A/N: This was written for the SIYE Seven Words Challenge.
A/N2: Thanks to Jenn for the inspiration. I probably wouldn't have wrote anything for this if she hadn't been discussing acronyms. It was such a good idea, that I was inspired to use acronyms too. Sort of. Also, thanks to Jenn for the beta work. It would have been about 3,000 words shorter if she hadn't poked and prodded the "potential" until it got up, snapped back and went to work.
'I love you.'
How many times had Ginny dreamt of those words being spoken to her by Harry Potter when she was younger?
"No dear. You hold the quill like this." Her mummy paused as Ginny tried to correct her grip on the quill. "There! We won't worry about dipping it into ink right now. A Self-Inking Quill is better for learning to write. Now, watch how I make the 'G.' Start at the top and make a big curve. Then we make one little line here and another little line right...here. Alright, dear, now you try."
Ginny smiled at her mother, excited to be learning how to write her name. All of her brothers, even Ron, could all write their names. She wanted to be able to make a sign for her door so everyone would know that it was Ginny's room, not Ginevra's.
It was harder to write a 'G' than she had expected. Her mum's letter was beautiful and made Ginny proud that her name started with such a pretty letter. Ginny's own big curve was wobbly and the little lines were just wrong. It didn't seem to matter how ugly her 'G' was to her mummy, however.
"Oh, Ginny dear, that's lovely! With a little practice, you'll have it down in no time! Now let's try the 'I.'"
The lesson on writing her name continued, occasionally being interrupted by one of her brothers. The four year old couldn't wait to learn the things that her brothers were learning. Ron was reading his favourite story, Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump. Fred and George were doing some sort of maths that included playing with Mum's cooking things and figuring out how many biscuits each of them would get from the batch Mum had baked that morning. Of course Percy had already completed all of the work Mum had assigned him for the day and was reading Bill's old first year Potions book so that he could be ready for the upcoming September.
While her mum was explaining to the twins how many different ways they could use her measuring spoons to fill a large jar, Ginny's daddy came in the back door. Ginny rushed to her father and threw her arms around him.
"What did you do today, Ladybug? It looks like you've been busy with the ink!" Ginny laughed and then pulled her daddy over to show him her efforts at writing her name.
"I wanted to make a sign for my door that says 'Ginny's Room,' but I think I'm done." He winked at her before picking up the quill and adding a few more letters to her bit of parchment.
"There you go, Ladybug. Now you have a sign all ready to hang on your door." With a flick of his wand, Spell-O-Tape flew from a cluttered drawer into his hand. "How about you go hang it up and then wash your hands?" Ginny followed her daddy's instructions before dinner.
When Ginny's parents tucked her in later that night, her mum promised to help Ginny make her letters pretty and her dad read her favourite "Boy-Who-Lived" book. The last thing she remembered before drifting off to sleep was saying "I love you" to her mum and dad.
Ginny peeked out of her room, checking both ways to make sure that the coast was clear. She quietly slipped down the steps. Her mum saw Ginny the moment she entered the kitchen. With a knowing smirk, she handed Ginny a basket and told her to be back in time for supper.
As quickly as possible, Ginny scampered to the tree house that she had long ago staked as hers. Ron was the only one of her siblings brave enough to still go in it at all, but she was okay with that since he never tried to kick her out of it. If he couldn't play with her, he left her alone.
The moment she was inside of the tree house, she emptied the large rucksack she had slung across her back before leaving her room. Out tumbled a bit of filmy cloth, her seventeen favourite stuffed animals and dolls, a green dress that had to have the skirt doubled up so she didn't trip over it, a pair of white shoes with lots of snaps on them, two short sticks, and two small ribbons that had been knotted into circles.
It took her several minutes to set up the dolls and stuffed animals just the right way. Most sat facing the front, where a unicorn from one of her mum's aunts sat facing the crowd. Ginny had used Spell-O-Tape to fasten a pair of spectacles over the unicorn's eyes and had pinned a dark blue bit of fabric from her mum's sewing room to it. In her modest opinion, the unicorn looked just like the picture of Professor Dumbledore from her Chocolate Frog card that featured him.
