Harry hung his head is painful resignation, as did most of those
present in the Gryffindor Common Room that evening. Ron and Hermione
had just launched into another row and it promised to be a grand one.
"If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: it's S.P.E.W, Ronald, not SPEW!" Hermione screamed at the top of her lungs.
if I've heard it once then I've heard it a thousand times!" countered
Ron at an equally uncomfortable volume. "The thing is SPEW is a lot more appropriate since that is what everyone in hearing wants to do whenever you start spewing that rubbish!"
looked over and saw Ginny sitting in a chair with her hands pressed
firmly over her ears, pushing her fiery hair up into an adorable bunch
that Harry wanted to...
"I'm just sick to death of hearing you
spout on about how house-elves deserve to be free when they are doing
exactly what they want to do in the first place!"
"Oh," Hermione hollered, "so you think they deserve to be slaves then?"
"No! They deserve to be able to choose how they want to live and they don't want to have clothes!"
"But if they only understood..."
"You mean that if you could only cram your ideals down their throats!"
The sound of Hermione's hand on Ron's cheek resounded through the room
and everything fell totally silent until the sound of the Fat Lady's
portrait slamming shut behind Hermione broke the spell. Ron shook his
head, the imprint of Hermione's hand still glowing on his cheek, and
muttered, "Bloody insane, I tell you," as he fled up the stairs to the
Ginny, once she was certain that the
fireworks were indeed over, glanced at Harry and said, "You've got to
do something about those two. They're driving the whole house mad."
Harry shrugged his shoulders helplessly and responded, "What am I supposed to do?"
Bell, who had been trying to work up some new Quidditch plays for the
Gryffindor team when Ron and Hermione started screaming at each other,
leaned over the back of her chair and glared at him, "Get them to start
snogging and stop fighting!"
"But how?" he asked her plaintively.
entire population of Gryffindor Tower turned to Harry as one and
shouted, "We don't care how you do it, just do it!" Harry sat there
slack-jawed as everyone returned to their previous pursuits.
"What you need is a plan," Ginny leaned in and suggested to him conspiratorially.
nodded; he knew that the nearly explosive tension between his two best
friends was being vented at the entire house. Ron and Hermione fancied
each other silly but for some reason they refused to admit it. And he
had just been given the task of getting them to overcome that hurdle.
"D'you got one?" he asked her hopefully.
Ginny shook her head sadly. "Not yet, but I'm sure we could work one out."
said Harry, "we've got the whole weekend to brainstorm. Maybe we can
come up with something? We'll start first thing in the morning."
nodded her head and then, as if a thought just struck her, shook it.
"It's a Hogsmeade weekend," she said, "and I've some errands to run in
Harry thought for a second. "We could go
together, if you'd like?" he said suddenly. "You could get your errands
done, and then we could have some lunch and try to hatch a plan." He
jerked a thumb over his shoulder in the direction of the boy's dorms.
"This has gone on long enough."
Ginny looked surprised for a
second and then her mouth spread into a familiar, familial grin. "OK,
that should be fun." That said, she scooped up her things and
disappeared up the girl's stairs leaving Harry to try to think of some
way he could persuade Ron and Hermione to stop fighting long enough to
admit how they felt about each other.
The next morning, after
a quick breakfast and a long wait in line before Filch checked off
their names and allowed them out of the castle, Harry and Ginny headed
off to the village of Hogsmeade together. Just after they passed
between the statues of the giant winged boars that marked the entrance
to the school grounds, Ginny tripped over a loose stone and Harry
quickly reached out and grabbed her to keep her from falling.
"Are you all right, Gin?" he asked, concerned. "You didn't twist your ankle or anything, did you?"
held on to Harry's arm for support as she gingerly placed her weight on
the ankle and began to walk again. "No, it seems to be fine. Just a
stumble, I suppose. Good thing you caught me, though."
looked down at her smiling face and answered, "Must be the Quidditch.
