The Burrow was quiet. Almost too quiet. Ginny lay in her bed listening to the silent house before finally getting up. She grabbed her dressing gown and headed to the loo. Catching sight of the clock on her desk, she realized that she had risen late in the morning, later than she had risen all holiday. Her nights were still fraught with dreams of the Chamber and the Department of Mysteries, and although the dreams no longer came every night, they still littered her sleep enough that she never felt rested. For the first time in a long time, she actually felt like she had slept and slept well.
Padding down the stairs after using the loo and walking room to room, she discovered why the house was so quiet – it appeared to be empty. That’s odd, Ginny thought. Where is everyone?
Heading back to the kitchen, she found a note from her mother lying on the table. Yawning and putting on tea, Ginny sat down and read the note:
Ron and Hermione went to Diagon Alley with me for a spot of shopping. We’ll be back later in the day. We couldn’t convince Harry to go with us, and he left after he ate breakfast, heading out toward the paddock with his broom. The twins won’t be round until tea, and your dad will be late. Breakfast is on the stove.
Well, Ginny thought, it looks like I have the house to myself for a bit. Ginny put the letter aside and got her tea. Sitting down with a plate of eggs, bacon and toast that had been magically kept warm, she began to think about how she wanted to spend her day. After all, she knew Harry wouldn’t willingly spend any time with her – he spent little time with anyone.
The thought of him made her shake her head sadly. He had arrived on a hot, summer day about a week ago. Thin and pale, he looked like he hadn’t slept in months. He probably hasn’t, thought Ginny, if Voldemort is still invading his mind.
Harry had been polite enough while visiting. Always using ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ with her mum and dad, and would always be polite, but curt, when Hermione and Ron would ask how he was. “Fine” was the standard answer from his lips. “I’m fine.” But anyone who looked at him could tell that he was far from fine. Harry appeared to be determined, though, not to share his true feelings with anyone, not even Ron and Hermione.
Clearing her dishes away from the table, Ginny headed back to the loo and quickly showered. She figured that since none of her brothers were around, maybe she’d head out to the paddock too, and see if she could do some flying with Harry. She reckoned that he’d let her join him as long as she didn’t question him too much. And even if he wasn’t happy about it, she was going to fly today, no matter what. Since Umbridge had been sacked from Hogwarts, Ginny was certain that Harry would be re-instated to the Gryffindor Quidditch team as their Seeker (and perhaps as Captain), leaving her with no position. She had no intention of giving up Quidditch however, and she'd decided during the ride home from Hogwarts that she would try out for one of the Chaser positions left vacant when Angelina and Alicia finished school at the end of last term. Now if they could find some Beaters that were as crazy as Fred and George to replace Sloper and Kirke….
After dressing and tying her hair up in a loose ponytail, she surveyed herself in the mirror (‘You look lovely, darling. Who’s the lucky bloke?’), and headed out to the broom shed. Grabbing her Nimbus – a gift from the twins, whose shop was doing quite well – she walked the remaining distance to the paddock, and found Harry, not in the air as she had expected, but sitting on the ground, his Firebolt in his lap.
“Harry?” she said quietly, as she walked up behind him.
He turned around. Although it didn’t look like he had been crying, it seemed like he was close to it. He gave her a small, sad smile and just said, “Hi, Ginny.”
“Mind if I sit with you?” she asked tentatively.
“No,” was his one word answer.
Sitting next to him and placing her Nimbus on the ground, she sighed quietly and stole a look at the thin boy next to her.
“Harry, are you all right? Is there something wrong?” Ginny asked, full knowing what the answer would be.
“I’m fine, Gin. Thanks.”
“Are you certain, Harry? Is there something I can do?” she questioned him, turning to look directly at his profile. His body was stiff; he definitely didn’t have the air of someone who was “fine”.
“Have you been flying?” Ginny prodded.
“Why not?” she questioned again.
He sighed. “I came out to do a bit of practising, in case they let me back on the team,” he said, taking a deep breath. “But I can’t bring myself to get on my broom. This broom…” he whispered as he held it up to her, “…the one that Sirius gave me.”
