Author's Note: You can blame Tommy Tutone for this little plot bunny. The critter bit me so hard I had to sit down and write this bit of fluff or suffer the consequences. I heard the song "867-5309/Jenny" today while I was doing dishes, and as I began singing along my mind just replaced "Jenny" with "Ginny," then did a little rearranging in the lyrics and voila . . . fluffy fic abounds. Forgive me for this bit of nonsense, please.
Early Spring, 1997
Ginny, Ginny . . .
Who can I turn to?
You give me something I can hold onto.
I know you'll think I'm like the others before,
who saw your name in writing upon the wall.
Ginny, I've got your number.
I need to make you mine.
Ginny, don't change. . . .
A Solitary Seeker
Ginny had read over the note many times since one of the school owls had delivered it to her dormitory window the night before. She had debated whether to show it to anyone, and finally decided that Hermione could be trusted.
"Hermione, have you ever received an anonymous note by owl post?"
"No, I don't think so. Why?"
"Take a look at this, would you?"
Hermione accepted the piece of parchment from Ginny and began to read. Her eyes widened, and she looked at Ginny in disbelief.
"Have you shown this to Ron?"
"No, and I don't think I'm going to, either. You know he'll just go ballistic. You saw how he reacted a couple of weeks ago when he found out Michael had written my name on the wall in the boys' lavatory. I almost felt sorry for Michael."
"I said almost. Mostly I thought the git got what he deserved."
"I agree. He still turns a bit pale every time he passes Ron in the corridors," Hermione said, laughing, but then she sobered. "I do think you should show this to Ron, though, Ginny."
"Show me what?" Ron asked. He and Harry had walked up unnoticed by the girls as they conversed at the Gryffindor table in the Great Hall. The two boys sat down across from the girls and began filling their plates.
"Nothing," Ginny answered as she deftly retrieved the parchment from Hermione and began folding it up. Unfortunately, Ron snatched it from her before she could slip it into the pocket of her robes.
"What's this, Gin? A looooove note? It better not be from that git, Corner."
"Ron, give it back! That's personal, and it's none of your business!" Ginny reached across the table for the parchment, but to no avail. Ron dangled it just out of her reach.
"Nope. Harry and I have to read it first. We have appointed ourselves your personal bodyguards and correspondence examiners ever since the Corner incident. Right, Harry?" Ron asked as he unfolded the parchment and began to read.
"Speak for yourself," Harry retorted. "I've seen the Bat-Bogey Hex, and I want no part of this. I think you should give it back to her, Ron." He looked over to find that Ron's face was turning purple.
"Ginny, where did you get thisnote?" Ron demanded, enunciating each word carefully in an awful voice. He handed the note to Harry, who scanned over it quickly and then handed it back.
"Ron . . ." Ginny began.
"Tell me now, Ginny!"
"It came by owl post. I don't know who sent it," Ginny replied in exasperation.
"It had to be Corner. Apparently, he hasn't learned his lesson yet. I'm going to hex that tosser right into next week!" Ron rose from the bench, but Harry grabbed his shoulder and shoved him back down.
"Ron, sit down. You don't know that Corner wrote it, and you can't just go off half-cocked and start aiming curses at his head. Even if he is a tosser."
"Both of you, please! Language!" Hermione admonished them. "Ron, Harry's right. We have no way of knowing who wrote that note. It could have been anyone. Even Harry, for all we know," she added, giving Harry a queer look.
Harry choked on the pumpkin juice he had been drinking. "Me? But I . . . you don't think . . . Hermione!"
"I wasn't saying you wrote it, Harry. Just that you could have. Anyone could have."
"She's right. The note was delivered by a school owl. And I don't recognize the writing," Ginny said, as she snatched the note back from Ron to examine it again.
Hermione peered over Ginny's shoulder to read. "It looks like whoever sent it probably used a Calligraphy Quill. They're guaranteed to ‘transform even the worst scrawl into exquisite penmanship,'" she recited as if from memory.
"How do you know?" Harry asked.
