The mid-day sun melted away the fog as Harry reached the shore of the lake. Patches of mist lingered here and there, but Harry found Ginny lying on a blanket near the river with no difficulty. Her dress looked like it was sewn out of patches of mist fabric. He could see that she was looking a bit melancholy. Harry realized he was holding a red bud rose and a box of Berthy Bott's Famous Valentine Chocolates. Perfect.
"Hello again, Ginny."
Ginny turned her head, then sat up as she realized it was Harry. "This is getting to be quite the habit, Harry." Her voice was again soft, and sweet, yet not as slow as he remembered and not nearly as remote.
"A good habit I hope." Harry said, presenting her with the rose and box. "These are for you."
Ginny cheered up considerably. "Wow, Harry, thanks. I've never gotten dream gifts before."
Harry shrugged. "Well, if you're a reflection of the real Ginny, then I wanted to give you something to cheer you up. I heard about you and Dean. I'm really sorry."
Ginny sniffed her flower sweetly. "Thank you, Harry. Dean is a nice guy, but I already have my heart set on you."
"Somehow, I knew you were going to say something like that," Harry said playfully.
"I'm sorry I ran out on you last night, Harry. But when you mentioned Dean, I knew I had to put my thoughts in order right away."
Harry suddenly felt guilty. "So you broke up with him. I feel bad for him. But I'm also glad in a way, because that means we can be together here, though I feel a bit selfish for saying it."
Ginny stood up and walked quickly to him. "Oh no you don't, Harry. I will NOT have you feeling bad for a decision I made. The world was not designed to fit on your shoulders, Harry Potter."
Harry didn't say anything, but Ginny opened her box and took out a chocolate. "These look fabulous." She bit into the chocolate slowly, taking in the taste. "Mmmmm, I was right. Open wide Harry."
Harry obeyed and she put the other half of her chocolate in his mouth. Harry had to admit, dream chocolates tasted much better than the real thing. "That really is good chocolate," he said.
"You know what the best thing about sharing chocolate with someone is, Harry?" Harry shook his head. Ginny answered, "The way it makes kisses taste."
She flung her arms around his neck and started to kiss him. Harry found himself gently putting his hands around her waist. Ginny finished off the kiss by licking the last bit of chocolate off of Harry's lips.
"See what I mean?" Ginny said playfully.
"I do indeed," Harry replied. "You are a great kisser."
Ginny blushed and giggled. "Only here. After all I have no real life experience."
"You never kissed Dean or Michael?"
Ginny shook her head. "Like I said, Harry, my heart is set on you. With Michael and Dean, whenever we would start getting to something like that, I just could never do it."
Harry thought about this for a moment. "So all this time you've been waiting around for me?"
Ginny nodded. "And now it seems I have you at last."
"You do indeed," Harry confirmed, softly. They re-entered their kiss slower, taking their time to enjoy it.
"Wake up Harry! You're going to be late!"
Harry woke with a start and fumbled for his glasses. Ron was standing at the foot of his bead, shaking his feet.
"Oh, Ron, did you have to wake me up right now? I was having such a marvelous dream."
Ron folded his arms. "Were you dreaming about Ginny again?"
"No!" Harry replied quickly. Ron just stared at him. "Well, alright, yes, I was, ok? Just keep it to yourself, please. Last thing I want right now is an interrogation from Hermione."
"Alright, mate, but shake a leg or McGonagall will have our heads."
The morning was the usual rush of getting to class, turning in homework, copying notes down and taking down assignments. In no time lunch rolled around. Ron and Harry arrived a few minutes before Hermione, who sat down with an "I know something you don't know" look on her face.
"Well, are you going to tell us what you know, or are you just going to wear that smug expression for the rest of the day?" Ron said, impatiently.
"Well, if you must know, I started hearing some stranger murmurings about Ginny this morning, so I did some investigating."
Harry was suddenly nervous but he wasn't sure why. Nothing ever escaped detection once Sherlock Granger was on the case. But that was silly; she wasn't investigating Harry, it was Ginny who was her subject.
"Is she alright?" Harry asked.
"Oh, she's better than alright. It seems she's been humming to herself all morning, and someone even caught her skipping between classes."
"Skipping?" Ron asked half amused. Hermione nodded. "Ginny doesn't skip… that's so not like her," Ron added.
"She's obviously happy about something, Ron," Harry stated. "Did anyone know why she's so chipper, Hermione?"
"No, and it's so frustrating. Even her roommates can't get it out of her. They just said she didn't want to get out of bed this morning, but that she was smiling as soon as she woke up."
Ron and Harry sat staring at each other for a moment. Harry motioned for Ron not to say anything, and Ron nodded in agreement.
"Sounds like she was dreaming about something," Ron said.
Hermione nodded. "That's what her roommates think. I'm inclined to agree with them."
Harry was getting more nervous by the minute. "But what could she be dreaming about that would make her so happy during the day? I mean, it was just a dream, right?"
"Beats me, Harry, but I for one am glad to see her cheered up a little." Hermione said.
