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Breaking the Habit by Ella Norman
Chapter 2 : What Dean Had Said
 
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Ginny Weasley lay on her bed. It was quiet in the Weasley home, mostly because Fred and George were away at their shop in Diagon Alley for its Grand Opening. For the most part, however, it was because Ginny had nothing to say. Ginny would have gone if she could, but her mother’s certainty of an impending cold had cooped her up in her room for that morning, so Ginny lay at home, clutching a photograph. One of Dean Thomas, her current boyfriend.

“You know I love you, Gin,” he had said, staring into her eyes and taking a swig of butterbeer.

“I do,” Ginny had cooed back, sipping her own. “I love you too.”

It was a lie. Dean had caught her off-guard and had said those three big words so casually that Ginny had no time to think about what she was saying. It happened too frequently for her own liking, and it scared her to think about how far she would go if her senses were not with her. It was all in an attempt, though, to keep Harry out of her mind.

Again, she knew it was a lie. It had been over a year since she had lost all feelings for him. Now she used him only as an excuse.

She thrust Dean’s photograph to the floor, angry with him for evoking such mad thoughts in her. However angry she was, it did not stop his face materializing before her for the second time that day.

“You know, Ginny,” he murmured reflectively, “I’ve done a lot of things I regret to get you, but I don’t regret having you. If I can hold onto you for any time at all, I’ll be happy. You’re a prize worth winning.”

At the time it had seemed like such romantic dialogue, and Ginny had been flattered, but she knew now what it really meant, and it scared her half to death. Did men really think of her that way? One thing was for sure, she thought – Dean wouldn’t have her in his trophy case much longer!

She stormed angrily from her room.

Ginny was not generally an angry sort of girl: In truth she was not unlike Ron, her brother, but lately she had felt not so much used as she felt that she was the user. She did not like the truth that seemed so plain – why had she ever stopped liking Harry? Whatever the reason was, she had needed something to cover it up, and what Dean had said exposed her more than she knew.

She slammed the door behind her with full intention of writing to Dean later and breaking up. If Ginny had thought about it, she would have wondered why she wanted so badly to dispose of him, and she is perhaps very lucky that she did not.

For if she had, if she had looked beneath the surface, Ginny would have found that her nagging notions were not incorrect.

Ginny was not an abnormal girl in any way. She had pined for, like every other girl, a hopeless love. She had had an interest in him for many years. However, there was something strangely intriguing about the unconventional redhead. Something irresistible. Ginny did not know it, but it was no one’s fault but her own that they thought of her this way. Flirtatious as she had become, Ginny had gotten an underground reputation for drawing young men to herself. Unaware of what she had done, Ginny had brought this upon herself.

“Gin, sweetheart, you look tired,” simpered Mrs. Weasley, as Ginny entered the kitchen, deep in though. “Have something to eat.”

Ginny sat down at the kitchen table as her mother bustled about to feed her daughter. Tired, thought Ginny? No. It couldn’t have been more opposite – Ginny was running solely on adrenaline. Perhaps the effort of thinking then the terror of the truth had made her so, but Ginny was wired, unable to stop moving.

Hermione was the first to burst through the door, closely followed Ron, who had been holding it open for her. Funny, giggled Ginny. After all these years they still don’t admit they like each other. Suddenly , Ginny braced herself the inevitability of what came next.

Harry walked through the door: Why did I brace myself, she thought? I have no felling left for him. But a small part of her thought within the recesses of her mind that she had lied.

Startled by this sudden and unexpected revelation, Ginny almost jumped up from the table. Quickly, she checked herself. The Ginny who doesn’t love her brother’s best friend stays, she reminded herself.

“Gin!” squealed Hermione ecstatically, pulling her into a tight embrace. “I haven’t seen you in ages!”

“I know!” said Ginny, excitedly. Ginny released Hermione. It took a moment, however, for Ginny to register the change that the summer had wrought in her friend.

