impatiently at her brow, which was damp with perspiration. The heat
wafted up sourly from the sidewalk, creating an unpleasant breeze as
she walked along Diagon Alley with Hermione, who glanced over at her.
they’re still there. We should go back to Florean Fortescue’s and get
our money back. That sundae was guaranteed to cool us off for at least
“Hermione, we spent more than an hour at Madame Malkins’ shop alone.”
“Oh. Well, where to next?” Hermione asked, pushing several strands of bushy hair away from her face with an exasperated huff.
“I think we’re done,” Ginny replied. “We should get back to Fred and George’s shop. It’s a quarter after three.”
Both girls turned at the familiar voice to see Neville jogging across the street, his face flushed with exertion.
“Hello, Neville!” Ginny said warmly. Hermione smiled and echoed the greeting.
“Hi! I didn’t expect to see you here today.”
“Mum wanted to finish the shopping early this year. What about you?” Ginny asked, noting that he wasn’t carrying any parcels.
been working at the nursery this summer. It doesn’t pay much, but it
will look good on my transcript for N.E.W.T.s,” Neville said
sheepishly. “Where are Harry and Ron?”
“They’re probably still ogling the lastest Nimby model,” Hermione grumbled.
Neville and Ginny both burst into laughter.
“It’s Nimbus,” Ginny explained between giggles.
“Nimby, Nimbus. It’s all the same to me. Ginny, we need to go. We’re late.”
“I’m coming,” Ginny said before smiling fondly at Neville. “It was good to see you.”
“I’ll walk you there,” Neville said. “Their shop isn’t far from the nursery. Can I carry something for you?”
declined, but Ginny shrugged and handed Neville several of her parcels.
As they walked, Neville chatted happily about his summer job and Diagon
Alley. Shortly, they reached Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, where Harry and
Ron were waiting outside. Harry frowned when he saw them, and Ginny
wondered if he was angry about having to wait. Usually, it was the
other way around.
“Neville! Good to see you, mate,” Ron said cheerily. Harry, however, wasn’t as friendly.
“Where have you been?” he asked gruffly. “We were starting to worry.”
“Sorry,” Hermione began, but Ginny interrupted.
don’t be silly. Tonks has been tailing us all day,” she said, nodding
back at the petite Auror, who had been following several paces behind
disguised as a young man. “She wouldn’t let anything happen to us.
Besides, Madame Malkin had to wait on four other customers before it
was our turn. Then we ran into Neville. You remember him, don’t you?”
she finished, drawing attention to the fact that Harry had been rude in
failing to greet his friend.
“Sorry. ‘Lo, Neville.”
Great to see you,” Neville said, smiling before he turned to Ginny.
“I’d better get back to the shop. My break is almost over.”
course. Thanks for carrying these for me,” Ginny said, gesturing
towards the parcels Neville still carried. As he started to hand them
to her, Harry stepped over.
“Here, I’ll take them; we’re running late,” he said.
Ginny reached over to give Neville a hug, as did Hermione.
everyone. See you September first!” Neville said, waving as he stepped
back into the street and disappeared among the crowd.
held the door open for the Ron and the girls and followed them to the
stock room, where they bid farewell to Fred and George. Together the
four of them reached for a box marked, “Indelible Dung Bombs.” Ginny
felt a jerk behind her navel and closed her eyes against the swirling
scenery. When she opened them again, they were at Grimmauld Place,
where her mum was standing before them.
“I expected the four
of you twenty minutes ago,” she said sharply. When the teenagers began
to apologize she waved the words away. “Put your packages away and then
come down for tea.”
Ron and Hermione started climbing the staircase, but Harry hung back, watching Ginny curiously.
“What is it, Harry?” she asked.
“Nothing. Um, so, you saw Neville today.”
“Yes,” Ginny said. “So did you, remember?”
didn’t answer right away. When it seemed he had nothing further to say,
Ginny reached for the parcels he was still holding for her and said,
“I’d better take those to my room.”
