For the most part it’s a typical Hogwarts Sunday afternoon. With the start of the new year now four weeks past, almost the whole school is outside enjoying a pristine new-fallen blanket of snow. Across the castle, fires blaze merrily in large stony fireplaces. Now and then a house-elf appears and with a small pop, more logs appear, raising the blaze to new heights for a time. In general no one notices them as they go about their business quietly and contentedly.
Of course, there are a few students in the house common rooms and the library, but those account for only a small part of the whole. Those who stayed inside are busy studying, talking together in hushed voices, writing letters home to parents, sisters, brothers.
A few students, though, are like you. Even the best of intentions sometimes go awry and don’t work out. Fortunately today, of all days, you recognize that where you now find yourself is actually an improvement in your original plan. Who could blame you anyway? Hermione, probably, but only she could resist the temptation of a large empty sofa near the fire and a soft blanket. Sleep comes easy at times like this and that’s just where you find yourself now.
After a time your eyes open slowly, taking in the room around you as if you haven’t been there in ages. A blur slowly becomes clear and takes the form of the large, welcoming hearth. A roaring fire in its gut spills heat into the room, keeping you warm while you grin and close your eyes again. You stretch your legs and start to roll over, opening your eyes only to see the blanket as you pull it.
But then something catches your gaze. Something that wasn’t there when you laid down. You roll back and push against the cushions, softening them a little more. Warm sleep beckons to you again, but you push it away; something far more interesting has captured your imagination. Even the sweetest dreams of night and day can’t compete with this.
A few bright, warm rays of sunlight pour in through the old castle windows like hot cocoa on a freezing winter’s night. You admire their color for a moment,but are rather drawn to what they bring out in the room. Most especially, on the small figure now curled up on a window seat across from you.
She – for you know it’s a she – couldn’t look more comfortable. The beautiful vision even effects you and you feel your muscles relax a bit more as you watch. Her eyes are closed,but her small pink tongue works slowly to remove whatever it is that might keep her hair from shining. Your gaze is drawn to her face as she opens her eyes. She’s encountered a particularly difficult spot and licks more vigorously. The sun is bright and you can only just see the slight vertical pupils of her eyes as she peers intently at her small leg.
A smile creeps up your face as you continue to watch her sport. For sport it is, in her mind. What cat would dare be seen in anything other than a pristine coat, freshly cleaned and soft as silk? You remember what it feels like to hold her, for you have many times. You have difficulty finding the words to describe the softness of her smooth hair. Her purr you wish you could capture and store for those days and nights when you’re not feeling as good as today.
Her eyes look up for a moment. You’re caught and you know it, but all she does is give you what could only be described as a gentle, loving look before going back to her work. The sun caresses her like a golden blanket, wrapping its arms around her in loving kindness. But, really, who could not?
You marvel at how beautiful the colors are that gleam from her shining coat. They’re colors you’re familiar with,but you’ve never been able to name them. They’re beautiful like the setting sun, warm like a candle’s flickering flame, and sweet like a ripened orange. The true meaning of light and life is shown in them and it holds you spellbound.
You continue to watch as she rolls onto her side, stretching her muscles like strings on a violin. There’s almost a music to the way she moves, graceful yet athletic. Her cares in this world are small and a part of you seems to be caught up with her. Your own cares are lost for a time, thrown wherever it is they can’t find you no matter how hard they try.
Her eyes close again and her head comes to rest on the cushion. Her legs jut out at funny angles and before long she rolls onto her back, finding what must be a comfortable position for her. A tangle of legs tips against the tapestry and her cheek presses into it as well. You find yourself smiling again, thinking of the times she’s done that next to you. Her legs rest on you and you would do all in your power to protect her from the world. In reality she’s probably better suited to escape any situation than you are, for she’s small, light on her feet and can dash away in a flash. You hope she’ll never have to run that fast for reasons of danger. The briefest of shadows crosses your heart, but you push them away again immediately.
