|SIYE Time:20:06 on 17th October 2021|
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Category: Hogsmeade Challenge (2005-1)
Story is Complete
Summary: ** Winner of Best Overall in the Hogsmeade Challenge **
Ginny drags Harry to Hogsmeade on Valentine's Day to witness a historical event. Why was she so insistant that he be there, and why did he agree so readily?
Hitcount: Story Total: 5903
Disclaimer: Harry Potter Publishing Rights Â© J.K.R. Note the opinions in this story are my own and in no way represent the owners of this site. This story subject to copyright law under transformative use. No compensation is made for this work.
A/N: Due to time restraints, this story has not be beta'd, so please excuse the roughness. That said, I hope you brought your toothbrush...
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“Something’s missing,” Hermione pondered as she looked over the plans again. The special Hogsmeade visit that the staff was setting up for each house in the Room of Requirement was only a week away, and they had to have their plans in by morning. Being Head Girl, it was Hermione’s job to ensure all the bits of the plan were ready before they were turned it over to Professor McGonagall.
“It’s all there, Hermione,” Ron replied with a sigh. “We checked it over twice. Everything is in line.”
“No no, something’s not right…” Hermione argued. “Zonko’s, Three Broomsticks, Madam Paddifoot’s… Wait! Where’s the Shrieking Shack?”
Hermione looked up into Ron’s eyes which were peering at her in disbelief. She started to get angry when she remembered Harry and Sirius.
“Oh, right. We should be all set then,” she said quietly. “Let’s get some sleep. I know we could all use it.
The other Gryffindor prefects nodded and got up to leave. Ron stayed behind, as did Ginny, who was in her second year as prefect. Once everyone was gone, Hermione spoke.
“How could I have forgotten that?” she asked to nobody in particular.
“It’s okay, Hermione,” Ginny comforted. “I had forgotten, too. It’s been nearly four years.”
“Besides, we’re not even sure Harry’s going,” Ron added. “If he has a date, or has any intentions of going, he hasn’t shared it with me.”
Ginny successfully suppressed her smile. Neither Ron nor Hermione had any idea what she had planned for her Hogsmeade day, let alone that it involved Harry. She couldn’t respond because doing so would give it away. Instead, she bowed her head a little and nodded slightly.
“He needs to get out,” Hermione said. “He’s worrying himself sick. If he doesn’t stop brooding and let himself have some fun, he’s going to get an ulcer.”
Sensing an opportunity to form an alibi, Ginny said, “I agree.”
“Well, I wouldn’t put it to him directly,” Ron stated sadly. “The last time we tried to drag him out, he got all upset and wouldn’t speak to us for a week.”
“Ugh, he’s impossible,” Hermione said in frustration.
“Let me talk to him,” Ginny said as she stood up. “I think I might have a way to get him to go. Leave it to me.”
“What are you going to do, threaten to bat-bogey hex him if he doesn’t go?” Ron asked in jest.
Ginny smiled slyly as she turned to leave. “Maybe.”
“I wouldn’t talk to him tonight, though,” Hermione warned. “He’s probably already asleep.”
“I wasn’t going to,” Ginny mused, smiling broadly as she reached the hallway. “I just figured you two would like some time alone.” She lingered just long enough to watch Ron and Hermione’s cheeks turn pink before heading up the stairs to her room.
“Tell me again: Exactly why am I coming to this?” Harry asked Ginny for what had to be the tenth time.
Ginny sighed again as they approached the door to the Room of Requirement. “Because you’ve been sulking for too long and need to get out, and because something’s going to happen today that you don’t want to miss.”
“And this something is happening in Hogsmeade?” Harry asked, trying to keep up his air of irritability.
Ginny rolled her eyes. “Yes, Harry, it’s happening in Hogsmeade.”
Harry sighed. “Well, all right, but this had better be good.”
Ginny turned to look at Harry, a glint in her eyes. “Have I ever been wrong about something like this?”
