The Moments that Matter by CharmHazel
Summary: ***Winner of the Most Romantic in the Carpe Diem Challenge*** On realising what had been right in front of him all this time, Harry replays that moments in his head that led to him falling for Ginny.
Categories: SIYE Challenges, The Carpe Diem Challenge (2017-1)
The Moments that Matter by CharmHazel
Chapter 1: Chapter 1Author's Notes:
How could he have been so blind to not see what had been there, right under his nose, all along?
How could he have so nearly let slip through his fingers the one person who truly understood him?
His feelings for her had slowly built up without him even knowing, until they had become too obvious for him to try to ignore and push aside as he had been doing over this past school year.
To be honest, if he truly thought about how long he had felt something for this incredible girl, his feelings for her had been there for far longer than he had even realised.
If he was going to be honest with himself, something he knew it was about time he started to do, then, he knew that the first spark of feelings he had for her went all the way back to the first day he had seen her on Platform Nine and Three Quarters.
He allowed his thoughts to drift to the individual moments between them and the feelings he had experienced at the time.
The train lurched as it began to move and pull out of Kings Cross Station. Harry felt the excitement well up inside as he began to head towards his new life, knowing whatever he found, it would be much better than what he had left behind until the summer.
Harry allowed his eyes to gaze over the platform, watching as parents and younger siblings waved goodbye to those family members on the train. However, his eyes immediately wandered back to the red-haired girl he had watched cry as she said goodbye to her older brothers. She was now running alongside the train as she attempted to keep up with it as it slowly picked up speed.
The redheaded girl was laughing, crying and smiling as she ran, only stopping once she could no longer keep up. Harry’s eyes remained fixed on the girl until she was no longer in sight. He wasn’t sure why he felt the need to watch her. Perhaps it was the expression on her face, or how she chased the train or just because there was something about her that he felt drawn to, he wasn’t sure. All he knew was that he wished someone had been there to see him off to Hogwarts with the same look on their face as there had been on the girl.
Harry wondered if he could pretend she had been chasing the train to say goodbye to him as well her brothers. However, before his thoughts could go any further, the door to the compartment he sat in opened, revealing one of the girl’s brothers.
“Anyone sitting there?”
As Harry walked back to the Leaky Cauldron with the Weasleys and the Grangers, he allowed his mind to wander as he thought about the altercation they’d had with the Malfoys in Flourish and Blotts. However, it wasn’t what either of them had said that had him lost in thought, but the fact that Ginny had defended him, despite barely knowing him, and the fact he had not denied the suggestion Draco had made about her being his girlfriend.
Harry wasn’t ignorant to the fact that Ginny had a crush on him. It hadn’t escaped his notice how clumsy she was around him, like how she had managed to put her elbow in the butter dish when he had asked about her starting Hogwarts in September. Or how she had never, until today, said anything to or in front of him. He had chosen to pretend not to notice these things as he knew she didn’t need the embarrassment or the teasing.
He knew the crush was more likely to be on the Boy Who Lived than him, Harry, but she had recognised immediately how he hated the attention that came from something that had happened many years ago, when he was a baby. She had stood up for him, defended him, despite her crush and against his arch-rival from school. For some reason, the fact she had done this for him made his heart flutter.
Harry’s heart felt like it had broken when he finally spotted a small, black-robed figure laying beneath the feet of the statue in the Chamber, face down with flaming red hair splayed across the floor.
‘No, no, no,’ was the only thing going through his mind as he realised he may be too late to save Ginny. He promised himself, as he began to sprint towards her, that if he succeeded in getting both him and Ginny out of here, alive, he would do everything in his power to protect her from that point onwards.
Harry dropped down onto his knees, flinging his wand aside, not paying attention to where it landed as he took Ginny’s shoulders in his hand and carefully turned her over.
“Please, Ginny! Don’t be dead!” he cried as he began checking her over. “Please, don’t be dead! You need to wake up! We need to get out of here!”
She looked so peaceful, as though she had already passed on, but Harry knew that was not the case as he could her chest slowly moving up and down. However, he knew he did not have much time left to save her. He began to shake her in hopes of waking her, desperate to get them both out of the Chamber as soon as possible, but she wouldn’t wake.
