"Oh, what a shame," murmured Ginny, cupping her hand around a rose bloom encased in ice. "Hagrid forgot to put an anti-freezing charm on his roses."
She had noticed the bush on a walk to inspect the grounds after it's first snowfall of the year. She loved how the castle looked, covered in snow. The turrets and archangels were even more beautiful surrounded by a dreamy white background.
She snapped the bloom off the bush and raised her fist to rap on Hagrid's door. Much to her surprise, the door swung open and her hand smacked into something decidedly not the door.
Ginny clamped a hand over her mouth and squeezed her eyes shut. "Oh my goodness! I'm so sorry!"
She didn't want to look to see who it was…what if it were a Professor? Oh dear, what if she just socked the Headmaster….
She braved a glance upward. It wasn't the Headmaster. It was worse.
Harry staggered backwards, hand covering his nose, where Ginny had obviously just hit him.
‘Oh my gosh! I just slugged Harry Potter' Ginny thought incredulously.
"I'm sorry!" Ginny gasped, "I meant to knock on the door and the—."
"Then I got in your way," finished Harry with a groan. "Ever consider a career as a Beater? You hit HARD for a girl."
For a girl, indeed! "I've got six older brothers, what did you expect?" said Ginny snappily. Then she realized she had just smacked him in the face. "Sorry, Harry…. I didn't hit you on purpose."
"What's all this?" Hagrid had stepped into his doorway, staring at the two of them. "You all right there, Harry?"
"Fine," Harry said, he removing his hand and nodded at Hagrid.
Oh no.…thought Ginny when she saw the state of his face.
Hagrid gaped at Harry. "Why, you've got a bloodied nose!"
Harry stared at Ginny in amazement. "No wonder Ron's scared of you!"
Hagrid ushered Harry and Ginny into his cabin and promptly set Harry in a chair with a towel to hold on his face. Ginny was bright red with embarrassment.
"I really am sorry," Ginny was bright red, "I hope you're really not angry with me…."
Harry shook his head. "I didn't mean…for a girl," he apologized. "I was surprised…that was all."
Hagrid was being very jolly about the whole affair. "Jus' think, Harry, that twasn't on purpose."
"Oh, Hagrid," said Ginny remembering why she had knocked on his door in the first place, "look at what happened."
She set the rose in Hagrid's enormous hand and he shook his head sadly. "I forgot about tha bush. The blooms on it are ruined…you might as well take ‘em. They'll live for a few days in yer dorm if you cut ‘em." "Oh, can I?" Ginny smiled. "Thank you!" She took the rose back from Hagrid. "Where's Ron and Hermione?" she said, realizing that Harry was uncharacteristically by himself.
"Having Christmas a bit early, I expect," said Harry with a grimace.
Ginny cocked her head curiously, then realized what he meant. Ron and Hermione had recently and finally admitted to liking the other and no doubt they were making use of the free time during school holidays. No wonder Harry had made himself scarce, the thought of her brother snogging anyone made Ginny feel ill.
Hagrid chuckled at this. "Ron an' Hermione aren't trying to disinclude ya, they just don't know how to handle everythin yet."
Harry shrugged. "I'll let them figure it out."
Harry touched his nose gingerly and stood up. "I'm going to the library…History of Magic essay." Hagrid took the towel from him and patted his shoulder.
"I really am sorry," apologized Ginny, once again.
Harry smiled briefly. "Hey, don't be so upset. You didn't mean it. Maybe we'll do some beating practice on the field, sometime. I bet you do some real damage with bat."
"I play Chaser," responded Ginny automatically. Oh, shut up, Ginny, she thought, mentally kicking herself. He was joking.
Harry shrugged. "Tryouts…next year."
He waved at Hagrid and slammed the cabin door behind him.
Ginny couldn't help it, her eyes filled with tears. "Oh, Hagrid, he's furious at me!"
Hagrid poured her a mug of hot chocolate and shook his head. "There now, don't start crying on me. He's not mad at you. He's upset about Ron an' Hermione, talked ‘bout them for a good hour an' a half, just now. Harry's not used to them not being around, and it's not exactly easy being him. He'd probably like ta have you around…to talk to."
Ginny shook her head. "Harry and I don't talk. I'm Ron's little sister, that's it."
Hagrid pushed a bowl of marshmallows towards her. Ginny miserably plopped one into her hot chocolate and popped another into her mouth.
"You don't think you and Harry have got anythin' in common?" asked Hagrid gently.
"No," said Ginny firmly.
"What does Hermoine have in common with Harry, then?"
