Ginny walked towards Harry on a misty early morning by the lake outside Hogwarts. Her dress seemed to meld into the mist as if it were woven from its essence. The sun illuminated her face, giving it a mystical glow from which Harry could not look. He gazed into her eyes as she approached, losing himself in her radiant beauty. Harry couldn't help but think that, over the past few years, Ginny had gone from just cute to very pretty and irresistibly attractive.
Ginny held out her hands as she reached Harry, and he met them with his readily. They grasped each other's hands slowly and deliberately. Harry brought his hands together and stood before her, unable to break her gaze.
"Hello, Harry." Ginny's voice was soft, sweet, slow, and a bit distant, as if it were being spoken from out of Harry's view.
"Hello, Ginny. Fancy meeting you here."
Ginny smiled. "I never see anyone here. I'm usually alone when I come here to think."
"Nice place, this. Very beautiful, relaxing, and yet a bit mysterious. It's my first visit," Harry replied.
"So what brings you here, Harry?" Ginny ask, looking a bit confused.
Harry blushed a little bit. "I was thinking about you as I fell asleep. I guess this is the result."
"You were thinking of me? How sweet…"
"So what were you thinking about that brought you here tonight, Gin?"
It was Ginny's turn to blush. "I always come here when I'm dreaming of you, Harry."
Harry swallowed. "Dreaming of me? I thought you were over me."
"I did say that, but it's not entirely true. Sometimes I come here willingly, sometimes not. Every time I do I see scenes in the mist. Most scenes are memories I have of you. The others are… well, wishful thinking, I guess. But this is the first time you've appeared here in person, so to speak."
"Interesting that it should be on my first visit, don't you think?"
Ginny nodded. "It is. So why were you thinking about me, Harry?"
Harry broke his gaze to look at his feet, and then slowly looked at Ginny from her toes back to her eyes. "I saw you in the hallway today. You were going between classes. I'd seen you in the hallway dozens of times, but this time it was different. You looked different. It was the first time I saw you in the hall this year. You turned, looked over your shoulder, and smiled at me when you saw me. I haven't been able to get that image out of my mind ever since."
"Tell me about the image, Harry."
"Well, I can clearly see it…" As Harry started, the mist beside them shifted, and the scene in Harry's mind appeared. There was Ginny's image, walking away from him in her school uniform. As Harry stopped, the image froze. Ginny noticed the display and turned to watch.
"Go on Harry…"
Harry took a deep breath. "You were walking away, and the first things I noticed were the backs of your calves and your hair. It was then that I first thought something was different. Then you turned, and I watched your hair swing in the air. I noticed your cheeks, and the freckles there, then your nose, and your lips, then finally your eyes. As your face came fully in view, I froze, unable to move. I said to myself, ‘When did she get that pretty?' Then you met my eyes and smiled. Right then my heart melted."
By the time Harry was done, Ginny's cheeks were deep red. She looked down from where the image had been to her feet, unable to stop smiling.
"You're beautiful, Ginny. I don't know why I've never looked at you that way. You've always been a good friend, and we had a lot of fun this summer, despite what happened at the end of last school year. And now, I can't help but wonder what it would be like if our friendship were to blossom into something more."
Ginny looked back up at Harry. "Well, isn't that what dreams are for?" Harry nodded.
"You know," Ginny added, "There is one thing I've always wanted to do here, if I ever got my wish and you emerged from the mist to stand before me."
Harry lifted an eyebrow. "Oh, and what would that be?"
"This…" Ginny answered, leaning in to touch her lips to his. Her face became brighter, more radiant, blinding…
And he was awake, the morning sun rising over the hills, right into his face as he lay in his bed. He pulled the covers over his head to block out the light and closed his eyes. Try as he might, he could not go back to sleep. He found himself getting upset that he couldn't return to the dream. Instead he got up to shower and prepare for the day, knowing full well he wouldn't be able to get the image of Ginny out of his mind.
Sure enough, Ginny's visage proved to be overpowering. He forgot to wait for Ron in the common room on the way to class. He barely noticed Hermione talking to him at lunch. It took him twice as long to get dressed for Quidditch practice. By the end of the day, Ron and Hermione had to intervene.
Harry jumped and let go of the parchment he was holding. He tried to catch it as it fell to the floor, but failed miserably. He looked around confused, only to find Ron and Hermione staring at him from across the table.
"Uh, yes Hermione?" Harry asked clumsily.
Hermione made a show of putting away her quill, rolling up her parchment, and closing the book she was reading. Ron and Harry both knew this as the universal sign that Hermione wanted to talk, and wasn't going to be denied. Harry didn't bother to pick up his piece of parchment.
"That is the third time you've ignored us today, Harry. What's on your mind?"
Harry was cornered and he knew it. If he tried to deny anything, Hermione would see right through him. If he got by Hermione Ron would get it out of him later, so it wouldn't matter. He shifted his weight to get comfortable.
