Ginny’s euphoria from beating Harry and flying his Firebolt didn’t last long. While Harry was wrong about Dean accusing him of letting her win, he wasn’t far off when he said the race would be a lose-lose situation for her.
She awoke the next morning feeling uncharacteristically despondent, her thoughts drifting back to Dean’s earlier words about her flying skills. Even though Dean had lost the bet, the fact remained that they hadn’t really talked about their original row.
What’s worse, she received a response from Fred and George informing her that Oliver would not be available to talk to her about playing professional Quidditch because he was taking a year sabbatical from the Puddlemere Reserve team to “become closer to the sport.” Apparently, Oliver was living in a tent at Queerditch Marsh, the place where Quidditch had originated in the 1000s, communing with the wild Golden Snidgets and the ghosts of the earliest Quidditch players (all of whom had gruesome deaths by Bludgers).
While she was discouraged by this small setback, the thought that Dean didn’t believe in her as a Quidditch player continued to dog her throughout the day. She knew he was wrong. In fact, she’d showed him he was wrong by beating Harry. But he’d never admitted to her that he was wrong.
If she was going to make it as a professional Quidditch player one day, then she needed to surround herself with people who were supportive of her goal–not people who dismissed her and told her she couldn’t do it. If Dean couldn’t get on board, then Ginny wasn’t sure how much longer their relationship could survive.
She was hoping they could discuss it after dinner the next day, but Dean inhaled his food and left early with Seamus.
Dean gave her a quick kiss on the cheek and handed her an envelope. “I’ll see you later,” he said with a smile.
Ginny took the envelope, surprised. She looked up to ask him what it was, but he was already halfway to the Entrance Hall.
She turned the envelope over in her hands. It said, “To Ginny” on the front in Dean’s untidy scrawl. It was a bit too heavy to be a letter. Dean wasn’t a very verbose writer, so she doubted it was a novel-length love letter.
She knew she should probably wait until she was alone to open it, but she had never known Dean to make embarrassing romantic gestures and he wouldn’t have given it to her in front of others if it were too personal.
Ginny looked up to see if anyone was watching. On her left, Demelza was in a deep conversation about Charms homework with a few of her classmates. On her right, Neville was listening intently to Hermione and slowly chewing his shepherd’s pie. Ron was directly in front of her, shoveling as much food into his mouth as possible while Lavender rattled on about nonsense that Ginny could only assume involved Divination.
Her eyes moved to Ron’s left and fell on Harry, who hastily looked away. Had he been watching her? He seemed intensely interested in his Yorkshire pudding as he pushed it around his plate. She watched him for another moment, but he didn’t look up. Maybe she had imagined it.
Satisfied that nobody was interested in Dean’s letter, she ripped it open. A heavy piece of folded parchment was tucked snugly inside. Carefully, she pulled it out. A small note fell into her lap.
“I’m sorry I didn’t believe in you. Will you let me make it up to you at the Astronomy Tower at 9pm tonight?”
She quickly unfolded the heavy parchment, which revealed an incredible black and white sketch of Ginny flying Harry’s Firebolt on the Quidditch pitch with the goal posts and a cheering crowd in the background. She was wearing her Gryffindor Quidditch robes with a Quaffle in her hand as though she were about to score a goal. Below the picture was a caption that read, “Gryffindor’s best flier.”
Ginny’s heart fluttered, and she gave a small gasp. The detail was unbelievable. Her hair was pulled back in a ponytail, but there were small wisps blowing wildly in the wind. He’d drawn the freckles on her face in all the right places. There was a small chain around her neck, poking from under her robes, that was part of her Location Locket that her mother made her wear for protection.
He’d even bewitched the drawing to move slightly. As she lifted the Quaffle above her head, her sleeve rode up, revealing her lucky bracelet that she wore every game. Fred had given it to her before her first match during her fourth year–when she’d been asked to fill in for Harry as Seeker–and she’d worn it at every game ever since. She’d never shown it to anyone but Dean because of the cheesy inscription that she was sure the team would laugh at: I love Snitches.
Dean knew Ginny loved his artwork. He had asked her to Hogsmeade for their first date by sending her a hand-drawn comic strip. For her birthday, he’d sent her a poster he’d made of her favorite Quidditch players. Over the past few months, he’d left her doodles with jokes and affectionate words in her textbooks for her to discover while she was studying.
