|SIYE Time:3:24 on 17th August 2018|
The Little Gut-Feeling that Could
By Laura Laurent
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Category: End-of-Term Challenge (2004-2)
Characters:Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger
Genres: Comedy, Fluff, Humor
Story is Complete
Summary: In memory of Jacquelyne.
Hitcount: Story Total: 4729
Disclaimer: Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R. Note the opinions in this story are my own and in no way represent the owners of this site. This story subject to copyright law under transformative use. No compensation is made for this work.
The Little Gut-Feeling That Could
Whose kind words of enthusiasm
fueled my then-fledgling ambitions
when I first posted this story two years ago
"...And then they walked home together, crowned king and queen in the bridal realm of..."
Ginny was reading the most beautifully moving passage in the entire book, but to her dismay, she soon found that as was so often the case with impending heartaches, there was nothing that could distract her from swelling, churning feelings of her insides that were threatening to overwhelm her.
"Along the winding paths, fringed with the sweetest flowers that ever bloomed..."
It was the end of an era. Voldemort had been defeated, and the world was saved from certain apocalypse, but more importantly, Harry Potter was leaving Hogwarts, and Ginny could not follow him. The leaving feast was tomorrow, and after that, Harry would be going to the Burrow with Ron and Hermione before he and Ron moved into a flat of their own in London. Ginny would be spending the summer in Egypt, with Bill, who had returned to work there when the war ended.
"And over the haunted meadows, where the winds of hope and memory blew."
"Stop being such a bloody drama queen!" she scolded herself, staring at the page without realizing that she had finished the book. She knew that she was making this more difficult for herself by insisting at every waking moment for the last week that her life as she knew it was crashing to an end. Every time she thought about it, she realized that she was overreacting, and that in reality, Harry’s final departure from Hogwarts wasn’t the heartbreak she was building it up to be. She really wished that it were. She wished that she could say, in her right mind, that being without Harry for so long would be the end of her, but she knew it wouldn’t. She would be fine, and she could not have been more furious about it.
Ginny reckoned that it was just the typical teenage girl inside her. It was a girl thing, to be so in love with the idea of a bittersweet parting, of a boy taking your heart with him when he left you. The only problem was that the whole scenario was a whole lot less romantic when you knew that it was entirely your fault that the poor boy in question had your heart in the first place. Blame could not rightly be rested on Harry for even a moment, because Ginny knew that he had done nothing to encourage her. Ginny could have ended the infatuation, she felt sure of it, but for some reason, she never did. There was this little, itty bitty gut-feeling that had been with her all her life, and it told her, when the giant red engine was speeding towards her, to stand her ground on the tracks and stare the train down. She should have known better.
Never trust a mysterious voice with an idea of its own if you can’t see how the hell it came to that conclusion!
To be blunt, it was not the train’s fault that she was stupid enough to listen to her heart instead of the roaring sound of approaching death: it was her’s. She did however, pride herself for her tact in at least pretending that she was not an emotional masochist and had moved on. That was three and a half years ago. Since then, she had suffered from an endless series of pseudo-epiphanies every few days, each one proclaiming that like new sod on a suburban lawn, her front of friendly indifference toward Harry had finally taken root. Yet alas, none of these had ever really panned out. They had been correct, to a certain extent. She was indeed "over" him, but she now found herself suspended in the air directly above him and had yet to actually move on.
This was only aggravated by their friendship–their normal, unconvincing friendship. Ginny was not a ‘best friend’, probably not even a ‘really close friend.’ The vast amount of time that she spent in Harry’s company should have been enough to place her at ‘really close friend’ status (if not best friend), but half of it didn’t count, she supposed, because Harry did not realize she was even there.
She would miss him next year, but he would be perfectly content with Ron and Hermione, and his happiness broke her heart. If life were a romance novel, and if Ginny were a better person, she would be so desperately in love with Harry that all she would want would be his happiness, but instead she found herself wishing that he would let her get close enough to rip his heart out and make him cry. It was a horrible thing, she knew, to wish more pain on a soul so tortured as Harry’s, but she was so very tired of being the only one who was impacted by their relationship. How many nights had she cried herself to sleep because of something he said or didn’t say, knowing that he hadn’t really meant it, didn’t stop to see that she was hurt, and had forgotten it immediately. But like Penelope weaving by day and erasing her progress by night, so was Ginny’s heart. By the time she fell asleep, she made a promise to simply let him go, but come morning all of her angst was forgotten, only to return twofold by the day’s end.
