The conversation had lapsed into silence as Harry and Ginny walked further away from the Weasley's Quidditch practice area. Harry was dead tired, not having been on a broom for so many months, but he needed to walk or else he would pay dearly in sore muscles the next day. Before Harry had arrived at the Burrow, the Weasleys decided that Harry would be alone as little as possible. It was Ginny's turn to keep an eye on him so she skillfully invited herself for his warm down exercise. They had been talking about the Gryffindor team's chances but after agreeing on just about every point, there was little left to discuss on that subject.
Harry wasn't comfortable enough with Ginny as a friend yet to let the silence continue so he decided to ask the very next question that popped into his head. "So how are you and Dean doing?"
"Dean?" She turned to him confused and then had a look of dawning recollection. "Oh that. Well, I'm not seeing him. Never was."
"But on the train you said - "
"On the train, Ron was overdoing the big brother act yet again and I was tired of it. I said I had chosen Dean to make a point."
"And the point was?"
"That no one I picked was going to be good enough. He's never had a cross word to say about Dean. Rather liked him I think, but as soon as I mention I'm interested, then Dean's a 'damned bloody git.'"
Harry snickered. "Ron said that?"
"Yes, those very words actually. I was writing a letter a week or so ago and Ron asked me who it was for. I said Dean and he said, 'I'm going to kill that damned bloody git.'" Ginny had used her best Ron voice for the last three words.
Harry marveled at how spot on she was with the impression. "Was the letter for Dean?"
Harry laughed loudly. "Ah, Dean's in for a bit of a surprise then, isn't he? When he and Ron see each other again, that is."
Ginny smiled sheepishly. "Oh, I'll stop and fess up before Ron does anything completely stupid, violently stupid anyway. I don't really give a damn what Ron thinks but if I hadn't broken it off with Michael first, I'm sure he would have dumped me. It unnerved him every time he was in the same room with Ron and Ron would not stop with the evil eye routine."
"You should be somewhat grateful you have a brother that cares so much."
"Should I? Listen, do you feel grateful that he wants me to be crushing on you again?" Ginny questioned him with a raised eyebrow.
"He does?" Harry was incredulous.
Ginny rolled her eyes with great flourish. "God, Harry! I'm surprised you haven't broken your neck tripping over all the hints he's dropping!"
"He wants you and me together?!"
Ginny rolled her eyes again. "No silly. He just wants to turn back the calendar; where I was crushing on you and you didn't care. My virtue was safe that way."
"I wouldn't say that I didn't care."
"But you were very uncomfortable with it all, yes?"
"Slightly, I suppose." Harry started to blush.
She linked his arm with hers and gave it a friendly pat. "S'alright, Harry. You don't have to worry about that anymore. That business is all over with."
"So what do you think Ron would do if you and I started dating? Would I be a 'damned bloody git' too?"
"As certain as the grease stains on Snape's pillow."
Harry snorted and raised his free hand to his chin in a contemplative gesture. "Hmm, I'll need a moment to decide whether I'm offended or not. Not good enough for you, am I?"
"No reason for you to be offended. No one will be good enough for me in Ron's eyes, might as well start knitting my spinster shawl right now."
Harry patted her arm still linked in his. "Now now, don't break out the needles and yarn just yet. Perhaps we can work on him together. As a best friend, I sometimes have a little influence with him."
"Being best friends won't help you with this. He's hopeless."
"What's the harm in trying? If I can't help then what have you lost?"
She shrugged. "Nothing I suppose."
"Right then, if we're going to do some good here we might as well focus on someone you do actually like. Bit of a wasted effort if we get Ron to say he's OK with Dean but then you don't really care for him. So if not Dean, then who do you like?"
Ginny's face darkened in concentration. After a while she shrugged. "Well, no one at the moment. I suppose if we were at school, I could look around and see if there were anyone interesting but off the top of my head there isn't anyone. I know that sounds like I am trying to avoid giving you an answer."
"No, I know what you mean. I'm in exactly the same boat. I thought I really liked Cho but now I don't, and there really isn't anyone right now that springs to mind that I might like. To show Ron what a prat he's being about you, we really need to slap him in the face with something though. We could make someone up I suppose."