It's nice to know that I'm good for something other then just catching
the Snitch." Ginny patted his arm and then slipped hers through his
elbow for support as they continued to stroll towards the village.
was a crisp fall day, not cold enough to drive people inside, but just
right for a comfortable walk and that is what they did. Harry and Ginny
chatted lightly as they passed by Zonko's and Honeyduke's and down a
narrow lane where Harry had never been before. Ginny brought them to a
halt outside a small shop and finally let go of Harry's arm.
"Well, why don't you wait out here while I pick up a few things? I won't be long."
Harry shrugged lightly and replied, "Or I could go in with you. Maybe I could help you pick out something?"
Ginny's eyes shot open as she gawped at him. "Do you really want to come in and browse?" she asked him with a laugh.
finally looked up at the sign above the shop. 'Fantastic Foundations'
it read and, looking at the displays of various ladies' undergarments
in the window, Harry knew, as much as he might want to, he'd never have
enough Gryffindor courage to go in there alone, much less with a girl.
watched with delight as realization spread across Harry's cheeks. Not
willing to pass up such a golden opportunity to take the mickey out of
him, she launched on. "Well, it's fine by me. I could try on a few
things and you could tell me what you think?"
She laughed as
Harry's face turned a full Weasley red and dashed into the shop before
Harry could respond. "Maybe I'll just make my own choices then, eh?"
she called over her shoulder.
Harry crossed the street to
wait, so that any stray passers-by didn't think he was deliberately
hanging about in front of the other shop, and slowly felt the heat
leaving his face. After about twenty minutes of staring at the window
and imagining what sort of things Ginny might be buying, Harry saw her
leaving the shop carrying a small pink and white striped bag; it seemed
too small to be holding much and that thought sent the flush straight
back to Harry's cheeks.
"All done there, Ginny?" Harry asked in slightly too high a voice.
"All set," she answered brightly. "Would you like to see?"
reached into her bag and Harry caught the briefest glimpse of something
pink and lacy before he turned his head away and began to examine the
shutters across the way in minute detail. Ginny laughed brightly at his
discomfort and this caused Harry to snap his head around just in time
for it to impact with a lamp post that he hadn't seen directly in front
of him. With a thud he landed on his backside in the lane and Ginny
gasped and dropped to her knees beside him.
"Oh, are you all
right, Harry? You didn't hurt yourself, did you?" Ginny asked him,
running her fingers over his face and scalp in a search for injuries.
Harry reset his glasses onto the bridge of his nose and brushed off the front of his robes as they stood up again.
harm done... I think," he told her with a sheepish grin. She smiled
back and looped her arm back through his - this time to support him.
well, well, what do we have here?" came a familiar and oh-so-unwelcome
drawl from behind them. "Don't tell me that little Potty is finally
falling for the Weaslette?"
The gorilla-like grunting that
passed for laughter told the pair that Crabbe and Goyle were
accompanying Malfoy, as usual. Harry spun around to face them, his
fingers flexing in anticipation of drawing his wand. Draco smirked as
Crabbe stepped in front of him to act as his human shield.
"Don't you think you're just a bit outnumbered, Scarhead?" Malfoy sneered.
cracked his knuckles threateningly as he tried to smirk. Harry, having
learned his lessons in brawling from his cousin Dudley the hard way,
didn't hesitate. He took a long step forward, towards Crabbe, and threw
a fast overhand right straight into the other boy's chin before the
dolt could even register that the fight had begun. Crabbe collapsed in
a heap. Draco's eyes flashed to his fallen bodyguard and his hand
whipped inside his robes to get to his wand. He stopped just as quickly
and his eyes grew to the size of sickles as he stared over Harry's
shoulder. From the corner of his eye Harry noticed the tip of Ginny's
wand pointing at the Slytherins and he just knew what hex was on the
tip of her tongue.
Malfoy quickly began to back up, almost
tripping over Goyle in the process. "Don't think you're going to get
away with this," he snarled, but the threat was significantly lessened
by the fact that he was retreating as he spoke.
