Do You Still Think About It? by bbrod8
Summary: It's Christmas during Harry's fifth year, and his friends have finally called him out on his foolishness. While Harry is relieved that Voldemort isn't possessing him, he realizes that he owes a certain red-headed witch an apology. In the process, Harry begins to realize that Ginny means much more to him than he could have ever imagined.
Do You Still Think About It? by bbrod8
Chapter 1: Do You Still Think About It?Author's Notes:
“Well, that was a bit stupid of you, seeing as you don’t know anyone but me who’s been possessed by You-Know-Who, and I can tell you how it feels.”
Those words played over and over again in Harry’s head. He couldn’t believe he’d been such a selfish prick. He had been so obsessed with wallowing in his own misery lately that he’d forgotten how much his friends cared for him, and wanted to support him. It had been especially foolish of him not to ask for their advice about the visions he had been having. There was no doubt in his mind — he deserved to be set straight.
The more Harry thought about these words, however, the more he saw himself focusing not on what had been said, but who had said them. He found it curious that it wasn’t Ron or Hermione who had finally been able to get through to him, but Ginny. Ginny had been a part of his life for years — she was practically family. And yet, the more he thought about it, the more Harry realized how little he really knew her. The two of them didn’t talk one-on-one much, and he certainly wasn’t as close with her as he was with Ron or Hermione. He couldn’t even recall a time when the two of them had been alone together.
"With one rather obvious exception, you arse," he muttered to himself. This was exactly the kind of inconsiderate ignorance that had gotten him in trouble to begin with. After all, it wasn’t as though Ginny didn’t mean anything to him. She was Ron’s sister, and that alone was reason to care about her, but lately, Harry had come to appreciate Ginny in her own right. She was funny, bold, insightful, and, as he quickly learned during the D.A. meetings, quite the talented witch. Not to mention that, if he was honest with himself, she was rather pretty. Small wonder so many boys at Hogwarts fancied her. A girl like her certainly deserved better than the way he had treated her earlier. Even though he had apologized to her in the moment, he still felt awful for hurting her feelings.
“Harry dear, dinner’s ready!” rang Mrs. Weasley’s voice, disrupting the usual dreary silence of Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place. Her summons, coupled with the screams of Filth! Blood traitors! Scum! echoing from Walburga Black’s portrait, were enough to jostle him out of his thoughts. Dinnertime meant human interaction, but for the first time in a while, Harry didn’t resent the thought of it. After all, he finally had reason to be happy. He had realized that he wasn’t possessed by Voldemort and, hence, wasn’t an imminent threat to those around him, thanks to the intervention of Ron and Hermione. And, of course, Ginny.
At dinner, Harry couldn’t help but glance over at Ginny, who sat at the opposite end of the table. She seemed to be okay — she was laughing with Fred and George — but Harry still felt an overwhelming surge of guilt for what he had said earlier. It struck him as odd that he felt this way. After all, his apologies to Ron and Hermione had been sufficient to clear his conscience. Why was Ginny so different? It probably didn’t help that he had trivialized the most traumatic experience of Ginny’s life — something far worse than either Ron or Hermione had ever gone through. Or maybe it had something to do with the blazing look she had in her eyes when she had chided him for his foolishness; something about that look must have resonated with him. Either way, Harry resolved to talk to her after dinner.
“No, Harry, dear, Kreacher and I will do the cleaning,” said Mrs. Weasley pleasantly when Harry had offered to lend a hand. Kreacher, evidently, was less enthusiastic; as Harry left the kitchen, he could hear the old curmudgeon of a house elf muttering, “Kreacher must help the blood traitor because master has commanded him to, Mistress would be most displeased, oh, yes, Mistress would be most displeased...”
Harry climbed the stairs to the first floor, taking care not to disturb the portrait of Sirius’s mother again. There, just past the drawing room, was the bedroom that Ginny shared with Hermione. The door was open, but he knocked anyway.
“Oh, hi Harry!” said Ginny brightly, looking up at him. She was sitting on her bed, a copy of Witch Weekly in her hand.
