Ginevra Weasley liked Harry Potter. Very much so.
But something inside her knew it would never happen. She couldn't help but notice the way Harry looked at Hermione like she was the only girl in the world; she couldn't help but feel that she would only ever be Ron's little sister to him.
It was particularly obvious one dinner in the Great Hall in Harry and Hermione's sixth year. Ginny could see Harry stroking Hermione's hair lovingly as she approached the Gryffindor table. Hermione called out to her.
"Hey, Gin! Want to come join us?"
No, no she didn't. But she obliged anyway.
"So how have you been?" asked Hermione as the redhead sat down next to her. It sounded a little forced, but Ginny appreciated the effort in any case.
"I've been okay. Just focusing on my schoolwork and doing the best I can."
Hermione nodded. "Yeah, me too. And for Ron, Harry and I, graduation is next year and really that's right around the corner."
The youngest Weasley just sighed as a plate of steak-and-kidney pie appeared in front of her. She picked up her fork and poked at it, and her heart sunk as Harry leaned over to kiss Hermione's cheek; Ginny wanted that attention. Why couldn't she be Hermione? Why couldn't she be as smart, talented and beautiful as she is?
At that moment, Ginny vowed that she'd do anything to win Harry's heart. And she had a plan.
That night, Ginny snuck out of the girls' dormitories after her dorm mates were asleep. She changed out of her nightgown into some proper clothes and quietly slipped down the stairs to the common room and out the portrait hole.
She descended many floors to get her ultimate destination: the dungeons. When she arrived, she pushed the door open and poked her head inside.
"Professor Snape?" Ginny hoped that he would be here this late.
"Miss Weasley? You know it's past curfew, do you not?" said Snape. He was at his desk, marking some essays.
"Yes I do sir, but I have something I wish to ask of you, and this is the only time I could talk to you about it alone." Snape's facial expression went from skepticism to surprisingly almost concern.
"Please sit," he replied, putting his quill down and conjuring a chair in front of his desk with a wave of his wand. Ginny did as she was told and took a seat. She put her hands in her lap, trying to come off as just the right amount of formal.
"I hope it's worth breaking the rules," said Snape, pushing the graded essays aside.
"Well, I do really need your help."
"Whatever for?" Ginny drew in a deep breath as though she was about to go into a long-winded explanation.
"I'll just get right to the point. Would you be willing to make a love potion for me?" Snape raised an eyebrow at this.
"And why do you need a love potion?"
"It's for… an experiment. I want to test its effects on animals," Ginny improvised. Snape's black eyes bore into Ginny's brown ones at this claim. Then he shook his head in a gesture of disapproval.
"Using a love potion to win over Harry's affections? I can't say I condone it." Ginny look shocked and confused before she realized Snape must have performed Legilimency on her. She leaned forward to make her request seem more important, urgent.
"But please, sir. I know he'd be happier with me. I'm the one he risked his life for to save from the Chamber of Secrets; I'm the one who can relate to him in being possessed by Voldemort. We're perfect together. Please help me, please…"
"I cannot allow you to use a love potion in such a manner," Snape interrupted. "However, you may have it under one condition."
"What is that condition, professor?"
"Your animal testing sounds promising. Even though you blatantly lied to me in the spur of the moment, I will give you a love potion if you use it for that purpose and that purpose only." Ginny sighed out of relief. She would see to it that he never found out what it was really used for.
"Okay, professor. I solemnly swear that I will only use it for animal experimentation and not for personal gain." Snape nodded in approval.
"Alright then Miss Weasley, I will grant you this favor. But tell no one I'm doing this for you. Come back tomorrow night at the same time and it'll be ready. I will easily find out if you've used it for the wrong reasons, and I assure you that if you do, the consequences will be… unpleasant."
Ginny ignored the last sentence and sprang to her feet out of joy. "Thank you sir, you won't regret it!" she exclaimed.
Snape said nothing, but waved her away. Ginny understood herself to be dismissed.