The Sugar Quill
Author: Anione Graton  Story: Of Poems and Quidditch  Chapter: Chapter 2
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Chapter 2

Chapter 2

 

“Now if we follow this diagram, Ravenclaw doesn’t stand a chance! Are we ready?”

Enthusiastic replies came from the other six players. Ginny, however, was the first on her feet. She stood next to Harry supportively. “He didn’t hear you, mates! ARE YOU READY?”

They all screamed this time, jumping to their feet and huddling up for a group chant. They jogged out of the locker room, Harry staring at Ginny admiringly. He couldn’t help but notice that if it was one of them, it was only given a half effort. But when the two of them got together, there was no stopping them.

That was what made them such great Quidditch players.

The team made their way out to the field. Harry and the Captain of the Ravenclaw team shook hands. Mounting their brooms, they kicked off into the air. The crowd cheered so loudly that Harry was sure his ears would start bleeding. Ginny smiled at him from a distance and she did a few dips on her broom before the teams flew to the circle, waiting for the game to begin.

Before any of them knew it, the Snitch flew out of the box and away into the distance, the Bludgers erupted from the case, and the Quaffle was in the air. Ginny’s sole purpose was to have that red leather ball in her arms.

Ginny wasn’t even thinking when she came up behind the first Ravenclaw Chaser and bunched the ball out of the crook of his arm. She watched it fly just into her grasp as she reached out and caught it. A smile of triumph on her face, she saw one of the other Gryffindor Chasers, Andrew Shelley, steer up ahead of her. Tossing the Quaffle forward, she saw Andrew grab it and duck below her. She raced quickly toward the hoops and caught the Quaffle unexpectedly, sliding it through the right hoop before the Ravenclaw Keeper had a chance to realize what was happening.

“Ginny Weasley scores! Ten points to Gryffindor!”

The crowds cheered loudly. Ginny could see the boy with the black hair and glasses wave at her down the field. He was still in his mad search for the Snitch but had time to stop and watch her goal. This pleased her very much.

The Quaffle ended up in the hands of a Ravenclaw Chaser before Ginny had a chance to look away from Harry. She shook off the fog in her head and got back to the game. She leaned forward and shot after the Chaser. He released the Quaffle to one of his teammates up the field and Ginny halted in the air. The Chaser he had thrown it to was right next to one of Gryffindor’s Beaters, a third year named Carly Stevens. She was fortunate enough to be the owner of a Nimbus 2001, which was an older model compared to Harry’s Firebolt, but still ranked high in agility and speed. She ducked underneath the Chaser and then advanced on him so quickly that he had to look around when she took the Quaffle.

Ginny saw her opportunity and sped up to get back to the posts. Carly threw the Quaffle at Andrew, who happened to be speeding by right at that moment and tossed it off to Ginny. She scored again.

“Ginny Weasley scores another ten points for Gryffindor!”

All Ginny could see was a sea of red and gold flags and scarves all over the place. She smiled at the crowd and heard behind her, “Good game, J.”

Her red ponytail whapped her in the face as she swiveled her head to see Harry speeding by. It looked like he was having trouble finding the snitch.

Harry tried to get out of Ginny’s way as soon as possible. Having her on the team was a great advantage. She was wonderful at strategizing, maneuvering, and keeping her head on smartly instead of letting the adrenaline sink to it like so many other Chasers did. However, the more Harry thought about it, she was a complete distraction. It seemed to him that she got cleverer with each passing day.

The fact that she was suddenly becoming drop dead gorgeous hadn’t escaped his attention, either. Harry was fascinated with her hair. It was at a medium length where it just hung over her shoulders. The ends flipped out in such an adorable way that he melted whenever she put it into a ponytail. It was bright scarlet and looked silky to the touch. He could remember a time when he was in the locker room discussing how well they had done when he saw Ginny taking her hair out of her ponytail and mussing it. He’d forgotten what he was going to say next. He’d been doing that an awful lot with her lately.

It really surprised him a few seconds later when he saw the exact girl he had been thinking about waving at him from downfield. He thought no more about it and zoomed over toward her.

