A/N: Thanks to the normal people: Sherry, for the fantastic beta job, and Enna, for being my idea-bouncy-off'er-person.
At around two that morning Ron stumbled into the flat, having been sent home by an irritated Hermione, who had an afternoon shift the next day and desperately needed to get some sleep before dawn. He sighed, wishing he could have kissed her goodnight - she'd pushed him out of the bedroom so quickly he hadn't even puckered his lips before the door slammed in his face. They hadn't even done anything - just talked. Ron stared at the crumpled coat Ginny must have left on the ground in disbelief. Talked.All night! And she'd accused him of being secretive and insensitive! Well, just wait, he'd show her secretive! Ron was anything but - hang on, was that a man's coat??
He bent over and snapped it up. Definitely a man's coat. What the hell was another man's coat doing in his flat? Had Ginny brought someone home? Was he still there? Ron glanced up incredulously at the clock - it was two AM!
He tried to recall if Ginny had mentioned if she was seeing anyone lately. He couldn't remember. In fact, he couldn't remember the last time she'd gone out with anyone- unless she hadn't bothered to let him know, which was always possible (Ginny didn't appreciate brotherly concern as much as one would imagine) - that last bloke, Adam, that was what - two years ago? Ron shook his head. He'd almost forgotten that his sister was still young and very much capable of doing... certain things he didn't want her to be doing for another decade, at least! Nevermind that Hermione had called him hypocritical. Hermione always had a name for everything Ron said or did.
Still, the nerve of the bastard! To be in his flat all night, alone with his sister! A familiar surge of brotherly protectiveness went through Ron; he clenched his fist in the material of the jacket and went into the den to stand by the banister. Merlin help him if they were upstairs. He paused by the bottom step to listen. There was no sound, thankfully. Ron furrowed his brow - perhaps Ginny brought him home, done the deed, and he'd left? Anger stabbed at him. How dare that bastard be callous enough to treat his sister like - like some sort of scarlet woman?
Well! If he was stupid enough to leave his coat behind then the prat deserved what he was about to get.
Laughter rang out in the kitchen and Ron snapped his head around. They're still here! The git hasn't gone, after all!
He was going to have to have a long talk with Ginny after this. Grimly, Ron marched into the kitchen, flinging the door open. "What the hell do you think you're doing?"
The prat was sitting with his back to the door, across from Ginny, who holding a mug of hot chocolate and laughing as she spoke. Startled by Ron's entrance, she looked up.
"Ron!" A wide smile spread across her face. "I thought you were staying over at Hermione's?"
"I thought you had work tomorrow!" he said accusingly.
She rolled her eyes at him. "No, tomorrow's Saturday. Besides, I'm too excited to sleep - you'll never guess who's here!"
"That's what I want to know, too," he snarled, whipping out the coat.
"Can't say hello, can you?" he snapped, ignoring his sister's bewilderment. "You'd think a bloke would have better manners after shagging my sister, but obviously not -"
Ginny's mouth fell open. "What on earth-"
"Hello, Ron," interrupted a voice. "Sorry to disappoint you, but we really were just talking."
The voice was distinctly familiar, and amused. Ron stopped short in the doorway, and took a good, long look at the face that beamed at him from beneath a head of messy black hair. Green eyes. Scar.
Holy dung beetles.
"Harry?" he croaked. "Is that you?"
Ginny really had been keeping a lot of secrets from him, thought Ron in a daze, as Harry stood up and embraced him.
"What are you doing here? Aren't you supposed to be in Paris?" Ron sputtered, completely floored by Harry's presence. "I haven't seen you in three years, you prat!"
"It's a long story," Harry said, pulling back to grin at him.
"You've got a lot of explaining to do, mate," he said, flinging his arm over Harry's shoulder. Now that he'd got over the initial surprise, Ron was ecstatic, and the questions poured out of him nonstop. "I can't believe Hermione's not here! She's going to kill you! Why didn't you owl me to let us know you were coming? What, did Hedwig die?"
Harry laughed. "No, she's alive and quite well."
Ron shook his head, still disbelieving.
"Hot chocolate?" Ginny asked him wryly over Harry's shoulder. "I assure you it's not post-coital."
Harry was up and about long before Ginny awoke the next day, brewing tea in the kitchen. They had stayed up late the previous evening talking into the early hours of the morning but he didn't look remotely tired - in fact he was the exact opposite, cheerful and friendly, offering her wonderfully hot, steaming, delicious tea and a copy of the Daily Prophet.The offer was enticing, but she was still groggy and knew she looked like something the cat had dragged in, so Ginny declined and proceeded to lock herself into the bathroom to make herself a little more presentable.
