The Sugar Quill
Author: Wahlee (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: This Moment  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.

This Moment

by Wahlee

Disclaimer: All JKR's. Not mine. Hers.

The warm June sunlight played across the blue surface of the lake as it reflected the cloudless sky above, creating flecks of gold where the water rippled in the breeze. If anyone had chanced to look out of the windows of the Great Hall, they would have seen two figures on a blanket near the shore—one, a small figure with a mane of long red hair, was sitting up, facing toward the lake; the other, tall, lean, and black-haired, was laying with his head in the redhead's lap; both were clearly oblivious to anything but each other. It was lucky that lunch was particularly good and the students particularly hungry, because Ginny Weasley and Harry Potter wanted privacy.

Ginny smiled as she played with Harry's hair. Always so messy. She used to want to tame it, sure that it was mere laziness on his part that kept it so untidy. Her fingers had ached to do exactly what they were doing now, to smooth the locks into place. But now his hair seemed a natural part of him, like his eyes and his glasses and his shy smile. All of which she loved. And so she loved his hair, too, unruly though it was. Harry sighed in satisfaction as he lay in her lap, the remains of their lunch beside him, and Ginny smiled, so glad that she could give this to him, this thing he so desperately needed.

I must make every moment count.

It wasn't just that she had to revise for O.W.L.s, or that Harry's N.E.W.T- level work kept him almost as busy, despite his free periods. It wasn't just because Snape (the evil git) insisted on keeping Harry longer every detention he did. It wasn't that they had to resort to stolen kisses behind tapestries in corridors between classes, or lunches like this one, away from the hustle and bustle of the school. It certainly wasn't that every eye was on them in the common room—including Ron's—and the last thing they needed was more gossip.

It was something else all together.

Something that had come to her quite suddenly, at 4 AM the night after their first, memorable kiss and the subsequent walk (if you could call it that) on the grounds. She lay there gazing at the scarlet hangings of her four-poster, quite awake and deliriously happy despite being asleep only moments before, thinking of how she'd felt all year, as she realized that Harry was starting to be interested in her: the times she'd caught him staring, the look on his face when she'd entered the Common Room holding hands with Dean, the little compliments he'd give her at Quidditch practice. She hadn't used Dean, exactly—she really did like him quite a lot, maybe even loved him, in a way. And she certainly did not want to string him on, not after she realized that what she felt for Harry hadn't gone away, like she thought it had. Yes, she had cared for Dean. But not the same way she cared for Harry. Harry. She lay smiling for a while, remembering the way Harry had smiled at her after turning her victory hug into their first kiss, the feeling of Harry's hands in her hair, the things he had whispered in her ear, the way he held her in his arms like he never wanted to let her go. . .

And she realized that he would. Would let her go, that is. He'd have to, wouldn't he? This couldn't last, he'd realize it soon enough—his stupid, irritating, adorable sense of nobility and protectiveness would overcome his feelings eventually. He would push her away, concerned for her safety, concerned for her life. A justifiable concern, a noble gesture. And she would have to let him, because she certainly didn't want to be an additional burden. But in the meantime. . .



"How soon do we have to go back?" Harry's eyes were still closed.

"Not for a while yet." Ginny continued her ministrations on Harry's hair.

"Good." He stretched and resettled his head in her lap, happy and content.

Ginny didn't know how long she'd have this, didn't know how many chances she'd have to let him know how much she cared. How much she had always cared. Whether it was days, or weeks, or months. No matter if he was or wasn't the Chosen One everyone was saying he was, Ginny knew he couldn't let Voldemort do the things he was doing without trying to do something about it. He was content enough now to be with her, but he seemed to be waiting for something, waiting for action. Her love was like water in the desert to him, now—or it soon would be. She needed to fill him up with it, until it overflowed and spread around him, protecting him as he would try to protect her.

Harry opened his eyes and smiled up at her. Slowly, he raised his hand to her face and began caressing her cheek. Ginny closed her own eyes and leaned into his hand, enjoying the sensation of his thumb brushing her skin. Suddenly, she turned her head and kissed his palm. Harry rose up on one arm and drew her face down to his, her flaming hair falling over them like a curtain as their lips joined. When they broke apart, Ginny removed his glasses, took his face in her hands and began kissing it all over.

His left cheek (for saving me, all those years ago), his right cheek (for the pain you've felt), his chin (for the pain you've yet to feel), his jawline just below his ear (for what Umbridge did to you), his upper lip, which made Harry whimper (for Cedric), the corner of his mouth, which made him whimper more (for Sirius), his left temple (for the sacrifices you've made), his left eyelid, and Ginny could feel him tremble (for the sacrifices you will yet make), the bridge of his nose (for your bravery), his right eyelid (for your modesty), his right temple (for your generosity), and finally, lingeringly, his scar (to give you strength, for what you must do).

"Ginny . . ." Harry's voice was soft, nearly breathless. He opened his eyes and stared into hers, green and brown connecting, drawing strength from each other. "I . . . I didn't know it could be like this."

In response, Ginny leaned down, kissing him hungrily. Harry's arm collapsed beneath him, and she followed him to the ground, not quite on top of him, their lips continuing to meet. "This . . ." she said, in the brief moments between breaking and rejoining, "is what . . . you . . . deserve." He tensed, and she stopped, leaning on her elbows, and looked at him—he seemed about to protest. "You've lived nearly your whole life without love, without affection." She kissed him again. "Everyone deserves this kind of happiness, Harry. Especially you."

Harry's eyes grew bright. "Ginny . . ." he repeated. "I . . . you . . ."

"Shh," Ginny placed a finger on his lips. "Harry, right now, I don't care about me. This moment is for you. I'm just glad I could give it to you." And she pressed her lips against his as she wrapped her arms around his neck; he tangled his hands in her hair as they kissed deeply, passionately, pausing only briefly to draw breath before joining again.

For you, Harry. As surely as this makes me happy, I am doing it for you. When darker times come, remember this day, this hour, this moment, this feeling. . .

A bell rang, distantly, floating over the sweeping lawns to where they lay. Reluctantly, Ginny disentangled herself from Harry's embrace. "I've got Defense next. Can't be late."

"Yeah, I know." Just as reluctantly, Harry gathered himself together and got to his feet. Ginny fumbled for her wand as she rose; finding it, she muttered a quick spell which cleared away the remains of the food; another muttered word and the blanket folded itself. Harry reached down and picked it up, then looked at Ginny.

"Er, Ginny? Your hair." He reached out to grab a lock. "It's a bit messy."

"Oh." She waved her wand over it; soon it was smooth and shining again. "Better?" she asked.

"Much." Harry took her hand, and they walked back toward the castle together. They passed through the double doors, their eyes readjusting from the bright sunlight to the more subdued light of the hall. Harry quickly spotted Ron and Hermione, who were waiting for him so they could all study in the library during their after-lunch free period.

"‘Bye, Harry," Ginny murmured. Harry leaned down and gave her a quick kiss.

"See you at dinner," Harry replied. "And Ginny—thanks."

Ginny smiled, and started toward the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom. No, she thought. Thank you, for giving me even the smallest chance to save you. As you saved me. She began to ascend the staircase, stopped halfway up, and turned back to give him one last wave. He was watching her go. I love you, Harry James Potter.


A/N: Thanks to everyone who betaed for me: Pam, Susan, Laura, Sannali, Margot, and Kellie, and to Marta and Rachel for giving me a reason not to ignore this plot bunny. Special thanks to JKR for making my OTP canon, and for giving us lovely phrases like "a particularly happy hour by the lake," which just scream for fanfiction.

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