Disclaimer: The Harry Potter universe is owned by JKR. I'm making no profit by this.
"Oh, damn," Ginny whispered, seeing Madame Pince approach their table.
The library matron looked much as Ginny herself did after a dose of
pepper-up potion. Ginny looked down at the incriminating piece of
chocolate in her hands. This makes what, the third time? It's a charm. "I forgot," she told Harry.
He still had that sublime, adorable, hopeful look
on his face, only there was now amusement there as well. They both
scrambled from their seats and raced from the library, dodging books as
though dodging bludgers--thank God for Quidditch reflexes. It was all
Ginny could do to contain her giggles until they were out in the
corridor, gasping and leaning against the wall as Harry's books, ink,
bag, and quill clattered to the floor.
"Bloody Hell," Ginny said, wheezing with laughter.
Harry stooped to gather his books and scrolls. He looked up at Ginny
with flushed cheeks and, for the first time that week, eyes that didn't
look haunted by so much as a Cornish pixie. He grinned a little
"Thanks for the chocolate," he said. He looked
about to say more when the door opened behind them. Harry's mask
resettled over his features. He still looked happy, but his expression
was guarded again. Ginny thought her heart would pound directly out of
her ribcage when she realized that Harry had let her see himself. "Hey, Michael," he said casually.
Ginny put on her brightest smile and turned to face her boyfriend.
After seeing the Real Harry, she knew that she wasn't ready for
Michael, especially when she saw the chummy-but-not-so-chummy smile
that Michael was giving Harry.
Ginny groaned inwardly. Bloody Hell, not this again. She'd been through this with Michael before. First Harry, then Neville, Dean, Colin-- Terry Boot, for goodness sake--and now Harry again.
"Hey, Harry." Michael slipped his hand to Ginny's waist, but Ginny
avoided the contact by stooping to retrieve Harry's bent quill. She was
glad that Michael didn't grab her arse as he had that one
time--apparently the boy could actually take a hex-reinforced lesson,
which was a good thing. Michael wasn't worth two detentions for casting
hexes in the corridors; one yes, but not two.
Harry's quill into his bag while Michael made some idle, uninteresting
comment about Quidditch or something. The three of them limped through
a brief conversation. If Harry sensed the tension, he acted oblivious,
but Ginny thought the corridor walls might actually be compressing,
drawing closer, squeezing against her chest. She took a deep breath,
and the tension eased somewhat.
When Harry had finished
tucking the last of his books into his bag, he rose, clutching his
inkpot. "See you, Michael, Ginny," he said. Ginny didn't miss the look
of real gratitude in his eyes when he looked at her again, or his grin,
or the smudge of chocolate egg that still clung to the corner of his
mouth. She tried not to imagine what it would be like to... so stop imagining! "See
you, Harry," she returned, glad that her voice didn't come out as
breathless as she felt...glad that she was already so flushed from
their library exodus that Michael wouldn't notice the effect that
Harry's parting, chocolaty grin had upon her.
She sighed a little. Completely oblivious, aren't you, Harry?
Michael had the decency to wait until Harry had vanished around the corner before he started.
"What was that all about?"
Ginny shrugged. "Chocolate in the library again. Third time this year,
can you believe it?" She steeled herself before looking up; she
couldn't remember the last time her acting skills had been called upon
for something quite like this. "Mum sent us Easter eggs--just got
through Umbridge's system--Fred and George already got theirs, and I
couldn't give Ron his because he's taken Jack Sloper up to the hospital
wing--you'll never guess what that idiot Jack did, today! Hit himself
with his own bat, I think--and, anyhow, of course Mum sent an egg for
She held up the brown box and gave him a mock-seductive look. "Would you like a piece of mine?"
Michael didn't say anything. Ginny waggled her brows as she opened and
shut the box lid, but even pretending that the box was a textbook on
Hagrid's syllabus didn't seem to assuage Michael's anger. And the
babbling hadn't exactly distracted him, either.
Where had Michael's humor vanished to, lately, anyway?
"You know this isn't about chocolate, Ginny."
She blinked. "Oh. Is it about that book I was supposed to loan Terry?
Because I gave it to Luna before Quidditch and she swore that she'd
give it to him...she must have forgotten--you know Luna. Did you happen
to...?" She gave up changing the subject when she saw the muscle twitch
in Michael's jaw line.
"I saw the way you were looking at him,
Ginny. In fact, I saw the way he was looking at you--like you were a
bloody snitch or something. Cho warned me about this! Remember that
Valentines Day Quidditch practice you wouldn't skive off for me? Cho
caught him staring at you as she and Harry were walking out to
Hogsmead! Can you believe that prat? Valentine's Day!"
