The last Quidditch match of the year was over. After Harry’s
Captain’s speech, the rest of the team had quickly taken showers and
hustled up to Hogwarts and the Gryffindor common room where the party
would already have started. Ginny was taking her time, as she wanted to
talk to him, but Harry was still in the shower blaming himself for not
catching the Snitch sooner. Even now, he was probably trying to drown
himself as a result. Ron, as usual, was just waiting for his friend. He
could be very dense sometimes, as Hermione and Ginny often told him.
three friends had finally gathered for the walk back. They stepped out
into the blustering cold of an early December, where a blast of sleet
filled wind whipped their cloaks around their legs as they trudged
though the snow and mud covering the school grounds. The gusts were so
strong that they almost knocked Ginny off her feet and into a
snowdrift. It took both boys, their arms wrapped securely around her
slight frame, to help her navigate the distance up to the castle.
they stomped their feet to remove the snow from their boots and restore
circulation, Ron looked between his sister and his best friend and
said, “I’d better go find Hermione. I’m sure she’s wondering what’s
happened to me.” He took the stairs three at a time, and running full
tilt he sped towards the Gryffindor tower.
did he run off like that? We’re all going to the same place.” Harry
said, one eyebrow raised as he stared after Ron’s retreating form.
- M - M - ” Ginny was shivering so badly that she couldn’t force the
words through her chattering teeth. She was wondering the same thing.
After he had puttered around making excuses for staying, when he must
have know that she was doing the same thing, why did he run off now?
She had already lost the chance to spend some quiet time alone with
Harry’s attention returned to the young
woman at his side. Her hood had blown off her head in the trek across
the grounds and a layer of melting snow hid her vibrant hair. Reaching
out a shaky hand, he caringly brushed it away, before attacking the
white coating across her shoulders.
could feel her temperature rise, but not because the snow was no longer
melting down her back. She knew her face was turning bright pink, but
maybe, with luck Harry would think it was due to the cold. Staring up
at him, she tried to force her body to stop quivering in reaction to
“C’mon, we need to get you warm.” He said, wrapping an arm around her shoulders and urging her up the main stairs.
first, Ginny was too cold to worry about what the other students at
Hogwarts would think. It wasn’t until she saw her roommate Brittany
walk into a wall with her mouth hanging open, that she realised how it
would look to other people. What was Harry doing? He was going to start
rumours walking through the halls with his arm around her. As
nonchalantly as possible, Ginny reluctantly moved farther away and his
arm dropped to his side. “Thanks Harry, but I’m warm now.”
“Ginny, were you waiting to talk with me after the game?”
hadn’t thought that Harry was that perceptive. How was she going to
answer that question? “Well, yes I was. Is that a problem?”
Harry moved closer and raising his hand, he smoothed her hair back from
her face. He carefully tucked it behind her ear the same annoying way
that Michael used to – but, somehow, when Harry did it, she found it
endearing. “Is it something to do with Quidditch?”
she stammered wanting to savour the feelings that his touch had evoked,
“Ron and Hermione!” Ginny couldn’t move away, Harry was killing her.
Why was he acting so tender towards her? Over the past few months he
had become very comfortable in her presence, quite often touching her,
but never to this extent. This was almost a caress.
Smiling, he asked, “What about Ron and Hermione?”
Warm brown eyes looked up at him. “You do know how they feel about each other. Don’t you?” she asked anxiously.
“Of course. They are my best friends.” Harry linked his arm with hers and urged her towards the next set of stairs.
was having trouble focusing on her brother and best friend. Harry was
creating excited little tremors that were rushing through her body. “I
finally think that Ron’s ready to do something about the way he feels.”
“Is that why he ran off?” He seemed to be speaking almost absentmindedly, as if his mind was busy on something else.
“Yes, I think so.” This time she didn’t pull away. It felt so good to be close to him. “What other reason would he have?”
“I don’t know.” Harry said, with a smile that made his emerald eyes blaze.
Caught in his intense gaze, like a deer in headlights, her footsteps slowed. “Harry, can I ask you something?”
“Sure!” Harry stopped and turned to stand in front of her, releasing her elbow.
from his touch and, if she stared at his chin instead of his beautiful
eyes, not quite as distracted, Ginny was able to concentrate on the
conversation. “Does it bother you that Ron and Hermione will become a
Shaking his head, Harry said fervently, “No, I’m glad that they will stop bickering.”
