[A/N: This story follows on from Fever. I hadn't intended to do a sequel, but Fluff Bunnies are the deadliest sub-species of Lapin Whatiferus Harryginnius, the dreaded H/G Plot Bunny, and one bit me... ;-)
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 Jennifer Juniper is, to the best of my knowledge, the work of Donovan Leitch. 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.]
Girl I Love
How can one boy, Ginny asked herself, be both the most wonderful boyfriend any witch ever had and, at the same time, be the most infuriating, annoying prat I know?
She had no answer. She didn't expect one -- ever. He was a boy, and that put him beyond the scope of logic and rational analysis.
"He" was, of course, Harry. Her amazingly handsome, incredibly brave, wonderfully loving... well, she could go on like this for some time; he was her boyfriend, and she loved him, and he loved her -- or so he told her often enough -- and life was good, despite the ever-present threat of the Dark Lord and his Death Eaters.
So why was she angry? Why did her mind keep coming up with new and interesting ways to torture him, particularly if it involved her Walkman, a much-loved present from her father and the indirect means of Harry becoming her boyfriend? Why did she have to keep reminding herself that smashing the Walkman and grinding it into powder was not good practise for her Potions classes?
It had all begun a few days ago, when she and Harry had strolled down into the village of Ottery St Catchpole -- hand-in-hand, of course; her brothers were beginning to claim that the two of them must have been bound together with invisible Spellotape, but were getting frustrated because all that their "victims" would do in response was smile -- smile as though they thought that that was a great idea, and where was the tape? -- before walking off, usually swinging their linked hands rather more emphatically than usual.
Which is what they had done that day -- a glorious summer's day, not too hot and with a gentle breeze carrying the subtle scent of wildflowers from the nearby forest. It was such a beautiful day that their walk-with-hand-swinging had become a sort of dance, Ginny twirling under Harry's arm as she had seen Muggle girls do in old films that she had watched with her father. It was wonderfully giddy-making, and she'd had to hold on to Harry to regain her balance when they reached the beginning of the row of shops, which was hardly a punishment...
...but that was when it started, she was sure of it! While she was relaxing against the strong, lean, firmly muscular body of her boyfriend, he'd seen something in one of the shops, or heard something, or even thought of something, and it had driven him utterly mental!
Not immediately, though, for he'd been fine while they were in the village, doing some shopping -- he'd even ignored her protests and bought her a book of poetry and a couple of tapes for her Walkman. He'd been fine while they strolled back to the Burrow, taking the long way back (and making the journey even longer by stopping frequently to kiss each other senseless). He'd been fine over lunch and that afternoon when they'd flown around the paddock together, throwing around the old leather ball that served as a Quaffle for Quidditch practise. And he'd been more than fine after dinner, when they had escaped from the Burrow and spent the evening wrapped in each other's arms.
Eventually, Mrs Weasley called them in and they returned to the house. As they said good-night on the landing outside Ginny's room, Harry had asked if he could borrow the Walkman and one of the new tapes, and Ginny said yes; she had her new book to read, so she didn't need the machine. Harry thanked her, took the Walkman and the tape, and headed up to his bedroom after giving her one last lingering kiss. She'd smiled, remembering the last time he'd borrowed the tape player, and what had come of it...
She wasn't smiling now, because that must have been when the rot had begun to set in. Next morning, her wonderful, gorgeous boyfriend had begun his descent into Pratdom.
The initial signs were not particularly portentous. She'd woken early and had been sitting on the back steps of the Burrow, watching the colourful morning sky, when she'd heard him coming downstairs, humming to himself. She hadn't recognised the tune, but it sounded pleasant enough -- until he'd walked into the kitchen; then, he'd suddenly made an odd, small sound -- a gasp? -- and gone quiet.
He stayed silent for some time, and she could tell that he was watching her -- she could almost feel his gaze on her -- but he didn't move or make any kind of sound at all until, eventually, he approached her softly, almost hesitantly, and asked her what she was doing.
"Watching the morning," she replied, smiling up at him now that he was there to smile at.
"Sounds nice," he said, "May I join you?"
She nodded and he sat down beside her -- close beside her -- and leaned over to drop a gentle kiss on her cheek.
"Good morning, Ginny," he'd whispered.
It had been a good morning from then on, though she had noticed that he seemed a little distracted at times. Of course, she'd also caught him staring at her intently more than once, and it was a sign of their new closeness that neither of them had blushed when she did -- or even felt particularly embarrassed about it.
Other than that, everything had been much the same as usual -- "usual" now that she and Harry had acknowledged their feelings for each other, that is, which in Ginny's opinion equated to pretty darn wonderful...
