The Sugar Quill
Author: Ciircee (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: One Week  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.

Dedicated: Still to Sakura (for giving me the idea) and again to Jake/HP Guy.  He said there needed to be more and I said...you know, I didn't really want to write this because it was so hard to do the first bit.  And now to Chelle-sama, for not telling me to drag my sorry self back to my anime fics that I talk about and talk about but haven't yet written for her approval.  Sorry, Chelle.

Thank you: To everybody.  Because I feel like thanking all of you.  So there!  And Zsenya because she knows that it should be a comma and not a period.

Special note: Thank you to Catherine for letting me use herself and Bryon.  Oh, the liberties I take...

One Week

Sunday

"That's it!  I'm finished with the whole business! Boys, really."  I can't help laughing as Catherine tosses her Potions essay on the table.  "Bryon doesn't even blink when I walk past him.  I wouldn't be surprised to if he didn't have a clue who I was."

Bryon is in Ravenclaw and we have Runes with him.  "Catherine, I'm sure he knows who you are.  You sit right in front of him.  He's got the back of your head in front of him for over an hour."

"Great, than he knows me as the head in front of him."  She leans back in her chair dramatically, one arm draped over her eyes, "I'm sure he thinks 'that head...it's my soul mate.  How shall I live without that head?'.  I'm sure that's how it is, Ginny.  Absolutely certain."

"I can't live without your head.  It's my best friend," I can't help giggling as she glares at me.  "Come on, it's better than being known as 'my best friend's kid sister'."  I point to myself and make a face, "Nothing says 'date' like the words 'kid' and 'sister'."

Catherine is a great friend; she makes all the right sympathetic noises.  "Ah, Ginny, he'll come around and realize how great you are.  He's got glasses so we know he's not completely blind," she grins and wraps an arm around my shoulders.  "One day he's going to wake up and see what a moron he's been by ignoring you all these years."

"Sure," I mutter and lean into her.  "I wish it were sooner rather than later.  Some days I feel like I should just give up and tell him that I'm going to find somebody new if he doesn't want me."

"Ginny!  That's a great idea!"  I'm squeezed briefly and pushed to my feet.  "Tell him that!  Tell him, tell him...'Listen, Harry, I've liked you for a long time now but it's going nowhere fast.  I'm ready to start dating other people if you won't face up to the fact that we're meant to be together.  You've got a week to make a decision that you might or might not regret for the rest of your life'.  Go!  Go now...he's by the fireplace with Hermione and your brother."

"No!  Catherine!"  She's literally shoving me across the common room.

"You do it and so will I.  I'll tell Bryon the exact same thing tomorrow after class," she give me a final push and darts for the stairs.  "I'll be in our Dorm!  Hurry up and give me the details!"

I'm left alone by the fireplace, except for Ron and Hermione and Harry.  I take a deep breath.  Catherine's right.  She's right...this is ridiculous.  I've always stood up for myself and what I've wanted so why don't I take a stand with in this?  "Harry?"   Really, why didn't I do this ages ago?  Just say everything right out and be done with wondering.

"Yes, Ginny?"  His eyes are so green.  There's so much in his eyes; so much pain and joy and loss, so many troubles and so much life.  I can't talk for a moment and that carefully prepared speech takes off faster than the Golden Snitch.  I can't just stand here and not say anything!  I've got to say something.

"Harry Potter, you're an idiot."  I nod smartly and carefully walk up to the dorm.  What in the world have I done

"Did you do it?"  Catherine is sitting on my bed, eyes wide and shinning.  I think I'm going to be sick.  "You did!  Ginny, that's great.  Now he knows and he's got a week to decide!  Don't you feel so much better?  I can't wait to tell Bryon." 

He's got an entire week.  Well, let's hope he can figure it out without me having to tell him what he's an idiot about.  I  don't think I can stand the humiliation of talking to him ever again.

Monday

"I can't believe his nerve!"  Catherine shakes her head with a sigh.  "Really."

Bryon wasn't in Runes today.  "Well, I'm sure he wouldn't have poisoned himself in the Potions Lab today if he'd known that today was the day you were going to issue him an ultimatum." 