"I had a dream last night."
Ron suddenly got concerned. "Was it Voldemort? What did you see? Did you see my father? My mother? Was it the Department of Mysteries again? Was there…" Ron trailed off as his side got a violent visit from Hermione's elbow.
Harry laughed at the show. "No, Ron, it wasn't that kind of a dream."
Hermione suddenly blushed. "It wasn't THAT kind of dream either, Hermione," Harry told her. "Not really."
"So it was a romantic dream!" Hermione said, excitedly. Harry nodded.
Ron was getting excited now. "Who was it in it? Was it Cho? Did she… OW!" Hermione's elbow was getting quicker.
"I'd rather not say who was in it right now. But it wasn't Cho, but it's the first time I've dreamed of this person."
"What happened, Harry? I mean, if you don't mind telling us," Hermione risked.
"Well, we talked about each other. I told her about the first time I saw her this year. And at the end, we kissed and I woke up just as the kiss was starting. But it was so real. I could feel her hands. I could feel her breath on my lips as we talked. It was amazing."
Hermione was watching Harry as if he were reading her a romance novel. Ron was sitting straight up and on the edge of his seat.
"What?" Harry asked.
"You're in love, Harry. Isn't it obvious?" Hermione said.
In love? With Ginny? Oh sweet Merlin, was he?
"It's just a dream, Hermione. Nothing more."
"No way, mate. If there's something I've learned by sharing a dorm room with you, it's that your dreams are never just dreams." Harry could tell by Ron's expression that he truly believed this.
"Let me ask you this, Harry: Did you ever dream of Cho?" Hermione asked. Harry shook his head. "Have you ever kissed a girl in your dreams before last night?" Harry shook his head again.
"Well, that's it then. You're in over your head for this one, mate." Ron stated.
"But that's ridiculous! How could I have a crush on someone that I only noticed was pretty yesterday?"
Ron and Hermione looked at each other, then back to Harry. "Right. That's it, Hermione. We've lost him. He's a goner."
Hermione sighed. "Completely hopeless, Ron. We'd better get Madam Pomphrey to bring us something to ease his suffering."
Harry looked back and forth between them. "What ARE you two talking about?"
"Do you remember when Ginny and Michael began to see each other?"
Harry froze at the mention of Ginny's name. Did they know? Of course not, you prat, and don't let on! Relax and answer the question.
"No, mate, I didn't even know they were seeing each other at the time."
"Well, he was doing the same thing you are now, only not quite so bad," Ron explained. "But even so, he had to do homework over the weekend because he couldn't get his work done during that week. He was hopeless."
"And, you, Harry," Hermione continued for Ron, "You haven't heard a single thing any of the professors have said all day. Have you?"
Harry strained to remember the day. Hermione was right. He couldn't remember anything. The image of Ginny kept popping into his mind.
"Sweet Merlin, I'm doomed." Harry said, putting his face into his hands and laying them on the table.
"Maybe if you'd tell us who it is, we could help you get over it in time to save your marks, mate."
"Ron, don't press him," Hermione scolded. "Matters of the heart are not to be taken lightly."
"What am I going to do?" Harry asked desperately. Hermione and Ron shrugged in unison.
"Well, I'm obviously not going to get any work done tonight. I'm going to bed."
"Suit yourself, mate," Ron said, smiling. He dodged Hermione's elbow just in time. As he got up to leave, he couldn't help but think he saw a brief grin on Hermione's face.
On his way back to the Gryffindor common room, Harry couldn't help but worry about his schoolwork. He would have to force himself back into reality, back to the wizarding world that he loved so much. He was suddenly ashamed of himself. Why had he let his thoughts of Ginny overtake him? Did he think there was a chance they could get together? No, of course not. She was over him, no matter what his dream version of her had said. Yes, she was pretty. Very pretty indeed. But this was Ginny, after all. Good friend Ginny. Bat Bogey Hex Ginny. But I'm-head-over-heels-in-love Ginny? Get a grip, Harry.
Before long he was at the portrait of the Fat Lady that served as the entrance to the Gryffindor common room. Harry stepped in and turned to go to his dorm.
Sitting at the main table, right in his path to his room, sat Ginny, working on her homework with some fellow 5th-year girls. At that moment, it was if the conversation Harry had just had with himself never happened. He was smitten again. He was staring. His legs wouldn't move. He couldn't breathe.
Ginny turned, saw Harry, blushed, and quickly turned back to the table. Then she turned around again, met his eyes, smiled and waved, then turned back to her homework.
That's odd, Harry thought. Ginny hasn't done something like that since the summer at the Burrow before my second year. Had he just imagined it? Yeah, that was it. Harry had projected that image on Ginny while she sat there. Ok, Potter, to bed with you. You obviously need to get some sleep.