Harry recalled the many times Ginny had predicted when certain events were going to happen in the lives of his classmates, notably when Semus had gotten together with Padma Patil, and seemed to know days in advance when Dean would be breaking up with his latest girlfriend.
“You have a point,” Harry allowed.
“Just so you know, I fully expect you to at least try to have some fun,” Ginny explained. “If you don’t, I have many methods of expressing my displeasure. Got that?”
Harry suppressed a grin as well as he could and nodded. “Got it.” Deciding to take the high road, Harry offered his arm to Ginny. She seemed a bit taken for a brief moment, then smiled and took his arm. As they walked through the door, Harry took a moment to reflect how he had gotten into this.
It was too easy, really. In fact, it was all Ginny’s doing. After the incident at the Ministry, Ginny had started spending more and more time with him. Harry quickly found himself distracted when she was around, though he really didn’t catch on to why at first. It was the first day of Quidditch practice this school year when it hit him. One of the new (and younger) players commented on how pretty he thought Ginny was. Harry thought he had been hit by a bludger, but instead he discovered it was just the blindingly obvious truth: Ginny was beautiful, and he had been suppressing his true feelings on the matter.
That night he couldn’t get her out of his mind. The more he thought about it, the more he realized that he had been avoiding Ginny only because he knew she had a crush on him before. He discovered he had been feeling somewhat uncomfortable with the fact that he was attracted to her because of this. But why should he be? She wasn’t the eleven-year-old girl that sent him a singing Valentine five years ago. They had both grown up considerably since then.
So now he found himself wishing he had a way to spend some quality time with her and possibly find a way to tell her how he felt, and hopefully try to determine if she thought there was a chance they could get to know each other better. Little did Ginny know that she was falling into his plans when she asked him to go to Hogsmeade on Valentine’s Day. He couldn’t let on that he wanted to go, though, so he had dressed up in his best robes and kept up his façade of being grumpy about it. Ginny had dressed in a stunning white dress which did much too good of a job accenting her shapely form. He hoped that whatever Ginny was planning would present an opportunity for them to talk.
Arm in arm, Ginny led Harry into the streets of the substitute Hogsmeade. As in times past, the Room of Requirement did not disappoint. If not for the obvious door and wall, one would have thought they were indeed in the real Hogsmeade. Harry scanned the area and marveled at how accurate the reproduction was, watching his fellow Gryffindors running around like they owned the place. After a few moments, one glaring exception presented itself.
“You left out the Shrieking Shack,” Harry said as they walked.
Harry felt Ginny tense. “We left it out on purpose,” she said somewhat solemnly.
Harry caught the tone of her voice. “You left it out because of me?”
Ginny nodded. “We didn’t want it to depress you if you decided to come today.”
Harry took a moment to let her words humble him. He was constantly amazed at how far his friends would go to look out for him, especially since the Death Eaters had become more active.
“Thank you,” he said simply.
Ginny seemed genuinely surprised. “You’re welcome.”
They said nothing else to each other until they reached Zonko’s. As they approached, Ginny said, “Come on, Harry. Today’s first surprise is in here.”
“First surprise?” Harry asked as they entered. Ginny didn’t answer, but she didn’t have to. The shop was full of gleeful Gryffindors, and Harry soon understood why. Standing behind the counter were none other than Fred and George Weasley.
“Oy! Harry! Over here, mate!” George yelled in greeting.
Harry made his way over to the counter through the crowd, not realizing he was still arm in arm with Ginny. The twins both raised an eyebrow as they arrived.
“Since when are you two an item?” Fred asked, feigning concern.
Harry’s eyes bulged as he turned to face Ginny nervously. She was blushing, but seemed very amused. Harry recovered quickly and put his grumpy face back on before anyone in the store caught on.
“We aren’t,” he explained, turning back to the twins. “Ginny seemed, erm, rather insistent that I come today.”
“It’s good she did, then,” George commented.
“No good hiding away from the world,” Fred agreed.
The obviousness of the situation hit Harry suddenly. “Wait a minute, what are you two doing here? Where’s Zonko?”
