A/N: This is a COMPLETE departure from my previous story and if you liked the other then I doubt you'll like this but I felt compelled after a conversation I had last night with a dear friend that reminds me so much of Ginny in her personality but she too has inner demons and she never lets anyone see them, so that's why I wrote this. Something she said to me made me think that my assumptions about Ginny's strength and resilience might not be completely accurate. I had to get this out of my system and now you are reading my incredibly long author's note. Let me know what you think but if you hate it, please be gentle!
I don't know exactly what it is about being a girl that means you will automatically assume that you are not as good as you actually are but it seems to me that every girl I know does this. Hermione denies that she's as smart as she is and was even worried about becoming Head Girl. We knew she'd get it but she denied it until the letter was in her hand. It drove us batty, trying to convince her and we didn't even manage it… only her badge did that. But she isn't the worst. No, the worst has to be Pavarti Patil. Pavarti is beautiful, thin, charming, brave and honestly a nice person. Yesterday I heard her crying over some boy and lamenting to her friend Lavender that she was just not good enough for said boy. She actually said that she was ugly and no matter how many times Lavender told her otherwise, she would not listen. This is the curse of being a girl!
I am supposed to be different, of course. I have six older brothers which means that I was raised to think like a boy and I can see how utterly ridiculous and nonsensical all this doubt is. If Hermione were stupid then it could be supposed that she might not become Head Girl and if Pavarti were ugly then it might be safely assumed that she would not get the boy that she wants, who happens to be a very popular Ravenclaw in her year. I see no reason, whatsoever, to criticize yourself when you are obviously the best just because you happen to be a girl and it was after hearing Pavarti lamenting on her lack of looks that I decided I was going to be different.
Because, you see, I was not different up until that point. I am, after all, a girl and a girl who might have avoided this trap in the first place if it had not been for a certain diary and an evil git named Tom Riddle. I poured my heart and soul in to Tom's diary and found that all I had left when it was over was a life debt to a boy named Harry Potter and the ability to act and pretend like nothing was wrong. It was an amazing feeling, knowing that I could lie to my best friend and she would not know the difference. Now, please don't think that I am a habitual liar, because I'm not. Truly! But you see I have been pretending that I was confident for years and that I was a person on the outside that I was not on the inside. That all changed with Pavarti. I am going to be happy on the inside!
Which is why I stand here, in front of the mirror in my dorm, trying to figure out who I really am. I've have had two boyfriends tell me that they think I'm pretty but at the time I was sure they said it so I would snog them and I wanted to see myself, for myself. So here I standing, looking in the mirror while everyone else is at dinner. First off, I have thick, long red hair. I don't really mind my hair but looking at it critically I can see that it is not the smooth or shiny hair that most girls prefer. It's wavy but I don't really mind it so I'm going to ignore what everyone else prefers. I don't like the color… it's just so… red… nothing else… just red. Ah well. My eyes are nice enough. They are brown, which I don't like, but the shape is fine. My nose is too big for my face and I won't say anything else about it. My freckles look like pimples…
STOP! I am insulting myself just like Pavarti and Hermione! I turned away from the mirror and sank heavily on the bed. Why couldn't I do this? Why couldn't I compliment myself? Slowly I got up walked back to the mirror. I took a deep breath and continued. Overall I could see that I was not ugly but probably no one would ever say that I was beautiful and I think I'm okay with that. I don't have to be beautiful. I looked down at my body and cringed. This was my real problem with myself. I had spent most of my life short and skinny and I had gotten very used to having that body but over the past year my body had changed, quite dramatically.
I am still quite short but I have put on a lot of weight, well probably not a lot but I no longer had a flat stomach or nice legs. It was disconcerting to realize that I had turned into my mother but without the boobs. That's right, I have no breasts… although Mum assures me that once I have a baby that the boobs will follow but for now I resemble a pear. I tried to work off the fat at Quidditch but it has not done much good and I refuse to starve myself to rid myself of my large hips and thighs. I know a few girls who do but I wouldn't be able to play Quidditch if I was starving so that was just not practical.
