Extended Summary: AU. When Ron and Hermione wrongly believe that Harry placed his name in the Goblet of Fire to enter the Triwizard Tournament, Harry appears to be truly isolated. Much to his relief, one person truly believes in him. She will be his inspiration to aspire to greatness, no matter what cost and far beyond what Dumbledore's plans for his destiny would be. Eventual Dark!Harry/Dark!Ginny pairing, with Ron, Hermione, and Dumbledore bashing.
Chapter One: Bravery:
Ginny Weasley stood just in the doors leading to the courtyard at Hogwarts, gazing forward and sighing. The previous night had seen the champions drawn for the Triwizard Tournament. The first three champions had been drawn, nothing too spectacular, but than the drawing of a mysterious, fourth champion. A champion who Ginny was almost certain was thrown into the heat of battle against his will, even if everyone else thought that he willingly found a way to trick the Goblet of Fire. The fourth champion was Harry Potter, the person that Ginny was gazing at right now, trying to drum up the courage to talk to. Harry did not know she was there, he seemed to be submerged in his own frustration and for good reason.
There was no reason to deny it, that at one point, Ginny had a crush on the Boy-Who-Lived. That crush disappeared sometime after Harry had saved her in the Chamber of Secrets. She liked him no less, but she found her affections pointed towards the boy, as opposed to the legend. It was not fair what Harry had to endure, each and every year for the past three years and now being thrown into the Triwizard Tournament, Ginny would have been on the verge of a nervous breakdown if she was in Harry's shoes. Yet, somehow, he managed to hold his sanity together, something that Ginny admired greatly.
Her morning had not been great. It had been filled with people praising Harry for finding a way to trick the Goblet and people saying that Harry tricked the Goblet because he was a glory hog. Ginny just barely resisted hexing both sides. Add to that the row she had with Hermione, with Hermione siding with Ron over the issue with Harry and Ginny wondered if the entire school had simultaneously lost their minds at the same time.
"Just talk to him, Weasley, he won't bite," muttered Ginny to herself as she took a couple of steps away from the doorway she was standing, right towards Harry. "I mean, he's always been nice to you, well, he's been nice to everyone that isn't a foul git like Malfoy or Snape, but still, don't be afraid, he's not going to make fun of you no matter what."
Ginny somehow managed to will her legs to take steps forward. She was sorted into Gryffindor for a reason, even though the hat previously considered Slytherin much to her utter horror. Not because she saw the world in black and white, good and evil, Gryffindor and Slytherin, like some people did, but because she was afraid what her family would think. Mostly her mother and given her reaction where she screamed at Ginny for hours about the diary incident, Ginny felt well justified in her fears. Still, there was a time to prove why the Sorting Hat did in fact settle on Gryffindor. Harry needed someone to stand by him and she needed to get over her shyness. Ginny had to be Harry's friend and maybe more if she was lucky enough.
Harry sat under a tree at the edge of the lake, deep in thought. How could he have been put in this tournament to in the first place? He never was even near the Goblet and now Ron thought he was an attention seeking egomaniac. The rest of the school cast him either dark or appraising looks. He had not even wanted to face Hermione, as she looked away from him quickly, as if she was disappointed. He knew he could not stay out here forever, no matter how tempting it was to avoid the rest of the world.
"Harry?" prompted Ginny, throwing all caution to the wind, forcing herself to look Harry straight in the eyes when she talked to him, noticing how beautiful they were. She wished Harry would not hide them under those ugly glasses and Harry looked at her. "Uh, hi."
"Hi, Ginny," said Harry in a tired voice, showing that he did not sleep all night. "How's your year been?"
"Find, I guess," said Ginny, which was true, other than this entire mess with the Goblet of Fire and the fear that Harry could be in serious danger.
"I suppose you want to know how I did it," replied Harry, abruptly cutting off the small talk portion of the conversation.
"No, Harry, I don't think you did it," said Ginny quickly, but Harry appeared to not hear her at first.
"Look, as I've told everyone that…wait, you don't think I do it," said Harry trailing off, as he looked at Ginny, not believing what he just heard.
"Yes, Harry I don't believe you put your name in the Goblet and anyone who actually knows you should think the same," said Ginny firmly, as she sat herself down next to Harry. "Look, Harry, the look on your face when Dumbledore announced your name, the fact that you utterly seem annoyed every time someone looks at your scar, you have when anyone brings up your fame, I can see it Harry, I believe you!"
Harry looked at Ginny, as she flipped her vibrant red hair out of her face. This was the most she had ever said to him, without blushing madly and trying to find the nearest exit, out of embarrassment. To be honest, Harry wondered if he had befriended the wrong Weasley, at least Ginny had a reasonable head on her shoulders and not like Ron, who jumped to conclusions without thinking. He looked at her face, which gave a look of encouragement towards him, that she believed in him.
"Thanks Ginny, that means a lot to me," said Harry with a slight, smile on his face. "I don't think too many other people will believe me, do they?"