It was the most ridiculous accusation Ginny had heard in her life. Of course Harry
had been watching the Quidditch pitch while he and Cho walked to
Hogsmead. It was impossible not to when the Quidditch pitch was right there. This was nothing but more petty jealousy from Cho combined with a dollop of ridiculous jealousy from Michael.
Ginny closed her eyes and counted. She couldn't blow it now, but he was
accusing Harry of something, and Harry didn't need that. It was one
thing for Michael to accuse her of getting cozy with other guys, but
this... Harry didn't need this.
"Look," she said, staring up
at Michael again. "All I did was give Harry one of Mum's eggs. Harry's
a worse chocolate fanatic than me--" small white lie...small white lie
"--and anyone who's been cramped up in the library this week would look
like that if they got a stupid chocolate egg during a ruddy revising
Or, popped an unbidden thought, if you
were finally able to confide in someone that wasn't Hermione and wasn't
going to say 'that's the stupidest idea I've ever heard,' or Ron who
would give up the situation as hopeless.
Michael's accusation, Ginny felt her anger building again, rushing in
hot color back to her cheeks. "If you want to be a git about it, then fine. I need a shower, I'm starving, and I DON'T HAVE TIME FOR THIS!"
He's lucky I don't hex him. He's lucky I don't hex him. He's lucky I don't...
It was worth the second detention, but she swept past him and counted her steps. One, two, three...
She closed her eyes.
Michael was at her side, then, with his arms around her.
Ginny spent the appropriate amount of time embracing him back,
murmuring her forgiveness, and even adding a kiss at the end to make
Michael believe her words; it was a relief when she finally escaped
back to Gryffindor tower. Michael would forget all about it by
tomorrow. He tried to make her agree to come down and catch the end of
dinner, but Ginny lied and said that Hermione had already saved some
for her. She would tickle the pear, later, and get food from the house
elves. Then she was gone, gone, running down the corridor while she
remembered that look on Harry's face.
He didn't want
to talk to Cho; Harry had actually seemed a little bewildered when she
suggested that he speak to her. Ginny felt like skipping. He had
confided in her about wanting to talk to Sirius…and he had told
Hermione that he was upset about Cho. But he wasn't upset about Cho--he didn't want to talk to Cho... Ginny felt as though her face would split from smiling. And he talked to ME... And
Ginny, who sometimes thought she knew Harry far better than he knew
himself, felt certain that their brief conversation had actually lifted
some of the melancholy from him.
And stupid, bloody-git,
idiot boy, Ravenclaw, know-it-all Michael had had to bloody go and ruin
the moment... Of course, Madame Pince did ruin it first... Ginny touched the back of her head; there was a lump there from where Harry's transfiguration book had smacked her.
Hermione looked up from her runes notes when Ginny entered the common
room. Harry was seated across the table from her with his back to the
Hermione's gaze met hers. Ginny raised her
eyebrows, pointed to the dormitory stairs, signaled "five minutes," and
went up to her room before Harry could turn around. In her dorm room,
she threw the box of eggs onto the floor and flung herself onto the bed
before kicking off her shoes. One of the shoes glanced off the door
just as Hermione opened it. The older girl gave her a stern look.
"I should take points away for that, Ginny," she teased.
"Bloody Hell!" Ginny groaned, flouncing upright. It wasn't until that
point that Ginny realized how badly she was shaking. Excitement, fear,
nervousness for the future... This was so stupid. But it felt...it
really seemed like...she had felt it, there, while Harry looked at her
in the library. Something had changed.
She buried her face in her hands.
Bloody Hell. Michael. What am I going to do about him? She began shaking uncontrollably.
In a moment, Hermione was sitting next to her with an arm around Ginny's shoulders.
"It's that idiot, Michael," she muttered, shrugging off Hermione's arm;
she flung herself onto her back again, making the bed bounce. Hermione
looked down at her in amusement.
"What this time?"
"Well, this time,
it was me giving Mum's dirty great chocolate egg to Harry in the
library." She put her hands over her face. "Michael says I was looking at
Harry. Now, granted...I was looking at Harry, but you sort of have to
look at a bloke when he's talking to you, don't you?" She removed her
hands from her face to find Hermione with a hand over her mouth and
laughter in her eyes. Ginny snorted, unable to help grinning.
Hermione grinned. "So Michael yelled at you for looking at Harry Potter."
Ginny put her hands over her face again. "Argh. No. Michael yelled at me because Harry Bloody Potter was looking at me. "
Hermione squealed and fell backwards onto the bed. She giggled and
Ginny again unburied her face. Hermione turned onto her side.
