Disclaimer: Harry Potter and its characters belong to J.K. Rowling. This story's plot, however, belongs to McGrady, and contains spoilers from all seven books.
Author's notes: Hello, this is my first Harry Potter fanfiction. Thank you for clicking on it, and I hope you like it!
I Didn't Think He'd Notice Me, Either
On September first, the Potter family found themselves once again cruising smoothly down the highway toward London in their small car. Inside the car, the Potters sat comfortably in the magically expanded seats, but the air was filled with the indignant hooting of owls, the growling of the engine, and the bickering of adolescents. As always, James and Albus argued in the back seats.
"James! I'm your own brother!"
"Yeah, but that doesn't mean you have a sure spot on the Quidditch team..."
"I was the Gryffindor Seeker for three years!"
"I don't know, Al, I'm the Captain now, maybe I'll be looking for a Seeker who won't be distracted by the females in the audience! Don't look at me like that, I might give you a detention."
"But — but — !"
Other things don't change as well; Lily was fretting to her parents, but this time not about waiting for a Hogwarts letter, but about a boy.
"... and after two years of all this, I still don't think he notices me!" said Lily regretfully.
"Don't worry," said Harry assuredly in the driver's seat, his eyes not leaving the wide road on which they were speeding, "I'm sure he'll take notice this year. I really like your idea about 'accidentally' spilling potions ingredients over yourself when you're around him."
"I wouldn't be so sure," said Ginny, in the passenger seat. She grinned as she smacked her husband playfully on the shoulder. "I never thought you knew I existed until a good way through Hogwarts."
"What?" Harry frowned, his eyebrows furrowing. "Of course I knew you existed, you're my best mate's sister!"
Ginny turned around and gave Lily a sympathetic smile. "When I was your age, and even a few years younger, I didn't think he'd notice me, either," she said, pointing her thumb at Harry.
Lily's eyes went wide. "Dad not notice you? Really?"
James and Albus' argument reached a screeching halt. The three owls stopped hooting and glanced noiselessly at the front of the car. Even the engine seemed to quiet itself.
Ginny wore a sad smile. "For five years, I thought I was invisible to the brave Harry Potter."
Harry shifted in his chair, and the seat seemed to groan impolitely loudly. James, Albus, and Lily took no notice, but stared attentively at their mother turning to face them in the front seat.
"The first time I saw your father," said Ginny, her eyes misting in reminiscence, "I was ten years old, a year before I was going to take the Hogwarts Express for the first time, the year Uncle Ron started. Harry, of course, was in Ron's year, and Harry needed help getting onto the platform."
Harry broke into a small grin, his eyes still on the road.
Ginny cast her husband an affectionate smile. "I'll never forget when I first saw him, it was fancy at first sight! His glasses were broken, his complexion pale and unhealthy, his shirt was too big for him and faded and dirty with stains all over it, his pants were just as oversized and covered with grass stains with holes in the knees, his hair overgrown and untidy —"
"You think my hair's untidy?" asked Albus, gingerly patting down his black hair that was so much like his father's and grandfather's.
"Maybe a little bit, but I think it looks good," said Ginny, "and from what I hear from James and Lily, so do all the girls of Hogwarts. And you should have seen Harry's knees, he had the most adorable, littlest, knobbliest knees! He was probably the skinniest kid you've ever seen, but I just wanted to hug him like a teddy bear."
Lily smiled in awe; James and Albus sniggered. Harry's grin widened, and Ginny continued, "We found out quickly that the mysterious boy was none other than Harry Potter, and I couldn't believe my eyes. For a week, I thought all of him, then Ron wrote his first letter home, and guess what?"
None of the Potter children said a word, they only sat erectly, awaiting an answer from their mother.
"Ron said he sat with Harry on the Hogwarts Express," said Ginny, "and Harry became his best friend practically overnight."
Harry chuckled softly as he looked to pass the car ahead of them.
"Of course, Mum and Dad were ecstatic, their youngest son not only made a friend quickly, but befriended the Boy Who Lived," continued Ginny, now giggling herself, "and I instantly wrote my own letter to Ron, asking all these questions about him. I distinctly remember demanding Ron to mention me to Harry. Ron wrote back promptly, saying, 'What, do you fancy him or something?'"
James, Albus, and Lily laughed. Harry and Ginny could not help but to join in.
