[Disclaimer: the characters in this story are the property of JK Rowling and assorted corporate entities including, but not necessarily limited to, Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Warner Bros Studios. The song Fever was written by, depending on which reference you consult, either the late, great Peggy Lee (who certainly sang it!) or Eddie Cooley and Johnny Davenport, but I can find no mention of who owns it -- I looked, honest! No challenge is intended to the copyright of either work, nor will any payment of any sort be accepted for this story, which is a work of amateur fanfiction.]
The sound of snapping fingers can be a worrying sound in a wizarding household. Doubly so when that household is the Weasley home, and Fred and George Weasley are at home. It's a very simple thing to set up a spell or charm in such a way that it remains dormant, only activating when the caster or victim... er, subject makes a particular movement or does something specific; in fact, that concept is the heart of the Portkey spell, so it's easy to see how common the idea is and how straightforward its use can be.
So when Harry Potter heard that distinctive, unusual click -- or, perhaps, portentous might have been a better word to describe it -- while coming down the stairs from his shared bedroom at the Burrow, it's not surprising that he froze and wondered if it might not be a better idea to head back up, at least until he heard something else -- screams, say, or laughter -- which could give him a better idea of what was going on in the kitchen. The twins had been even more inventive than usual this summer, and Harry had no wish to be the butt of whatever new Wizard Wheeze (or non-commercial practical joke) that they, or their much-tried brothers and sister, had come up with this time.
He felt a little better when no explosions or yells -- of surprise, fear or rage -- followed, and took a few more cautious steps down... and then the click came again.
And several more agains, as he waited halfway up the stairs, wondering what, or who, could be making the noise.
For a moment, he wondered if he should go back up to Ron's room and grab his Invisibility Cloak, but impatience and curiosity overcame any misgivings, and he carefully and silently descended the stairs to peek into the Burrow's huge kitchen and see...
...Ginny. Dancing around the room as she went about her chores, snapping her fingers in time to music that only she could hear, music that was presumably coming from... was that a Walkman she was wearing?
Harry smiled. He wondered if Mr Weasley knew about it -- and, if so, how Ginny had kept him from taking it apart. Or had he, in fact, already done that and made the Walkman work by magic? A small, nasty part of him doubted that, because it seemed to be working all right, though what might happen when the batteries ran down...
These unkind thoughts were interrupted by a soft croon from Ginny as she began to sing along with whatever she was listening to. Not for the first time, Harry was struck by what a nice voice she had -- unlike his croak, which wasn't helped by the lingering effects of puberty; he knew his voice was supposed to settle down to his adult range eventually, but he wished that it would get on with it. Ginny, though... she had a lovely contralto that he always enjoyed hearing on the rare occasions that she would sing in his presence.
She wasn't aware of his presence at the moment, so he leaned against the doorframe and listened to her. He couldn't make out the words, if indeed she was actually singing any; what he could hear was pure sound, and it was beautiful.
So was Ginny. As he watched her move gracefully around the kitchen, Harry couldn't help but be amazed at the young woman she had become. She was bright, she was fun to be with, she was stunning to look at, she had a wonderful voice...
She was Ginny, and that really said it all. Trouble was, he didn't quite know how to say that to her... And he wanted to; he wanted to let her know just how much he had come to feel for her over the past few weeks-- years, really, if he was going to be truly honest with himself; he just hadn't been able, either through force of circumstance or sheer thick-headedness, to realise it. Now, he had, and he wanted her to know, in the hope that she might still care for him -- and he knew that he needed to do it soon.
But until he worked out a way to tell her that wouldn't leave both of them dead from terminal embarrassment, he had to content himself with enjoying being in her company, and watching her as he was doing now. But what was she doing?
Ginny had stopped her finger-snapping and dancing and was doing something to the Walkman. Harry decided that she must be rewinding the tape; it wasn't very long before she stopped it, so either that was a really short tape or she wanted to listen to a particular song again -- and, sure enough, she pressed another button and began to snap her fingers and sway to the music again.
And to sing along properly; her voice was low and breathy, but Harry could hear the words of her song, and what he heard staggered him as effectively as any Stunning Spell.
"Never know how much I love you," Ginny sang softly, but then she added a single word that he was certain wasn't in the original lyric: "Harry..."
She continued to sing, but all Harry noticed was the following line: "Never know how much I care..." After that, he was vaguely aware of her singing the rest of that verse, and a couple of others, in the background of his consciousness, but he wasn't really paying attention. What had she just said? He'd never know how much she... loved him?!