"The fact that he did it at all proves he's avoiding me," she giggles.  "Or else it proves Snape hates Ravenclaw as much as Gryffindor."

"I'd vote for the latter," I tell her as we reach the marble stairs to the Great Hall.  "Aren't you coming?"  I ask as Catherine stares speculatively down the corridor. 

She drums her fingers against the newel post and hums.  "No.  I'm going to find Bryon.  He should still be in the Hospital wing."  She pushes away and smiles.  "I'll meet you downstairs in a bit."

"You're going to demand he date you or else while he's incapacitated?"

She grins and winks, "I might as well get him while he's weak."  Somehow, Catherine can make almost any stupid plan sound smart and well thought out; I wave her off with a smile and head for lunch. 

I'm actually having a very nice talk with Natalie McDougal, the new Chaser on the team, about why we have such early practices on Tuesday, something that starts with the fact that Oliver used to be Team Captain and ends with the fact that Oliver is certifiable, when Harry sits down next to me.  And apologizes.  "Sorry, I'll move." 

Am I that abhorrent that he can't sit next to me? "Why?"

Harry blinks. "Why...? Well, you're angry with me," he shrugs and studies his food.  "And you were here first."

"Angry?"  He thinks I'm angry?  " No, I'm not. Who told you that?"  He's seen me angry before.

"You called me an idiot."

"And?" Well, I know that I wasn't very...informative...but, as Catherine would say, really.  I've called Fred and George worse things than idiot and that was in the middle of the Common Room. 

Harry is staring at me.  He actually looks like he's been hit over the head. "And you must have been upset with me for some reason."

"Just because you're thick doesn't mean that I'm upset."  He's blinking at me like he's not following me at all.  But I do have his undivided attention.  Catherine was right; get them when they're weak.  Now, maybe, I can tell him what I was supposed to tell him the other night.  "In fact, I wasn't upset last night. I just thought I should warn you, was all." 

"Warn me?"  He's leaning so close to me that I can feel his breath washing over my face.  This is heaven.

"Ginny!" Colin nearly kills himself as he trips over his robes and leans into the space between me and Harry.  "Ginny, there's a Hogsmeade weekend
scheduled for this week! Flitwick was just hanging the announcement outside the Hall when I came in. Want to go with me?"

Oh...why now?  Colin is a really nice guy and normally I love to spend time with him but why did he have to choose now to invite me out to Hogsmeade?  "I'd like that!"  Which is true.  What is also true is that I would like Colin to leave.  Soon.  "Shall we meet up at The Three Broomsticks or would you rather walk
in together?"  Please say 'meet up'.

Colin grins. "We could walk in together, if you want," he smiles and bobs in place.

"That sounds really nice, Colin." It'd sound nicer if you left.

"Alright then, Colin?" Harry says, suddenly.  What's with that look?

"Oh, hullo Harry." Colin smiles at Harry briefly before turning back to me.  What is with that look Harry has? "Well, I'd like to stay and plan going, but I've got to look up some stuff for History of Magic." He makes a motion towards the doors. "I just came in to ask you if you wanted to go."  What is Colin on about?  We don't have anything pressing in HoM.

"That is so nice of you," I have to smile, because it is so nice, but I'm also going to have to talk to him.  I don't want to lead Colin on or anything.  So much for lunch.   "I'm finished, so why don't I come to the Library with you? We can talk on the way.  Bye, Harry."  What is that look he's giving me?

"Great!"  Colin smiles brilliantly.  "Because, well, there's a reason I'm asking you to go with me..." Colin trails off and ducks his head and I grab his hand and pull him toward the Library.  I don't want to hurt his feelings in front of everybody.

"Colin, you know how I feel about...about...somebody, right?"  I ask once I've got him alone in the hall.

He blinks.  "Harry, you mean," he nods.  "I think everybody knows from our year up."  He makes a wry face, "I'm sorry, that was sort of tactless, wasn't it?"