“Please!” he choked out as he leaned over her body, “Ginny, you need to wake up. We need to get out of here!”
Harry’s mind worked furiously as he tried to figure out how to get her out of the Chamber and back to Ron, so they could take her to the hospital wing. However, he knew it was useless as he knew he would not be able to carry her if he was going to protect and defend them at the same time.
“Ginny, please, I need you to wake up, now,” Harry cried as he tried to hold back the panic that was beginning to well up inside of him.
“She won’t wake,” a soft voice said from behind him, causing Harry to jump to his feet and turn to see who it was.
Harry watched as Ginny walked away from him and Ron towards the portrait hole. He hadn’t failed to notice her reaction to the suggestion of Harry taking her to the Yule Ball and the look on her face when she had refused the offer due to her already having agreed to accompany Neville.
What was confusing him, however, was not Ginny’s reaction, but his own. He had felt a swoop of disappointment by her polite refusal and a pang of jealousy that Neville would get to spend the evening dancing with her. He could only assume that those feelings came from his own guilt of not having taken the time to get to know her properly following the events of her first and his second year. It hadn’t helped that she would still blush around him, but, at least, she could now talk to him.
He liked to think that Ginny was his friend, not just a member of the Weasley family and his best friend’s little sister. He knew he cared for her and had this deep need within him to protect her. That didn’t mean, however, his feelings went any further for her. He didn’t think they did as he knew he had a crush on Cho Chang. However, thinking back to when he had asked her to the Yule Ball, he didn’t feel the disappointment or jealousy in the same way he had felt for Ginny denying him the chance to take her.
Perhaps, therefore, he was beginning to develop feelings for the youngest Weasley.
“What’s got into them?”
Ron’s question about Ginny and Hermione’s reactions pulled Harry from his thoughts before he could begin to explore the possibility of him having feelings for Ginny.
He looked up to answer Ron’s question, but, instead, his eyes were drawn to the portrait hole and the two girls who had just come through it. Knowing he and Ron needed dates desperately, he made the decision to approach Parvati and Lavender about being their dates.
“Wait here,” Harry told his best mate before crossing the common room to speak to the two witches.
“Then You-Know-Who hasn’t ever possessed you. When he did it to me, I couldn’t remember what I’d been doing for hours at a time. I’d find myself somewhere and not know how I got there.”
Harry found Ginny’s words hard to believe. He had felt like he was the snake, it had felt like he had bitten Mr Weasley. Yet, her words made sense as he knew he could remember every detail, something that made him shudder just thinking about it. Her words, however, did seem to lighten the weight that had been placed upon his heart in the wake of the attack on the Weasley patriarch.
Harry realised that it would be wrong of him to dismiss Ginny’s experience of being possessed by Voldemort. It still amazed him that she had fought against him for nearly a year against the possession, long enough for her to be rescued and saved from what should have been her death. The strength she had shown, not just in fighting against the possession, but also her ability to recover and move on, was one of the things he admired and loved most about her.
However, a slither of doubt crept into his mind about their differing experiences. Voldemort, or Tom Riddle as he was known to Ginny, had taken over her mind, her thoughts and her own control of her body. She had been forced to release the Basilisk upon the castle. Harry, on the other hand, had been inside the mind of the snake. He hadn’t felt like he was being forced to do anything, but watch. He couldn’t control the actions of the snake, yet, he felt like he could have been in control of the snake’s actions. He was torn between believing Ginny and the differences in their experiences.
“That dream I had about your dad and the snake, though…”
Harry’s books, bag and ink bottle finally stopped whacking him and Ginny over the head once they had reached a respectable distance from the library. Harry’s possessions suddenly froze in mid-air before falling to floor with Harry catching the ink bottle before it could smash.
“Nice catch, Harry,” Ginny said with a wide grin and flushed face. “That is exactly why you deserve your place on the Quidditch team.”
Harry blushed under her praise as he began stuffing his books back into his bag.
“Thank you, by the way, for offering to help me out,” Harry said as he finally stood back up with his now packed bag.
“No worries. I’ll have a word with my brothers and see what they can come up with to help you out,” Ginny replied before pausing for the moment, appearing to struggle with whether she should say what she wanted to say to Harry. “I don’t suppose… no, actually, never mind. It isn’t my right to ask or know.”
