Chapter 3 : Sparks and Lightning
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Harry took Ginny to his flat while the Aurors went back to her place to go over it again. Arriving with a pop outside of his door, Harry kept his arm securely around her while he began lowering the wards.
“How long are we going to be here, do you think?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” he replied, shaking his head. “I doubt we’ll go back actually.”
“What?” Ginny asked, her eyes widening as she pulled away from him. “Why not?”
“I just wouldn’t trust it…and it’s safer here anyway,” he explained, opening the door to his flat and gesturing her inside.
Moving past him, Ginny dropped her bag on the floor and headed straight to the sofa, plopping down with a sigh.
“I still don’t see why I couldn’t go to work,” she muttered.
Ignoring her comment, Harry picked up her bag and disappeared down the hall.
“Want something to drink?” he asked as he passed through the lounge again, heading for the kitchen.
“Sure, whatever,” Ginny replied as she sank deeper into the cushions and looked around.
Taking in the room, she found a large fireplace across from her with a few framed pictures resting randomly across the mantle.
Standing back up, she went to take a closer look. She didn’t recognize most of the people waving at her from inside of the frames except for Ron and Hermione.
As her eyes drifted around the room she thought his furniture looked rather new, as though he’d bought it when he moved in and then never really used it.
New except for the sofa that was noticeably more rumpled than its matching chairs. Ginny didn’t have any trouble picturing him ending up there instead of his bed at the end of the day.
She’d been so frustrated about having a bodyguard the first time Harry brought her here; she hadn’t really paid attention to how it looked. Now, as she looked around, she noticed how sparse it really was. It appeared as though Harry wasn’t home very much.
The windows were bare and there was an overall lack of finish to the room. It was as though he hadn’t gotten around to buying anything else – or hadn’t cared about buying lamps, rugs and the knickknacks that most people would use to decorate a new place.
The whole place screamed single male and Ginny was struck with a sudden burst of happiness that he obviously didn’t have a female to decorate for him.
Frowning at her reaction, she crossed back to the sofa and sank back onto the cushions.
When Harry reentered the room, he handed her a butterbeer before sitting down in one of the large cushioned chairs opposite her.
“This is what you drink? Butterbeer?” she asked, smirking a little. “Not really what you’d expect from a bachelor.”
“Well, I like it,” he defended before taking a drink. “And besides…I don’t drink things that would make me lose control.”
“Ah,” she replied, taking a drink from her bottle. “And why is that?”
“I just don’t,” he replied gruffly, his eyes clouding slightly as he took another drink.
Ginny felt his mood shift and wasn’t sure what had happened. In an attempt to fill the sudden lull in conversation, she looked around the room, trying to think of something to say.
“So…” she began, “this is your flat?”
Is that all you could come up with? she thought, almost rolling her eyes at herself. Really good transition Gin.
“Yeah,” he shrugged, looking around. “It’s not very exciting really. But you know, I’m not here much, so it works out.”
“Where are you usually? Girlfriend’s?”
Ginny didn’t really like the way her body seemed to tense a little, as though the answer to this question was very important for some reason.
They’d talked about almost everything under the sun over the last week, but somehow relationships didn’t make it onto the list. She gave her insides a firm shake and took another drink as Harry gave a short laugh.
“No,” he shook his head. “I’m usually at the office, actually.”
“Ah…” she perked an eyebrow. “Workaholic?”
“Lately I guess,” he answered simply. “Important case,” he added, taking another drink before leaning back to watch her.
Ginny began to reply but was interrupted by the sound of the doorbell.
Looking over, Harry stood up and pulled his wand. Setting his bottle on the end table he twirled his wand in his fingers as he walked to the door. Peering out the eyehole, he hesitated, looking down at the floor for a second as he debated.
Whoever it was knocked again, a little longer and a little louder this time. After a handful of seconds, Harry waved his hand in front of the door, unlocking it and taking down the magical wards.