I've heard far worse from boys I know better.  "It's alright.  I just wanted to make sure that you knew we were only going to Hogsmeade as friends."

Colin seems surprised.  "Of course!"  He blinks.  "Did you want it to be a date, or something?"  Now it's apparently his turn to be horrified.  "Oh, Ginny, I just assumed that since you fancied Harry that you still..." he stops.  "I'm sorry."

"No!"  I blurt out and then I have to laugh.  "I thought you wanted a date." 

Colin laughs too.  "So, I don't want a date with you and you don't want a date with me.  Good to know."  He blushes.  "I did want to talk to you about dating, though, if you wouldn't mind."  His blush deepens and he looks down, "You know Oriana Wynne, right?"

"Sure, she's in Hufflepuff.  I have Advanced Charms with her."  I nod.  And then I realize..."Colin!  Are you asking me to set you up?" 

He grins.  "I might be." 

"This is great!"  Colin and Oriana would be great together.  I can't wait to get started.  "I'll talk to her about meeting up in the Three Broomsticks, if you want."  I get a smile in return.  This is going to be fun and I decided to put Harry out of my mind and find Catherine.  We have some plotting to do.

Tuesday

"So, we're helping Colin to shape up his love life," Catherine is still entranced with the idea.  "I think it's good that he asked you in front of Harry. Give him a little nudge, if you know what I mean."  She nudges me and winks. 

I roll my eyes.  "I'm sure." Really, I called you a moron and then before I could tell you why I made a date with another boy right in front of you.  Yeah, that'll work wonders.

"Gin," my best friend laughs, "you are so transparent.  I really do think it'll give Harry a push.  I mean, according to you,"  and according to me, telling Catherine the whole story was a mistake, "you didn't really tell Harry much of anything.  This will show him what you meant--you're ready to move on and he is an idiot if he doesn't realize what a mistake he's making." 

"He doesn't seem that torn up about it," I mutter, rubbing the back of my head.  "He didn't even notice me out on the pitch today until after we collided."

"Ah, Ginny, maybe he was just distracted.  And you guys do practice in the ungodly early hours."  I get a comfort hug.  "Besides, now you have a date with Colin."  She says with a teasing wink.  Unfortunately, Oriana has just come around the corner.  I'm sure she heard because she stops dead and stares at us before hurrying down the stairs towards the kitchens.

"Uh-oh," Catherine mutters.  "Look, you go after her.  I'll head for greenhouses and tell Professor Sprout that you're running late with 'woman' problems.  Nobody'll question that." 

Does it always have to be 'female trouble'?  "Alright, but if Professor Sprout makes me drink anymore of that disgusting tea, you're going to be the one with 'woman problems' next time." Catherine shrugs and points to the stairs and I follow Oriana.  I manage to catch her next to a painting of a woman eating a lemon tart.  "Oriana, hold up a second!" 

She smiles, sort of.  "Hi, Ginny.  I need to get to Divination, I can't stay and talk."  Well, it's good news for Colin if she's upset with me.

"It won't take long...I've got class too," I tell her.  "I just wanted to ask you if you'd mind meeting up with me and Colin and some of the others in Hogsmeade this weekend.  It'll be fun." 

Her smile is gone completely as she shakes her head, "I wouldn't want to intrude on your date, but thank you for the offer."  She nods slightly, "I've got to get to class."

"He's only going around with me because I wanted to make Harry jealous!" Desperate times call for desperate measures and I promised Colin that I wouldn't tell Oriana that he liked her.  I rub the knot on the back of my head and hope my smile doesn't look as wild as it feels.  "You see, I like Harry and....I...well, Colin was good enough to ask me while Harry was nearby."  It's not a lie.  I am not lying.  I'm not telling the truth but the only one here who knows that is me.

"Oh!"  Oriana is suddenly glowing.  "Oh.  I didn't know that!  I mean, I knew that you fancied Harry Potter and all...but the rest...I hadn't a clue," she grips my hand.  "Thanks, Ginny." 

"It's no problem."  I smile.  I guess Colin was right; everybody does know.  Except Harry.  "Well, I have to get going.  Herbology test and all that."  I take my hand back and wave. 