Ginny's smiling face showed she obviously had a sudden idea but she dismissed it with a quick shake of her head.
It was not unnoticed by Harry though. "What?"
"Nothing my arse. What? What was your idea?"
"You." She poked him in the side with a finger.
"Me? Me what?"
"You and me, pretending to date."
Harry cocked his head in consideration. "Hmm, there's a thought. It would be interesting to see if I turned out to be a 'bloody damned git.'"
"'Damned bloody git,'" she corrected.
"Right. You did say he was dropping hints about us. I think it might be the very thing to shock some sense into him."
"He'd really flip if he caught us snogging." The words were out of her mouth before she realized what she'd said. Her ears started to pink slightly but with a look of intense concentration she forced the blush down. "And then he'd rip your lips off."
"You think so? He may actually want us together you know. Then where will we be?"
"He doesn't. Trust me."
Harry rubbed his chin. "OK, let's think about this. We set it up so Ron walks in on you and me kissing. If he tries to kill me then we tell him that it was a prank before he really hurts me. Then we point out that he is the one that has been suggesting you and I get together and hope that that shows him what a prat he is and that he should lay off about who you date."
"Sounds like fun, even if he doesn't get the point. I'm bloody tired of it all. For pity's sake, he's only a year older that me!"
"But, what if he just shrugs his shoulders or is actually happy about it?"
Ginny snorted a laugh, "He won't be."
"Yeah but what if he is? We should consider it."
Ginny thought for a moment. "Well then I guess we ask him why it is all right for me and you to be together but not me and anyone else?"
Harry was nodding. "Yeah, that might still make the point though not as dramatic as if he looses it."
"Or as fun," she grinned.
Harry answered seriously, "Speak for yourself. You're not the one risking grievous bodily injury."
"Ron would never hurt you...well, not in a permanent fashion anyway."
"Gee, thanks. So are we doing this then?"
"It's been too quiet around here with Fred and George gone. I think we must."
"After dinner good for you?"
They decided to let Ron walk in on them in Ron's room as that was the one semi-private place he would have to return to eventually. Harry was staying in Percy's old room but Ginny was sure that Ron would be sufficiently outraged so as not to ask why they were kissing in his room. It would also be a good way to diffuse the situation quickly with a statement like, 'If we were serious about this would we have done it in your room? We wanted you to catch us to teach you a lesson,' or a similar statement to the same effect.
Neither of them really thought about the actual kiss with much concern. Harry's experiences with Cho had been no huge success story, nor completely terrible, they just weren't as pleasant as he thought kissing would be. Ginny had been with Michael in private often enough the previous year to know what was in store. Kissing just wasn't that big of a deal to either of them. Getting one over on Ron was.
Ginny sat on the bed brushing out her long red hair as Harry stood by the cracked door waiting to see Ron starting up the stairs. They considered leaving the door open but neither of them was too keen on Ginny's parents walking by and catching them. No, this show was for Ron alone and Ron always kept his door closed.
Ron's voice sounded from below, "Yes, I know where it is. I'll be back down in a minute."
Harry closed the door quickly but silently and then moved to the bed to sit next to Ginny. As she put the brush down, her eyes were alight with the excitement of a good prank and she could barely sit still. Harry reached out and put his arm around her as they both watched the closed bedroom door and listened for Ron's footsteps on the stairs. The plodding sound started to get louder and Harry and Ginny turned to face each other. Harry reached out with his other arm to take her into a convincing embrace. They were having a tough time not laughing. Harry managed to stifle himself first and put a finger to his lips to shush her giggles. Ron's footfalls were almost to the door now. Harry leaned into Ginny.
Their lips met and they both jumped slightly. After the initial shock of how much better this felt with Ginny than with Cho, Harry noticed the lack of wetness and salty taste. Cho always seemed to have been either crying or had just finished when they kissed. With Ginny, there was just an incredible softness intermixed with the firm feeling of her lip muscles playing underneath. They hadn't really discussed how real to make the kiss but it was too late now. Harry's lips were moving slowly but surely and Ginny was matching him as though they had spent hours with the choreography.