“But won’t you be lonely?” Ginny asked him earnestly, her heart pounding so loudly that she was sure that he could hear it.
“Why would I be lonely?” Harry said, looking perplexed.
“Harry, sometimes you are so dense!” Ginny said, aggravation making her tone shaper than necessary.
“Hey, that’s not fair.” He said, puzzlement changing to annoyance in record time. “Why do girls talk in riddles?”
“We don’t. Don’t you see that they are going to want to spend time together? Alone!” Ginny explained, as if talking to a young child.
ran a hand through black hair that was already messy from the wind
outside. “Well, of course, I know that. But, why would that make me
“If they are together, you will be
alone.” Ginny grabbed his arm and pulled him along the corridor, angry
with him for needing everything explained and at herself as well, for
spoiling the wonderful time they were having.
Where will you be?” Harry asked, slowing down and letting her small
hand slide down his arm until he could clasp it in his larger one,
interlocking their fingers.
Shocked by the feelings generated by their joined hands, she stared at their hands and mumbled. “What do you mean?”
“You always kept me company when they had Prefect duties. I just figured you would be with me.” Harry explained easily.
“With you?” She whispered.
“Don’t you like spending time with me?” He questioned, with a grin.
Harry, of course I do. I just thought that you might want to find
someone you could care about.” Couldn’t Harry tell that she would
rather be with him than anyone else in the world? Why couldn’t things
ever be easy between them?
He squeezed their joined hands, and said, “But I already care about you. We’re friends, aren’t we?”
I like to think so. But… I meant…” stammered Ginny. Her heart was
telling her things that her head didn’t understand. She was suddenly
afraid that her heart had misunderstood Harry’s kindness to her. What
did he mean when he was brushing the snow off, moving her hair almost
like a caress and holding her hand as they walked through the school?
“Ginny, what are you trying to say? Don’t talk in circles, just say it.”
her not to talk in riddles was the pot calling the cauldron black. His
actions since they left the field house had been anything but normal,
at least for her. An emotional wreck and almost in tears, Ginny tried
to make him understand what she had meant. “I thought that you might
want to find someone you liked to spend time with. Not just the little
sister of your best mate.” She clapped her hand over her mouth, and
stared aghast at Harry. Oh no, why did I just say that?
looked as if she had slapped him. “You’re wrong, Ginny! I stopped
seeing you that way over a year ago.” Glancing away, he swore softly
under his breath. “I know that I haven’t always been the best of
friends, but I thought we were over that.”
tears slipping down her cheeks, she placed a hand on his shoulder, and
said, “Oh, Harry, I’m sorry. We are. I treasure our friendship. I just
don’t think that you see the real me half the time.”
would scare the stuffing out of him if he knew that she still cared
deeply for him. She had been carefully hiding that secret for over two
years, she went out with other wizards and enjoyed herself but he was
the only boy she had ever said ‘I love you’ to! She would never forget
the time or place. It had been a year and a half ago, in the dead of
night, 24 June, in the hospital wing after the Triwizard Tournament. At
the time, Harry had been under the effects of a Dreamless Sleeping
Draught, so she knew that he hadn’t heard her, but she had said those
three important words all the same. Not even with Michael Corner, whom
she had gone out with for almost a year, did she ever say those three
They stopped in front of the portrait
of the Fat Lady and Harry turned towards her. His brilliant eyes boring
into hers, he said, “You’re wrong, Ginny. And I know just the way to
prove it to you.” He spun around and said, “Christmas Crackers!” to the
woman guarding the entrance, and after her portrait had swung open, he
angrily strode into the common room and the party that was already in
Ginny followed him slowly, wondering
why he was so angry. She hadn’t meant to upset him and didn’t really
know why he was so offended. What she had said was the truth. She knew
and understood Harry so much better than he knew her. That was a fact!
She had been studying him for the last five years and knew everything
about him. How he ran his hands through his messy black hair when he
was worried. How he couldn’t eat when he was nervous. How he closed his
heart away, because of the many times he had been hurt. How he was
destined for something great. How he hated being famous and wanted
people to like him for the person he was now.
spied Hermione sitting in front of the fire. Hesitantly, Ginn