"Just sod off, Malfoy, and leave us be," Harry shot at his back.
and Ginny turned and walked in the opposite direction, their steps taut
and quick. As they got back onto the main street of the village, they
looked at each other, the tension falling away from them, and began to
"You pack quite a punch there, Potter!" Ginny said, impressed. "I wouldn't have thought you had it in you."
snorted a laugh. "Well, I've been on the receiving end of them often
enough that I had to have picked up something along the way." Ginny
knew that Hermione would be shocked at this revelation, but Ginny
herself had grown up with six older brothers and she knew that brawling
was only to be expected among any group of boys and was nothing to get
"You hungry?" Harry asked.
"Sure," Ginny replied lightly. "Where do you want to go? There's always Madame Puddifoot's?"
Harry turned on her with a look of revulsion on his face. "Have you ever been there?" he asked.
"Once," she answered, adding quietly, "with Michael."
"And did you like it?"
Ginny shrugged. "Not particularly."
sighed his relief. "That's good; I hated it." He gave an involuntary
shudder at the memory of his one time there with Cho, his one and only
date with her and its disastrous conclusion. "How about The Three
"Okay by me," Ginny answered amicably and she grabbed his hand and headed them off.
pub was crowded and Harry steered them to a small table near a corner
by the front windows. He pulled out a chair for her and asked her what
she wanted to eat as she sat.
"Whatever you're having will be fine," she answered. "And a butterbeer!"
nodded as he made his way over to the bar to place their order and get
their drinks. In a minute he was back with two tankards of the steaming
brew and took his seat.
Wiping the foam from his mouth with a
napkin he broached the subject he was loath to discuss. "So, d'you have
any idea what we can do about those two?"
Ginny shook her
head. "Nope. That is if you discount the idea of locking them in a
cupboard until one of them is dead or Hermione's preggers."
Harry grinned. "Don't you reckon it would be Ron?"
"Ron get pregnant?!" Ginny practically screamed.
hastily covered his mouth to prevent himself from spewing butterbeer
all over Ginny's robes. "No! I meant him being the one to get killed.
Although thinking about it, the idea of him getting knocked up would be
Ginny slapped his hand and giggled. "Yeah, I can just see the rest of you blokes being really sympathetic about his morning sickness."
lapsed into companionable silence as their lunches came and they dug
into the food while it was still warm. His sandwich gone, Harry started
munching on his chips. Ginny watched as he picked up a fork and began
to critically examine it. Harry ran his fingers over the curves in the
handle and grasping it firmly he bent it slightly, putting a little
less curve in the center and adding a reverse bend at the end. He
waggled it between his fingers, as if judging how well it would fly,
then placed it flat on the table in front of him. Ginny looked at him
quizzically as he picked up a chip and placed it carefully onto the end
of the fork, in the bit of reverse bend he had put there. Harry caught
her eye and gave her a mischievous wink then slapped his hand down on
the tines of the fork causing the bit of chip to fly up into the air.
Ginny gawped as it flew upwards and then began to fall. Harry was
watching it intently until, like lightning, he snapped his head out and
caught the morsel in his mouth. His cheeks spread into a broad smirk as
he chewed and swallowed.
Ginny laughed for a full minute at
his antics and then said between gasps for breath, "You are quite the
talented fellow, Mister Potter!"
Harry gave her a half bow and replied, "Anything to please a lovely lady."
smirked a bit herself then picked up her spoon and began to polish it
with her napkin. After she was satisfied with it, she rubbed the tip of
her nose with the napkin as well. Then huffing her breath three times
into the bowl of the spoon, she pressed it to her nose and held it
there a moment. Harry stared as she slowly drew her hand away and left
the spoon hanging from the end of her nose with no visible support.