To Harry’s surprise, Ginny began to walk away and towards their common room. He froze for the moment as a pang of disappointment hit him. He was certain she was going to ask him about why he wanted to talk to Sirius, but why she felt it was not her right to ask or even know confused him.
“Ginny!” he called out as he chased after the red-head. “Wait a moment.”
Ginny stopped and turned to look at Harry, surprised he had followed her.
“What did you mean by what you said?” Harry asked, wanting her to be the one to ask him about Sirius.
Ginny didn’t reply.
“You’re my friend, Gin. You can ask me anything and I promise I’ll do my best to answer you if I can.”
“I was going to ask what it was that you needed to talk to Sirius about,” she finally responded with a slight blush grazing her cheeks. “I realised, though, that you probably need to speak to him first before you could tell me.”
“Yeah, I do,” Harry admitted. “It’s just… I saw something that has me questioning a lot of what I know about my parents and I need to speak to him to find out if it was true and to help me understand what it was I found out.”
Ginny was taken aback by how much he had offered in a response. She had expected him to refuse to answer and then, perhaps, tell her once he had spoken to his godfather. However, she could see whatever it was he had found out about his parents was truly bothering him and she promised herself she would get the twins to help her as soon as it was possible to do so.
“Whatever it is that is bothering you, Harry,” Ginny said as she gently placed a hand on his arm, causing Harry to look at her and make eye contact, “is probably not as bad as you think it is. Remember, your parents loved you so much, they willingly gave their lives to protect you. Don’t let something that may
question your knowledge of them override that.”
Harry found himself unable to pull his gaze from Ginny’s eyes. They were so full of sincerity, compassion and understanding, it overwhelmed him. He felt the need to lean down and kiss her, but before he could do so, the sound of students talking, coming from the direction of the library, made him pull his gaze away.
“Thank you, Gin,” Harry said as he awkwardly rubbed the back of his neck. “I’ll try to remember that when I ask Sirius for his side of the story.”
“I’m three years older than you were when you fought You-Know-Who over the Philosopher’s Stone, and it’s because of me that Malfoy’s stuck back in Umbridge’s office with giant flying bogies attacking him…”
Harry made no move to stop the tirade of words coming from Ginny. She continued to list all the stupid stunts he had pulled and dangerous situations he had found himself in, all of which had happened at an age younger than she was now.
He knew she was right in what she said and he knew how much she cared for Sirius, but it didn’t stop this need he had inside of him to want to protect her, to leave her behind at the castle where she would be safe from Death Eaters and Voldemort. He didn’t even want to imagine a world in which she was not there, all because something had happened to her from allowing her to follow him to the Ministry.
Yet, based on what she was telling him, she was not going to back down from demanding to go with him without a fight. A fight, which Harry knew, he had already lost from the moment she had opened her mouth. He had to stand there as she ranted, reminding himself that she was a strong and capable witch, one of the few who had managed to conjure a Patronus when he had taught his fellow students. If anything, she was the sort of person he should want to be there to have his back in a fight.
His need to protect her, however, seemed to overwhelm him more than his ever-growing acceptance of her wanting to follow him, leading him to finally stop her tirade.
“That doesn’t matter, Ginny,” he said firmly. “You are NOT coming!”
“We were all in the DA together,” Harry heard Neville say from behind him and he knew he was about to lose the fight to stop them all from coming with him.
Harry was desperate for the excruciating pain currently ripping through his body to stop, to be taken away, to be anything than what he was feeling right at that moment. He didn’t care if that meant he had to die for the pain to disappear, because for him, death was nothing in comparison to the pain and the damage he felt it was doing to his mind and his body.
If Dumbledore could just end it for him, end his life, he could see Sirius again and remain with him in the afterlife. He would much rather that than experience the grief and heartache he would feel if he lived. He certainly didn’t want to be left behind in a world he was struggling to cope in, where he was always so angry and on the verge of falling apart.
However, giving in and allowing death to take him and the pain away would mean leaving behind the one person he was beginning to feel drawn to. Ginny had somehow, in the past few months, become an important part of his life and one of his closest friends. He didn’t want to leave her behind just as they were truly getting to know one another.