“I’ll carry them,” Harry replied. “The Advanced Potions text probably weighs more than you do.”
shrugged and began climbing the staircase. Harry didn’t speak again
until they had reached the door to the room she shared with Hermione.
“You spent a lot of time with him last year, after you broke up with Dean,” he said quietly.
Neville?” Ginny asked. Harry nodded. “No more than I spent with anyone
else. He helps me with my Herbology homework. It’s because of him that
I managed an Acceptable on my Herbology O.W.L.”
great bloke,” Harry said, but his voice had taken on a queer, flat
tone. “You went to the Yule ball with him, in fourth year.”
Ginny glanced up at him, unnerved. He sounded as if he was angry with her.
and my toes still ache when it’s cold outside. Neville may have a green
thumb, but he has two left feet,” she finished with a chuckle. Harry
didn’t seem to share her humor.
“He’s a great bloke,” he repeated.
know, Harry. He’s one of my best friends. Why do you keep saying that?”
Ginny asked, a sick feeling welling in the pit of her stomach. He
couldn’t possibly be leading up to...well, it was simply unthinkable.
could do worse than someone like Neville,” Harry explained. Oblivious
to Ginny’s growing ire, he continued, “He thinks the world of you,
and.... you deserve....”
Ginny exploded with such fury that Harry’s last utterances didn’t even register.
Potter, how dare you try to play matchmaker for me!” she shouted. “Do
you think I’m so pathetic that I can’t find my own dates? You’re worse
than my brothers! Did Ron put you up to this?” she demanded. Distantly,
she heard a door creak open. Ginny’s cheeks grew warm as she realized
how loudly her voice had rung out, but her embarrassment only fueled
Harry’s face flushed and his shoulders stiffened in response to Ginny’s onslaught. “That’s not
what I meant,” he said between gritted teeth. “I meant that if you were
together, I’m happy for you. And if not, then maybe you shouldn’t spend
so much time with him.”
“Why not?” Ginny demanded.
“Because he might get the wrong idea,” Harry retorted angrily.
Ginny gasped, incensed. “So now I’m a tease who likes to lead blokes on?”
Harry opened his mouth to answer, but Ginny cut the conversation short with a sharp wave.
it, Harry. Nice to know what you really think of me,” she said acidly.
Before he could react, she grabbed her parcels and stormed into her
room. Furiously, she slammed the door behind her, twisting the lock
with vicious satisfaction. When she looked around and found the room
empty, she heaved a disgruntled sigh. Although she was grateful for the
privacy, she would have enjoyed venting her frustrations while Hermione
nodded along in sympathy.
Ginny collapsed on the bed and
buried her face in the pillow. To her chagrin, tears welled up hotly in
her eyes. She couldn’t understand what had possessed Harry to meddle in
her non-existent love life. The entire exchange had been confusing. Had
he been pushing her towards Neville, or warning her off? When a soft
knock sounded at the door, she was tempted to ignore it. The last thing
she wanted was for Harry Potter to see her cry. At the second knock,
Ginny sighed again and went to answer the door, opening it just a
crack. To her surprise, it was her mum at the door.
these in Diagon Alley today,” Molly said gently, holding a small,
elegantly wrapped package out to Ginny. “I was going to save them for
your birthday, but I think you could probably use them right now.”
opened the door wide enough to hug her mother gratefully. Molly gave
her daughter a smile before she turned and walked back downstairs.
returned to the bed where she sat cross-legged as she tore into the
package. Under the paper was a purple box with gilt edges stamped with
the words Cherish Cheerwell’s Chocolates andConfections. When
she lifted the lid, a spray of what appeared to be fat, miniature
butterflies spilled out, fluttering gaily above the bedspread.
Delighted, Ginny plucked one from the air and peeled away its wrapper
to reveal one of her favorite chocolate truffles. With a contented
sigh, she popped it into her mouth, savoring the velvety taste of
chocolate and raspberry. After gathering the rest of the chocolates
back into their box, she lay back against the pillow to rest her eyes
for a moment.