Oriana is still smiling.  "No, I've got to go too.  Thank you.  I wish I could return the favor." 

I wave and jog back for the stairs.  "It's nothing, really."

"You know...I'm in charge of our project in Charms..."  I hear her mutter as I hit the stairs running.  I've got a bad feeling about it, but I'm late enough that I can't risk hanging around.

Wednesday

"Done and done," Catherine is wading back across the Great Hall.  "I've asked Bryon to go to the Winter Formal with me and he said yes."

After the way he nearly tripped over himself to ask her around Hogsmeade, I'm not surprised.  "That's great."  I say just as the Care of Magical Creatures Class spills in to the already crowded Hall.  It's Harry's class.  The Slytherins head for their dungeon with barely a look at the announcement.  The Gryffindors, however, cluster with the rest of us.

"Ask him!"  Catherine hisses as 'him', Ron, and Hermione come into the Hall with Hagrid.  Harry drops his hand over his wand and he scans the room with wary eyes.  It's sad, just heartbreaking, that he does it without thinking.  He has had so much to deal with in the past few years, in all of his life, it's terrible that he can't find a crowded room and excited chattering without being on alert.

"No!"  I hiss back.  But it's covered by Hagrid asking Ron if he's alright.  Harry covers his wand again and I do too.  I've run up against some pretty foul stuff since, and especially during, my first year. 

"Oh my!  Is he asking Hermione to the Formal?"  Catherine shoves us both forward.  "Ginny!  He's doing it!  Ron is asking her!"  He is, too. Ron is finally asking Hermione out on a date.  I have to think quickly about what day this is...Wednesday.  Hm.  I think Dennis Creevey has won the 'when will he ask' betting pot.

The entire student body is watching my brother and Hermione.  Ron looks like he's going to faint and Hermione is smiling like Christmas has just come early.  "Hermione, I love you," Ron's voice rings out suddenly and the Great Hall goes eerily silent.  "I've loved you forever, I think."  Oh goodness, he didn't just say that, did he?  I think Catherine is the one who starts the cheering and I know that Seamus is the one who started the wolf-whistles and clapping.  I'm too overcome with words to say anything at all.

I can't help the tears that come to my eyes as Ron and Hermione make their way out of the crowd.  They're so focused on each other and it's so sweet.  Hermione is saying something about him saving the revelation until the dance.  It's such a Hermione type thing to say.  "That was so romantic anyway, Hermione."  I whisper. When I turn around I'm looking right into Harry's face.  He looks stunned.  I can't help beaming at him.  "She'll remember that forever--even better than if he'd said it at the Formal. Don't you think so, Harry?"

Harry stares at me.  He stares for so long that I'm actually getting worried about him.  "I need to see Madam Pomfrey." He says finally, blinking hard, before he makes his way slowly towards the Hospital wing.  I watch him go and then turn to look at the door Ron and Hermione disappeared through and then I feel like an idiot.  Of course he's upset, at least a little.  His two best friends in the world now have something completely separate from him; something that he can't share. 

I think it over all through Professor Binns's lecture on the Goblin Uprising of 1538 and by the time Uleead the Unknown gets beheaded,  I need to talk to Harry.  Or rather, I need to let him talk to me, if he wants too.  I have to do something.  "Catherine, I'm...I've got something to do," I say when Catherine comes up beside me.  "I'll meet you in the library in a few minutes for our study group."  I leave before she can nod, heading straight for the hospital wing.

Harry is asleep when Madam Pomfrey lets me into his bedside.  He is pale against the sheets and his face is tensed with unpleasant dreams.  I wish I could do something to make him feel better.  I study him as I rarely get the chance to do when he's awake; he is so pale and so still and that horrible, famous scar is peeking out from under his hair.  I used to be so enamored of that stupid, bloody scar but now, when I see all that it has taken from him, I wish he'd never gotten it.  I smooth his hair over it, covering it from view.  I wish I could do more.  I wish I could tell him how I really feel about him.  But I don't want to wake him and so I touch a kiss to my fingers and  smooth his hair one last time. 

