Hermione Granger sighed and looked at her best friend. "Honestly, Ginny, I don't know what to do. I think I've tried just about everything." She slammed the book she was reading closed. "There's got to be something in here that will work." She raised her wand and gave it a sharp flick. "Accio book," she said, and another dusty tome came flying off the shelves to her outstretched hand. She glanced at the cover.
"Love Charms for the Hopelessly Distraught. No, I've been through this one too." She laid the book on the table beside her.
Ginny smiled wanly back at Hermione. "I'm not really the best one to be asking. I mean, look at me. I've been in love with the same boy since before my first year, and now instead of spending evenings snogging on the sofa with him, he thinks of me as one of his best pals."
Hermione's mood lightened, "We should be ashamed of ourselves. Sitting here in the library plotting how to capture a man. Wouldn't Lavender and Parvati love to see this? Not that Lavender can see much. She's the one that's usually on the sofa."
Ginny laughed. "Hermione, you've got to understand, my brother is...umm...thick when it comes to girls. Chess and Quidditch are pretty much the only things he understands."
An unintelligible grumble escaped Hermione. "I've tried being coy; I've tried being hard to get. I've been his best friend and listened to him rant. I even fixed his homework for him, even though mine suffered from it. About the only things left are placing a big ad in the Prophet, or learning to play Quidditch. Oh, well." She picked up her wand again and called for another book.
Ginny heard the book sailing towards her and caught a flash of the title as it passed. Quidditch Through the Ages, she saw. She sighed and looked back down at her parchment. A thought had just occurred to her, and she didn't want to lose it. She began to write a note to herself.
"Ginny, do you think we could find a broom? I hear the pitch is usually deserted at this time of night," said Hermione.
Ginny finished her note and looked up. "Hermione, it's February, and the snow is waist deep. I'm not going flying tonight."
"Well, fine, if you don't want me as a sister one day, just be that way." Hermione pouted. She held the pose until she was sure that Ginny had seen her, and then burst into a fit of giggles. "We had better put these books away, it's nearly time for the library to close."
The girls cleared up their things and quickly retreated back to Gryffindor Tower. Hermione stepped through the portrait hole and quickly surveyed the common room. A scowl crossed her features as her gaze fell on the object of her affection and she strode off up the stairs to her room.
Ginny looked around and found the person she was looking for. Harry was seated at a table, scribbling furiously on a long parchment. Ginny walked over and stood in front of him until he looked up.
"What's up, Gin?" he asked.
"Umm, Harry, could I possibly borrow Hedwig? I need to send a letter, and Pig has been unreliable lately. He takes forever to get back." Ginny put on her best smile and hoped that Harry wouldn't ask too many questions.
Harry sighed and put his quill down. " I don't know, Ginny. Last time I let you use her, you ordered all those Dung Bombs. Filch nearly hung me up by my thumbs when he found out it was my owl that brought them into the school." Harry looked into Ginny's eyes and sighed again. "What do you need her for?"
Ginny hesitated. "I just need to send a letter. I'm checking the prices on something. I promise that she won't bring anything back but a letter."
Harry shrugged, "Okay, if it's just a letter. I don't fancy another detention with Filch."
Ginny looked hurt. "I told you that I would take responsibility for that. As I remember it, you wouldn't let me. Did I tell you thank you, by the way?"
"Yes, you did, several times. I didn't mind; I would have hated to see Filch drag you off in irons." Harry smiled.
Ginny felt her heat flutter as he smiled at her. Damn, why does he have to look at me like that, and not see what it does to me? Ginny got control of her emotions and returned Harry's smile. "Thanks. I'm going up to bed. I'll send the letter tomorrow before breakfast. ‘Night." Ginny started toward the stairs and then stopped. "Goodnight, Ron," she called.
"Unh. Huh? Oh, ‘night, Gin," Ron called back. "Say, Harry, I had another idea for a play. What if we...."
Ginny left the boys to discuss strategy. Poor Ronnikins isn't going to know what hit him. Now if I could just do something about Harry.
