Disclaimer: The wonderful world of Harry Potter belongs to J K Rowling.
orSomeone Else's Life
Finally finally Snape had released Harry from another tedious detention in which the only bright spot had been transcribing a misdemeanour involving his father and godfather hexing Snivellus with a combination of very inventive spells. If Hermione wasn't being such a wet blanket about the Prince he might have felt like sharing them with her. As it was though, Ginny and Ron would get enough laughs out of it to make recounting the details enjoyable.
Actually, he'd expected to see more cards like that, but then he realised with satisfaction that James and Sirius were probably quite accomplished at not getting caught. It had given him a perverse pleasure to copy out that particular card, but he'd been very careful not to let on that he'd found it. No point making Snape any more vindictive than he already was.
And, like every Saturday since that Saturday, Ginny, by some mysterious instinct, had been coming down the marble staircase to the Entrance Hall at precisely the same moment that he had been coming up from the dungeons. The thought of spending the rest of his Saturday with her almost made detentions worth the time. Almost. At least, he thought with as much charity as he could muster, it gave Ginny some undisturbed time to study for O.W.Ls.
So finally he was where he most wanted to be walking the castle grounds with Ginny. He'd been waiting for this moment for well, it felt like forever.
"Look what the twins sent me," he said, reaching into his robes and pulling out a box of sweets.
"Here," he handed her the box he'd got at breakfast that morning. "It's their newest Slitherin' Snakes. I haven't tried them yet thought we could share them."
Ginny looked at him. "Are you crazy?"
"No, no, it's ok. Honestly," he said at her dubious expression. "There's nothing tricky or, you know, no jinxes or anything. They're just like chocolate frogs, only they're snakes, so they you know slither " He wondered how foolish he was to trust Fred and George so readily.
Maybe he should trust her instincts instead. She did grow up with them after all. In his indecision he handed her the parchment that came with the box. "Here, read this."
Thought you'd like to try our latest line in sweets before they hit the shelves. They're inspired by everyone's favourite snakes those slimy folk in the green and silver house. They're perfectly safe if there was anything to worry about we would have sent them to Ron.
"We-ell," she said, handing the note back and now scrutinising the box, "I suppose we could try one well, you could try one while I watch and see what happens."
"You're quite welcome," she grinned.
He chuckled, taking her free hand in his, and guided her round one side of the lake. She held the box up to read the description of this newest offering from Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes.
"Slitherin' Snakes ~" she read. "Great name! ~ the sneaky, slinky creatures that squirm their way into where they're not wanted. Well that's true enough 'where they're not wanted'? I dunno, Harry, sounds awfully suspic oh," she stopped and very slightly pulled back on his hand, "do you mind if we don't go this way?"
He turned back to face her and for just a moment thought she was eyeing something warily. "What's wrong?" he blurted, following her gaze. All he could see was the long grass by the bank. He turned back to her, but she was looking at him with a beaming smile.
"Oh, nothing, er Nothing. It's just that " she stepped closer to him so that all he could see were her wide brown eyes. She ran her hand slowly up and down his arm, causing him to shiver despite the fine weather, "I'd much rather go," she tilted her head towards a cluster of trees in the other direction, "that way."
"Ginny!" His face flushed at her suggestion he couldn't believe how provocative she was. Or maybe it was him maybe he just read innuendo into every single thing she said. He groaned inwardly, wondering if she knew just how much he would like to take her into those trees for a bit of privacy.
"Come on, Harry," she crooned, "you know you want to." She pouted her lips and he couldn't believe it she was fluttering her eyelashes at him! He tried to laugh at her cheekiness but ended up only managing to choke on his tongue he was having trouble remembering just who he was and why he was wasting time resisting such a marvellous suggestion.
She laughingly dragged him towards a big tree and pulled him down to sit next to her at its base.
"So, come on, my brave hero," she teased, "let's see you try one of these snakes."
Her brave hero. The beast in his chest purred while his mind wondered when, exactly, he had ever been brave or heroic, especially for Ginny. He hadn't even noticed her for five years. She was the one who won Quidditch cups, who hexed Malfoy into a quivering heap, who helped him talk to Sirius, who lifted him out of his Voldemort-possession funk how could she possibly think that he was her hero? Not that he was complaining, mind. Hero. Hmm, he kind of liked the sound of that word. Hero.
Hang on all his Hogwarts life he'd been sick to death of being called a hero. But when she said it, it was different. Like he was no one's hero but hers.
