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Harry was staring into the fire. He'd been rather moody ever since they'd arrived at the Black house for Christmas, and Ginny had had enough. She decided to talk to him, as Ron seemed too scared to do it, and Hermione was still at Hogwarts. She quietly went over and sat down next to him. After a few minutes, when he didn't acknowledge her presence, she poked him in the ribs. "Earth to Harry!"
He jumped, and she laughed. "You really need to be more aware of what's going on around you, Harry," she giggled.
Harry just glared at her.
"Oh stop it. I didn't hurt you. And you've done enough thinking already, it's time to do something else." He went back to looking at the fire. "No, don't do that either. It's not really that interesting, and it'll make you start thinking again."
Harry sighed. "You're not going to give up, are you?" He spoke for the first time.
Ginny grinned. "Not on your life!" She was immensely proud of herself; she'd gotten him to say eight words in a row. Quite an accomplishment these days..
Harry sighed again. "Should have known," he muttered under his breath. Then he turned to look directly at Ginny. "So what am I allowed to do?"
Ginny thought about it for a moment. "Talk. Eat. Sleep. You haven't been doing any of those, and it's not good for you to keep everything bottled up inside. And you're getting skinnier, and the lack of sleep certainly isn't helping your looks."
He graced her with a weak smile. "This from the girl who blushed and squeaked whenever I was around a couple of years ago."
Ginny was shocked. Then she laughed. "Well done! That's you're first joke! We should celebrate." She was delighted, both that he was starting to get better, and that he'd noticed how she'd felt. She was much better at hiding it now that she thought he'd never like her, but it was nice to
know that he did have eyes.
Harry shook his head, seeming pleased at her laughter. "Nah. I'd rather just sit here and talk to you."
Ginny thought her heart would stop. She'd waited for years for him to say something like that, and now that she'd finally given up on him, he said it. She managed to control herself, but only just. She managed a smile. "Okay. What would you like to talk about?"
Harry thought for a moment. "I don't know. I... I don't think we've ever really talked before." Ginny shook her head, agreeing. "Well... what sort of things do you like doing?"
Ginny breathed a silent sigh of relief. This was safe ground. "I like hanging out with my friends. Teasing and being teased by my brothers. Having Mum brush my hair. Helping Dad pull apart his Muggle contraptions. Listening to Ron talk about you and Hermione." She seemed to think of something, and giggled. "You know, I think he has a crush on Hermione."
It was Harry's turn to be shocked. It had taken him four years to drag that confession out of Ron, and Ginny just picked it up from listening to him talk? He'd have to watch what he said around her.
Ginny enjoyed the look on his face. It was extremely satisfying. "I doubt he'd ever admit it to anyone, even himself though,” she added as she started to play with her wand.
Harry seemed to manage to swallow this, and grinned at her. "But I'll bet you point it out to him. And tease him about it." He sounded mostly amused, and only slightly accusing.
"Oh, of course,” Ginny admitted freely. "I wouldn't be a proper sister if I didn't, now, would I?" She smiled back. "So what about you; what do you like doing?"
Harry thought for a moment. "I like..." he paused, looking a little sad. "I used to like going to Hogwarts, and most of my lessons. But not any more." Ginny nodded; she hated Umbridge as much as Harry. "So much that I used to like, I can't do any more. I can't even play Quidditch!"
He looked so frustrated, and close to tears, that Ginny felt a sudden pang of sympathy. She sighed.
"I know how you feel. Classes used to be fun, until that Umbridge woman came along." She spat the hated name and Harry looked a little taken aback by her vehemance, then he smiled. Her feelings mirrored his exactly.
They sat together for a while, neither speaking, just enjoying each other's company.
After a while, Ginny started to fidget. She never could stay still for long."You know," she said, breaking the silence, "the only things I know about you are from the earlier newspapers, and Ron. I don't think I know much about you that's really true, except what Ron’s told me."
Harry flinched slightly at the mention of newspapers, but recovered quickly. "There's not really much to tell."
"Yes, there is!" Ginny insisted. "I don't know what subjects you're good at, who you're friends with other than Ron and Hermione, what you think of... my family." She'd been about to say 'me', but managed to catch herself in time. That would be too much of a giveaway.
Harry looked down at his lap. Somewhere in their talk he'd pulled out his wand and had started to twirl it in his hands. Now he put it back, not wanting to seem nervous. "I... don't really know who my friends are any more. Other than you and your family, of course. You've all been wonderful to me. But everyone else, everyone at school... I can't tell any more."
Harry looked so thoroughly dejected that Ginny couldn't help herself. She put her arm around him and leaned against him, in a half-hug. "Don't worry, Harry. Things'll be okay again. They'll like you again, but until they do, you'll always have us."
Harry gently leaned into the hug, seeming a little unsure of how to react. Ginny was surprised that he didn't seem to feel her heart racing; she was sure it would burst out of her chest.
"I'm not even sure who I am any more. I mean, I'm supposed to do all these things, and I've supposedly done all these great things in the past... I just don't know. It's getting harder to separate the celebrity Harry, the person everyone seems to think I am, from the real Harry."
Ginny thought for a moment, her head resting on Harry's shoulder. "It doesn't matter what other people think, Harry. You are who you think you are."
Harry thought about it, then nodded, smiling. Ginny closed her eyes. After a moment, Harry bent his head and kissed her on the forehead. "Thank you, Ginny."