“Mione,” Ginny whispered, awestruck, “Your hair! It’s – it’s – it’s straight.”

It was true; Hermione’s bushy, brown hair had become a Sleekeasy’s success story. It was long and shiny – and only the very ends curled. A nice change from the bushy mass that had thrived on her head only months before.

Hermione smiled, revealing straight white teeth. Oh, thought Ginny, what a different girl she was from the one who had befriended her years ago. Yet she was the same person, only how beautiful inside and out.

Hermione was not the only one to whom the summer had brought changes. She hadn’t noticed that Ron had grown more than a couple of inches, but Harry, it seemed, had finally begun to sprout. His height no longer paled in comparison to that of his friend; he had begun to lengthen and thicken ...

Ginny shook her head. Get a grip, she thought. Don’t do this.

“Hello, Ginny,” said a deep voice behind her.

Ginny’s heart fluttered and stopped. Harry stood behind her, waiting for some sort of positive reaction, but Ginny’s cognitive processes seemed to stop. She knew what to do when this happened ... nothing would work.

Slowly, Ginny extended her hand. She shook Harry’s very stiffly. “Hello,” she said, her voice cheery. “Good to see you again!” She smiled, praying that she wouldn’t go red. Harry seemed satisfied, but disappointed ... why?

Only Ginny felt how truly startled he really was.

Only Hermione saw how startled Ginny was.

Factually, Ron and Hermione had been scheming for many years to make this happen, but Harry’s solitary depression and Ginny’s extroversion had discouraged them greatly. This new revelation, however, gave them both great heart. They smiled at each other and blushed crimson in unison, just as Ginny let go of Harry’s hand.

“So good to see you,” she said, her eyes shining (more from dread than delight).

“Ginny, could you go water the shrubs?” Mrs. Weasley called distractedly. “Ron will be out in a moment – you two can de-gnome the garden.”

“We’ll help too, Mrs. Weasley,” called Hermione softly, volunteering Harry and herself.

“Thank you, dear,” Mrs. Weasley said, bustling around the kitchen.

Together the four of them headed outside to the Weasley’s garden. It was beautiful, an afternoon in late August, and Ginny could not fathom why she was not enjoying it. Ron and Hermione, she noticed, still could not look at one another. She found it amusing that this was their sixth year and they still would not admit anything.

Even the amusement and competition that de-gnoming a garden usually brought did not uplift Ginny today. An unbelievable load of guilt had settled on Ginny, and she couldn’t figure out why. There was ntohing wrong with having a boyfriend, she reasoned. If that was the truth, then why did she feel so guilty?

Even so, she thought hours later as she brushed her hair before bed, what on earth did Harry have to with all this? On the table next to her bed was her own face from her first day at Hogwarts. Her wide green eyes blinked fearfully, yet an eager smile was plastered to her face.

The face had not changed much, though Ginny. True; the girlish fame had given way to a womanly figure, the red tangle had been tamed, but the girl’s face was the same. Much like Hermione – the appearance had changed, but the girl inside was the same.

But was she? Ginny Weasley looked closer. Innocence shone out of the eyes of the child, and Ginny gasped and dropped the frame.

“Ginny, dear?” said her mother, poking her head through the door. “Are you all right?”

“Yes,” Ginny replied hastily, and Mrs. Weasley bustled out and went her own way, leaving Ginny breathless.

Nothing in the picture had changed, but Ginny saw in the photograph an innocent girl, a girl that she hardly knew. There was no remnant of the blamelss ten-year-old left in Ginevra Molly Weasley. Nothing.

At that moment, Ginny resolved to find that girl. That girl would not do the things she had done.
Knock, knock.

Hermione peeked into the door and swung it open. “Gin?”

“Your bed’s over there,” Ginny growled, indicating a cot in the corner opposite her. She slumped angrily into bed, too confused and disappointed to giggle with Hermione, as she usually did, well past midnight.

After all, with the day’s events behind her, Ginny could not forget those awful words that had scared her so. She would never forget what Dean had said.


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