The Sugar Quill
Author: TheRealMaraJade  Story: Dating  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Dating

Author's Note: This is the third installment in my ‘-ing Series’. The first one is Leaning, which I submitted to the First Annual SQ Tournament, and the second is Thinking. When I decided to write this, I didn’t intend to make it a piece of sugary and fluff, but it ended that way. So, be prepared! :)

Thanks Lallybroch for the beta!

TheRealMaraJade
 

Dating
 

During the weeks following Hermione’s birthday she and Ron regularly disappeared for a few minutes between classes or for hours after classes and during weekends. They weren’t always found in the library when they disappeared; and even when they were there, they weren’t always studying.

The happiness stamped in their faces was what stood out the most. They looked absolutely radiant.

Ginny was thrilled that her brother and Hermione had finally admitted their feelings for each other, which had been pretty obvious to her and all Gryffindor Tower for quite some time. They were made for each other. They were perfect together.

However, as Ginny watched her brother and his girlfriend studying together, she felt sad because she knew that she might never get a relationship like that with Harry.

Ginny sighed and tried to remember how everything had begun.

Ever since the Triwizard Tournament, Harry had closed himself even more than he already was. Or at least he had tried to; Ron and Hermione had prevented him from isolating himself completely. And once the twins had graduated, leaving Ron as the only brother Ginny had with her at Hogwarts, Ginny had become part of their small circle of friends, and helped keep Harry away from his island.

At first Harry had continued treating her as Ron’s younger sister, like he had done since the first time they met, but gradually, they had become friends.

Ron and Hermione’s feelings for each other and Ron’s cluelessness about them provided highly entertaining moments for everyone around them; Harry and Ginny had shared many amused glances because of them. It was something that only the two of them in the group shared. Ginny still remembered the first funny remark she had made about her brother and Hermione, which had caused Harry to smirk on a particularly quiet day of his.

But just as they were getting closer, Harry started to drift away from Ginny again. At first she thought it was because of all the time he had to spend with Quidditch practices and homework, but eventually she came to the conclusion that there was more to it than that. Harry was behaving like he was avoiding her. Around that time, she started noticing that Harry blushed and stuttered whenever he went near her, just like he used to when he was close to Cho Chang. Or just like Ginny used to when she was younger and actually sent Harry a dreadful Valentine poem and one year later a Get Well card.

At first, Ginny had disregarded that as a something out of her imagination, or perhaps she was just hallucinating. After all, she still cared deeply for Harry, even though he had never ever encouraged her to, and therefore she wasn’t sure about all of it. But time and time again Harry’s actions repeated them; Ginny had caught Harry looking at her with dazzled eyes often enough.

So, Ginny had questioned Harry’s strange behavior, and had done so in more than one occasion. At first, she had been evasive, and Harry always managed to find a way around her questions. Eventually Ginny had begun to be quite incisive about her questions, but he still managed to escape her.

Until that Friday night when Hermione was at the library studying and Ron was serving Detention with Snape.

Ginny could no longer keep wondering about Harry and his feelings towards her, or she would become insane. It was one thing to dream about Harry without any kind of hope, knowing that her dream was bound to remain a dream, but with his confusing actions giving her a small thread of hope… She had to know if her dream could become true.

"Harry, have I developed horns or something?"

Harry looked up from his Transfiguration homework startled. "What?"

"You heard me. Have I developed horns? Because that’s the only explanation I could come up with to why you have been acting so strange towards me for a while now. I mean, what other reason would you have to keep staring at me and blushing every time I catch you gapping at me but a gruesome physical defect?"

Harry blushed deeply. He looked like he wanted to run from the common room, like he had in so many occasions when questioned by Ginny, but this time she had ambushed him. Ginny had situated herself between him and the two possible exits he had: the Fat Lady’s portrait and the staircase that led to the boys’ dormitories.

He looked at her for a moment, uncertain, and finally answered in a whisper.

"I…I…I can’t tell you."

"Why? Why can’t you tell me? I know I’m not Ron or Hermione, but I *think* I have the right to know, since it concerns me. And don’t you dare lie to me," she said, in an unusual display of anger for her.

"Ginny, please…don’t ask me this…I can’t…"

"Harry, I want to know. It’s been driving me crazy for weeks now, and if I don’t find out what it is, I think I will actually become insane and have to be sent to St. Mungo’s."

Ginny was hoping to lighten the mood, but Harry’s face only darkened more.

Ginny sat down across from him and whispered. "Harry, I’m sorry. I think joking about whatever this is about wasn’t the smartest thing to do. But I need to know why you’re acting so strangely near me. Or will I have to accidentally spill some Veritaserum in your pumpkin juice one of these days?"

Harry looked at her, his eyes a mixture of feelings Ginny couldn’t begin to decipher. "I...I have never felt this way about anyone before, not even Cho." He blushed at his unwillingly confession. "I mean, I’m sure that I’ve never felt this way about anyone else before. Ginny, I…I…I think I’m in love with you."

Ginny was speechless for a moment. She didn’t know what to think or feel. She had considered this possibility, sure, but she had credited it, at least partly, to her feelings for Harry. Hearing him admitting those feelings, however, just made it sound even more unbelievable. She whispered in what she hoped would sound like a controlled voice, but ended up broken and embarged by tears threatening to fall. "It’s not funny to play with people’s feelings, Harry. You know how I feel about you, you’ve known since my first year, but you don’t need to throw it at my face just for fun."

