A/N: This was written some time ago, for the "When Harry Met Ginny Challenge" over at SIYE. The basic premise was Ginny began a correspondence with Harry after she met him for the first time at King's Cross during Harry's first year, thus beginning their friendship long before it actually happened in canon.
Thanks to Chreechree and Sherylyn.
When Ginny Weasley first met Harry Potter at King's Cross station, the very first thing that came to her mind was not the fact that his eyes were unusually striking behind his glasses (they were green, just like the fresh pickled toad that her friend Luna Lovegood had shown her the other day), nor the fact that his clothes were too big for him (indeed – he seemed to be all clothes and not much boy), or the fact that his hair (which was as dark as the blackboard in the kitchen that listed what chores each Weasley had to do for that day) stuck up crazily at the back of his head.
No, Ginny's first thought upon seeing Harry – she did not know yet that he was the hero of the Wizarding world – was this:
He looks lonely.
And being the kind-hearted little girl that she was (never mind what her twin brothers Fred and George said), she immediately felt sorry for him and wondered if this lonely-looking boy clutching an enormous trunk and a massive bird cage with the most beautiful snowy white owl wanted a friend.
So she smiled at him, and, after he looked behind him to see who she was smiling at, Harry tentatively smiled back at her. Before she could introduce herself however, her other brother Ron had another accident with his trolley, and she had to help round up Scabbers, his pet rat, who had scampered underneath a rubbish bin.
When Ginny finally managed to grab the squeaking Scabbers, Harry was already following Ron through the magical barrier that led to platform nine and three-quarters. The Hogwarts Express was waiting to whisk the chattering and excited crowd of students to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
As she watched her brothers load their trunks onto the scarlet train, she came to the abrupt realisation that she would soon be left on her own.
Suddenly, Ginny felt quite lonely herself.
She tried very hard not to cry when Percy (in his prefect glory), Fred, George and Ron said good-bye to her, but she soon gave in to her tears and ran after the train, waving madly and wishing with all her might that she, too, was going to Hogwarts with her crazy brothers.
As the Hogwarts Express rounded the corner and disappeared from view, she caught a last glimpse of the little boy – who had turned out to be Harry Potter, how exciting was that? – peering out of a compartment window, still looking lost, lonely and just a bit frightened.
As running and laughing and crying all at the same time tends to be a bit exhausting, Ginny slowly walked back to where her mother was waiting patiently for her.
"Mum, do you think that Harry Potter will be all right?"
If Mrs. Weasley was astonished by her only daughter's concern for a boy she had never met until today, she did not show it. "I'm sure he'll be fine, dear," she said as they walked back through the barrier.
"But Mum," said Ginny, frowning a little, "you should have seen the look on his face. He seemed really lonely."
"Well, I suppose he's in Ron's year, so maybe he'll be friends with Ron," said Mrs. Weasley, smiling at her daughter's earnestness.
"I hope so," said Ginny solemnly, slipping her hand into her mum's. "Even heroes deserve to have friends, right?"
"Yes, dear," replied Mrs. Weasley. "Everyone deserves to have friends." She squeezed Ginny's hand fondly. "Especially heroes."
Ginny fell silent and did not speak again until they got back to The Burrow. The big rambling house was usually filled with laughter, random explosions and good-natured squabbling, but now it seemed too big, too quiet and too empty.
"Hmm?" answered Mrs. Weasley as she laid out some tea and scones on the kitchen table.
"D'you suppose Harry would like me to be his friend?"
"I'm certain he would like that very much, dear," said Mrs. Weasley, patting her daughter's hand.
Ginny grinned happily and bit into a scone slathered with clotted cream and her mum's homemade raspberry preserves.
She would like to be Harry Potter's friend, too.
And it was not because she fancied him (boys were just gross – Ron was living proof of that), nor was it because he had defeated You-Know-Who (although she was grateful that he had so kindly done that for everyone).
No, she wanted to be his friend simply because he looked like he needed one.
It was not until very late in the following week, when Ron finally wrote home to regale them about the marvellous time that he was having at Hogwarts with his new best mate, Harry Potter, that Ginny decided to stop procrastinating. She had her own letter to send to the lost-looking little boy who had made such an impact on her.
She had been struggling for days on what to put in her first letter to Harry. Ginny was quite dismayed that her normally loquacious – a word that Percy told her meant talkative but Ron claimed that it simply meant she could not shut up – brain could not devise one clever sentiment to put to parchment.