...until she'd acquired a new pet name -- or, rather, Harry had started to call her by it.
Why Jill? she'd asked herself dozens of times. Her name wasn't Jill; she didn't even know any Jills. Nor did Harry, as far as she knew, unless she was some Muggle girl from Little Whinging (and why did that thought set her teeth on edge?). So why was Harry calling her that?
She'd asked him, "Who is this Jill person?" but the git had been totally unhelpful.
"You are," he'd replied, smiling ever-so-slightly smugly, "but I don't think you're spelling it right."
She stared at him in irritated confusion -- what was that supposed to mean? -- and his smile had become wider and warmer as he told her not to worry about it.
"You'll find out soon enough," he said -- lying through his teeth, deliberately or not, because as far as she was concerned, the only definition of "soon enough" that counted would have meant that he'd already told her!
Then, the next afternoon, she'd been busy in the garden -- not de-gnoming it, for once, but just doing a little weeding and general maintenance, and picking a flower or two from plants that could spare them. Most of the flowers were intended to go into water in the house, but she'd put a couple with short stems into her hair, just for fun. She'd been hot, thirsty, sweaty and tired, but satisfied with a good afternoon's work.
Then Harry had turned up. He'd been helping Ron with some other chores, having recently firmly declared that he was no longer going to be a guest at the Burrow, and if the Weasleys wouldn't let him pay board while he was staying there, then he was darn well going to pull his weight some other way! Ron had looked at him as if he was stark raving mad, and Ginny had been glad that Fred and George hadn't been at home at the time -- their reaction didn't bear thinking about! Even her mother had appeared startled but, after exchanging glances with her husband, she had acquiesced and thanked Harry for his willingness to help.
Whatever the boys had been doing, it had been quite physical, and they too were hot and sweaty -- which, in Harry's case, made Ginny's imagination run riot and her fingers itch to touch him. He looked so good like that... so handsome, so strong...
...so very like a deer caught in headlights. She realised that she had been staring at him, and he was staring back, but he looked surprised -- stunned, even; as though he couldn't believe what he was looking at.
Ginny looked around, but there was nothing unusual anywhere. He must be looking at her, then. She looked down at herself and frowned slightly; she was dirty, sweaty and probably had grass and weeds all over her -- not to mention the flowers -- but she didn't look that bad, did she? Harry had seen her like this before, she was sure, so what was so surprising?
Nothing bad, it seemed, for he shook his head slightly, walked slowly over to her, his eyes locked with hers the whole way, and then dropped down onto his haunches next to her. Very gently, he reached up to cup her chin in one hand.
"You... are... gorgeous..." he told her, awe in every syllable -- and leaned in to kiss her softly. Then, before she could react, or even quite comprehend what he'd said, he got back up and rejoined a grinning Ron, and the two of them went inside to clean up.
Ginny followed a little while later, completely confused, and she stayed that way when, after dinner, Harry begged off a game of chess with Ron and went upstairs, not to emerge from his room for over an hour. The rest of the evening had been very much like most others these days -- Harry and Ron played chess, then she and Harry went outside for some privacy -- but she couldn't work out what had happened earlier, and Harry was being evasive about it.
And not only was he was still calling her Jill, but he hadn't returned her Walkman.
She could have put up with that, though, because he'd also taken to wanting to hold her closely as much as possible; not just to snog, though that was part of it (and a highly enjoyable part, too; Harry was definitely the best kisser she knew), but simply to be close to her. They would spend long periods doing nothing more than standing or sitting together, arms around each other.
Sometimes, Harry would stand or sit behind her and hold her, not asking or needing her to hug him back, and it was those times, especially in the early morning or late evenings, that seemed to mean the most to him, for she could feel him relax against her in a way that he never quite did at any other time. He also had a way of sighing softly -- so softly that she almost couldn't hear anything, but she could feel the gentlest of tickles from his breath -- that she had come to regard as the final indication that he was completely content.
It was a wonderful, and humbling, feeling to know that she could help him to feel that way, and she treasured those moments -- which made it all the more annoying when, last night, as they had been sharing that unique closeness, he'd suddenly pulled away from her, almost dropping her on the ground, and rushed inside and upstairs to do who-knew-what! He'd come back about half-an-hour later, terribly apologetic but refusing to tell her why he'd suddenly abandoned her like that.
That had just about been the last straw, and she'd stomped off to bed, pausing only to call over her shoulder that she'd like her Walkman back, if he didn't mind! He'd just stood there, looking guilty and rather lost, and watched her flounce off.