You consider getting up and crossing the room to pet her and scratch her head. The feeling of her purr and the comfort of her sun-warmed coat would put you even more at ease. It would be selfish, though, to wake her, for her peace is her own and even though she offers it to you freely, you have yet to learn to ask for it. The comfort she provides comes from deep inside and is simple, almost primitive, in its form. You wish you could match it in some way, to give some of that love back, but you’re still trying to find the words. Perhaps someday you will truly find a way to tell her how you feel.
You laugh quietly to yourself. If anyone in the room could read your mind they might find it ludicrous that your thoughts are bent in such a direction, but you know things they don’t. You know she doesn’t mind. You also know, very solemnly, that you couldn’t find this comfort anywhere else.
You close your eyes again for a moment, wondering just how long this feeling can last. In your heart you know that it will always be there as long as she’s around. Oh, it may be hard to feel on the coldest, darkest, most frightening nights, but it’s still there. As long as she’s there, it will be there. Her love for you is most evident in her trust. She trusts you implicitlylike the leaf that grips to the branch for fear of falling. You hope you will always be able to hold her up.
A pop from the fire wakes her again and she glances at the flames before turning her pure, brown eyes on you. You feel a blush creep over your features, but your heart skips that she looks at you that way. You can’t help but smile again.
About then, in a most dramatic display, she leaps away from her sunny bed and strides gracefully across the floor to sit in front of you. As she comes to a stop on the rug, what could almost be described as a smile crosses her face. She leaps smoothly onto the cushion by your arm and begins to purr. A familiar sensation bubbles up inside you. It’s as if you could love the whole world, encouraging the good and destroying the bad all at once, and just because of her.
You close your eyes and stroke her soft fur, simply enjoying the touch. She purrs loudly for a moment and flops onto her side, leaning heavily against you. Her claws begin to knead the cushion and she slips farther down onto her side. You rub her belly and she jumps a little, giving you a scathing look. You pull your hand back with a blush, having temporarily forgotten yourself. In a moment, though, her love is restored and she closes her eyes in happiness.
The world seems to slow as you lie beside her, your hand running slowly down her neck and back. Students pass by, essays are writtenand snowballs fly, yet you are perfectly content to let them all pass. There is nothing that matters more than this moment.
You feel your eyes drooping again as sleep comes to call. For a fleeting moment in time you try to fight back,but it claims you with its sensuous fingers and alluring promises. For a time you sleep while she naps. Nothing will come between you, for no one is paying any attention. Even if they were, it would appear only as a ginger cat curled up next to the Boy Who Lived.
The sun outside slips slowly and ceaselessly down across the broad stroke of the horizon, its tendrils finally losing their grip on this world. As if by some miracle of happenstance, the common room empties for a moment in time. She awakes as if on cue and sits up on her haunches to watch you sleep, breathing the air of peace around you. Her acute eyes scan the room and she almost nods, though you wouldn’t notice if you really thought she was a cat.
Stretching luxuriously one last time, she transforms into her human form. Having planned ahead, her legs slide under your blanket as they lengthen and her arms wrap slowly around you. Her hair spills out onto your arms in soft, crimson waves. She closes her eyes in happiness again and slips back to sleep beside you.
A short while later you open your eyes and see the beautiful girl who has appeared next to you. A knowing smile and a hint of a chuckle wake her. She peers at you with those familiar brown eyes and you can’t help but give your heart to her. After all, she’s given hers to you.
Pulling her close, you place a gentle kiss on her forehead and whisper in her ear. Only she can hear the words you chooseand with a content smile of her own,she repeats them back to you.
“I love you, too, Harry.”
A/N – Thanks so much to my beta, Iviolinist, who turned this around in what must be record time! Sorry about the commas, but sometimes they just have to stay. This story was inspired by one of my cats on a sunny afternoon so I decided to give Harry a moment of comfort in the midst of his troubled world. I hope you don’t have to be a cat-lover to enjoy this bit of fluff. Of course, being a Harry/Ginny fan might help! Your comments, both positive and negative, are helpful. Please review.