“Mr. Zonko couldn’t be here today,” George said without a hint of humor.
“So we agreed to tend shop for him,” Fred added.
“Besides, we wanted to see how Gryffindor House was faring,” George went on.
“And to check in with our brother and sister, of course,” Fred admitted.
“Right,” Ginny said with an accusing voice. “And does Zonko know you’re hocking your own wares in his store?”
Fred and George didn’t answer, but went about helping their other customers.
“You two just behave yourselves,” Ginny continued. “Remember, I’m a prefect, and unlike Ron, I’m not afraid to turn you two in.”
Ginny turned and walked out of the shop, navigating her way through the crowd and dragging Harry along with her. As soon as they were outside, Harry asked, “You would actually turn in your own brothers?”
Ginny smiled and laughed. “No, but I like to keep them guessing anyway.”
Harry allowed himself to smile a bit. He wondered of all of today’s surprises would be like this. He then wondered if the twins would really be so amused if he and Ginny really did get together. He was pulled from his thoughts by Ginny saying, “There they are.”
Harry glanced over to where Ginny was looking just in time to catch Hermione following Ron into Scrivenshaft’s.
“What’s Ron doing going into Scrivenshaft’s?” Harry asked, knowing that Ron wasn’t the particularly academic type.
Ginny smiled and raised an eyebrow. “He’s buying Hermione a Valentine’s present.”
Harry’s eyes bulged briefly, then he forced himself grumpy again. “Oh.”
Ginny turned to face Harry with a concerned look. “I thought you were happy they were dating.”
Harry forced a sigh. “I am. It’s just that now there are times when I feel like… a third leg, I guess.”
Ginny’s expression changed to one of understanding. “You’ll always be their friend. You had to know this would happen.” When Harry didn’t let his expression change, Ginny added. “Besides, you have me to keep you company.”
Harry had to work hard to keep from blushing. Now he was even more anxious to find a way to talk to her. He had to consider the very real possibility that she was just being friendly, but something in the way she looked at him made him hope for the best.
“I’m glad,” he responded as platonically as he could manage, glancing up as he did. The pitch had its desired effect; Ginny rewarded his compliment with a smile that made him want to melt. He decided to change the subject, and quickly. “Let’s head to Honeyduke’s; I need to refresh my supply of Chocolate Frogs.”
Harry offered his arm again, and Ginny took it without hesitation. Harry walked determinately towards Honeyduke’s, trying not to seem too rushed and at the same time trying to contain his growing nervousness. Just as he entered the store, Ginny saw some of her classmates among the Gryffindors in the store and left Harry to join them. Harry took the opportunity to quickly gather a dozen or so Chocolate Frogs into a bag, then, checking to make sure Ginny couldn’t see him, headed over to the Valentine section of the store. He debated briefly about what to buy, but decided in the end it was best to start slowly, so he bough a small heart-shaped box of chocolates which he buried in his bag underneath the Chocolate Frogs before any of his housemates noticed. Now more nervous than ever, he forced himself to take deep breaths and slow his heart rate.
“Are you sure you’re ready for this?” he asked himself. It was a perfectly valid question. He looked over at Ginny who was looking at a large dancing Chocolate Frog centered on a table in the middle of the store. She glanced at him, smiled, then turned back to the frog.
Harry sighed. “I’m not sure I’m ready, but I’ll never get a better opportunity,” he told himself.
Steeling his nerves, he walked over towards the table where Ginny was. To his relief, she spoke first.
“I’ll just be a few more minutes, Harry. I hope you don’t mind,” she said, sounding somewhat apologetic.
“Not at all,” Harry responded quickly. “I’ll be outside.”
“Okay,” Ginny nodded. She then smiled and waved cutely. Harry carried this image outside, relishing it as he returned to the grey weather that greeted him. Even the cool dampness of the typical February day couldn’t put a damper on his mood. He was so distracted by it that he didn’t notice the sudden scurrying and giggling coming from the small group of Gryffindor girls who had surrounded Ginny in the store.