“Hey Ginny,” a voice jolted her from her place of introspection. It was Harry, in good spirits, and looking as though he had been flying, which,
Ginny reckoned, he probably had.
“Hi,” she said coolly, but Harry did not notice.
“What’re you reading?” he asked mundanely,
“Anne of the Island, it’s a muggle book, but I finished it,” she explained.
“Huh,” he said, indifference ringing in his voice. She was losing him; she knew it. In a moment, he would turn and head up to the boy’s dormitory, and their brief connection would be lost. This was probably for the best, as the longer she talked to Harry, the more confused she ultimately became. If there were a sensible bone in her body, she would have let him go without any further ado, but that blasted little gut-feeling somehow won out.
“Are you going to miss it?” she asked, knowing it was a stupid question, and she already knew the answer.
“Yeah,” he said without conviction, “I guess I will, it’s always been my real home, you know?”
Ginny merely nodded.
“But it's just not the same place without Dumbledore, and Ron and Hermione are pretty hell bent on following me wherever I go anyway, so I guess... I don’t think I’ll miss it all that much,”
The words stung. If she could have strangled that tiny little ‘gut-feeling,’ she would have.
Way to go Weasley, you had to keep on talking, and you got singed. For the love of Merlin, stop trying!
Her mouth felt dry. She smiled as best she could and said the only thing that came to mind, “That’s good.”
“Anyway... goodnight,” he said without a trace of awkwardness.
“Goodnight.” She watched him walk up the stairs to the boys’ dormitory, and once she was sure he was out of earshot, she buried her face in her hands and let out a dry, theatrical sob to make ridiculous what was otherwise merely disappointing.
She lay awake that night, not being able to sleep for fear of waking in the morning; that simple hesitance in which you demand of the night as much time as it can give you to 'think things through', only to find that actually, there's really just the one thing, and it doesn't need all that much thinking through: this was Harry’s last night in Hogwarts, and he was not sorry about it. No matter how much she hated him sometimes, it was only because she loved him that much more.
She needed closure, she realized. She needed to talk to him, just once. Just one conversation, just one rejection, just one emotional breakdown (once he'd left the room! Come now, she wasn't that unhinged), and just one new leaf turned in the end. Harry was not going to be the death of her.
Tomorrow would be the perfect time, she mused. She would speak her piece, cry all night long, avoid him on the train the next day, and spend two months in Egypt forgetting that he existed, before returning to Hogwarts to throw herself heart and soul into her N.E.W.T studies. And somewhere in all of that, she would wake up one morning and realize that she was finally okay.
On the other hand, she could not believe she was actually considering going through with it. It was going to be the most painful two minutes of her life, and it was hardly necessary, because even if she chose not to tell him, she would still be able to avoid him for nearly a year.
But of course, being the emotional masochist that she was, she was already rehearsing for what was guaranteed to be a truly awful conversation. She was not going to worry about sounding stupid, because if she somehow managed to avoid it, it would be denying her true nature.
“Hey Harry,”she said to herself, quietly, so as not to wake her roommates.
Don’t say his name you idiot, he knows who you’re talking to!
You said his name.
So? I can say it if I want to, I’d rather say his name that just a ‘hello’.
Don’t say either, just start talking, if you say hello you’ll lose your nerve.
“I need closure.”
Ginny burst into the Head Girl’s room the next morning to find a somewhat startled Hermione sprawled out on her bed, reading an Ancient Runes textbook.
“I need your help,”
Hermione knitted her eyebrows curiously and closed her book.
“I need to talk to Harry,”
Hermione looked at her as though she wanted very badly to laugh, and Ginny felt herself going red.
“Actually Ginny,” she said, her mouth twisting with the effort of keeping a straight face, “Statute eight says that if you have documented proof of a relationship of any nature with Harry at least six months prior to the occasion you’re not required to use an official go-between,” Ginny smiled, but shot her a look that told her to be serious, and Hermione immediately stopped struggling with her face.
“Seriously, I need to have a conversation with him, without anyone else there, sometime within the next twenty four hours, preferably in the evening sometime,”
“Ginny, what are you going on about?” said Hermione, sitting up and gesturing for Ginny to join her. She hurried over and plopped down on the edge of the bed.
“I want some closure,”
She loved talking to Hermione, because she often knew what Ginny was getting at before Ginny herself did.
“Oh,” said Hermione, as a sense of understanding crossed her features with perfect grace acquired from years of figuring things out ahead of everyone else, “You want to make one final statement, get things out in the open, and then either move on for good, or marry him,”
She winced, “Yes. But don’t say that- the marrying part”
“Well you can’t rule anything out with Harry.”