In front of the unicorn were her two favourite dolls from the Romantic History collection Aunt Muriel had been giving Ginny since she was born. Aunt Muriel would be horrified to know that Ginny played with the dolls when the old woman had intended the dolls be left in their packages since they were collector items.
Thankfully, Ginny's mum thought giving a child such things was ridiculous and had told the nine year old that she could play with them if she wanted to. So Romeo stood facing Juliet, their lovely blue and red satin clothing faded and their pale perfect faces smudged with dirt. Ginny had left Juliet alone, but she had fastened some orange yarn onto Romeo's head. In this little game, Romeo had been renamed "Ron." She didn't really have a different name for Juliet and almost left her with that name, but decided she had to be fair. After contemplating the little doll's dark ringlets for quite some time, Ginny ended up dubbing the doll "Elizabeth."
Ginny placed her favourite toy in its place between "Ron" and "Elizabeth" and then donned her green dress and white shoes. It took her several moments to tuck the filmy bit of fabric into her hair band, but she finally got it to fall across her face as a sort of veil.
Once she was ready, she walked between the assembled toys until she was right next to "Ron," "Elizabeth," "Dumbledore," and her favourite stuffed animal, "Harry Potter."
Now, as much as Ginny wished for it, there was no Harry Potter doll. Bill had tried to explain to her once that since the real Harry Potter was a kid (only a year older than Ginny) that no one could make money off of his name or from things that looked like him without his guardians' permission. Everyone knew Harry Potter lived with his Muggle relatives and obviously they wouldn't be able to deal with Goblins, so all that was allowed were a small series of "Boy-Who-Lived" books and a few paragraphs in history books.
"Besides," Bill had told her giving her "THE LOOK" that clearly said he knew much more than she did. "All we know about what he looks like is that he has black hair, green eyes and a lightning bolt-shaped scar on his forehead."
Her mum had refused to make her a doll, but never said why. So Ginny had improvised. Her mum's cousin had sent several Muggle toys a few years back and each of her brothers had picked what they wanted from the lot. Naturally, Ginny had been stuck with the worst toy. It was a small spotted fawn that had the name "Bambi" attached to it.
She had absolutely hated that deer until she had made a few changes.
Instead of throwing it in the rubbish bin, she had gotten her father to charm the eyes green. Then, she'd sewn a bit of black yarn on its head. Try as she might, she couldn't get the yarn to lay flat, but she decided she preferred the yarn sticking up anyway. If it had laid flat, the yarn might look like a girl's hair instead!
Lastly, she'd drawn a lightning bolt right above its right eye. She'd done all of that several years ago and by now, all her brothers knew about her homemade Harry Potter doll. Fred and George had dubbed him "Bambi Potter." Regardless of the teasing, the little deer had been her favourite toy for years. It went everywhere she went and had an honoured place on her pillow every night.
This day, though, was extra special because she was playing her most favourite game.
Ginny pitched her voice for Dumbledore asking if Harry Potter and Ginevra Weasley loved each other and wanted to get married. Changing back to her own voice, she answered herself with a happy, "Yes!" Then she tried to deepen her voice and answer for "Harry" as well.
She went through the entire wedding, or as much as she could remember from one of her dad's cousin's wedding, talking for herself, Harry, Dumbledore, Ron and Elizabeth. She even cheered for the wedding guests.
At the end of the ceremony, she double checked to make sure her pesky brothers weren't spying on her before she gave "Harry" a quick kiss. Then she picked the toy up and they danced around the tree house.
Finally, she opened the basket her mother had given her to find a small cake and a flask of apple juice. Ginny pretended to feed her "groom," careful not to get icing on the matted fur.
They danced again, with Ginny giggling the whole time and making up a conversation between her and her groom. She was certain he'd be perfect, telling her how much he loved her and how beautiful she was.
When she noticed how late it was, Ginny quickly threw all of her toys and wedding finery back into her rucksack, cleaned up the cake crumbs and scrambled down the tree. She made it into the kitchen with only moments to spare and her mum quickly helped her hide the evidence of her game before her brothers thundered into the kitchen.