As he stood in the street, Harry caught a glimpse of some bright red hair from the direction of Scrivenshaft’s. Sure enough, Ron had emerged with Hermione, hand-in-hand. Hermione was carrying a bag with the store’s logo on it. Ginny had been right. As he watched, they rounded the corner, and Harry’s mood sank considerably as he realized they were heading towards Madam Puddifoot’s.
Just the merest thought of that most tacky of tea shops was enough to send Harry into a depression. It had been two years since the incident with Cho, but the fiasco still weighed heavily on his mind. No other event in his past, save the deception that led him to the ministry, bothered him more than the very public scene Cho had made there. Just thinking about it drained his energy and sucked away his desire to do anything fun.
“Something wrong?” a sweet voice asked beside him. Harry was not surprised when he turned to discover Ginny standing next to him, a Honeyduke’s bag in her hand.
Harry smiled weakly, no longer needing to feign his grumpiness. “If I said no, would you believe me?”
Ginny smirked. “Yeah, right.”
Harry turned to look back down the street. “Just bad memories, I guess.”
“Did Ron and Hermione leave Scrivenshaft’s yet?” Ginny asked.
Harry involuntarily hung his head a little. “Yeah.”
To his surprise, Ginny took his arm and asked, “You’re still upset about what happened with Cho, aren’t you?”
Harry took a deep breath and nodded.
“Well, it’s about time you got over it. Come on,” Ginny said as she took off down the street, pulling Harry along with her.
Harry was so caught off guard that he nearly tripped trying to keep up with her. “Hey! Hold on, what are you doing?”
“Ron and Hermione are the whole reason I brought you here, and we are not going to miss it just because you had one bad experience two years ago,” Ginny explained as she walked, not looking the least bit concerned.
Harry found himself torn between his curiosity of Ginny’s revelation and the desire to avoid the tea shop. “Miss what?” he asked in a desperate attempt to find a way out.
“I’m not going to tell you,” Ginny said as they rounded the corner. “If you want to find out, and I can assure you you’ll want to witness this, you’ll stop wallowing in your own self pity and join me for tea.”
This, of course, was not how Harry had pictured the day proceeding. If it were anyone but Ginny, he would have put his foot down and left right then and there. As it stood, he had an agenda of his own, and resisting her efforts now would be extremely counterproductive to his desired goal.
Keeping with his grumpy front, Harry heaved a sigh. “Like I said, this had better be good.”
“It will be,” Ginny assured him in a comforting voice. “I wouldn’t put you through this if it wasn’t.”
Reluctantly, Harry let Ginny lead him into the very tea shop he had worked so hard to avoid. To his surprise, the shop was nearly full, though the size of the seating area made it easy to fill quickly. This year’s decorations were somewhat different than what he remembered, though it was still tacky and over-done. The cherubs that flew around now looked more real; gone was the gold skin, replaced by baby-pink flesh which was covered in white cloth in a dramatically artistic fashion. As they flew around, they shot little arrows at various patrons, which would explode painlessly and soundlessly upon impact, showering the immediate area with confetti and releasing tiny heart-shaped balloons into the air. The rest of the shop was just as gaudy; white frilly tablecloths, red and white heart-shaped candles, streamers and balloons everywhere, even a string quartet playing soft, romantic music. Had it not been so over-the-top, it might have been tolerable.
Harry spotted Ron immediately; it was hard for someone as tall as Ron to hide, especially when one’s hair is Weasley Red. He and Hermione were sitting near one corner of the shop. As he watched, he could tell they weren’t paying much attention to anything but each other. He also realized that, instead of sitting across from each other, they were sitting next to each other. The pieces of the puzzle finally shifted into place in his mind, but before he could ask Ginny about it, she pointed to a table across the room and said, “There, that table would be perfect.”