Ginny raised an eyebrow dubiously.
“For all you know he could be just pining away for you every night,” she said, faking a swoon and falling over, giggling madly.
Oh Merlin, this was the part Ginny hated the most. It was hard enough to acknowledge unto herself that when it came to, the whole matter had the distinct feel of the shrouded notion that she was somehow simply not good enough, but Hermione was a best friend who loved her dearly, and Ginny hated to have to look her in the eye and spell it out for her. Crying, heartbroken and confused, was something the two of them had done together on so many occasions over the past few years that one might consider it a hobby of sorts, but she found that when it hurt this badly, so badly that she couldn't breathe without a feeling dull, twisted ache in her rib cage, she couldn't bear to let it show.
But 'Hermione,' was all that Ginny had to say before Hermione understood and spared her from having to finish,
"I'll try to work something out, Ginny," she said, pulling the owner of a heavy heart into her arms and hugging her like only a girl could.
Despite Hermione’s best efforts, the day and Harry passed swiftly by, neither being able to spare just a moment for Ginny. It took every ounce of Ginny’s common sense and willpower not to dash upstairs to her dorm the minute she had left Hermione’s and put on makeup. She cringed at the thought now.
For the last three years she had hung out with the boys while all her roommates (excluding E.D. Webster, who was a disapproving hardcore lesbian feminist) applied eye-liner. She got by pretending she couldn’t be bothered with such shallow pleasures, and that she didn’t know the first thing about foundation. Ginny’s deepest, darkest secret was that she actually owned, not only foundation and eye-liner, but concealer, mascara, eye shadow, and a few shades of lip stick. She didn’t need blush, she did that enough as it were and she feared that if she were to add more, people might mistake her head for a tomato.
Not only that, but she knew how to use it, and if truth be told she was quite the artist, as she had spent hours in her room late nights at the Burrow for the past several years, putting it on just for herself, and washing it away before the sun rose. She simply couldn’t bring herself to wear it in the presence of anyone but herself. Ginny Weasley was ostensibly tough, brave, independent, and didn’t care whatever dumb judgements people liked to pass. She knew that makeup wouldn’t take any of that away, and she knew that no one whose opinion she gave a damn about would think any less of her submitting to her inner girl.
But makeup! Makeup was not, as E.D. might claim, the mark of submission to patriarchal societal demand, but to Ginny it was the mark of something much worse. Makeup was the admission that she had dreams of being beautiful. After all that she’d been through, she was secretly still naive enough to wish for something as shallow as that; as inane and pointless as that. Mental molestation by a mass murderer with plans for world domination couldn’t shake the little gut feeling that loved to be kissed, and though Ginny assured everyone that she was at peace with however it was she looked, when she washed away the makeup there always seemed to be traces where some of the prettiness lingered, and it made her feel better about beeing looked at.
The clock struck ten; the leaving feast was now drawing to a close, and Ginny was somewhat relieved that she hadn’t gotten the chance to have that nice little mortifying scene with Harry. Closure was astoundingly overrated, you know.
“What are you doing up?” Ginny asked candidly when Harry appeared at the bottom of the stairs. She was sitting in the couch by the fire in the common room and it was past eleven o’clock.
“I fancied one more walk around the grounds,” he said lightly. Ginny took Ron and Hermione’s absence to mean that he wanted to be alone, and she said nothing as she sat staring at the flickering display in the hearth before her.
She looked up at him. He was standing by the portrait hole, watching her with something that couldn't have been concern
“Would you like to join me?” His voice was easy and unabashed, and she stared at him appraisingly as he glanced at his watch. She sort of wanted to go, but if he was only offering it because he felt obligated…
“That’s all right, I don’t want to bother–"
Harry’s head jerked up and he locked her eyes with his, effectively rendering her speechless.
“Oh come on Ginny, just come,” he said, shaking his head a little and rolling his eyes.
Ginny teetered for a moment.
Ten minutes later, Ginny was seriously questioning her earlier sanity for wanting to go on a walk with Harry. He was speaking animatedly about something or other to do with Quidditch, and she was sure that under different circumstances, she would have been utterly enthralled. As it were, Ginny found it hard to do anything more than smile and laugh in what she hoped were the appropriate places.
