SIYE Time:2:00 on 4th December 2021

Charming Ginny
By lilyevans_Jan30

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Category: Pre-OotP, Post-DH/PM
Genres: Action/Adventure
Warnings: Mild Language
Rating: PG-13
Reviews: 12
Summary: Impetuous Decisions made in childhood are meant to stay there, but Ginny's first year at Hogwarts was more life-threatening than most. She swears never to do anything to put Harry at harm again, but never is a long time. Voldemort is dead, but will echoes of the Chamber prevent her and Harry from ever finding happiness?
Hitcount: Story Total: 10723; Chapter Total: 1417
Awards: View Trophy Room


Ron’s departure only made Harry more determined to use any means he could to find another Horcrux. He and Hermione barely spoke, other than when she rejected — yet again — his idea to visit Godric’s Hollow. Aside from the remaining Horcruxes, they still needed a way to destroy them, and Harry was certain that the answer to at least one of these problems lay in his birthplace.

But until he could convince Hermione otherwise, Harry decided to let the issue of Godric’s Hollow drop. He wasn’t so nave to think he could manage a visit there himself.

Intercepting Ginny on her way back to Hogwarts was a different matter.

Harry knew Hermione was going to be angry; he just hoped that she wasn’t so angry as to follow Ron’s lead and leave him. He suspected she wouldn’t; unlike Ron, who could return home or back to Hogwarts, Hermione had no place else to go.

He left before Hermione woke up, an apologetic letter that included the promise that he’d return by noon and bring food with him on the table. He disapparated under his cloak to the alleyway near King’s Cross Station where Mr. Weasley had once parked his Ford Anglia. It was still dark in London, and after an hour in the cold, Harry snuck into the station behind a crowd of tourists with a lot of luggage and hid in a loo near the entrance to platform 9 .

He hoped they weren’t running late. He wondered if Ron would be with them, going back to the safety and warmth and comfort of Hogwarts, protected by his blood status.

But it was only Molly and Ginny that appeared at the barrier, twenty minutes before the train was to leave. Harry carefully followed them through and then snuck up behind Ginny to whisper by her ear.

To her credit, she didn’t scream. After a frozen moment, she bent down as if to tie her shoe, and then told her mum she needed the loo before walking casually over to an empty waiting room alongside the platform. It had always been there, Harry thought, even though no one seemed to use it.

Harry pulled the Invisibility Cloak over Ginny and spoke rapidly. “Ginny, there’s something I need you to do for me — for us — at Hogwarts,” he said urgently.

Ginny’s eyes sparkled. “Of course, Harry, whatever you need,” she said immediately.

Quickly, Harry explained about the Horcruxes and his suspicion that one might be in the Room of Requirement. This time, Ginny seemed less horrified and disgusted than when he had told her the same story in Hogsmeade and Harry wondered privately if they memory charm hadn’t held as well as they thought. He didn’t tell her about the prophecy - there wasn’t time - but after swearing Ginny to secrecy, Harry found himself reluctant to just let her go.

“Promise me that you will watch out for Malfoy?” he asked quietly. “I know you can fight his Imperius Curse, but try not to give him reason to use it on you again.”

Ginny nodded. “I wish I knew why he was so interested in me all of a sudden,” she said.

“Probably thinks you can help him find us,” said Harry. He started to ask where Ron was, but stopped. He really didn’t want to know if he was going back to school or not. He focused on Ginny again.

“I umm, I’m glad you’re going to help us,” he said. It was warm, under the Cloak, but standing there with Ginny, Harry felt inexplicably safer than he had in months; for just a moment, he felt like they were the only two people in the world. Without consciously thinking about it, he put his hand on her arm. “It’s going to make a big difference, having you involved,” he said seriously. He took a step closer to her and Ginny looked at him curiously.

“Like I said before, I’m glad to help,” she said. She took a step back. “But now I think I need to get on the train before my mum comes looking for me.”

“Oh, right,” said Harry. “The train.” He lifted the bottom of the Cloak. “I’m, umm, just going to stay here,” he said.

Ginny nodded. “Right,” she said. “Umm, the next Hogsmeade weekend is on Valentine’s Day; why don’t you and Ron and Hermione meet me there. I can let you know if I found anything.”