When he opened it, there was a dark haired girl in front of his doorway. Cho Chang just stood outside his flat, her arms crossed self-consciously over her chest as she looked up at him.
“Hi,” she greeted him with a wobbly smile.
Harry didn’t open the door all the way and he leaned against it, hoping to shield Ginny from view.
“Hi,” he replied as he watched her eyes drop to her feet for a second. “What are you doing here?”
“I…I brought you your shirt,” she explained, holding it out to him.
“Oh, um…thanks,” he told her. Tucking his wand into his back pocket he reached out and took it, his lips curving downward and into a slight frown.
As she looked back up, her eyes were swimming and Harry nearly groaned aloud, knowing what was coming.
I don’t have time for this, he thought even as she started to speak.
“I…I wanted to see you,” she admitted, taking a step forward. “I needed to talk to you, I think.”
“Well, I’d hoped…” she offered quietly, her eyes soft and sad.
“Look, I don’t really have time to do this right now,” he stopped her, trying not to make it worse.
“Right, of course…” she shook her head, her eyes dropping to the floor briefly. “It’s just that…I miss you. Can’t I just come in for a few minutes? I really want to talk.”
“There’s nothing to talk about, Cho,” he countered, his voice even and firm. “You know how I feel, nothing has changed.”
“But…I love you,” she pleaded softly, taking a step closer.
Harry didn’t answer; instead he closed his eyes, trying not to get angry.
They’d been over this a thousand times. He’d tried to love her, he really had. Even he didn’t understand what was holding him back. She was beautiful, kind and she obviously cared for him.
Regardless, he knew the reality of the situation was that they didn’t have a future. He wasn’t going to pretend to feel something for her just because she wanted it and his steadily increasing fascination with the redhead behind him only strengthened that understanding.
“Cho -” he started to respond, but his words were swallowed as she suddenly launched herself at him, wrapping her arms around his neck as she smashed her lips against his.
Ginny’s eyes widened when Harry suddenly came stumbling back into the flat, a woman with long black hair attached to his face. She watched as he reached up, trying to pry her arms away but the girl only clung tighter.
The jealousy that curled inside of her was unexpected and her hand fisted into the cushion of the sofa when she saw Harry try to speak and the girl deepen the kiss with a moan.
“Cho,” Harry said in exasperation as he finally wrenched her off of him and held her away.
“Should I leave you two alone?” Ginny asked from her place on the sofa, causing both of their heads to snap towards her.
As Ginny met Harry’s gaze and raised her eyebrow, Cho suddenly dropped her arms and stopped trying to move back to Harry.
“Who are you?” she shot accusingly, causing Ginny’s gaze to move back to her.
“I’m Ginny, who are you?”
The girl looked at her with such contempt that Ginny almost laughed.
“I’m Cho,” she answered finally. “Harry’s girlfriend.”
“Ex-girlfriend,” Harry corrected her quickly.
Cho’s face crumpled and she suddenly started crying.
Ginny looked at Harry who ran a hand through his hair and shrugged helplessly at her before turning towards Cho.
“Who is she?” she demanded through her tears, rounding on him at the same time.
“She’s a friend,” he replied evenly.
“A friend? A friend? ” she repeated sarcastically. “You expect me to believe that? How come I’ve never met her if she’s a friend?”
Harry opened his mouth but it was Ginny who answered.
“I’m a new friend,” she called from the sofa, thoroughly enjoying herself now that she knew it was an ex-girlfriend.
Harry shot her a ‘you’re not helping’ look, but she just smiled sweetly at him and he rolled his eyes.
“How long have you been seeing her?” Cho demanded, tears now rolling freely down her cheeks.
“I’m not seeing her, Cho, she’s just a friend,” Harry insisted, beginning to lose patience with the whole situation. “And you know, even if I was seeing her, it’s really none of your business.”
Cho only seemed to cry harder as she shot a look at Ginny, who took a drink of her butterbeer, watching the scene.