She hadn't seen him to speak to -- not properly, in private -- since then. Where he'd got to after finishing the jobs her mother had given him to do today, she had no idea, but he hadn't been around as he usually was, all day. She wasn't sure if she was worried or annoyed about this, but one thing was certain: she was going to find him and they were going to have this out! Enough was enough, and she wanted her boyfriend back, not the inattentive, distracted prat that he'd turned into.
Her own chores completed for the time being -- for a witch's work is never done -- she headed up to her room, wanting nothing more than to spend a quiet hour or two reading and, perhaps, listening to some music, if she could get her tape player back from Harry Pratter. It therefore came as a surprise to find the Walkman sitting on her bed next to a flower and a roll of parchment tied up with a thin red ribbon.
Ginny's heart began to pound. The last time she'd found that precise combination of things on her bed, Harry had confessed his feelings for her. What did they mean this time? With hands that had begun to tremble despite her every effort at self-control, she reached down and picked up the flower, pausing to smell its subtle fragrance, and untied the ribbon around the parchment.
The writing on the parchment was in a familiar hand, and it took her several deep breaths before she could concentrate enough to read what he had to say:
Maybe this will "explain" some of the odd things I've been doing lately. I just felt the need to write this, and inspiration strikes at the most inconvenient times. When it does, I have to write down what I thought of before I forget it. I'm sorry.
Once again, I wish I could sing because, if I could, this might make more sense. As it is, perhaps you can listen to the original song and imagine me singing these words.
Ginny, the Girl I Love (after Jennifer Juniper by Donovan)
Ginny, the girl I love, lives upon a hill. Ginny, the girl I love, sitting very still. Is she sleeping? I don't think so. Is she breathing? Yes, very low. Whatcha doin', Ginny, girl I love?
Ginny, the girl I love, flowers in her hair, Ginny, the girl I love, makes me stop and stare. Hot and sweaty? I suppose so. Is she pretty? Yes, ever so. Such a beauty, Ginny, girl I love.
I'm thinking of What it can be like now you love me. You know, just lately, This happy song, it came along, And I had to somehow try and tell you...
Ginny, the girl I love, hair a fiery sheet, Ginny, the girl I love, makes me feel complete. Do I love her? Yes, so much so. Does she know that? I sure hope so. That's what GIL means, Ginny -- Girl ILove.
Ginny, the girl I love Ginny, the girl I love Ginny, the girl I love.
Ginny, fille de mon coeur, vit sur la colline. Ginny, fille de mon coeur, assise trés tranquille. Dort-elle? Je ne crois pas. Respire t'elle? Oui, mais tout bas. Qu'est-ce que tu fais, Ginny, mon amour?
Ginny, the girl I love Ginny, the girl I love Ginny, the girl I love.
Because you are.
Ginny's eyes filled with tears, brought on by the heady cocktail of feelings that were sweeping through her -- stunned amazement (or even shock), disgust with herself, overwhelming joy and a love for Harry that had taken root so deeply within her that she was sure she could no longer survive without it.
This was what he'd been doing while she'd been getting angry with him? This was the meaning of that silly nickname? While she'd been calling him a git and plotting revenge, he'd been working on this, pouring out his love for her on paper, baring his mind and heart for her...
Oh, God, how did I ever come to be so lucky as to have him in my life? she asked herself, knowing that she'd never truly find the answer to that, any more than she ever thought she'd know how much she must mean to him for him to have done this in the first place. Harry wasn't very good at expressing his emotions, and especially not positive ones -- how could he be, when he'd lived with those awful relatives of his for so long? -- but in spite of that, he'd come to love her and kept surprising her with little gestures like this one, small things that nonetheless told her so much of his regard for her...
Her first thought was to run off and find him and kiss him until neither of them could stay on their feet, and then kiss him even more, but she didn't. Somehow, it didn't seem to be enough -- not after this incredible gesture of love on his part. She needed to find some way of matching it... and that gave her the idea.
Right, Harry-my-boy -- and you are my boy, and I hope you always will be -- two can play at this game... she thought, grinning widely -- and suddenly very thankful that her love had the name he did.
Harry walked upstairs towards his room, wondering where Ginny was -- and how she felt about his latest attempt at lyric writing. He hadn't seen her since he'd left the letter on her bed, and he was a little nervous as to how she was going to feel about it. He knew that she'd found his recent abstraction annoying, not to mention the way she'd reacted to his new pet name for her, but he hoped she'd forgive him when she knew what it had all been about.
The idea of expressing some of what he felt about Ginny through that song had just been irresistible, and he hadn't been able to relax properly until he'd finished it. And, of course, it was fun to gently tease Ginny, just so long as she didn't get too mad with him about it...
