Disclaimer: I own nothing; it all belongs to J.K.Rowling. I'm just borrowing the characters to play with for a while. This is for pleasure only, no profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
Grinning like a Cheshire cat, Harry kept Ginny's hand tucked snugly within his own as they walked in silence away from the Gryffindor common room. The Fat Lady had her face pressed as far into the corner of her frame as physics would allow in order to follow their progress.
Harry had grabbed Ginny's hand instinctively as they fled the catcalls and wolf whistles that followed them from the common room and now marveled at how perfectly her smaller hand fit within his own. He'd never actually held anyone's hand before and felt rather foolish for not realizing how pleasant it was beforehand. Thinking of things he'd never done before...had he really just grabbed Ginny and snogged her fully in front of everyone?
He glanced surreptitiously at Ginny from the corner of his eye. She wore the same self-satisfied expression that he knew covered his own face. They walked in silence, grinning madly, all the way to the entrance hall. He'd felt so confident and certain back in the common room, as if he'd taken a full dose of Felix Felicis. Kissing her had seemed like the most natural thing in the world to do at the time. Now, however, words were failing him, and he wasn't quite certain what to say or where to start.
What if she was only pretending to be pleased and instead was waiting to get outside so she could let loose and berate him for taking such liberties without permission? Hell, without so much as a date or even asking her for one? He really had been rather presumptuous. Harry began to worry in earnest. The monster in his chest -- the same monster who had been purring with contentment on the way down the stairs -- had now abandoned him to his own devices. In fact, Harry felt it was hiding its head in disgust over Harry's uncertainty.
Ginny didn't look angry. She actually looked quite pleased with herself, and it bolstered Harry's spirits somewhat. He searched his mind for a place to begin, but the more he tried to think, the more nervous he became. He noticed that Ginny had begun twisting a lock of her hair and a small furrow had developed on her forehead. For Merlin's sake! Why was it suddenly so awkward when just moments before they had been trying to discover who could touch the other's tonsils with their tongue first?
"D'you want to go for a walk around the lake?" Harry asked, shuffling his feet as they reached the main door.
There! He'd actually said something.
"Okay," Ginny replied brightly.
Back to square one, Harry thought nervously. He stuck his free hand in his pocket, and his fingers closed around a lump of foil. Seizing it in desperation, he pulled it from his pocket. "Chocolate Frog?"
Ginny glanced at the lumpy, half-melted sweet in his hand and with a grimace started to giggle. "Umm...I think that frog has seen better days, Harry."
Harry looked down at his hand and saw traces of chocolate oozing from the wrapper. The frog looked as deflated as he felt. The monster in his chest shook its head in shame.
"Er...sorry. I took a few with me this morning. Chocolate always works best against Dementors and Snape," Harry replied with a sheepish grin.
Ginny giggled again, a much more natural-sounding giggle this time.
Harry's thoughts strayed back to the common room. It was much easier when he was just kissing her and not trying to think of what to say about kissing her. The idea of simply grabbing her again and pressing his lips to her own crossed his mind, but he rejected it as quickly as it came. He wanted more than a snogging partner with Ginny. One look at Ron and Lavender told him that. He and Cho had never talked much after their kiss, and look how that turned out. No, he definitely wanted more with Ginny...but he still wanted to snog her, too...very much.
"You've always had a fondness for those, haven't you?" Ginny asked, poking her finger at the offending Chocolate Frog he still held in his hand.
He shrugged and shoved it back in his pocket. "Yeah...I've always liked chocolate. I like most sweets, actually -- treacle tart is my favorite, and I think your mum makes it best."
"Yeah, she does make a good tart. You like her steak and kidney pie, too," Ginny said absently.
Harry looked up into her eyes and saw a pretty blush covering her cheeks. She turned her eyes away from his and bit her lip. A warm, pleasant feeling erupted inside him. She'd been paying attention to what he liked to eat.
"What else do I like?" he asked before he could stop himself. He was fascinated to know she'd been watching him, since he'd certainly been watching her.
Ginny's face colored even more deeply, but she raised her chin as if in defiance. "You love your pumpkin juice, but not with ice. You dig out the ice if there is any inside your glass."
Harry grinned so hard he thought his face would crack.
"You twirl your hair around your quill and chew on the end when you're thinking; then, when you get the answer, you yank on the quill and pull your hair. You do that a lot, actually," Harry said in triumph, pleased with the surprised look on her face.
Ginny's eyes twinkled as she narrowed them. He recognized the competitive gleam -- she got that same look during a Quidditch match. She'd taken his words as a challenge.
