Written a long time ago, right after the fifth book came out, and before Ginny transformed into a much more likable, vivacious character.

I really hesitated to publish this, but it's useful to see that I really have improved as a writer, etc, etc, and if someone out there actually enjoys it, it's better than it hiding on my computer for the rest of my life.


Heat

Ginny fingered the fabric of her lightweight skirt, made for the Egypt heat, with her fingertips: twist and clutch; a nervous habit she'd picked up from her extensive observation of Cho Chang during Ginny's third year.

Ginny had wanted so badly to understand what made Harry so infatuated with the lithe Ravenclaw that she had even struck up a friendship with the unusual Luna Lovegood, so she would have an excuse to be in the Ravenclaw Common Room and spy on Cho. Though she had never exactly figured out what made Cho in particular so alluring to Harry, she did grow to understand why boys in general were attracted to Cho. She was pretty, of course, and she was flirtatious without seeming to be a tease. She was fun-loving but also intelligent and studious, characteristic of her House in that respect.

Sometimes, though, Cho's vivacious facade slipped a little, and that's when she would reach for the hem of her almost-too-short skirt, curling it into her fingertips when Cedric Diggory politely turned her down for a Hogsmeade date, when she couldn't catch the Snitch before the Slytherin seeker Draco Malfoy did; essentially, whenever jarring proof that she was not perfect confronted her.

Ginny had wanted to laugh when she figured all this out. She and Cho were nothing alike. Where Cho was nearly flawless in all she did, Ginny just prayed to be something more than a failure. Cho was beautiful and older and glamorous. She had Harry, at least for a while, even though she hadn't really wanted him. She was an only child, doted on by parents who adored her.

Two terrible, diseased years later, when it was Ginny whom Harry wanted, she who was a successful Quiddich player, she who didn't burst into tears when somebody spoke in hushed tones of Cedric the martyr, Ginny almost wanted to talk to Cho, to comfort her. She felt like she owed Cho something. However, she felt that approaching Cho would be too awkward, especially if she tried to explain how intently she had once observed the Ravenclaw girl.

And when Cho became a faded name on the official Ministry parchment of war casualities, when Cho's parents tearfully left the country that had taken their daughter, Ginny became first the long-term girlfriend, and then the wife of Harry Potter. They exchanged vows in a small family ceremony, Ginny wincing at the painful Alteration she had used to cover up her seven-months-pregnant belly for her conservative family's sake.

She was nineteen, he was twenty, and it didn't take long for Harry to discover that Ginny wasn't the woman he thought she was. They had a long talk one night while Lillian slept soundly in her crib, unaware that her stable future was unraveling. Harry accused Ginny of acting like somebody she wasn't during the long years that they had dated, and Ginny was at a loss as to how to properly refute that. Her infatuation with him had never been anything but her fault; and it followed that she'd emulated the girl Harry had always wanted: Cho, so she could become the girl whom Harry could have.

For the second time in her life, Ginny wanted to laugh hysterically at a revelation that wasn't funny. She was done, she told Harry, but she still didn't have the courage to tell him the truth. He wanted to know where it went wrong. He asked her over and over again.

As she bent down to kiss her daughter for the last time, the child who did not resemble her at all, who instead shared Harry's dark hair and green eyes, she almost burst into tears. She grabbed her purse and was out the door, though she didn't know where she was going. Maybe to Bill, in Gaza. All she did know was that she was through with Harry, through with England, and through with living a lie.

Looking back one last time, she saw Harry, holding Lillian close now, silhouetted in the doorway. She still couldn't tell him, though her heart seemed to scream it out: It's not where it went wrong, Harry, it's that it was never right.


Not a particularly admirable decision on Ginny's part, but then, as I said, she didn't develop into a better character until the sixth book. Though there are parts of this fic that make me wince, I'm keeping this as-is. This is a testament to how I was feeling after the developments in Order of the Phoenix, as well as a reminder of how naive we all were about what the future held for the Harry Potter characters, and also of how much I've grown as a writer since I was 15.