The Sugar Quill
Author: Poppy P (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: He Doesn't See Me  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

A/N: This is a songfic from Sarah Brightman's album "La Luna." Words and Music by Goldman & Romanelli, English lyrics by Read, Ingebrigsten. I feel that I must add this: inspiration for Cho’s eye color came from the book: “Memories of a Geisha” (an excellent read!) This was originally posted at Gryffindor Tower a while ago. The inspiration for this fic came from the queen of H/G herself, Paula aka Firebolt909. A big thanks to Z and Soupytwist for the betas! Standard disclaimer: I don’t own anything.

When he passes me by
He's a ray of light
Like the first drop of sun
From the sky
And I knows he's a king
Who deserves a queen
But I'm am not a queen
And he doesn't see me

I wonder if he’ll notice me?

Ginny Weasley watched Harry Potter walk past her without so much as a second look. If it weren’t for the fact that Neville Longbottom was standing in front of her, gallantly holding his arm out, Ginny might have burst into tears and run all the way back to her dorm room.

It wasn’t as though she was actually expecting Harry to say something to her. She wasn’t his date after all. But she had hoped that he might at least see her in her new dress robes. They were very nice. Ginny had been shocked that morning when she opened the Christmas present from her mum, expecting to find another lumpy, Weasley sweater and found the robes instead. When Ginny wrote to her mum about being asked to the Yule Ball, she expected her to send some used robes from the second-hand shop in Diagon Alley. After all, none of her brothers had got new robes. Sometimes it really paid to be the youngest and only girl.

The robes were made of a beautiful, white, filmy material. They were a little tighter than her regular school robes, with a lower neckline. Her roommates had helped her pile her red hair on top of her head in an elaborate, upsweep hairstyle. She had even used mascara and lip-gloss. Ginny had never felt so grown up and sophisticated. Now if only Harry would notice her.

Down in the common room Ginny watched Harry as he nervously walked up to Parvati Patil. “You er…look nice,” Ginny heard him mumble to Parvati. Ginny grudgingly admitted to herself that this was true. Parvati practically glowed in her bright pink robes with a multitude of thin, gold bangles on her arms that clinked merrily every time she moved. Ginny wondered smugly if Parvati knew that Cho Chang had turned down Harry before he asked her to be his date. Still, what she wouldn’t give to be in Parvati’s shoes tonight…

Students started to file out of the common room, heading for the Entrance Hall. Harry and Parvati walked directly in front of Ginny and Neville. She couldn’t help but watch Harry’s back, the way he walked purposefully as though we was going into battle instead of a ball. She sighed wistfully. Ginny’s brother Ron fell into step beside her, wearing an expression remarkably similar to Ginny’s.

“Have you seen Hermione?” Ron asked, craning his neck to look over the sea of multi-colored robes.

Ginny shook her head, incapable of coherent speech for some reason. She studied Harry’s riotous, black hair that contrasted so nicely with the green of his robes. Her mum had chosen wisely. Ginny knew the robes matched Harry’s eyes perfectly. She was sure of this even though he wasn’t facing her. Ginny was an expert at Harry’s eyes. If only he would turn those green eyes on her now! She clinched her fists, her own eyes watering with irrepressible frustration.

Ron finally seemed to take notice of Ginny’s appearance, looking down at her with undisguised envy. “Nice robes Gin,” he murmured. “But I think that you’re allergic to that gunk on your eyes. They look all weird and watery.”

When he dances
He moves him to a smile
And I see everything
In him shine
There's a grace in his ways
That I can't contain
I haven't that grace
Oh, I haven't that grace

Ginny watched Parvati steer Harry around the dance floor in tight circles. Parvati looked cool and imperious, flashing a smug smile at her friends as she danced past them. Harry seemed to be concentrating intensely on a spot just above Parvati’s head. As other couples started to join the champions on the dance floor, Neville stood up and offered a sweaty, pudgy hand to Ginny.

Ginny tried hard to concentrate on her dance steps. This was difficult due to the fact that Neville seemed to clunk down on her foot with every other step. He also seemed to be trying to pull Ginny closer to him. It made for an interesting dance what with Ginny trying to watch her feet and pull away from Neville. She sighed, hoping the song would end soon. Suddenly she felt someone’s gaze over Neville’s left shoulder. It was Harry. He appeared to be looking at her with a sad, longing look on his face that made Ginny’s heart stand still. Was that look for her? Could it be that he was regretting not having asked Ginny to the ball first? She found that her breath was suddenly coming in nervous pants. Neville looked down at her in concern.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

Ginny shook her head slightly, willing herself to look at Neville. “I’m…I’m fine, thank you.”

Neville smiled and spun her around. NO! Now Harry was at Ginny’s back. Instead of facing Harry and Parvati, she was now looking at Cedric Diggory and Cho Chang.