Hours later, Ginny awoke with a start to find
that darkness had fallen across the room. She sat up groggily and held
her breath, certain that something had awakened her. A moment later,
someone knocked on the door.
“Ginny?” Hermione called. “It’s seven o’clock. Are you coming down for supper?”
down in a minute,” Ginny croaked. Hastily she visited the loo to splash
her face and smooth her hair with a brush. As she began to descend the
stairs, Harry’s voice carried up, causing her to stop in her tracks.
“...tried to tell her this afternoon. But she just blew up at me for no reason!”
“She’ll cool off. You know Ginny...her temper could put Mum’s to shame,” Ron said.
“Don’t worry about it, Harry. I’m sure she’ll get over it, and you can try again,” Hermione chimed in.
Ginny could feel her ire returning.
“Let’s go down. I’m starving, and Mum’s waiting,” Ron said.
was relieved to hear their footsteps fading, but when she reached the
ground floor, Harry was there, pacing anxiously. When she appeared, he
looked up at her, his face full of remorse.
“Ginny,” he began in a low voice, “I, um, I’m really sorry.”
anger faded immediately. She opened her mouth to apologize for
screaming at him like a fishwife, but she couldn’t seem to form the
words, no matter how hard she tried. Harry, who was now concentrating
intently on her shoes, didn’t seem to notice.
“I wasn’t trying to set you up with Neville. And I never
meant to imply you were a tease. My words came out all twisted. You’re
a terrific girl, and I have nothing but respect for you. No, I mean....
Well, I have much more than just respect for you.” Harry paused and
ruffled his hair nervously with his hand, which seemed to be shaking.
“Ginny, are you going to speak to me, or not?” he asked, looking up
again as he finally noticed that she had remained silent.
held her hands to her throat and shook her head vehemently, hoping he
would realize she couldn’t speak at all. Instead, his eyes took on a
frosty look and he backed away from her.
“I see. I won’t keep you, then.”
Ginny’s dismay, Harry turned and headed for the kitchen, oblivious to
her dilemma. As soon as he disappeared from sight, her throat unlocked
and she could speak again.
“What in Merlin’s name?” she
wondered aloud. Bewildered, she followed Harry to the kitchen where
everyone was waiting. As she took her seat across from him, Ginny tried
to catch Harry’s eyes, but he was concentrating instead on his plate.
Everyone fell silent as Arthur said a quick blessing, and then the
table nearly exploded with conversation as dishes of Molly’s delectable
cooking were passed around.
Harry and Ginny seemed to be the only two people at the table not speaking. Harry had reached for a bowl of mashed potatoes and was busy shoveling them into a pile on his plate.
could you pass the potatoes?” Ginny tried to ask. But her tongue felt
as if it were tied in a knot. After a moment of flapping her mouth
opened and closed, Ron stared at her.
“You’ll catch flies with your mouth open like that, Ginny,” he cautioned with a smirk.
“Ron, don’t tease your sister,” Molly admonished him.
Ginny gave up and began reaching for items on her own. When Harry set
the potatoes just out of her reach, she sighed with frustration.
“Ron, could you please pass the potatoes?” she asked in a low voice.
looked at her strangely, but did as she requested, reaching across
Harry to shove the bowl towards her. Harry gave her an incredulous look
and then began deliberately placing serving dishes out of Ginny’s
reach, watching her with a challenge in his eyes.
One by one
conversations ceased as Hermione, Ron and the rest of the Weasleys
stared in fascination. Ginny felt her cheeks flush, but rather than
asking Ron to retrieve the dishes she wanted, she contented herself
with a heaping pile of mashed potatoes, glaring defiantly at Harry
while she ate.
“You’re really impossible sometimes, you know that?” Harry shot at her.
opened her eyes once more to speak and was again prevented by the
sensation of something blocking her speech. She shook her head and
again gestured at her throat.
