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
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
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." She then poked him in the ribs again. "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 became a mute
when I was around a couple of years ago."
Ginny gaped at him for a moment, then she laughed. "Well done! That's
your 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, still smiling. "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 sighed in 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. He hadn't thought that anyone else had
known Ron's big secret, and here was Ginny talking about it as if she were
commenting on the weather.
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.
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 brushed her hair off of her face, thinking. "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.
They sat together for a while, neither speaking, just enjoying each
"You know," Ginny said after a while, 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. Well, Ron probably tells me
the truth, but he doesn't say much. He always says I should find out these
things for myself."
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 sighed. "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."
He 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 gingerly leaned into the hug. He hadn't gotten many in his life, so
it was still a novelty. It was surprising 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
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