AN: A few things about this work. I realize that fanfiction and eating disorders are a common combination. Knowing this, I still decided to take a stab at it. What am I doing different, you ask? I feel very strongly that eating disorders, insidious beasts that they are, are not something that pop up overnight. There are usually very deep-seated reasons for someone to think that harming themselves is okay. So, this is going to be a somewhat slow decline (with a long first chapter that tries to delve into the backstory of those reasons). I hope you stay with me on the journey.
Those of you reading this, I expect are going to be a lot of Harry Potter fans. For that reason, I'm not overexplaining things. To these fans, this is not going to be canon, and I am truly sorry for that. I have no idea where my copy of HBP is at the moment, or I would try my best to make this fit. But, as I am in the mood to write now, and not in the mood to search for the book - this is what you get. Read, Relate, Review. - Tri
Maybe it was the end of last year – when any and all possibility of security had been ripped apart; her family in the Order where people died left and right, being attacked by Death Eaters, watching the secret love of her life writhing in agony on the floor as she helplessly watched on. Maybe it was being personally possessed by a Dark Wizard. Maybe it was always seeming to be the smallest, most invisible Weasley – the girl. Maybe it was just par for the course with living with other girls in a dormitory. Maybe it was everything.
The fact was, from day one Ginny Weasley was watching for cues on what would make her just as successful, if not more successful, than her brothers had been at Hogwarts. From day one, when she was drowning in hand-me-down robes – she looked at what the other popular girls were doing. She often sat through meals in the Great Hall, ear half-cocked, waiting for them to spill some secret about what they did to be so looked up to. Of course, there were the normal things that Ginny had always known about: to be a clever witch, to work hard, to make sure you leave your robes out to be washed so you don't smell like manky feet… but she was looking for more. The one common thread that Ginny heard about during all these meals was dieting.
Oh, how she heard about this! Over and over, and really – she was smirking at them. Didn't they have anything else to talk about? Except for a few of them, none of them really needing to be discussing how much lard was used in making the pot pies anyway. Ginny had seen her mother dieting from time to time, usually just before she would have to drop her children off at King's Cross at the beginning of the school year. As if the other parents even cared how Molly Weasley looked. It was a topic she had always just put down as not worth her time, and in the beginning that's what she thought. More and more, though, she looked from their plates, and how picky they were being with their food choices, to hers. More and more she had been dismayed by the disparity. Ginny Weasley, who had always prided herself on being able to dive into her mum's divine cooking with the same gusto as her brothers, started looking at herself in a new way. These girls were respected, this is what they did. I want to be respected, and so too should I follow. But her dieting in the early years was nothing anything but dancing with an idea of who she wanted to be, and really – it allowed her to become part of a conversation with these other girls and other girls her own age. Calories, grams, stones..it was like speaking in some sort of code that only the knowledgeable could really understand.
When did it change?
Ginny couldn't say. She knew that after her terrifying experience in the Chamber, she had found comfort in denying herself. She felt guilty for the whole fiasco, and duped, and used. She had put Harry's life in danger, she caused a huge fuss, and she had readily handed over all her most intimate desires to a madman. She deserved to be punished. But once she was at the Burrow again, and her mom was waving her wand around to form exquisite dishes, most of all – when she felt safe again, she became the normal Ginny, eager to laugh and play like the boys did.
She did remember quite firmly that when her mother start dieting before taking her back to school that year, she had made a big-to-do about joining in. It felt good, like she was going through some grand rite to get into womanhood. For the next few years, she clung to the feeling of what dieting had brought her: acceptance, safety. The lack of food was filling her up. Still, although this played in her mind the next few years, nothing truly ever came of it. She'd lose a few, gain a few. And under the robes, who could ever tell who was losing or gaining at Hogwarts?
And then her fourth year began, and the whole school was topsy turvy. Everyone accusing everyone, her family looked upon as despised – now not only for being poor, but for being in league with Dumbledore. She watched on as Harry took the brunt of this, and she longed to reach out – but she couldn't really break into The Trio, when she was there she always felt she was tagging along. But these were the people she clung closely to now…Hermione, her brother Ron, Harry, and Fred and George. Speaking of dieting seemed trivial when she was with them. She didn't feel like she could bring it up even when laying in the dark with Hermione all those nights when they were scrubbing Grimmauld Place. That year changed everything.