It's late by the time he's finally released from the Hospital wing; he doesn't look like the stay did him any good at all.

Thursday

"Ginny!"  Oriana bounces up to me outside the Charms classroom.  "The extra today is going to be great!" 

It's the thing I love most about Advanced Charms.  We have an extra session once a month that deals with sixth form spell work.  It's very interesting.  "Do you know what we're doing?  I thought I heard you say you were in charge of it this month."

"I do and I am."  She beams.  "We're going to be the test subjects for the vera charms.  For Harry Potter's class," she winks as my heart falls into my stomach.  "You're partnering Harry," she reaches out and squeezes my hands.  "It was the least I could do." 

"Thanks."  I mutter as Flitwick opens the door.  I don't pay much attention to what he says.  I know the truth charms fairly well.  They're boring.  Dad works with them all the time at his office.

"Ginny." Harry's voice is polite. 

"Hi, Harry." I'm going to be happy and cheerful and not act like I'm on my way to the gallows. "I'm glad I got you as a partner. Ron would be sure to ask me something nice and embarrassing never mind what Professor Flitwick said to the otherwise."  Keep it nice and light.  It works; Harry smiles.

"Of course he would; he'd say something about sisters being exempt," Harry says solemnly.  I can't help laughing, even as I make a face.  It's exactly what Ron would say.  Flitwick claps his hands and gives out the instructions.  He tells us to watch and learn from our partners.  I can try, but somehow, when faced with Harry, I'm not so sure of my retention rate.  Harry blushes a little bit and I think he's embarrassed about having to put somebody he knows under a charm.  "Sorry about this, Ginny," he apologizes.

"I trust you, Harry." I nod encouragingly and spread my arms with a flourish. "Cast your spell."  George and Fred might be a little demented, but sometimes laughter does make it easier.

Harry takes a breath and points his wand at me.  I have to take a deep breath too, thanks to the look in his eyes.  I've never been focused on by Harry Potter before and it's potent. "Ginny Weasley," he says quitely, "Ginny Weasley re vera." Nothing spectacular happens but since nobody else has produced a flash of light or rush of sound, I'm not worried about it.  Harry must be because the first thing he asks me is if I'm okay.

I shake my head.  "I feel fine."

"Okay." Harry looks at me for a moment before biting his lip. "Okay. Uh, what's your name?"

I laugh, I can't help it.  He just said my name. "It's Ginny. You just used it for the spell."

"I meant your full name," he rolls his eyes slightly. "Flitwick said to ask."

"Oh. Well Ginny is my full name." I finger the end my ponytail, thinking of a way to get out of this without sounding stupid. "If it helps, Percy's name is Percy and Bill's name is Bilius, but don't call him that unless you want to meet Charlie's dragons up close and personal." I smile and it's a relief to see Harry smile too.

"I'll keep that in mind," he says and there's a smile in his eyes. "When is your birthday?"

"It's August the third." I can't believe he asked me that.  It's nice, actually.  It's nice to know that he knows when my birthday is, or at least, he knows now. "Come on, ask me something I can lie about. I'd really like to see how this charm works. We've only studied it in regards to charming items like Sneakoscopes." Which is entirely boring.

"Oh. They're supposed to be like back up to Veritaserum. It gets used at trials and the like." Harry's rather animated as he talks, it's fun to watch him. "Dark Wizards can sometimes break one or the other, but so far nobody has managed to beat both of them together."

He smiles when he's finished and I fish around for something to say.  "That sounds a lot more interesting than spelling items." I go blue and glittery as I say it and Harry blinks, raising his eyebrows until they disappear under his hair.

"Does that mean it's working?" 

"I wouldn't know." I lie just to see myself sparkle again.  It's sort of neat and it's certainly more interesting than what we've been reading about the spell.

Harry laughs. "Okay, so it works."  He eyes me for long seconds before he asks me, "Why did you call me an idiot? Really?"