“Ron’s not . . .” Harry started to say. He stopped, feeling a twinge of unease about Ron’s whereabouts. No need to worry Ginny. “Right, he nodded. “We’ll see you in Hogsmeade. On Valentine’s Day. In the meantime, please be careful of Malfoy. You know things now.”

And then Ginny was gone and Harry stood still under the Cloak until long after the last sounds of the train leaving died away.


As Harry had suspected, Hermione had not left their camp. She was angry but resigned at his antics; there was really nothing she could do at that point. They sat in almost total silence the rest of the day; Harry kept his eye on the Map and didn’t relax until he saw Ginny’s dot finally come to rest in her dorm, where Malfoy couldn’t get to her.

Harry made a point of being extra agreeable and solicitous to Hermione for a few days as they criss-crossed Britain, trying to think of another Horcrux hiding place. One night, he risked her ire again by mentioning that Ron had not gone back to Hogwarts; Harry had examined the Map carefully and Ron’s name wasn’t there.

Hermione shrugged. “I bet he went to live with Fred and George,” she said casually. She sat up straighter from her position on her cot. “I’ve been thinking,” she said cautiously. “That we need to go to Godric’s Hollow. It’s the only other logical location I can think of for something to be hidden.”


Dear Harry,

I know I won’t be able to send this to you, but I wanted to write anyway. So far, I’ve had no luck with the . . . activity you gave me to do. Twice, I got followed through the hallways and couldn’t even make it to the Seventh Floor. Another time, I asked to be taken to the place where a “you know what” was hidden, but all it showed me was a huge room full of junk. You don’t think it’s in there, do you? I’m not even sure I’d know where to start looking, but I promise, I won’t give up until I have better news for you. Hopefully by Hogsmeade, I’ll have more to tell you.

I’m trying to be careful; it’s not easy. Luna didn’t come back after the Christmas holiday and no one knows where she is, or at least, they aren’t talking about it. I mostly hang out with Neville.

I think I know when the Seventh Years have double Potions; I’m going to use that time to do some more exploring. I know I won’t be interrupted then.

Your friend, Ginny.


The only positive thing about the disastrous trip to Godric’s Hollow is that Harry and Hermione were talking again. She felt horribly guilty about Harry’s wand being destroyed and he felt guilty about insisting they visit the village in the first place, and their combined feelings mended most of the bad feelings between them.

And then Ron returned and saved Harry’s life, and they had Gryffindor’s sword and destroyed the locket, and suddenly Harry felt a glimmer of hope that they might be back on track.

He didn’t want to risk the tentative peace that was building between the three of them, so at first, Harry kept quiet about his plan to meet Ginny in Hogsmeade. He knew he’d have to tell them eventually, in time to get them to join him there, but he kept telling himself he just needed to find the right time.

But after they visited the Lovegoods and learned of Luna’s disappearance, Harry himself began to question the wisdom of the scheme. Instead of trying to figure out how to get Ron and Hermione to come to Hogsmeade with him, he began thinking about whether it would be dangerous to put another memory charm on Ginny so she couldn’t remember what he’d told her.

He was still watching Ginny on the Map every chance he got; it was second nature to him to find her name and then immediately seek out Malfoy, to see how far away he was from Ginny. Twice, she disappeared from the Map completely, but instead of feeling exhilarated at the thought that she was in the Room, looking for the Horcrux, Harry couldn’t keep his eye off Malfoy and where he was in relation to the seventh floor corridor where Ginny would eventually emerge. He only allowed himself to relax when he saw the Slytherin head back to his own common room and Ginny appear back on the Map, shortly thereafter. It was late; almost curfew at Hogwarts by Harry’s reckoning, and he watched her dot with a small smile on his face as it made its way to Gryffindor Tower and then to the girls’ dorm.

Ginny would be getting into her pajamas, maybe joking with her roommates. Good thing she avoided Malfoy; she’s likely to be in a good mood. I hope she didn’t skip dinner to search.

Harry was musing to himself as he pulled on his own pajamas and climbed into his cot, the wand Ron had gotten from the snatchers at his side. Ron was keeping first watch tonight and Harry noted with satisfaction that Hermione was keeping him company at the front of the tent. He burrowed down in the blankets against the chill and closed his eyes.