“Did you leave me for her?”
Ginny choked on the butterbeer.
“What? No, Cho, I -”
“Oh, God, did you cheat on me? I can’t believe you cheated on me! How long were you seeing her?!”
Harry couldn’t answer; he just gaped at the weeping woman in front of him, trying to figure out how she’d made that leap, and frankly, why she was in his flat at all.
“Cho,” he said finally. “We broke up. That’s the end of it. Ginny has nothing to do with this.”
“But I love you, Harry,” she insisted, as though that would change everything. “She won’t make you happy…she could never love you like I do…just talk to me, we can work this out…”
Ginny couldn’t help it; she saw the look on Harry’s face and started laughing. She quickly clamped her mouth shut, trying to smother her mirth.
“What are you laughing at you little tart?” Cho shot, swinging around towards her, her dark eyes narrowing.
“Hey!” Harry intervened as Ginny stopped laughing and narrowed her eyes.
“Excuse me?” Ginny countered, rising from her spot to face off with the woman.
“You heard me,” Cho snapped, wiping her eyes as she began to walk towards the sofa. “Do you think this is funny,” she spat. “You steal him from me and then sit there all high and mighty like you didn’t do anything…”
“I didn’t steal anyone,” Ginny told her, her eyes flashing angrily. “You’re completely out of line and I think it’s time for you to leave.”
“No one asked you,” Cho countered.
“Well, no one had to…Harry’s made it more than clear that he doesn’t have anything to say to you and what I am or am not to him, is none of your bloody business!”
Cho’s eyes were wide with fury and she grabbed her wand. In an instant she was flinging her arm outward, but Ginny was faster. Before Harry could stop her, wings erupted all over Cho’s face.
“Ginny, put that down,” Harry ordered as he brought out his own wand.
“She tried to hex me! It’s not my fault I’m faster,” Ginny insisted, crossing her arms as Harry held a screaming Cho still long enough to fix her face.
When Cho was set right, Harry shot Ginny a warning look and began pulling Cho toward the door.
She didn’t, however, go quietly. Giving a cry of frustration Cho pointed her wand at Ginny again. Averting her attempt, Harry grabbed her hand and jerked her arm up so that her wand was pointed harmlessly at the ceiling.
Unfortunately Ginny’s hex was already flying. She opened her mouth to try to warn him, but there was no time and she winced as it hit him in the arm.
“Ow! Shite, Gin!” he exclaimed as he shot her a look.
“Sorry,” Ginny replied with a sheepish shrug. “It was just a little stinging hex.”
“Just sit down and wait for me,” he ordered. Exasperated, his gaze flew back to Cho as she continued to struggle against his grip. “That’s enough,” he said in a hard voice as he dragged her to the door and out of the flat, shutting the door behind them.
Ginny sat back down on the sofa, taking another drink of Butterbeer as she listened to Harry and Cho yell at each other in the hall. Although she couldn’t understand their words, the frustration on Harry’s part was clear.
After a few moments the volume died down. It took several more minutes for Harry to finally reenter the flat, thankfully alone. His mouth was set in a terse line as he resealed the door before finally crossing to her.
Sinking into the chair, he ran a hand through his hair before leaning his head back and closing his eyes.
“No wonder you never stayed at your girlfriend’s place,” Ginny said and he laughed, rubbing his face with his hands. “Bad breakup?”
“Not for me,” he told her, opening his eyes to look at her. “But she seems to be taking it pretty hard, I guess.”
“Pretty hard?” Ginny snorted. “She’s mental, that one. Where did you find her?”
“She’s not mental. She’s just a little…emotional,” Harry shrugged, with a smirk.
“That’s one way to put it,” she managed as she tried to stop giggling.
“I don’t know what you’re laughing at, Ginny…” Harry shot her a look as he raised his eyebrow. “Look who you attracted.”
Ginny stretched out on her side on the sofa, tucking her arm under her head.