"You're happiest when you're flying. When you're in the air on your Firebolt, it's the only time you appear completely free and at ease, almost like you're another person."
"You were the one who left the telescope that gave Hermione the black eye and all the other tricks in Fred and George's old room. I think you left them there for me," Harry said, feeling triumphant over the widening of Ginny's eyes and the scarlet blush that rose up her neck and across her cheeks. He'd never realized how much he enjoyed watching her blush. It made him want to kiss her again.
"How did you...you knew?" Ginny gasped.
Harry smirked. "I suspected, but you just confirmed it."
Ginny twisted a strand of her fiery red hair in her fingers. "I knew Fred and George wouldn't leave anything really dangerous where Mum could find it, and I thought you might be feeling kind of down when you arrived, so I left some jokes," she said, shrugging. "You always seem to appreciate Fred and George."
Warmth and a strange sense of belonging flooded Harry entirely. She'd been looking out for him -- worrying about him -- even back in the summer, when she'd still been with Dean.
"Thanks," he whispered, gently swiping a lock of red-gold hair back from her face.
Ginny smiled shyly. "Harry --"
"I don't know what overcame me in the common room. I'd been thinking of doing that for so long and, seeing you there, it just happened," Harry blurted.
Ginny blinked at him for several seconds, a very blank look across her face. "Overcame you?" she repeated.
"I was so anxious about the match, and the Fat Lady wouldn't tell me anything; then, when I came in the room, everyone was celebrating like mad. I saw you there, and it just seemed so natural to kiss you," Harry said, wishing they could just start kissing again right now. She looked stunning, standing there with the late afternoon sun blazing behind her.
Ginny suddenly smiled so brightly Harry's breath caught in his chest.
"You kissed me? I thought I kissed you," she said, a tone of incredulity in her voice.
Harry blinked, momentarily stunned. "You had this look on your face, and I just didn't think about anything else. I've wanted to kiss you for a long time."
"I know," Ginny said, smiling cheekily. "Or at least I'd hoped. I saw that look on your face when you caught Dean and me kissing after our first Quidditch match."
"I wanted to thrash him."
Ginny smiled widely. "After that, I started noticing you watching me sometimes, but you never made the slightest move."
"You were with Dean."
"Things got rocky with Dean soon after that Quidditch match. The more I watched you, the more I suspected there was something there...but I just couldn't trust myself that it was true. Then, when I saw you walk into the common room with that questioning look on your face...well, you just looked so adorable that I couldn't stop myself. You hugged me after our last match, and I was determined to return the gesture after this one...and all of a sudden I was kissing you. I thought I got carried away, but you didn't seem to mind."
"Oh, I didn't mind!"
"As we were walking down here, I was both so happy that you'd kissed me back and yet fearful about what you were going to say about me being forward," Ginny replied, casting her eyes down.
"I need you to be forward sometimes -- just give me a little push," Harry replied eagerly. Ginny giggled.
"After I saw you kissing Dean, it finally occurred to me that I liked you much more than just as a friend, but you were with Dean, and I really didn't know what to do about it, so I tried to ignore it," Harry said.
"Yeah, you're too good at doing that," Ginny replied, frowning slightly.
"I'm not ignoring it now," Harry said, his voice suddenly much lower than it usually was.
Ginny raised her eyes to meet his own. "So, it appears we've both been watching each other," she said, the huskiness of her voice causing his blood to boil. "We both know what the other likes." Her mouth moved closer again.
"Treacle tart, broomsticks, and you -- yeah, that covers it," Harry said before covering her lips with his own and melting into the most pleasant feeling he'd ever known.
Ginny's body simply melded into his as he wrapped his arms around her and held her close. Their tongues danced a furious tango as he maneuvered backward to lean her against a tree. Dimly, he registered that this was the same spot where he'd hidden himself to grieve for Sirius the previous year. He thought Sirius would much prefer his current activities.
He threaded his hands through her glorious hair while she ran her fingers lightly down his back. Their need was urgent and all-consuming, as if each had been waiting an eternity for just such a moment. He'd been at the bottom of a well of despair less than a year ago, and now he felt as if he was soaring at the greatest height either man or wizard had ever known.
After a time -- Harry had no idea how long it actually was because it could never be long enough -- they pulled back, each of them panting and more than slightly out of breath.
"Hi," Ginny whispered, her cheeks flushed prettily.
"Wow," Harry replied dazedly, small tendrils of pleasure coiling warmly in his stomach.
Ginny sighed with contentment and nuzzled her nose on his cheek.