"Finally! But was he really looking at you, or was Michael being a git again?"
Ginny blushed. "I don't know. But I think so--about Harry, that is. I mean...I don't think he knew he
was looking at me, but he got this look on his face..." She tried to
imitate the look. "I've seen that look often enough, now; I know what
that look means." She scowled. "It bloody figures that Michael knows
that look too."
Ginny was thinking about one of her past conversations with Hermione in which Hermione stated that Michael seemed to be looking at
Padma, Susan, Cho, Hannah...Madame Hooch?...Lavender, Luna even.... At
the time, Ginny had defended Michael--what did it matter if a boy
appreciated beauty in another woman, anyway. (Though, if he was looking at Madame Hooch, one has to wonder about the boy.) But now...
"So how did it happen--the look?" Hermione asked.
Ginny opened her mouth, but promptly closed it again. She knew that she
couldn't tell Hermione anything about her conversation with Harry.
Hermione would be dead against anything having to do with Harry and
Sirius conversing. Besides, there was something very private about her
conversation with Harry. He really wasn't the sort of person who
confided things in people. Ginny felt a little thrill go through her
again that he had confided in her. Ginny wasn't sure that Harry
would want her to share his confidence--not with Hermione, anyway--and
Ginny knew that she didn't want to give up that private moment for
anything. Not yet. At least, not to Hermione who had had a thousand
private moments. No, not yet. This was, after all, the first time that
Harry had confided something in her alone.
So. "We shared his
chocolate egg," Ginny lied. "And I told him about Jack Sloper hitting
himself with his own bat, and then he..." Ginny continued to tell
Hermione what she could, delighting in the older girl's squeals until
Ginny at last found herself relaxing again. She was glad--for once--to
have had something worth sharing.
And Hermione, silly girl,
didn't find it at all strange for Harry to give a "look" over a shared
chocolate egg and Quidditch gossip.
Later, after everyone in Gryffindor Tower had gone to bed, Ginny snuck
downstairs and climbed back up the boy's stairs, up to the seventh year
dorm. She knocked softly. There was muffled laughter on the other side
of the door.
"Boxers or briefs," she heard Fred say, his voice sounding close to the door.
"Boxers," Ginny said, grinning.
"Michael or Harry?"
"Ewww. No thanks, little sister. You're cute and all that, but...no way! Butterbeer or pumpkin juice?"
"Firewhisky, you idiot! Come on, Fred, let me in!"
He pulled the door open so quickly that Ginny stumbled into him, laughing. Fred picked her up and spun her around.
"What are you doing up here, little terror. You didn't come up to our
dorm to start snogging Lee, now, did you? I thought you were still with
that Corner git." He swung her over Lee's bed and laughed while Lee
held open his arms and made smooching noises. Ginny squealed and
wrapped her arms more tightly around Fred's neck.
"Fred Weasley! If you drop me, I swear I'll tell everyone about--"
"Whoa there, little terror." He swung her over to George's bed, dropped
her, and hopped into bed beside her. He and George made a show of
squashing and tickling her until their dorm mates told them to hush.
"Headache," Lee said apologetically.
"Sorry," Ginny whispered.
George winked down at her. Fred pulled the curtains closed, muttered a
silencing spell, and made a bluebell flame they could see by.
"So what brings our dearest--"
"--scariest protégée up to see her favorite brothers?"
"Mischief. A great feat requiring skill, daring, a mastery of the
prank, deviousness, a desire to pull one over Umbridge, and…a
willingness to help a mutual friend."
Fred and George exchanged a grin.
"Sounds dangerous," said George. "Who for?"
"Harry," Ginny said firmly. And then was horrified when she did something that she had not done in over a year...she blushed.
Fred smirked. "For ickle Harry?"
Ginny glared. "Look. Don't start with me," she said coolly. "When I
took Harry his egg this afternoon, he mentioned that he wants to talk
to...someone that we know whom will get into trouble if someone like
Umbridge were to--"
"Padfoot," George whispered. He and Fred
both wore thoughtful expressions. They stared at each other long enough
for Ginny's foot to fall asleep.
Fred spoke at last: "How long of a talk, do you think?"
Ginny bit her lip. "Well…Harry's been really down for a while, now. I
think he means to say more than hello and 'did you have kippers for
breakfast or not, Sirius?'"
"Umbridge's Floo." Fred and George said together.
"That's what I was thinking, too," Ginny said. "He'd need fifteen
minutes, at least, maybe twenty. I wish he could have a whole bloody
George looked slightly uncomfortable. Fred closed his eyes. "You know what this requires, don't you, Forge?"
