Harry sighed as he watched Ginny laugh with Neville.
really done it this time. He could tell from the tension in her back
and the way her laughter rang out jarringly sharply that she was beyond
irritated with him. He would even go so far as to say that she was
furious, and apparently, he wasn’t the only one who had noticed.
had a slightly panicked expression on his face and kept glancing over
Ginny’s shoulder at Harry as if desperately hoping that someone would
explain what was happening. Harry grimaced and shot the other boy what
he hoped was an apologetic look but remained where he was. Memories of
his and Ginny’s previous altercations that day were still fresh in his
mind, and though Harry wasn’t the best when it came to dealing with
girls, he wasn’t stupid either.
Ginny Weasley wanted nothing to do with him at that moment.
sat down next to him. From the impatient foot tapping and the pointed
throat clearing, he knew without having to look that it was Hermione.
“What did you do this time?” she demanded with preamble.
Harry didn’t see any point in lying. Hermione knew him too well. “I forgot what day it is today.”
“You forgot what – oh, Harry!” she gasped, drawing herself up and peering at him in a disappointed manner. “How could you?” Disapproval shone from every part of her being.
Her tone nettled him; it wasn’t like he’d forgotten on purpose! “I’ve had a lot on my mind recently.”
Hermione narrowed her eyes. “Is that what you told Ginny?”
At the mention of his girlfriend, Harry stiffened. “I’ve … I’ve had extra training,” he claimed defensively.
Hermione’s disapproving look deepened and Harry searched around for something to satisfy her.
“And Quidditch practices!”
“Oh really, Harry, that’s no excuse,” she scolded.
“I’ve been taking extra classes with Dumbledore,” Harry pointed out. “Which means I have more work to do than you.”
“Well, maybe more than Ron, but certainly not more than me –“
on top of all that I’ve been trying to think of a way to
single-handedly defeat an immortal Dark Lord!” Harry finished quickly,
folding his arms across his chest and hoping his words didn’t sound as
weak to her as they did to him.
He was horrified when Hermione reached across and patted his arm comfortingly. “I know Harry,” she said sympathetically. “I know all that, but … Harry it is Valentine’s Day.”
And with those few simple words, she reduced his protests to mud.
know,” Harry admitted glumly, abandoning his defensive position, his
eyes once again returning to the distant figure of his girlfriend, who
was still chattering maniacally to a wild-eyed Neville.
Hermione followed his gaze. “I’m guessing Ginny didn’t take it very well.”
furious with me.” Harry slumped lower in his chair as if he was
attempting to burrow into the upholstery. “Says I’m a lousy boyfriend.”
“Well what did you expect?” Hermione exclaimed. “Honestly, Harry! Sometimes you’re clueless!”
Hermione, you’re really making me feel better,” he said sarcastically,
glowering at her. She arched her eyebrows in a way so reminiscent of
his girlfriend’s mother that Harry shivered. What was it about the
subjects of love and Valentine’s Day that turned nice, ordinary witches
into carbon copies of Mrs Weasley?
“I’m not here to make you feel better, Harry,” Hermione said primly, folding her hands in her lap.
“Then what are you here for?” Harry growled ungraciously.
“I’m here to help you fix things with Ginny.”
“What – why?” Harry was baffled at Hermione’s abrupt turnaround.
She sighed, suddenly looking incredibly world-weary. “Because as much as I love my boyfriend, I’m under no illusions.”
“Wait a minute, what does Ron have to do with any of this?”
Hermione carried on as if he hadn’t spoken. “When he finds out that you’ve upset Ginny, he’s
going to get angry and you two are going to have a fight. The last
place I want to spend Valentine’s Day is the Hospital Wing.” She pursed
her lips thoughtfully. “Frankly I’d rather Ron stayed in one piece
today, if you know what I mean.”
Even Harry wasn’t that dense. “Please, Hermione, don’t spell it out.” He groped around for some kind of distraction. “Hey, are you saying you think I can take Ron in a fight?”
look she gave him was so withering that Harry felt like he was back at
Privet Drive, with Aunt Petunia scowling down her bony nose at him.
“Harry, I think there are more important matters at hand here than your
fragile ego. Like your relationship with Ginny, for instance?”
