The Sugar Quill
Author: Kala Phoenix  Story: I've Just Seen a Face  Chapter: 1. She's Just the Girl for Me
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I’ve Just Seen A Face

By Kala Phoenix

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A big thank you to my beta-extraordinaire, Felina Black! This fic was inspired by the song I’ve Just Seen A Face, by a certain sixties group. Oreo fudge bars to anyone who figures it out. This is potentially To Be Continued, but I’m not sure. Disclaimer: JK Rowling fully owns the characters included in this story. I’m just playing with them. The lyrics at the end are copyrighted to Northern Songs and their respective authors.

***

Harry couldn’t recall having ever felt this perplexed before. It was as though he was reliving the difficulty of the egg riddle, a prelude to the second task back in fourth year. But now he was in sixth year, and the riddle he was trying to solve could end up having much more importance to his life than the earthshaking tournament had.

What exactly were his feelings for Ginny? Did he feel any different for her than he had, say, a year ago? This was why he found himself sitting on a rock by the lake, which was almost frozen by the spurt of cold winter weather in the area recently.

He began to regret his choice of seating as a frigid wind blew about the valley, attacking his uncovered hands and head with marrow-chilling accuracy. He subsequently pulled the hood of the Muggle sweater he wore under his cloak over his head, and dug his hands deep into his warm pockets. Then he thought. And thought. And thought.

What were the things that had attracted him to Ginny in the first place? The first one he thought of was her smile. More specifically, the way she looked at him and smiled whenever someone said or did something funny, making it seem as though they were both sharing a special connection, their own private joke.

He remembered the first time he’d really noticed her smile. It had been the summer before fifth year, before his world had fallen even further into chaos.

He saw Ginny, standing in the upstairs hallway of Grimmauld Place. Her face was flushed with anticipation, and her eyes seemed rather shifty for his liking. Ron suddenly came bounding up the stairs, then entered the room that he and Harry shared. Suddenly, Ron yelled and swore. There were a great many thumps and bumps, which finally came to a stop as Harry approached the door carefully. When he entered the room, he saw Ron hanging upside down in the middle of the room, seemingly caught in some sort of magical net with glowing ropes. Behind Harry, Ginny began to giggle uncontrollably, increasing her brother’s ire.

“GINNY! LET ME DOWN RIGHT NOW, OR I’LL…I’LL!” he bellowed, face rapidly going red because of gravity and the violent Weasley temper. “Or you’ll what?” she choked out. Fred, George and Hermione came up the stairs to see what the heck was going on. Upon viewing the spectacle, they all had comments.

“Brilliant, little sis. You’ve put us to shame!” the twins patted her on the back.

“Can’t believe we haven’t tried this before…Perfect idea, really.” George was shaking his head.

“Oh Ron!” Hermione silently convulsed in giggles at his miffed appearance, though she thoughtfully tried to hide them. And Ginny had finally stopped laughing; she turned towards Harry with an impish smile, lighting up her mirthful eyes and showing white teeth between pink lips…

Ginny had eventually been forced to free Ron by her mother, who had been “terribly disappointed in her delinquent behaviour”. Harry still laughed when he thought about it.

What else about her was attractive? A great many things, he thought to himself. But he decided to focus on her eyes. They were a burnished golden brown, a warm colour that reminded him of his Firebolt. When she smiled, her eyes lit up and he could see the tawny highlights more clearly. He thought them truly beautiful.

Then he pondered the rest of her. Her adorable freckles, longs legs, elegant wrists…Harry supposed that he could go on all day about her physical attributes, but those shouldn’t really be the basis of a relationship with someone, serious or otherwise.

So why did a warm feeling swirl in his stomach whenever she came into a room? It couldn’t just be the fact that she was stunningly beautiful, could it? Harry somehow knew that it wasn’t purely physical attraction.

Maybe it was the way that she gently prodded him to open up about all the emotions he’d bottled up. He didn’t feel ashamed or embarrassed when he raged and ranted in front of her. She didn’t have any high expectations of him, didn’t try to overanalyse his feelings. Most of all, he was glad that she didn’t look at him with pity in her eyes, like so many other students he passed in the halls.

It made him feel so angry when people thought that he was a tragic, brooding hero. He wasn’t a hero! He’d only been in the wrong place at the wrong time, and then there was that prophecy… He’d told Ginny about it, even before Hermione and Ron. Harry had known that she wouldn’t be like Ron, acting all horrified and stressed about it; or like Hermione, immediately saying that no, he couldn’t possibly be the one, and begin researching ways of killing the Dark Lord without participation of a teenage boy.