Ginny swallowed her marshmallow and frowned, trying to think of something. "Well."
"Well, then?" smiled Hagrid.
"She's clever," said Ginny, naming the first thing she could think of, "and so is Harry."
"An' you aren't clever? Why, I heard Professor Flitwick talking on about you the other day…about your perfect summonin' charms."
Ginny blushed and smiled at Hagrid. "I'm a bit clever."
"An' who won the match last week?"
"Gryffindor over Ravenclaw, 220 to 70," she rattled off.
"Ron would know that and he's Harry's friend. In fact, Harry talked a bit about that game to me today."
Ginny grinned. "Everyone likes Quidditch."
Ginny laughed. "Okay."
Hagrid put his hand on his giant tortoise shell knees and leaned toward her. "Know why else Harry'd want to be yer friend?"
Ginny leaned forward. "Why?"
"Yer pretty as a sunrise, Ginny Weasley," smiled Hagrid patting her head.
Ginny burst out laughing and blushed. "Hagrid! That's so nice!"
Hagrid chuckled and filled up her cup with more hot chocolate. "Harry's a good person an' so are you. I don't see the troubles."
"It's not that easy talking to him, Hagrid," Ginny sighed, rolling her eyes.
Hagrid looked at her as if she were mad. Of course, Hagrid wouldn't understand. He never had a problem talking to anyone.
"Harry? He's just a bit shy, tha's all," said Hagrid.
"Harry's not shy!" said Ginny disbelievingly.
"Sure he is, until you get to know him. You know, come to think of it, yer the same way."
Ginny ignored the last comment. "I haven't the slightest idea how to approach him," she put on a high annoying voice, "Harry, you want to talk about Quidditch? I hear you play."
Hagrid smiled. "He might like tha' better than a punch in the nose."
"Oh, Hagrid," groaned Ginny burying her face in her hands.
Harry sat on the windowsill, finishing his letter to Sirius. He wished Sirius would come to Hogwarts for Christmas…Dumbledore could surely work something out. Maybe if he outwardly asked Sirius for a visit, he might…. Harry ran his quill along the glass, deep in thought. He couldn't ask him to come…that was stupid. It would be his fault if he got caught.
Harry sighed, utterly bored. The new snow looked awfully nice on the grounds. If Ron had been acting normally they might have had a snowball fight this morning…or…wait…that was stupid too. He supposed they had outgrown snowball fights. Harry rolled his eyes. Growing up was highly overrated. Although, the way Ron and Hermione were acting, it didn't seem as though snogging was highly overrated. Harry wrinkled his nose. Ron and Hermione snogging…yech. He was really going to have to get used to that.
He glanced down at his parchment and smiled at his last couple of sentences.
Things have been really dull around here, ever since Ron and Hermione decided to like each other… I never knew that all that fighting would lead up to this! I'm missing their daily fights really, although I expect that should start up again any day now. This might be a record for Ron, who has failed to make Hermione mad in two weeks. (I'm not kidding.) They just smile at each other…scary actually, sort of like watching a Howler about to explode.
Harry didn't want Hermione and Ron to really be angry at one another, but it would be sort of nice and back to normal. He glanced out the window again and sat up.
Ginny had just walked out of Hagrid's cabin. He'd recognize that hair anywhere, just like Ron's except…well…prettier…. It looked like she was getting the roses Hagrid had told her she could have. Harry touched his nose. It was still very tender, but he realized he had been too snappy towards her. She probably really did want to punch him now.
Harry smiled and added more to his letter.
Ginny Weasley punched me in the nose today, as I was walking out of Hagrid's cabin. It was an accident, but it honestly felt like a load of bricks. She'd make a good Beater, but I don't think I'm going to argue with her when she says she plays Chaser. Fred and George are here for the holidays too, but they haven't been around the castle much since Mr. Zonko, from Hogsmeade, offered to let them work for him during the holidays. They're happier about it than anything…. They're usually too tired after working all day to play jokes on us, but I have a feeling we're all going to have to be especially wary of our Christmas presents this year. So, really, there isn't much to do around here, since most of the students have all gone home for the holidays.
Well, I think I'm going to finish up some History of Magic research in the library. Hope you and Buckbeak are safe and well, write soon.
Harry collected his things moodily and made his way down the staircase; he really didn't want to go read about goblins.
Ginny held her wand over the edge of the vase. "Aquaes," she said, watching the vase fill with water. Ginny flicked the excess water off the end of her wand and pocketed it again. She frowned, moved a bloom toward her and studied her arrangement. There, that should do it. She pushed the vase to the center of the common room table and stepped back to admire her work.