Ginny’s pajamas had little Quaffles and Snitches flying all over them. Harry was laughing with her about them, asking why there were no Bludgers too. He was trying to catch one of the Snitches in under his hand to see if he could get it to stop moving, and she was giggling. He ran his hand up her leg, chasing a Snitch, and then pressed his palm to her stomach. She wriggled and groaned under his touch and Harry moved his hand higher; his own pajamas felt tight . . .

And Ginny’s face suddenly contorted in pain. She wasn’t wiggling with pleasure, she was moaning because someone had her under the Cruciatus Curse, and a raspy voice was asking her what she was looking for when she disappeared, how was she trying to help Harry Potter. They could curse her all day until she told them what she knew . . .

“Harry, Harry! Wake up!” Someone was shaking him and he could still hear Ginny screaming, but the sound was fading away. Harry jerked awake to Hermione and Ron’s worried faces. He ignored them and wordlessly grabbed the Map, looking it over until he found Ginny, still in her dorm. Malfoy was in his room and another quick search revealed that the Carrows were also far from Gryffindor Tower. Only then did Harry allow himself to take a breath and look at his friends.

“Why were you yelling about Ginny? Is something wrong? Did you see something?” Ron’s voice was rather frantic.

Slowly, Harry shook his head. “Just a nightmare,” he said. “At least, it was mostly a nightmare.” Now that he was awake, bits and pieces of his earlier dream were coming back to him as well. He shifted in his bed, suddenly aware with a start that his pajamas were sticky. He tried to hide his flush; he hadn’t had one of those happen since his early days of dating Cho, when her idea of how far she and Harry could go did not always match up to what his body wanted.

But he’d not been dreaming about Cho; he’d been thinking about Ginny.

Harry rubbed his hand across his face. “Ginny’s fine,” he managed. “I can see . . . I can see on the Map she’s fine.” He took a deep breath. “But there is something I need to tell you. Go back to your watch. I’ll, umm, put on some warmer clothes and join you both.”

To Harry’s relief, neither Ron nor Hermione seemed to find this request odd. They both went out to sit at the tent opening again and Harry cast a quick Scourgify before pulling on his warm trousers and two jumpers with his socks and boots and going to sit outside too.

“Are you sure you’re okay, Harry?” Hermione was looking at him carefully; she had sat through a number of his nightmares as he recovered from Godric’s Hollow.

He plopped down next to Ron. “Yeah, I think so,” he said. He looked at Ron. “I assume she told you I went to see Ginny at the train?”

Ron nodded. “What the hell were you thinking, mate?”

Harry sighed. “That’s just it. I wasn’t.”

In the end, they decided that Ron should go alone to Hogsmeade on Valentine’s Day. He was the least likely to get in trouble if caught and he would be able to tell Ginny to stop putting herself at risk looking for Horcruxes. He refused to do another memory charm on her, though.

“I’m pants at them anyway, probably send her the way of Lockhart if I tried,” he said. “She’ll just have to work extra hard to keep her nose clean.”

This did not sit well with Harry at all but he kept his mouth shut. He was the one to have put her at risk in the first place; there was no way to fix things and worrying Ron needlessly would only make things worse.

Ron came back from his meeting with Ginny to report that he’d used guilt to try to make her obey. “Threaten her and she’s likely to hex you,” he explained around a mouthful of one of the sandwiches Ginny had brought with her. “So I told her that Harry was particularly worried about her getting hurt.” Ron snorted a bit. “I may have made it sound like you fancied her, mate. You know, to keep her safe.”

Harry didn’t respond. He’d had two more dreams about Ginny and both had required a Scourgify charm afterwards. He was becoming increasingly worried that he might start mumbling her name in his sleep or something, and had started trying to figure out if there was a way for him to slip away for a private wank before bed. So far, he’d not come up with a solution.

“What did she say about that?” asked Hermione curiously. “Do you think she still has that old crush on Harry? You know, the one from when she was little?”

Ron shook his head. “Nah, she didn’t seem interested at all, just rolled her eyes at me and gave me the bag of food. Didn’t even blush.”

