Disclaimer: The wonderful world of Harry Potter belongs to J K Rowling.
orSomeone Else's Life
Finally finally Snape had released Harry from another tedious detention in which the only bright spot had been transcribing a misdemeanour involving his father and godfather hexing Snivellus with a combination of very inventive spells. If Hermione wasn't being such a wet blanket about the Prince he might have felt like sharing them with her. As it was though, Ginny and Ron would get enough laughs out of it to make recounting the details enjoyable.
Actually, he'd expected to see more cards like that, but then he realised with satisfaction that James and Sirius were probably quite accomplished at not getting caught. It had given him a perverse pleasure to copy out that particular card, but he'd been very careful not to let on that he'd found it. No point making Snape any more vindictive than he already was.
And, like every Saturday since that Saturday, Ginny, by some mysterious instinct, had been coming down the marble staircase to the Entrance Hall at precisely the same moment that he had been coming up from the dungeons. The thought of spending the rest of his Saturday with her almost made detentions worth the time. Almost. At least, he thought with as much charity as he could muster, it gave Ginny some undisturbed time to study for O.W.Ls.
So finally he was where he most wanted to be walking the castle grounds with Ginny. He'd been waiting for this moment for well, it felt like forever.
"Look what the twins sent me," he said, reaching into his robes and pulling out a box of sweets.
"Here," he handed her the box he'd got at breakfast that morning. "It's their newest Slitherin' Snakes. I haven't tried them yet thought we could share them."
Ginny looked at him. "Are you crazy?"
"No, no, it's ok. Honestly," he said at her dubious expression. "There's nothing tricky or, you know, no jinxes or anything. They're just like chocolate frogs, only they're snakes, so they you know slither " He wondered how foolish he was to trust Fred and George so readily.
Maybe he should trust her instincts instead. She did grow up with them after all. In his indecision he handed her the parchment that came with the box. "Here, read this."
Thought you'd like to try our latest line in sweets before they hit the shelves. They're inspired by everyone's favourite snakes those slimy folk in the green and silver house. They're perfectly safe if there was anything to worry about we would have sent them to Ron.
"We-ell," she said, handing the note back and now scrutinising the box, "I suppose we could try one well, you could try one while I watch and see what happens."
"You're quite welcome," she grinned.
He chuckled, taking her free hand in his, and guided her round one side of the lake. She held the box up to read the description of this newest offering from Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes.
"Slitherin' Snakes ~" she read. "Great name! ~ the sneaky, slinky creatures that squirm their way into where they're not wanted. Well that's true enough 'where they're not wanted'? I dunno, Harry, sounds awfully suspic oh," she stopped and very slightly pulled back on his hand, "do you mind if we don't go this way?"
He turned back to face her and for just a moment thought she was eyeing something warily. "What's wrong?" he blurted, following her gaze. All he could see was the long grass by the bank. He turned back to her, but she was looking at him with a beaming smile.
"Oh, nothing, er Nothing. It's just that " she stepped closer to him so that all he could see were her wide brown eyes. She ran her hand slowly up and down his arm, causing him to shiver despite the fine weather, "I'd much rather go," she tilted her head towards a cluster of trees in the other direction, "that way."
"Ginny!" His face flushed at her suggestion he couldn't believe how provocative she was. Or maybe it was him maybe he just read innuendo into every single thing she said. He groaned inwardly, wondering if she knew just how much he would like to take her into those trees for a bit of privacy.
"Come on, Harry," she crooned, "you know you want to." She pouted her lips and he couldn't believe it she was fluttering her eyelashes at him! He tried to laugh at her cheekiness but ended up only managing to choke on his tongue he was having trouble remembering just who he was and why he was wasting time resisting such a marvellous suggestion.
She laughingly dragged him towards a big tree and pulled him down to sit next to her at its base.
"So, come on, my brave hero," she teased, "let's see you try one of these snakes."
Her brave hero. The beast in his chest purred while his mind wondered when, exactly, he had ever been brave or heroic, especially for Ginny. He hadn't even noticed her for five years. She was the one who won Quidditch cups, who hexed Malfoy into a quivering heap, who helped him talk to Sirius, who lifted him out of his Voldemort-possession funk how could she possibly think that he was her hero? Not that he was complaining, mind. Hero. Hmm, he kind of liked the sound of that word. Hero.