“True,” she admitted with a quirk to her lips. “I guess we should just give up the chase and be together. At least we’re both normal.”
“I guess it’s our only option,” he agreed, leaning back again and closing his eyes with a smile. “Although I’m not sure I qualify as normal.”
“That’s ok,” Ginny added, propping her head up on her hand. “It probably wouldn’t work anyway.”
“Oh yeah?...And why is that?” he asked, keeping his eyes shut, “because your brothers would kill me?”
“No…because I could never love you like she does,” she replied, her voice overly dramatic as she batted her eyes, imitating Cho’s earlier tone.
“Thank, God, for that,” he laughed, opening his eyes.
“Five minutes!” Ginny called as she disappeared into her room.
They’d just gotten back from St. Mungo’s and Harry headed to the kitchen, suppressing a groan.
She’d flown through her last round, determined to get home in time for some show that was coming on. Although her excitement was adorable, he didn’t even want to think about what horrible program it was and he hadn’t bothered to ask.
All he knew was that he was going to miss the Chudley Cannons game so that she could watch some wizarding soap-opera. He just prayed that she wouldn’t force him to watch it too, although he had the sneaking suspicion she would, and that she’d enjoy every minute of his pain.
“Harry!” she called from the living room and he scowled.
No way, his mind told him as he began to feel a bit ill.
The last thing he wanted to do was spend the next hour watching a bunch of witches fight over their favorite wizard. He had his limits after all.
Suddenly he wished he’d finally gotten around to purchasing a telly for his room. That way he could tap into the Wizarding Broadcasting Corporation and watch the Cannons in peace.
“Harry!” she called before he emerged from the kitchen. “Come on! Aren’t you going to watch?!”
“No, I’m absolutely not - ”
He stopped in surprise, his mouth falling open slightly at the scene before him.
Ginny sat perched on the sofa, the table in front of her covered with snacks and butterbeer. She was wearing an oversized Chudley Cannons jersey that clashed horribly with her hair, practically bouncing up and down in anticipation. The pre-show was on and she was watching as the teams warmed up and the mascots performed.
This synched it, she was perfect – she was a goddess and he didn’t think he had ever been more attracted to anyone in his entire life. She was beautiful, and intelligent and feisty and… and she loved quidditch? Of course, she loved quidditch, just like his dream girl was supposed to. And not only quidditch, she loved the Cannons…his Cannons.
He loved her.
He was in love…he was…he was going to kill Remus. He was being punished. He knew he’d screwed up in Kent, but this was beyond payback – this was just cruel.
He hadn’t been assigned this because he was the only one strong enough to challenge Malfoy, it was because Remus knew she was perfect and wanted to torture him by dangling her in front of him like a prize just out of reach.
And what about Ron? his mind demanded.
This was obviously the reason he hadn’t introduced them before. Ron knew he wouldn’t have been able to keep his hands off of her.
… selfish bugger, keeping her away from me.
Harry was pulled out of his runaway thoughts as she glanced over at him with a smile.
“What are you doing? I thought you loved quidditch.”
Harry blinked at her before turning and disappearing down the hall.
Ginny furrowed her brow, watching him go before turning back to the game.
A few seconds later Harry came flying over the back of the sofa, landing beside her wearing his own jersey. She handed him a butterbeer with a smile and they settled in to watch the game. They cheered and laughed and talked about the season, discussing everything from past games to their favorite players.
Harry had to keep reminding himself along the way to keep his hands to himself, as every other second he wanted to reach over and brush her hair out of her face, or during his more delusional moments – perhaps just grab her and move her onto his lap and forget about the game.
He contented himself with passing her drinks or snacks or pretty much anything she wanted so that their fingers could hopefully brush. Eventually he gave that up too, feeling a little pathetic that he was more interested in those few seconds than the game being played in front of him.
Ginny wasn’t faring much better as she sat sideways on the sofa, her legs stretched out so that her feet rested against his thigh. Somehow that position had become a regular occurrence when they sat around.