"So, for the rest of the year," said Ginny, "I never inquired Ron about Harry Potter again. I kept my thoughts to myself. Later that year, Ron wrote home again excitedly telling us that Harry had become the youngest Seeker for a House Team in a century, and he had only ridden a broom his first time just an hour before his selection!"
James and Albus smiled proudly; they were often envied for excellent athletic genes from both sides of the family and their impressive Quidditch skills.
Casting Harry an admiring look and sighing wistfully, Ginny said, "And I knew then that Harry was the one for me!"
Harry arched an eyebrow, his eyes still on the road. "I thought you liked me for my silent nature and my strong character," he said, his tone challenging.
"Harry, if not for your looks or your Quidditch, you'd have stood no chance!" said Ginny, planting a soft kiss on his cheek, causing James and Albus to look pointedly away. She turned back to her children to continue her tale.
"In the middle of the summer, who else turned up at the Burrow but Harry Potter himself! I was in a daze, my crush flew, literally flew, to my house and stumbled into our door in the middle of the night. Ron says that period of time from when Harry arrived to September first that year was the longest period I've ever stayed silent. When Harry was in the room, or if I knew he was in the next room, I wouldn't dare utter a word; he terrified me, and I would just stare at him. Your father will deny it, but I made him feel uncomfortable."
Harry chuckled softly. The Potter children all smiled.
"But then first year approached, and we needed to get all new textbooks."
Harry rolled his eyes and muttered something that suspiciously resembled, "Lockhart."
Ginny gave Harry another playful pat on the shoulder. "As you kids know, that's how I got Tom Riddle's diary. Oh, you might be grimacing now, and sure it turned out to almost take my life, but back then, it was my keepsake; I poured my heart into it. I actually feel a tad bit bad for what Riddle had to put up with, daily admissions of my fear that Harry Potter would never like me."
Harry's face was blank, his eyes still on the road, but in them complex shades of light swirled.
"And of course, brave, daring, chivalrous Harry saved me, poor stupid Ginny —"
"You weren't stupid," interjected Harry, speaking for the first time during Ginny's tale, "Riddle would have done it to anyone —"
At once, Ginny, James, Albus, and Lily all groaned.
"— Always so modest, of course I was stupid —"
"— Dad, you always say stuff like that, completely ruins the mood of the story —"
"— We all do stupid stuff when we're eleven and clueless —"
"— Al was even stupid enough to think he could possibly be a Slytherin —"
Harry did not respond. His eyes were still on the road, but a small grin graced his lips.
Ginny laughed and turned again toward the children sitting in the back. "So that was first year. Second year was the year Great Uncle Sirius escaped from Azkaban. I still fancied your father, but I talked a lot with Aunt Hermoine about it. She helped me become more comfortable around him. But that year, your father broke my heart."
Still, Harry's eyes were on the road ahead of them, but Ginny thought his ears perked the slightest bit. His lips curled into a frown. The Potter children leaned forward against their seatbelts.
"Before that year, I don't think your father ever liked a girl. But in his third year, my second, he started to fancy one: A pretty Ravenclaw fourth year, Cho Chang. I was devastated!" exclaimed Ginny theatrically. "I began to think your father was interested in older women, and I was still only the little younger sister of his best mate. Oh, I was so jealous..."
James and Albus wore sly grins. Lily's expression was sympathetic and understanding.
Ginny shot her boys mock glares. "You two would never know. Well anyway, third year came. This was the year of the Triwizard Tournament. I think Ron, Hermoine, and Neville told you everything that happened during the tournament, but there's a lot they don't know."
Again, Ginny saw Harry's ears perk.
"That year, we had a Yule Ball, following the tradition of the Tournament. Guys had to ask girls, and I wanted Harry to ask me so badly —" Ginny saw a definite frown on Harry's face. "— but, alas, he asked Cho... she already had a date, and she turned poor Harry down." Ginny shook her head and clicked her tongue. "Poor, poor Harry..."
His eyes still on the road, Harry laughed silently.
"Mum," said Lily, "Neville said he was the one who took you to the Yule Ball!"
"Yes, Neville was my date," said Ginny, "and at least he danced with me; I would have been happy with half a dance from your father —" Here, she shot Harry a sarcastic look through narrowed eyes. "— but he was too busy consoling Ron."
"What happened with Uncle Ron?" asked James.
Ginny smirked at the memory. "He was having a jealous fit. Hermoine went to the Ball with the Durmstrang champion — the one who was an international Quidditch star, and his idol at the time — and I think Ron realized that very day that he liked her."
Lily made a gushy sound that made James and Albus cringe.
