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, Ginny began to
cross the room to her side. Ron was sitting very near to her, and she
didn’t want to intrude. When Hermione patted the cushion beside her and
beckoned her over, she moved more quickly. Sending a silent thank you
to Hermione, she dropped into the corner of the couch.
* * * *
couldn’t understand why Ginny would say such a thing. He never treated
her as if she was just Ron’s little sister anymore. In fact, today he
had almost grabbed and kissed her several times as they walked though
the castle. The first time had been when he had been brushing the snow
out of her hair, hair that was so soft and luxurious he had wanted to
wrap it around his fingers and pull her forward for a kiss. Didn’t she
know what happened to him when he looked into her beautiful amber eyes?
Later, outside the portrait hole, he had almost given into the need to
show her what she meant to him, when she had accused him of not seeing
the real person, only the young sister of a friend. However, before he
could act on his impulse his anger had erupted and he was afraid that
if he kissed her then, he would shock her with his intensity. He wanted
their first kiss to be tender, not forceful or angry.
knew that she was a strong and resourceful witch. She had shown
everyone just how mature she could be at the Ministry of Magic last
June when Sirius had died. Hadn’t he proven that to her when he had
owled her after she had broken her ankle? She had been the first person
he had opened up to about the death of his Godfather. Didn’t she know
how he felt about her? He hadn’t kept it a secret. He’d talked to
Hermione and Ron about his feelings, and Ron had approved of him as a
suitor for his little sister.
Saturday was a Hogsmeade visit and the day before the scheduled
departure of the Hogwarts Express to take them home for the holidays.
This year, for the second time, Harry was leaving Hogwarts at
Christmastime; however, this year he was going to the Burrow. The Order
of the Phoenix had added extra security around the Weasleys’ home so
that they would be safe.
The Order had even
conjured two extra houses on the property for the additional guards
that would be patrolling the area. One was at the entrance to the long
lane that led to the Burrow and the other on the far side of the
orchard. The entire area was now undetectable, but the problem was that
so many wizards and witches already knew where it was. Mr and Mrs
Weasley had their fireplace disconnected from the Floo Network, and the
only way to Floo to the property was through the fireplace in the
sentry house. They had also taken the precaution of allowing Apparation
only to the center of the makeshift Quidditch pitch, where it was
totally exposed and Apparators would be under constant surveillance
without the danger of an enemy coming directly inside the house.
year, they had all spent the break at Number twelve, Grimmauld Place
with Sirius, as an injured Mr Weasley had been in St Mungo’s, but
everyone knew how painful the memories would be to spend the break
there, especially for Harry. Harry still missed Sirius dreadfully, and
if it hadn’t been for the little spitfire named Ginevra Weasley, he
would still be blaming himself for his Godfather’s demise. She had
pulled, pushed, teased and yelled at him until he had opened up and let
all of his fear and remorse pour from his soul. Through her
understanding and gentle compassion, she had showed him that Sirius
would never have blamed him or have wanted him to grieve forever. She
absolved him of the guilt he had felt over the fiasco at the Ministry
of Magic, the injuries to his friends and Sirius’ death.
Harry awoke on Saturday, he knew that he was going to need help. He had
spent the last week paging through magazines and trying to come up with
the perfect Christmas present for Ginny. He had decided on multiple
gifts, only to toss them aside because they were all wrong. He was at
his wit’s end and felt that he would have to take drastic measures. Not
that he wanted to ask Ron for help, as he knew that Ron would go
ballistic or tease him unendingly, but he would have to tolerate Ron’s
amusement, because he needed help.
he said, “Ron, will you go into Hogsmeade with me? Without Hermione! I
need to purchase the perfect gift and since you have experience buying
presents for a girl, I thought you could help me. Please say you will?”
“Me, experienced?” Ron yelped. “What are you talking about, Harry? Have you been having nightmares again?”
Ron, you bought Hermione perfume last year.” Ron’s ears and face soon
rivalled his hair, but Harry persisted. “How did you pick it? Do you
know if she’s ever worn it?”
“Sorry, Harry. I don’t even know what it smells like. I just bought the biggest bottle I could afford.”