She felt ridiculously stupid as the game wore on because she found herself forgetting to watch the game as she stared at his profile. She felt even more stupid that she kept asking for him to pass her things so that their fingers could touch.
With a huff of frustration she dropped her head back.
“What is it?” Harry asked turning his head to look at her.
Ginny’s head shot up as she tried to think of something to say other than Oh nothing, I’m just frustrated because I‘d rather be kissing you than watching this game…
She settled on, “We’re losing.”
He raised his brow and smiled at her. “We’re always losing,” he pointed and she rolled her eyes.
“Yes, well, today we’re really losing,” she countered.
When he finished laughing at her, they fell into a rather random and sporadic conversation about all things quidditch, the game in front of them forgotten.
“Have you ever been to the World Cup?” Harry asked several minutes later, his excitement rising at his memory. “We went fourth year, it was amazing!”
“Oh yeah!” Ginny shot back as she nodded. “The veela were hilarious, all of you guys falling all over yourselves…it was really pathetic.”
Harry laughed, nodding as he remembered before he sobered. “Wait, what do you mean? You were there? Who did you go with?”
Ginny’s smile faltered. Had she gone? It was so long ago now that she couldn’t remember.
“Um…yeah, I’m sure I went with my family,” she said as she thought back but trailed off at Harry’s look as he shook his head.
“No, I went with your family. You weren’t there…how could you, quidditch lover that you are, not remember if you were there? It was the World Cup! You would remember it anyway, death eaters attacked.”
Ginny furrowed her brow. “They did? Well, I guess I didn’t go then because I don’t remember that, I must have stayed with Mum…” she nodded as she thought back. “Hermione – I think Hermione told me about it.”
Harry shook his head, giving her a look before reaching for some crisps. Lounging back on the sofa, he threw his legs over hers. So far she’d claimed most of the sofa for herself and Harry didn’t mind it; he just didn’t see why she was the only one to get to stretch out.
They stayed on the sofa long after the game ended, talking and doing nothing until it was late into the night. Eventually they fell into an easy silence and just stayed together until Harry found himself dozing off. Shaking himself, he dragged his eyes open and looked at Ginny, who was already asleep.
Untangling their legs, he pulled himself up off the sofa, trying not to wake her. He looked down at her for a minute, watching her as she shifted, stretching out into the space he’d left. After a moment, he bent down and scooped her up, cradling her against him and carrying her back to her bedroom.
She was light and his body responded instantly to the feeling of her pressed against him, her warm breath on his neck and her hair brushing his arm as he walked with her.
He laid her down on her bed and began to pull back when he stopped, running his gaze over her face as he leaned over her. She was just so beautiful to him with her hair spread around her and her lips slightly parted as she slept.
He stared at her lips. He would have sworn they were trying to pull him closer and he brushed a piece of hair out of her face, trailing his fingers down her cheek.
Lowering his head he brushed his lips against hers. She was so soft, she was…he jerked away from her, completely horrified at himself. Shaking his head, he ran a hand over his face.
Grabbing a throw from the end of the bed, he draped it over her. He left the room quickly without looking back, the words just a job on repeat in his head.
Ginny woke up cold several hours later. Sitting up she pulled off the thin blanket and got out of bed. She walked quietly to the window running her fingers through her hair as she watched the rain falling softly.
Frowning, she glanced up at the sky. It didn’t seem too cloudy and she quickly changed into her pajamas and climbed back into her bed.
She didn’t remember coming in here earlier and it occurred to her that Harry must have carried her. Suddenly she felt a little down that she’d missed it, but she smiled ruefully to herself and flipped onto her side as she pulled the covers to her chin and went back to sleep.
The next day dawned dark and dreary and Ginny’s mood mirrored it perfectly when she woke up.
It was Saturday and she was stuck inside. She couldn’t go visit her friends. She couldn’t go to the store or for a walk and the weather only seemed to be getting worse as the rain increased.
