A/N – Standard disclaimers apply. I make no apologies for the outrageous amount of fluff you are about to read.
A great big thank you to both Annika and Allie!
The water pouring out of the spout was scorching. She knew in a few minutes it would be necessary to turn the temperature down, but for now, Ginny let the scalding water wash over her, thinking maybe it would be easier to drown in the shower then ever have to go to Gryffindor Tower again. What could he have been thinking? For that matter, what could she have been thinking? It was bad enough that he was noble, brave, funny, smart (despite his rather spotty grades), attractive in that happazard-I-have-too-much-on-my-mind-to-care-about-how-I-look-but-I'm-still-gorgeous way that melted her heart, Boy Who Bloody Lived, blah, blah, blah... did he have to be a good kisser, too? And would someone please tell her WHERE he had learned to kiss like that? Granted, she had only kissed one other boy, but she and Michael had quite a few snog fests, thank you very much, and none of them ever left her blood racing, her heart pounding, her body charged. Ginny knew, from conversations with Hermione, that Harry had only kissed Cho once, and that it was a world class disaster. Had he been holding out on Hermione? Did he secretly snog girls in empty classrooms?
Of course there was a more pertinent question: why now? She was doing so well. If not over her crush (there had to be a better word to describe it –infatuation, obsession, love?), then she was at least very good at hiding it, and had come to terms with the fact that they were friends; had begun to enjoy being his friend. What in the name of Merlin made that stupid (wonderful), dumb (heavenly) boy decide to kiss her? Groaning, Ginny rested her head against the white tile of the shower stall and thought back to just half an hour ago.
Quidditch practice had been harder than usual tonight. Katie, newly named Captain, was not channeling any obsessive former Gryffindor Captains, nor was she as high strung as Angelina. This made practice less stressful. It helped, of course, that Harry was back as Seeker, Ron was actually blocking the attempted goals and she was a superb Chaser. (Oddly enough, so was Colin Creevey. The two of them, along with Katie, made a formidable threesome.) But tomorrow was their first game (against Slytherin), so today's practice had been stepped up a notch (or eight) and lasted longer than usual. It only came to an end because Ron refused to block any more shots, yelling out, "I'm bloody hungry!"
"Fine!" Katie had shouted. "It's almost sunset anyway." This was said because no students were allowed out after sunset. The Gryffindor team was watched especially close because of Harry. After Ron's refusal, everyone headed for the castle.
The team took turns taking the Quidditch balls back to the shed and tonight was Ginny's turn. While everyone else traipsed off, Ginny magicked the trunk to follow behind her and locked it in the broom shed. When she was finished, she noticed someone still flying on the Quidditch pitch; it was Harry. She had stopped to watch him fly (just to admire the flying, not the boy) when he noticed her and flew over.
"Are you finished putting everything away?" asked Harry as he landed.
"Yeah. You don't have to stop flying if you don't want. I know you're not allowed outside by yourself. I don't mind waiting if you want to practice some more. It's not dark yet." Ginny pushed her hair out of her face, not bothering to fix the ponytail that had fallen out during practice.
"No, that's okay... I was actually waiting for you." Was he blushing? "I didn't want you to have to walk back alone and everyone else was hungry."
Ginny tucked a strand of red hair behind her ear. "Oh, well. Thank you," she said, pleased, and she smiled at him.
He smiled in response. "Good practice, wasn't it?"
"Yeah! I'm so glad Ron is doing better. Fred and George said they might come see us play tomorrow."
"Oh that's great! I haven't seen them since this summer at their shop." Harry seemed to remember something. "Don't tell Ron! Hermione thinks he gets nervous in front of them."
"I won't tell him. Although, I wonder if it's nice to surprise him like that."
"Well," said Harry. "Maybe they can, you know, not talk to him or anything until after the game."
"That's probably a good idea. One of us should try and head them off tomorrow, then."
"Yeah. We should." He paused. "So... how are you doing?"
"I'm fine, Harry. How are you?" asked Ginny, bemused.
"Oh... fine. Listen, Ginny..." Harry glanced at her face and looked down at the grass. He tapped his broom against his leg while he walked. "You know that Ron and Hermione are going to Hogsmeade together, right?"