"The thing is Harry, I don't think so, not from what I've seen at least," replied Ginny, gaining more confidence with each word she was able to speak to Harry, even if that smile he gave her made her heart jump. "There are two groups, those who hate you because they think you tricked the Goblet and those who worship you because you tricked the Goblet."
"Hermione, I got the impression that she was annoyed at me, I was going to talk to her but decided against it," said Harry and he saw the look of anger in Ginny's eyes when he brought up Hermione.
"She's with my insensitive prat of a brother on this issue, she said that while she doesn't think you are capable of tricking the Goblet, she wonders if you might have asked another student to do it for you," stated Ginny in an angry tone of voice. "She should really know you better!"
"Yes, she should," said Harry, closing his eyes, he was deeply hurt by the fact that his two best friends and in fact, his first friends his own age, had seemed to think that he had willingly entered the Triwizard Tournament. "I'm going to have to compete, no matter what."
"Surely Dumbledore could have done something to get you out of the Tournament," said Ginny.
"No, it's a magically binding contract, it can't be helped," sighed Harry.
"That's right, he only steps in to help after you risk your neck," muttered Ginny to herself, causing Harry to look at her strangely. Ginny had never forgiven Dumbledore for what happened her first year at Hogwarts. She felt that if Dumbledore was half as great as people said he was, he would have been able to figure out that their was a basilisk in the school and that Ginny was being possessed. But, he did nothing, with Harry having to save her from Riddle's possession and defeat the basilisk. Seeing that Harry was staring at her, Ginny cleared her throat. "I know you didn't put yourself in but for what it's worth, I think you really do have a chance of winning the tournament if you work hard. But, that's not important to me, the important thing is getting you out of this alive."
"Ginny, I know you want to be supportive, but I don't think I'll have much of a chance in the tournament, I can barely get through my regular classes without Hermione's help," said Harry hopelessly.
"Harry, it's not a good idea to think so little of yourself," said Ginny, as she began to realize the influence that both Ron and Hermione was having on Harry was not good. Ron had pushed Harry into slacking and Hermione had made Harry feel inferior with her intelligence, so he did not push himself to do as well as he should have. "You made a Patronus in your third year, not many people, even Dumbledore, could have done that."
"You knew about that?" asked Harry.
"Of course, Ron doesn't know when to keep his big mouth shut," said Ginny with a smile, that made Harry feel a bit better. "Harry, if anyone could live up to the hype that has been forced upon them, it's you. It's not because of what you are, but who you are. I don't care much for Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived, anymore, I care a great deal about Harry Potter, my friend."
Ginny stopped short. She had gone too far, assuming that her and Harry would be friends. She wondered if Harry even wanted friends after what Ron and Hermione did to him.
"We are friends, right Harry?" asked Ginny, who really did not have that many friends, other than Luna.
"We should have been sooner," said Harry and for some reason, Ginny's face lighting up had caused Harry a great deal of happiness. She was truly a ray of sunshine on the stormy last day. "I'm sorry."
"Sorry, for what?" asked Ginny in confusion.
"I should have been for you after what happened, with the Chamber," said Harry. "Ron told me would be fine, but still, if it was me in your situation, I wouldn't have been."
"Harry, don't apologize, you had to fight a basilisk and the sixteen year old version of V-v-Voldemort," said Ginny, releasing the name with a breath, knowing how Harry looked disappointed when people had called him You-Know-Who. "You had your own trauma."
"We could have helped each other, though," replied Harry.
"What's done is done, Harry," said Ginny dismissively, wondering why Harry felt that everything bad that happened was his own personal problem. He was not the one that forced her to write in Riddle's diary. That was her foolish mistake. "The most important thing is the Tournament, considering you're forced to be in it anyway."
"Right, Ginny…do you think someone might have entered my name into the Goblet to…kill me?" asked Harry, it did make him sound as paranoid as Moody.
"Harry, I wish that wasn't the case, but it looks to be the case," said Ginny. "No one knows what the First Task is going to be, but it doesn't mean you can't prepare for anything. You know, learn a few spells, some one's that are a bit dangerous to be on the receiving end of. Make that person think twice about putting your name in the Goblet."
"So what do you think we should do?" asked Harry who was at a loss at where to go from here.
"Head to the library and see what we can find," replied Ginny and she saw the alarmed look on Harry's face. "Don't worry, we can have some fun with this too, learning magic doesn't have to be mindless studying."
"Right, so we can get going then," said Harry, as the two walked towards the school. Harry wished he had cornered Ginny and talked to her sooner, she was really a great person and he was confident that she would be a great friend. The way her face lit up when she talked to Harry really made him feel wonderful. She encouraged him, rather than nagged him like Hermione did, that made him feel like he could do more, he could do better.
Plus he would have to be blind not to notice how pretty she was becoming. Harry thought about the girl that he had thought of as just his best friend's little sister up until just a couple of hours ago. She was her own person and Harry was fully confident that Ginny would not abandon him when he needed her, like Ron and Hermione did when they thought he entered his name in the Goblet of Fire.