Harry Potter and all characters, etc. belong to J.K. Rowling, not me.

Some people have suggested that I have Ginny and Harry snogging too young (13 and 12) in my "If You Can Help Her" story. Perhaps this story, (where they're 14 and 13) will be more to their liking.

Alternate Universe

Learning to Dance

Chapter 1 – Ginny's Opportunity

Set in GoF. Harry is trying to find someone to go to the Yule Ball with. Neville has not asked Ginny to go with him yet.

Starts in Goblet of Fire, Chapter 22 – The Unexpected Task

"I'm not telling you, it's her business," said Ginny, in response to his inquiry about Hermione's date.

"Right," said Ron, who looked extremely put out, "this is getting stupid. Ginny, you can go with Harry, and I'll just go alone."

Ginny went scarlet. She looked down at the table and muttered, "If Harry wants to go with me, he can ask me."

Harry, looking extremely desperate, nervously said, "Ginny, would you please go to the ball with me?"

With a sheepish smile, not looking directly at Harry, Ginny said, "Hm. I don't know if I should."

Harry said, "I would consider it a huge favor if you would come with me. The champions have to start the dancing off. If I don't have a date, I'll disgrace all of Gryffindor, if not the whole school! Please say yes!"

"Well, when you put it that way," Ginny said, finally meeting Harry's eyes, "I don't want Gryffindor to be disgraced, and if I don't go with a fourth year or older I won't be able to go at all, and you did save my life a few years ago, so I guess I'll go with you."

Harry's expression changed immediately from desperation to relief. With a broad smile he said, "Thanks Ginny! Now you've saved my life!"

"Now that that's settled," said Ron, who had sat through the whole exchange, "Isn't it about time for dinner?"

Both Ginny and Harry joined Ron on the way out of the portrait hole toward the Great Hall.

-

Hours later, Ginny was sitting alone in the common room looking at the fire, when someone put a hand on her shoulder. She looked up to see Hermione, looking down with an odd expression on her face. She said, "Hello Ginny, I heard that you're going to the ball with Harry."

"Yes I am," said Ginny, blushing, "but don't get the wrong idea. He only asked me because he's desperate to get a partner, and Cho already had a date. I know he's not interested in me!"

"But you said yes anyway," said Hermione, smirking, "Why?"

"He needed a date, and it should be fun. Anyway, I needed a fourth year to ask me there anyway! Although Neville just asked me a few minutes ago. I felt bad when I had to say no. He really wanted to go with me."

Hermione looked like she was deep in thought when she said, "Ginny?"

"Yes."

"How do you feel about Harry?"

Ginny blushed again and said, "You know how I feel about him! I have liked him since I first saw him at King's Cross. I wish I didn't, but there you are!"

"And now you're going to the ball with him," said Hermione, now beaming.

"Yeah, but it's just as friends. He doesn't think of me as…"

"Not yet!" Hermione said. She looked into the other girl's eyes and said, "Ginny, you can just go to the ball with him feeling defeated and probably be miserable, or you can use this as the opportunity you've been waiting for to change Mr. Potter's perception of you. You can try to get him to start fancying you!" Ginny smiled briefly at this idea, but then frowned. Hermione looked concerned and said, "What's wrong?"

"I don't know? Do you really think? What do I do? What if it doesn't work? What if he hates me afterward?"

Hermione said, "I can guarantee that he won't hate you, but I can't guarantee that it'll work. If it fails, you might feel worse than ever. So you've got to ask yourself this question. Is Harry Potter worth the risk?"

Ginny started to giggle and said, "He's definitely worth it! What do I do?"

Hermione joined her giggling and said, "I've got a few ideas."

-

Term ended shortly after that conversation, and on the first day after the break started, about a week before the Yule Ball, Ginny found herself walking with Hermione to breakfast in the Great Hall with a mission. She saw Harry already sitting down with Ron on one side of him, and an empty spot beside him, where normally Hermione would sit. However, this morning Ginny sat there while Hermione sat across from them.

Harry looked up at Ginny and said, "Good morning Ginny," then looked toward Hermione and said, "Morning Hermione."

Ron, with his mouth full of eggs, said, "Gmrng gls."

Hermione sighed, while Ginny said, "Good morning, HARRY! I was, um, wondering something. Are you feeling as nervous as me about dancing in front of everybody?"

Harry looked at her appraisingly and quickly said, "Yes."

"I, um, thought it might be a good idea to practice before the ball, um, so we don't make fools out of ourselves," said Ginny nervously.

"What a great idea!" said Hermione enthusiastically from across the table. "You should do that, Harry! Harry, Ginny, do you know how to dance?"

"I do," said Ginny, "but I'm probably rusty."

"I kind of, maybe," Harry started to say before deciding to admit it, "I don't." Harry hung his head down.

"Then I've got to teach you, Harry!" said Ginny, "No offense, but I don't want you stepping all over my feet."

"That sounds perfect, Harry! Then you'll be used to dancing with each other for the ball!" said Hermione. "Most importantly, you won't make a fool of yourself in front of the whole school!"

"Um, well, I guess I can try to learn," said Harry, looking extremely nervous.

"Great!" said Ginny, with a triumphant look in her eyes, "Then we've got no time to lose! Once we're done with breakfast, we'll go back to the common room to get our dancing shoes and find a place to practice."

-

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