“Oh. I see,” Ginny replied quietly.
“Well, I came out here to fly a bit,” Ginny said, breaking the silence as she surveyed the paddock. “Practice some Chaser manoeuvres.”
“Chaser manoeuvres? Why Chaser?” Harry asked her, not looking in her direction. “Shouldn’t you be practicing for Seeker?”
“Heavens no, Harry!” Ginny exclaimed. “They’re going to let you back on the team, and you’ll take your position back. While I didn’t do a horrible job as Seeker, you're loads better,” Ginny said with a slight giggle in her voice. “No, I’m certain that as soon as we get our letters, there will be a full reversal of Umbridge’s ban in yours, and I’ll be out of a position.”
“I wouldn’t be so certain of that, Gin,” Harry said, sounding a bit like the old Harry. “I heard you did a wonderful job in the Ravenclaw game against Cho, and I saw you fly in the Hufflepuff game. I’ll be lucky if they decide they want me back.”
“Harry, as long as the ban is lifted,” Ginny said, looking into his face, “you’ll be Seeker. I think I’d rather be a Chaser, anyway. Get out some frustrations, you know, throwing the Quaffle.”
“If you want to get out your frustrations, then you should try out for Beater,” Harry said, a full-blown grin gracing his face for the first time since he’d arrived. “Are Sloper and Kirke coming back next year?”
“Lord, I hope not. They’re awful!” Ginny laughed. “But they were the best we had out of the sad lot that tried out. The fact is, I don’t know anyone as crazy as Fred and George, so I don’t know who else would be up for the Beater jobs.”
“Well, we’ll see. I haven’t been up on a broom since Umbridge banned me, so I may not be much of a Seeker anymore,” Harry said, his mood sobering again as he looked sideways at the redhead. “Besides, I don’t know that I want to fly anymore. I don’t know if I can fly anymore, what with this broom and who it reminds me of.”
“Harry,” Ginny said, turning to face him. “You know, Sirius wouldn’t want you to feel this way –”
“How do you know how Sirius would want me to feel?” Harry shot back, angrily.
“I lived with him too, for a while, at Grimmauld Place,” Ginny continued, holding up her hand. “He loved you, Harry, and he loved to watch you fly. Sirius would hate to know that you don’t want to ride your Firebolt because it reminds you of him,” she finished just as calmly as she had started.
“Yeah, well…” Harry began, still a bit agitated. “I can’t help it. I killed him, Gin. Me. I went running off to the Department of Mysteries, certain that Voldemort was hurting him, and it was a trap. And Sirius followed me and died because of me!”
“Harry, no one made Sirius follow you,” Ginny said quietly. “He knew the risks. He followed you because he loved you. Because he wanted to go. He’d hate the fact that you are moping around like you are. He’d want you to fly. He’d want you to play Quidditch.” Ginny paused, as she pointed to Harry's broom. “And, well, he gave you that broom so you could fly and play. Think of it as a tribute to him when you ride it.”
“I don’t know, Gin,” Harry sighed, sounding sad and clearly defeated. “I have a hard time concentrating any time I see this broom. I don’t know if I can ride it and not think of him.”
“I’m not saying ‘don’t think of him’,” Ginny said quietly. “All I’m saying is to remember that this is what he’d want.”
“Okay, I’ll try,” Harry said, not sounding convincing. He stared at the broom in his lap, still not rising to fly.
Ginny got up and grabbed her Nimbus and looked down at him. “Harry, I’m going to do some flying. Want to join me?” she asked. “I could use some help running some plays.”
Harry looked up at her with his brilliant, green eyes – eyes that could see to her very soul. Taking a breath, he nodded and said, “Okay. I should fly if I expect to be put back on the team,” he said as he stood up. “And I’ll help you with the Chaser manoeuvres, if you help me with Seeking.”
Kicking off, she grinned at him. “You’re on.”
Ginny flew straight up in the air, leaving Harry on the ground watching her. Soaring back down and flying past him in a swish, she called, “Come on, Harry! It’s perfect flying weather!”