I don't want to answer this in front of a room full of people.  But I can't lie or else Harry will just keep asking until he gets to the truth.  What was it I was thinking the night I said... "I already told you, I wanted to warn you." I tell him, watching my arms for signs of blue.  Nothing, but I can feel my cheeks getting hot.

Harry is not satisfied with that answer.  "What were you warning me against?"

"Being an idiot." I keep watching my skin.  Still normal.  I'll have to remember to thank Catherine.

"Why did you think I'd need to be warned? It's not something dangerous, or else you'd have said something. Why did you choose to call me an idiot for a warning
and what do you think I should be warned against?" Harry is looking me straight in the eye and I can't look away, no matter how much I want to.

"I wanted to warn you without telling you; you're doing something that you might regret." I turn yellow, rather than blue and Flitwick nearly faints from excitement as he rushes to our sides.  I've given an 'ambiguous' answer.  It's a lie, but with enough elements of truth that it doesn't show up as a lie.  Not exactly.  He asks us what lead us to this junction.  I hope Harry pushes this.  He might not because he's so nice, but I want him to ask.  The entire school knows how I feel. 

His voice, when he speaks, is soft. "I asked 'What do you think I should be warned against?'" Harry and I both ignore the whispers that break out. 

"Ah." Flitwick looks like he's beginning to regret asking us to demonstrate.  "Ms. Weasley, your reply?" He says after a moment; he sounds like he wishes he didn't have to ask.

 "I said 'you're doing something you might regret.'" The yellow glitter flares up again, but I ignore it and try to stay calm.  It's not easy with everybody staring.

Professor Flitwick winces. "Ah."

Harry and I are watching each other and Professor Flitwick is not saying anything.  Something shifts in Harry's eyes and I realize that I can't do this.  I can't put him on the spot and embarrass him in front of everybody.   "I should have said 'I hope.'" I say the only other true answer to the question when it seems like Flitwick isn't going to ask.  I do hope that he regrets never noticing me, if that's the way it works out but more importantly, I hope he knows that he's going to regret asking me these questions because they'll only embarrass him.  I don't want to put pressure on him.  I don't want to be one more thing that Harry has to 'deal with'.  I hope he understands. 

Maybe he does.  He takes a step forward, reaching out to me.  I can't look away from him.  Professor Flitwick sends me and the others back to our common rooms.  I'm glad.  I can't face Harry, I don't want him to ask anymore questions that he doesn't really want the answer too.  I don't go back to Gryffindor Tower until after the Astronomy lesson. 

Friday

Harry is acting strange today.  I think yesterday upset him and I'm not surprised at all when he corners me as I'm working on my prediction chart for Divination.

"Ginny?" He says, softly. "Can I ask you something?"  I'm ready for him to ask about yesterday, about Sunday night and I'm getting ready to lie to him.  There is no way I can confess the truth to him.

Harry's question takes me by surprise.  "Colin is gay, right?" 

"What?" I sit up so suddenly that Harry has to jump back. 

"As the wind, right?" He asks.  He looks...hopeful?.

"No! As a matter of fact, Colin and I have a bit of a date tomorrow; we're going around Hogsmeade together." I'm staring at him. Gaping, really.  Could Catherine have been right?  Is he...he can't be!

"I knew that...I was at the table when he asked you. Right next to you, remember?"

I've got to ask.  If there's the slightest chance that Harry might be asking for personal reasons, I have to know. "That's right, you were. So why are you asking if Colin is gay?"

Harry shrugs. "Because I thought he might be?" He says lamely.  He won't meet my eyes.

Harry. Is. Jealous.  I pack up my homework and try to think of something to say to him.  Anything.  How could he be jealous?  The entire school knows how I feel for him. "Harry, this is one of those 'idiot' moments," I say finally, because the word 'idiot' is the only thing in my head right now. "The ones I think you might end up regretting." Or at least I hope he's going to regret being an idiot.  I hope he doesn't regret what he's feeling right now.  I've waited too long for some sort of sign from him.  I head for my dorm, passing Catherine on the stairs.  She's staring wide eyed and points at me and then the door to the Common Room.  My smile trembles just a bit as I shrug.  Notice me, Harry, come on. 

