A/N – This is just a little bit of fluff not related to any of my other stories.
For Casey – It wasn’t worthy of a dare but it was a challenge nonetheless. Hope you enjoy.
Harry opened one eye to better determine his surroundings. Even without his glasses, the violent orange walls reassured him that he was indeed still at the Burrow. Letting loose a sigh of relief, he opened the other eye and donned his glasses. He’d been there for nearly two weeks and still he couldn’t believe his extremely short stay with the Dursleys. Sometimes, before he opened his eyes, he was positive it was a pleasant but impossible dream.
The first half of July had been rough at best. Certain that he’d been left at the Dursleys to deal with his grief all alone, he’d been prepared to fall immediately into a self-pitying and wallowing slump. He’d been terribly wrong, of course. Moony and Tonks had come everyday, one or the other and sometimes both, without fail.
Talking with them made him realize that he wasn’t the only one who’d lost Sirius. While he’d been lamenting his poor lot in life at losing the only person he ever had to call his own, he was forced to admit that it wasn’t at all true. Tonks had adopted a big sister role claiming Harry as family since he’d been Sirius’. She’d confessed that she’d always wanted a younger brother. The fact that she wanted him and had called him family had warmed him to his core. It paled in comparison however, at the realization that he’d actually had Moony all along. He’d just been patiently standing back so that Sirius could take the spotlight in Harry’s heart.
Harry had felt horrible about it and swore to make it up to him. The first step had been to stop calling him Professor Lupin, which he had been trying to get Harry to do for over a year. They’d finally settled on Moony although, as Harry had grown more comfortable with it, he switched back and forth between Moony and Remus with ease. His change in attitude toward Moony had created an astounding transformation in his former professor as well. The short time it had taken for their bond to form was further proof that it had actually been there, just waiting to be acknowledged.
When Moony and Tonks had come to tell him he was going to the Burrow he’d been ecstatic. The two weeks he’d spent with the Dursleys hadn’t been nearly as bad as they could have been but he was happy to get away from the sour looks his aunt threw his way whenever Remus and Tonks were there. The best part of leaving the Dursleys, though, was being with the Weasleys, his other family. He finally understood that he was actually very lucky to have so many people who wanted him. Mrs. Weasley had always made it clear that she considered him one of her own and Ron had felt like a brother from the moment they’d met. Over time, the rest of the younger Weasley males had filled out any need he may have had for more brothers.
The only troubling aspect was that he very much did not want Ginny to be his sister.
Just after Easter, Madam Pince had discovered them eating a chocolate egg in her library. Clearly appalled, she had thrown them out, along with Harry’s belongings, which had chased them down the hall, hitting them repeatedly in the head and had stopped only when Harry and Ginny had got far enough away. Each possessing excellent Seeker instincts, both had reached out to catch the hovering ink bottle before it could shatter on the stone floor. They’d caught it of course – and each other’s hand as well. For a moment they’d stood frozen, breathless from the run and pink-cheeked from the shrieks of laughter that had escaped them while being chased and bludgeoned by Harry’s books and bag. In that moment Harry saw Ginny for the first time; not the squeaky little girl that ran from his presence, not even the strong and exasperated one that had caused him to snap out of his self-loathing at Christmas time. The Ginny he saw was – quite simply – breathtaking.
He’d released her hand abruptly, as if he’d been shocked – and he had been.
Ginny had looked at him in a confused sort of way. “Right, well, I’ll uh, just go talk to Fred and George about your problem and we’ll see what we can come up with.” She‘d backed away as she spoke before quickly turning to jog around the corner.
Harry had leaned against the wall and closed his eyes. What in Merlin’s name had that been about?
He’d heard footsteps approaching and had worked to control his breathing and the thudding heart. Opening his eyes, he’d found Ginny approaching him again, the Easter eggs in one hand, the ink bottle in the other. “Erm, this is yours,” she’d said in a breathless voice.
She’d smiled and before he could become too enamored of the dimple that appeared on the side of her pretty smiling lips, she’d slapped the bottle into his hand and took off in a run once again.
He’d worked hard to overcome the feelings that moment had created and he thought he’d been successful. Then she’d told Ron on the train that she’d picked Dean Thomas. He couldn’t ignore the fact that upon reliving this statement on the drive to the Dursleys, his first and only thought had involved doing painful bodily injury to Dean Thomas.