"I've seen them at Flourish and Blotts," Hermione replied. "I've thought about getting them for you two as Christmas presents. Maybe then I wouldn't have such a difficult time reading over your essays. Both of you wait until the last minute and then scribble so furiously that it nearly makes me go cross-eyed—"
"We know, Hermione," Ron said, cutting her off mid-sentence. "Listen, this is all the more reason to think it was Corner who sent this note. Ginny knows his handwriting. He probably used a Calligraphy Quill to disguise it so she wouldn't know it was him."
"I really don't think it was Michael, Ron," Ginny chided him.
"Why not? And if not him, then who?" Ron demanded, and looked at Ginny for an explanation. Hermione, too, watched Ginny curiously. Harry focused on his plate, the exchange between his three friends apparently having lost his interest.
"Michael isn't this subtle. Do you really think that a boy who wrote my name on the wall of the boys' lavatory would start sending me anonymous love notes?" Ginny asked.
"You're right. He's not that bright," Hermione added. "Besides, this note . . . it's almost a little sinister. There's something familiar about it, though."
Harry's head popped up from where he had been examining his mashed potatoes. "What do you mean, ‘sinister'?" he asked.
"The bit about ‘I need to make you mine.' I don't know. It just gives me the shivers," Hermione explained.
"It's just a note. I think you're all getting worked up over nothing," Harry said, and avoided Hermione's eyes as he took another sip of pumpkin juice.
"Nothing? You agreed anyone could have written this. What if it was a Slytherin? What if it was Malfoy?" Ron's voice had become a strangled, angry hiss.
Ginny and Hermione looked at each other, identical expressions of revulsion on their faces. Ginny shuddered and said, "That possibility never occurred to me."
"He's just the type of person to get a kick out of sending you creepy notes," Ron said, "especially after seeing what Corner wrote on that wall. I wouldn't put it past him. Ginny, I don't think you should wander around the school by yourself until we figure this out. Harry and I will start walking you to class, right, Harry?"
"Erm, yeah. No problem," Harry agreed.
"Ron, you can't be serious!" Ginny protested. "I've plenty of friends who can walk me to class."
"How do you know one of them didn't write that note? It could be Colin. I've always thought he was a little off. He might be just waiting for the chance to drag you off somewhere and . . ." Ron trailed off.
"And what?" Ginny pressed.
"And have his way with you, or something," Ron finished, a tinge of crimson blooming across his face.
Ginny burst into laughter. "Colin? You must be joking."
Ron appeared chagrined. "Okay, maybe not Colin. But anyone else!" Ron looked at Harry's watch. "Damn. I left my textbook up in the dormitory. You have Herbology next, don't you, Gin? Harry, you walk her to class. I'll catch you up at Hagrid's, all right?"
Harry nodded, and Ron departed, stuffing his face with half of a sandwich as he left.
"I've got to run, too," Hermione apologized to them. "I promised to loan my Arithmancy notes to Padma. I'll see you in class, Harry. Ginny, be careful, okay?"
Ginny rolled her eyes but assured her she would. Once Hermione was out of earshot, Ginny turned to Harry.
"Harry, you don't have to walk me to class. Ron is being ridiculous. I'll be just fine."
"It's okay, Ginny. I don't mind. I have Care of Magical Creatures next, and Herbology is on the way. Besides, I don't get to spend enough quality time with my favorite Weasley these days. You're always too busy studying for O.W.L.s."
Ginny snorted in disbelief. "Since when am I your favorite Weasley?"
"You've always been my favorite, ever since you stuck your elbow in that butter dish. Just don't let on to Ron, okay?"
"Right, Potter. Now pull the other leg."
"Only if you ask nicely. Come on, we don't want to be late for class."
Harry and Ginny gathered their books and headed outside towards the greenhouses, where the Herbology classes were held. They strolled along together companionably, enjoying the warm spring breeze. Harry stopped when they reached greenhouse four, where the fifth years were scheduled to prune Flutterby Bushes that afternoon. Ginny turned to face him before going inside.
"What do you really think of that note, Harry?"
His eyes were fixed on hers, and he gave her a faint smile. "I think it sounds like someone likes you a lot, Gin."
"You don't think I should be worried?"
