Harry Potter wasn't sure when it really started but he knew his feelings for Ginny Weasley were definitely different from anything else he had ever experienced. She was no longer the baby sister of Ron. No, to Harry, she was so much more.
Now, the problem was, how would Ron react if Harry made a move on Ginny? Harry may have been slow when it came to understanding his feelings for Ginny, however he wasn't stupid. Ron always made sure to refer to Ginny as, "My Baby Sister"; or comment on what the brothers would do to anyone who even went near her, ensuring to highlight the various skills of the older brothers. Yes, Ron was definitely making things complicated for Harry, however he decided that it would be worth dealing with the six brothers if the result was he could see Ginny.
Now the only other issues was finding the courage to talk to Ginny and ask her out, he couldn't invite her to Hogsmeade as he still didn't have a signed permission slip, he just hoped that there would be opportunities to talk to her alone and start building a better friendship.
Things proceeded slowly over the next several weeks, lessons were just the same; except for DADA. Yet again they had a new teacher, but at least this time he was an old Auror and seemed to know what he was doing. In some respects he was better then Professor Lupin as he wasn't scared to teach about the Unforgivables, but in most respects, Lupin had far exceeded the new professor. However, Harry realized that he could have been just the tiniest bit biased, as he was one of his dad's best friends when they were at school.
Harry was amazed that Moody would actually demonstrate the Unforgivables in class, it was a little scary, but a good lesson for all, at least they all got to see the effects of the curses without really being in danger or so they thought. Harry was making an effort to include Ginny in of his activities as the days went by, and he was very careful to ensure that Ron didn't suspect anything. He hated to do it, but he was very careful not to defend Ginny when Ron pushed her away, even if he hated that Ron did it. He would always find a way of apologizing later and he could tell that Ginny appreciated it.
Harry offered to help Ginny with her homework on occasion, again, he was careful how he did it. No one, except Hermione, noticed that Harry was spending a lot more time in the library then before. He was very grateful that Hermione had not brought it up so far and hoped that she wouldn't.
Little did Harry realize, that Ginny and Hermione had discussed this very subject on several occasions. Hermione concluded that Harry had indeed noticed Ginny, and not Rons little sister, and was definitely trying to spend more time with her. It was also obvious that he didn't want to upset Ron. Hermione had already told Ginny of the numerous times Ron had made sure to highlight how Ginny was the baby sister and what the brothers would do about it. This just annoyed her to no end, and she promised that if Harry did ever make a move she would very quickly explain to her brothers what would happen to them if anything happened to Harry.
As had been announced at the welcome feast, the school soon became even busier as the students from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang arrived for the Triwizard Tournament.
On the evening of their arrival, the age limit was announced. Harry wasn't even listening; he spent most of his time watching Ginny. It didn't escape Hermione's attention that Harry hadn't been affected by the Veela charms of any of the Beauxbatons students. While the others made complete fools of themselves, Harry only had eyes for Ginny. She made a mental note to research this as it had to mean something.
Of course, Ron was the complete opposite and had to be told several times to stop drooling over the girls. Interesting enough, Harry and Ginny both noticed just how much it bothered Hermione, but they were nice enough to not comment on it.
After the feast, everyone disappeared back to their common rooms; most discussing the arrival of the new students or the rules of the tournament. Ron was already trying to think of ways to get his name in. Harry thought he was a fool to try, but didn't say anything. Surely he didn't think that he would be able to get past something that Dumbledore had created. It would be interesting to see what happened. Harry knew the twins were trying to come up with a way also, and he wondered if they would work it out as they were probably the most liked to succeed; if anyone could.
The next morning at breakfast Professor Dumbledore announced the Yule Ball and that it was open to all fourth years and above unless invited by an older student. The reaction around the hall was classic. All the guys were groaning 'except one'; all the girls were excited; all the younger students were a disappointed.
Harry Potter, however, was ecstatic. This was the opportunity that he was hoping for and resolved to invite Ginny as soon as they left the hall after breakfast.
Harry already started formulating a plan in his mind. The first thing he would do is invite Ginny; then he would find out if he could get dance lessons as he wanted the date to be perfect. Then he would find a way of getting her a new set of robes, and some lovely jewelry to go with it. He would ask Professor McGonagall about the dance lessons and also if she could recommend any books on etiquette about balls etc.