She opened the box and let out a shriek, leaping to her feet and brushing her arms furiously. The box tumbled to the ground and he lunged instinctively to save the sweets from falling onto the grass before springing up next to her in a surge of fierce concern. Like a hero. "Are you all right? What happened?"
She laughed, nervously at first, but then more like herself the loud, open laugh that he loved to hear. The laugh that made him laugh just to hear it. "Oh, just got a bit of a shock that's all look, they're not exactly what you'd call, er, passive, are they?" she said, pointing to the open box in his hand.
A mass of six-inch snakes was writhing in the box and several were slithering their way up his hand. A couple that she had brushed onto the ground were now winding their way over her shoes and up her socks. She bent down to pick them off and held one up in each hand by the tail. They continued to squirm in mid-air.
"Pretty lively charm the twins put on them, isn't it?" she asked wryly.
"Yeah," laughed Harry. "You should've seen your face!" He had thought it was funny, but when Ginny blushed slightly and sat back down quietly he wondered if there was something he'd missed.
He sat beside her once more and tried to gather the slithering little snakes back into the box, all the while shooting sideways glances at her, trying to gauge her mood. She seemed a bit he couldn't put his finger on it out of sorts? No, that wasn't it. He thought about asking, but just as quickly gave up that idea as a sure way to get an earful. He knew how she hated being coddled.
Although the snakes were small, they were very lifelike a mix of black, red and browny-greeny-grey colours with different shaped heads and tails, and different patterns marking their backs.
He picked out a snake and gave her what he hoped was a brave grin. Or an heroic one. Either would do. "Well, here goes oh, and just in case, you know, I don't make it " he took a breath and leant across, placing a soft kiss on her lips. He had meant it to be just a touch, but he found himself lingering, unable to give up the tingling sensations such a simple touch gave him. Finally, he drew back, feeling himself grinning and blushing like mad; he really, really loved being able to kiss her whenever he wanted to. And he felt an unreasonable pride at the grinning, blushing girl that looked back at him.
He bit the snake in half and felt it wriggling, not unpleasantly, inside his mouth as he chewed and swallowed it.
"Well?" he asked, checking himself over. "Have I turned green? Do I look like a skrewt?"
"More so than normal, do you mean?" she laughed that laugh again. "Hmm, let me check." She leant forward and ran her fingers slowly over his forehead and cheeks, nose and he gulped his lips, casting her eyes over every inch of his features. He swallowed again and tried to calm his breathing down. His arms, acting of their own accord, wound around her waist and pulled her closer as she slowly leant in, whispering, "You look ok, but just to make sure "
As Harry's eyes closed he felt their mouths meet in the softest, but most electrifying, touch yet. He breathed in deeply, inhaling her sweetness, pulling her closer as their lips parted and their tongues reached tentatively for each other. Their tender movements seemed to contradict the heat and passion he felt building. It was as though the slower and gentler their mouths moved against each other, the deeper and hotter his feelings ran. In the haze that engulfed him he became dimly aware that she was, far too soon for his liking, pulling away.
"Mmm, that's delicious what flavour is that?"
Mmm. Delicious. He couldn't seem to stop looking at her glistening, pink lips and didn't even realise that his tongue was slowly running over his own, trying to taste her again, trying to recapture the feeling.
Oh wait, she wasn't talking about the kiss she had tasted the snake in his mouth. He screwed his eyes tightly shut for a moment and cleared his throat at that incredibly arousing thought. She had tasted his tongue. And he had tasted hers. Wow. He tried to focus again on where he was and what he was doing, but wow.
She had popped the rest of his snake into her mouth and was chewing with delight. "These are great. They're delicious, don't you think?"
"Er delicious yeah," he had to clear his throat again. "Yeah, it's delicious, all right." He stared intently into her eyes.
"Har-ry!" She swatted him playfully on the arm. "I'm talking about these," she held up the box to his face, "the snakes."
"Oh right, yeah, the snakes." He looked down at the box of still-squirming sweets as she giggled softly at his discomfort. He could do this he could tease her, too. He just had to get used to the idea that he had the right to, that it was okay to. He held a wriggling snake up to her mouth, daring her with a grin. "Want one?" he asked in a low voice. She took the dare and the snake into her mouth, closing her teeth over it and her lips over his fingers.