"Yes. But we haven't worked out that last bit, yet… Scourgify is a hard spell to get around."
"We're close, though."
"And, we'll have to find the right location. Time it so that Filch and
Umbridge are both stranded and have to use the other staircase back to
"Brilliant. Unless Umbridge decides to wade."
"Ha! She'll walk...and that'd take..."
"Twenty minutes. At most," Fred said. He opened his eyes and looked at
Ginny. "Don't mention anything to Harry, yet. We've got something in
mind, but it's our biggest product yet--"
broadly. "And our foulest smelling. It might take a week to get the
kinks sorted out...we'll approach him when it's ready." His smile
faded. "But things won't be the same, afterwards..."
Ginny was surprised when Fred took his twin's hand. "We're ready," he said firmly.
After a moment, George gave a sharp nod.
Ginny felt as though she'd missed something, but she trusted her
brothers. They would help Harry. Harry had trusted her, she would trust
them, and Harry would trust Sirius with whatever it was that seemed to
be bothering him, and then maybe Harry wouldn't wander the corridors
with that haunted look in his eyes.
Ginny sat in front of the common room fire with Fred and George's
parting letter open in her lap and red-rimmed eyes. "Dear Terror," it
began. They had known it would happen. They had known...but they were
ready. Their shop awaited them, "Good luck with Harry, and we'll see
you at King's Cross if Mum doesn't kill us first."
felt as though she had traded Fred and George for Harry--not that she
got to keep Harry, but she had to admit that Harry seemed relieved by
his conversation with Sirius. He had eaten dinner with his usual
appetite, and had laughed when she told him about how half her DADA
class planned to use Skiving Snackboxes for Umbridge's class the next
And she, Ginny, was going with a stupid
idiot who refused to see anything wrong with criticizing her brothers
for an "ill-advised prank that earned them no profit." Git. Prat. And what a Slytherin thing to say besides.
She looked up to see Hermione in her dressing gown; there was concern
and apology in her eyes. Ginny looked back to the fire, blinking
rapidly. Hermione had been upset with her since morning, when Fred and
George had approached Harry in the Common Room. Though they hadn't
spoken, Ginny knew that Hermione had figured out what else she and
Harry had discussed that day in the library. Ginny was pretty sure that
Hermione blamed her for everything that had happened today.
Maybe Hermione should get together with Michael instead of Ron so that they can go and be idiots together.
"Ginny, can I sit with you?"
Ginny swallowed and nodded. She had lost Fred and George. She didn't have to lose Hermione as well.
"I couldn't tell you," Ginny said after Hermione had settled beside her. "You know that, right?"
Hermione sighed. "Yes. Ginny, I'm sorry."
Ginny shrugged. "It's fine."
They stared at the fire for a while.
"Do you know why he wanted to talk to Snuffles?"
Ginny shook her head. "No, but I could tell it was important."
Hermione didn't say anything for a long while. Then, "It was," she said heavily.
A log on the fire gave a sharp pop, and the tension seemed to go out of the room. Hermione drew a long breath.
"You know, Ginny..." Her tone was light again. "That is, you must
realize that Harry...that this...well, this means far more than a look
from Harry, even if he doesn't know it, yet."
Ginny felt her eyes begin to water. "I know," she whispered, thinking about Michael.
"He doesn't like Cho...doesn't love her, anyway."
"I think he's over her," Ginny said quietly. She swallowed, thinking
about what Cho had told Michael about Valentines Day and the Quidditch
pitch. Ginny remembered that day. She remembered Harry watching and had
brushed it off at the time, but, what if...
"Harry's so oblivious. He really is worse than Ron." Ginny turned to
find Hermione giving her a wry grin. "Do you know that your oblivious
brother had it all figured out the very day that Cho kissed him?
--Well, that Harry didn't want to be with her really."
Ginny raised a brow. "Did he? Is Ron as protective of who Harry goes with as he is with me?"
Hermione looked thoughtful; after a moment, she shook herself. "Well,
the point is: I was pressing Harry about whether he was going to ask
Cho out, and Ron got this look on his face and said that, maybe, Harry
didn't really want to ask her out. Harry didn't say anything. And do
you know what? I think your brother was right."
"Ron said that?" She shook her head. "My brother mystifies me
sometimes. But, then...I think he's becoming less oblivious.
Though...he should have thought of a better perfume than eau de Weasley
They dissolved into giggles and moved onto other topics.
That night, Ginny lay awake in bed for a long while, thinking about how
it was becoming less and less impossible that Harry might come to love
her. When she slept at last, she dreamt about Harry's chocolaty grin.