"Yes, I know. Hermione told me." Ginny smirked, remembering Hermione's dramatic flight into the dormitories two nights ago. What would she wear? What should she say? Did Ginny think that Ron liked her? Really liked her? Ginny had to remind her that, yes as a matter of fact she was sure Ron liked her and if Hermione would calm down for five seconds she would realize this.
"So," Harry said presently. "I'm not going with them, y'know. It might be a little weird."
"Oh, Harry. They wouldn't care if you were there. But if you want, I was going to go with Neville and you can come with us."
Harry looked mortified at the prospect. "No, no," he said hastily. "I don't want to intrude."
"Intrude?" Ginny was confused. "On Neville and-oh, trust me, it would not be intruding. Neville and I don't like each other. Well, we like each other, but not, you know, like each other." Stop talking. "Anyway, I think he was going to see if Luna wanted to come with us. She never seems to have anyone to go with."
Harry grinned at her. "Yeah, then, if you all don't mind. I didn't really want to go by myself." His grin faltered. "Ginny, there's something else I wanted to ask you."
"What is it, Harry?" Ginny stopped walking at the bottom step and turned to look at him. The sun setting behind him created a crown of reds and golds.
"Ginny... I... I..." Harry stuttered. "Well... I'm not actually-that is... hmph." He stopped himself, looking frustrated. "This is coming out all wrong."
Harry looked hesitant. "Your hair is falling out," he said suddenly.
What? "My ha—?" She stopped abruptly.
His hand had come up and pushed the wayward lock of hair behind her ear. His fingertips trailed down her jaw line. Ginny was struck dumb – her breath hitched in her throat. She watched Harry's eyes drop to her lips – which, somewhere along the way, had fallen open. She did not have the presence of mind to shut them.
"Harry…" she breathed. A peculiar buzzing had started in her head as she saw Harry move closer.
She was not prepared for the feel of his lips. They were slightly chapped, probably from flying – their rough texture created a strange, but pleasant (very pleasant), sensation.
The kiss was chaste and hesitant, in direct contrast to his hand, which seemed to be holding on to her jaw for dear life. His lips left hers after only seconds, before she even had time to close her eyes. To Ginny's utter horror, her lips seemed to have a mind of their own and followed him when he backed away.
Harry stared at her, breathing fast, his emerald eyes round behind his glasses. Ginny's heart had leapt to her throat. She tried to think of something to say or do, but all ability to speak and think properly had flown away the moment he touched her. Suddenly, Harry dropped his broom and cupped both hands on her cheeks. He brought his head down again. Ginny saw his eyes slide shut a split second before her own.
His mouth was slightly open and he dragged it closed atop hers, making a fantastic noise in the back of his throat. With a jolt, she felt his tongue run across the seam of her lips, seeking entrance. Hesitantly, she opened her mouth. He ran his tongue along her teeth, across the roof of her mouth, exploring it fully. His hands slid from her jaw to the back of her head, twining themselves in her hair.
Her own hands were still clutching her broom. She let go of it, and placed her arms around him, sliding one hand across his back and the other through his hair. Harry took a step closer and brushed one hand down, pressing against the small of her back. Experimentally, Ginny tilted her head, giving him better access. She felt their teeth scrape together, and was sure she tasted blood, although she was too far involved in the kiss to be concerned.
Then, as suddenly as the kiss had escalated, it ended. As Harry pulled away he caught her bottom lip between his teeth, earning a moan from Ginny as a beam of heat shot straight through her center. Her cheeks burned as Harry backed away.
He gave her a searching look and licked his lips, looking confused. As for herself, Ginny felt breathless and out of control. She brought a hand slowly to her buzzing mouth and ran her pointer finger across her moist bottom lip.
Harry's cheeks flushed. "Ginny..." he started to say.
The front entrance opened and Ron stood framed in the doorway. Both Ginny and Harry jumped and turned towards him. "There you are!" Ron beamed at them, a telling gleam in his eyes. "I was getting worried. Dinner's almost over."
"I don't think I'm hungry," Ginny mumbled, mortified that her brother knew what had happened. She swooped down to grab her broom. With a last glance in Harry's direction, she raced up the stairs, past Ron ("What's the rush, Gin?") and towards Gryffindor Tower.
