Disclaimer: Not mine.
A/N: Un-beta-ed, so any mistakes are mine and mine alone. Constructive critisism appreciated, as always.
When Ginny thinks back to her first year, really thinks, instead of desperately trying to avoid considering anything that occurred, she realizes that she may have always known what was happening. Even right from the beginning, she had an inkling that the silly little book was going to harm her. But she brushed the thought away, because it was just a diary, after all, and so what if it talked back? And even if harm did come… Well, it would be something none of her brothers had ever done, and at times it was not enough to simply be the only girl. She just wanted to be noticed.
Then when the bad things started to happen, she knew that it was her fault, she simply denied it. Because there was that chance, that slim, slim chance, that Harry would be the one to fix them up.
After all, he always did in the stories.
Ginny's earliest memory is of sitting on her mother's lap in the living room. It was the middle of night, and they were the only two awake. She had had a nightmare, and her mum had carried her out of bed and made her a cup of hot cocoa and now they were cuddled up together. Ginny's eyelids were beginning to flutter downwards, but she was trying desperately to stay awake so she could hear the end of her mother's story. Now Ginny is no longer sure whether it was the first time she heard the story or the hundredth, but she is sure that it sunk deep into her consciousness that night, as she danced between awareness and sleep.
"…wizarding world lived in constant fear of this evil, evil man – He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. But on that night, he went to go kill Harry Potter. He raised his wand, and pointed it at the little boy… And he muttered the evilest curse of all, one that would have killed Harry. But he didn't die. Somehow, he survived, and no one is quite sure how. What we are sure of though, is that Harry made the curse rebound, and You-Know-Who disappeared that night. Harry Potter is our hero."
When Ginny got dragged into the Chamber, she fought her hardest, or, rather, almost her hardest. That twisted little part of her, the one that had grown up on fairy tales and princesses, muttered that damsels in distress were not supposed to free themselves. They were supposed to wait patiently for their knight in shining armor to come and rescue them.
By twelve, she wasn't delusional enough to think that she could just sit there and live. She had to show that she had some spunk, even if she was fighting ever harder just to hide that she was giving up.
After awhile she blacked out, and the memory is empty. There was no concept of sound or movement, simply the most pure nothingness. Ginny can't even think about it, not really, because her mind slides over and around it.
When she woke up and saw Harry covered with blood she didn't know how to react. How is a girl to accept all of her dreams coming true? All of her dreams, handed to her on a silver platter as the waiter ducks out muttering, "Freshly cooked by our world famous chef, and never had a complaint yet."
Growing up the only girl in a family of seven was sometimes a trial, sometimes a thing to be flaunted to all her brothers. Molly Weasley doted terribly on Ginny, and in return Ginny was expected to learn to cook and clean and wear frilly dresses and not get dirty or do anything daring or scary. In Ginny's words: No fun. As she grew older Molly realized that bribery wasn't doing the trick, and took to laying as much punishment on Ginny as on her brothers, but there was always a soft spot left in her heart for her baby girl.
So, sometimes, it was hard for Molly to make the boys stop protecting Ginny. It was hard to conjure up memories of her own childhood, and how much she had hated her brothers' constant pestering. Molly was just thankful that Ginny hadn't appreciated the protection, that she had, in fact, resented it. Her little girl had grown up beautiful and strong, just as she had hoped.
It scared Molly that Ginny might not realize how proud she was of her.
By the time she reached fourth year, Ginny had begun to get an inkling of the effect she had on boys. This was, of course, confirmed when Michael Corner asked her to Hogsmeade one weekend.
He seemed nice enough.
She said yes.
That night as she lay in bed, pondering what it was she saw in her, she began to compare his traits to Harry's. When she realized what she had begun to do, Ginny forced herself to stop. Harry Potter was only Harry Potter. Sure, he was the savior of the word and exceptionally good looking and he was amazingly nice and had rescued her from Tom Riddle. None of that mattered though, because Ginny Weasley most certainly did not like him. Not that way, at least.
Just before she fell asleep though, her mind informed her that Michael came up severely lacking.
The next morning, Ginny didn't remember thinking about anything, save wondering how any man on earth could want her.
She was damaged goods.
The first time Michael kissed her, Ginny felt like throwing up.
Memories she had repressed for years rose like bile in her throat, and she had run away.
Curled under the covers in her dormitory, Ginny sobbed. It was too much. She couldn't deal with this.
Tom talking to her, laughing, teasing her. So friendly, so kind, so charming and chivalrous. What more could a girl possibly want? Handsome, and older too. He made her feel special, loved, cared for. A precious secret, something none of the other girls had. And when they teased her about Harry, about how she turned crimson whenever he entered the room, about how wholly pathetic she was, didn't she know he wouldn't ever like her, she could talk to Tom.
