made a catch like that.
Yeah, that's what Michael said too. Bastard.
I crumple a bit of the magazine—oops—and Hermione gives me an odd look. I just smile at her. She has it easy. At least she knows who her soul mate is, even if he is clueless and a complete git.
Speaking of the git, here he is, back with Harry. Apparently Malfoy and his goons thought it would be fun to attack Harry outside a compartment full of DA members, who proceeded to turn them into slugs. Not much of an improvement, in my opinion.
Harry buys a huge stack of Cauldron Cakes and Pumpkin Pasties but only eats a few before pushing the pile towards me.
"Do you want any, Ginny? I guess I thought I was hungrier than I actually am." He smiles sheepishly.
"Thanks." I smile back and take a Pumpkin Pasty to nibble on, trying not to damn him for the fact that I feel like I did when I was eleven and he gave me stack of Lockhart books. Neville catches my eye again and gives me this look. I glare at him and bury my nose in The Quibbler.
"What's that you're doing?" asks Harry, eyeing my quill.
"A quiz," I answer simply, hoping he doesn't ask more. I don't feel like telling Harry
I'm trying to find out my romantic type. Fortunately he doesn't, and he and Ron start a game of chess.
Hermione begins to read out loud again from the Daily Prophet. I really don't want to think about Death Eaters, etc., right now, so I tune her out and go back to my quiz.
Ideally you would:
a. Have a whirlwind romance with a stranger. (A stranger? Did I read that correctly?)
b. Have a long-term relationship develop into love. (That way you know them—and trust them—before you get involved. That's a good idea. I make a mental note to compile a list of long-term friends for love interest consideration.)
c. Work out the kinks in a passionate, turbulent interaction with someone special. (Huh, that doesn't sound familiar at all!)
You know, I bet Harry wouldn't have caught the Snitch like that, though. He'd be too busy staring at Chang's wholesome good looks.
Wholesome, my tush.
That's not really fair, and I know it. She's had a hard year... huh, and took it out on the blokes.
But what is it with that girl? I can't wait to see the next guy I take an interest in go flying into her arms, too. Ok, end rant, I tell myself, turning back to the quiz.
In a relationship you look for someone who:
a. Has a great sense of humor. (That's definitely important: laughter is the shortest distance between two people. Plus, I doubt someone with no sense of humor would last 5 minutes in my family.)
b. Treats you like a princess. (Ugh. No thanks.)
c. Looks out for everyone's best interests, but loves you unconditionally. (Oh, wow, well, that's… Hmm. I'd like to be loved unconditionally. And putting everyone's best interests first, that just seems so… right—)
"It hasn't really started yet, but it won't be long now," Hermione says, seeming awfully resigned as she folds up the newspaper. I stare at my quiz, trying not to think about… things, until Ron's voice distracts me further.
"Hey, Harry," Ron says, and I look up in time to see Chang walk by—speak of the devil. But she and that awful sneak Marietta just keep on walking; I wouldn't even have thought she'd seen Harry if it weren't for the fact that her cheeks turned several shades darker. There's a small consolation; at least I'm not the only one with that curse.
Which location do you think has the most potential for romance?
I'm barely done reading the question when it occurs to me, vaguely, that Harry is either a very bad chess player or not paying attention to the game at all.
a. A café. Perfect—set a table for two! Please excuse me, Madame Puddifoot, while I go spew in your lace-doily-covered toilet.
"What's going on with you and her, anyway?" Ron asks, stumbling over his words a bit.
"Nothing," answers Harry, not bothering to keep his voice down like Ron had (which was stupid because we could all hear him anyway).
b. The great outdoors—there's nowhere like a hill overlooking a lake for those amorous conversations. Amorous snogging maybe, but who goes to a hill overlooking a lake to ponder? I could ponder quite comfortably in my bed. Should I choose to ponder. Then, I could also snog quite comfortably in my bed—
"I heard she's going out with someone else now," says Hermione, also stumbling over her words (honestly, the pair of them!). She looks as though she's afraid Harry might explode again. I'm a bit curious to see his reaction myself—curiosity only!
I'm quite relieved that he doesn't seem perturbed at all. I'm even thinking maybe we should start a club—The Indifferent Exes—but then Harry gets that haunted look on his face again and I wonder if he's not so indifferent after all.
c. Train stations. There's something about journeys—beginning and ending—that just gets to you! Despite the cheesy wording, I suppose that's true enough.
"You're well out of it, mate. I mean, she's quite good-looking and all that, but you want someone a bit more cheerful."