Harry’s shoulders slumped, and he ran a hand nervously through his already messy hair. “I’m doomed!”
this present for, anyway? You’ve bought gifts for Hermione since second
year. She can’t be that hard to buy for. Just get her a book.”
glanced nervously around the room at the other beds. “Shhh. It’s not
for Hermione, you git. It’s for Ginny.” He could feel a hot blush stain
his cheeks. Thank Merlin that the rest of his roommates were still
“Ginny? Hey mate, are you sure you want to do that?” Ron asked, an evil grin spreading across his face.
have to. I want to! I thought that everyone knew, but she believes that
I only see her as your little sister. I told her she was wrong, but she
doesn’t believe me. Now, I have to prove it. But I can’t find the
perfect present.” The words poured from him in a rush. Pleading, he
continued. “Please, you have to help me.”
“You’re not making any sense Harry. Slow down!” Ron said, looking completely baffled by what Harry had just said.
“Will you come with me to Hogsmeade and help me find a present for Ginny?” Harry stated, annunciating each word.
“Sure. This should be fun.” Ron said, his grin returning.
Harry stared at him. “We are leaving Hermione here. I don’t think I can handle both of you today.”
With a look of fear, Ron asked, “How are we going to get away without her?”
“She’ll understand. We’ll tell her we’re looking for her present.”
“Okay, mate. I just hope you know what you’re doing.”
Harry nodded. “I do. This is important. I don’t want to hurt Ginny again. I have to find the right gift.”
the bloody season, you git. Weren’t you listening when I told you how I
feel about Ginny? You told me you were okay with it.” Harry ground out
between clenched teeth. Maybe this wasn’t a good idea; maybe he should
have asked Hermione instead.
“Oh, that! Yeah, I heard you.”
at how truly dense Ron could be at times, Harry hassled him until they
were dressed. Then, he and Ron hurried down to breakfast. All the while
Harry was hoping that Hermione and Ginny would sleep in. They even
brought their robes with them, so that they could leave quickly.
the Great Hall, the wizards were dismayed to see the two witches almost
finished with their own breakfast. Harry groaned, but pasted a smile on
his face. “Hi Hermione, Ginny. What are you doing here so early?”
watched as they exchanged looks, and Hermione gave a slight nod before
she said, “We decided to get an early start in Hogsmeade. You wizards
don’t mind going by yourselves this time, do you? We have some girl
things we need to do.”
Harry gave a relieved
sigh. This was going to be easier than he had expected. “Sure. We
understand. Do you want to meet for lunch at one o’clock at the Three
“Okay. See you then!” said Hermione. She and Ginny rose and almost ran from the Great Hall.
“Er… Harry, are you sure we’ll be finished by then?” asked Ron.
“Of course. It can’t possibly take that long.” Sublimely uninformed, Harry had a lot to learn.
wizards drew their robes around them and hurried out of the main doors
of the castle. As they hastened towards Hogsmeade, each footstep threw
up clumps of wet snow. Crossing the tracks into the village, Harry
asked, “Ron, where did you buy the perfume?”
“At the store across from Gladrags. I can’t remember its name. Come on, I’ll show you. I’m sure you’ve been there before.”
wizards came to Passion’s Scent, and, pushing the door open, they
stepped inside the plush interior. There were waist high pedestals set
all around the showroom, each one lighted from above, and sitting in
the center of the halo of light was a single bottle of perfume. Harry
stared agog at the many different shaped and coloured bottles.
“May I help you?” a tall, severe faced witch said, staring down her nose at them.
please.” Harry swallowed the lump in his throat and continued. “I’m
looking for a present for a girl. How do you select the right one?”
“Tell me something about this girl. What is she like? What is her favourite flower? What does she like to do?”
he didn’t know that he was going to have to take a quiz. “Um… She plays
Quidditch, and doesn’t mind getting all muddy. I don’t know what her
favourite flower is though. Ron, do you?”
Ron was backing nervously towards the door, “Don’t ask me, mate. She’s your girlfriend. Just pick one.”
no, no!” The sales clerk looked horrified. “That’s not how you choose a
perfume. Come, you need to smell each one before you decide.” The witch
stepped over to the closest display and removed the lid. After
liberally spraying the perfume around, Harry began sneezing.
“Really? Last year I just picked one in a pretty bottle,” Ron told her. Harry was too busy trying to catch his breath to talk.
“Has the witch worn it?” The woman asked.
“I don’t know. I don’t know what it smelled like. I never opened the bottle.”