Once again, Harry’s eyes sought her across the common room, alighting
on the familiar shock of red-gold hair that he’d associated with Ginny
since they’d met. The hair was such a part of Ginny, such a trademark
of the person she’d become.
Harry loved Ginny’s hair.
He loved Ginny.
he was on the verge of stuffing everything up again. Maybe it was about
time he swallowed his pride and accepted Hermione’s help. After all, it
wasn’t as if he’d pushed it away before. Surviving seven years of
school proved that.
“Hermione … I need your help.”
She sniffed. “Took you long enough to work that out.”
Ginny scowled as she watched Harry talking to Hermione.
really done it this time. She couldn’t remember ever feeling so
furiously angry with him – not in all the time that they had been
dating. Harry had done stupid things before; all of her boyfriends had,
but nothing, nothing of this magnitude.
She had tried
to lose herself in the conversation with Neville, she really had. But
the subject of Herbology didn’t particularly interest her at the best
of times, and there was a nervous quality to Neville’s speech that
suggested he knew something was wrong. He also kept darting hesitant
glances over her shoulder and she knew he was looking at Harry.
Not that she was paying any attention to her good-for-nothing boyfriend. And she certainly wasn’t
watching him; no, she was talking quite happily to Neville. Her back
was to Harry for goodness sake! Was it her fault that the combination
of the darkness outside, the light of the room and an ill-fated window
meant that she could see every detail, every nuance of her boyfriend’s
Ginny tore her eyes away from Harry’s reflection and
focused on her flagging conversation. Maybe it was time she laughed
again. Harry had looked so glum the last time she’d laughed. Now if
only Neville would say something funny …
“Um, Ginny, you know I love talking to you, but Luna’s waiting for me and –“
his words, Ginny threw back her head and laughed as if he’d just
cracked the best joke she’d ever heard. Neville took a step back,
looking slightly scared and Ginny winced inwardly as her voice cracked
on the highest peal.
“Er … Ginny? Are you okay?”
Harry was looking at her! In fact, so was much of the common room, but Ginny pushed that thought aside. “Oh Neville, that was so funny!” she cried, swaying against him as if she were weak at the knees.
back away again until he banged into the window, dislodging one of the
bright pink, singing cherubs that adorned the common room. The winged
baby’s merry song broke off abruptly and it began squalling in a
high-pitched voice, flapping its wings furiously and darting into
Neville’s face. The boy tried to push the cherub away and ended up
stumbling backwards over a nearby chair and falling face first into the
lap of a nearby seventh year Gryffindor, who squealed and shoved him
off onto the floor.
As embarrassed as Ginny was for Neville,
she was actually grateful for his natural clumsiness. In the mayhem
that ensued, the attention of the common room was diverted and Ginny
was finally able to stop laughing.
She was just about
regaining her composure when her gaze inevitably drifted across the
common room and locked onto a pair of green eyes behind thin black
frames. The rest of the room seemed to freeze as they stared at one
another. In that moment, Ginny felt like she could forgive Harry his
crime, if only to make things right between them again. Forgetting
Valentine’s Day wasn’t that bad, surely?
Then, the outraged cherub that Neville had disturbed happened to fly past Ginny’s ear, singing its shrill
song. She ducked out of its way and the moment with Harry was broken.
All of the anger she’d been storing up over the day flooded back to her
and it was all she could to stop herself from marching across the room
and giving him a piece of her mind.
Ginny stared blackly
around the common room, taking in the sickly pink trimmings, giant
hearts and cuddling couples. Suddenly she was sick to death of love and
Valentine’s Day. The last straw was when Harry rose and started heading
across the common room towards her. Without even looking at him, she
turned and stamped up the stairs towards her dormitory, slamming the
door as hard as she could behind him.
stared hopelessly after Ginny as she fled up the stairs. A hand on his
shoulder showed that Hermione had followed him across the common room.
“Do you want me to go and talk to her?”
sighed, knowing there was a big difference between the answer he wanted
to give and the right one. “No … this is my problem. Besides, shouldn’t
you be with Ron?” Harry realised he hadn’t seen his best friend for
some time. “Where is he anyway?”