Harry laughed out loud as the spoon just hung there at the end of
Ginny's nose as she slowly stood and turned around in a circle to let
the entire pub see her feat. Sitting down again she burst out in
laughter of her own, causing the spoon to slip and fall into her lap.
two grinned at each other happily for a moment until the sound of
snarky laughter was heard from somewhere over to their right. Harry
turned and saw Draco Malfoy sitting there laughing derisively as he
whispered a surely insulting comment to his companions. Ginny flushed
in embarrassment and Harry turned cold. Taking his fork-cum-catapult
and pointing it in a new direction, Harry snatched up another chip and
drenched it in gravy before placing it at the very end of the fork.
Ginny was about to shake her head 'no' when Harry brought his hand down
sharply on the other end of the fork sending the spud missile sailing
through the air. It landed with a splat in the bowl of soup Malfoy was
eating and splashed broth over the front of his robes.
watched as a vicious snarl crossed Draco's face and saw from the corner
of her eye that determined look in Harry's eyes that told her that he
wasn't about to back down. She could tell that this was going to end in
a huge fight and all of them would likely be getting into trouble.
Suddenly, a group of Ravenclaws that were sitting at the table in the
middle of the DMZ stood to leave. Ginny took advantage of the
opportunity and grabbed Harry's hand and pulled him to the rear of the
pub. Harry caught on to what she intended and helped bull them through
the crowd. He pushed open the swinging doors that led to the kitchens
and thrust her through.
The cook, a small but burly looking
fellow lifted a heavy frying pan threateningly but Harry held up his
hands in supplication. "Back door?" Harry asked quickly. The cook waved
with the pan in the general direction and off they went again.
Ginny through the door and into the alleyway, Harry closed the door
behind them and led them off away from the pub at a trot. When they had
put several shops between them and the Three Broomsticks with no sign
of pursuit, Harry stopped and looked at her. Ginny returned his gaze.
His hair was more disheveled than usual and his face carried a broad
grin; she couldn't help but grin back.
"Smart idea," he said.
"I was more than willing to hex that arrogant prat but I would hate to
have Madam Rosmerta ban us from the pub for fighting. Sirius told me a
story about this one time he and Dad got tossed by her and it took them
two years and five pounds of Honeyduke's best chocolates to get her to
let them back in again." They both laughed at the thought but then
Ginny noticed the cloud beginning to cross over Harry's eyes again at
the thought of his late godfather; she took quick action to avert it.
then," she said brightly. "I had finished eating anyways. Let's go for
a walk." Taking his hand she led him without protest out of the village
and towards the Shrieking Shack.
The sun shone brightly on the
old cottage and the late fall sod still held onto verdant green life.
Gables and hips jutted out from the main structure in such a seemingly
haphazard way that it had to be held together as much by magic as by
nails. Over the years many of the roof slates had cracked and fallen
away, and the weathered grey shingles hung askew. At one time it had
been a much cheerier place, perhaps some young growing family had made
it a home. But fate has not been kind. It had been beaten by scores of
highland winters and baked by the summer sun until now it looked as if
a mild breeze might cause it to tumble in on itself. Still, if you
squinted your eyes and tilted your head just so, you could see it the
way it was supposed to be, and with some imagination the way it could
be again if given enough love and care. Harry and Ginny approached both
seeing different buildings before them.
Hand in hand they
stood before the derelict building that was Remus' sanctuary in his
school days. Ginny was content to just stand there with him and drink
in the site but Harry seemed uneasy somehow. He turned towards the
cottage and began to spin for her the tale of his third year. She had
heard it before, in dribs and drabs, from Ron and the others but she
had never heard the whole thing in one sitting, especially from Harry's
view of point.
He talked about how, when Dumbledore had
given Remus the chance to attend Hogwarts, he had first placed the
wards on the shack, sealing it from both the inside and out. How he had
connected it to the school with a secret tunnel and then planted the
Whomping Willow over the Hogwarts end to keep students from stumbling
onto it. He talked about how Sirius and his father had worked out that
Remus was a werewolf and, instead of rejecting him, they embarked on a
three year quest to become Animagi themselves so that they could share
his burden. How Peter had tagged along and also managed to become an
Animagus. He grinned as he recalled Sirius' tales of running through
the forest during the full moons, the stag, the dog, and the wolf.