But out of all Dean’s drawings, this one was by far her favorite. It was better than an apology. She could put this in her dormitory to be reminded every day that Dean believed in her.
“What are you so happy about?” said Ron suddenly, his voice slightly muffled by the large quantity of food in his mouth.
Ginny looked up, startled. She must have had a silly grin on her face. “Nothing,” she said as she started to fold the parchment.
“What’s that?” pressed Ron, shoveling more potatoes into his mouth. Harry was silent, but his eyes were on her.
Ginny considered him for a moment. If she insisted on hiding it, Ron would only want to see it more. It wasn’t a private drawing. She was going to pin it up in her dormitory anyway, so she didn’t see any harm in showing him.
“Dean drew something for me,” she said, waiting to see if Ron would lose interest.
Ron wrinkled his nose as if she’d said something disgusting, but Lavender suddenly broke in. “Ooohh, what did he draw? Dean is such a talented artist! You have to show us!” she gushed.
Ginny cringed inwardly, willing herself to resist the urge to tell Lavender that she didn’t have to do anything for her. But she knew this wasn’t worth arguing over. After all, she didn’t want Lavender gossiping about her and making Dean think she was embarrassed of his work.
Ginny slowly unfolded the parchment again and turned it around so they could see. “Isn’t it nice?” she asked, giving Lavender a saccharine smile.
Lavender oohed and ahhed a bit more, and Harry nodded silently as he slowly chewed his food.
But Ron furrowed his brow and tilted his head to the side. “You know, Harry and I said you were the best flier before Dean bet against you,” he said.
“Why does that matter? You don’t get a gold star for saying it first,” said Ginny crossly, setting the drawing down on the table.
“It just seems a bit funny that he’s suddenly changed his tune,” said Ron, looking to Harry for help. Harry was looking down at his food again and continued to say nothing.
“I won the race. That’s why he drew it,” retorted Ginny. It was one thing for Ginny to question Dean’s support for her, but it was out of line for Ron to try to instigate a conflict in her relationship. She wasn’t going to debate Dean’s intentions or who supported her first with her brother.
“Won-Won, it doesn’t matter!” whined Lavender, who was likely picking up on the tension at the table.
“It’s such an incredible likeness! He’s even got all of her freckles!” she enthused, elbowing Ron and motioning to the drawing. “Won-Won, Harry, don’t you think it looks justlike her?”
But Ron rolled his eyes. Harry coughed, choking on his food. Ginny snatched up the drawing and started to fold it back up. She wasn’t going to let Ron ruin this for her.
“It’s very nice, Ginny,” said Harry finally, his voice a little hoarse. “He even added your bracelet.”
Ginny stiffened as she started to put the drawing back in the envelope. She thought only Fred, George, and Dean knew about the bracelet. It wasn’t quite a secret, but she was shocked that Harry had noticed it.
“What bracelet? She doesn’t wear jewelry,” said Ron. “Let me see it again, Ginny!”
“No. You don’t appreciate it,” she said acidly. She put the envelope in her bag.
Harry’s eyes widened and he shot Ginny an apologetic look. “I didn’t get a good look at it, so maybe that wasn’t a bracelet,” he said quickly.
Ginny stood up without waiting for Ron to respond. “I’m finished, so I’ll see you lot later,” she said shortly.
Ignoring Ron’s protests, she stepped over the bench and made her way back to the common room.
That night, Ginny slipped out of Gryffindor Tower and made her way to the Astronomy Tower, keeping a close eye out for Filch and Mrs. Norris. She’d memorized the locations of all of the broom cupboards, so that she could quickly duck into them to hide if necessary.
It had been awhile since they’d met at the Astronomy Tower. It was always a special place for them since it had been where they’d had their first kiss.
Dean had brought her there for stargazing. They had shared some Butterbeers and Chocolate Frogs while lying down on a blanket, looking up at the sky. She had been showing him how to find the Great Square of Pegasus when he turned and surprised her with a kiss.
Ever since then, they’d snuck up to the tower to get time alone. She wondered if Dean was expecting some intimate attention in return for the drawing.
Fortunately, she reached the Astronomy Tower without incident. She found Dean waiting for her when she opened the door to the roof.
He ran over to hug her and kissed her deeply. Ginny’s heart fluttered at the sudden show of passion.
“Thanks for the drawing,” she said when they broke apart.
“I’m glad you liked it,” he said with a grin.
They were both silent for a moment. His face turned serious when he spoke again.