Hermione’s cheeks coloured and she coughed. “I’m meeting him later.”
“Hermione, it’s almost twelve – oh.” Comprehension dawned on Harry a couple of seconds too late.
was an awkward pause and then Hermione cleared her throat. “Will you be
able to sort things out with Ginny?” she asked in a business like
Harry suddenly wanted to be anywhere but with Hermione. There were some things he really didn’t want to know about his best friends. “I’ll be fine,” he assured her hurriedly. “I have your advice.”
“I know,” Hermione paused, and gave him a thoughtful look. “Just try not to muck up this time Harry.”
Harry was offended. “I’m not that bad a boyfriend!”
Her expression was frank. “Harry – you forgot Valentine’s Day.”
Ginny awoke the next morning, she lay still for several long minutes,
staring dreamily up at the canopy of her bed and thinking about
nothing. Slowly she became aware that a whispered conversation was
going on outside of her curtains and she rolled over, her interest
“I just don’t understand – how did it get there?”
“Was it there last night?”
Ginny frowned. That sounded like two of her roommates Anna and Celine but what on earth were they talking about?
“Maybe … I’m not sure.”
“What is it?”
That was Rose, another roommate. The situation must have been out of
the ordinary for Rose to take interest; she was normally so reserved.
“Some kind of …” there was a rustling noise and then a shriek of fright. “It’s poking me!”
“It’s alive?” Anna demanded.
Ginny sat up and poked her head through her curtains, revealing a very
strange scene unfolding in the middle of the dormitory. Three of her
roommates were kneeling in the middle of the floor with their backs to
her, while a fourth quickly shut the door with a soft thump.
“What are you doing Yvonne?”
girl who had shut the door put a finger over her lips. “Shush – do you
want to the whole of Gryffindor to be woken by Celine’s screaming?”
“I did not scream!”
“Besides,” Yvonne continued blithely, “we don’t want it to escape, do we?”
“Then it is alive.” Dark-haired Anna stared at something Ginny couldn’t see, a worried frown on her face.
“Who’s it addressed to?”
girls shared a reluctant look before Yvonne sighed and pushed her way
forward, claiming the object from the ground. “Let’s have a look … hey,
there is a tag here. It says … it’s for Ginny!”
Ginny frowned and tried to angle herself so that she could see more of
the package in Yvonne’s arms. The others still hadn’t noticed that she
was awake, to intent upon the strange object that had somehow appeared
in their dormitory.
“Who would’ve sent it to her?”
The blonde looked affronted. “I only meant … well it’s a bit strange, isn’t it?”
“Does it say who it’s from?” Rose asked quietly, always the sensible one.
inspected the package. “Nope, nothing here. Just the note saying it’s
for Ginny.” She tensed suddenly and abruptly held the package away from
her. “It’s moving again!”
Ginny decided that she had heard
enough. Curiosity over-rode any residual uncertainty about the nature
and origin of the package and she pulled the curtains back noisily,
announcing her awakened state to the room.
reactions were comical. They all looked like guilty children caught
with their hands in the cookie jar, aside from Rose who looked as
serene and composed as always.
“Ginny!” Yvonne exclaimed. “We didn’t think you were awake!”
“Obviously.” Ginny gave the package a pointed look, barely being able to hide her smile. “Is that for me?”
“What? Oh – yes!” Yvonne thrust the package at her and stepped back, watching warily.
deposited the unusual package on her bed and regarded it thoughtfully.
In truth, it wasn’t really a package; in fact the underside of it was
more like some kind of basket. The whole thing was done up in delicate
wrapping paper of a glossy golden hue and a bright red bow stood out on
top. Studying it more closely, Ginny noticed a number of tiny holes in
the paper, as if someone had stabbed something through it.
Then the package shook.
“Are you going to open it?” Anna asked after a pause.
bit her lip. While she was burning with curiosity to find out what was
inside the package, too many years spent living with Fred and George
had made her cautious of mysterious packages, particularly ones that
“Yes,” Ginny replied, more confidently than she felt.
After the events of the previous day, the last thing she needed was
someone to pull a prank on her.