They spent a very pleasant few minutes feeding each other snakes from the box. He noticed that when they bit the tail end of the snake, the rest of it continued to wriggle, but when they bit off the head, the body of the snake lost its ability to move. When he pointed this out, he was amused to see her aggressively biting the head off each snake and amassing a little pile of perfectly still sweets.
He was suddenly distracted by a peculiar tickling sensation on his chest. A snake had wriggled its way into his clothes and, he realised with alarm, seemed to be working its way south.
"Hey! Get out of there," he said as he tried to pull the obstreperous sweet out of his robes.
Immediately, he was aware that she was looking at him very oddly. "What?" he asked, self-conscious all of a sudden.
"Um, what did you just say?"
"Nothing er what do you mean?"
"You just yelled 'Hey' and then you sort of I dunno hissed something or something," she ended with a questioning shrug of her shoulders.
"Uh-huh. You did." She was starting to smirk now, obviously because, if he looked anything like he felt, it was completely dumbfounded and very embarrassed to be discovered speaking Parseltongue to a sweet.
"Oh." He didn't know what else to say. He always hated finding out he'd just spoken Parseltongue. Every time it happened, barring that first time at the zoo, terrible things had happened. And now, having spent most of the year watching the Darkest wizard of all, not to mention a couple of other very unsavoury characters, communicating in the rare snake language, he was not at all pleased to find himself using the very same 'gift'.
"Oh," he said again and ran a hand through his hair. "Um, you do know I'm a Parselmouth, don't you?" he asked nervously. It was hard to remember how much she knew about him because he felt like they'd always been best friends. Getting to know her better over the last few of weeks had been brilliant. He couldn't believe that the more time he spent with her the more he liked her. He desperately hoped the feeling was mutual and that this little discovery was not about to jeopardise the best thing that had ever happened to him.
"Yes," she laughed. "I remember from Duelling Club in Lockhart's year."
Lockhart's year. They had worked out pretty soon after they'd started going out that it was too confusing to say 'second year' and a hassle to constantly say 'your fourth year, my third year'. They quickly hit upon the way of referring to their school years according to Defence Against the Dark Arts teachers. It was much easier, in conversation, to say 'remember in Lupin's year when '; and it was better by far than 'the year the Chamber opened' or 'the year Voldemort returned'. Not that they pretended those things hadn't happened, but they seemed to have reached a silent agreement that they had no need to remind one another of things that neither of them were able to forget.
"Were you there, at the Duelling Club?"
"Harry, if you were there, I was there," she said with a chuckle. "You should know that by now."
"Yeah, I guess." It wasn't something he really wanted to dwell on his complete cluelessness over the years about the marvels of Ginny Weasley.
"So what did you say?" she broke into his self-recriminations.
"To the snake, silly. What did you say to the snake just now?"
"Oh. I dunno. Just 'get out of there' or something."
"Oh." She watched the rest of the sweets with a small crease on her forehead, apparently deep in thought. After a moment, her face brightened. "Oh, well, try it again. Let's see if they listen to you."
He paused with a frown of his own, then asked, "Really?" Some things were starting to click into place in his mind: long grass, snakes, a Basilisk, Parseltongue, Mr Weasley in hospital, the few uncharacteristic things she had done today like shriek at a box of sweets. "You really don't mind if I speak Parseltongue?"
"Nah come on, Harry. It'd be cool, don't you think, if you could make these sweets do whatever you wanted? Go on, try telling them something." She looked pretty eager now, and he had to admit he was intrigued by the idea.
"Tell them to line up in a row there on the grass."
But first he had to know. "Ginny," he didn't want to embarrass her; he tried asking as gently as he could, "do snakes bother you?"
"No," she said vehemently, looking offended at the suggestion. He just looked at her, trying to let her know how much he admired her, despite her unconvincing denial. "No!" she said again. After a short staring contest she looked away and sighed. "Well, certainly not like Ron with spiders," she admitted, a little relief evident in her voice.
"It's ok, you know. They're dangerous creatures, it's good to be a little wary of them."
"Yeah, a little wary, maybe," she paused, looking as though she was debating about continuing. "But it's completely ridiculous I hate how they make me such a girl"
"Ginny, I like that you're a girl." Teasing. See, he could do it. That was good.
She rolled her eyes. "You know what I mean," she mumbled. "I hate it, I'm such a coward."
Well, ok, so maybe there was a time for teasing and maybe there wasn't.