Cho Chang! Ginny felt the blood drain from her face. She twisted slightly in Neville’s arms to look back at Harry. Harry was still staring, but Ginny realized that he hadn’t been looking at her at all. He had been staring at Cho dancing with Cedric. Ginny’s lower lip trembled uncontrollably. Unconsciously she tightened her grip on Neville’s hand, trying to steady herself. Neville remained oblivious to Ginny’s distress. In fact, he took Ginny’s trembling to be a good sign, taking the liberty of squeezing her tighter about the waist.

“Ginny, I’m so glad you came with me. I hope you’re having a good time too.”

Ginny bit down on her lower lip, forcing herself to meet Neville’s sincere, blue eyes. “Yes Neville, thank you for inviting me.”

The moment the song ended, Ginny informed Neville that she was parched and needed a butterbeer. As she sat at their table waiting for Neville to return with the refreshments, Ginny spotted her twin brothers, Fred and George. They were sitting with a boisterous crowd of Gryffindor sixth years. They were laughing and shouting over the loud music. How Ginny wished she could be as carefree as they seemed! A timid voice and a tentative tap at her shoulder broke through her reverie.

“Er…Ginny?”

Ginny looked up at a blond-haired, fourth year Hufflepuff. Hannah something-or-other was her name. Ginny realized that she had never seen Hannah with her long hair loose, as she usually wore it in two plaits. “Yes?” Ginny asked politely.

The girl blushed scarlet. “Ginny, I er…was wondering if you would mind if I asked Neville to dance the next song? Just as friends. He’s very nice to me in Herbology.”

Ginny hesitated, unsure of what etiquette called for in such a situation. She gaped at the girl uncertainly.

The girl blushed even deeper, her timid smile faltering. “I’m sorry. I guess I’m just being a dunderhead. Of course you would want to dance every song with your own date. I’ll just go then.” She turned to walk away when Ginny stopped her.

“Hannah, I don’t mind, if Neville doesn’t.”

Hannah’s blue eyes sparkled with relief. Neville walked up a few seconds later, two bottles of butterbeer in his hands. “Neville,” said Hannah breathlessly, “would you like to dance with me?”

Neville looked at Ginny questioningly. “I dunno, I came with Ginny,” he said hesitantly.

“I don’t mind,” said Ginny quickly.

Neville shrugged nonchalantly, though Ginny noticed a pink tinge to his cheeks. “All right then.”

Ginny watched them walk out on the dance floor, a lovely idea forming in her mind. Could she walk up to Harry and ask him to dance ‘just as friends’ like Hannah had asked Neville? She glanced over at the table where Harry was sitting with Ron and Hermione. Ginny frowned. Ron and Hermione looked like they were shouting at each other, gesturing wildly, both scarlet in the face. Harry looked like he was wishing he were anywhere but there. Obviously Ron and Hermione were having a blazing row. Ginny’s heartbeat raced, realizing that this was the perfect moment for her to ask Harry to dance, as he’d probably be grateful for the distraction. Could she do it though? Ginny squared her shoulders and began walking purposefully towards Harry’s table. She would do it. She was a Gryffindor after all!

And the closer he gets
I can't help but hide
So ashamed
Of my body and voice
There are boundaries
We pass in spite of the war
But our own
We can't seem to cross

Ginny was one table away from her destination when her brother George stepped in front of her. “Having a good time Ginnykins?” he asked brightly.

“I was until you got here!” said Ginny in annoyance.

George adopted a hurt look. “What? I just wanted to tell my little sister how nice she looks.”

“Thanks,” said Ginny, absentmindedly. She stood on her tiptoes, trying to peer over George’s shoulder.

“Why is your date dancing with another girl?” Asked George frowning at Neville. “You want me to go and kick his arse?” he asked earnestly.

Ginny sighed in exasperation. “No I don’t. Now can you please get out of my way so that I can sit down?” Over George’s shoulder she saw Hermione leave the table in a huff.

“Aw! Is ickle Ginny tired already? Up past your bedtime are you?” In a flash he reached over and pinched her cheeks that were already red with fury.

She slapped at his hands hard. “Don’t!” she cried angrily. She ducked away from him, trying to make her way past him. To her great annoyance, she saw that her brother Percy had now joined Harry and Ron’s table. Now how was she supposed to ask Harry to dance?

George took no notice of her discomfort. “Well, you can’t sit down. I want to dance with my little sister.” Before Ginny could protest, he yanked her by the arm and pulled her out onto the dance floor. It was a fast song, so George dropped her arm and started gyrating about wildly, looking as though he was having some kind of fit. It took him a few seconds to notice that Ginny was not dancing. “Come on Gin! Move!”

But Ginny was frozen to spot, watching Harry walk out of the Great Hall with Ron.