What was the point of it anyway? Boys. Boys were the reason behind all the madness! Well, maybe not for Hermione, but for a lot of the other girls and I know it had been the same for me. I had dated Dean for over a year and then I'd come back this year, changed physically, to find that I did not have a boyfriend anymore. He told me it was because he'd fell for a muggle over the summer but part of my brain kept telling me that it was my flabby stomach. I saw myself shake my head in the mirror and decided to give up and just go down for dinner. I was not going to accomplish anything this way so I might as well quit for now and try again later.
I walked down to what I thought would be a deserted common room and started when I saw Harry looking at me from one of the couches. "Hi." I said brightly as I sat down next to one of my best friends. "Why aren't you at dinner?"
He looked carefully at me. "I was waiting for you."
"Oh. Do you want to go them?" I asked and made to get up but he put a hand on my arm and held me back.
"What's up Gin? Why were you skipping dinner?"
I laughed. "Yesterday I heard Pavarti say that she was ugly."
Harry looked stunned. "You're kidding!"
"I'm not." I laughed at his expression and he joined in. "Girls have this thing about doubting themselves."
Harry grinned. "Guys do too."
"Yes but… not as much. Remember Hermione and getting Head Girl?"
Harry nodded and sighed in exasperation. "She just would not believe that she was going to get it." He looked at me. "I still don't see what this has to do with you missing dinner."
"Oh, well I decided to take an unbiased looked at myself in the mirror when no one else was there." I informed him. "I tried to look at myself honestly."
Harry raised an eyebrow. "What happened?"
I sighed and then laughed again. "I figured out that I'm a girl."
"That wasn't obvious before?"
I laughed again and expected him to but he only looked at me questioningly. "I mean I could really only find fault with myself." I shook my head. "I had hoped to be different, you know, having been raised with six brothers but I'm not. It must be part of being a girl."
"Yup, so I gave up for now and decided to go in search of food." I looked at him and was startled to see that he was frowning. "What's wrong?"
"I've never pictured you as someone who would doubt themselves. You always seem really confident." He told her slowly.
"I'm a good actress. Remember my first year?" I reminded him.
"Yeah." He said and he seemed really sad.
"Harry, what's wrong?"
It took him awhile to speak but I was used to that. Sometimes with Harry, you had to just wait it out. "You shouldn't feel badly about yourself Ginny."
I had to smile. From Harry, that was just about the best compliment a girl could reasonably hope for. "Harry, I don't! It's okay, I'm okay with myself." I looked into his amazing green eyes, trying to reassure him. "I don't think I'm ugly, all right?"
"I guess." He replied but he didn't sound convinced.
I felt the need to pretend again. That need to make everyone else believe that I was okay so I struggled to find something to say, something that was normal. "Do you know how bizarre it was hearing Pavarti saying that she is ugly?"
"I can't even imagine." Harry shook his head, dumbfounded. "She and her sister are the prettiest girls in our year."
A pang of envy hit me and I hated myself for it so I shook it off and smiled. "I wanted to smack her and tell her to wake up."
Harry seemed to have not heard what I said because he didn't even smile. "I just can't even imagine how one of the prettiest girls in the school could have such doubts."
"Says the most handsome boy is the school who is clueless of that fact." Ginny intoned.
"What?" He looked up sharply at me. "Are you serious?" When I nodded he just shook his head. "Who is their right mind thinks I'm handsome?"
"Hey!" I smacked his arm lightly. "I think you're handsome!"
He was obviously taken aback. "Really?"
"Yes, now let's go get some dinner before you get a big head." I tried to get up again but again I felt his hand holding me back. I gazed questioningly at him.
His eyes held a look that I had never seen before. It was piercing and it felt like he was searching my soul. "How do you see yourself?" I was floored. Of anything he could have asked me that would not have been it. As I searched for something to say, he went on. "I want the truth Gin." He took my chin and made me face him.
I smiled slightly. "I'm not very nice to myself." I finally answered. "But I'm going to work on it." He still gazed at me, not speaking, and holding my chin so I had to face him. "It's not like I'm Pavarti though!" I finally managed to say with a laugh that sounded hollow, even to my own ears.
"What do you mean?"
"She's beautiful and yet she calls herself ugly!" I cried exasperatedly. "I think I'm more realistic." He still didn't speak so I went on. "I know that I'm not ugly! I really do!" At this point though, I was unsure of who I was trying to convince. "I may not be pretty but I know I'm not ugly." I shut my mouth realizing that I had probably said too much.