Sirius always seemed to leave Peter out of these tales and Harry didn't
blame him. He also could never figure out how the little rat had
managed to keep up with the other three larger animals. Perhaps he was
left behind. Maybe it was that feeling that his friends had abandoned
him long before that drove Peter to betray them. Harry wiped at his
eyes as he puzzled over the questions that he would never be able to
answer but would plague him for the rest of his life.
was shocked. Harry never talked much about the things that happened to
him or how they affected him. He never did, or at least he never had.
She also knew that he had to learn how to talk about them or else they
would simply eat him alive. Her heart swelled with concern and a
strange pride that he had opened up to her now when he had never opened
up to anyone else before. She let him speak, not saying a word or
interrupting for fear that he would close the spigot and stop
altogether. When he had finished, she began to approach the small
"Do you reckon I could find a way in?" she asked, looking at the shack but thinking of something, someone else entirely.
dunno," Harry answered. "It's sealed up tight enough to keep a monster
trapped inside." He looked around the building as if trying to see the
wards that encased it. "And since Pettigrew ran back to join him
I'd reckon Dumbledore has placed all sorts of new wards and alarms on
it to prevent the Death Eaters from using it to get onto the castle
Ginny nodded her head in agreement. "Yeah, it likely
would be impossible to get into from this side. Still, I wonder what
it's like inside now."
"Maybe I could show it to you sometime?" Harry answered. "It's not likely to be warded from the Hogwarts side, is it?"
be fun," she said as she continued to stroll around the building. "You
know, Michael took me here once. It was our first real date and he took
me here and told me all kinds of stories about the horrible ghosts and
other things that lived inside." She sniggered lightly to herself. "I
suppose he was trying to frighten me so that I would cuddle up into his
big, strong arms for protection."
Harry laughed. "It must have really hacked him off when you told him the truth about it."
I never told him I knew the real story," Ginny said conspiratorially.
Harry shot her a confused look and she continued, "You see, Michael was
rather high maintenance. I know it's usually girls who wear that label
-" Harry nodded his agreement; he knew what that was like. "- but it
fits him as well. He always needed to be reassured. He had to be right,
or at least I couldn't be righter. He always needed to be reassured
that I liked him. It was quite annoying there towards the end." Harry
shook his head at the irony of Ginny's words - Michael's need to be
reassured that Ginny liked him becoming the thing that made her stop -
and continued to examine the outsides of the building.
Ginny shot him a rather sideways sort of look through her hair and asked, "Did you ever take Cho here?"
"Nah," Harry muttered. "We only really had one date, to Madame Puddifoot's, and that was a complete disaster."
"You mean all that time you two were going out you only had one date?"
"Well we didn't go out all that long."
were seeing each other for more than half the year," Ginny countered.
"You started dating before Christmas by what Ron said and broke up near
the end of the year, right?"
"Yeah, but most of the time in
between was spent with her being hacked off about one thing or another.
If you wanted to string all the time we were just together it added up
to only a couple of weeks."
"And one disastrous date," Ginny added with a snort.
Harry snorted along with her. "Yeah, fairly typical for me."
"What do you mean?" Ginny asked, taking a seat on the weathered steps leading up to the front door.
snorted again, only this time in disgust rather than humor, and sat
beside her. "Come on now, Ginny, you must have noticed by now that I'm
not exactly beating girls off with a broomstick."
Harry. You're the Boy-Who-Lived! You could have any girl in school you
wanted. Even half the girls in Slytherin would abandon Malfoy if you
just gave them a reason."
"But that's just the point. To them
I'm the Boy-Who-Lived, the Tri-Wizard Champion, the dirty little liar,
the showoff, the arrogant little brat who just wants more attention."
none of that is true!" Ginny shouted, jumping to his defense. "That's
all just a pack of lies they printed in the Prophet."
"Yeah, it is. It's all a pack of lies… all of it. I'm none of those things," Harry said morosely.