Ginny swung around when she heard footsteps on the dormitory stairs; she had thought she had been alone in the tower. Then Harry bounded into view, arms full with parchment and books.
Harry was startled to find Ginny had already returned to the commong room. He was so startled in fact, that when the red curls swung around to face him, he couldn't think of anything more to do than to hurry on out of the common room. He knew it was rude, but he didn't know what to say to her….
Ginny watched him rush toward the portrait and felt a twinge of guilt. He was pretty sore at her for hitting him in the face. How did she get into these messes? Ginny sighed, of course he'd rather go study than talk to her.
Then her conversation with Hagrid echoed in her head.
"Harry's not used to them not being around, and it's not exactly easy being him. He'd probably like ta have you around…to talk to."
"Harry and I don't talk. I'm Ron's little sister, that's it."
Ginny frowned. That wasn't it. She wasn't going to hold for that. She wasn't just Ron's little sister. If Harry could be best chums with an idiot like her brother, they could at least have one conversation. She nearly stomped her foot in angry determination.
Harry had just reached the handle of the portrait when Ginny built up her resolve to say something. Anything. She didn't care.
"Hey, Harry, I hear you play Quidditch," Ginny blurted.
Oh dear God.
Harry halted. What a curious thing to say.
He smiled funnily, "You heard I play?"
"Are you any good?" she asked.
Harry was at a loss of words. He looked at the vase of roses on the table as she swept the trimmings into her hands and tossed them into the fire.
"Those are very pretty," he said, stepping nearer.
"I like them," said Ginny, gathering the last of the leaves and petals, "I thought they'd be nicer in the common room so everyone can enjo—oooh ouch!" Ginny dropped her handful of petals and winced, looking down at her finger. Harry saw a bright bead of blood bubble up.
His History of Magic book slipped from his hands and skittered across the floor. Harry ignored it and set his parchments down also, pulling a handkerchief from inside his robes.
"Put this on it," he said, handing it to her.
"It's clean," added Harry as an afterthought.
"I know," she said with a small smile, "but I don't want to ruin it by bleeding on it."
"Take it before you bleed on your robes," he said, shaking it at her.
"Of course Hagrid has the roses with the wicked thorns. I had been so careful, then right at the end, sliced my finger…." Her brown eyes looked more amused than hurt.
"Let's hope he doesn't chat with Professor Sprout about getting a rosebush that bites," nodded Harry.
"Muggles don't know what they're missing," said Ginny sarcastically.
Harry laughed and cleared the rest of the trimmings up for her. "No one ever tells them that pixie dust causes a rash," he grinned.
"Or that anti aging potion tastes like it was drained through a sock."
"Or that we literally do mean…eye of newt…wing of bat."
Ginny sat down in a chair and giggled. "Are you as bored as I am?"
"About to climb the walls with cabin fever," said Harry, happily sitting down across from her.
"Then I say we find something to do," she said cheerfully.
"Only if you don't punch me."
"Do you play chess?" Harry asked her.
"No, Ron is the only one who does that. Drives the rest of us nuts. If you've been able to put up with that for five years, you should really be given an award or something," Ginny said, feeling surprisingly comfortable around Harry.
Harry smiled sheepishly. "I lose every game."
"Bill got so tired of Ron beating him one day, that he charmed all of Ron's chess pieces to only accept commands in Gobbledegook. Ron was hopping mad…."
Harry laughed. "What do you play then?" "I say we go to supper," said Ginny smiling.
"Mind games," said Harry grinning mischievously, "you play mind games." ~*~
" An' she punched ‘em, right in the nose!" roared Hagrid, wiping a tear from his eye as he clunked his mead down on the table.
Professors McGonagall, Sprout, and Dumbledore laughed appreciatively.
"Ah, that explains it," said McGonagall with a rare smile, "I thought I had been seeing things when I saw Harry having dinner with the wrong Weasley." "Ginny's jus' the ticket to get him out of that slump he's been in this holiday," smiled Hagrid, "I think she's a right good influence on him."
McGonagall cleared her throat. "Miss Weasley is certainly a good friend, but I'm afraid she and Harry share the same mischievous influences. I certainly hope they can occupy themselves to tasks of the non destructive nature."
Dumbledore raised a silver eyebrow over his spectacles. "As Mr. Weasley and Miss Granger have?"
Professor Sprout hooted into her drink glass.
Professor McGonagall pursed her lips. "That is most certainly not what I meant, of course."
Dumbledore chuckled, "Come now, Minerva, it isn't doing them any harm. It wasn't as if any of us didn't see it coming. Let them have their holiday."