Her dad gave Ginny a knowing smile as she sat beside him for supper. "Dreaming again today, Ladybug?"
"Yes, Daddy." She took a bite of her potatoes and wondered how many stars she'd need to wish on for her dream of marrying Harry Potter to come true.
"Did you honestly believe that someone like you would be good enough for a celebrity like Harry Potter? Even if he defeated a powerful wizard on a fluke, he could have any witch he wanted. Why would he pick such an ugly little nobody like Ginny Weasley?"
The handsome boy that had appeared in a mist form from her beloved diary paced in front of her, sneering and laughing at Ginny's weakness. It teased her cruelly about writing "Ginny loves Harry" in the diary's pages.
"Why waste precious ink or my time on girlish drivel?" he crowed.
The last thing Ginny thought of before her world went black on that damp, cold floor in front the horrible statue was, 'If I live, I'm never writing down who I love again.'
As she got older, she realized there was much more to romance than holding hands and saying "I love you." Oddly enough, this was Romilda Vane's doing.
"I thought you could use some help. I've outgrown these children's books. I'm reading the Flowers in Bloom books now. The Young Witches novels are for beginners." She looked Ginny up and down. "Well, even beginner books might be too advanced for you. You've got to start somewhere, though. I'm always happy to help out the less fortunate."
"Now see here, you little doxy! I don't need your help! I'm plenty advanced and just where do you get--" but Ginny was cut off by the younger girl.
"Oh, there's no need to thank me." Romilda flipped her perfectly straight black hair over her shoulder. "They might even help you get noticed by a boy."
Ginny was outraged. "Excuse me, but I've been dating Michael since the beginning of June. I don't think I need help getting a boy to notice me!" She picked up one of the books Romilda had dumped onto her bed, intending to throw it at the younger witch's back as she walked out of the third year girls' dorm.
The second year didn't even turn around. "Well then, they should be able to tell you what to do to keep him." Then she was out the door. Ginny was alone in her dorm room with a sizeable pile of books that she knew her mother would say were full of scarlet women.
At first, Ginny had been embarrassed to read them. Apparently Romilda had a somewhat skewed idea of how old a "Young Witch" actually was. Words like 'derrière' and 'lustful' jumped out from the pages. The witches and wizards were almost always at odds until finally they 'made love.'
Eventually, she began to read the books frequently and often charmed the covers to look like innocuous library books.
Ginny was sitting curled up in the library of Grimmauld Place reading her favourite book, Charming Cordelia, when Hermione walked in, looking bored. Once Harry had listened to her about the fact he wasn't exhibiting the signs of being possessed, he and Ron had taken to helping Sirius with several small projects that Ron had said were for "blokes only." Ginny suspected that Sirius was allowing them to try Firewhiskey and all three were aware of how Hermione would react to that.
Her friend seemed to be searching for something to read and wasn't paying much attention to the younger witch. Ginny quickly checked the cover of her book to make sure it was still charmed to say Charms for the Charming. Seeing her secret was safe, she sighed and went back to reading about the adventurous young wizard who sets out to make shy, sheltered Cordelia fall in love with him in one week.
She was so caught up in her book that she didn't notice when Hermione came to stand in front of her. She did notice when Hermione spoke up.
"Oh! Charms for the Charming! I've been wanting to read that for ages! I'd love to borrow it when you've finished. May I take a quick look?"
All of this was said with Hermione's normal rapid speech that always took Ginny several moments to catch everything she'd said. By the time the redhead had realized Hermione had requested taking a look at her romance novel, the book was already out of her hands and being read by the older witch.
Hermione's eyes widened at what she was reading and then glanced at a blushing Ginny.
"It's nothing to be embarrassed about," her friend had said. "Come on, I've something to show you." Hermione pulled Ginny out of the library and into the room they were sharing.
When they reached the bedroom, Hermione looked around furtively and then unearthed a rucksack that had been hidden under a stack of neatly folded robes. She pulled a small book out and handed it to Ginny. The cover showed a witch sitting in a chair reading a book, while in the background a handsome man watched her from another table. It was entitled Until the End.
