"Harry, you're going too fast!" Ginny's voice jerked him out of his reverie just in time—he managed to duck out of the way of the flag pole as he whizzed by. He was going fast—faster than he had realized. What's more, he hadn't exactly been looking for the Snitch as much as gazing at a certain red-haired Chaser. Recently it had become more and more difficult for Harry to concentrate on Quidditch during practice.
He was, of course, glad enough to be practicing Quidditch in the first place. He remembered painfully the previous year when Ron and Ginny had zipped through the sky without him. This year, he thought with satisfaction, he was exactly where he wanted to be. And, in about an hour, Katie would call practice done and they would spend a nice, cozy evening by the fire in Gryffindor tower. Harry loved the fire because it did the most enchanting things to Ginny's hair—
"Harry!" several voices yelled at once, as a Bludger zoomed towards him. He swerved just in time, but unfortunately he banged into the flag pole he had barely managed to avoid earlier.
A few moments later he landed on the pitch, and the entire team crowded around him as he examined the long gash in his arm.
"You'd better get that looked at," Katie advised.
"No, it's fine. It's not a big deal at all," insisted Harry, trying to pry his arm from her grasp. He hated going to the hospital wing—not only because it was so depressing, but because Madame Pomfrey seemed to think the smallest injury warranted an overnight stay. And Harry did not want to spend Valentine's evening in the hospital wing.
"If you don't clean that out, Harry, it's going to get infected," Ginny warned.
"It's fine," he insisted again, and fortunately no one decided to push the matter further. However, by the time practice was over, Harry had begun to notice a painful stinging in his arm.
"Come into the girls' changing rooms when you're done changing," Ginny told him as they dismounted their brooms. "I've got something you can put on that." The thought of being in the girls' changing rooms with Ginny sent a sudden jolt through Harry. He couldn't tell if it was dread or excitement, but he managed to swallow the lump in his throat and reply with a nod.
Changing was a laborious process for Harry because of his injury and, as often was the case in recent months, he found his mind wandering towards Ginny.
If he were perfectly honest with himself, he was crazy about her. The very thought of her filled his insides with warmth, and he liked nothing better than spending time with her. What was more, he was almost certain she felt the same way. As they had grown closer, their relationship had become more affectionate than that of best friends, and it seemed as though they were both just waiting for the other to make the first move.
And Harry was tired of waiting. Tonight was the night, he had decided. Valentine's Day. Perfect.
He began to contrive how he could possibly get Ginny alone for a while that evening, but as he walked into the girl's changing rooms, he realized he wouldn't have to try very hard at all. Then he wondered exactly how long he had been daydreaming about Ginny while changing—the entire place was deserted except for him and her.
"I'm sorry I kept you waiting," he apologized earnestly.
"That's all right," Ginny replied nonchalantly. She was holding a small tin and sitting on one of the benches. She motioned for him to sit down next to her.
"This salve is something my mother came up with," Ginny explained. "We were always getting cuts and bruises growing up, especially Fred and George. It cleans out the infection and helps heal."
He hissed in pain as she rolled up his sleeve to examine the cut. It was even worse now—greenish yellow pus was running out of it.
"I told you this would happen if you didn't clean it out," said Ginny scolded.
"I know," answered Harry, beginning to feel a bit stupid about the whole thing. But at least he was here with her, and he could concentrate on the tingling on his skin where her fingers touched him, instead of the stinging of the cut, and count the freckles on her nose as she applied the salve.
"Ginny! That's so sticky!"
"Just for about a minute. It helps bond the cut together," she explained. The pain lessened as she began to rub her finders back and forth over his wound, and in fact it began to feel rather nice. A few minutes later he looked down at his arm, which was almost good as new.
"It's no problem," Ginny answered, smiling at him. She stood up the put the tin back into her locker and began to gather up her things, while Harry gazed at her appreciatively and a bit dazedly. She seemed to notice his attention, and asked, "Harry, are you all right?"
"Smashing," he said, patting the bench beside him. Ginny sat down again, and for a while they just looked at each other. He took her hand and began to rub his thumb over her fingers.
There really wasn't a need for words. He moved his other hand up to cup her face, then leaned forward to kiss her.
"I can't believe I waited so long to do that," said Harry, when he gently pulled away from her.
Ginny smiled, her face still only inches from his, and said, "We have lots to make up for, then." She pressed her lips back to Harry's again, and again, and again.
"Do you think they're waiting for us in the common room?" asked Harry, when they finally broke apart.
"Let them wait," said Ginny, a mischievous smile lighting up her face. "Happy Valentine's Day, Harry."