"Let's see. Voldemort is still on the loose, there are children of known Death Eaters still attending this school, and so far things have been unusually quiet this year. Yes, I think you should worry, but not necessarily about the note. Maybe whoever wrote it is just . . . shy."
Ginny's eyes widened. "You don't think it was Neville, do you?"
Harry laughed. "I'm going to be late, Ginny; I need to go. Wait here after class. Ron and I will be by for you, all right?"
"All right, Harry. Thanks." She smiled and started to walk into the greenhouse, but then turned around in surprise to watch Harry walk off in the direction of Hagrid's cabin.
He was whistling.
Odd, she thought, but shrugged it off as she walked to her spot at the long table.
A Month Later
Ginny, Ginny . . .
You're the girl for me.
You don't know it, but you make me so happy.
I tried to talk to you before,
but I lost my nerve.
I tried my imagination,
but I was disturbed.
Ginny, I've got your number. . . .
I need to make you see.
Ginny, don't change. . . .
Signed,A Solitary Seeker
Ginny sat in her favorite squashy armchair in the Gryffindor common room. It was long past midnight, but she had been unable to fall asleep, so she had wandered down to the common room to warm herself. Like a cat, she basked in front of the flames that crackled merrily in the fireplace.
Another note had arrived earlier in the evening via school owl, just as she had been preparing to get into bed. She reached into the pocket of her dressing gown and pulled it out to read again, her brow furrowing in irritation. Ginny knew Ron would throw a wobbly if he found out she had received another note. She was afraid to tell him, but at the same time she was afraid not to tell him. She was starting to wonder if perhaps he was right. What if some nutter was stalking her?
Harry and Ron had been true to their word, and either one or both of them showed up dutifully before each class to escort her wherever she needed to be. Ron was being a bit of a prat about it. He had begun glaring malevolently at every single boy who had dared to cast his eyes in Ginny's direction, so that Ginny almost felt as if she were invisible to the opposite sex by the end of the first week.
Harry was being decent about it, though. He often walked her to Herbology or Potions without Ron, and they spent much of the time talking and joking or comparing notes about Quidditch practice. Truth be known, Ginny was enjoying his company. She hated walking down to the Potions dungeon alone. She used to walk with Colin, but Colin was obviously avoiding her after being on the receiving end of Ron's glares for the past month. Ginny couldn't blame him. The fact that she had six older brothers and that Ron's temper was the worst of them all was common knowledge around the school.
A voice interrupted her thoughts. "Ginny? What are you doing up at this hour?"
Ginny turned, not particularly surprised to see Harry stumble into the common room groggily, with his hair more tousled than usual and his eyes bleary with sleep.
"Couldn't sleep. It's warmer down here, so I thought I would sit for a while." Suddenly self-conscious, Ginny drew her legs up under her on the chair so that only her toes peeped out from beneath her dressing gown. "What are you doing up?"
"Nightmare," he replied matter-of-factly.
Ginny smiled sympathetically. "Want to talk about it?"
Harry considered for a moment, then shook his head. "Not really. Same one as usual, you know."
Ginny nodded, for she did know. They had both frequently suffered from nightmares over the past year about the fiasco at the Ministry of Magic. This wasn't the first time they had run into each other in the common room late at night. She didn't remember exactly when, but at some point Harry had begun confiding in her about the nature of his dreams. They seemed to bother him less once he had unburdened himself to her. She was glad; for months after Sirius's death his face had appeared pale and pinched, and she had feared for his health.
Harry sat in the corner of the sofa nearest to her chair and leaned back, eyes closed. "You?" he asked.
"Not a nightmare this time. Something different."
His eyes opened, and he glanced sideways at her, still reclined against the back of the sofa, legs stretched out before him. "What is it, then?"
"Promise you won't tell Ron?" she asked, stalling.
"Ginny, you know I can't make that kind of promise."
"Harry, I'm your friend, too. I know there are plenty of things you and Ron and Hermione keep from me. I don't think asking you to keep one secret for me is such a big deal, especially when it's none of Ron's business."
He heaved a sigh. "All right, but only if it doesn't have anything to do with you being in any kind of danger. Ron would kill me."