"Hermione Granger is a respectable young lady," said McGonagall defensively. "I know she is behaving appropriately."
Professor Sprout nodded solemnly. "Minerva's right, Hermione and Ron are good kids, they aren't doing any harm." She glanced at McGonagall's face and her face twitched.
"Oh, do stop looking like the cat that ate the canary and tell us," said McGonagall, who was obviously not enthused that she had the most responsibility this holiday, with by far the most students staying behind.
"My garden gnomes," she paused," the helpful little ones that pull weeds for me now and again, in exchange for food. They ran up to me this afternoon absolutely bursting at the seams to tell me about the two students in Greenhouse one."
"And," remarked McGonagall dryly.
"Well, they didn't have much of interest to say, they were just overly excited about the prospect that I'd be furious at a pair of my students. They were quite disappointed when I told them to go pull some weeds. So, yes, apparently your students are behaving themselves."
Hagrid nodded. "You've got a good lot of kids staying behind, Professor. I wouldn't worry a wink about them."
"I see they've got you fooled," smiled Professor McGonagall.
"To the Holidays," interrupted Dumbledore, raising his glass of hot chocolate.
"Snape doesn't sleep," laughed Ginny.
"He has to sleep," insisted Harry.
"Well, it isn't beauty sleep, that's for sure."
Harry snorted and added a card on top of the card castle they were making in front of the fireplace. "I've never seen any of the Professor's bedrooms." "I wouldn't want to see Snape's under any circumstances," said Ginny picking up a card from the deck. Her hand wavered over a spot towards the top.
"Bad move," said Harry.
"No it isn't," said Ginny, "nothing would happen."
"The deck would blow up in your face," pointed out Harry, "try to the left."
"No, it wouldn't blow up," insisted Ginny.
"Suit yourself," said Harry taking a handful of popcorn.
"I will," said Ginny setting the card into place.
Harry made an exaggerated face like the castle was going to explode right then….
Ginny looked at him smugly. "You're a terrible bluffer."
"I like my eyebrows NOT on fire, thank you."
"Your move, Harry."
Harry plucked the topmost card off the deck and confidently placed it where he had told Ginny to place her card.
He turned back to her, with an equally smug statement. "Did it blow up?"
"No," smiled Ginny, "your point?"
"My point is I wasn't trying to get you to make a bad move."
"Your move was less points," said Ginny. "Nice try."
"Well, Ron falls for it."
"I'm not Ron, now am I?" said Ginny cheerily placing a card onto the castle.
Harry smiled. "No, you aren't Ron."
"There. That puts me at a twenty point lead." Ginny said raising an auburn eyebrow that Harry noted was definitely not on fire.
Harry's smile faded as he surveyed her work. "Well, you're no fun at all, for starters."
"Not when I'm winning, right?"
Harry was still smiling inwardly; he was having quite a bit of fun with Ginny. He hadn't realized that Ron's little sister was so entertaining. He supposed she had gotten over that crush she had on him a few years back. Harry found himself wishing that he had talked to her before this. Chalk that up onto the board of stupid things he had done.
"Easy move," he said setting a card down.
Ginny waved the smoke away from her, in peals of laughter.
Harry coughed and turned to glare at her, but failed, in that he couldn't help laughing.
"Your eyebrows aren't on fire," said Ginny helpfully, "you backed away just in time."
"Shut up!" he laughed.
"Ron falls for that one all the t—."
"Don't say it!"
While Ginny was laughing, Harry promptly put up the cards.
"I'll be right back," he said picking himself up off the rug.
"Your eyebrows look fine," teased Ginny.
Hagrid had been right. She was having lots of fun with Harry. He made a far better friend than just a silly crush. Although, she wished she hadn't waited until her fourth year to really talk to him. That was stupid move.
Harry jogged down the stairs and smiled at her. "I've got a better idea than Exploding Snap."
Ginny tried to make an unconvincing face. "Well if it's anything like your Exploding Snap tactics, I don't think I should get within five—."
Harry rolled his impermeable green eyes at her. "Are you in or are you out, Ginny?"
He stood up and shook out a mass of silvery material in front of her.
Disclaimer: Heard the lines at the beginning on the radio a few days before I started writing this fic! Who would of thought I would have used Ricky Martin for an H/G Christmas fic? **grins** The lines are from Private Emotion, by Mr. Ricky Martin, wherever he is now…. Harry and Ginny and all those other awesome HP characters belong to Ms. J.K. Rowling. I'm just borrowing them for a bit of Christmas fun….