She clambered through the portrait hole and was relieved to find most of the students were still at dinner. After gathering her things, Ginny rushed to the shower.
Presently, Ginny turned off the water and dried herself off. Damn Ron and his perfect timing, she thought. She may never find out what Harry was going to say or why he kissed her. On her way out of the bathroom, Ginny stopped and looked at herself in the mirror. While what she saw was not disappointing, it also wasn't anything to throw a party over. Long red hair, dark and wet from the shower, pale skin with entirely too many freckles, and brown eyes that looked out at her with confusion. She had not grown an inch in the past two years; it appeared as if she would be short forever, and skinny – yuck! All of the girls in her class had developed in ways that made boys' eyes pop, but it seemed Ginny was forever stuck with a child's body. Whenever she mentioned this to Hermione, the older girl told her not to be ridiculous. "You are adorable," she'd say. "Like a china doll." And aside from the fact that Ginny disagreed with her entirely, she hated being compared to a fragile, breakable porcelain toy. She was not fragile or easily broken or anything else that everyone seemed to think.
Why then, she asked herself, are you putting off going into the Common Room? You're a Weasley. And a Gryffindor. ACT LIKE IT. She turned away from the mirror and started down the winding staircase that led towards the Common Room.
Upon entering the brightly-lit room, however, she lost her Gryffindor courage. Harry and Ron were playing chess by the fire, while Hermione looked on, her knitting needles flashing in front of her. Neville was watching also, attempting to keep his toad Trevor away from Crookshanks, Hermione's large ginger cat.
Harry's head snapped up and he met her eyes, his cheeks flushing again. Hermione's eyes also found her and the brunette gave Ginny a knowing smile before calling hello.
"Ginny, come over here." Ron smirked. "We were just talking about Hogsmeade on Saturday. Harry says he's going with you." Ron cocked a ginger eyebrow.
"And Neville," Harry added hastily, his cheeks going even brighter.
"I asked Luna, too," chimed Neville. "Although, I'm not sure if she said okay or not. She said something about wind and haste and not putting stock in the future. I have no idea what she meant."
"So..." Ron looked gleeful. "...If Luna is going with Neville and you two are going together..." Ron let the suggestion hang in the air, a smirk on his freckled face.
Ginny would have enjoyed nothing more, at that moment, than knocking the smirks off both Hermione and Ron's faces. Instead she said, "Well, Ron, Harry wanted to go with you two." She pointed at Ron and Hermione. "But he didn't want to intrude. You know, he wanted to give you and Hermione privacy to do whatever it is lovebir-."
"Anyway, Ginny," Hermione interjected, her cheeks burning. "How is studying for the O.W.L.s coming along?"
With a spiteful glance at Ron, Ginny answered. The topic moved away from Ginny and Harry and Hogsmeade and onto safer subjects. Every once in awhile she dared to glance at Harry (okay, she was having trouble keeping her eyes away from him) and twice she caught his eye and he flushed. She felt her own cheeks redden both times. Once he gave her a small smile, his green eyes crinkling behind his glasses and it took a pointed cough from Ron to bring his attention back to the game.
About an hour later, after Ron had trounced him in chess, Harry got up to leave.
"I'm really tired," he explained, when Ron asked for another game.
"Okay, then g'night."
"Night, Harry," said Hermione, now wholly entranced by her Transfiguration textbook.
"Night guys." He paused. "Um... goodnight Ginny."
"Goodnight Harry," she said quietly. Both Ron and Hermione's eyes had widened as large as Galleons.
The second Harry disappeared up the stairs, Ron started in on her. "So, Ginny how was practice today? Did you have fun?"
"Shut it, Ron." Ginny jumped up. "I'm going to bed. See you in the morning." Without waiting for a goodnight, Ginny went to the stairs. The last thing she heard was Neville's clueless voice, "What's going on?" and Hermione chiding Ron, "Would you stop teasing her?"
In her dorm room, Ginny pulled on her nightgown and got into bed. She lay there for a long while, thinking about Harry's smile, his goodnight, and his kiss. With a smile of her own, she rolled over and decided it was okay if Harry kissed her, so long as he planned on doing it again. When she fell asleep, Ginny had dreams of bright green eyes and a smile meant only for her.