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SIYE Time:10:28 on 25th April 2024
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I Look at You
By Count Westwest

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Category: Post-OotP
Characters:Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood, Neville Longbottom, Ron Weasley
Genres: Angst, Romance
Warnings: None
Story is Complete
Rating: G
Reviews: 3
Summary: A brief summary from Harry's perspective, of how he falls in love with Ginny Weasley, and what happened afterwards.
Hitcount: Story Total: 1249
Awards: View Trophy Room


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.





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I have seen you many times before. The first time, just walking toward Platform 9 ¾, a small and cheerful girl, willing to help a stranger. I then saw you running after the Hogwarts Express, a mere curiosity.

I didn’t notice how that cheerful girl had become withdrawn and somber in her first year at Hogwarts. I saw you at the Chamber of Secrets, but I only looked at your hair, spread on the stone floor like a fan of fire. The next three years I saw you in the background, a familiar and friendly face, but just a presence that faded and reappeared with almost predictable regularity.

I saw you in the stands during the Triwizard Tournament cheering for me, next to Ron and Hermione. I glanced at you with surprise as you danced with Neville Longbottom during the Yule Ball. I stared at the boys looking at you with interest while you danced, wondering why they would be looking at Ron’s little sister. I observed your relief and concern after the tragic end of the Triwizard Tournament.

But I didn’t look at you.

I saw you at Grimmauld Place before the start of the next term and noticed your growing friendship with Hermione. You got my attention by not letting me be a prat with impunity.

I speculated about your friendship with Luna and wondered who could be friends with a nutter like her. Soon I realized how superior your judgement had been to mine and even Hermione’s when it came to Luna.

I regarded with amazement your flying skills and scrutinized the reckless nature of your dives and turns in the air. I marked the fearless nature of your play and your determination to achieve victory.

I beheld with awe your magical ability and magical power during the training sessions in the Room of Requirement. I glimpsed at how easily you laughed and how easily you made others laugh in the Common Room. Despite my infatuation with Cho, I stared unkindly at Michael Corner whenever he was close to you and disliked him on principle but couldn’t figure out why.

But still, I didn’t look at you.

After the battle at the Ministry, I saw how brave you were and despite all the pain I felt from losing my godfather, my pain was only made worse when I saw you injured. A few days later, during the train ride back to London, we were in the same train compartment.

I looked at you. Finally.

The first thing I noticed was how your smile brightened your face and eyes. It was contagious, and it made me happy just to see it. I marveled at the way you sometimes stick out your tongue and bite the tip of it when you laugh. Seeing the tip of your tongue between those rosy lips made something stir within me. From that day forward, I longed to see that mischievous, tongue-bitten laugh.

Then the subject of your next boyfriend came up.

Only then did I realize that Ginny Weasley chooses her boyfriends, they don’t choose her. I looked at your lovely face, and it made perfect sense. I took inventory of your sublime countenance; The copper eyebrows that accent the brown eyes; The delicate nose sprinkled with freckles that spill onto your cheeks; The well-formed rosy lips, surrounding a small mouth. Such a catalog of perfections can afford to be picky.

Just when I wondered if I could ever be so lucky as to be picked by you, the verdict came. “Dean Thomas”, was the summary decision. Your head started to turn towards me, but my cowardly eyes turned away, unable to behold and sustain your gaze.

When I’m at Privet Drive, my only consolation from the pain and responsibility I face is the hope of seeing you. Of being close to you. I count the days, the hours, the minutes. I need to be close to you.

I arrived at the Burrow, and for the first time, we embraced each other. It’s just a welcome home embrace. It’s not supposed to mean anything, but it means everything to me. Every fiber of my body feels electrified.

I’m close to you.

Sometimes we sit at the table side by side, and I intentionally let my leg touch yours. Your leg jerks away and I feel the sting of your rejection. The conversation continues normally, and you laugh that melodious laugh of yours at something one of the twins says. Gradually you forget yourself and our legs touch again. That small space under the table becomes a little piece of heaven.

My heart feels joy when I’m close to you.

When you walk down the stairs, I hurry to be right behind you so I can smell the sweet clean smell of you. We’re together in the sitting room and we talk like nothing is going on, like we’re just acquaintances, like we’re just friends. I look at you like my heart is not racing, like my breathing isn’t shallow, like my hands are not sweaty.

I look at you and I lie to myself that we’re just friends, that you’re just Ron’s little sister, that I don’t like you that way.

Hermione arrives and one day we’re all in Ron’s bedroom playing Exploding Snap. Everybody is tense waiting for the next card to explode and I look across to you. Our eyes meet briefly, and I look down at your lips. I exhale and look back up to your eyes, full of hope, full of longing, but you avoid my gaze. You look at Hermione instead. “It’s your turn Hermione,” you say.

I’m bound to you.

I remember you chose Dean Thomas, and everything hurts. It was a horrible realization. You and I can never be friends because it will never be enough. It was like a Cruciatus to the soul. I’m in love with Ginny Weasley and she has chosen Dean bloody Thomas. The knot in my throat grows tighter as you smile that bright open smile that makes your face shine. Ginny wins and Harry loses. I make a stupid excuse and run outside. I need air because there is none left inside me.

I’m bound to you. Forever. Even if it hurts.

The next morning you asked me if my scar had been hurting. There’s concern and tenderness in your voice. I lie to you and to myself. I’m grateful that Voldemort’s scar allows me to act like a prat because being close to you hurts. It hurts so much. You gently let me know I’m acting like a prat and leave me alone.