"Ginny! You're one of the bravest people I know. No" he held out a hand to stop her interrupting, "you are brave, and" he broke off as a thought occurred to him. "Could we try something? It's just an idea and it might help. But if it bothers you, just tell me, ok?"
She looked at him curiously. "You're not going to take me down to the Chamber or something, are you?" she laughed awkwardly.
What? How could she think he would do something like that? "No, of course not! No, it's just " he shuffled over till he was sitting right next to her, and wound his left arm round her waist, holding her close, "just watch this, ok?" He smiled at her in what he hoped was a reassuring way.
Raising his wand, he chanted, "Serpensortia," and a life-size snake erupted from his wand and landed in front of them. He felt her stiffen against him but he held her firmly and looked at her. "Is this ok?" She nodded without taking her eyes off the snake.
He turned to the snake, spoke instructions to it in Parseltongue and it slithered away towards the grassy bank. Ginny did look at him then, and he felt his face flush slightly as he was conscious of her attention.
"What did you say this time?"
"Oh, you'll see." he said, hoping that she'd find his idea charming, not repulsive. He wracked his brain, thinking how to distract her from asking. He knew she'd worm it out of him if he gave her half a chance.
"Have I told you about the first time I ever spoke to a snake?" he asked, leaning them both back against the tree trunk and reaching into the box to offer her another sweet.
"No. It wasn't at the Duelling Club, then?" She bit the snake's head off.
"No, it was before I even knew I was a wizard." He recounted the story of his visit to the zoo on Dudley's eleventh birthday.
"That's fantastic, Harry," she laughed when he finished.
"Yeah, I got into so much trouble, though, with my uncle and aunt." A grin played across his face at the memory. "But it was worth it."
She laughed again at some thought of her own.
"What's so funny now?"
"Oh, I was just thinking of the perfect job for you when you leave school." She was tracing light circles over his arms which gave him goosebumps all over. He fingered her hair that was splayed across his chest.
"Yeah? Let's hear it then."
"You should work in a zoo as a snake charmer. No, listen! You could get the snakes to do whatever you want, tricks and stuff, and impress all those Muggles." She sat up and nodded. "Yeah, you should definitely do that I bet you could make loads of gold, travelling the country," she started making snake movements with her hands, winding them around Harry's head and arms and shoulders, "with your Amazing Adders and Brilliant Boas and"
"Clever Constrictors and" he added, joining in the game.
"Dancing Diamond-backs and and " she collapsed back onto his chest in laughter, running out of words.
He felt a warmth inside, a happiness that was becoming more commonplace the longer he spent with her. He drew her closer and impulsively grabbed her hand, bringing it to his lips to kiss it.
"Yep," said Ginny, looking up at him with happiness shining from her eyes, "you'd make a great charmer."
"You think so, do you?" Harry liked the idea. It certainly sounded better than meeting the most powerful dark wizard in history and duelling to the death. Yeah, snake-charming had its plusses.
Charmer, thought Ginny. She really hoped that the afternoon would last forever. It wasn't likely, but it sure was fun to hope. She just knew that the sun would eventually set and the bell would ring for dinner and this little bit of heaven would come to an end for another day. It was so unfair that she had OWLs coming up, now, just when Harry had seen the light.
Ok, so she hadn't exactly astonished Harry today with her fearless courage but, oddly, it was kind of nice when he became all concerned and protective. What was that whole snake thing about, though? She didn't quite see the point in him conjuring a snake only to send it away. Oh well, she'd have to give him points for trying. It was pretty cute, actually. Not that she was going to foster that kind of attitude. So now, now that the snake had mercifully left her in peace, she thought she'd better just reinforce in Harry's mind who exactly was the brave, independent and capable one here.
"Ok, time to startle me with your brilliance. Tell these snakes to do something," she demanded.
He looked sheepish for some reason. "Well, actually, there's not many left," he looked into the box, "in fact, there's only one."
"One? Really?" She checked, not that she doubted him, but she didn't realise they'd eaten so many. "Oh. Well, be a gentleman, Harry, and give me the last snake."
"Oh, I don't think so," he smiled, that cheeky smile that she just couldn't resist. Why did he have to smile like that? That wasn't playing fair. Hang on, what was he saying now? "No, this snake has to be sacrificed to the cause of scientific enquiry." He pulled it out and laid it on the grass in front of them.
"You know experimentation."