“Then that sort of defeats the purpose. How do you know that she liked it?”
A perplexed look upon his features, Ron shrugged. “She said thank you.”
“Well, of course she did. I’m sure she has lovely manners.”
had stopped wheezing and said, “Ma’am. I don’t think perfume is the
right present for Ginny. Thank you for your help. C’mon Ron, let’s go.”
“Now what, Harry?” Ron said as they left the
perfume shop. “Wait a minute. Sweets work on Valentines Day. Let’s go
“Great idea, Ron. I knew you’d be a big help.”
teens walked down the street and entered Honeydukes. Filled to the brim
with every kind of sweet imaginable, the store was a veritable treasure
trove. In their six years at Hogwarts, the two wizards had visited
Honeydukes many times, but with each visit, they spied something new.
Harry began slowly walking up and down each aisle.
“Maybe some fudge.” Ron said.
“Does she like fudge?”
“I don’t know. But if she doesn’t, you get to eat it.”
Shaking his head, Harry glared at Ron. “I don’t think so.”
“Why don’t you get her some Chocolate Frogs? She doesn’t save the cards, so maybe she’ll let us have them.”
“No, that doesn’t seem like a good idea. What is her favourite treat?”
“Bertie Bott’s Every Flavoured Beans! That’s why I get her a bag every year.”
really don’t want to give her the same thing you get her.” Harry was
beginning to worry. They had been searching for over an hour to no
avail. This shouldn’t be so hard. He was only buying a present for
Ginny. “Let’s try Zonko’s.”
At Zonko’s, Ron
suggested many items, but none of them conveyed what Harry wanted to
say. He didn’t want her to think that he was pulling a prank on her. He
was serious about her gift. Besides, almost everything they looked at
was inferior to what they would find at Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes.
was mounting as the clock struck eleven times. Harry was nervously
running his hands through his thick black hair. Ron might be his best
mate, but nothing he had suggested had panned out.
and Ron were passing a store with a beautiful pair of emerald earrings
in the window. They reminded Harry of the dress Ginny had worn to the
Yule Ball, two years ago. The earrings would match the delicate gold
necklace she had worn above her heart that night. Perfect! “C’mon Ron.
See those earrings? I’m going to get her those.”
“Why would you buy her jewellery?”
“Do you remember what Ginny wore to the Yule Ball?” Harry was thinking about how gorgeous Ginny had looked that night.
“No. What does that have to do with earrings?”
was in this beautiful greenish blue dress, and she wore a gold chain
with an emerald dangling from it. These earrings will match perfectly.”
“How come you remember what she was wearing?”
Harry stared at Ron, as if he had lost his mind. “What difference does it make? C’mon, lets go inside.”
“Ginny didn’t own that necklace, Harry. She borrowed it from someone. Ginny doesn’t have any jewellery.”
“Doesn’t she like it?”
Shrugging, Ron said, “I don’t know.”
was this so difficult? He knew Ginny. She was a friend. In fact, she
was much more than that. He just wasn’t positive what she was, yet. All
he was sure about was that he needed to find this present, and soon. He
had no intention of hurting Ginny again. Ever! She would love the
present he gave her. She was too important to him to get this wrong.
“Ron, what about a pet? You had Scabbers and now Pig. Has Ginny ever had a pet of her own?”
“No, she hasn’t. She’ll like that much better than some old jewellery.”
entered Magical Menagerie and began looking around. There were
Kneazles, rats and toads, but none of them impressed Harry. Then, to
his amazement, he saw a Snowy Owl that could have passed as Hedwig’s
twin. “Look at that owl. Isn’t he beautiful? Ginny has always said how
much she loved my owl. I could get her this one. He would make a
perfect mate for Hedwig.” Harry was so excited that he didn’t hear what
he had just said, but Ron did.
“A mate for Hedwig! Are you sure you’re ready for that big of a commitment?”
“What are you talking about?”
you hear what you said? You said, ‘A mate for Hedwig’! That’s what you
said. Pets don’t usually mate unless their owners are together. I mean
like married, Harry. I’m sure that that’s not what you meant,
you just don’t know about these things because your aunt and uncle are
Harry looked from Ron to the
beautiful owl. Was Ron correct? He felt this was right. He truly wanted
to buy this owl for Ginny, but with what was waiting in his future,
maybe it was too big of a commitment at this time. However, he would
still purchase this owl and present him to her later, if he survived
the battle with Voldemort that was to come. “No, Ron. You’re right.
