There are a lot of things Ginny tries not to think about. If she told someone that, they'd probably think she meant the war, maybe especially sixth year. Or Fred's death. Or the whole thing with Tom Riddle's diary. Well, there are things she doesn't like to think about with the diary, but it's not what people expect.
That whole year is something she doesn't like to think about, though it's more to do with puberty than with Tom. She can't think of him as Voldemort. She knows he is - was - and she knows it was likely all just an act, that he was just telling her what he knew she wanted to hear.
But he told her it was okay.
This was before she was trying not to think about it. It feels like her life has been divided into three parts. No, four: not thinking about it, thinking about it a lot, not thinking about it, and then trying not to think about it.
When she was little there was nothing to think about. It just was. Then there was that awkward stage, the realisation that she was growing up, growing into this, that things would never change no matter how hard she wished. And then there was nothing. Years and years and years of (almost) never thinking about it. Not because she was trying not to, but because she'd put it behind her, she'd made her peace.
Now there's this, the not thinking. Telling herself that she has Harry and she has James and Al and Lily and she can't do this to them. She has her family, and they wouldn't understand. They've never understood.
And so she doesn't think about the time she was six or seven, helping Mum in the kitchen, and how she kept saying Mummy? and then, Never mind. How she was fidgety like it was Christmas and felt like she would burst if she didn't ask. She must have at some point, must have got beyond the never minds, though she can't remember the actual asking, just the answer: Oh, I had my heart set on Ginevra from the moment I knew I was pregnant. We never even talked about boys' names. She remembers Mum pushing her fringe back, kissing her on the forehead. I always knew you would be a girl. I just had a feeling.
She'd cried later, down at the bottom of the garden in the fort she'd built the summer before. She'd cried and cried like something she'd never had had been taken from her.
She doesn't think about the few years before Ron hit his growth spurt, when the two of them were nearly as identical as the twins. She'd cut her hair, put on Ron's jumper, and she'd be free. She'd be Ron, and she'd stick to her story until one or the other of them was forced to pull down their trousers for Mum to determine who was who.
The dreams she had growing up, she never told anyone about those, not even Tom. They were always the same. She can still feel the excitement at growing a penis, at finally being able to tell everyone she was a boy. She can still feel the shame and confusion that was always left when she woke.
She'd tried an engorgement charm once, not long after she'd learned how. It must have been summer, or maybe Christmas hols, because she was up in her room, the door locked tight. The house was quiet. Everyone was asleep, or at least in bed. No one would bother her.
She was still nervous. She'd read a book that said the clitoris was just like a tiny penis. It wasn't, really. Not the way she'd expected it to be. She'd seen a lot of penises (she has six brothers) and this wasn't it at all. It wasn't like in her dreams.
She did have a wank, though. It was different, like how she thought boys must do it, her hand fisted around her not-cock. Her hand was too dry and she kept it up long after it started to feel uncomfortable and raw, but nothing happened.
The second time she tried it she was twenty. That's when she was sharing a flat with Anjali and Gwen. Gwen left the Harpies the next year and it was just Ginny and Anjali, but she's pretty sure this was when all three of them were living there.
There were rumours about why she left the team, demands for a higher salary, a bad breakup with an unnamed teammate, all sorts of wild things Ginny couldn't imagine being true. But she pretty much cut ties with all of them then, so Ginny never found out what really happened. It wasn't til last year that she heard what really happened. It was when they had their monthly lunch, all of the old Harpies gang together, and Becky said, You know Gwen goes by Jason now, yeah? and Ginny had to excuse herself because she felt like she was going to sick up.
She hadn't known that then, of course. Maybe if she had, things would be different. But she hadn't. Gwen was just one of the girls, and they were all a bit butch, weren't they? Ginny didn't stand out when she cut her hair (It's shorter than Ron's! Mum had exclaimed, appalled) and they all did this breast-binding charm when they played. Even the girls on other teams did that.
Most of the other girls probably didn't leave the spell on all the time, but Ginny just said it was more comfortable that way, and no one asked questions. Of course she didn't use it when she saw Harry or her family or anyone like that.
But sometimes she'd strip down to nothing but jeans and look at herself in the full-length mirror on the back of her bedroom door. With her chest flat like this, her body looked more like Harry or Ron's than Hermione's. Her nipples were a little different, the areolas bigger. No hair except a faint line down from her belly button, barely visible, though she could feel it.