Yeah, he’d been successful – successful at fooling himself.
Shaking himself out of his memories, Harry threw the covers off and stood up. Ron was still sleeping, snoring quietly on the other side of the room, oblivious to the sunshine pouring in over him. Harry chuckled and set about getting ready for the day. Tonks had insisted that they do something about his less-than-spectacular wardrobe. Remus, who had nothing on Harry when it came to clothes, had wholeheartedly agreed and decided that it would do them both some good, while allowing him to put some of the money he’d inherited from Sirius to good use.
They’d arranged a shopping trip for the day in Muggle London, the preparations of which had taken a little bit of effort. Madam Bones, having recently been appointed Interim Minister by the Wizengamot following the unceremonious sacking of Cornelius Fudge, was working closely with the Order and had assigned Harry a permanent Auror detail for the time spent outside of Hogwarts. A little shuffling of the schedule had enabled Tonks to be his assigned minder that day and Remus, being Harry’s guardian, would serve unofficially as the other.
On his way to the kitchen Harry came upon Mr. and Mrs. Weasley discussing something. He hesitated and didn’t enter the room, not wanting to interrupt. He could see that Mrs. Weasley had a jar in her hand that was tipped over her open palm, in which lay a scarce few coins.
“Arthur, there’s just not enough in here.” She shook the empty jar as if hoping it would cough up another stubborn coin or two.
Harry felt incredibly guilty. He wished there was a way that he could give them some of his inheritance from Sirius. He had more money than he’d ever need and these people had lovingly taken him into their fold on numerous occasions without ever asking for anything in return. He knew without question they’d never accept it.
“Don’t worry about it, Harry. That’s Mum’s Muggle money jar.” The source of the sweet voice was close to his ear.
“What?” he said, sort of stupidly after he’d jumped about a foot in the air from the fright she’d given him. “Sorry, I didn’t know you were there.” Ironically, that last statement perfectly summed up his current status with Ginny. Sorry, I didn’t know you were there – until you’d already gotten over me. Sorry, I didn’t know you were there – until you already had someone else.
Being here these last couple of weeks had only served to escalate his infatuation with the youngest Weasley. He’d taken to avoiding her whenever he could do so without appearing to be rude. Now, having her standing so near him made his heart start hammering in his chest and the bloody butterflies clamoring in his stomach. He closed his eyes, feeling thankful that she was standing behind him at his right elbow, and therefore could not see the steadily blooming blush and perhaps his heart, which was beating so hard he was certain it was pressing his chest outward with each thump. He took a couple of deep calming breaths while she continued to explain her earlier statement.
“That jar is Mum’s Muggle money. She keeps it in case she needs something from the market in town. They’ve got more now that it’s just Ron and me, so don’t worry.” She placed a soft warm hand on his forearm in what he was certain she meant to be a comforting manner – and he had to start his calming exercises all over again.
She brushed past him and entered the kitchen. “Morning!”
“Good morning, Ginny dear,” her mother said with a slightly distracted smile. “Could you mind the bacon for a moment? Your father has to get to work early so I’m going to pop over to Gringotts and exchange some money for your trip today.”
Harry, finally somewhat under control, entered the kitchen. He had to contain a chuckle when he got a look at Mr. Weasley’s face, which brought to mind the word ‘pouting’. Clearly the man was disappointed to be missing a trip into Muggle London.
Mrs. Weasley eyed her husband. “Oh, honestly Arthur, it’s not the end of the world. We can go another day. Just you and I, all right?”
He brightened at this news. “All right Molly, I’ll hold you to that.”
He leaned down and kissed his wife soundly. “I’m sure you will,” she giggled in a girlish way. The youthfulness that surrounded them gave Harry a glimpse of the teenagers they’d been when they’d first started out. Although a little embarrassed by the affectionate display, Harry also found it incredibly appealing. What would it be like to be that comfortable with someone?
After a “Have a good day” from Mrs. Weasley, Mr. Weasley Disapparated with a grin.
“Harry dear, good morning! Did you sleep well?” She inspected his face and seemed satisfied with what she found.
“Yes, thank you.” Harry responded, watching her bustle around the kitchen.
“I’m going to run to Gringotts for a moment. Do you need anything?”
Despite what Ginny had said earlier, he still wished that he could share his money with them. He couldn’t think of a tactful way to do it though, so he just shook his head. “No, thank you. Remus has everything under control