Chapter 8 : Chapter 8: Understanding Given
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Ginny stretched and sat up, looking at Hermione expectantly. Harry stayed where he was, but put a hand on her back and gently moved it up and down. He too looked at Hermione, who had a thoughtful expression on her face. She turned and sat on the couch next to Ron. Harry only remembered then that he had expected Ron to pound him upon his return from the Headmaster’s. Harry looked questioningly at Ron who grinned broadly at him.
Hermione finally spoke. “The Headmaster and I have come to the conclusion that Ginny is the reason that you are able to do more magic. He met with Tonks earlier this evening and she informed him that you seemed to respond well to her presence.” Harry almost contradicted her, but she persisted. “Furthermore, Tonks feels that Ginny’s physical affections towards you are also helping you to open up.”
Harry’s hand stopped. He felt Ginny stiffen. Ginny then spoke, but her voice sounded strained. “You have got to be kidding. How am I making a difference?”
Hermione looked sharply at her and for a moment Harry was sure that she was going to contradict what Ginny had said, but she didn’t. “Tonks also stated to Professor Dumbledore that she thought you two were dating, by the way you acted towards each other. When I corrected him, Professor Dumbledore looked… well, he wasn’t happy, let me tell you. He asked me if I knew how you two felt about each other, and if there was a possibility of your dating.”
“What?” Harry was flabbergasted. Since when did the Headmaster get involved in student’s love lives?
“Harry, this is important. When I said that I did not know, he told us that we could go and that we should not try to push anything between you two. But you see, I think this is the key to unlocking your powers Harry.” Her eyes filled with tears. “I don’t want to ruin your chances for gaining full use of your powers which is why Dumbledore has not spoken to you about this before but I am tired of people dying and I think now that you are ready so I’m going to ignore what he told me and tell you what I think.”
Ron looked at his fiancé in amazement. “Did I just hear you? You’re going to go against a direct order from Dumbledore? Oh, I do believe that I’m going to have to write this one down, imagine Hermione actually… OW! Whad ya hit me for?” Ron asked rubbing his arm where she had punched it.
Hermione ignored him and looked at Harry who had sat up while Ron was talking. “Harry, how do you feel about Ginny?”
Before he could think or even begin to form a coherent sentence, Ginny jumped in. “He sees me as a friend Hermione, so don’t go putting him on the spot like that! He has never seen me as more than a friend and it’s doubtful that he has changed his mind. Harry has already expressed his wishes about finding a girlfriend and if you think that is what will bring out more of his powers, including the one that will vanquish Voldemort then we’ll start to actively search for one.”
“I don’t think that finding Harry a girlfriend will unlock his powers. If that were the case then Cho or Lisa would have been enough.” Hermione said this softly, but with conviction. “I think that Harry needs to fall in love to unlock his powers and I also believe that he has started to fall in love with you.” Hermione finished, looked at Ginny.
Ginny’s mouth dropped open and she appeared unable to speak. Harry, for the most part, was taking what Hermione had said, seriously. His first reaction had been to discount it like Ginny had done, but she was right. He did not have any power boosts when he had dated before, but since he had started really holding Ginny and paying attention to her, his feelings had started to change. It was almost a subtle shift, one that he had not noticed before. Then he thought about what Hermione had said. Could he be falling in love with Ginny? She was one of his best friends, someone he loved spending time with, someone he could confide in and there was no denying that she was certainly beautiful but love? He did not really know what love felt like. “Hermione, I’m not sure that I know what love is. I mean, as far as I know, no one has ever loved me. Well, I suppose my parents might have but no one else has ever said that they… OOF.” He could not finish his ramblings because Ginny had thrown herself onto him, crushing him to her in an enormous hug.
“Harry, you dumb prat, I love you, I mean… we all do! You are part of our family!” Ginny exclaimed, looking him straight in the eye. “Don’t you ever think that no one loves you because it’s not true!”
“Okay, okay, I didn’t mean it like that.” Harry said, trying to pacify the red head. He pulled her more fully onto his lap and held her like he had earlier that evening. This action did not escape Ron or Hermione’s notice either, and they exchanged triumphant smiles. “I mean it though, what does love feel like?” Ginny put her arms around his neck again and buried her head in his neck. He had the suspicion that she might be trying not to cry.
Hermione thought carefully before replying. “It’s a sort of warm feeling, you know, like your entire body is warm and tingly. When you are in love, you want to be with the person all the time or you think about them a lot when you are apart. You want to touch them and help them and protect them from harm. You also can be happy just spending time with them, not even talking. I want to share everything with Ron and when he is in pain, I want to take it from him. He makes me feel good about myself and gives me confidence.” The more that Hermione told Harry about love, the more that he saw himself feeling that way towards Ginny. Ginny was always there for him and he certainly thought about her a lot. He loved being with her and he wanted to fix all her problems and never let her get hurt. Being with her did give him a warm feeling and she did give him confidence. Just today, she told him that she believed in him and he had beaten Tonks for the first time ever. She had always been there for him and had always supported him even when others had their doubts Ginny was always steadfast.