Distracted by Ron and Hermione, Harry didn’t resist and simply followed her to the table, sitting down in the nearest convenient spot that let him keep his eyes on them. If Ron was bothered by the decorations as Harry was, he wasn’t showing it. He and Hermione seemed to be having quite a friendly chat; they both smiled an awful lot as they did. After a minute or two, Harry looked around to see who else was here. All the couples seemed younger than he, and they all appeared to be preoccupied with each other. Satisfied with the situation, he turned his attention back to Ron and Hermione.
“Something’s going to happen between them today, isn’t it?” Harry asked as soon as Ginny was comfortable.
“Yes, I already told you that,” Ginny said matter-of-factly.
Harry thought for a moment. “He’s not going to propose, is he?”
Ginny laughed quietly. “No, he’s not going to propose. They are quite THAT far along.”
“So what do you think is going to happen?” Harry asked, not looking away from them.
“All indications are that they are going to kiss for the first time today.”
Harry blinked. “What?” he said as quietly as he could manage, turning to Ginny, confused. “I thought they kissed all the time!”
Ginny shook her head. “Hermione wanted to be sure things would work out between them, so she wouldn’t let him kiss her on the lips. Cheek only.”
The implications weren’t lost on Harry. “But that would probably mean that Hermione is getting pretty serious about the relationship.”
“Now do you see why I wanted you to be here?” Ginny asked, somewhat triumphantly.
Harry nodded as he turned to watch Ron and Hermione again. Ginny was right; knowing what was about to happen, he was glad he was here to witness it. It was like the first step in a new phase of their relationship, and being here made him feel like he was observing a special moment in their history.
“Thanks,” Harry said suddenly.
Harry felt something on his hand. He glanced down to see that Ginny had put her hand on his. Harry’s heart began beating faster; he cautiously looked up at Ginny, who had warmly reassuring look in her face.
“You’re welcome,” she said simply.
Not quite sure how to continue, Harry looked back to Ron and Hermione instead. As if on cue, their banter leveled off as they gazed into each other’s eyes. Harry could see it coming, and as their lips approached, Ginny squeezed his hand somewhat and leaned into him a bit. Harry was caught between the spectacle before him and the sensation of Ginny being so close and in contact with him. He decided to concentrate on Ron and Hermione; a moment later, their lips touched in a soft, sweet kiss. It didn’t last long, but it was enough. He could tell by the looks on their face that it had been exactly what they had hoped it would be. Ron wasted no time putting his arm around her shoulder, and Hermione responded by leaning into him. It was done.
Harry let out the breath he was holding. He never realized something so simple could have such an effect on him. As he calmed his nerves, he realized that Ginny was sill holding his hand.
“That was so beautiful,” Ginny said softly.
“Yeah, it was,” Harry agreed.
Harry spent the next several moments wondering if, or when, Ginny would let go of his hand. He didn’t dare look at her; he didn’t want to send the wrong signal. He then pondered on exactly what signal he wanted to give her. If he said nothing, she would think he liked her holding his hand. However, deep down, he really did like her holding his hand, but did he want to admit this to her now? Then again, why was she holding his hand in the first place and why was she continuing to do so? Was this some indication that she liked-liked him? What was he going to do?
Suddenly he knew what he was going to do. It was the perfect way to move along on the topic.
“Oh, I almost forgot, I have something for you,” he said, pulling his hand gently away from hers and going for his bag.
“As a matter of fact, I have something for you, too,” Ginny revealed.
Harry took the small heart-shaped box of chocolates out of his bag out of Ginny’s view. He looked at it for a quick moment, took a deep breath, and slowly turned around to present it to her.
He stopped cold when he realized she was holding out a similar box to him, and realized she had come to the same conclusion he had at exactly the same time.
For a moment they just sat there, holding each other’s boxes and blushing profusely. There was no way to deny anything now. The only thing left to wonder was who was going to speak first.
“Erm, surprise?” Harry said tentatively.
“Surprise is an understatement,” Ginny replied nervously.
“I suppose this would be a good time to talk,” Harry offered.
“I was hoping you were going to say something like that,” Ginny admitted.
