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SIYE Time:8:40 on 27th July 2021


Girl Talk
By sapphire200182

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Category: Post-OotP, Girl Talk Challenge (2010-3), Girl Talk Challenge (2010-3)
Characters:Harry/Ginny, Lily Potter
Genres: Action/Adventure, Angst
Warnings: Mild Language
Story is Complete
Rating: PG
Reviews: 45
Summary: ** Winner of Best Adventure in the Girl Talk Challenge **


Three months into her fifth year at Hogwarts, Ginny Weasley starts having dreams with none other than Lily Potter, the mother of a certain green-eyed boy. Lily has plenty to offer in terms of extra lessons and advice, but as the Wizarding World falls under the lengthening shadow of the returned Lord Voldemort, perhaps the best help Lily can offer is friendship. Canon-compliant, written for SIYE Girl Talk Challenge 2010.
Hitcount: Story Total: 17658; Chapter Total: 3838





Author's Notes:
Chapter one is a bit short, but the pace will pick up later on. I have lifted 262 words from Chapter 14 of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince; they are there merely to provide an idea of the timeline in which the story takes place. To a certain extent, the story is canon-compliant, and is structured to fit between and fill out chapters of Half-Blood Prince. As always, feedback is much appreciated, and I hope you enjoy the tale.




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CHAPTER ONE: SOMETIMES


“Ginny, where're you going?” yelled Harry, who had found himself trapped in the midst of a mass midair hug with the rest of the team, but Ginny sped right on past them until, with an almighty crash, she collided with the commentators podium. As the crowd shrieked and laughed, the Gryffindor team landed beside the wreckage of wood under which Zacharias was feebly stirring; Harry heard Ginny saying blithely to an irate Professor McGonagall, “Forgot to brake, Professor, sorry.”

Laughing, Harry broke free of the rest of the team and hugged Ginny, but let go very quickly. Avoiding her gaze, he clapped cheering Ron on the back instead as, all enmity forgotten, the Gryffindor team left the pitch arm in arm, punching the air and waving to their supporters.



As he was ducking toward the drinks table, he walked straight into Ginny, Arnold the Pygmy Puff riding on her shoulder and Crookshanks mewing hopefully at her heels. "Looking for Ron?" she asked, smirking. "He's over there, the filthy hypocrite."

Harry looked into the corner she was indicating. There, in full view of the whole room, stood Ron wrapped so closely around Lavender Brown it was hard to tell whose hands were whose.

"It looks like he's eating her face, doesn't it?" said Ginny dispas-sionately. "But I suppose he's got to refine his technique somehow. Good game, Harry."

She patted him on the arm; Harry felt a swooping sensation in his stomach, but then she walked off to help herself to more butterbeer. Crookshanks trotted after her, his yellow eyes fixed upon Arnold.


- Excerpt from Chapter 14, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Price -



Despite a resounding Quidditch win for Gryffindor earlier that evening, Ginny Weasley was having difficulty concentrating on her Charms homework. It wasn’t excitement that was keeping her up, although today had been particularly successful, thought Ginny, smiling up at the ceiling of the common room as she sucked idly on her quill, basking in the firelight and the deliciously exhilarating total relaxation that accompanied total exhaustion.

Ginny had had a grand match today, still maintaining her status as star Chaser for the Gryffindor team, and she’d shown off again by crashing at the end of the match into the commentator’s booth from which that smarmy Zacharias Smith had been narrating the match in his usual disparaging tone. She grinned widely; that particular stunt would be something the first year girls would be talking about for a few more days to come!

And then of course, there was her brother, Ron. Ginny sighed. He really ought to have known that Lavender Brown had been after him for a while, but no, he was thick-headed as ever when it came to girls. Did he realise how foolish it looked to be snogging her quite that publicly and quite so… wetly? Ginny shuddered. She really didn’t need to know that much about her brother’s love life… or lack thereof. And that was not for lack of trying either, on Hermione’s part. Could there be no depths blokes would sink to in order to get a quick snog?

Speak for yourself, a nasty voice said inside Ginny’s head. Remember a certain pair of green eyes on a messy black head?

Ginny gulped, and nonchalantly glanced around the common room, although not without a certain amount of guilt. In a corner, the Creeveys and a few fourth years were gathered around a muted game of Gobstones. But there was no sign of that particular pair of green eyes.