“Hey,” he said meekly, taking a seat on the bed across form her. He took a deep breath. “I just wanted to apologize for being so thick earlier. You must think I’m a total prat.”
Ginny smiled, which caught Harry off guard. “I have six older brothers, Harry. Honestly, I don’t think we’d even be friends if you weren’t a bit of a prat every now and then.”
Harry wasn’t quite sure what to make of this response. Was she giving him a back-handed compliment? No, Ginny was much too comfortable with confrontation for that sort of thing. That’s how this whole situation started in the first place, he reminded himself. Nor did the expression on her face suggest even the slightest animosity or disdain. As it dawned on him that Ginny truly didn’t resent him, Harry began to feel a weight lift off his shoulders. He hadn’t really thought about how expected this conversation would go, or what he would want her to say to make him feel better. And yet, Harry realized that her cheeky, unpredictable response was as good as anything he could have thought of. She had made him feel at ease somehow — curious, he thought, given how he had not long ago concluded that he didn’t even know her all that well.
“Right,” Harry finally said, reining in his thoughts. “But I still feel awful. I mean, after everything you went through...I realized I was being rather thoughtless.”
Ginny looked at him with a warm, gentle expression. Once again, it made him feel strangely at ease. “It’s all right, Harry. Really. Besides, with You-Know-Who on the loose, I think we have more pressing matters to worry about.”
“So...you believe it, then?”
“Of course I believe it!” Ginny exclaimed incredulously, “Who am I, Rita Skeeter’s house elf?”
Harry laughed at her witty retort. He reckoned Fred and George couldn’t have asked for a better protégé. “She’s been bloody awful,” said Harry, “her, the Prophet, the ministry...”
“Bloody wankers, the lot of them,” Ginny interjected. “I’m just glad Skeeter wasn’t around when I opened the Chamber of Secrets. I couldn’t even imagine the headlines that cow would come up with. As if I didn’t have enough people giving me grief during the aftermath.” Her voice trailed off as she said this, and Harry noticed her expression became more somber.
“I’m sorry,” Harry offered. He wasn’t much used to comforting people, seeing how circumstances often dictated that he receive sympathy rather than give it.
“Don’t be,” said Ginny, softly. “You of all people were probably the least judgmental about it. Don’t think that was lost on me, Harry. It helped me get back on my feet. I really needed that. That whole year was just awful, and that day...you never forget a day like that.”
“Do you still think about it?”
The room filled with silence. Harry worried that his question may have been out of bounds. But after looking at him for a moment, Ginny nodded slowly. “Not as much as I used to,” she said, “but sometimes...”
“I know what it’s like,” said Harry, trying to be as helpful as he could, “I’ve had nightmares all summer about what happened in the graveyard. About Cedric.”
Ginny smiled weakly. “That’s not the only reason I think about it, Harry.” Once again, Harry found himself caught off-guard by her response. But Ginny continued. “That day was horridly traumatic, of course. But it was meaningful, too. That was the day I really got to know you.”
“What are you talking about, Ginny?” said Harry, “We’d known each other all year!”
Ginny shook her head. “That’s not what I mean, Harry. I’d heard about you when I was little. I saw you when you first got on the train to Hogwarts. I met you that summer when you came to the Burrow. But I only knew you as Harry Potter. The hero. The legend. The Boy Who Lived. I knew about you, but I didn’t know you.”
“What’s the difference?”
Ginny rolled her eyes. “Seriously Harry, sometimes I think you’re even thicker than Ron.” But then her voice softened, as did the look in her eyes. “When you rescued me from the Chamber, you showed me who you truly are. You’re brave, noble, loyal, and bloody brilliant under pressure. You put others before yourself, and you’d do anything to protect the ones you care about. I’d known you for a long time as the great Harry Potter, but that was the day I knew you as Harry. Just Harry. And you’ll always be Harry to me.”