For a moment Harry looked like he would reach out for her hand, or say something, anything, but he didn’t. The solemn look on his face was the only thing keeping Ginny from yelling at him. She couldn’t believe him; he wasn’t telling her the truth.

"So, if this is true, why haven’t you told me so before now?" she asked, her chin high up in defiance and disbelief. It was also a good way to keep the tears at the corner of her eyes from falling down her cheeks.

"Voldemort."

Ginny’s mouth hung open. What the hell...? "I don’t get it…"

"Ginny, my mum died trying to protect me. Cedric died just because he was with me. I don’t want Voldemort to try and succeed in killing you just because he found out how important you are to me." Harry said all this in a rush, as if he was pushing the words out of his mouth despite any fear he could be feeling.

Ginny was so stumped that she didn’t pose any obstacle to Harry when he got up and left for his bedroom. He left Ginny behind to deal with all the thoughts running through her head, and the warm and fuzzy feeling that had spread all over her.

Harry loved her. Harry loved her. Harry loved her.

Ginny stayed the whole night awake, not even bothering to go up to her bedroom. She needed to sort out her thoughts.

When Harry came back downstairs the following day, much earlier than any Gryffindor student with nothing to worry about would on a Saturday morning, he found Ginny in the exact spot he had left her.

"Ginny?" he asked tentatively. "Did you stay here all night?"

Ginny looked up at him, and by the terrible look on his face she knew he must have spent the whole night awake as well.

She got up and approached Harry, never taking her eyes off his. He just stood there, as if mystified by her fierce look. Ginny had reached a decision. Not an easy one, but the only that felt right.

When she got right in front of Harry, she quickly got hold of his cheeks in her hands and kissed him. She felt more than heard a muffled cry against her lips, but it was not long before she felt his hands tentatively being placed on her waist.

When she opened her eyes, she saw that Harry had his still closed. He opened his eyes after a moment, and Ginny saw happiness in them. But intermingled with that feeling, she could also see a deep sorrow.

"Harry, what’s wrong?" she whispered.

"Ginny, we can’t be together," he whispered back.

"Why not? If this is because of Voldemort, like you said, you’re being stupid. I can deal with him. I’ve dealt with him, and on my own, for a year. Ok, I almost died at the end of that year, but I'm older now. More experienced. Ready to face him if I have to. You can’t push me away for my own safety. I won’t let you. And if you thought that I wouldn’t notice the changes in your behavior towards me, you underestimated me. Now I know the reason for that, and you can't just push me away." She had said all that really quickly, before Harry could interrupt her to point out that Tom Riddle was a far cry from Lord Voldemort, and that she had only survived because Harry had saved her from the Chamber.

Ginny couldn't help but smile at this reminiscence. The fact that she had always being a very talkative girl had granted her the capacity to give a speech without any need to pause for air. The years of putting up with her brother's teasing had finally paid off, it seemed.

Harry had looked at her for what seemed like eternity. Ginny could see the silent battle going on inside his head through his eyes, but didn't know which side was winning.

Finally, he spoke up. "What if, instead of pushing you away, I ask you to stay away from me?" Ginny opened her mouth to argue but Harry interrupter her. "If I defeat Voldemort, then…"

"And if you don’t? We will never be together!" Ginny almost yelled at Harry.

"But if we get together and I die..."

The pained look on Harry's face softened Ginny's voice. "Better to suffer from something lost than to suffer from something I never had."

"But what if he tries to hurt, or worse, kill you?" Harry said that almost in a whisper, the little color that he had on his face vanishing.

Ginny felt tears streaking down her face; Harry’s pain and hers were too much to bear. She wiped angrily at her eyes with her hands, took a deep breath, and spoke in a very controlled voice. "It’s my life; therefore I decide how I want to live it, or if I’m willingly to risk dying. It would ruin my life not to be with you."

"But you would still have a life to be ruined." Harry cupped her cheeks with his hands, and ran his thumbs over the tears that stubbornly kept coming.

"It’s better to love and die than to never have loved. I don’t want my life without love in it. It wouldn’t be worth living." She had finally stopped crying.

"There are other men in the world..."
 

"But you are the only one I want."

They looked at each other for a moment, the full realization of what had transpired between them just out of their grasp. Never before Ginny had felt so grown up, so mature. And it was time to share with Harry the idea she had had during the night. "We could keep it a secret. No one needs to know about us." Almost as in an afterthought, Ginny added, "And that will also come in handy in order to avoid my brothers teasing."

Harry had to laugh at Ginny's reasoning, but he quickly turned serious once again. He dipped his head towards hers, and their lips met again.

Ginny was jerked out of her reverie, back to the present.

"Ginny? Are you all right?"

Ginny smiled. "Yes, Harry, I’m fine." She looked at Ron and Hermione, by now finished with their studies and snuggled up together on the other side of the room. "I was just... thinking."

Harry reached for her hand under the table where they were still studying, and squeezed it lightly. "Don’t worry, Ginny. Someday. Perhaps not soon, but someday. I won’t let Voldemort take that away from us. He has taken too much already."

Ginny smiled at Harry. "We, Harry. We won’t let him."

Harry smiled back at her, his eyes glinting with love and, for the first time that Ginny could ever remember since they had met, hope. Hope for a future after Voldemort. A future with her.
 
 

THE END

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