Ginny shifted in her chair and said nothing. Harry's eyes drifted to the piece of parchment she had clutched in her hand.
"Ginny. . . ."
"All right! Here." She thrust the parchment at him, and looked away as he unfolded it and read what the anonymous sender had written. She waited several moments, but when he didn't say anything, she turned back to find him watching her.
"Well?" she asked.
"That!" She pointed at the parchment.
"It's another note," he said, deadpan.
"I know that, Harry. What do you make of it?"
Harry thought for a moment, then grinned. "Sounds to me like the bloke is a complete prat who obviously doesn't know how to go about expressing his feelings for you to your face, so he's decided to take the coward's way out and send you silly love notes instead. He's probably a complete waste of your time, and I don't know why you're even bothering with it."
Ginny responded with a look of amazement evident on her face. "Well, don't hold back, Harry. Tell me how you really feel."
Harry's smile melted abruptly. "Wh—what do you mean?"
Ginny laughed. "It's just so unlike you to pop off about something like that. A year ago you hardly ever even spoke to me, and now here you are making cheeky speeches about my secret admirers. It just struck me as funny."
"Oh. Yes, I see what you mean," he laughed with her. "Everything has changed since then, I guess."
"I know. Funny how that happens," she said softly, and looked down at the note in her hand again.
"Ahem. So, have any idea who your mysterious admirer is?" Harry asked.
"No. I'm starting to wonder if it isn't Neville . . . but this just doesn't sound like him. For the same reason, I don't think it's Colin, either. Besides, I'm fairly certain that Neville and Luna are well on their way to becoming an item. I've seen them holding hands on the way to classes recently. And as for Colin—frankly, Harry, if Colin were going to send anyone a love note, I imagine he would send it to you!" Ginny said teasingly.
Harry blushed furiously. "That's not funny, Ginny."
"You're right, it's not. But it's true!" she giggled, amused by Harry's discomfiture. He ignored her and voiced some other possibilities for her admirer's identity.
"You're certain it isn't Corner?"
Ginny began to twirl a strand of her hair about her finger as she considered her answer to Harry's question. "Positive. He'd be more likely to paint ‘Ginny I Want You' in four-foot, scarlet letters on the wall of the Great Hall. And if he did send a note, he would sign it. He'd want to be certain he received full credit for it. No, it isn't Michael."
"What about Thomas?" Harry asked.
"Dean? Harry, really! He would never think of doing something so poetic. All he thinks about is Quidditch. And snogging. And I'm not the one he wants to snog anymore, anyway. He's been mooning over Padma Patil for ages." Ginny rolled her eyes in disgust.
"So you're saying that, at one time, all Dean thought about besides Quidditch was snogging you?" Harry sounded incensed by the notion.
"Well, we went out after I broke up with Michael. For about a month. I couldn't stand it any longer than that. I like Quidditch just as much as the next girl, but he's worse than Ron. When I did manage to steer him towards other topics of conversation, he would inevitably find a way to bring Quidditch up again. Or he would just shut me up by kissing me."
Harry made a strangled, choking sort of cough. Ginny looked up and then blushed slightly. "I'm sorry, Harry. I don't suppose you really want to hear about my snogging sessions with Dean. Anyway, we were trying to figure out who my ‘Solitary Seeker' is."
"Yes! You brought it up. Harry, do you think," Ginny paused, as if considering her words carefully, "do you think the ‘Seeker' bit could be a clue?"
"Erm—I don't know, really. Why do you ask?"
"Well, what if Ron was right? What if it's Malfoy?" Ginny sounded horrified by the possibility. "I've caught him leering at me a time or two. It's . . . well, it's disturbing."
"I don't think your secret admirer is Malfoy. You may be easy on the eyes, Gin, but I don't think even that is enough to make Malfoy forget that you're a Weasley, and Ron's little sister to boot."
"Harry Potter!" Ginny sounded shocked and oddly pleased.
"What? What did I say?" he asked, bewildered.
"Did you just call me pretty in a round-about sort of way?"
Harry replayed his words in his head. "Yes, I suppose I did. What of it?" Ginny laughed outright, and Harry narrowed his eyes at her. "What's so funny?"