How long he'd have stayed there in a confused but incredibly happy daze, no-one will ever know, but it could well have been some time; however, his attention was caught by Ginny again. Her singing faded away and, after a moment of silence, she giggled and said to herself, in a voice full of mischievous glee, "Oh, I wonder..."
She looked at the ceiling, obviously thinking hard about whatever had made her laugh, and began to chant quietly, waggling one finger in time: "Da-da-da, da-da, da, da-da..."
She fell silent, but the finger kept beating out an irregular rhythm. Harry wondered what on Earth she was doing, but the mystery didn't last long. Ginny cried out, "Got it!" and laughed again, then began to sing once more.
"Hermione and Ronald Weasley Had a very mad affair. When his brothers tried to tease him, She said, ‘Fred and George, now don't you dare, He gives me fever -- with his kisses, Fever when he holds me tight. Fever! I'm his missus, So, Weasley boys, you treat him right!'"
She stopped, unable to continue due to being overcome by giggles. Harry began to laugh, too, and Ginny jumped at the unexpected sound from behind her.
"H-Harry!" she cried, flushing strongly -- and, little though she knew it, adorably. "What are you-- How long have you been there?"
"Not long," he lied, "I came down about the time you started to sing about Hermione and Ron." He paused and tilted his head slightly to one side as he gave her what he hoped was a sympathetic look. "Hey, don't be embarrassed, Gin. That was hilarious, and you sang it beautifully. Where'd it come from?"
"Um... me," she mumbled, getting even redder in reaction to Harry's praise. "I mean, I didn't write the original song; that was written long before I was born. But Dad gave me this--" She indicated the Walkman, and Harry nodded. "--and a tape that had the song on it. I was listening to it and suddenly realised that I could fit their names -- Hermione and Ron's, I mean -- to the first line of one verse... So I thought about it, and... that was what I came up with. I... I didn't really mean anyone to hear it..."
"Well, I'm glad I did," Harry assured her. "I can just see Hermione standing up to Fred and George like that, can't you? That was brilliant -- and you did it just now? Here, in the kitchen -- in your head, I mean?" She nodded, temporarily bereft of speech. "Well, you're obviously very talented that way. You'll have to let me know the next time you have a brainwave like that, all right?"
He smiled warmly at her and left her to her work -- and her blushes. He had things to think about -- and plans to make.
Later that day, Harry asked if he could borrow the Walkman and the tape, and Ginny agreed. He grabbed his Firebolt and spent a good half-an-hour flying around the orchard at the back of the Burrow, enjoying the exhilaration and freedom of flight, and listening to the music.
In particular, he was concentrating on memorising the words and rhythm of that song, primarily so that he could tease Ron and Hermione with Ginny's masterpiece, but also (though possibly unconsciously) in the hope that he might be able to find inspiration in it. He was no poet, and nothing like as good at creative writing as Ginny, but if motivation counted for anything, he ought to be able to come up with some way to tell her how he felt... always assuming that she meant what she had sung earlier. Harry was surprised at how fervently he hoped she did.
He was humming one particular verse, tapping out the beat, when, sure enough, he was struck by what amounted to a revelation. He nearly fell off his broom in surprise, but his Quidditch-honed reflexes saved him. He brought the Firebolt to a halt in mid-air and hovered over the orchard for some time, lost in thought but with a smile gradually growing on his face as more and more pieces of the puzzle he'd set himself fell into place.
Scansion could be a wonderful thing, he decided. He guessed, from watching Ginny in the kitchen and from what she'd said, that it was the beat of the first line of the original form of the verse that she'd so brilliantly parodied that gave her the idea in the first place; in like fashion, recognising a similarity in the rhythm of two names -- hers and that of another famous beauty -- had given him the idea he'd needed... and now he had something to match her Ron-and-Hermione joke.
Except that, as far as he was concerned, how he felt about Ginny was no joke; quite the opposite, in fact. Well, he wouldn't be able to complain that she didn't know how he felt once she heard or read what he'd just composed. He only hoped she wouldn't laugh at him.
He turned his broom towards the Burrow and swooped down to land outside the kitchen door. He had some preparations to make, and he hoped like hell that he wouldn't regret them.
Ginny climbed the stairs to her room, looking forward to an hour or two of peace and quiet before dinner, which she intended to spend relaxing and reading some poetry. She'd have listened to some music, too, but Harry still had her Walkman.