Harry held the box he was holding a little closer to Ginny. Ginny took it and handed her box to Harry. He took it and set it on the table. Ginny did likewise, then looked patiently at Harry. Knowing she had gone out of her way to buy it for him, and assuming it meant what it did, actually made this talk a little easier.
“I have to confess that I was actually glad when you asked me to come today,” Harry started.
“Oh?” Ginny asked somewhat mischievously.
Harry grinned and nodded. “I’ve been avoiding my feelings about you for a while now, though I wasn’t entirely certain why. Lately I’ve come to the conclusion that it would be better if I was honest with myself. I’ve been looking for the right opportunity to talk to you about it. It seems this would be that opportunity.”
Ginny nodded quickly. “I agree. So what would you like to talk to me about? What feelings have you been avoiding?”
True to her nature, Ginny wasn’t about to make things easy on Harry. He would have to be very direct with her, or she would force it out of him, one way or another. He realized that, oddly, this was one of the things that attracted him to her.
“I don’t know exactly how best to put this, so I’m just going to say it: I have been thinking about you a lot for some time now. You are the most beautiful girl at Hogwarts, and ever since you started talking to me, you have constantly amazed me. You are just as capable of a witch as Hermione, but you have the same sense of fun and adventure that the twins do. You have such a strong mind and personality, yet at the same time you can be very thoughtful and caring. I want to get to know you better, and maybe even… you know, start dating.”
Ginny looked even more nervous now, which was very unlike her. She put her hand back on Harry’s and asked, “You really mean that?”
Harry shifted his hand and worked to entwine his fingers into hers. Ginny readily moved to make this easier, watching Harry as she did. Harry looked her in the eyes as their hands finally clasped together.
“Yes, I do.”
Ginny averted her eyes away from Harry for a moment. “I have a confession to make, too,” she revealed.
“You do?” Harry asked. “What would that be?”
“My reasons for bringing you here weren’t entirely innocent,” she explained. “I was using Ron and Hermione’s kiss as an alibi. I was actually hoping that we would get a chance to talk.”
Harry’s heart was beating so fast he thought it was going to explode. “About what?”
Ginny turned back to face Harry. “About us. You know I had a crush on you when I was younger, but I got over that. The fact is, you really are a great guy. I had to be sure my feelings were real and not just something I was holding on to from before. I had worked up the courage to talk to you about it when I asked you to come with me today, hoping the spirit of the day would carry me through.”
So it was just as he had hoped. Faced with the opportunity he never dreamed he’s actually have, he found himself at a lost for what to do. He knew what he wanted to do, but he wasn’t about to assume Ginny would let him. Instead, he simply asked, “So, does this mean you want me to be your boyfriend?”
Ginny smiled and nodded. “Yes, if you want to be.”
Harry nodded. “I’d like that a lot.”
Before he could catch himself, Harry glanced down at Ginny’s lips. He quickly looked back up into her eyes, but she had noticed his glance. She smiled mischievously and blushed at the same time. Then, to Harry’s amazement, she started to lean in towards him.
Something’s not right…
“Not that I’m complaining,” Harry said, kicking himself as he did, “but I thought you didn’t kiss on the first date.”
Ginny smirked cutely. “Hermione’s rule, not mine.”
Harry blinked. “Oh.”
There was another pause as they looked at each other. Something about the situation just didn’t sit well with Harry. It took another moment before he realized what it was.
“Erm, I would just like to say that I think kissing you right now would be the most enjoyable thing I’ve done in my life, but I’d really rather do it somewhere else,” Harry explained.
Ginny pouted cutely. “Why is that?”
Harry took a clearing breath. “This day and this place will always be special for Ron and Hermione. They had their first kiss here. I don’t mind sharing the day with them, but I’d like us to have our own spot for our first kiss.”
Ginny have Harry an appreciative look. “That’s a wonderful idea. I had no clue you were such a romantic.”
Harry smirked. “Neither did I.”
“Did you have somewhere particular in mind?”
Harry didn’t have to think long. “Yes, but I want it to be a surprise.”