However, I’m still buying him. Maybe I can keep him in the Hogwarts
Owlery until I have my own home.”
As Harry walked
up to the register to pay for Ginny’s future owl, he heard a mewing
sound. Looking to his left and down, he saw a glittering pair of
emerald eyes gazing up at him. A tiny, pure black kitten was holding up
one paw, as if he wanted to shake hands. Harry dropped to his knees and
reached out a trembling hand. The kitten was shivering in the cold
draft from the door that was perpetually opening and closing, to allow
patrons in and out. Making up his mind quickly, he lifted the tiny fur
ball and strode determinedly towards the counter.
had Ginny’s gifts. This Christmas, Ginny would receive the tiny kitten.
He knew that Ginny would take loving care of him, and he hoped that she
would think of him when looking at the kitten’s eyes and fur. He also
hoped that soon he could present her with the Snowy Owl. However, he
did not intend to tell this to Ron.
he was going to find a way to tell her how he felt during the Christmas
holidays. He had almost grabbed her and kissed her the other day, when
they had fought about him being lonely. He didn’t want to shock her,
but he now understood all the bickering Ron and Hermione were always
doing. Anger had been a cloak for their true feelings, but he no longer
wanted to hide the way he felt, he wanted to be able to hold her hand,
or kiss her, whenever they were together.
paying, the two wizards hurried back to the castle. Harry left the
kitten exploring his dorm room and took Ginny’s future present to the
Owlery. He would ask Professor McGonagall if the owl could stay at
Hogwarts over the summer.
Then they returned to
the Village and joined the witches at the Three Broomsticks. Both Ginny
and Hermione were laden with packages, and they looked avidly at the
wizards’ empty hands.
Harry was in a state of
euphoria. He had made up his mind to tell Ginny how he felt. He had the
best present that Ginny would ever receive hidden in his dorm, to say
nothing of the owl now residing in Hogwarts’ Owlery. He wasn’t sure why
he had bought the owl, just that it had seemed right. He insisted on
paying for everyone’s lunch and could feel a silly grin stretching
across his face whenever he glanced at Ginny.
caught Hermione grinning as she looked from Ginny to him, and his grin
grew to match hers. He felt very relaxed and, for once in his life,
completely happy. His best friend, Ron, was sitting across from him.
Hermione, whom he loved as a sister, was on his left and Ginny, his
friend, saviour and future, sat on his right.
* * * *
morning dawned bright and cold at the Burrow. Ginny had awakened before
daybreak and had already opened the presents on the end of her bed. She
had been crying softly into her pillow for the last few minutes. Harry
had done it again. Why did she let him always raise her hopes? She
should know by now that he had the ability to hurt her more than any
other being in the world. Carefully, so she didn’t wake Hermione, she
pulled on her robe and stepped out of the bed into her slippers. She
didn’t normally wear them, but today they would do double duty. They
would keep her feet warm and muffle the sound of her footsteps as she
left the room.
Her eyes red and puffy, she made
her way down into the kitchen to find the kettle already hot. Someone
else must not be able to sleep. She needed time alone to gather her
composure, and she prayed that whoever this person was, they had
returned to bed. Taking a cup of cocoa into the family room, she sank
onto the couch and gazed into the dying embers in the grate. She didn’t
notice the wizard sitting in the rocker in the corner. Her tears had
begun to flow again, and she pressed the afghan, draped over the arm of
the couch, to her face.
She felt the touch of the
hand on her head, and the give of the cushion on the couch as someone
sat beside her. Thinking it was her Mum, she turned and climbed into
her lap, searching for the comfort she always found in her Mum’s arms.
startled gasp as the arms encircled her had her quickly raising her
gaze to stare appalled into the greenest eyes she had ever seen. The
emerald eyes that haunted her dreams, and could make her do anything
they asked. Mortified, she wondered, ‘where’s a rampaging Hippogriff when you need one?’