And therein we get to the root of the problem, sighed Ginny to herself. Harry Boy-Who-Lived-To-Be-A-Prat Potter. She couldn’t pretend that, Dean or no Dean, there hadn’t been a very small part of her that had watched Ron and Lavender make exhibitionist fools of themselves without wishing (for a very short moment) that it was her and Harry in the corner - well, preferably without the rest of Gryffindor Tower watching, of course. If there’s one thing I’ll never, ever, ever do, thought Ginny resolutely, it’ll be snogging Harry Potter in front of the whole bloody Gryffindor House right after Quidditch.

Yeah, added Nasty Voice, Imagine what Dean would say to that.

Yes, she’d overheard some rather interesting remarks from the somewhat fascinated first years at their seniors’ display earlier. Mother would not approve.

As if on cue, the portrait hole swung open, and Harry stepped into the common room. He seemed to hesitate a bit, glancing around, then saw Ginny sitting by the fireside and smiled - he looks really good when he smiles, thought Ginny distractedly - and made his way over, picking through armchairs, couches and a few empty Butterbeer bottles from the after-match party.

“Hey Ginny,” said Harry, pulling up a chair. “Have you seen Hermione? I've been looking all over for her.”

“Went up to the dorms, already,” replied Ginny. “You want me to get her?”

“Er, I don’t think so,” said Harry uncomfortably. He sighed, running a hand through his hair. Ginny suppressed a very slight inner twinge at that action. “I think it’s best to just… let her be, yeah?”

Ginny nodded. “Ron really upset her. She wouldn’t even talk to me.”

Harry sighed. “Sometimes I wish those two would just get together already. I mean, I’ve been listening to their back-and-forth for the past five years, and if it’s not painfully obvious to them what’s going on it certainly is to me.”

“You’d think either of them would’ve got it after the Yule Ball and stuff, yeah?” said Ginny.

“Yeah.”

Silence.

Ginny tried very hard to get back to her Charms homework - Professor Flitwick had set them to do a whole foot long essay detailing the theory of Summoning Charms, and here she was only at four inches and running out of things to write - but she couldn’t keep from glancing up every now and then as Harry sat there, staring broodingly into the fire. Finally, she said in what she hoped was a cheery tone, “Well, maybe you could try, er, talking to them…?”

Harry gave a start, and looked around. As her words sunk in he gave a rueful laugh. “Oh, I'm sorry, you're supposed to be working. It's just... I don’t know, it’s not as if I haven’t tried. I think… I think Hermione’s pretty uncertain when it comes to something she can’t quite read from a book, complete with coloured and labelled diagrams,” Ginny gave a snort at this, “while Ron is really quite thick-headed at times.”

“Not that my brother sports the usual signs that boys show when they fancy a girl,” said Ginny. “You’d have thought, Harry, that besides the times he rows with Hermione he’d be mooning over her, but no…”

Harry shook his head. “Everyone thinks they just quarrel all the time for the fun of it, but if you ask me all the rowing, well, it just shows that they care for one another, Ginny, otherwise they wouldn’t bother.”

“Isn’t it funny how,” said Ginny quietly, not looking up from her Charms essay, “despite how they seem to not get along with each other, two people might just fall in love, yeah?”

“Yeah,” said Harry quickly. “Er… yeah.”

“But more often than not, it’s only one who fancies the other…” continued Ginny, feeling very reckless.

“And the other one is just too blind or too thick or maybe both to see what she thinks of him, and fancies somebody else…” said Harry distantly.

Ginny shot him a glance. Harry was staring into the fire, running a hand through his hair nervously. Was it her imagination, or was he trying very hard not to look at her? Her eyes narrowed. “Until finally one of them gives up, and gets over him, and gets on with her life, yeah?” she said.

“Yeah, until… until that,” said Harry, finally looking up and meeting her gaze, and, Merlin’s beard, those green eyes were a sea of confusion and regret and anger and… and pure, suppressed emotion. With difficulty Ginny tore away from those mesmerising eyes and stared down at her Charms homework, reading the second word of the title over and over in her mind and not registering it. The Theory of Summoning Charms. Theory. Theory. Theory.

“And she goes out with other boys,” said Harry. Ginny chanced another glance and saw that some of the confusion had disappeared, replaced by a resolve edged with a sort of broken-hearted sadness. Her heart beat faster. It seemed to Ginny as if Harry wanted to get something off his chest, for his next words came in a rush: “She… both of them start going out with people they have absolutely no real interest in and they miss that chance with one another because he was too thick to see what she means to him, and it’s too late, and she’ll never look back at him, because she’s given up on him as a lost cause, never knowing that… never knowing that…”

Despite herself, Ginny finished the sentence for him, though probably not the way he had imagined it. “…never knowing that she’s just as confused about everything as he is, and waiting for him to say something…”

“And he’s waiting for her to say something, but neither of them say anything, and they’re just friends, and they’re just trying to make themselves happy with others, but every damn time he sees her with some other boy, there’s this thing inside that wants to hex him to blazes…”

“And at night, she thinks of him before she goes to sleep,” continued Ginny.