Ginny inched a bit closer to him on the step they shared and asked quietly, "Then what… who are you?"
just shrugged and said, "I dunno. I really don't." He paused for a
moment to think. "All I do know is that I'm absolute rubbish when it
comes to girls. I don't know how to talk to them, or act around them,
or even treat them right on a date. Just ask Cho!" He got up and
started walking back towards the gates of Hogwarts, Ginny following
"So you and Cho didn't get on that well?" she asked to reopen the conversation.
there was always too much in the way. We couldn't get past any of it
long enough to even get to know each other really." He walked on a bit
further and asked her, "But what about you and Dean? I thought you had
planned on starting to date him?"
Now it was Ginny's turn to shrug. "Yeah well, a girl can change her mind," she said noncommittally.
Harry turned with a concerned look on his face. "He didn't try anything, did he?"
Ginny glowered, "I've already got six brothers; I don't need a
seventh!" Harry hung his head in contrition and let Ginny catch up with
him again. "Besides, he didn't try anything. We owled each other a few
times over the summer and then when we got back here we went on a
stroll around the lake. We talked a bit but there just wasn't... there
wasn't any there there, if you know what I mean."
Harry nodded, not really knowing what she meant. 'How could anybody not want to spend time with Ginny?' he wondered to himself.
walked on in companionable silence, through the gates and onto the
grounds. Instead of turning up towards the castle, for some reason they
went of towards the lake instead. Occasionally they would stop and toss
rocks into the lake to watch the ripples sweep across the water, or
simply stare out over the lake and chat lightly about everything and
nothing. Time seemed to sweep by them and before they knew it, the sun
had set and it was dark.
Official permission to be out of the
castle ended at sundown so Harry and Ginny needed to be careful not to
be seen by any wandering teachers or prefects.
"I suppose dinner is long over by now," Ginny said with a tinge of sorrow.
"Are you hungry?" Harry asked and Ginny nodded. "Then let's just pop down to the kitchens and get a bite."
smiled and led Harry by the hand down the wide steps towards the
picture of the bowl of fruit. Once inside, Dobby was more than happy to
get them a platter of sliced chicken left over from supper, along with
some cheese, fruit, bread, and some pastries for pudding. The two sat
at a small table in the corner as the house-elves finished their
cleaning. When they were finally finished and Dobby took away their
dishes, Harry glanced down at his watch and pulled a face.
"What's wrong, Harry?" Ginny asked, concerned.
"It's way past curfew and if we get caught by Filch, he'll have our hides," Harry lamented.
Ginny grimaced as well at the thought. "Well, we'd best not get caught then."
"Serves me right for stepping out of the common room without my Dad's old cloak," he whined.
"Oh hush, Harry! It's not like either one of us is any stranger to sneaking about the corridors at night."
do you go skulking about at night?" Harry asked, half shocked by her
revelation and half disappointed that he wasn't invited along.
girl's got to have some secrets,' Ginny answered with a smirk.
"Besides, who do you think put that Portable Swamp right outside
Slytherin's common room a fortnight ago, hmm?"
he was surprised - surprised and delighted - at how much like the twins
Ginny was. It was great having a prankster around the dorms, and Harry
suddenly realized, with more than a touch of sorrow, that he wasn't
one. Or at least not as big a one as he father and Sirius had been, or
even the twins and Ginny. He'd have to see about putting a change to
that. After all, if he wanted to be known as something more than just
The-Boy-Who-Lived then he was going to have to be more, wouldn't he?
reached out and absently took Ginny's hand. Together they cracked open
the door and checked the hallway for any sign of a teacher or prefect
on patrol. Seeing the coast was clear, they left the kitchens and began
a slow and cautious trip back to Gryffindor Tower. They had made it
almost all of the way there when their path was blocked by a pair of
glowing yellow eyes gleaming out of the darkened corridor ahead of them.
