"Harry, you're going too fast," Ginny whispered breathlessly.
Immediately, Harry slowed his pace, trying futilely to ignore the press of her chest against his back through two sets of robes. "Sorry," he whispered over his shoulder as he adjusted the cumbersome object thrown over his arm.
"That's all right," came Ginny's reply. "It's just hard for both of us to stay covered if you walk so fast. I can't keep up."
Walking much slower, Harry and Ginny continued down the dark, damp halls of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Invisible under the cloak that had once belonged to Harry's father - and not saying anything more to one another unless it was absolutely vital ("You're stepping on my shoe, Gin" and "Do'y think we ought'a go left or right?") - they moved on toward their destination.
Finally, and at the same time, they both heard what they were searching for: the unmistakable sound of a giggle. Both wizard and witch stopped and strained their ears, silently pleading for just one more sound of laughter so that they would be pointed in the right direction.
There it was again. It had to be who they were looking for. Neither had been in the common room that evening – and both being prefects, they were among the few who would not have points deducted if discovered outside the confines of Gryffindor tower.
"Are you ready to do this, Gin?" Harry asked the redhead behind him. His heart was pounding against his ribcage, and while he repeatedly told himself his erratic heartbeat had more to with the exciting task at hand than with the girl behind him, he knew he was only fooling himself. This whole scheme had, in fact, been cooked up in his mind for the mere fact that he could spend the evening with Ginny Weasley on Valentine's Day. If Harry had any courage at all (he was seriously doubting the Sorting Hat's decision to put him in Gryffindor), then he would have just asked the younger girl to go out with him. But of course, he hadn't that kind of courage. Now, he was forced to walk about the school under the pretense of trying to snap a photo of his best friends snogging, just to spend a few extra minutes with the ginger-haired witch.
"Go ahead," was Ginny's whispered answer to his question.
Harry hesitated. "Okay, you open the door and I'll take the shot…we'll have to run away, quick, okay? ‘Cause Ron's got longer legs than us and I'm sure he can outrun us any day."
"Harry, we've been through this," Ginny said impatiently. "Just go!"
Harry glanced around to make sure no professors or squibs or cats were in sight. Seeing the coast was clear, he stepped out from under his cloak and turned around, passing the balled-up, silky material to Ginny. She smiled widely when her brown eyes met his green, and stuck her tongue out at him. Harry felt his cheeks heat up and was quite grateful for the darkness of the corridor. He turned back around and faced the door when he felt Ginny's arm slide around him and heard her whisper an unlocking charm. The door sprang open. Ginny grabbed it and held it aloft as Harry stuck his head in the room.
Ron and Hermione were tangled up together on a desk (on a desk!) and didn't even look up when the door sprang open, so engrossed were they in one another.
Colin Creavy's camera, which Harry had commandeered earlier that evening, went click with a bright flash of light and copious amounts of purple smoke.
The two prefects snogging on the desk broke apart from one another is a rush of limbs and looked up indignantly, only to see a head of unkempt, jet-black hair hurriedly yanked out of the doorway.
Ginny and Harry both sprinted down the hallway, their laughter bubbling up despite their attempts to stay quiet.
Quite suddenly, Harry stopped short. He looked around wildly for a moment, and catching sight of a door to his right, grabbed Ginny by the hand - roughly shoving her into the closet.
"Don't push so hard…ow…." Ginny protested loudly. Harry tried to give her a warning look, but discovered they were now washed in complete darkness. He covered her mouth with his hand.
He brought his lips close to her ear and spoke very quietly. "Mrs. Norris was at the end of the hallway…y'know that means Filch'll be around…."
Did Ginny just shiver? Harry couldn't be sure, but he definitely felt his own body tremble when her mouth, still beneath his palm, formed an ‘O', the caress of her lips causing his eyes to close involuntarily.
Footsteps could be heard outside the door of the closet.
"Two weeks, three days, four hours, and nineteen and one-half minutes, my pet," came Filch's harsh voice, just beyond the closed door. "That's how much longer I shall have to wait until my Kwikspell results come back to me. Just think, darling, I'll be a proper Wizard then…just think of all that I'll be able to do."
Behind his palm, Harry felt Ginny giggle. The feeling of her body quaking with mirth caused a sensation to shoot through his whole body. He no longer needed to leave his hand over her lips, but could not find the will within himself to remove it. Instead, he let himself revel in the fact that he was in a cramped cupboard with the one person who had, lately, been causing his heart to speed up every time he thought about her.
"Harry," Ginny whispered beneath his fingers, "I think they're gone."
"Oh." He reluctantly removed his hand; it was damp from her warm breath.
"Wow, that was close, huh? Lumos."
The cupboard was bathed in soft light from the end of Ginny's wand. In the light, Harry could make out the freckles on the bridge of her nose and he stared, enraptured, at her mouth as it moved, realizing too late that she was speaking to him.
"...it'll be really good, don't you think?"
Harry blinked, trying to focus on what she was saying. When he didn't answer she looked quizzically at him. "Harry, are you all right?"
"Yes, I'm fine," Harry answered her. "Er, what were you saying?"
"Isn't it great that we got that picture? Ron and Hermione must be furious!" Ginny cackled merrily.
"Y'know what's great?" Harry asked suddenly. Ginny looked expectantly at him.
He sucked in a deep, calming breath. "You are."
Ginny stared blankly at him, her eyes blinking more rapidly than usual.
Harry felt his face flush. "That is to say, well, I mean…I can't think of any other girl who would come ‘n take pictures with me, y'know?"
Ginny's face fell slightly. "Oh, well, of course…I…um. Well, I wanted to embarrass my brother, of course…and Hermione…." she trailed off.
Harry found himself staring at her intensely again, but could not make himself stop. Something took over his brain and before he realized what he was doing, his hands had grabbed Ginny by the upper arms and he was lowering his mouth down…farther…closer…and he was pressing his lips right against Ginny's!
They were chapped and soft and warm and compliant beneath his own. It was brilliant. Ginny made a muffled sound beneath his mouth. He backed away, feeling mortified by the fact that he had crushed himself against her, but rather proud of himself as well.
Her eyes were bright when he met them. He gave her a sheepish sort of smile, an apology forming on his lips, when she gave him a bright smile of her own.
"That was brilliant," she breathed, and gave a little chuckle.
Harry let out a sigh of relief. "It was," he agreed.
Ginny looked thoughtfully at him for a few seconds. Quite without warning, she dropped the cloak she had been carrying and let her wand clatter to the floor, then she reached behind him and pulled his head down. Just before his lips met hers in another brilliant kiss, she whispered, "Happy Valentine's Day, Harry."
* * *
Four weeks later.
"Ron, stop going so fast!" Hermione whispered furiously.
"I just know that no good Potter has my sister in one of these rooms," Ron grumbled over his shoulder to his girlfriend. He adjusted the camera he was carrying on his arm. "And, at least, if he is going to be snogging my little sister, I can have some good blackmail pictures."
Hermione and Ron stopped by a door. They had no need of an invisibility cloak, both being prefects. Ron grinned devilishly when they heard a giggle and a shush come from the other side of the door.
He stuck his head in, and with a flash, took a picture.
Years later, the four would comment how similar the two pictures were; just a tangle of limbs, with two people snogging away merrily on a desk.
A/N: Rather predictable and fluffy, but I hope you enjoyed it anyway. ‘Thank you' to the lovely Susan for putting up with all of my spelling mistakes and misplaced commas! And of course, ‘thank you' to Allie, who is always a tremendous helpJ.