"Nothing, Harry. It was sweet; thank you. It surprised me because you usually aren't so free with compliments."
"It's not like I don't have eyes, Ginny," Harry began, sounding miffed. "Just because—"
"I know you have eyes, Harry. And very nice ones at that." The expression on Harry's face softened a bit until she continued. "You don't seem to notice that sort of thing much, though, especially about Hermione or me. Neither does Ron. Oh, he notices about Hermione all right, but not me. I'm his sister, therefore I don't count as a girl." Harry cleared his throat and started to say something, but Ginny continued. "Back to the topic at hand. If not Malfoy, then who?"
"Well, if you think ‘Solitary Seeker' is some sort of clue, then maybe it's one of the other Seekers."
"Uh, I don't think Cho swings that way, Harry. Though it might be interesting. She is very pretty . . ." Ginny trailed off with a mischievous grin.
"Ginny!" Harry exclaimed, scandalized. Ginny erupted in a fountain of mirth.
"Oh, Harry! The look on your face!" She giggled uncontrollably for several minutes. Her laughter was infectious, and before long he was chuckling with her. Finally, they managed to control their amusement.
"Oh, my, I don't think I've laughed so hard all year," Ginny gasped. "I can't catch my breath." She inhaled deeply several times and finally felt able to speak normally. "Okay, the Hufflepuff Seeker is Aaron Summerby. He's a third year. I suppose it's possible . . . but I think I've seen him walking about Hogsmeade with one of the third-year Hufflepuff girls, so I don't think that's too likely, either. So that leaves me back where I started, with absolutely no clue."
"Aren't you forgetting someone?"
"Malfoy, Chang, Summerby. Nope. Oh, well, of course there's you, Harry, but I think we both know that's just ridiculous." Harry opened his mouth as if to interrupt her but snapped it shut again almost immediately. His eyes became shuttered, and his hands started to fidget where they rested on the arms of his chair. Ginny continued, oblivious to his reaction. "Oh, I guess that ‘Seeker' would have been a little too obvious. Maybe ‘Solitary Seeker' just means the person who wrote the notes is seeking something?"
"Could be. Listen, Gin, it's getting really late. We should head up to bed." Harry stood and offered her a hand, but she waved it away.
"I'll go up in a while. I'm not a bit sleepy," she explained. "This is so aggravating! Why would someone send a girl notes and not sign them?" She looked up to see that Harry was still standing there, watching her. She stood and kissed him absentmindedly on the cheek. "I suppose you're right; I should get to bed, too. Goodnight, Harry."
Ginny climbed the stairs to her dormitory. She didn't notice that he had not followed, but instead was staring after her.
The Following Week
Ginny, Ginny . . .
Who can I turn to?
I can always turn to you.
The lake is beautiful at sunset in the springtime.
Meet me there tonight, if you care to discover who seeks you.
Your Solitary Seeker
Ginny growled in frustration as she replayed the contents of the most recent note over in her head for the hundredth time since she had received it that morning. Her dinner lay before her untouched. Should I, or shouldn't I? Should I, or shouldn't I? she wondered as she idly tapped her fork against her plate. Her silence went unmentioned by her companions until Harry finally commented on it.
"Something wrong, Gin?" he asked as he reached across and touched her hand lightly with his own. She jumped, startled out of her thoughts, and he quickly withdrew. "Sorry. Didn't mean to spook you."
"Hmm? Oh, erm, no. I was just thinking about, erm, Professor Snape's lesson today. It was fascinating. We were stewing frog livers for a wart-removing potion."
Ron stared at her. "Now I know you're not feeling well. Maybe you ought to go have a lie-down, Gin. In fact, I think you look a bit flushed." He looked down at her plate of food. "You don't seem to be eating either," he observed.
"I'm fine, Ron. I'm just not hungry. I have a test tomorrow, sort of a practice exam for my Potions O.W.L. I'm a little nervous about it."
"You'll do fine, Ginny," Ron soothed. "You've always been much better at Potions than any of us. Even Hermione."
Hermione scowled at Ron. "Maybe I would score better in Potions if I didn't have to work with you or Harry all the time," she retorted.
