The Sugar Quill
Author: Eressea  Story: If Only  Chapter: Default
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If Only

If Only


Well, Ginny Weasley, congratulations.  You rule!  Not only have you got a date for the Yule Ball, but you also beat your older brother to getting one.  Poor idiot.  But you’ve got Neville, who’s incredibly sweet.  And not stupid like my brother.  At least Neville likes girls for their personalities, not for their unnaturally perfect skin and shiny black hair.  But he did ask Hermione first.  I’m only his second choice.  But he still noticed.  And it’s not like he fancies me anyway.  He was just asking friends.  And Hermione’s in his year, and I’m a year below, so naturally he’d ask his closer friend first.  Man, Hermione’s lucky.  Going with a world-famous Quidditch star.  Maybe Harry would notice me if I were going with Viktor . . . Hey, you should be happy for Hermione.  She’s got a boy who genuinely cares for her.  At least you’re still ahead of Ron, who’s here moaning about his immense stupidity.  He can notice that at least.  I’ve got a date, and Ron hasn’t.  I win!  Forget saving yourself for Harry Potter.  Yeah, he’s a great boy, and you’ll make a great friend for him.  A wonderful friend.  If he can’t manage to notice you, he’s just missing out.  He can fancy Cho Chang if he wants to--stupid rich brat that she is.


“Why, why, why?” Ron continues to moan. 


“I’m sure you’re not the first guy to fall for her and completely forget himself,” I console him.  Heh heh.  Don’t smile!  He’s having a hard enough time as it is with only the boys laughing at him.  You’re his sister.  Be supportive.  I give him a few pats on the arm. 


“Why did I do it?  I don’t know what made me do it!”




I look up and see Harry Potter standing in front of us, looking curiously down at Ron.  Okay, Ginny, be cool.  “He--er--just asked Fleur Delacour to go to the ball with him.”  Pretty good.  A bit of stumbling at the beginning, but overall, you were calm and smooth. 


“You WHAT?”


Wow, that was insensitive.  But we already know how insensitive Harry is.  Letting the best girl for him get away.  Forget it, Ginny, forget him.  You’ve got Neville, who is very sensitive.


“I don’t know what made me do it!  What was I playing at?  There were people--all around--I’ve gone mad--everyone watching!  I was just walking past her in the entrance hall--she was standing there talking to Diggory--and it sort of came over me--and I asked her!”


Poor baby.  I remember feeling the same kind of humiliation when I gave Harry that second singing card last year.  After the singing valentine, you’d think I’d learn.  Well, now I have.  I will not show anything more than friendly affection towards Harry ever again.  I continue patting Ron’s arm while he finishes his lamentations. 


“She’s part Veela,” Harry says. 


Ah, I’ll have to remember to tell Hermione this.  Maybe then she wouldn’t be so annoyed by all the boys drooling like complete idiots after that French brat. 


“You were right,” Harry continues, “her grandmother was one.  It wasn’t your fault, I bet you just walked past when she was turning on the old charm for Diggory and got a blast of it--but she was wasting her time.  He’s going with Cho Chang.  I asked her to go with me just now, and she told me.”


You asked Cho Chang?  What on earth drove you to ask her?  Has she ever shown any interest in you whatsoever?  Has she ever shared any earth-shaking moments with you in the Chamber of Secrets?  You knew I liked you, but you ask her instead?  But that’s okay.  I don’t care.  I’m just your friend.  A very good friend who will be there whenever you need me.  See how well I’m comforting Ron?  I could do the same for you.  And you could lay your head in my lap, and I’d stroke your hair and tell . . . No, I’d just talk to you about your problems, and I wouldn’t even have to touch you because I’m over you.  Even though it might be nice to . . . Nuh uh.  No.  No. 


“ . . . Neville.” 


What?  I realized that Ron was now talking. 


“Hey--guess who he asked?” 


Oh, so you knew that we’re going together?  Well, Harry can be friends with me now that he knows I’m with someone else. 




Hmm, so you haven’t heard.


“WHAT?” Harry yelps. 


Why does it seem like he’s jealous or something?  Oh, please don’t tell me you like her too.  Everyone but me, eh Harry?


“Yeah, I know!  He told me after Potions!  Said she’s always been really nice . . .”


Well, she is.  Maybe she should go out with Neville.  Two nice people together.  It might work.


“. . . helping him out with work and stuff--but she told him she was already going with someone . . .” 


I wish I could date Krum. 


“Ha!  As if!  She just didn’t want to go with Neville . . .”




“. . . I mean, who would?” 


He’s sweet!  A little clumsy but--hey, are you laughing at me?  “Don’t!  Don’t laugh” you annoying, dateless git, I add silently.