Harry was now torn between the desire to leave behind this world and be with his godfather and the need to remain and become closer to Ginny. His heart and mind became filled with his feelings for these two-important people in his life as he warred over where he wanted to be. The excruciating pain lessened as emotions whirled around inside him and then, with no warning, it was gone.
Harry found himself lying on the floor of the atrium of the Ministry of Magic, confused to what was happening around him. Disappointment shot through him as he realised he had fought to live another day and would not be joining his godfather beyond the veil. However, it only lasted a mere second as the feeling of elation quickly swept over him as he realised he had been given the chance to live and take that chance with Ginny. The crushing realisation, though, that his godfather was dead and never coming back swept back over, leaving him heartbroken from the loss.
He wanted to leave the Ministry and hide away from the world that seem intent on constantly putting him through horrific and traumatic experiences. The only way he could do that was to find his glasses and the strength to lift himself from the position he lay in on the floor.
Before he could do so, he heard a concerned voice from right next to him, “Are you all right, Harry?”
Harry sat, gazing out over the water, lost in his thoughts about his beloved godfather and the content of the prophecy Dumbledore had revealed to him. His feelings over everything that had happened, not only over the past few days, but over the past year, were mixed up to the point of him feeling completely lost.
The gentle touch of a hand on his shoulder startled him and he turned to see Ginny there with a look he had not expected to see. It was not one of pity, nor one of sympathy, but one of genuine concern for his well-being. Just seeing this look was enough for the current gentle flow of tears to turn into an uncontrollable torrent, causing Ginny to sit down next to him and pull him into her arms, gently running a soothing hand through his hair as he allowed his head to drop onto her shoulder.
“It’s okay, Harry,” she whispered to him. “It’s okay to cry, to grieve.”
Harry was reminded of the previous year when Mrs Weasley had held him in her arms as he struggled to cope with the emotions that had burned through him following the events of the Third Task and the Graveyard. While Ginny may not have held him in the same way a mother would, the way in which she did hold him made him felt safe and secure as he let his grief out in the only way he could at that moment.
“Thank you,” Harry whispered as he lifted his head from her shoulder once the tears had eased considerably. “Not just for this, but for being there for me this past year.”
“I’m only doing what you did for me,” Ginny said as she unexpectedly blushed in response to his thanks. “I never did thank you for that.”
Harry looked confused for a moment before he realised she was referencing him rescuing her from the Chamber of Secrets.
“There is no need to thank me for that, Gin,” he quietly replied. “I couldn’t leave you down there and I was the only person in the whole school who could access it to rescue you.”
“I wasn’t actually talking specifically about that, Harry, though I do thank you for saving my life.”
Harry pulled away from Ginny’s embrace, immediately missing the safety and warmth of it.
“What were you talking about?” he asked, confused to what other time he had helped her.
Unexpectedly, Ginny laughed before answering, “That is one of the things I love most about you, the very fact you never recognise or realise the good deeds you do for others. You do more good deeds than you even realise and they are not always these big, daring rescues, they are usually small deeds that simply boost a person’s confidence.”
Harry was still confused as to what the red-head was talking about. He racked his brain as he thought about all their interactions over the years. Admittedly, there were not as many as he would have liked, but still, there had been a fair few.
“Are you talking about the night in the common room, a few days after we came out of the Chamber?” Harry asked tentatively, worried about what her reaction would be to him mentioning it, knowing it had not be an easy time for her.
“Yes,” Ginny replied with a small smile. “You helped me more than you realised that night. To be here for you now is me simply returning the favour.”
“I was only doing what I should have done when you started Hogwarts, doing what your brothers should have done,” Harry admitted.
“Whatever the reason was, Harry, it helped me, considerably,” Ginny responded as she stood up to leave. “If you need to talk or anything, I am here, whenever you need me, okay?”
Harry simply nodded as he watched the youngest Weasley make her way back around the lake and up to the school, grateful for the chance to think about their most recent interaction.
Harry rapidly approached the portrait of the Fat Lady, desperate to speak to Ginny about the realisation he’d had after she had left him. He had remained down by the lake for another hour as he thought about Sirius, the prophecy and Ginny.