“I spotted the Snitch!” she whispered harshly. “I saw you zoning out, and I was a little worried. Are you all right?”

His green eyes sparkled for her concern. She noticed this and turned bright red. The girl had lost her crush years ago and was a completely free spirit when it came to everything else, but she certainly didn’t know how to take any kind of compliment.

“I’ll be fine, J, where did you see the Snitch?”

She nodded her head toward the end of the pitch, by the Hufflepuff box. He said no more and zoomed off. Ginny turned her broom backward to help more with the scoring of the game.

They spoke no more the rest of the game. Ravenclaw caught up quickly to Gryffindor, and before they knew it, the score was seventy to sixty, Gryffindor leading. Ginny was on the edge of her broom. She wanted Harry to find the Snitch right away. He had to. They had to win.

But she had let the thought dwindle too long. Before she knew it, Ravenclaw’s Seeker and Harry were hurtling toward her rapidly. She was sure that in a matter of seconds she would be lying unconscious underneath a Seeker, but Harry shifted his broom in time to narrowly miss her head and reached his arm right next to her left ear. The crowd went wild. Harry had caught the Snitch and Gryffindor had won the game.

Ginny sat on her broom, speechless. What had just happened?

Harry smiled down at her and then frowned when he saw her look of confusion. “We just won, J! Come celebrate with me!”

She shook off her daze and whizzed through the air to follow behind him.

The crowd was going wild in amazement. She had missed it, but Harry had pulled back so narrowly to miss hitting Ginny that when he went to grab the Snitch, he was nearly lying backward on his Firebolt. There was a party in Gryffindor Tower after the game, but neither Harry nor Ginny attended for very long.

Ron and Hermione came running up after the game to congratulate them. Hermione had also excitedly told them that McGonagall was going to let them go to Hogsmeade if they won. Harry and Ginny thought it was the perfect way to wind down after a game.

So after changing out of their Quidditch uniforms and meeting Ron and Hermione back at the portrait hole, the clan headed for Hogsmeade.

All anyone could talk about was the match and how wonderfully it had gone. Harry couldn’t stop complimenting Ginny on how well she played. She was so shocked by the compliments she could hardly speak.

“Something that never happens,” Ron pointed out cheekily.

Ginny shot him an evil look and listened to Harry go on about new Quidditch tactics raptly.

They settled in the Three Broomsticks a short while after arriving. They began a discussion about something that Harry didn’t really mind talking about at that moment: The Order.

“How is everything, Harry? You don’t tell us anything because of that pact,” Hermione asked. She and Ron were holding hands on top of the table.

Harry didn’t have his mind on The Order, however. He was staring at Hermione and Ron’s joined hands. Ginny was also staring out into the pub. She had told Harry at the beginning of the year that she wanted nothing to do with Voldemort and The Order. Oh sure, she would be there if her friends ever needed her, but she didn’t want to be constantly included. She said that her experience first year was far too close for comfort. Harry understood all too well.

But she was playing with her hair.

Yanking his eyes away from the bright tresses, he gulped and answered, “To be honest, they haven’t gotten so far. It’s becoming very pressing. They don’t know where Vol―” Harry stopped at the way Ginny flinched next to him. Ron had made it a point to stop calling him You-Know-Who, for Harry, but it didn’t stop him from getting squirmy. Ginny was another story. “I mean, they don’t know where You-Know-Who is hiding.”

“What about Death Eaters?” Hermione asked. “Surely they can’t all be hiding?”

Harry watched Ginny become increasingly fidgety. This only made him nervous. Casting a worried glance at her, he answered, “Well, no, they’re not. Thanks to some of the Aurors who volunteered to go out on what seemed like suicide missions, they caught a gigantic number of Death Eaters.”

“Well, that’s good at least. But there are still Death Eaters trying to get into the Muggle world?” Ron asked.

“They have Aurors on that as well,” Harry looked up and saw that Ginny decided she couldn’t take it anymore. She got up from the table and walked outside of the pub.