It was one of those times that she remembered the engorgement charm all those years back. She unzipped her jeans and pushed them down a little, Transfigured her plain white knickers into a pair of boxers. She kept her mind blank as she muttered the charm, kept her eyes on the mirror. If she just watched the mirror it wasn't her. It was someone else, some boy.
She had a better idea of what to do now; she'd given Harry handjobs before. She used a lubrication charm to slick her palm. Her wand clattered to the floor.
The boy pulled his cock from his pants, wrapped his slick hand around it and bit his lip. His other hand moved over his flat chest, just feeling it, feeling the absence of breasts. He widened his stance and rocked his hips, pushing into his fist until he came.
Years later, when she was pregnant the first time, she'd spend hours going through books of baby names. They'd already decided on James for a boy or Lily for a girl, but she read them anyway. Just looking, she told herself. Just in case Harry changed his mind. The name Ian settled in the back of her mind at some point, but not for the baby.
There are so many things she tries not to remember sometimes it feels like there's no room for anything else in her head at all.
It would have been okay. She could have stayed in that not-thinking-about-it space forever if not for the news about Gwen. If not for the letter from the headmaster in Al's first year, the letter explaining to parents that Muggleborn first-year David Murray is transgendered and on something called hormone blockers to delay puberty, that he will be assigned a room of his own to allow him privacy.
Ginny cries when she reads the letter. She sits at the kitchen table shaking. Harry is at work and Lily is at a friend's house, but even if they'd been there, she couldn't have explained if she'd tried.
As the year wears on, Al's letters mention David more and more. It's not like with Gwen, a passing mention mixed in with all the other gossip. She can't ignore it when every letter forces the memories to the surface.
When she sees the photo of Al and David grinning and waving, she remembers being Ron, remembers the not-so-nameless boy in the mirror. Her chest aches and her eyes sting, but Harry and Lily are there and she can't. She can't.
It's not fair. It's not fair that David can have this and she can't. It's not fair that she's forced to remember when she'd got so good at forgetting. It's not fair that being herself - himself - would ruin everything.
It just keeps building up inside her. She's lying there in the dark. Harry's not asleep yet, either. Maybe he thinks it's a comfortable silence. Maybe he doesn't know she's coming apart at the seams. "Harry?" she says, just to ease the pressure a little.
He rolls over, wriggles closer. His nose is cold against her cheek. He makes a questioning noise.
This is it. This is it. She opens her mouth. She says, "Never mind." Her breath hitches and he wraps his arms around her, kisses her temple.
"What is it?" He sounds worried. Of course he does.
She takes a shaky breath and says, "I don't want to hurt you."
He tenses, pulls back a little. "You're leaving me."
"No! No..." That's a lie. She might be. She might have to. "I don't want to."
"It's..." She doesn't even know where to start. "David."
"Al's mate. He's. I'm." She closes her eyes, tries again. "What if I was a man?"
There's a pause, and finally he says, "I'm not...I'm not gay."
"I'm not asking you to be. I just..." There's light enough to make out his face, to see his eyebrows drawn together, the corners of his mouth turned down. "I..."
"I love you," he says brokenly. "I love you, Gin."
"I know." He clings to her and she smoothes her hand down his back til he stops shaking. Her eyes are dry. "I love you, too."
They lie there in silence for what feels like forever. He kisses her collarbone, presses his face to her damp (and probably snotty) t-shirt.
"I don't know what to do." His voice is muffled, panicked. "I can't lose you."
"Then don't," she snaps, and pushes him back. He blinks at her. "I'm still me."
"Harry." Her voice breaks. "This is who I've always been."
"Why didn't you tell me before?" he whines.
She wants to shake him. She wants to yell, but that would wake Lily. "Do you think this was easy for me?" There's a lump in her throat. "Do you think it has ever been easy for me?"
"I didn't mean..." He reaches for her, runs his hand down her arm and pulls her close again. His lips move against her cheek, his voice so quiet she can barely make out the words. "Tell me what to do."
"Love me? Even when-"
"Yes. Yeah, of course," he says, his arms tightening around her. "Of course."
Maybe they can do this.