"Harry, you're going too fast. Harry.... Harry, slow down!" Hermione Granger paused to catch her breath, muttering to herself about boys and long legs. Ever since Harry had gone through that growth spurt, she had to run to keep up. And that was when he was walking at his normal pace. If he was in a hurry...well, there was no way she could keep up with him.
"Hurry up, Hermione!" he said impatiently.
"Harry, where are we going? What's going on?" she panted when she finally caught up with him.
"I only have two weeks, three days, four hours, and nineteen and one-half minutes," he said as he checked his watch.
"Now it's two weeks, three days, four hours, and nineteen minutes. Hurry up! We're wasting time."
"Harry Potter," she said warningly. "I'm not going to move another inch until you tell me what's going on."
Harry rolled his eyes at her. "I thought you were the smartest witch in our year."
"Think, Hermione. What happens in...." He checked his watch again. "Two weeks, three days, four hours, and seventeen minutes?"
Hermione thought. Potions exam? No, that's next week. Besides, Harry and Ron never got that worked up about their lessons. Maybe it's Quidditch. When do we play the Slytherins? No, that's in three weeks. What could it be? she mused. Let's see, today is the twenty-seventh of January, and it's about a quarter 'til eight. Add two weeks, three days, four hours, and seventeen minutes, and you get...the fourteenth of February. That's....
"Oh. Valentine's Day. Honestly, Harry, is that what this fuss is all about? Valentine's Day?"
"Hermione, it's the first one that Ginny and I will have had since, well, you know."
"Since you started going out?" she asked, grinning knowingly at his blush.
"Well, yeah. And I want it to be perfect for her. You have to help me. Please, Hermione," he begged.
"Oh, all right. Far be it from me to get in the way of ‘true love,'" she teased. "What do you have planned?"
"Well...see...that's part of the problem. That's why I'm worried about the fact that there's only," he checked his watch again, "two weeks, three days, four hours, and thirteen minutes left. I don't know what I should do." His eyes lit up. "Hermione, you're a girl, right?"
She glanced down before looking back at him. "Last time I checked, yes," she said wryly.
"So you know what girls like."
"So you can help me come up with something. Something..." he trailed off helplessly.
"Something nice?" Hermione asked.
"Yeah. Something nice."
"There's always flowers, Harry. Or sweets," Hermione suggested.
"No, everyone gives flowers and sweets. I want to do something different. Something...."
"Nice?" Hermione supplied again.
"Special. Something she won't forget. Something that will show her how much I love her," he said finally.
"Oh." Honestly. Who knew Harry was such a romantic?
Hours later, a frustrated Harry closed the last of the library books he and Hermione had selected.
"I'm doomed," he groaned.
"No, you're not, Harry."
"We just looked in every blasted book in the library! And we didn't find anything I could do for Ginny."
"You're exaggerating, Harry. We didn't come close to looking at all of the books in the library. Why don't you make something for her?"
"Hermione, I've been trying for the last three hours to come up with something to make for her. And I've come up empty-handed."
"No, you've been trying for the last three hours to come up with something to do for her. I think you should make something for her. With your own two hands. The Muggle way."
"But...but...I've only got...."
"Yes, yes, I know, Harry. Two weeks, three days, one hour, and some-odd minutes. Better hurry up, then."
"Hermione, that's so sticky." Harry shook his hand in an attempt to remove the piece of wood that had stuck to his fingers, but it didn't work.
"Of course it is, Harry. It's glue. What did you expect?"
He looked out over the mess that had appeared in the unused classroom where they were working. "I'm not sure, exactly. Definitely not this." He shook his hand again, and the piece of wood that had been stuck fell to the floor with a clatter.
"I told you that would happen if you didn't clean it up," said Hermione.
"I know," he muttered. "But I wanted to get it finished. I only have five days, seven hours, and twenty-three minutes left."
"Harry, I've been meaning to ask you. How is it that you know exactly how much time is left until Valentine's Day?"
He flushed and sheepishly held out his arm. "Charmed my watch to count down the days."
Oh, my. He does have it bad.
"Don't push so hard...ow..." Harry said, looking at his bleeding hand. "That hurt."
"Oh, Harry. I'm so sorry. Are you okay?" Hermione asked.