"I happen to like reading those books, too." The older witch giggled a little. For the first time, Ginny realized she really could share girly things with her friend. From then on, they swapped books and all Christmas and birthday presents were dedicated to expanding each other's small collections.
Now, Ginny was eighteen years old. She had outgrown the books, mostly. Every so often, however, she would reread one of her favourites. Charming Cordelia was the one she reread most often. It wasn't hard to imagine Kale, the dark-haired adventurer, as Harry and she knew exactly how Cordelia felt when her over-protective uncle refused to allow the young woman to leave his castle's courtyard.
In the books, it always seemed that the hero and heroine took a long time to admit their feelings to each other and share that heated first kiss. It never failed that they fell into bed quickly after that and were soon married, although Ginny's mum would have been happy to know that several of the books had the witch and wizard marrying before falling into bed.
Yet, there were no books where the hero kissed the heroine passionately, shared a few weeks of hand-holding, and then broke up with the heroine to go chase down an evil Dark Lord. She had read several books where the hero would seek out the heroine the day after he defeated said Dark Lord, admit that he loved her, and then kiss her fervently.
Instead of falling into bed or proposing marriage (which Ginny had been thankful hadn't come up yet since her mother didn't need any more incentive to plan their wedding), her relationship with Harry was pretty much the same as it had been for just over a year now.
It wasn't that there was no romance in their relationship. Harry said "I love you" frequently. He held her hand and snogged the daylights out of her. He brought her flowers and took her out on dates.
But he never touched her anywhere else. He never tried to sneak into her room or asked her to stay at Grimmauld Place with him. Their relationship seemed like the juvenile version she had dreamt of as a first year.
She was starting to wonder if something was wrong with him, or her, or both of them. She needed help, but had no idea to whom she should talk.
Hermione was a natural choice, but any advice from Hermione would be based on her friend's experience with Ron. Ginny made it a point to have no idea of what her brothers did with their partners. Even when she tried to avoid knowing anything, she still knew too much. Seeking advice from Hermione was just asking to be committed to the long-term ward at St. Mungo's. Asking Fleur, Audrey, or Angelina was inadvisable for the same reason.
Ginny considered asking Ron, and if all else failed he was with whom she planned to speak. Ron was her only brother who had been completely supportive of her relationship with Harry. He had never threatened Harry besides telling his friend that he'd better not break up with Ginny to go fight a Dark Lord again. Ginny thought it was the "fighting a Dark Lord" that Ron objected to rather than breaking up with her. Her other brothers had given Harry menacing speeches about not hurting their baby sister, while Ron had warned Ginny that she'd better not hurt his best mate.
Ron also had a lot of insight into Harry, which might be helpful. However, the fact remained that she didn't want to know how experienced any of her brothers were and she doubted Ron would be happy about helping his sister make that kind of progress in her own relationship.
So Bill, Charlie, Percy, and George were out and Ron was a possibility if she had no other option.
There was absolutely no way Ginny would ask either of her parents for advice. Her mum would rant that Ginny was turning into a scarlet woman and corrupting Harry whereas her dad would make a noise that would be a cross between a squashed mouse and a dying toad. Neither was something she wanted to hear.
Unfortunately, that left only three other people: Luna, Dean and Neville. Luna had some really odd ideas about relationships; though she was another person to keep in mind if all else failed. Asking Dean for advice was just cruel and asking Neville would be as painful as asking one of her brothers.
In the end, it was a dream that answered the burning question: how do you get Harry Potter to take the next step?
"Kale watched the beauty at the end of Sir Liam's table. He had seen her sit there for the evening meal so many days and it was her innocent wonder that captivated him even more than her glorious golden hair or sparkling sapphire eyes. Tomorrow was Sunday and it would be the first day he put his plan into action. He would convince her to fall in love with him as deeply as he had fallen for Cordelia. She would be charmed if it was the last thing he did. It would start the next day after the midday meal, with 'captivate.'"