Suddenly, he thought he'd better make his intentions perfectly clear before any other bloke could think he'd have a chance of denying Harry this pleasure. He didn't want to be like Ron and keep dancing around the issue.
"So...er...does this mean you want to be my girlfriend?"
"Are you asking?" she asked cheekily, although he noticed the slight tension in her shoulders.
"Yeah. I'm asking," he said firmly.
Ginny beamed. "And I'm accepting. I'd love to be your girl, Harry."
He leaned in and nipped gently at her lower lip. "Good," he whispered before kissing her again. Time again lost all meaning as Harry took his time exploring the fascinating enigma that was Ginny Weasley. He wanted to kick himself for all the time he'd wasted when he could have been kissing her. How long had it been since she'd broken up with Dean Thomas?
Ginny wrapped her arms around Harry's neck and sighed in content. As she pulled back, she peered curiously up towards the castle. "D'you suppose they can see us from the common room?"
Harry shrugged. "I don't think so; we're fairly secluded here. Why would they care, anyway?"
Ginny shook her head. "Come on, Harry. We'll be fodder for the gossip mongers for days to come."
"Story of my life," Harry said, shrugging indifferently. "The only reaction I really worried about was Ron's, and he didn't seem to mind."
"Ron? Nah, why would he mind? He's been hinting that he'd rather I date you ever since he found out that I was dating Michael Corner. Hadn't you noticed? He's not that subtle," Ginny said, rolling her eyes.
Had Ron been hinting that he'd like Harry to get together with Ginny? Nah, he couldn't have been. Harry would have noticed that, wouldn't he? Suddenly, Harry wasn't so certain.
"The twins won't mind, either," Ginny continued, unaware of Harry's internal debate. "It's only Bill and Charlie that might want to give you the third degree, but they'll come around. They already like you."
"Great," Harry muttered, suddenly realizing he'd picked a girl with six older brothers.
Ginny grinned in amusement. "What's this? Do my brothers make you nervous?"
Harry stuck out his chest. "Hey, it's me, the Chosen One, remember? When do I ever take the easy way out of things?"
Ginny giggled and pushed a stray lock of hair out of her face. It fell right back down across her eyes. Harry went to move it when Ginny suddenly grabbed his hand.
"You still have chocolate on your fingers," she said, laughing.
Harry looked down and saw the chocolate. He started to lick it off when Ginny tugged his hand towards her mouth and gently began to kiss the chocolate stains away.
Harry swallowed heavily, feeling the temperature suddenly skyrocket.
"Better?" Ginny asked when his hand was all cleared of chocolate.
Harry shook his head numbly, unable to force the words from his throat. Instead, he removed the Chocolate Frog from his pocket once again and proceeded to squish the chocolate all over the palm of his hand.
"I think there's some more," he said, smirking at the surprised look on her face.
"Is there now? I'll just have to do something about that," Ginny said, smiling seductively. She placed gentle butterfly kisses inside Harry's palm and along his fingers. Harry gasped with pleasure and closed his eyes. After a few moments of intense enjoyment, he felt Ginny pull back.
"I think I have chocolate on me now," she said.
Harry opened his eyes and saw chocolate smeared all across her mouth. Ginny licked her lips, and Harry was fascinated, watching the progression of her tongue.
"I love chocolate," he said as he pressed his lips to hers and tasted the sweetness. It was the most erotic experience he'd had thus far.
Eventually, Ginny pulled back and searched his eyes. "I think we should always make certain we have chocolate. One never knows when it might be necessary," she said seriously.
"I'll make note of that," Harry replied. "I think I just changed my mind about my favorite pudding."
"Have you now? That's a serious commitment, Harry. You might want to try it again just to be sure, before you decide," Ginny said with a cocky grin.
Harry smiled wolfishly. "It's a good thing I have another Chocolate Frog, then," he said, pulling the sweet from his pocket and placing it halfway inside his mouth.
They stayed out by the lake right until dinnertime, and they never did talk about the match. They never actually walked all that far, either.
A/N: Thanks so much to my beta, Mistral, for working through this with me and trying to figure out how the new, improved Harry would respond in situations. Thanks also to KEDme and for their pre-beta help. I really appreciate your help.
This moment has been in my head since reading HBP and wouldn't stop stomping around until I got it out, lol. I hope you enjoyed it. We didn't get enough romance in HBP as far as I'm concerned, but that's what we have fanfiction for, right? Our girl finally got her man and their little separation at the end ain't gonna last, either! She makes him happy -- what more could any fan of the series want, right? Harry deserves to be happy.