The twinkling stars above her had never looked so incredibly ugly, and the stupid crescent moon’s dumb smile-thing was really just laughing at her and her pitiful, self-inflicted heartache. To focus on pleasanter things she looked at Harry, tentatively, drinking him in, but careful not to drown. His step was one of someone who had been given a second chance at life, which, Ginny realized, he had. She began breathing in through her mouth, because the faint Harry-ish smell of him was threatening to overpower her emotional floodgates, and spontaneously combusting into a fit of angsty sobs seemed, for the present, to be a hair inappropriate.
“Are you okay?” he asked easily, startling her out of her reverie. She flushed.
Yes, it’s quite simple actually, you see, I love you more than anyone else in the whole world but I could cut you out of my life completely and you probably wouldn’t notice.
You can’t say that!
I bloody well know I can’t but I’ve got to say something!
“What do you think?” she asked, not meaning for her voice to take such a low, lilting cadence. She had been hoping that he had his own theory formed and that she could just run with it, but she soon realized only too late how disgustingly come hither-ish she sounded.
Her inner monologue was mortified, and seemed to be in two minds at once. While one was calling ‘Slag, SLAG, SLAG!!!’ as it plummeted into the depths of humiliation, the other was gently reminding her that she was simply too darn sporty (to use their word) for anyone to ever misconstrue her as being flirtatious.
Harry looked justafiably bemused by her question, “I don’t know, just tell me.”
Why had she even wanted to talk to him in the first place? Talking to him would only cause her pain. There was nothing to be gained from it. She didn’t need to tell him, as she knew what his reaction would be. The only thing Ginny had been sure of the whole time was that Harry did not, and would not ever feel the same, right?
Dammit, is that what this is all about?
All that time you thought you knew he didn’t love you, but you didn’t, did you? All those daydreams that you dreamed ‘just for fun’ were more than that weren’t they? Those were plans. You actually thought, deep down inside that he'd love you! Uh huh, any day now.
Bugger, I thought you were smart.
She was only vaguely aware of the tears welling in her eyes as Harry watched, horrified. It was all the fault of that bloody little gut-feeling! She used to say that she had no idea how it came to the conclusions that it did, but now she understood that it was her and her denial all along.
How could she have let this happen?
“Ginny?” Harry made no move to touch her, but he was looking at her with a mixture of bewilderment and noble concern crossing his features handsomely.
Suddenly, she felt the unmistakable flames of anger begin to flare in her. This was NOT all her fault! How dare he pretend to care about her as a friend? This whole ordeal would not be painful in the first place if the stupid prat in front of her paid her just one speck of attention, or actually cared about her one tiny bit.
“Don’t look at me like that!” she shot, a guttural sob escaping her trembling lips.
Harry looked genuinely confused, but Ginny did not have it in her to take pity on him at the moment. She knew how confusing and sudden this must be for him, but she was beyond caring about him. All that rot about love never running dry was wrong, because after a while it really did get old. This was that moment, the moment that Ginny finally snapped for good. This time next week she’d probably have a permanent residence in the psyche ward at St. Mungo’s with nothing sharper than a jumbo crayon to write her story with, because she was utterly and irreparably cracked.
“Like you give one jot about me or what’s bothering me!”
She didn’t know who was speaking, but it surely wasn’t her, probably just that stupid little gut feeling finally coming to grips with the fact that Harry didn’t love her.
“You’ve just spent the last six years doing your damndest to ignore me and the fact that I'm all hung up on you, and you only call me a friend because you wouldn't want to call me anything else!”
There was a thick, stunned silence, as if the very air in between them had been harshly slapped. She couldn't believe it; she actually said it. She suddenly wished that words were cast on fishing lines so that she might reel hers back in and erase the damage, but through it all the words stayed said and Ginny stayed humiliated. Harry looked floored, and Ginny seized her moment to finish before she lost her nerve and he regained his ability to speak.
“I’m going to run up to the castle now so that you can forget I ever said anything,” she said softly. His eyes stared at the earth between them, and Ginny could see a muscle twitching in his jaw.
She turned to leave, and as soon as her eyes left his face, she felt her heart break into a million pieces. She was right, she had been a drama queen all her life, but there was no mistaking it: this was the real thing, this was what heartbreak really felt like.
“You're so wrong that it's taken me this long to get over the shock of it, Ginny."
If possible, the words hurt her further. Mustering every ounce of Gryffindor courage, she faced him.
“Dunno where you've been for the past two years or so, but if you'd paid one speck of attention to me,” he said slowly, each word dripping with irony, “You’d realize that I actually have feelings, and you are my friend... or at least I thought you were."
With a jolt, Ginny realized exactly what he was talking about.
