Pretty When You Cry

She is shaking. I know she is shaking even before I touch her, even before I extend my arms around her slender frame and rock her like a child, trying to sooth her. Trying to make the pain go away.

Her eyes are wet, the tears dripping down onto her cheeks. The sobs come in great gasping gulps. I rub her back. I feel like a mother or an older sister figure, which is what I should be in situations like this, I suppose, although sisterly feelings are the last thing that come to mind when I think of her. Taking care of her. She's a year younger than me but it's always seemed like so much more. She's so innocent in so many ways, still naïve about the ways of love, still believing there's good in everyone, still wanting to believe that everything will always be okay.

But this isn't okay. This is a fourteen-year-old girl who has just heard that the love of her life is dating another girl. Harry and Cho. I couldn't believe it when I heard. I knew he liked her, of course. It was blatantly obvious. But I didn't think she would be interested in him. She doesn't seem like the type, but who am I to judge? I don't know her that well. She seems almost too perfect. Maybe that's it.

I didn't want Ginny to find out. Not like this. Not ever, if I had my way, but I knew she would eventually. I knew this was coming. We all have to grow up eventually, right? And she knew, I think deep down she always knew, that he never felt the same way about her, but to know this and to have it shoved in your face are two completely different things.

She looks up at me in despair. "Why - why couldn't it have been me?"

"I don't know," I say honestly. I would have chosen her in a heartbeat, but it's not my choice that matters.

"She's pretty," she mutters. Bitterly, painfully.

"So are you," I respond. And it's true. Of course it's true. She's pretty, even now, with her face swollen from crying. I want her to realise this. I need her to know that she is pretty. That in my opinion there is no one prettier, not even Cho Chang. Of course, I know that right now the only person whose opinion counts is Harry.

I wish he hadn't done this to her. I know it's not his fault. I know he can't be expected to wait around forever while his best friend's baby sister gets over a childhood crush. But if he could see her now -

"Thanks, 'Mione," she sniffs. "Even though I know you're just saying it to make me feel better."

"That's not true," I argue.

She almost smiles. "Maybe." And then the crying starts again. All I can do is hold her. She's shaking, trembling, and I hold her, and wish it didn't have to be like this.