Her friends watched with bated
breath as Ginny slowly began to unpick the wrapping of the gift. First
came the red bow, which Ginny pulled off and placed carefully on the
bed. Then she turned her attention to the golden wrapping paper; she
carefully worked her nail into one of the small holes and began tearing
slowly, almost reluctant to reveal what was hidden inside.
friends moved onto the bed, taking seats alongside her as she tore the
remainder of the wrapping paper away from the basket and revealed what
was inside at last.
Ginny stared down at
the basket in frank amazement. Sitting docilely in the bottom, with her
tail curled around her paws was a coal black kitten. She stared up at
Ginny with unblinking eyes the colour of emeralds and as the girl’s
watched, her little pink mouth opened and she yawned daintily.
gorgeous!” Celine squealed, swooping down on the kitten and petting the
soft fur of her head. The kitten’s ears twitched but her piercing green
eyes remained fixed on Ginny. Then, cool as you like, the kitten rose
to her feet, stretched, jumped out of the basket and onto the bed. Once
free of her confines, she made a beeline for the startled Ginny,
climbed onto her lap and curled up into a ball, her small pink nose
disappearing under the fur of her tail.
Ginny stared down at the kitten, completely speechless.
“Wow,” Rose murmured, effectively summing up what everyone was feeling.
“Ginny,” Yvonne spoke in hushed tone, “what are you going to call her?”
Ginny had been distracted by something else. Now that the kitten’s head
was bent, she could see a small piece of white card that was attached
to a piece of string and tied around the animal’s neck. Intrigued,
Ginny reached down and flipped it over, her eyes taking in the message
scrawled on the back.
Hope this doesn’t come too late.
P.S. I’ll be in the usual place if you want to talk
note was so simple and yet so perfectly Harry that Ginny found herself
grinning like a fool. She tried to wipe the expression off her face;
she tried to hold onto her anger, but somehow, with his note in her
hand and the kitten purring away in her lap, she couldn’t manage it.
didn’t mean that she had forgiven him, far from it. She was still
furious that he had forgotten Valentine’s Day and that all he’d had to
offer in explanation had been pathetic excuses. The gift of the kitten,
while thoughtful and lovely, only went a little way to making up for
his discretions. Harry Potter still had a lot of ground to make up
before things would be back to normal between them.
still hadn’t answered Yvonne’s question. Ginny smiled down at the
kitten, the green eyes and black fur reminding her of someone else. She
wondered if that’s why he’d chosen this particular kitten, but knowing
Harry it was probably just coincidence.
“I haven’t decided yet. I have to talk to Har – I have to see someone first.”
Anna gave her a knowing look. “You’re not going to forgive him are you?”
pulled a face, wishing that Anna wasn’t quite so adept at
second-guessing her. “Of course not! He’s got a long way to go before
“You’re not fooling any of us, Gin.”
shut up,” Ginny grumbled. “And look after my cat. I’ve got somewhere
else to be.” Ginny picked up the kitten and dumped her unceremoniously
in Anna’s lap before sweeping out of the room with a mysterious smile
on her face.
Since Harry had
finally got around to asking Ginny out, during the Christmas holidays
of his sixth year and her fifth, they’d made it a habit to meet once
every few days from some private time, away from the hectic life of the
Gryffindor common room. It was there, in their spot on the edge of the
lake, that Harry had been waiting for Ginny since breakfast.
“I got your message.”
He started and looked up, his hand half-withdrawing his wand from inside his robes before he realised who it was.
he breathed, looking relieved. His relief quickly change to anxiety as
he took in Ginny’s folded arms, erect posture and no-nonsense
expression. He swallowed uncomfortably and ran a hand through his dark
hair, trying to tame it. “Do you want to sit down?”
his gaze for several long moments and then finally settled down beside
him on the grass without speaking. They gazed out over the lake,
watching as the giant squid emerged from the depths, blew a vast spout
of water in the air and then submerged again, but not a word passed
Harry shifted awkwardly on the hard ground,
toying with a piece of grass and desperately trying to think of
something to say to break the heavy silence. Before Ginny had arrived
he’d been composing apology after apology in his mind, struggling to
find the right words to put across what he was feeling. Now that she
was here, all of his internal eloquence had left him and he could only
think of one thing to say.