He already knew Ginny had come to mean a lot to him, cementing her place in his life as one of his closest friends. He also knew that he had a crush on her, something that become more apparent throughout this past school year. He had long known he did not want anything to happen to her and had sworn to protect her at all costs. What he hadn’t realised, until just an hour ago, was how deep his feelings ran for her, and it was his reminiscing that had made it clear to him.
He had fallen, completely and utterly, head over heels, in love with Ginny Weasley.
However, with that realisation, came the memory of being told by Hermione that she had given up on him, and the knowledge that his fellow Gryffindor, Dean Thomas, also had a crush on her and was planning to ask her out before the summer holidays began. This had caused Harry to pull himself together and rush back to the castle, so he could tell Ginny how he felt before Dean asked her out, even if he did risk having his heart broken from her rejecting him.
Entering the common room, his eyes immediately flew around the room looking for the person he desperately needed to talk to before he lost his courage. He quickly found Ginny standing by the staircase to the boys’ dormitories, talking to the one person he had hoped would not be there — Dean.
Deciding that it was now or never, Harry took a deep breath and let it out as he approached the pair.
“Sorry to interrupt,” he said as he reached Ginny and Dean, “but can I have a quick word with you, Ginny? It’s important.”
Harry pleaded with his eyes to make her understand that it needed to be now and it needed to be done in private. To his relief, she seemed to catch on to what he wanted and nodded in confirmation.
“Sorry, Dean, but I need to quickly speak to Harry about something,” she said to the other fifth-year boy. “Do you mind if we carry on this conversation when I get back?”
Harry could see Dean was suspicious of Harry’s intentions, while recognising Ginny was not going to take no for an answer.
“Sure,” Dean finally replied. “I’ll be here, waiting for you.”
“What did you need to talk to me about, Harry?” Ginny asked the moment Harry closed the door to the unused classroom they had found to use.
Harry looked over at the red-head he now knew he was in love with and his brain froze. He groaned internally at the fact he had managed to get Ginny by herself to speak to her and instead, he was about to blow his chance to tell how he felt about her, all due to the lack of words coming out of his mouth.
“Damnit,” Harry muttered to himself as he turned away from Ginny out of frustration.
The doubts began to creep into his thoughts. He warred with himself as he thought of Ginny truly being over him, of Ginny choosing Dean over him, of Dean being the less complicated choice, and of the timing being all wrong to start a relationship he already knew he wanted to go to the distance if given the chance.
Hearing the concern laced in Ginny’s voice as she said his name caused Harry to drop his head into his hands, hating himself for failing to be able to tell her what he so desperately wanted to say.
“What’s wrong, Harry?” Ginny asked as she tentatively placed a hand on his shoulder.
Knowing the words were not going to come, he made the decision to turn back round to face her and do something which was either going to be incredibly stupid or extremely brave.
He kissed her.
Despite her momentary shock at feeling Harry’s lips on hers, Ginny quickly melted into the kiss, wrapping her arms around his neck as his arms came up and around her waist. It was only after several minutes, or in Harry’s mind, many hours or perhaps even several sunlit days, that the pair broke apart from one another.
“Wow,” Ginny gasped, causing Harry to grin goofily at her reaction. “That was unexpected, but so unbelievably welcome!”
Harry could only continue to smile, happy he had made the right choice, one he knew Sirius would probably praise him for. Still feeling tongue-tied from the first kiss, Harry leaned down and captured Ginny’s lips once more and for the next several minutes, only kisses were exchanged between the two teens.
“Be my girlfriend, Gin?” Harry asked as the words finally came to him after they broke their latest kiss to catch their breaths.
“I would love to, Harry,” Ginny replied with that hard, blazing look that Harry realised he had come to love so much.
“Brilliant,” Harry sighed as he leant back down to kiss his new girlfriend again.
It was an hour later, after Harry had taken the time to reveal to Ginny the realisation he’d had about he truly felt for her, that the new couple approached the portrait of the Fat Lady.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” Harry nervously asked as they came to a stop in front of the entrance to their common room.
“Of course, I do,” Ginny said with a bright smile. “I am certain he was about to ask me out. The way he was rambling on and on made it seem like he was building up to it.”
“Good thing I chose not to ramble then,” Harry chuckled in response. “We’d probably still be in that classroom with me nowhere closer to telling you how I feel about you.”
