The Sugar Quill
Author: Firebolt909 (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Second Chances  Chapter: Part Two: The Famous Good, Great Harry Potter
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"Little Ginny's been writing in it for months and months, telling me all her pitiful worries and woes: how her brothers tease her, how she had to come to school with second-hand robes and books, how-" Riddle's   eyes glinted "-how she didn't think famous, good, great Harry Potter would ever like her..."

                                                                                       -The Chamber of Secrets

Harry, drenched from the steady downpour that had been going on all evening, slowly made his way back to the Castle from the Quidditch pitch.  Fred and George Weasley, now both co-captains of the House team, were worth two Oliver Woods, as they were just as serious about the game as he could be despite their carefree natures.  It was way past bedtime, and the twins had just pronounced the team ready to face their next match.

As much as Harry loved to play Quidditch, the sport wasnít what he thought about as he trudged through the mud.  No, Harry's mind was occupied with a bright-eyed, freckle-faced redhead, who just so happened to be the youngest Weasley.  Harry had had crushes before.  In his fourth year, all he could think about was Cho Chang, a Seeker for Ravenclaw.  That faded as quickly as it started, especially after Cedricís death.  Then in his fifth year, he had a slight crush on a girl in Hufflepuff, Lisa Robertson, a pretty auburn haired Prefect.  She, however, was with Roger Davies, so no luck there either.

It was much to Harry's surprise while staying with the Weasleys over the summer, that he found himself staring quite a bit at Ginny.  He always knew that she had a crush on him , ever since he first met her at age twelve.  She was always blushing around him, never quite meeting his eyes when she talked, always turning into a klutz the minute he walked into the room, following him, Ron and Hermione whenever they went.  He never thought about it one way or another.  This past summer, however, he noticed that she was no longer doing any of those things.  In fact, she had hardly been around him at all, keeping to herself.

One morning Harry had woken up to the sound of singing outside the window to the room that he and Ron shared at the Burrow.  Checking to see if Ron had heard it--he was still snoring--Harry went over and looked out.  It was Ginny.  She was out in the garden next to the fountain, painting with her watercolours, singing softly to the wizard radio playing in the kitchen.  She was wearing a simple day dress, and the morning sun shone upon her hair, highlighting each strand in a haze of red and gold.  It was quite simply the most beautiful sight he had ever seen.

From that moment on whenever he saw her, his stomach did a little lurch, as if he had one of Hagridís Blast-Ended Skewts inside it.  If Ginny spoke to him, Harry felt his face heat up like a bonfire, and would find himself incapable of speech.  She would walk past him in the halls at school, and he'd drop his books, run into walls, or stumble.  Malfoy had noticed this and had jeeringly compared him to Neville Longbottom.

He had agonized about the Yule Ball since the moment Dumbledore announced it. Like the last time, he knew who he wanted to ask, but he still couldnít work up the courage.  After a week of self-torment (where he realized that if he didnít ask, she might decide to go with Neville again),  he finally decided to corner her on the way to Potions.  First of all, the hallway to the dungeons was dark, so he could mask his nerves and embarrassment.  Secondly, if she turned him down, he could quickly hide his disappointment and run like hell.  Lastly, if she did she did somehow say yes, then the dark would hopefully conceal the stupid-ass grin he would have.  She said yes.  Not only yes, but  "Sure, that would be great!"  Great!  It would be great to go with him!  He was so happy and excited that he accidentally turned his hedgehog into a pincushion with little pink hearts all over it in Transfiguration.  Professor McGonagall gave him high marks, but Ron and the others had teased him unmercifully for the rest of the evening.

Harry dashed up the steps to the Castle and entered the large hallway, thankful to get out of the weather.  Careful not to make too much of a mess, lest Filch was nearby, he made his way to the dormitory showers, hoping to wash off the mud and grime.  Coming to the portrait hole, he woke up the Fat Lady and gave her the password: "Pixie Dust."