Ginny watched him as he shook his head and mounted his broom. Even from the air, she could tell he was still having reservations about flying, but nonetheless, he kicked off and joined her in the air. Flying up beside her, he asked, “What first? Chasing or Seeking?”
“Well, why don’t we run some Seeker moves?” Ginny said as they hovered in the air. “But what could we use as a Snitch? I wish we had one to practice with.”
Harry smiled and pulled a small, golden ball from his pocket.
“Where did you get that?” Ginny asked, eyes wide in surprise.
“The twins. They sent me a complete set of Quidditch balls right after term ended – when I got back to the Dursleys’,” Harry chuckled. “Uncle Vernon turned an interesting shade of purple while bellowing at me over my unusual gift.”
“Your uncle –” Ginny spat. “—Actually that entire family – sounds horrible,” she finished, shuddering.
Harry shrugged. “They are,” he said simply. “Come on; let's release the Snitch and run some manoeuvres. Then I'll run back to the house and get the Quaffle.”
Opening his hand, the tiny golden ball twitched a couple of seconds, stretched its wings and flew off.
Ginny watched as it flew out of sight. “Okay, let's fly around patrolling the paddock and try to find it. We'll see who can catch it first.”
“You're on,” Harry said as he streaked off to the other side of the field.
Ginny flew upwards toward the tree tops. Flying in a circular pattern, she kept one eye on Harry, while searching for the Snitch with the other.
Ginny found it hard to concentrate. She found her eyes wandering to watch the raven-haired boy. The boy who had not let anyone in. The boy who had spent little time with his best friends. The boy who now looked serious, but at total ease in the air. The boy who was currently looking at her and grinning. Absently, Ginny wondered what he was thinking of.
Suddenly, Harry dove.
Although Ginny's mind had been wandering moments before, she reacted quickly and dove towards the ground. As she approached Harry, who was tight to his broom in his dive, she realized she was getting closer and closer to the ground and....
Harry pulled up and out of his dive.
Realizing she had been fooled, Ginny swore quietly under her breath and pulled out of her own dive. Looking at Harry, who was smiling broadly, she couldn't help but grin. “I'll get you for that, Potter!” she called.
“Will you, Weasley? I want to see you try.” Harry laughed as he sped off.
Ginny watch him go. Well, at least he's laughing a bit. Two can play at this game, though.
Ginny flew up and circled again. Glancing in Harry's direction, his attention appeared to be focused on her, and not hunting for the Snitch. That's odd, she thought. Why is he looking at me?
Bringing her brain back around to the task of fooling Harry, Ginny aimed her broom at a bunch of branches on the ground and dove. She'd hoped that Harry had been distracted enough to not realize that the Snitch wasn't around, and that he would dive blindly after her.
Flaming hair trailing out behind her, she streaked toward the ground. Even with the air rushing past her, she could tell that Harry was close on her broom tail. She pulled out, not getting as close to the ground as Harry did in their last dive, but still doing a respectable feint.
Turning her broom around as Harry pulled out and swooshed past her, Ginny smiled her sweetest grin at him. He looked annoyed, but happily annoyed. Watching him fly on, she realised he actually did see the Snitch this time, and she tore after him. She was nowhere close to him when his fingers wrapped around the golden ball, and he raised his fist in triumph.
He flipped his broom around to face Ginny – his face full of happiness, his checks red from the exertion. The smile on his face was enormous – Ginny couldn't remember the last time she had seen a smile that big on Harry Potter's face.
Lord, he's gorgeous like this. Heck, he’s gorgeous all the time.
He landed on his feet with a thud, stumbling slightly in his excitement. Ginny landed just as gracefully beside him.
“That was brilliant!” Harry said as Ginny smiled at him. “Simply brilliant! Your feint was perfect, Gin. Really great Seeking skills.”
“Thank you, Harry,” Ginny said, blushing slightly. “It was brilliant. You werebrilliant. The team would be silly not to take you back.”
“I don't know, Gin, you’re a pretty phenomenal player yourself. They could decide to keep you.”
Ginny could feel her face growing warmer. Harry was staring at her as he spoke, something he hadn't done with anyone else. “Um, thanks,” she muttered. “Do you want something to drink? I could go back to the house – “
“I'll go with you,” Harry said, pausing, “so we can get the Quaffle.”