Ginny awoke and dressed early the next morning. She grabbed a piece of parchment and hurriedly scribbled a message on it. Tossing her wand into her pocket, she headed for the Owlery, hoping to catch Hedwig before she went to sleep.
Ginny rushed up the last few steps holding her breath. The Owlery was always a pungent place, and it took some time before her senses were used to it. She pushed open the door and stepped inside.
The early morning light was beginning to come through the high, open windows. She looked around the rows of perches trying to spot Harry's snowy owl. The sound of someone clearing his throat brought her attention back to eye level.
Harry was standing near one of the lower windows with Hedwig on his arm. He stroked her feathers and whispered something to the bird. Then he stepped forward and held out his arm.
Ginny held her arm out and allowed the owl to settle. She stroked Hedwig behind the ears and pulled the message out of her pocket. "I didn't expect to see you up here, Harry. I could have gotten Hedwig down on my own."
Harry shrugged and said, "I often come up here in the morning. She likes a treat before she beds down for the day. So, what is it that you're sending? If you don't mind my asking."
Ginny regretted asking to borrow Hedwig, now. She should have used one of the school owls, or Pig. Knowing that Harry could probably convince Hedwig not to deliver her message, she held out the letter so he could see it.
"The Daily Prophet? What are you writing to the paper about?" Harry said as he looked at the address. He handed the note back unopened.
Ginny took it thankfully and gave it to Hedwig. She held her hand high, and the owl took off for a window. She turned her attention back to Harry. "I was just checking...umm, ad rates," she muttered dumbly.
Harry looked at Ginny quizzically. "Do I want to know why the little sister of Fred and George Weasley is checking ad rates in the Prophet?"
"Probably not," she replied. Ginny watched Harry's expression. Damn again, all he has to do is look at me and I want to tell him everything. "Hermione and I were talking last night, and she said that she had done everything short of taking out an ad to get Ron's attention. So I thought...well, why not?" She watched the grin spread across Harry's face and couldn't help but giggle.
"Brilliant. Worthy of a Weasley." Harry put an arm around Ginny's shoulder and said, "Come on, I'll buy you breakfast."
Ginny sat at the breakfast table two days later waiting for the owl post. She hadn't seen Hedwig in all that time, and was beginning to worry. When Harry entered the Great Hall alone, she breathed a sigh of relief and waved him over. "Have you seen Hedwig? It's been two days and no word. If she doesn't show up today, there's no way that we can get this back in time for the Valentine's Day issue."
Harry snorted. "Valentines Day? Is it that time again, already?" Harry shuddered.
Ginny looked at him, "What's wrong with Valentine's Day? Oh...that's right, Cho. Madam Puddifoot's. Nevermind."
Harry pulled an official looking letter from his pocket. "Would this be what you were waiting for? She brought it to my window as I was going to bed last night."
Ginny jumped at the letter. Harry pulled the letter back, and she overbalanced. Instead of lunging for his hand, she ended up falling and landing in his arms.
Harry smiled down at Ginny. "Why, Ginny, I had no idea." He helped her back to her seat, and handed over the letter.
Bloody right he has no idea. That's the problem. Ginny straightened her robes and hoped she wasn't blushing too much. She broke the seal and unfolded the letter. She scanned the letter and when she got to the list of prices, she gasped.
"What's wrong?" asked Harry.
"Oh, this is way more expensive than I thought it would be. The only thing that I can really afford is a little personals ad. There's no way that he would see that." Ginny sighed, "Well, it was a good idea anyway."
"Don't worry about it. I'll pay for it," said Harry.
"Harry, I can't let you do that. The prices here are...outrageous." Ginny shook her head.
"Ginny, I've been trying for years to find some way to help out Ron. He's too proud to let me pay for anything, even if it means he has to do without. After everything that your family has done for me, it's the least that I can do." Harry took the letter from her and scanned down the list. The prices did seem a bit high, but he had more than enough money to pay for something like this. "Besides, maybe if they‘re going out, they won't fight so much. You have no idea how much I would pay for that kind of peace."
Ginny smiled. "You're right. I'd give almost anything not to have to listen to them fight all the time. I have to hear about it, blow by blow, from Hermione after, as well."