Ron sighed, shifting in his seat. “I’ll go talk to her.”

“No,” Harry said automatically. He got up. “This is my fault, I promised her I wouldn’t include her in all this. I need to talk to her.”

“But you weren’t including her in anything,” Ron pointed out as Harry set out to leave.

“She was here while we were talking about it, wasn’t she?” he asked, not waiting for an answer as he left to go find Ginny.

Fortunately, she hadn’t gone far. She was sitting out in front of the Three Broomsticks on an old wooden bench that appeared to be so only magic could possibly have kept it standing. Tears were streaming down her face.

“Ginny,” he whispered. She looked up at him quickly, wiping the tears off of her face and scooting down the bench to make room for him.

“Harry,” she greeted. “What are you doing out here?”

“I came to talk to you,” he said quietly.

She only smiled at him. “Thanks, but I’m fine. I just… yeah, I’m fine.”

“No, you’re not, and it’s my fault you’re out here crying.”

She looked at him, surprised. “What are you talking about? Nothing is your fault.”

“I promised you I’d never talk about You-Know-Who while you were there… and I did. I apologize. You don’t need to be wrapped up in this mess.”

A couple more tears rolled down her cheeks as she looked into the street and became foggy-eyed, as if reliving a memory. “I just can’t believe he got a hold of me.”

Harry was shocked to hear her mention the encounter she had had with Voldemort. She was always so tight lipped about it. The mere mention of that year made her turn completely white.

“I’m so sorry I let that happen to you, J,” Harry whispered.

Ginny again looked at him as if he were insane. “What are you talking about? How could you have done anything about it? I was just a silly eleven-year-old girl with a huge, embarrassing crush on you. You wouldn’t have wanted to protect me if you could, Harry.”

“Says who?”

“I wasn’t blind then, Harry,” she told him as more tears crept out of her eyes. Harry knew that the few she was crying at that moment was his doing. “It’s not flattering to have your best friend’s little sister drooling over you all the time. Thank the gods I came to my senses.”

Harry felt himself deflate. So she was happy about not liking him anymore?

“I was twelve, J,” he told her. “I was just getting used to being the famous Harry Potter and the fact that I had friends. Having you there complicated my thoughts a little. I just should have been thinking clearer. Maybe I wasn’t using my head enough.”

“Don’t blame yourself for that. It was five years ago.”

“But the scars are still there.”

Ginny felt more tears seep out of her eyes and buried her head in her hands. Harry did the only thing he knew to do. He wrapped his arm around her shoulder and pulled her close. His right hand was lying limply at his side, but he was just itching… itching to get it up there to touch her hair.

She sniffled. “You don’t have to comfort me, Harry.”

“I want to.”

Ginny stopped crying (and breathing) long enough for Harry to move his hand to her hair. His eyes closed in exhilaration. It was just as soft as he had always imagined it. Soft, silky, and ran through his fingers as wonderfully as he had only hoped it could. It even smelled heavenly.

“H-H-Harry?” Ginny croaked after a few minutes.

“Yes?” he answered, his voice distant.

“Can we get up? I’m getting kind of stiff.”

“Oh,” he said, a disappointment in his tone that Ginny was surprised to hear. They got up and stretched. Ginny peered into the pub and realized that Ron and Hermione were enjoying their time alone.

“Should we leave them? They don’t seem to be missing us,” she pointed out. Harry glanced in just in time to see Ron and Hermione’s lips lock. He couldn’t help but feel a stab of jealousy for what they had. He turned to look at Ginny.

“Let’s go for a walk,” he offered. They walked down the street in silence. It was a comfortable sort of silence. They walked so close together that their shoulders bumped every so often, each mumbling a sort of, “Sorry,” to one another. They entered many different shops where both browsed. Ginny was tempted to buy a box of multi-colored parchment paper, but didn’t have enough money.

Harry smiled sweetly at her. “Do you really want it?”

“I’ve been getting sick of the same old stuff, but I don’t need it.”

“Yes, but do you want it?”