Somewhere in the back of Harry's mind, he was listening to the sounds of Ron's footsteps passing by the closed door and continuing up to the attic. He was obviously searching for something from the sounds. The sounds stopped and then the plodding steps were again heard on the stairs, going past Ron's room and on down to the first floor.
There was a tiny voice inside Harry's head saying, 'OK, Ron's not coming in the room. You can stop kissing her now.'
But the ebb and flow of energy passing back and forth between he and Ginny was just too delicious to stop. Harry kept on kissing as did Ginny. The kiss was as wet now as any of Harry's previous experiences but the saltiness was still absent. It was moist and sweet and soft and not born of melancholy. Harry wanted more. Ginny apparently read his mind as her soft tongue sought to invade his mouth.
Ironically, as much as he had wanted it, Harry hadn't been prepared for her to be that bold. He was startled and the kiss broke.
Both teens were wide eyed as they looked at each other.
"Oh," said Harry.
"My." Ginny put a hand to her moist lips.
"God." Harry gulped.
Their eyes were locked and neither dared to move.
"I'm over you," Ginny said in a quiet voice, looking down from his eyes to his lips.
Harry blinked and swallowed. He started to feel a mix of anger and disappointment build in his throat but then realized she was not speaking to him. She was talking to herself and she did not sound very convinced. He began to relax his embrace to back away from her but her hands flew to his upper arms and stopped him with some urgency.
"Are you?" Harry asked in a whisper as he studied her face which was now suddenly beautiful to him.
Ginny slowly looked back up at him with a confused expression. Perhaps she had not meant to speak her last out loud. Almost imperceptibly she shook her head 'no.'
Harry moved his hands to the sides of her face and he brushed her silky hair behind her ears with his fingers. He then pulled her towards him with his hands cupping either side of her head and once more pressed his lips to hers. This time when Ginny's tongue ventured out it met Harry's. The kiss grew deeper and deeper and somehow Ginny ended up on top of him as he was now on his back on Ron's bed. It wasn't a joke anymore.
Ron's footsteps were loud on the stairs again. Harry and Ginny broke apart in a panic and leapt from the bed. They straightened their rumpled cloths and looked at each other in an anxious daze. They were trapped in Ron's room. He would be coming through the door any minute and the original plan was very much history. Harry spread his hands in a silent question. Ginny answered with a shrug and a grin.
'Wonderful, I'm about to die and she's grinning. Still though, it was worth it. Bring it on, Ron.'
The door opened and Ron stopped short at the sight of Harry and Ginny standing as far away from each other as they could and still be in his room.
"What's going on? Why are you in my room?"
"Oh, bugger, Harry. We're caught. Might as well confess."
Harry raised his eyebrows. Yeah, might as well since he would be doing the dying. "You think so?"
"We were trying to find a place to put the other end of the Extendable Ears so we could listen to you and Luna snogging for blackmail material."
"Luna? Since when has she ever been in my room?"
"Ah, so you admit to snogging her then just not in your room. Right, good enough, let's go Harry."
They marched past an open mouthed Ron as if everything was clear to everyone. Neither Harry nor Ginny looked at him and the door closed behind them. Harry and Ginny turned to face each other just outside Ron's door both trying not to laugh.
Harry whispered to her, "That was awful. Surely you could have come up with a better lie than that?"
"You're still alive aren't you?" she whispered back.
"Ginny, I-" Harry's mind was racing with so many thoughts right now. "Ginny, I'm not sure what happened in there, before Ron arrived I mean, but do you think we could, well, go somewhere tomorrow where Ron won't find us?"
Ginny bit her lower lip and smiled. She nodded, "I'd like that very much. Tomorrow then."
Harry gave her a swift kiss on the lips and watched as she disappeared into her room.
He turned to go to his own room when he caught motion out of the corner of his eye. He turned to see Ron's face poking through the slightly opened door. Ron's expression was unreadable. Harry's face drained in color and then went green and he knew he looked like a cat caught with yellow feathers stuck between its teeth. Ron's face finally broke into a smirk and he gave Harry a wink and then closed the door to go to bed. Harry stood looking at Ron's door for several minutes. He took a deep breath and laughed to himself. Ginny would never believe it. Their prank had backfired to perfection.