Ginny sighed, setting the book down and whispering, "Nox." This was her favourite part of the book. Kale wanted Cordelia to be charmed. Each day for a week he had a specific word as his theme. Together they formed CHARMED: captivate, heed, adventure, romance, marvel, entertain, and dream. His plan had been to give Cordelia what she had lacked all her life. Kale had wanted her to know she could confide in him and that he would give her a life outside of the secluded one she had lived. He showed her how to find adventure in climbing a tree and romance in a walk. By the end of the week, Cordelia was completely in love and her uncle gave his blessing to their union. The book ended with a spunky Cordelia and a very contented Kale.
Ginny drifted off to sleep, her thoughts full of scenes from her book.
"Cordelia, what do I know of adventure? I've never been outside of these castle walls!" Kale's face was wistful as he stared off into the distance, trying in vain to see what was beyond the hills that surrounded the castle.
"Adventure doesn't have to grand. Adventure is what you make of it," Cordelia said as she grabbed his hand. Kale's dark eyes looked uncertain, but he finally took her hand in his and allowed himself to be pulled out into the courtyard. She led him to a tall tree, and with a smile, pulled herself up onto the first low limb. Ginny's vibrant red hair swung around her as she turned to beckon Harry to join her. He looked around, undecided for a moment, before he gave a shy smile and allowed the adventurous woman to help him up. Together, they climbed higher and then sat on a sturdy limb, laughing at their daring and making up stories about brave wizards and fierce dragons.
Ginny woke up, the remnants of her dream still playing in her mind. It wasn't the first time her imagination had switched the roles of Cordelia and Kale, nor was it the first time she had dreamed of Harry and herself as the characters. She let the scene play for a few minutes, wondering if Cordelia would have used the same words to charm Kale.
'That's it!' Suddenly inspired, Ginny sat up.
Unfortunately, after spending most of the morning on her only day off from practice trying to come up with seven words that she could use to charm Harry, she was still stuck.
It was time to talk to Ron.
"Ah, Gin. I don't want to know this." It was one of life's truths that Ron Weasley could out-whine a four-year-old.
Ginny sighed. "I'm not asking you to tell me how I can get Harry to, um, do, er, more things with me. I'm asking if you have any ideas as to why holding my hand and snogging are okay, but anything else makes him jump back. We've been dating for a year, Ron. What am I doing wrong?" After spending all morning trying to think up words to help their relationship, Ginny had come to the conclusion that she was the problem.
Ron let out a huff of air and used both of his hands to ruffle his hair. It was a nervous habit he seemed to have picked up from Harry. After he paced back and forth, stopping occasionally to have a conversation with a voice only he could hear, he finally sat back down beside Ginny on the low stone wall that surrounded the Burrow's garden.
"It's not you," he finally said quietly. "Harry has a real problem with touching." He chewed on his bottom lip for a moment, thinking again and Ginny decided to interrupt.
"I know that. He always seems really uncomfortable whenever anyone hugs him or even sits too close to him. But shouldn't he want to touch his girlfriend?" She looked away. "Am I asking too much of him?"
"No. It really isn't you. Listen, this isn't something he's ever really told me. I've pieced this together over the years from things he's said and done. It might not be right, but I think I'm close, okay?" Ginny nodded and her brother continued.
"You know how Mum and Dad always gave us hugs or patted us on the back or 'healed the ouchies with a kiss'? Harry never had that. His aunt and uncle didn't want him. He told me once that his uncle never followed through on his threats because he was afraid that if he touched Harry, the, er, oddness would affect him too. His whole family was that way. I can't say for sure because it's not like Harry talks much about his childhood, but I'd bet that's why he isn't into, uh, touching." Ron's face was bright red and he was focused solely on the ground below him.
Ginny was impressed by her brother's insight and enraged both at Harry's family and herself. 'How could they be so cruel? Why didn't I realize this?"
"Thanks, Ron. I know what to do now." Ron looked up at her, startled. "I've got to teach Harry that touch can be good." She threw her brother a wicked smile when he groaned and made her way back to her room. Now she had to plan how to teach Harry about touch.