That was the real problem. The reason she was moody was that she didn’t like rain. In fact, she hated rain. Rain meant storms and storms meant thunder, and thunder meant…
Laying in her bed with the sheets pulled up to her chin, she watched the rain fall through her window. It was coming down much harder than it had the previous night and it wasn’t showing any signs of stopping.
Although it was already ten, it was still dark outside because of the clouds. Shuttering as she heard the distant thunder she closed her eyes and prayed for the rain to lighten up – for the storm to move away. She didn’t want to be stuck here during a thunderstorm.
With a sigh she rubbed her temples and opened her eyes, trying to force herself to relax. She didn’t know what to do if the storm got worse.
No one knew about her “problem,” as she called it. Usually she just shut herself into her room and rode it out. She did not want to be stuck here with Harry of all people if it began to really storm.
Pulling herself out of bed, Ginny slipped into her robe, wrapping it tightly around her. Her hands trembled slightly as she tied the sash. Gathering her hair into a knot on top of her head, she headed to the bathroom.
As she stood in front of the mirror brushing her teeth, she watched as her hands trembled more with each roll of thunder.
Trying to ignore the signs of what was coming, she finished quickly and headed to the kitchen to find some coffee.
That was where Harry found her. The weather was getting worse, the thunder moving closer and flashes of lightening brightening the room every once and awhile.
Coming to a stop in the doorway he watched her move around his kitchen in a huff, slamming cabinets shut as she went. Seeing her in his kitchen in her bathrobe seemed surprisingly normal to him and he crossed his arms over his chest and cocked his head to the side.
“Looking for something?” he asked as he leaned on the doorframe
Whirling around, Ginny clamped her arms over her chest and glared at him.
He straightened when he noticed something seemed off about her. He’d thought she was just in a bad mood or something, but she seemed uncharacteristically jumpy and nervous.
“Where’s your coffee?” she clipped out brushing away a piece of hair that had fallen into her eyes.
A burst of lightening suddenly brightened the room and she jerked away from the window.
“I think I’m out,” Harry said, furrowing his brow and beginning to approach her. “Are you ok?”
“I’m fine,” she shot back as she headed to the door, her hands pulling restlessly on the tie of her robe.
Something’s wrong, Harry decided catching her arm as she tried to slip past him.
“Are you ok?” he asked again as he studied her.
“I’m fine,” she ground out, shifting closer automatically as the room lit up for a second flash of lightening. “I just don’t like rain very much and you don’t have coffee, that’s all.”
Harry’s lip curled up and she glared at him.
“You do realize you live in England,” he said as she pulled away and walked quickly back down the hall, her steps faltering a little as a clap of thunder shook the windows, closer now.
“It tends to rain a lot here!” he called after her as she disappeared into her room and slammed the door.
Unsure of what to make of her behavior, Harry scratched the back of his neck and headed to his fireplace to try and get some coffee from Hermione.
Ginny sat in the middle of her bed cursing Harry into oblivion because he didn’t have curtains. The storm was now raging and the lightening was becoming more frequent, the sound of the rain and thunder drowning out everything else. She began rocking back and forth resting her head on her knees. She squeezed her eyes shut and bit her lip, trying to keep her breathing steady.
She hated storms. She didn’t understand why. She just knew that when it stormed she cried, and she shook…and huddled in a corner until it was over. Most of the time she blocked it out; not remembering it when it was over.
Her hands flew to her ears and she whimpered as a loud clap of thunder sounded outside, making the windows rattle. The wind was howling, a tree branch scraping against the glass and another flash of lightening illuminated the room, followed a few seconds later by another clap of thunder.
Ginny cried out and flew off the bed, scrambling to get away from the sounds and retreating into herself as she let her mind take over.
Harry looked up from the counter in the kitchen, his head snapping in the direction of Ginny’s room at the sound. Narrowing his eyes he focused his energy, listening until he heard it again. He heard her cry out and he abandoned the coffee he’d been fixing - drawing his wand as he ran down the hall.