Ron, giving love advice? That's laughable! Although, I admit to myself as I circle my answer (letter c), I do agree with him. The last thing Harry needs is someone who cries and gets emotional at the drop of a hat. He needs someone cheerful, who's willing to give a good snog to get his mind off things every once in a while.
Not that I am interested in the job.
"She's probably cheerful enough with someone else," Harry replied, his voice back to the indifferent tone. I'm trying really hard not to care about the fact that he doesn't seem to care.
But he's hit the nail on the head—if half of what Hermione says about Chang is true (and judging by the ‘cheerful' remark, I guess it is), then she and Michael should be getting along just fine. They can stay up late at night in the Ravenclaw common room talking about their "feelings" and "discussing their relationship."
How can you just trust someone to open up like that? If I talked to everyone who asked about my "feelings" I'd have no friends left. They'd all be scared away by the girl who let Lord Voldemort take over her soul—
"Who's she with now, anyway?" Ron's voice saves me from the lovely track that train of thought was going down.
"Michael Corner," I answer automatically. I've told this story so many times in the last month that I've got a whole monologue scripted and memorized. Of course, my preciously oblivious brother would be the last to know.
"Michael—but—but you were going out with him!" Ron's eyes look like they're about to bulge out of his head as he stares at me, and his ears are turning red. I can see Hermione rolling her eyes at Ron's confusion—it's as though he's never heard of a break-up before!
"Not anymore." I launch into my much-practiced explanation. "He didn't like Gryffindor beating Ravenclaw at Quidditch and got really sulky, so I ditched him and he ran off to comfort Cho instead."
It's true enough; that's how it started anyway. I just deliberately leave out the part where he accused me of still fancying Harry, and the other part where he complained that I "never opened up to him" and how I was "emotionally distancing myself." And the part where I told him he couldn't understand me even if I did open up to him. At which point he suggested I confide in Harry, who was sure to understand me. I promptly suggested he go comfort Cho, who would be sure to appreciate his emotional openness and communication skills, and leave me alone. Although, now that I think of it, I may not have used those exact words.
And then the git put Pepper-up Potion, which he is well aware that I am allergic to, in my school bag. I only found it this morning, but it explains why my nose has been itching for the last month.
I'm out of questions on my quiz, so I flip it upside down and begin to add up my score—soon I'll know my romantic type, I can hardly wait! The upside-down magazine reminds me of the trip at the beginning of school, and I'm suddenly very glad we sat in the compartment with Luna that day. I really like having her for a friend.
"Well, I always thought he was a bit of an idiot." Honestly, Ron sounds practically gleeful! Why, oh why do I have to have an older brother who thinks no one is ever going to be good enough for me? If I ever get married, my poor husband will have to put up with Ron's disapproving looks for the rest of his life. However long he survives, anyhow, with Fred and George around.
"Good for you," Ron continues. Well, yes, I did do a pretty good job with the breakup, if I say so myself. "Just choose someone—better—next time."
WHAT? Someone better? While I have to admit that Michael and I were not exactly suited, I doubt I could find someone better. And he's a nice enough guy, most of the time. Is anyone good enough for me, in Ron's opinion?
I manage to control my inner rage and respond calmly, without revealing the fact I am testing the waters a bit. I choose a name not so much at random, but someone I know for a fact Ron thinks very highly of.
"Well, I've chosen Dean Thomas, would you say he's better?"
Apparently not, I think, as I calculate my final score while Crookshanks "helps" Ron collect the chess pieces that scattered far and wide when he had his apoplectic fit. Both Hermione and Neville are looking at me like I've gone mad, but I ignore them. I don't dare look at Harry—if he's indifferent, I'd rather not know. If he's not, well, I'd rather not know.
I turn the page, ready to find out my "romantic type".
No, that can't--
That can't be…This is ridiculous. Why is it always—no. No. I—no. I don't have a—.
This is stupid.
Just stupid. A stupid, stupid quiz. I hate quizzes anyway, why did I do it in the first place?
They're never right.
Forget it. Forget it. I am going to get off this stupid train and leave this stupid magazine behind and forget it.
Your Romantic Type: The Hero
He wants what's best, what's fair, and he's willing to do what it takes to get it—not just for himself, but for everyone else, too. You love him for his admirable qualities: consistency, bravery, and the fact that he's willing to risk his life for yours. But heroes also have a tendency to be hard-headed and have an independent streak. You may have some work to do convincing him he needs you by his side, but when it comes down to it, it will take a real Lancelot to ride off with you in the sunset!