But he didn't. It was lying on her pillow, next to a small roll of parchment and a single, beautiful flower. Ginny picked up the message, untied the thin red ribbon that held it rolled up, and began to read.
It wasn't a long letter, but it seemed to take Ginny an inordinate amount of time to read it -- or was it that she kept re-reading it, over and over again, as she tried to make sense of what it said?
There's another verse to that song, you know. You also know that I can't sing, and I know you can. I'd love to hear you sing this some day; put it straight after the verse about Ron and Hermione.
Harry Potter, he loved Ginny. Virginia, she felt the same. When he put his arms around her, He said, "Ginny, baby, be my flame And give me fever, with your kisses, Fever when you hold me tight. Fever! 'Cause, darlin' Ginny, Loving you just feels so right."
And it does.
Ginny's jaw felt like it was somewhere around her ankles. Harry wrote this... for her? Could it possibly mean what it said -- that he loved her? That he knew she loved him, and he didn't mind? That loving her felt right? That he wanted her to... to hold him and... and kiss him?!
There was a noise behind her and she whirled around, startled and embarrassed, to find, for the second time that day, Harry leaning against the doorframe, watching her.
"Hi, Gin," he said softly. "D'you know, I'm feeling a bit off-colour..."
"Oh..." she said, not quite trusting herself to say more -- if she could even think of something more to say. He didn't look ill; he looked fit and well -- and as handsome as ever, but with a new light in those green eyes that made her knees feel weak.
"Yeah... I think I may have a temperature -- or maybe I need to warm up. I seem to be suffering from chills... and fever."
"Oh..." she said again, the intensity he'd put into that single word giving her a chill; but, if she shivered, it was with delight.
He was coming closer, stepping softly towards her... and she found herself drawn to him, too, unconsciously moving to meet him half-way. And then she was in his arms, and he in hers, her body fitting itself to his almost instinctively and her mind in an overwhelming, deliriously joyful whirl.
"Oh, Ginny..." he said in the oddest voice she'd ever heard -- and the most wonderful, for in it she heard happiness, longing and a kind of surprised relief that told her more than anything else. She had no more doubts; Harry had meant what he'd put into that letter, and her dreams were coming true...
Ginny melted inside; there was no other word for it. She felt as though every bone in her had vanished, and was slightly surprised that she was still able to stand up -- though she was being held by Harry, and that might explain it; falling (or oozing) down would mean they'd separate, and there was no way that she was going to do that!
She blinked back sudden tears of joy and managed to reply in kind:
"Oh, Harry..." she half-whispered, that being all the effort she could summon to speak. He heard her, however, and tightened his arms about her in response to her voice, which was so full of happiness that the beginnings of a reply caught in his throat.
After a moment, he moved her away from him, just enough to be able to look at her. They gazed into each other's eyes, almost afraid to recognise the depths of feeling therein but equally unable to deny them.
Finally, Harry lowered his mouth to hers and, as their lips met, Harry and Ginny discovered that there was a profound truth in the words of that song.
This was, indeed, a lovely way to burn...
Lyrics: Lee or Cooley/Davenport (see disclaimer above).
Performed by the incomparable Peggy Lee -- accept no substitutes!
Never know how much I love you. Never know how much I care. When you put your arms around me, I get a fever that's so hard to bear. You give me fever When you kiss me, Fever when you hold me tight. Fever! In the morning, Fever all through the night.
Sun lights up the daytime, Moon lights up the night. I light up when you call my name, And you know I'm gonna treat you right. You give me fever When you kiss me, Fever when you hold me tight. Fever! In the morning, Fever all through the night.
Everybody's got the fever. That is something you all know. Fever isn't such a new thing; Fever started long ago.
Romeo loved Juliet. Juliet, she felt the same. When he put his arms around her, He said, "Julie, baby, you're my flame. Thou givest fever, when we kisseth, Fever with thy flaming youth. Fever! I'm afire. Fever, yea, I burn, forsooth."
Captain Smith and Pocahontas Had a very mad affair. When her Daddy tried to kill him, She said, "Daddy-O, now don't you dare. He gives me fever -- with his kisses, Fever when he holds me tight. Fever! I'm his missus. Oh, Daddy, won't you treat him right?"
Now you've listened to my story, Here's the point I have made: Chicks were born to give you fever, Be it Fahrenheit or Centigrade. They give you fever -- when you kiss them, Fever if you live and learn. Fever! Till you sizzle. What a lovely way to burn. What a lovely way to burn. What a lovely way to burn. What a lovely way to burn.