Hang on all his Hogwarts life he'd been sick to death of being called a hero. But when she said it, it was different. Like he was no one's hero but hers.
She opened the box and let out a shriek, leaping to her feet and brushing her arms furiously. The box tumbled to the ground and he lunged instinctively to save the sweets from falling onto the grass before springing up next to her in a surge of fierce concern. Like a hero. "Are you all right? What happened?"
She laughed, nervously at first, but then more like herself the loud, open laugh that he loved to hear. The laugh that made him laugh just to hear it. "Oh, just got a bit of a shock that's all look, they're not exactly what you'd call, er, passive, are they?" she said, pointing to the open box in his hand.
A mass of six-inch snakes was writhing in the box and several were slithering their way up his hand. A couple that she had brushed onto the ground were now winding their way over her shoes and up her socks. She bent down to pick them off and held one up in each hand by the tail. They continued to squirm in mid-air.
"Pretty lively charm the twins put on them, isn't it?" she asked wryly.
"Yeah," laughed Harry. "You should've seen your face!" He had thought it was funny, but when Ginny blushed slightly and sat back down quietly he wondered if there was something he'd missed.
He sat beside her once more and tried to gather the slithering little snakes back into the box, all the while shooting sideways glances at her, trying to gauge her mood. She seemed a bit he couldn't put his finger on it out of sorts? No, that wasn't it. He thought about asking, but just as quickly gave up that idea as a sure way to get an earful. He knew how she hated being coddled.
Although the snakes were small, they were very lifelike a mix of black, red and browny-greeny-grey colours with different shaped heads and tails, and different patterns marking their backs.
He picked out a snake and gave her what he hoped was a brave grin. Or an heroic one. Either would do. "Well, here goes oh, and just in case, you know, I don't make it " he took a breath and leant across, placing a soft kiss on her lips. He had meant it to be just a touch, but he found himself lingering, unable to give up the tingling sensations such a simple touch gave him. Finally, he drew back, feeling himself grinning and blushing like mad; he really, really loved being able to kiss her whenever he wanted to. And he felt an unreasonable pride at the grinning, blushing girl that looked back at him.
He bit the snake in half and felt it wriggling, not unpleasantly, inside his mouth as he chewed and swallowed it.
"Well?" he asked, checking himself over. "Have I turned green? Do I look like a skrewt?"
"More so than normal, do you mean?" she laughed that laugh again. "Hmm, let me check." She leant forward and ran her fingers slowly over his forehead and cheeks, nose and he gulped his lips, casting her eyes over every inch of his features. He swallowed again and tried to calm his breathing down. His arms, acting of their own accord, wound around her waist and pulled her closer as she slowly leant in, whispering, "You look ok, but just to make sure "
As Harry's eyes closed he felt their mouths meet in the softest, but most electrifying, touch yet. He breathed in deeply, inhaling her sweetness, pulling her closer as their lips parted and their tongues reached tentatively for each other. Their tender movements seemed to contradict the heat and passion he felt building. It was as though the slower and gentler their mouths moved against each other, the deeper and hotter his feelings ran. In the haze that engulfed him he became dimly aware that she was, far too soon for his liking, pulling away.
"Mmm, that's delicious what flavour is that?"
Mmm. Delicious. He couldn't seem to stop looking at her glistening, pink lips and didn't even realise that his tongue was slowly running over his own, trying to taste her again, trying to recapture the feeling.
Oh wait, she wasn't talking about the kiss she had tasted the snake in his mouth. He screwed his eyes tightly shut for a moment and cleared his throat at that incredibly arousing thought. She had tasted his tongue. And he had tasted hers. Wow. He tried to focus again on where he was and what he was doing, but wow.
She had popped the rest of his snake into her mouth and was chewing with delight. "These are great. They're delicious, don't you think?"
"Er delicious yeah," he had to clear his throat again. "Yeah, it's delicious, all right." He stared intently into her eyes.
"Har-ry!" She swatted him playfully on the arm. "I'm talking about these," she held up the box to his face, "the snakes."
"Oh right, yeah, the snakes." He looked down at the box of still-squirming sweets as she giggled softly at his discomfort. He could do this he could tease her, too. He just had to get used to the idea that he had the right to, that it was okay to. He held a wriggling snake up to her mouth, daring her with a grin. "Want one?" he asked in a low voice. She took the dare and the snake into her mouth, closing her teeth over it and her lips over his fingers.