"So," said Albus, "about you and Dad..."
"Yes, about me and your Dad. Well, after that, I was beginning to feel hopeless about Harry liking me. Oh, I knew then that Harry noticed me, we spent summers together with Ron and Hermoine, but it was actually Hermoine that talked me into moving on and seeing other boys."
To Ginny's delight, Harry wore a dark frown that he didn't bother to cover. The swirls in Harry's green eyes spun faster.
"I met a boy called Michael Corner at the Yule Ball, a Ravenclaw. He started asking me out at the Ball, and I finally accepted toward the end of the year. A small part of me wanted Harry to break us apart in a fit of rage and jealousy."
Harry's head bobbled slightly, as if nodding to himself and affirming that Ginny was up to a good idea.
"And then fourth year. This was the year Umbridge taught. Ron told you guys all about this, of course, but the thing he never mentioned was that for a period of that year, both Harry and I were happy with our romantic relationships with other people. During this period, my crush on Harry thinned into a distance fancy, a foggy memory. Don't get me wrong," said Ginny, noticing the appalled looks on her children's faces, as if they could never believe their mother would ever forget her admiration for their father, "I still liked him. When we formed the D.A., I only shouted the name 'Dumbledore's Army' in an effort to get an edge over Cho Chang's suggested name. During the last Quidditch match of the season, I played Seeker against Cho Chang, and I wanted more than the rest of the team to beat them and catch the Snitch from under her nose."
"Which she did," added Harry proudly, his voice dry from lack of recent use. "She also told me off for the first time that year."
James scoffed, Albus laughed, and Lily gasped.
"Only Dad would remember such a thing..."
"Ha, Mum even told Dad off!"
"Mummy, what did you say?"
Ginny looked to Harry, his eyes still on the road. "How did I tell you off that year?" she asked. "I don't remember."
"I was being moody, and Ron and Hermoine tried to deal with me, but I was always unreasonable with them," recalled Harry lucidly, "and you whipped me into shape. You told me off pretty hard, actually, and if it weren't you, I would have been very embarrassed."
"Why was it different being from me?" asked Ginny, trying to sound curious.
Harry thought Ginny's gaze rested on him heavier than usual. "You made me a better person because of it," he said casually, but sincerely.
The Potter children saw their mother laugh, hit their father's shoulder playfully, and lean in for another peck on the cheek.
"So what happened next?" asked James loudly, more of a statement than a question.
Ginny groaned and pulled away from her father. "You're so like Ron," she said to her eldest son wearily. However, she was smiling as she continued, "Next year was fifth year. Ah yes — fifth year was the year!
"By fifth year, I had another boyfriend, Dean Thomas. I like to think that the brave Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived, Quidditch Hero, and Triwizard Champion, was just a little bit jealous —"
"I was jealous!" exclaimed Harry, struggling to control his voice. "I've told you before, I fell for you the summer between our fifth years, and catching you alone behind the portrait with Dean —"
And Harry's tongue caught his voice; a strangled noise emitted from his throat. No one had ever told the Potter children about their mother and Mr. Thomas together, alone, behind a shady portrait, doubtlessly performing deeds with each other that neither parent would articulate in front of them, and being caught by their jealous father.
Ginny beamed. "Ah, you were jealous!" she said. "Well, continuing with the story, I was with Dean until maybe spring, and we had what I like to think was a generally mutual breakup. Shortly after that, Hermoine told me that your dad has fancied me for almost a whole year now, and you can only imagine how ecstatic I was! When I tried to sleep every night, I would keep myself awake with a stupid grin on my face, singing, 'He actually fancies me, he actually fancies me, Harry Potter fancies me!' However, I made no move; Hermoine said I should play hard-to-get, and I agreed one hundred percent. After all, I've wanted to see your father crawl to me since the age of ten.
"That didn't exactly happen, though. It started with your father again getting himself a Quidditch ban for the Quidditch Final, against Ravenclaw, so I slid back to Seeker against Cho Chang —"
"And your mum led Gryffindor to a landslide victory," said Harry, his eyes still on the road.
"What?" said Ginny, "I always said Ron was the one who led us, he only allowed a few goals that game — but that's beside the point. After that game, in the common room, we had our victory celebration party. My 'make-Harry-crawl-to-me' sentiments completely forgotten, I flung myself into Harry's arms, and to my greatest joy..."
James, Albus, and Lily said nothing, silently urging their mother to continue.