“Did you get my present?”
There was a brief pause. “It was very nice of you.”
was hardly the response that Harry had been hoping for. He turned to
look at Ginny but her gaze remained firmly fixed on the lake and all
Harry could see was her profile. He drank in the cream of her skin and
the fire of her hair, and wanted nothing more than to put his arm
around her and hold her closely. Unfortunately the events of the
previous day stood between them like an invisible barrier that Harry
was quite sure how to break. He had to apologise to be sure, but was
that going to be enough this time?
“I thought you’d like her,” he continued lamely. “Hermione got her for me. From Diagon Alley. She flooed you see, and then I flew up to your room and …”
“She’s lovely.” Ginny’s voice was distant and Harry felt the situation slipping away from him.
“Yeah, I just thought I should … yeah …” Harry trailed off miserably and they fell back into silence again.
piece of grass was becoming clammy in his hand and Harry released it,
watching as it fell from his fingers to the ground below. Ginny shifted
her weight beside him and he glanced up at her but her eyes were still
stubbornly fixed on the lake. Her mouth was drawn into a tight line and
Harry got the feeling that the silence wasn’t going to last for that
much longer. Whatever else Ginny might have been, at heart she was a
Weasley and she had inherited her mother’s famous temper.
Harry braced himself. “Yes?”
“I hope you don’t think the kitten changes anything between us.”
“Um, well actually – “
As soon as he’d expressed his uncertainty, Harry knew he’d said the wrong thing. Ginny’s eyes flashed and she turned on him.
“You did, didn’t you?”
Harry sighed inwardly, recognising that he was done for.
Ginny was incensed. “I can’t believe you honestly thought you could buy me
off! When you haven’t even apologised for the embarrassment of
yesterday!” She rose to her feet, small hands flying to her hips. “I
don’t believe you!”
“Now wait a minute.” It was Harry’s turn to stand and he met her glare for glare. “I did apologise!”
“No Harry, you didn’t. You just fed me a pack of excuses, like you always do.”
He didn’t like her tone. “Well, if I’m so bad then what are you still doing here?”
narrowed her eyes. “You know what? I really don’t know.” Fury radiating
from every nerve of her body, she turned and made to stalk past him.
that moment, Harry panicked. Events were spiralling out of control and
this was the last thing he’d wanted. The kitten had been meant to make
Ginny happy, not upset her even further.
Somehow he was getting the impression that this outburst had to do with more than just the Valentine’s Day that wasn’t.
thinking he reached out and caught her arm. Ginny whirled back around
to face him, anger burning in her eyes and Harry released her
instantly, recognising the danger in her expression.
“Ginny … please don’t go.” He spoke quickly, voice tense.
She stared at him, eyes as hard as stone. “Why should I stay?”
– because …” Harry cast about desperately for something that he could
say to make everything right again. A hundred different words swam
through his mind but somehow, none of them fit. All he could see was
Ginny’s disappointed face and all he could think about was how he was
directly responsible for that expression.
Her look quickly
turned to one of disgust as he floundered. “You can’t even say it, can
you? God, I can’t believe I almost forgave you this morning!”
And then he had it. “Ginny –“
“No!” She cut him off sharply, patience at an end. “I’m sick of this Harry. Sick of it. It’s always the same! You’re a damn lousy boyfriend and do you know what? I’ve had enough!”
“Gin, if you’ll just let me speak – “
mean, what are we doing here? We fight, we make up. Fight and make up.
If this is what’s it’s going to be like, then I don’t think I want to
do this anymore
“Ginny – I’m sorry!” Harry got the words out
finally, and he found himself breathing so hard that he felt like he’d
run a marathon.
Ginny broke off mid-tirade and froze, her large eyes searching his face. “You’re just saying that,” she accused after a pause.
shook his head firmly, knowing that he was finally on the right road.
He wasn’t going to stuff it up now. “No, I mean it. And you’re right;
everything you said. I am a lousy boyfriend. I do constantly
make pathetic excuses and I you’ve every right to be angry with me. But
Ginny …” Why was it so difficult to say? Harry pressed on manfully.
