It started two weeks before the Christmas holidays. Mum had told us to stay in case something ‘happened' at the Burrow. We'd be safe at Hogwarts. Not that it helped lessen the tension, though.
Fifth year was going pretty well, with the exception of Arithmancy. Like always, Ron and his ‘future wife', as I now call her, were continually arguing, and poor Harry had to make sure that things didn't get too out of hand. Needless to say, he was failing miserably.
I managed to stifle my laughter as Ron and Hermione left the Common Room; as soon as they left, I burst into peals.
Harry, who had been staring at the Portrait Hole, turned to me.
I turned red instantly, embarrassed. After all, they weren't that amusing, and here I was laughing so hard that I couldn't breath. He must have thought I was strange, because he looked at me in a weird way.
He gestured to the spot next to me on the couch.
"Uh, anyone sitting there?"
"No," I managed, still laughing.
Harry sat down, still looking at me in that weird way.
"Was it that funny?" he asked.
I calmed down a bit.
"Sorry. I laugh a lot. But, it's just that, my brother and Hermione they're a bit…thick." I faltered at the last few words. How else could I characterize them?
He smiled at me, "I noticed."
I blushed again.
"So how's your year been, Ginny?"
"Great! Well, except Arithmancy. Hate it. Worst subject ever, trust me."
"Even Potions?" He seemed genuinely shocked.
I giggled, "Yup!"
He stared at me.
I laughed at his expression, but quickly lowered my voice to whisper, "Don't tell, but I think he favors me."
"WHAT?" he yelled loudly, attracting the other Gryffindors in the room. They stared at us.
"Keep your voice down, Harry!"
"Sorry," he said sheepishly, "but I think you just achieved the impossible."
"He still favors the Slytherins, but he likes me better than you lot!" I said, sticking out my tongue.
He chuckled, and I was very happy that I could make him laugh.
"Gone Christmas shopping yet?"
Harry shook his head, "I don't know what to get them," he said, referring to Ron and Hermione.
"Write a book for them!" I said, as if it was the most obvious idea, "I am."
"Write a book?"
I smirked, moving my hands, like I could see it as an upcoming bestseller in the Daily Prophet, "How to Get Mr. and Ms. Obvious Together: A Guide to Self-Matchmaking."
He laughed, saying, "We're talking about our best friends."
"I'm talking about my brother."
He grinned, "Point taken."
I smiled back. This was going to be a great holiday…
"Things won't be so hectic," he said, "less presents to buy."
Or not. Sirius… Damn you, Black. You just had to get yourself killed…
"Harry," I said quietly, "it's…"
"Yeah, I know, not your fault."
"Actually, I was going to say that it's okay to cry. It's not like you're admitting defeat or anything, Harry. All of us—Ron, Hermione, and I—know it's not your fault, but, I'd wish you'd let us know you're trying to cope."
Harry looked at me suddenly, like he was startled to hear what I'd said. He stayed silent.
"Hiding it just makes things worse."
He looked at his lap, saying bitterly, "And you would know because…?"
He didn't want me to answer, and I didn't either. But…
"I've been doing that all my life, remember? Even before…"
Harry stilled. "Sorry."
"You forgot again."
"Yeah… me too."
Things tensed up a lot after I said that, and a few minutes later, I excused myself.
As I climbed up the stairway, Harry called up to me, "Ginny, wait!"
I turned. He seemed nervous.
"Uh, uh," he stuttered. Why was he so nervous?
"I have a favor to ask you," he said, "it's about Cho."
Thankfully, we were the only two in the Common Room; everyone else was off enjoying the weekend. I recalled distantly some of my friends and the Creevey brothers were going to try and tame the Giant Squid…
"Ever since last month, I've been getting those feelings for her again. Er, have you noticed?"
"A little." He did blush and stammer when he saw her in the halls. But still he didn't like her anymore, I didn't think it was that noticeable…
"Er, well, since you set Seamus and Lavender up, well, could you…?"
He didn't have to elaborate. I immediately thought of saying no; even though I was over him, it did hurt a little. But…
" ‘Kay." WHAT! I did not just say…
"Great! Er, thanks, Gin."
I nodded. I went up to my dormitory, thinking only about what I would write for my Arithmancy essay, trying to block the queer conversation that kept replaying itself in my head. I failed miserably.
It was a full five minutes later that I sunk onto the bed.