Throwing open her door he strode in only to stop when he found the room dark and empty.
Fear flooded him and he called her name, moving farther into the room as he looked around. He soon relaxed when a flash of lightening illuminated the room for a second and he saw her. She was huddled in the far corner facing the wall. He hadn’t noticed her before and he approached her cautiously.
She seemed to be mumbling as she rocked, her arms wrapped around her knees and her head resting against the wall. There was another clap of thunder and her body jerked as she whimpered and he crouched behind her.
“Ginny,” he said as he touched her shoulder and she whirled around with a cry, batting his hand away.
He watched her face as her eyes darted around, unfocused as though she was somewhere else as she cried.
Blimey, he thought as he watched her shaking.
He’d never seen anything like this and he had no idea how to help her. When he said her name again, she finally let out a sob.
“Harry,” she whispered as she moved from her position and crawled past him. “Harry?!”
The lightening flashed and she collapsed to the ground with a cry. Harry crouched over her, pulling her hair back so that he could see her face as she began to sob his name, her eyes squeezed shut and her body twitching slightly.
He pulled her up so that she was facing him on her knees.
“Harry,” she whimpered.
Pulling her against him, he wrapped her in his arms as another bout of thunder shook the room.
“Harry,” she sobbed. “Where are you?”
“I’m right here, Ginny. It’s fine,” he soothed as he stroked her back but she just kept shaking and crying out with every burst of lightening.
The storm was right on top of them at this point and the thunder was sounding at almost the exact same time that the lightening flashed.
He tried talking to her and shaking her but she didn’t respond to him, too lost in herself as she mumbled, trying to move away from him - trying to get to someone or something else but he couldn’t understand what she was saying. He grabbed her chin and tilted her head back so that he could see her face. Her eyes were squeezed shut and her breathing shallow as she whimpered; her skin clammy and paler than normal.
When her eyes flew open, her panic increased as the thunder continued to explode through the room and rumble away.
He pulled her back to him and she clung to his shirt, her knuckles white as she sobbed against him.
“I’m right here, Ginny,” he soothed. “I’m right here,” he said in her ear but it just seemed to make it worse as she jerked and cried out with the thunder.
“I couldn’t…find you,” she managed brokenly before her words became all but gibberish as she twitched, trying to hold tighter, trying to move closer.
She was small and frail in his arms and she didn’t seem to even realize where she was or that he was holding her. Doing the only thing he could think of, he picked her up and carried her across the room. The door of the closet flew open as he approached and he went in with her.
As the door swung shut behind them he sank to the ground in the dark before he scooted back through the few cloaks he’d stored inside and into the corner as far as he could go.
Once he was situated he sat in the dark with her, cradling her against his chest as she shook. She continued to mumble incoherently but she was a little more subdued without the lightening.
Eventually the storm lessened and she fell asleep in his arms. He rested his head on hers as he tried to figure out what had just happened.
Ginny woke up with a headache in the dark and tensed. She tried to move but something was holding her in place and she felt someone breathing beside her. She tried to jerk away and Harry cursed as her elbow found his ribs and her head knocked into his chin hard.
“Ow! Bloody - ”
“Let go of me!”
They shuffled and cursed each other as they tried to move in the cramped space and after a few seconds Ginny’s back hit the floor as Harry came down on top of her with a curse.
She tried to shove him off as she twisted, but she stilled when the tip of his wand lit, flooding the small space with light. She found him glaring down at her, their faces inches apart. Their eyes flicked automatically down to the lips of the other for a second before moving back up.
“Could you hold still for two seconds?”
“Could you get off me?” she shot back as she began to try move again and he rolled his eyes and pushed up with his arm.
“You pulled me down here,” he huffed as he reached up through the cloaks, trying to find the door knob with the hand holding his wand, causing the light to bounce around them.
“I most certainly did not! You fell on me.”