“Ginny I … I love you. I really do. And I know I don’t deserve you. I
know that forgetting Valentine’s Day was terrible. But, to be fair, I
did have all this work and …” he trailed and shook his head. “You know
what? I don’t have an excuse. I simply forgot. I guess … I guess I
don’t have a very good head for dates,” he joked weakly.
long silence followed his impassioned, if halting, speech. Harry
studied the toes of his trainers as they poked out from under his robe
and tried not to look at Ginny. He took the fact that she hadn’t simply
turned and walked away from him as a good sign, but her continued
silence was beginning to worry him.
Finally, he could stand it
no longer. He raised his head to find that Ginny was studying him, a
mysterious little smile on her face.
“You know, Harry,” she
said in a matter-of-fact tone, “if you’d just said that at the start
then we could have saved ourselves a great deal of trouble.”
blinked at her, dumbfounded by her sudden calm. Where had the rabid
tiger gone who had just been tearing into him? “W-what?” he spluttered
“That you’re sorry. That was all I was waiting for.”
continued to stare blankly at her, unable to comprehend her rapid
change of mood. “Then you’re not angry?” he asked finally, when the
power of speech returned to him.
“Of course not!” Ginny laughed and reaching out, she patted his cheek fondly. “I just wanted you to say the words, that’s all.”
Harry shook his head wordlessly. No matter how many years he lived, he was never going to understand women. Ron was right; it was like they were a completely different species!
“Honestly, why do men always have to do things the hard way?” Ginny’s tone was long suffering.
And they spoke a different language as well.
“How was I supposed to know?” Harry complained, feeling rather put out with the whole situation. She knew how bad he was at Divination! “You could have told me –“ His words were cut off when Ginny placed a slim finger across his lips.
didn’t think I was going to make this easy for you, did you?” Ginny
said archly, stepping closer to him and running her fingers over the
light stubble on his chin. “Not after what you put me through
Harry thought it prudent not to reply to Ginny’s
last comment, partly because he couldn’t think of anything to say that
would satisfy her, and partly because her finger had returned to its
original position on his lips.
“And do you know what, Harry?”
was mesmerised by the sultry sound of her voice and the pressure of her
finger against his lips. He couldn’t take his eyes off it and was in
serious danger of becoming permanently cross-eyed.
“I think there’s something more I’m owed – aside from your … apology.” Ginny’s finger finally left his lips and walked a path along his jaw, under his ear, until it settled at the nape of his neck.
I like to call it … revenge.” The fingers on the back of his neck were
joined by others and suddenly, Harry realised his face was very close
to that of his girlfriend’s. Ginny’s were innocently wide as she
pressed her body against his and wiggled her hips suggestively. Harry’s
cheeks suffused with colour and she smiled wickedly. With their lips
barely a centimetre apart, she purred, “Do you like it?”
“It’s very – “ Harry voice squeaked uncomfortably and he coughed and clear his throat. “It’s very … very n-nice …”
breathed Ginny, her fingers toying with the hair at the base of Harry’s
neck, sending shivers down his spine. “It is, isn’t it?” She licked her
lips suggestively and Harry gulped, his Adam’s apple bobbing. He
shifted his weight forward expectantly; ready to drown in the liquid
chocolate orbs of his girlfriend’s eyes.
“Shame that you won’t be getting any of it.”
Harry’s lips closed on empty air and his arms flailed as he was suddenly forced to fight for balance. “What? Gin –?“
“This, my dear Harry,” she cooed, twirling a lock of hair around her finger coyly, “is payback.”
And before he could say anything more, she turned and sashayed away,
her hips swinging, leaving a tinkling laughter in her wake.
regained his footing and stared after her hungrily, willing parts of
his body to relax. His mouth was as dry as a desert, his face was
burning and he couldn’t get the image of Ginny’s swaying form out of
his mind. His girlfriend, he realised mournfully, was far more devious
than he had given her credit for. But her cruel methods had worked;
Harry was never going to forget Valentine’s Day again. It
didn’t matter what else was going on at the time, be it the pressure of
NEWT lessons or Voldemort attacking, from now on, Harry wasn’t going to
forget the significance of February 14th.
Even he wasn’t stupid enough to incur the wrath of Ginny Weasley for a second time.