The Sugar Quill
Author: phoenixfeather  Story: Halloween Comfort  Chapter: Default
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Halloween Comfort

Halloween Comfort

Rating: PG-13


Harry was bored. There was no other way of looking at it. Whilst the rest of the castle had been allowed a special Halloween Hogsmeade trip, he was locked up in Hogwarts, forbidden to leave the, in case Voldemort were to attack him outside of the safety of Hogwarts. Harry snorted at the idea of it. He knew Voldemort had been gaining power over the past few months, ever since the night of the third task, but did his Professors honestly think that he would bump into the ‘Dark Lord’ himself while browsing through novelty pens in Zonko's Joke Shop?

He looked around the deserted common room and was hit with a sense of loneliness. Every student in third year and up were in Hogsmeade and the first and second year students were all out playing inter-house Quidditch. Harry didn't like being alone on Halloween, he needed something to distract him from the inevitable thoughts of his parents. He thought back on his past Halloweens spent at Hogwarts. First year when he, Ron and Hermione had fought the troll in the girls toilets; second year when the three of them had gone to Nearly Headless Nick’s Deathday party; third year when he had spent the day with Lupin and then spent the evening holed up with Ron and Hermione talking excitedly and somewhat nervously about Sirius Black. And, of course, there had been fourth year when his name had been dramatically thrown out of the Goblet of Fire. While it had to be admitted that none of these days had been exactly relaxing, they certainly had been full of activity with little time to dwell on thoughts] of his past.


This year was different, though. He was alone with nothing to do but think of his past. Ron and Hermione had, of course, offered to stay with him, but he had told them to go to Hogsmeade and have a good time. Ron had given him a nervous smile as he and Hermione followed the ever-growing line of students pushing through the portrait hole. Harry knew his friend was probably excited and nervous about spending the day alone with Hermione. It was apparent to everyone but Ron and Hermione that they liked each other. Hopefully a day alone together would give them a much-needed push in the right direction.

Harry pulled himself up and out of his chair. He’d had enough, he couldn't sit around anymore, he had to get up and do something to distract himself. He decided to go down to the kitchen and see Dobby, but upon his arrival at the kitchens, he found the place in absolute chaos. He had always imagined the house elves quickly and calmly using their magic to prepare dinner but the noise and mess he was greeted with was astounding. Harry smiled briefly at what Hermione would say if she was with him. He stood in the doorway, not wanting to move and get in the way but just as he was about to leave Dobby spotted him and rushed over.

“Harry Potter has come to see Dobby, sir?”

Harry smiled down at Dobby and nodded to him. “Yeah, but I guess you're a little busy.”

“Oh yes, Harry Potter sir, we have much to prepare for the feast tonight, Dobby is sorry, but he must keep working if everything is to be ready on time!”

“That's okay,  Dobby, I was just getting lonely in the Common Room on my own.”

“If Harry Potter is wanting someone to talk to there is another student sitting by the fire in the Great Hall. She was down here just a few minutes ago to ask for some marshmallows for her hot chocolate. Dobby is sorry but he must get back to work now, Winky needs constant supervising!”

Harry opened his mouth to respond but Dobby had vanished into the hustle and bustle of the other House Elves. As Harry climbed back through the trapdoor [comma] he thought he could hear Dobby’s squeaking voice rising above the others, no doubt reprimanding Winky for some mistake or another. He stood next to the rather large painting of a fruit bowl and pondered on where to go next. He could visit Hagrid, he supposed, but that would mean traipsing back up to his dormitory to get his clock and scarf, and he didn't particularly want to go out into the bitterly cold winds anyway. He decided to go and see who the student in the Great Hall was.

Harry pulled open the doors to the Great Hall and sure enough, he could see someone's shadow, enlarged several times on the opposite wall by the flickering glow of the fire. He walked quietly across the room, so that whoever it was wouldn't notice him. That way he reasoned to himself, if it was someone he really didn't want to talk to, he could make a quick escape and not worry about appearing rude. As he got closer, though, he could see what was clearly Weasley-red hair over the chair back. He breathed a sigh of relief, and walked around the chair to see which of them it was. He smiled when he saw Ginny. She looked startled by his sudden entrance, and even, he had to admit, rather pretty. Her hair was glowing softly in the firelight, and her cheeks had a pinkish tinge from the warmth radiating from the fire.

“Hi, Ginny,” he said as he sank into an armchair next to her.

Ginny smiled at him and gestured to the large mug of hot chocolate she was holding. “Would you like a mug?”

Harry nodded and she waved her wand at the small table between their chairs, conjuring up a steaming mug of hot chocolate. Harry went to pick it up just as she reached over to drop a couple of marshmallows into it. Their hands lightly brushed against each others. Ginny blushed slightly, making her usually pale cheeks appear pinker. Whilst she had overcome much of her shyness around Harry during the previous summer, of which Harry had spent most of at The Burrow, she was still prone to blushing whenever Harry complimented her, or, as he had just a few seconds previously, touched her.

Harry pretended not to notice and took a sip from his drink. He looked back over at Ginny and smiled again. When Ginny just smiled back, Harry decided he had better say something to prevent the two of them from just sitting there smiling like a couple of idiots.

“Where did these armchairs come from?” he asked. “They aren't usually here, are they? I think I would have noticed at some stage over the past four years.”

Ginny laughed softly, and Harry couldn't help but be taken aback by how pretty her laugh was. It was gentle and warm and in a strange way, rather comforting.

“I wasn't allowed to go to Hogsmeade this morning because Professor McGonagall noticed I was coughing a lot in her lesson yesterday. When she told me I couldn't go, I pouted a lot and she eventually said she’d put a couple of chairs by the fire in here for the day so that I could sit and read away from the first and second years.”

Harry was slightly suprised at the idea of seemingly sweet Ginny manipulating her teachers. It must have shown on his face because she laughed again, and said, “Come on, Harry, I grew up in a house with six brothers, I learned a few tricks over the years! Anyway, what are you doing here? I imagined you would be up in the common room reading Quidditch books or something.”

Harry looked at her, unsure of whether to explain the real reason he had come downstairs, or to just say he was bored. He decided to trust her.

“On Halloween, I usually start thinking about my parents. That's when they were... you know. I didn't want to sit around dwelling on my thoughts so I came looking for someone to distract me.” He looked at Ginny almost shyly, worried she might laugh or something but he found her looking at him with nothing but understanding and compassion. As the two of them sat silently, just looking at one another, Harry decided to seize the moment. After all, he thought, what could he lose? He gulped. Perhaps he wouldn't answer that question. Images of the six Weasley brothers chasing him with sharpened sticks ran through his mind. He shook his head slightly to clear the images and very slowly he leaned towards Ginny. He reached out and put his hand gently on her fiery red hair. He pulled her towards him, placed his lips on hers and softly kissed her. In that moment every coherent thought, every unpleasant memory of the past and every worry he had been feeling vanished. The whole world seemed to melt away around them. All that mattered in that instant was the two of them, together at last.


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