Hermione climbs through the portrait hole.  “Why weren’t you two at dinner?”


“Because--oh shut up laughing, you two” before I hit you with a hex that will make you wish you were born mute.  “Because they’ve both just been turned down by girls they asked to the ball!”  Ooh, that shut you up, didn’t it?  Truth hurts, eh?


 “Thanks a bunch, Ginny,” Ron tells me grumpily. 


Ronald, darling, you are perfectly welcome.


“All the good-looking ones taken, Ron? 


My, Hermione, you do know my brother and his superficiality. 


“Eloise Midgen starting to look quite pretty now, is she?  Well, I’m sure you’ll find someone who’ll have you.” 


Though I can’t imagine who.


“Hermione, Neville’s right--you are a girl.”


Ron, you’re joking right?  And how long have you two known each other?


“Oh, well spotted,” Hermione snaps.


Oh boy, here we go again.  Maybe we should all take cover now before the curses start flying.


“Well--you could come with one of us!” 


Lucky Hermione, three boys wanting to go with her--she’s got her pick of the litter.


“No, I can’t.” 


“Oh, come on, we need partners, we’re going to look really stupid . . .”


You already do.


“. . . if we haven’t got any, everyone else has.” 


Everyone else has?  That’ll get you a date for sure, Ron.  Can’t you make it look like you actually do care about her?


“I can’t come with you because I’m already going with someone.”  


Okay, Hermione.  That’s nicer.  Blushing’s always better than snarling.  Blush away.


“No, you’re not!  You just said that to get rid of Neville!” 




“Oh, did I?  Just because it’s taken you three years to notice, Ron, doesn’t mean no one else has spotted I’m a girl!” 


What?  Ron hasn’t noticed she’s a . . . OH MY GOSH!  Hermione likes Ron!  Or does she?  That would be a rather annoying comment for anyone.  But what if she does?


“Okay, okay, we know you’re a girl.  That do?  Will you come now?”


“I’ve already told you!  I’m going with someone else!”  Hermione storms out. 


Goodness.  She really was angry.  How could she be?  Even if she does like Ron, she’s got Viktor.  Who is much more sweet and sensitive, I might add.


“She’s lying,” Ron says.


“She’s not.” 


“Who is it then?” Ron snaps.  


That was harsh.  So you do care.  I shouldn’t say yet.  Maybe when you’re not so steamed up.  “I’m not telling you, it’s her business.”


“Right . . .”


So you finally believe us. 


“. . . this is getting stupid.  Ginny, you can go with Harry . . .” 




“. . . and I’ll just –” 


This is great!   I’m going to the ball with Harry Potter!  Ha ha ha ha.  This is wonderful.  Move out of my way Cho Ch . . .


“I can’t.  I’m going with--with Neville.”  And Neville is really sweet . . . But Harry’s still better.  No.  I don’t care what you think about Neville.  I had the chance to go the ball with Harry.  “He asked me when Hermione said no, and I thought . . .”  WHY DID YOU HAVE TO SAY YES?  YOU COULD BE GOING WITH HARRY RIGHT NOW!  “Well . . .”  OH, YOU SHOULD NEVER HAVE EVEN CONSIDERED IT! “I’m not going to be able to go otherwise” because you, Harry, never cared to ask me.  I nearly missed out on the whole thing.  “I’m not in fourth year.”   I can’t believe this.  How unlucky can I possibly get?  “I think I’ll go and have dinner.”


I rise up and make my escape from the common room.  My gosh.  I almost got to go to the ball with Harry Potter. 


My feet unconsciously lead me to a hallway on the seventh floor.  I have to wander around a bit before I can find the room I’m looking for.  Despite the fact that I’ve been coming here for a year, I can still never find it on the first try.  It must be magically hidden.  Or maybe I’m just plain stupid, saying yes to Neville like that.  I swing open the door and enter a space no bigger than a small cupboard, where there lie several big, soft pillows.  I slip in and collapse onto the nearest one, leaning my upper back against the wall.  The window that usually admits cheerful sunlight now reveals nothing but a starless sky.  In my second year, I used to hide out here at the times when I would have been talking to Tom the year before.  The lying traitor.  Why must it be that every time I like a boy, the whole thing turns out bad?  One was pure evil, the other I just missed.  But, then again, I never really fancied Tom.  He was just the only boy who would be nice to me, unlike Harry.  Who I almost got to go to the ball with.


I bang my head repeatedly against the stone wall, ignoring the pain in the back of my head.  Harry.  I almost got to go to the ball with Harry. 