"Aah experimentation," she said slowly. "You can experiment with me anytime, Harry." She looked up at him through her eyelashes and laughed silently at the blush rising to his cheeks. He was so easy to wind up. She loved putting him on the spot: she loved how his eyelids fluttered and his cheeks turned pink and his head bowed and he ran a hand through his hair. It was cruel, but she loved it. She knew he knew she was only teasing. And she knew he was far too honourable to do anything her mother would disapprove of. Unfortunately.
Her breath stopped for a moment, though, when he looked up at her through his glasses and his eyes pierced hers with an intensity she hadn't seen before. Her wide grin faltered as she saw his own mouth turn up at the corners and he stared her out for a moment before slowly, deliberately, casting his gaze down to her lips. She felt herself blush and had to look away. Bugger. He was getting too good at this and she wasn't going to be able to unsettle him like she had up till now.
She was distracted by a tickling on her leg and quickly shook her leg out. It was that blasted sweet, trying to crawl up her skirt. Minds in the gutter, those twins.
"No," he exclaimed, grabbing her hand back as she went to pick up the snake, "I'll try the Parseltongue, ok?"
"Yeah," she grinned. She wanted to see if this worked: if it did, well the possibilities were endless; and if it didn't, they'd just have to find some other way to remove the snake
Oh, she was so naughty, she couldn't believe the thoughts that were entering her mind.
Harry did his strange hissing thing and the little snake stopped its track up her shin and turned its head towards him. They looked at one another in amazement and burst out laughing.
"That's wicked, Harry! Do more."
He paused a moment then grinned that devilish grin again before hissing some more. She watched the snake deviate from its upward path and start to circle her calf. Round and round it went, circling her leg and tickling, and she couldn't help but giggle. More hissing from Harry and it dropped from her leg to the grass and formed itself into the shape of a 'G'.
"Oh, oh, I know!" she just had a brilliant idea. "We've got to take this back and use it on Ron tonight."
Poor Harry; he looked completely bewildered. It was hard to believe, sometimes, that he was the son of a Marauder. "Use it on Ron? How?"
"You can send it up his leg, you know, inside his trousers. It'll take him a bit before he notices, but then it'll be almost there and he'll have to reach in and get it out," she could picture the scene perfectly in her mind, "and then some dirty-minded git, like Seamus or someone, will say something about Ron's little snake!" She laughed uncontrollably now, not only at the idea, but also at Harry's amazed look. "Might give Hermione second thoughts!" she added in a fit of hysterics.
"You are cruel, Ginny Weasley," he laughed with something like awe, his bright green eyes sparkling at her. She couldn't have agreed more.
"Completely cruel, that's me," she said happily, staring off into the grass.
Then she saw it. The snake he had conjured. It was slithering its way back towards them and she immediately forgot what she had been laughing about. Why did they have such an effect on her? Why couldn't she just get over it? She took a deep breath and steeled herself for being brave and independent and capable. She could do this. She was not going to crumple into a nervous wreck, like a girl.
"Hey," she said brightly, hoping it didn't sound forced, "your friend's coming back," she pointed to the snake moving ever closer.
He turned his head and, spotting it, reached for her hand but she snatched it back and gave him her fiercest glare. He looked slightly hurt for a moment, but then he must have realised because he rolled his eyes. "Ok, ok," he said, "you're brave and courageous. I know."
"Don't you forget it, Potter." She poked him in the chest.
The snake approached Ginny with its darting tongue and slithered into a coil before her. It was all she could do to stop reaching for her wand. She watched it carefully, deliberately trying to relax her muscles as it drew closer. Then she noticed that the very tip of its tail was curled around a flower which it was holding aloft, keeping it carefully balanced in the air. The snake looked at Ginny, back at its tail and looked at her once again, hissing. Then it curled round until its tail was closest to her and held the flower up for her to take, all the while nodding its flat diamond-shaped head in encouragement.
Wow. Ginny glanced wide-eyed at Harry, who was looking back with a faint tinge to his cheeks. He nodded towards the flower, "Go ahead, it won't hurt you," he said softly.
She took the flower: it was beautiful white, velvety and fragrant and she'd never seen any like it on the grounds of Hogwarts. The snake had lowered its head and tail now and was lying still in a loose coil. She started to reach hesitantly towards it with her free hand but drew back. Harry took her hand then and, with a gentle smile, moved their hands to touch the snake's scaly back. It felt different to how she'd imagined a snake would feel. It was dry and smooth, much like well, she couldn't really think what it was like. She stroked it for a moment in wonder and looked over at him with a small grin. When she finally pulled her hand back, he waved his wand and the snake vanished into mist.