“Please don’t cry, Ginny.”
tried to move, but the arms clamped tighter around her. “Harry, I’m
sorry. I thought for a moment that you were my Mum. You can let me go
“You’re fine, you don’t weigh anything. Tell me what’s wrong.”
can’t. It would be too embarrassing.” Why did things like this always
happen to her? She was right where she wanted to be, but under false
He changed positions, removing one arm
from around her. Using the pad of his thumb, he gently wiped the trace
of tears from her face. “You can tell me anything. I told you we were
“Not this.” She wished she could stay here in his arms forever. His finger had been so gentle when he had wiped away her tears.
Harry sighed and, looking away for a second, seemed to come to a decision. “I’m glad you came down early, Ginny.”
There was a steely glint to his eyes that she only had only seen when
he was pursuing the Snitch, it was one of quiet determination.
“I’m sorry, but I haven’t had a chance to wrap your present yet.”
“Harry - ” He hadn’t moved, but Ginny felt as if invisible ropes were pulling on her and binding them closely together.
“And I wanted to give it to you in private.”
Ginny could only stare at him. His eyes were saying things to her that she had never noticed before.
He swallowed and suddenly looked scared, but determinedly continued. “I
now realise that the night you were taken into the Chamber of Secrets
was the worst night of my life.”
Sweet Merlin, what was he saying? Ginny could feel her heart stop and then begin to race, beating twice as fast a normal.
should have jumped at the chance to take you to the Yule Ball, and told
you that night how beautiful you were, but I didn’t understand what I
This was Harry talking. He was
usually reticent about his feelings. After Sirius had died, it had
taken every ounce of courage she possessed to wrest how he was feeling
from the secret place inside him, out into the open.
he started, the words seemed to spill from somewhere deep in his soul.
“It scared me almost to death when you wouldn’t stay behind at Hogwarts
when we went to the Ministry last June, and I still couldn’t face what
you meant to me.” He stopped and looked away for a moment, before
meeting her shocked gaze. “Then, you were injured and I was to blame. I
let it happen. I’m so sorry.”
There were tears
in his gorgeous eyes. It just about broke her heart all over again. She
hadn’t known that she could cause him this much pain. “Hush, Harry. It
wasn’t your fault. It was Tom’s and his Death Eaters,” she said, as she
brushed the tears from his cheeks.
two weeks ago after the Quidditch match that you didn’t know how I felt
about you. I was amazed, because I had talked with both Hermione and
Ron about my feelings. I was sure that you knew.”
“Knew what, Harry?” Ginny wanted a simple answer, one easily understood.
“I don’t think of Ron at all when I look at you.”
“You are the only thing on my mind when I look at you. My feelings for you push all other thoughts aside.”
was beginning to shake, her nerves stretched taut, as she wished with
all her being that he would say the words that she had whispered to him
in the hospital wing.
Harry felt her shiver and
wrapped the afghan that she held in her hands around them both,
creating a little cocoon around them. Threading his fingers into her
silky hair, he tilted her face up so that she would meet his eyes. “I
love you, Ginny Weasley.”
Her eyes closed, as
tears of joy began to fall. Reaching out, she clutched his t-shirt with
both hands as if she was afraid that she was dreaming, and he would
He was correct. He did know her
better than she had thought. This was the greatest Christmas gift that
she would ever receive. He had completely stolen her breath away with
his generous present. He had presented her with his feelings without
her having to dig for them.
She could feel his
breath on her face right before experiencing the sweetest kiss she had
ever received. She sighed, and the kiss changed. It deepened in
intensity as Harry gathered her closer. Mindless to the world around
her, Ginny was solely concentrating on his mouth pressed to hers. She
eagerly followed where he was leading her, and when he opened his mouth
and teased her lips with his tongue, she willingly allowed him access.
was an enthralled pulsating pool of feeling, when sharp claws embedded
themselves into her arm. Crying out in pain, she looked down and saw
the tiniest kitten she had ever seen. Harry whispered, “I’m sorry,
Ginny. I forgot he was inside my top to keep him warm. Did he hurt you?”
her head, Ginny breathed, “No, not really. Harry, he’s gorgeous. Where
did he come from?” She lifted the coal black kitten to eye level and
noticed his green eyes. She looked from the boy still cradling her, to
the minuscule kitten she was cradling.
“He’s your Christmas present, Ginny. Do you like him?”
“Oh yes, he’s beautiful. But I thought you had just given me my gift.”
“What else did I give you tonight?”
“You!” Ginny said shyly.
Harry grinned at her before replying. “That’s for everyday, not just for Christmas.”