I had been dreaming of this since I was four: Harry and I going to a ball.  I would be standing at the top of a curving staircase wearing an elegant lilac ballgown with the hem gently brushing the floor.  With a delicate hand, I would lift the hem of my skirt, revealing beautiful glass Cinderella slippers on my feet.  Then I’d slowly float down the stairs to Harry.  My four-year-old self imagined him in dashing blue robes and a sword in his belt.  I would extend my hand to him and then he would bow low, take my hand, and gently kiss it.  Then he’d charmingly say, “Would you do me the honor of accompanying me for this dance?”  I’d smile demurely, and reply, “I’d be delighted.”  At this point he would whisk me off onto the dance floor, and everyone would watch us, asking among themselves, “Who is that beautiful girl dancing with Harry Potter?”  We’d waltz for hours and hours.  Then, at midnight, he’d lead me away to the balcony.  “I love you,” he’d whisper, as he’d gaze into my eyes.  Then he’d put his arms around me and kiss me under the stars.


But that’ll never happen.  My childhood fantasy will never become a reality.  Harry Potter is never going to notice me.  I thought he had, the day he saved me from Tom Riddle and his basilisk.  But life isn’t a fairy tale.  I brush the tears out of my eyes.  In real life, even after a boy saves a girl from a terrible monster and certain death, that doesn’t mean he’ll marry her and they’ll live happily ever after.  She just fades into the background afterward.  I’m never going to be more than a friend to Harry.  He likes Cho Chang.  Of course he likes Cho Chang.  I’m just this skinny kid, and she’s this beautiful older girl.  I wish I were Ron’s older sister, not younger.  Then I could be mature and sophisticated.  I’d be so calm and confident whenever Harry talked to me.  But I’ve blown it.  I blew it first year.  If only I were then the way I am now.  I wish I could go back, in this body, and meet Harry for the first time.  Then I wouldn’t be bumbling around and knocking things over.  If only I were less childish then, he would have started liking me when we met and he would have asked me to the ball first thing.  I’d be going to the ball with Harry instead of Neville.  But I don’t care.  Because I’m over Harry.  If only I had said no to Neville.  Then I wouldn’t be in this stupid mess.  It’s not fair!  The entire universe is against me.


If only Krum hadn’t asked Hermione to the ball.   Then Neville would be going with her, and I would be going with Harry.  Stupid Krum.  He’s too old for her anyway.  He’s practically twenty!  She should have gone with Neville.  Why am I the one going with Neville?  I just had to say yes to Neville Longbottom.  “You stupid, stupid girl!” I say aloud, punctuating each word with a bang of my head against the stone wall.  “STUPID!  STUPID! STUPID!”  You just had to say yes to Neville.  “Harry Potter will never ask me,” you thought.  Well, guess what!  He as good as asked you!  And what did you say?  No, because you’re already going with Neville.  NEVILLE!  And why did Neville ask you?  Because no one else would go with him!  Even Ron said so.  Who would want to go with Neville?  Nobody, except a stupid third year who can’t get a boy to notice her.  This could have been your big chance!  How could Harry not notice you if you’re his date? 


But it’s all just fine.  It’s okay.  Because I’m over Harry.  The stupid git.  Who wants to go with him anyway?  Not even the great Cho Chang!  Nobody wants him.  He still doesn’t have a date.  Yeah.  If he’s too stupid to ask me, then I’m not going to shed any more tears over him.  I mean, look at Hermione.  If she really does like Ron, she’s making a change for the better by going to the ball with Viktor.  If she’s been watching Ron as long as I’ve been watching Harry, she must be hurting just as much.  Maybe not as much, since Ron actually likes her on some level, while Harry only barely considers me to be an acquaintance.  But we both have to put up with dealing with these stupid boys who can’t see a girl when she’s sitting right in front of him, every single day.  But she got over him.  And now she’s going to the ball with a world-famous Seeker.


I’m going to stop crying and go on with my life.    I’m not going to just move on; I’m going to go out with other people.  Because Harry’s not worth it.  Stupid boy.  I’m going to have fun with Neville at that dance, because he’s sweet.  And he recognizes sweetness.  Neville asked Hermione and me because we’re good people.  Harry just likes Cho because she’s pretty.  I’ll show him pretty.  Neville and I are going to have a great time.  And then, I’m going to find myself a boyfriend who actually cares about me.  Yeah.  There are plenty of good-looking and kind-hearted wizards in this school that actually do have the brains to recognize a great girl when they see her.  I’ll show Harry.  And then there’s Ron, who thinks he can give me out to his friends whenever they need a date.  I bet he’d be all upset if he found out that someone was actually interested in me.  He thinks I’m such a baby.  Well, I am going to go to the Yule Ball with Neville.  And I am going to get a boyfriend.  And I am most certainly over Harry Potter.


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