Ginny, it seemed, had given up on fighting her tears and had begun to cry. He had never seen so many tears out of her, as he had in the past few weeks but instead of being angry and bewildered, as he had been with Cho, Harry just wanted to comfort her and help her feel better but before he could say anything to make her feel better, she had pulled out of his arms and stood up.
“I’ve heard enough Hermione and I can’t stand to hear anymore. Harry is never going to feel that way about me. I’ll help in any way that I can but not right now… I can’t listen to this anymore. I’m going to bed.” And she turned to walk up to her dorms.
“No.” Hermione said forcefully. “You will stay because this is important. Harry needs you.”
Ginny turned, her eyes were red but her tears were gone. “He doesn’t need me for this, he has you to explain things to him.”
“Ginny, I know this is hard to hear for you but you need some faith. I really do think that Harry is falling in love with you.”
“That’s rubbish Hermione, and you know it.” Ginny’s look went from angry to pleading. “You are my best friend, why are you doing this to me?” A fresh wave of tears threatened to fall but she held back.
“Trust me Ginny and please come sit down.” And she did slowly sinking into the seat next to Harry. Harry put his arm around her and pulled her to him. She resisted for a fraction of a second but then leaned into the comfort he was offering. Harry was not sure what to make of what Ginny said. When he examined what Hermione had said, he could see that he probably was falling in love with Ginny but maybe she didn’t feel the same way and she was trying to spare his feeling. At that thought his heart started to ache. What if she didn’t feel the same way that he did? Would he be able to handle that? If Hermione was right and his feelings for Ginny were the key to unlocking his powers then would she feel pressured to pretend to love him? He didn’t want her to feel pressured. He started to ask her how she felt but stopped. He was not really sure he wanted to know.
“Harry, how do you feel about Ginny?” This time it was not Hermione who asked, but Ron. Harry looked at him, trying to figure out whether he would be killed if he spoke the truth. Ron, apparently understanding that Harry was unsure, spoke again. “The way I see it, if she has to be with someone, I’d rather it be you. I know you’ve got an evil git after you and all but well, you’re my best mate and I trust you with my life… but more importantly I trust you with my baby sister’s life. I think it would be great if you were together. Just, no snogging in front of me, that’s too much.”
“Can I say something?” Ginny asked, a note of steel in her voice. Not waiting for a reply, she went on. “Ron, you have been trying to push Harry towards me for years and it has not worked so far. I think you need to give it up.” She looked at Harry who looked down at her. “Harry, you can ignore them. We’ll find someone that you can love. I’ll,” her voice shook slightly but she went on, “I’ll help you in any way I can. You can just ignore those two. Just because they got together in such a great way, they think everyone else can too. I know you don’t… don’t feel that way about me…” She paused, seeming to try to catch her breath. “Please don’t say anything you don’t mean so that they will be happy.” She had closed her eyes and buried her face in his shoulder.
Hermione looked taken aback. “Ginny! Oh dear, I didn’t know… I thought, well maybe you could, given time, but… you always seem so sure of yourself, you know?” Ginny looked at her and the two women exchanged a look of understanding and Hermione spoke again. “Yes, of course this is hard. I’m sorry, I’ll let it go if you want.” Ginny nodded in thanks and turned back towards Harry.
Harry and Ron were completely baffled. “What I would like to know is,” Ron said in a loud voice, “how do girls carry on an entire conversation in half-sentences and just looking at each other? Do you both KNOW how maddening that is? I mean, I don’t pretend to half as smart as either of you two, but if you would not mind enlightening us poor sods who are not blessed enough to be female, and therefore not born with the gift of mind reading, I would appreciate it!” Ron finished this tirade of sarcasm by crossing his arms and sliding back into the couch.
Hermione and Ginny looked at Ron and burst out laughing. Harry could see why, he looked like a toddler who had not gotten his way.
“Ron,” Harry said, just loud enough to be heard over the girl’s laughter. “I’d really like to answer your question.” Hermione stopped laughing instantly, Ron looked at him curiously and Ginny suddenly looked fearful. Harry tried to remember that he was a Gryffindor and that even if Ginny did not feel the same way, she would still be his friend. She did say that she loved him but maybe, he reasoned, she only loves you as a brother. Harry took a deep breath, they were all waiting for him to speak and he didn’t want to lose his nerve. “I think… I think that maybe I am falling in love with Ginny.” He turned to look at Ginny, hoping not to see pity in her eyes, but what he saw made his heart leap.
Ginny was smiling at him. “You put me through all of that worry, just to tell me that you love me? You really are the biggest prat about girls!” She grabbed his face and hauled him over to kiss her. “I love you too!” She then resumed kissing him thoroughly.
“Oi! I told you, NO snogging in front of me!” Ron fumed at them. “OWWW!!!!!!!! Hermione! Bloody hell that hurt! I think you’ve left a mark.”
“Do you want me to kiss it and make it better?” Hermione asked him with an innocent expression on her face.
“Absolutely love,” Ron said, grinning at her.
“Then STOP SWEARING!”
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