"Yeah, no doubt about that," Ron agreed.
"Speaking of cheered up, I wanted to thank the two of you again for helping me last night. You saved my sanity," Harry said.
"You're very welcome, Harry," Hermione said. Ron nodded in agreement.
That whole afternoon something was bugging Harry. A thought floated around in the back of his mind, trying to surface, but something held it back. Harry found himself having to catch up with conversations all afternoon. Then, at the end of his last class, as he was gathering his things, it surfaced: What if Ginny and Harry were having the same dream?
No, that was silly, Harry though. Just more wishful thinking. But the possibility was intriguing. She had definitely blushed at him after the first dream. Then after he mentioned Dean Thomas in the second dream, she had run off and that day she'd broken up with him out of the blue. Then today, after their bit of dream snogging, she had been humming and skipping around the school. It was almost enough to be more than a coincidence.
As he started heading towards the Great Hall for dinner Harry found himself daydreaming about the dream chocolate his Ginny image had given him. He wished he could have some right now. At that moment, he had it. He knew what he could do to put this whole thing to rest. He rushed up to the Gryiffindor common room and up to his dorm to retrieve a chocolate frog. As he ran back down to the Great Hall he thought of a way to sneak it into a conversation and, by the time he got to the table, he had a plan. He sat next to Hermione on the side closest to Ginny and began to eat.
After a few bites he got up and went over to Ginny. She was surrounded by the other fifth year girls again. This was fine; their presence might be useful.
"Um, hi Ginny. I, uh, heard about you and Dean. I'm really sorry," Harry said, handing Ginny the frog.
Ginny looked at Harry, smiling. "Thanks, Harry, that's really sweet of you," Ginny said, taking the frog. Two of the other girls started giggling. Ginny shot them a stern look.
As Harry turned to walk back, one of the girls said to him out loud, "Hey Harry, do you know what the best thing about sharing chocolate with someone is?"
Harry froze in place. Now all the other girls were giggling, and Ginny was slapping them on the arm, obviously not happy. Harry realized then that his dreams just might have been more than dreams. There could be something to them after all. He had to know. The setup this one girl had presented was just too perfect to pass up. He steeled himself, eased his expression deliberately, and turned his head toward the girl who had asked the question.
"Well, I've heard that it's the way they make kisses taste." Harry said, as casually as he could. He waited to see what the reaction was and he wasn't disappointed. All the girls were blushing now, but none as wildly as Ginny. She had forgotten her anger and was just staring at Harry, stunned. Harry didn't look her in the eye just yet. The girls giggled again once the initial shock wore off and the one girl spoke again.
"Where did you hear that, Harry?" she said, playfully.
That was Harry's cue. He shifted his gaze to Ginny and looked her square in the eye.
"Oh, in a dream." He winked at her, and lingered just long enough to see her shocked reaction before turning on his heals and returning to his place at the table. He could here the uncontrollable giggling behind him as he left. He had to struggle to keep from glancing back at Ginny.
"What was that about, Harry?" Hermione asked.
"Oh, nothing. Just gave my condolences to Ginny, finally, and her friends got all giggly."
"Ugh, giggling girls, can't stand it," Ron said.
"No doubt, mate," Harry said, digging in to his dinner. He had to think now. He could tell by her reaction that Ginny knew what he was talking about. He only knew about the chocolate thing from his dream, he was sure of it. Judging from the girls, he gathered that it was an inside joke between them. So, the only way he could know of it is if his dreams weren't just dreams. But what was happening? Was he reading Ginny's thoughts? Were his dreams still just wishful thinking, but picking up on Ginny's impulses? What if…
What if he and Ginny were sharing the dream? Together!
Harry was suddenly very embarrassed. If that were so, he had just poured out his soul to Ginny unknowingly. Come to think of it, she had done the same. Did she realize what was happening too? Did he just scare her off by letting her know? Oh he hoped not. But how could he be sure? He couldn't trust anything she said in his dream. Eventually, he would have to talk to her in person. What was he going to do?
The idea struck him like a gong. He would come up with a simple phrase, something that wouldn't be out of place in normal conversation, but would be distinctive enough to get the point across. He would discuss the phrase with his dream Ginny, and then use it in a conversation with the real Ginny the next day. Then he'd know for sure.
"Something wrong, Harry?" Ron asked suddenly.
Harry snapped back into reality and discovered he hadn't eaten his food. "Oh, nothing. My mind was off on a tangent. It was nothing." He quickly finished up his plate.
That evening was Quidditch practice again. Harry really enjoyed practice. Now that he had a plan he could concentrate on the game. Harry imagined what it would be like to fly around with Ginny on his broom with him. If they ever did get together he'd have to suggest it. Practice lasted longer than usual that night but that didn't bother Harry. It just meant he could get to bed sooner.
Sure enough, by the time Harry and Ron got back to the Common Room, it was empty. The other 6th year guys were all asleep by the time they settled in to bed. Harry nestled in and closed his eyes, going over his plan in his mind.