“You knocked me over! I told you to stop moving.”
“Oh right,” she huffed as she pushed a cloak out of the way so she could see him. “Like I could really understand you…plus you elbowed me in the head!”
“Well you were,” he found the doorknob and flung the door open – “kicking me,” he said as he crawled over her and out of the closet.
She grabbed his leg and yanked it back, scrambling over him and pushing him to the ground as she climbed past.
“Ladies first,” she muttered.
“I’ll remember that when I see one,” he muttered back with a snort.
Ginny spun around on her knees with a glare, but he just smiled cheekily at her and she shoved him in the shoulder before turning back around as her lip twitched.
It was raining lightly now, the sun beginning to poke through the clouds.
“What were we doing in the closet?” Ginny asked, turning back to look at him.
“You don’t like storms,” he said simply, crawling over to her and sitting up on his knees as he watched her reaction.
“I don’t know what you mean,” she said lamely, trying to think back.
What happened? she wondered. She couldn’t remember anything and her face began to flush.
“I mean, you really don’t like storms,” he said softly. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
She tucked a piece of hair behind her ear and fiddled with the tie of her robe in her lap. “I don’t have to tell you everything,” she countered, watching his eyes as they narrowed.
“Don’t you think you should have told me this? I found you terrified, disoriented and practically hysterical in a corner.”
Her eyes widened and she looked down. She didn’t remember that.
“I’m sorry,” she said softly and she found herself suddenly blinking back tears and she didn’t know why.
She was embarrassed for sure, knowing that her fear was irrational and hating that he’d witnessed it. No one knew about it and for some reason the idea that he would think she was weak made it that much worse.
“Come on,” he said, taking her hand and pulling her up. “I found you some coffee.”
Leading her to the kitchen, he used his wand to reheat the cup he’d poured her earlier.
When he’d handed it to her, he leaned against the counter and watched her drink it.
“Are you ok? he asked after a moment causing her to look up at him over the rim of the mug before lowering it.
“Is it always like this?” he questioned her further. “When it storms?”
For a moment she seemed to consider whether or not to answer him before she shrugged and moved past him.
“Ginny,” he implored quietly catching her wrist and bringing her to a stop. “Talk to me…please.”
Her gaze flicked to his and she hesitated for a second before looking down at his hand on her wrist. Biting her lip she laced their fingers together before pulling him with her into the other room.
“Is it always like that when it storms?” he asked again as they sank down on the sofa.
Ginny tucked her legs under her and let go of his hand.
“I guess so,” she shrugged, dropping her eyes briefly as she tucked a piece of hair nervously behind her ear. “I don’t…usually remember much of it after a point. I just wake up when it’s over.”
“Why are you afraid of them?”
“Honesty…I don’t know,” she admitted, leaning her head against the back of the sofa and stretching her legs out until her feet rested against his thigh. “I don’t remember not liking storms as a child…it’s sort of…it’s sort of new I guess.”
For a long time after she fell silent, they stayed on the sofa together. In those moments, any initial friendship between them was solidified.
He didn’t laugh at her, or make fun of her for it. In fact, he seemed genuinely concerned about her.
When Ginny started crying, admitting almost without thinking that she felt stupid for being afraid; he’d pulled her to him and held her, assuring her that she wasn’t.
He told her about his nightmares. About how he’d had them regularly until he was about twenty and still sometimes woke up tangled in his sheets.
As he stroked her hair he told her how they could just be irrationally scared of things together - talking to her until he had her smiling and chuckling softly.
Harry wasn’t sure what came over him, but something did. He’d seen her reduced from the strong, independent person he’d met to a frightened wreck and he wanted to protect her from that.
He wanted to make her feel better. He wanted to make sure she was safe and never afraid and he swallowed as he rubbed her back.
I’m in big trouble, he thought with a frown, trying to figure out how his feeling had somehow raced straight past attraction to true affection.
A special thanks to Helix for the help with this one. :)
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