Hermione, who had been
observing them closely, broke in. “Harry, I don’t think it’s that she
won’t talk to you, I think it’s that she can’t.”
The knot in Ginny’s tongue seemed to untie itself, and she turned to Hermione.
I’ve been trying to, but every time I try to talk to H—” she stumbled
over the name and tried again, “to H-H—oh, now I can’t even say his
name! It’s as if someone’s tied my tongue into a knot and I can’t say a
word to h—.” Ginny failed to finish her sentence and ended up pointing
in Harry’s direction.
“It sounds like you’ve been jinxed,” Ron commented.
“By whom? I was with Hermione all day!” Ginny protested.
Hermione looked perplexed. “You’re right, but I don’t know what else it could be.”
“You didn’t eat anything at Fred and George’s, did you?” Ron asked. “You know you’re their favorite test subject.”
“No,” Ginny said. “I know better.”
you don’t seem to be in any immediate danger. We can get to the bottom
of the matter after you finish your supper,” Molly announced. Everyone
resumed eating, to Ginny’s relief. Harry had remained silent throughout
the exchange, but he now began passing Ginny the dishes he had withheld
earlier. She smiled gratefully and finished her supper in relative
peace. Afterwards, Molly examined her closely and proclaimed her to be
“You’re not running a fever, and you’re not
chilled. You don’t have spots, other than your usual freckles, and
you’re not exhibiting any other symptoms. Perhaps you just need a good
night’s rest, and everything will sort itself out.”
nodded miserably and hugged her mother before climbing the stairs. Upon
entering her room, she noticed the box of chocolates she had left on
her nightstand. Beside it was the crumpled wrapper from the piece she
had eaten, and as she picked it up to bin it, a bit of writing on the
inside caught her eye. She smoothed the wrapper to read it.
Did you ever think a simple, chocolate truffle
Would be capable of causing a kerfuffle?
It won’t do to be meek,
For the answer you seek
Won’t be found within the puff of a Huffle.
Instead, cast your eyes upon the door of Gryffin
Whose love is pure and true, though from you hidden.
Only a kiss will tell
And lift from you our spell.
Pucker up, and your resolve be sure to stiffen.
a product ofWeasley’s Wizard Wheezes
Ginny didn’t know
whether to laugh or cry. Fred and George must have switched the candies
when her mother wasn’t looking. Ginny grabbed the pillow from the bed
and buried her face into it to smother her scream of frustration.
“Ginny?” a voice said from the doorway.
Ginny whirled around to find Harry watching her quizzically from the doorway.
“Are you all right?” he asked.
Realizing it was useless to try and speak, Ginny just nodded.
need to talk to you,” Harry said. When Ginny pointed at her throat
again, he shook his head. “No, you don’t have to talk. In fact, maybe
it’s better that you can’t. If you interrupt me, I might lose my nerve
again.” At that, Harry shot her a wry grin. “Ron was right. Sometimes
you really don’t shut up.”
Ginny’s mouth dropped open ready to
retort with a snappy comeback, but she remained mute. Spying the box of
chocolates once more, she offered it to Harry with a gleam in her eye.
he said absently as he unraveled the wrapper and popped the chocolate
in his mouth. Ginny waited expectantly until he swallowed the sweet.
Then Harry’s mouth opened, but not a sound came out, to his apparent
Wordlessly, Ginny reached for the wrapper and
held it up for him to read. Understanding dawned across his face as his
eyes moved across the paper, and when he looked up from it with a
sheepish smile, he mouthed the word, “Oh.”
moment, Harry took a step closer to Ginny, glancing at her nervously.
Then he waited for Ginny to close the distance between them. As she
reached up to him, his eyes fluttered shut, and Ginny’s heart skipped a
beat before hers closed, too. Their lips met in a tentative kiss. When
they parted, she sighed with relief.
“Harry, I’m so—”
Harry clapped his hand across her mouth.
“Ginny, maybe we should just...eat some more chocolate.”