He hadn't expect the object of his thoughts to be snuggled asleep in  one of the big chairs in the corner.  Shouldn't she be in bed?  He silently padded over to her, pausing as he noted her soft smile.  Harry had never seen anyone sleep and smile at the same time.  What could she be dreaming about?  His heart flip-flopped at her peaceful expression.  Not wanting to waken her, he quietly took a quilt from the nearby chest, and draped it over her, tucking it in at the corners.  He stood over her a moment longer, memorizing her beautiful features.  With a light caress to her cheek, he tiptoed upstairs to his room.


"Hey four-eyes!" the bishop yelled, startling Harry. "Itís your move already!"

"What-oh, sorry." Harry told his pawn to move and looked back over at the corner where Ginny was sitting. He hadnít been able to talk to her since yesterday, and wanted desperately to go say something to her. The fact of the matter was: he didnít know what to say. He had naively thought that after asking her to the Yule Ball that he wouldnít be so nervous around her, but soon discovered that was not the case. If anything, his nervousness increased. He could barely look her in the eye without his mind going blank and his stomach doing cartweels.

Quidditch practice had been called off tonight, the weather was just too bad. Instead, he and Ron were playing a game of chess, with Hermione sitting on the floor next to Ron, her arm propped on his thigh. In between moves, Ron would quickly give her a kiss.

"Will you pay attention!" the queen screamed up at Harry. "Canít you see Iím about to be taken!" His chess pieces, ever since he first got them for Christmas in his first year, absolutely despised him. They never won, (especially since all he did was play Ron), and they seemed to take it out on Harry. He really couldnít blame them; Ronís chess pieces were quite a blood thirsty lot, however it was quite embarrassing to be taunted by them.

Harry quickly lost another piece to Ron. "Ron, your pieces are such bullies!" Hermione said as she watched Harryís bishop being kicked screaming off the board by Ronís.

"You tell him there, gorgeous!" said Harryís knight to Hermione. Harryís chess pieces, at least the male ones, were quite the ladies men. "If he wasnít making puppy eyes at that stunning red-head in the corner over there, we might have a chance!"

Harryís face went scarlet. Ron and Hermione gave each other a knowing look, trying very hard not to smile. They failed.

Ron finally decided to take matters into his own hands. "Oi, Ginny!" Ginny looked up from reading her book. "Come over here and give Harry a hand will ya?" Ginny slightly blushed and walked over to them.

Harry scooted over so Ginny could sit next to him. "Hey there, baby!" his bishop cat-called. "I was always partial to red-heads," said the King, winking at her and earning a slap from the Queen. Ginny giggled and smiled shyly at Harry. There wasnít much room on the bench they were sharing, so Harry discreetly placed his arm around her back, bringing her closer to the game (and him).

Harry was amazed. Ginny was an incredible chess player, almost as good as Ron. Even more amazing was the fact that his pieces never once argued with her and moved exactly where she said, all the while giving her outrageous comments.

"I canít believe your chess pieces are flirting with my little sister," Ron said disgustedly. Hermione and Ginny both laughed.

Harry grinned. "What can I say, they have good taste." He winked at Ginny.

It was half past one before Ron forced her into checkmate. "Good game, Red!" "Weíll get him next time, beautiful!" His bishop and knight called as they hobbled into the bag. "You donít really like old four-eyes there, díya luv?" said a pawn. Harry quickly stuffed them under the chair. "Hey!" came the muffled outcries.

Ron and Hermione had both gone to bed, leaving them alone. Harryís arm was now pulling her closer. He was still racking his mind, trying to think of something to say, trying to tell her how he felt about her, without saying something stupid.

"Iím glad you didnít have Quidditch practice, tonight," she murmured.

"Yeah, me too."

Ginny laid her head in the crook of his neck. He brushed a feathery kiss on her temple and wrapped his other arm tight around her. She sighed and cuddled closer. Maybe she already knew, he thought, giving her another soft kiss.

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