She shrugged, looking away. She definitely didn’t want Harry to think she was trying to ask him for money, because she wasn’t. That was just silly.

But a few seconds later, Harry shoved the box into her arms, smiling happily. “If you don’t use it, I will. It’s our paper.”

Harry knew too well that none of the Weasleys would ever be keen enough to accept his money. By using the ‘sharing’ loophole he had devised with Ron, he could buy them gifts easily.

She smiled shyly and thanked him as they walked out of the store. Ron and Hermione had finished their drinks at the Three Broomsticks and were heading down the street, holding hands, talking and laughing.

“There they are!” Hermione said, as if noticing Harry and Ginny for the first time in her life.

“Hullo,” Ron greeted. “Are you ready to leave? We’re having too much fun, I suppose it has to end sometime.”

“Oh, Ron! Honestly,” Hermione said, rolling her eyes. “What’s so bad about school? Besides, we have homework in Transfiguration that you haven’t even started…”

He cut in, rolling his eyes. “Which is due next week, but I decided I wanted to spend more time with you than with a book and a piece of paper for a night. Calm down.”

This shut her up.

“Yes, we’re ready,” Harry answered the question Ron had asked what seemed like ages before.

“All right then,” he said, turning around and leading the way back to Hogwarts.

They arrived not a moment too soon. The four spent the remainder of the day in the common room and were so beat after dinner in the Great Hall, they decided to go straight to bed.

Harry had never seen Ron or Hermione act the way they were acting. It was as if the world was ending because they had to part ways for bed. Hermione normally would have been itching to hop on her bed and read some new book she had bought and Ron would have been desperate to sleep. It was quite a funny sight, however, seeing as they were very tired to begin with.

Ginny clambered into the portrait hole seconds after Ron and Hermione had kissed and separated for the night, still staring at each other as they walked away.

“You’d think he was going off to war,” Harry said offhandedly to himself.

Ginny had heard him, stopping dead in her tracks. Harry turned around quickly and saw that she was pale again.

“Oh, J, I didn’t know you were there…”

She shook it off quickly and gave him a weak smile. “It’s all right. I have to start coming to terms with things and not be so sensitive. Are you going to bed?”

He nodded, getting out of the chair and walking toward the stairs. “Yes, yes, I am. I can’t even think I’m so tired. What about you?”

 She nodded too, and without hesitation she pulled out her wand and pointed it behind Harry. “Accio!” she yelled suddenly.

Harry turned around quickly to see the box of parchment papers he had bought her. She opened it and dug out a few, handing them to Harry.

“No, no, those are yours.”

“You said ours.”

“I said I’d use them if you didn’t.”

“I want you to have some.”

“J, I don’t need any.”

“Take them.”

“No.”

“Do I have to force you?”

“I don’t need them.”

Not taking no for an answer, she grabbed his hand and shoved the papers into it. He started to protest but before he could, Ginny answered, “Listen to me. I don’t ever ask you for anything, and I don’t need anything from you. But you gave me more than just parchment paper tonight, Harry. You gave me hope.”

Flattered, Harry looked away from her bright brown eyes and to the trembling parchment in his hand. “What do you mean?”

“I’ve known for some time that you’re amazing, Harry,” she said, a slight flush rushing to her cheeks. She was, of course, referring to her huge embarrassing crush five years previous. “But I never really knew how wonderful you were until a year or so ago. And I didn’t know until tonight that you were willing to be so wonderful to me. Just me.”

Harry wanted to say something, anything. He preferred to tell her that when it came to Ginny Weasley, the word ‘just’ was not included in the same sentence describing her. There was a reason why he was being so wonderful to ‘just’ Ginny Weasley.

“Oh.”

She smiled. “Take those papers. That’s all I ask.”

He nodded and let them drop to his side in agreement. “Goodnight, J.”

“Goodnight, Wood.”

She stared at him for a few seconds, contemplating whether or not to hug him, kiss him on the cheek, or just walk away. In the end, she just smiled and went to bed.

Harry sighed. “Oh, ‘just’ Ginny,” and went to bed.

//
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