Saturday

"Ron, where's Harry?"  I wave my brother and Hermione over to our table in the pub when I see them come in without Harry.  I know that he was planning on coming but, with the way that McGonagall cornered him, I'm worried that something has happened.  I haven't seen him in town yet, either.

"Dunno," Ron shrugs.  "Professor McGonagall needed to talk with him."

I can't help rolling my eyes.  "I knew that.  I was there when she came in.  I meant 'why isn't he in town yet?'."  I  glance at Catherine, Bryon, Colin and Oriana and make a face.

"What does it matter?" Ron asks with a wink.  "Wouldn't it ruin your date?" 

Hermione glares at him.  "Ron, honestly."  She smiles at me and Ron huffs.  "I don't know what's keeping Harry, but since Professor McGonagall didn't seem upset or anything, I wouldn't worry."

"Thanks, Hermione."  I smile brightly at Ron.  "I think I'm going to get another butterbeer." 

True to form, Hermione shakes her head.  "I'll get you one; I'm going up to the bar myself."  She takes my mug and heads for Madam Rosmerta.  I lean back in my chair and smile at my brother.

"You know, Ron,"  I try to keep my voice innocent, but he knows me too well.  "Not all of us experience the burning desire to date our friends."  Colin chokes and Catherine laughs out loud as Ron's ears go scarlet.  "But if that's what works for you..."

Hermione frowns as she rejoins us.  "Ron?"  Her concern just makes Ron even more red.  "What happened?"  Oh, do tell, Ron.  Do tell. 

I tend to underestimate my brother.  His smile is so sticky sweet you could sell it at Honeydukes.  "I was just telling Ginny," and I hear that implied 'ickle', don't think I don't, "that not everybody experiences the burning desire to date my friends, but if that's what works for her..."

"Ron!"  Hermione, at least, is properly aghast.  My traitorous friends are going to kill themselves laughing.  I honestly think Bryon has herniated something.  "I'm sorry, Ginny," my only true friend sighs.  "I'll get him out of your way."  She tugs my idiot brother to the other side of the Three Broomsticks and I bury my head in my hands.

Catherine pats my shoulder.  "We're not laughing at you," she says, giggling.  "It's more like we're laughing at Ron's wit."

I look up with my own giggle.  "He's quick."  I laugh again, "He's such a pain."

Oriana grins.  "I think he's great."  She shrugs at my look.  "I'm an only child, so I don't know good big brothers from bad."

Colin smiles shyly at her.  "Well, I'm a good big brother."  Oriana has the same smile on her face.  I  share a grin with Catherine who winks and then tilts her head at Bryon and raises her eyebrows.  Right.

"Well, as much fun as it's been...I need to get back to Hogwarts," I swing my cloak up as I stand.  "I've got Divination to work on." 

Colin, sweetheart that he is, stands up too. "I'll walk you back.  I need to make a quick stop at Honeydukes for Dennis, would you mind?"  I shake my head and watch as he  reaches out to take Oriana's hand in his.  "I had a really good time," he tells her and Catherine and I trade looks again.  Sweet, suave...why couldn't I have a thing for Colin?

Because he and Oriana are perfect.  "I...Actually, I have stuff to do back at the castle," she gets to her feet as well and I notice that she doesn't drop Colin's hand.  "Would you mind if I walked back with you?" 

"No!"  Colin, Catherine, Bryon and I chorus.  Oriana looks confused for a moment before she laughs. 

"Okay, let's go," Colin is beaming like a lumos charm.  "It's just a quick stop...Dennis wanted an acid pop for something or other."

Ron stops me at the door.  "Ginny?"

I wave Colin and Oriana on.  "I'll catch you up outside Honeydukes."  I turn to Ron and fold my arms.  Bestow your wit, oh graceless one. 

Hermione purses her lips. "Don't tease her about Harry, Ron."

"When have I ever used the same joke twice?"  He grins.  "You wound me, Hermione."

She cocks her head.  "How about 'can I have a look at Uranus'?"