"And to my greatest joy, he kissed me, right there in the common room, in full view of the rest of Gryffindor House," said Ginny, happy to see her husband give an approving nod. "We started dating at that very moment."
"And your mum showed me some of the happiest moments of my life," said Harry, not missing a beat.
"And then you dumped me," said Ginny promptly, a mock frown on her face.
"Daddy, you dumped her?" said Lily, appalled at the thought. From her sons' expressions, Ginny could tell James and Albus found the thought equally as unsavory as Lily.
Before Harry could answer, Ginny cut in, "He did it because he was being noble, since he was going off to hunt Horcruxes the next year, and he didn't want me to be in harm's way. Always saving the wizarding world, your father was, no time for a simple girl like me as I completed sixth year without him and entered my seventh.
"By this time, your dad had already killed Voldemort and begun work as the head of the Auror Department. We talked to each other briefly during the immediate aftermath, but saving the wizarding world was not the only demand on Harry's shoulders; Harry had to fix it, too. How often do you think we wrote that year, Harry?"
"Not as often as I would have liked," said Harry without hesitation.
"Yes, I agree," said Ginny. "Harry had to fix the Ministry of Magic, and correct the record on Sirius Black, and make Severus Snape's deeds and allegiance known to all, and clear Albus Dumbledore's tainted reputation, and more and more... So much he had to do, and he was only eighteen. Again, that left little time for a simple, mundane girl like me."
The soft lines in Harry's face fell. The shade of his eyes, still on the road, dimmed and darkened.
Ginny gave her husband a sad smile before continuing, "That was the worst year by far. Despite the safety and security Harry had ensured us, despite the restoration of integrity at Hogwarts, despite the purification of the Ministry, that year was my worst."
Harry visibly stiffened. Ginny had never shared this with him before.
"I knew we still liked each other at first, but I began to wonder if we were falling apart, as the letters we wrote grew progressively shorter, and were sent less frequently by the month. I started to fear that Harry had gotten over me, and maybe even found someone else —"
"What?" exclaimed Harry. For once, he tore his eyes from the road and locked them on his wife. The car swerved into the next lane, almost hitting another car. After a series of honks, heavy braking, cursory safety charms, and Potter children sliding in their seats, Harry had the car back on track, his breathing labored and his eyes strained but back on the road.
"So many thoughts swam in my head that year," said Ginny, and although she was facing her children, she was not sure she was still talking to only them. "I was always coming up with theories, explaining why we weren't really drifting apart, or why Harry would never leave me, but all I had to go by was the shortening letters written with your father's hasty scrawl. Our words got emptier and emptier, and I had so much to say, but no right words to say any of it...
"But then the year came to a close," continued Ginny, her tone brightening, "and my year's graduation ceremony was upon us. Who else did I see sitting between my parents but Harry Potter himself! At my graduation ceremony! I hadn't seen him in a whole year, and I had quite forgotten what it was like to have him smile at me."
Eyes ever on the road, Harry felt the corners of his mouth tug upward.
"And right after the ceremony," recalled Ginny dreamily, "your dad sprinted up to me ahead of my parents, picked me up and spun me in the air, kissed me the kiss I waited a year for, and looked up at me on bended knee, ring in his hand."
Harry's mouth widened into a full smile. Lily made another gushy sound.
"We were married the next year," said Ginny, a smile of her own to match Harry's. "Ron was the best man, Hermoine my maid of honor, and I was living the life I dreamed about since I was ten."
James tried his hardest to show that he was too much of a man to like the story too much. Albus grinned widely as he watched trees pass by through the window. Lily squealed, stamped her little feet with joy, and wrapped herself tightly in her own arms.
"I hope that happens to me!" said Lily wistfully, before her expression turned dark. "But first, he has to notice me..."
Ginny smiled sympathetically. "Don't worry, everything will work out. Remember me and your daddy: I didn't think he'd notice me, either!"
The Potters once again met up with the Weasleys on Platform Nine and Three Quarters. Together, they kissed their children good bye and wished them luck for the upcoming year. As the Hogwarts Express rounded the corner, Harry turned and faced Ginny, his eyes hard on hers.
"There was no way I could ever have gotten over you. Or found someone else."
Ginny led Harry by the elbow back to King's Cross station, clutching his arm with both hands, and rested her head on his shoulder.
"I believe you, Harry. I always did."
Author's notes: Please comment, question, criticize, or just tell me what you thought of this by means of review — it helps me become a better writer! Thanks for reading!