George gave her a little shake, mistaking her hesitancy for lack of dance skills. “It’s not hard. Just follow me.” He closed his eyes, waved both hands in the air and started to do some kind of turn, shaking his bottom violently.

A white, hot furry descended over Ginny, temporarily blinding her. Before George could complete his turn, she had stumbled off the dance floor and headed straight for the loo.

She has a way that surrounds her
So delicate
With a glory that reigns in her life
She is also so much that she is not
These things, I can't see
Because he doesn't see me
And he doesn't see me

There are things we can change
If we just choose to fight
But the walls of injustice are high

In the loo Ginny stomped into a stall, slammed the door shut and leaned heavily against it. She had been so close! So bloody close! Until her idiot brother ruined it. Ginny stood there for several minutes, trying to calm herself by imagining what it would feel like to have six sisters or perhaps to be an only child. After a few minutes, the mental images she conjured seemed to do the trick and she started to unlatch the door when she heard somebody speak.

“Can you believe how that idiot has been treating me tonight? Champion indeed!” Ginny peeked through a crack in the stall and saw Parvati Patil and Lavender Brown standing in front of the bathroom mirrors.

“At least you’re having a good time now,” said Lavender sagely.

Parvati widened her eyes absurdly as she applied another coat of mascara. “I suppose. But I still feel so humiliated! Everyone saw him staring at Cho.”

“If he wanted to go with Cho, why didn’t he just ask her in the first place?” asked Lavender, blotting her crimson lips on a paper towel.

“Padma told me he did ask Cho, but she was already going with Cedric. I mean, who would go with Harry if they could have Cedric?”

Ginny’s mouth fell open with indignation. What were they talking about?

Lavender giggled madly. “Cedric is so handsome!” she squealed. “I wouldn’t think twice about dumping Seamus for Cedric, let alone Harry.”

As if Harry would have you! thought Ginny angrily.

“Tell me about it.” Parvati smoothed some stray hairs back into her plait. “I just can’t understand what he sees in Cho. Sure, she’s pretty, but she’s so… nice. Too nice, you know what I mean?”

Ginny was sure she didn’t.

“Yes,” said Lavender. “She’s all like,” Lavender put on a simpering expression that Ginny could see reflected in the mirror. “Oh! I’m Cho Chang. I’m sooooo nice! See what a good Seeker I am? Aren’t I a smart, little Ravenclaw?” Lavender fluttered her eyelashes and pursed her lips in a ridiculous manner. Parvati snorted with laughter.

Suddenly, the bathroom door swung open causing Lavender and Parvati to fall into a guilty silence. Ginny soon saw why, as Cho Chang walked into her line of sight. Cho greeted the girls hesitantly. “Hello.”

Parvati and Lavender exchanged a guilty look before murmuring a greeting back. Cho walked past them and entered the stall next to Ginny’s. Just as Ginny heard the latch on Cho’s door, Parvati and Lavender burst into laughter. Lavender gasped, “Do you think she heard us?”

“I dunno,” wheezed Parvati through a fit of giggles. “Who cares?” The girls hustled out of the bathroom shrieking with laughter.

Cho left her stall and walked up to the mirror, staring forlornly at her reflection. Ginny watched, fascinated as Cho smoothed her hair down with her wand. Parvati was right. Cho was a beautiful girl. Her skin was a flawless, warm color, framed by her raven-colored hair. Cho wore her long hair loose. It cascaded down the back of her scarlet robes, falling to her waist. The only make-up she wore was a sheer lip-gloss, which she was currently reapplying from a little pot she pulled out of her pocket. It sparkled prettily on her full mouth. Cho had the most unusual eye color Ginny had ever seen. Her eyes were a deep, dark blue-gray. Ginny wondered wistfully what it would be like to be so beautiful.

Ginny’s deep sigh startled Cho. “Who’s there?” Cho called out, alarmed.

Face aflame, Ginny undid the latch on her stall and stepped out.

“Oh,” said Cho with relief. “You scared me. I thought I was alone. You’re…Ginny, right? The Weasley twins’ little sister?” She smiled warmly at Ginny.

Ginny nodded mutely. She cast about for something to say to Cho. “I er…heard them talking about you,” she said stupidly.

Cho’s eyes darkened slightly, but she dismissed it with a wave of her hand. “I did too actually.” Her pretty mouth thinned into a determined grin. “Not to worry, I’ve heard worse.”

“You have? Why?” asked Ginny curiously.

“I dunno. I guess it’s because of Cedric. You should’ve heard Fleur Delacour.” She sighed. “You know how catty we girls can be.” Cho looked a bit embarrassed, and changed the subject. “I saw when you left your brother on the dance floor.” She smiled mischievously. “I don’t blame you one bit. Brothers can be terribly embarrassing!”