For some reason, hearing that Ginny didn’t seem to care that he fancied her (even if it was just a made up story from Ron) made Harry feel oddly put out. True, he’d been having those dreams, but he’d never considered that he actually fancied Ginny, not in that way. Now, listening to Ron prattle on and Hermione muse about whether Ginny had a crush on anyone, Harry was suddenly less sure about his feelings.

And to Harry’s dismay, it didn’t look like Ginny had taken Ron’s advice; on more than one occasion, he opened the Map to find her dot missing, or else marching resolutely up to the seventh floor corridor. Twice he saw Draco standing practically on top of her, and both times, Harry had been so distressed he’d barely been able to think until the Map showed Ginny back in her room.

It got to the point that half of Harry’s mind was always on Ginny and whether she was safe, and only half on the task at hand. It was probably this distraction that caused him to forget about the curse on Voldemort’s name; that they managed to survive Malfory Manor was nothing short of a miracle. Harry’s guilt at Dobby’s death was assuaged only by the fact that Ginny had not gone back to Hogwarts after Easter holiday; she was now at Muriel’s with the rest of Ron’s family.

Another advantage of Shell Cottage was that, despite the long hours that he, Ron and Hermione spent strategizing about how to break into Gringotts, Harry also found time to be alone. Using the excuse of Dobby’s death, he climbed one of the dunes almost every evening, and, under cover of darkness and a few hastily set privacy charms, took care of his near constant arousal so that he could sleep without worrying about waking Ron.

It was not just a physical attraction, Harry now knew. It was true. He fancied Ginny. And letting anyone know would just put her in even more danger. Truthfully, Harry didn’t want to tell anyone else until he had the chance to tell Ginny herself. They were such good friends; she had been a near constant source of help and comfort for many years now. Harry hoped, and even maybe assumed, that Ginny’s feelings for him might have grown too.

To Harry’s surprise, he had the opportunity to find out only two days later. Bill retuned from checking on his family with Muriel bringing Ginny along with him. Apparently, she’d insisted on coming; insisted that she had news of vital important to Harry, Ron, and Hermione.

She blew into the cottage looking windblown, and more beautiful that Harry had ever realized. She gave them all perfunctory hugs before asking if there was a place they could speak in private.

“I’m taking Dean and Luna to Muriel’s after lunch; the wards are set to accept them now,” said Bill. “You lot can talk then.” His mouth was set in a thin line and Harry knew he didn’t approve that they were planning and talking in private. Bill opened his mouth as if to say more, and then closed it again. He’d already made his views about making deals with Goblins well known and Harry was sure Bill was even more concerned now that his sister was involved too. Harry wanted to reassure the man that Ginny would have nothing to do with their plans for Gringotts, but he suspected that Horcruxes and prophecies would not be any more reassuring.

While Ron hovered in the kitchen, ostensibly helping Fleur and Hermione prepare lunch, but really trying to nick tastes ahead of time, Harry and Ginny walked up to see Dobby’s grave. She listened in horror to his account of Malfoy Manor as they walked.

“Bill told us what happened generally, but I think he purposely kept the details from mum and dad,” she said as they stood by the stone Harry had carved. “It explains why Malfoy wasn’t around that last week of school at least.”

“Was he still bothering you?” asked Harry sharply. “Did he try an Unforgivable again?” His dream of Ginny screaming was still vivid in his mind.

Ginny shook her head. “He mostly followed me around muttering things under his breath. He cornered me again outside Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom but I was able to shake him off.”

Harry huffed. “I wonder why he’s so interested in that bathroom,” he said, half to himself. He turned to Ginny and put his hand on her arm. “I want to apologize. I put you in danger this year and there is no excuse for it.” He tried to ignore the tingle that went through him when he touched her. Ginny didn’t seem to notice. She rolled her eyes.

“I was in danger the second I set foot at school this year, Harry. You had nothing to do with that.”

“Yes, but . . . telling you about the Horcruxes. That was . . . thoughtless of me. I should never have told you, never have put you in a position to be tortured or put under the Imperius Curse. If something had happened to you, it would have . . .” Harry stopped talking.

“You put Hermione and Ron in just as much danger,” Ginny pointed out. “It made sense for me to know. Who else could search the school?”