“And he wonders what could have been, dammit, if he’d said something earlier, and now it’s too late, and in the end…”

“And in the end nothing comes of what could have been something,” said Ginny with finality. “Long ago,” she added. And for good measure, “And they can’t go back.” She thought to add “Ever”, but decided that her meaning had been understood perfectly.

Harry stared at her. Ginny turned away from his frank gaze, picking nervously at a corner of the parchment and trying to conceal the sudden tears that stung at her eyes.

“Yeah,” said Ginny, not knowing what else to say.

“Yeah,” said Harry, and when Ginny chanced another glance at him she saw that his shoulders were now slightly slumped and defeated looking.

Silence. Silence in the wake of the exposure of a thousand heretofore unspoken truths. Silence as Ginny wondered whether she had said too much or said too little and what the boy sitting opposite her thought of her now and whether she could sink into the floor below or Apparate away. Silence as Harry thought pretty much the same thing.

The common room fire was lower than before, more embers than flames, and it was dying quickly. The common room was empty; everyone had gone up, Harry and Ginny were the only occupants.

“Er…” said Harry, standing up and gesturing vaguely upwards in the direction of the dorms.

“Er…” said Ginny, gesturing vaguely at her homework. “You go ahead.”

“Okay,” said Harry, rubbing the back of his neck nervously. “Er… see you tomorrow.”

“Yeah,” said Ginny, clutching her quill to her chest. “See you.”

The common room fire crackled, guttered, hissed and died. Ginny and Harry were plunged into sudden darkness. Both were thankful for the sudden concealing darkness. He turned to go, and it was not without regret that Ginny watched him leave and open the door that led to the boys’ dormitories. Suddenly, feeling reckless in the wake of the so recent exposure of deep, unspoken truths and safe in the embracing shadows of the common room, she called out, “Sometimes…” and then she stopped.

The dark figure that was Harry paused at the foot of the steps.

“Sometimes,” said Ginny, and now her heart was thumping so wildly she thought he must hear it from all the way over there, “sometimes… Sometimes, despite everything, it turns out well. Sometimes she searches her heart, deep inside, and finds that she never really stopped loving him. Sometimes she realises that he really is the one and only one that’s really dear to her. Sometimes he realises this too. And sometimes it’s not too late. Sometimes you can go back, and sometimes something really does come out of what was almost nothing.”

Silence.

“Yeah,” said Harry. “Sometimes.”

“Yeah,” said Ginny, feeling at once elated that he sounded happier, but then the old fear was back, fear that he might misunderstand something that even she couldn’t quite completely fathom herself. “Only sometimes,” she added.

“It may not happen,” said Harry.

“But then again it might,” she replied, willing him to understand.

“It might,” repeated Harry.

Then he was gone, and the door to the boys’ dormitory closed with a click.

Ginny began gathering her things. She would pay for not finishing the essay today, would probably have to miss lunch tomorrow to get it done before Charms, but she felt at once elated and depressed. She mounted the stairs to her dormitory, and saw that her dorm mates were already fast asleep. She brushed her teeth and changed into her pyjamas very quietly before getting into bed and pulling the covers up to her chin.

Only then did she let out a sigh she didn’t know she had been holding in, and buried her face in her pillow as a single tear seeped through her eyelids.

* * *


Th e light was too bright, and burst through her eyelids despite all she did to close it out and burrow deeper into the bedclothes. Feeling thoroughly miserable, Ginny opened her eyes. Then she opened them wider as she registered what they saw.

She was no longer in her Hogwarts dormitory, but sitting on a couch in the Gryffindor common room. The common room looked slightly different, though; the squashy armchairs and couches were as patchy as ever, but not quite as patchy, while the positions of the portraits adorning the walls were changed somewhat, and the design of the lamps dotting the walls looked as if they were from a hundred years ago. The study tables and chairs were also arranged in a different manner.

“Hello,” said a voice behind her.

Startled, Ginny leapt to her feet and whirled around. Her eyes got bigger and her jaw dropped. A familiar-looking witch stood behind her in jeans and a tee shirt, her hands in her pockets. She was tall, slim and had dark, wine-red hair that went very well with her green almond-shaped eyes. Ginny raised a trembling finger. “You’re dead… Or am I…”

“No, no, don’t worry about that, it’s me, not you. Hi, Ginny,” said the witch, sticking out a hand. “I’m Lily Potter.”
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