Wow. Talk about a snake charmer. In one moment, Harry had dealt a significant blow to her snake phobia. From now on, ridiculous as it seemed, snakes would be linked in her mind with thoughts of romance and Spring and a blushing, green-eyed boy. She smelled the flower deeply and then, before she knew what she was doing, reached her arms around Harry's neck and was pulling in to touch her lips to his.
"Wait," he said, voice husky. He gently took the flower from her hand and tucked it in her hair, behind her ear. She felt a shiver run down her spine. He flicked his wand and muttered a charm she didn't catch. "It's what I use to keep my glasses on at Quidditch," he explained shyly, even as he was taking those very glasses off and laying them carefully on the grass beside him. "Just say Finite when you want to take it out." Take it out? She thought she would probably leave it there forever.
"It suits you," he said softly, his hand reaching up and hovering where the flower rested in her hair.
"Snake charmer," she whispered, aware of his hand so close and his gaze so deep.
She held her breath as his hand finally touched her, tracing a gentle finger down her cheek. As it slid round to capture the back of her neck, his eyes fell and lingered once again at her lips. He seemed to be doing that a lot today. This time she didn't find it funny or cute or unnerving. After a slight hesitance he moved forward and captured her mouth in a slow, languid kiss.
Flowers and snakes and laughter and Spring breezes all melted away.
Finally, Ginny found herself lying on the grass, side-by-side with Harry, holding his hand and staring up into the leaves above and the dappled sky peeping through.
After a time, Harry squeezed her hand gently. "How about you? What will you do when you leave school?" He put his glasses on and turned his head to look at her. "Have you had your meeting with McGonagall yet?"
Ginny sighed. "Yes, but it wasn't very helpful. I really have no idea at all what I want to do. And no matter what you pick, McGonagall still says you have to work really hard and pass as many OWLs as you can."
"Really? You don't have any idea?" Harry looked amused and turned back to face the sky. "I'd have thought it was obvious," he murmured.
"Obvious? Like what?" Ginny was interested to see what her boyfriend thought of her future prospects. "Come on, Potter, I sorted out your career, now you sort out mine." Though if he was going to suggest she get married and spend her life raising a dozen kids she would hex him till it hurt snake-delivered flower in her hair or not.
He didn't say anything for a long while. It was driving her mad. He was probably just bluffing about the 'obvious' bit; probably had no idea what she should, could or would do. She had to admit she was disappointed. She'd hoped, not only that she might get a tip about where to direct her career aspirations, but that Harry would demonstrate some amazing insight into her character that would show how well he knew her and how well suited they were. She sighed. It looked like he was a typical blind boy after all. Pity.
"You know, we never did talk about the match, that afternoon." He gave her a quick sideways glance and cleared his throat, "So tell me, how did Gryffindor win the Cup?"
She smiled to herself. If he was copping out of the career talk, this was a good way to do it: by playing one of their favourite games. They had already replayed that historic day, the match and the afterwards, many times in the few weeks since.
"Ah, well. Let's see. Katie was an outstanding vice-captain. She gave us a stirring speech about taking the Cup for Harry. How could we fail with such a motivation?" She turned her head sideways on the grass and saw him looking back at her. They grinned to each other.
"Then what happened?" he said his well-rehearsed line.
"Then the team was announced and we took to the sky, blazing our Gryffindor trail round and round the pitch. The fans screamed, the crowds went wild. We took our positions and the whistle blew. Game on!"
"How were the Chasers?" he squeezed her hand.
"The Chasers were a well-oiled scoring machine! Goal after goal, pass after pass, they crushed the opposition with their relentless scoring. Katie shone and Demelza flew like the wind. The other bloke didn't do too badly either," she giggled as she got to the part about Dean. "Can't remember his name, though didn't make all that much of an impression on me, to tell you the truth." This was all part of the game.
Harry sniggered. "What about the Beaters?"
"The Beaters did you proud, Harry. They blocked and swung and smashed those Bludgers all over the pitch. They guarded the Chasers with their lives and shielded the Seeker from attack. They dipped and dived and soared and pummelled the opposition with precision."
"How about the Keeper?" Harry murmured.