Ron, lunatic that he is, laughs.  "That was a classic.  It positively begged repeating.  But that's neither here nor there."  He smiles.  "I was just going to say 'Not everybody wants to date my friends but you're the only one I want to be doing it," his ears are red again but his eyes are earnest.  "I think you'd be good for him."

"Oh, Ron!  You giant prat!"  Hermione hugs him before I can.  I settle for the Weasley Secret 'I love you' sign, flashing seven fingers for me, six  for Ron and then folding my hands into loose fists as I do up the fastener on my cloak.  And even though he's got his arms around Hermione, he flashes back six-seven-fists.

Colin and Oriana are waiting outside Honeydukes when I get there  Colin is floating.  "What did Ron want?"  he asks, trying to get his feet back on the ground.  Oriana giggles and pushes him along as we head back to Hogwarts.

I smile.  "Just to be a giant prat."  I can't help thinking about what he said, though.  And I think about it even more when the sherbet ball finally wears off and Colin is walking with Oriana and holding her hand.  I search out the windows of Gryffindor when we come in the gates, thinking...I'll tell him tomorrow.

Sunday

"That's it!  I'm finished with the whole business."  Catherine stops on the stairs and gives me a look I know well.  "Honestly.  I'm just going to tell him everything.  What I feel, why I called him an idiot, and then I'm going to hope that I don't embarrass him too badly."

She sighs.  "You've got some sort of courage, Ginny."  She tells me as we push through the doors to the Great Hall and grab seats at the table.  Now if only I knew that I'd live through the embarrassment of what I'm about to do.  Why in the world did I have to choose to do this over breakfast?  And why, oh why did I tell Catherine? 

"I wonder where Harry is?"  I mutter after a while.  I haven't seen him since yesterday.  I'd be worried except for the fact that Ron and Hermione seem perfectly normal.  Who am I kidding?  I am worried...so worried that I don't notice the sudden hush and then the tidal swell of whispers.

"Ginny Weasley!" I do, however, notice my name being called.  It's Harry as I've never seen him before.  He's wearing his regular school robes, but he's also got golden wings strapped to his back and he's carrying a golden harp.  Oh. My.  That outfit looks...it can't be..."Ginny, I've got a singing Valentine for you!"   And then he starts to sing.  His voice isn't bad, but the words...the words are terrible.

"Her eyes are as brown as sparrow's down

Her hair is as red as a fire.

She's really fine, and I've been blind

To this girl I've found I desire."

He's smiling while I'm fighting the temptation to die.  He gives a final, loud, strum on the harp and smiles at me.  I chance a look around the room.  Everybody is staring.  Absolutely everybody.  I've got to get him out of here.  I've got to get me out of here.  "Harry! What do you...how could you...you...I can't believe..."   I shove him out of the doors and reach to close them.  Everybody is watching our every single move.  I manage a sick, painful smile at Catherine.  Harry waves cheerfully and then, mercifully, the doors are closed.  "Harry!" I wail, turning to face him and that ridiculous outfit.  Behind the closed doors it sounds like somebody set off one of Fred and George's ChatterBoxes. I concentrate on the stupid tag line 'when the awkward silences need to be filled' rather than on the fact that I'm probably as red as my hair..

Harry is beaming. "I wrote you a Valentine."   Lovely.  Nobody has told him it's not even close to Valentines Day.

I want to hide.  "What were you thinking?" I moan.

"That I should be an entirely different sort of idiot," apparently I've covered my face with my hands because Harry is pulling them away and trying to catch my eyes.  When he does, he smiles. "I thought I should stop being idiotically blind and see if I couldn't just be plain idiotically in love with you."

"What?" I move my mouth, but no sound come out.  I simply can't speak.

"Well, I don't know if I'm in love with you yet. But I think I could be if you'd give me a chance to really get to know you."  Harry squeezes my hand and smiles, his eyes hopeful.  Hopeful.  He looks...and he said...I throw myself at him, wrapping my arms around his neck despite those stupid, ugly wings.

"Harry Potter, you're an idiot." 
 

 

//
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