"Ah, but that just proves you love me, Hermione. You sacrifice your perfect Potions score to stand by your man. It kinda touches a bloke, right here, y'know?" He put a hand to his heart and gave a mock sniffle. Hermione shot him a withering look, but couldn't quite banish the smile that tugged at the corner of her mouth. "Besides, I don't think Snape has ever given a Gryffindor a perfect score on anything. So you haven't really sacrificed much when you look at it that way."
Ginny sighed and wondered when the bickering would begin. It always did, after one of Ron and Hermione's "almost romantic" moments. This time, she planned to be out of earshot.
"I think I'll take a walk. I'll see you back in the common room later, okay?" Ginny said as she stood.
Ron looked up at her. "You're not going by yourself, are you?"
"Yes, Ron, I am."
"No, you aren't. We'll come with you, right, Hermione?"
Hermione started to reply, but Ginny interrupted.
"Ron, I don't want you to come with me. I'm a big girl; I don't need a child-minder. What I do need is some time alone once in a while. I'll be just fine by myself. You and Hermione go make googly eyes at each other somewhere that I'm not, all right?" Ginny stormed off before she could witness the astounded looks on both Ron's and Hermione's faces.
Harry quickly finished off the rest of his supper and rose from the table. "I'll go after her," he said. "She's just had a lot on her mind lately, I think."
"Yeah, right. Thanks, mate. I know she can take care of herself, but I feel better with you looking out for her. Maybe she won't scream at you. Think I'll steer clear of her for a while. Come on, Hermione. Let's go make googly eyes at each other in the common room." Hermione arched an eyebrow at him, and he grinned cheekily. "Astronomy Tower, then?"
Hermione gasped in outrage and began gearing up for her usual diatribe. Harry headed off in the same direction as Ginny before the inevitable bickering began.
Ginny set out on her walk with no clear destination in mind. After a few minutes had passed, she realized that her feet knew the destination even if she did not, as she found herself exiting the castle in the direction of the lake. She pulled out the note and read over the contents once again. It didn't mention anything about an exact time or spot—just the lake, at sunset.
"If I had any sense, I would forget about this and go take a nice, long, hot shower," Ginny muttered to herself. Instead, she folded the note back up and paused to consider the lay of the land. Across the lake, she spied a familiar outcropping of rocks. It would make a perfect vantage point. If she sat in just the right spot, she would be able to see anyone coming long before they saw her—unless, of course, someone managed to sneak up on her.
"Ginny," a voice called out close behind her.
Ginny jumped and whirled around in surprise. She had been so lost in her thoughts that she hadn't heard Harry's approach. She groaned in irritation.
"Harry, didn't you hear what I said to Ron? I don't need anyone to watch over me! I'm a big girl; I can take care of myself."
Harry threw up his hands in supplication. "I know, I know. I just thought it seemed like a nice night for a walk. I'm not here to escort you, just . . . to enjoy your company. Is that so wrong?"
Ginny's ire began to wane. It wouldn't hurt for him to walk her over to the rocks, after all. She could get rid of him once they were there.
"All right, then. Sorry I lost my temper. I assumed Ron had sent you out here after me. He makes me so angry sometimes!"
"Ron didn't send me, Gin. I came entirely on my own, I swear."
"Fine. Let's just walk," she said.
Ginny started off once again, and Harry fell into step beside her. She could feel her anger seeping away as they walked, replaced more and more by trepidation with each step she took. Am I insane? she thought. Anyone could be out here. I know Harry said he didn't think it could possibly be him, but what if Malfoy shows up? What will I do?
Before she realized it, they had walked halfway around the lake to the huge slabs of rock that had been her destination.
"Want to sit?" Harry asked.
"Yes, actually, I do," she answered. Harry began to climb to the top of the largest rock, turning to offer her a hand up. She took it and scrambled up beside him, then sat down and drew her knees up under her chin. He sat next to her, close enough that she could feel the heat radiating off of his body where his shoulder almost touched hers. His proximity caused a shiver to run through her, which he noticed.
"Are you cold?"