His mind would caress hers gently and it was so tender, so intimate.
It made her feel dirty, and she felt guilty for wanting more.
When he had left the diary, she expected him to hurt her. Instead he leaned over her, pulled her chin upwards, and kissed her.
Ginny enjoyed it, and hated herself for it.
Tom broke away and smiled. "You are mine, Ginerva Weasley. You belong to me."
His voice was cold, and she started to cry.
"Do you want more?"
But everything was beginning to go black, she wanted to tell him to stop, tell him to go, tell him that if he did Harry would never want her. But she was slipping, and the last thing she felt was Tom's tongue, running along the scar on her jaw.
At five years old, Ginny believed she was invincible.
Her brothers weren't allowed to touch her, so why should anything else be able to?
There was a large maple tree in the back yard, just hidden from the kitchen windows by a weeping willow. When Ginny went there, no one could see her.
She wasn't supposed to climb trees, not without Bill or Charlie there to watch her and make sure she didn't climb to high. But they were away at school, and Ginny wanted to climb the tree now.
Besides, with no one there she could go straight to the top.
Halfway up, at the point she usually stopped, she began to get cold. There had been a bit of a breeze on the ground, but the wind had picked up as the sky had turned to gray.
A tremor of fear shot through Ginny until she remembered that nothing could hurt her. It wasn't allowed.
She kept climbing.
The branches were getting smaller, the wind harsher, and she was shivering dangerously. But she was determined to get to the top.
As the twigs scratched her cheeks she wondered what was up there, anyways, and if it really was all that great, and the wind was rather hard and fast, maybe she should go down now?
In the end she had no choice. The branch she had been standing on, barely more than a twig, snapped, and she tumbled earthwards.
One of the bottom branches clipped her jaw, and there was something red flying through the air.
Just as Ginny had decided that she was most certainly not invincible – not invincible to the point where she was going to die – her descent began to slow, like she was falling through water or cotton.
She touched down to the earth softly but petrified and ran, sobbing, into her mother's arms.
Something broke in her that day, though she did not realize it at the time. Ginny could not stand completely on her own. She was not as strong as the front she put on claimed she was. Always, always, for the rest of her life, she would need someone's arms to run to.
It took Ginny a long time to get over her fear of physical contact from the not-so-fair sex.
She broke up with Michael because he couldn't comprehend why she didn't want to do him right here, right now.
She went out with Dean because he didn't know she was still completely in love with Harry.
Of course when it came down to it, Ginny didn't know that either.
Dean was kinder to her, not as possessive. He acted like he was lucky to have her, and Ginny liked that, even if it did confuse her.
But she couldn't talk to Dean about her tainted soul.
That was when she began to realize that she still wanted Harry. She wanted to talk about it, needed to talk about it.
Or maybe she didn't need to talk.
Maybe she needed to be with someone who understood how it felt to be polluted with evil.
After Harry saw her and Dean kissing, Ginny started to push her boyfriend away.
It wasn't a conscious act, not at first. She simply didn't want Harry to think badly of her. Ginny didn't care what Ron thought; Ron was immature.
The fairy-tale loving girl she once was began to surface again.
She ended it with Dean over something stupid; she wasn't even clear on the reason. It hadn't been helping her into the common room, nothing of the sort. For the last month, though, she had been looking for an excuse.
And then Ginny began waiting.
For days, weeks, on and on… She waited.
And then she realized something.
When it came to Harry, she had always waited.
When it came to Harry, she had never gotten what she truly wanted.
And therefore, when it came to Harry, Ginny had obviously been taking the wrong approach.
So when he came in after the Quidditch match, looking tired and irritated after his detention with Snape, she decided that finally, finally the time had come.
Maybe it was the adrenaline and endorphins she was still running on after the match, making her high and confusing her thoughts.
Maybe she had had one too many sips of butterbeer. Maybe someone had spiked it.
Maybe not getting enough sleep last night was going to her head.
Maybe she was just trying to make Dean jealous.
But as her lips pressed to his, and he kissed her back, and the whole world spun in a dangerous arabesque across the skies, Ginny realized she could be the one to take the first step because now she knew he was worth it.
Harry was worth getting hurt and taking risks for.
And she loved him, all of him, not just the story-book hero bits, but the moody, perversely narcisstic parts too.
As Harry broke away and smiled at her, Ginny knew that now, whatever happened, she had this one kiss, and was glad for it.
When it comes to Harry, Ginny decided, nothing is definite, nothing is worth waiting for.
You just have to close your eyes and fall.
He would catch you.