She was nowhere to be seen, so he was still slightly worried about her opinion of his small flight of fancy, but there was nothing he could do. He'd peeked into her room on his way up and the parchment was gone, so she must have read it; he'd just have to wait and see what happened.
When he finally reached the small, comfortable room underneath the attic, it was his turn to be surprised by something lying on his bed -- Ginny's Walkman, with a small piece of parchment attached to it with Spellotape. The parchment read, in familiar handwriting: PLAY ME.
Harry's brows shot up in surprise, but he decided that he'd better do as he'd been asked -- or commanded. He put on the headphones and pressed the "Play" button.
A sweet contralto -- Ginny's voice -- filled his ears, singing a tune which Harry knew by heart by now; but the lyrics she was singing were neither those of the original song nor his rewritten version. They were her own words, and her voice was filled with happiness and love.
"Harry, the boy I love, drives me mad sometimes. Harry, the boy I love, writing pretty rhymes, 'Cause he loves me -- yes, he does, sir. I adore him, yes, I do, sir. Come and kiss me, Harry, boy I love."
The music ended, but the last line repeated itself after a moment. It sounded different -- muffled, somehow -- and Harry realised that the sound wasn't coming from the earphones, but from behind him. He turned around, and there was Ginny, leaning against the doorframe, smiling. Her eyes were shining, she had the flower that he'd given her in her hair and she was humming the tune of the song.
She straightened up and held out her arms to him, her entire being conveying the same love that he'd heard in her voice. "Do you need another invitation?"
He didn't. And Ginny got to carry out her original plan as well.
Opinion in the Weasley household was sharply divided on the subject of Harry and Ginny and their new habit of referring to one another as "Gill" and "Bill" -- or something like that, anyway -- and the soppy smiles they both displayed when doing it. Ginny's parents thought it all charmingly endearing; everyone else, with the possible exception of Hermione, thought they were mad.
To make matters worse, they refused to explain this odd behaviour. Questions or jokes about Harry's resemblance to her eldest brother (or lack of it) only brought the baffling comment from Ginny that, "He's not Bill, he's the BIL," which made the whole matter as clear as mud to the perplexed listeners. Nor was Harry any more help when asked why he was calling Ginny "Gill", "the GIL" or even "Ginny-Gill." "Because she is," did not comprise a meaningful answer in the opinion of the questioners.
Eventually, they gave up because not only were they not getting anything sensible out of either one, but the questions also seemed to add to the soppiness that the pair of them displayed. It didn't matter which one was asked about it; the other would take the inevitable unhelpful answer as a cue to drag the first one off to parts unknown, from whence they would return some time later, red-faced, rather dishevelled and blissfully happy... and humming the same little tune.
They might have been happier if they'd ever managed to follow the couple on one of these jaunts because, contrary to the general opinion of everyone, even Mr and Mrs Weasley, Harry and Ginny did not spend the entire time snogging -- only a large part of it. The rest of the time was spent doing something that had become equally important to the young man and woman as their kisses -- talking to each other, learning about the other's hopes, dreams and fears and sharing their own. Not that that many of their conversations were very long, since a lot of them tended to run along lines like these:
"Harry, I don't know very much French, so I've been meaning to ask you: I worked out most of the last verse, but what does ‘fille de mon coeur' mean?"
"Um... ‘girl of my heart,' Gin..."
And the rest is silence... except for certain little noises characteristic of a boy and a girl kissing each other senseless.
Jennifer Juniper -- Donovan Leitch
Jennifer Juniper lives upon the hill. Jennifer Juniper, sitting very still. Is she sleeping? I don't think so. Is she breathing? Yes, very low. Whatcha doin', Jennifer, my love?
Jennifer Juniper rides a dappled mare. Jennifer Juniper, lilacs in her hair. Is she dreaming? Yes, I think so. Is she pretty? Yes, ever so. Whatcha doin', Jennifer, my love?
I'm thinking of What it would be like if she loved me. You know, just lately, This happy song, it came along And I had to somehow try and tell you...
Jennifer Juniper, hair of golden flax, Jennifer Juniper longs for what she lacks. Do you like her? Yes, I do, sir. Would you love her? Yes, I would, sir. Whatcha doin', Jennifer, my love?
Jennifer Juniper, Jennifer Juniper, Jennifer Juniper
Jennifer Juniper vit sur la colline. Jennifer Juniper assise tres tranquille. Dort-elle? Je ne crois pas. Respire t'elle? Oui, mais tout bas. Qu'est ce que tu fais, Jenny, mon amour?
Jennifer Juniper, Jennifer Juniper, Jennifer Juniper