“Like I said before, I love how you can surprise me,” Ginny said just before she gently kissed him.
The new couple finally entered the Gryffindor Common Room together and without giving any clues to the change in their relationship status. With a subtle nod to one another, Harry made his way over to where Neville sat in front of the fireplace, while Ginny walked over to where Dean sat waiting.
“Hey, Dean,” Ginny said brightly. “Sorry it took me longer than I expected. Harry is not having an easy time of it right now and with Hermione and Ron both still in the hospital wing, I was the easiest person for him to turn to.”
“No, that’s not a problem,” Dean replied as he indicated to her to take a seat next to him. “Neville said someone close to him had died, so I understand he needs his friends to be there for him.”
“Thanks for understanding,” Ginny replied with a quick and subtle look at Harry. “Now, what was it you wanted to talk to me about before I went and talked to Harry.”
“Oh… um… well… you see,” Dean stuttered, making Ginny grateful that Harry had just taken the initiative to kiss her. “Iwaswonderingifyouwantedtodateme?”
“Sorry, what was that, Dean?” Ginny asked, despite knowing exactly what she had been asked.
Dean took a deep breath before taking Ginny’s hand in his. Ginny sucked in her breath at the action, hoping Harry didn’t see and think she had changed her mind.
“I was wondering if you would like to date me, be my girlfriend?” Dean said confidently, convinced he was going to hear only one answer.
Ginny gently smiled at Harry’s roommate as she carefully extracted her hand from his. “I’m sorry, Dean, but I am going to have to say no.”
Dean’s face dropped in disappointment at being rejected.
“If it helps, had you asked me before Harry dragged me off to talk, I probably would have said yes.”
Dean’s head shot up quickly, looking between Ginny and Harry as his brain quickly worked to figure out what had changed in the past hour for her to say no.
“You… and… Harry?”
“Yes,” Ginny said as her face lit up in happiness. “He actually froze up and was unable to tell me. So, instead, he just kissed me. It was completely unexpected, but I couldn’t say no to him after that.”
Dean looked over at Harry, who was quietly talking with Neville, giving no indication that he now had a girlfriend. He knew he would never have a chance with the red-head now, as it had long been known she had a crush on Harry, and if he was to admit it to himself, he had seen the signs that Harry had been falling for her too.
“I wish you and Harry all the best, then,” Dean said with a sincerity that surprised Ginny.
Ginny dropped herself into Harry’s lap and his arms automatically came around her waist and pulled her closer to his body.
“So, did he ask you?” Harry asked his girlfriend once they were both comfortable.
“Yes, he did,” Ginny replied, tucking her head underneath Harry’s chin. “Like we discussed, I told him no and that had he asked me earlier, I probably would have said yes. Surprisingly, once he figured out why I had refused him, he offered us his best wishes.”
Harry didn’t know how to respond to that. Admittedly, when they had planned for Ginny to finish their conversation with Dean, they had no intentions of it being a cruel prank, but neither had expected him to respond in the way he had.
“So, when did this happen?” Neville asked in amusement, causing the couple to realise they had all but announced their relationship to all those present in the common room.
“About an hour ago,” Ginny proudly told Neville.
Neville smiled. “It’s good to see you smiling, Harry. I know I didn’t know your godfather, but I think he would probably be happy to see you happy, despite everything that has happened.”
“Yeah, he would,” Harry said with a sigh as the thoughts of the Prophecy and Sirius’ death tried to push their way back into the front of his mind.
Ginny pressed a kiss to Harry’s chin, causing him to look down at her with a sad smile.
“Tonight, for me, please enjoy this moment,” Ginny gently pleaded with her boyfriend. “Padfoot would want you to. Then, tomorrow, we can talk about whatever else is bothering you, because I know there is more than just losing Sirius.”
Harry smiled at his girlfriend’s words, knowing his godfather would have been the first to congratulate Harry
on coming to his senses about Ginny.
“I think I can do that for you and for Padfoot,” Harry whispered before gently kissing Ginny.
“Just one thing, though,” Neville said, hating to interrupt such a personal moment between the new couple. “When do you and how are you planning on telling Ron that his best mate is dating his sister?”
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