He could not think. A tingling sensation was spreading throughout him, paralyzing his arms, legs, and brain.
She was much too close. He could see every freckle on --
Harry sat up in his four-poster bed. What was that? He hadn't dreamt about that day under the mistletoe with Cho in months. But, this was different. This time he wasn't under the mistletoe with Cho. This time he was with-
That couldn't be right. Why would he dream of Ginny? He didn't have any right to dream of Ginny. She was Ron's sister. What would he say if he knew that Harry had been dreaming of kissing Ginny? He and the rest of the Weasley's would probably hex first and ask--
No, that's not true. Something Ron said at the end of the last year jumped into Harry's mind. "Just choose someone - better - next time." Harry had gotten the impression at the time that Ron had been thinking of him, Harry, as being that "better" someone.
Wait, Harry was getting far ahead of himself. It wasn't as though he liked Ginny. No he had always thought of her as a friend...
Once again Harry contradicted himself in his mind. He hadn't always thought of Ginny as a friend. In fact, up until the previous year he hadn't really even thought of her as anything except Ron's little sister. That would be expected though since, he had barely spoken ten words to the girl. He remembered the first thing he ever said to her, "Oh, are you starting at Hogwarts this year?"
Why did he remember that?
Ok Potter, he thought to himself, letting this get way out of hand. It's just one dream. It's not like its gonna start happening every night...
* * *
Over the next week or so, Harry began to realize how very similar his sense of humor was to Ron's. Ron often had the uncanny ability to predict the future when joking.
Harry was joking when he thought that the dreams were not going to happen every night. So, naturally, they did. And it was driving him insane. Every night he would wake up as she came towards him. He found it hard to concentrate in class. All he could think about was the fiery redhead with an even more fiery temper when provoked. At one Quidditch practice Harry nearly fell of his broom. He was watching Ginny at her new position of Chaser.
In Astronomy, he could have sworn that there was a constellation that matched perfectly with Ginny's freckles, which he had memorized after a few nights.
But he didn't like her. At least, he didn't think he did. It wasn't the same feeling he used to feel when around Cho. It was constant. It was starting to become an obsession. Everything reminded him of Ginny. The fire in the common room, the scarlet and gold of Gryffindor Tower, and even some of the potions that they were studying.
He needed to talk to someone about it. He still wasn't very comfortable with the idea of discussing the topic with Ron. So, late in the common room one day, after most of the house had gone to bed, he asked Hermione.
"Hermione, I need to ask you something."
"What?" She asked, looking up from her potions essay.
"Er, well, for the last couple weeks I've been having these dreams."
"Yeah, they're mostly about that day under the mistletoe in the room of requirement."
"What, do you think you're starting to like Cho again?"
"No, that's not even close. Actually the first time I had the dream, I thought it was about Cho. But when she leaned forward to kiss me she, er,"
"What?" Asked Hermione, looking puzzled.
"She had freckles." Harry said, barely above a whisper.
"Freckles? What, Ginny? You like Ginny?"
"That's the thing, Hermione, I don't know if I like her. Usually if a guy dreams of a girl kissing him for like two weeks he'd be pretty sure, but this is different. It's like, constant.
I don't just feel strange when she's near me; it's like all the time. Everything reminds me of her. But it just feels so different from Cho, I don't know."
"What's different from Cho?" Ron had just come up behind them.
"Oh, nothing Ron." Harry said hurriedly after jumping a good six inches off his seat.
"What? It's not like you were confessing some dark secret to Hermione or something."
There he goes again.
"Er, actually Ron, Harry was just asking about his potions essay," Hermione, ever the quick thinker, told Ron.
"He doesn't have his potions essay, it's upstairs. I just saw it. What's the big secret?" Ron was starting to get annoyed at his friends.
"Oh fine." said Harry, gesturing for Hermione to tell Ron. He began to beat his head against the back of his chair.
"Harry's obsessed with your sister."
"'Bout time!" Said Ron, thumping Harry on the back.
"Well, I've had a strange feeling you were gonna start liking her for a while."
"I'm not even sure I do. It's just so different from Cho."
"What's different from Cho?"
Harry spun around in his seat at the sound of her voice. Ginny was now standing behind them and looking interested in whatever they were talking about.
"Oh, nothing," said Ron, wearing a funny grin. "Nothing at all."
"What? It's not like you were confessing some dark secret to Ron and Hermione or something."