She, of course, realized the Dark Lord was back. She believed Harry whole-heartedly. Cedric Diggory's death had divided so many people – and caused the reality of the situation to come into sharp focus. They were fighting for their lives. This wouldn't be some far away tale like Profressor Binn's droning on about the Goblin Wars. War and death were going to be here – and soon. Anxiety choked her most of that year. Her father almost died – and it nearly tore her apart, although she put on a good face for her parents.
Really, the D.A. was the saving grace of that year.
Ginny thought back on how she actually felt respected for her wandwork. Even Michael, who knew she was smart because in between snogs he was copying her essays, seemed genuinely taken aback. She felt strong and proud, and a bit resentful, as she had when they acted as if she couldn't possibly know which end of a broom was which.
Didn't they think she could do anything?
Ginny was bound and determined that her fifth year would be her year. If she wanted to make a name for herself at Hogwarts, she had to start now. This year it was more important than ever to be "ever vigilant" ….it seemed against everything. In a world where the people closest to you could be under the Imperius spell, there was no relaxing.
And so here she was, trying to delight in the sounds of King's Cross, but really half-jumping at shadows. Her mother had been looking sideways at everyone, including her, since Sirius had died in the Department of Mysteries.
"Ginny are you alright?"
"Yeah, mum, I'm just excited about this year."
Molly eyes closed for a moment as if relishing the thought of being a schoolgirl again. "Ah, I remember my fifth year. Full of change and surprises."
Ginny peered at her mother and wanted to ask what exactly the changes and surprised were, but the train had just pulled up. She grabbed her trunk, which was almost taller than her, and tugged it along, it's old wheels creaking under its weight.
Ginny trampled in the line to get onto the train just like everyone else. For a moment everyone got pushed backward and she found her normally graceful form near falling in an ungainly heap on the person behind her. "Gotcher , Ginny" said a sheepish voice behind her.
"Hey! Neville!" She found herself being pushed upright by the shy, boy behind her. She smiled, happy to see him. She blew a hank of brilliant red hair out of her eyes as she found her footing again.
Neville knew better than to ask the trite question, "Did you have a good summer…?" The happy moment of them just being schoolchildren was lost. Once again they were soldiers in Dumbledore's Army. The way attacks had been increasing – well, let's just say that Voldemort wasn't discouraged by the change in regime at the Ministry.
"H-h-how is the Order?"
"From what I'm allowed to see and hear, nothing." She sort of realized she sounded a bit upset, so she softened her tone. "But they are risking their lives every day."
"That's what they do." Neville sounded proud, and with his lineage it wasn't hard to see why. His parents had sacrificed their entire conscious self for the sake of fighting the Dark Lord.
We did too.
Ginny had a momentarily flashback into the Department of Mysteries. Deathly magic lighting up the air. The yelling, Bellatrix's horrible laughter. She cringed.
"Ginny, are you alright?"
"Mmm?" She looked up sharply, almost taken by surprise that he was next her, and even that she was in King's Cross.
"I asked if you were alright."
"Oh, yeah, sorry" She smiled brightly and lied, "I was just thinking about my schedule."
"Ah, well…." Neville nodded his head toward the platform. Apparently she was caught in her head so long that she was holding up the line to get on the train.
She blushed in embarrassment; sure she was as red as her hair. "Sorry, sorry…" she muttered under her breath.
Once on the train, she was hoping she could just zone out for awhile, but she found herself surrounded by her old comrades. It felt nicer than she thought it would, though at times their voices – even the melodic tune that Luna's voice sang, brought her back to the horrors of last spring.
She found herself looking at Harry. At times he seemed as zoned out as she had hoped she would be. She fought a smile as his hand surreptitiously reached up to flatten down his untidy hair.
He really is too cute for his own good.
And then she remembered his face, contorted with hatred and agony. She looked away.