Ginny glanced sideways again and saw him lying relaxed, eyes closed and a small smile tugging the corners of his mouth. Her breath stopped momentarily as she saw again how gorgeous he looked, from his messy black hair to his long, lean body. Actually, he was still pretty scrawny, she thought, but she loved his scrawniness, she loved everything about him his scrawny arms, his dorky glasses, his cheeky smile, his piercing green eyes. How did Hermione put it? Oh yeah, fanciable. It was hard to believe she was actually lying on the grass next to Harry Potter. Her breath came back to her in a sigh. Life was good.
Right. Back to the game. "The Keeper was a Wildfire Whiz Bang! Darting back and forth, spinning round and round the hoops, catching, blocking, kicking, saving every collision with the Quaffle was an explosion of cheers and colours. The Keeper was magnificent."
She lay back with her eyes closed, replaying the game in her mind, but it was interspersed with images of Harry: seeking her out in the common room after the match, kissing her, holding hands, working side by side in the library, sharing meal times in the Great Hall all the moments they'd shared since that Cup-winning match.
"Tell me about the Seeker," he asked, his voice distant.
"Tell you about the Seeker! You have never seen a Seeker like this, Harry." He chuckled in response to that. "This Seeker could rival even the great Harry Potter!"
"Really? Even the great Harry Potter?"
"Yes, indeed! You have never seen such a determined Seeker. She was fierce, she was hard, she was fast, she was"
"brilliant, stunning, gorgeous, clever," he interrupted. She'd heard it from him before, but she quite enjoyed hearing it again. She let him finish the story. "The whole game came down to the Seeker. Gryffindor was poised for a big result either magnificent victory or total annihilation. And it all came down to the Seeker. Not only did she display astounding flying skills swooping, swerving, dodging, feinting she bamboozled the opposition to prevent them catching the Snitch before her team was up by enough points to win the Cup. Who was the other Seeker again?" he asked cheekily.
"Oh, was there another Seeker?" All part of the game. "I didn't notice. I guess she wasn't that good, huh."
"No, she wasn't," he said with confidence.
She smiled to herself. This was such a good game.
"So, really," he ended, "it's quite obvious."
That wasn't in the script. "What's obvious?" she asked.
"Quidditch, Ginny. You're a natural. When you leave school you should play professional Quidditch," he said with an air of certainty.
She snorted. Was he serious? She couldn't tell. He was probably having her on. She turned her head on the grass to look at him. "Are you having me on?"
"No! I mean it, you're brilliant." He raised himself up on his elbow and looked into her face.
"Right. Brilliant," she said, bemused. "Come on, this is Harry Potter talking you might have heard of him youngest Seeker in a century?"
"Yes, brilliant," he said, eyes blazing at her. "You are brilliant." That disgusting grin surfaced just before he kissed her nose. "At Quidditch, too," he said, now kissing her lightly on the lips. "Why do you think I kept getting hit with Bludgers during practice? I couldn't keep my eyes off you. The way you fly is just magical, Ginny."
"Magical?" she sniggered. It was a handy device to hide the burning pleasure she felt was about to take over her face.
But he blushed instead, embarrassed, she supposed, because he still had that wonder about flying that Muggle-borns tended to display. She thought it was sweet.
"Hmm," Ginny gazed into the sky as he lay back on the grass. Quidditch. A bubble of excitement grew in her belly until it burst onto her face in a grin. "Quidditch. Imagine what McGonagall would say. Not to mention Mum." She shuddered at the thought.
She'd never thought of it before, but now he had suggested it, she started hoping it would be possible. "Are you sure?" she looked up at Harry with a small frown creasing her forehead. "Do you really think I could play in the League?"
"Absolutely. Then, you know, we could travel the country together you playing Quidditch and me charming snakes. What do you say?"
She adored the look he gave her, hopeful and happy, and couldn't stop the laughter bursting forth the deep, happy, soul-cleansing laughter that only came when she was with him.
They laughed at the thought and their laughter gave birth to silly giggles which grew to more laughter. For a few moments they forgot there was a school and a Dark wizard and gave no thought to what their future was likely to entail.
Author's Note: Having now tried my hand at something fluffy I have even more admiration for all you wonderful writers who give us oodles of romantic, fluffy, angsty and heart-fluttering moments. It's harder than I thought it would be!
Thanks to my beta readers Gypsy and Tante for their super-duper polishing and perfecting skills.