They grabbed their brooms and headed toward the house, silence falling between them again. Breaking the silence, Harry spoke. “Thanks, Gin.”
Ginny stopped walking and looked at him quizzically. “Whatever for?”
Harry looked at her, raising his eyes to meet hers. “For flying with me today,” he said, looking at his shoes. “For convincing me that, although Sirius is gone, this is what he'd want. For convincing me that I've been a prat long enough, and that I need my friends.” He stopped speaking and raised his eyes to study her for a moment; his intense gaze caused her to turn away.
Slowly, his hand came up, and taking a finger, he lifted her chin so she was looking him in the eye. Tucking a stray hair behind her ear, he continued, “Thank you for being the one to make me realise all of this,” he said softly. “You’re a very special person to me. I hope you know that.”
Harry's hand had drifted to her arm as he continued to look at her intensely. He took a step closer, and Ginny felt her own breath hitch as he whispered, “How serious are things between you and Dean?”
“What? Dean?” Ginny answered, startled. “Oh, that was nothing. I just said that to Ron to get him to leave me alone. He's such a stupid prat - thinking he can control my life....” Ginny stopped, realising that Harry was indeed within inches of her and was watching her very closely.
“Well, if you're not seeing Dean, then maybe you won't mind if I do this.” He lowered his mouth and brushed his lips to hers. The kiss was soft and gentle, very caring and kind.
Ginny's mind exploded in colours as her eyes drifted closed at the contact. Harry is kissing me. He's kissing me!
As the kiss ended, Ginny opened her eyes to find Harry staring at her again, looking at her questioningly. “I-I'm sorry, Gin,” he stuttered. “Perhaps I shouldn't have done that.”
“What?” What do you mean, you shouldn't have done that? It was wonderful and tender and....
“I-I didn't mean to throw myself at you,” Harry said, sounding miserable again and looking at his feet.
“Didn't mean to 'throw yourself at me', Harry?” Ginny said, giggling. “No, I don't think you've done that. Matter of fact, I'm thinking you need to kiss me again.”
“Really?” Harry asked, incredulously.
“Really. And if you don't do it soon,” Ginny retorted, a smile playing at her lips, “I'll have to just kiss you instead.”
Harry bent down, and their lips connected again. This time, she could feel his need and want behind it, and she felt her own pour into the connection. She lightly felt his tongue against the seal of her lips, and she parted them to allow him access. As their tongues began to explore, Harry wrapped his arms around her, pulling her closer to his body. Snaking her arms around his neck, she sank her fingers into his hair as the kiss continued.
Moments later, the kiss ended, and Harry placed his forehead against hers. “You're incredible,” he whispered. “You are kind and caring, and soft and warm, and you like Quidditch – “
Ginny snorted. “What has Quidditch got to do with this?”
“You're every man's dream – a woman who loves sports,” Harry said as he grinned at her.
“Well, I'm so glad I have my priorities,” Ginny said, laughing. “Come on, let's get to the house and get something to drink. Are you hungry too? I could make some lunch.”
“Yeah, that would be great,” Harry said. “And after we eat, we can go back out to the paddock and practice with the Quaffle.”
“Is that all you want to do at the paddock?” Ginny asked, looking up at him through her lashes.
“No, not really,” Harry replied, blushing as red as a Weasley. “But I wasn't certain what you'd think if I said I wanted to go to the field and snog.”
“Well, as long as we get some practice in,” Ginny began, demurely, “we can snog all you like.”
Taking her hand, Harry began to lead the way back to the house. “The rest of this summer looks promising, then.”
“Oh yes,” Ginny replied, laughing, “I'd say it looks very promising.”
A/N: I’d like to thank my trusty team of pre-betas, Michele, Michael and Jen, and of course, my terrific beta and friend, Julie, for all their wonderful support and help. This story came about because I needed a dose of fluff after I read all the angst from the Summer Lovin’ Contest at PhoenixSong. Harry is now bugging me to write his POV on this story, so there may be a companion piece to this in the near future. Thanks for taking the time to read this and please review!