...I’ll just add that to the list of things that are entirely my fault.
She was not angry, nor was she defensive, but she was finally defeated. The Weasley fire felt dead, and suddenly Ginny was very tired. A fresh wave of tears streamed down her face.
“You’re right, Harry,” she said, looking upwards and blinking. “You’ve done nothing wrong.”
“Don't be like that–"
“No Harry, I’m actually sorry.”
She was waiting for him to interrupt her, while he was waiting for her to continue, and the result was an awkward pause. Ginny took the initiative, “Harry, I’m really sorry! I shouldn't have said that, and I know we’re friends, but it's just really hard to appreciate that when I–you just, you have to understand that that’s really...”
“Disappointing?” he offered.
“Yeah,” she gave him a weak smile, which, to her surprise, he returned.
There was another pause, but this time neither one of them knew what was coming or what they were waiting for.
“I know,” said Harry after a while, and Ginny felt his eyes boring into her lids as she stared at his shoes; they were splattered in a mass of black shiny crap that she did not really wish to know the origins of. Registering what he had said, she snapped her gaze up to meet his.
“Wait, you do?”
Harry gave a hollow laugh. It was the same laugh he’d had for the past two years, really grown-up sounding and pretty insincere. She really missed the old laugh. She had been so naive to assume that once Voldemort was gone, he’d be chipper or something (but, then again, what with this news about his feelings and such–well that changed everything).
“Yeah, actually I do.”
Ginny continued to stare at his shoes as her mind went reeling in a bit of a delayed reaction- he couldn’t mean that- he wouldn't. Unless it was someone else... but no, he wouldn’t rub that in her face. At least, she didn’t think he would.
She couldn’t avoid it any longer, she had to look at him. His countenance was staggering, and his eyes were communicating something she didn’t dare believe. They gripped her with the intensity of a hurricane as he slowly closed the space between them. She tried to look away, but her head seemed cemented in place.
“Harry, what are you doing?” she whimpered, her breath catching in her throat.
“If you just stopped putting yourself down and opened your eyes you’d know,” he was coming closer, ever closer... she was going to fall apart any second now.
“What are you talking about?”
“Come now Ginny, I’ve heard you talking to your thighs when you thought no one could hear. Gertrude and Hortense? The twin tragedies below you’re arse? Ring any bells?” his eyes glinted mischievously.
He was laughing at her! Ginny was sure her face was now a rather hideous shade of burgundy.
“Harry, that’s so very far from funny,” she struggled to appear as though she were trying not to laugh, but trying not to cry would have been closer to the mark.
“You’re so very far from..."
As cool as he'd been for the last ten minutes she could sense a his nervousness, and he gulped hypnotically, "undesireable."
“Harry–" she tried again, "You must be joking,”
His head was drifting closer to hers, and she simply couldn't contain herself–"Are you gonna kiss me?"
He looked annoyed, "Not if you're going to give me the third degree!"
Ginny was still incredulous.
“Just stop doubting everything and unclench for a second, Ginny.”
She tried to look hesitant, but something about her deep, deep hunger for his sweet, sweet love probably showed somewhere on her face, and his confidence wasn't shaken,
“Stop thinking about yourself and try to consider my feelings, eh?”
She was confused, and he gave her a little smile, and said with a slight sort of boyish whinge, “I really want a snog,”
She smiled. How did she manage to do that? Quite suddenly, all traces of sanity in her mind died from shock, leaving a very restless gut feeling in control.
“You love me!” she whispered, a thousand beautiful realizations dawning in her widening eyes, “I knew it!”
“Don't lie,” he smirked, “You had no idea.”
“Oh yes I did!” she piped, a little too loudly, “I knew it–“
“Fine. Just stop talking.”
There he was, Ginny could see it all in slow motion, they stood, face to face, as Harry took her hands in his and leaned in slowly, placing the most chaste of smallest kisses on her lips, smiling a little before they both closed their eyes.
Oh come on Potter, I’ve gotten better kisses from George!
She shook her hands free and brought them around his neck, kissing him with more fire and hunger than anyone knew she possessed. He smiled against her lips.
“Eager are we?”
A small moan escaped her,
“You’ve no idea.”
And then they walked home together... crowned king and queen in the bridal realm of love, along the winding paths, fringed with the sweetest flowers that ever bloomed, and over the haunted meadows, where the winds of hope and memory blew...
And all the while a tiny little gut feeling breathing the peace of life, chanting softly,
“I knew it, I knew it, I knew it,”
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