The Sugar Quill
Author: Honeychurch (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Restless  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.

None of this, obviously, belongs to me. While this makes me sad, I acknowledge that itís in better hands than mine!

It was an extremely chilly night, which was rather unexpected, since the day it followed had been unusually warm for December. Harry pulled his cloak up around his neck and wished that heíd remembered to bring his gloves. He was on his way back from Hagridís, where he had spent a very comfortable half-hour with Fang and Hagrid talking of nothing in particular and staring into the fire. It had been nice to be out of the castle. This nameless restlessness was easier out of doors. He should be in the common room right now working on the stacks of homework he had not yet started, but he couldnít seem to settle his mind on anything long enough to be productive. Scuffing his foot along the ground, he deliberately slowed his stride. There was no hurry to get back.

Snow had started falling heavily without Harryís notice, but now he was beginning to realize that the world around him was rapidly becoming white. He skirted around a shed and came within view of the paddock, and unexpectedly found himself unable to move.

Hagridís success last year with unicorns had inspired him to repeat the lessons with the fourth years this term. While Harryís fifth year class was working with a variety of extremely nasty invertebrates once again, he had heard the 4th year Gryffindor girls chattering on about how beautiful the unicorns were. He hadnít really paid much attention- he wasnít paying much attention to anything lately, really. But, now, standing there in the snow by Hagridís paddock, he had within his view the most riveting thing heíd ever seen.

Suddenly, he remembered quite clearly what the girls had been so excited about. "Wasnít it the most beautiful thing youíve ever seen? So white, and it let me touch it!" "Yeah, but it really seemed to fancy Ginny, didnít it? Walked right up to her and rubbed his head against hers. Iím jealous!" He was jealous, too, he thought suddenly, not of Ginny, but the unicorn. For there, standing no more than 50 feet away from him was Ginny, her bright hair speckled with snow and her arms around the neck of the unicorn. He had never seen that expression on her face before. She looked alight, uplifted, as the unicorn delicately nuzzled the side of her face. She ran a red mittened hand along its cheek soothingly and patted its neck. The picture that she made against the backdrop of snow covered trees quite literally took his breath away. Part of her red hair was caught in a black knitted muffler wound about her neck while the rest was whipping about her face in the breeze. It seemed impossibly bright in the moonlight, the only real color against the black of her cloak and the blinding white of the unicorn.

He had quite a bit of experience with how his stomach felt when he was in mortal danger, and it felt a bit like that now, only there was a curious sort of enjoyment in it. He wondered if he should walk over and talk to her, but that was flatly impossible. Still, it didnít seem right to just stand here and stare at her- surely he should do somethingÖbut in the next moment the decision was taken entirely out of his hands when she turned her head slightly and saw him standing there in the clearing.

Her eyes grew wide, and Harry felt his cheeks grow hot. He knew he should say something quickly, something casual, so sheíd know that this was no big deal, that there was nothing going on here at all, that everything was casual, was normal, wasÖbut he couldnít force a single word through his throat. "Harry?" said Ginny tentatively. "What are you doing here?" Harry shrugged. It was the best he could do. Ginny cleared her throat and looked away from him. "Isnít she beautiful?" She asked, indicating the unicorn. "I couldnít help walking down to see her." Harry nodded. "Er- yeah. Really beautiful." He managed to croak. "I- Iím going to go back up to the castle now," he said, not trusting himself any further. "Itís- Itís getting pretty late. You should probably come up now, too." Ginny caught his eyes for a moment, and then shook her head. "Not yet. Iíll be up in a minute. You go on ahead." He was relieved and disappointed at the same time. He didnít quite know what was going on here, but he was certain that he was in big trouble. "Ok," he said, finally. "Iíll see you back up in Gryffindor, then." But Ginnyís attention was already back with the unicorn. "Mmm-hmm," she murmured soothingly, more at the animal than in response to Harry. "Ok, Then." He felt like a fool. Go! he shouted at himself. Just Go! But it was at least another minute before he managed to turn away and start trudging up the hill in the direction of the castle, his restlessness now with a name.

Continued in That Corner of the Room

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