"No, I'm fine," she replied, glancing out across the lake. They were the only two people out of doors as far as the eye could see. Ginny began to wonder if her mysterious admirer was having one off on her. She sighed and shook her head, remembering her earlier unpleasantness towards Harry. She knew an apology was in order. "Sorry I got shirty with you earlier. I've been out of sorts all day."
"That's all right. I suspect you have a good reason."
She remained silent, and he didn't press. For a long while they sat together, gazing out at the lake, watching faint swirls of mist rise from its surface. Finally, Harry asked her a question.
"Ginny, what's your favorite time of year?"
"Hmm? Oh, summer, I guess. Best flying weather."
"True. I've always been partial to spring myself, when everything turns green, like it is now. Fall is okay, too. Not too hot, not too cold." He chanced a look at her and found she was staring at him oddly, with her head tilted to one side. He turned back towards the lake and cleared his throat before continuing. "Ahem. You know, sunset's not too long from now. We could stay and watch it, if you want."
"Harry . . ." Ginny began.
He turned to look at her, and Ginny's mouth became dry.
"Yes?" he said in a low voice.
Ginny took a deep breath and spoke. "I'm supposed to be meeting someone out here."
Harry swallowed hard. "I know, Gin. I was kind of surprised, actually. I, uh, I didn't think you would show. I'm not certain what I would have done then. I was so glad when you said you were going for a walk. I hoped you were headed here."
Ginny gaped at him, dumbfounded. His cheeks reddened, and he turned towards the lake again, as if he hadn't the nerve to look at her.
"You were right. ‘Solitary Seeker' was a bit obvious. But I kind of wanted it to be." She remained perfectly still, unable to overcome her shock. "Come on, Ginny. Did you truly never consider the possibility that I could be the one sending the notes?"
Ginny shook her head slowly from side to side, mouth still agape. He reached over and nudged his finger under her chin to close it, gently stroking her jaw with his thumb before withdrawing.
"Why not?" he asked softly.
"I . . . I never thought you noticed me that way. Ever."
"I notice much more than you think, Ginny Weasley." He slid his hand along the inside of her arm and pulled it from where it was clasped with the other around her knees. He laced his fingers through hers and gathered all his Gryffindor courage to continue.
"Ginny, I'm terrible at talking about my feelings. After having known me for nearly six years, you should realize that. I told you the person who wrote those notes was—"
"A complete prat who obviously doesn't know how to go about expressing his feelings for me to my face, so he decided to take the coward's way out and send me silly love notes instead," she said, a wry smile beginning to form on her lips.
"Right. That's me. And about the complete waste of time part. . . ."
"I could never think that being with you was a waste of my time, Harry."
"Good." He squeezed her hand and breathed a sigh of relief. "Um, I guess I do owe you an apology. I never meant to frighten you, Ginny. The notes were actually lyrics from a Muggle song I heard last summer and couldn't get out of my head. That's what gave me the idea to write to you in the first place."
"I'm not upset, Harry. After all, if Ron hadn't insisted you accompany me to and fro for the past month and a half, you might never have worked up the courage to tell me."
"Probably not," he said, laughing ruefully.
"I'm glad you did. I'm glad it was you, Harry."
"Ginny, would you mind . . . can I kiss you?"
She nodded and held her breath as he leaned over and slid his free hand along the side of her face, then touched her lips tentatively with his own. The kiss was soft and shy, and Ginny's heart ached inside her chest from the sweetness of it. When he released her, she waited for the world to right itself again, and then she laughed out loud. Harry could see that she wasn't laughing at him, and he began laughing with her.
"What's so funny?" he asked, puzzled even as he laughed.
"Nothing. I'm just . . . happy." She smiled mischievously at him. "You know Ron will kill you when he finds out you wrote those notes, right?"
Ginny laughed again at Harry's stricken expression. His fingers tightened reflexively around hers as he considered the possibility, then he looked into her eyes and answered her.
"If he does, it will be worth it." And he bent to kiss her once more.
Author's Note #2: If you enjoyed this fic, you may enjoy "Byron," by Ciircee. I didn't realize until I was well into the writing of this that it had been done before and done better. Do go now and read Ciircee's lovely story at .