To Choose Better
By Felix Felicis
Summary – Missing moment at the end of Order of the Phoenix after Ron tells Ginny to choose someone better the next time she considers a boyfriend.
A/N – I have to say I love missing moments, but I've never tried one until now. I hope you enjoy it, Harry's mind is a fun place to play now and then. Thanks to my beta, Felina Black, for the little nudge that made the story fit so much better with canon. All the characters belong to J.K. Rowling, I'm just borrowing them for a bit and promise to return them no worse for the wear. This story and others are available at: http://www.buffenbarger.net/felixfelicis
The following is a quote from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, American Version, Page 866… but you, Dear Reader, already knew that, didn't you?
“You're well out of it, mate,” said Ron forcefully. “I mean, she's quite good-looking and all that, but you want someone a bit more cheerful.”
“She's probably cheerful enough with someone else,” said Harry, shrugging.
“Who's she with now anyway?” Ron asked Hermione, but it was Ginny who answered.
“Michael Corner,” she said.
“Michael – but – “ said Ron, craning around in his seat to stare at her. “But you were going out with him!”
“Not anymore,” said Ginny resolutely. “He didn't like Gryffindor beating Ravenclaw at Quidditch and got really sulky, so I ditched him and he ran off to comfort Cho instead.” She scratched her nose absently with the end of her quill, turned The Quibbler upside down and began marking her answers. Ron looked highly delighted.
“Well, I always thought he was a bit of an idiot,” he said, prodding his queen forward toward Harry's quivering castle. “Good for you. Just choose someone – better – next time.”
He cast Harry an oddly furtive look as he said it.
“Well, I've chosen Dean Thomas, would you say he's better?” asked Ginny vaguely.
Harry dropped his trunk heavily on the floor of his bedroom at Number 4 Privet Drive, causing a loud outburst from his uncle in the room below. Oddly, he didn't mind the yelling, rather he smirked at having annoyed his uncle not two minutes into his summer stay. Of course, that was assuming he hadn't already annoyed him by his very presence at King's Cross an hour earlier.
“Here you go, Hedwig,” he said, sitting her cage on his small desk and opening the door. She stepped out onto his desk, stretching her wings and craning her neck around as if loosening her stiff muscles.
“Yeah, me too,” he said, watching her stretch. “That's a long train ride to be cooped up in a tight space, isn't it? Sorry, old girl.” She looked affronted but nipped at his hand and then hopped toward the window. He obliged her by opening it, and after seeing her off into the night, he sat down to watch the stars come out. It was a lot easier to watch stars when you weren't looking for something in them.
It was several minutes before the thumping of feet on the stairs brought him back to his small, bright room from the darkness outside. Crossing his fingers that whomever it was would pass by, he was rewarded by the quiet snap of a door shutting down the hall.
It doesn't sound like Dudley's lost any weight this year , he thought, grinning to himself.
He wondered briefly what his cousin had done to burn his excess energy during the last several months. Without Harry around, he surely must have found another person to bully. But now that he was back… Harry preferred not to think about what it was going to be like this summer; spending all of his time hiding from his cousin and his aunt and uncle. Perhaps, if he was lucky, they might just ignore him. It was always easier that way, even if it did make him feel a bit lonely. He supposed he could write to his friends, but nothing was like being with them in person.
Getting up from the window, he crossed the room to his trunk and pulled out his pajamas. After slipping them on he glanced down at his feet and wasn't surprised to find his ankles showing. It was just one more thing he would have to buy before going back to school next year. The thought gave him a moment's happiness while imagining visiting the stores in Diagon Alley surrounded by his friends, laughing and talking.
His friends. The term seemed to have taken on new meaning this year. He had been so close to real happiness, but with the death of Sirius his prospects seemed worse than ever.
He forced those memories out of his mind and flopped down on the bed. He cast his mind about for another train of thought and it landed in the compartment he had shared with his friends earlier that very day.
In the quiet of his room Harry now had ample time to consider everything that had happened on the long ride home. He smiled wickedly remembering the image of Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle oozing quietly from the luggage rack, where they had been tucked after their unfortunate transfigurations. He thought about the many games of wizard chess he and Ron had played and how many times Ron had won – it just wasn't fair how well Ron knew chess.
But then he thought about what Ron had said, just before they arrived at King's Cross. It was something about how Ginny should choose more carefully next time. No, not carefully… better . Next time she what? he wondered. Next time she's looking for a boyfriend , his mind answered. He strained his mind again to remember more and was suddenly struck by the realization that Ron had looked at him while saying those words.
Not thinking anything of it at the time, Harry's heart rate went up as he considered it now.
Had Ron really been… No, he couldn't be… Did he really want her to choose…
He couldn't bring himself to add the word ‘me' to the end of that thought.