Ginny beamed a smile. “Well, should we head that way?”
Harry shook his head. “Not yet. We’ll have to wait until almost time to leave.”
Ginny raised an eyebrow curiously. “Why?”
Harry grinned slyly. “You’ll see.”
“Well, in that case, shall we go over and offer Ron and Hermione our congratulations?” Ginny asked.
“Sure,” Harry replied.
Harry walked Ginny over to where Ron and Hermione were sitting. They spent the rest of the day chatting with them, being careful to keep their boxes of chocolate and their later intentions a secret. About fifteen minutes before the visit was scheduled to end, Harry and Ginny excused themselves, explaining that they wanted to beat the rush out. Once out of the tea shop, Harry led Ginny to Honeyduke’s, passing the twins on the way. To Harry’s relief, the owners were distracted by the last of the students in line to make their purchases. Harry pulled Ginny into the back and discovered, to his relief, that the Room of Requirement had saw fit to include the shop’s basement in the plans. He led Ginny down the staircase, then back under it. It was the perfect, secluded, secret spot.
“How did you know this was here?” Ginny asked, suspicious.
“Well, you see, during my third year, I didn’t have a signed permission slip to visit Hogsmeade, so Fred and George showed me a passage from the castle that led here,” Harry explained nervously.
“That explains a few things,” Ginny said anxiously.
A slightly uncomfortable silence fell between them. They looked at each other, both knowing what they wanted to do, but neither quite willing to take the first step. Harry decided to move first, closing a bit of the distance between them and leaning down a bit towards Ginny.
“Just a moment,” Ginny said suddenly. The reached out and took Harry’s hands in hers, pulling them around her waist and positioning them just so. She then put her arms around his neck and pulled him in towards her.
“There. Now you can kiss me, Harry.”
Harry needed no further instruction. He leaned in slowly and closed his eyes just as Ginny did. He let the kiss happen, letting the sensation of her lips on his course through him, making him feel like the luckiest wizard on the planet. After several moments, Ginny pulled back and looked at Harry sweetly before leaning her head onto his chest.
The sound of someone clearing their throat above them sent them into shock. They both broke away quickly and looked up to see where it came from.
“You two can come out of hiding now. We know you’re down there.”
It was the unmistakable voice of Hermione Granger. Harry looked at Ginny; they were both blushing, obviously very busted. Knowing there was no way out of it, and not really needing to hide anything from Hermione, Harry held out his hand to Ginny. She smiled and took it, and they both walked out from underneath the staircase together.
Hermione and Ron stood at the top of the staircase, both looking highly amused. Harry could really do nothing but look at them and blush.
“You have something on your lips,” Ron said, looking right at Harry.
Somewhat confused, Harry looked at Ginny.
“Lipstick,” she explained.
“Oh,” Harry responded, suddenly very self-conscious.
“So, do you two want to explain yourselves?” Hermione asked as she crossed her arms.
Ginny ignored her. “How did you know we were down here, anyway?” she asked.
Ron smiled. “Fred and George saw you come in. Hermione got suspicious when you seemed anxious to leave early, and they told us where you went.”
“We had no idea you two had gotten together,” Hermione added. “You don’t think you should have waited a bit for your first kiss?” she asked, looking at Ginny.
Ginny smirked and turned to Harry. “I reckoned I’d waited long enough.”
Harry shrugged. “Perfectly okay with me.
Hermione rolled her eyes. “Well, Miss Prefect, we’re going to be late, so we’d best move along.”
Harry and Ginny sighed together. He followed her up the staircase, and together the four of them headed towards the door. Undeterred by Ron and Hermione’s presence, Harry held hands with Ginny all the way back to Gryffindor Tower. The rest of Gryffindor House had already left, so they didn’t start getting odd looks until they were through the portrait hole. At first, nobody gave them a second glance. When people noticed them holding hands, the shocked looks and smiles began. Harry was glad everyone was mostly occupied with their own dates; it gave him time to prepare for the questions that were sure to come later.
