Author's Note: You can blame Tommy Tutone for this little plot bunny. The critter bit me so hard I had to sit down and write this bit of fluff or suffer the consequences. I heard the song "867-5309/Jenny" today while I was doing dishes, and as I began singing along my mind just replaced "Jenny" with "Ginny," then did a little rearranging in the lyrics and voila . . . fluffy fic abounds. Forgive me for this bit of nonsense, please.
Early Spring, 1997
Ginny, Ginny . . .
Who can I turn to?
You give me something I can hold onto.
I know you'll think I'm like the others before,
who saw your name in writing upon the wall.
Ginny, I've got your number.
I need to make you mine.
Ginny, don't change. . . .
A Solitary Seeker
Ginny had read over the note many times since one of the school owls had delivered it to her dormitory window the night before. She had debated whether to show it to anyone, and finally decided that Hermione could be trusted.
"Hermione, have you ever received an anonymous note by owl post?"
"No, I don't think so. Why?"
"Take a look at this, would you?"
Hermione accepted the piece of parchment from Ginny and began to read. Her eyes widened, and she looked at Ginny in disbelief.
"Have you shown this to Ron?"
"No, and I don't think I'm going to, either. You know he'll just go ballistic. You saw how he reacted a couple of weeks ago when he found out Michael had written my name on the wall in the boys' lavatory. I almost felt sorry for Michael."
"I said almost. Mostly I thought the git got what he deserved."
"I agree. He still turns a bit pale every time he passes Ron in the corridors," Hermione said, laughing, but then she sobered. "I do think you should show this to Ron, though, Ginny."
"Show me what?" Ron asked. He and Harry had walked up unnoticed by the girls as they conversed at the Gryffindor table in the Great Hall. The two boys sat down across from the girls and began filling their plates.
"Nothing," Ginny answered as she deftly retrieved the parchment from Hermione and began folding it up. Unfortunately, Ron snatched it from her before she could slip it into the pocket of her robes.
"What's this, Gin? A looooove note? It better not be from that git, Corner."
"Ron, give it back! That's personal, and it's none of your business!" Ginny reached across the table for the parchment, but to no avail. Ron dangled it just out of her reach.
"Nope. Harry and I have to read it first. We have appointed ourselves your personal bodyguards and correspondence examiners ever since the Corner incident. Right, Harry?" Ron asked as he unfolded the parchment and began to read.
"Speak for yourself," Harry retorted. "I've seen the Bat-Bogey Hex, and I want no part of this. I think you should give it back to her, Ron." He looked over to find that Ron's face was turning purple.
"Ginny, where did you get thisnote?" Ron demanded, enunciating each word carefully in an awful voice. He handed the note to Harry, who scanned over it quickly and then handed it back.
"Ron . . ." Ginny began.
"Tell me now, Ginny!"
"It came by owl post. I don't know who sent it," Ginny replied in exasperation.
"It had to be Corner. Apparently, he hasn't learned his lesson yet. I'm going to hex that tosser right into next week!" Ron rose from the bench, but Harry grabbed his shoulder and shoved him back down.
"Ron, sit down. You don't know that Corner wrote it, and you can't just go off half-cocked and start aiming curses at his head. Even if he is a tosser."
"Both of you, please! Language!" Hermione admonished them. "Ron, Harry's right. We have no way of knowing who wrote that note. It could have been anyone. Even Harry, for all we know," she added, giving Harry a queer look.
Harry choked on the pumpkin juice he had been drinking. "Me? But I . . . you don't think . . . Hermione!"
"I wasn't saying you wrote it, Harry. Just that you could have. Anyone could have."
"She's right. The note was delivered by a school owl. And I don't recognize the writing," Ginny said, as she snatched the note back from Ron to examine it again.
Hermione peered over Ginny's shoulder to read. "It looks like whoever sent it probably used a Calligraphy Quill. They're guaranteed to ‘transform even the worst scrawl into exquisite penmanship,'" she recited as if from memory.
"How do you know?" Harry asked.
"I've seen them at Flourish and Blotts," Hermione replied. "I've thought about getting them for you two as Christmas presents. Maybe then I wouldn't have such a difficult time reading over your essays. Both of you wait until the last minute and then scribble so furiously that it nearly makes me go cross-eyed—"
"We know, Hermione," Ron said, cutting her off mid-sentence. "Listen, this is all the more reason to think it was Corner who sent this note. Ginny knows his handwriting. He probably used a Calligraphy Quill to disguise it so she wouldn't know it was him."
