Ginny discovers a painful truth. Short one-shot. Slightly AU. Probably cliche`
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter (et al). That privilege goes to the talented and lovely J. K. Rowling, to whom I am eternally indebted, both for a fascinating read and for many bedtime stories for my daughter.
Disclaimer 2: This story is so NOT HBP compliant! That...book...never happened. Nope! Thbbbbbttttt! I'm in the state of Denial. It's a lovely state. Lotsa pretty scenery. I can draw you a map if you want. Anyone got a crayon?
A/N: I wish to thank my sister, Firelemming, for her beta work. She doesn’t even follow the Harry Potter fandom, preferring TLK, and yet, will take time to offer much needed (and often unappreciated) critical advice.
Professor McGonagall led the group of sixth years to a doorway on the second floor.
“Now…” she barked in her usual precise manner. “…Behind this door, you will find the ‘Speculum Veritas’, also known as the ‘Glass of Truth’. Unlike the Mirror of Erised, which shows your deepest desires, this is an ancient scrying glass, thought to have been made by Merlin, himself. It will show you the unvarnished truth.”
McGonagall took a breath. “A word of caution. The truth you see will not be clouded, nor will it be honey coated. If you ask it a question, the truth will be revealed. I must add this bit of advise. Do not ask the question, if you are not prepared to know the answer.” With that, McGonagall opened the door and let the first student enter.
Ginny Weasley waited nervously for her turn. She knew she had only one question. ‘Does Harry Potter love me?’
Ginny knew he did, and all that tripe around Hermione was simply acting. She knew Harry would choose her, and make her his wife. This was as clear as morning following night. Hermione would be Ron’s, and Harry would be hers. It was the only way!
A scream from inside the room shattered her concentration. Ginny’s head snapped over to look at the doorway now being flung open. Enid Galagni, from Ravenclaw, rushed out in tears. McGonagall sighed, then spoke gently.
“I told you not to ask a question you were not prepared to have answered.” She asked one of the others to escort Enid to the hospital wing for a calming draught.
“I was afraid of this.” McGonagall turned to the shocked students. “Apparently, Miss Galagni asked a question about someone she fancies. She got the truth. How many of you were going to ask the same question?”
Nearly half the sixth years present raised their hands. McGonagall sighed. “I’m afraid this is going to be a long day. Best to contact Madam Pomfrey and make sure she has a supply of calming potion on hand. Miss Weasley, would you be so kind?”
“Yes, Ma’am.” Ginny nodded and hurried toward the hospital wing. There, she saw the weeping Enid being comforted by Hufflepuff, Darren Shuster. She smiled at the thought of the shy and nervous boy being the one who would comfort someone in shock. She spoke to Madam Pomfrey, telling her why so much of the potion might be needed. Once Pomfrey understood, she pursed her lips in distaste and shooed Ginny back to her classmates. She herself turned to her storerooms.
Ginny passed a few of her classmates heading in the direction of the Hospital wing. Only one was smiling.
The blond witch with the vacant stare positively beamed as she passed Ginny.
“It looks like you got some good news, Luna.” Ginny commented.
“Oh. Good morning. Thank you Ginevra.” Luna answered in her dreamlike voice. Then she danced along down the corridor, leaving a rather confused Ginny behind.
When Ginny reached the second floor once more, it was to find the number of students had almost doubled. Those new people were all seventh years, including her brother, Ron. Ginny noticed that both Harry and Hermione were absent.
Soon the line had dwindled. Boys and girls both had nervously entered the room, only to come back out in tears, or in the occasional instance, smiling, as had Luna.
Now, it was Ginny’s turn. McGonagall called out “Ginevra Weasley!” Ginny stepped forward. Before she touched the door handle, Ron opened it for her. She wanted to be alone, but he entered before she could block him. She just glared. Ron shrugged, and stood off to one side.
Ginny marched to the glass, firmly placed her hands on the ancient iron frame, and thought hard. ‘Who does Harry Potter love?’
The glass clouded. When it cleared, Ginny got the most unpleasant shock of her young life.
She couldn’t stand it! There, in the scrying glass, Harry and Hermione were making love. Both totally and completely enraptured with the other.
Ginny turned to Ron, tears welling in her eyes.
“No! No! No! Nononononononono!” She moaned. “He’s mine! He’s mine! He’s Miiiiiiinnnnnnnne!” She howled the last into Ron’s shirt.
Ron, who once had been told he had the emotional depth of a teaspoon, wrapped his arms around his little sister, and held her tightly. He knew exactly how she felt. He’d discovered the same thing himself a year before, and even now, the idea hurt.
Now, Ginny needed to know the truth. She’d seen what Harry and Hermione were doing even now, but she needed to be told.
“He’s not yours, Gingersnap. He never was.” Ron spoke in a soft, soothing voice, while stroking her back. Ginny was distraught, and it was up to him to ease her pain.
“It’s always been Hermione, even since our first year. They love each other. They really do. Nothing you or I can do, can change that and I, for one, am not willing to destroy our friendship by trying.”
“But, Ron…!” Ginny cried softly.
“Ginny. You don’t love him. You really don’t.”
“I do!” She protested.
“No. You just think you do. I think you are in love with the idea of being in love. All warm and comfy, all love and no hurt. I hate to tell you, Ginny. It’s not all that. It’s fights and crying. It’s loving and arguing. It’s companionship and completely ignoring each other when they’ve done something to hack you off. As awful as it sounds, love isn’t pretty.”
Ginny turned her tear-streaked face to her brother. Her eyes made him want to kill both Harry and Hermione for putting her through this, but the small voice of reason within him told him to hold off another day. Ginny would survive.
“Ginny, Harry does love you. He really does. But he loves you the way he loves me. I’m his brother. You, my friend, are his younger sister. He’d die for you, just as he would for Hermione or me, or Neville, or Luna, for that matter. The difference here, is that he’s in love with Hermione.”
“How does he know? I mean it could be just an infatuation.” Ginny protested. She was trying to convince herself, now.
“Ginny, Harry’s been trying to get you to see it for ages now. He’s dropped hints that even I could pick up.” He sighed.
“Gin, why do you think Harry and Hermione aren’t here?”
“Well, because they’re Head Boy, and Head Girl. They have duties…?” Even to herself, Ginny sounded pathetic.
“Ginny…they had to get you to realize the truth. You recall what McGonagall said? “The glass will give you the unvarnished truth.”, or something like that. They knew you would be here today. Since none of their efforts to dissuade you had worked, they decided to show you in no uncertain terms. Ginny, Harry belongs to Hermione, and vice versa. That is the truth.”
“What about you, Ron?” Ginny asked. She saw the sadness in Ron’s eyes. “I know you fancied Hermione.”
“Yes. I did. It took almost the same thing to make me realize what was real. It hurt, Ginny. It hurt like hell, but I understood. It took a while, but I did learn to live with it. I tell you what. Why don’t we ask the glass another question?”
“Well, I‘m going to ask: ‘Who is there for me?’ Why don’t you do the same?”
Ginny waited while Ron touched the ancient iron frame. He looked into the glass, then stood back, looking more than a little shocked. For a time, he just stood there, and stared at the image. Then he smiled in a goofy kind of way, and stepped aside.
Then it was Ginny’s turn. Standing away from a befuddled Ron, She faced the glass again. She placed her hands once more on the edges of the frame and thought hard. ‘Who is there for me?’
The mirror clouded. Then a face began to form in the glass. His face was aristocratic, having fine features, a thin patrician nose, steel grey eyes and platinum hair.
A/N: Enid and Darren are two OC’s because JKR couldn’t’ be bothered to name more than two students in Ginny’s year.