None of that mattered just then. Ginny was leading him to the big chairs near the fire. As they arrived she nodded towards the stairs to the dorm rooms. Harry turned to see Ron and Hermione enjoying a long good night kiss. As he watched, he put his arm around Ginny’s shoulders; Ginny put her arms around his chest and squeezed gently.
“You realize Ron is going to give you a nice talking-to when you get to your room,” Ginny said, snickering.
Harry grinned and nodded. “I’ve had some time to think about that very conversation. It’ll be okay. Besides, he’s hinted several times over the last couple of years that he wouldn’t mind if we got together.”
“Oh really?” Ginny said, sounding surprised. “That’s very interesting.”
“How about you and Miss Wait-For-The-First-Kiss? Think she’ll go easy on you?” Harry asked.
Ginny smiled slyly. “Oh I think so. Besides, she’ll be more preoccupied with her own relationship to be overly concerned about mine.”
As they spoke, Ron and Hermione finally broke off and headed to their respective rooms. Most of their housemates had already left as well. By the time Ron and Hermione were out of sight, Harry and Ginny were alone in the common room.
Ginny turned to Harry and took his hands in hers. “I just want you to know that you made a dream of mine come true today. I’m not sure where this will go, or even how long it will last, but I know I’ve never wanted to be with someone like I want to be with you.”
Once again, Harry’s heart started beating like mad. “You have been there for me when I needed you, and there isn’t another witch in the world like you. Somehow, being with you feels right, like a piece of me that was missing has finally been found.”
Ginny was giving Harry an odd look, but he felt he should be happy she was looking at him that way. “I’m very happy we’re together,” she said, “but I also think there is something to Hermione’s method. I really want this to work, so I think we should take it one step at a time.”
Harry’s heart sank. “Does this mean I can’t kiss you again?”
Ginny have Harry the sweetest, most heart-melting smile he had ever seen just before she pulled him to her, wrapped her arms around his neck and planted a long kiss right on his lips. Harry quickly put his arms around her waist and enjoyed every moment. Eventually Ginny pulled back and looked Harry in the eye.
“Does that answer your question?” she asked mischievously.
Harry nodded and smiled. “I think so.”
“Oh good,” Ginny said, pulling back and taking Harry’s hand. “Walk me to my room?”
Harry and Ginny walked side by side up to the sixth-year girl’s dorm. When they arrived, Ginny turned and gave Harry a sweet kiss on the cheek. She then opened the door and stepped in, letting go of Harry’s hand slowly as she did. She turned and waved good-night cutely to Harry as she shut the door.
Harry stood for what had to be several minutes just staring at the door. He let the facts of what had just happened sink into his mind. He couldn’t stop smiling. Finally he took a deep breath, let it out and turned towards his own room.
A tall boy with bright red hair blocked his path.
“Harry,” Ron said simply, looking down at his best friend and sister’s new boyfriend.
Harry gulped. “Yes Ron?”
Ron stared at him with undue seriousness. Harry blinked.
“Curfew was three minutes ago,” Ron said without a hint of jest.
Harry blinked again. “Oh. Right.”
Ron stepped aside, clearing enough space in the hallway for Harry to pass. Harry started uncomfortably down the hall, passing Ron without incident. He was about to turn the corner when Ron spoke again.
“You might want to rub that lipstick off before you get into bed.”
Harry froze. Taking a chance, he turned around to look at Ron. Ron managed to hold on for another second before breaking out into joyous laughter.
“Very funny, Ron,” Harry s said, relieved.
Ron approached Harry deliberately, stopping a step away. “You know I’ve always wanted you and Ginny to get together, but that doesn’t mean I won’t have my eye on you,” he explained.
Harry nodded. “I know. You don’t have anything to worry about.”
Ron watched Harry for a moment, then leaned over and whispered, “Hermione and I share rounds on Friday night. We’ll leave the door to the astronomy tower unlocked for you.”
With that, Ron turned on his heals and walked out of the portrait hole to start his rounds, leaving Harry more than a little stunned.
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