"I really don't think it was Michael, Ron," Ginny chided him.
"Why not? And if not him, then who?" Ron demanded, and looked at Ginny for an explanation. Hermione, too, watched Ginny curiously. Harry focused on his plate, the exchange between his three friends apparently having lost his interest.
"Michael isn't this subtle. Do you really think that a boy who wrote my name on the wall of the boys' lavatory would start sending me anonymous love notes?" Ginny asked.
"You're right. He's not that bright," Hermione added. "Besides, this note . . . it's almost a little sinister. There's something familiar about it, though."
Harry's head popped up from where he had been examining his mashed potatoes. "What do you mean, ‘sinister'?" he asked.
"The bit about ‘I need to make you mine.' I don't know. It just gives me the shivers," Hermione explained.
"It's just a note. I think you're all getting worked up over nothing," Harry said, and avoided Hermione's eyes as he took another sip of pumpkin juice.
"Nothing? You agreed anyone could have written this. What if it was a Slytherin? What if it was Malfoy?" Ron's voice had become a strangled, angry hiss.
Ginny and Hermione looked at each other, identical expressions of revulsion on their faces. Ginny shuddered and said, "That possibility never occurred to me."
"He's just the type of person to get a kick out of sending you creepy notes," Ron said, "especially after seeing what Corner wrote on that wall. I wouldn't put it past him. Ginny, I don't think you should wander around the school by yourself until we figure this out. Harry and I will start walking you to class, right, Harry?"
"Erm, yeah. No problem," Harry agreed.
"Ron, you can't be serious!" Ginny protested. "I've plenty of friends who can walk me to class."
"How do you know one of them didn't write that note? It could be Colin. I've always thought he was a little off. He might be just waiting for the chance to drag you off somewhere and . . ." Ron trailed off.
"And what?" Ginny pressed.
"And have his way with you, or something," Ron finished, a tinge of crimson blooming across his face.
Ginny burst into laughter. "Colin? You must be joking."
Ron appeared chagrined. "Okay, maybe not Colin. But anyone else!" Ron looked at Harry's watch. "Damn. I left my textbook up in the dormitory. You have Herbology next, don't you, Gin? Harry, you walk her to class. I'll catch you up at Hagrid's, all right?"
Harry nodded, and Ron departed, stuffing his face with half of a sandwich as he left.
"I've got to run, too," Hermione apologized to them. "I promised to loan my Arithmancy notes to Padma. I'll see you in class, Harry. Ginny, be careful, okay?"
Ginny rolled her eyes but assured her she would. Once Hermione was out of earshot, Ginny turned to Harry.
"Harry, you don't have to walk me to class. Ron is being ridiculous. I'll be just fine."
"It's okay, Ginny. I don't mind. I have Care of Magical Creatures next, and Herbology is on the way. Besides, I don't get to spend enough quality time with my favorite Weasley these days. You're always too busy studying for O.W.L.s."
Ginny snorted in disbelief. "Since when am I your favorite Weasley?"
"You've always been my favorite, ever since you stuck your elbow in that butter dish. Just don't let on to Ron, okay?"
"Right, Potter. Now pull the other leg."
"Only if you ask nicely. Come on, we don't want to be late for class."
Harry and Ginny gathered their books and headed outside towards the greenhouses, where the Herbology classes were held. They strolled along together companionably, enjoying the warm spring breeze. Harry stopped when they reached greenhouse four, where the fifth years were scheduled to prune Flutterby Bushes that afternoon. Ginny turned to face him before going inside.
"What do you really think of that note, Harry?"
His eyes were fixed on hers, and he gave her a faint smile. "I think it sounds like someone likes you a lot, Gin."
"You don't think I should be worried?"
"Let's see. Voldemort is still on the loose, there are children of known Death Eaters still attending this school, and so far things have been unusually quiet this year. Yes, I think you should worry, but not necessarily about the note. Maybe whoever wrote it is just . . . shy."
Ginny's eyes widened. "You don't think it was Neville, do you?"
Harry laughed. "I'm going to be late, Ginny; I need to go. Wait here after class. Ron and I will be by for you, all right?"
"All right, Harry. Thanks." She smiled and started to walk into the greenhouse, but then turned around in surprise to watch Harry walk off in the direction of Hagrid's cabin.
He was whistling.
Odd, she thought, but shrugged it off as she walked to her spot at the long table.