She smiled into the mirror as she brushed her teeth, thinking about what they'd talked about: Harry had told them about his travels, wonderful tales of foreign cities and exotic places that Ginny listened to eagerly. She could have listened to him speak of palm trees and Stonehenge forever, but he'd stopped eventually and playfully demanded that they tell him about what they'd done in the last three years. Ron took his word for it and started raving about the Chudley Canons - the team he played for - and how they had made it to the finals this season. In between their long-practiced banter and comradely chatter, Ginny hadn't been able to get another word in edgewise. She hadn't minded too much - it was a pleasure to see Harry, and a better one to hear him talk so comfortably and freely in front of others. She could see that his decision to travel had been a good one.
She went back into her room, pulled open the doors of her wardrobe, and flipped through the hangers. Robes, robes, robes - maybe the blue set she'd got from Gladrags last Christmas as a gift to herself (worth the money, really, though it made Ginny unbearably guilty to think of the exact amount she'd spent on them) or should she go with the dusty mauve? Either one might be a bit much though, Ginny thought, since the blue was actually made of silk, and her mauve robes were meant for special occasions. She came across the spangled, self-ironing, beautifying, slimming, fattening, lengthening, and temperature-adjusting robes that Mrs. Weasley had picked up for her one summer (from Madam Malkin's sale in Diagon alley), and bit her lip to keep from laughing. The robes had come with a free frog-skin belt, as well - isn't it absolutely adorable, Ginny?The green sets off your hair so well! Unfortunately, it never got the opportunity to set off anything, as Ginny hadn't worn it once (she would rather die).
Actually, she decided, robes were probably not a good idea. It was the weekend, after all - robes were presumptuous and unnecessary, and besides, Muggle clothing was actually quite comfortable when it came down to everyday wear. Ginny flipped through her hangers to the opposite direction, until she reached the skirts, blouses and trousers in the back of her closet.
Too short, too long, too orange... ugh, where did I buy that?? In the end, she settled on a nice light blue skirt, and a floaty white blouse that was perhaps a tiny bit low in the front (not that anyone would really notice - or so she hoped... well, maybe just one person...) because it had a scoop neck.
Ginny looked at her reflection. Her hair was a little on the stringy side today, but this was a vast improvement over how she must have looked last night, opening the door. Wet, exhausted and miserable. Gee, what a great combination. Frankly, she was still surprised Harry had enveloped her in a giant hug on her doorstep - right after she'd managed to croak out a shocked "Harry?" whilst staring at him in what she imagined had been a not-so-becoming way. Most people, she thought wryly, would have run away in terror at the sight of her in that state.
Not Harry, though. Harry had smiled at her and the first thing that had come out of his mouth (aside from 'Hi') had been, "It's great to see you." Ginny was still recovering from the shock of seeing him standing there in the drizzle, his hair as dark and unkempt as ever, his eyes still as vividly green as she remembered them. He hadn't changed at all in three years, appearance wise.
She pushed her hair off her face and breathed deeply, looking into the mirror again. Had she, herself, changed much in those last few years? Was she taller, thinner, fatter? Was her hair still as red as it had been, was her face adorned with more freckles? Did she look older? Or had she not changed at all, the way he hadn't? She didn't know, and no matter how hard she scrutinized her reflection, she couldn't tell.
Ginny's stomach grumbled, and she shook her head, shutting the wardrobe door firmly.
Breakfast, she thought, willing the nervous butterflies in her stomach to go away. What's the matter with me, she wondered, why am I so tense? The pangs of hunger almost drove them out, but not quite. Oh well. There would be time to deal with that particular demon.
Ginny bumped into Harry as soon as she'd walked out of her room, turning to close her door (she'd left a mess of clothes on the floor which would have to be sorted out later). She'd backed into him accidentally.
"Hi," she breathed, flushing. "Sorry, I didn't see you there -"
"Hi," said Harry, smiling. "I was just going to the loo..."
"Right," she said awkwardly, stepping aside to let him pass. Her arm tingled ever-so-slightly where his arm brushed it. What on earth was that??
Harry had begun to make breakfast in the kitchen, there was an open package of bacon lying on the counter, so Ginny fetched a pan from the cupboard and her