“It’s different,” Harry muttered. “It’s different with you.”

“Why?” asked Ginny curiously. “Why is it different with me?”

Harry took a deep breath. “Ginny,” he began, “we’ve been friends, good friends, for a long time.”

Ginny nodded. “Since the end of my first year.” She spoke in a matter of fact voice but her words made Harry suddenly uneasy.

“Uhh yeah, right,” said Harry quickly. “Umm, but with you, it’s umm, it’s not the same as with Ron and Hermione.”

“Why?” she asked again. She looked down and seemed to realize for the first time that Harry still had his hand on her arm. Harry thought maybe she looked a little surprised, but she didn’t step away.

“Ron and Hermione, I think, fancy each other. I think they have for a long time.”

Ginny snorted. “I thought so. Just took my brother seeing her almost get killed to realize it.”

“Exactly,” said Harry. “That’s exactly it.” He closed his eyes, trying to gather his thoughts. “It’s different when you like someone as more as friends. Ron and Hermione, they are my best friends. I don’t want them to get hurt, of course.” Harry wasn’t sure he was making sense. He opened his eyes and looked at Ginny. “And you, you are one of my best friends too. And it’s great that you are helping us, that you are willing to do that. But lately . . . it’s been . . . different.” He spoke in a rush. “My feelings for you have been different.”

Ginny’s eyes opened wide. “Oh,” she said slowly. She took a tiny step back, just far enough that they were no longer touching. “Harry . . .” she began.

“It makes sense,” Harry interrupted. “We have so much in common, Quidditch, Gryffindor, learning the Patronus charm . . .” There were other things too, he knew, but his brain felt rather fuzzy. He wasn’t sure if it was because he was suddenly confessing his feelings to Ginny or not. But then she was shaking her head.

“Harry,” she said again. “You are one of my best friends. You know that. I . . . I don’t know that I could have made it through these past months at school if I hadn’t had you, and Ron, and Hermione, and how I might help all of you, to take my mind off everything else.” She took a deep breath and Harry suddenly felt a pit in his stomach. “. . . But . . .” she continued.

“Ginny, wait, let me explain more.” The words burst out of him, as if saying them would be able to negate the look on Ginny’s face and the tone of her voice.

“I’m so sorry, Harry,” she said quietly. “I . . . I don’t feel that way about you. I haven’t . . . ever felt that way about you. Other than that silly crush when I was nine.” She looked at him. “But you aren’t talking about a crush, are you?”

Harry shook his head. “No,” he said dully. “It’s more than a crush. I just thought . . .”

“I think, maybe,” said Ginny carefully, “that us being apart this year, not being able to talk all the time like we are used to, I mean. And you missing Hogwarts and Quidditch and everything. I think it might have made your feelings for me become a little . . . unrealistic.”

“They aren’t unrealistic . . .” began Harry. Ginny held up a hand.

“Okay, okay, maybe they aren’t.” She took a deep breath. “I just think that, if you and I were meant to be more than friends, if I was to have feelings for you, it would have happened before this.” She looked up at him, and suddenly there was a fierce light in her eyes.

“But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to keep helping you, however I can,” she said. “You need me. We won’t let this interfere,” right?

Harry forced himself to smile. “Right.”

“Really, Harry, I mean it. I’m going to help.” Ginny put her own hand on Harry’s arm, and try as he might, he couldn’t quite suppress a shudder. She frowned and quickly took her hand away. She shook her head as if to clear it. “I need to talk to the three of you,” she said. “I think . . . I think I have really good news for you. And I think there is more I can do to help.” She looked down the hill. “I’m going back to help Fleur before Ron eats all the food,” she said. “See you there soon?”

Harry nodded. “Yeah. Soon. I’m sorry, Ginny. I didn’t mean to . . .”

“Don’t worry about,” she said quickly. “Like I said, it’s been a strange year. I don’t think any of us can totally trust what we are thinking or feeling right now.”

Harry privately disagreed, but he nodded anyway and watched Ginny walk away. His thoughts were swirling and his body felt like it wanted to betray Ginny’s words. Harry groaned to himself and then set a privacy charm around Dobby’s grave. At least he’d be more in control before he had to talk to Ginny later.
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