As soon as breakfast finished, Harry rushed out of the Great Hall. He wanted to talk to Ginny straight away, but not in the hall in front of everyone; he decided that he would wait for her outside.
Ginny looked up and saw Harry disappear quickly out of the door. She had hoped that he would invite her to the ball, but it appeared that he was desperate to leave. Maybe she had been getting the wrong signals from him. She was very disappointed but decided to not worry about it yet. There was still plenty of time.
As she got to the door however, everything change. Standing there waiting, was Harry. When he saw her he smiled at her and indicated that he wanted to talk to her.
"Hey, Ginny, do you have a moment?"
"Sure, Harry, what did you want?" she asked in a nervous voice as they walked along a deserted passage.
"I-I-I waswonderingifyouwouldgototheballwithme?" he said so quickly she could barely understand him.
"Sorry, Harry, I didn't understand what you said."
Harry cleared his throat and tugged at his collar a bit. "I was wondering if you would go to the ball with me?" Harry said in a hopeful voice.
Ginny didn't really need to reply; the smile on her face was enough to brighten any dark day. However, Harry was starting to get a little nervous after almost of minute of nothing; she just stood there not responding. He was about to ask if she was okay when she realized he was waiting for an answer.
"Oh, Harry, I would love to go with you."
"That's great, now we just have to hide this from your brothers until the day of the ball; I want it to be a complete surprise, even for them," he said with a slight air of mischief in his voice.
"Hmm, yes, I think we can do that. I don't know what you are planning, Mr. Potter, but I am looking forward to it."
"As am I; as am I."
Ginny almost floated to her next lesson she was so happy. She couldn't believe that the Harry Potter, the boy of her dreams for ever so long, had invited her to the ball. Not only had he asked her, but he had done it almost immediately after the announcement. She had to talk to Hermione about this.
Several days later, Hermione Granger sat in the library reading the book she had found about Veelas. It explained how the charm worked, and what it would do. What she found most interesting about it was the fact that it would not affect people who were truly in love.
As she was considering what this meant, she was interrupted by Viktor Krum. She had notice him coming to the library regularly, but never really gave it much consideration. However she was very shocked when Viktor asked her to be his date for the ball. She couldn't believe it; part of her felt bad as she had wanted Ron to ask her, especially when she found out that Harry had asked Ginny as soon as they left breakfast the morning it was announced. But she wasn't stupid, she wasn't sure if Ron even realized she was a girl yet, so decided that accompanying Viktor would be perfect.
Harry was now having regular dance lessons with McGonagall, and making wonderful progress. He never realized how hard dancing could be, however he was willing to endure anything if it made the day perfect for Ginny. He had already found out several useful things: like the perfect gifts to get for Ginny on the day, and what jewelry would look good. He had already ordered several items, including a lovely set of robes that were to be delivered to Ginny soon. He was a little worried that she wouldn't like him spending some much money on her, but again wasn't really concerned. She was worth it.
Unfortunately, the night of the champion selection introduced a complication for Harry. His name was pulled for the goblet, and due to the rules, he had no choice but to enter. Harry told Ron, Hermione and Ginny, that he didn't enter his name. Unfortunately, Ron didn't believe him and refused to talk to him. Thankfully, Ginny did believe him. She understood that he hated all the attention his scar gave him, and would not have wanted more.
Over the next few weeks, things were very tense for Harry. Ron absolutely refused to speak to or associate with Harry and had even started joining in with some of the Harry bashing that was going on around the school. Harry was really hurt by what Ron was doing and realized that his friendship with Ron hadn't been as close as he had thought.
At least Hermione and Ginny were still talking to him, and at the moment, that was more important to him. Of course he missed his first real friend, but decided that it was up to Ron to fix it.
Over the next several weeks, Harry continued his dance lessons with McGonagall, and finalized the plans for the day. Everything was ready. He knew the next morning Ginny's robes would be delivered during breakfast. He could not wait to see her reaction.
They were all sitting at breakfast when a barn owl swooped down and delivered the robes to Ginny. She looked at the package and wondered what it could be. She wasn't expecting anything. She hadn't even told her parents that she had been invited to the ball as that would have led to questions, and her brothers may have found out. She carefully took the note that was attached and read.
Thank you for being my date to the ball. I hope you don't mind me getting you something special to wear.