His hand fell from my chin and his mouth dropped open. "You don't think you're pretty?" He finally asked me in a strangled voice. I thought for a second he was going to yell at me but he took a deep breath and asked me another question. "Why not?"
I shrugged. "I'm just not Harry." I turned away, not wanting to see his face. He was one of my best friends and I didn't like the look he had. "I look like a pear."
"A pear?" He asked in confusing. "Like the fruit?"
"Yeah. You know, skinny on top and fat on the bottom." I cringed at what I had said. "I didn't meant it like that."
"I think you did." He moved my face around to his again. "You trust me right?"
"Of course I do!"
"Then please believe me when I tell you that you do not look like a pear." He assured me. "You're curvy but that's how girls are supposed to look." He blushed at what he said but held my gaze.
"Curvy implied more than one curve and I lack that second part on top." It made me feel bad to turn his face an even deeper shade of red but I had to admire the fact that he still met my eyes.
He swallowed before he spoke again. "You are worse than Pavarti."
"What?" I cried in outrage. "How can I possibly be worse than her?"
"BECAUSE YOU ARE PRETTIER THAN SHE IS!" He yelled at me in frustration.
I just stared at him. "Don't be thick. I'm not…"
"Yes, you are." He interrupted me. I looked into his eyes and all I saw was honesty. Which surprised me because I was not really that pretty but I knew that Harry would never lie to me. "I think you're beautiful Ginny." He whispered hoarsely.
I could only stare, my mouth hanging slightly open. "Then you must be biased because you're my friend."
His face went pale. "No, I'm not biased because I'm your friend." He denied quietly.
"Are you okay? You went pale."
"I…" He paused and did not seem to want to go on.
"Harry! Tell me what's wrong!" I commanded him, scared to hear what he was going to say but so curious to know.
"I may be a little biased." He finally muttered.
My heart sunk. I knew it was too good to be true. "I don't have to be pretty." I couldn't even begin to say that I was beautiful. I wasn't… then a smile crossed my face. I sounded like Pavarti. But Pavarti was beautiful and I'm just… not.
"You are!" He told me forcefully.
"You just admitted to being biased!" I reminded him. "You think I'm pretty and no one else does." After I said it, I felt a thrill of excitement run through me. I'd always liked Harry, even just a little bit, and it was nice to hear that he thought I looked nice, even if no one else did. And I knew that he did because Harry would just not lie to me.
"Well I don't really care what anyone else thinks!" He bit out.
I was just a little bit alarmed at his tone. "I can see that."
He stood up and stocked over to the fireplace before turning to face me. "You don't get it, do you? I thought maybe you just chose to ignore it so we could be friends like I did for all those years but now… you really don't know, do you?"
"I don't understand." I told him as I stood as well. What was he talking about?
"I'm in love with you!" He practically shouted at me.
My first reaction was to deny it but again I only saw honesty when I studied his face. Could he really love me? I blurted out the first thing that came to mind. "I guess that would make you biased."
A ghost of a smile flitted across his face. "I guess." He looked at me and I could see the fear in his eyes. "I know you don't like me anymore."
"Correction, I did not let myself like you anymore. I just assumed you wouldn't ever fancy me. I mean, you are the most handsome boy at Hogwarts and you could have anyone." I informed him. "But I kinda still have a crush on you." I told him cheekily, deciding I should be honest since he was.
Hope sprang into his eyes. "Do you think maybe you could learn to love me?"
"This is real right?" I probed, trying to make sure that I was not dreaming. He nodded and took a step towards me. "I think I probably could." I managed to whisper and I took a step towards him as he took another.
When we were nose to nose. "I have wanted to kiss you for so long." He told me and then blushed. "So, can I?"
I didn't even bother to respond. I just reached up and brought his face down to mine. Kissing Harry was like nothing I could ever describe so I won't even bother but I will say this… I am going to work harder on being different from every other girl. Really! Okay, so I'm probably going to doubt Harry's sanity for thinking I'm beautiful for the next several months and then once again when we are married and I'm pregnant and fat, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Right now I'm just going to stop thinking and enjoy kissing this incredibly handsome boy.