To Harry, Ginny had always just been around. He hadn't even noticed the change in her, it had been so gradual in his mind. She talked to him now, she didn't blush anymore, she didn't send him singing Valentine's anymore…
He sighed, wondering where his thoughts were taking him, but was soon lost on the ride again. While unsure of himself in the world of girl friends, he at least had a few moments reprieve of guilt about Sirius.
He closed his eyes and considered her slowly in his mind.
Was she pretty?
He felt his face getting warm at the thought. She was pretty, but so was Hermione, although he didn't think of her that way. Ginny's face appeared in his mind's eye and he had to smile thinking about her. There was no question. She was pretty… off-limits, but pretty. Especially her hair. He wondered how it had escaped his notice, but on further reflection, he realized she had always been pretty, or cute… or whatever word he could think of that still made him sound like a normal bloke and not the admirer of his best friend's sister.
Was she nice?
Harry almost laughed at his own question, wondering for a moment where they were coming from, anyway. It was almost like being inside Hermione's head, he supposed. Of course Ginny was nice. She had always shown him kindness. In fact, he realized, she'd shown him more kindness than most people. She was always there for him, never questioning him, always listening. And she was the only person, other than himself, that had been possessed by Voldemort and lived to tell about it. He shuddered and decided it was best not to dwell on that thought and move on to the next question.
Was she smart?
Come on, Potter! He reprimanded himself. He had no idea what her scores were like, but if her hexes were anything of an example, then she was certainly a clever witch.
What about her family?
He didn't even need to answer that. Other than Ron – who may or may not really want him to date his sister – Harry knew the rest of the Weasley brothers wouldn't take kindly to him snogging their little Ginny. He smiled imagining the looks on their faces and the cracking of knuckles as hands were made into fists.
But what do I think? he asked himself, rather hesitantly. That was the one question he didn't have an easy answer to, and the one question that he most needed an answer to. Then he began to wonder if she even still liked him. In some small corner of his mind he realized how ironic it would be if he liked her now and she didn't feel anything for him anymore. He strained to remember how she had reacted to Ron's words on the train, and after some time, he seemed to recall her purposely not meeting his eye, but then that may have been because she was now dating Dean Thomas.
His thoughts went around in this manner for some time. He questioned himself, he blushed, he wondered, but he still had no answer to the most important question. He enjoyed her friendship – he certainly knew that – but what would it be like if they were more than friends?
He groaned and rolled over onto his stomach, his face in his pillow. When he couldn't hold his breath any longer, he rolled back over. The light from a streetlamp shown through his window, illuminating the wall across his room. It was a faint shade of orange and he laughed as he realized it reminded him of Ginny's hair. He loved the way it swayed in her ponytail when she walked downstairs. He loved the tone of her laugh and the way she smiled when she was trying to cheer him up.
She had done that a lot. He couldn't help but feel a little bad, but then… she never seemed to mind. Somehow she always knew what to say or when to be silent and just listen. She knew when to be around with a smile and a wave. She seemed to have a charm about her that just made him feel better when she was near. He wondered that he hadn't noticed it before now.
He remembered the times they'd dueled during DA meetings, and how intense her eyes became when she was concentrating. He was surprised he'd never noticed how beautiful her eyes were at the time, but now…
If only Ron knew what his few words had done to Harry. He smiled wryly at the thought and made a mental note to give his friend a punch the next time he saw him.
Maybe… maybe if he got to know her even better, then he might have an answer to his question. But then, she was dating Dean now, and what if he decided he liked her after all? It seemed a little late now. Anyway, he wouldn't see her for another two months, and a lot could change in that time. He wondered if he should write to her, but turned that thought down immediately when he considered what her family would think, not to mention her boyfriend.
That word had a bad taste in his mouth now. Ginny's boyfriend . Since when did she grow up and get a boyfriend, anyway? She had always had a crush on Harry, and that was the way it was supposed to be. She would always be there for him when he needed her. She wouldn't date anyone else. They would just be friends forever; her always hanging around, never having anything else to do.
Are you really that selfish? He wondered. A small part of his brain wished it could go on like that, but he knew she deserved her own happiness. And if it didn't depend on him, then he would just have to accept that.
But now… he found himself not wanting to. Even though he wasn't sure of his own feelings yet, he still couldn't help but want the opportunity. Maybe he would write to her after all…
No, he realized, again. You're just going to have to wait . It would be a long summer, but then, maybe he wouldn't be stuck with his aunt and uncle all summer. Maybe someone would come get him.
Maybe it would be someone with long, red hair and a sweet smile. Someone he could depend on… someone he could trust, someone he could talk to.
Perhaps, just perhaps, he could like her after all.
Harry and Ginny , he thought, that doesn't have a bad sound to it, not at all.
With that he drifted off to sleep, leaving thoughts of Ginny for another time. This summer, he was going to have enough on his mind.