The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.
I am forever grateful to girlyswot for her early help on this story, and to the Fluff Thread for its continual source of inspiration. I would also like to thank Igenlode Wordsmith, who is by far the best and most patient of all Betas...
Star light, star bright,
The first star I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have this wish I wish tonight.
A light flurry of snowflakes drifted across Ginny’s field of vision. Aimless, and apparently unaffected by gravity, they tossed, rising and falling with the wind until coming to rest on one of the barren branches in the garden. Occasionally one would land on the window-sill: sticking to its edge and adding to the collection, feather-touch by feather-touch, until the snow became something that no one wanted to go out in—well, at least, not anytime soon.
She glanced up at the twilight sky through the glass pane of her bedroom window. The patchy cloud cover was not so thick that the winter sun couldn’t be seen glowing through it in the west, casting a pinkish hue across the landscape.
There. Finally she had spotted one, only one, shining faintly in the dusky sky.
Closing her eyes she made her wish, as she had done every night since he had left last summer. Feeling incredibly childish but expectant nonetheless, she opened her eyes and looked down on the front path.
It was still vacant…white and empty.
Annoyed by her disappointment, she pressed her fingers against the cold pane of glass. They melted only a few of the ice crystals that had collected there, leaving small marks of condensation where she had touched the glass. She could hex Charlie for introducing her to this silly superstition anyway. He had told her the poem once when he was child-minding—how old had she been? Eight? Wishing on a star…stars were not even magical…
It was cold. The window was cold. Or maybe it was just the thick layer of snow outside that made her feel cold. She shivered, pulling her hands up into the sleeves of one of Ron’s too-small sweaters, and tucked them under her folded arms. She returned to sit on her school trunk, elbows forward on her knees and nose nearly touching the glass, gazing out of the window.
Hermione had said that she and the others would not be in contact, and she had been right. The only time Ginny had heard from them was just after school began. Hermione had woken her in the middle of the night, whispering to her through Sirius’s old mirror. She had asked her to go to the Hogwarts library and find anything that she could on Rowena Ravenclaw’s tiara. Ginny and Luna had spent countless hours searching. She had looked in the main library while Luna had searched the Ravenclaw library, both trying to find any information they could. It wasn’t long before they learned very little was to be found. And really, who wore tiaras anyway? But when she had met Hermione in Hogsmeade to give her their notes, it was then that Hermione had offered that maybe—maybe, if all went well—they would be able to make it to The Burrow for Christmas.
Somehow, deep inside, Ginny knew that they would come. That he would come. And that it would be tonight. She hoped in time for dinner—but then, any time would do. She wasn’t really picky.
The garden was peaceful, the snow on the lane still pristine.
Lamps flickered on in the hall behind her. They were soon followed by the fairy lights that framed her dresser mirror—which were charmed to come on at the same time every day, whether she was at home or not—illuminating her otherwise dim room. She could hear the distant clanking and clatter of pots on the stove. Her mother was cooking. Of course she was cooking; it was Christmas Eve.
Ginny pulled back from the window. She should be downstairs helping, but she was hesitant to leave her station. She had a perfect view of the front gate.
Charlie’s belly laugh caught her ear, followed by George’s bellow of triumph and Bill’s groan of agony. George was beating Bill in chess…again. Turning her head, she could just hear the light tinkle of Fleur’s voice and the pleasant laugh of Angelina and she knew that she wasn’t needed in the kitchen. They would all be help enough. And even though she hadn’t said anything to her mother, she was certain that her mum somehow knew where she was.
She looked up at the sky again, locating the lone star that was growing more and more visible in the muted violet sky. The longer she stared at it, the more certain she became that it was winking at her. Ginny blinked with a disgruntled sigh.
Stars don’t wink.
She looked down at her frayed jeans, fingering a loose string. It wasn’t so bad, though…to wish…to dream. After all, it was far worse not to. How dreadful to give up hope, particularly when there was so much to be hopeful for. Even though wishing on stars was something that only children did—certainly not girls teetering on the edge of womanhood.