"Yeah. It's just a small cut. It's my fault anyway—I wanted to get that last piece in place, and it slipped. I forgot the edges are sharp."
"Finished," he said triumphantly, putting down the paintbrush. "And with three hours and eight minutes to spare."
"I'm impressed, Harry." Hermione wrinkled her nose. "What is that smell?"
"Mmmm?" Harry asked absently, admiring his handiwork.
"The smell. What is it?"
"Oh, that. It's the varnish I used on the frame. It is pretty strong, isn't it? I hope it's gone by the time I give it to Ginny."
"I'm certain the smell will fade by then," she said soothingly. "Harry...may I see the finished product?"
Harry was suddenly unsure of himself. Hermione had been helping him all along, but what if she didn't like it? Worse, what if she thought Ginny wouldn't like it?
"Er...all right," he said, carefully handing the gift over. "Be careful, it's—"
"Oh, Harry," Hermione breathed.
"You don't like it, do you?" he said morosely.
"Harry, this is beautiful," she exclaimed softly. "Ginny will love it." She examined the item more closely. "The colours are so vibrant. The green, especially. Did you realize that—"
Harry sighed. "Yes, I know it goes with my eyes," he muttered. "I...well...I sort of picked the green to match. Ginny always says she likes my eyes." He looked at her with a hopeful expression. "Do you really think she'll like it?"
"Absolutely. It's perfect. And it's even better since you made it yourself."
Harry sat in the common room and nervously watched the seconds tick away on his watch. It was time. Valentine's Day had arrived.
"Make one move and you will live to regret it," said the dark, throaty voice from behind him.
Harry jumped up from the chair he'd been sitting in. "Ginny," he exclaimed. "Wh-what are you doing here?"
"You invited me here, silly. Remember? So what did you want?"
"I have something for you. For Valentine's Day. Here," he said, thrusting the gift into her hands.
"Harry," she laughed. "It's just after midnight. I can wait until later." She looked at him in concern. "Harry, are you all right? Maybe you ought to sit back down."
"No, I'm fine," he said but sat when she gave him one of her famous looks. "Go on. Open it."
Ginny ripped the paper off and gasped when she saw what was inside.
"Do you like it?"
"Oh, Harry," she sighed. "It's beautiful. Thank you." She held the gift up to the light and watched the colours glow. He'd given her an exquisite picture made of stained glass, framed in oak. The vibrant emerald-green background surrounded a bouquet of pink and red roses. "This is wonderful." She leaned over and kissed him softly on the lips, and he pulled her into his lap.
"I'm glad you like it, Ginny. I've been thinking about it for a long time."
"Two weeks, three days, four hours, and nineteen and one-half minutes."
"What?" she asked, laughing.
"Two weeks, three days, four hours, and nineteen and one-half minutes," he repeated, wrapping his arms around her waist.
"Harry," Ginny said, perplexed, "where on earth did you get that?"
"Where did I get what?"
"That cut on your hand."
"What cut?" he asked, nuzzling her neck.
"Stop that," Ginny laughed. "It tickles."
He did it again. "Harry...."
"Stop trying to distract me."
"I'm not trying—"
"Harry..." she interrupted.
"All right, maybe I am trying to distract you."
She sighed exasperatedly. "Harry, where did you get that cut?"
"It's not important."
"Lord, woman, you're persistent."
She raised her eyebrows at him.
"All right, all right. I cut it whileIwasmakingyourpresent."
Her eyes widened. "You...you made this? For me?"
"With your own hands?"
"All by yourself?"
"Yeah...well, no, Hermione helped."
"Oh, Harry. This is...this is the best gift ever." She threw her arms around his neck and hugged him tightly.
He grinned. "Happy Valentine's Day, Ginny."
She leaned over and gave him another kiss. "Happy Valentine's Day, Harry."
A/N: Okay, so I cheated a bit with some of the phrases. According to the contest rules, Harry and Hermione shouldn't have said some of those things to each other, but that's how they wanted me to write it, and I couldn't say no. They were very pushy about the whole thing.
Again, thanks to OHGinnyfan for pre-betaing and Lucyjekyll for betaing. I couldn't do it without you two!