"Did you ever notice how similar you and Ron are?" Harry asked, not looking at her.
"What's that got to do with Cho?" she was becoming more and more curious, he could tell.
Of course I like her. How stupid could I be?
Come on Potter, think of something. Why hasn't Hermione thought of something yet?
Harry looked pleadingly at his two best friends. Hermione seemed to be trying to think of a good way out of Harry's situation, while Ron seemed to be enjoying the conversation wholeheartedly.
Hermione seemed to have come to one of her great ideas.
"Harry likes someone."
What? Great ideas! That is not a great idea!
If anything, Ginny seemed even more interesting. Ed. Interested.
"Oh? Who?" she asked.
"Yeah, Harry," said Ron curiously, "who?"
"Er, I, er," Harry stammered.
Is there an Anti-Dementor in here? It seems rather warm.
"Is it," said Ron thoughtfully, "Eloise Midgen?"
Harry would never know what made her do it but Hermione joined in on the fun.
"Oh I know..." said Ginny, as though it was the most obvious thing in the world.
Even Harry snorted at that. It had taken a month for "SNEAK" to fade from her cheeks.
"Not a chance." Apparently the common room was refilling. Neville had just appeared from behind Ginny. "Everyone knows about Harry's thing for Luna."
"There's only one way to figure this out," said Dean, joining the group.
"What?" asked Ginny. "Veritaserum?"
I bet she could make it too.
Oh Merlin no.
"Great idea!" said Hermione, who apparently no longer cared about embarrassing Harry at all.
"What's Zipperhead?" asked Ron.
"It's a muggle game. The players try to guess something with yes or no questions. They get ten chances. One for each Z-I-P-P-E-R-H-E-A-D. If they don't correctly guess by "D" the person doesn't have to tell them anything," explained Hermione.
"I like the sound of that." said Ron.
"And he has to answer truthfully." added Dean.
"Do I get a say in this?" asked Harry sheepishly.
"Not a chance, Harry," said Ginny, smiling.
How couldn't I like her?
"First question," said Neville, "is she a-"
"Wait Neville," said Dean. "This is Harry, remember? Don't waste a question asking if she's a Slytherin."
"Oh, sorry. Well then, is she a Hufflepuff?"
With her wand Hermione drew, ‘Z_________' above Harry's head, and 'HUFFLEPUFF' to the side.
"Ravenclaw?" asked Ron innocently.
"Is she older than you?" asked Hermione, obviously trying to hide the fact that she knew exactly who she was.
"Is she a fourth year?" asked Dean.
"Is she a," Ginny said thoughtfully, "third year?"
"No." You're not.
"Is she in our year, just younger than you?" asked Neville.
"Good one Nev!" complemented Dean.
"Who are you thinking of?" asked Ron accusingly.
"Is she," asked Ron, "a ghost?"
"Myrtle will be so sad, you know."
"5th year?" asked Hermione.
"Finally!" said Ron.
Dean had obviously put two and two together for he asked, after glancing at Ginny, "Does she, by any chance have, red hair?"
Barely audibly, Harry whispered, "Yes."
Ginny's eyes widened.
"What was that Harry?" asked Ron, cupping a hand around his ear and leaning forward.
"I said, yes."
"Of course not," said Ron. "He's obviously talking about some red-haired Slytherin fifth year we don't know. Duh."
"Er, do you want to go to Hogsmeade this weekend? With me?" Harry asked Ginny tentatively.
She got up from her seat and started toward the girls' stairs. She doubled back, and kissed Harry on the cheek before walking up the stairs.
Harry rubbed the spot on his cheek where she had kissed him, amazed that it had happened.
"Awww!" came the voices of Ron, Neville, and Dean.
"Shut up!" Harry walked up the boys' stairs with a smile on his face.
"Well," said Ron, once Harry was out of earshot, "it worked. Great idea by the way ‘Mione."
"We had to do something. He almost killed himself at Quidditch. Oh and thanks you two," she told Dean and Neville.
"Any time," said Neville.
"Yeah, anyone else you need help getting together, send us an owl." He winked at them.
They both now matched rather well with the fire.
"Er, bye ‘Mione," said Ron as he made his way to the stairs.
"Yeah, bye," said Hermione. A thoughtful look slowly covered her face.
As silence settled upon the common room, Hermione voiced a final thought."I wonder..."