She carefully unwrapped the package and, inside was the most stunning robe she had ever seen. It was dark green with gold highlights. She fell in love with them immediately, and was almost giddy with delight. She just wished she could thank Harry right there for them but knew she couldn't yet.
Hermione was stunned too. She realized immediately who had sent them, but having just read the note and seeing the reaction from both Harry and Ginny, realized that they were still keeping it a secret. And who could blame them? The way Ron was continuing to act towards Harry, was nothing short of ridiculous.
Several days later, the first task had been completed. Harry was amazing. What was even better, Ron finally realized that he had been a complete git, and that Harry, most definitely, had not entered himself. The tasks were terrible, and no one in their right mind would want to be in that competition at their age. Ron apologized after the party and they quickly made up and were back on good terms again. This pleased Harry immensely. Now at least they would be friends when Ron found out who Ginny's date was.
Harry was still pretending that he didn't have a date, which made Ron feel better as he didn't either. Ron had tried to ask Fleur to the dance, but that had been a disaster. Then, to make matters worse, he suddenly came to the realization that Hermione was a girl, and proceeded to dig a deeper hole for himself by making a nasty comment when she turned down his invitation because she already had a date. Harry just groaned at his friends pathetic attempts.
The tension continued until a week before the dance. Ron was getting desperate, and to make matters worse, his dress robes had arrived. They were, in a word, gastly. He was almost considering not going but wanted to be there for Harry. Little did he know that Harry didn't need his support; he had everything taken care of.
Ron was getting despondent. With seven days to go, he was starting to come up with schemes for them to help each other. Harry had to laugh at him when he suggested they just go together.
"Sorry, Ron, I like you, but not that much," Harry had responded, causing half the common room to collapse with laughter. Ron had gone bright red at that comment, and then laughed as he realized what he had said.
The next morning, as they sat at breakfast, another barn owl arrived for Ginny. This time the package was smaller. She again took it carefully and read the attached note.
Your beauty stuns me each time I see you. I cannot believe how lucky I am that you agreed to go with me to the ball. This gift seems plain in comparison to you. I would be honored if you would wear it to the ball.
Ginny had tears in her eyes as she read the note. She never knew Harry could be so romantic. She carefully opened the package and gasped when she saw the necklace inside. For sitting in front of her was a pure gold chain with a Doe pendant on it.
It took all her will power to not jump up and kiss Harry right there. She didn't even risk looking at him as it would give it away. All the girls were amazed when they saw the gift, and sighed when they read the note. Harry knew he would be in trouble when the other guys found out who her date was; because several of the girls had very loudly proclaimed that they wished there dates were as thoughtful.
The next morning at breakfast, the owl arrived again. Ginny grabbed the package and carefully opened it. Inside was a beautiful gold charm bracelet with a single fire rose attached. Ginny couldn't believe it. How did Harry know that the fire rose was her favorite flower.
Another day and another gift. I hope that you like the fire rose charm. As soon as I saw it I could only think of you and your beautiful hair.
Ginny was desperate to find a way of telling Harry just how much she appreciated the gifts, but fate it would seem didn't allow her a chance. Mostly because Ron didn't leave Harry's side.
Two days later another owl arrived, this time with a large bouquet of fire roses, which had been charmed with an everlasting charm so they would never wilt or die.
A rose for each week since you said yes but none can compare to your beauty.
I am truly honored to be escorting the most beautiful lady at Hogwarts to the ball.
To everyone's amazement, Ron finally managed to get a date for the ball, he had tried to arrange for the Patil twins to go with Harry and himself but only one was available. He apologized to Harry for not finding someone for him, to which Harry confessed that he already had a date and had kept it secret. Ron still hadn't guessed even after that, which pleased Harry as the surprise would be much better.
The day of the ball finally arrived. The excitement around the school was at an all time high. The Great Hall had been off limits since breakfast had finished so the teachers could prepare it for the ball. Most students spent the time enjoying the snow and the fact that it was the holidays so they didn't have to worry about homework. As evening approached, all the girls that were going to the ball started to get ready. Ginny and Hermione were locked up in a room with Lavender Brown and the Patil twins who were helping them get ready.
Neither girl had revealed to anyone else who their dates were and had arranged to meet them at the entrance hall to make the surprise even better for everyone else.