I force myself to keep my distance from you. I force myself not to look at you. I force myself not to feel bound to you. I’m cold and distant. Like a child, I feel satisfaction when you notice my attitude. I act like a prat until you too are cold and distant.

It’s self-preservation. The pretense that my heart doesn’t belong to you, that I’m not bound to you, that I don’t need to be close to you, that I don’t love you. It’s all pretense. It’s all self-preservation. It’s scary to know how easily you could destroy me.

In the train back to Hogwarts you seek the compartment where Dean Thomas is sitting, and it feels like a hundred Dementors descend upon me. I think of your smile, and they scatter away.

I look at you.

First, from a safe distance. In the Common Room, where it’s easy to steal unnoticed looks while pretending to be studying. I memorize your face and the curves of your body. Gradually the distance shortens until one day you sit next to me in the Great Hall and our legs touch under the table. You talked with Hermione and Ron, but I have no clue what your conversation was about. You ask me a question and I just nod, like an idiot. All I can think about is that my leg feels like it’s on fire.

I’m close to you.

Quidditch is a blessing in a dismal year. The weight of the world is on my shoulders. The horrible reality of what I’m facing becomes clearer and sometimes it’s impossible to see a scenario where I survive this. But I have Quidditch and Ginny is close to me. When I see you fly and flushed with victory, my heart is content.

At The Three Broomsticks Dean leans in and snogs you. Your hands move defensively in front of you, but you don’t push him away. You snog him back. I’m grateful that I have a mission to complete. Something to take my mind away from that snog, something to prevent me from pummeling Dean Thomas to the ground.

Hermione is too observant for her own good. A few weeks after that day she is intent on telling me about the gradual decline of your relationship with Dean. I don’t even make the pretense of not being interested or pleased about it. I dare to hope when hope seems impossible and pointless.

I’m bound to you. We belong together.

During the Yule break you’re no longer sad. It’s like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders and your face is again fresh and bright. Your smile reaches your eyes again. You sit next to me on the table and your leg touches mine. We talk easily and play chess and Exploding Snap together.

You look at me.

When the Death Eaters attack the Burrow, I run after Bellatrix Lestrange, and you run after me. We fight side by side. You are fierce and brave and despite the sadness about the damage to your home, you’re defiant. We stand side by side.

You’re close to me.

For the next few months, we grow closer and closer together and the word “friends” is never mentioned between us. We stand next to each other, our arms always touching. We sit closer together, our legs touching from the hip to the calf. We need that touch like we need air. We smile at each other, and your banter and jokes make me laugh. Voldemort and his bloody memories seem a world away. We train and play Quidditch, but I’m going to miss the final and decisive match.

Word of Gryffindor’s famous victory reaches me, and I rush to the Common Room. You’re beaming and victorious. The center of attention. I stand a few paces from you, and our eyes meet. You look down at my lips and back up to my eyes. You smile that special smile that is as bright as the Sun, and your eyes blaze.

It’s at that moment that I know, you’re mine and I’m yours.

The distance between us disappears and we’re snogging, oblivious to the crowd around us. Our eyes are closed and all we can hear are our heartbeats. Our lips slowly and tenderly part to make the kiss deeper. Oh, how sweet your mouth is, how soft your tongue.

The bliss goes on and on until you break the kiss with a gasp. I take your hand and we run down the stairs, stopping from time to time to kiss, greedily but tenderly. We reach the outside of the castle, and the Sun is still shining. I push you against a wall and kiss you, our bodies melting together. My hand reaches the base of your ponytail and I caress your neck. You moan into my mouth and electricity runs down our spines.

Our hearts are filled with joy. We’re bound together. You’re my heart, you’re my love, you’re my life.

How quickly those sunlit days went by and how quickly the darkness and death returned.

You hold me as I kneel next to Dumbledore’s broken body, the weight of the world is once more on my shoulders. I don’t know what I have to do, and it seems hopeless, but you’re close to me.

I must carry on. Somehow. But to carry on, I can’t be close to you.

At the funeral I break up with you, but you don’t cry, you don’t make a scene. And I’m so proud of you, even as our hearts are shattered, because you understand. We cannot truly be together, until he’s dead.

Even if I can’t look at you. Even if I’m not close to you. We’re bound together. The sight of your name on the map makes me resolute, it gives me hope that this nightmare will someday be over. Just your name on a map, brings joy to my heart.

It’s a long and horrible year, full of pain, of terror and death, until the final day arrives.

I look at you.

You fight for your friends and family. You fight for me, and I fight for you. So many sacrifices being made, so many deaths, so many lives destroyed, like a game of romantic chess.

I start to doubt I will survive this, but it’s still a shock to learn I was never meant to survive it. I feel sad because you’ll be sad, but the decision is surprisingly easy. If there’s any chance you might live, that my friends might live, I’m ready to take the gambit.

After I leave my parents, Sirius, and Remus behind, I walk deeper into the Forbidden Forest. It’s my final walk. Death awaits at the end of the path. But I walk it. In my mind’s eye, all I can think of is you when he screams “Avada Kedavra”.

I look at you, I get close to you,
I find joy in you, I’m bound to you,
I no longer suffer; I no longer die,
You’re my love, you’re my life.

That’s the power he knows not of, because I don’t die, and only an hour later, I stand over to Voldemort’s dead body.

It’s a bitter victory. A victory without a celebration and full of tears. It takes weeks for the smile to return to your face; before it brightens the day of everyone around you; before it reaches your eyes.

Years later, we stand on a semicircle around your bed. Ron, Hermione, Neville, Luna, and I. You hold our son, James Sirius in your arms and my heart is full of joy. You’re my life, my treasure, my heart, my love.

We no longer suffer.


FINIS

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