“Ginny, I’m really sorry for what I said about your flying...and for saying that girls can’t handle racing brooms,” he said quietly. “I was wrong.”
Ginny smiled, feeling a sense of warmth run through her body. She felt his drawing had said a lot about how his attitude had changed, but hearing it from him and getting the apology she’d craved was deeply satisfying.
“Thank you, Dean,” she said, her voice full of emotion. “That really means a lot coming from you because I care deeply about what you think.”
This was true. His opinion mattered more to her than others’. But she wanted to make sure he understood why this was so important to her.
“It really hurt that you had to lose a bet to realize you were wrong,” she continued, feeling the corners of her eyes sting with unshed tears. “I would have never accepted the challenge if you hadn’t bet against me.”
“I know, and I can’t tell you enough how sorry I am,” he said hastily, drawing her into a hug. “I promise I won’t doubt you again.”
Ginny hugged him back, blinking back tears and fighting the urge to doubt his words. Promises always made her feel uncomfortable. But Dean didn’t know that and was doing the best he could to show her his remorse.
“You know what Quidditch means to me,” she said, her voice muffled against his chest as she hugged him harder. “It’s my dream to play professionally one day–and that’s not going to be easy to achieve.”
She broke away from him and looked him in the eyes. “I need a partner who understands that and will support me in my dream no matter what.”
“If anyone can do it, you can,” he said, nodding. “I cared more about myself in that moment than about you.”
Ginny knew what he meant. He wasn’t completely guilty in this situation. Maybe that’s why she’d forgiven him so quickly when she saw the drawing.
“I know it feels like you’re being left out–first with my detentions and then the broom–but I want you to know it was never my intention to hide these things from you,” she said, trying to assuage his fears. “I’ll do my best to always be honest with you.”
She couldn’t promise to tell him all of her secrets, but she could stop lying to him.
Dean waved his wand and conjured a blanket and pillows on the ground. “Good,” he said with a smile and taking her hand. “Now why don’t you remind me where Polaris is…”
Ginny giggled as she let him lead her to the blanket.
Ginny’s first week of detentions with McGonagall turned out to be a pleasant surprise. She showed up for her first day promptly after class, armed with her homework and school books as instructed. McGonagall simply pointed at a desk and told her to do her homework.
Ginny was suspicious at first and nervously worked through her Charms essay, waiting for the other shoe to drop. When she finished her Charms essay, McGonagall offered to review it.
Ah, here it comes, she thought, expecting McGonagall to tear it up and make her do it again. But instead, she gave her thoughtful feedback and even practiced a few charms with her. It was the best detention Ginny had ever had.
On her way out, she stopped at the door. “Professor McGonagall, thank you.”
“For what, Miss Weasley?” McGonagall asked.
“For… helping me. I learned a lot today.”
To her surprise, McGonagall let out a small laugh. “Just don’t tell Mr. Potter. He’s been trying to get into your detentions since he returned from holiday.”
“I’ll tell him it was awful, but that probably won’t stop him,” she said with a grin.
The rest of the week was more of the same–and Ginny learned more every day. She never imagined how much more she could learn with one-on-one attention. It felt more like private tutoring than discipline. She suspected that McGonagall had felt her punishment from the Ministry was unfair and was trying to make up for it.
On Wednesday, she received a few Quidditch development school applications that she had requested by owl post, so she used her detention that day to get started on the essays. Professor McGonagall even offered to give her feedback once she’d finished all of her applications.
Ginny was grateful for the show of support. She knew she’d need all the help should could get. Applications were due in February, so she would need to complete her essays soon.
The applications were fairly straightforward. Each school required her to submit her Quidditch statistics and answer a couple of essay questions that varied by school. Then, if her application was accepted, she would either be invited to tryout for the school’s team or a scout from the school would attend her match to determine if she was good enough for an invitation to tryout.
From what Ginny could gather from the application instructions, it seemed like most schools only advanced applicants straight to tryouts if they had a sponsor. A sponsor is a trusted party that has seen the applicant play and recommends them to the school. Ginny didn’t know anyone connected with a development school, so she knew she’d have to submit a strong application and impress the scout if she got the chance.
She worked on her applications for the rest of the week and left her last detention with McGonagall on Friday in high spirits. Not only had she made it through her first week of detentions, she’d also found a mentor for her applications and received her new Nimbus 2000 in the owl post earlier that day.