Amazingly, Ginny had not been surprised about the prophecy. “It figures,” She had said, “Why else would Voldemort always be after you? He’s been trying all this time to off you before you’re at full power, and found some sort of spell or potion to defeat him. He truly believes that you will one day be his equal. I’d say that he’s a bit scared by now, as you’ve managed to avoid him for so long. But of course you’ve had friends to help you,” she continued, quelling the frustration that was rising in his eyes.

“You don’t understand!” He yelled, “Everyone thinks that I’m so great and wonderful and all of that, but it’s just LUCK! All those things that I’ve done at school, most of them wouldn’t’ve worked out if it weren’t for luck, and all the help my friends gave me! Why can’t anyone understand that?”

“You are so oblivious!” Ginny retorted, “ Stop putting yourself down. You have so much power and potential, but you just don’t see it! I remember reading about the Patronus charm in my Defense Against the Dark Arts textbook. That Slinkhard bloke commented that a Patronus was N.E.W.T. Level magic. Despite that rating, you were capable of casting a corporeal Patronus in third year. Doesn’t that tell you anything?”

At this point Ginny took his hand and looked into his eyes, “You are a powerful wizard Harry. You’ve got to believe it! I don’t mean that you should go shouting from the rooftops. Just believe it, that’s all it will take. Just because you’ve lived with those foul Muggles who told you that you were worthless and bothersome all these years, doesn’t mean you are, Harry. Your friends treasure you, others look up to you…Maybe some people aren’t that encouraging, but they’re just jealous.” After that last statement, she abruptly stood up from the stone bench and strode off. Harry, perplexed, watched her leave. He was even more confused when she came to him after dinner with a pack of Exploding Snap cards.

“Will you accept this Peace Offering?” she’d asked with hope in her eyes.

“Sure,” Harry had haltingly replied, “This afternoon, what you said. I- It’s true. Thanks.” She simply smiled, and the two began their game.

She had helped him get through his grief and guilt after Sirius’ death. She was the only person willing to dig down and snap him out of his deep depression, when he’d come to the Burrow after a very short stay at the Dursleys, punctuated by lethargy and melancholy.

His friendship to Ron and Hermione was valuable, but they were hard to approach, as wrapped up in each other as they’d become. During the Christmas holidays Hermione was going to help Harry and Ron to write their job applications for the Auror Academy. Harry was looking forward to that and Christmas at the Burrow in a few days, but was rather worried…

He was specifically worried about the Burrow, and Ginny. What would happen if she rejected him? His stay would probably be plagued with awkwardness and silences whenever she came into a room. There could be an odd tension between them, making his visit very uncomfortable. Would he be able to handle it?

Well, Harry had certainly been in uncomfortable situations before, such as the Truth-telling Potions project in October, in which he’d unfortunately been paired up with Draco Malfoy. Harry had had to practice a full half-hour of Occlumency meditation before the allotted time he had with Draco in the library and potions laboratory, just so he wouldn’t try to strangle him in anger and frustration.

There were also the numerous times that he’d had to talk to Cho during the reinstated DA, now an official school club. There were so many new members that a second night per week was necessary, to prevent the total chaos in the Room of Requirement that had been the first meeting of the year. Instead of the original 30-odd students, there were now at least eighty members, including several second and third years, wanting to learn defense.

Putting those prickly thoughts aside, Harry thought of something quite possibly worse - gulp! Ginny’s numerous brothers, all of whom were much taller and stronger than he was, and all willing to protect their Ginny from evil lecherous MEN! Fred and George didn’t really seem to care… or did they? And even though Ron had been trying to set him and Ginny up for years, would he really accept Harry having a romantic relationship with his sister?

Oh, come off it! He berated himself, and you call yourself a Gryffindor! If you can’t face the Weasley brothers, how do you expect to battle a room full of Death Eaters? You have done it before…

With that thought in his head; Harry stood and walked purposefully towards the castle. He wanted to tell Ginny as soon as possible, before he lost his nerve, or worse, someone else asked her out to the upcoming Hogsmeade weekend.

Suddenly he saw the front doors open. All Harry noticed was long, brilliant red hair, and he knew it was Ginny. He sensed unexpected butterflies in his stomach. “She’s just a girl,” he told himself, “Albeit, the girl that you think you might love. It’s okay, it’s okay.” He repeated this in his mind like a mantra several times as she approached.

“Hello, Harry!” She greeted him with a brilliant smile.

“Hey Ginny,” he replied, “I-er…have something to tell you.” She grinned yet again, a knowing grin, and led him off towards the lakeside, her hand slipping into his. “You’d better tell me right away, then.” Harry felt a warm feeling spread from his hand, up his arm, and straight to his heart. Maybe this wouldn’t be so hard after all.

I have never known the like of this
I've been alone and I have missed things and kept out of sight
But other girls were never quite like this
Da da n'da n'da'n'da

She’s just the girl for me…

//
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