Ginny wished she could say something cleverer than, “Yes.”

Cho flashed her another radiant smile. “Well, I’d better go back before Ced thinks I’ve gone to bed. Have a good time Ginny.” She walked out of the loo.

Ginny turned to the mirror before her, contemplating her reflection. It was amazing how plain she suddenly felt, for all her fancy robes and hairdo.

When he passes me by
He's a ray of light
Like the first drop of sun
From the sky
And he knows she's a king
Who deserves a queen
Someone other than me
Different from me

Ginny started up the stairs towards Gryffindor Tower alone. When the ball ended, Neville had asked Ginny politely whether she would mind if he went and thanked Hannah for dancing with him. Ginny had repressed a smile and urged him to go on.

She was grateful that Neville had been such a gentleman, which was more than she could say for Ron. At least Neville hadn’t ignored her all night like Ron did to Padma Patil. Ginny sighed heavily. If only she could’ve danced at least one song with Harry! She didn’t think Neville would’ve minded, but Ron had not left Harry’s side all night, and Gryffindor or not, she couldn’t bring herself to ask Harry to dance in front of one of her brothers. Oh well, at least she hadn’t had to endure the sight of Harry dancing with anybody except for that one opening dance with Parvati.

Ginny had lingered about the Great Hall after the ball was finished, saying good night to Percy before he left. Now, she walked slowly, letting the other Gryffindors pass by her. She was hoping all of her dorm mates would be asleep by the time she went up so that she could avoid the after-ball gossip session with them. After all, she didn’t have much to say.

She reached the portrait hole and called out the password. The Fat Lady was looking very wobbly as the portrait swung open. Ginny crawled into the common room, intent on heading straight to bed when the sound of Ron’s voice stopped her.

“What does she mean, ‘last resort’? I don’t get it!” Ron uttered a long moan and dropped his face into his hands. “She’s mad, that’s all there is to it.”

Harry was standing before Ron shaking his head and giving him an oddly appraising look.

“What’s wrong with Ron?” Ginny asked Harry.

Before Harry could answer her, Ron stood up abruptly and made his way towards the boys’ staircase. “Forget it! Who cares? I’m going to bed!” Ron marched up the staircase muttering under his breath about ‘bloody, stupid, high-strung girls’.

“Ah,” said Ginny, taking a seat before the dying fireplace. “Does this have anything to do with Hermione?”

Harry nodded, sank down into an armchair and raked a hand through his hair. “Hope they get over this soon.”

“Well it’s Ron’s bloody fault!” Ginny thumped her fist on the armrest with indignation. “Serves him right for the stupid way he asked her to the ball.”

Harry bristled with manly loyalty. “Well, it’s not that easy you know.” He picked up a poker and absently stabbed at the dying embers.

There was an awkward pause as Ginny, suddenly became aware of the fact that she was sitting in a darkened room, alone with Harry. It was amazing how easy it had been to talk to Harry before she had realized that. Now, however, she racked her brains, trying to think of something to say. “So…er…did you have a nice time at the ball?” Ginny bit down on her lip, silently chastising herself for asking a question with such an obvious answer.

“Better than Ron, I suppose.” Harry looked up at Ginny with a crooked grin that made her heart thump madly in her chest. “Your brother is a clueless git, isn’t he?”

“Most boys are,” said Ginny quietly.

“Not all of them,” Harry answered bitterly. “Some of them don’t think twice before asking a girl, they just go for it.” Harry suddenly went back to poking the fire, steadily avoiding Ginny’s eyes, as though he was embarrassed for having said too much.

Ginny swallowed past the thick lump in her throat before she spoke. She tried to turn the conversation back to neutral territory. “Hermione looked pretty tonight, didn’t she?”

Harry shrugged nonchalantly. “Yeah.”

Ginny continued, unsure of what exactly she expected to hear from Harry. “Everyone looked really nice, all dressed up and everything…” Her voice trailed off as she smoothed the filmy material of her dress robes over her knees.

Harry murmured an indifferent agreement. It was obvious from his brooding look that dress robes were the least of his worries.

Ginny rose forlornly, resigned to the fact that Harry would never notice her, dress robes notwithstanding. “I think I’ll go to bed now,” she said softly. She walked past him towards the girls’ staircase.

“Ginny?”

Harry’s voice stopped her in her tracks. She fought to still the hopeful flutter in her chest before she spoke. “Yes?” she asked without turning around to face him.

“Do you think Ron will ever figure it out?” There was a note of amusement in his voice.

Ginny spun around, capturing his green eyes with her own. “I hope so Harry. I certainly hope so,” she said. She spun around and sprinted up the steps, painfully aware of the fact that she had not spoken about Ron. She assured herself that it didn’t matter. Harry had not noticed.

He doesn't see me
He doesn't see me
He doesn't see me

//
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