The Sugar Quill
Author: Honeychurch (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: That Corner of the Room  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 is a follow-up to my first fic, Restless, and none of these characters are actually mine, although I have purchased many things with their pictures on them.

He stared blankly at page 367 of his Transfigurations textbook, willing himself not to look over into that corner of the common room. Each day was a little bit worse than the day before, Harry reflected grimly. Surely this wasn’t going to be a permanent condition. He was already sick of the over sensitivity, the jumpiness, the blushing. Someone was going to figure out what was going on, and soon. He just hoped it wasn’t HER. There were several reasons this would be the most embarrassing thing ever to happen to him, not the least of which was that he’d already blown it. It just figures, he thought. It just figures that when I start to like her, she’s already stopped liking me. This was patently obvious—he could hardly look at her without blushing, while she seemed to take no more notice of him than she did of the common room furniture. So. Plainly the thing to be done here was to completely ignore this… it would go away. These things did, eventually. After all, he could now think of Cho with complete equanimity. Certainly she was pretty, and kind, and popular, but that no longer did curious things to his insides. Cho was just Cho again. She certainly wasn’t…Ginny. Damn! He slammed his textbook shut and rose to his feet, scanning the room desperately for a distraction. His eyes fell on yet another complication playing chess by the fire with Hermione. He thought he knew Ron well enough to predict he would not be pleased by his best mate’s crush on his little sister. Still, he thought he had an outside chance to keep him from figuring it out. Ron wasn’t very swift when it came to these things-if he still hadn’t cottoned on to his own crush on Hermione, it was unlikely he’d notice the symptoms in someone else.

Harry stacked his books into a pile and headed for the sofa by the fire. Hermione glanced up from the chessboard. "Finished with Transfiguration, have you? Do you think she’ll have us try it out tomorrow with real salamanders?" Harry had no idea what Hermione was on about. Either the salamanders were in the part he hadn’t read yet, or he’d been reading the wrong chapter entirely. Hermione kept her eyes fixed on him, expecting a response. "I wouldn’t be surprised." Well, that was true, at least. Especially now that he knew salamanders were in some way involved.

"Hermione, it’s your move." Ron interrupted. He watched Ron turn his attention to Hermione as Hermione turned her attention to the board. For the first time, Harry felt a twinge of annoyance with Ron. How dim could he be? Lately, if he was looking for Ron, the best place to find him was within a five-foot radius of Hermione. It was pathetic, and all he had to do was SAY something- Hermione obviously felt the same way. Disgruntled, he threw himself back against the arm of the sofa. He wasn’t really angry with Ron, he thought, it was just…but that train of thought was destined to go no further. His new position on the couch had inadvertently given him a perfect view of that corner of the room.

Ginny was curled up in a large leather armchair, reading, completely oblivious to anyone else in the room. Must be nice, thought Harry almost resentfully. She was sprawled sideways across the chair, feet tucked up beneath her, and her head propped on her hand. She was relaxing, he noted. If she were nervous or upset she would be curled up into a smaller target. It was amazing how many things about her he had noticed when he hadn’t thought he was paying any attention at all. For instance, there was this curve her neck made when her head was propped like that. It looked as if his face would fit perfectly into that hollow- he bet her hair would tickle a little, but it would probably smell very nice. He’d have to sit on the arm of the chair, but if he leaned down a bit, he could probably… Harry was shocked at himself. Even if…even if…he’d never, ever do anything like that. It was unthinkable- that’s what it was, and yet, he had thought it. All of a sudden Harry felt like kicking something very hard. He turned his face into the arm of the sofa. Something had to be done about this. It was…unhealthy. Briefly he considered the hospital wing.

"Checkmate!" crowed Ron from the table next to him. Harry looked over to see that his pieces had completely surrounded Hermione’s king, who was making a valiant last stand with a quill it had commandeered from the table. "Your pieces are such bullies, Ron! Make them stop before they really hurt him!"

Ron rolled his eyes in exasperation. "They’re chess pieces, Hermione." He pulled her king out of the midst of his, who did indeed look ready for a spot of real violence. The king, startled, twisted in Ron’s hand and gave him a good jab with the nib of the quill. "Ow!" Ron dropped the king, who lay dazed on the hearthrug, still clutching his weapon. "So it’s mine that are vicious, then? I’m bleeding now, thanks very much."

"Ah, come on now, don’t be such a baby," said Hermione, grabbing his injured hand. "It barely broke the skin." She kissed it, and said casually, "There, all better now." Ron pulled his hand from hers so swiftly he knocked over a knight who was peering over the edge of the table. Hermione looked startled for a moment, and then a dull flush swept up her face as she realized that she had kissed Ron. Ron was now busily putting away the chess game, his ears nearly the same shade as Hermione’s cheeks. "I didn’t mean-"

"No, no! No reason-" Ron slammed the lid shut on the still squirming pieces. He looked up at Hermione, who was looking at the tabletop. Harry barely refrained from sighing. Well, this was just too much. He wasn’t staying down here in this menagerie of hormones one moment longer. He sat up straight on the sofa and found Ginny looking right at him. She was smiling, and she glanced over to Ron and Hermione and back at Harry, attempting to share the joke. In perhaps the first act of real cowardice in his life, he couldn’t meet her eyes. They were inviting him to be amused along with her, and a few weeks ago, he would have found the situation humorous. He would have met her eyes without a second thought. Now, instead, he tried to pretend that corner of the room didn’t exist, and didn’t quite manage to suppress a sigh.

A/N: If you’ve gotten this far, I feel I owe you an explanation. Oh, I so want Harry to have a terrible, terrible crush on Ginny. It’s only her due, really. Now, the real question: does she still have a crush on Harry? Hmm. I don’t think I’m entirely sure. I’m too busy being Harry in this scenario to know what Ginny really thinks.
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