What was she supposed to tell an eleven-year-old boy with whom she had only exchanged the briefest of smiles?
Luna's advice was to start with the comical but highly educational story about why the Crumple-Horned Snorkack's horns were so crumpled, while her mum recommended that she just say hello and ask him if he was eating well enough. Neither suggestion seemed adequate to Ginny, however.
Finally, just when she had nearly run out of clean parchment, Ginny at last came up with something that she thought was suitable enough for her first message to Harry. She double-checked the spelling of a few words in the well-used dictionary that had been Percy's present for her second birthday, hurriedly scratched out her note in her favourite green ink, and sent Errol, the old family owl, on his merry way.
After Harry defeated Voldemort for the final time, he would often regale his children at dinner (much to their consternation) with his fondest memory of his first year at Hogwarts.
Strangely enough, it was not his first sight of the magnificent, enchanted ceiling of the Great Hall, nor was it the time that he stuck his wand up the troll's nose right before their Uncle Ron knocked it out with its own club.
It was not even the first, exhilarating time he got on a broom, or when Professor McGonagall handpicked him for the Gryffindor Quidditch team (making him the youngest Seeker in a century), or when he first held his father's Invisibility Cloak in his hands.
No, his dearest memory was of tromping up to his room after another sumptuous dinner in the Great Hall, flinging open the hangings of his four-poster bed, and nearly having a heart attack at the sight of an elderly, bedraggled owl lying pathetically on his four-poster bed, clutching the first of many letters from his future wife in his fatigued claws.
I'm Ginny Weasley – Ron's sister (unfortunately). I don't know if you remember that we met at King's Cross station, but you looked like you needed a friend. I thought that maybe I could be of help, if I may be so presumptuous (which my brother Percy assures me means 'bold', even though my other brothers Fred and George – I think you met them? – tell me it means 'having bollocks' which I don't quite understand because
I'm a girl and I certainly don't have any bollocks, at least the last time I checked).
By this time, you've probably already made loads of friends, but you can never have enough of them, can you?
My mum hopes that you are well and are eating properly. Don't let Ron nick all the food from you – he's a bottomless pit, that one.
Write back to me, if you can!
Harry was both taken aback and pleased at Ginny's unexpected letter. He had never actually received one – unless you counted the letters from Hogwarts that Uncle Vernon had tried futilely to evade.
Of course he remembered the little redheaded girl who had smiled at him so warmly at the station; very few people ever took time out to be nice to him.
Finding out that she was Ron's little sister seemed appropriate somehow. The Weasley family seemed to have kindness in spades.
Ron came bounding into the dormitory. "Harry, have you seen my Circe Chocolate Frog card? Seamus is willing to trade his Ptolemy for it." He opened his trunk and started ransacking it. "Argh! Look at all this stuff. I'll never find it. I wonder if Ginny took it?" he muttered, flinging shirts, robes and all sorts of objects around the room.
"Ginny's your sister, right?" asked Harry, trying to sound casual, as Ginny's name had never really come up in any of their conversations so far.
"Yeah," was Ron's muffled answer, as half of his body had disappeared into the depths of his trunk. "Where the bloody hell is it?"
"Is she starting Hogwarts next year?" Harry ducked to avoid a trainer that Ron had chucked behind his shoulder.
"Yeah, she'll be eleven by then."
"Isn't it kind of weird to have a sister after all of your brothers?"
"Well, kind of, but Mum and Dad were right chuffed about it. After all, she's the first female Weasley in ages. Ginny's a bit of a pest. She always nicks my stuff and never ever shuts up, but she's all right, really, if you avoid getting her riled up. Aha!"
Ron straightened up, waving a Famous Witches and Wizards card victoriously in one hand and a rather squashed Pumpkin Pasty in the other. "I've got to go see Seamus before he gives his card to Neville. Maybe he'll give me his Agrippa card for this Pumpkin Pasty!" He ran out of the room, shouting out "See you later, Harry!" over his shoulder.
Harry waved to Ron, then read Ginny's note again, blushing slightly at the word "bollocks" that Ginny had so casually used, and chuckling at her accurate description of her brother's appetite. He never had a friend that was a girl before (Well, Hermione Granger was around a lot, but he would not call her a friend as she really was a bossy, pesky know-it-all, as Ron