Ginny almost laughed; who was she kidding? Perhaps she never would grow up. After all, sitting at her window—waiting—was making her feel just as if she was eleven again. She tugged on the loose thread, perhaps slightly too hard, before tucking her hands into the warmth of her crossed arms and returning to look out of the window.
Once more, waiting.
There. A movement. Faint voices.
It took her only a moment to focus. Her heart picked up speed, scarcely believing what was unfolding in front of her: three figures tromping through the snow, down the lane, toward the gate. Her gate. She stood up from the window. Drawing a sharp breath she pressed her hands into her ribs, which had suddenly started shaking.
There he was. He was walking behind Ron and Hermione. The top of his dark head peppered with snow. She couldn’t see his face.
Ron was limping. Mum would go spare when she saw that. But he was laughing… at something Hermione had said…while ruffling her hair. Hermione was tucked under his arm, her curls exploding out from under the knitted edge of her stocking cap. Her face glowing as she looked up at him. Ginny smirked; limp or no limp, Ron was fine.
Then Harry pushed past Ron to open the gate. Her breath caught. He wasn’t limping, in fact, he looked healthy…happy…as he unhooked the latch. His scarf was tightly wrapped around his neck, his dark hair and shoulders flecked with snow and his glasses a sharp contrast against his red cheeks.
He glanced up at her window.
She sprang back from the window pane as if scalded, her heart racing. She didn’t want him to see her there: for him to be reminded of the little girl that she had once been, peeping out at him from hidden corners…waiting.
Ginny bit her lip, contemplating her next move. She wanted to run—to fly—down the steps to the front door, but she was frozen to the spot where she stood, her stomach filled with butterflies that threatened to overtake her entire body.
There was a sudden squeal from her mother, followed by an explosion of boisterous sound. All thoughts were forgotten as she listened, focusing on what she could hear filtering up to her bedroom’s landing. Her family, both immediate and extended, was jabbering all at once…a cacophony of sound. She strained to hear him, but couldn’t make out his voice.
There it was—she heard him—his laugh. It was him. Laughing.
And suddenly her legs were free. Her body was free. She ran—flew—out of her room and down the stairs, two at a time.
Tears would not do. She hastily brushed them away, off her cheeks, with her sleeve and blinked. No more tears—no more tears. Biting the inside of her cheek she forced them back; she couldn’t let him see—wouldn’t let him worry. Why were there so many stairs in her house? The last landing—the last stairs—the orange glow that was the blurred light of the kitchen. The back of every Weasley head—looking at—
Her feet slowed as she approached the crowded doorway to the front room. Her mother was scurrying around Ron, fussing as she removed his coat and scarf. Her family was boisterous, laughing and merry and they hadn’t noticed her arrival. But he had. Harry had glanced over, at her.
His eyes met hers. There was no one else.
Again she sped like a falling star, as fast as she could, forging her way through her family and through the front room, not stopping until she had her arms wrapped around him. Tightly. Winter snow and brisk pine, cold wool and melting ice crystals, all mixed up together, smelling of him. The rim of his glasses was cold against her cheek; his gloved hand was in her hair, holding her to him just as tight as she held him. She had never felt so warm.
Have this wish I wish tonight.
She pulled back. Harry’s nose brushed across her cheekbone, leaving a trail of tingling skin. And without thinking, without planning it, without worrying about the fact that her obnoxious brothers were watching, Ginny kissed him.
No more waiting. No more wishing.
It might have been possible to hear a pin drop. She thought she heard Fred say something, followed by a spattering of nervous laughter. But Ginny didn’t care. She truly didn’t care. Harry was here, holding her, and that was all that mattered. She broke away, looking up at him, smiling broadly. He grinned back at her—that grin that she loved so much.
Perhaps stars were magical after all.
“Happy Christmas, Harry,” she whispered, sinking back into the warmth of him.
“Happy Christmas, Ginny.”