"Mrs. Norris," Ginny whispered in Harry's ear. "We're done for."
yet," Harry answered as he drew his wand and, with a wave, sent a
fountain of water shooting at the shocked cat. As adverse to water as
her overly-ripened owner, the cat scrambled back and took off like a...
well, like a drenched cat. "RUN!" Harry yelled, and the pair bolted off
for the fat lady's portrait before Filch could sort out his soaked pet
enough to give pursuit.
Holding their sides in a failing
attempt to contain their laughter, the young couple fell through the
portrait hole into the common room. Oblivious to the gaping stares
around them, they held onto each other to keep from falling over.
Ginny! What exactly is the meaning of all this?" Hermione shouted at
them. "You two have been gone for hours. No one knew where you were!
You didn't even leave a note! Anything could have happened to you! You
could have died! And now you stagger in here laughing like a couple of
loons! We were worried sick!"
"Harry!" Ron interjected. "What
have you been doing for all this time with my sister?" His ears were
turning the deep shade of red that indicated that he was gearing up for
a major row. Ginny headed him off at the pass.
"Oh relax, Ron. Harry and I were just out on a date," she answered calmly.
"A date!" Harry and Ron both sputtered. Ron's ears got even redder now and Harry quickly moved to assuage him.
"Relax Ron," he said pleadingly. "We weren't on a date. Ginny's just trying to wind you up."
Now it was Ginny's ears that were turning red. "Harry Potter! How dare you lie to my brother like that! We were so on a date!"
Harry's eyes looked about to pop out of their sockets as he gaped at Ginny in disbelief.
Looking him straight in the eye, Ginny continued, "Did you or did you not ask me to go to Hogsmeade with you today?"
"Well, yeah but..." Harry stammered.
"And did we or did we not walk down there arm in arm?" Harry could only nod.
"And didn't we do a bit of shopping?" she said holding up her bag. Harry nodded again.
"And didn't you buy me lunch?" Another nod.
"And take me out to see the Shrieking Shack where we spent time chatting and getting to know each other better?" Nod.
"We even complained about our ex's, didn't we?"
"Yeah but..." Harry tried, but Ginny would have none of it. The glare she shot him would have turned Snape into mush.
then we spent time strolling around the lake, hand in hand?" Harry went
back to nodding; it seemed a lot safer at the moment.
finally, after sneaking dinner in the kitchens, didn't you have to
smuggle me back to my common room so we could avoid getting in trouble
for being out after curfew?" By now, Ginny had her hands on her hips
and was stamping her foot to emphasize each word. "That certainly
sounds like a date to me." She raised her eyes to the rest of the
people in the room. "How about you folks, does that sound like a date
to you?" The girls were all nodding their agreement while the boys wore
alternating looks of amusement and sympathy for Harry getting hoisted
so thoroughly on his own petard.
Ginny returned her gaze to
Harry. "In fact, it sounds like a nearly perfect first date to me. So
don't you ever again go on about how you're rubbish with girls, Harry
Potter, because the whole of Gryffindor now knows that it's nothing but
a crock!" With that being said, she turned on her heel to go up the
steps to the girls dorm.
Harry, not knowing what else to do,
played the only card he could think of. "Well, if this WAS a date, then
why didn't I get a good-night kiss?"
Ginny stopped a few steps
up and turned around to face him once again. "It's no one's fault but
your own," she snapped. "You never asked for one!"
turned and continued up the stairs, Harry's eyes went from a look of
shock to one of grim determination. Raising one foot, he stomped down
hard on the first step of the girl's staircase triggering the wards and
causing the stairway to turn into one long slide.
squeal, Ginny slid back into view and Harry caught her. He leaned over
her, placing one hand on either side her shoulders. Ginny flushed and
placed her hands against his chest in token resistance. "Why, Mister
Potter, what kind of a girl do you think I am?" she said coyly.
grinned at her wickedly and said, "You know? I haven't the slightest
idea, but I do think I'm going to enjoy finding out." With that he
lowered his lips onto hers.
As Ginny's arms moved from
pressing on Harry's chest to wrapping themselves around his neck, Ron
and Hermione looked at each other, grinned, and exchanged a very
enthusiastic high five.