Harry pulled a pouch out of his pocket and handed it to Ginny. "Here, I hate to do it this way, but I have to get to Snape's class. Let's do this right. Take out a full-page ad. That way we know he'll see it...maybe somewhere near the Quidditch scores."
Ginny smiled and watched as Harry rushed off for class. She knew that she should be getting along too, but since her first class today was Care of Magical Creatures, she knew she could be a bit late. Ginny pulled a sheet of parchment from her bag and began to write.
Ginny and Hermione followed Ron and Harry into the Great Hall. Ginny reached over and slowed Hermione enough so that they were out of earshot. "Cheer up Hermione, maybe he has something planned as a surprise for today." The girls looked at each other and laughed. "Well, at least we have a half day off, and a chance to go do some shopping."
Hermione sighed, "Maybe I can find a gold dress with a pair of wings. That's the only way that he would try and catch me, if I looked like a Golden Snitch."
Ginny shook her head, "As the Seeker, that's Harry's job. Not such a bad idea for me though." This time the laughter was more genuine. "I just wish that someone would have picked different colors for today. Red, pink, and white are not the best colors for me."
Ginny and Hermione took their place at the breakfast table on either side of Ron and Harry. Ginny glanced at Harry and smiled. While she had his attention, she looked up at the high windows where the owl post usually arrived.
Five minutes later the first of the owls arrived. Presently, an owl landed at Harry's side, clutching a newspaper. Ginny reached over and grabbed the paper while Harry was busy paying for it. She quickly scanned through the paper until she found the page she was looking for. Her handiwork was right there on page 2 of the sports section. There is no way that he can miss that. Satisfied, she wordlessly handed the paper back to Harry.
Harry took the paper, folded it in half and began to read. Ginny knew that it wouldn't be more than a couple of minutes before Ron asked for the Sports section. Reaching for a piece of toast, she took the opportunity to scan the rest of the Great Hall. There were several muted giggles, and finally a chorus of guffaws from farther down the table. Several heads were turned in their direction.
"What's everyone on about today?" asked Ron. He reached over and plucked the sports pages from Harry's grasp. "Thanks, mate. I'm dying to see how the Cannons did last night."
Ginny watched as took the paper, folded it in half, and proceeded to read the front page as he shoveled food into his mouth. Ginny bent her head and tried to suppress a laugh. I don't know how Fred and George did it; they always had straight faces before the payoff.
Ron finally finished the first page and opened to the second. As he folded the page back, Ginny could read the whole ad. He folded the paper in half again, and flipped it right side up. Ginny couldn't help smiling as she saw his jaw drop at what he had just read.
"Wha...wha...what?" said Ron, and then good sense took control. He rose from his seat, placed the paper on the table, and stepped over to Hermione. Without a word, he bent down and around her. His hands caressed her face, and he bent and kissed her squarely on the lips. The entire Gryffindor table stood and applauded as the kiss went on. Hermione's arms encircled Ron's neck and she drew him in closer. The kiss finally ended, and a moment later they both realized that they had just shared their moment with most of the school.
Hermione was flushed and almost breathless as she said, "That was very...nice. But why here? Why now?"
Ron looked at her curiously and reached for the paper. He handed it to Hermione and watched as she unfolded and read the page. Her eyes immediately fell on Ginny, who nearly fell over from laughter.
Harry was laughing and snorting as well. "Happy Valentine's Day, Ron and Hermione. We thought we would do something special for you. After all, who doesn't want to share their first kiss with the entire school watching?"
Ron and Hermione both turned to look at Harry. Ron took the paper from Hermione's hand, and said, "We? Who's the we? You might want to check your ad." Ron's voice was loud enough to carry throughout the hall. He tossed the paper at Harry.
Harry looked at Ron, curious about the sudden display. He picked up the paper and read.
Kiss me now, or lose me forever.
Harry was a little surprised; it was only a half-page ad. His eyes scanned farther down the page and he nearly sprayed pumpkin juice on the paper.
That goes for you too, Potter.
Harry turned to look at Ginny. "I...I never...I didn't think..." Harry stammered.
Ginny looked Harry in the eyes and said, "Shut up and kiss me, Harry."