Harry felt a surge of affection for the young redhead sitting across from him. He had grown so weary of people either exalting or demonizing him for being the famous Harry Potter, especially over the course of the past year. But Ginny Weasley, who had even more reason than most to idolize him for his celebrity status, saw through it all. Whatever relief or solace Harry had hoped to gain from talking to her, Ginny had given it to him tenfold. He felt so relaxed, so comfortable around her. It was a feeling he had never quite experienced before — a feeling as though someone finally understood him. Even Ron and Hermione had never made him feel this way. They tried their best to help and support him, and Harry had always been grateful for their effort. But Ginny was the first to have succeeded.
“Harry?” Ginny’s expression had grown concerned. She had noticed what he had not — his eyes misting over, his emotions welling up from deep within. For so long, Harry had kept the stress and torment of the past year pent-up inside of him. But with Ginny, he felt that he could finally do what he hadn’t been able to bring himself to do since Voldemort had returned — he put his head in his hands, and allowed the tears to fall.
Ginny stood up and, without speaking, sat down on the bed next to him, putting her arm around him. Her touch was warm, and more firm than Harry had anticipated. He leaned into her shoulder, allowing himself to cry until he could no longer. As he sobbed harder, Ginny’s embrace grew stronger, and though his nose was stuffed up from crying, he could detect a hint of a flowery fragrance. He’d never noticed it before, but it was pleasant, and for some reason, it helped the tension in his body gradually subside.
When he was finally finished, Harry pulled his head up and looked at her. He saw almost no resemblance to the little girl who couldn’t bear to speak around him when they had first met. The young woman he was looking at now was strong and confident. Someone he could lean on. Someone he could confide in. Harry wondered how on earth he hadn’t noticed Ginny like this before.
“You all right, Harry?” said Ginny tenderly. She took her hand and wiped the last remaining tear from Harry’s cheek.
Harry nodded, realizing that he had never actually spoken about his feelings to anyone. But as he looked at Ginny in the eyes again, he knew he didn't need to. She already understood.
“When you said the Chamber is where you finally knew me...I think I get it now.”
She nodded. “I guess that’s what bothered me the most earlier, when you said you forgot.”
“Ginny, please don’t think that I’ve forgotten about it or that it never meant anything to me. I promise it’s not like that. Truth is, that day was the scariest day of my life, and it had nothing to do with the basilisk. The whole time, I was so terrified that you were dead. I can’t even begin to tell you how relieved I was when you came to. When I said I’d forgot about it, I just meant I hadn’t made the connection between my visions and your possession.”
“I figured as much,” said Ginny, patting his hand. “Besides, there is one good thing about all these nightmares we’ve been having.”
Harry looked at her, puzzled. “Is there?”
“It means we survived. It means we got the better of You-Know-Who.”
Stunned for a moment by the impact of her words, Harry eventually looked up at Ginny, who was grinning once again. Harry suddenly felt more foolish that he had all day. All this time, he had tried to cope with his nightmares with isolation and misery, while Ginny had been able to find hope — beauty, even — in trials just as dark as his. One thing was clear: there was a lot more to Ginny Weasley than Harry had expected.
“Oi, Ginny!” Harry saw two identical faces appear, peaking out from opposite ends of the doorway. “We’ve got a little invention we want to show you,” said Fred. Or maybe it was George. Harry could never be quite sure.
“We’re working on a line of love potions,” added the other twin.
“Want to make sure they work, you see.”
“And you think you can just make me your guinea pig?” leered Ginny, arms crossed.
“Well it’s better than leaving you alone with him,” the twins continued.
“The Boy Who Lived.”
“He’s delusional, you know.”
“That’s what the Prophet says.”
“And the ministry.”
“And when have they ever been wrong?”
Ginny and Harry both laughed. “I’ll be over in a minute,” she called out to them. And with that, she leaned toward Harry, kissed him on the cheek, stood up, and left the room.
AN: That’s all there is to this one-shot. No steamy follow-ups or secret rendezvous or anything like that. Harry, after all, doesn’t realize his true feelings for Ginny until the following year, while Ginny continues to date around. But I do think a scene like this really helps readers understand why Ginny has a lot more attention paid to her in the second half of Order of the Phoenix than in the first half. It also explains how Harry fell for Ginny as hard as he did, especially because it sometimes seems like it came out of nowhere in the Half-Blood Prince. Hope you enjoyed it!
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.
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